The Google Keep Update That May Change On Page SEO Forever

For years SEOs have been speculating that one day Google will have the ability to read text in images, and will eventually use it as an on-page ranking factor.

That day has finally arrived yet few seem to have realized it.

Google Keep, for those who don’t know, is a note taking service from Google that integrates closely with Google Drive. It accepts text notes, lists, to-dos, and image attachments.

Google Keep is actually one of the nicest note taking apps out there so if you have never tried it now may be the perfect opportunity.

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Keep home screen

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Image attachment

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Text note

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also integrates seamlessly with the online version of the app which is stored in Google Drive.

keep

 

On Friday, Google rolled out an update to the Keep app for Android. Included in the update is OCR technology that allows you to search for text in images.

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It’s pretty darn good at it.

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This may have massive implications for on-page SEO. For too long we have had to sacrifice design for SEO by warning clients to steer clear of text in images.

It looks like that may all be about to end.

Steven out.

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Linkbuilders: Learn PR Or Die – A Call To Action

The mother of all links is a link from The New York Times. Right?

All of us want links from news sites. Besides for being very strong domains, news sites drive social interaction, resharing, reposting, and downright scraping. Best of all, being quoted as the expert on a topic even once can lead to becoming the go-to guy or gal for anyone looking for information on your topic of choice.

Basically, a link from the NYT is even more awesome than this adorably cute kitten;

Okay, maybe not more awesome, but awfully close.

But do you, oh linkbuilding friend, do YOU know how to get a link from the NYT? Do you know what reporters are looking for? Do you know how to reach them?

Nope.

And that has got to change.

White hat link builders must learn PR to survive – Tweet This

I truly believe this. So much of what we do is with the goal of receiving coverage from a major news publication. So much of what we do is what PR professionals are trained to do.

You see, when it comes to online outreach, outreach to the small blogs, or big blogs. Outreach to SEO sites, or niche blogs, we know how to do that. We speak that language.

But we don’t speak the language of big media. Of reporters on tight deadlines. Of news desks sifting through mountains of press releases every day.

And we need to speak that language.

Here is a Quora thread listing the best PR/Social Media sites. Skipping the social media sites here is a list of three PR sites I’m planning on reading from now on, and I hope you will commit to joining me. Please feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments.

PR Squared

A PR blog by Todd Defren. The RSS feed is a great way to follow this site.

PR In Your Pajamas

This site is run by Elena Verlee, you can follow by email or follow the RSS feed.

O’Dwyer’s

Another good looking site, grab the RSS feed.

I am starting with these three, I hope you will join me.

But more importantly, it is time for a change. A change in the way we as link builders think. Let’s start being marketers and PR professionals instead of just linkbuilders.

Because if we don’t, they might become the linkbuilders.

Practice Anything To Be Great At Everything

Allow me to go off topic for a minute.

This is a thought which had been percolating in my head recently and I need to get it out of my head, get it out of my system. Putting things down on paper has a way of clearing it out of the mind.

Do you have something you want to be great at? Obviously you do, we all have dreams. And we’ve been taught from a young age that practice makes perfect, to excel at anything requires effort.

But what we are not taught is that true over achievers practice everything -Tweet this

Ever practiced smiling in the mirror? Ever practiced a conversation before you had it? Ever practiced the facial expressions or the way you will sit in your chair for a big meeting?

Here is a secret; many of the people you see as being great at any of those things or in any of those situations, practiced it. A lot.

And while talking to yourself in a room may make you feel foolish, you’ll thank yourself later when you feel comfortable talking to a reporter on the phone or asking your boss for a raise.

And feeling comfortable means you will feel confident. And when you feel confident, you project confidence. And then you are gold.

As an SEO, I think in terms of SEO, which means I apply this secret to things like client meetings, and talking to the press. But you can apply it to whatever you want to. And that is what makes this so powerful.

So go practice something. In your head even. And change your life!

Outreach – Twitter vs. Email

So many articles have been written about how to design and structure an awesome outreach email.

Many articles have been written about how to connect with a target before an outreach email.

Something I don’t see mentioned as often is the power of reaching out on Twitter. I wish I could pull the numbers and show real data, but off of the top of my head I’d have to say that Twitter outreach typically gives ten times the results when used preceding an email, over using email alone.

When scouting out a site for a potential link opportunity, find a Twitter account for the site if it’s a one person site, or if a specific author if it’s a multi-author website.

Check to see how active that person is on Twitter, do they tweet on a pretty consistent basis, do they answer people who tweet at them? Too big is also a problem, if they are followed by ten thousand people it will probably be a struggle to cut through the noise.

Once you’ve located a Twitter account that seems like it is worth targeting, you are good to go. “Bob, I see you wrote about flux capacitors recently, how can I reach you with some cool info?” A simple tweet like that can really help your prospects of getting a link. Surprisingly often you’ll find that people respond with their email address. Often, it’s the same email address publicly available on their website but now they are expecting your email and you’ve made the all important connection.

Email them immediately and then tweet to tell them you’ve sent it along.

Most importantly, don’t fear rejection, and keep at it!

Outlook Templates = Link Building Magic

As a linkbuilder I am always looking for ways to speed up the outreach process without automating and therefore dehumanizing the emails. There are many options for templates in Gmail such as Canned Responses from the Gmail labs, many of which have been covered before in other posts. However, because the company I currently work for uses exchange, Gmail is not the best option for me and I was forced to find an option for Outlook.

So here’s how you do it in a few easy steps: Create a new email. If you have a signature erase it, because when you open the template it will insert your signature, and if you don’t erase it before saving the template every email will have two signatures.

If you have multiple “send from” accounts choose the appropriate account, the template will rememember which account you’ve chosen and will always send from that account.

I use Buzzstream to keep track of my linkbuilding outreach. Every email BCC’s our Buzzstream account. If you use Buzzstream or something of the sort, put that email address in the BCC field now. It will autopopulate with the rest of the template.

Enter a subject and the body of the email.

Use colored text to indicate the parts that need to be tailored for each specific recipient. For example, here is the template I’ve been using for outreach about a backpack giveaway I’ve been promoting.

 

I use red and green to indicate parts of the email that I need to tailor for each recipient. I will also always try to add a sentence or two that is completely personalized to that specific site.

As an aside, if you like to track the clicks on your links as an indicator of engagement for your outreach emails, edit the hyperlink after typing it in to the email,

 

then insert a bit.ly link instead, without changing the text, so you can track the clicks.

 

Now for the magic. Select Save As,

 

Choose Save As Type “.oft”

A personal preference of mine is to save my templates to a Dropbox folder so that I can access them from any computer. Because I use these so much I also pin the folder to the taskbar.

That’s it, you are done! Now let the linkbuilding magic begin!

 

 

Social Media for Kars4Kids – Tools, Tips, Tricks of the Trade

How to organize and track social media for a brand

At my day job, one of my responsibilities is managing and monitoring all social media networks, responding to questions from customers, replying to brand mentions, and creating a content strategy for the channels we are involved in.

I work for a large car donation charity called Kars4Kids. Many of you will be familiar with our national radio commercial, which is adored by some, hated by many, and is stuck deep in the cranium of all who have ever heard it. Feel free to grab a listen on the Kars4Kids song page (original version), but don’t say I didn’t warn you, it’s ridiculously catchy. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about the tremendous success of our radio jingle and how brands can try to emulate it, but for now, suffice it to say that the song has turned Kars4Kids from a small local organization into a large national charity.

Arghhhhh!

Thing is, people hate this song. This hate generates a tremendous amount of online chatter. Twitter is constantly voicing this hatred, see this short selection of Tweets for less than one week, Facebook utters a few primal screams of pain every day (public, probably many more privately);

and thousands of forums dedicate threads to “commercials you truly detest”. reddit has some great threads worth looking into as well;

That equals A LOT of chatter to keep on top of and manage. To top it all off, Kars4Kids has another unique challenge:

Kars or cars? With a 4? Or is it for? I’m confused…

We at Kars4Kids have a unique challenge which is the choice of our brand name. At some point in the distant past some clever marketing guy decided that spelling “cars” with a “k” was a brilliant marketing idea. He threw in the number 4 for good luck. This definitely makes monitoring sites like Twitter even harder because we have to monitor every possible brand name misspelling.

Here are some of the tools I use to keep up with it all.

Twitter

For Twitter I use Tweetdeck MetroTwit. Hootsuite is another popular Twitter platform and it also works great, I just happen to prefer Tweetdeck’s Android app, especially the ease of use when switching between saved searches. I set up a separate column for every search because I’ve found that using the OR operator to combine searches is very unreliable.

I heard you love Twitter so I saved your old Tweets so you can go back and read them again…

I also love to have a searchable archive of all tweets so I can go back in time to find one if necessary.

Social Mention does the job wonderfully if you are willing to take the time to set it up properly. Social Mention has an RSS feature that allows you to set up an RSS feed for the terms you are monitoring. Enter your search term, choose “select social media sources”, choose Twitter, hit search, and then select “RSS feed” from the top right hand corner of the page. The feed URL should look something like this http://api2.socialmention.com/search?q=kars4kids&src%5B0%5D=twitter&f=rss.

Notice that I am only tracking Twitter here, I’ll get to everything else in a minute. I set up RSS feeds for every search term I follow, then I pull these RSS feeds into an obscure Outlook folder setting it to update only once a day so that my send-receives don’t take a month. Set it and forget it, and all the data is happily waiting for you in Outlook if you ever need it. I’ve never tried it, but I assume that pulling the RSS feed into something like Google Reader should work just as well, although I don’t know how long they store the data for.

I also keep a few links on hand that I commonly tweet out. For example, in response to the constant irritation expressed about our radio commercial I wrote a blog post entitled “Ten Things More Annoying Than the Kars4Kids commercial“. I have an Evernote folder with that link in bit.ly form just waiting to be tweeted at the next person who complains about our jingle. I also keep a link handy to the new remix version of our song that we recently created. And if we are in middle of running any campaigns or events, such as this Kars4Kids coat giveaway we held in Newark NJ, I’ll have applicable links readily available.

Google alerts

Google alerts have proven to be wildly unpredictable and completely unreliable. Often, I will be sitting next to someone and he will receive an alert that I won’t get for hours, even though we’ve both set up searches on the same term. However, Google alerts are still very important and truthfully I wouldn’t discover many of the brand mentions I find if it wasn’t for them.

Facebook, Forums, and Everything in-between

That said, it is imperative to supplement that data with some other alert system. Again I turn to Social Mention. Set up RSS feeds for all of your search terms, but this time choose to see alerts from every option besides for Twitter. Skip Twitter if you are monitoring it through some other means. (Yes, Social Mention really needs a “select all” option).

Here is where this gets a little tricky. I pull these feeds into outlook as well, but because of the way Social Mention crawls the web, they often discover newer content before discovering older content that they should have found first. So you’ll see that you have unread items but they’ll be buried somewhere inside this monstrous folder. Set up a search folder using this RSS folder as the source, and set the search folder to only show unread items, that way you’ll only see unread, new items.

Klout

Ah Klout. Oft maligned, taunted, made fun of, and bullied, Klout is an incredibly useful tool for social media management. A community manager or social media manager for a large brand can not respond to every brand name mention. Even a large team will probably overlook many Tweets that mention their company name or one of their services both because of simple time concerns, and because not everyone likes to be tweeted at by a company, even if it is in a friendly helpful way.

Here’s where Klout comes in, as inaccurate as Klout can be, it is very useful for providing a quick snapshot of a users influence in their sphere. We have all seen it over and over and over again, Twitter profiles with tens of thousands of followers and Klout scores in the thirties. That’s very low, and it means that those followers are most probably not real people who engage, reply, or retweet that content. Follower counts can easily be gamed, but engagement metrics are a little harder to spoof.

The reverse is also true, there are many Twitter profiles with less than two hundred followers that have Klout scores in the fifties, this is indicative of a small but highly engaged group of people who are well worth engaging.

Using Klout in tandem with follower/following counts, is a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff for Twitter.

That’s about it

That pretty much covers the tools that I use for social media management, I’d love to hear your tips tools and tricks, please drop them in the comments.

Steven out.

Google Plus RSS Feed for ifttt Awesomness – A How To

ifttt.com has rapidly become one of my favorite websites ever in the whole wide world. “Put the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure: if this then that”, their website claims, and it’s true, using this simple structure ifttt (pronounced ‘lift’ without the ‘l’) allows you to create a myriad of awesome programs with no programming experience needed. None at all. You connect your “channels” a.k.a. the services you use like email, Twitter, Evernote, Facebook, Google Reader and many many more. You use these channels to create a task, for example; when I star an entry in Google Reader send it automatically to my Evernote account.

 

Or, when Amazon adds a new book to the top 100 free ebooks for Kindle, send it to my Evernote or to my email address.

 

The ideas and uses are  limited only by your imagination. Your tasks also become “recipes” available for all users to grab and use with their personal channels. It’s neato and if you’re not using it you should be.

I’ve wanted to connect Google+ to ifttt.com for a while but there are few or no easy options for pulling Google+ content into an ifttt recipe.

Luckily, that is about to change.  gplusrss, an automatic feed creator for Google Plus. Just log in with your Google+ account and voila! A custom RSS feed. Sweet!

But first: Add me to your Google+ circles, I’d love to connect with you!



So this is what the full link to a RSS feed of my G+ profile looks like http://gplusrss.com/rss/feed/f8b8fc0160b2ac05373745da0f4af12652d3026b49e38, not very handsome, but it gets the job done, and I’m handsome enough for both of us (see above). Also, I wear cool shades.

Another good option is the feed from the people at Magenta River.

Now crack open ifttt.com hit the ‘create a task’ button, and let’s get the awesome started. Click ‘THIS’

and choose the ‘Feed‘ option.

 

Now you can choose a trigger, if you choose “New Feed Item” every time you post something to Google+ it will trigger your task, choosing “New Feed Item Matches” allows you to choose a keyword or phrase to trigger the task. For example, my task won’t trigger unless I include #sw in the post.

Insert your feed URL into the correct form box and Create Trigger, and you are ready to go. Now you can do whatever you want with your Google+ data. I use this to cross-post to Twitter, and it can easily be extended to other social networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, tumblr, and many more. You can also use it to save an archive of your posts using Dropbox, Evernote, Email, etc… You can use it for whatever you want.

One note, ifttt checks every 15 minutes for task triggers so don’t be surprised if it’s not instantaneous.

So go do it, I’m curious to hear what you do with your Google Plus RSS feed and ifttt. Comment below, or hit me up.

Steven out.

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Add a submit to Inbound.org button to your website

Update October 31st 2012:

Since the recent Inbound.org redesign the bookmarklet and this button haven’t been working. If and when that changes I will update this post.

 

Update December 17th:

Working again!

This morning i helped AJ Kohn test a bookmarklet that lets you check the status of your Google Authorship from any site. I was inspired. So I hacked together (stole the bookmarklet code and modified it slightly) a button that allows users to share your content on Inbound.org, the newest, hottest site in the world of Inbound Marketing.

This is my first coding attempt so beware, but it works perfectly for me. I stole the arrow upvote image from Inbound.org, so you can steal it off me. Then, grab the code below, upload the image, correct the image source and GO GO GO!


<a href=”javascript:(function(){var jsCode = document.createElement(‘script’);jsCode.setAttribute(‘src’, ‘http://www.inbound.org/assets/js/min/bookmarklet.min.js’);document.body.appendChild(jsCode);}());”>
<img src=”Insert Image Source Here” width=”35px” height=”35px”/></a>

Update: You can now add an Inbound.org button to Shareaholic. Things are really rocking for this exciting new site!

Outreach, a guide for humans

Are you human?
Probably. So why do you insist on acting like a robot when writing your outreach emails? Why do you write canned, templated, boring plain vanilla form letters? Easy, because you don’t have time to form a personal connection with every outreach opportunity you come across.

That’s why I’ve written this post, (my first ever on Searcherize, here’s to many many more), to show some of the ways I try to build a quick connection with a webmaster before I send that form letter out.

Nothing in this post is going to blow you away. In fact it’s quite possible you already use many of these tactics in your outreach, but this post is about real down to earth easily applied tactics that you can start using today. Hope you enjoy and find something useful!

Be Human – Form a connection 
That’s really all we need to do. Remember to act like humans when we email people. First form a connection, get to know the person in some small way. Then email them. The connection necessary for Link Building does not have to be as deep or as firm as the connections we make in real life.

In real life, we rarely ask favors of complete strangers. Favors are more generally requested from family and friends. People who we already have a connection with. So that’s were we start, by forming a connection. Of course, online favors are usually not as involved as offline favors so online connections do not have to be as strong as offline connections should. In fact, often, as is the case when offering guest posts, the outreach target will be receiving a benefit as well. So the connection doesn’t have to be strong, but any kind of connection will increase the probability of a successful conclusion many times over. There have been a few awesome articles on natural outreach written recently. One by Michael King called Throw Away Your Form Letters (or Five Principles to Better Outreach Link Building) is simply put one of the most awesome outreach posts ever written. If you’ve never read it, stop, read it, and come on back. Another incredible outreach post is by Justin Briggs. It’s awesome, epic, and of course, full of zombies, it’s called Content-based Outreach for Link Building and it is another must read post.

Those two articles are great. But what if you are doing quick hit link building? What if you don’t have the time to build those great natural relationships, or if the sites you are reaching out to simply aren’t worth that kind of time investment? Should you drop the whole relationship thing and just go straight with form letters and hope for the best? I say nay. Here’s how I do quick, low-level relationship building for Link Building victories without too much time.

  1. Twitter: I love using Twitter for outreach relationship building.

    The response I received to this tweet was the same contact info publicly available on the MLB website, however I believe that the reason the I got a response and a link on MLB.com from the email I subsequently sent was because I asked for contact info on Twitter. Suddenly I wasn’t just one of many many people emailing Richard Justice every day, I was the guy who contacted him on Twitter. A small difference, but one that often makes all the difference.

    Notice that I specifically mentioned our Twitter conversation in the subject, that’s crucial. I even misspelled his name and still survived, how do you like that?! Of course for all I know Richard is an email responding machine who answers every email ever sent to him including emails in foreign languages that Google Translate says are telling him about his late Nigerian uncle who left him a fortune. I doubt it.

    Here is another tweet that led to a link.

    In short, quick relationship building for outreach is easy and quick through Twitter.

  2. Forums: Joining a site forum and engaging/messaging through the forum is a great way to cut through the noise and grab someones attention. When pitching an Infographic to a large auto industry site, I noticed that one of the author’s who often posted Infographics was very active in the forums. I joined the forum and messaged the author directly apologizing for being “stalkerish”.
    WIN! :) Forum outreach is so much more personal and so much harder to spam, that it kicks every other outreach method into another continent, provided that the author in question is active on the forum.
  3. Step out of the box: It works in real life why wouldn’t it work online?
    1. Send a letter. No, put down that email, I mean a real letter, through the post office. It’s out of the box, and I guarantee a higher rate of success. Much higher.
    2. Call them. Pick up the phone. Talking to someone on the phone means you have their attention, and when they feel you are a real person, your chances increase many times over.

Hold the connection for future use

When you’ve formed the connection, established the relationship, and gotten the link, the very last thing you want to do is lose that connection. Follow them on all social networks you are active on and interact with their content, +1, retweet, comment, whatever, just do it. In fact, some of my best online “friends” have come through link building relationships that have turned into real relationships. (Or as real as online relationships can be).

That wraps up my very first post on Searcherize. I’m very excited with this new project and I hope some of you will take the time to subscribe, share, and drop me some words of encouragement in the comments. Any tips would also be much appreciated.

Steven out.