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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.

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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!

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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.
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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.
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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.

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SEO is getting harder. When I started in the industry a few years ago, it was possible to throw a bunch of exact match anchor text at a page and it would rank fairly quickly. You could spin content all day, or just replace keywords in templated content, and still rank fairly well fairly quickly.

Now things have changed, and SEOs are trying to deal with the ramifications. We’re dealing with (not provided), personalized search, location-specific search, Penguins, Pandas, and more.
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Becoming A Better Writer

John Doherty —  January 10, 2013

A lot of talk has happened about content, content marketing, and blogging in 2012. We can thank Google, Tom Critchlow, and people like CopyBlogger for this, and I truly do. I love content and writing, and content writing and content marketing. I love it so much that I told people to stop blogging if they’re not going to put the time and effort into it.

I often have people tell me that I’m a good writer. That’s not a humblebrag, it’s a statement of fact. The truth is that I have always been a writer and loved writing, but honestly I used to suck at it. I’ve been writing on the Internet, on blogs of various kinds, for a decade now. And honestly, a lot of my stuff used to suck. And honestly, a lot of content I wrote on this site when I started it almost 2 years ago now….sucked.

I think I’m a decent writer and blogger now. So how have I done it?

The answer is plain and simple – I’ve written, practiced, and analyzed the results, and then written some more, practiced new lessons, and analyzed the results, then I write… You get the idea. Continue Reading…

I recently read a post about cross-platform publishing that absolutely blew my mind and changed my paradigm about how I am thinking about content and publishing moving forward. It’s called Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content, written by Karen McGrane who has led content strategy and information architecture engagements for sites like The Atlantic and Fast Company. The time is now, I believe, for thinking about content as a separate entity unto itself, not beholden to one platform but rather extendable across platforms. Continue Reading…