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[Slideshow] What the BCI Gang Is Thankful For

From family to friends, travel to great jobs, babies to weddings, there’s a lot to be grateful for this year. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and in honor of the holiday, some of us on the Bruce Clay, Inc. team shared what we’re especially thankful for.

We are also particularly thankful for the new additions to our team: +Duane Forrester, VP of Organic Search Operations, and +David Szetela, VP of Search Marketing Operations. Bruce Clay said it best when he said: “I am thankful that the company was able to add key leaders to our roster. Along with myself and the BCI team, we form a powerful force in the SEO and PPC space.”

Click through to read what Bruce and folks on our team are thankful for, including +Virginia Nussey , +Kristi Kellogg , +Paula Allen , +Melanie Saxe , +Robert Ramirez , +John Alexander  and more:
From family to friends, travel to great jobs, the Bruce Clay, Inc. team shares what they're grateful for this Thanksgiving.
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More to the story

Yesterday +Duane Forrester announced the news at the climax of his keynote presentation at #StateofSearch  in Dallas that he's joining BCI as VP of organic search operations, a newly created position here. Our social media streams have been hopping, which matches the mood of excitement here at our corporate office. Good things are coming for the company, our clients, and the industry as this experienced SEO steps into a broader role on the agency side of the search industry.

The Bigger Context Is Change
While Duane's career shift marks a point of change for him personally and for our company, it reflects a bigger change going on in the industry.

Of the many media articles being written to cover Duane's move, this one by +Matt Southern for +Search Engine Journal captures this feeling of change perhaps the best: Within the quote Duane provided to SEJ are these words:
"SEO has evolved many, many times from what it used to be. And honestly BCI is one of those companies that is having the forward-thinking conversations we need to be having."

The article also includes a video interview SEJ had with Duane at Pubcon Las Vegas, in which Duane talks with +Brent Csutoras about the "transition that SEOs are going through" and the bigger challenges that SEOs are facing now. Listen to the interview to hear Duane's perspective.

#SEO   #news   #change  
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Happy to do so -- good stuff! :)
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Excellent #blogging tips and thoughts for bloggers in this conversation with +Gina Fiedel, +David Amerland, +Teodora Petkova, +Sergio Redondo, +Nina Trankova and host and transcriber, +Omi Sido
Blogging tips for branding and lead generation - #Semrushchat Uncut

After missing a +Twitter chat organised by +SEMrush a couple of weeks ago, I've decided to take the topics from that day and ask 5 top blogging, content marketing, and online marketing experts about their vision of blogging for Branding and Lead Generation. 

Some of the questions and some of the answers:

Q3: Can marketers combine blogging and lead generation? What strategy has worked for you?

+David Amerland: Not in the traditional sense. There is too much content being produced every minute of every day for anyone to really bite to the “contact me here” link at the bottom of a blog post they’ve just read. But in terms of brand visibility blogging really works and it does swing purchase decisions at the crucial time.

Q5: What are some common SEO-related mistakes that bloggers make and how can you fix them?

+Sergio Redondo: A very common #SEO mistake is a bad management of categories and tags pages. People use to create and create these pages without taking into account their impact on the overall SEO performance. Information architecture is a fundamental cornerstone in SEO.

Q4: How can marketers measure the impact that blogging has on their brand’s overall performance?

Conceptual: Ignited action and changes, lead by a content piece

+Teodora Petkova: Practical: number of returning visitors, average time spent on the page, social signals

Q6: As a reader, what’s something you wish bloggers would stop doing?

+Gina Fiedel: I am wary of blogs that promise easy solutions and quick fixes. I love when someone is willing to break the mold and create their own style. It’s hard not to wish bloggers would stop writing to the lowest common denominator and write up to the true level of their intelligence which probably also means I wish that they would stop over-promising and under-delivering. It’s possible that I’m one of the very tiny percentage of people who enjoys reading every word if an article is worthy and high quality. We all want our stuff to be read and there are some great pointers for trying to ensure that happens, but I am disappointed when those so-called rules are followed too closely. 

Q3: Can marketers combine blogging and lead generation? What strategy has worked for you?

+Nina Trankova: Live events, make people feel the passion in your work

Q2: What are some sure-fire ways to grow your blog audience? Is there a recipe that works for all?

+Omi Sido:  Never seen a formula for this one, but I sure have one that works for all.

Write long comprehensive, exhaustive articles that are no less than 4 000 words.

First nobody will be ever brave enough to copy you.

Secondly – and I am sure you know where I am going – your copy will rank for a very big number of long tail keywords. Combine my answer number one with an in-depth copy and you’ve got the winning formula.

Read the whole article here: 
#blogging   #leadgeneration   #seo   #branding   #contentmarketing   #contentstrategy   #contentcreation  
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Thanks for sharing +Bruce Clay, Inc.! As +Teodora Petkova said, +Omi Sido breeds awesomeness and I'm lucky that he brought me along on this one. :D
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Google SERPs continue to evolve

The latest post from +Stone Temple Consulting explores what's really happening with +Wikipedia in the search results, with some surprising conclusions.

Read or listen to this brief conversation between +Mark Traphagen and +Eric Enge:

If you're wondering about Google direct answers and how #SEO pros should react, read this liveblog from SMX:
People who follow search are aware that for years now Google has given huge preference to Wikipedia for a large number of knowledge-seeking queries. This has actually been called into question as of late. A report published in July showed that Wikipedia had experienced a significant drop in organic search traffic sent by Google. Eric and Mark are here to tell you why Google Still Loves Wikipedia! Don't miss a single episode of Here’s Why with Mar...
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Best screenshot ever <3
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Latest on Mobile: Essential Takeaways for Marketers from SMX East & Pubcon

The concept of "mobile friendliness" covers increasingly advanced digital media territory, including:
 • Mobile apps: Do you have a mobile app? Is it indexable by Google?
 • Mobile conversions and personas: Is mobile traffic failing to convert? That’s to be expected if mobile personas, mobile-specific conversions and calls to action haven’t been identified.
 • Mobile advertising: Are you utilizing mobile search PPC features like call extensions and call-only campaigns?

At the two biggest search-industry conferences this fall, +Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East in New York and +Pubcon Las Vegas, search engine reps and respected speakers covered the full range of Internet marketing topics, especially mobile issues — everything from Google’s mobile-focused features to app indexing to mobile ads.

We published liveblogs of 46 sessions and keynotes from these conferences on the BCI blog. In this post, our senior technical writer, +Paula Allen, distills the most important news and advice related to mobile.

#mobile   #mobilemarketing   #seotips   #SMX   #Pubcon  
The concept of Mobile Friendliness covers increasingly advanced territory: app indexing, mobile personas, ads, etc. Read essential takeaways from recent conferences SMX East and Pubcon.
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What you need to know about disclosure rules & the FTC

Reaching out to influencers is a public relations tactic as old as time. But as more people gain niche Internet celebrity status, agencies and brands have more opportunities to get endorsements from online social influencers as well as from their own employees.

Who is and isn’t an "advertiser" used to be pretty black and white, but these days, understanding who is compensated for their endorsements requires an eye for shades of gray. The FTC wants to remove that ambiguity.

The FTC’s guidelines (revised March 2013) require marketers to follow the same rules for short-form ads in social media as they do in traditional media advertising. And we’re talking regular posts, not sponsored ads. Even within the limited 140-character space of a tweet, your ad must disclose in a “clear and conspicuous” way a financial relationship with what you’re endorsing — such as "Ad:".

FTC Reaching Out to Marketers
The FTC is attempting to communicate these regulations by:

1) Penalizing publicly: Almost one year ago, the FTC made an example of Deutsch LA. For the first time, the FTC imposed monetary penalties for the ad agency's using its employees to endorse a client's product. (See details here:

2) Giving clearer guidelines: The FTC updated its "What People Are Asking" page in June, giving marketers lots of specific dos and don'ts. (Here:

3) Getting face-to-face: Apparently, the FTC is even willing to take its message on the road. They're headlining the upcoming #SocialPro conference, put on by +Search Engine Land (info here:

#contentmarketing   #FTC   #socialmedia    #disclosure  
Native advertising. Influencer marketing. Paid endorsements. Nothing is wrong with these tactics on social media and in other marketing channels, as long a
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Thanks to +Mark Traphagen for capturing this interview between +Danny Sullivan and a +Federal Trade Commission spokesperson in such detail. Great job!

The FTC has recently been attempting to clarify and communicate its guidelines, getting the word out that social media messages need to disclose it when there's a material relationship. Much of this should be common sense; it's similar to the search engines' mandate to not try to deceive them or your website visitors in what your website is really about.

This quote from Mark's liveblog coverage sums it up nicely:

"It's the marketer's responsibility to make sure ads comply with the law. When they are using social media influencers, and they are not specifically controlling the message, its a good idea to have policies in place to inform their influencers how to disclose and make sure they do."
FTC Spokesperson on Social Media Disclosure Guidelines at Marketing Land SocialPro

This was my live blog of highlights from this interview by +Danny Sullivan, which will cover (we hope) more clarity on FTC guidelines for what must be disclosed in social media posts.

FTC guidelines:

Danny: What about sponsored content and native advertising?

Engle: Guidelines on that will be coming soon. it all goes back to can the consumer tell that what they are seeing is advertising or editorial content that was paid for placement. Those have to be clearly distinguished. We don't mandate how that's done, but it needs to be clear to the consumer. 

Example of gamers putting up videos of them playing games on YouTube, and a game company began paying some of the most viewed gamers, and gave them guidance on how they should do their reviews, but this was not disclosed. FTC told them it must be. 

Disclosure just at end or beginning of video, or in description, is probably not enough, because not everyone watches the whole video. 

Danny is interviewing Mary Engle, Associate Director for Advertising Practices, US Federal Trade Commission.

Danny: The FTC has updated its guidelines for online ads and social media every few years, Will that continue?

Engle: The online world keeps changing, so we need to update how our basic principles apply to the changes.

Danny: What are the biggest challenges and changes recently?

Engle: The movement to social and mobile has exploded. Hard for us to monitor all the changes. We have to rely on what's bubbling up in the press and on blogs.

Danny: Please give an overview to what the rules are currently.

Engle: Our governing act prohibits unfair messaging in commerce. We've been trying to explain to advertisers how to avoid being deceptive. We try to give a lot of examples to create useful models.

We consider the ad as a whole to determine if it is deceptive. In many cases, disclosures fix any problem. Especially where there is a relationship between businesses and endorsers. Wherever there is a material connection that the audience wouldn't expect. No need to disclose a celebrity in an ad because its obvious she's being paid. But if she recommends a product in her personal social feeds, that may not be obvious and should be disclosed.

Danny: What about people tweeting an endorsement for a contest? Do they have to disclose? Do advertisers have a responsibility to tell them to?

Engle: It depends. It has to be a material connection, meaning the audience might not understand that someone's endorsement was influenced by some compensation. If the "compensation" is very small, like winning a small prize, that's probably not "material." The idea is, is the connnection between product and endorser material. If its a big prize and you have a reasonable chance to win, and you have to endorse the product to win, then that probably should be disclosed.

It's the marketer's responsibility to make sure ads comply with the law. When they are using social media influencers, and they are not specifically controlling the message, its a good idea to have policies in place to inform their influencers how to disclose and make sure they do.

Danny: Let's say Disney has a contest to see The Force Awakens early if you tweet "I want the Force." Chances of winning are low, so does that mean disclosure isn't needed.

Engle: We don't comment on specific ads or campaigns, unless we've taken action. So strictly as a hypothetical, that situation probably doesn't need disclosure. People can probably recognize that there isn't a material chance of winning a big prize, so its not really a compensated endorsement.

Danny: What if brands are making use of bloggers to spread the word. There was a case with Lord and Taylor where bloggers were talking about a dress, and it turned out they were being paid by L&T, but no action was taken.

Engle: I can talk about an investigation we did on Nordstrom, where a local store invited bloggers to come to an opening, and gave them significant goody bags and asked them to write about the opening. FTC told Nordstrom they should have told those bloggers to disclose the compensation they received.

Generally, we say just disclosing once is not enough if you can't be sure readers have seen the first one. In tweets use perhaps #promoted   or #sponsored  or #ad . Don't like #spon  as unclear. Those aren't mandated hashtags, just suggestions. The main thing is that consumers understand that the post has material compensation behind it.

Danny: what is "sizable" compensation?

Engle: Hard to say. Small gifts aren't, but if there is a steady stream of such gifts, and there seems to be an expectation that continued participation is contingent on the gifts, if there is a relationship like that, then there should be disclosure.

Danny: Let's talk search engines and how they disclose ads in search. How do they get away with the changes to how they display ads?

Engle: We first gave them guidance in 2002. We updated in 2013. The message is that paid ads should be distinguishable from organic search results. We've seen the clarity go up and down. It is on our radar screen, but can't say more.

Danny: What are some common mistakes people make in social media?

Engle: We've tried hard to get the word out about disclosure, but it hasn't gone far enough. Most common mistake is use of influencers but not disclosing the relationship. PR firms and agencies seem to be more behind on this than bloggers.

Another problem is not making a serious enough attempt to make disclosure. Vague clauses in contracts that don't spell out exactly what someone is supposed to do in their posts. Just putting disclosure in terms and conditions isn't good enough; it has to be where consumers will see it. 

The disclosure needs to be in the same message as the endorsement.

The FTC isn't going to go after every little instance; have to prioritize the biggest cases. 

Danny: It sometimes feels like the requirements for social media are harder than those for say, TV. Like a product placement with a tiny, fast moving promotional disclosure at the end.

Engle: FTC did get a petition to have product placement labled on screen whenever it occurs. We didn't go with that. What you see now is FCC regulations. The FTC has said that it is not material to users to know that the computer or detergent appearing in the show to know that it was a paid placement at the moment they see it. 

Danny: What if someone violates the rules? What happens? 

Engle: Generally, we conduct investigations and decide if its bad enough that the company should be under order or just get a letter. usually we seek to settle the matter with a "consent agreement" rather than go to court. Far more letters than cases so far, but more cases will be coming. Giving time for people to know about and understand the guidelines. 

Usually we first issue a cease and desist order, and if the company changes their practices, that's it. 

If you're sharing something from a client, just saying, "My client shared..." or something like that is enough.

Danny: Can brands get clarity directly from the FTC?

Engle: Can ask at questions received there may be rolled into their FAQ. They can't always give a specific yes/no, but may be able to point to the applicable guidelines. Just always think from the point of view of the audience, the consumers. The FTC is especially sensitive to "vulnerable" audience, such as children, or cancer patients. We don't have to prove that the entire audience would be misled, just that its' a big enough chunk of the audience who won't understand the relationship.

We 1-877-FTCHELP to file complaints.

From the Q&A time:

My Question I asked about an employee sharing content from his/her employer, when the content is not advertising. Say it is a how to video that doesn't in any way directly promote any product or service of the company. Does that employee need to disclose his/her relationship?

Engle: We would look at whether or not there is any chance that people seeing the post would in any way be deceived that there was a commercial endorsement that is not disclosed. If the content is just useful information, and there is not direct promotion or endorsement of the company or its products or services, than probably no disclosure is required.

UPDATE: I had a private conversation with Engle after the session, in which she seemed to change her mind about the advice she gave above. She told me it would probably be best to introduce my post with at least something like "My company has a post...." or even just "See our new post..." (the "our" would clearly imply that I'm part of the company that put out the content).

Q: What about asking people who use your product or service to post reviews?

Engle: Asking someone to post a review after they have used your product but with no compensation or reward, then you don't need to ask them to make any disclosure. In other words, its ok to ask someone to reveiw your product or service without disclosure if there is no compensation for the reviews.

FTC guidelines:
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Search Expert Duane Forrester Joins Bruce Clay, Inc. as VP of Organic Search Operations to Take the Road Less Traveled 

Where does the former lead #SEO at Microsoft/MSN and leader in the development of Bing Webmaster Tools go after an eight-year tenure at Microsoft? If the corporate world is a freeway, +Duane Forrester  heads for the exit, takes the road less traveled, and joins +Bruce Clay, Inc. Inc. in a newly created position as Vice President, Organic Search Operations. Welcome Duane!
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Thanks for all the congratulations! We're so excited for our future with Duane on board.
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Is Google about to Kill Its Penguin? Is the End of Link Spam Upon Us?

With machine learning and semantic analysis at its peak, +Robert Ramirez hypothesizes that the coming Penguin iteration will wipe out link spam for good.

Google can leverage their semantic understanding of the web to not only identify the relationships between keywords, topics and themes, but also the relationships between the websites that discuss them. Taken a step further, is it possible that Google could identify whether a link should pass equity (link juice) to its target based on topic relevance and authority?

By changing their algorithm to no longer penalize nor reward inorganic linking, Google can, in one fell swoop, solve their link problem once and for all. The motivation for spammy link building would be removed because it simply would not work any longer. Negative SEO based on building spammy backlinks to competitors would no longer work if inorganic links cease to pass negative trust signals.

Read the full story on the blog:
How RankBrain, Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph can solve Google's link spam problem once and for all.
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Latest from Google on Machine Learning
"The real world is very messy. Hard, logical rules are not the way to solve really interesting real-world problems. You have to have a system that will learn to get the knowledge -- you can't just program it all in.   Artificial intelligence is an effort to build machines that can learn from their environments, mistakes and people." —+Research at Google
#MachineLearning #ArtificialIntelligence  
”Things that we now regard as routine, 30 years ago would have been regarded as amazing examples of Artificial Intelligence” -+Geoffrey Hinton, Google… - Research at Google - Google+
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3rd Edition of SEO for Dummies is the Perfect SEO Companion

The world of SEO can be scary. So many changes. So many uncertainties. 

The good news is that you don’t have go through it alone. The 3rd Edition of SEO for Dummies is now available and it’s the perfect SEO companion.  Follow its journey through the halls of BCI and discover the many ways it can be your trusted guide for all things SEO.
Bruce Clay's 3rd Edition of SEO for Dummies is now available. Get the perfect SEO companion for marketers and business owners.
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#Millennials in the Spotlight: The Market Segment Everyone’s Running After

From campaign headquarters to digital marketing agencies, strategists everywhere are thinking about how to entice America’s most talked-about and statistically impactful group: millennials. Bing’s former search industry spokesperson +Duane Forrester and Google Web Trends Analyst +Gary Illyes are no exception – millennials are on their minds, too, and both of the search leaders’ recent keynote sessions at Pubcon centered on how search engines are moving to serve the rising millennial class.

There are the stats and facts you may have heard and industry watchers trade back and forth like the older millennials once traded Pogs:
•Millennials (now aged 20-34) are nothing if not tech-savvy. They are described as everything from needy and egocentric to highly educated and highly connected.
•They value experiences over products and services.
•They’re passionate about causes and 40 percent of them believe they are capable of global impact.
•Their attention spans are microscopic, and they’re shrinking by the second — literally. In 2000, the average attention span was ten seconds. In 2014 it was eight seconds. It has now whittled down to 2.8 seconds.

Read this article to find out how the search engines and big brands are thinking about young adults! You'll also get tips you can employ in your own #digitalmarketing in this article by +Kristi Kellogg!
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2245 First St #101 Simi Valley, CA 93065
2245 1st Street #101USCaliforniaSimi Valley93065
Internet Marketing Service, Internet Service ProviderToday Closed
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We're an established Internet marketing firm founded by Bruce Clay (now considered a "founding father" of SEO) back in 1996. Our web address is
From our home offices in Simi Valley, California, we help companies raise their visibility, traffic and revenue online with ethical and effective marketing strategies. Our specialties are search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (PPC) management. Additionally, we offer web design, analytics/CRO, and content development services.

Our clients are both U.S.-based and around the world. You can find international Bruce Clay, Inc. offices in Europe, India, Japan, Brazil and the Middle East.

Use Our Resources
We have a team of content and community managers dedicated to giving in-depth information to help the marketing community. We've been doing it since the first SEO training class and free SEO tool Bruce himself produced in the late '90s, all the way through developing our blog (now 4,000+ articles strong) and newsletter, six releases of our proprietary SEOToolSet tools, and the experience of helping many, many clients.

Here's a few resources that might be helpful to you:
  • Bruce Clay Blog (BCI Blog) – Timely, in-depth how-to articles, conference liveblog coverage, and industry news from our perspective

  • SEO Newsletter (you can sign up here) – Monthly email newsletter with search news, upcoming events, industry kudos, "back to basics" articles and features

  • SEOToolSet (SEO tools we use in-house AND share) – Advanced SEO tools with a "Lite" subscription that's free and a full-featured "Pro" version, too. (Oh, check out our 10 free tools.)

  • SEO Training (see course info, dates, prices) – More than 5,000 people worldwide have attended our stellar SEOToolSet Training classroom-style courses. Choose standard, advanced or certification training.

  • Podcast "SEM Synergy" (download on iTunes) – Our weekly radio show about what's currently happening in the search marketing world
Find Us
Twitter:       @bruceclayinc

Or for the tried-and-true way, give us a call at 866-517-1900. We'll be happy to talk to you about how to improve your business performance online.
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Grant Williams
2 months ago
The premier SEO Company in the industry with stellar PPC management services, as well. I highly recommend you consider BCI if you are working to maximize your internet marketing efforts.
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Their okay, I like the people over at cnwlink better.
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Today as the online shopping grows in popularity more people are turning to online shopping for all their needs. Online delivery of best wishes along with this gifts and flowers for your loving mother on Mother’s Day. Send Mother's Day Gifts to Malaysia which is filled with your good wishes.
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