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Hi You,

Ever have one of those days where your fingers just can't stop typing, the words seem to flow effortlessly onto digital paper, and — two hours later — you have a finished guest post pitched, approved, and queued up for 6 AM publication on a site you love? Yeah, me neither, but it happened yesterday. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to Engage (formerly SearchFest) in Portland, Oregon and seeing the event coming up on my calendar got me thinking back to the first time I attended that conference. It was almost a decade ago! This new guest post (just scroll down) is the end result of a writing session that I began in between conference calls. Read on for more and, until next time, happy optimizing.

Mike Arnesen
Founder & CEO @ UpBuild

Engage: An Event to Call Home

SearchFest — as it was then called — was the first SEO conference that I ever attended. It was way back in 2010 that I first walked through the doors of the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon and I had no idea that my mind was about to be completely blown. 

Up until that time, all of my SEO knowledge (what little I had at that point) had come primarily from people I worked with directly. I ate up everything I could, but the few tips I were given came with little explanation as to why we were doing that specific thing for SEO; the situation was often someone saying, "do the thing because I know it helps SEO and maybe one day we can talk about why".

My SEO skillset was mostly comprised of a lot of the "what" without any of the "why". I should note that it was supplemented every now and then with the occasional blog post from, but that was about it. Little did I know, I was rapidly approaching a catalyst that would fundamentally change my understanding of SEO and my entire career.

SearchFest ended up on my radar after I attended a monthly talk put on by SEMpdx — Portland's search engine marketing association. The 45-minute talk had been really good, so I was intrigued by the prospect of an entire day of talks and the idea of experiencing something like that. The whole thing seemed almost made up. A day-long schedule of people openly sharing SEO secrets? What?!

So it came to pass that I went back to the office and begged my boss to let me take the day off to attend. He agreed, and even purchased my ticket, on the condition that I fill up an entire legal pad with notes and commit to giving a presentation to the office the following week. I've never accepted an offer faster!

In many ways, I think that walking through the doors of the Governor and taking that elevator up to the ballroom for my first SearchFest changed the whole trajectory of my career...

Read the rest on

Reviews Don't Happen In A Vacuum

If you show reviews and aggregate ratings on your site, you might want to take a look to make sure that it's clear where those reviews originate from. We've been seeing reports recently that Google is attaching manual penalties to sites that,
  1. show aggregate review data ("4.4 out of 5 stars based on 100 reviews"), but
  2. don't indicate where those reviews come from and/or provide a way for a user to leave their own review. 
We've been saying this forever, but you can't make false claims (i.e., lie) with structured data and expect to get away with it for long. Blackhat SEOs and spammers are comfortable with the risk-reward for implementing dishonest structured data in order to get a short-term win, but be careful that your site is not (intentionally or not) following in their footsteps. 

Concerned about your site? Hop into Google Search Console and navigate to Manual Actions to see if you have an issue. 


Can You Have “Regular” Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager at the Same Time?

Sometimes, the simplest ideas yield the largest returns. This week we're highlighting our most successful blog post from all of 2018 (in terms of page views, new users, and other metrics). Written by Senior Marketing Strategist, Laura McDougall, the idea for this post came from a short and simple question on Twitter:

"Does having both GTM and GA on a site potentially duplicate data in Analytics?  I’ve not seen it obviously do it, but we’re wondering if it would be problematic."

To the team at UpBuild, the answer seemed simple, but only because we're neck-deep in analytics implementations week-after-week. The question got us thinking. "If one person is wondering about this, what are the chances that a whole bunch of folks have a similar question but just aren't asking us directly?" As it turns out, a few thousand people are wondering about this same thing every month and now they're getting a good answer directly from the UpBuild blog. 

The point of all this is not to brag. The moral of the story is to cherish those times when members of your audience raise their hands and volunteer to drive your content strategy. Keyword research and user studies are great, but don't let that overshadow the incredible insight sitting right in front of you in social media, email, customer support tickets, live chat, etc. 

Read Laura's original post on our blog.

Until next time. Thanks for reading!
Stay in the know. Head over to our blog and check out what we've been writing
Need technical marketing help? Head to our engagements page to see what that looks like. We'd love to see if we'd be a good fit! 
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