27/03/18 Content Marketing

New Court Decision Could Have Dramatic Copyright and Linking Implications for Small Blogs

It’s not often the courts get involved in anything that impacts SEO. But it does happen.

And you do hear controversy…but usually, it turns into a whole lotta nothing.  

In this case, the impact’s pretty far-reaching.

If the judge’s decision is upheld, it could expose practically any website (and especially those with blogs) to costly lawsuits.

What’s the Big Deal?

Federal Judge Katherine Forrest (based in New York) found embedding a Tweet that includes a copyrighted photo could make you liable for copyright infringement.

Embedding” means you include a link with code from a third-party source that allows you to display their content.

The story is that Justin Goldman took a photo of Tom Brady meeting with Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge in an attempt to lure Kevin Durant to the Celtics. Goldman uploaded the photo to Snapchat, where it went viral and was taken for use and embedding by a number of sports media outlets (Yahoo, Gannett, Time, Boston Globe, and many others).

Judge Forrest rejected the argument that, if upheld, her ruling could affect millions of websites.  

And interestingly, her ruling goes against past precedents.

You could possibly defend yourself from copyright infringement by arguing fair use. But of course, if you’re threatened as a small business, you would probably just back down to save yourself time and money.

Judge Forrest also qualified her ruling a bit, noting that it’s not clear whether Goldman released his image into the public domain by posting it to his Snapchat account. And she also said limitations on innocent infringement exist.

But nonetheless, her ruling contains far-reaching implications for the entire internet.

What Should You Do?

Right now, you don’t have to do anything. No one has proven embedding someone else’s content constitutes copyright infringement.

At the same time, since using images and media remains such a contentious issue, make sure you stay fully within the law to the best of your ability.

If you take a screenshot of someone else’s work online, link back to their website and give them credit.

You can paraphrase an idea without crediting the source. But if you quote it, again, link back.

When you do use images, and especially stock images, make sure you buy them or have permission to use them.

Some images can be used without mentioning the site you got them from – but make sure the website’s owner tells you that explicitly.

If you’re supposed to buy the image, pay for it. But, for what it’s worth, remember that stock photos don’t do you much good in terms of attracting readership or paying customers. In fact, they usually hurt you. They might look cool sometimes, but they don’t necessarily improve your bottom line.

And FYI – companies like Getty Images (who owns large stock-photo sites like iStockphoto) do sneaky and nasty things like installing special tracking code within their images. Then, if you copy, save, and use their image, they hunt you down and threaten you with a lawsuit – unless you pay their unreasonably high fee.

White-collar crime at its best!

For now, you can use the embedded content. But, exercise caution as I just described so you protect yourself.

And, keep your eyes and ears peeled to this blog and others for updates on how this pressing issue might affect you.

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20/03/18 Content Marketing

How to Do a Content Audit in 2018

Have you ever done a “content audit?”

By now, you should have more content in your blog than you can easily keep track of.

With content, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, confused, and out of your strategy.

Plus, this topic doesn’t get discussed a ton.

And then in small and local business, you already have more than your fair share of battles to fight.

…Now I’m recommending you add another item to your list that gets longer every day?

Yep.

What You Want to Learn

When all’s said and done, you want your content to grow your business, right?

Otherwise, why do you create it?

Here are the top goals and metrics you can use to measure your progress:

 

Sales

 

At the small and local business level, this is difficult. No one reads your blog post and excitedly dials your phone.

That’s just not how content works for any business!  

In reality, they read your blog, email, e-book, or whatever. And they do this several times over the course of months, or maybe a couple years. Then, because they remember your information and find it so useful, they give you a buzz when they need your service.

It’s incredibly difficult to measure the precise role a blog post plays in the purchasing process.   

You can drive website visitors from your blog posts to a landing page with a form or unique phone number.

You could also do a correlational analysis. For example, when you notice an increase in your blog readership, you also see an increase in contacts on your website’s main contact form.

That’s less definitive proof.

But if you see a relationship, you know your blog plays a role.

This isn’t easy to measure. And it can require a high amount of customization based on your business and content strategy.

 

Organic Traffic Increase

 

Traffic leads to sales.

If you don’t get the traffic you want, this may mean you have an ineffective content strategy, no good way of promoting your content, the wrong type, or perhaps content that simply doesn’t interest your audience.

It takes months to increase your traffic because Google takes months to index your content.

And if you choose to promote your content actively, it can take months before your contacts actually publish their link to you.

But if you’re consistent in content creation, you should notice an increase in traffic over time.

 

Time On-Page

 

This one tells you whether you hit the mark with your content itself.

A couple aspects to consider:

  • Your content may not receive the time-on-page you want if you don’t have an interesting writer
  • Low times could also mean well-written topics, but a poor topic selection

Basically, you want to see greater than a minute for a 500-word blog post.

That puts you above average.

And if you see a couple or several minutes for a blog post of any kind, you’re knocking it out of the park.

In terms of topic selection, keep doing what you’re doing, and the traffic and sales will come.

…So that’s kind of a quick poor man’s content audit.

And remember, you may need to highly customize yours to accurately measure the effectiveness of your own strategy.

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31/01/18 Content Marketing

How to Write Content That Actually Generates Traffic and Customers

Ever get the advice to just write all kinds of content and then watch the traffic flow in?

What’s been your experience with that?

Got all the traffic you want?

Sadly, many companies don’t get all the traffic and sales they should from their content.

And yes, it does sometimes happen that companies flood the web with content…and end up with practically nothing for their effort.

So how do you create content that generates real business results?

Here’s how:

First, Understand What Works in Your Niche

Buzzsumo’s tool scans the web and finds the topics with the most shares. Just like Google, you simply enter a keyword to find what you want.
I entered a nondescript term, “accounting.”

Buzzsumo came back with:

search content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, several of the top-shared posts focus on controversial accounting topics. So clearly, that’s a good angle to use to get more shares.

You simply have to make sure you tie the topic back to your customers and show them the pain it could cause. For example, you might write a story about taxpayers overpaying by $2 billion.

Then, your accounting service lines up nicely as a solution that helps taxpayers save money and avoid overpaying.

This is just a quick analysis. Make sure you read a good 50 or so posts to get a good idea of what works in your niche.

Top the Best Content You Can Find

You’ll do quite nicely by simply creating your own version of what’s already proven popular.

…But you can do even better if you top the best you can find.  

This would be a long-term approach to content marketing. It results in consistently higher search rankings that last for years to come.

With the accounting example, you might use the overpaying angle as the opening story.

That gets real interest.

Then, you could share tips, both from yourself and other credible sources, that help taxpayers avoid overpaying.

…Except you don’t just stop with 3, 5, 7, or 10 lame tips.

You go way above and beyond, featuring 25, 50, or even 100.

Wouldn’t that make for a long post?

You bet.

But you see, since most companies aren’t willing to do the same amount of work, you give yourself a huge competitive advantage.

You may even be able to only write one such post per month.

…But that’s okay.

Because you’ve done something so different that most other companies won’t duplicate, you’ve got a much more secure position in search. Far more secure than pumping out 50 – 100 short posts throughout the entire year.

Promote to Attract Links

Is your blog not yet the go-to thousands of people read daily?

Admittedly, your blog may only have a few regular readers at this point.

…No problem!

Every small business deals with the same issue.

Putting in some good ol’ fashioned sweat equity solves that for you though.

At Buzzsumo, and at another tool which does the same thing, ahrefs, you can see all the sites that link to the popular article you emulated.

But remember, you made yours much better.

So, reach out by email to each site that linked to the original post you chose. Just let them know you created a more thorough version.

Some will ignore you. But some will share your post. And others will link to it.

You may want to outsource this process because frankly, there’s no magic trick or special skill to it. You just email other linking sites and enjoy the results you get.

Rinse, Recycle, Repeat

That’s all there is to this.

Now, you simply do it over again.

Of course, you’ll notice tiny improvements you can make that get you even better results.

But if you focus on this strategy, it’s one of the surest ways to secure yourself high search rankings and quality customers for a long, long time!

 

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New Study Reveals Content Gaining Ranking Power, While Links Losing It
28/01/17 Content Marketing , SEO

New Study Reveals Content Gaining Ranking Power, While Links Losing It

A new study by Searchmetrics reveals content relevance is gaining cred with Google, while backlinks are declining as a ranking signal. If you follow that link, you can read a summary of the major highlights of the report. It also contains a link that gets into gritty, nerdy details. Anyway, you get the gist.

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3 Easy Ways to Promote Your Content to Boost Your Search Rankings 
28/12/16 Content Marketing

3 Easy Ways to Promote Your Content to Boost Your Search Rankings 

How do you get your amazing content the attention it deserves? It’s getting harder but it’s not impossible. Learn how to promote your content so you shoot up the search rankings while your competitors scratch their heads in confusion. Have you ever thought about how much content is online? As you probably have guessed, it’s quite a bit. No one knows a precisely accurate number. Consultant Maurice de Kunder estimates the size of the indexed web at about 48 billion pages.

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