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STRYDE | Clickbait Ooh Ha Ha! 1

Clickbait Ooh Ha Ha!

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

Today, I’m here to talk about clickbait.

sharkbait

Hopefully, you (or your kids) are big enough Disney/Pixar fans to understand the reference to the cinematic classic, Finding Nemo. For those that aren’t, I’ll give you a run-down. In the scene where Nemo is christened with the name “Shark Bait,” he first has to pass through the “ring of fire.” Sounds terrifying, right? That’s how all the aquarium fish make it seem. But, it turns out it’s really not that much of a feat to conquer. Nemo passes through the “ring of fire” with ease and the fish begin the celebratory chant, “Shark bait ooh ha ha! Shark bait ooh ha ha!”

The Sliding Definitions of Clickbait

How does this relate to clickbait? Let’s head over to the ever-reliable Wikitionary for an open-sourced definition:

Website content that is aimed at generating advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs; such headlines.

Just like Nemo was lead to believe he was about to perform an incredibly dangerous task, readers are lead to believe they’re about to read an earth-shattering piece of news. In reality, what ends up happening is far more anti-climactic.

Now, this is not to say that the amazing piece of accurate, viable content you just created doesn’t deserve to be honored with an attention-grabbing headline. Quite the opposite. What distinguishes clickbait from a dang good headline is that the content itself is obviously sub-par.

Purveyors of Clickbait

In April of this year, Luke O’Neil scored popular sites and their respective clickbait utilization in his article, “Every Major Website Clickbaits, But Not as Much as You’d Assume.” O’Neil and the folks over at Mediaite even put their findings in a nifty visual, pictured below for your enjoyment:

graph-horiz

While you’d expect sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy to be off-the-charts in clickbait use, it just isn’t that widespread. However, just because it isn’t as widespread doesn’t mean those that do occur go unnoticed. Clickbait inspires such a violent distaste in some that The Onion created an entire site, Clickhole, solely filled with clickbait posts. Below is a screen shot showcasing some of Clickhole’s clickbait headlines:

clickhole

Now, take a look at ViralNova’s site (screenshot below). ViralNova scored a 94/100 on Mediaite’s clickbait scale. Meaning that out of the 100 random articles collected, 94 of them were guilty of clickbaiting. Can you tell the difference between Clickhole’s parody and ViralNova’s reality?

viralnova ss

Clickbait’s Ripple Effect

Clicks to your website or blog are typically a go-to analytic for measuring online success. Understandably, this has lead to bevy of online marketers doing just about anything for clicks. Firms churn out content that talks a big headline game, but simply doesn’t deliver when the reader arrives. Not only does this hurt other, arguably more important metrics, it hurts the brand that’s producing the clickbait. A short-term attempt to gain clicks really creates a potentially long-term trust and credibility issue for firms. But, if clicks are how you measure, where can you go from here?

Changing Measurements

In a recent article in Forbes, Upworthy’s director of business intelligence, Daniel Mintz, spoke on formulating a new metric to measure content impact beyond clicks and page views. “Attention minutes” is a metric that Upworthy just recently began tracking. “If a user isn’t actively scrolling down a page, mousing around it or playing a video for more than a few seconds at a time, she’s no longer considered part of the audience,” explains the article of Mintz’s attention minutes.

While this measurement is far from forgiving, it gives marketers real insight into visitor behavior. Using this data and intelligence can translate into creating content that better resonates with your audience on a more consistent basis.

upworthy screenshot

A Solution to Clickbait?

There will always be members of the online community who perpetrate poor-taste tactics. Furthermore, there will always be an audience present to click blindly on the links. But, that doesn’t mean your brand needs to fall victim to this get-clicks-quick strategy. So, what can you do to get clicks AND gain trust?

Create Quality Content

The most simple manner in which to avoid a piece of content that could be construed as clickbait is to create quality content. This content is NOT driven by a purpose of simply spiking traffic or going “viral.” The content is reliable, accurate, and is of real value to your audience.

Create Quality Content… All The Time

Creating quality content is a lot like bathing. You don’t bath once, then figure your good for months, right? Hopefully not! Each time you create content, it should be of high enough quality that you’re proud of it.

Create Quality Content… All The Time… For Your Audience

The final and vital facet to creating quality content is that it is tailor-made for your audience. Content inspiration should be drawn from one source: your target audience. If it is not useful, or entertaining, to them in any manner, it simply shouldn’t be created.

What are your thoughts? Do you think clickbait is over-mentioned for it’s actual volume of use? Do you think it’s damaging to the blogging community as a whole? Did the aquarium fish clickbait Shark Bait?

In Case You Haven’t Noticed, Analytics Changes Have Been Made

By | Industry News, Uncategorized | No Comments

Business Analytics

Yesterday we were putting together our mid-month reports and saw our “Visits” numbers on Google Analytics, and then by 4 p.m. we noticed that section’s wording had changed to “Sessions”. Since we weren’t expecting that, the switch piqued our interest.

But the Visits section changing to Sessions wasn’t the only noticeable change. What we once knew as “Unique Visitors” was now reading as “Users”.

Luckily Google Analytics knew all of us businesses with one of their accounts would be confused and like to be enlightened on what these changes are and why they’re happening.

Google Analytics’ thinking behind these changes is that businesses need to better understand and analyze their user behavior as users interact with businesses through several digital touchpoints, like websites, mobile apps and a few other digital devices, in today’s world. With these very recent changes, which will be rolling out to all accounts over the next week, businesses will now view their web and app data from the same reporting view.

If your business sends web and app hits to one property in your Google Analytics account, you’ll now see all your hits in all your reporting views. You can choose to add in a filter to your reporting views if you want to keep this data separate though. If you don’t send the two sets of data to the same property in your account you don’t need to worry because your data is staying the same.

But it doesn’t matter how businesses send their data because everyone is going to see the unified dimension, metric and segment names in their reports. With the names being the same in each view, businesses now have a clear-cut and uniform way to analyze and discuss their Google Analytics data.

Changes always take a little time to get used to, but changes also usually happen for the better. So bring on the changes Google Analytics. We’re ready to adapt.

Ten Books Every Digital Marketer MUST Read

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

reading a bookIn the digital marketing space, you are required to read a lot. If you don’t, you most likely don’t know your stuff and aren’t abreast current strategies and industry changes. Personally, I mostly read blog posts, however, I’ve also read several books over the last year which have helped me to gain a better understanding of the digital marketing landscape and have helped me to become a better marketer all around. In today’s post, I’d like to talk about ten books that I believe every digital marketer needs to read to help become a better asset to their organization and team.

(Note: I know there are going to be haters… there always are, who say that digital marketing changes too fast to glean anything from paperback books. To that I say, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the foundational principles never change and you are wrong. So take your negativity and hating elsewhere.)

Marketing In The Age of Google – Vanessa Fox

Marketing in the age of Google focuses on helping you understand how marketing has changed over the last decade and what your business can do to gain more visibility in the search engines and help you connect with those seeking out your products and services.

UnMarketing – Scott Stratton

UnMarketing’s tag line is stop marketing, start UnMarketing which ultimately leads into discussions on listening to potential customers needs and engaging with them so that when they are ready to purchase what you have to offer, their logical choice is you.

Search Engine Optimization Secrets – Danny Dover

In short, Search Engine Optimization Secrets is pretty much the only book that SEO’s will ever need to understand how the search engines work and how to properly optimize a website. I have referenced this book hundreds of times over the last few years and is worth its weight in gold.

Web Analytics 2.0 – Avinash Kaushik

You can’t be a marketer without understanding website visitor and customer behavior, which is where Web Analytics 2.0 comes into play. If you claim to be a digital marketer and don’t know analytics, you need to stop claiming to be a digital marketer 🙂 In this book, Avinash runs through the basics of analytics as well as goes deep into advanced principles, metrics, and data to help you become an analytics whiz!

Content Strategy For The Web – Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach

BEST BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR!!! – Content strategy for the web was written for the marketer who wants to leverage content to build and grow their business. This book simply lays out what content strategy is, how to build a solid strategy, how to make smarter decisions about your content, and how to execute a strategy that drives real business value.

Ultimate Guide To Link Building – Garrett French & Eric Ward

SECOND BEST BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR!!! – If you’re an SEO, you’ve definitely been affected by the latest Google Algorithm updates and need to update your linking strategies. Well, Garret and Eric have just done it for you and all you have to do is read their book. This book shows you how to deploy a link building campaign that will help you attract quality links, drive more traffic, and dramatically boost your search rank.

Accelerate! – Arnie Kuenn

Accellerate is a fantastic book that provides its readers with a clear understanding of what it takes to develop and execute a powerful content marketing strategy, no matter how big or small your organization is. Arnie is a stud and I absolutely loved this book!

Optimize – Lee Odden

Optimize was written to provide all marketers a practical approach to integrating search, social, and content to boost your relevance and visibility online so that your potential customers can find you and engage with you. This book offers insight into customer centric strategies that in my opinion, will stand the test of time.

The Now Revolution – Jay Baer & Amber Naslund

The Now Revolution was a fantastic book to help marketers understand that real-time communication and social media have changed the way we do business. If you want to learn how to adapt your organization to meet the expectations of today’s customer, then this book is for you!

Real-Time Marketing & PR – David Meerman Scott

This is the first book of David Meerman Scott’s that I have read and definitely won’t be the last. Real-time marketing and PR helps you understand how to launch effective real-time communications in an “always on” world and generate a new stream of customers through this method of communication.

So there you have it. It’s probably time you get reading, don’t you think? What are some of your favorite books on digital marketing? If I’ve missed any that you really enjoy, please drop them in the comments section below.

Ten Characteristics of A Trustworthy Digital Marketing Company

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

trusting handshakeI had lunch yesterday with an old colleague and he mentioned to me that not many traditional marketers understand digital and have a hard time trusting an outsourced partner to set strategy and execute on their behalf. He too, is quite new to the idea of digital marketing and we had a fantastic conversation on what to look for when hunting for a partner to help with their fulfillment. In today’s post, I’m going to run through the points I addressed with him to help put anyone considering outsourcing their digital strategy at ease. For me, these are the ten characteristics you should look for when shopping around for a digital marketing agency, they are in no particular order.

100% Transparent

As time goes on in the digital marketing space, transparency is a critical factor of building trust. When a company replies to a question “that’s proprietary” or “we don’t typically share that”, you know they are hiding something and probably not the best company to do business with.

Business Integration

This is probably my favorite as most digital agencies don’t do this. When looking for a trustworthy partner, you need a firm that will truly integrate themselves into your business and become an extension of your marketing team. They need to care about your business as much as they care about their business… or more 🙂

Holistic Strategy

Trustworthy digital marketing companies deploy a slew of marketing strategies to create a holistic approach to your campaign. It is unwise to partner with a company that just does SEO or PPC. A trustworthy agency does it all, in-house and does it extremely well.

Practice What They Preach

A trustworthy agency practices what they preach. Their website is highly optimized (may not necessarily be ranking for head keywords, but they are working on it), they are acquiring great links, they are blogging, they are involved in social media, and they do their own email drip campaigns. Those who don’t practice what they preach and claim they don’t because they put all their focus on their clients are full of it.

Stay Up To Date With Industry Changes

Digital marketing agencies that stay abreast the chances in their industry are those you want to associate yourself with. You can tell who these companies are by reading their blog, following them on social media, and flat out asking them how they stay current in an ever changing industry. If they can’t provide a solid answer, run for the hills!

Physical Location

Not necessarily a deal breaker, but I would be cautious in working with anyone who doesn’t have a physical business location. I’ve worked with too many freelancers and guys executing on digital marketing strategies after they get home from their 8-5 and the quality of their output is sub-par. I trust individuals and companies who have office space, far more than those who work out of their living room. Just sayin’

Selective In Whom They’ll Work With

Trustworthy agencies will be super selective with whom they work with. They won’t sell and service anything that moves and it feels almost like if you are a client, you are a part of an exclusive club. This is important because an agency that does this most likely has their priorities straight and will be able to provide you with extreme value for the money you spend with them.

Report On Proper KPIs

Firms who are trustworthy are very analytical and tend to report on KPIs that are unique to your business. They are experts in setting up custom dashboards in Google Analytics and help you to see the value they are generating for your business versus a focus on keyword rankings.

Honesty

A trustworthy company is honest with you. If something is going to be cheaper in-house, say content writing for a very niche vertical, they will tell you that instead of charge you through the nose for it. It all goes back to the business integration point. You and your agency are all in this together and should do things in your best interest, even if they lose out on some monthly revenue.

Mapped Out Plan

Agencies who can be trusted have mapped out plans that are customized to the unique needs of each business. This doesn’t mean they can’t pivot and go another direction if necessary, but they know where they need to go to get the results you desire.

So there you have it, the ten characteristics of a trustworthy digital marketing company. Does your outsourced partner meet this criteria? Am I missing anything critical? If so, please share in the comments section below.

The Ultimate List of SEO Tools

By | SEO | No Comments

toolsToday’s post is going to be the first of our “list of tools” posts, today’s, specifically targeting the very best SEO tools on the market. At Stryde, we use a ton of these tools to not only help us be more efficient when taking care of our clients, but we use them to help improve the quality of our work and create a better customer experience.

In this post we are going to cover three different areas, keyword research, SEO analysis, and link building. Let’s jump in.

Keyword Research Tools

Google Analytics – If you have a history in Analytics, it can be a fantastic tool to gather new keyword opportunities for an SEO campaign. You can review your keyword traffic from the search engines as well as site search queries to understand what keywords your visitors are using to find you that you might not be optimized for.

Google AdWords Keyword Tool – One of the oldest keyword research tools out there, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool allows you to search for keywords and be delivered dozens of related search queries that you can optimize your website for.

Bing Keyword Tool (Bing Webmaster Tools) – Very similar to the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, you can login to your Bing Webmaster Tools account and see keyword demand and related keywords from Bing’s index.

Soovle – Soovle is a fun keyword research tool that allows you to enter a keyword and see related keywords across many different sites including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.

Google Trends – Google Trends isn’t necessarily a keyword discovery tool, but a tool to use after you have your keywords, to understand if the demand is growing or shrinking over a period of time.

SEO Analysis Tools

Ahrefs – Ahrefs, in my opinion, is one of the best off-page analysis tools you can find on the market. Ahrefs can be used to understand both linking and social trends over time, both for your website and your competitors.

Raven Site Auditor – Raven’s new website crawler is one of the finest SEO analysis tools on the market. Just set it and forget it and it will provide you with a thorough review of your website and what needs to be fixed.

Google Webmaster Tools – Google Webmaster Tools helps you understand EXACTLY how Google views your website and if there are any problems wit it.

Bing Webmaster Tools – Bing Webmaster Tools helps you understand EXACTLY how Bing views your website and if there are any problems with it.

FireBug – I told myself I wan’t going to include any browser add-ons in this post, but FireBug is the exception. FireBug is used to take a deeper look at elements of a web page to understand how they were coded and to uncover any issues with the code.

Internet Marketing Ninjas Header Checker – Header checkers are used see which response code your web server is returning for a requested URL. This is very handy when trying to understand redirects 404 errors.

Copyscape – In short, Copyscape is a plagiarism checker. Use it to identify if your website content has been scraped and used externally or if your writers and bloggers are stealing content externally to add to your website.

Link Building Tools

TalkWalker – TalkWalker is a fabulous replacement to Google Alerts and allows you to monitor the web for mentions of your brand or your competitors brand names. This helps uncover linking opportunities where sites mentioned your brand but didn’t provide a link as well as keeping tabs on websites that mention your competitors so you can go out and build relationships with them as well.

BuzzStream – BuzzStream is a great tool to not only manage your link building activities, but to help you manage your prospecting and outreach activities as well. Check out this post I wrote about BuzzStream last week.

Citation Labs – Citation Labs is an up and coming, but powerful tool set created by Garrett French. With his tools you can easily identify broken link opportunities and do hard core prospecting that can be dumped into BuzzStream for management.

MyBlogGuest – MyBlogGuest is a great resource to uncover guest blogging opportunities. As I mentioned in a post last week, you need to be careful about taking any opportunity from them, but you can find some real gems in there.

BloggerLinkUp – BloggerLinkUp is a weekly email newsletter put together by Cathy Stucker that puts guest blogging opportunities right into your inbox. As with MyBlogGuest, there’s a lot of garbage in there, but you can find some great opportunities as well.

Zemanta – Zemanta is an awesome tool to help get your images and your content linked to from other blogs running their plugin.

Removem – A different kind of link tool that is becoming more popular is a link removal tool. Removem is just that! If you’ve been building crappy links to your site and have gotten an unnatural link notice, you’ll want to find a tool like Removem to make link removal easier and more scalable.

Google + Advanced Search Queries – Advanced search queries are a great way to uncover linking opportunities and here’s a nice post by Rand at Moz that gives you a ton of these queries to start using today.

So there you go… some tools you’re probably familiar with and some you might not be. Do you have any other SEO tools you’d like to add to the list? If so, please feel free to add in the comments below.