My Top Digital-Marketing Posts for 2012!

My first year working in the digital marketing industry is quickly drawing to a close and looking back, considering that the endless ideas and processes were completely new to me this time last year, it is remarkable how much (I feel) I have learnt. Along with my long-suffering colleagues and, of course, helping to plan and execute a multitude of SEO campaigns, the vast online emporium of generous and informative material has been essential in my development.

Partly as an end-of-year roundup and partly as a belated and disappointing Christmas gift, I have made a list of the digital-marketing posts, sorted into categories and listed by domain, that I have found most useful over my first year at Make It Rain. Hopefully you will too!

The Basics

If SEO is completely new to you, some of the processes and ideas can seem quite alien. There are a host of posts in existence that explain the various techniques and ideas needed to give you a kick-start into the industry, however, this can often involve hopping from site to site or returning to Google to scroll through more search results. There are a few great guides on the net in which everything you need to know is carefully explained and laid out in one place. These three were those that I found most helpful. Enjoy!

SEOmoz – Beginner’s guide to SEO
Google – Google Guide To Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Land – Search Engine Land’s Guide to SEO

Link Building

Link building, despite being abused over the years, is still perhaps the most important drive behind any optimisation campaign. This never-ending process, after Google’s aggressive crackdown on weak, irrelevant and spammy links, has actually become more exciting than ever.
These five posts are all you need to read (for now). Hats off to Jon Cooper (of Point Blank SEO) in particular!

Search Engine Watch – 131 Legitimate Link-Building Strategies
SEOBook – Beginner’s Guide to Link-Building
Point Blank SEO – Link Building Strategies
Point Blank SEO – Creative Link Building

On-Page/Site Optimisation

A spot of on-page optimisation, despite usually being quite technical, provides a simple and easy way to boost your rankings. It is also widely believed that if your site is poorly optimised then off-site SEO (link-building for example) will have less (or little) effect. Read these posts and get your site optimised!

Search Engine Journal – 12 Basic On-Site SEO Tactics for Optimised Results
SEOmoz – Learn on-page SEO
Hubspot – A Step-by-Step Guide to On-Page SEO
KissMetrics – Basic Guide to On-Page SEO
Make It Rain – Google’s SEO, The Number One Search Engine Through Human Eyes

Content Marketing

Although the process was well in motion before my first day, easily the most prominent issue in the industry has been the rise of content-marketing over less-desirable or ‘spammy’ link-building tactics. The idea behind this particular strand of inbound marketing is, on your site or blog, creating such interesting, useful, engaging (or even controversial) content that users will share, spread and naturally link to your site in order to show it to others. This new direction is exciting and certainly seems beneficial to the average browser and the Internet as a whole. These five posts look at both the importance of content marketing, as well as how to do it well…

Brafton – Infographic: Why is Content Important for SEO?
Quicksprout – Why Content Marketing is the New SEO
Search Engine Watch – Why Content Marketing is a Long-Term Strategy
SEOmoz – Content Marketing Should be a Long-Term Campaign
Distilled – How to produce Great Content With Little budget

Tools and Time-Saving Techniques

SEOs are very busy bees. With client meetings, analysis, pitching, planning, outreach and much, much more on their plates, not everything can always be done manually, step by step. Luckily, the very nature of the industry means there are a lot of IT experts, developers and programmers close at hand and this has resulted in the creation of a multitude of tools and programs to save time, automate tricky processes and in particular carry out detailed analysis that would be beyond most of us. These posts deal with the most useful tools for SEO.

Search Laboratory – Keep Your Site in Good Shape with Webmaster Tools
SEOBook – The Best SEO Tools
Hubspot – Best Tools to Analyse Your Site like Google Does
Distilled – Using Excel for SEO
Koozai – Top-Ten Best Web Analytics Resources

Guest Posting and Blogging

With content production and inbound marketing forming the backbone of most Internet campaigns, blogging has become an essential tool for any successful digital presence. With so many options on platforms, style, content etc. it is never easy knowing how to proceed.
Guest posting, too, has been a huge subject for debate and speculation. With so many traditional methods of link-building getting pounced upon by Google Penguin, many people have turned to several more long-term, time-consuming and (arguably) legitimate methods, guest posting being one of the most popular. These posts look at the value of guest posting, how to do it well and how to keep your blog well trimmed and engaging.

Business 2 Community – What is Google’s View on Guest Blogging for Links
Social Media Examiner – 22-Top Blogging Tools
SEOmoz – 17 Ways to Improve your Blog (Case Study)
Search Engine People – Using Author Rank to Future Proof Guest Posting
Social Media Examiner – A Guide to Google Author Tags

Social Media Marketing

Social Media has really taken off these past few years, the number of Facebook users reaching 1 billion in October (2012), while the number of Twitter users has reached more than 500 million (although fewer than this are currently active). Since it is now such an important part of the Internet, Google has been forced to start using social signals to inform its ranking decisions, meaning SEOs are soon going to have to be paying a lot more attention to likes, +1′s and Retweets. These posts look at the most effective way of using Social Media as well as its relationship with ranking and SEO.

Simply Business – Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Social Media
SingleGrain – 50 Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Google
Blind Five Year Old – Using Google+ for SEO
Econsultancy – How Social Signals Influence SEO: Five things You Need to Know
SEOmoz – A Guide to Social Signals for SEO

Any posts of the above categories that you feel were particularly helpful to ‘entry-level’ SEOs this year? Please let me know in the comments. I look forward to compiling a similar list in 2013…

Jan, 22, 2013