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  SEO Newsletter | Volume 147 | August 17, 2016 This Month's News

Ready to Invest in Social Media Software? Comparing Social Media Tools

Author: Kristi Kellogg

Is your company ready to invest in social media tools? Do you want something that monitors fans, followers, shares, mentions and more across every social network, tracked over time? Could you use a platform that tracks clicks to a site and conversion events?

Last year, that was the situation we found ourselves in — looking for social media software that could help us better track our key metrics. After doing myriad trials with companies including Sprout Social, Quintly, Simply Measured, Datapine and Nuvi, we collected the answers to questions that allowed us to compare the marketplace of options for social media software:

  • How much does social media software cost and what features are included?
  • What social networks are ​tracked and is Google Analytics integrated?
  • Can I access historical data that existed before we started using the software?

Read more

Back to Basics

The Always Up-to-Date SEO Checklist

Author: Bruce Clay, Inc.

In Bruce Clay, Inc.’s SEO training course, we offer students an SEO checklist as one of the many take-home materials. Use this excerpt as an in-hand to-do list or basic audit outline.

While this checklist isn’t exhaustive (although it’s constantly updated and growing!) many people find this list to be a helpful reminder of the many items to check during their SEO projects. Read on for:

  • A to-do list or basic audit outline to pass around to your team, covering ​the tasks our analysts do for our own clients
  • Fresh updates that reflect evolving search engine guidelines and technologies
  • New sections on mobile optimization and AMP, updates to meta tag length, social markup, content freshness, and E-A-T signals

Read more

Hot Topic

Google Keyword Planner Decreases Usefulness for Some, Plus Alternative Research Tools We Love

Author: Paula Allen

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner usually tops those lists of best tools for keyword research. But recent Google policy changes are limiting its usefulness. Here's a recap and a list of alternative keyword research tools.

Recent Changes to Keyword Planner

Access to full keyword data, including the crucial average monthly search activity, is no longer available to all Google AdWords users. Google has changed the Keyword Planner to display only ranges of numbers, rather than specific search volumes, for AdWords accounts that have "low spend" or that have made "too many" calls on the Keyword Planner's API.

In addition, data for keyword variations like plural/singular and synonyms is now being grouped, but unpredictably — only in some cases. Search Engine Land writer Ginny Marvin observed that "it's kind of annoying some keyword variations are grouped and some aren't, but it might offer some directional insight into when granular targeting could make more of an impact in your efforts."

Community Objections

Complaints about the new restrictions fill page after page in the Google AdWords Community forum.

Many say that new and smaller advertisers are at a disadvantage trying to compete with larger advertisers, since having less data makes it harder to project ROI to a potential client or plan a campaign.

Others wonder whether Google's trying to push small businesses to use the new Local Pack/Map paid search ads instead. And many want to know exactly where Google draws the line defining a "low spend" account.

Our Favorite Alternative Keyword Research Tools

Thankfully, SEOs have other options for keyword research tools besides the Keyword Planner, both paid and free.

At BCI, we use the Keyword Suggestion tool in the SEOToolSet and the free version here. They provide search volume data based on non-Google APIs.

Our other favorite keyword tools are Google Trends,, Answer the Public, SEMRush, Soovle and Ubersuggest.

Education Matters

Face-to-Face SEO Training


Do you or your staff have questions about SEO in your CMS environment? Next week is an opportunity to ask Bruce Clay following a free one-hour webinar.

If your desire for SEO education goes deeper, Bruce presents an SEO workshop and week-long training course in September.

August Webinar: 10 Tips to Improve SEO with Your CMS

Your web content management system (CMS) is your best tool for controlling on-page SEO ranking factors. Understand how to best use your CMS in your SEO strategy in a one-hour webinar set for Aug. 24. Register now to hear 10 Tips to Improve Your SEO with a Web CMS, hosted by DNN Software.

September SEO Workshop and Training Course

Bruce Clay has two training courses coming up in September: a comprehensive SEOToolSet Training in Southern California Sept. 12–16, and a one-day SEO workshop at SMX East in New York City on September 26.

SEO Training in SoCal

The two-part, classroom-style training program in SoCal covers standard and advanced SEO tactics for digital marketers who want to learn SEO from the veteran and expert Bruce Clay. Sign up for the Standard three-day course and the two-day Advanced course, or attend both back-to-back with the unique opportunity to get certified in our SEOToolSet methodology.

SEO Workshop in NYC

The one-day workshop in NYC kicks off SMX East with tried-and-true SEO concepts for beginner and advanced digital marketers. Spots for this popular class sell out fast so register today.

Sign up a 10 percent discount on all passes and workshops, including Bruce Clay's one-day SEO Workshop on Sept. 26, using code SMXE16BRUCECLAY.




Apple has reportedly acquired Turi, a Seattle-based machine learning and artificial intelligence platform that offers toolkits to developers and data scientists.

Univision won the auction to acquire the seven websites and businesses that make up Gawker Media for a reported $135 million. The acquisition comes after Gawker's defeat in a lawsuit in which wrestler Hulk Hogan sued the company for breach of privacy, and Gawker's subsequent bankruptcy filing. UPDATE on 8/18: will be shut down entirely; Univision will operate the remaining six website properties.

The trendy live-video-conference site is dead. A post mortem on the company's Medium blog cited two main things that went wrong for the one-year-old startup: "Most live streams suck" was the first problem, and secondly that many were using the site to make friends rather than content.

Moz has announced it​ will lay off 28 percent of ​the staff. The company plans to "double down" on search-related products and discontinue Moz Content ​and Followerwonk.




Beyond the shindigs we highlight below, you can find hundreds of SEO, content marketing, paid search and social media marketing events happening around the world in our updated Digital Marketing Conference Calendar.

SEO Godfather Bruce Clay shares 10 Tips to Improve Your SEO with a Web CMS in an exclusive free webinar presented by DNN software on Aug. 24. Register here.

Take your content marketing to the next level at Content Marketing World, which comes to Cleveland Sept. 6⎼9.

Bruce Clay, Inc.’s acclaimed SEO Training comes to Los Angeles Sept. 12⎼16. Grab your seat for this unparalleled week of SEO training. Check out our discount codes for repeat students, SEMPO members and SMX attendees.

Social Media Week hits destinations around the world Sept. 14⎼18. If you're in Chicago, Rotterdam, Santiago or Sydney, you'll want to check it out.

Keep up to date with all the latest digital marketing news, tactics and strategies from industry experts at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East Sept. 27⎼29. Use discount code SMXE16BRUCECLAY for ten percent off.

Focusing on marketing to millennials, the Share.Like.Buy conference happens Nov. 9 and 10 in Austin, Texas. Use discount code BruceClay10 for 10 percent off registration!


Sound Bytes


Like ​our newsletter? Enjoy the weekly digital marketing podcast SEM Synergy with host Bruce Clay. Here are the latest episodes available to stream online or download to your podcast app. Subscribe on iTunes to get new episodes sent straight to your mobile.

Conversions on Mobile and AMP Updates

While mobile traffic is ever on the increase, conversions aren't necessarily so. What do you do when increased mobile traffic doesn't translate to increased mobile conversions? That's what Bruce Clay, Duane Forrester, Kristi Kellogg and Virginia Nussey discuss in this mobile-focused episode of SEM Synergy. Later in the show, they'll dive into another mobile hot topic: the latest news surrounding accelerated mobile pages (AMP), which have now been rolled out to ecommerce, entertainment, travel and recipe sites.

Creating the Digital Marketing Dream Team with an SEO Agency and In-House SEO

Whenever possible, Bruce Clay recommends that businesses hire an in-house SEO strategist in addition to an SEO agency. This is an ideal partnership because the business will benefit from the agency's expertise and experience, and the in-house SEO can take the agency's advice and strategies and run with them. Clay, along with Duane Forrester, Virginia Nussey and Kristi Kellogg, discuss how to maximize the partnership between SEO agency and in-house SEO.

Duane Forrester's Digital Marketing News Report

Duane Forrester and Virginia Nussey weigh in on the latest news making digital marketing headlines, including Verizon's acquisition of Yahoo search and advertising, whether or not 302 redirects pass PageRank in light of Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes recent comments, and more.




The new Google AdWords Report Editor is live. This feature, originally promised in May at the Performance Summit, lets users create their own data reports using a drag-and-drop interface, rather than relying on predefined report formats. According to Search Engine Land, the flexible reporting tool is available at the campaign, ad group and keyword level.


Word on the Wire


For mobile searches, Google plans to expand AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support and display AMP results throughout the SERP, not just in the Top Stories section. Though there is no direct ranking boost for AMP results, this move gives sites, including non-news publishers, more chances to have AMP pages appear in the organic results.

Google announced that Hangouts On Air are moving to YouTube Live. The feature that enables multiple people to participate in a free, live-broadcast conversation will no longer be part of Google+ as of Sept. 12.

Google released Google Duo, a free new app for making one-to-one live video calls. Called a "no-frills FaceTime competitor," the standalone (and non-integrated) app is available for download on Android and iOS phones globally.

Local businesses can now add structured data for critic reviews, even specifying the snippet they'd like to display in a local Knowledge Graph card in Google SERPs.

Google put out a help document explaining exactly what is meant by impressions, positions and clicks in Google Analytics.

Google AdWords Express users can access some newly launched features. The automated service geared for advertisers who don’t have a website but want to run search ads now includes: more information about incoming phone calls (including area code and call duration) for Verified Calls; new capability to schedule the days/hours when an ad will run; and a new Map Actions chart.

Social media site Instagram launched Stories, a new feature that lets users post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Similar to Snapchat, these ephemeral images and videos can be enhanced with text and drawing tools.

In its continuing fight against spam, Facebook is now targeting clickbait headlines. Using clickbait wording in post headlines can now trigger the News Feed algorithm to demote the individual post as well as the Page.

The rivalry between ad-blocking proponents and Facebook heated up this month. After the social media site for the first time said it would circumvent ad blockers and show ads even to people with such software installed, popular ad-blocking company Adblock Plus published instructions for overriding Facebook ads on desktop computers. Facebook responded that the measures "don't just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages" and cause a poor user experience. So the battle isn't over yet.

Facebook wants to become a "more video-centric network." Besides the new Stories feature in Instagram, new photo and live video filters are being tested in Facebook's mobile app. Users authorize a camera to sit above the News Feed; the filters work Snapchat-style but have few options so far. The test feature is available only to iOS users in Canada and Brazil, and Android users in Canada.

Facebook's new Page design is rolling out to all business Pages. The new design changes the left-hand tabs into simple text links, which looks more like a typical site navigation. Also, the profile photo no longer overlaps the cover photo and right-side display ads have been removed for a cleaner look.

Bing Ads rolled out Upgraded URLs, a new capability for advertisers to manage the final URL, custom parameters and a shared tracking template. Bing's Upgraded URLs make tracking ad clicks and changing landing page URLs more efficient and offer URL enhancements such as an increased character limit, separate mobile URLs and more. Google launched a similar feature last year, and Bing Ads is enabling advertisers to import their Upgraded URLs from Google AdWords.

The Federal Trade Commission is getting tougher on celebrity endorsements in social media, which the agency says must include disclosure if there was any compensation to the celebrity, including free products. The FTC is aggressively communicating the guidelines, which say simply adding #ad or #sp or other hashtags may not be enough, and filing complaints against brands such as Lord & Taylor and Warner Bros.

Hot Topics




Sound Bytes


Word on the Wire




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