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Running Into Issues in Shared Excel Sheets? Learn How to Lock Cells

Ever left something perfectly fine and came back to a total disaster? Any pet owner will probably say, “yes.”

At work, the same can happen when collaborating on a shared document. It’s usually an accidental keyboard stroke that does it. Unless it’s done by your cat, in which case, it’s not accidental – it’s definitely sabotage.

While a mistake like this is understandable, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to fix. When working on shared Excel sheets, you can prevent these mishaps altogether by locking cells and protecting your worksheets.

Whether you’re working on an upcoming report or planning out next quarter’s budget, learn how to prevent anyone from changing or deleting important information on an Excel document.

Can you lock cells in Excel?

Yes, you can lock cells on Excel by following a few simple steps. When you lock a cell in Excel, you restrict users from making changes to your sheets. It’s particularly helpful when working on a project that involves multiple team members.

For instance, let’s say you’re the marketing director and you’ve asked each channel lead (email, website, social) to report their quarterly numbers for an upcoming meeting.

You wouldn’t want someone accidentally deleting important information, or changing formulas or conditional formatting before consulting with key stakeholders. This process ensures that only pre-approved users can edit the cell, which will save you a headache in the future.

Another method is locking your formula cells so that the numbers populate correctly. Jump to that section here.

How to Lock Cells in Excel

1. Select the cell(s) you want to lock.

How to Lock Cells in Excel

2. Click on the “Home” tab of your Excel sheet.

How to Lock Cells in Excel step 1

3. Click on “Format,” located on the right side of the screen.

How to Lock Cells in Excel step 2

4. Scroll down and click on “Lock Cell.”

How to Lock Cells in Excel step 3

Once you complete these steps, your cells will be locked but can still be edited. To ensure the cells aren’t editable, you’ll also have to protect your worksheet. Find those steps in the next section.

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel

1. Once you’ve locked your cells, click on the “Review” tab.

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel step 1

2. Click on “Protect Sheet.”

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel step 2

3. Select which permissions you’d like to allow on the sheet, then click “OK.” You can also add a password for additional protection.

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel step 3

Note: If you don’t add a password, any user can click “Unprotect Sheet” to make changes to the sheet. When you add a password, only those with the code can do so.

4. Confirm that your cells are locked by looking for the “Unprotect Sheet” icon in the toolbar.

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel step 4

You can also double-check that your worksheet is protected by attempting to write something in the locked cells. You should get this alert.

How To Protect a Worksheet in Excel step 5

How to Protect Specific Cells in Excel (& Get a Shortcut to Lock Cells)

1. Select the cells you want to lock then press Ctrl+Shift+F (Windows) or Ctrl + 1 (Mac) to open up the “Format Cells” box. Then, click on the “Protection” tab.

How to Protect Specific Cells in Excel step 1

2. Select the “Locked” box and click “OK” on the bottom right to finish.

These simple steps offer both a shortcut to locking cells in bulk and a way to protect specific cells in Excel.

How to Protect Formulas in Excel

A green triangle indicates an error in your cell’s formula. The error sign will show up if your formula is unprotected.

Excel formula error warning

Any unauthorized or accidental changes to a formula can alter the integrity of the data reported in the sheet. As such, it’s important to always lock your formulas to prevent mistakes.

Here’s how you protect your formulas in Excel:

1. Click on the cell with the green triangle and look for the yellow triangle warning sign.

How to Protect Formulas in Excel step 1

2. Click on the warning sign and select “Lock Cell.”

How to Protect Formulas in Excel step 2

3. You must then protect your worksheet by clicking on “Protect Sheet” under the “Review” tab.

How to Protect Formulas in Excel step 3

Another way to protect your formulas is by locking each formula cell individually as you build your worksheet (as outlined here) and protecting your sheet once all formulas have been locked.

Whether you’re the person fixing the mistake or the one who made it, following these steps will ensure it never happens again. And your cat will have to find something else to sabotage.

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Google search rankings algorithm check-in; Friday’s daily brief

Local Service Ads Google bug, speeding up images and the value of our old internet companies.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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The real-world impact of keyword stuffing in Google My Business

Many businesses are rebranding completely to skirt Google’s guidelines. But when everyone does it, it becomes a branding nightmare.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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What Is Attribution Modeling and Why It’s So Important

As a marketer, you know how many avenues there are for your prospects and customers to interact with you throughout the buyer’s journey. These avenues refer to channels (e.g. PPC, your website, email campaigns, social media) and touchpoints (e.g. specific ads, blog posts, social media posts, emails). Marketing attribution modeling can help you determine the impact of all of those marketing efforts.

Attribution Modeling

In this blog post, we’ll talk about what attribution modeling is, why it’s important, the different types of attribution modeling, and some tools to help with the process. Let’s get started.

What’s the purpose of attribution modeling?

By assigning credit to your marketing channels and touchpoints, you can increase your chances of converting more prospects by 1) identifying areas of the buyer’s journey that you can improve, 2) determining the ROI for each channel or touchpoint, 3) surfacing the most effective ways to spend your marketing budget, and 4) tailoring your marketing campaigns and content to your unique personas.

Types of Attribution Modeling

There are a handful of common types of attribution modeling. Although all attribution models look at the channels and touchpoints involved in a customer’s decision to convert, each of them weighs those channels and touchpoints differently.

1. Multi-Touch Attribution Modeling

Multi-touch attribution modeling is powerful because it takes into account every channel and touchpoint that a customer interacted with throughout the buyer’s journey, up until they decided to convert. It tells you which of those channels and touchpoints were most influential as well as provides insight into how they worked together to influence a customer.

2. Cross-Channel Attribution Modeling

Cross-channel attribution modeling is often used interchangeably with multi-touch attribution. However, their definitions differ slightly. Cross-channel attribution designates value to each marketing channel (such as paid, organic, or social media) but doesn’t look at the specific touchpoints within those channels the way that multi-touch attribution does.

3. Linear Attribution Modeling

Linear attribution modeling is a type of multi-touch attribution that gives equal credit to all channels and touchpoints that a customer interacted with throughout the buyer’s journey.

4. First-Touch Attribution Modeling

First touch attribution modeling gives all the credit for the conversion to the first channel or touchpoint that was interacted with by the customer.

5. Last-Touch Attribution Modeling

Last-touch attribution modeling is the opposite of first-touch attribution modeling — it gives all the credit to the last touchpoint a lead interacted with before converting.

6. Time-Decay Attribution Modeling

Time-decay attribution modeling gives credit to all of the touchpoints that contributed to a conversion and also considers the time that each touchpoint occurred — the touchpoints that happened closest to the time of conversion are weighted most heavily.

7. U-Shaped Attribution Modeling

U-shaped modeling, also known as position-based attribution modeling, splits the credit for a conversion between the first and last touchpoints.

8. W-Shaped Attribution Modeling

W-shaped attribution modeling gives the most credit to the first touchpoint, last touchpoint, and mid-funnel touchpoint before a conversion — it then gives equal credit to the rest of the touchpoints.

Attribution Modeling Tools

There are a number of tools that have the ability to help with marketing attribution modeling — here are three options to help you get started.

1. CallRail

callrail attribution modeling tool

CallRail is a call tracking and marketing analytics platform. The tool has a number of reports so you can analyze your call data in different ways — one of these is attribution modeling, a report that lives within their cost-per-lead reporting category.

Why do you need attribution modeling for your calls? It offers an understanding of every marketing touchpoint that led to a phone conversation with a prospect. It tells you which sources are leading to the greatest number of phone calls, and therefore leads who are most likely to convert into paying customers.

Integrate your all-in-one HubSpot CRM platform with CallRail.

2. Wicked Reports

wicked reports attribution modeling tool

Wicked Reports is multi-channel attribution software for ecommerce marketers. The tool calculates ROI and LTV for every channel, campaign, and ad so you can understand the impact of each marketing touchpoint. Wicked Reports maps your attribution models to your unique campaign goals — this way, you can determine the impact of your campaigns throughout the buyer’s journey.

The tool provides in-depth and accurate data across all of your business platforms — including Google, CRMs like HubSpot, marketing software, ecommerce platforms, and Facebook — so you can combine and access your attribution data with ease.

Integrate your all-in-one HubSpot CRM platform with Wicked Reports.

3. Attribution

attribution software for attribution modeling

Attribution is an enterprise multi-touch attribution tool that gives you a clear understanding of the impact of each of your marketing touchpoints. It automates data collection using its many integrations with ad software, CRM platforms, marketing tools, and more. It also accounts for your offline marketing touchpoints as well as your budget.

The process of attribution modeling is also automated for you and you can segment your attribution results and reports by channel, marketing campaign, touchpoint, and more.

Integrate your all-in-one HubSpot CRM platform with Attribution.

Grow Better With Attribution Modeling

Attribution modeling allows you to hone in on the buyer’s journey and understand which parts of it are working best for your customers and what needs improvement. It also offers insight into how your marketing channels and touchpoints are working together to convert your target audience.

Determine which models will provide the information you care most about, identify the right tool for you, and get started with attribution modeling.

Marketing Plan Template

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25 of the Best Free WordPress Themes for Bloggers in 2021

As a blogger, you want your website to reflect your unique voice and style. You also want visitors to have a positive experience navigating your site — that is, reading posts with ease, searching for topics of interest, and discovering other content that makes them excited to return.

A WordPress blogging theme can help you achieve the exact look, feel, design, and layout you envision, without the need for coding.

We’ve curated this list of our favorite free WordPress themes for bloggers like yourself — in no particular order — to consider using for your website.

1. Astra

Astra is a fast and lightweight theme that’s suitable for a variety of use cases. This flexible foundation makes Astra a quality option to consider when building a blog. The theme comes with several ready-to-use blog websites that can be imported, modified, and used out of the box.

Many bloggers get by just fine with the limited customization options for backgrounds, typography, and spacing within the free version of Astra. But for several advanced features like auto-loading previous posts, adding author sections, and removing featured image padding, you’d need to opt for the Pro or Agency plan.

Astra is one of the fastest themes available, and its compatibility with all major page builders (such as Elementor, Beaver, and Brizy) make it a great option for bloggers.

astra wordpress blog theme

2. Kadence

Kadence is a lightweight and fully-featured WordPress theme that makes creating beautiful fast-loading and accessible websites a breeze. It features an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop header and footer builder to build any type of header in minutes.

For bloggers, Kadence stands out because of its clean blog styling, including featured image placements and sticky sidebar options. Additionally, Kadence has a deep integration with the core block editor, so your content will match what you see in the admin panel.  

Kadence WP Theme

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3. Blog Way

Blog Way is a simple and professional theme. It’s clean, well-coded, and has a modern layout. Blog Way is especially great for blogs, news sites, and travel sites. It has multiple customizable features and ensures high-quality performance to help boost your site traffic. Blog Way also comes with an option to change the color of your entire site and offers social links for you to connect your site with your social accounts.

Blog Way free WordPress blogging theme

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4. Simple

Simple is a free WordPress theme developed by Themify and built for, well, simplicity. Simple is designed so customers can buy items directly from your WordPress website without being redirected to Shopify, but you can run a regular blog on it as well. Creating your design or online store is easy with the drag and drop interface through Themify Builder, which comes with the theme. 

Simple free WordPress blogging theme

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5. Mesmerize

Mesmerize is all about giving you customizability without the hassle. Start with a pre-built homepage and use the five header designs, slideshow capabilities, gradient overlays, and more to make the look and feel your own. In addition, there are 30 ready-to-use content sections for you to build pages quickly and easily… not to mention the helpful drag-and-drop features. It’s mobile-responsive, and it works well with WooCommerce should you ever need to set up a store.

mesmerize wordpress blog theme

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6. Kale

Kale is built for food bloggers. You can choose from a number of feed displays to organize your written content and images of the dishes you’re featuring. The built-in social media sidebar menus and icons make it easy for your visitors to locate, view, and follow your accounts.

kale wordpress theme for bloggers

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7. Avant

Avant comes with seven different header styles, three footer styles, five blog layout templates, full site color settings, and much more built neatly into the WordPress Customizer. Avant integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce and page builders like Elementor or SiteOrigin.

avant free wordpress blog theme

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8. Blossom Feminine

Blossom Feminine is a free WordPress theme that you can use to create a fashion, lifestyle, journal, travel, beauty, or food blog. The theme is mobile-friendly, search engine optimized, and fast. In addition, the theme is WooCommerce compatible, translation ready, and comes with regular updates.

Feminine free WordPress blogging theme

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9. Blossom Fashion

Blossom Fashion is perfect for building a stylish blog without spending a penny. While free, the theme offers premium features like WooCommerce compatibility, font choosing options, an advertisement widget, Instagram section, and more. The theme makes sure it is easy to use and comes with extensive documentation, and there’s always support if you need more help.

Blossom Fashion free WordPress blogging theme

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10. Blossom Travel

Blossom Travel is a fast-loading and mobile-friendly WordPress theme for travel blogs. The theme blends accessible design with extensive features like social media integrations, theme color options, and lightbox image styling. Moreover, Blossom Travel has an Instagram section, email subscription section, and social media widgets so visitors can easily connect with you. Best of all is its HTML map section so that your visitors can visualize where you’ve traveled.

Blossom Travel free WordPress blogging theme

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11. Blossom Pin

The Blossom Pin theme features a Pinterest-style design, using a vibrant masonry layout with three posts/page layout options. Its infinite scroll lets visitors browse without distraction. The theme is SEO-optimized and easily customizable: Choose from many different colors and hundreds of Google fonts.

Blossom Pin free WordPress blogging theme

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12. Elegant Pink

Another dynamic Pinterest-like layout, Elegant Pink is a free and beautifully designed theme combining soft colors with a simple and clean layout to present your blog to the world. Elegant Pink also has a slider section above the masonry-design post on the homepage.

Elegant Pink free WordPress blogging theme

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13. Writee

Writee is ideal for photography or image-heavy blogs — the theme has a slider hero image feature which allows you to include several full-width images. Writee also makes managing an online store simple with its WooCommerce integration.

writee wordpress theme for bloggers

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14. Hemingway

Hemingway is a simple two-column blogging theme that keeps your content organized and easy to read. It includes a parallax scrolling feature, which adds an interactive, video-like experience to your blog pages. Hemingway’s translation-ready feature comes with pre-made language files so your website can be automatically translated into a number of other languages with just a click.

hemingway wordpress theme free

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15. Radiate

The Radiate blogging theme offers unique visuals, including a customizable, full-width hero image and primary color options so you can match your branding. If you have a Premium or Business account (that is, if you pay for WordPress), you can take advantage of custom Cascading Style Sheets.

Radiate free WordPress blogging theme

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16. Neve

Neve is a powerful, free WordPress theme from ThemeIsle. It offers a fully responsive mobile-first design and extensive customization options to tailor your blog to your brand image. Neve frequently updates for security and new features, and its theme options panel will help you get started out-of-the-box.

Neve free WordPress blogging theme

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17. Bulan

Bulan offers multiple homepage layouts for your blog including full-width, boxed, narrow, and multi-column options. There are also a number of customizable sidebar and navigation configurations to enhance your blog-reading experience. Not to mention, you can install custom widgets to increase functionality.

Bulan free WordPress blogging theme

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18. Total

Total is a blogging theme with a masonry-style layout, which places your latest three, six, or nine blog posts in a grid format. There’s also a portfolio section if you want to share some of your artistic work. Total is SEO-friendly, compatible with the most popular page builder plugins, and has a one-click demo import to get you up and running fast.

Total free WordPress blogging theme

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19. Spacious

Spacious offers four page layouts, two templates, four blog layouts, and several custom widgets and widget areas to choose from. Building your site with Spacious is a painless process due to their downloadable demo sites that you can use for inspiration and support.

Spacious free WordPress blogging theme

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20. Blog Diary

Blog Diary is meant to be lightweight and minimalistic, perfect for trendy food or travel blogs. It comes with slider functionality and color picking options, and it is easy to get up and running on the fly. In addition, it’s mobile-responsive and compatible with the Gutenberg editor.

blog diary free wordpress theme

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21. Wisteria

Wisteria is a blogging theme with a minimalist design. It includes layouts tailored to a variety of blogs including lifestyle, food, fashion, marketing, and more. Wisteria is retina-ready, meaning all of your images and content will be high-definition to ensure your site has a professional look.

wisteria blog theme for wordpress

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22. Editorial

The Editorial blog theme is visually engaging, simple to use, and flexible enough to organize large amounts of editorial content in a way that won’t overwhelm readers. Editorial also comes with a variety of convenient widgets that let you easily customize your page sections, no coding needed.

Editorial free WordPress blogging theme

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23. Brilliant

Brilliant is a blog and online magazine theme that allows you to artistically pair your blog posts with photo or video content. You can add or edit your own custom logo on your homepage as well as easily customize your theme’s accent colors to match your branding. Brilliant is also translation-ready, so visitors can read your content in different languages.

Brilliant free WordPress blogging theme

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24. Poseidon

If you’re looking to include large, professional-looking photographs on your blog, Poseidon is the option for you — this theme offers a full-width image slideshow on the homepage. The layout is mainly white to create a spacious, organized look. Poseidon also includes completely customizable navigation bars to enhance user experience and improve your site’s configuration.

poseidon wordpress blog theme

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25. Author

Author is a straightforward theme suitable for all blog types from business to photography to ecommerce. Its minimalist look helps readers to easily focus on your content. What’s unique about this particular theme is that it was designed not just for readability but also accessibility. 

Author free WordPress blogging theme

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A free blogging WordPress theme will help you to create a unique, functional, and eye-catching place for your content. Each theme offers features, layouts, and styling that set them apart, so consider the overall design you’re going for on your blog to help you determine the ideal option for you.

Then, install your theme, begin to add content, and customize your site to create a great user experience that keeps readers returning for more.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Use HubSpot tools on your WordPress website and connect the two platforms  without dealing with code. Click here to learn more.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization in Your Next Marketing Campaign

Did you know that your SEO and PPC campaigns may compete with each other? Learn how to spot and eliminate keyword cannibalization in this article.


Reblogged 1 year ago from

Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers diversify their content programs too quickly, endangering the program from the start
  • Successful content marketers and media companies focus on fewer platform channels
  • Instead of adding more channels, killing off underperforming channels works better
  • Perform a content audit to find out channels in which you should stop creating content

The problem is, simply put, out of control. Just because a company or individual can create and distribute content on a platform, doesn’t mean they should. But it’s happening… and it’s killing content marketing strategies around the globe.

I’ve had the opportunity to analyze content marketing strategies from huge brands, desperately trying to build audiences online leveraging content marketing. In almost every case, each one made the same mistake.

They diversify too quickly.

Let me explain.

When an organization decides to fund a content marketing strategy, the initial stages are always exciting. Just coming to the decision of which audience and content niche to target is an exhausting process, but once complete, the company is ready to create content…everywhere.

Should we do a blog? Check. How about a YouTube video series? Yes to that. Podcast? Sure. TikTok series? Why not. Email newsletter? I guess so.

Then add about five other social media channels and you have yourself a content marketing strategy.

Just not a good one.

According to Content Marketing Institute research, the average enterprise creates content on between 14 and 16 different platforms.

Succeeding at this kind of strategy is like winning the lottery. It just won’t happen.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

One channel. One content type.

The greatest audience-building entities of all time selected one primary channel in which to build their platform:

  • Financial Times—printed newspaper
  • Fortune—printed magazine
  • TED Talks—in-person events
  • ESPN—cable television programming
  • Huffington Post—online magazine format
  • The Joe Rogan Experience—podcast show
  • PewDiePie—YouTube series

Even in today’s age of social media, content empires start with one platform as the core base of operation and primarily deliver content at that one place over time to build an audience.

For my new book ‘Content Inc.‘, we interviewed and analyzed more than 100 individuals and small businesses who went from zero subscribers to a massive audience. After two or three years, these content empires became multi-million-dollar platforms.

The interesting part is that they didn’t diversify immediately, but focused on delivering consistently valuable content, primarily on one channel and one content type, choosing audio, video, or text plus images.

  • Ann Reardon from ‘How to Cook That‘ decided to create consistent videos and distribute them on YouTube
  • Philip Werner from ‘com‘ creates and delivers a text-plus-images blog post every day on his WordPress-developed website
  • Wally Koval from ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson‘ distributes one image per day on Instagram, including amazing textual detail describing the location

But these are the exceptions. Most content marketing strategies run short-term blitzes (sometimes called campaigns), diversifying before the proper time.

Content marketing strategy is about saying “no”

When you decide to employ a content marketing strategy with the goal of building a loyal and trusting audience over time, you actually need to decide to not create and distribute content in certain places.

But what if you are already on multiple platforms? If you already have a content marketing strategy, now is probably the time to start killing some of your channels.

We always want more. We believe more is better. When launching a new content effort, “master of none, jack of all trades” never, ever works. How did Amazon become the most valuable company in the world? For three years the company sold only books. Once they perfected that model, only then did they begin selling other things. A proper content marketing strategy behaves the same way.

Successful content initiatives work because they start their journey with one amazing newsletter, one amazing video series, one amazing in-person event, or one amazing blog rather than 100 randomized content pieces that don’t inspire any kind of behavior change.

There is something about focus. There is something about being truly remarkable at one thing. The problem is that it requires you to choose. It requires you to stop creating content everywhere and focus on what’s really important, what will really move the needle.

The four components

Whether you are a media company, a large enterprise, or a content entrepreneur, building a loyal audience includes four key components.

First, identify one target audience

Choose an audience that is too broad and you’ve already failed.

Second, you need a differentiation area

We call this a content tilt. Basically, why would anyone want to engage in your content on a regular basis? Mark Schaefer, the author of Cumulative Advantage, calls this “finding the seam,” which is a content gap that you can exploit to rise above all the clutter.

Third, you identify the primary content platform

The one that makes the most sense for your storytelling. Both your expertise/skill area and the audience will dictate that.

And finally, you select your primary content type

These could look like videos on YouTube, text/images in an email, audio on a podcast, and imagery on Instagram.


When do I diversify into other platforms?

Did you know that Red Bull Media House started with a mini-magazine that they gave away at Formula 1 races? In order to include the results post-race, they actually lugged a Heidelberg press to the track and printed it next to the track.

That mini-magazine turned into ‘Red Bulletin magazine. Once they built what Brian Clark from Copyblogger calls a minimum viable audience, then (and only then) did they diversify into the billion-dollar media conglomerate they are today.

The focus and energy they put into making the Red Bulletin great paid off. But this is not a rare occurrence for successful content empires. All great media companies do this and have for years. Look at ‘The Morning Brew’. They almost exclusively focused on building an amazing email newsletter for years. Once they built an audience of over 100,000 subscribers, then they diversified into the podcasts and the multiple other targeted digital newsletters they successfully developed.

So, set an audience/subscriber target and focus all your energy on reaching that number. Then, once you have a loyal audience that loves you and probably will buy anything from you, you can diversify to another platform.

But what about social media?

Of course, you can keep your precious social media channels. That said, you need to think about them differently. What’s the goal? Is it for research and development? Amplification of content? To build subscribers? Whatever the goal, make sure it aligns with your core platform.

Let’s look at ‘The Hustle’, newly acquired by Hubspot. The Hustle’s goal on Twitter is to be interesting every day to their target audience and ultimately drive new subscribers to their email newsletter. Everything they do on Twitter supports their platform strategy.

So yes, you don’t have to close up all your social media, but you sure as heck have to align your goals with your platform.

Try killing one

Building a platform that works is challenging for any sized company. We all have limited resources in some way.

The best advice is to perform an honest analysis of what you are doing. Maybe that podcast just doesn’t make sense. Maybe that YouTube series is a waste of time? Or maybe not.

Perform a simple content audit and, then, kill something. Kill something so that you can be better at something else. Who knows, maybe your podcast or your email newsletter could be amazing but you just haven’t focused enough because you are tinkering with Facebook groups or TikTok.

Make the tough decisions now so that, later, you can build the audience of your dreams.

Joe Pulizzi is the author of the best-selling content marketing book, Content Inc., and founder of content creation news site, The Tilt.

The post Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Convince Your Boss to Send You to MozCon Virtual 2021 [Plus Bonus Letter Template!]

It’s time to get down to business and convince your boss that you HAVE to go to MozCon Virtual 2021.

You’re already well acquainted with the benefits of MozCon. Maybe you’re a MozCon alumnus, or you may have lurked the hashtag once or twice for inside tips. You’ve likely followed the work of some of the speakers for a while. But how are you going to relay that to your boss in a way that sells? Don’t worry, we’ve got a plan.

(And if you want to skip ahead to the letter template, here it is!)

Copy the template

Step #1 – Gather evidence

Alright, so just going in and saying “Have you seen any of Britney Muller’s Whiteboard Fridays lately?!” probably won’t do the trick — we need some cold hard facts that you can present.

MozCon delivers actionable insights

It’s easy to say that MozCon provides actionable insights, but how do you prove it? A quick scroll through our Facebook Group can prove to anyone that not only is MozCon a gathering of the greatest minds in search, but it also acts as an incubator and facilitator for SEO strategies.

If you can’t get your boss on Facebook, just direct them to the blog post written by Croud: Four things I changed immediately after attending MozCon. Talk about actionable! A quick Google (or LinkedIn) search will return dozens of similar recaps. Gather a few of these to have in your tool belt just in case.

Or, if you have the time, pick out some of the event tweets from previous years that relate most to your company. The MozCon hashtag (#MozCon) has plenty of tweets to choose from — things like research findings, workflows, and useful tools are all covered. 

The networking is unbeatable

The potential knowledge gain doesn’t end with keynote speeches. Many of our speakers stick around for the entire conference and host niche- and vertical-specific Birds of a Feather sessions. If you find yourself with questions about their strategies, you’ll often have the ability to ask them directly.

Lastly, your peers! There’s no better way to learn than from those who overcome the same obstacles as you. Opportunities for collaboration and peer-to-peer learning are often invaluable, and can lead to better workflows, new business, and even exciting partnerships.

Step #2 – Break down the costs

This is where the majority of the conversation will be focused, but fear not, Roger has already done most of the heavy lifting. So let’s cut to the chase. The goal of MozCon isn’t to make money — the goal is to break even and lift up our friends in search. Plus, since it’s a virtual conference, the price is unbeatable! If you purchase a ticket before May 31, 2021, you’ll get access to Early Bird pricing, and if you’re Moz subscribers, you get a $20 discount off General Admission! 

You’ll also have the option to save 15% if you bundle the ticket with either of Moz Academy’s SEO certifications: Technical SEO or SEO Essentials.

Top-of-the-line speakers

Every year we work with our speakers to bring cutting-edge content to the stage. You can be sure that the content you’ll be exposed to will set you up for a year of success.

Videos for everyone

While your coworkers won’t be able to enjoy the live sessions, they will be able to see all of the talks via professional video and audio. Your ticket to MozCon includes a professional video package which allows you (and your whole team) to watch every single talk post-conference, for free. 

Step #3 – Be prepared to prove value

It’s important to go into the conference with a plan to bring back value. It’s easy to come to any conference and just enjoy the presentations and events, but it’s harder to take the information gained and implement change.

Make a plan

Before approaching your boss, make sure you have a plan on how you’re going to show off all of the insights you gather at MozCon! Obviously, you’ll be taking notes — whether it’s to the tune of live tweets, bullet journals, or doodles, those notes are most valuable when they’re backed up by action.

Putting it into action

Set expectations with your boss. “After each day, I’ll select three takeaways and create a plan on how to execute them.” Who could turn down nine potential business-changing strategies?!

And it really isn’t that hard! Especially not with the content that you’ll have access to. At the close of each day, we recommend you look back over your notes and do a brain-dump. 

  • How did today’s content relate to your business? 
  • Which sessions resonated and would bring the most value to your team? 
  • Which strategies can easily be executed? 
  • Which would make the biggest impact?

After you identify those strategies, create a plan of action that will get you on track for implementing change.

Client briefs

If you have clients on retainer, ongoing training for employees is something those clients should appreciate — it ensures you’re staying ahead of the game. Offer to not only debrief your in-house SEO team, but to also present to your clients. This sort of presentation is a value add that many clients don’t get and can set your business apart.

These presentations can be short blurbs at the beginning of a regular meeting or a chance to gather up all of your clients and enjoy a bit of networking and education.

Still not enough?

Give the boss a taste of MozCon by having them check out some videos from years past to get a taste for the caliber of our speakers. 

Lastly, the reviews speak for themselves. MozCon is perfect for SEOs of any level, no matter where they’re located! 

Our fingers are crossed!

Alright, friend, now is your time to shine. We’ve equipped you with some super-persuasive tools and we’ll be crossing our fingers that the boss gives you the “okay!” Be sure to grab the letter template and make your case the easy way:

Copy the template

We hope to see your smiling face at MozCon Virtual 2021!

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Google Advanced Search Operators for Competitive Content Research

#kwd1 { border: 2px solid #53bce7; padding: 3px 12px }

The excitement of finishing a competitive keyword research project often gives way to the panic of fleeing from an avalanche of opportunities. Without an organizing principle, a spreadsheet full of keywords is a bottomless to-do list. It’s not enough to know what your competitors are ranking for — you need to know what content is powering those rankings and how you’re currently competing with that content. You need a blueprint to craft those keywords into a compelling structure.

Recently, I wrote a post about the current state of long-tail SEO. While I had an angle for the piece in mind, I also knew it was a topic Moz and others had covered many times. I needed to understand the competitive landscape and make sure I wasn’t cannibalizing our own content.

This post covers one method to perform that competitive content research, using Google’s advanced search operators. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll pare down the keyword research and start our journey with just one phrase: “long tail seo.”

Find your best content (site:)

long tail seo

“long tail seo”

First, what has Moz already published on the subject? By pairing your target keywords with the [site:] operator, you can search for matching content only on your own site. I usually start with a broad-match search, but if your target phrases are made up of common words, you could also use quotation marks and exact-match search. Here’s the first piece of content I see:

Google search result for long tail SEO search

Our best match on the subject is a Whiteboard Friday from five years ago. If I had nothing new to add to the subject and/or I was considering doing a video, this might end my journey. I don’t really want to compete with my own content that’s already performing well. In this case, I decide that I’ve got a fresh take, and I move forward.

Target a specific folder (inurl:)

long tail seo inurl:learn

long tail seo

For larger sites, you might want to focus on a specific section, like the blog, or in Moz’s case, our Learning Center. You have a couple of options here. You could use the [inurl:] operator with the folder name, but that may result in false alarms, like:




This may be useful, in some cases, but when you need to specifically focus on a sub-folder, just add that sub-folder to the [site:] operator. The handy thing about the [site:] operator is that anything left off is essentially a wild card, so [] will return anything in the /learn folder.

Find all competing pages (-site:)

long tail seo

Now that you have a sense of your own, currently-ranking content, you can start to dig into the competition. I like to start broad, simply using negative match [-site:] to remove my own site from the list. I get back something like this:

Google SERP for

This is great for a big-picture view, but you’re probably going to want to focus in on just a couple or a handful of known competitors. So, let’s narrow down the results …

Explore key competitors (site: OR site:)

long tail seo ( OR

By using the [OR] operator with [site:] and putting the result in parentheses, you can target a specific group of competitors. Now, I get back something like this:

Google SERP for

Is this really different than targeting one competitor at a time? Yes, in one important way: now I can see how these competitors rank against each other.

Explore related content #1 (-“phrase”)

long tail seo -“long tail seo”

As you get into longer, more targeted phrases, it’s possible to miss relevant or related content. Hopefully, you’ve done a thorough job of your initial keyword research, but it’s still worth checking for gaps. One approach I use is to search for your main phrase with broad match, but exclude the exact match phrase. This leaves results like:

Google SERP for long tail seo -

Just glancing at page one of results, I can see multiple mentions of “long tail keywords” (as well as “long-tail” with a hyphen), and other variants like “long tail keyword research” and “long tail organic traffic.” Even if you’ve turned these up in your initial keyword research, this combination of Google search operators gives you a quick way to cover a lot of variants and potentially relevant content.

Explore related content #2 (intext: -intitle:)

intext:”long tail seo” -intitle:”long tail seo”

Another handy trick is to use the [intext:] operator to target your phrase in the body of the content, but then use [-intitle:] to exclude results with the exact-match phrase in the title. While the results will overlap with the previous trick, you can sometimes turn up some interesting side discussions and related topics. Of course, you can also use [intitle:] to laser-target your search on content titles.

Find pages by dates (####..####)

long tail seo 2010..2015

In some cases, you might want to target your search on a date-range. You can combine the four-digit years with the range operator [..] to target a time period. Note that this will search for the years as numbers anywhere in the content. While the [daterange:] operator is theoretically your most precise option, it relies on Google being able to correctly identify the publication date of a piece, and I’ve found it difficult to use and a bit unpredictable. The range operator usually does the job.

Find top X lists (intitle:”#..#”)

intitle:”top 11..15″ long tail seo

This can get a little silly, but I just want to illustrate the power of combining operators. Let’s say you’re working on a top X list about long-tail SEO, but want to make sure there isn’t too much competition for the 11-15 item range you’re landing in. Using a combo of [intitle:] plus the range operator [..], you might get something like this:

Google SERP for intitle:

Note that operator combos can get weird, and results may vary depending on the order of the operators. Some operators can’t be used in combination (or at least the results are highly suspicious), so always gut-check what you see.

Putting all of the data to work

If you approach this process in an organized way (if I can do it, you can do it, because, frankly, I’m not that organized), what you should end up with is a list of relevant topics you might have missed, a list of your currently top-performing pages, a list of your relevant competitors, and a list of your competitors’ top-performing pages. With this bundle of related data, you can answer questions like the following:

  • Are you at risk of competing with your own relevant content?

  • Should you create new content or improve on existing content?

  • Is there outdated content you should remove or 301-redirect?

  • What competitors are most relevant in this content space?

  • What effort/cost will it take to clear the competitive bar?

  • What niches haven’t been covered by your competitors?

No tool will magically answer these questions, but by using your existing keyword research tools and Google’s advanced search operators methodically, you should be able to put your human intelligence to work and create a specific and actionable content strategy around your chosen topic.

If you’d like to learn more about Google’s advanced search operators, check out our comprehensive Learning Center page or my post with 67 search operator tricks. I’d love to hear more about how you put these tools to work in your own competitive research.

Life rushed back into Jayda’s lungs, sharp and unforgiving. To her left, shards of a thousand synonyms. To her right, the crumbling remains of a mountain of long-tail keywords. As the air filled her lungs, the memories came rushing back, and with them the crushing realization that her team was buried beneath the debris. After months of effort, they had finally finished their competitive keyword research, but at what cost?

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Events of the future will be hybrid and “always on”

In-person will return, but the virtual genie can’t be put back in the bottle

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from