The Griqua Town 200 R5 coin, released by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on 12 January, celebrates the 200th anniversary of the creation of the first coinage in South Africa.The newly issued collector’s Griqua Town R5 coin features an image of the original 1815 Griquatown coin, engraved with the words “Coinage of Griqua Town 200. 1815 – 2015”. The other side of the coin bears the South African coat of arms and the acronym, SARB. (Image: South African Mint)As the first town to be established north of the Orange River, Griekwastad, or Griquatown as it is sometimes known in English, is one of the country’s most important foundation towns. It was a stopover on the trade route and so was important for commerce throughout the history of the country. The town, 168 kilometres north of Kimberley, is also known for its abundance of semi-precious stones.The Griqua currency became the first South African currency in 1815, according to the Reserve Bank. It also became the country’s first decimal coinage and the world’s first Christian Missionary coinage.The town is considered an important missionary town, and was the home of Scottish minister Robert Moffat, who wrote the first Sesotho translation of the bible.The R5 coin features an image of the original 1815 Griquatown coin, engraved with the words “Coinage of Griqua Town 200. 1815 – 2015”. The other side of the coin bears the South African coat of arms and the acronym, SARB.Please Retweet: @SAReserveBank commemorative R5 coin celebrating 200 years of coinage https://t.co/8VBxHwevF7 pic.twitter.com/Fn2IQTFi29— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) January 12, 2016The Griqua Town R5 coin is the fourth commemorative R5 issued by the Reserve Bank since the first bi-metallic R5 was introduced in 2004. Other notable commemorative coins include the 2008 Nelson Mandela 90th birthday coin and the 20th anniversary of democracy coin, issued in 2014.The coin, with its bronze-coloured centre and a silver-coloured border, includes security features such as the serrated and grooved edges and micro-lettering. These features are still part of the Griqua coin.The Griqua coin will be part of normal circulation and will be considered legal tender, alongside other R5 coins already in circulation throughout the country. According to the Reserve Bank, the coin has a face value of R5; it encourages the public to recirculate the coins.For coin collectors, the South African Mint, a subsidiary of the SARB, has issued special Griqua Town Coin Sets which include R5 non-circulation coins. The sets include R2 silver crowns, R2 gold coins and R5 regular circulation coins. These sets are available at the Mint in Centurion, Gauteng.Source: South African Government News AgencyWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The White House announced last week that an agreement has been reached that will restore U.S. beef access to China.The Trump administration said that following one more round of technical consultations between the United States and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement, beginning as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017.“After being locked out of the world’s largest market for 13 years, we strongly welcome the announcement that an agreement has been made to restore U.S. beef exports to China. It’s impossible to overstate how beneficial this will be for America’s cattle producers, and the Trump Administration deserves a lot of credit for getting this achieved,” said Craig Uden, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. “We look forward to providing nearly 1.4 billion new customers in China with the same safe and delicious U.S. beef that we feed our families. I look forward to the day when we can serve President Trump and President Xi a dry-aged American-made New York strip in Beijing.”U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hailed the agreement between the United States and China on several key trade issues, most notably the return of American beef to the Chinese market after a hiatus that began in 2004.“This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. economy in general. We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time,” Perdue said. “I commend the persistence of President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Trade Representative’s officials, and our own USDA professionals. I also thank our Chinese counterparts, who worked so hard to get this agreement into place. When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it.”
Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. White cedar has an R-value of about R-1.4 per inch, so it isn’t too hard to calculate the R-value of white cedar siding. The trickiest part of the calculation is determining the siding thickness.If we’re talking about cedar shingles, there are usually a maximum of three layers of shingles at any one point in the wall. The shingles are tapered, so the total thickness of the siding includes layers with different thicknesses. (The butt of the shingle may measure 3/8 inch; the top of the shingle may measure 1/16 inch; and the middle of the shingle may measure 3/16 inch).Let’s be generous, and assume that the three layers add up to a total thickness of 3/4 inch. We calculate the R-value of the cedar this way:(0.75 inch * 1.4) = R-1.05Next, we’ll add a value (R-0.17) for the exterior air film:R-1.05 + R-0.17 = R-1.22What if the singles are thicker? Let’s do the math for 5/8-inch-thick shingles. We’ll be generous (again) and assume that the three layers add up to a total thickness of 1.25 inch. So the R-value of the cedar is:(1.25 inch * 1.4) = R-1.75Adding the R-value of the exterior air film, we end up with:(R-1.75 + R-0.17) = R-1.82So, if you’re using 3/8-inch shingles, the installed siding will have an R-value of (at most) about R-1.3. If you are using thicker 5/8-inch shingles, the installed siding will have an R-value of (at most) about R-1.9.If any readers think that the R-value of cedar shingles might be higher, it’s worth consulting standard R-value tables for a reality check. Most such R-value tables ascribe an R-value of R-0.87 for wood shingle siding.If you were a shingle manufacturer, you might want to fudge these figures a little and exaggerate the R-value of the shingles. If the…
Want to get your DSLR video to look like vintage 16mm black and white? Let’s explore how to retrograde digital footage with the editors of the mockumentary IFC show Documentary Now!There are plenty of reasons for retrograding footage to make it look like it was shot forty years ago and on film. One of those reasons might be because you’re an editor for IFC’s mockumentary television show Documentary Now! starring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. Another reason might be because you think it looks cool.Regardless of your reason, background, or editing prowess, if you’re curious, it’s actually a pretty fun problem to solve (and surprisingly not that difficult). Here’s a sneak peek into how the Documentary Now! team works.If you’re interested in retrograding your footage, whether in Adobe’s Creative Cloud or organically, here are some techniques to consider.Old Movie Effects in Premiere ProLike the Documentary Now! team shows, you can do some basic retrograding in Adobe’s Creative Cloud, including in their flagship program Premiere Pro. Evan – Creative Tuts gives a breakdown on how to add background scratches and tone tints to manipulate your footage to look like it was filmed on an old-timey video camera. It’s a quick technique for punching up flashbacks or faking old footage.Vintage Effects in After EffectsIf you’re looking for a little more control to stylize your retrograde, working in After Effects will probably be your best bet. Luckily, one of our PremiumBeat contributors has created a tutorial that shows you how to build a couple of different vintage looks into your project. You can view the video above and follow the links in the bio to download the free assets and presets to help you along your way.Vintage Presents in Final Cut ProAlong with presets for After Effects and Premiere Pro, there are also resources available for creating similar retrograded looks in Apple’s Final Cut Pro. This Shutterstock tutorial shows how to install and use ten free presets to quickly upload and retrograde your footage for a variety of vintage and retro looks.Bonus Overlays and PresetsIf you’re still looking for some more assets and presets to overlay on your footage, here are a few more free PremiumBeat assets and tutorials (like the 1980s style logo reveal above). Hopefully, with a little creative inspiration and a good base of resources, you can retrograde your digital footage to mirror the same styles as those seen in the classic clips from Documentary Now!5 Free Camera Overlays20 Free After Effects Color Presets14 Free Lumetri Color Grading Presets Have any other tips or tricks for retrograding footage? Let us know in the comments.
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now There are two strategies for producing results faster. One of these strategies is highly effective and certain to produce results. The other strategy doesn’t provide either the result or the certainty, even if it is more attractive to many.The Promise of Hard WorkThe proven way to produce any result faster is to do the work that produces that results consistently over time. Just doing the work by itself does not speed up the results, especially when work is done poorly and sporadically. Success in any endeavor is more like an auditor who measures your effort to determine when you have paid the price to have what you want. Anything done poorly is discounted, and anything done occasionally isn’t noticed.Many find the price they would have to pay for faster results is higher than expected, and they seek a way to have they want without having to pay the price. They look for shortcuts that allow them to buy success.Success in Seven Minutes and Other LiesThere are people who will sell you the idea that you can have the results you want now without having to do the work, and without having to stack up small, incremental gains over time. There are some who are easily seduced by the idea that there is a way they can get what they want without the effort, the struggle, and the time. They desperately want to believe the lie that they can have what they want in seven minutes.When the quick fix doesn’t work, instead of committing to doing the work, they move on to the next promise of instant results. At some point, they give up on wanting the result altogether.Faster Now Means Starting a Long Time AgoIt’s difficult to sell the promise of disciplined effort over time. It’s especially challenging when contrasted against the promise of instant results now with no effort required.If what you want is important, producing results faster now would require that you started sometime in the past and sustained the effort over time. This is not a possibility, unless you have a time machine (which is more likely than the effectiveness of any “instant results” solution). The second-best option is to do the work now, and to do it so consistently, that you start stacking up the results you want.Are you doing the work? Are you consistent in the quality and the frequency of your effort?
Are you doing anything this weekend to generate traffic to your website? If you’re a B2B marketer, chances are you’ve probably asked yourself at some point: How do I keep marketing effectively when nobody is in the office? You want to continue to drive traffic and leads, but you don’t know exactly how.The wrong thing to do is assume that nobody is listening on holidays or during weekends. Depending on your audience, this could actually be a good time for a new blog post, video release, or email. Data from a recent Xobni survey shows that people are still wired into work during time off: 68% of working adults say they check email while they aren’t working, and 27% of those people will check email more than once.Here are some tips on how you can use this knowledge to the advantage of your marketing program.Be Creative in Your CommunicationsTry something a little zany, and see what happens. Marketing on a day off can sometimes work in your favor because there’s less clutter in people’s inboxes and social media feeds. It could also make your job a lot harder because people don’t want to be bothered. This means you’ve gotta step it up!The email below is a great example of what we’re talking about. Aside from witty copy, the sender has an extra special offer:The result of a creative message like this is not only traffic and leads to your site, but it’s also an entertained email recipient. The readers of this email probably felt lucky even though they were working on holiday. And if your readers feel lucky to be getting an email from you on a day off, that’s a wonderful thing! Think of creative ways you can stand out in your audience’s social media feeds and inboxes during off-times or holidays by playing with witty language and special offers. Test and Measure Your Marketing TacticsIf you’re going to try out some out-of-the-box communication tactics, you’re going to want to walk away from the experience with some lessons learned. The best way to do this is to take a scientific approach through which you can use testing and data to drive future decisions.An excellent example of a company that tried this is Brewer’s Market. The test was featured on subscription site WhichTestWon.com as an example of how to test during the holidays. The goal was to determine which copy was most appealing to gift-buyers. The company did an A/B split test on its homepage and found that its control page performed 61% better than the treatment page from December 16th to the 23rd. The article concludes with an excellent insight: Although in hindsight, it makes sense to adjust your copy length and benefits for your seasonal visitors’ perspective, the idea was a huge point of contention between the site’s execs, some of whom “hated” the winning version… before they saw the results data. Now, their 2012 design plans include tweaked homepage versions for all major holidays from Valentine’s Day on.While this an example of how a business used A/B testing to optimize their homepage for the holiday season, holidays and off-hours are also a safe time to conduct tests in general, due to a reduction in traffic and attention. You’ll just want to make sure you’re still generating enough traffic to make your tests statistically significant.Don’t Quit on Content Just because it’s the weekend or a holiday doesn’t mean your audience will completely stay away from the internet (in fact, we’ve heard of some people even using work as an excuse to take a break from a lot of family time). Maybe your audience just prefers to use Twitter more on the weekends. The only way to find out is to try using a variety of channels and analyze what works best for your individual audience. QuickenLoans, for example, recently used its blog during the quietest week of the holiday season to drive traffic to their site. The company posted a series of timely articles, from what to do with unwanted gift cards, to how to handle post-holiday returns, to fireplace alternatives that will keep you cozy and New Year’s Eve safety tips. The takeaway here is that you shouldn’t stop publishing content when people are out of the office. Instead, you should adjust your content so that it’s timely and promoted using the channels your audience uses during their time off. Use Data to Make Informed DecisionsIf you know a certain segment of your audience is more likely to be working on Sundays (young and hungry entrepreneurs perhaps), you can use that knowledge to drive your decisions and create targeted, relevant content directed toward that segment. Likewise, if you know a certain demographic is going to be annoyed by certain messaging over the holidays, you can avoid a bad situation. The Xobni survey found that younger adults between the ages of 18 to 44 were most likely to feel annoyed or frustrated about receiving work-related emails during the holidays.You can learn more about your audience’s preferences by observing which demographics convert on certain days. If your landing page forms ask the right demographic questions, you can export your lead data, along with the conversion dates, and do tons of great analysis like figuring out exactly who converts on Saturday mornings? Knowing that will help you identify the kinds of people you should hit with your Saturday morning email send, for example.Show Your Brand’s PersonalityHolidays and weekends are the perfect time to lighten things up, have a little fun, and show off the part of your brand’s personality that makes it relatable to your audience. Google is known for doing this and doing it well. Its most recent treat was an interactive Google logo that played “Jingle Bells.” This past Halloween, HubSpot released a video of our very own flash mob, complete with zombies and gore, to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson’s hit, “Thriller.” Not only did we have a blast making the video, but we also managed to give our audience a Halloween treat and show off our brand’s unique personality.Have you had any success with marketing during the holidays or off hours? What worked (or didn’t work) for you? Topics: Inbound Marketing Originally published Jan 27, 2012 6:30:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Social Media Fails Originally published Sep 17, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: It may feel like a fustercluck, but there are actually some rules and regulations that go along with participating in social media. Not the kind that ban people from uploading pictures of their meals (PB&J no crust today guys! #omgsohungry), but the ones that help alleviate things like spamming, bad content, and a poor community experience. You know, the things that help make social media a nice place to be.It’s not a perfect system the social networks have worked out, but it’s important for marketers to know — because believe it or not, lots of marketers are breaking these rules and don’t even know it. And it breaks our hearts to see marketers giving an honest go of social media get banned from the networks … and then not even know why the heck it happened.This post will review the policies the most popular social networks have set up — some more stringent than others — that we think you should be aware of. And we tried to put them in plain English, too, devoid of confusing and boring legal babble. If you’re accidentally breaking any of these rules, at least now you can put the kibosh on your illicit activities before it’s too late!How Marketers Can Get Banned From PinterestIf you’re curious how the newest social network on the block works, we encourage you to read its Terms & Privacy page in full. But for a quick reality check, here are the guidelines marketers should remember when pinning to ensure they stay in Pinterest’s good graces:1) Grabbing another company’s account name. When you open an account on Pinterest, you’re indicating that you are authorized to act on behalf of that company. So if you’re not an employee of that company, you’re not authorized. And if you get caught, you’re not allowed on Pinterest anymore, either.2) Pinning copyrighted content. Any content you post cannot infringe on the rights of the content creator. Make sure it’s either content you’ve created yourself, or content you have a license to share. That means if you’re posting an image from your blog post, that better be copyright-free!3) Automating your Pinterest content. Marketers can’t use an automated service to post content to their pinboards, repin or like other pinners’ content, or create links. All the rewards you reap from Pinterest, in other words, have to come from your own hard work! Note: If you pin a ton of content from one URL all in one sitting — let’s say you just published a blog post with a ton of great images, for example — you may be prompted by Pinterest to verify that you’re not a bot. Just fill it in and keep on keepin’ on.4) Scraping content from Pinterest. On a similar note, you can’t use automation to scrape content from Pinterest. Whether you wanted to use it in blog posts, on your Facebook page, to get a list of links — whatever — you can’t do it. Again, any information or content gathered has to be done manually.5) Scraping for contacts. Any contacts you get from Pinterest have to be opt-ins; as in, they have to come to your site and fill out a form saying they want to hear more from you. Scraping Pinterest for pinners’ personal information so you can market to them later is strictly prohibited.6) Spamming posts. Just like you shouldn’t be spamming the comments sections of blogs, you shouldn’t be spamming the comments sections of pins.7) Putting links in the wrong place. Pinterest wants you to include links in your pins so pinners can follow the links to get more information on a pin. But they only want it in the right place. When you pin an image, click ‘Edit,’ where you’ll find a field labeled ‘Link.’ Put your link anywhere else and you may get banned.8) Don’t get banned. If you’ve been banned once, you’re banned for life. Or as Pinterest puts it, “the Service is not available to any users previously removed from the service by Pinterest.” So, tread lightly.How Marketers Can Get Banned From LinkedInLinkedIn’s rules aren’t as stringent as the ones we’ve seen on other social networks — perhaps the B2B playground hasn’t gotten quite so out of hand. You can read LinkedIn’s User Agreement in full, or just browse these highlights that jump out for marketers:1) Connecting with people you don’t know. Seriously! You have to actually know the people you connect with on LinkedIn, or they can boot ya right off!2) Posting copyrighted content to forums. Whether it’s your LinkedIn Group, LinkedIn Company Page, or on LinkedIn Answers, you can’t publish information that violates others’ intellectual property rights. This one won’t get you banned, but LinkedIn can remove the content and close your group or page. Additionally, LinkedIn will terminate the accounts of users who have been “deemed to be repeat infringers under the United States Copyright Act.” You know who you are.3) Using LinkedIn messages as an ESP. LinkedIn messages are not to be used for mass emailing. This constitutes a misuse of service, and can get you kicked off the network.4) Putting links and email addresses where they don’t belong. You get to fill out your profile however you want, as long as it’s accurate. So if you put, say, a link to your blog in, oh I don’t know, the ‘Name’ field … you’re gonna get shut down pretty fast.5) Selling your LinkedIn presence. Built up a pretty big LinkedIn Group? It might be an asset, but you can’t sell it or monetize it in any way if you want to stay on the social network.6) Using bots to get connections, followers, or members. Just like Pinterest and some other social networks we’re about to cover in this blog post, LinkedIn wants you to grow your reach organically.7) Impersonating another company. Another familiar refrain, brands can’t create a fake profile for a competitor to mess around on. You’ll look stupider doing that than they will, anyway.How Marketers Can Get Banned From TwitterThe full list of Twitter “rules” can be found here: The Twitter Rules. Aptly named, eh? Here are the ones that are most likely to apply to marketers so you don’t get banned by that sweet little tweety bird:1) Impersonating others. If you’re impersonating others in an attempt to mislead other Twitter users, Twitter will not be happy. That means no pretending to be a competitor — that’s a low blow move, anyway.2) Snagging trademarked usernames. Another sketchy move is trying to grab your competitor’s username. If they’ve trademarked the name, Twitter will reclaim it from you on their behalf. Twitter will also suspend you if you’re using trademarked logos on your profile.3) Squatting on handles. Ow, that sounds uncomfortable. This means you can’t grab a Twitter username and not use it. Well, you can, but Twitter will just grab it right back if it remains inactive after 6 months. On a related note, you can’t grab a username for the purposes of selling it.4) Buying or selling Twitter usernames. There can be no transactions made around Twitter usernames at all. The penalty is possible permanent suspension from Twitter — for buyers and sellers.5) Giving yourself an unearned Twitter badge. Twitter has little badges for Promoted Products and Verified Accounts. If you use one of these badges anywhere on your profile — including your profile picture or background image — your profile will be suspended.6) Posting the same thing over and over. If you’re trying to get a tweet visibility, you can’t do it by tweeting it like a maniac, particularly if it’s duplicate content tweeted at specific users. Same goes for links — Twitter will penalize you if they see you tweeting the same link over, and over, and over … and over.7) Following people like a bot would. That means you shouldn’t use a bot to manage your following and unfollowing, nor should you act like a bot when manually following and unfollowing people. Aggressive follow and unfollow behavior — particularly seeing a large amount of people followed and/or unfollowed in a short period of time — will signal to Twitter that something’s amiss.8) Getting followers in sketchy ways. Specifically, those “get followers fast!” schemes. It may get you permanently banned from Twitter.9) Hijacking a hashtag or Trending Topic. If there’s a #hashtag or trending topic blowing up Twitter and you want in on the action, you can’t try to hijack it with unrelated content about your brand. If you do, you could feel the wrath of the mighty blue bird mighty soon.10) Posting links with no context. If your updates are just a slew of links with no personal content to give them context, you’ll not only annoy your followers, but Twitter will also want you off their network.11) Getting ratted out. Sometimes the Twitter community self-polices. If a large number of people are blocking you, or your account has received a lot of SPAM complaints, Twitter will boot you. So play nice out there.How Marketers Can Get Banned From Google+If you’re using Google+, there are a couple surprises in here that you might not have considered. You can read their Google+ Policies & Principles in full here, or catch the biggies below:1) Creating fake pages. Yes, it’s prohibited here, too. Big shock. Moving on.2) Running contests. Ooooh, that’s a new one! You cannot run contests, sweepstakes, offers, or coupons directly on your Google+ page, but you can display a link to those promotions that leads people offsite.3) Aggressive Circling. That’s a … weird phrase. But much like you can’t aggressively follow and unfollow people on Twitter without getting flagged, you can’t Circle a ton of people on Google+ without punishment.4) Altering or adding +1 buttons where they don’t belong. Similar to the Twitter badge rule, you can’t, say, superimpose the Google +1 button on an ad. It’s a misleading way to garner clicks.5) Keyword stuffing. Yes, it can happen here, too! Because Google+ is so closely tied with organic search, the penalties are just as stiff. If you’re trying to rank for a keyword, stuffing it into every Google+ update is not the way to do it.6) Marketing regulated products. If you’re marketing in a regulated industry, such as alcohol, tobacco, medical devices, fireworks, pharmeceuticals, etc., you cannot use Google+ to market those topics.7) Letting your page go dormant. If your Google+ account is dormant for more than 9 months, Google can snatch it right back from ya.How Marketers Can Get Banned From FacebookWe’ve all probably participated in our fair share of complaining about leaving Facebook. But could they force marketers to leave? Maybe, if they start doing any of these things that violate the Facebook Page Guidelines:1) Creating fake accounts. As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”2) Using bots or scrapers. Well, almost. Facebook says you can’t use them “without our prior permission.” Which basically means no using bots or scrapers … if you had permission, you’d know it.3) Posting copyrighted content. You’ve heard this one a bunch of times in this blog post, and if you do it a bunch of times on Facebook, they have the right to disable your account.4) Naming your page in goofy ways. Facebook has some pretty stringent naming requirements! Your page name cannot consist of solely generic terms, like “pizza,” must use proper grammar and capitalization, may not be in all caps, and may not include character symbols.5) Collecting user data incorrectly. What does that mean, exactly? It means you have to clearly state that it’s your business, not Facebook, collecting their information, and you will obtain their consent before using their data in any way.6) Including calls-to-action in your cover photo. This includes promotions or discounts, requests to ‘Like’ or share your photo, contact information for your business, or generic CTAs like “Tell a Friend.”7) Running contest or promotions outside of a Facebook app. If you want to run a contest or promotion on Facebook, you can only do it through one of their apps — either a Canvas Page or a Facebook App. You also can’t base participation on a requirement that a user take any action with your brand page, such as uploading a photo to your Timeline, or “Liking” a wall post. The only actions that are allowed as a condition of participation are “Liking” a page, connecting to your app, or checking in to a Place. You can’t use any Facebook mechanism, like the ‘Like’ button, in order to vote or register for the promo, either. Finally, you can’t notify winners through Facebook. So basically … you have to jump through a whole lotta hoops if you want to run a promotion or contest on Facebook.Have you unwittingly broken any of these social media rules? Have we missed any that you think marketers should know about?Image credit: emilyrides Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Measuring SEO Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Search volume calculates the numbers of times a keyword is searched for in a particular search engine. Previously, it was the marketer’s go-to metric to figure out what keywords would be the best to optimize around.However, as we (and search engines) have become smarter about how we optimize for SEO, that has all started to change. Why? Because these days, the emphasis should be more on quality and conversions than volume alone.4 Things That Matter More Than Search VolumeIt’s not that search volume doesn’t matter at all. Search volume is a good sign that there are people out there looking for help on a particular subject matter. But here’s what matters a lot more than a ton of search volume for a particular keyword or phrase:1) Conversion RatesIf you have 1,000 people come to your site off a keyword for which your content ranks, but only 2 people convert, does it really matter that you had 1,000 people come to your site? The purpose of SEO is much more than just attracting people to your content. It’s about attracting people to your content who find it relevant to their interests and needs. Let’s say you’re a B2B business selling analytics software for marketers. There are two approaches that you can take. You can try to create content about analytics in general, or you can make your content a bit more specific to marketing analytics. In the first case, you may attract more people who are interested in all kinds of analytics: marketing analytics, sales analytics, etc. (That is, if you can rank for the head term.) In the second case, you would attract people who are more relevant to your buyer persona.Which situation is more likely to yield actual customers? If you said the latter, I agree with you.2) FeasibilityWhen you’re creating your SEO plan, one of the first things you need to do is keyword research. But instead of basing this process on search volume, think about how likely you are to actually rank for and convert on the keywords you’re selecting.How much content are you going to create around those topics? How much content do you already have on those topics? How are you ranking now for related terms? Create your plan not just around what keywords make the most sense for your business to rank for — but how you can invest in the time and resources it takes to have a strong SEO strategy in place.3) User ExperienceFun Fact: Did you know that if someone comes to your site through a search engine and bounces to another site soon after, it doesn’t actually help your SEO?If the 1,000 people I mentioned before come to your site — but then realize your content isn’t helpful, interesting, easy to read, etc. — you’re not really doing much to help your SEO. Search engines are smart enough now to recognize and reward the sites that produce good content. And it makes sense that they’d care about this — they want to deliver the best possible search experience for their users. Think about these questions the next time you’re creating content. What does your site visitor do once they’re on your site? Are they engaged with your content? Do they click around? Do they look at various content offers you’ve created? These are all important questions to ask about your visitors that matter far more than going after keywords of a certain search volume.4) Writing for Your Buyer PersonaAbove all, your number one rule when optimizing for SEO is creating content for your buyer personas. If you can create content that will get a lot of people to your website — but they aren’t necessarily part of your target audience — it doesn’t help you grow your business. Whether you’re working on a large marketing campaign or simply writing a blog post, you always need to have your buyer persona in mind. What problems do they face? What are they trying to accomplish? What could help them do their jobs effectively or more efficiently? Your buyer personas are the key to improving your conversion rates.Like I said earlier, it’s not that search volume is the new dark horse of SEO. It’s not. But you should use it more to guide your SEO strategy than define it. The most important things to focus on are choosing topics that you can write to at a sustainable volume, improving your site conversion rates, and writing quality content that addresses the needs and interests of your buyer personas. Originally published Apr 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
Landing Page Design Originally published May 19, 2014 2:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 So you’re reading up on creating your first landing page, and everything seems like a no-brainer. Great headline? Check. Form that’s the proper length? Check. Customized “submit” button? Check, check, check. Then you see “trust seals.” You stop. You’re not sure what that means or if you need to include them on your landing page.The other suggestions seem simple — this one’s out of left field. So what do you do? Here’s what you need to know about trust seals (sometimes referred to as trust “symbols”) before slapping one on your landing page.What’s a Trust Seal?Turns out you’ve seen lots and lots of trust seals before, but you never realized you could use them in your marketing. Remember the last time gave over your credit card information on a website? Somewhere near the form fields where you put in your credit card information will usually feature one of these images:These are trust seals. They are there to help reassure you that your sensitive information is secure with the company and/or website you’re giving it to. In theory, once you see these on any landing page, you should feel much more secure giving over your information and converting on the form.But that’s not always what happens. Sometimes it might be successful … and other times, it might not. So you’ve got to figure out whether you should use one on your site or not. When Should I Use One?The best answer to this question is you don’t know if it’ll work until you try it. You’ve got to run A/B tests on your own landing pages to figure it out because your business is different from every other one that’s run this before. (Don’t know how to run an A/B test? We’ve got some simple instructions here.) If you wanted to get an idea of what you could expect out of the test before you run it, think about what kind of information you’re asking people to give up in the form. Is it sensitive information like credit card numbers, home phone numbers, or social security numbers? I’d venture a guess that a trust seal could work wonders. Are you just asking for an email, and nothing else? Adding a trust symbol could be overkill — people might wonder what you would’ve done if there weren’t a trust seal. Moral of the story? Trust seals can be great on your landing pages — or they can flop. It’s up to you to figure it out from here. 😉 Image credits: Arrested Development Wiki, Baymard Institute Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:
Originally published Jun 19, 2014 6:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 SEO inception: Google punishes itself for using black hat tactics?There’s only one company out there that can bring Google, the almighty ruler of internet search, to its knees. And that company, of course, is Google.Back in 2012, the Google Chrome homepage received a two-month penalty after it was discovered the site was benefiting from paid links.Two years prior, the company got itself in hot water — with itself — for cloaking content on its AdWords help pages.For more instances of Google punishing Google for SEO infractions, check out this great post from Search Engine Land.And there you have it, some of the biggest SEO missteps in recent history. Remember: If you want to stay in the clear with your site, just avoid making these common SEO mistakes. Got any SEO horror stories you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below! Topics: BMW feels the Google kiss of death for using doorway pages, receives a “0” PageRankThe year was 2006, and German car company BMW’s German website (BMW.de) was mopping it up in the search rankings with important keywords like “used car.”As it turns out, the company had been using doorway pages to artificially inflate their inbound links and rank higher for competitive keywords. A doorway page, also known as a bridge or portal page, is a webpage that’s created solely for the purpose of redirecting visitors to a parent page. In BMW’s case, this page was BMW.de.Even back in 2006, Google wasn’t messing around. BMW.de was promptly blacklisted, receiving a PageRank of 0 as a consequence of the infraction.Toys R Us pays $5.1 million for Toys.com domain name, forgets to set up 301 redirectsToys R Us really, really wanted to dominate the word “toys’ in search, so much so that they paid top dollar for the eponymous domain name, toys.com, back in 2010.While the plan was to score some serious SEO cred for having such a searched-for term — toys — right in their domain name, the crew handling the project made a big, big mistake: when they launched the new site, they failed to redirect their old URLs. As a result, Google re-indexed the site, so instead of seeing their search ranking for “toys” climb, the Toys R’ Us team watched it take a nose dive.In this case, there was no ill SEO-intent on the part of the company. They didn’t use any black hat tactics — they just messed up. Big time.Want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you? When making big changes to your site, keep track of everything in a workbook.Overstock.com trades discounts for links, loses $1.05 billion in revenue after Google takes noticeRap Genius was by no means the first company to construct a scheme for generating rank-boosting links. Back in 2011, it was discovered that online retailer Overstock.com was encouraging colleges and universities to embed links on their websites in exchange for faculty and student discounts on Overstock.com merchandise.As far as terrible, sleazy, no-good, rotten link-building schemes go, this one was actually pretty clever. The “.edu” designation that most academic websites carry gives those sites some extra authoritativeness in the eyes of Google. So if you can get a bunch of these sites to link to your site using the keywords you want to target, you’ll be more likely to rank for those keywords.The problem, of course, is that trading discounts for links doesn’t help make information on the web any more organized. In fact, it muddles it all up (why would all these academic institutions link to product pages for bunk beds and lawn furniture?).Google, of course, penalized Overstock.com big time. These penalties were part of the reason why Overstock.com’s revenue dropped by $1.05 billion in 2011.J. C. Penney sees ranking for “living room furniture” drop from #1 to #68 in a matter of hours after Google penaltyAnother retail company, another link-building scheme. In this case, it’s theorized that J. C. Penney, or the SEO firm that worked for them, bought the company into a paid link network.As a result of participating in the network, the retailer received such an astronomical amount of inbound links — which targeted very specific keyword phrases — that the J. C. Penney site was ranking first for, well, almost everything. This came across as suspicious to some, including journalist David Segal.For the full scoop, you’ll definitely want to check out his New York Times piece on the subject, “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search.” For the abridged version, I think one of the most fascinating aspects of this case was how fast Google was able to take action and drop J. C. Penney’s search rankings. Within hours, they were ranking in the high 60s and 70s for search terms that they used to rank first for (including “living room furniture” and “Samsonite carry on luggage”).So for those of you who’ve ever thought about dabbling in paid link-building networks, take heed. Google knows what’s up, and will bring the pain if it needs to.Rap Genius loses 80% of its traffic after Google uncovers link-building scheme We all know that getting backlinks (a.k.a. inbound links) from trusted websites is a great way to give your website’s search rankings a boost. However, as the lyrics website Rap Genius would discover, the method you use to generate those backlinks is of considerable importance. If your website is attracting links because you regularly create stellar content and people in your industry love you and they always share and link to your stuff, then guess what? You’re golden! Google will give you a pat on the back.However, if you’re attracting links by regularly sending out spammy emails that instruct people to link to specific pages of yours, Google’s going to bring the heat.Rap Genius went so far as to develop a network of bloggers who received publicity for their posts in exchange for including links to specific song lyrics on the Rap Genius site. This “affiliate program,” as Rap Genius called it, didn’t fly with Google, especially since the lyrics the blogs linked to rarely aligned with the actual content of the posts.As a result of this scheme, Google delivered a punishing blow to Rap Genius’s search rankings, and — for a short while — the company lost 80% of its daily organic traffic.Fortunately for Rap Genius, Google is willing to forgive. After publicly admitting that their SEO tactics were whack, and deconstructing their link-building network, Rap Genius was allowed back on Google’s search results pages. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketers … we’re always looking for ways to make our metrics skyrocket up and to the right. We love our tips, tricks, hacks, “insider” secrets, and yes, we even love our performance-enhancing drugs (sips coffee).Where were we?Right … it seems we’re all so obsessed with improving and optimizing and driving results, that we’re sometimes tempted to break the rules. In the world of SEO, we call that using black hat tactics. And of course, we all think these black hat tactics are unfair or unethical and we never, ever use them.But here’s the thing: If black hat SEO can give your numbers a big boost and get you the results you need, why not go for it? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?Spoiler alert: The worst that could happen is Google lands a direct hit on your search rankings with a flying roundhouse kick, your PageRank drops to 0, and you eventually get featured in a blog post (like this one) that’s filled with examples of companies that broke the rules and paid the price.Remember, as that influential marketing guy wrote in that famous book of his, “The Dark Side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be … unnatural.”Actually, that’s from Star Wars. But the message is still relevant: You might hit your numbers using black hat tactics but, inevitably, Google’s going to notice that you’re doing something “unnatural.” And Google ain’t afraid to lay down the law.(Pssst. Want to make sure your website is squeaky clean? Check out our new guide, 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign.)The SEO Hall of Shame SEO Mistakes