5 Digital Marketing Tools You Must Try in 2017

I love this industry because digital marketing is always changing and there are always new tools to check! New tools open up new opportunities, offer new insights and inspire new tactics.

Here are 5 tools I intend to give a thorough look in 2017.

What are yours?

1. Netpeak Spider

Netpeak Spider

One of the most indepth and flexible web crawlers out there, Netpeak Spider provides smooth experience and lots of features. It automatically checks 50+ parameters and detects more than 60 SEO errors (including http status errors, canonical issues, Robots.txt issues, meta tag issues and more).

Netpeak Spider

It has 5 crawling modes (site-wide, directory, URL list, XML Sitemap and even from Google SERP). Each of them allows to perform certain SEO tasks, for example, by crawling an XML sitemap, you can detect 21 XML sitemap issues in 17 parameters and send the corrected sitemap files to the search engines.

It even has the ability to calculate your site internal PageRank giving your ideas if important pages of your site are not getting enough power internally.

2. Buffer for video

There’s nothing new about Buffer. It’s been around for quite some time now! So why am I including it in this list? Because Buffer never stops and their most recently added feature is a proof!

Buffer for video is the first product to allow native video scheduling to all the big social media networks. So: upload once, share everywhere.

Not in the video game yet? This stats should change your mind:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • The number of videos in Facebook feeds has grown by 360%
  • In the U.S., people are posting 94% more videos to Facebook
  • 50% of Americans who use Facebook daily watch at least 1 video every day

3. Slack

I am sure many of you are aware of Slack but few people know that it’s not merely about chatting and collaborating. With the ability to add bots, Slack has become one of the most diverse multi-purpose platforms.

The two cool bots to add:

  • Notify: Brings your brand mentions to your Slack feed. It serves as more of an ambient notification feed for these alerts and may inspire more team conversation than individual emails.
  • Statsbot: Brings Google Analytics stats to your Slack feed. Ask the bot about your stats and see the graphs and numbers right in the message thread.

Statsbot

4. Drip

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of Mail Chimp. I find their system overly bulky, difficult to use, and their policies are so unclear you can violate them by accident. I have tried a number of alternatives, but none of them were the simple, effective drip email platform I wanted. Until I found Drip.

It is a cool system that lets you create an easy sales funnel, in a visual way. While I don’t do direct sales, I have found the same principle applies to content promotion. My email campaigns have become much more effective thanks to this little gem.

Drip

Drip workflows seem amazingly easy and fun to set up. Here are options for automation systems and this one seems like a great one to add to the list.

5. Ptengine

ptengine

Ptengine is a great heatmap application, you can find out at exactly what point customers are choosing to leave your site. Isolating that point is crucial, so you can make the necessary changes to push them to the final step.

Unlike many other heatmap tools, this one provides much more insight than just a visualization. See referral information, track social media campaigns and engagement (page views, visit duration and conversions).

If you are planning a redesign in 2017, this is must-have tool to try! M-Connect Media also has a great guide listing more tools and tips.

And which tools are you planning to try in 2017?

You Are an Expert SEO, but How Do You Prove It?

I’m not doubting that you are a qualified Expert SEO, but my question for you is, "How do you prove just how qualified you are, especially when attempting to solicit new clients?"

Now before you take the question personally (please don’t!), let’s step back and ask this in a more general, industry-centric way. How does anyone prove that they are an expert SEO? What are the qualifications or milestones and how does one prove that they have earned the title?

Years ago (many years ago!), it used to be that all one had to do is show the results in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and demonstrate to their future clients how quickly they could give them top rankings. (It was also a lot easier back then to get a top ranking!).

However, now there are all of these rules. (Are they really rules, or just a particular entity’s “opinion” and then again, that opinion does, uh, matter quite a bit if one is ranking on that “entity,” if you know what I mean.)

Before I talk in circles more than what I am already doing, let’s just say that results do not always prove capability and capability is not always demonstrated in results.

So, let’s go back to our original question. How can you prove you competence, and more importantly, your expertise in the area of search engine optimization?

Let me offer one way of proving yourself, or at least providing something tangible that your clients may be able to see with their own eyes. That is, certification.

Certification Demonstrates Acquisition (Mastery) of Knowledge

Certification is not a new concept. In fact, there are many different companies who offer certification and offer it for different knowledge areas.

There are many different skill sets for which you can get certified out there in the real, as well as the virtual world. But, there are also other free certification programs (including HubSpot) available to whet your appetite and get you ready for bigger and better opportunities. That is just a mention of two ends of the spectrum of training and certification available on the internet.

Read further down to hear about some of those favorable things that are said about Simplilearn, not just my words, but other learners who have taken the Simplilearn course(s)!

Whichever path you choose, there are quite a few options available when it comes to “getting certified” in your skill set (and new skill sets).

In this case, since we are talking about proving that you are an expert in the knowledge and application of search engine optimization skills and the skill set as a whole, we would be referencing a type of SEO certification. And, I know just the place that offers the training that you need for SEO certification. That place is Simplilearn.

Simplilearn’s Track Record of Excellent Ratings

Simplilearn, with their “Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training” has done very well for themselves, with 1,318 learners and a near perfect star rating. Almost fifteen hundred students can’t be wrong, can they?

Tip: When you are looking for a training company and/or a certification company, be sure to see what others say about them. You want to check out the testimonials, the reviews, the ratings. In this case, Simplilearn has them.

Online Learning at its Best

Online learning has been around for a while. Several universities offer it and have developed ways for learners to incorporate traditional methods of learning in virtual (privacy of their own homes) environments.

Simplilearn has done the same thing and offers it in a self-paced environment. Years ago, before the internet, self-paced courses were offered through the mail and sometimes called “correspondence courses.” Now, with the advent of the internet, it is much easier to go through a fulfilling training process, with access to instructors (who are experts themselves) and to pace through the program at a rate that is comfortable for you, and conducive to your busy schedule (as we all have these days!).

Simplilearn also offers training for certification in other programs, such as their Digital Marketing Certified Associate course.

What Are People Saying About the Simplilearn Training Experience?

Gail Gardner, proprietress of the popular GrowMap.com web site has only good things to say about her experience as a Simplilearn learner.

In fact, she has written quite an extensive recommendation of the Simplilearn programs on her own site, at “Simplilearn Digital Marketing Training: Get Qualified Now for High Paying In-Demand Jobs.”

Need Some More Convincing?


If the provision of a way of proving that you are truly the expert SEO that you know that you are (and have been saying that you are) is not reason enough, there are plenty more reasons why this SEO training is something that is highly appealing to those interested in SEO. (And, don’t forget about the other training opportunities that Simplilearn offers, even though we are talking about SEO here!).

Here is a broad list and I know that you can add to it!

  • Proof that you know your stuff;
  • No matter how much we know, we can always learn more, and here is your opportunity to learn more about SEO;
  • The opportunity to practice your skills while under the tutelage of the masters;
  • Becoming a “Master” yourself (maybe teaching someday?);
  • Getting up to speed on all of the new information; techniques; analytics; tips; strategies (need I list more?);
  • Interactive methods of learning, including workbooks, exercise, and quizzes that help to test your knowledge and give you a feel for where you are in the learning process;
  • The knowledge breadth of SEO topics >> start to finish;
  • A simulation exam for that practice run at it before the real thing;
  • And, bringing it full circle, that certificate of completion of your training.

In Conclusion…

It is very likely that when you have completed this SEO coursework and training (Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Certification Training) that you may not even feel the need to actually “prove” yourself. You will have gained so much confidence in what you have already been practicing (and have now enhanced beyond that beginning point) that you naturally exude the confidence and strength in what you are doing.

Your peers and your future clients will be able to sense this and naturally follow your lead. They will likely be moved by your confidence and be drawn to you. It wouldn’t surprise me (assuming you target the completion of your training) if those clients are flocking to YOU as that expert SEO! Once that happens, consider yourself having proven that you know your stuff, and all thanks to taking that step toward SEO Certification and the Search Engine Optimization Training like that which is offered by Simplilearn.

Can You Get Fully Automated Pages to Rank in Google

Every SEO has had the dream of putting up a website and it ranks with little effort, we know that we certainly have.

Well Chedders and I are trying to achieve just that. Our goal is to build a platform that provides a quality experience to the user yet we never touch a single specific page. We’ve had some great progress so far, but we’ve certainly got an interesting challenge ahead of us.

Before we get into the details, here’s a bit about us:

Chedders (Chris Chedgzoy):

Currently has 2154 posts on the SEO Chat forums.

Has been a developer since the 80s, ran a large directory site and a few other projects of scale.

He’s made tools such as Page Explorer and generally is up for giving anything a go.

Notable Skills:

  • SEO
  • Development

Myself (Thomas Harvey):

Currently has 1186 posts on the SEO Chat forums.

I’ve been working with most aspects of websites/digital marketing for about 6 years.

Currently working with a tv shopping channel advising on their SEO campaigns and helping their international presence.

Notable Skills:

  • SEO
  • Conversion Optimisation
  • eCommerce
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media

Now that the introduction is out the way, lets get on with the interesting stuff.

The Theory:

Chris loves working with data, he’s the kind of guy that the bigger the problem the happier he is. So, after talking a lot we wondered if we could rank for as much as possible with as little work. I’ve personally always meddled with affiliate marketing. So we thought, well how could we combine the two. After a while of brainstorming we settled on a product searching site.

It was the perfect thing for us. We would be able to utilise our skills and also be able to do tests on a massive scale. Such as changing thousands of pages to see if there’s a change in rankings, for example, removing the h1 tags on every single page, and seeing the impact. It’s a great way we can test any theory we will have, it will also mean that any of you interested we’ll be able to test your theories and report back on them too.

The Practical:

With the idea being decided upon, Chris got to work coding, we decided to go with the domain zebo.co.uk because it’s short and memorable.

After tying it up to a few product feeds (and a small site called eBay) we then had to tackle the problem of how we were going to actually get the pages indexed when we had no form of navigation through the site and we could search for any product in existence and we would have results.

So we used a feature that isn’t utilised a lot and really is an afterthought for a lot of people. We used a sitemap, after playing with a couple of tools to generate a small sample (2000 keywords) from a few sources (serpstat and semrush). We uploaded the sitemap.

seochat-zebo-sitemap

We saw results within 24 hours. We had gone from no pages indexed to 371 pages. It hasn’t stopped there, this is what we see now for a site:zebo.co.uk query in Google.

zebo-google-search-results

It’s started to drive small amounts of traffic (~50 users in a few days) which we were expecting the numbers to be small for this sample. As after all, the query page currently looks like this:

zebo-mountain-bike

We know, it looks horrible. We’re actually working on improving the quality of the data and making the search results more relevant (due to multiple sources etc). It will be improving quickly, here’s a link for this page if anybody is interested: https://zebo.co.uk/q/mountain_bike

The Challenges:

We’ve launched, we’ve got some data and we’ve got some rankings. Here’s a few hurdles we’ve got to overcome:

  • Is it possible to scale this while still getting a good indexation rate.
  • What’s the best way to find new things to add to the sitemap

The Interesting Bits:

These are the parts that I think a lot of SEOs will be interested to know. These are things we don’t know ourselves but we’re looking to answer.

  • Can automated pages rank in search engines?

So far, we’ve been indexed and had some rankings. So yes, they can. Scaling and improving rankings however, that’ll be a whole different story.

  • Can we add value to these pages on a large scale?

We’re looking into adding things for specific brands. So if a search result has a specific brand it pulls up specific content to display underneath the filters.

  • Does site speed really have an impact on ranking?

We’ve had a lot of debates on this over the past couple of years. We’re looking for an answer to this.

  • How much impact does the h1/h2 tags actually have (and other things like that)

We want to know how much the "standard" SEO techniques have an impact

  • Is there really a difference between underscores and hyphens in urls

Again, it’s discussed but never really seen any tests.

We’ll be trying to do as many of these tests as possible and updating them here. Got anything you want us to try just let us know in the comments.