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40+ Photoshop Tutorials to Put Your Skills to The Test

Either you’re looking to brush up your Photoshop skills or there are some new image manipulating techniques in Photoshop you want to learn, there is an abundance of tutorials available online. However, you don’t need to go from website to website in search of good tutorials as this post will help you with just that.

In this post, you’ll find some of the best Photoshop tutorials that will teach you how to manipulate images to create surreal images, improve portraits, or transform your photos into something peculiar. On to the list then!

For more Photoshop tutorials check out:

Tutorial: 75 Steps to Making a Car Fly
How To Create Stunning Flaming Text Effect in Photoshop CC
20 UI Design Photoshop Tutorials That Will Come in Handy
Stuck In The Wall
Stuck In The Wall photoshop TutorialStuck In The Wall photoshop TutorialHow to Add Bokeh Effects in Photoshop
Add Bokeh Effects in PhotoshopAdd Bokeh Effects in PhotoshopHow to Create Realistic Water Droplets
Create Realistic Water DropletsCreate Realistic Water DropletsDynamic Lightning Filled Background Tutorial
Lightning Filled Background TutorialLightning Filled Background TutorialCreating an organic smoke & texture Composite
Creating an organic smokeCreating an organic smokeHow to Pull Off A Cool Watercolor Effect
Cool Watercolor EffectCool Watercolor EffectHow to Create A Valentine’s Day Card
Create A Valentine's Day CardCreate A Valentine's Day CardHow to Create A Geometric Effect
Create A Geometric EffectCreate A Geometric EffectHow to Sharpen Images
How to Sharpen ImagesHow to Sharpen ImagesHow to Create A Retro Collage
Create A Retro Collagein PhotoshopCreate A Retro Collagein PhotoshopHow to Make A Sewing Embroidery Effect
Make A Sewing Embroidery Effect in photoshopMake A Sewing Embroidery Effect in photoshopCreating An Abstract Geometric Photo Collage Art
Creating An Abstract Geometric Photo Collage ArtCreating An Abstract Geometric Photo Collage ArtHow to Create the Stencil Banner Text Effect
photoshop Stencil Banner Text Effectphotoshop Stencil Banner Text EffectCreating a Futuristic Effect with Your Portraits
Futuristic Effect with PortraitsFuturistic Effect with PortraitsCreating Lighting Effects
Lighting Effects in photoshopLighting Effects in photoshopHow to Pull Off A Trendy Double Exposure Effect
Trendy Double Exposure Effect in PhotoshopTrendy Double Exposure Effect in PhotoshopHow to Pull Off Geometric Pixel Art
Geometric Pixel Art in PhotoshopGeometric Pixel Art in Photoshop

Creating A Realistic 3D Text Art
Creating A Realistic 3D Text ArtCreating A Realistic 3D Text ArtCreate An Awesome Sports Event Poster in Photoshop
Create An Awesome Sports Event Poster in PhotoshopCreate An Awesome Sports Event Poster in PhotoshopHow to Create Screen Print Designs
Create Screen Print DesignsCreate Screen Print DesignsAdvanced Collage Techniques
Advanced Collage Techniques in photoshopAdvanced Collage Techniques in photoshopHow to Create A Retro Star wars effect
Create A Retro Star wars effectCreate A Retro Star wars effectHow to Recreate this Medical DNA effect
Medical DNA effect in PhotoshopMedical DNA effect in PhotoshopSeamless Compositing Using Layer Mask
Seamless Compositing Using Layer MaskSeamless Compositing Using Layer MaskIron Man Fanart Tutorial
Iron Man Fanart TutorialIron Man Fanart TutorialHow to Pull Off A Text Portrait
Text Portrait in PhotoshopText Portrait in PhotoshopAn Aquatic Photo Manipulation Tutorial
How to Use Grids as Design Elements
Using Grids as Design ElementsUsing Grids as Design ElementsHow to Create a 3D Chrome Badge
Create a 3D Chrome BadgeCreate a 3D Chrome BadgeFuturistic Photo Manipulations
Futuristic Photo ManipulationsFuturistic Photo ManipulationsHow to Design a Floral Pattern for Fabrics
Design a Floral Pattern for FabricsDesign a Floral Pattern for FabricsKids Mini Me Effect
Kids Mini Me Effect in PhotoshopKids Mini Me Effect in PhotoshopHow to Create An Animated Neon Sign
Create An Animated Neon SignCreate An Animated Neon SignA Film Noir Style Tutorial
Film Noir Style Tutorial in PhotoshopFilm Noir Style Tutorial in PhotoshopStencil Poster Effect
Stencil Poster Effect in PhotoshopStencil Poster Effect in PhotoshopChristmas Glass Ball Tutorial
Christmas Glass Ball TutorialChristmas Glass Ball TutorialHalloween Card Tutorial
photoshop Halloween Card Tutorialphotoshop Halloween Card TutorialHow to Create Realistic Autumn Leaves
Realistic Autumn Leaves in photoshopRealistic Autumn Leaves in photoshopSculpting a Face Using Dodging and Burning
Sculpting a Face Using in PhotoshopSculpting a Face Using in PhotoshopTurn a Photo Into a Jigsaw Puzzle!
Turn a Photo Into a Jigsaw Puzzle in PhotoshopTurn a Photo Into a Jigsaw Puzzle in PhotoshopHalftone and Screenprint Poster Style
Halftone and Screenprint Poster StyleHalftone and Screenprint Poster StyleHow to Transform a Portrait Into a Caricature Artwork
Transform a Portrait Into a Caricature ArtworkTransform a Portrait Into a Caricature ArtworkPixel Explosion Effects
Pixel Explosion Effects in PhotoshopPixel Explosion Effects in Photoshop

The post 40+ Photoshop Tutorials to Put Your Skills to The Test appeared first on Hongkiat.

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8 Essential Tips on How to Choose the Best Domain Name for Your Website


Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name then it can be a hassle to change your brand later on without hurting your search rankings. What’s extremely important is that you choose the best domain name you can from the start.

For the domain name tools we use in this article you would visit:
https://www.isitwp.com/domain-name-generator/

and Nameboy can be found here:
https://www.nameboy.com/

Our 8 tips for this video are:
1. Stick with .com
2. Use keywords
3. Keep the domain short
4. Make it easy to pronounce
5. Keep it unique
6. Avoid Hyphens
7. Avoid doubled letters
8. Leave room to expand

Text version of this tutorial
https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/tips-and-tools-to-pick-the-best-domain-for-your-blog/

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

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Full Funnel Testing: SEO & CRO Together – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by willcritchlow

Testing for only SEO or only CRO isn’t always ideal. Some changes result in higher conversions and reduced site traffic, for instance, while others may rank more highly but convert less well. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, we welcome Will Critchlow as he demonstrates a method of testing for both your top-of-funnel SEO changes and your conversion-focused CRO changes at once.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another Whiteboard Friday. My name is Will Critchlow, one of the founders at Distilled. If you’ve been following what I’ve been writing and talking about around the web recently, today’s topic may not surprise you that much. I’m going to be talking about another kind of SEO testing.

Over at Distilled, we’ve been investing pretty heavily in building out our capability to do SEO tests and in particular built our optimization delivery network, which has let us do a new kind of SEO testing that hasn’t been previously available to most of our clients. Recently we’ve been working on a new enhancement to this, which is full funnel testing, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

So funnel testing is testing all the way through the funnel, from acquisition at the SEO end to conversion. So it’s SEO testing plus CRO testing together. I’m going to write a little bit more about some of the motivation for this. But, in a nutshell, it essentially boils down to the fact that it is perfectly possible, in fact we’ve seen in the wild cases of tests that win in SEO terms and lose in CRO terms or vice versa.

In other words, tests that maybe you make a change and it converts better, but you lose organic search traffic. Or the other way around, it ranks better, but it converts less well. If you’re only testing one, which is common — I mean most organizations are only testing the conversion rate side of things — it’s perfectly possible to have a winning test, roll it out, and do worse.

CRO testing

So let’s step back a little bit. A little bit of a primer. Conversion rate optimization testing works in an A/B split kind of way. You can test on a single page, if you want to, or a site section. The way it works is you split your audience. So your audience is split. Some of your audience gets one version of the page, and the rest of the audience gets a different version.

Then you can compare the conversion rate among the group who got the control and the group who got the variant. That’s very straightforward. Like I say, it can happen on a single page or across an entire site. SEO testing, a little bit newer. The way this works is you can’t split the audience, because we care very much about the search engine spiders in this case. For the purposes of this consideration, there’s essentially only one Googlebot. So you couldn’t put Google in Class A or Class B here and expect to get anything meaningful.

SEO testing

So the way that we do an SEO test is we actually split the pages. To do this, you need a substantial site section. So imagine, for example, an e-commerce website with thousands of products. You might have a hypothesis of something that will help those product pages perform better. You take your hypothesis and you only apply it to some of the pages, and you leave some of the pages unchanged as a control.

Then, crucially, search engines and users see the same experience. There’s no cloaking going on. There’s no duplication of content. You simply change some pages and not change others. Then you apply kind of advanced mathematical, statistical analysis trying to figure out do these pages get statistically more organic search traffic than we think they would have done if we hadn’t made this change. So that’s how an SEO test works.

Now, as I said, the problem that we are trying to tackle here is it’s really plausible, despite Google’s best intentions to do what’s right for users, it’s perfectly plausible that you can have a test that ranks better but converts less well or vice versa. We’ve seen this with, for example, removing content from a page. Sometimes having a cleaner, simpler page can convert better. But maybe that was where the keywords were and maybe that was helping the page rank. So we’re trying to avoid those kinds of situations.

Full funnel testing

That’s where full funnel testing comes in. So I want to just run through how you run a full funnel test. What you do is you first of all set it up in the same way as an SEO test, because we’re essentially starting with SEO at the top of the funnel. So it’s set up exactly the same way.

Some pages are unchanged. Some pages get the hypothesis applied to them. As far as Google is concerned, that’s the end of the story, because on any individual request to these pages that’s what we serve back. But the critically important thing here is I’ve got my little character. This is a human browser performs a search, “What do badgers eat?”

This was one of our silly examples that we came up with on one of our demo sites. The user lands on this page here. What we do is we then set a cookie. This is a cookie. This user then, as they navigate around the site, no matter where they go within this site section, they get the same treatment, either the control or the variant. They get the same treatment across the entire site section. This is more like the conversion rate test here.

Googlebot = stateless requests

So what I didn’t show in this diagram is if you were running this test across a site section, you would cookie this user and make sure that they always saw the same treatment no matter where they navigated around the site. So because Googlebot is making stateless requests, in other words just independent, one-off requests for each of these of these pages with no cookie set, Google sees the split.

Evaluate SEO test on entrances

Users get whatever their first page impression looks like. They then get that treatment applied across the entire site section. So what we can do then is we can evaluate independently the performance in search, evaluate that on entrances. So do we get significantly more entrances to the variant pages than we would have expected if we hadn’t applied a hypothesis to them?

That tells us the uplift from an SEO perspective. So maybe we say, “Okay, this is plus 11% in organic traffic.” Well, great. So in a vacuum, all else being equal, we’d love to roll out this test.

Evaluate conversion rate on users

But before we do that, what we can do now is we can evaluate the conversion rate, and we do that based on user metrics. So these users are cookied.

We can also set an analytics tag on them and say, “Okay, wherever they navigate around, how many of them end up converting?” Then we can evaluate the conversion rate based on whether they saw treatment A or treatment B. Because we’re looking at conversion rate, the audience size doesn’t exactly have to be the same. So the statistical analysis can take care of that fact, and we can evaluate the conversion rate on a user-centric basis.

So then we maybe see that it’s -5% in conversion rate. We then need to evaluate, “Is this something we should roll out?” So step 1 is: Do we just roll it out? If it’s a win in both, then the answer is yes probably. If they’re in different directions, then there are couple things we can do. Firstly, we can evaluate the relative performance in different directions, taking care that conversion rate applies generally across all channels, and so a relatively small drop in conversion rate can be a really big deal compared to even an uplift in organic traffic, because the conversion rate is applying to all channels, not just your organic traffic channel.

But suppose that it’s a small net positive or a small net negative. What we can then do is we might get to the point that it’s a net positive and roll it out. Either way, we might then say, “What can we take from this? What can we actually learn?” So back to our example of the content. We might say, “You know what? Users like this cleaner version of the page with apparently less content on it.The search engines are clearly relying on that content to understand what this page is about. How do we get the best of both worlds?”

Well, that might be a question of a redesign, moving the layout of the page around a little bit, keeping the content on there, but maybe not putting it front and center to the user as they land right at the beginning. We can test those different things, run sequential tests, try and take the best of the SEO tests and the best of the CRO tests and get it working together and crucially avoid those situations where you think you’ve got a win, because your conversion rate is up, but you actually are about to crater your organic search performance.

We think this is going to just be the more data-driven we get, the more accountable SEO testing makes us, the more important it’s going to be to join these dots and make sure that we’re getting true uplifts on a net basis when we combine them. So I hope that’s been useful to some of you. Thank you for joining me on this week’s Whiteboard Friday. I’m Will Critchlow from Distilled.

Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Two Key Marketing Opportunities Amid Stories of Fake Traffic and Fraudulent Metrics

Why Transparency & Organic Content Are Important for Marketers

Why Transparency & Organic Content Are Important for Marketers

“What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” — Morpheus, The Matrix

~~~~~

“How much of the internet is fake?” pondered the headline of a late-December New York Magazine feature, before answering its own question: “A lot actually.”

What followed was a systematic unpacking of that premise, via author Max Read. Though somewhat cynical and harsh, his argument was backed by facts and evidence at every turn.

He documented case after case of fake traffic and fraudulent metrics.

He shared videos of phony engagement factories known as click farms.

He cited real stories and statistics that verify the prominence, pervasiveness, and pestilence of these issues.

Read’s article shook me out of my restful holiday contentment. This wasn’t all news to me, but never had I seen so many examples compiled into one grim, gut-wrenching montage. The internet is an inherently murky place – you can’t physically count visitors to a blog post, as you could with attendees at a conference speech or customers in a store – so the success of a digital marketplace hinges on our collective faith in the integrity of data (and intentions).

It’s not the number of non-human “users” that troubles me. We’ve known for some time that bots make up a large portion of website traffic, and any analyst worth their salt is accounting for that reality. What troubles me is the potential (inevitable?) existence of nefarious actors seeking to deceive and benefit — and the repercussions thereof.

Mr. Read puts it best with this poignant observation:
“What’s gone from the internet, after all, isn’t ‘truth,’ but trust: the sense that the people and things we encounter are what they represent themselves to be.”
Taking a Toll on Trust
The digital world saw its share of bombshells in 2018, and I’d argue few were bigger than the filing of an amended lawsuit from a group of small advertisers, alleging that Facebook knowingly delivered false video metrics back in 2015/16, and that the extent of this inflation was greater than previously believed.

Though just one isolated incident (hopefully), it’s the kind of headline that serves to further erode a diminishing level of trust between people and the institutions they rely on. These occurrences send shockwaves through the digital universe that are felt in every corner, with wide-reaching implications.   

When polled by CMO Council last year, 62% of marketers indicated that reports about false and faulty metrics have caused them to pull back on spend with Facebook and Google. Meanwhile, the latest Edelman Trust Barometer shows pervasive global drops in trust toward platforms — most sharply in the U.S.

Global Trust Index

For digital marketers that value accuracy and honesty, it can be tempting to ignore these kinds of stories and headlines, going about our own business and letting all that noise play out on its own. This would be a mistake.

We can only control what we can control, but within that realm, there are steps we can take to counteract these troubling narratives.
Two Key Opportunities for Digital Marketers
Internally and externally, marketers are dealing with uphill battles that are steepened by these developments. Internally, we have to be able to confidently trust our metrics and present them to our bosses. Externally, we’re facing an audience that is growing more distrustful by nature.

From my view, the growing recognition of fake web traffic and fraudulent metrics should compel marketers to reflect thoughtfully, and double-down on two vital cornerstones in the digital era: transparency and organic content.
#1: Transparency is More Essential Than Ever
It’s getting harder for people to take things at face value. So don’t force them to. The more we can be open and honest about our processes, practices, and principles, the more we can distance ourselves from shady actors who are damaging the industry’s reputation.

Data measurement and analysis is hard. Errors and mistakes happen. If your agency or business is frontal in the way it identifies and addresses these situations, you’re more likely to sustain trusting relationships with your clients, customers, and business partners.

One company that has impressed me with the way it embraces transparency is Lemonade, a tech-driven insurance company out of New York. In line with its overarching mission to combat trust issues that have plagued the insurance industry, Lemonade runs a content series on its website and social media called The Transparency Chronicles, introspectively discussing the business with a stunning level of candor.

“We suck, sometimes,” was the title of a post from co-founder Shai Wininger last June, reflecting on the first half of 2018. He didn’t shy away from his company’s shortcomings and failures; he acknowledged them, tried to learn from them, and invited the brand’s community to take part in the conversation. Beyond refreshing to see.

Lemonade Transprarency Chronicles

Lemonade is basically bringing a new model to the market: insurance claims submitted directly through an app, with a personable AI bot as your guide, removing brokers and conflicts of interest from the equation. There are bound to be unforeseen snags and hiccups along the way with such an endeavor. The company’s openness about its journey makes customers more comfortable in taking part.

As a marketer, you can’t guarantee everything you try is going to work. You can’t even guarantee every view counted by a third-party platform is a genuine human being. But if you’re open, honest, and transparent, you can mitigate these uncertainties and ambiguities.
#2: Investing in Organic Content Programs Now Makes More Sense Than Ever
Paid media and digital advertising will forever remain important. But they represent a short-term, finite usage of marketing spend, whereas organic content is a long-term play that can keep on giving. It’s like renting traffic versus investing in traffic. In an age of shaky consumption metrics, the latter becomes all the more appealing.  

Smart, strategic content marketing that aligns with your target audience and adheres to modern SEO principles will build equity over time. It’s more qualitative, and not as reliant on short bursts of traffic volume, so brands don’t need to concern themselves as much with the value of each view and click.  

Speaking of which, we also need to move away from superficial measurement and toward meaningful measurement. It was encouraging to see, per Demand Gen’s 2018 Marketing Impact Report, that volume, pipeline, and revenue metrics are being prioritized, but still a bit puzzling that two out of three respondents are using activity data as proof of marketing’s value:

Demand Gen 2018 Marketing Impact Report

At TopRank Marketing we’ve seen the bottom-line impact of content marketing demonstrated through program after program. One client, Welter Heating, saw a 590% combined increase in organic conversions during its busiest month over a four-year span with a best (local) answer content strategy. Another client, Innovatech, boosted conversion rates by 34% year-over-year through CRO and search optimization.

As I alluded earlier when talking about transparency, people tend to believe what they can see. The value of content marketing remains plainly evident, even in a hazy digital climate.
A Clear of View of Digital Marketing in 2019
In the movie The Matrix, quoted at the outset of this article, Morpheus presents Neo with an ultimatum: Take the blue pill and you’ll continue to live in blissful ignorance, believing whatever you wish to believe; take the red pill and you’ll see the truth, unpleasant as it might be.

That article from New York Magazine served as a red pill of sorts for me. There’s a seedy underbelly to this digital environment, one which has long dug at me like a splinter in my mind, but I’m ready to come to terms with it. And I’m ready to do all I can in 2019 beyond to make sure that our team is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

“The frustration across the marketing ecosystem is palpable, and new headlines that breach trust and showcase systemic carelessness have inflamed the issue,” says Liz Miller, senior vice-president of marketing at CMO Council. “The industry as a whole must align on transparency and reliability.”

Hear, hear.

Through transparent practices and the reliability of integrated content strategy, digital marketing and its reputation can thrive as much as ever.  

Looking for further information on the subject? Here’s how marketers can use the art of storytelling to build and regain trust.

The post Two Key Marketing Opportunities Amid Stories of Fake Traffic and Fraudulent Metrics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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9 Best Features in Android 9 Pie

Android introduced today’s hottest technology — artificial intelligence — to your phone with Android 9.0 Pie. “Android 9 adapts to you“, says Google; and I could not agree anymore. But it is just the tip of the iceberg, of course.

Android 9.0 Pie is built around the theme of adaptability, speed, and usability; which makes me like it even more. It introduces interesting features, some of which are most asked by the community. For example, it brings adaptive battery functionality, improved material design, and more.

Get more with Android 9.0 PieGet more with Android 9.0 PieCredits: Android/Google

Though, the list of new features, improvements, and fixes is long; in the following write-up I am going to talk about the most anticipated features of Android 9.

Gesture Navigation

If you are an old fan of Android, you might have known the hardware navigation buttons, which were replaced by the software navigation buttons — until now. We now have another contender — gesture navigation, thank to the Pie. It felt strange to use at first, but now, it is my favorite choice for navigation.

Gesture navigation in Google 9 PieGesture navigation in Google 9 PieCredits: Android/Google

Gesture navigation is turned off by default, but you can quickly enable it from Settings > Gestures. On this screen, just toggle on the option named “Swipe up on Home Screen“. You will see a pill-shaped button at the screen’s bottom — you can tap it to go home, swipe up on it to check the recent apps, and do more.

Digital Wellbeing

Digital Wellbeing is a set of features to help you know and restrict the amount of time you spend on your smartphone. It is hard to believe that most of us are addicted to these small screens, and Digital Wellbeing tries to rescue you from your addiction of checking out your phone on every notification or such.

Digital Wellbeing in Android PieDigital Wellbeing in Android PieCredits: Android/Google

Its dashboard shows you data and graphs, like the number of times you unlock your phone, the number of notifications you receive from each app, and the amount of time you spend on your device. What caught my eyes is its App Timer, which lets you put time limits on apps, telling you to not overuse the apps.

Adaptive Features

Android has made our lives easier with its automated features, and now, Pie makes them smarter by introducing Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness.

Android 6 introduced Doze, which restricts battery juice to all non-used apps. Android 9 takes it a step further by learning your app usage and optimizing the battery power for the most-used apps, allowing more battery time per charge. You can configure this feature at Settings > Battery > “Adaptive Battery“.

Adaptive features in Android 9Adaptive features in Android 9Credits: Android/Google

In a similar way, Adaptive Brightness learns about your brightness preferences and configure the screen brightness magically per your surroundings. You only require adjusting the brightness slider, and it will slowly learn your preferences. You can enable/disable it at Settings > Display > “Adaptive Brightness“.

App Actions

App Actions are another of the smart functions of Android Pie. Though you may have seen the app shortcuts on long-pressing icons, App Actions enhances your experience by predicting your next tasks. The feature is an improvement over the app suggestions shown by Google’s launcher or third-party launchers.

App Actions are smart ways for assisting you to do what you need quickly. For instance, you may see a shortcut to start navigation in Google Maps in the morning if you use the navigation to drive to your office. It may suggest your favorite music app or a set of playlists when you connect the earphones.

App Slices

App Slices are an add-on over App Actions — they bring you the most important features of an app without opening the app itself. For example, if you search for “Lyft” in the Google Search, an App Slice of Lyft (the ride-hailing app) may show you estimated prices and times for known locations (like home and work).

App Slice (Lyft) in Android 9 PieApp Slice (Lyft) in Android 9 PieCredits: Android/Google

Interestingly, App Slices are interactive. For instance, you can work with the Lyft’s App Slice from the searches. That means you can select the cab options as well as the location for your ride and book a cab directly from the App Slice.

Security Features

Android 9 brings various privacy and security features to the popular mobile platform. First and foremost of all, “Android will restrict access to your phone’s microphone, camera, or other sensors when an app is idle or running in the background”, according to Google. Secondly, there is my favorite feature.

Lockdown — or as I like to call it — Device Lockdown is a lock screen feature to lock down your device. It disables notifications on the lock screen and disables unlocking using one of the fingerprint and Smart Lock. That means you must use your password, pattern, or PIN to unlock the device. Doesn’t it feel secure?

Lock screen Lockdown in Android PieLock screen Lockdown in Android Pie

You can enable this feature by going to Settings > “Security & location” > “Lock screen preferences” and toggling on the option named “Show lockdown option“. Once enabled, long-press the power button and tap Lockdown to use it.

Media Improvements

Android 9 has many tricks up its sleeve, and it features many sound and volume improvements among them. For example, it shows the volume slider on the right side instead of the top as shown in the previous versions. It shows just a single slider to adjust the media volume (de facto) instead of the ringer volume.

Volume bar improvement in Android 9Volume bar improvement in Android 9

Last but not the least, Android Pie brings better support for Bluetooth. You can have up to five devices connected to your device simultaneously and choose anyone to handle your calls if supported. Moreover, your phone can remember the volume setting for each connected device individually, unlike before.

Notifications Control

Android Pie offers better control and reporting of the notifications. In previous versions, you needed to rely on third-party apps to check on the notification limit offenders, which was uncommon. Thus, apps usually distract you. That is not the case with the Pie — it offers built-in reporting of distracting apps.

You can check out the misbehaving apps sending distracting notifications at Settings > “Apps & notifications” > Notifications. In the section “Recently sent“, click “See all…” to see the latest apps to send you notifications. Here, you can also switch to “Most frequent” to see the apps with most notifications.

Check and control notifications in Android 9Check and control notifications in Android 9

Finally, there is an improved Do Not Disturb as well. Previously, it used to mute the notification sounds, but in the Pie, it hides the notifications as well.

Other Improvements

Android 9 is no less in features for providing better user experience to the users. First of all, it brings an improved look — a modern material design with rounded corners. Then it offers a selectable dark theme, which you can enable at Settings > System > Display > Advanced > “Device theme” per your preference.

Improved material design in Android PieImproved material design in Android Pie

Also, it offers an improved text selection experience. In the Pie, when you long-press to select text and grab its handle, you will see a little magnifier. The magnifier shows the magnified text, helping you to select the exact text.

What do you love most in Android Pie?

I have observed Android getting better and better with every release, and the Pie is no different. It brings more features than I can list in this post, and I even liked some of its subtle features. For example, it supports tamper-resistant hardware for storing apps’ private keys to protect them from theft from malware.

Well, it is one of my favorite features in Android 9.0 Pie. What is yours? Please leave your comment below or write to me at @aksinghnet on Twitter.

The post 9 Best Features in Android 9 Pie appeared first on Hongkiat.

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How to Implement a National Tracking Strategy

Posted by TheMozTeam

Google is all about serving up results based on your precise location, which means there’s no such thing as a “national” SERP anymore. So, if you wanted to get an accurate representation of how you’re performing nationally, you’d have to track every single street corner across the country.

Not only is this not feasible, it’s also a headache — and the kind of nightmare that keeps your accounting team up at night. Because we’re in the business of making things easy, we devised a happier (and cost-efficient) alternative.

Follow along and learn how to set up a statistically robust national tracking strategy in STAT, no matter your business or budget. And while we’re at it, we’ll also show you how to calculate your national ranking average.

Let’s pretend we’re a large athletic retailer. We have 30 stores across the US, a healthy online presence, and the powers-that-be have approved extra SEO spend — money for 20,000 additional keywords is burning a hole in our pocket. Ready to get started?

Step 1: Pick the cities that matter most to your business

Google cares a lot about location and so should you. Tracking a country-level SERP isn’t going to cut it anymore — you need to be hyper-local if you want to nab results.

The first step to getting more granular is deciding which cities you want to track in — and there are lots of ways to do this: The top performers? Ones that could use a boost? Best and worst of the cyber world as well as the physical world?

When it comes time for you to choose, nobody knows your business, your data, or your strategy better than you do — ain’t nothing to it but to do it.

A quick note for all our e-commerce peeps: we know it feels strange to pick a physical place when your business lives entirely online. For this, simply go with the locations that your goods and wares are distributed to most often.

Even though we’re a retail powerhouse, our SEO resources won’t allow us to manage all 30 physical locations — plus our online hotspots — across the US, so we’ll cut that number in half. And because we’re not a real business and we aren’t privy to sales data, we’ll pick at random.

From east to west, we now have a solid list of 15 US cities, primed, polished, and poised for our next step: surfacing the top performing keywords.

Step 2: Uncover your money-maker keywords

Because not all keywords are created equal, we need to determine which of the 4,465 keywords that we’re already tracking are going to be spread across the country and which are going to stay behind. In other words, we want the keywords that bring home the proverbial bacon.

Typically, we would use some combination of search volume, impressions, clicks, conversion rates, etc., from sources like STAT, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics to distinguish between the money-makers and the non-money-makers. But again, we’re a make-believe business and we don’t have access to this insight, so we’re going to stick with search volume.

A right-click anywhere in the site-level keywords table will let us export our current keyword set from STAT. We’ll then order everything from highest search volume to lowest search volume. If you have eyeballs on more of that sweet, sweet insight for your business, order your keywords from most to least money-maker.

Because we don’t want to get too crazy with our list, we’ll cap it at a nice and manageable 1,500 keywords.

Step 3: Determine the number of times each keyword should be tracked

We may have narrowed our cities down to 15, but our keywords need to be tracked plenty more times than that — and at a far more local level.

True facts: A “national” (or market-level) SERP isn’t a true SERP and neither is a city-wide SERP. The closer you can get to a searcher standing on a street corner, the better, and the more of those locations you can track, the more searchers’ SERPs you’ll sample.

We’re going to get real nitty-gritty and go as granular as ZIP code. Addresses and geo coordinates work just as well though, so if it’s a matter of one over the other, do what the Disney princesses do and follow your heart.

The ultimate goal here is to track our top performing keywords in more locations than our poor performing ones, so we need to know the number of ZIP codes each keyword will require. To figure this out, we gotta dust off the old desktop calculator and get our math on.

First, we’ll calculate the total amount of search volume that all of our keywords generate. Then, we’ll find the percentage of said total that each keyword is responsible for.

For example, our keyword [yeezy shoes] drew 165,000 searches out of a total 28.6 million, making up 0.62 percent of our traffic.

A quick reminder: Every time a query is tracked in a distinct location, it’s considered a unique keyword. This means that the above percentages also double as the amount of budgeted keywords (and therefore locations) that we’ll award to each of our queries. In (hopefully) less confusing terms, a keyword that drives 0.62 percent of our traffic gets to use 0.62 percent of our 20,000 budgeted keywords, which in turn equals the number of ZIP codes we can track in. Phew.

But! Because search volume is, to quote our resident data analyst, “an exponential distribution,” (which in everyone else-speak means “gets crazy large”) it’s likely going to produce some unreasonably big numbers. So, while [yeezy shoes] only requires 124 ZIP codes, a keyword with much higher search volume, like [real madrid], might need over 1,000, which is patently bonkers (and statistical overkill).

To temper this, we highly recommend that you take the log of the search volume — it’ll keep things relative and relational. If you’re working through all of this in Excel, simply type =log(A2) where A2 is the cell containing the search volume. Because we’re extra fancy, we’ll multiply that by four to linearly scale things, so =log(A2)*4.

So, still running with our Yeezy example, our keyword goes from driving 0.62 percent of our traffic to 0.13 percent. Which then becomes the percent of budgeted keywords: 0.0013 x 20,000 = tracking [yeezy shoes] in 26 zip codes across our 15 cities.

We then found a list of every ZIP code in each of our cities to dole them out to.

The end. Sort of. At this point, like us, you may be looking at keywords that need to be spread across 176 different ZIP codes and wondering how you’re going to choose which ZIP codes — so let our magic spreadsheet take the wheel. Add all your locations to it and it’ll pick at random.

Of course, because we want our keywords to get equal distribution, we attached a weighted metric to our ZIP codes. We took our most searched keyword, [adidas], found its Google Trends score in every city, and then divided it by the number of ZIP codes in those cities. For example, if [adidas] received a score of 71 in Yonkers and there are 10 ZIP codes in the city, Yonkers would get a weight of 7.1.

We’ll then add everything we have so far — ZIP codes, ZIP code weights, keywords, keyword weights, plus a few extras — to our spreadsheet and watch it randomly assign the appropriate amount of keywords to the appropriate amount of locations.

And that’s it! If you’ve been following along, you’ve successfully divvied up 20,000 keywords in order to create a statistically robust national tracking strategy!

Curious how we’ll find our national ranking average? Read on, readers.

Step 4: Segment, segment, segment!

20,000 extra keywords makes for a whole lotta new data to keep track of, so being super smart with our segmentation is going to help us make sense of all our findings. We’ll do this by organizing our keywords into meaningful categories before we plug everything back into STAT.

Obviously, you are free to sort how you please, but we recommend at least tagging your keywords by their city and product category (so [yeezy shoes] might get tagged “Austin” and “shoes”). You can do all of this in our keyword upload template or while you’re in our magic spreadsheet.

Once you’ve added a tag or two to each keyword, stuff those puppies into STAT. When everything’s snug as a bug, group all your city tags into one data view and all your product category tags into another.

Step 5: Calculate your national ranking average

Now that all of our keywords are loaded and tracking in STAT, it’s time to tackle those ranking averages. To do that, we’ll simply pop on over to the Dashboard tab from either of our two data views.

A quick glimpse of the Average Ranking module in the Daily Snapshot gives us, well, our average rank, and because these data views contain every keyword that we’re tracking across the country, we’re also looking at the national average for our keyword set. Easy-peasy.

To see how each tag is performing within those data views, a quick jump to the Tags tab breaks everything down and lets us compare the performance of a segment against the group as a whole.

So, if our national average rank is 29.7 but our Austin keywords have managed an average rank of 27.2, then we might look to them for inspiration as our other cities aren’t doing quite as well — our keywords in Yonkers have an average rank of 35.2, much worse than the national average.

Similarly, if our clothes keywords are faring infinitely worse than our other product categories, we may want to revamp our content strategy to even things out.

Go get your national tracking on

Any business — yes, even an e-commerce business — can leverage a national tracking strategy. You just need to pick the right keywords and locations.

Once you have access to your sampled population, you’ll be able to hone in on opportunities, up your ROI, and bring more traffic across your welcome mat (physical or digital).

Got a question you’re dying to ask us about the STAT product? Reach out to clientsuccess@getSTAT.com. Want a detailed walkthrough of STAT? Say hello (don’t be shy) and request a demo.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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30+ Tumblr Tips Tricks, and Tools (2019)

Tumblr has been one of the most famous social media platforms and the 450 million blogs and 167 billion posts (Dec, 2018 stats) will vouch for its popularity. You can either create your own blog on the site and post all kinds of cool stuff or follow other blogs that interest you. It is an effective tool for bloggers who are into visual and images rather than lengthy text posts.

To that end, we have got for you today tips, tricks and tools to help you get the most out of your Tumblr blogging experience. Whether you are a newbie or novice with Tumblr, these tips, and tools should come in handy for you in growing your Tumblr blog.

Tips & Tricks
Avoid Reblogging Long Posts As Links

Tumblr is programmed to reblog long posts as links. But some of your followers may want to read the entire post on the dashboard without being redirected to another page. The solution is simple: just reblog the post as Text instead of Link. The drop-down menu gives you the option to change the format of the post. Choose Reblog As Text to reblog the entire post.

Reblog As TextReblog As TextUse Keyboard Shortcuts On The Dashboard

There is an efficient way of going through your dashboard that would save you both time and effort. Below are shortcuts you can use for browsing on your dashboard.

Shortcut
Action
J
Scroll forward
K
Scroll backward
L
Like the current post
N
See the number of notes
Shift + E
Add post to your queue
Shift + R
Fast reblog
Z + Tab
Quickly switch between dashboard and blog
Z + C
Quickly compose a post
Space
View photoset in a lightbox or start playing a video post
Allow Users To Reply To Your Posts From The Dashboard

Sometimes you may want your followers to reply to your post. To do that, just add a ? at the end of your post and an option of Let People Answer This will appear at the bottom (see screenshot). Enable that option by checking the box and your followers will be able to reply to your post.

Reply To Post With A Question MarkReply To Post With A Question MarkCustomize Follow & Share Buttons

Make it easier for your readers to share your Tumblr content just by adding a Share button. Go to Buttons to view the options for customizing the Follow and Share buttons. Once you have chosen a design, a code will be displayed. Now, open Tumblr on a new tab and go to Settings and click on Customize Theme. You will be redirected to a page that allows you to Edit HTML. Copy the code for the Follow and Share Buttons and paste it in your Tumblr Theme code.

ButtonsButtonsSend Asks To Other Users From The Dashboard

Previously on Tumblr, to ask a user a question, you would have to go to their blog to do so. Now you can do it from the dashboard simply by hovering your mouse cursor over the user’s icon. Click on the gray figure and you’ll see 3 options – Ask a question, Send fan mail, Ignore. Choose the “Ask a question” option and a text box will appear for you to do exactly that.

Ask A QuestionAsk A QuestionRecover Old Themes

Just click on this link to revert to any of the themes you have used in the past. Click on Revert and your blog’s theme will go back to how it was previously. You may have to spend some time playing around with the settings to get it right though.

Recover ThemeRecover ThemeMass Edit Posts And Tags

By providing the option to Mass Edit Posts, Tumblr has made it easy for its users to add a certain tag to all their posts. When you’re on your dashboard, look over to the right side of the page and click on Posts. Under Customize, a link that says Mass Post Editor will appear. Click on the link and you can edit/add tags and delete posts all in one go.

Mass Edit PostsMass Edit PostsQueue Your Posts

Tumblr allows you to schedule your posts over a period of hours or days. It is an easy way to keep your blog active and consistent. Under Settings, you can edit the number of posts you want published from your Queue as well as the time settings.

Queue Your PostsQueue Your Posts

When you want to add a post to your Queue, click on the arrow next to Reblog Post. A drop-down menu will give you the option to Add To Queue. This post is saved to your Queue list and will be published later.

Queue PostQueue PostDelay Your Reply To Asks

There may come a time when your followers bombard your Askbox and you will be replying to them one by one. As a result, instead of having colourful posts on your blog, you will have a ton of gray boxes with your replies. So, what can you do? You can stop the replies from being posted one after another by delaying them. When you are answering a question, just press and hold down the Alt key for options to: Queue or Save As Draft. Choose Queue for your reply to be published at a later time.

Delay Your RepliesDelay Your RepliesPlay Around With Tumblr’s Logo

Ever wanted to use Tumblr’s logo on images, collages or as your icon, but searching for Tumblr’s logo on Google never seems to give you the right size or color? Tumblr is kind enough to provide its users with its logo. Click here to look at the different designs. You can now download the logo and use it on images, as part of your Tumblr theme, as your Tumblr icon, etc.

Tumblr LogoTumblr LogoView Search The Old Fashioned Way

This is one of the things that Tumblr had revamped. The new search bar allows you to search for multiple tags at the same time. While that is definitely an improvement, some do not like the new layout displaying the search results. If you want to view it in with the old layout, replace /search with /tagged in the URL.

searcholdsearcholdShare A Preview Of A Draft

Normally a draft stays a draft for the reason, but sometimes, you may want to show your followers that you’re still working on something. First, save your post as draft. Access your drafts and click on the upper right corner of the post. A tab of your blog post in your blog template appears. Copy the URL and share it. The URL is temporary and once you publish the draft, the URL will disappear. It’s also a way to preview your drafts.

showdraftshowdraftRearrange Queued Posts

You have set your posts in queue to be up at a certain time. However, you want to change the publishing order of certain posts. You can do that at your queue page. Hover over the Sort button – the middle button on the right bottom corner – and drag the post for rearrangement. If you want the post to be published first, click on the Move to top button on the far right corner.

rearrangequeuerearrangequeueFind Out What Your Friends Like

Some blogs have a “Things I Liked” section which shows posts that users have liked. Most don’t as they did not enable the setting. If you would like to see what posts your friend have liked on their blog, type in this URL: http://www.tumblr.com/liked/by/[username]. Take note that this only works for public Tumblrs.

showlikesshowlikesSearch For Posts On Blogs Without Search Bar

You may have come across a post from a user that you like. You then visit the user’s Tumblr to search for similar posts but the Tumblr does not have a search bar. You can still do so by using this URL: http://[username].tumblr.com/search/[search term].

searchblogsearchblogView Tagged Posts From Earliest To Latest

The nature of blog posts is to display the most recent post first followed by later posts. There is no setting to display your oldest post first but you can view your tagged posts in chronological order. To do that, add /chrono to the end of a tag URL like this: http://[username].tumblr.com/tagged/[tag name]/chrono.

chronotagschronotagsSearch For Posts On A Specific Date

Maybe you would like to find a certain post that you know is published on a certain date. It can be a pain going through the entire blog or tag looking for the post. You can actually just find out what posts are posted on a specific date. You can do this by typing http://[username].tumblr.com/day/[year]/[month]/[day].

searchdatesearchdateView Archives

One of the fastest ways to browse a blog’s contents is to look through archives. But not all blogs have an archive link. You can still view those blogs’ archives by using this URL: http://[username].tumblr.com/archive. Additionally, if you want to just browse a particular month and year in an archive, use this URL: http://[username].tumblr.com/archive/[year]/[month].

viewarchiveviewarchiveFind All Your Tags

One of the things that Tumblr seemingly doesn’t have is a list of all the tags you have used. But they do. To find all the tags you’ve ever used, first go to your Tumblr dashboard source code. To do that, right-click on your dashboard and select “View page source” from the menu. Next, either Command + F (Mac) or Ctrl + F (Windows) to find Tumblr.USER_TAGS.

viewtagsviewtagsDisplay Individual Author’s Avatar

This is for those who manage a blog with multiple authors. Tumblr’s dashboard will show a blog’s avatar next to a post. With this setting turned on, it will show an author’s avatar along with the blog’s avatar. Go to the gear icon at the top which is next to the log out icon. Scroll to Blog avatar and enable Show author portraits.

authoravatarauthoravatarExtensions & Tools
Missing E

Tweak your dashboard, sidebar, shortcuts, mass editor, etc. with this add-on for Chrome.

Missing EMissing EAdd A View Count

Curious to know how much traffic your blog is generating? Keep track of the number of people visiting your blog by using TotallyLayouts. Choose the “Tumblr” option and click on Create Counter to get the code.

View CounterView CounterAdd A Music Player

Add a music player from SCM Music Player to make your blog more lively and interesting. Choose a skin and proceed to Edit Playlist. You can add songs in 3 formats: MP3 links, SoundCloud tracks and YouTube addresses.

Music PlayerMusic PlayerGet A Dashboard Theme

Bored of your default blue dashboard theme? Download the Stylish extension for Chrome or Firefox and then visit UserStyles to view available themes.

Dashboard ThemeDashboard ThemeEndless Scrolling

It is always easier to browse through a blog and not have to press Next Page after every 10 posts or so! There is a way for your blog to automatically scroll non-stop. Visit Customize My Tumblr to get the code.

Endless ScrollEndless ScrollShare Content Via Bookmarklet

Sometimes you may come across something you find elsewhere that you want to share on Tumblr but not exactly sure how to go about it. Just click on Apps (bottom right of your dashboard). Then, click and drag the Share on Tumblr oval up to your bookmark bar. Now whenever you would like to share content on Tumblr, you can just click on Share on Tumblr (which can be found on your bookmark bar), and the post will be displayed. Click on Publish and the post will be published on your blog.

BookmarkletBookmarkletCustomize Your Mouse Cursor

Why go for the default mouse cursor when it can be any item you want! Browse for mouse cursors at TotallyLayouts and choose a design.

Mouse CursorMouse CursorCustomize your Scroll Bar

Make your blog even more appealing to your followers by customizing your blog’s scroll bar at TotallyLayouts.

Scroll BarScroll BarTumblr Savior

Say goodbye to spoilers and avoiding Tumblr until you’ve watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Tumblr Savior allows you to block those posts from your dashboard. This tool is also useful for blocking posts you don’t want to see like triggers or anything that fills you with rage.

[Download Extension]

tumblrsaviortumblrsavior#Wrap

Sometimes, tags get cut off on a post. Especially those long tags that double up as a commentary. You also want to see the rest of the tags that come with it but they are hidden. Although Tumblr may have its scrolling tag feature to view tags, you may find it annoying. #wrap solves all that by wrapping the tags to fit in the post.

[Download Extension]

wrapwrapGoogle Analytics

This is one of the best and free ways to to track your Tumblr. Google Analytics allows you to track your Tumblr stats, like who’s visiting your site and how many are viewing it. Do check if your theme allows you to paste a Google Analytics ID in the settings. If it doesn’t, follow the instructions here.

[Visit Website]

googleanalyticsgoogleanalyticsDisqus

Some people use Tumblr to display their creative works to get feedback. However, not everyone has a Tumblr and those who don’t will not be able to comment on your posts. This is where Disqus comes in. The popular commenting feature allows people outside of Tumblr to comment on your post and helps generate discussions.

[Visit Website]

disqusdisqusCheck Your Post Limit

What most people don’t realize is that there is a post limit of 250 posts a day on Tumblr. If you would like to know how many posts you have left, you can enter your Tumblr username at Post Limit Checker. You can also enter other Tumblr usernames to find out their blog stats like how many posts they have and what time zone they’re in.

[Visit Website]

postlimitcheckerpostlimitchecker

The post 30+ Tumblr Tips Tricks, and Tools (2019) appeared first on Hongkiat.

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When You Should and Shouldn’t Use the Google Disavow Tool

The Google Disavow Tool can be useful but it can also be very dangerous. If not used properly, it can mess up with your website’s rankings on Google.

 

In order to make sure you use the Google Disavow Tool right, you must first know when you are actually allowed to use it. This advanced Google feature should only be used in specific scenarios.

 

Disavowing_Links_Essential_Dos_and_Donts_v5

 

If you’re interested in finding out when you should use the Google Disavow Tool, keep reading, because you’ll get all your answers in this article.

 

What Exactly Is the Google Disavow Tool?
When to Use The Disavow Tool

When there’s a dramatic drop in traffic & rankings
When your site has been spammed with Negative SEO backlinks
When you know your SEO Agency built spammy links to your website
When you have a manual action applied on your site
Other cases

When NOT to Use the Disavow Tool

When there’s no drastic drop in rankings
When you’re not sure if it is a penalty
When there’s a small drop in rankings
For testing purposes

How to Easily Disavow Links
Is the Disavow Tool Actually Helpful? (READ THIS)

 

A lot of webmasters see this tool as the ultimate salvation for their problems when they get an algorithmic or manual penalty. Even though generally  the objective of the Disavow Links tool was to be used as a resort to resolve link problems, it is not as simple as it seems.

 

 
What Exactly Is the Google Disavow Tool?

 

Long story short, the Google Disavow Tool is a feature in the Google Search Console (former Google Webmaster Tools) in which you can submit a list of backlinks that you want Google to disconsider. It was launched in late 2012 and was a pretty big deal back in the day.

 

The Google Disavow tool became a very popular topic in the aftermath of the Penguin 2.0 update. The changes made to the algorithm “dissolved” a lot of abused black hat SEO techniques and affected a lot of webmasters that found themselves on the wrong side of the street all of a sudden. The effects were harsh and visible and the website owners were desperate to recover their dropped rankings.

 

It became clear that this tool was developed in order to help webmasters solve their issues regarding penalties. The process seems simple. You have to create a file in order to show which links you want Google to disregard.

 

However, later on, people found out that the tool is actually much more than that. Through this very tool, Google collects information about spammy links across the web as users submit them. This way, it can improve its database of types of backlinks to better identify spammy and shady ones in the future.

 

For this very reason, the Black Hat SEO community doesn’t like the Disavow Tool. Many advised people not to use it, because it will help Google get stronger and catch their tactics quicker. But fearful webmasters rushed in to submit their spammy link profiles, in hope that they will be spared or forgiven.

 

Today, as of the new version of GSC, there’s no actual way of accessing the Disavow Tool from the Search Console. Although Google sends you to the new version, the tool can’t be found there either. 

 

disavow tool not in gsc

 

The Google Disavow Tool can be however directly accessed from the web by searching for it, or by accessing the Disavow Links Main Page.

 

In order to use the tool, you need to have a verified property in GSC. This means you can disavow backlinks only for websites that you own. The process is pretty simple once you have the proper list.

 

Getting that Google Disavow links list right, however, is another story. I’ll explain it soon.

 
When to Use the Disavow Tool

 

Short answer is that there are only a few isolated cases in which you should use the Google Disavow Tool. If you’re not sure you should use it, then the answer is probably don’t.

 

When deciding to use it, you should take into consideration a couple of things:

 

First of all, you need to make a quick link audit and see which are the links that are harming your site the most. You need to carefully determine the bad and the good and see which links could influence your site’s ranking drop. If you’re not careful, you might end up loosing some valid links that would otherwise pour some of that precious “link juice”.

 

Then, you have to take into account the fact that, before appealing to the disavow tool, you could try to remove the bad links manually by contacting the owners of the websites that point to you. Before panicking and running straight for the disavow solution, you should carefully try to clean up your mess the old fashion way. It may sound like a laborious task but you can make use of third-party tools that can help you speed up with the unnatural link detection and outreach.

 

You may want to use this tool if you stumble upon the following problems:

 
1. When there’s a dramatic drop in traffic & rankings

 

Obviously, a dramatic drop in traffic and rankings indicates an issue with your website. However, you should not rush in to disavow your links. First, make sure that that is the issue and try to exclude everything else before you decide on doing it.

 

The whole concept of disavowing unnatural links must be taken very seriously as it may also harm your ranking. This process should not be done on a haste.

 

 

You should take your time weeding out the bad and you should submit a list to be disavowed only if you’re 100% sure of the links that you send. You should also remember to try to manually remove the harmful links, not only to show Google your good intentions but also because you don’t know how long the disavow process could take.

 

 
2. When your site has been spammed with Negative SEO backlinks

 

If your website has been subject to a large scale Negative SEO attack, then you can consider disavowing those bad links.

 

But how do you know when your site was attacked? And how do you know which links are good and which links are bad?

 

Well, you can always use the CognitiveSEO Tool to monitor your backlinks and see if your link profile suffers major changes in a short amount of time. You can also use the tool to determine which links are natural and which links fit the patterns of spammy links by using our Unnatural Link Detection feature.

 

unnatural links tool

 

I’ll tell you more about how to exactly identify the bad links in a bit, so keep reading. First, let’s take a look at some other scenarios where you should consider using the Disavow Tool.

 
3.When you know your SEO Agency built spammy links to your website

 

Many times, webmasters hire companies to do SEO work for them. If you don’t choose your SEO agency right, you risk ending up with an SEO that will use BlackHat link building tactics to try and boost your site.

 

This might end up in a manual action penalty for your website, which are usually pretty hard to recover from.

 

If you find out that your SEO agency has been building unnatural links to your website instead of using techniques accepted by Google’s Guidelines, then you should consider using the Disavow Tool.

 

However, keep in mind that you should never disavow links massively if your website has not yet been penalized!

 
4. When you have a manual action applied on your site

 

Manual actions aren’t something you will often see. They are rare, isolated cases. However, they do exist and, if your website is one of them, you can consider using the disavow tool.

 

There are multiple types of manual actions, so make sure you start disavowing links only if you see the “Unnatural Links” warning. 

 

Other types of actions are related to Thin Content or User Generated Spam. These problems are fixed in other ways, without using the Disavow Tool.

 

To see if any manual actions have been applied to your website, go to the Google Search Console and find the Manual Actions section in the left menu.

 

Hopefully, you’ll see something like this:

 

disavow manual actions

 

If you see any warnings here, make sure you fix them and then submit your site for reconsideration (also done in the GSC under Manual Actions).

 
5. Other cases

 

Now of course, there are some other certain situations when you might want to Disavow some links that you’re sure provide no value, for example when the linking sites have viruses or malicious software.

 

However, if these links take 1% or less of your total links, then you probably shouldn’t bother (except if that 1% means thousands of links, which looks more like an attack).

 

John Mueller said that it’s also possible to disavow links in order to prevent future penalties and achieve ‘peace of mind’. That’s a sneaky way of threatening webmasters that they will get penalized if they don’t submit their links.

 

However, Gary Illyes later said that he would not bother to disavow some spammy links.

 

I have a site that gets 100,000 visits every two weeks. I haven’t looked at the links to it for two years, even though I’ve been told that it has some porn site links. I’m fine with that. I don’t use the disavow file. Don’t overuse it. It is a big gun.

Overusing it can destroy your rankings in a matter of hours. Don’t be afraid of sites that you don’t know. There’s no way you can know them all. If they have content, and they are not spammy, why would you disavow them?

Sites like this are very unlikely to hurt you, and they may help you. I personally trust the Google filters.


Gary Illyes

Chief of Sunshine and Happiness at Google / @methode

 

Our recommendation is to ignore these links unless there’s a visible penalty on your website, such as a manual action in GSC or a massive drop in traffic/rankings which can’t be attributed to anything else (HTTPS migration, redesign or some other major modifications to the site).

 

If you think your site is suffering from some bad links and you really want to remove the links you suspect, start slow, by disavowing only 5-10 links at a time. Wait for a couple of weeks to spot any effects and then expand by updating the disavow file with some new spammy links.

 

Track your rankings carefully to spot any differences and if you see massive negative impacts, remove the disavow files and stop messing with the tool immediately.

 
When NOT to Use the Disavow Tool

 

Usually, the answer is to never use the disavow tool except for the cases mentioned above. Some people think that it’s a good idea to use the Disavow Tool from time to time to make sure they clean their link profile, but they end up messing things up very badly!

 

To get a better understanding, here are some specific scenarios when you should not disavow the links:

 
1. When there’s no drastic drop in rankings

The reasons for which you may experience a drastic Google ranking drop may vary from website to website and in generally there is a serious guideline violation. But if you don’t experience that, you shouldn’t be panicking.

 

You may just be outranked by a competitor. As a consequence, there is no need to rush and get the disavow tool from your link survival kit.

 

You should try to analyze and track your competitor and see what is their SEO and content strategy. Also, you should maybe step up and improve your own approaches.

 
2. When you’re not sure if it is a penalty

 

When you receive a manual penalty the situation is pretty clear. Especially if you make use of Google Webmaster Tools ( which we strongly recommend). You will receive a message in which they warn you about the actions taken against you.

 

While this is easy and straight forward, an algorithmic penalty is not that obvious. You’ll have to make a personal assessment to see if it’s a penalty or it’s just the fact that the links are low quality. And if it is indeed an algorithmic penalty, what is harming your site’s ranking?

 
3. When there’s a small drop in rankings

 

It may just be a quick road bump in the road. You may always experience a flux in ranking that is unpredictable. As a golden rule, if you don’t have an explicit message from Google that you’ve been penalized or if you know you have an unnatural link profile, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

 

Your ranking could just recover on its own after a day or two. Moreover, a small drop in search engine ranking may just be influenced by the fact that you have many low quality links pointing to your site.

 

The solution here isn’t to remove those links, but to focus on building higher quality ones.

 

Usually, an algorithmic penalty will take place after an algorithm update. Sure, sometimes you might get penalized much later after the update, but usually, if that’s the case, chances are that it’s rather a manual penalty than an algorithmic one.

 

If you’re not sure whether there’s been an update on Google’s algorithm, you can check the CognitiveSEO Signals Tool.

 

 

You also have to check what the algorithm was about. Google doesn’t say much, but sometimes it says things like “this update will affect website that are not optimized for mobile”. If you can correlate what Google says with your website, then you have an issue.

 
3. For testing purposes

 

The final advice on when not to use the Google disavow tool would be to not just use it so you can see how it works. Cyrus Shepard made such an experiment and here are his “sad” findings.

 

DON’T DO THIS AS HOME!!! – Just don’t toy around with this tool, you may get fried!

 

The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is very much true in this case. This is one of those tools that you just don’t want to learn at your own cost. It’s too powerful and the damage it may do if misused may be irreversible.

 

The Disavow Tool is an advanced feature and should not be used unless one actually knows what they’re doing. It’s risky and shouldn’t be played with.

 

disavow tool is dangerous if not used correctly

 

Unless it’s one of the scenarios mentioned above, which are pretty critical if you ask me, it should be avoided.

 

Don’t disavow links or domains with low performance. Low DA links are part of a natural link profile. In the end, disavowing them might do more harm than good.

 

Maybe a new, small website with low domain performance writes about your website and links to it. Should you disavow these types of links? Definitely not.

 

Someday, that low domain performance website might become really popular and have a great deal of domain authority. Not only this, but the link might already be contributing to your site’s well being.

 
How To Easily Disavow Links

 

As stated above, you usually have to disavow links in severe cases of web spam and negative SEO attacks or manual actions. In case your site was massively spammed or already penalized and you have no way of removing those links, then you can use the Disavow Tool without any limitations to try and fix things.

 

Remember that you’re doing this at your own risk. Don’t rush Disavowing links if you’re not penalized yet. 

 

The truth is that disavowing links is a very difficult and time consuming process. In the end, it sounds as simple as uploading a text file on the web, but generating that text file correctly can be a bummer.

 

You’ll have to differentiate the bad links from the good ones and Google doesn’t actually help you do that. It will just tell you that your site has been penalized for spammy links.

 

Luckily, there is an easy way of dealing with unnatural links. By using the CognitiveSEO Unnatural Link Detection Tool. The tool makes it very easy to identify those links using an algorithm. The links that fit spammy links patterns will be marked as unnatural.

 

 

It is not, however, 100% automated. Before the tool can actually determine which links are good and which links are bad, you’ll have to sort out your anchor texts. This is usually done quickly in the tool via the anchor text classifier.

 

 

spammy anchor texts

 

The graphic above has been modified for privacy purposes. It is just an example.

 

The tool will automatically identify most branded keywords. However, the ones only containing keywords your site wants to target will be Misc by default. You can use the search filter on the left and bulk classify. The more diverse your anchor text distribution, the better for SEO, but the longer it will take to classify.

 

After that, you will get to see the unnatural links:

 

unnatural links tool

 

 

Once you have your list of unnatural links, you can mark them for disavow. You can also choose to reclassify the links as natural (OK) if you want. We highly advise you to take a look over your unnatural links (if you don’t have thousands). Mark any links that aren’t obviously spammy as Suspect and decide later if they really need to be disavowed.

 

generate and export disavow file quickly

 

After that, from the Unnatural Link Detection menu you can Export Google Disavow which will result in the Browser downloading a text file containing all the links/domains in the proper format for uploading it to the Disavow Tool.

 

It’s best if you try the tool yourself. You can sign up for a free trial and also get a live demo in which one of the cognitiveSEO team members will showcase the tool for you.

 

Remember, if there’s no penalty yet, those links might be the ones keeping your website near the top. Disavowing links can also result in a drop in rankings, so be very careful how you play with it!

 

It’s always a better idea to try to completely remove any spammy links to your website from the web. It’s time consuming, but it’s the more efficient way and it’s also what Google recommends.

 

If you want a step-by-step approach, you can take a look at this more in-depth guide on using the disavow tool.

 

 
Is the Disavow Tool Actually Helpful?

 

There’s a lot of controversy around the Google Disavow Tool. Is it actually useful? Will it prevent a penalty? Does it actually work?

 

 

The truth is that for each of the successful penalty recovery stories documented by us, there are indefinitely more out there that have not seen any success, even when using the Disavow Tool as recommended by Google.

 

In 2016, Google introduced Penguin 4.0 which supposedly made Google capable of ignoring spammy links altogether, as they were posted. In other words, the Disavow Tool worked and the spammy links database has improved the algorithm by making it able to run real-time.

 

disavow tool improves penguin

 

But in this case, is disavowing the links needed anymore?

 

This question has been asked many times around different events, on social media and throughout Webmaster Hangouts. Some answers came up to help us draw some conclusions:

 

Gary Illyes said on social media that:

 

For penguin specifically there’s less need, yes, but if you see the crap, you can help us help you by using it.


Gary Illyes

Chief of Sunshine and Happiness at Google / @methode

 

Also, John Mueller said this about keeping or removing the disavow files:

 

If you’ve cleaned up the links & they’ve been reprocessed, you can remove those URLs from the disavow file.

🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) October 28, 2016

 

The question wasn’t really about cleaning the links, but about the necessity of keeping the disavow file post Penguin 4.0. However, John’s answer instead reminds us that the spammy links should still be removed from the internet, which is something Google mentioned when they first launched the Google Disavow Tool.

 

Eric Kuan from Google said that “Google may not process them (disavowed links) if they don’t see you making a serious manual attempt at removing those links.” If you’ve spammed the website yourself, that makes sense. However, if you’re the victim of a negative SEO attack, it’s kind of unfair, don’t you think?

 

If you disavow links Google says you still have to try and remove them from the internet

 

The truth is, there’s no guarantee that using the disavow tool and submitting your site for reconsideration will remove a penalty. The best way to not get penalized is to not do anything that will get you penalized. However, it’s worth a shot in critical situations.

 

In the end, you have to consider that the Disavow Tool:

 

Takes time: If you want to do things the right way, you’ll have to spend a lot of time researching your link profile and making sure that you’re not disavowing any useful links (remember, the CognitiveSEO Tool can help you speed up this process)
Can mess things up: Remember, the Disavow Tool is an advanced feature and should only be used in specific cases. You shouldn’t waste your time with it if you’re not 100% sure it’s the right way to go.

Has actual guarantee it will work: Even if you know what you’re doing, there’s no guarantee it will help. Who knows, it might actually make things worse.

 

Conclusion

 

The main point that you should remember is that this tool shouldn’t be used if you’re not 100 percent sure how it works. Disavowing links is a powerful and irreversible process that may resolve your ranking drops or may throw your site into search engine oblivion.

 

Even though the Google Disavow Tool proves to be an invaluable asset to use in times of need, it can very well be misunderstood and easily used for the wrong purpose.

 

If you couldn’t prevail at removing unnatural links through traditional methods, you should obviously try disavowing them. But the tool should be used only in specific situations, such as a Manual Penalty. If you’re unsure how to use it and what it’s capable of doing, you should avoid it. However, if you think you’ve tried everything else, it’s worth a shot.

 

By adding smaller amounts of links at a time to the disavow file, you can avoid messing things up very badly, although this process is more time consuming.

 

What are your experiences with the Disavow Tool? Have you successfully recovered from a penalty? Did it not do anything at all? Have you used it to try prevent any future penalties? Let us know in the comments!

 

The post When You Should and Shouldn’t Use the Google Disavow Tool appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

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Design Gone Wrong: What to Do When Clients Turn Against You

It’s a designer’s worst nightmare. The perfect working relationship between you and and an awesome client suddenly turns sour. All their former praise and encouragement dries up, and they may even be threatening legal action.

What happened? Where did the relationship go so wrong, and what can you do to fix it? Today, we’re going to find out how designers can turn these types of situations around, and prevent them from happening in the first place.

It’s Probably Your Fault

Even if you don’t think so, there’s an excellent chance that the relationship between you and this client could have been saved had you – not they – done something differently. This doesn’t mean you did it on purpose – no one goes into any working relationship expecting to treat the other person badly.

probably your faultprobably your fault

Your client came to you because they had a problem they genuinely wanted you to solve. And you took on the job because you genuinely believed you could help them. Accepting the blame at the outset can go a long way in keeping clients from getting defensive and resentful.

Damage Control

If you want to save the relationship with this client, you’re going to have to do some serious backtracking to figure out exactly what went wrong, and what you can do immediately to make it better. A sincere apology can work wonders, especially if the falling out was due to a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication. Even if you believe the client is at fault, it does you no good to become accusatory.

Arguing is never the best way to go about repairing a relationship. This goes for one’s personal as well as professional life. In most cases, even if you’re completely in the right, it’s far more effective to be heard than it is to be “right”.

Focusing on getting through to your client in a calm, reasonable manner is the key to getting them to actually listen to you. Getting argumentative will only make them more defensive, and they will close their ears to whatever you’re trying to communicate to them.

Always Make Your Clients Look Good

If your client’s business looks bad as a result of your design, then you’ve failed as a designer. Even if the design itself is beautiful – if it conveys the wrong message to your client’s users, they won’t care about your design. They may even infer that there is something wrong with the product or service your client is providing, which can have devastating consequences both to your client and your own professional reputation.

make clients look goodmake clients look good

If your client feels you’ve misrepresented them somehow, this can result in a very serious rift between you and them which will be difficult to repair completely. This is because the client has lost trust in you. Trust, as everyone knows, is one of the most vital keys to any relationship. It may be the most important, in fact.

If your client no longer trusts you, it can have serious repercussions on your ability to attract future clients, which will in turn threaten your entire livelihood as a freelance designer.

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

But what if you encounter a malicious client who, for whatever reason, is purposely spreading poisonous information about you to other potential clients? Perhaps they carry some kind of grudge against you, or they feel you mistreated them somehow. This can happen in the form of a poor review of your services, or a series of frantic warnings to their peers to avoid you at all costs.

liar liarliar liar

If you encounter this kind of situation, it’s important again to keep your cool before proceeding. Relationships with clients of this type probably can never be repaired, and, if you’re truly innocent of the charges they level at you, it’s probably pointless to try.

There’s no telling why a client might develop a problem with you if you’ve done nothing wrong. However, just to be on the safe side, it’s probably a good idea to have another designer friend review your correspondence with this client. A fresh perspective can often point out areas you’ve missed, and can provide the key insight you need to set the record straight with your client.

What Do You Think?

Over to you. How do you handle client relationships that go awry? Are there specific techniques or methods you use to de-escalate a perilous situation, and repair potentially career-wrecking disagreements? Let us know in the comments.

The post Design Gone Wrong: What to Do When Clients Turn Against You appeared first on Hongkiat.

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9 Easy Organic Posts to Increase Page Engagement

We have all heard that conversations drive engagement.

And the more someone is engaged with a brand the more likely they are to purchase from that brand.

But you may not have heard of the “rule of seven,” a term coined by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

The rule states that you need to see and engage with your customers a minimum of 7 times for you to stand out in their minds, before they are ready to purchase from you.

It all comes back to conversations. They are the most powerful type of engagement.

So… How do you get people to engage with you and your brand?

First of all, you need to woo your audience. You want them to trust you, and you do that by posting relevant content that speaks to them, about them, and for them. These kinds of organic posts (like the ones I will show you today) will attract people to you.

Then ideally, you want to get your content out to more people without spending more money. By posting organically engaging content, you won’t need to spend as much on boosting or paid ads. And who doesn’t want to get their content out to more people for cheaper?

It all comes back to conversations. They are the most powerful type of engagement. So you want to be posting things that start that communication with your audience.

In this post we will cover 9 different types of organic posts you can use to instantly increase the amount of engagement on your social platforms, even if you don’t spend a penny on ads.

1) Know someone who?

This post is one of the easiest types to create.  “Know someone who…,” “Somewhere there is a [type of person] who…,” “We all have that special friend who….” These are calls to action we can use in our organic posts to encourage our audience to not just stop and look, but also to reach out to someone in their lives who shares this topic with them.

You can use these posts to collect people who are proven to engage with a certain topic. As they mention their friends they become powerful social proof for your brand.  You automatically have a tighter connection with that new “future customer” because they watched their friends have a conversation with you.

organic post about cat rolling pin

2) Coattails Post

This post allows you to use another brand or interest to help build your credibility. Roland Frasier did exactly that with this post featuring his wife.

Roland’s target audience is people who want to grow their wealth, so he picked a high-end hotel to “ride the coattails” of. By tagging that particular hotel in his organic post, he gained access to their audience as well as his own.

For you, think about where the people you are trying to attract “live” online? What other interests do they have? What places they may have visited? Things they may have on their bucket list or things they want to do? Roland knew the hotels where the people he wanted to attract visited and featured content from there.

Here’s a key tip: Facebook knows when people travel and where they stay. And when your content features a location your audience has been, it increases that content’s distribution in their feed. Since Facebook views that content as more relevant to the audience. it gives it a higher “affinity score.”

Coattail organic post about a hotel

3) Play I-Spy with Your Audience

Yes, literally, a game.

Games are a great way to get people to respond with micro-engagements. Micro-engagements are things like likes, hearts, or short comments. There is something universal, fun, and irresistible about game content. People cannot help but smile or participate when they see a game their friends have acted on.

Mobile of New Zealand played a game of I-Spy with their audience using a 360 photo.

Not only did this game increase clicks on their content, the time engaged on the page was HUGE, causing a spike in reach with their brand’s content!

Organic post with an i-spy game

4) The Guessing Game

This is another fast, irresistible game. If done well, this type of organic post can engage your audience to help sell your product! That is exactly what happened for Mark, a franchise owner of Marco’s Pizza. He posted a game into a local Facebook group and it went bonkers!

Not only did he get a lot of micro-engagements with his brand, but the timing was genius! Friday night, right before the Super Bowl. And when people were out buying pizza, his pizza store was top of mind!

Organic post with guessing game about pizza sales

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

5) Create a Screen-Stopper

These are a type of video that flashes images to you in a quick sequence, almost fitting them together into a story, much like this post from Airbnb. What I love about this post is that it starts with 1 image, and as you scroll past it grabs another image.

This “screen stopper” grabs the reader’s attention and brings them back to the content.

screen-stopper organic post with picture of city at night

Another version of the screen stopper is this post from Growing Play. They used this organic post to collect people into video-view audiences. These parents and preschool teachers were potential customers who would consume more content and purchase their products. Her readers watched the flashing words and grabbed a screenshot to give them an instant activity to do with their bored kids. Genius!

One screen-stopper organic post for children's activities

6) Identification Quizzes

The rule of seven states that you need to see and engage with your customers a minimum of 7 times for you to stand out in their minds.

These posts go bonkers! Buzzfeed says they are among their most popular content. What’s really cool isn’t just the fact that these posts get crazy engagement, but they are PERFECT as a vehicle for market research and as a mechanism to get a ton of engagements as fast as possible. Fulfill that “rule of 7” as fast as you can!

What do you do?

Ask your readers a series of questions to help them sort, or self-identify, themselves as interested in a topic. Sometimes you can help your audience pick the perfect product of yours for them to purchase.

You can also use these posts to collect information about the city or region your audience is in to help build up tourism, or to sell homes—or take advantage of the location/coattail post I talked about earlier.

example of an identification quiz organic post

You can also use these posts to position products to consumers for future organic posts ex: what flavor of fruit are you… you now have valuable information about your audience and you can follow up with them featuring merch about fruit (scratch-n-sniff notepads??) or cookbooks filled with fruit!

another example of an organic identification quiz post

7) Watch Parties

If you have a Facebook group, this type of post is a great way to get quick engagements, and have an ongoing dialogue with your audience, without creating new content. You can post videos that other people make, and then discuss them together in your group, in real time.

(RELATED: How to Build and Manage a Private Facebook Group)

You can also use this method as a way to repost old content from your page back into your groups. As a bonus, everyone who is online and watching gets a notification to join your “party.” Below is a screenshot grabbed from a watch party that helped Ryan Levesque close a $2.5 million launch.

Conversations like the one in this watch party convert readers into fans—and ultimately buyers.

Organic watch party post

8) Host a Real-Life Treasure Hunt

Facebook has said they are filling our feed with content they believe is proof of meaningful connections. Part of the feed ranking system for meaningful connection is based on mutual relationships, time relevance, and location. It is that third element that you can totally capitalize on using a real-life treasure hunt.

Treasure hunt organic post where someone hid money across New Mexico

Nate Lind worked to create an audience of people in his local area by hiding $500 around the town. Then he gave people clues to where it was located, and participants went on a treasure hunt. The pages associated with the treasure hunts grew at record speed, and with a highly relevant audience, Facebook saw the page as a source of “meaningful connections” in their local communities! It is genius!

Engagement on the treasure hunt organic post

9) Heartbeat Checks.

These posts are by far the easiest for anyone to use and grow engagement. They work for pages, groups, and even for people who want to grow the number of friends and the engagement of their personal profiles on Facebook (they also work in other social media platforms in addition to Facebook). We use them successfully on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

What is a heartbeat check? It is a simple question that takes no real effort for your readers to answer, and it helps your reader connect quickly to you—in conversation. Questions like, “Who else is a ___?” or “When was the last time you _____?” are just a start. We have a list of heartbeat checks that work with any niche and can be used to promote any product—just click here to download them.

That wraps up 9 different types of posts you can create on your social media platforms that will instantly increase engagement. These posts get your audience to do some of the heavy lifting of growing your page for you.

(NOTE: Need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or maybe you just want proven, actionable marketing tools, tactics, and templates to implement in your business? Check out the latest deal from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your way to helping your business grow.)

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