New internal linkbuilding tool from ahrefs

My favorite SEO tool now has a new featured called Link Opportunities.

Here’s a quick 4 minute walkthrough of the new feature:

I tested this on some of our sites and it’s working quite well.

When you’re launching a new page and want to build backlinks, a site:domain.com “keyword phrase” search usually does the job well enough.

But when you want to build new backlinks to a page that’s already been around for a while, one of the most mindnumbing tasks of a project like this is to check whether a relevant page is already linking to your target page. True, it’s just a quick viewing of the page source code and searching for the URL, but even spending 8 minutes on a task like this is 8 minutes too much in my book.

What makes Ahref’s Link Opportunities tool cool is that:

  • it checks whether there already exists a link between the pages, and if yes, it won’t suggest placing a link
  • it looks at the top 10 keyword phrases of your target page and crawls your site for these. (rather than just going for the main keyword phrase, or manually looking up what the top keyword phrases for the page are, and then requiring you to type them in a convoluted boolean search string into Google.

One more reason to give Ahrefs some love.

KOB: Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis

One of the most fundamental aspects of doing keyword research in my opinion is KOB: Keyword Opposition to Benefit Analysis.

Todd Malicoat first developed this framework back in 2011. You can read his original post here. Now obviously, something that dates back to 2011 has been improved upon, and I wouldn’t necessary advice you to do things exactly the way he’s outlined in that post. But the principles of his method still remain true today.

A very simplified and practical way of conducting a KOB analysis is: Look at the keyword difficulty against the traffic value.

Use SEMRush or Ahrefs to determine the keyword difficulty and traffic value, they both have that metric built into their standard keyword research tools.

Now the original method requires some time and effort to get done.

One simple way to shortcut this is to run a competitor analysis. Keep in mind that a competitor analysis is most helpful when you’re doing it with a domain that has a similar domain authority to your own domain. (If you’ve got a DR 17 domain, and you’re up against a DR 65 domain, good luck trying to snatch up their rankings.)

YouTube Keyword Tools

If you’re looking for a YouTube keyword tool, there are quite a few options available to you. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best ones available in 2020, and how to tell which one is right for you.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google itself. It processes more than 3 billion search queries every month.

“It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined”, according to Mushroom Networks.

And while determining whether you should focus your efforts on ranking in Google or ranking in YouTube depends on a lot of things—and it’s by no means an either or, both go hand-in-hand—it’s definitely a platform worth mastering.

TubeBuddy

One of the pioneering YouTube keyword tools that’s been around for years and continues to serve a loyal customer base.

One of the nice things about TubeBuddy is that it’s a freemium Chrome extension. So you can start playing around with it without having to pay.

One of the downsides of TubeBuddy is that their “Searches per month” estimates are typically very inflated.

Their pricing is pretty affordable, and if you have a YouTube channel with less than 1,000 subscribers you can even get a 50% discount on the Pro plan, which works out to $4.50 per month. If you pay annually, it gets even cheaper!

VidIQ

VidIQ is the other established tool for people that want to grow their YouTube audience.

You can start using VidIQ for free too, and pick higher-priced plans that better match your needs.

If you’re unsure about choosing between TubeBuddy and VidIQ, Corey Potter recently wrote up a great comparison of both tools.

Tubics

Tubics’ pricing offers an introductory pricing of $7.90 per month for creators with limited functionality. The full-featured versions are aimed at companies with bigger budgets (starting at $190 per month).

SocialBook Builder

SocialBook is a tool that can best be described as: it has potential if they keep improving the product. But as of right now, I found it to be pretty unreliable. Not all features work as advertised, and the support experience I had with them (in June 2020) was abysmal.

SocialBook Builder is a Chrome extension too.

One neat feature is the thumbnail maker—it’s pretty easy to quickly generate decent thumbnails for your YouTube videos. Kinda like ThumbnailBlaster, but baked into the product already.

E.g. showing the stats of other YouTube channels weren’t loading for me.

The numbers I got with SocialBook Builder were very off.

You can use the SocialBook Builder Chrome extension for free and then sign up for a paid plan, for either $20 per month, or $50 per month. (And like with many of the other tools, you get a discount if you pay annually.)

The best cold email software for low-volume, plain-text outreach?

I’ve been using hunter.io to find email addresses for a long time, but recently I tried their Cold Email Campaigns tool (which is in beta).

It’s really great if you want to email a low volume (I’d say anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred) prospects, and you want to send plain-text emails.

Very simple and intuitive UI. No unnecessary bells and whistles, no noise or clutter.

It’s really focused on simplifying your cold email outreach, and to help you start building meaningful relationships with new people.

You can schedule your emails and there are certain sending limits in place. You can personalize emails with custom attributes, and add multiple gmail emails to the same account.

The product is currently in beta, but it’s a promising tool.

If you’re looking for a more scalable cold email software solution, here are some other recommended options:

  • Persist IQ
  • Woodpecker
  • Mailshake
  • Close
  • Reply.io
  • Quickmail

Password managers: Why I switched from Lastpass to 1Password

The first dedicated password manager I ever owned was RoboForm. It was great in the early days, but nowadays there are much better solutions.

A few years ago I reviewed the available options and landed on Lastpass as my password manager of choice. And that was good for a while… until Lastpass just degenerated into a super cumbersome piece of s#it software.

Believe me, switching password managers is the kind of task I’d prefer to avoid. Not as bad as a root canal treatment, but just like a root canal treatment, I’d have to experience a lot of pain before undertaking the switch from one password manager to another.

(Also, spoiler alert: migrating from Lastpass to 1Password was not nearly as painful as I imagined. Pretty much a 15 minute task for most people, unless you have some superfunky special Lastpass setup.)

Some of the main things that annoyed me about Lastpass were:

  • it wouldn’t recognize many login-pages, so you had to click on lastpass, manually find the right login, and then copy + paste the username and password into the relevant fields
  • the mobile app was very buggy (iOS)
  • I would oftentimes had to re-log in to Lastpass for Lastpass to activate filling in a form, even when just 1 or 2 minutes had passed (Chrome extension on OSX)
  • Lastpass admin interface is a pain
  • Password sharing was a mess. Oftentimes invites wouldn’t work properly. (In my account, there would be an outstanding invite, but in another person’s account, it wouldn’t show. And vice versa. Sometimes logins that were listed as “accepted” in my account wouldn’t show in the other person’s shared logins, and vice versa.)

Now the switch to 1Password was something I postponed for a long time, mostly because the one time I had used 1Password, I found the app to lack clarity and be somewhat confusing.

But now I realize that this was solely because I had become so used to Lastpass (I’ve been a premium customer for 4 years), that anything with a very different UI would require some familiarization at first.

In terms of feature-to-feature comparison, I think both apps are pretty much on par. There’s nothing I could (and wanted to) do in Lastpass that I can’t in 1Password, and vice versa.

For a more extensive and in-depth comparison, check out this Lastpass vs 1Password comparison by the Zapier team. (They arrived at a different conclusion, and if it weren’t for my repeated struggles with making Lastpass work robustly and fast, I’d agree with them.)

Competitors.app

I’m a huge believer in the power of learning from your competitors. Once you’ve identified companies that are targeting the same audience you’re going after, and they’re doing it well… doing a bit of detective work can be immensely valuable.

But it can also be immensely time-consuming, especially when it comes to staying on top of what they’re doing.

Fortunately, there’s software to help you minimize the time-consuming, tedious busywork, so that you have more time for high-impact meaningful work.

One of these tools is an app called competitors.app.

This app makes it easy to keep an eye on changes your competitors are making. Some of my favorite things about it:

  • Monitors changes to the website, or when additional pages get added
  • Monitors SEO optimization (e.g. when a competitor changes the meta description or title of a website)
  • Monitors Google PPC ads of your competitors and alerts you of changes
  • Monitors Facebook ads of your competitors. Seeing how your competitors are spending money can be huge for insights!
  • Monitors their keyword rankings (including historical changes)
  • Gathers newsletters and trial onboarding emails (basically, all the emails that your competitor sends out, with the exception of those emails that exclusively go out to paying customers, since they obviously can’t sign up as a paying customer for every product. But if your marketing efforts are primarily focused on new customer acquisition, then that’s not a high priority anyway, so all is fine.)
  • Monitoring reviews
    Honestly this is a huge feature. This app goes out to 60 different review sites and gathers all the reviews they have in one place so you can check them out. That alone is worth the price of a subscription if you ask me.

A realy crappy free keyword competitor tool

They also have a simple keyword competitor tool that you can use for free, but tbh I think that does more damage than good.

I tried it and the results it returned where abysmal. In one instance it didn’t return any results at all, and in another instance it returned a handful of keywords that will make anyone who’s ever used any kind of competitive keyword research tool just close the tab and walk away.

I get that they’re putting the page out there on the site so it can gain some traction on Google, but I wonder if they’re not doing themselves a disservice. If I’d be a prospect arriving at their website cold, and I’d try out that free keyword tool, I’d draw the conclusion that their own app is probably of similar quality and not sign up.

(Which would be a huge mistake, because the app itself is pretty dope, and much better than that weaksauce keyword tool.)

Their pricing is reasonable and starts at $9.99/month:

They also offer a 15-day-free trial, which is neat, and if you’re at all interested in learning from your competitors, I’d definitely encourage you to sign up and play around with it.

Visual website scraping tool: AnyPicker

This is a relatively new but pretty neat tool if you want to occasionally scrape website data, but aren’t technical. It makes scraping data relatively easy through a Chrome plugin you can use to visually identify the data you want to scrape from a website.

There’s a free version that will suffice for many marketers that only occasionally need to scrape website data, a full-featured 7-day free trial, and a monthly and annual premium plan.

Try AnyPicker or learn more here.

(I discovered it through ProductHunt, where it became the #1 Product of the Day recently. If you’re curious what other founders, marketers and makers think about the tool, check out the comments on PH.)

krisp – Mute background noise during calls (great tool for remote marketers!)

If you’re a remote marketer, and you’re oftentimes working in environments that have a lot of background noise—coffee shops, co-working spaces, bars—but occasionally need to make calls, krisp is an amazing tool to make sure your voice gets transmitted clearly, but not the background noise.

Remember the first time you tried on really good noise-cancelling headphones?

Well, the first time you try out krisp on a call, and there’s background noise—whether it’s a constant ambient noise or an unforeseen dog bark—you’ll have that same delightful experience. You’ll notice that it won’t distract the other person anymore.

They’ve got a 14-day free trial, and their pro plan is very reasonable priced. Definitely check it out!

Don’t become attached to processes. Instead, adapt fast.

If you’re part of a fast-growing startup, there’s one thing that’ll be inevitable: change.

In the very early days, you can pretty much get shit done any way you like. It’s find to do things your way. Everyone on the team is wearing many hats, and oftentimes one person is basically “3 departments”. You figure things out as you go.

As your company grows, you’ll find that there are certain things you keep figuring out again, and again, and again. And it dawns on you that you could be a lot more efficient if you deliberately design a process. You do so, and while it’s mostly not fun, you’re glad some of the more mundane and repetitive things become more efficient and overall output increases.

The next stage is new team members joining, and roles becoming a bit more specialized. You make some tweaks to your beautiful processes to allow for these new people to add value, and to reflect for the new realities.

The more your company grows, the more new team members join, the more change you’ll be faced with. And the more flexible you’ll have to become with adapting your beautifully established processes.

At times this can be painful—because whenever you have designed and defined an efficient process, it’s normal for you to want to keep doing things this way. Even if you’re someone who embraces and even craves change—process change is typically not the kind of change that’s fun. Launching a new initiative, experimenting with a new marketing channel, going after a new vertical—all of these things can be exciting and fun. But process change—where it’s basically about doing the same thing you’ve been doing so far, just differently, that’s rarely ever fun.

And if you allow yourself to get attached to processes, not only will it be not fun, it will be actually painful and exhausting.

I’ve seen this to be true for many marketers. And while we probably all nod our heads in agreement and say: Yes, yes, of course. The reality is that many of us struggle with this if we don’t intentionally cultivate a mindset that embraces change around our processes.

This typically becomes really important when you’re in the messy middle—a term Scott Belsky used to define the stage when a company is no longer a fledgling startup, but not yet a big established player in the industry.