The Best Shared Marketing Calendar Tool for Your Company

marketing calendar
marketing calendar

In my latest role, I manage the digital marketing for a number of brands.  In an effort to streamline all efforts, I was looking for an inexpensive, easy to use tool that could do the following:

  • Have a brand calendar view
  • Have a shared brand calendar view
  • Allow attachments to be uploaded
  • Allow comments to be tracked
  • Simple way to upload tasks
  • Simple for non-technical users.

I googled “marketing calendar” and I reviewed a list of tools from DivvyHQ, Basecamp, Marketo and more.  The price tags on all these solutions were outside my budget.  However, they all did exactly what I wanted.  So i recalibrated my expectations and I viewed other web solutions that were primarily focused on digital marketing; however, as I reviewed them they didn’t roll-up across different projects.

I thought I might hack a solution using Trello (my go to task tool of choice) and Formsite (my go to web form solution) and tie them together using Zapier (my go to web integration tool).  While this solution would be optimal for me, I fear a team that is not used to using a myriad of tools like this, might and would over complicate what I am trying to achieve.  As I was viewing my potential solutions this morning, a gentleman came into my office and told me they were going to extend licenses to a solution called ActiveCollab.  He gave me admin rights to it and I started to play around.

As I sat and thought about adoption as well as functionality, it came to me that I should really leverage tools that exist and adapt them versus introducing new tools that people may never use.  I wanted a tool that is part of the overall “how to get things done” culture.

So after I finish writing this post, I am going to go in an start to play with ActiveCollab which seems to do about 80% of what I want.  If you think about the 80/20 rule, this isn’t bad at all.

Opened up my Estimote Beacons – No Instructions!

Estimote Beacon Packaging
Estimote Beacon Packaging

So this “exercise” in learning how to leverage beacons might be a bit harder than I thought.  I opened up the box and I was a bit surprised that there weren’t any instructions.  Maybe they send something to me via email.

Estimote Technicolor Beacons
Estimote Technicolor Beacons

I’ve got these three technicolor beacons and I have really no idea what to do next.  Looks like I will have to do some Google surfing tonight to figure this out.

My Estimote Beacons Just Arrived

Estimote Beacons
Estimote Beacons

At work, we are innovating the guest experience with beacon technology at our hotels.  I decided to experiment with beacons on my own.  I researched user feedback and costs and I selected the Estimote beacons.

I am now getting ready to build some sample apps that exploit simple beacon technology.  As I get comfortable with it, I am going to explore what else is possible.

I will post on this blog my beacon progress!

The Power of Teamwork and Collaboration

showrunner-podcasting-course

The Pilot launch of The Showrunner Podcasting Course went live on Friday, April 24.

On the eve of the launch, weary-eyed but still enthusiastic at 10:30 p.m., The Showrunner hosts, Jerod Morris and Jon Nastor, took a short break from course prep to hop on Skype and share a few thoughts about the power of teamwork and collaboration.

Shortly after their chat began, the podcasting gods gave them a clear sign that they should end the call and resume working. So they did.

But to make this bonus episode a true bonus, they decided to give you a sneak peek at one of the bonus interviews inside of the course …

This episode ends with a short snippet of Jon’s interview with Jared Easley, whom you may know from Starve the Doubts and Podcast Movement.

Enjoy. (And if you want to check out the Pilot launch of the course, hop on The Showrunner email list.)

Click Here to Listen to

The Showrunner on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post The Power of Teamwork and Collaboration appeared first on Copyblogger.

5 Easiest Online Image Editing Tools to Rock Your Social Media Stream

Images go hot on social media easier: Images are sharable and eye-catching. Images make better Tweets, attract more plusses on Google Plus, grab attention on Facebook. Images also expand your reach to other social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram.

But the key of social media sharing is that it should be productive: If you spend 30 minutes crafting one social media update each time, you won’t have any time left for anything else?

So how to create appealing visual social media updates while keeping things fast?

Use free online image editing tools that make your life easier! “Online” means you won’t have any extra tools to download apart from your browser. All of those tools are also free and all of them are very easy to use (time-saving!)

Here are my favorite online image editing tools:

1. Social media cover and profile images: Social Image Resizer Tool


Social media sites have different requirements as to parameters of header images for our social media profile to look good. This tool saves your time!

Easily resize and crop your image to the standard sizes required by a specified social media platform.

Supported social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google Plus, Instagram, Youtube and any custom size you need:

Social Image Resizer Tool

READ further: Optimizing Your Logo for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus

2. Visual social media updates: Canva


Canva is the multi-purpose tool but I am using it to craft visual social media updates for the most part. It’s very easy but it does take some time (until you develop custom templates there and just keep editing those with new text and elements)

Canva

READ further: How to Use Google Plus for Visual Marketing

3. Visual on-page quotes: Chisel


Chisel is the fastest way to share a visual quote: Just select the part of the text you’d like to visualize as a quote and click its bookmarklet. The quote will be instantly put on a template (which you can tweak). It’s not too advanced but does its job nicely!

Chisel

READ further: Visual tweets and how to make the most of them

4. Animated GIF instructions: Gif Deck


A PowerPoint / keynote presentation is a great way to explain the process in a step-by-step visual format. Now with GifDeck you can give it life! All you need is to upload your presentation to Slideshare.

Now just copy-paste your Slideshare URL into the tool and specify how many slides you want to animate. The result is a neat animated gif to use on social media: Very fast and awesome animated visual content for your social media streams!

Gif Deck

READ further: Visual Content Marketing: How to Find Cool Cinemagraphs

5. Image collages: Fotor


I am using these for round-up posts: Collages are perfect to show the logo of everyone who is mentioned in the article or photos of everyone contributing to the round up.

Fotor is the fastest way to put together a nice-looking collage:

Fotor

What’s your favorite tool to create visual social media updates? Please share in the comments!

The post 5 Easiest Online Image Editing Tools to Rock Your Social Media Stream appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

The Amazing Copywriting Machine

amazing-copywriting-machine

Join host Robert Bruce for the third episode of Allegorical …

A simple story about a man with a billion-dollar idea, and the fatal flaw in his algorithm that he did not foresee …

Listen to Allegorical No. 3 …

Click Here to Listen to

Allegorical on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post The Amazing Copywriting Machine appeared first on Copyblogger.

How Online Courses Accelerate Any Business Model

free-online-courses

The online education industry will rake in $107 billion in 2015. And with the sale of Lynda.com to LinkedIn for $1.5 billion, the commercial sector is leading and pulling away from traditional institutions in the “just in time” education market.

People want online courses, and they’ll clearly pay for them.

And if great content marketing is giving away information worth paying for, then it seems smart to offer online courses as an audience-building and lead generation strategy.

In this 25-minute episode of New Rainmaker with Brian Clark, Brian and Robert Bruce discuss:

  • Why free courses are the best lead generation tool
  • Why you don’t have to create a Lynda.com to succeed
  • Our lead gen strategy (that works) from 2012
  • How Brian used this same strategy a decade earlier
  • Why people choose to buy from you
  • How we launched the Rainmaker Platform with a new podcast
  • Why you’ve likely created a valuable online course already

Click Here to Listen to

New Rainmaker with Brian Clark on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post How Online Courses Accelerate Any Business Model appeared first on Copyblogger.

One Simple Step to Attracting More Business Opportunities

allie-siarto

In 2009, today’s guest on Hack the Entrepreneur co-founded Loudpixel, a successful social analytics company, where she was also Director of Analytics. After many successful years, she realized it wasn’t quite what she wanted to be doing, so she made a change.

Currently, she is an independent wedding and lifestyle photographer. In a market that most people struggle to start a business in, she has managed to build one to the point where she works part-time and makes a full-time income. This allows her to spend time with her one-year-old daughter.

She also runs an interview podcast series for photographers called Photo Field Notes and teaches in Michigan State University’s Advertising Department.

Now, let’s hack …

Allie Siarto.

In this 35-minute episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, host Jon Nastor and Allie Siarto discuss:

  • The need to take calculated risks in business and life
  • Brushing off failures and embarrassment (and how your biggest embarrassment can help you)
  • How putting your goals out to the world can help fulfill them
  • Finding what makes you happy and building a business to suit that
  • Why you should do things before you are ready

Click Here to Listen to

Hack the Entrepreneur on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post One Simple Step to Attracting More Business Opportunities appeared first on Copyblogger.

‘Try It from a Different Angle’ and 2 Other Game-Changing Editing Lessons from a Shoddy Vacuum

editing-lessons

What are you refraining from doing that could dramatically change your content?

For your online business to produce your desired results, you may need rethink your strategy to provide the best experience for your target audience.

If you think a task is too difficult, this might be the time to try it anyway.

In this 8-minute episode of Editor-in-Chief, host Stefanie Flaxman discusses:

  • Why she owns a terrible vacuum
  • Why the first idea you have for creating digital media is likely not the idea that will lead to real breakthroughs
  • How to evaluate and edit your digital media choices
  • What she’s going to do about her vacuum
  • A proofreading tip that will reveal errors you’ve overlooked multiple times

Click Here to Listen to

Editor-in-Chief on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post ‘Try It from a Different Angle’ and 2 Other Game-Changing Editing Lessons from a Shoddy Vacuum appeared first on Copyblogger.

How to Market to Customers When The Free Trial is Over

The free trial is a common SaaS marketing strategy. According to Totango, 44% of SaaS companies offer a free trial. But the strategy is only as good as how far it gets you — to the end of the free trial.

What happens after the free trial? You can’t rely on the free trial alone to persuade customers to convert. You must have a method for retaining the customers once the free trial is over.

This article shows you how to do that. What you’re about to read are seven techniques that will give you the most marketing bang for your buck. This is the point at which it really matters. Don’t let those potential clients get away!

1. Offer your free trial without requiring credit card information.

Let’s back up to the beginning of the process. In order to best convert customers at the end of the free trial, you must make sure that you’ve created the best process for them to do so — the beginning of the free trial.

That brings us to a crucial question.

Should you require users to provide their credit card information in order to get a free trial? If you do, then you may be able to convert them easier when the free trial is over, right?

There are two strategies surrounding credit card information.

  • Strategy 1: Require the customer to provide credit card information in order to start a free trial. This makes it easy for the customer to convert after the free trial. However, it may cause the customer not to try the free trial at all. You sacrifice lower initial conversion rates for higher post-trial conversion rates.
  • Strategy 2: Don’t require credit card information to start a free trial. Instead, only require credit card information when it’s time to purchase an actual subscription. This makes it easy for the customer to engage in a free trial. However, it may produce lower post-trial conversion rates. You sacrifice high free trial users for lower post-trial conversion rates.

So, which one is better?

Don’t guess. Instead, look at the data.

conversion-comparisons

Based on this information assimilated from 100+ SaaS companies, your overall conversion rates will be better by not requiring credit card information upfront.

Viewed another way, the no-credit-card method earns 120 customers after 90 days, while the credit-card-required method earns only 60 customers in the same amount of time.

number-of-acquired-paid-users

This approach — not requiring a credit card — reinforces one of the essential tenets of SaaS marketing. What is that essential tenet? Engagement!

Lincoln Murphy beats this drum all the time: “Let me be 100% clear… it is up to you to drive engagement using whatever channels make sense.”

If that channel is to remove credit card barriers in order to introduce engagement, then so be it. The app is supposed to sell itself, and the only way it can do that is through sparking customer engagement.

start-your-free-trial-today

Signup page for FreshBooks

Now, your app may be different for whatever reason. You may have compelling reasons to require credit card information before a free trial.

Keep in mind, though, the data says this: Not requiring payment generally produces improved conversions. However, you must aggressively maintain other methods of marketing to customers after the trial.

As New North’s Tobin Lehman wrote, “With a SAAS model, the best acquisition plan can be crushed with poor followup.”

2. Use email.

Your number one tool for gaining free trial users is email.

Early on in the process, you should have gained the user’s email address. Now, it’s your chance to use that email address to send marketing emails.

The best way to communicate with users during the trial period and once it’s over is email.

This is an obvious point, right? Yes, but you’d be surprised at how few companies are actually using automated emails to keep in touch with their customers.

The term for getting a customer to use the software is activation. Only 26% of companies are using the strategy of automated and event-triggered emails to keep in touch with free trial users.

marketing-sherpa-email-marketing-survey-2013

Image source

If you don’t have a system in place for activating users via email, it’s time to get it going.

3. Remind them when the free trial is going to expire.

It’s common to send SaaS customers emails after the expiration of their trial. What’s not so common is to send free trial customers such emails before the expiration.

subscriptions-will-expire-in-1-week

You should send at least one email before the trial expires. This way, the customer is prepared for the cutoff date. Depending on the duration of the trial (e.g., 15 days or 1 month), you should probably send even more emails.

The idea behind these notifications is to remind the customer to use the software. The only way that you’re going to gain a customer is if that customer engages with it. Reminders will help encourage usage. Maybe they forgot about the free trial. Maybe they didn’t realize how soon it will end. Maybe they just need a reminder.

You can be really simple with it. Just a few bullet points will do it.

just-a-reminder

So, go ahead, remind them before it’s too late.

4. Provide an early discount if they buy before the expiration.

Among many SaaS products, it’s popular to lure the customer in with a discount if they don’t purchase within 30 days after the free trial.

That’s a fair approach. However, I suggest using this strategy in reverse.

Here’s how it works. The customer signs up for two-week free trial.

One week into the trial, they receive an email that says something like this,

Hey, we just wanted to let you know that if you’ve decided on subscribing to ABC, now would be a good time.

For the next five days of your free trial, we’re dropping the membership price to only 20%.

Click this link to subscribe. We won’t be able to offer this discount once the free trial has ended, so please consider purchasing now.

This way, you can earn more active signups during the usage phase, rather than at the end of it.

5. Ask for action, any action.

I like the way that the article from Inbound put it: “Encourage the prospect to take the next baby-step down the sales funnel.”

Baby steps. Anyone can take baby steps, even reluctant customers. To enhance the likelihood of a free trial user becoming a customer, they need to take some sort of action. It doesn’t matter if that is a big action or a little action. They just need to take action — to do something.

Here are some of the actions that you can request.

  • Read a blog. If you’re doing content marketing (and you should be), ask the user to read your blog. The very act of reading your article helps the customer to engage with your business.
  • Provide feedback/fill out a survey. Sometimes, surveys can be very annoying. Other times, they could be exactly what a customer needs in order to take action. Surveys provide a good excuse to get back in touch with the free trial user, and to ask her to do something. Make sure that the survey is easy, simple, and friendly.
  • Send an email. Make sure you allow them to simply “reply” to this email. Sometimes, a potential customer simply needs to air his concerns, or ask a question. That’s fine. A few simple exchanged emails could be the perfect way to tip the scales in your favor. Don’t merely allow the customer to ask questions or provide feedback; ask for it.

When they take action, it builds their trust in your business and product. Action tends to create a sense of connection and obligation.

6. Allow the free trial user to extend their trial period.

Go ahead, and give them a few more weeks. More time to use the product does several things:

  • Allows them to use it if they haven’t had time.
  • Allows them to depend on the product more.
  • Allows them to deepen their experience with it.

Here’s what Freshbooks does when the free trial expires:

freshbooks-goodness

Image source

Why not? If the user hasn’t effectively engaged with the product, then how can they validate their interest in purchasing it? Give them a second chance.

What do you have to lose? Oh, nothing, except maybe a customer. That’s all.

7. Make it easy for the customer to buy.

Once the free trial has ended, it should be absolutely easy for the customer to buy the full version.

Too often, developers and marketers overlook this crucial stage. They assume, somehow, that the user is going to know how to purchase and activate a full version.

Don’t assume that. Customers need to be told, step-by-step, how to buy the product. And it shouldn’t be complicated.

Here’s a SaaS FAQ that I came across while researching. This is an example of how not to do product purchases.

questions-and-answers-neil-patel

By the way, if the customer has to ask how to buy the product or activate a new account, you’re doing it wrong. The process should be childishly simple.

Conclusion

SaaS companies are obsessed with customer retention, and rightfully so.

But what about the retention phase that matters? Let’s view free trial phase as a form of customer retention. They’re not paying…yet. The goal is to retain them as a user right into paying phase.

As soon as you turn up the marketing charm, they’re going to be on board. It’s time to take your marketing to the next level with a little bit of post-free trial marketing.

What techniques do you use to encourage free trial customers to convert?

About the Author: is a lifelong evangelist of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

The Best Articles Always Have This (and a Great Headline)

images

Everything up to now — all these markers that flag a reader to come in for a landing — traded in words.

But not the next element. And curiously enough, it’s probably as important and powerful as the headline.

Remember the episode of Rough Draft about the headline experiment involving Google Reader?

Remember how host Demian Farnworth said he learned that trick from Robert Scoble, who claimed to be able to “read” 1,000 blog posts in a very short period of time?

Well, it was the headline and the image that got him to stop and pay attention to the blog posts he was actually going to read.

But not just any image.

In this roughly 10-minute episode of Rough Draft with Demian Farnworth, you’ll discover:

  • Demian’s favorite places to grab beautiful images (free of restrictions)
  • Some of the best publications using images
  • The one reason why you would be silly not to use beautiful images with your articles
  • The neat trick you can use to get more attention when you embed images in your articles
  • How one SEO consultant ups the ante with his images

Click Here to Listen to

Rough Draft on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post The Best Articles Always Have This (and a Great Headline) appeared first on Copyblogger.

Introducing Buffer for Pinterest: Easily Schedule Your Pins, Manage and Measure

Pinterest is a happening place.

With more than 70 million users and 50 billion Pins, there’s always something new to cook, craft, buy, read or be inspired by on the visual social network.

For businesses or individuals looking to build or grow a presence on Pinterest, consistently posting valuable and interesting Pins is a great strategy to help people discover and share your Pins.

And today we’re thrilled to announce that Buffer is officially partnering with Pinterest to make it even easier to Pin consistently, measure your progress and set your own course for Pinterest success.

Buffer for Pinterest!

Buffer Awesome and Buffer for Business customers can now post and schedule to Pinterest, in addition to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Hooray for one-stop social media publishing!

And the really good news is that we’d love to give anyone the chance to try out this fun new feature! Authorize your Pinterest account now and try scheduling to Pinterest for 7 days free:

Pinterest button

Read on for more details on how to make the most of this new partnership!

Buffer + Pinterest: How does it work?

We wanted to create a way to schedule Pins that feels as simple and fun as Pinterest itself. Using Buffer for Pinterest, you can:

  • Pin from anywhere on the web, or upload your own image
  • Create a variety of unique daily Pinning schedules customized just for you
  • Track and measure repins, likes, and comments

Adding a Pinterest account to Buffer

Authorizing your Pinterest account with Buffer is a quick process. First, log in to Pinterest with the account you’d like to connect – whether it’s personal or business. Then head on over to Buffer.

If you’re new with us, hi there! We’ll walk you through the whole process from start to finish.

If you’ve got an account with us already, head to your dashboard. On the left side you’ll see an option to connect more profiles and pages. Choose Pinterest and then click the Authorize button. Buffer will do the rest and get you all set up with some posting times in place.

authorize a pinterest account with Buffer

Scheduling Pins with Buffer

Scheduling a Pinterest image through Buffer takes just a few clicks. The simplest method might be to install one of Buffer’s handy browser extensions that make sharing a snap.

Once you do, you should see a blue “Share Image” button as you hover over any image on a page. Here’s an example:

Share Image button

Click this button, or right-click on the image you’d like to share, and you’ll see the option to “Buffer This Image.” This brings up the Buffer window where you can choose Pinterest as your social media account of choice, then choose the board you’d like to share to.

By default, Buffer pulls in the article’s headline as your Pin’s description

Let’s see all that in action:

schedule to Pinterest

With the Buffer browser extension installed, you’ll also be able to find great stuff on Pinterest and queue it up to share later. Hover over any image you see on Pinterest and you’ll see a small Buffer icon like so:

Buffer button on Pinterest

Click it to pull up a Buffer window where you can choose your board and share your Pin:

Schedule Pins from Pinterest

The Pin will go into your queue as a scheduled post! (One note here: It won’t look quite the same as a repin from Pinterest itself; more like content you’re Pinning for the first time.)

Finally, you can also upload a new image from your computer to schedule through the Buffer dashboard:

upload new Pinterest image

Optimizing your Pinterest schedule

Customize the specific times and days you Pin to create unique schedules just for you and your Boards, or let Buffer choose your times for you.
set Pinterest schedule

In your Buffer queue, you can view, rearrange and edit your queued posts anytime.

Tracking the performance of your Pins

And to grow your followers and traffic, we’ve got plenty of Pinterest analytics for you to check out.

On the Awesome account, you’ll see stats like repins, comments and likes for each Pin. With Buffer for Business, you can sort by most popular Pins and see follower growth over time.
Pinterest analytics

On your mark, get set, Pin!

The Buffer team has had tons of fun Pinning our hearts out (Connect with us on Pinterest!), and we’re over the moon about the opportunity to be a Pinterest Marketing Developer Partner.

We can’t wait to hear how you’ll use this new integration for your social media sharing. Ready to get started?

Pinterest button

For even more optimization tips for using Buffer and Pinterest together, check out our brand-new guide to Pinterest scheduling, timing and frequency.

If you have questions or thoughts on how we can make the combination of Buffer and Pinterest even better, we’d love to hear them! Share in the comments below or email us at hello@bufferapp.com.

P.S. Tons of amazing teammates have made Buffer for Pinterest happen. Huge thanks to Leo (business development); Rodolphe (customer development); Joel and Brian (product); Kevan (marketing); and Sunil, Jose, Mike, and Niel (engineering) for their giant contributions!

The post Introducing Buffer for Pinterest: Easily Schedule Your Pins, Manage and Measure appeared first on Social.

The Science of Pinterest Scheduling: Finding Your Best Consistency, Frequency and Timing

Have you heard the good news? You can now share, schedule and measure your Pinterest Pins through Buffer!

Buffer Awesome and Buffer for Business customers can:

  • Pin from anywhere on the web, or upload your own image
  • Create a variety of unique daily Pinning schedules customized just for you
  • Track and measure repins, likes, and comments

Anyone can try out this fun new feature! Authorize your Pinterest account now and try scheduling to Pinterest for 7 days free:

Pinterest button

In honor of this exciting new partnership, we thought it might be fun to check into some of the science and studies behind Pinterest to learn how to make the most of the seriously addictive visual social network.

Read on to discover what we learned about optimizing your Pinterest strategy with the right consistency, frequency and timing.

The science of Pinterest scheduling

Be consistent and spread your Pinning out

Like on most other social media networks, a consistent sharing strategy is important on Pinterest in order to build your following.

Most marketing experts agree that spreading your Pins throughout the day is a handy thing to do. Varying your timing exposes you to different segments of the Pinterest population and can lead to more exposure, repins and followers.

And with Pinterest’s recent change to a Smart Feed that personalizes what you see in your account, you can pin pretty much anytime without overwhelming your audience.

So what is the best frequency for Pinterest? What are the best days and times to post? And what sorts of pins do best when? We compiled the best of the data that’s out there into this Pinnable graphic:

The Science of Pinterest Scheduling

Here are more details on each factor.

Best Pinterest frequency: Between 5 and 30 Pins a day

As we reported in our infographic with SumAll, How Often Should You Post on Social Media?, a good starting frequency for Pinterest could be 5 Pins a day.

Visual marketing service Piqora interviewed 200 big-time brands like Whole Foods, Lowes, LL Bean, and discovered that many had experienced the most consistent Pinterest growth somewhere between “a few pins a week” and “3 to 10 pins per day.” (Note that this survey was pre-Smart Feed.)

pinterest-frequency

On the higher end of the spectrum, the folks behind Ahalogy, a Pinterest marketing platform, say the sky’s the limit when it comes to Pins per day. Pinterest is different than other social media networks, says Ahalogy founder Bob Gilbreath, and requires re-thinking the “social media rules.”

Ahalogy says its clients have seen the best results when they Pin 15 to 30 items per day, with pins spread throughout the day.”

Our best advice? Pin as much quality content as you have time for! You’re very unlikely to overwhelm your followers thanks to the Pinterest Smart Feed algorithm, and each Pin is a new chance to grow your exposure and audience.

Here at Buffer, we like to batch tasks like this to make the best use of our time. You may find that scheduling through Buffer allows you to set up lots of pins in just a few minutes each day!

Pinterest timing by day: Saturdays are prime time

Different topics peak on different days

When it comes to timing, there’s not a bad day to post on Pinterest. But different topics perform at varying levels on different days of the week.

Pinterest shared some great info on these correlations last year. Here’s a look at what people are most like to focus on and Pin on different days of the week:

top categories by day on Pinterest

  • Monday: Good intentions in fitness
  • Tuesday: Gadgets are all the rage in technology
  • Wednesday: Need a little something to get through the week — inspirational quotes
  • Thursday: Threads lead Thursday with fashion
  • Friday: Funny GIFs bring comic relief to the end of the week
  • Saturday: Vacations are top of mind with travel
  • Sunday: the week closes with food and craft ideas

Additionally, a bitly study found that Saturday is a great overall day for Pinning—when users have some extra time for projects or dreaming.

Most people log on infrequently

Some more info that might help: According to recent research from Pew, 17% of Pinterest users visit the site daily, and 9% visit several times a day. A bigger portion, some 29% of users, go on Pinterest weekly, while 52% say they visit the site less often.
Frequency of social media visits

All the more reason to Pin consistently and frequently—you’ll catch users no matter what their schedule might be!

Pinterest timing by hour: Afternoons and evenings rule

Top time of day varies per topic

With so many different audiences and categories of content, Pinterest provides an interesting challenge when it comes to pinning down (ahem) the best times of day to post.

According to a study of nearly 10 million pins by Digitas and Curalate in 2013, the best times to pin vary by topic/industry.

For example:

  • Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern is prime time for fashion Pinning.
  • Electronics Pins do best Mondays at 10 pm Eastern.
  • Automotive Pins do well Fridays at 12 pm Eastern.

Ahalogy found that between 8 pm Eastern and midnight any day is peak time for pinning recipes about chocolate, and discovered that food brands could see the highest repin potential at 8 am and the highest traffic potential from 10-11 pm.

Ahalogy Pinterest analysis for food brand

Afternoons, evenings, whenever there’s free time

Generally speaking, a good bet might be to focus your Pinterest scheduling around the afternoons and evenings—think about the times users want to take a quick break to daydream on projects, recipes, vacations and the like.

Quicksprout pulled many of the timing stats out there about Pinterest into one recent infographic. Note how most of these findings are clustered in the afternoon, during the time you might want a break from work, and in the evening, when the day’s responsibilities and chores are through.
Best time of the day to Pin on Pinterest

 Find your optimal schedule

To find what will work best for your industry and Pins, consider questions like:

  • What time zone are the majority of your audience in? Pinterest Analytics gives you great hand here with its “Audience” segment; here’s a peek at the results of ours:Our Pinterest audience at Buffer
  • Would you hope to reach Pinners in another time zone than your own, or in a variety of time zones?
  • Consider your audience or who think your ideal audience might be: How might their day be structured? What are they doing, when?

With the Smart Feed, consistency trumps perfect timing on Pinterest. Try Pinning across the day to up your chances of reaching more people. If you note that Pins posted at a particular time do well, keep it up in that time slot!

Here’s Buffer’s Pinterest schedule

Since uncovering all this research, I thought it might be handy to use it to craft our schedule for Buffer’s Pinterest account. I’d love to share it with you here!

Since we’re a smaller team, we’re starting our Pinterest scheduling on the lower end of the 5-30 range, with 10 Pins per weekday and 15 on weekends.

On weekdays, we’re clustering posts between 2-4 p.m. and 9 p.m.-11 p.m. (all times are Eastern).

Buffer's Pinterest schedule for weekdays

On weekends, we’re trying a Pin-every-hour strategy.

Buffer's Pinterest schedule for weekends

We’ll use Buffer’s Pinterest analytics to analyze our follower growth and traffic month-over-month and then make some adjustments. So far, we’ve seen some nice growth!

Pinterest analytics

Ready to set your ideal Pinterest scheduling through Buffer? Get started now!

Pinterest button

Pins are highly searchable: Make yours easy to find

No matter what frequency and timing you choose, every valuable Pin you share is likely to be well worth it in the long run. Pinterest is highly searchable, so Pins can have a very long shelf life.

In studying the half-life of Pins, Piqora discovered that:

  • 40% of the clicks happen within the first day.
  • 70% of the clicks happen within first 2 days.
  • The remaining 30% clicks come all the way through 30 days and beyond.

Lag between visit and Pin

The key, Piqora CEO Shara Verma explained to Venturebeat, is that Pinterest doesn’t share Twitter and Facebook’s emphasis on immediacy. Pinterest visitors browse and search the network in a way that makes it as much like a search engine as a social network.

“In the world of Google, 70 percent of searches are long-tail, composed of four or more words,” Verma says. “Our hypothesis is that the same thing is happening on Pinterest … searching and Pinterest categories resurface the old pins.”

Tips to make your Pins search-ready

With Pinterest’s Smart Feed, we can expect more people to discover Pins through search and discovery. Here are some tips that could help you set yourself up for search success:

  • Make sure all your content has rich, Pinnable, and well-captioned images.
  • Make sure your pins link to a useful and relevant website.
  • Move keywords toward the front of board names and Pin descriptions to make them easy to find.
  • Optimize your headlines and image fields: Buffer pulls in the article’s headline as your Pin’s default description. Pinterest pulls in an image’s caption. (If there is no caption, it pulls alt text instead, and failing that, meta title).
  • Add advice, instructions or how-tos when you can – informative Pins are up to 30% more engaging than other Pins!
  • Prioritize clarity over cleverness in your Pinterest text.
  • Try for a description of between 200 and 310 words. According to Dan Zarrella, who researched 11,000 pins, that’s the most repinned and commented-upon description range.

Dan Zarrella Pinterest description study

Quick tip: Buffer can lend a hand in making sure your Pins have rich caption info. Try highlighting a bit of info before using the Buffer extension on your image of choice—Buffer will grab the quoted text so you can quickly use it as a caption for your Pin.
Pin with quote using Buffer

Over to you!

We’ve had so much fun diving into all there is to know about optimizing for Pinterest, and I know I still have lots to learn! My major findings here:

  • Consistent Pinning is the best way to optimize your reach
  • There’s no such thing as too many Pins
  • Anytime your audience has free time (afternoons, evenings, Saturdays) is a great time to Pin

Ready to start Pinterest scheduling through Buffer? Get going now!

Pinterest button

We’ve got lots more Pinterest explorations coming up on the blog, and we’d love to dig into any questions you might have in particular. Share them and all your other Pinterest thoughts in the comments!

The post The Science of Pinterest Scheduling: Finding Your Best Consistency, Frequency and Timing appeared first on Social.

The Print Magazine Hoax: 10 Overlooked Lessons on Writing Great Content

Is your content good enough for print?

Fans of the Internet love to mock print magazines.

They love to gloat and preen as the gate to Big Media’s kingdom has been thrown open — and the gatekeepers are torn from their thrones and tossed in the moat (the pockets of their blazers stuffed with rocks).

We watch from a distance as the city burns to the ground. Like there is nothing redeemable about these institutions.

That’s unfortunate. Because they actually have a lot to teach us.

The weakness of the web

There’s no doubt the Internet is a beautiful thing. It allows all of us to have a voice — through a blog, a Tumblr, a Facebook profile, an Instagram portfolio, YouTube channel, or a curated email newsletter.

Unfortunately, when everyone has a voice, no one has a voice. It’s a strange way to find yourself in obscurity.

And let’s not forget the surge of content as more businesses become media publishers. Some might call this surge content shock. Others, abundance.

Call it what you want, but you have to understand that we’ve always been under the crushing weight of information overload.

Of course, some of this content is good, but most of it is bad. Or dull.

But there is also great content. Powerful media that emerges and shows up everywhere — for a long time. And it doesn’t matter if we are infested with a plague of blog posts, podcasts, and videos.

Great content just wins.

The anatomy of great content, revealed

But what does that content look like? And how can you create it?

Fortunately, Google told us how it could look. In very specific language — 23 thought-provoking questions. So there is no need to read the tea leaves.

Now, this list has been around since May 2011, and question number 20 has always stayed in my mind:

Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?

Think about it.

We’ve all got our favorite magazines. But getting published in them is almost impossible, which is why we celebrate and embrace the Internet. See, the Internet allows us to publish content that might never see the light of day in print.

But Google advises that we do not spray the web with shallow, substandard work.

Maybe the print magazine gatekeepers were onto something.

Which is why Google essentially recommends that you publish work online with the qualitative content standards of a publication such as The New Yorker.

What do top print publications look for? What does great content look like to them? Here are 10 vital lessons we can learn from the print world.

1. Present original, in-depth research

Magazines want originality. This is one of the reasons they covet writers who present new discoveries. And this is one reason why they prize writers, like Malcolm Gladwell, who popularize these new discoveries.

You don’t have to be a scientist to pull this off. You can interview people, run a split-test, dig through archives, or poll an audience.

But just any old discovery won’t do.

You need to follow the advice of Hungarian physicist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi:

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.

Your job is to identify that never-before-explored angle — and expose it. This is how journalists win Pulitzer Prizes …

And keep in mind: They aren’t handing out Pulitzer’s for blog posts. Yet.

2. Go beyond the obvious

If your discovery doesn’t move our understanding of a topic at least a hair’s breadth, then it’s not original. Teach us something new. Or something we couldn’t figure out in a few seconds with a pencil and piece of scrap paper.

In other words: Avoid the self-evident.

Writers often make the mistake of quoting statistics that have become clichés. Like the number of blog posts published every day … that’s a favorite stat used by lazy writers. Especially in openings. It turns the reader cold.

Keep digging to find something that isn’t obvious.

3. Use an impartial approach (mostly)

This one you can fudge on, because even great journalists weren’t afraid to inject their personalities and opinions into their content. Think Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson.

Besides, a blog post is a perfect vehicle for a rant.

We may even select our favorite writers based upon the personality and flair they infuse in their writing. We like the angle they take when approaching a subject. We like that they tackle issues with unconventional methods.

Or perhaps we just dig their dysfunctions.

4. Try a penetrating breakdown

Great content is born when you take a topic and tease apart the nuances. It’s like dissecting an animal.

Show us the meat of the article, how it’s connected to other arguments, and where these conclusions could lead.

What’s important, however, is that you are an expert on the subject matter. If you’re not an expert, your analysis may be naive and flat-out wrong.

5. Inject observant commentary

Most people don’t know the difference between a summary and a commentary.

A summary is a recap of a piece of work or an event. Sports radio announcers give summaries during the game. Post-show analysts give commentary. They explain why something happened. They dig deep and explore theories and offer interpretations.

A commentary is full of judgment, perspective, and opinion. It also includes a personal reaction to an event, usually an emotional response. And it delivers a not-so-obvious interpretation.

For example, you see commentary in content when writers dissect a statement Matt Cutts made or explain the latest big news event.

6. Wield charming stories

Award-winning writer Adam Skolnick wrote a New York Times article about the death of a free diver, which was an Internet sensation. Soon, a book deal followed.

Fact is often more interesting than fiction. But the difference between your story and a Pulitzer-caliber one is the depth. The characters are unpredictable, but lovable. The plot is a hotbed of conflict, uncertainty, and tension. And the conclusion takes us by surprise.

So, keep an eye out for stories — remarkable nonfiction stories you can tell your audience, as well as engaging stories you can use to open your articles, and pertinent stories you can use to support your ideas.

7. Employ impenetrable facts

Print magazines have a low tolerance for shoddy stories built upon shoddy facts. This is why they will go through rounds of fact-checking before publishing a story. Even if it means pushing the publication date back so the writer can buttress her facts.

The Internet, on the other hand, has gone soft on fact. We love a good hoax. And we seem not to care so much when we are duped.

But here’s the thing: Gross errors kill credibility.

Check, double-check, and triple-check your sources. And if you have any doubt about a fact or story, skip it.

8. Be ridiculously specific

Shove examples, facts, numbers, reports, and charts into your articles. And make ‘em specific.

Don’t just tell me an African elephant weighs a lot. Tell me it weighs 5,291 to 7,716 pounds. Its trunk alone weighs 330 to 440 pounds. And its brain? Eleven pounds. More than a newborn human baby.

Those figures attract attention and activate a reader’s imagination. Specific details are captivating and help you build believability.

9. Be a credible authority

Magazine editors demand credentials.

  • Why should you be the one writing this article?
  • How many years do you have in the industry?
  • Do you have the right education, experience, and connections?

Fortunately, authority is something you can develop. As you build it, expect your writing to get more attention.

10. Utilize impeccable spelling and grammar

Call it unfair, but your opportunity to write for a major magazine could be killed with just one misspelled word or dangling participle.

But you shouldn’t be surprised that magazine editors who are inundated with pitches seize the slightest opportunity to reject you.

The same could be said about Google. Long ago, Matt Cutts suggested there was a relationship between poor spelling and low search rankings. Bing’s outlook is similar.

If you have to, pay someone to polish your articles. Remove the errors.

Remain a great lover of the experience as you master the craft

You won’t create the perfect blog post, video, infographic, or podcast episode the first time around. Nor the second. Or even the third.

More likely, it will happen around number 100.

But don’t let that discourage you. Keep producing, and enjoy the journey.

As I mentioned in my Copyblogger post last week, that’s the most important part about creating content: Remain a great lover of the experience as you master the craft.

And who knows, you might even catch the eye of your favorite famous magazine along the way.

Do you have any tips from the print publishing world to add to this list?

Share them in the discussion on LinkedIn …

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Content Writer. Follow him on Twitter or The Copybot. In the meantime, subscribe to his podcast: Rough Draft

The post The Print Magazine Hoax: 10 Overlooked Lessons on Writing Great Content appeared first on Copyblogger.

​The 3 Most Common SEO Problems on Listings Sites

Posted by Dom-Woodman

Listings sites have a very specific set of search problems that you don’t run into everywhere else. In the day I’m one of Distilled’s analysts, but by night I run a job listings site, teflSearch. So, for my first Moz Blog post I thought I’d cover the three search problems with listings sites that I spent far too long agonising about.

Quick clarification time: What is a listings site (i.e. will this post be useful for you)?

The classic listings site is Craigslist, but plenty of other sites act like listing sites:

  • Job sites like Monster
  • E-commerce sites like Amazon
  • Matching sites like Spareroom

1. Generating quality landing pages

The landing pages on listings sites are incredibly important. These pages are usually the primary drivers of converting traffic, and they’re usually generated automatically (or are occasionally custom category pages) .

For example, if I search “Jobs in Manchester“, you can see nearly every result is an automatically generated landing page or category page.

There are three common ways to generate these pages (occasionally a combination of more than one is used):

  • Faceted pages: These are generated by facets—groups of preset filters that let you filter the current search results. They usually sit on the left-hand side of the page.
  • Category pages: These pages are listings which have already had a filter applied and can’t be changed. They’re usually custom pages.
  • Free-text search pages: These pages are generated by a free-text search box.

Those definitions are still bit general; let’s clear them up with some examples:

Amazon uses a combination of categories and facets. If you click on browse by department you can see all the category pages. Then on each category page you can see a faceted search. Amazon is so large that it needs both.

Indeed generates its landing pages through free text search, for example if we search for “IT jobs in manchester” it will generate: IT jobs in manchester.

teflSearch generates landing pages using just facets. The jobs in China landing page is simply a facet of the main search page.

Each method has its own search problems when used for generating landing pages, so lets tackle them one by one.


Aside

Facets and free text search will typically generate pages with parameters e.g. a search for “dogs” would produce:

www.mysite.com?search=dogs

But to make the URL user friendly sites will often alter the URLs to display them as folders

www.mysite.com/results/dogs/

These are still just ordinary free text search and facets, the URLs are just user friendly. (They’re a lot easier to work with in robots.txt too!)


Free search (& category) problems

If you’ve decided the base of your search will be a free text search, then we’ll have two major goals:

  • Goal 1: Helping search engines find your landing pages
  • Goal 2: Giving them link equity.

Solution

Search engines won’t use search boxes and so the solution to both problems is to provide links to the valuable landing pages so search engines can find them.

There are plenty of ways to do this, but two of the most common are:

  • Category links alongside a search

    Photobucket uses a free text search to generate pages, but if we look at example search for photos of dogs, we can see the categories which define the landing pages along the right-hand side. (This is also an example of URL friendly searches!)

  • Putting the main landing pages in a top-level menu

    Indeed also uses free text to generate landing pages, and they have a browse jobs section which contains the URL structure to allow search engines to find all the valuable landing pages.

Breadcrumbs are also often used in addition to the two above and in both the examples above, you’ll find breadcrumbs that reinforce that hierarchy.

Category (& facet) problems

Categories, because they tend to be custom pages, don’t actually have many search disadvantages. Instead it’s the other attributes that make them more or less desirable. You can create them for the purposes you want and so you typically won’t have too many problems.

However, if you also use a faceted search in each category (like Amazon) to generate additional landing pages, then you’ll run into all the problems described in the next section.

At first facets seem great, an easy way to generate multiple strong relevant landing pages without doing much at all. The problems appear because people don’t put limits on facets.

Lets take the job page on teflSearch. We can see it has 18 facets each with many options. Some of these options will generate useful landing pages:

The China facet in countries will generate “Jobs in China” that’s a useful landing page.

On the other hand, the “Conditional Bonus” facet will generate “Jobs with a conditional bonus,” and that’s not so great.

We can also see that the options within a single facet aren’t always useful. As of writing, I have a single job available in Serbia. That’s not a useful search result, and the poor user engagement combined with the tiny amount of content will be a strong signal to Google that it’s thin content. Depending on the scale of your site it’s very easy to generate a mass of poor-quality landing pages.

Facets generate other problems too. The primary one being they can create a huge amount of duplicate content and pages for search engines to get lost in. This is caused by two things: The first is the sheer number of possibilities they generate, and the second is because selecting facets in different orders creates identical pages with different URLs.

We end up with four goals for our facet-generated landing pages:

  • Goal 1: Make sure our searchable landing pages are actually worth landing on, and that we’re not handing a mass of low-value pages to the search engines.
  • Goal 2: Make sure we don’t generate multiple copies of our automatically generated landing pages.
  • Goal 3: Make sure search engines don’t get caught in the metaphorical plastic six-pack rings of our facets.
  • Goal 4: Make sure our landing pages have strong internal linking.

The first goal needs to be set internally; you’re always going to be the best judge of the number of results that need to present on a page in order for it to be useful to a user. I’d argue you can rarely ever go below three, but it depends both on your business and on how much content fluctuates on your site, as the useful landing pages might also change over time.

We can solve the next three problems as group. There are several possible solutions depending on what skills and resources you have access to; here are two possible solutions:

Category/facet solution 1: Blocking the majority of facets and providing external links
  • Easiest method
  • Good if your valuable category pages rarely change and you don’t have too many of them.
  • Can be problematic if your valuable facet pages change a lot

Nofollow all your facet links, and noindex and block category pages which aren’t valuable or are deeper than x facet/folder levels into your search using robots.txt.

You set x by looking at where your useful facet pages exist that have search volume. So, for example, if you have three facets for televisions: manufacturer, size, and resolution, and even combinations of all three have multiple results and search volume, then you could set you index everything up to three levels.

On the other hand, if people are searching for three levels (e.g. “Samsung 42″ Full HD TV”) but you only have one or two results for three-level facets, then you’d be better off indexing two levels and letting the product pages themselves pick up long-tail traffic for the third level.

If you have valuable facet pages that exist deeper than 1 facet or folder into your search, then this creates some duplicate content problems dealt with in the aside “Indexing more than 1 level of facets” below.)

The immediate problem with this set-up, however, is that in one stroke we’ve removed most of the internal links to our category pages, and by no-following all the facet links, search engines won’t be able to find your valuable category pages.

In order re-create the linking, you can add a top level drop down menu to your site containing the most valuable category pages, add category links elsewhere on the page, or create a separate part of the site with links to the valuable category pages.

The top level drop down menu you can see on teflSearch (it’s the search jobs menu), the other two examples are demonstrated in Photobucket and Indeed respectively in the previous section.

The big advantage for this method is how quick it is to implement, it doesn’t require any fiddly internal logic and adding an extra menu option is usually minimal effort.

Category/facet solution 2: Creating internal logic to work with the facets

  • Requires new internal logic
  • Works for large numbers of category pages with value that can change rapidly

There are four parts to the second solution:

  1. Select valuable facet categories and allow those links to be followed. No-follow the rest.
  2. No-index all pages that return a number of items below the threshold for a useful landing page
  3. No-follow all facets on pages with a search depth greater than 1.
  4. Block all facet pages deeper than x level in robots.txt

As with the last solution, x is set by looking at where your useful facet pages exist that have search volume (full explanation in the first solution), and if you’re indexing more than one level you’ll need to check out the aside below to see how to deal with the duplicate content it generates.

This will generate landing pages for the facets you’ve decided are valuable and noindex the landing pages which are low-quality. It will only create pages for a single level of facets, which prevents duplicate content.


Aside: Indexing more than one level of facets

If you want a second level of facets to be indexable, e.g. Televisions – Facet 1 (46″), Facet 2 (Samsung), then the easiest option is to remove the fourth rule from above and either add links to them using one of the methods in Solution 1, or add the pages to your sitemap.

The alternative is to set robots.txt to allow category pages up to 2 levels to be indexed and all facets to be followed up to two levels.

This will, however, create duplicate content, because now search engines will be able to create:

  • Televisions – 46″ – Samsung
  • Televisions – Samsung – 46″

You’ll have to either rel canonical your duplicate pages with another rule or set-up your facets so they create a single unique URL.

You’ll also need to be aware that unless you set-up more complicated logic, all of your followable facets will multiply. Depending on your setup you might need to block more paths in robots.txt or set-up more logic.

Letting search engines index more than one level of facets adds a lot of possible problems; make sure you’re keeping track of them.


2. User-generated content cannibalization

This is a common problem for listings sites (assuming they allow user generated content). If you’re reading this as an e-commerce site who only lists their own products, you can skip this one.

As we covered in the first area, category pages on listings sites are usually the landing pages aiming for the valuable search terms, but as your users start generating pages they can often create titles and content that cannibalise your landing pages.

Suppose you’re a job site with a category page for PHP Jobs in Greater Manchester. If a recruiter then creates a job advert for PHP Jobs in Greater Manchester for the 4 positions they currently have, you’ve got a duplicate content problem.

This is less of a problem when your site is large and your categories mature, it will be obvious to any search engine which are your high value category pages, but at the start where you’re lacking authority and individual listings might contain more relevant content than your own search pages this can be a problem.

Solution 1: Create structured titles

Set the <title> differently than the on-page title. Depending on variables you have available to you can set the title tag programmatically without changing the page title using other information given by the user.

For example, on our imaginary job site, suppose the recruiter also provided the following information in other fields:

  • The no. of positions: 4
  • The primary area: PHP Developer
  • The name of the recruiting company: ABC Recruitment
  • Location: Manchester

We could set the <title> pattern to be: *No of positions* *The primary area* with *recruiter name* in *Location* which would give us:

4 PHP Developers with ABC Recruitment in Manchester

Setting a <title> tag allows you to target long-tail traffic by constructing detailed descriptive titles. In our above example, imagine the recruiter had specified “Castlefield, Manchester” as the location.

All of a sudden, you’ve got a perfect opportunity to pick up long-tail traffic for people searching in Castlefield in Manchester.

On the downside, you lose the ability to pick up long-tail traffic where your users have chosen keywords you wouldn’t have used.

For example, suppose Manchester has a jobs program called “Green Highway.” A job advert title containing “Green Highway” might pick up valuable long-tail traffic. Being able to discover this, however, and find a way to fit it into a dynamic title is very hard.

Solution 2: Use regex to noindex the offending pages

Perform a regex (or string contains) search on your listings titles and no-index the ones which cannabalise your main category pages.

If it’s not possible to construct titles with variables or your users provide a lot of additional long-tail traffic with their own titles, then is a great option. On the downside, you miss out on possible structured long-tail traffic that you might’ve been able to aim for.

Solution 3: De-index all your listings

It may seem rash, but if you’re a large site with a huge number of very similar or low-content listings, you might want to consider this, but there is no common standard. Some sites like Indeed choose to no-index all their job adverts, whereas some other sites like Craigslist index all their individual listings because they’ll drive long tail traffic.

Don’t de-index them all lightly!

3. Constantly expiring content

Our third and final problem is that user-generated content doesn’t last forever. Particularly on listings sites, it’s constantly expiring and changing.

For most use cases I’d recommend 301’ing expired content to a relevant category page, with a message triggered by the redirect notifying the user of why they’ve been redirected. It typically comes out as the best combination of search and UX.

For more information or advice on how to deal with the edge cases, there’s a previous Moz blog post on how to deal with expired content which I think does an excellent job of covering this area.

Summary

In summary, if you’re working with listings sites, all three of the following need to be kept in mind:

  • How are the landing pages generated? If they’re generated using free text or facets have the potential problems been solved?
  • Is user generated content cannibalising the main landing pages?
  • How has constantly expiring content been dealt with?

Good luck listing, and if you’ve had any other tricky problems or solutions you’ve come across working on listings sites lets chat about them in the comments below!

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