Social media techniques to integrate into your digital PR strategy

30-second summary:

  • Social media can provide a personable avenue for starting a connection.
  • Keeping connections on social media and emails consistent allows for a solid flow through the construction of a relationship.
  • Compliments and details are valuable if used in the correct context in conjunction with a relevant pitch.
  • Media Relations Lead Nicole Franco shares personalization tips and tricks on sending both professional and personalized media pitches.

Marketers who strive to build backlinks and brand awareness often engage in digital PR. 

But creating amazing content and then pitching that content to writers is not an easy earned media strategy. The outreach alone can cause many marketers to struggle and eventually give up on the tactic.

However, although easier said than done, appealing to the writer away from a regular pitch email can set any market apart from the wave of emails a journalist receives daily

Read on to discover several ways to not only compose an exceptional media relations email but also how-to create organic, personalized relationships with writers by utilizing social media.

Technique #1: Complimenting via Instagram

One natural way to start a relationship with an editor or journalist is to start the connection via Instagram. 

First, add them and maybe like their most recent post. Read the situation, maybe leave a witty comment or compliment on a relevant post relating to the content of a potential pitch. 

After a minor connection has been made, send them a message or email regarding their Instagram post while mentioning your content and ideas for a collaboration. 

Below is an example of a potential way to reach out to an editor. Keep in mind the content you are pitching and if it’s a serious topic. Editors covering lifestyle topics would be keener on receiving these kinds of requests. 

1. Instagram DM

digital PR outreach using social media - 2 Twitter 1

Pitch email

digital PR outreach using social media - Instagram email pitch

Keeping in mind the kind of journalist you are reaching out to is important. In the example above, the writer had posted about Disney and had consistently covered witty travel content. 

Analyzing their coverage and writing style can provide valuable insight into how to properly reach out. Also, noting something that happens in everyday life or mentioning some seasonal holiday plans are great examples of how to personalize a pitch. In the example above, I chose to connect about Halloween costumes via Instagram. 

Technique #2: Asking for contact info via Twitter

Similar to Instagram, a great way to connect with journalists is by starting a conversation on Twitter. Instead of liking a photo or leaving a compliment, try retweeting or liking a relatable post. 

Twitter DMs are also a great way to ask a publisher for their preferred form of contact. Many publishers have open DMs and are willing to accept a news tip right in their Twitter inbox!

Twitter DM

digital PR outreach using social media - 2 Twitter

Pitch email

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn 1

Pitch Response

Twitter pitch response

One of the most important things to note when reaching out on social media is making sure the content you’re pitching is relevant. This connection worked because the marketer did their research and took the writer’s beat into consideration and referenced a recent article they had covered in the pitch email.

If your content is not relevant or doesn’t align with the writer’s coverage, don’t expect a response. 

Technique #3: Get acquainted on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered by some to be the most formal way to go. But in order to send a message via LinkedIn, you must be connected to the person, making this a longer connection process. 

When reaching out on LinkedIn, it’s important to note that witty or informal comments might not be taken well on this platform. Keep in mind LinkedIn is used in regards to making professional connections, so keep a PR message short, concise, and professional. 

LinkedIn DMs

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn 1

In both examples, the message was to mention their beat and simply ask for an email to best contact them at.  Although it seems simple, the writer will expect your email in their inbox and most likely remember your name. Additionally, as mentioned above, personalize your subject line so the writer knows exactly which email is yours. I’ve provided an example below. 

Pitch Email

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn - Email

Aside from just asking for an email, try and connect with them by starting a conversation about the college they went to or an experience they had. Any fellow Gator is always welcome in my inbox!

Technique #4: Reference social to get relatable

Although we are reaching out to journalists in hopes of creating a professional relationship, appealing to their personal likes can go a long way. One way to do so is by reading their bios on their social media or personal website. Some might be writing a book or might express something they really enjoy. 

Do those things relate to you as well? If so, let them know! Yes, the human on the other side of the email loves coffee or dogs just as much as you; who knew?

Pitch email

Pitch response

digital PR outreach using social media - 5 reference social

Some say people love dogs more than humans, and this pitch is no exception. Here I decided to take a leap and mention the journalists’ pup in their email. I included a picture of their own pup, mentioned their dog in my email subject line, and shared similar experiences. 

Although this may not always be successful, in this case, it was because of the marketer’s research and analysis. Again, always do your research. Most journalists already mention how they would like to be pitched in places like Muckrack, their personal website, and just by reading their articles (example included below). Marketers can get a feel about how to personalize an email.

digital PR outreach using social media - example

Final tips and tricks for your digital PR strategy

Some things to remember when starting a connection on social media: always do the research, don’t be too invasive and keep it simple. None of us need an elaborate summary of what we tweeted in the summer of 2016. Keep it short, sweet, and relevant.

Consequently, all journalists are different. Although some prefer basic intros, using some sort of external connection can increase a marketer’s chance of building a long-lasting connection. 

Whether it’s referencing dog pictures from Twitter or referencing a line from a recent article they wrote, paying attention to those minor details may be the difference between an email ignored and a new digital PR connection. 

So when in doubt, turn to social. Happy pitching!

Nicole Franco is a Media Relations Lead at Fractl. She’s an extrovert with a passion for building connections with entrepreneurs and working with aspiring businesses to tell their stories. Aside from loving content development; traveling, volunteering, and seeking adventure is what she lives for.

The post Social media techniques to integrate into your digital PR strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The promising post-cookie world

30-second summary:

  • Google’s market-leading Chrome browser utilizes a signed-in Google account, and Facebook requires personal logins to access its ubiquitous platform.
  • Marketers who wanted to reach consumers efficiently outside of the walled gardens have long relied on the third-party tracking cookie.
  • Now Google has announced that they will phase out third-party tracking cookies in Chrome, and the industry has been in a panic.
  • VP of Ad Operations at Octopus Interactive shares a fresh perspective and potential of a post-cookie world.

Facebook and Google cemented their dominance in the digital advertising world by virtue of their unique personal identifiers. Google’s market-leading Chrome browser utilizes a signed-in Google account, and Facebook requires personal logins to access its ubiquitous platform. Marketers who wanted to reach consumers efficiently outside of the walled gardens have long relied on the third-party tracking cookie. By tracking individual users across their browsing activity, an entire ecosystem has arisen that has reached an equilibrium, balancing the needs of publishers, advertisers, and the tech providers that exist between them.

Now Google has announced that they will phase out third-party tracking cookies in Chrome, and the industry has been in a panic. Indeed, many companies will have to adjust their business models wholesale in order to adapt to this new reality and privacy concerns.

The future, however, need not look bleak for advertisers and publishers. While some stakeholders will lose tracking and attribution features they’ve grown accustomed to, a return to the first principles of marketing will be good for consumers, publishers, advertisers, and the larger digital ecosystem.

The return of context

In the short term, giant companies like Google and Facebook will continue to control true identity. Some workarounds already are coming into practice, relying on things like grouping cohorts to reach the right consumers with the right message. Targeting advertising according to groups of cohorts that share similar characteristics is one way to deliver some performance, but it doesn’t allow for things like frequency capping in order to increase scale and efficiency.

Instead, advertisers and publishers will need to work together to return to first principles like contextual advertising. By targeting advertising based on the actual content it’s published next to, consumers are more likely to see relevant ads, and resourceful publishers can monetize accordingly. For a long time, contextual targeting has been treated as an add-on feature in the industry, and advertisers and publishers need to prepare for a future in which context is a great deal more important.

From a higher level, contextual advertising also makes philosophical sense. Advertisers have known an entire generation of consumers as numbers and attributes. A thoughtful return to contextual advertising means that the industry will need to consider the whole person, rather than a collection of abstractions. While this may be challenging for many advertisers who have grown accustomed to performance and efficiency, it also represents an opportunity to build brands and relationships.

Keep calm, carry on

In light of these developments, some in the digital advertising industry are rightfully anxious about the uncertain future. If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, however, it’s that nothing can be truly taken for granted, and the old platitude holds that change is the only thing that remains constant.

To those who are worried, I would urge calm and reflection. There’s too much money and too many smart people in our industry for us to give it all up wholesale. It’s a virtual certainty that the advertising industry will find a way to move forward – outside of the walled gardens and without the helpful tracking cookie.

Part of the solution will require finding efficiencies in places other than the media spend. More thoughtful creative and more deliberate targeting will result, leading to a better customer experience. New channels like addressable CTV will fill some of the gaps, and things like Digital Out of Home (DOOH) are poised to gain ground. Measurement and engagement proxies like viewability and video completion rates will become more important.

In the end, the digital ad industry will be forced to move away from the one-to-one goal that we’ve fixated on for too long. Our entire industry will become smarter and better as a consequence. There will be some struggles along the way, but the future of digital marketing outside of the walled gardens has every reason to appear bright.

Ryan Bricklemyer is VP of Ad Operations and Product Development at Octopus Interactive.

The post The promising post-cookie world appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Come Up With Tangential Content Ideas — Whiteboard Friday

Posted by amandamilligan

Your brand has probably used content marketing to generate awareness and engagement, but have you tried tangential content? 

In this brand new episode of Whiteboard Friday, Amanda Milligan of Fractl is here to walk you through what tangential content is, why it’s useful, and how to create it. 



Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. My name is Amanda Milligan. I’m the Marketing Director at Fractl, an agency that helps brands build their organic growth. Today I’m going to talk to you about one of the strategies we use for our clients, and it’s called tangential content. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry.

Odds are you might have already done it and not even known. Today we’re going to talk about what it is, why you should include it in your strategy, and how to come up with content ideas that are tangential. 

What is tangential content?

So to start, what is tangential content? It’s not used a ton, this phrase, but we and some others I think have kind of adopted it because there wasn’t a ton of language around it.

So the word “tangential” means lightly touching or peripheral. So not really as related is basically what the word means. Tangential content then is content that is not directly related to your product or service offering. In other words, it’s not very on brand. Maybe the opposite of tangential content is very topical content.

So we create both topical and tangential content at Fractl, but they each serve different purposes, which is what I’ll get into. But just to give you an example of the difference between the two, down here I have two different articles you can create for let’s say a dating website. So a topical article for a dating website might be here are seven profile red flags to watch out for.

So the reason that’s topical is because we’re actually talking about a dating site or a dating app, and so is this article talking directly about things to watch out for on a dating profile. So it’s really relevant to the actual offering that you’re making as a brand, and it’s helping even users. So it’s targeting your direct audience and then also some people who might use other apps.

Tangential content in this category might look like, “couples voted these seven places as the most romantic cities in America”. So now we’re not talking about dating apps anymore or any dating websites. We’re talking about partners and relationships. It’s still relevant in the grand scheme of this niche, but it’s not directly related to the product or service.

So this is just an example of how topical and tangential can look a little different. Another example I like to use is for Porch.com. They are a home improvement website. We’ve done all kinds of content for them that fall in both buckets. So for topical content, we’ve done the cost of home improvement over the lifespan of living in a house, and we’ve done tangential content like how to cook with your family or backyard games or something.

So I’ll explain a little bit more over here how to come up with ideas like that. But you see this all the time in marketing even if you haven’t recognized it or known what to call it. We actually did a study very recently where we looked at the finalists for the Content Marketing Awards. We excluded agencies, but we looked at a bunch of brands, and we saw that, I think, at least 6 out of 10 of those brands that we examined had tangential content on their blogs.

So it’s a pretty common practice, and whether people even recognize it or not, it can be really effective. 

Why create tangential content?

So why bother with content that isn’t entirely on brand? A lot of people would hesitate and say, “I want to do stuff that only makes sense for our primary audience, that will convert users, or build a really relevant audience.”

Link building

But there are some incredible benefits for tangential content. First of all, SEO people love the link building aspect. So if you’re interested in getting some of the best links you’ve ever gotten, really high quality links from some of the best media publications, we haven’t found a better way to do it than using tangential content. Why?

Because when you’re doing something that’s not directly related to your brand, you’re able to reach a more general audience, really tap into compelling ideas that will appeal to more people and thus more publications. So it increases your chances of getting that media coverage. 

Brand awareness

The second is brand awareness. For similar reasons, if you’re able to get that content out there and appeal to more people, that means more people are seeing your brand.

So what we do at Fractl is essentially come up with these types of ideas. We build an entire content project around a new dataset or we run a survey or we collect new information based on this tangential idea, and then we pitch it to the media. So when you have this new study or this new report done by your brand and you get it covered on some of the top national media sources, that’s pretty incredible brand awareness, not to mention authority, because when your brand is mentioned as so-and-so study shows this, you’re framed in a really authoritative way, usually toward the top of the article as the source of the information that this publication has deemed worthy of talking about.

It’s pretty incredible. So that’s kind of what I’m talking about here — national media coverage. Additionally, if you’re doing tangential content on your blog and you’re trying to get more organic traffic and more presence in the SERPs, that is another way that you can really build out the top of the funnel marketing efforts that you have.

So if you’re kind of zooming out and thinking how can I reach people in this industry who might not already have decided that they want to purchase our product or service but still get our name out there, then you can target more tangential, top of the funnel keywords and start ranking in the SERPs to get more awareness. So these are really incredible benefits.

Social shares

Finally, social shares, because, as I’ll get to, when you come up with tangential ideas, like I said, you have much more room to play around and be creative, which generally means you can come up with ideas that are much more compelling and emotionally resonant, and those are the types of ideas that get all kinds of social shares. People want to send it to their friends. They want to react to it on social, etc.

So really some great stuff here. Whether you’re coming at it from a brand perspective or an SEO perspective, you can get a lot out of doing this type of content. 

How to create tangential content

So finally, how? The first thing I tell people is to zoom out. If you have typically only been creating topical content in the past, you’re probably not used to thinking about your greater industry outside of your value proposition.

1. Zoom out



So I encourage people to start by literally just thinking, “What is our greater category?” So if you work as car insurance, then automobiles or transportation even. It’s like, “What would the top category in a publication be that fits your brand?” So for this example, I put time management software.

So if you are a SaaS company and you are time management software, maybe your general topic would be work and productivity. So that would be the general zooming out. Once you’ve zoomed out, then you want to think laterally. This is how we describe it.

What I mean by that is: What are all of the subtopics that fall under the zoomed out category? What are all of the other things we can talk about that aren’t directly related to our brand? So for work/productivity, I wrote down some examples of what that could be. Sorry, not work/productivity, but work and productivity. It could be either one. So just the workplace, that’s the general gist.

So maybe it’s about your salary, your salary aspirations, are salaries fair across different companies, within companies. Anything salary related, maybe that would get published on financial publications in addition to ones that cover the workplace or business publications. Office gossip, that’s something a lot of people can relate to, and you can pitch publications that are more on the lifestyle side of things.

That’s an example of getting very generally appealing. Anybody who’s worked in an office, even if they haven’t participated in office gossip themselves, probably knows that it has happened or that it’s caused issues or what have you. So you can go that route. Work/life balance. We’re recording this in the time of COVID. That’s even more applicable now. You can get a really timeliness factor to it.

But when you talk about productivity, work/life balance becomes a question a lot of the time. It’s how can you be more productive without sacrificing your personal life? Dating coworkers. Again, you’re taking a totally different … You’re combining the work niche and relationship dating lifestyle niche. This could be something that even the dating site could even do.

They can talk about dating coworkers. It’s a tangential idea that actually applies to multiple industries. Finally, I have up here job satisfaction. So this is more based on the work side of things, how good do you feel about your job, are you looking for another one. Just getting a sense of how people feel. All of these things qualify as tangential content ideas for a time management software company.

So I wanted to illustrate that because it shows how many things are now within the realm of possibility for you that you might not have realized before. When you can play around with this many types of ideas, you can get very creative with the methodologies and the things that you explore. It gets pretty fun I have to be honest.

2. Consider emotion

So down here, and honestly this section deserves its own whiteboard, after you’ve done this and maybe you’ve written down 70 ideas based on, oh wow, we’re able to zoom out and think about all kinds of stuff, so much comes to mind, think about emotion. Most things that do well have an emotional impact on you.

Even if it’s how-to content, you might be thinking that’s usually pretty straightforward and dry. If you’re helping somebody and they’re getting value out of it and they’re reading it like, “Oh, thank God, I was looking for an answer to this,” that is an emotional reaction. So you have to be thinking about how emotionally resonant these ideas are.

So part of how we score our ideas or prioritize them or measure their likelihood of succeeding is to think about the emotional components. You can kind of see how these play into these ideas. Salary aspirations, people tie a lot of their worth at work to their salaries. That’s a pretty emotional thing. Dating and gossip at work, obviously those social dynamics can get pretty intense.

Work/life balance, again now you’re talking about your family and your relationships with people. Job satisfaction, similarly to salary aspirations, that can really impact your life. So then I actually recommend to people, when they have ideas, to literally write down all these emotions and see what is going to be part of like the essence of the actual idea.

Then, when you’re able to say, “Okay, this idea is really going to emotionally resonate with people. They’re going to see themselves in this. They’re going to be really interested in the results. Then you can start honing in on: What are the different methodologies we can use? What kind of data is available or that we have internally or that we can find or collect that can illustrate this, get at some of those truths that we don’t have access to right now?

So that’s a great place to start if you have kind of questions. Like if you have office gossip and you’re like, “I wonder how many people do feel like they participated in that? I wonder how many people have actually had some kind of ramification at work because of that or have suffered themselves?” I don’t know the answer. So if you want to run a survey about that, that could be really interesting to people.

So zoom out. Think about all the different types of subtopics you can talk about now that you have zoomed out. Then consider the emotional factors of all those ideas and then start sorting based on that. See where you can collect data to kind of fulfill those types of ideas. Once you’re onto something like that, a lot of the time your intuition will tell you.

If you find it interesting, if you want to know the answer, certainly give it a shot executing it. Then you can pitch it to publications. So that is the short version of how we do all this. I’m happy to answer any questions you have. You can find me on Twitter @millanda. But that is the gist of tangential content.

It is extremely effective. Give this a shot. Whether it’s on your blog or if you do decide you want to pitch it to media publications and go for those links, I highly recommend it. Thank you so much for watching.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Confusing Black Friday results.

It was a massive Black Friday for our retailers and for most of the industry in general if the media is to be believed. I did notice a shift in search volume this year though; not as many queries directed at “What is Black Friday?” and the like. I have a couple of theories on why that is and why it might signal a shift to eCommerce in this country.

  • Stellar results for the Black Friday weekend
  • Why some retailers don’t participate
  • How lockdowns affected Black Friday
  • Why Black Friday search volumes were down.
  • Watch out for more webinars in 2021

Transcript

Hey, welcome back Rankers! How you going? Wow. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. How did it go for you? Went gangbusters for our retailers and had a few discussions on Shopify. And there’s a few articles on Shopify. Had a few discussions on LinkedIn about Shopify because Shopify have got a big article out about how all their retailers made record numbers. Really, really great to see and, I forget what the number is. Sorry Jodi. It was something like 5 billion dollars or something. Incredible. And our merchants did really, really well across a range of platforms. One of them was Shopify, but we had others. There was Open Cart. There was Kentico, there was WordPress, WooCommerce, but a couple of Shopify ones as well.

Where was the Black Friday search volume?

But interestingly, and this is, this is the sort of stuff that makes me think and makes me wonder, tends to do my head in just a little bit, the search volume wasn’t there for Black Friday this year in Australia. Now I’ve got a couple of theories about this. Look, we had some retailers that have doubled their revenue since last year, but they didn’t do Black Friday because of that reason. They just didn’t need to. So we’ve got quite a few retailers that just don’t even bother with it because of the nature of their product. They’re doing really well. They don’t need to do discount. And others use it as basically a big revenue stream at that time of year. So it just depends on the business. Certainly it works really, really, really, really well for some.
But look at that. What I’ve got here is obviously a number of large Australian retailers, certainly no pure play retailers in there. These are all bricks and mortar and they’ve all gone online as well. But the interesting thing about this year and that green spike represents searches for Black Friday in Australia. I think last year was a bit of a breakout year. And as I did the show at the end of last year, talking about Black Friday. I’ll probably do another one in January about how Boxing Day compared this year to Black Friday. I think there was a lot more media about it. Now I don’t watch television so I don’t really know, but that’s the feeling I get from the things I see online and people talking about it. There wasn’t as much “What is Black Friday?” type searches in the search results. Whereas last year there was. There was a lot more of, “Why is it called Black Friday?” Because to Australians it sounds stupid, right? It sounds like a bad day. It doesn’t sound like a day you have a sale. Why do you call it Black Friday? Isn’t that Friday the 13th? Anyway.

So there was a lot of that last year in Australia. And of course, all of this comes out of the US. Their Thanksgiving Day weekend. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. But what you can see here, over the course of that year, that big dip there, of course, is the lockdown coming into place, in Australia. And then this is the subsequent spike of people looking for toilet paper and trying to buy things online because they can’t get out of the house. And then you can see how that travels for the rest of the year. So when you look at the difference between say 2019 and 2018, throughout the course of the year. I guess the easiest one there to see is JB Hi-Fi. You can see there’s not a lot of difference between the two years. But this year, there is.
Now that will mean a lot of, obviously, people who already know the brand and people who are maybe shopping at the stores, but not this year, because they can’t because the stores are closed. So they’re going online. Also a lot of new users who may not have bought from the brand or only occasionally bought from those brands, are also being forced online. Now, when that happens, all of these businesses of course have got EDM’s, because they’re all… Obviously, you’re building your list like everybody else. And once they get their abandoned shopping cart, emails, their thank you emails, all of these follow-ups that we do… Well, not we, because I’m not a retailer. But retailers do, we do it for our clients. All of that is where the long-term value is for the business because they’re building the list and they’re building that relationship with the customer.

So I think what we’re seeing here, because when we look at say 2018 versus this year for Black Friday, we’re still on an upward trajectory. I think this was a bit of an outlier. And I think a lot of this search volume for just that phrase, Black Friday, like what Black Friday deals are, where are they, who’s got them. There’s a lot more EDM’s going out this year because those lists with those retailers have grown. You can see here, this one is… What’s that? Maybe 50% up, 50% up from last year say on average. So if you’ve got that much more people hitting your site and people buying from you and you are marketing directly to them, maybe the things that they would normally look for, for the Black Friday deals, they’re already finding out through their email.

Now, I don’t have any hard evidence of this, but I’d be interested to know what you think. So they’re my two theories. However, when we go and have a look at the United States, because these are the things that interest me. I really should put on my glasses. When we go and have a look at the United States, we can see a different picture altogether. Now, obviously it’s very different over there. It’s almost like a stable date, it always happens, it always happens, it always happens. Except this year. It didn’t happen at all.

Now you could say, Oh, well that reflects Australia. Maybe. Maybe similar things, but obviously there’s a lot more going on in the US than what there is in Australia. And there’s a lot more upheaval, there’s a lot more people out of work. In Australia, we’ve had a lot of corporate welfare if you like this year. I put my hand up for that. Don’t worry about that. A lot of others did too. And so there’s been a massive change, I think, in obviously the shopping habits this year, but I think it’s impacted that Black Friday thing in a few ways. But none of our retailers have had a bad sales season because of it. So you would have to say, well, the search volume for people searching for Black Friday is down, but it doesn’t seem to have affected sales.

The rise of BNPL

I’d love to know your theories, what you think. If you’re going to have a look at the data yourself, because it’s fascinating. You can dive deeper into some of those related queries. You’re not going to find much though, as opposed to looking directly at a brand and those sorts of things. But what we saw in the lead up to Black Friday was a lot more people looking for buy now, pay later. So Klarna, Afterpay, all of these services. So there was a lot of that going on this year as well, which wasn’t happening last year. Maybe they’re buying through those apps as well, like Zip Pay and those sorts of things. Maybe they’re buying through the Shopify app and those sorts of things. So we’re not actually seeing it in the search volume. It’s interesting. Love to know what you think.

Now, next year, we will be doing another show this year, but next year, I’m going to be doing less reveals on the show that we’ve always done in previous years as far as, look what we just discovered. I’m saving that for private webinars because we’ve been giving a lot away for 16 years, and the stuff that we’re doing now is just extraordinary. I’ve had, the first time in my career, I’ve had so many emails from clients saying, “You guys are just amazing.” Because we’ve been focusing on revenue. They don’t say that when you’re focused on SEO and rankings, and then I decided that we can just focus on that, but when you’re focused on everything and you’re focused on revenue goals and you’re working with your client and you’re pushing your client and the client is surprised at you saying, no, we need to lift budgets. It makes for a much different relationship. And it makes for a more exciting work environment and partnership if you like.
But it’s been extraordinary. So thank you to those clients, if you haven’t been watching. They’re probably not because they don’t need to, but thank you to Richard, Kara, Toby, Debbie. I’m going to forget a bunch. Dave, Rob. Anyway, you know who you are. So thank you for all those emails and next year, if you want to find out the really interesting money making stuff, I’ll be talking about the webinars here that we’re going to be doing. And I’ll bring you more of my show, obviously just on the general YouTube channel, but subscribe to the YouTube channel because that’s where I’ll be telling you about the webinars and how to get in on that. Hopefully, that’s helpful. Hopefully, you had a good year. And please let me know your thoughts either on LinkedIn or on YouTube. What do you think? Why is this happening? Love to know.

Please share, like, subscribe. Tell your friends. Hopefully, it’s helpful. See you next week. Bye.

The post Confusing Black Friday results. appeared first on StewArt Media.

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Research insights: Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost

30-second summary:

  • Featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks.
  • The featured snippet and knowledge panel SERP give a better click-through rate together.
  • Users click on featured snippets that seem “informative”.
  • Users who prefer the regular search results listings don’t click on featured snippets.
  • “People also ask” boxes are an unpopular choice showing the lowest amount of clicks.
  • 24% of users consider a featured snippet as an ‘Ad’ and don’t click on it.

Featured snippets are probably the first thing people see when they perform a search query. Acquiring the position ‘zero’ on the SERPs, the featured snippets dominate the page and immediately capture the attention of the viewer. 

However, does it make an impact on the visitor? Do the featured snippets get more clicks when compared to the top results? How does the audience perceive them?

To answer these questions and more, we at Engine Scout recently conducted a study and analyzed how featured snippets influence searchers’ behavior and overall experience. 

The methodology applied for the featured snippet study

In our study on featured snippets, we collected data from 3552 testers, who were asked to look at four different SERPs with snippets. They were required to make a search on Google related to a specific keyword and make a selection from the results.

To collect an unbiased opinion, featured snippets were not mentioned anywhere in the survey.

There were three choices for the testers to choose from: Ads, featured snippets, and regular result listing.

They were later asked which section they clicked on to estimate the Click-through rate (CTR). 

Featured snippets - sections

What is a featured snippet and how does it boost website traffic?

The featured snippet is a summarized extract from a post that answers the user’s ‘search query‘ most accurately. It is placed above all the Google search result listings, occupying position zero.

This means no matter what your website’s ranking for a certain post if Google chooses a featured snippet from your post, it will appear on the top.

According to Ahrefs, it is 99.58% true that Google will only consider your content for a featured snippet if it is already ranking on Page #1. The other 0.42% pages that Google considers account for their ‘People also ask’ box SERP feature. This feature only receives a total of 6% click shares, for the same reason.

The ‘concise and direct‘ nature of these featured snippets motivates users to click on them. According to our study, they account for 35.1% of all clicks which translates to getting ‘extra traffic‘ to your website. 

Optimizing a post to rank for a featured snippet can be tricky. Any content can be worthy of becoming a ‘Featured-Snippet,’ including a paragraph, a list, table, or even a video.

Try these three quick strategies to win more featured snippets that get clicks to your website.

1. Include direct answers to a search query in a paragraph snippet

Paragraph snippets account for 82% of the total featured snippets.

These snippets give the most relevant response to a query in a paragraph form. They usually also display a pertinent image alongside or above the text.

Here is an example of how Google shows a paragraph snippet when asked about ‘What is SERP?

2. Make the best use of keywords in your paragraph

Attaining the first rank in Google for a keyword requires quite an effort. 

Enriching your optimized content for featured snippets with the right keywords increases your chances of that ‘Position Zero‘ in the SERP.

Try to include question-oriented keywords in your content. People find search results with keywords resonating with their question as “trustworthy” and “informative.” This is the primary reason why they prefer a featured snippet over all other organic results.

Take a close look at your competitor’s featured snippets for some inspiration. Make a list of keywords that have triggered a featured snippet for them, and make your content surrounded by these keywords.

Several online tools can lessen your workload by retrieving information and keywords from the competition’s snippets. You can use them if you find it time-consuming to manually optimize your content for featured snippets.

3. Include a knowledge panel in your content marketing strategy

A box with information relevant to a search query appearing on SERP’s right panel is called a Knowledge Panel

It only appears when the search is about an entity, for example, business, person, or location. The information inside this box lets the reader know about the entity and gives them a way to reach out to it.

Featured snippet alone offers a close competition to the organic listing for the total click share. 

But pages ranking for both the featured snippet and the knowledge panel outperform the organic listings for the CTR. A double featured snippet leaves behind the CTR of organic listings, getting 42.1% of the total click share.

Therefore, it is an added benefit if you strategize your featured snippet to trigger a knowledge panel. 

For reference, check out this post to see how Gennaro Cuofano structured his featured snippet with his Amazon author page reference. Google considered this reference and used it to display a knowledge panel alongside his featured snippet.

The other side of the story

Featured snippets can sometimes work opposite to their intent.

According to our study, 24% of users confuse featured snippets for Ads.

Featured snippets and how people confuse them for an ad

Therefore, merely optimizing content to target the featured snippet doesn’t ensure a high CTR.

Google keeps altering its interface to make the Ad label on the paid search results barely noticeable. 

As featured snippets also acquire the top position on SERPs, it is very natural for someone to get confused and not click them.

According to Dr. Pete Meyers, the Marketing Scientist at Moz:

“The lesson for SEOs is that we can’t just target a feature — we need to understand query intent, what our buyers expect from that feature, and how they perceive that feature.”

Try to make your content look like a straightforward, quick answer to a query with images for references to appear very different from an ad.

Wrap up

Google introduced the featured snippet to make it easy for searchers to find relevant answers quickly. With voice search technology becoming a common search tool for half of the smartphone users,  featured snippets catered to the trend and enabled users to read the answer out loud.

To make Google identify your content worthy to pick snippets from, you have to optimize your content so it’s relevant and appropriate for voice search SEO, so it helps to bring in more traffic to your site. 

Jonathan Gorham is Co-Founder at Engine Scout Digital Marketing. He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Research insights: Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to use content marketing to boost ecommerce conversions and user experience

30-second summary:

  • Content marketing is a strategy focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content that’ll get people to take action.
  • It’ll help your ecommerce site to rank higher on search engines without having to spend a lot on ads.
  • Publishing content that your potential customers find helpful and packed with valuable information helps you win their trust, making it easier to convince them to buy.
  • Content like how-to videos, online courses, and infographics are easier to consume and boost your site visitors’ overall user experience.

When you think of content marketing, you might imagine this only applies to digital agencies and online service providers, not in fact for ecommerce businesses, let alone the value it creates when you boost ecommerce conversions through these efforts. But let’s take a moment to review the definition of content marketing, just so we can see exactly how it might apply to just about any business, especially ecommerce:

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“[the] strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

So while it’s a default strategy for service providers, SaaS companies, and digital agencies, we can start to see how content plays a positive role even for ecommerce businesses.

Benefits of content marketing for ecommerce businesses

For one thing, content helps you connect to your customers with real value instead of posts that only seek to close a sale. And other benefits include boosting your chances of getting discovered organically on search engines as well as establishing your company as a trusted leader in your space, thus increasing positive perceptions about your brand and business online.

This relationship can go a long way for your ecommerce store, in that users and customers are more likely to buy from you eventually because you are a brand they trust now. They’ll also know they can expect more from your ecommerce store if they’re not necessarily looking to shop, such as helpful blogs, guides, and other inspiring content.

stats on content marketing and ecommerce business

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We’re sure you want to get started with making content to boost ecommerce conversions. So we’ve compiled seven of the best content marketing tactics, especially for online stores.

Seven content marketing strategies to boost ecommerce conversions

1. Create products or service guides

Your ecommerce store can create product or service guides that educate your customers about important information in your industry. Take invoicing company Wave, for instance. They have a dedicated blog that publishes helpful guides within their site to improve their user experience.

Most of their content is geared towards small business owners, helping them with accounting and bookkeeping tips that go beyond simply promoting their product features and benefits. 

boost ecommerce conversions - create product guides

2. Share product reviews

You can share reviews about your product that appear on different websites and blogs both as content and social proof. Find what good things people are making about your brand, and then highlight the most compelling things from the review to share on your own platforms.

Take this blog post reviewing the top merchant service providers in Canada, for example. If a company featured in this detailed roundup, they might take a few lines from the review that was about the author’s experience with their service, then be able to share what others are saying about their brand.

You can also take screenshots of social media conversations about your products and share these on your website. This is exactly what Beauty Bakerie does on its ecommerce store and its Instagram account.

boost ecommerce conversions - share product reviews to build trust

These posts provide social proof to its would-be customers and make it easy for their existing customers to share with their networks, further expanding the makeup brand’s reach, giving them more customers that want to buy their products.

3. Post infographic “pamphlets”

Ecommerce shopping doesn’t provide consumers with the opportunity to see, hold, and feel products in person, so they may sometimes hesitate to make a purchase if there are things they’re unsure about.

Ease their doubts by answering any FAQs and questions you have about your products by compiling important information and graphics in a digital “pamphlet.” This pamphlet is a visual way to present information like product size charts, measurements, and even product care tips.

Include this in key areas of your ecommerce store, including specific product pages where applicable, but also even a dedicated page that customers can find from navigation menus and site footers.

Example of an infographic pamphlet for ecommerce stores.

boost ecommerce conversions - post infographics or pamphlets

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4. Provide online courses

Can you go the extra mile and give customers an entire high-value online course that will help deepen your relationship with them? Your course might even feature your own store’s products, and the information you provide complements your product use cases and benefits.

For instance, ecommerce businesses that sell computer gadgets and accessories for design professionals can provide their customers with online courses on topics such as remote user experience design that feature specific gadgets and tools they sell on their platform.

This tactic might be time-consuming but think of other ways you might offer your customers a helpful online course to complement your products. Perhaps instead of creating the course yourself, you can partner with known influencers or thought leaders in your niche. Or you can make the online course a very simple 5-day email course that features small action steps customers can take every day to get closer to a specific goal.

Get Influencers to Create User-Generated Content

Influencers are a fantastic addition to your content marketing strategy because influencers are content creators themselves. 

When you pick the right influencers, they’re likely to already have access to an audience, no matter how big or small, that trusts them and values their content. Content created by influencers are also a combination of review, product explanation, and even testimonials—and they speak from their own perspective and experiences that, to the average customer, is more authentic than branded content.

Here’s an example of this influencer tactic in action. Hikers and influencers who live and create content around the adventurous lifestyle have featured Patagonia, a well-known adventure brand selling hiking apparel, in their blog posts and YouTube videos.

boost ecommerce conversions - approach influencers for UGC

5. Submit guest posts

If your ecommerce doesn’t have your own blog, why not pitch your stories to other publications?

Guest blogging can benefit ecommerce stores because they’re able to publish their content in another site that already has its own audience. Of course, choose blogs and sites that fit into your niche and market. 

Say an ecommerce store sells all things coffee and wants to create a guest post. They might not have their own blog on their website, but they can partner with known food and even coffee bloggers like in the example below,  to create free content on their site.

The blog post can link back to their page, and get the site more backlinks. But more than that, it also appeals to the readers that already frequent this blog by providing helpful tips and tricks about things they’re interested in. The blog might also feature the ecommerce store’s products, so users not only have a high-value post to enjoy but can also find out where to shop for things that will help them implement the tips in the guest post.

boost ecommerce conversions - submit guest posts

6. Create how-to videos

How-To videos are some of the easiest things you can include in your ecommerce content marketing strategy. A survey by Social Marketing Writing found that how-to posts and case studies were the most credible types of content in their opinion, while Omnicore reports that 61% of consumers make a purchase based on a blog recommendation, with how-to content giving the best overall response rates.

boost ecommerce conversions and ux - create how to content

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One great thing about creating how-to videos is that you’re able to showcase your products right away. 

Here are just a few examples of how well you can use how-to videos to boost ecommerce conversions and improve the overall user experience of your products:

  • Online groceries and supermarkets can publish how-to videos that feature recipes of different dishes that then highlight the products on their store
  • Beauty brands can create how-to videos that help people achieve a specific makeup look or get better skin
  • Athleisure stores can create short workout videos to get certain results that highlight their products’ benefits
  • Furniture stores online can publish how-to videos that teach people how to set up their products step-by-step instead of referring to just a manual

There are, of course, other creative ways you can use how-to videos in your content marketing strategy, so think outside the box and aim to answer your customers’ burning desires with high-value content that complements your ecommerce products.

Key takeaways

Ecommerce stores can benefit from content marketing in that it can differentiate your brand from even the most crowded niches while deepening your relationship with your audience. Use the tips above to help you boost ecommerce conversions and improve user experience using the best content marketing tips you can implement today.

Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.

The post How to use content marketing to boost ecommerce conversions and user experience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Local SEO for Nonprofit Organizations: 5 Tactics to Try Today

Posted by kellyjcoop

Many marketing channels are interruptive by nature, meant to divert attention away from a task, be it reading and replying to emails, perusing articles online, browsing social feeds, listening to the radio, watching TV — the list goes on. SEO is one of the only marketing channels (the only?) that serves to first deliver something, instead of asking before delivering. At its core, SEO is used to deliver helpful content to people actively searching for it. And, it can (and should!) be used to reach target audiences at the local and national level.

According to Google, searches for local places without the use of “near me” have grown 150% over the last two years — showing that, when people search, they’re increasingly expecting local results. This creates a powerful opportunity for those organizations primed to take advantage of it. Through the “search and deliver” dynamic of SEO, nonprofit marketers have the opportunity to reach local audiences that indicate their interest and engagement through their search behaviors. Nonprofit marketers can leverage this to engage supporters, drive donations, and share their nonprofit’s mission with the world.

So, how do you make the most of local SEO? Read on for local SEO tactics you can try today.

Before we dive in, it’s important to first understand what primary factors impact your nonprofit organization’s local search engine rankings. This can be distilled into four primary areas: relevance, distance, trust, and prominence.

Relevance: How well your website matches the search term a user searches for. If Google determines your business is an educational charity, then your website has a higher likelihood to rank for the term “education charity” in comparison to another business Google determines is a health nonprofit.

Distance: The proximity of your business to the searcher. As Google learns more about you and your whereabouts via the ever present homing beacon in your pocket — your smartphone — distance has become a top (if not the top) ranking factor. Essentially, the search engine result page (SERP) for “health nonprofit” in Portland, Oregon will be completely different from the result in Seattle, Washington. Heck, the SERP in the Portland ZIP code of 97219 will be different than the Portland ZIP code of 97209.



Trust: How trustworthy Google thinks your business is, based on its reputation. This could be determined by your review quantity and ratings, or the number of high-authority websites that link to your website. Quantity and quality of reviews, quality and quantity of linking domains, domain age, and quality of website content are a few ways that Google can determine trustworthiness.

Prominence: How often your business appears across the web. Examples could be a mention of your nonprofit online (by a local news outlet, for example) or a business listing on directory sites like Great Nonprofits or Charity Navigator.

Some of these are easier to impact than others — you can’t change the distance of your business to the searcher — so let’s dive in to five local SEO tactics you can implement today.

1. Create or claim a Google My Business page — it’s free!

Google accounts for 88% of all online searches, so making the most of Google is critical in developing a strong online presence for your nonprofit. Google has also reported that 46% of online searches have local intent, so doing what you can to amplify your nonprofit’s local search presence can have a big impact on your business.

Are you convinced? I hope so. Creating and/or claiming a Google My Business (GMB) page is a great first step in leveraging Google — and it’s completely free. When you create a GMB page, your nonprofit is listed in Google Maps, your odds of getting listed in Google’s local 3-pack improve, and you’re more likely to improve your overall local search rankings, thereby ensuring that more people searching for your nonprofit (or nonprofits like yours) find you.

By creating a Google My Business(GMB) page, you tackle all four ranking factors outlined above, so if you can only do one of the tactics outlined in this blog post, do this one.

If you already have GMB pages claimed and completed for all your business locations, high-five! Go ahead and skip to #2.

Before you start claiming GMB pages, the first thing you’ll want to do is collect and organize accurate location data, or “NAP” (name, address, phone number), for all of your nonprofit locations. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to NAP:

  • Always use your real-world business name. The name you list here should match the sign on your door, your marketing collateral, etc.
  • Always use your real-world address. Don’t include information in the address line to describe the location; stick to your mailing address.
  • Use a local phone number whenever possible vs. a call center helpline.

Bonus tip: Depending on how many locations you have, keeping track of location data can get unwieldy fast. If you have more than a few locations, I highly recommend you (or someone in your organization) create and manage a single source, like a spreadsheet, that has all your business’s location data centralized and organized in one place.

After you organize your location data, you’ll want to go through and claim and/or update the Google My Business pages for all your locations. Here are step-by step instructions from Google. Things to keep in mind when completing your GMB listing:

  • Include a primary business category to describe what your business does to Google and to the people searching. If multiple categories describe your business, choose the category that most closely matches your ranking goals as your primary category. Then, you can add up to 9 additional categories for a total of 10. For help selecting categories, check out our blog post on How to Choose a Google My Business Category.
  • Select attributes for your business. There are a variety of attributes available for you to share more about your business, such as accessibility attributes, whether your nonprofit identifies as Black-owned or women-led, LGTBQ+ friendly, etc. The list of available attributes is pretty extensive, but select only those that are applicable, relevant, and accurate.
  • Write a thoughtful business description. You have 750 characters to describe what your nonprofit does and what makes it unique.
  • Include keywords in the business description. Focus on 1-2 high-value keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit, and avoid keyword stuffing (the unnecessary repetition of keywords throughout on-page SEO elements).
  • Add photos! According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more click-through to websites. When selecting photos, choose authentic, high-quality photos that showcase your nonprofit.
  • Select a profile photo to note your preferred photo choice for search results. This isn’t foolproof — there is no guarantee that your profile photo will appear first — but it does indicate to Google which photo you prefer.

2. Claim your local business listings

The places you can create a business listing online are growing exponentially, from social networking sites to specialized, vertical-specific directory sites that allow people to research, compare, and share reviews of businesses, products and services. These online destinations present marketers with local citation opportunities — opportunities to get your nonprofit in front of more people.

In the past, amassing a large quantity of citations was a favored tactic when increasing local search rankings. Now, as factors impacting local search rankings evolve, the verdict is out on whether local citation quantity remains so important. Claiming and managing your online business listings may help your nonprofit rank higher for local search queries and it will help more people discover your nonprofit online. You will reach a larger audience by creating complete, accurate, and engaging experiences everywhere your target audience searches.

Not sure how you show up? You can use Moz’s free Check Presence tool to see how your nonprofit appears across the web.

3. Develop an online review strategy

Reputation is a valuable asset for any business, and that’s especially true for nonprofit organizations, where donations are given and sponsorships extended based on the organization’s reputation for doing good.

As more people turn to digital to find, research, and evaluate charities that align with the causes they care about, your online reputation becomes increasingly important. Online reviews are a facet of your nonprofit’s overall brand reputation, and should be managed accordingly.

In addition to the brand benefits, an active review strategy has the added value of increasing your nonprofit’s online visibility. Review quantity, recency, and quality are factors that help Google determine how trustworthy your website is, which is one of the ranking factors we covered earlier. Google has said high-quality, positive reviews can improve your business visibility. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to reviews:

  • Make it easy for people to leave reviews. You can create and share a short url for customers to share reviews of your nonprofit.
  • Solicit honest reviews. Sometimes all you have to do is ask! According to a 2019 study, 76% of people who were asked to leave a review do so.
  • Don’t solicit reviews in bulk — This is against Google’s policies. Google does not provide a definition of what they mean by “bulk”, but typically this refers to sending many requests at one time via an automated platform vs. a one-on-one request.
  • Don’t pay for reviews. This practice is also against Google’s policies.
  • Respond to reviews, even negative ones. When you reply to a review, it shows that you value the feedback, plus, conversion rates (clicks to call, clicks to directions, etc.) increase when companies engage with and reply to reviews.
  • Don’t be deterred by negative reviews. 90% of people are open to changing negative reviews if the issue is addressed. Again, sometimes all you have to do is ask.

4. Choose the right keywords to target

Keyword research, or choosing the “right” keywords to target, is a foundational aspect of SEO because it provides a roadmap you can use to optimize existing content, and produce new content in the hopes of ranking higher in SERPs. It requires an understanding of your target audience and how they’re searching for content online. The end-goal is to determine:

  • The specific terms your audience is using to search online.
  • The number of searches for a specific keyword over a given time period, or search volume.
  • What your target audience is expecting to find when they search for that term, or the searcher’s intent.

When targeting keywords, you want to focus on high-volume, high-intent keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit and that you could realistically rank for. This only begins to scratch the surface — keyword research is a BIG topic! — so if you’re ready to dive in to keyword research, I highly recommend that you check out The Keyword Research Master Guide.

Then, once you’ve identified your target keywords, remember to pick terms that best describe your nonprofit and include them in the business descriptions of your Google My Business and other local business listings.

5. Conduct on-page optimization

On-page optimization is the process of optimizing specific pages on a website for the keywords you want to rank for. This includes on-page SEO ranking factors like the content on the page itself, or the source code such as page title and meta description. Through on-page seo, you help Google accurately determine what your business is and what it does, and how relevant your website is to what people search for.

For example, if you have the term “global education” in a page URL, in the page title, description, and in the content of the page, Google is more likely to determine that the page is about global education and, your page will be more likely to rank for that term.

A few tips to keep in mind when it comes to on-page SEO:

  • Develop E-A-T content. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google uses this framework to determine high-quality content, and high-quality correlates with higher search engine rankings. There are a variety of E-A-T tactics you can leverage — for a run-down I suggest you watch E-A-T and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines — but in the end, it adds up to demonstrating your business’s expertise and legitimacy to Google.
  • Intentional keyword usage. It’s still important to include a target keyword in the title tag, description, headers, and through the content of the page, while avoiding keyword stuffing.
  • Page titles and descriptions aren’t just for rankings. Crafting a compelling page title and description can lead to better SERP click-through rates — more people clicking on your website from the search engine result page. You’ll want to pair an attention-grabbing headline with a description that is specific, relevant, and (most importantly) helpful.
  • Don’t forget about page load speed. Page speed is a search engine ranking factor and refers to how quickly your page loads for a user. You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your web pages stack up.
  • Avoid keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website are all competing for the same keyword. You put yourself in the position where you’re competing with yourself for rankings! Not only is this inefficient, it can have negative impacts, such as making it difficult for Google to identify the “best” or most relevant page on your website for your target keyword, diluting backlinks, or decreasing page authority.

Conclusion

These are just some tips of many, many potential ways you can leverage SEO to help grow your nonprofit organization. It may seem daunting at first, but investing in SEO is well worth it. And, it’s okay if you need help along the way!

If you’re at the stage where you’re currently evaluating a partner or tool for your SEO needs, ask the following:

  • Does the partner meet your value standards?
  • Do they support programs for social good?
  • Do they have special pricing for nonprofit organizations? For example, Moz offers discounted rates on Moz Pro and has a limited-time discount on Moz Local, available now through Dec 31, 2020.
  • Will the partner make your life easier?

There’s no time like the present: dive in to SEO now to reach more people with your message, improve conversion rates, find more sponsors, volunteers, and donors, and connect with more people who need you most.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021

30-second summary:

  • Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
  • Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
  • The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
  • To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
  • Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.

The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric. 

In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.

Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.

As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:

“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year [2021], and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”

You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

Elements of the Google page experience metric

Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.

The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.

Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.

1. Core Web Vitals

Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.

Google page experience metrics

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The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.

To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.

2. Mobile-friendly site

Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.

Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic. 

Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.

3. Safe-browsing

Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.

One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.

To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.

4. HTTPS

Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.

The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.

If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.

HTTPS - Google page experience

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5. No intrusive interstitials

Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.

The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.

However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.

Google page experience - Remove interstitials

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Five steps to optimize your site for 2021

Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.

Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.

Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.

1. Get an excellent web hosting service

Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.

You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.

Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.

Example website performance data

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2. Keep your page’s size lite

Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.

There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.

You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.

Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.

3. Optimize your site for mobile

As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.

Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized. 

The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.

You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

4. Install security measures

Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.

First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.

Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.

And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.

Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.

5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners

Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.

Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.

As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.

Google page experience - Remove large pop up banners

Source

In conclusion

Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.

Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.

Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.

However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.

Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.

The post The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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When (and When Not) to Outsource Link Building

Posted by Alex-T

Have you ever outsourced link building? How did you like the experience?

To be honest, mine was terrible. Allow me to share my story.

When I had a typical 9-to-5 job as a marketing director at SEMrush, we made a decision to get more links from the top resources in our segment. We ended up hiring an agency to help us build these links. The agency was charging us an outrageous $13K a month, but, unfortunately, the high price didn’t equal quality. They weren’t capable of writing anything meaningful, not to mention publishing their content on trustworthy industry blogs. What made things worse was the fact that I brought them on board.

Needless to say, we stopped working with this agency. We decided to give another one a try, thinking that this time luck would be on our side.

Well, we were wrong. Although the second agency charged us nearly three times less and promised premium quality work with superb links and stellar results, the outcome was disappointing, to say the least. We ended up getting links from irrelevant content published on sites that wrote about everything, from the ten best sex positions to the ultimate guide on cleaning your toilet.

As ridiculous as it may sound right now, back then, I didn’t feel amused. These two failed attempts at outsourcing link building left me convinced in two things: getting high-quality links is a job to be done internally, and outsourcing is simply pouring money down the drain.

Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you that my opinion on outsourcing has changed. Since these two unfortunate scenarios with outsourcing, I went from working for SEMrush to being a freelancer, and, when the amount of work started to grow, I launched my own link building agency, Digital Olimpus. As I gained more experience in this field, I started to realize why our attempts at outsourcing failed so miserably.

At that time, I didn’t know the ropes of link acquisition. We weren’t thinking ahead to establish strict requirements to prevent us from getting links from low-quality sites. Thus, as I went through trial and error, I gathered some unique insights about the pros and cons of link building outsourcing. Today, I’d like to share these insights with you so you can better understand which option is the right one for you — to hire an agency or an in-house link builder.

When is outsourcing the right choice for you?

Here’s my perspective as the owner of a link building agency.

The majority of our clients come to us because they don’t have the time or resources to set up a decent link building process by themselves. Most of the time, their current focus is shifted towards some other business goals, but they still understand the value of links and have some pages that are trying to rank well on Google.

Usually, our ideal client knows what kinds of pages they want to boost via links, and they understand how SEO works. In most cases, they have an SEO team that has a lack of resources to step into link building, so they’re looking for someone who could help them get some juicy links.

So, at the end of the day, our clients pay for our knowledge and experience. But there are also other reasons why companies may choose to outsource link building to an agency as opposed to hiring an in-house specialist.

1. If hiring an experienced link builder is too expensive

The first reason to outsource link building is in the recruitment costs.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a junior-level link builder is about 30-40K, while those who are extremely experienced will be looking for an estimated yearly salary around 100K USD. As for the hourly rate, the lowest would be $13, while more experienced link building specialists expect you to pay them as high as $16 an hour.

Besides salaries, you also need to consider other points. For example, your in-house link building specialist would also need content developed specifically for link building purposes, which should have its own separate budget. Apart from that, to do the job properly, they need to have access to backlink analysis tools, like Ahrefs (costs $99/month), SEMrush (also $99/month), Moz (starting $99/month), and Pitchbox (starting from $300/month). All in all, you’ll have to pay for these tools, which alone will cost around 6K a year.

To put a long story short, hiring an in-house link builder will cost you a pretty penny. Moreover, it might take you quite a while to find the in-house link builder you’re looking for. So, while you’re searching for one, you could give an agency a try to get your link building strategy started.

2. If you need to get links straight away

The biggest difference between hiring an in-house link builder vs. an agency is the speed of acquiring links. Usually, an agency already has a tried-and-tested link building strategy, while an in-house link builder still has to develop one.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why our clients are choosing our fellow link building agencies and us. We have a well-established process of building links, but most importantly – we’ve already developed meaningful relationships across particular industries and niches. So, in some cases, it doesn’t take us longer than a few minutes to secure a link.

However, if you decide to do link building by yourself, you shouldn’t expect instant results. On average, it takes 3-4 months to start getting at least 10-20 links every month. Besides, it might take you a while to find the right and meaningful way to connect with other sites, and to learn how to pitch your ideas properly.

I should say that, even for my agency, it’s always a big issue to open a new niche and start building a decent number of links per month. The first few months are resulting in 2-4 links, and that for sure can’t be described as a decent flow of links.

3. If you need help educating your team on how to build links the right way

The exchange of knowledge and experience is another reason to outsource link building. It’s definitely why I outsource some tasks, and work closely with those who have substantial expertise in the areas where I don’t feel as confident.

Paying for knowledge is an excellent way to spend money, especially if you lack time. For example, I understand how long it would take me to learn before I could do technical SEO myself, so I’d rather hire someone to help me with that instead. And, while we’re working together, I’ll take this opportunity to enhance my knowledge as well.

For this exact reason, we have a few contractors on our team who are working on other projects, but gladly share their unique strategies and approaches with us. It’s like a breath of fresh air – their experience gives us new perspectives on building high-quality links.

By the way, if you decide to hire an in-house link builder, it might take them quite some time to learn how to work with such contractors, while a link building agency would already have well-established relationships with them.

So, with all that said, try to perceive outsourcing as a learning opportunity. If you already have some experience in link building, you don’t necessarily need to ask an agency to educate you. Instead, you can follow their strategy if you see that it’s working. We have a few clients who follow this logic, as they do link building in-house while still being under our guidance. Sure, one day, they might start building links independently, but it feels nice that we paved that path for them.

4. If you want links that would take you ages to acquire by yourself

Again, it’s all about the connections and how well you can build relationships with them. If you don’t have a tight circle of partners, you can’t expect quick results from your link building efforts.

Usually, the best link building agencies already have a great network of partners. However, it’s still very important to double-check that an agency operates within your niche and has some meaningful connections.

But even if the agency hasn’t worked in your niche before, don’t give up on it just yet. Most likely, the agency might still be able to network faster due to existing relationships with partners and word-of-mouth power.

Still, even for an experienced agency, developing the network of connections in a new and unexplored field will take some time. We’re always very transparent when it comes to telling a client that we haven’t yet worked within their industry, but some clients are ready to wait. However, your needs might be different, so always bring up this question to avoid misunderstandings.

5. If you need to scale your current link building efforts

Sometimes brands realize that link building can be a good strategy for them, but they might not fully understand how to approach it, considering the specifics of their industry and niche. If this is your case, the agency will help you select the right angle and review your current link building needs objectively.

Another pain point that makes our clients ask for our help is building links to problematic targets. Some pages — commercial ones, for example — are hard to build links to in an organic way. In my recent blog post, I talked more on the topic of building links to commercial pages and a few examples of how it can be done. But if you struggle with acquiring links to some pages, you can outsource this task to an agency, which will find the right way to address these difficulties and tackle them.

When outsourcing isn’t your best option

As someone who went through an unpleasant experience with outsourcing, I should say that you really have to know what you need when hiring an agency. This might be the first and most crucial reason not to outsource link building – you should know what to expect.

However, there are also other situations when outsourcing link building will be a waste of time and money. Let’s take a look.

1. You’re looking for digital PR and consider it link building

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of potential clients who ask for articles on leading sites in their industry just for the sake of having their brand mentioned by a popular resource. While getting links from such websites would be good for your brand image, this is a task for PR.

Here’s the thing: Links acquired from such resources are usually very weak from an SEO standpoint. Besides, there are cases when guest contributors sell links from these sites. In one of them, a well-known writer who worked for Forbes and Entrepreneur sold links under the radar, which is forbidden by Google’s guidelines.

As a result, links to such websites rarely bring any benefit, because they don’t carry the SEO value we are usually looking for.

From an SEO standpoint, the best links come from websites that are not involved in such suspicious activities. In addition, don’t be quick to trust influencers, since they often sell links on their websites as well.

Instead, try to find a website that doesn’t have guest posts. Google typically favors guest posting, while pushing the websites which are only used for link building to the bottom of search results.

2. You don’t have a solid SEO strategy and you just want to build some links

Many clients don’t understand that link building and SEO are interconnected. When it comes to link building, you need to remember that the results only come if you make links to the right pages from an SEO standpoint.

What does that mean? Such pages should target the right keywords relevant to your business, and that don’t have an insane level of competition. Also, content that is allocated on those pages should match user intent.

Just for context, it takes 10 times more time to get a page with commercial intent to the top of Google results, especially if the top 10 have informational intent.

Ideally, you should understand how many links you need in order to close the current link gap; otherwise, it might take ages for your page to rank well on Google. By analyzing what kind of links your rivals have already built, you can set up the right requirements for your link building agency.

3. You have very strict requirements and an agency can’t hit that mark

Sometimes, clients underestimate their link building needs. But other times, their expectations can be way too high, and it turns into a real problem. Let me give you some examples.

Once, we had a client that wanted us to implement a whole new link building approach just for his campaign. Everything should have gone great, except he forgot to tell us that he would need a unique approach, and what we were capable of providing at that time wasn’t what he was interested in.

Naturally, our partnership ended on that note. We decided to return the funds to this client and move forward. Now we do an in-depth interview with every client to give them a very detailed overview of our link building approach and our capabilities.

The same problem can occur in a few other cases:

  • You want links that will be allocated only in particular content. Ask the agency if it gets links through guest blogging. If not, this is not the best option for you.
  • You have a list of sites from which you want to get links. Contrary to what you might expect, link building isn’t an exact science, and it’s hard to predict or guarantee that a link will be secured on a particular site.
  • You want links only on pages that have already built a solid number of links and are already ranking well on Google. That’s a smart strategy, but it should only be done internally, since getting a link on such a page might take ages.

So, as I mentioned before, ask the agency about its capabilities before you outsource link building. It would be fair for both sides if you and the agency have clear expectations of the final result.

4. You expect to receive referral traffic from links that an agency will be building for you

Unfortunately, there’s minimal chance that referral traffic will come. Digital marketing experts confirm that there’s a very slim chance that even guest blogging on leading sites will bring you a solid flow of referral visitors.

Nowadays, steady referral traffic only comes through sources of organic traffic. A good example is this article with a list of SEO tools by Brian Dean that receives over 7K organic visitors per month:

Certainly, tools listed in Brian’s post are all getting some traffic, too, as those visitors are browsing through them and would love to learn more about them.

In general, we rarely see that our clients are getting referral traffic. Getting a good link is one scenario, but getting a good link that will send referral traffic is a whole other story.

In my opinion, building the links that will most likely send you a solid flow of referral visitors requires an analysis of current sources of referral traffic to your competitors and industry leaders. Then, you must try to understand the reason behind this traffic, whether it’s an active audience, being featured in a newsletter, etc. But the entire process differs from the link building strategy we usually follow.

5. You’re too busy to communicate your feedback to the agency

If you expect the link building agency to deliver the results you expect, communication is key. Outsourcing is not about delegating the task and forgetting about it. It’s about close collaboration.

With that said, be prepared to have to go on a number of calls with an agency just to figure out the link building strategy you will follow, not to mention other related meetings that will occur in the process. It is especially important if your link building needs are very specific.

So, let me reiterate – ongoing communication is crucial for building juicy, high-quality links. If you don’t have time to talk with the agency and articulate your needs and expectations properly, outsourcing link building is not the right option for you.

6. You don’t have a sufficient budget

If you are planning to hire an agency to outsource link building, you should evaluate your financial situation first, because it will cost you a fair amount of money.

To give you some context, we only take long-term contracts starting from $10K because one-time partnerships don’t help bring permanent link building results. In general, the entire process of building links should be ongoing, and your website should continuously show a rising link growth graph:

So, no matter how hard you try, the lack of a systematic approach to link building means no tangible results, and the client won’t get any profit from these links. That’s what made me understand that single-time link building is a waste of time and money.

What’s the verdict?

All in all, I should say that hiring a link building agency is worth every penny, as long as it has the experience you’re looking for, of course. Just from the rational standpoint, it’s much harder and more cost-intensive to do link building by yourself, especially if you have little knowledge of it.

There are also other perks of outsourcing link building. First and foremost, when you’re hiring an agency to build links, you’re paying for the speed of acquiring links. An agency already has all the connections to get links faster, in addition to a well-established process of building links in general.

Nevertheless, evaluate your needs first. Outsourcing might not be the best option for you if you are more interested in PR, not link building. You might also want to check what the agency can offer, as your requirements might not fit its profile. And, of course, outsourcing is not an option if you don’t have time to communicate with an agency or you have insufficient funds for such partnership.

However, in general, if you ask me now if outsourcing is worth it, I would say yes, but only if you are committed. Remember, outsourcing link building to an agency shouldn’t be a one-time occasion. If you want ongoing results, you need to commit to a long-term, close cooperation.

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Seven most popular types of blog posts guaranteed to boost traffic

30-second summary:

  • Optimizing your content for search results requires search intent.
  • Understanding search intent will help you generate effective content.
  • Target search intent by examining high ranking search results.
  • How-to and listicles are the most shared blog post ideas.
  • Focusing on key on-page SEO elements drives higher search visibility.

When it comes to blog posts, not all content formats are created equal.

What’s more, with more than 500 million blogs out there all vying for attention, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out amidst the noise. 

For a blog to be successful these days, it takes more than just shareable images or enticing headlines. While these elements are undoubtedly important, writing blog posts that attract the right kind of reader requires careful ideation, optimization, and outreach.

Fortunately, SEO content is not rocket science. Whether you’re struggling with content ideas or looking to monetize your ideas better, below are the seven most popular types of posts that will help your blog gain better traction and drive traffic to your site.

Why understanding search intent matters

Before I identify the blog post types already proven to deliver results, we must first talk about search intent. If you don’t know what search intent is, search intent is the why behind a specific search.   

Each type of search falls into one (or several) intention types:

1. Informational intent

The search user wants to learn something. While this type of search typically includes words like “how-to,” “what is,” or “who,” not all informational searches are posed as questions (for example, JFK International Airport directions).

2. Navigational intent

The search user wants to visit a specific site. People would rather ask a search engine than type the full web address in the URL bar because they may be unsure of the exact website. Examples include “Facebook” or “WestIn contact number.”

3. Transactional intent

The search user wants to purchase something. A transactional intent typically means the search user is wallet-ready. They’re merely looking for a website to make a purchase. Typical search queries include “buy iPhone 12,” “spa package,” and “MacBook air cheap.”

4. Commercial investigation

The search user has the intention to buy but is still at the research stage. People performing these types of searches require more information about the product or service that they have an interest in buying. 

They search for terms like “top restaurant in New York” or “best android phone” to compare a specific product or service.

By understanding the specific intent behind a search, you can optimize your blog post for the right search terms. And when the correct type of searcher finds your content, your blog can generate relevant and targeted traffic.

How to target search intent with your blog 

With Google’s perpetual goal focused on providing the most relevant information for a search query, aligning your content with your audience’s search intent allows your blog to rank high for relevant search results.

For SEO success, relevance is a core tenet not to be overlooked.

So how can you infer search intent and create content that drives significant traffic potential?

The answer lies in the search query itself.

Let’s look at the search term “how to bake a cake,” for example. For those keywords alone, it may appear like the search has informational intent. But, don’t just guess search intent. A quick way to confirm the specific intent of a search is by performing a Google search.

By inputting your keywords into Google’s search, which in this case is “how to bake a cake,” it’s clear from the results that users are looking for cake recipe ideas and baking guides. To rank competitively high for this type of search intent, you should focus your content around a how-to post or a list article. 

Now that we have a better grasp of search intent and its role in content creation, let’s look at the most popular blog post ideas that you can use today to start producing high-quality content.

Seven blog post ideas that deliver valuable, engaging content

Ready to put virtual pen to paper? Take the guesswork out of content ideation with these top-ranked content ideas.

1. How-tos and tutorials

With 80% of all Google searches being informational, how-to and tutorial posts are a staple for any blog, no matter your niche or industry. Since the goal of a how-to guide or tutorial is to solve a problem, readers of your article will be more inclined to invest in your product or service.

And as you’re an authority in your business, how-to type articles are simple ways to connect with your audience and establish credibility while showcasing your expertise.

To maximize the effectiveness of these types of post ideas, be sure to include visuals like images and videos in your articles. Not only do visuals enrich the content, but they also help readers comprehend the information provided better.

Readers are also more willing to take action when content is easy to process.

A great example of how-to content is Ann Smarty’s blog post, “Google’s featured snippets: How to get your YouTube video featured in Google.” 

2. Listicles

Another content powerhouse, list articles (listicles) help to streamline information. Just how powerful are list articles? 

In a comparison between list-based articles and non-list articles, SEMrush found that the presence of lists resulted in 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares. What’s more, 36% of readers are more likely to click on an article with list headlines. 

With content typically formatted as a numbered list, readers can quickly consume the content of your list posts. It being easily digestible also helps readers better share the post and act on the information.

Like how-to guides, list-style articles can be a useful tool for informational intent, as well as transactional intent and commercial investigation.

As an example, here’s an excellent list-based post on web development tools

3. Case studies

A case study post is a highly valuable marketing and brand promotional tool. In B2B marketing, case studies can provide the following five benefits:

  • Showcase the tangible value of your product and capabilities
  • Highlights how your product resolves customer pain points
  • Establish credibility with real customers
  • Provide social proof for prospective customers
  • Uncover your brand evangelists 

In several content marketing surveys, B2B marketers identified customer testimonials (89%) and case studies (88%) as being the most effective content marketing tools for lead generation. And three-quarters of B2B marketers found case studies accelerated leads through latter stages of the funnel quicker than any other content marketing format. 

To realize the power of case studies, structure your process from challenge or problem to potential solutions and, finally, the results and conclusion. Here’s a great SEO case study example showing off this structure without being dull or boring.

4. Predictions and trends

The brilliance of writing posts on future trends is that you’re able to display your expertise and industry knowledge. What’s more, as people are always looking for advice or information about the next market trend (commercial investigation), prediction posts can generate great responses, and even spark debates.

Statistics by Hubspot found that few people who regularly read blogs do so to learn about a brand’s products. Instead, people commonly read blogs for three reasons:

  • To learn something new
  • To be entertained
  • To learn about news or trends in their industry

And when it comes to content formats, 47% of bloggers have found trend pieces to be highly popular among their readers. Prediction and trend post ideas are only outpaced by lists (57%) and how-to articles (77%). 

5. Ultimate guides 

Ultimate guides are the most definitive blog posts you can write. These types of long-form post ideas typically exceed 3,000 words. Some guides can even take as many as 10,000+ words to write effectively. 

So why would you want to commit to writing a detailed, comprehensive blog post? Here are a few benefits to ultimate guides:

  • Produce evergreen content that produces traffic year-round
  • Positions you and your brand as a subject matter expert
  • Indicator of relevance, which is vital to search intent
  • Provides your brand with marketing campaign assets
  • Receives more social shares, increasing content engagement
  • Expands keyword opportunities

Regardless of the topic or niche, long-form content outperforms shorter blog posts. In a study done by Brian Dean, blog posts longer than 3,000 words had 77.2% more referring domains than short-form content. And thanks to Google’s RankBrain, long-form content gets rewarded with higher-ranking positions. 

Bloggers who work on long reads experience 54% better results and receive 3x more traffic than blogs who only write up short content.

6. Interviews

Interview posts are a great addition to any blog as it diversifies your site’s blog content and relieves some pressure to content creation. Interviews allow your brand to:

  • Expand its influence
  • Broaden its network
  • Generate more quality backlinks
  • Increase its authority
  • Diversify its blog content

As an influencer outreach tool, interviews are undeniably powerful. With 69% of consumers distrusting traditional advertising, collaborative content like interviews enables your brand to reach and connect with audiences in a more natural way.   

First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture firm, knows all too well the transformative power of interviews. A single interview about Slack’s launch strategy earned First Round Capital a total of 2,243 backlinks from major publication sites like Fast Company and Entrepreneur.

If your blog is relatively new and you’re unable to attract any influencers to interview, consider writing expert round-up posts. Influencers love participating in round-up posts as these provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their expertise.

Both post ideas can contribute to more significant blog traffic as influencers are more willing to share your content with their network.

7. Infographics

As images are more attention-grabbing than text, consider adding infographics to your blog content calendar. Infographics are not just attractive or exciting to read; they are also shared 3x more than any other type of content.

Admittedly, infographics work best when professionally designed. Fortunately, there are many online infographic tools like Canva and Piktochart that enable you to create beautiful infographics at a freemium price.

Now that you have plenty of post ideas to keep your content calendar full, let’s look at specific on-page SEO elements that will help attract the right visitors to your blog.

Three on-page SEO factors for greater searchability

Whether you’re looking to write a listicle, tutorial, or ultimate guide, include these three on-page SEO factors into your content before hitting publish.

1. Target one or two medium-tail keywords

As the primary goal for any blog is to attract an audience, keyword research is vital. After all, no content can compete in search results without keyword research. If you don’t know what your audience is searching for, how can you get your content in front of them?

With that said, though, don’t try to rank for short-head search terms like “chocolate cake.” These search terms are highly competitive, making it difficult to rank high against already established blogs. Instead, focus on medium-tail keywords like “chocolate pound cake recipe.”

Medium-tail keywords, like the previous example, are more specific than short-head terms. People using medium-tail keywords are more likely to read your content. They are also more motivated to take action, resulting in a positive interaction with your brand.

Once you’ve done your keyword research and compiled a list of medium-tail keywords, include them into these important places in your blog post:

  • Title tag
  • Headers
  • URL
  • Meta description

You can also add your keywords into the body but don’t over-optimize your content. 

Over-optimization is a form of keyword stuffing, which goes against Google’s guidelines. Just add your target keyword in the first 100 words of your article.

2. Link to important pages

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to a different web page on the same domain. Internal links are an SEO best practice because it helps search engines find and index relevant content. Visitors also use internal links to check out high-value pages, increasing site dwell time.

When linking internally, aim for two to three links. Use a descriptive anchor text with keywords that are relevant to the linked-to page. Another way to include more internal links to your blog post is by adding a related post section at the bottom of the page.

3. Optimize images for maximum shareability

Blog posts that only contain text are flat-out dull. Adding quality images to your post better explains complex information and makes your content more visually appealing. Because visuals stand out, images can improve the scannability of your post significantly.

But don’t just pop images into your post and hit publish. Images can also be optimized for SEO, allowing your visuals to rank for Google Images. When optimizing images for search, be sure to:

  • Write a descriptive alt text with your keyword.
  • Keep alt text under 125 characters.
  • Include your target keyword in the filename.
  • Compress the image for faster load times.
  • Use unique images rather than stock imagery.
  • Use the proper file extension for your image.
  • Resize your image to optimum proportions.

Putting it all together

By writing for relevant search intent and incorporating these SEO best practices to your post ideas, your blog will gain more opportunities to appear high in search results. More visibility in search means increased organic traffic to your blog.

After you’ve published your blog post, let the world know about it. Promoting your content via outreach can be done by sharing your post on social media, engaging in forums like Reddit, reaching out to influencers, and advertising through Facebook.

Karl Tablante is Inbound Marketing Manager at SEO Sherpa.

The post Seven most popular types of blog posts guaranteed to boost traffic appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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