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Skimlinks and its board are incredibly proud to announce Greg ColemanвЂ™s addition to its board of directors. Greg brings incredible experience of the Publisher space, having held senior positions in some of the most prominent and successful digital publishers in the world: EVP, Global Sales at Yahoo, President at AOL Time Warner, President at Huffington Post and President at Buzzfeed – 3 of which are long term Skimlinks customers. Greg also has a world-class track record in the advertising space, having joined Criteo in 2011 as President, contributing to its IPO in 2013 at $2.5b.
Through his tenure at Buzzfeed, Greg observed first hand how successful commerce content could be if done properly. He and his team spearheaded one of the most aggressive commerce growth strategies in the space – powered by Skimlinks – building a team of 30 people dedicated to helping BuzzfeedвЂ™s audience find products theyвЂ™ll love, and generating an 8-digit brand new revenue line as a result.
Skimlinks aims at being the best commerce monetization platform for content publishers – especially to those wanting to diversify from Amazon. Greg will give Skimlinks the insights it needs to make sure it fulfils this mission and additional operational expertise to help the team deliver the best possible results for publishers.
According to Greg, вЂњPublishers are looking diligently at finding new and sustainable ways to add new revenue streams that will help monetize the content that they are creating. Skimlinks delivers a seamless solution for the intersection of commerce and content.вЂќ
Having a world-class talent like Greg joining Skimlinks’ board also testifies to the brand and company we have built and to the potential of our strategy.
Welcome to the team Greg and looking forward to working with you!
Skimlinks has launched a seamless AMP integration which allows publishers to easily monetize commerce links in AMP articles.
As market leaders, our focus is on developing products that will allow Publishers to increase the revenue they generate from their commerce content and be less dependant on display ads. Which is why we are excited to be first-to-market with an AMP integration that delivers a solution for problem that many publishers have.
From our Platform data we see that there is a huge opportunity for publishers to increase the revenue they get from mobile traffic: 59% of impressions in our network come from mobile but only 33% of revenue publishers generate is from mobile.
The AMP code only needs to be installed once. Then there is nothing else to do. No manual workarounds, no specific maintenance needed to monetize content. The Skimlinks AMP integration will automatically affiliate commerce content across all your AMP articles.
Please note: The Skimlinks AMP code is available for publishers to install now, however as a BETA product, we recommend you QA test within your environment before you push the code live.
A little overview on AMP AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and it is an open source program from Google aimed at making a вЂњbetter, faster mobile internetвЂќ. It means users coming from search pages being shown web pages in essentially no time. This happens because a large portion of the pageвЂ™s original content can be stripped away and the page is optimised for mobile.
Black Friday 2018 is on the horizon, but that doesnвЂ™t mean youвЂ™ve run out of time to take advantage of one of the biggest ecommerce events of the year.
In fact our data shows that the majority of the top Black Friday commerce content articles are published in November. Moreover our data shows Black Friday kicks off a wider holiday season, where publishers in our network on average double their revenue, and have the opportunity to inspire millions of reader purchases with compelling commerce content.
So weвЂ™ve created an infographic packed with digestible insights to help you seize the holiday opportunity on Black Friday and beyond which includes:
Key dates for your holiday season ecommerce calendar
The key merchants you should write about on Black Friday and beyond
And the key conversion movers for 2018
The high converting content you should create
The keywords you should use for SEO success
And design points to keep in mind to ensure people can convert off your content wherever theyвЂ™re reading it
Black Friday is the biggest commerce event of the year and Skimlinks has made the whole process of getting the best deals and offers from the leading merchants very simple.
We have launched the Skimlinks Black Friday Shopping Galleries.
Why Publishers should use the Black Friday Shopping Galleries
Publishers who add shopping galleries to their articles, could see an increase in Earnings Per Click (EPC) of +59%, compared to other commerce articles.
The latest deals and offers will automatically appear in the Shopping Galleries. So no need, for content creators to continually search for new deals/offers or to continually update links. It really is that simple!
The Shopping Galleries are now live and will automatically be updated, every three hours, from today through to Cyber Monday, maximising the revenue opportunities of this key period.
How Publishers are Using the Black Friday Shopping Galleries
A number of publishers have already started to promote and generate revenue from their Black Friday Shopping Galleries.
Check out a few that are currently live for inspiration:
How Many Shopping Galleries are there to Choose From?
We have created over 15 Black Friday Shopping Galleries for publishers to choose from. They cover the best deals and offers from leading merchants in the US and UK and from high performing product categories.
How to drive the most revenue from the Black Friday Shopping Galleries
Create a dedicated Black Friday/Cyber Monday page that contains the Shopping Galleries
Ensure the Shopping Galleries appear high on the page, visibility drives conversions
Start embedding the Shopping Galleries before Black Friday
Add the Shopping Galleries to your Evergreen Black Friday content,В these will already have SEO ranking and will be more easily discovered
Accessing the Black Friday Shopping Galleries
The Black Friday Shopping Galleries are available to publishers in the US and UK only.
All Skimlinks Managed Accounts in these countries have access to the Black Friday Shopping Galleries, please speak to your Account Manager to activate the Shopping Galleries Tab in the Publisher Hub.
For all other US and UK based publishers, to qualify for the Black Friday Shopping Galleries, you must beВ generating more than $1,000/ВЈ1,000 of commerce revenue per month. If your site qualifies please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Creating a Black Friday Shopping Gallery
Once you have access to the Black Friday Shopping Galleries, there are a few simple steps to get the live and generating revenue
First, go to the Shopping Galleries tab in the Publisher Hub
Choose either a Product or Merchant Gallery. Each gallery comes with a red or green button and you can choose between grid or carousel layout so you can select the one that best fits the style of your page
Copy the Shopping Gallery Code and paste it into the page you want them to appear
The Shopping Gallery will automatically display the latest deals and offers on your page.
Revenue generated from the Black Friday Shopping Galleries will be reported in the Publisher Hub as normal.
The inaugural Commerce Awards for Publishers (#TheCAPs) took place in September 2018 at Tribeca Grill in New York City.
The awards recognise quality commerce journalism and the publishers that have found the balance between providing quality service journalism to readers, and using commerce content to scale a lucrative new revenue stream.
The winners and nominees of the first Commerce Awards for Publishers
The CAP for Best Technology & Gadget Article (Mashable)
The article helps parents find a kid-friendly tablet, showcasing five options at a range of price points. Each option has an in-depth review and has criteria which readers can easily compare against alternatives in the article.
The article won top marks from judges for being informative, itвЂ™s layout and knowledge of the audience.
The article was originally published in July 2017 and was updated in summer for 2018. Inspired by a high search volume for вЂњjeansвЂќ focused keywords, the article is formatted to help people answers questions readers have about what pair of jeans to buy.
The article walks through different styles of jean (e.g. straight, skinny) and then offers the perfect pair at different price points to cater for a broad range of budgets.
The article was popular with judges, with its engaging appearance and utility in particular receiving high praise.
GQ wanted to use their submission to highlight their вЂњBest StuffвЂќ articles, which roundup the best of in various categories, which receive GQ editorsвЂ™ esteemed seal of approval. They also say that they chose article because it combines a wardrobe staple everyone needs with a price point theyвЂ™ve found their readers respond to.
ThatвЂ™s exactly the kind of balance that should underpin quality commerce content, so it is great to see the article was rewarded for that by the judges.
Another close category was Best Digital Native Publisher.
However, once all the scores were collected, Apartment Therapy came out on top.
For these broader awards publishers were asked to submit a variety of articles that showed off the range and quality of their commerce content.
In their submission, Apartment Therapy, placed the commerce content they create as a natural extension of the service theyвЂ™ve long provided to their readers through content. They also put particular emphasis on specifically curating product recommendations with end reader delight in mind.
In sum they say theyвЂ™d like their readers to think of Apartment Therapy as their вЂњpersonal shopperвЂќ.
The CAP for Best Flash Event was designed to reward timely commerce content. Often the best pieces of commerce content alert readers to a new product launch or time-limited deal, so it made sense to recognise this in an awards program.
Timed for release of the restock, the post links out to multiple merchants, and is designed to offer advice on how to purchase the device online and offline, but also enable Polygon to capture commission on sales referred direct from the post.
Best Dedicated Commerce Brand (The Strategist – New York Magazine)
At a certain stage of commerce maturity, publishers often look to develop an editorial brand dedicated purely to commerce content and product reviews, so we created a category to honour these particular publications.
The winner of the CAP for Best Dedicated Commerce Brand was New York MagazineвЂ™s The Strategist.
The StrategistвЂ™s submission rooted the brandвЂ™s place in New York MagazineвЂ™s, вЂњ50 year tradition of obsessively telling its readers whatвЂ™s worth buying.вЂќ
In their own words, The Strategist has been able to become a viable business because the editorial team insists on only including products they truly stand behind and through affiliate they can link out to the entire online shopping-sphere.
Warm feedback from judges focused on the fact the articles are вЂњrealвЂќ and just happen to be selling products as a side effect.
The final award of the night was The CAP for Best Editorial Brand which went to New York Media.
Their winning submission focused on how The Strategist team works across the organization with other editors to incorporate product-focused content into other publications. Across all brands, readers find a shared editorial commitment to expert-driven and useful commerce content, making for a compelling cross-vertical commerce approach.
Feedback from judges focused on overall style of New York Media titles and their вЂњcleverвЂќ approach to integrating shopping in their stories.
Richard G.: How often should I update my evergreen pages to keep them relevant to Google?
It really depends on the topic and the visitors. If you have a page about the history of the revolutionary war, itвЂ™s likely not going to need much updating. Once every 3-5 years probably works fine. On the other hand, if you have an evergreen page about the history of the microprocessor, updating every 1-3 months might make sense as new development (and new questions from searchers) are constantly arising.
Mario Y.: I manage a platform where users can browse through the best products of different categories. Should I take the time to write my own product descriptions or is it okay to use the ones available on the manufacturer’s website?
If you have time and energy to write your own descriptions, it can make a big difference, especially if you provide more value and greater insight for the searchers and potential buyers. This can not only help you be seen as providing unique value in GoogleвЂ™s eyes (which can help with rankings), it can also help with converting visitors into customers.
Anna M.: Can Google penalize my site for using a lot of affiliate links?
Yes, potentially they can. If they see a site or many pages with a heavy dose of advertising and/or advertising links that detract from a visitorвЂ™s ability to trust the siteвЂ™s content or what itвЂ™s marketing, that can harm your rankings and traffic from Google, too. Searcher satisfaction is a bigger and bigger part of the engineвЂ™s rankings. Thankfully, sites like The Wirecutter have shown that less can be more — they make a lot of money with referral/affiliate links, but have trustworthy content and donвЂ™t spam or overuse those links.
Jean W.: Does buying Google Ads help organic search and SEO?
Indirectly, sometimes it can impact SEO. GoogleвЂ™s own research around ads shows that thereвЂ™s even more likelihood a searcher will click on a website/URL/brand if it shows up in both the ad and organic results than just one of those. There can also be second-order benefits from the traffic you get via paid ads. ThereвЂ™s more on this topic in this Whiteboard Friday.
Amy B.: I found some tips online on how to write for SEO, changed the titles of my pages, used keywords in the first paragraphвЂ¦ but I donвЂ™t see any significant results. How long does it take for SEO to have a really positive impact on traffic?
Those kinds of very basic keyword usage tactics are unlikely to have any impact on your rankings and traffic. SEO is vastly more sophisticated today than 15 years ago, and just using keywords, changing titles, etc. while it can be a good practice (depending on how its done), wonвЂ™t help you stand out in a field where everyone on page one of Google is already doing those things right.
If and when you do make substantive changes that massively improve your user experience, the satisfaction you provide to searchers, the quality of your material, and your brandвЂ™s reputation (through content, links, press, etc), it typically takes between a few hours and 2-3 weeks to see ranking changes. Usually thatвЂ™s longer for newer websites and those that donвЂ™t rank as well and more timely for sites that have a lot of search traffic already, rank well, and get crawled+indexed frequently by Google.
Jan C.: I donвЂ™t know where to start with SEO optimization. What are the top 3 things to do that will make the biggest difference?
I have two resources that can help on this. First, this video on How to Rank in 2018 — which elements are needed to be competitive (bad news, itвЂ™s more than just three things). I also made a video a while back (thatвЂ™s still relevant) on how to do Minimum Viable SEO if you only have a few minutes each week. Hope those are useful!
Jules S.: Can you give some recommendations for a Forum?
This is a very broad question, but generally speaking, IвЂ™d try to:
Focus on the community first — make sure thereвЂ™s lots of high quality people contributing good questions, topics, answers, and help to others. Nothing else will get you as far.
There are some technologies that can suggest words+phrases to those who post forum topics, and you can seed that with the work from your keyword research, which may be able to assist.
For topics that get lots of engagement, it may pay to create more full-featured landing pages and evergreen topic pages vs. forum posts. You can check into whether thereвЂ™s opportunities to redirect/consolidate/republish and use this tactic to improve your targeting
Caca L.: В I am using WordPress for my website and I have download an SEO checking tool. But so far, I have never got the good “Green Light”, only “OK” or “Needs Improvement” were shown. I wonder if you had tips to improve it.
Rand: HmmвЂ¦ IвЂ™m not sure which WordPress plugin you installed, but you might try uninstalling and reinstalling (and/or contacting the creator of the plugin or looking for Q+A where they may have diagnostic tips). I will say that while some plugins for WordPress can be helpful, theyвЂ™re certainly not going to transform your SEO overnight or provide a full solution. SEO is vastly more complex than what a plugin can solve or help with, and ignoring all the rest of the practice means youвЂ™ll never compete against those folks who do that stuff too.
Silvia J.: I am running a fashion blog, how can I have backlinks? Do the mentions I get on social networks count as backlinks?
No, generally mentions and links on social networks donвЂ™t count the way links from other websites do (because social networks usually use the rel=nofollow element, instructing Google not to count those links as votes in their ranking systems). In terms of how to get links, thereвЂ™s thousands of techniques here, many of which will likely be applicable to your fashion blog.
Jules S.: We aggregate content snippets from our website on these “product pages” we frequently reproduce product descriptions from manufacturers. So there is nothing ‘original’ or unique content-wise on these pages. For this reason we don’t allow Google to index them. Is that wise? Or should we open these pages up to be indexed?
If thereвЂ™s no unique content on those pages (or very little, and very little thatвЂ™s uniquely valuable from what searchers could find elsewhere), I think youвЂ™re wise to keep them out of GoogleвЂ™s index. That said, you might try finding the most valuable pages like this that you want to be indexed and doing some work to add content, edit, and improve/upgrade the pages so they will provide that unique value to GoogleвЂ™s searchers and be seen by the engine as high quality.
Ben C.: Are there things I should do differently for Google, Bing, DuckduckgoвЂ¦ and is it worth it?
Thankfully, SEO for all of those is very similar, and GoogleвЂ™s 90% of the market anyway. Bing is a little more reliant on exact match links (that is, links with the precise keyword phrase of the search query) and a bit more sensitive to precise keyword usage (vs. GoogleвЂ™s broader searcher intent detection with language). So if youвЂ™re doing great with SEO on Google, but not on Bing, more of those two should help.
Andy F.:Apart from looking at Google Analytics, what should I use to check my SEO?
Rand: IвЂ™d recommend using both GoogleвЂ™s Search Console and a third party tool like Moz Pro (or similar from a number of their competitors). You want something that can show you the pages with crawl issues, give you a list of pages that need to do a better job with keyword targeting, help with link building suggestions, etc.
With only 7 weeks to go until the big commerce event that is Black Friday, we at Skimlinks want to make sure that Publishers are set up to maximise all potential revenue opportunities.
WeвЂ™ve put together a checklist for Publishers to make sure they make the most of this key shopping period.
Install the Skimlinks Editor Toolbar
The Skimlinks Editor Toolbar is the easiest way to see if a merchant offers commission rates, what they are and if they offer any exclusive rates. Publishers can see all of this information in the Editor Toolbar, without having to navigate away from the MerchantвЂ™s website and login to any other system. ItвЂ™s just part of your workflow.
So make sure that everyone who will be producing commerce content for the holiday period has the Skimlinks Editor Toolbar installed. Download the Editor Toolbar here.
Create Shoppable Galleries
Create shoppable galleries of the best deals for Black Friday, and throughout the holiday season. В This is really easy to do with our shopping widget.
The shoppable galleries that publishers create can contain products that are similar, eg Televisions or Smartphones, giving your users the choice of several brands in one place. В The galleries can also be created to showcase products for a specific theme, eg Cycling Accessories or Living Room Essentials.
The big advantage to using the shopping galleries during the holiday period is that there is no maintenance for the Editorial team, if a product has sold out at one retailer, it will be replaced with a link for another retailer or it will be removed from the gallery.
Skimlinks partners with Monetizer101 to bring the shopping galleries to market, please let your Skimlinks account manager know that you want to activate the shoppable galleries and theyвЂ™ll be able to get you set up. В Please note, the shoppable galleries are available only for select publishers.
Need some help writing commerce content or choosing products
The Skimlinks Editorial Team, headed up by our Chief Editor, Shane Roberts, is building out a library of product recommendation content available for your syndication.
While the content wonвЂ™t be specific to Black Friday and the Holiday Period this year, our Editorial Team will also be launching the Skimlinks Deal of the Day series, offering a new best in class discount paired with an increased CPA every weekday and through the holiday season.
This content will be available to a select group of publishers, please speak to your account manager if you are interested in getting access.
Get the latest offers
Skimlinks is constantly adding new offers from merchants to the Publisher Hub. В Publishers can view these offers either by searching for a specific merchant and looking on their Merchant Profile Page or by going straight to the Offers section to view them all.
On the Offers Page you can narrow offers by country, see which offers are currently live and which ones are coming soon. В Publishers can also search by our Preferred Partners and see Merchants that have provided increased commission rates available exclusively through Skimlinks. В This is a great way to discover new merchants and products to write about, while generating extra commission. View the latest offers available in the Skimlinks Platform here.
Maximize your SEO ranking and instead of producing lots of new content this holiday period, update your top performing pages and any pages youвЂ™ve created for past Black Fridays. В Publishers are already getting lots of traffic, so add new offers or products and make sure all links are working, to make sure no revenue opportunity is missed.
And if your evergreen articles are product reviews, this is the perfect place to add a Price Comparison tool. В By adding a Price Comparison Tool, Publishers provide their users with choice on which merchant they are going to purchase the product from, without the need to search around for the best price on other sites. В This means that the publisher can increase their conversion rates and revenue, very simply, for these highly trafficked articles.
Skimlinks partners with Monetizer101 to bring the price comparison tools to market, please let your Skimlinks account manager know that you want to activate the price comparison tools and theyвЂ™ll be able to get В you set up. Please note, the price comparison tools are available only for select publishers.
DonвЂ™t have Skimlinks installed on your site?
Mumsnet is the UKвЂ™s largest network for parents, with over 12 million unique visitors per month, clocking up over 128 million page views and with a network of over 10,000 influencers. Skimlinks and Mumsnet have been working together for close to a decade.
We recently sat down with James to talk about the eCommerce strategy at Mumsnet. Focusing on how theyвЂ™ve gone from managing 17 different networks and manual reporting of performance, to consolidating their activity with Skimlinks and the benefits theyвЂ™ve seen from doing so.
вЂњUser-inspired product recommendations have been at the heart of Mumsnet since the beginning. Being able to create a revenue stream to help fund our business, in a way that was both unobtrusive and retains the trust of our users, was very important. This shared ethos is one of the reasons Mumsnet works with Skimlinks.вЂќ James Smith, Head of eCommerce, Mumsnet
Download the full overview of our conversation, to hear in JamesвЂ™ own words, his thoughts on:
– Challenges of managing multiple networks вЂ“ Why Mumsnet chose to managed all affiliate relationships through Skimlinks вЂ“ What the benefits are to the merchants they work with вЂ“ Mumsnets commerce content growth plans for the coming year вЂ“ Advice for other publishers considering taking the same approach to Mumsnet
Today Skimlinks is delighted to announce three big updates to the way publishers are able to view merchants and their rates, which make it easier to see commision rates and their conditions and find new merchants to write about.
The Editor Toolbar is one of our most used products and weвЂ™ve turbocharged it with additional features to give publishers more control.
Like the Editor Toolbar, weвЂ™ve given the Merchant Pages a facelift to provide more transparency to publishers around the potential commision rates available.
Publishers can now see:
– The average commision rate paid by the merchant over the last 90 days across the Skimlinks network
– The average performance statistics including earnings per click, conversion rate and basket size by merchants across the Skimlinks network. These figures are not a guarantee on what publishers will be paid, but are there to provide more detail around how the merchant performs generally
– Where Skimlinks have negotiated an exclusive rate for publishers, this is clearly visible
To increase transparency, the Merchant Pages now include Network Commission Details. In this section, publishers will be able to view the exact information provided to Skimlinks from each of the affiliate networks we work with, showing rates and conditions.
Finding new merchants to write about is important for publishers, to make this easier weвЂ™ve completed a big update to the vertical categorisation of merchants in the Publisher Hub. For example, the next time a publisher is searching for a Consumer Electronics merchant, they will see a larger selection of merchants to discover and choose from.
You can access all of these great enhancements right now by logging into theВ Publisher Hub.
Think about September and a few things come to mind: Fall, Earth, Wind and Fire, Harvest, Forget-me-nots, Greenday. But one thing that doesnвЂ™t immediately come to mind is content ideas. Especially ideas that will help you monetize your content. Scratch the surface though and publishers can find a wealth of ideas to draw on. So weвЂ™ve put together a select few here to get you started.
National Grandparents Day:
If youвЂ™re scratching your head, you can be forgiven, National Grandparents Day is not on the scale of FatherвЂ™s Day or MotherвЂ™s Day. But it does offer an alternative ecommerce opportunity in two ways. First it is traditional to give Forget-me-nots, which serve as the flower of September and offers publishers an opportunity to write aboutВ online flower merchants, of which there areВ manyВ in SkimlinksвЂ™ network. Second, National Grandparents Day is focused on making memories, which gives publishers a great opportunity to monetize content around merchants focused on experiences. So for both these reasons, it is a great opportunity to create content you can monetize and earn revenue from.
National Yoga Month
National Yoga Day falls in June and is linked to the summer equinox. The National Yoga Month falls in September, and as consequently everyone whoвЂ™s anyone will pay close attention to aligning their chakras during September, it is a great opportunity to write some commerce content. Whether you focus on mats, athleisure or the вЂњclean livingвЂќ lifestyle many yogis are keen on, thereвЂ™s a lot of ways to get involved in the National Yoga Month fun.
This is a no brainer. Labor Day is a big sales day and theВ average Labor Day weekend shopper will spend almost $60. There is also a broad range of categories for publishers to write content about. There are opportunities in travel as people cross the US for the holiday, in retail as brands use the weekend for discounting and promotions, groceries for people planning parties, and also last chance for school supplies as the Back-To-School period closes. Keep a close eye on the Offers Tab in the Skimlinks Hub to spot deals for Labor Day as theyвЂ™re added.
As summer draws to a close and fallвЂ¦falls, peopleвЂ™s attention looks ahead to winter. Grim as the prospect of fading sunlight, cold weather and grey days may be, people also want to get prepared for them. So if you want to create some winter weather clothing content, September is a great time to get it ready and well indexed in search engines as people begin hunting. Google Trends Data shows interest begins rising from September 1, so this could be a good content idea to explore.
Or alternatively, if summer clings on, as it seems to in recent years, think aboutВ Indian summer. Typically a period of warm weather that lingers into the fall, these are becoming more common as the years go by. Writing about it will depend on climate conditions, but this could be an excellent way to cash in on unexpectedly warm weather. If people have worn out clothes from wearing them all summer long, theyвЂ™ll look for warm weather items to get them across the line, and that they can wear into next year. Retailers will also be looking to discount and shift summer stock, which could make this a win on all fronts.