Home | Archives for John Doherty

Archives For John Doherty

Tonight (March 20th) Distilled NYC is co-hosting a meetup in conjunction with iAcquire, another search agency here in New York City. The topic is Content Marketing vs Content Strategy.

My talk is on data driven content marketing. We believe that in order to know what content to create, you need to first know:

  • What content you have;
  • How that content is performing
  • What content your competitors have
  • How their content is performing

I will post the slidedeck this evening once the event has finished and I get back to my computer, but I built out a spreadsheet to give away to everyone. I figure I’ll give it away here and explain how to use both for the meetup goers as well as for all of you who read this post on its own.

Download the spreadsheet here.

Data-Driven Content Auditing

The first step before you do any work is to figure out what your goals are from the campaign. Why are you creating content and how are you going to get buy-in, and therefore budget, to create it once you have figured out what you need? Lucky for you I presented on this at SearchFest in February -

Your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) could be many things, including:

  • Links
  • Traffic
  • Leads
  • ??

Settling on what you will be measured on first is the key to a successful campaign, or future successful campaigns as you learn and do better campaigns each time.

Pull Data

Once you have your goals in mind, you know what kind of data you need to gather. I always recommend gathering:

  • URLs
  • Content type or category (ie “Infographic” or “Marketing”). This can give insight into the kinds of content they create that you do not, and if it works for them.
  • SEOmoz Metrics for the site/page (Domain Authority, Page Authority, possibly Trust)
  • Number of linking root domains
  • Social Metrics (Twitter, FB, Google+, etc)
  • Traffic (for your own content) from Analytics

This data will be gathered from a multitude of places, including but not limited to:

Graph and Action

To keep all the data in one place, I’ve provided a spreadsheet here that you can download and use to audit up to 3 competitors and their types of content. Also, please customize it as you need (as it is impossible to meet everyone’s needs) and share with the class what you have done if you think it will be useful.

Here is a preview of the sheet:

excel-sheet

 

You’ll be given some charts as well to help you see visually what is working as well:

category-or-type-graph


You can download the spreadsheet here.

Here is my presentation from the meetup:

I started doing SEO pretty hardcore back in the very beginning of 2010 when I was working as a book publisher from a small alpine town in Switzerland. When I discovered SEO, I had no clue where it would take me (literally and metaphorically), the people I would meet, or everything I would learn and what that would push me towards.

I started full time in Philadelphia, working with a couple of other awesome guys who mentored me, taught me the importance of hustle, and made me get insanely better at my job through data. We were a powerhouse team, and I still say that if I were to go back inhouse someday I would want both of them on the team with me.

That’s not the point of this post, though. You see, this past Friday (March 15th) was the final Linklove that Distilled plans to put on. We don’t believe that linkbuilding is dead or dying, but it has definitely changed and many of the old tactics and tricks that worked so well for so long (crap directories, aggressive anchor text, spun content, sidebar widgets en masse) have gone out the window and even become toxic. I wish I could tell you all about my adventures in the past months with link removal and the insanity of the cost both in terms of effort and impact to the business being affected.

But that’s also not the point of this point.

You see, two years ago today Linklove changed my life. Continue Reading…

Over the last week and a half, I gave talks at Searchfest in Portland and MNSearch in Minneapolis about technical SEO. I pulled one over on both audiences though, as the real meat of the talks was about getting buy-in for making technical changes on your website (what I called technical SEO debt.

I defined technical SEO debt as:

A metaphor referring to the eventual consequences of poor or evolving architecture or SEO problems/dependencies within a website.

Both talks started with the statement that many sites need to quit focusing on linkbuilding and fix the technical debt that they owe on their websites. You see, every executive is busy and has their hands in multiple pots, so for any of the departments under them they need something to hang their hat on – rankings, traffic, revenue, whatever. For a lot of marketing managers or CMOs, who have only a very rudimentary understanding of SEO, that will be links, so they push for more links as that is what they understand. They think links will get them the money that they want, but we all know that is not true.
Continue Reading…

I tweeted this about a month ago when I was frustrated at Google for still allowing sites in some verticals to rank off of bad content or links simply because they are a brand and “belong” in that search result. In fact, one could argue that users expect these companies to be there. After all, it makes sense for a company like John Deere to rank for [tractors], no?

Is this fair of me, though? Is it Google’s fault that SEOs have to scale their efforts of content creation and linkbuilding to become competitive in competitive verticals?

I’ve stewed on these thoughts for a bit of time and come to a few conclusions. Many of these might not come as a shock to you, but I think they’re worth stating.

Continue Reading…

If you’re reading this post, you should know the following ways to tag <a href=””></a> links on your website:

  • _blank – opens in new tab
  • _self – opens in same frame (default, can also just be left out)
  • _parent – opens link in new parent frame
  • _top – opens link in the full body of the window

One of the features (or lack thereof) that has irked me about HackerNews is that when I click on a link, it opens in the same window thus taking me away from HackerNews, which is where I went in the first place. Let’s say I click on the first link:

hackernews

It takes me directly to the page (watch the tab at the top):

hackernews2

But then I have to hit the Back button. Who hits the back button on the Internet anymore, especially techies like myself who live off of keyboard shortcuts? Why make me go from using my keyboard to using my mouse or trackpad just to go back? No one uses the Delete key to go back, let’s be honest.

What HackerNews should do, though, is take you to a new tab, like so (notice the tabs at the top):

hackernews3

Proposition

I propose a test. Dear admins of HackerNews, I would like you to implement a test for 24 hours.

Implement target=”_blank” on HackerNews
Track the time on site and number of votes over the course of that day
Report on it, and then make an informed decision.

It won’t be that hard to implement:

<a href=”http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/post/42994773187/maria-popova-have-you-made-1m-on-affiliate-ads-while“>Making $1 million from affiliate links on “Ad-Free” blog</a>

Becomes:

<a href=”http://on-advertising.tumblr.com/post/42994773187/maria-popova-have-you-made-1m-on-affiliate-ads-whiletarget=”_blank”>Making $1 million from affiliate links on “Ad-Free” blog</a>

This is how Inbound.org works:

<a href=”http://contentharmony.com/inbound-2012/” target=”_blank” id=”click-30712″>Inbound.org: 2012 By The Numbers</a>

Well HackerNews, what say you? I dare you to increase your traffic and engagement.

Entrepreneurship is a hot topic these days, and one that you may know I am quite passionate about if you are a return reader here.

After I interviewed Leo Widrich of BufferApp a couple of weeks ago, I was put in touch with Dan Martell of Clarity.fm. Dan is the founder of Clarity, which exists to connect experts with other entrepreneurs in order to create a knowledge-sharing ecosystem where the experts can also earn some money in return for having conversations with those seeking to learn from them.

We talked about products, the importance of focus, the importance of revenue generation as early as possible, freemium, entrepreneurial goal setting, and more. Have a read or listen and let me know your thought in the comments!

Continue Reading…

A fundamental shift has occurred over the past two years in the way people consume content on the Internet. Not quite six years ago, Google bought the RSS service Feedburner for $100M and integrated it with their blogging platform, Blogger, as well as allowing bloggers on other platforms like WordPress to syndicate their content through it.

According to Compete, Feedburner is on a downward trend in terms of traffic:

BuiltWith seems to corroborate this:

feedburner usage stats
Source

In fact, Google seems to think that RSS is dying because they have deprecated the Feedburner API and are even talking about shutting it down completely in 2013. That should signal something to marketers if Google does not think the product worth keeping alive, even if simply because Google is the big player on the Internet and holds the ability to shift mindsets and kill verticals if they wish.
Continue Reading…

This past Sunday evening I sent out a tweet that garnered a large number of replies, so I thought I’d write a full post on it and try to flesh out my thoughts about apps vs a mobile website. Here is the tweet:

I asked this question because I am, to a great extent, an app minimalist. The other day I was curious about using Google Chat (Gchat) on my iPhone, but when I did some investigation and was about to download the most recommended app, I realized something. I don’t really want Gchat on my iPhone. I actually really like that when I’m not at my computer, people cannot reach me unless they have my cell phone number or my email should I choose to check it (and I have notifications turned off so as not to be disturbed when I do not want to be). But I digress.
Continue Reading…

The Internet has a content problem. Every day more and more content is being pushed out into the nether regions (ok, that’s inappropriate) of the Internet and most of it is terrible. And worse than that, the good content that is published on the Internet is few and far between and hard to find.

My goal with this blog is to help people get their content found. Because of this I’ve written posts like:
11 Ways To Drive Gobs Of Traffic To Your Site
A Blog Is Not A Content Strategy
Linkbait Is Not A Content Strategy
The Future of Cross Platform Publishing

We’re being inundated with a lot of crap content as well these days. Every post I see on Inbound.org (so basically all content produced by “marketers”) is “How To…”, “X Reasons That…”, “The Ultimate Guide To…” Continue Reading…

On January 15th I had the great pleasure to get to do a video hangout with Leo Widrich, one of the main guys behind the well-loved social media tool Buffer. I reached out to Leo because I’ve been following him for a while on social media and reading his blog. I’ve been seeing Buffer’s awesome growth over the past year (I even became a paying member recently), so I was interested to get Leo’s take on marketing, especially content marketing.

Leo is a smart young marketer, and I was quite intrigued to hear that Buffer’s content strategy was heavily influenced last year by Rand Fishkin’s Content Marketing Manifesto talk from last year’s SearchChurch meetup in Philadelphia. Leo said that since they took Rand’s advice to heart, their traffic to their content has quadrupled and they have seen a lot of success. I was also intrigued at the end of the video how Leo talked about their strategy going forward in regards to content, but you’ll just have to listen to the whole thing to find that out :-)

Also, if you like this sort of format, my company is running Fireside Chats with Marketers in NYC as meetups this year. Sign up if you’re interested.

Continue Reading…