Each week, we scour the web to uncover valuable articles and blog posts for our readers on the topics of inbound marketing, local optimization, search optimization, social media, and much more.

Search Optimization

From a traffic perspective, nothing’s worse than falling into Google’s penalty box. Your regularly maintained visitors are diverted elsewhere, and your business suffers as a result. What’s worse is that manual actions against your site can affect multiple variants of your site, hence the importance of going through Google Webmaster Tools. Sha Menz clears up the process in disavowing these manual actions against your site in this smart post. 

Ever thought about getting your content listed in the coveted archies of Google News? Writing a news article may seem easy, but you’ll have to employ a bit more tact when shooting for the top news results. Crafting enticing headlines and timely posts are just the tip of the iceberg. Anna Francis expands on her approach in an article.

When working with an SEO agency, it’s important to ask the right questions. However, what are the right questions? Do you talk about cost right off the back or how long the project will take? Steve Toth makes it easy for clients and compiles a list of 67 questions to ask agencies. 

This is a topic not many people talk about: are there any such thing as time-saving SEO? We think there can be, depending on the context. One expert recommends repurposing content into something new that gives value. Look into competitor backlink data for quick ideas. If you’re looking for more, read the rest of Andrew Isidoro’s time-saving search tips!

Social Optimization

Like SEO, the true value of social media doesn’t show itself until much later on. Your business can easily be tempted to pay for followers, or get on as many social networks as possible in order to spread your message. These are categorized as mistakes you don’t want to make in social media. Gary Dek presents the full list of mistakes businesses must avoid in his post.

Will social media buttons help or hurt your ecommerce? It really depends on your level of social proof, as well as where the buttons are placed. You should think about how important social media is to generating sales with your specific business. Alicia Doiron lists some A/B test examples to test the validity of social media buttons.

Conversely, this article teaches us how to use social media influence to increase sales. Do your best to make use of ratings and reviews, testimonials, mentions on reputable sites, and other forms of influence. Check out the rest of Tucker Schreiber’s advice.

A big question among business owners is often: do you know how your customers are? This question applies to social media as well. Take the time to figure out the gender, popular websites, and general interests that make up your audience. Ron Sela goes on to help us identify your social media audience. 

Local Optimization

In your local, physical store, digital marketing matters more than ever now. In this day and age, simply getting as many visitors to your store or online platform isn’t going to be effective. Plan out the consumer journey on the way to higher sales and revenue for your store. Choose a digital marketing channel to assist with local marketing efforts and test and evaluate its capabilities. Learn more from Gary Viray.

If you want to optimize for local, you have to think outside the box. Chances are your competitors are trying to optimize for exactly the same keywords as you. While you should always try to optimize for competitive keywords, always seek to rise above the rest by differentiating yourself on your story or competitive advantage. Greg Gifford offers more advice on the local SEO front.

Another way to rise to prominence in related local search terms: become so relevant that Google can’t ignore you. Make sure customers are writing testimonials about you, that your clients are mentioning you in the best light possible. David Kutcher goes on to talk about how you can amplify your small business influence.

Call tracking is a great way to gather data on local customers. Are you making use of this capability? It’s a significant benefit to know your audience. Mark Sullivan helps us to understand call tracking in his post.

Email Marketing

If you don’t send messages on a consistent basis for your subscribers, this could spell disaster for your list. Your email list can end up inactive, eventually growing to ignore your messages altogether or unsubscribing out of lack of content. It’s best to consistently motivate your readers through deals or personalized content for their consumption. David Andersen gives us the full story in his post. 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner: do you have a customized email campaign primped and ready for publishing? There are many ways you can address this potentially profitable holiday for your business. Be sure to send your creative message at an optimal time, and make sure it’s mobile friendly! Daniel Puckett puts together a complete list of Valentine’s Day tips for you to read.

Make your email marketing campaigns stick out by testing your subject lines, offering personalized, gated content, and asking for permission. Tapping into these three key pieces boosts your open and click-thru rates exponentially! Sarah Morris jumps right into the tips in this article.

You can always learn more about building a robust email marketing plan. Do you have a message for your business you want to convey? Is it making an impact on your customers’ lives? What are the benefits for signing up? If you’re not rewarding your clients for signing up, they likely won’t stay subscribed. Go through this excellent guide by Gumroad’s Ryan Delk and his interview with Jeff Goins.

Content Marketing

Your blog shouldn’t just be for your own posts, especially if you’re looking to expand your audience. Guest posting involves more links to your site, more exposure to a new audience, and more reasons to subscribe to your list. Cathy Goodwin further explains the significance of guest posts.

Want to get your content research done fast? Do some investigative research on your competitors. Come up with a strategic plan to create valuable content. Put your team on the project. The list goes on! Let Rob Wormley deliver the goods on how to blog for your business.

Being everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more views on your content. Choosing one main channel is important to focusing your message to the corresponding audience. Joe Pulizzi explains the downsides of publishing on too many channels.

The internet is driven by the production of content. However, this drives up the competition between content creators to craft the best information. Regardless, there is no better time to start publishing content. Check out the current state of content marketing in 2015, presented by Irfan Ahmad.

Mobile Optimization

You can never get enough information about mobile marketing! Lots of people still struggle with the practice. You’ll need to know a lot about CTAs, mobile newsletter design, mobile calls and more. Ritika Puri compiles a list of seven top mobile marketing articles to read. 

One of the best ways to get started, if you’re new to mobile, is to test converting your best campaign into a mobile one. Mel Carson goes into more detail in this interview with Diane Pease from Cisco.

Conversion Optimization

The key to conversion optimization: one size does not fit all. What works for one type of customer won’t work for all of them. In order to figure this out for your audience, you’ll need to test personalization and how it works for your customers. David Arnoux has the complete post on the subject.

You can never really know what a “good” rate of conversion is. It really depends on your industry, your prices, how many customers you have, etc. But a good rule of thumb is to check out the industry averages and compare your conversion rates. Karol Pokojowczyk demonstrates how to structure a plan for CRO success! 

Reputation Management

Your brand perception matters in search engine visibility. To make this work for you in the best possible way, put everything you’ve got into building a positive brand reputation. Create the perception of an authority figure, as well as use your competitors to your advantage. Razvan Gavrilas gives us tips to help improve your brand!

The list above includes some of the most interesting articles we caught in our streams this week. If you want to share other great inbound marketing news, please let us know below in the comments.