SEMRush Review and Tips

SEMRush is the top SEO tool for many digital marketers because it offers a wide range of tools and data to analyze competitors in any niche.

Stealing Competitor Search Traffic

Clicking on “Domain vs Domain” in the left menu will take you to a page where you can enter two or more domains to compare.


Enter the domains you want to compare in the input fields and click the “Go” button.


SEMRush will display the keywords that the two domains both rank for and how each domain ranks.


You can also filter the list to show which keywords your competitor is ranking for on the first page that you are not.


Click on the “Advanced filters” and then select the domains and greater than 10 for your domain and less than 10 for your competitor.

You can try to improve your rankings for these keywords by creating content on that topic or building links to your existing page. If you don’t have content for those keywords, it can be a great opportunity to increase your search traffic.

Top Pages

This is a feature that is a little hidden in SEMRush. Click on “Domain Analytics” and “entire menu” and “Pages” to see the pages on any domain that receive the most traffic.


This will show you which pages on a competitor website are driving the most traffic. You can use this information to try to duplicate their top pages on your site and make them better to take some of that traffic.

This will also show a percentage breakdown of how much of a website’s traffic is coming from their top pages. For Cool Marketing Stuff, the article on “The Compromise Effect” accounts for 31% of the site’s traffic (almost one-third) according to SEMRush’s estimates. It is common for a handful of pages to account for a majority of a site’s traffic.

How to Find Most of the Links to Your Site With Google Analytics

If you would like to keep track of every website that has linked to you, Google Analytics can help you find a large percentage of URLs with a link to your site.

From your Google Analytics home page click on your website. Then click on “All Referrals” under the Acquisition section on the left sidebar.


This will display a list of the top 10 website domains that are referring traffic to your site in the past month. You can display up to 5,000 rows and extend the date range to when you started your website.

To find the URL of the specific webpage with the link to your site click on the website domain.


This will show you the specific URL on the domain that is referring you traffic. Previously you had to create a custom report in Google Analytics to find the referring page URL.


Now that you have the specific URLs that have a link to your site, you can track them in a spreadsheet like a Google Doc.


This is useful to monitor the growth of your link profile, and it can be encouraging to see new links that you can add to your list. You may want to document your new links in a spreadsheet to monitor things like anchor text distribution and link velocity. You can also use a tool like Raven Tools’ Link Manager to track your links to see if any are removed for some reason. Sometimes link removal is inadvertent (e.g. during a site redesign) and you can contact the webmaster to have the link added back.

If you extend the date range to the beginning of your site, you can find almost every link since someone has probably clicked on the link at some point. If no one has ever clicked on the link, then it is probably not a very good link. If a URL only has one referral since the site launched, it may be a spammy link that you may want to have removed if practical. A downside to this technique for finding links is that some URLs displayed in Google Analytics may be no-follow links such as blog comments.

You can also find links with tools like Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Link Explorer, Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, and Majestic SEO.

Do you have a tip for finding links to your site? Please share it in the comments.

Charles Sipe is an Online Marketing Specialist in Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter (@charlessipe) or Google+ for interesting marketing links.

20 Influential Marketers Share Their Best Productivity Hack

Marketers often work long hours to execute strategies that deliver results for their companies and to keep their skills current with the constantly changing industry. This can come at the cost of our well-being and happiness due to less time spent on things like exercise, socializing with friends and family, and memorable experiences. Increasing your productivity can, as Tim Ferriss puts it, “maximize your per hour output” so you can get more free time or become more effective. I contacted dozens of influential marketers to ask them about their top productivity hack for getting the most out of their workday and they generously shared the following responses.

kane-jamisonFor me, it’s avoiding Twitter. Aside from that, for sales & proposals I work from a templated document using proposal software called Quote Roller. Makes the proposal process much faster. Finally, working towards building out checklists and procedures internally helps cut down on errors and misunderstandings. The more complex our processes get, the more I’m realizing the need for documentation earlier rather than later.
-Kane Jamison is the founder of the content marketing agency Content Harmony. @KaneJamison

sujan-patelMy most effective and simple productivity hack to get the most out of my workday is to start early. I start my day between 6 to 630am which gives me 2-3 hours of uninterrupted work time. During this time I get 65% of my days work out of the way. The rest of the 8-9 hours I work I’m bombarded with phone calls, emails, instant messages which gets me side tracked.
-Sujan Patel is the founder of Single Grain, a leading digital marketing agency in San Francisco. @sujanpatel

dan-shureMy biggest productivity hack is to work on your most important project first thing in the day and don’t check email or Twitter until almost lunch. If you get a solid three hours in uninterrupted work first thing, I consider that highly productive. If you need to grab info or something from your email, use the pause inbox plugin so you’re not seeing any new messages show up to distract you.
-Dan Shure is the owner of Evolving SEO and hosts the video series No Board SEO. @dan_shure

jon-cooperI really don’t have any productivity hack. The only thing relating to this topic is that I ask myself one simple question before doing something, which is “is this the best use of my time to make the most money possible?” That ends up discarding a lot of tasks and help me reach my goals faster. Granted, I’ve only recently employed this after observing a few investors I highly respect, and I’m still not the most disciplined, but all in all, it’s changed the way I think about the whole “getting shit done” mantra. You can try to be as productive as possible, but at the end of the day, it’s about what you do, not how fast/productive you can be in terms of going about it.
-Jon Cooper is the owner of Point Blank SEO, a link building blog and course. @PointBlankSEO

rand-fishkinMy biggest hack is my schedule and my rigid discipline on communication and work channels. Basically, if it’s not on my Google calendar or in Gmail, it doesn’t happen. I stick to a modified version of inbox 0 and am always working to get down to nothing in my email – every task I have sits there, often in an email from myself. I use it like a checklist, and am only interrupted from polishing it off by meetings on my calendar.

My schedule is also pretty strict. I wake up ~8:30am, do email until 10am, get to work between 10:30-11am, have meetings and coffees and team communication stuff until ~6pm, head home, eat dinner with my wife, and am back online from 10pm-1am to clear out the rest of my inbox and, if I have the chance, blog.
-Rand Fishkin is the founder and CEO of Moz, a provider of marketing analytics software. @randfish

james-agateMy biggest productivity hack I think goes against everything that the experts tell you which is that I stay on top of my emails throughout the day to stop things getting out of control in my inbox. So I get up early (another top tip), early enough to get some quiet work done before the rest of the world wakes up, clear through my inbox which has only had the 10 hours to fill up if you count sleep a leisure time. I operate a one-touch policy for email so basically I open and deal with it in less than 2 mins so that might be write a response, Boomerang for another time, assign to a team member, delete etc.

I used to have a terrible habit of opening every email then leaving it as a read email sat in my inbox for an entire day if not longer thinking about how I am going to deal with it. Now I have forced myself to deal with it in less than 2 minutes.

I always clear out my inbox before starting task related work because I find it helps clear my mind and ensures our customers have had responses, my team know what they are doing and I can focus on the specific tasks rather than getting sidetracked thinking “A client won’t know what is going on with X, Y or Z because I didn’t respond to them.”

So when it comes to task work my other top tip is the Pomodoro Technique, it has taken real perseverance to make this a permanent fixture in my work day but what a difference it makes to productivity and it also forces me to take leisure breaks in the day and do important things like actually eat lunch 🙂
-James Agate is the CEO of Skyrocket SEO, a link building agency to digital marketing companies and major brands. @jamesagate

john-wallMy number one hack is “Big Rocks First.” Covey and the Merrills have an excellent book on time management called “First Things First.” Find some time before your week begins, many use Sunday night, to look at the calendar for the week. You need to select the five most important things you need to get done and fit them into the calendar. If you don’t set this time aside you’ll get crushed by the “tyranny of the urgent” – there’s always unlimited email to answer, meetings with co-workers and other urgent but not really important tasks that can fill your week.

Think of your week as a jar – it has limited capacity. The important items are the rocks. Email, social media, meetings and other less important things are sand. You’ve got to put the big rocks in first – you’ll still have space for sand in there. If you just start pouring in the sand, you’ll fill the jar and the important stuff will never get done.
-John Wall is the co-host of Marketing Over Coffee and author of B2B Marketing Confessions. @johnjwall

drpeteI’m a big fan of simple techniques, and one I’ve come to like a lot is the Pomodoro Technique. Basically, you work in uninterrupted blocks of 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. It’s a bit more complex than that, and there are many variants, but I find that focused work – that means no email, no Twitter, etc., is absolutely amazing for productivity. Writing and planning especially benefit. For a while, I experimented with doing 8 blocks per day, and that 4 hours of uninterrupted work time was more productive than my average 8-10 hour day. It is shockingly difficult to find 8 uninterrupted blocks of time (or make them, as the case may be), but I still try to use the concept daily, in whatever way I can manage.
-Dr. Peter J. Meyers is a Marketing Scientist at Moz and owner of User Effect, a strategic usability consulting firm. @dr_pete

danny-doverBy far the productivity hack that has made the biggest impact on my life is getting everything with due dates out of your head and into a system that I trust. (This is a philosophy from David Allen’s Getting Things Done). Regardless if it is due in three hours or three days, every item goes into my OmniFocus system. From there it syncs with my phone and computer and is never more than a arms length away. With this setup, I don’t worry about having to remember the milk or to post a blog post because I wake up every morning with a list of all of the things that need to get done that day. I rarely go a day without completing the list and I never have to worry about forgetting important tasks.
-Danny Dover is the co-founder of the marketing training course Making It Click and shares his bucket list adventures at Life Listed. He is also the author of the book Search Engine Optimization Secrets. @dannydover

ross-hudgensMy #1 productivity hack is to create uninterrupted time in my workday – where it’s just me, silence, and the computer. This is generally around 6AM or before anyone else gets to the office. Distractions are simply that – and very tough to get around, even with willpower. The way to get over that is to force solutions.

My second hack is to schedule blog posts for times I’m traveling. The noise of people responding and tweeting posts are especially distracting to productivity, so I find that if I force the posts live at unproductive times (such as on a plane/at a conference), it’s the most optimal way to get benefit without cost.
-Ross Hudgens is the founder of Siege Media, a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in businesses that operate online. @RossHudgens

jayson-demersMy top productivity hack for getting the most out of my workday is simple: Stay organized. I’ve got lots of to-do lists, but they’re very accessible and easy to work from. As long as I know what I need to do each day, I have no problem actually doing it. Recently, I’ve started using Producteev, which is a task management software that helps my employees and I sync up on tasks that need to be done, along with deadlines and collaboration tools as well. So far, I really like it!
-Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO, AudienceBloom, an SEO firm that specializes in link building and social media marketing. @jaysondemers

ian-lurieEveryone has to use something like Pomodoro to manage their time. You need to set out 25-45 minute blocks of time that are ‘interruption proof,’ and then set ground rules for your co-workers. Without this kind of interruption management, it’s impossible to get anything done.
-Ian Lurie is the founder and CEO of Portent, a leading internet marketing company. @portentint

neil-patelI spend a lot of my time within my email inbox, so to save time I use, which unsubscribes me from any junk mail I receive. This saves me roughly 30 minutes a day.

I also respond to emails right after opening them, versus responding later on. This again saves me roughly 30 minutes a day as I don’t have to re-read emails later on.
-Neil Patel is the founder of the analytics companies KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg and blogs regularly about online marketing at Quick Sprout. @neilpatel

mike-ramseyRescueTime has been great for me. Its a free tool to use personally and I am able to see a productivity breakdown. I also am able to see how much time I spend in Gmail which is something I REALLY try to limit as it is usually my biggest time suck. I think the key is that if you aren’t monitoring something it’s very hard to improve on it. I usually take a look at the data every week and see what type of trends are standing out.
-Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing, a local search marketing company @niftymarketing

jason-acidreI got this tip from John Doherty (of Distilled) – the key to really get things done or be more productive is to actually do stuff (and lots of them). Productivity is as simple as that, I believe.

Make a list of the things you need to do on a daily basis and sort them by levels of priorities. I personally use Trello to organize my daily/weekly tasks.

I usually start with medium to high priority tasks that aren’t time consuming (like emails, delegating tasks to teammates, reading etc…) before doing the tedious ones (ex: writing blog posts, doing research, analyzing clients’ sites, etc…). The more I see my list of “done tasks” pile up, the more it stimulates my brain and be pumped up to work on the tougher ones.
-Jason Acidre is the CEO of Xight Interactive and writes about online marketing at Kaiser the Sage. @jasonacidre

Ann SmartyI don’t have any separate productivity tools (mostly because, ironically, I don’t have time to master them) but I have learned to use my daily software for productivity:

My browser: FireFox has “pinned tabs” option, so whenever there’s a task, I pin it and let it hang there. My browser gets slow and cluttered with too many open pinned tabs, so that’s by far the best motivation for me to go and clear it up by actually doing the tasks!

My email client: I use Thunderbird as my master email inbox: I sync all my mail in there and go through each message one by one (reading, replying, deleting automatic updates, etc). If any of the emails requires something done, I’ll leave it there hanging. If I want to unclutter my inbox, I’ll do my best to *do* that.
-Ann Smarty is the owner of MyBlogGuest, a free community of guest bloggers. She also blogs about SEO at SEO Smarty. @seosmarty

geoff-kenyonOne of the most helpful productivity hacks that I’ve found is to turn off all notifications. I don’t get pop up notifications about email or chats or any kind of push notifications; these these messages rarely contain pertinent information to what I’m working on and are distractions rather than resources. When I’m working on something, I want to focus on the task at hand rather than being interrupted by notifications.
-Geoff Kenyon in an SEO consultant at Distilled and blogs at @geoffkenyon

john-dohertyMy top productivity hack is to not read blog posts during the workday. I’m constantly on Twitter and see awesome content coming through my feed, but I also have work to do. So, I signed up for Pocket, formerly ReadItLater, and save everything to my Pocket so that I can read it that evening or on my commute home. If you install the Pocket Chrome extension, you can right click on links and save them to your queue without having to open them at all. It’s brilliant!
-John Doherty is the head of Distilled NYC and blogs at @dohertyjf.

lauren-hall-stigertsI’m happiest when I’m in The Flow – that’s when I’m totally focused on one activity at a time and pushing myself through the hard parts. It’s too easy to distract myself with the online equivalent of potato chips when I should be eating salads (getting things done).

One of my weaknesses is social media. There’s so much power for good there, and it’s an essential place for online marketers to be. But, like potato chips, too much can be a bad thing. I’ve recently started using Buffer (optimized with FollowerWonk) as a way to share awesome content throughout the day without having to open the bag of potato chips every time. I use the Chrome plugin to send quick updates on the fly, and they get deployed at intervals throughout the day. Now I plan when I check my social networks instead of letting real-time updates control me.

BONUS! I’ll be keeping an eye on my RescueTime dashboard to quantify my Buffer-induced productivity!
-Lauren Hall-Stigerts is a marketing consultant specializing in content strategy and social media at Marketing Gal. @lstigerts

mike-essexMy top productivity hack is taking my dog for a walk in the morning and before I go to bed. Although it’s not a hack during work time I find it’s vital that I have these two periods of calm in order to process what happened during the day and to plan for the day ahead. We have so many distractions around us at work and home that walking the dog is the time when I have no technology around me, just her and the empty field. With all of the other burdens removed it means I’m free to think creatively and put my mind to tasks that need dedicated time.

It’s like how people get great ideas in the shower because their mind is free to think and listen to the ideas that have been bubbling under until that point. The shower is pretty much the only time we get away from technology now and dog walking applies the same “hack.” The best hack of all is turning everything off.

You might also find this slidedeck I made helpful which covers other hacks to be creative like coning yourself, Pomodoro and being child-like.
-Mike Essex is an Online Marketing Manager at Koozai and author of Free Stuff Everyday. @Koozai_Mike

cyrus-shepardThe biggest productivity hack I use is to work at a standing desk. I swear my productivity rises 30% with this simple act. I also have more energy, seem to digest my food better and when listening to music have more freedom to dance.

The one I have at work I made myself, inspired by this post. Here’s what it looks like:


-Cyrus Shepard is Senior Content Producer at Moz and blogs at Above the Fold. @CyrusShepard

brain-deanI’m a big believer in “proactive” vs. “reactive” modes in business. I find that I get the most accomplished when I’m in proactive mode.

Because of the way humans evolved, we’re in reactive mode by default. First, it’s better for survival (you can spot danger and opportunities easier). Second, it requires less mental energy.

That’s why checking email/Facebook/blogs is so addictive: it puts you in full-on reactive mode.

I’ve found that once I get into reactive mode, it’s hard to go back into proactive mode.

That’s why I don’t check email (usually) until 3-4pm. That’s obviously more efficient because of batching. But it ensure that my mornings and early afternoons are in full-on proactive mode: producing content, doing outreach and generally getting stuff accomplished.

When my brain is tired from that work, I check all the things I need to check…which requires significantly less mental effort.
-Brian Dean is a link building consultant and owner of Backlinko, which provides free tips and resources for building links. @Backlinko

kristi-hinesIf you have trouble staying focused on your work, then try the StayFocusd Chrome extension. It blocks websites that distract you from your projects on specific days and hours during the day. Overall, you can give yourself a specific allotted time for all of your blocked sites per day. This can keep your Facebook, celebrity gossip, and online poker site usage down to 15 minutes total during the work day. It’s a great way to increase your productivity by decreasing the chance of getting sucked down the IMDB rabbit hole.
-Kristi Hines is a content marketer and freelance writer who was named to Forbes’ Top 50 Social Influencers. Her Blog Post Promotion Course teaches people how to become exceptional at promoting content and she also runs the popular marketing blog, Kikolani. @kikolani

matthew-barbyEach day I make sure that I rise an hour early so that I can go through all of the latest content that has been produced across my favorite blogs and decide which to share online. This is where Feedly comes to my rescue. I’ve categorized my Feedly (RSS reader) into loads of different categories to give me streams of content related to link building, content marketing, design, PPC, growth hacking, local SEO, entrepreneurship, etc. This way, I can skim through each subject to get a general overview of what’s going on – the fact that I’m UK-based helps because I get all the content from the US whilst they’re all asleep, which gives me a chance to catch up! My goal is always to get as much done as possible in the morning because I find my concentration is at its peak. Getting into the office early helps me to shake of any rustiness before I get bombarded with phone calls as well!
-Matthew Barby is the Head of Online Strategy at Wow Internet and writes about online marketing tools and strategies at Find My BlogWay. @matthewbarby

Thanks to everyone who contributed for being so generous with their time! Please help improve this resource by sharing your best productivity hack in the comments.


“My biggest productivity hack is to work on your most important project first thing in the day” -Dan Shure (Tweet This Quote)

“My most effective and simple productivity hack to get the most out of my workday is to start early.” -Sujan Patel (Tweet This Quote)

“Make a list of the things you need to do on a daily basis and sort them by levels of priorities.” -Jason Acidre (Tweet This Quote)

One of the most helpful productivity hacks that I’ve found is to turn off all notifications. -Geoff Kenyon (Tweet This Quote)

“My top productivity hack is taking my dog for a walk in the morning and before I go to bed.” -Mike Essex (Tweet This Quote)

“The biggest productivity hack I use is to work at a standing desk.” -Cyrus Shepard (Tweet This Quote)

If you like this post, be sure to share it with your audience.

Responses collected by Charles Sipe, an online marketing specialist at Spacecraft Digital. @charlessipe

The Marketer's Quick Guide to Getting More Done With Tablets

I recently received a Google Nexus 7 which is a great compliment to a larger tablet like the iPad. The smaller form factor of the Nexus 7 (it has a 7 inch screen) is more convenient for times when you don’t want to carry the larger device. The 1.33 pound iPad 2 can start to feel heavy pretty quickly if you are holding it while lying in bed while the Nexus 7 is about half the weight and easier to hold with one hand. The Nexus 7 is also easier to take with you when you leave the house, since it can fit in a large coat pocket.

Tablets can be a useful tool for marketers for tasks like creating content, using social media, and consuming marketing content.

Here are some of the ways that I use tablets to get more done:

Catching Up on Marketing Books
The Kindle App is my go-to tablet app for reading books. My favorite features are the ability to read a preview of almost any book (like browsing a huge virtual book store) and the ability to highlight key passages for future reference. In the iPad version you can read the most popular highlights by other people who have read the book (I couldn’t find this feature on the Android version).

Taking Notes at Conferences
It can be a huge pain to have to lug around your laptop at a conference. A Nexus 7, which weighs less than a pound can be a great alternative. You can also use a bluetooth keyboard if you are live blogging and need to type thousands of words like I did here for the 2012 Mozcon conference from my iPad 2.

Blogging Away from the Desk
Blogging on a tablet can be more comfortable than sitting on your sofa with a hot laptop on your lap. And as regular bloggers know, inspiration for a great blog idea often occurs when you are away from your desk. I sometimes write small pieces of a blog post on my tablet throughout the week, rather than trying to sit down for a couple hours and force out a full blog post.

Watching Conference Videos
Marketing conference videos are often more enjoyable when you are using a tablet rather than sitting in front of your computer. I like to watch Distilled conference videos, which are currently available to subscribers of Distilled U ($40/month). You can also enjoy relevant TED talks like Simon Sinek’s talk on figuring out the why behind your company. This Google Doc lists links to over 1300 TED talks.

Watching Marketing Videos on YouTube
There are many great marketing videos available on YouTube including these 13 marketing talks that can be enjoyed on a tablet device. Along with countless interviews, there are several great series of online marketing videos that you can watch on your device while you are doing the dishes like Whiteboard Friday and Koozai TV.

In Person Meetings
If you are meeting a business contact for coffee or making a sales pitch over lunch, a larger tablet like the iPad is excellent for showing examples of what you are talking about.

Updating and Monitoring Social Media
I like to use the application Tweetdeck to post to Twitter and view Tweets from my curated Twitter lists. I create lists of specific groups of people like marketers, Seattlites, and SEO professionals so that I can view Tweets from specific segments on demand. I also create a private list of “cool” people who provide exceptionally valuable information. Tweetdeck is useful for updating your Twitter status and it lets you post from multiple Twitter accounts if you want to Tweet for your company or client. I’ve heard great things about the Buffer app which sends out your saved updates at an optimal time.

Taking Notes
If I don’t take notes when reading or listening, I tend to forget most of the content. The act of taking notes forces my brain to scan for takeaways and I tend to pay better attention and retain more information. The notes can also be repurposed as useful Tweets. One app that I use frequently for note taking is Evernote because I can access my notes from multiple devices and can take photo notes like a great magazine ad that can be added to my swipe file.

Favorite Tablet Apps:

Kindle App – my favorite application for reading digital books.

Stitcher – this app allows you to stream your favorite marketing podcasts on demand.

TweetDeck – great for viewing your Twitter lists in separate columns.

Evernote – great for saving photos that can be used for inspiration or for examples on your blog.

Are there any tasks you find tablets particularly useful for? Please share them in the comments.

Creative Commons Photo by Houang Stephane

Full disclosure: Staples provided me with this Google tablet. The words opinions express in this review are strictly my own. To see the full line of tablets visit

5 Stock Photo Pitfalls Marketers Should Avoid

Have you ever visited a website that looked like it could have literally been created by a robot, void of human warmth and character? These types of websites are usually boring and dry because they overuse common copy, pictures, and template web designs. While stock photography can be convenient and highly effective in certain situations, here are some pitfalls to avoid:

1. The Handshake

This painfully overused stock photo has been posted throughout the Internet on low quality and spammy websites. While many legitimate businesses use cliché stock photography, the fact is that visitors to your website are going to associate familiar pictures with laziness or a poor product. The picture might show a deal being made, but you might shake a lot less hands if you use this stock photo on your site.


2. The Meaningless Graph

Everyone knows that up and to the right is the best direction there is in business. Built-over-night marketing and advertising companies love to show stock photo graphs and charts that have absolutely no real meaning since they do not represent anything from the business posting them. If you want to gain client trust and prove to them that you can move that line northeast, then take screenshots of your own graphs and lay off the stock photography.


3. Phone Operator

The most ironic part about the overly happy and enthusiastic operator is not that no call center employee would ever be smiling like that on the job, but that most people dread calling support numbers. The last thing you want to see when you are explaining your so-simple-a-fifth-grader-could-understand-it problem is a smiling face acting like everything is OK. After all, whoever sat still for that picture didn’t just wait on hold for 15 minutes to have the connection lost.

call center gal

4. Diverse Group Photo

Nothing screams “we probably aren’t that diverse” than an unrealistically diverse photograph. If your company is really diverse, then you will have no problem displaying that to potential employees and the media with actual photographs of your diverse team. Not to mention anyone can tell that these pictures do not display the actual members of the team.

diverse team

5. Business People Doing Sports

Did anyone ever even stop to ask why the women are running a race on a track in high heels? The truth is, stock photos of business people doing sports will handicap you against the competition just like running a race with high heels.

business race

Not only do cliché stock photos act as a test for your gag reflex, they also will increase your bounce rate and decrease your conversion rate on your website. Pictures like the hand shake originally were used to build trust and to instill a sense of agreement and negotiation. With the mass production of stock photography and the availability of photos on the internet, pictures like the handshake lost their touch over time. Go with something real and unique to your business instead. Take actual photography or create unique graphics that represent the content on your website.

James Daugherty is a Seattle transplant who enjoys marketing and is a caffeine enthusiast. All images from this article are provided by Shutterstock and Bigstock.

5 Reasons to Use Clicky Analytics

The following article is a guest post by Steve Rendell.

Before I start this blog post, let me just be clear, I am a huge fan of Google Analytics, I think it is a superb tool,but, recently I have been thinking more and more about the idiom “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and particularly its relevance to my small web portfolio of sites. Until last month, all my sites were linked into Google Webmaster, all my sites were using Google Analytics, and for my information sites I am showing Google AdSense adverts. I also derive a large proportion of my online traffic from yep you guessed it Google.

Now this isn’t a bad thing as such, but diversification is very important, and I wanted to make steps to begin breaking that reliance on Google, so decided to test out other website analytics package. After some extensive testing, I settled on a product called Clicky Analytics – which actually offers web site owners, like you and me, an even fuller suite of functions than the one provided by Google. It does cost a small fee, but for the amount of functionality you get, it’s a no brainer. Google Analytics is free but it is also a way for Google to buy massive amounts of web traffic data in exchange for some pretty charts.

Here are my top five reasons why I think you’ll be happier using Clicky Analytics instead of Google Analytics.

Spy on your visitors
Now this sounds a bit creepy but it isn’t. What it is is a realtime feed of visitor interactions on your site. You can see how they found your site, what page they are on, what other pages they have visited
as well as the ability to chat with that visitor directly (if you have oLark enabled). This is super useful for helping convert visitors into buyers, or just for on the fly market research.

Fully featured mobile version
Not only does Clicky offer a fully featured generic mobile interface to their site (as well as a iPhone specific interface), they also offer a slick and clever iPhone/iPad native application for monitoring
your websites. It is really smart to be able to check your statistics out on the go, as well as the ability to receive notifications when your visitor count exceeds a specific number.

Improved Bounce Rate Metric
One thing I found frustrating with GA is way that the bounce rate is calculated. If someone comes to your site, and leaves from the same page that is considered a ‘bounce’. A high bounce rate means in
Googles eyes that your site is of lower quality, and it may lower your ranking in the SERPS. Clicky Analytics defines a bounce to be one page view and the visitor stays less than 30 seconds on your site. I like their explanation and also tend to agree with them, that this is a much better way to measure visitor bounce.

No Traceable Footprint
When you install Google Analytics on your website, it will include your GA UA code. This is a unique identifier that can be used by other people to easily see all the websites that you own and have installed Analytics on. If you like to you can do a reverse search on sites such as eWhois for free. When you use Clicky Analytics there is no common ID used across your accounts, so you can gain some comfort from the fact that each site is isolated
from the others.

Better Interface and UX
I love the look of the new Google Analytics, but hate the navigation. Every step seems to take multiple clicks to accomplish; it is thoroughly frustrating using it. Clicky Analytics on the other hand is a simple, very well laid out interface with all the information that I require displayed immediately as I visit my dashboard (obviously configurable), and with the ability to dig down into my data also within a click or two, it is a pleasure to use compared to the convoluted new interface from GA.

This blog post was written by Steve Rendell who runs Paper Free Billing, providers of simple and effective invoice software for small businesses.

4 Useful Marketing Tools For Testing Your Site

There are some helpful and inexpensive marketing tools available that can help you test how people interact with your site.

FiveSecondTest is all about getting user’s first impressions. Testers view your website, designs and/or mockups in the span of just 5 seconds and then answer your survey questions. Fivesecondtest sends you the results with analyzed responses including keywords and graphs.

One benefit to Fivesecondtest is that they have a free version if you offer to be the Guinea pig and participate in tests for others.

Fivesecondtest has two sister sites for specific tests including Navflow which provides feedback on how people navigate through your sites and Clicktest which provides feedback on how people engage with your web interfaces.

Feedback Army
While you don’t necessary get an entire army giving you feedback, this tool can provide a lot of responses for relatively low cost. You won’t get a lot of fancy graphs and charts, but you will get straightforward and direct answers.

Feedback Army provides you with answers to 4-6 questions that you set up pertaining to your website with a starting price point of $20 for 10 responses from reviewers. If you need fast answers about your site and you don’t need these responses to be too elaborate, you will find that Feedback Army works rather well.

Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg provides heat maps of your visitors based on where they click on your site as well as a scroll map that shows how far visitors scroll down your pages. There are several cool features including “Confetti” which color codes clicks by referral source.

UserTesting provides a video of someone stating his or her thoughts during a visit to your site and a summary of any problems that were encountered. This service also allows you to specify the demographics of your testers to match your website’s target audience.

This guest article was written by Pam Drayton, content writer for an email search service.

How Marketers Can Use SEOMoz Tools To Improve SEO

I am a huge fan of SEOMoz’s suite of tools for improving the SEO of websites. Search engine optimization is an ongoing marketing tactic that will help a company’s site attract more visitors who are actively seeking a product or service to satisfy a want of fulfill a need. SEOMoz offers a comprehensive set of tools for facilitating the process of SEO. The following article describes how SEOMoz’s tools can help you implement effective SEO tactics, learn about SEO, and measure your progress.

Pro Webinars

These monthly hour long webinars provide expert advice and education on important SEO topics. Some examples of past webinar topics include: SEO for an E-commerce site, effective ways to build quality links, or actionable SEO analytics. You can watch the webinar live or view the recorded videos later. These webinars can help you keep up with the rapidly changing SEO environment.


Premium members are able to ask 2 or more questions each month that are answered by SEO professionals. This is like a really inexpensive way to get SEO consulting about specific questions you may have. Members can also view the archives of questions and answers, which is a great way to learn more about SEO.

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer displays a list of links to a webpage. This can be a great way to find what sites are linking to your competitors or similar sites which can be good sources of potential links.

Keyword Difficulty Tool

When you are researching the top keywords to target for your website, you can enter a keyword phrase in this tool and you will get a score on how difficult or competitive the phrase is as well as stats on the top 10 sites you will have to outrank in order to get on the first page of search results for that phrase.

Rank Tracker

This tool will allow you to track the Google rankings of all your top keyword phrases which will help measure your progress.

Juicy Link Finder
This tool will recommend sources of potential links when you enter in a keyword phrase like “chuck norris workout videos”.

SEOMoz Campaign Tool

This is a combination of a lot of the tools above into a campaign management application. It tracks your pages and keywords and can provide you with useful data about SEO like crawl errors and changes in rankings. It can also integrate with your Google analytics to provide additional data.

Whiteboard Friday Videos

These are short video lessons on SEO topics that are free to everyone and available on the SEOMoz blog. They are very educational and often provide useful tips that you can implement immediately. A new Whiteboard Friday video is published each Friday and you can view over 100 past videos here.

SEOMoz Blog

This is one of the most useful and informative blogs on SEO and is free to everyone. CEO Rand Fishkin is a regular contributor and shares his deep knowledge and tips. There are several other contributors including the best submissions to SEOMoz’s user submitted SEO articles.

There are several other tools that I didn’t mention but I recommend learning more from the link below (an affiliate link). Even if you don’t decide to become a member the blog and Whiteboard Friday videos are excellent resources.