Inbound Marketing and SEO: What’s the Relationship?

The worst part about being an SEO professional is the negative connotation that can come along with the label. The  multitude of “undesirables” in the industry have burned so many website owners over the years, that it’s led many white-hat agencies to shift from identifying themselves as SEOs.  These agencies (often hastily, and without a shift in strategy) rebrand themselves “inbound marketers.”  But SEO and inbound marketing are not the same. Anyone who engages in only SEO but ignores other marketing strategies is not truly an inbound marketer.

And this shift has led to confusion among those seeking SEO and inbound marketing services. Many times, website owners think that because they engage in optimization, that they can cross “inbound marekting” off of their digital to do lists. And others hire inbound marketing agencies, assuming that optimization will be part of the strategy, only to find out six months later that there was no optimization taking place at all.

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Viral Video Case Study: Thanks, Dan! How One Video Turned Legal Advertising On Its Ear

Overview:  Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Dan Muessig was looking for a creative and cost-effective way to attract new business.

Challenges: The legal marketplace is extremely competitive. Since the recession of 2008, demand for legal services has stagnated, as the supply of attorneys in the market continues to grow. Muessig is a relatively new attorney in Western Pennsylvania, and he knows that new clients are critical for ongoing success.  Because the space is so crowded, it can be a challenge for new and lesser-known attorneys to attract new business. Traditional forms of advertising can be cost-prohibitive, and Pay-Per-Click budgets have increased exponentially over the last several years, making it an even greater challenge for attorneys to cut through the noise.

Solution:  The production of Thanks Dan! A humorous, yet brutally honest commercial, intended for online distribution.

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AdWords for Small Business: Is It Worth The Cost?

There has been a lot of debate in recent months about Google AdWords. When the Big G cut off access to organic keyword referral data, most SEOs believed it was an effort to force businesses into the PPC arena. And from there, the debate has focused on whether or not AdWords can work for a small business on a budget. The bubbling AdWords for small business conversation reached the mainstream media in mid-February in the form of a piece from The New York Times that concluded that AdWords is completely ineffective for small business and startups.

The article focuses on the cost of AdWords.  The internet has given consumers more choice and more buying power than ever. As such, AdWords has become an extremely competitive sandbox in which to play.  The Times piece quoted Kate Finnegan, founder of shopping app Hukkster. She said that it was just too expensive to test keywords to determine what drives traffic. And another business owner, Jennifer Blumin, of Skylight Group,  cited an inundation of unqualified leads as the source of her frustration with the platform.

These are viable frustrations. It can be very expensive to operate on the AdWords platform. And if you don’t quite know what you’re doing, it truly can be a waste of money.

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Coming Soon To An Apple Device Near You: Full-Screen Video iAds

Apple is planning to join the auto-play bandwagon in 2014 with the release of video iAds.  According to a leak from within Apple, the tech giant will begin rolling out the full-screen ads to iPhone and iPad apps sometime this year.

Users currently have to click a static banner to play a brand’s video advertisement within an application. The new feature will automatically play the ads when users are in a transition.  They will not interrupt an action, but will play when a user clicks away from an article, or completes a level of a mobile game.  Apple fans may balk at this decision, but the move could be a boom for advertisers. And it is important to note that Apple is merely a facilitator in this action. It will be up to the individual app developer to decide whether or not to include auto-play video iAds.

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Search Experience Optimization: The New Definition Of SEO?

SEO used to be an industry of guarantees. With a little bit of link building and keyword manipulation, websites could instantly capture strong rankings. But the sun has long set on that strategy. Now, in order to be an effective SEO professional, you must be an effective marketer.  In the old days, when the system was very easy to game, it worked out well for everyone. Searchers had low expectations. And websites willing to put in the work raked in the profits. Now, users have high expectations. They want quick, high-quality results that match their precise need at the time of their query. This evolution has shifted the foundations of SEO and changed the way webmasters approach optimization. To reflect this shift in expectation and experience, could the new definition of SEO be “Search Experience Optimization?”

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B2B Digital Marketing Budgets Trending Upward: Where Will You Spend Yours?

Earlier this month, AdAge released the results of its annual B2B Marketing Outlook Survey.  Their findings indicate that B2B digital marketing budgets will rise in 2014, especially for video and social media.  According to the survey, a staggering 80% respondents say their budgets are going to go up this year, a 13% increase over the year before.

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Link Earning Strategies: Grow Your Link Profile Without Penalty

As link building tactics continue to get devalued by Google, search marketers are running out of “foolproof” and scalable ways to build link profiles without getting penalized. In order to adapt, SEOs must rethink their processes. But the first thing marketers must change is mindset. It is no longer about “building” links. Instead, we must focus on link earning strategies.

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What The Lego Movie Understands About Content Marketing

It can be difficult to describe content marketing to those outside of the business. Content Marketing Institute, a leader in the industry describes it as:

“…a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Makes sense, but some people still have a hard time grasping it in action. Thanks to Lego, it’s become quite easy to describe content marketing. If you have children (or nieces and nephews or godchildren), and those children went to see The Lego Movie and then promptly demanded a new set of Legos… THAT is content marketing.  Some, like the marketers at Econsultancy, say The Lego Movie is content marketing at its finest.

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Duplicate Content Demystified

Most website owners have heard of duplicate content and know that it can cause Google to send you to the penalty box. But just in case you don’t know what it is, duplicate content is content that appears on more than one URL on the internet. It can be on one site, two sites, or many sites. But if it appears more than once, it’s duplicate content.

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Google Authorship: What The Recent Change Means For You

Another day, another Google algorithm change to discuss.  The most recent update affecting SEOs and inbound marketers involves Google Authorship.  It’s not a seismic change like Hummingbird, but it is significant.

Those who follow the news of search closely may have seen this coming. Back in October during PubCon, Matt Cutts stated that a 10-15% reduction in Google Authorship improved search quality. Then, on December 19, 2013 he announced the start of the rollout.  As predicted, reports that there has, in fact, been about a 15% drop in Google Authorship since then.

So what does all of this mean for the average business website?

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