Why Can’t We Be Friends: Social Sharing and SEO

By Markerly’s Christine Beuhler 

Markerly, startup tips, startups

No one can seem to agree: is SEO out of date and obsolete or still worth it? And what are social signals? What’s going on? I’m going back to bed.

SEO and Google

Google doesn’t seem to like SEO much, which is understandable. So-called “black-hat” techniques (simply bad SEO practices) have made it their business to dupe search engines for years to get their clients in the top rankings and first pages of results. That bad name given by these techniques has pervaded SEO to the point that using SEO makes some companies uneasy and worry about its legitimacy as a method to getting more.

Content and Social Signals

Google’s phasing out of SEO means they have turned to other means to populate the top rankings, in this case social signals. The rule of thumb of social signals is the more times a piece of content is shared (the more likes, mentions, tweets, retweets, +1′s, etc.) the higher quality content it is, and generally the higher in the rankings it will show up. In fact, about half of the traffic to sites is now coming from social sharing instead of searching.

Creating quality content which is ALSO popular is not easy, but it is a more consistently reliable practice which makes sense to people. People like something, they share it, it’s a pretty simple concept, as opposed to monkeying around with technical SEO terms that they don’t understand and which seem to insist on changing anyway.

Marrying The Two

So the two have their differences, but it’s easy to see that social sharing and SEO affect each other. Their relationship is becoming intertwined, so what’s an entrepreneur/blogger/business owner to do?

As long as searching is still around, (and I’m pretty sure Google isn’t taking a vacation anytime soon) won’t SEO always be necessary? In that case, what still matters when it comes to SEO? To create harmony between the two groups, here are some areas where to marry SEO AND great content for optimum results.

(If you haven’t already, go take care of your content. Seriously. Social sharing is great, but it’s not king. Content is.)

1. GREAT Headlines

The function of a truly great headline is that it grabs, intrigues, and entices you into reading the full piece, usually in 8 words or less. A tall order, especially when stats say only 20% of people read your piece past the headline. No pressure or anything. But headlines are also a great opportunity to state clearly what your piece is about, and the words you select are a big contributing factor when it comes to online searching.

Pro Tip: Personally, I’m not a fan of “shocker” headlines, because after reading, I often feel manipulated, meaning my perception of the headline did not align with my perception of the article. You don’t ever want to give your audience a feeling of being used. They will determine that you are “not worth it” and they won’t come back.

2. Keywords

Carefully selecting keywords will really help out the people who are trying to find you, but it also helps you narrow down what your post is actually ABOUT. Sometimes, you start off having no idea what you’re talking about until the end, when the big picture slowly comes into view and you grasp it. Kudos for that, keywords!

Pro Tip: Longer phrases often help out more than shorter ones. Competition for one or two word phrases can be extremely fierce, so the more specific you are, the more likely you are to to bring in the kind of traffic you’re looking for.

3. Images

When choosing titles, captions, and alt text for your images, make sure they are tightly relevant to your topic and this could help bump up your content even more.

Pro Tip: Blocks of text can be scary and intimidating to the reader, but engaging images keep the eye flowing through the entire piece, especially if they’re funny images or have funny text.

4. Video

This one may surprise you, but stats show that video automatically ranks higher in Google Search over any other type of content. This a huge plus for your rankings, but having video content also sets you apart by switching up the medium of your content, making it more exciting for your regular readers.

Pro Tip: Show your personality and be engaging in how you move and talk. Try to turn off your anxieties about being in front of the camera and always focus on how to best help people. So as always, keep your content fresh and lively, because that’s what matters the most. But using some of the tips shown above can make sure you’re found by the right people, while keeping your content prevalent on social media. See? They don’t have to fight.

Check out Markerly’s blog about the future of content and why you need a content strategy, here.

The Wildly Successful Marketing Secrets of Startups

Typically, startups are lean, with a limited supply of money, talent, and time, meaning they don’t have resources to throw around willy-nilly. While this can induce panicky feelings for a lot of business owners, the upside is that it automatically forces burgeoning startups to wield the resources they do have sharply and intelligently.

This balancing act can get a bit tricky when it comes to marketing, because the internet has enabled an absolutely ludicrous array of options, opinions, and ideas to spring up. Get a website up! Contact investors! Use Pinterest! Start a YouTube channel! It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer scope of modern marketing and completely lose your head.

But focus! There are simple rules to keep in mind to craft the best marketing plan possible that fits your business. Any company’s product or service is built around a specific target audience, right? No matter how long your company’s been around or how much money it brings in, make sure your marketing is specifically targeted to your demographic as well, or it will flounder. While keeping in mind that your approach should be tailored to suit your audience, use these tips to make your marketing the best it can be!

Follow Mint’s Shining Example



Mint, a personal financial management service started in 2006, was built around the young professional demographic their chief marketer, Noah Kegan, thought was being neglected, and they aimed their content marketing accordingly with huge success. Behold, their secrets…Quality Content

Take a look at their MintLife blog yourself, and tell me if you don’t get sucked in by their entertaining, oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes infographics, and their friendly, direct, and helpful writing. Mint made sure to only engage quality writers and illustrators, both in-house and freelance. A lot of companies trip themselves up by going for quantity over quality and turning off many potential customers with low-grade content.

Remember that while quality content marketing may be a long game, it yields undeniable results.

Variety of Content

Knowing well how to appeal to their customer base of young internet-savvy professionals, Mint uses a variety of media to engage and hold their interest. Their blog doesn’t have just articles, but also videos, infographics, and slideshows, which keeps their site fresh and a pleasure to share with others.

Social Channels

To build up trust, Mint spread their content out to well-known social channels like Digg and Reddit and even more commendably, did it well. For the uninitiated, these social sharing sites can be tricky to navigate and come out the other end with positive feedback, especially Reddit. Mint managed to pull it off by genuinely engaging with readers of both sites. (Hint:don’t be spammy.)


Mint also relentlessly used carefully selected metrics to track the reactions to their content, and then used that knowledge to pursue what was working and drop what wasn’t. This means they were constantly improving on what they’d done before.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking the benefits of quality content marketing is a one-way street. Content marketing benefits your company hugely as well, by allowing you to engage intelligently and consistently with your community, and make sure you are always thinking about next steps to self-improve and evolve.

Quality content marketing is infectious. Heck, sometimes I’ll sign up for a service I might not even use, just because of how appreciative I am for that company’s content. Simply signing up for their service makes me more likely to be a paying customer in the future or pass along word of it to others who may convert to profitable users themselves. The same principle applies to the pricing of e-books which (at an average of $3-4) sell for drastically cheaper than paper books. Why is that? Even if customers don’t actually read the book, the low price means they don’t have much to lose in purchasing it, and just the simple act of acquisition means you are more likely to spread the word to other potential customers.









Be Creative

Don’t limit yourself in the terms of how you interact with your user base. In a sea of businesses and other startups jockeying for recognition, why should they choose you? Stand out (in a good way) and your audience will be delighted with and appreciate your extra effort.

Be Thoughtful

Consider your future courses of action carefully. Letting your ideas incubate and then acting accordingly will benefit you much more than trying out new fads at random. Having a smart team with similar values and a solid grasp on what’s important to your company’s growth really helps with this.

Be Aggressive

Don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there. You have a lot of competition, after all, and you won’t reach your goals by being passive in your efforts.

Always Fine-tune

Pursue strategies that have proven results and prune out what isn’t working. This will keep your company a solid marketing foundation to build off of and keep operations efficient.

In the end, it simply comes down to being a valued resource, which means being trusted, reliable, smart, entertaining, and helpful.

Christine Beuhler is a regular contributor to Markerly’s blog. Markerly is a content agency that connects your brand to influencers.

Is Your Content Targeted? Work Smarter, Not Harder

There is a general theme in a lot of the content that’s making its way out to sites like KISSMetrics and the Content Marketing Institute, where marketing professionals get a lot of inspiration. While most marketing consultants focus on technical tips for narrative-building strategies, content marketing strategy comes down to this: work smarter, not harder. So, how does one work smarter not harder?

"No matter if your business is online or in physical locations, web content is 
becoming the prime vehicle for sales. Companies commissioning better web content 
are waking up and realizing that this could make all the difference in taking 
them to the head of the class."

Sarah Ware, Content Markering, Markerly, startup tips

Approach 1: Autopilot

A lot of top-level managers feel like as long as content is relevant to the space, it will naturally be shared, consumed, and do its work effectively. It’s quite evident in the huge flood of generic marketing material swamping the web. Look at practically any industry, from auto parts to annuities, and you’ll find a large number of sites with extremely similar material. Some critics characterize this stuff as “fluff” or in the parlance of journalism–“puff pieces.” It could also be called “middle of the road’ or “safe” content. What it is, essentially, is a tried and true practice that has become calcified.


Approach 2: Taking The Wheel

Some of the most forward thinking companies are changing the ways that they promote themselves. Using data, content marketers can craft non-generic, unique pieces that provide a fresh perspective on an industry issue that readers are interested in. One way that businesses are able to use data to determine the type of message to send is through Markerly. A content campaign on Markerly will tell you how different demographics have engaged with your content. We’ll go even further to tell you what quotes or photos they were engaging with the most. Sometimes its best to listen and respond.  You can use this data to connect with your potential customers on a deeper and more personal level.

You might be surprised what you find out about your potential customers by how they organically interact with your content behind closed doors.


How to Take The Wheel

There are two main ways to accommodate this content upgrade. One is to get someone in the driver seat who profoundly understands these industry issues. That person acts as a head editor or point person for guiding and targeting content assignments to writers. Rather than giving individuals on a content team a simple set of keywords and expecting them to come up with meaningful content, adding this top-level role to a team ensures that writers will be out there focusing on what their audience wants to hear about.

Some companies don’t have the manpower or the inclination to appoint a point person like this; that’s not a problem. What some of these companies do involves hiring ex-journalists or others with a self starting capacity and a knack for creating targeted content. Companies simply set these “content sleuths” free, and what they come up with is a surprisingly robust website that boosts visibility for the brand and gets organic rankings and page views.


To be sure, this more sophisticated content strategy won’t come cheap. The company needs to make the decision to invest in this more sophisticated approach. But while some are reluctant to adopt new technology even if they yield better results, others have seen even modest investments in “new wave content” pay off big in terms of ROI. Times have changed. Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, web content is becoming the prime vehicle for sales. Companies commissioning better web content are waking up and realizing that this could make all the difference in taking them to the head of the class.

Markerly makes publishing tools that we’ve proudly been using since their alpha stage over a year ago. Right click on anything on Nibletz and watch Markerly go to work. For more info visit markerly.com


Why Brands Are Spending $43 Billion On Stories This Year–And You Should Too

Did you know that 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and that 7 in 10 consumers prefer content campaigns over display advertising? That’s why it’s so important to focus on a content strategy – it builds trust and relationships with your customers.

Even though content campaigns have many shapes and sizes, the main goal is the same — attracting customers to you through quality content. Over at Markerly, we call them STORIES.

Markerly, Sarah Ware, Guest Post, startup tips

Why STORIES are Important

S EO. Stories build your SEO. The more content that you have out there, the higher the chance that Google will feature you.

TRUST.  Stories build trust with your audience. Educate your potential customers instead of being overly sales-y.

ORGANIC. Incorporating a pull strategy to attract customers to you, instead of a push strategy attracts customers more organically.

RETARGET. When you use Markerly for your content campaigns, you will target niche audiences that are most likely to engage with your content. If you want to target married women who live on the West Coast that are into fashion, we can run a retargeting campaign to that specific audience.

INSIGHTS.  Another benefit of using Markerly for your content campaigns is the ability to run polling within the content. While running your campaign, you can ask the readers questions about your brand and we can collect emails and demographic information .

EVERGREEN. Unlike display ads, content never disappears from the web–it’s always there, searchable, and improving your SEO and thought leadership.

SOCIAL. You’re not going to share a display ad, but you will share a thoughtfully written post.

STORIES and Your Brand

STORIES are the most organic and effective way to build your brand online, and that’s why over 43 billion dollars have been spent on content marketing this year alone! Whether you are already advertising through content, or you are exploring your brand’s options, you’re in good company. Over 39% of marketing, advertising and communications budgets are dedicated to content marketing.

Taking the time to incorporate a pull strategy to attract customers to you through quality content instead of the generic push strategy (spraying ads out that add no value) is the future of advertising and already yields better results and conversion rates. We’re excited that more and more brands are moving towards STORIES so that they can improve their ROI and take their market insights to another level.

Markerly makes publishing tools that we’ve proudly been using since their alpha stage over a year ago. Right click on anything on Nibletz and watch Markerly go to work. For more info visit markerly.com