Tag Archives: CONTENT

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How to create SEO-friendly content

Good content is important, but it also needs to rank high on SERPs if you want to reach a wider audience with it. Here’s how to create search engine-friendly content.

Quality is always important when producing new content, but it’s the SEO that can boost your efforts of reaching a target audience.

SEO-friendly content doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, provided that you understand how on-page SEO can work alongside your content.

Here’s how to create content that both your audience and search engines will enjoy.

Create original content

There’s no point in creating new content if it’s not authentic enough to stand out. Even if you come up with an idea from a different source, it’s still up to you to offer your unique perspective that will add value to the particular topic.

Copyscape is a plagiarism checker that can help you test your site’s content for its originality. Duplicate content, by and large, is not appreciated by search engines and it won’t help you rank higher in SERPs.

If you find it difficult to come up with new content ideas, here are 21 quick ways to find inspiration for your next topic.

Optimize the title

Your headline is among the first things that users will come across when carrying out a search. This makes them important, and it’s useful to brainstorm as many variations as you can until you land on the best candidate.

Using your focus keyword in the headline can also be a good idea, but don’t try too hard to include it. Use power words and avoid redundancy to create a clear and appealing result. Aim for a headline of 55-60 characters, as this is what Google will display on the SERP.

Also, make sure that your URL is relevant to the title, rather than a sequence of numbers that only makes it more complicated.

Focus on structure

How to create SEO-friendly content

It’s not just the content, but also its structure, that helps search engines decide on the results they’ll display first. Thus, a clear structure with headings and paragraphs that facilitate reading are preferred both from a user perspective and also from a search perspective.

Headings also help search engines get a quick overview of your content, which is why it can be beneficial to feature your focus keyword at least once.

Whether you follow the structure of H1 to H6, or simply add H2 and H3 headings at relevant points throughout the text, consistent structure in your pieces of content is appreciated.

Use keywords

Keywords are less often used nowadays as the first signal to indicate what your post is about, but they are still helpful to offer an overview of the topic you’re focusing on.

Keyword research is still useful when trying to decide on the most interesting topics for your audience. Keywords can still be part of your content, provided that they are added in context and at the right balance. There’s no need to sacrifice the quality of your content to include more keywords, as keyword stuffing can lead to the opposite of the result you want.

How to create SEO-friendly content
Moz Keyword Explorer

Aim for readability

The readability of your content has to do with the simplicity of its language, the lack of grammatical or syntactical errors, and the sentence structure.

Online readability tests allow you to learn the “reading age” someone needs to understand your content, and they depend on:

  • sentence length
  • number of syllables per words
  • frequency of passive voice

Despite the different readability formulas, you can still gain valuable insights on your writing that become even more useful if you want to target a wide audience.

Is your content suitable for the audience you want to target?

Include internal and external links

Internal links can help you prove your authority in a particular field by creating a logical sequence from one post to the other. This may lead to a series of posts that offer additional value, making it easier for search engines to understand your key topics.

External, or outbound, links indicate that you are well aware of the topics you’re writing about, to the extent that you’re ready to use further sources to support your content. It’s more useful to link to reputable sources, as these links have bigger credibility.

Beware, excessive linking, either internal or external can lead to the exact opposite results. Make sure that every link serves its own purpose in your content.

Optimize images

The optimization of your images provides an additional opportunity to show up in search results, this time in image search.

As visual content becomes more and more prominent, it cannot be left out of SEO. Luckily it’s not time-consuming to optimise your images. All you have to do is keep in mind a few simple tips:

  • Always keep the file name relevant
  • Be careful with the file sizes, as they affect the page speed
  • Don’t forget to add alt text, or else a title for your image
  • Think like a user when naming your images
  • Focus on quality images and avoid generic ones

How to create SEO-friendly content

Focus on the user

Every piece of content should have the user in mind. This also applies to SEO. You can’t create your next piece of content, or carry out keyword research, without knowing your audience.

What does your audience expect from you?

How can you enhance the user experience?

Does your site sabotage your content?

All the questions above can be answered by paying closer attention to your site, your content, and your target audience. Google rewards pages that focus on user experience, so never underestimate the power of the user.

Takeaway tips

If you want to create SEO-friendly content, here’s what you need to remember:

  • Focus on user intent
  • Be authentic
  • Come up with the best headlines for your content
  • Pay attention to the content’s structure
  • Use keywords wisely
  • Edit, proofread and aim for readability
  • Use both internal and external links to add further value
  • Optimize all your images to gain new opportunities for search ranking.
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The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

Creating and launching a fully-fledged website is not enough to get your brand noticed by itself.

In order to improve your online visibility, you will need to carry out SEO (search engine optimization) practices.

If you want to achieve a higher ranking on Google and other search engines, you’ll need to get serious about search engine optimization. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), there are a number of in-built features that make optimizing your content for search significantly easier.

So what is it that makes WordPress such a strong platform for SEO? Let’s take a look.

1. Permalink Structure

Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your web pages, posts, categories and tag archives. It is the web address used to link to your individual blog post and web page. By default, permalinks look something like this:

http://mysite.com/p?=17

This structure makes it difficult for search engine crawlers to read and index your web pages and posts. That means you will need to make it more accessible for both search engines and we visitors.

Fortunately, WordPress allows you to customize your URL permalinks for each of your posts and pages, adding a clear description of your page’s content as well as any relevant keywords – this makes your URL structure search-engine friendly.

To change your default permalink URLs, you will need to go to Settings → Permalink. You can change it either using /post-name/, or /category/post-name. You can also set it using date and name, but I would prefer you to use “Post Name” to optimize your permalink structure for search engines. The custom permalink URL structure will look something like this:

http://mysite.com/%postname%/

Tip: After creating a custom permalink structure, make sure you save all the changes.

2. Easy to create SEO-friendly titles

The “title tags”, or the title of a blog post, is one of the crucial aspects when it comes to getting a better ranking on search engine result pages. The title tags not only tell search engines what your web page is all about, but also leave the first impression on the people who see your post title in the search results.

Since search engines focus more on the initial words of the titles, make sure you add your keywords at the start of your title tag – this will help you rank better. So, WordPress allows you to optimize your title tags for SEO using the All-in-One-SEO-Pack plugin:

After installing this plugin, you will need to access your WordPress admin panel → go to Settings → All in One SEO Pack and add the following:

  • Post Title: %post_title%
  • Page Title: %page_title%

This will help you create unique, engaging, relevant, and search engine friendly title tags for your site, which in turn increase your CTR as well as page views.

3. Creating unique Meta Descriptions for SEO

A meta description is a snippet of content that you can see under the page link within a Google search result page. It gives a brief summary of your blog post or a web page to both the search engine bots as well as web audiences. This will help you get better ranking on SERPs.

It means that creating unique, engaging and search engine friendly meta descriptions for all your posts and pages can improve your visibility across search engines, and can also help you get a higher click-through rate.

The default WordPress settings makes it easy for you to optimize your meta descriptions for Google and other search engines. Better yet, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin or All in One SEO Pack to automatically create SEO-friendly meta descriptions for your WordPress site.

4. It’s easy to generate an XML Sitemap in WordPress

WordPress allows you to create and submit an XML sitemap easily to search engine webmaster tools. An XML sitemap allows you to tell Google and other search engine bots about all your web pages and posts exist on your site. It simply allows search engine crawlers to read and index your site quickly and easily.

Luckily, WordPress offers a ton of plugins that can help you generate an XML sitemap for all your pages, posts, custom post types, categories, and tags. You can use Yoast SEO, or Google XML sitemap plugins to let search engines better index your WordPress site.

For an example: We are using Yoast SEO plugin to generate an XML sitemap for your WordPress site. After installing and activating the plugin, you will need to enable the XML Sitemaps. To do that, go to the SEO → XML Sitemaps and click on the checkbox to enable this functionality.

The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

Make sure you configure it and save the settings. This will generate the sitemap for your WordPress site.

5. Use of categories and tags

The main purpose of categories and tags are to help web visitors navigate your blogs quickly and easily, which in turn, help you get a better search ranking (if used properly). In a nutshell, categories are the table of contents for your blog, while tags are the index that helps a search engine to interpret your blog’s subject matter with ease.

Both the categories and tags help you create a better structure and allow Google to notice it while indexing the blog posts of your WordPress. So, make sure you have all the subcategories, and have a well-structured post to make it as easy as possible for search engine crawlers to “read” your content.

To add categories, you will need to go to the Posts → Categories and Tickets → Labels.

Ensure that you use the best tricks to optimize the categories and tags in WordPress for SEO.

6. Simple and clean code

The code behind WordPress is simple and clean, allowing search engine bots to index your site with ease. Since it is an open source platform, you will see constant modifications in terms of security, performance, and functionalities to let Google and other search engines to position your site higher up the SERP.

Although WordPress already performs well in this particular area, making sure that you install well-coded themes and plugins to ensure the high quality of your WordPress site.

7. Optimization of Images for SEO

If you want to drive more web traffic towards your site, then you can’t overlook image optimization. It is one of the crucial aspects of good SEO.

Image optimization is all about creating engaging, relevant image titles and alt text so that you will get better visibility on Google and other image search engines. WordPress makes it easy to add titles and alt text to your images when you upload them to its CMS, so that image optimization is simply a matter of filling in the right fields.

The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

8. Linking to related posts

Allow search engines to crawl your older posts quickly and easily using the related posts plugin. It is a great WordPress plugin that can help you add a link to related posts within your new content, thereby increasing your SEO capabilities with ease.

The plugin makes it incredibly simple to add related posts to your blog posts and pages, re-ordering related posts via drag and drop functionality, without generating a single piece of code.

Other key points on WordPress SEO:

(a) Since Google loves fast-loading websites, WordPress makes it easy for you to optimize the speed of your site by:

  • Compressing the CSS and JS files
  • Minimizing HTTP requires
  • Optimizing image file sizes
  • Using Caching
  • Use of CDN services
  • Upgrading the core WordPress, installed themes and plugins on a regular basis.

(b) WordPress enables you to create a new page with fresh, updated and improved content to help you get better ranking on SERPs.

(c) In case you forget to optimize the permalink of an existing/older blog post, then you can tweak the slug to a more relevant and search engine-friendly URL.

If you want to avoid a 404 error, then make sure you add a 301 permanent redirect to the older version of your post. This will redirect your web visitors and search engines to the new URL, which in turn will boost your pageviews.

Wrapping up

If you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), these tips should hopefully help to you use it in the most effective way to boost your search ranking.

All you need to do is understand the out-of-the-box WordPress SEO functionalities and how get the most out from them, and you can drive quality traffic towards your website.

 

Lucy Barret is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks, a WordPress Development Company, and a contributor to SEW.

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Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

To relatively little fanfare, Google launched its “Posts” initiative during the US presidential election campaign last year.

The launch was accompanied by a landing page that labeled this “an experimental new podium”. That same landing page remains live, unchanged, and with the same call to action at its conclusion to “Join the Waitlist”.

Google Posts seemed to be a stripped-back version of Google+, devised with the intention of at least maintaining some of the functionality of a social network after sunsetting Google+.

The main premise of Posts had ostensibly been to work as a one-way social platform, where brands or individuals could publish (and be indexed instantly), but without the requisite mechanisms to allow the audience to engage in conversation with the poster or ‘like’ the update.

Since that tentative launch, Posts has perennially appeared in and disappeared from the SERPs in various guises, each time with very little fanfare. It initially appeared to be being trialed by a select few small businesses, then was spotted during Google I/O the following May, being used to publish live conference updates directly to the SERP.

A few months after that, Google Posts reappeared in search results for a charter school in New York, KIPP NYC, and then disappeared again. Each time, users have remained in the dark about whether a fully-fledged roll-out of Google Posts might be on the horizon, and nothing much has happened in this space to justify the tag ‘experimental new podium’. However, that may be set to change.

I noticed during a routine search for [red sox] that gifs were autoplaying within the knowledge graph sidebar, both on desktop (as in the screenshot below) and also on mobile.

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

 

This is particularly eye-catching and is in line with numerous other Google initiatives to bring a sense of vitality and immediacy to its results, most notably in the shape of Accelerated Mobile Pages and the decision to allow emoji in select organic results.

Although the Posts initiative itself is not new and nor is its inclusion within search results, there is a clearly-labeled ‘New’ box in the top right of this section to alert users of a change.

The same was observed for [yankees], so at least Google shows no clear bias in that sense:

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

 

This has been spotted by others in the last few weeks, although it does seem that is being rolled out in a piecemeal fashion.

The two entities that appear to be taking part in this partnership with Google are Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, as seen in the screenshot below in a search for the ice hockey team [new york rangers]:

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

If it’s new, what has changed?

GIFs were also spotted in SERPs on a few occasions when Google+ was up and running, but again this was isolated to a few brands, and it was clear that this was being pulled from their own Google+ account.

What is most noteworthy in this instance is that these results may not be showing up as a result of direct action from each individual sports team.

It is therefore worth assessing the source of the posts to ascertain whether brands will be expected to update their feed on an ongoing basis.

This is quite vital if we want to know where this platform could go in future, as it helps us define whether this is a streamlined social media network (more in line with Twitter than Facebook) or more of an automated content syndication platform.

Back to the Red Sox example for further investigation.

First of all, clicking on an individual post, as it appears within the SERP, opens up a larger window containing the image or GIF. As you can see from the screenshot below, this is all contained within the same results page:

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

Clicking on the ‘More’ link leads to the original post which, intriguingly, is hosted on MLB.com rather than the Red Sox Google Posts page.

As such, this could be a welcome boon for brands like Major League Baseball, who will undoubtedly receive increased traffic. This will be of great interest to publishers, as there is the tantalising possibility of a new avenue to get their content in search results, should the initiative go mainstream.

The Red Sox ‘profile page’ is really just a feed of images and external links to more in-depth content – all of which are hosted on MLB.com.

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

 

This arouses the suspicion that the functioning of Google Posts is changing, especially as this seems to be the case across all MLB teams. The same is also true of many ice hockey teams, which link out to NHL.com from all of their posts.

As a result, it is plausible that the partnership here is between the sites hosting the content (MLB.com, NHL.com) and Google, with the individual sports teams acceptant beneficiaries of the increased engagement.

In the initial announcement about Posts, the selling point was said to be that individuals or brands could publish directly to Google. That requires a certain complicity; one would have to take action to set this process in motion by posting content via Posts, whether fully-formed or just a link to an external site.

In our coverage from March 2016, we noted that a few small businesses had been given access to Google Posts. There didn’t appear to be much in the way of consistent rationale for choosing these particular businesses over others, although their feeds are all still live.

The fact that the links from the Red Sox are invariably from one website suggests that Google is automatically pulling these links through to its search results when they go live on MLB.com. This differs from the small business accounts, which are composed of unique updates written for Google Posts.

This demonstrates an important and telling distinction from the original functioning of Posts, and could be one with far-reaching implications.

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

What is Google seeking to accomplish through Posts?

The reasons for doing this are self-evident.

Eric Schmidt was very public in admitting that the company “missed the boat” on social media, their only real foray into the market being their overdue and (in hindsight) always-doomed Google+.

That is a substantial missing piece in the jigsaw for a company that is competing with Facebook to maintain its digital advertising dominance.

Speed is of the essence, as indicated by the growing presence of AMP pages in search results.

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

Of course, it stands to reason that having brands publish directly on a Google platform is of great benefit to the search giant, as it has a significant task on its hands to crawl, index, cache, and serve everything that is published on the web instantaneously.

Moreover, one reason for using Google+ as a content distribution platform in the past was simply that it led to faster indexing. If Posts can offer the same benefit, especially if updates about a brand are pulled automatically from relevant websites, there will be a clear use case for most companies.

What could this mean for businesses and marketers?

The results pages are crowded as it is, so the addition of GIFs could only serve to intensify the battle for consumers’ attention spans. However, as always, we can expect Google to test this in detail before taking the plunge and releasing the functionality to the masses.

One concern is that Google may give prominence to these results over other social networks, notably Twitter, in order to ensure its own success. Perhaps the reason for such a tentative entry into this space is the hope of avoiding another newsworthy social media misstep, should the initiative fail to take hold.

The waitlist for Google Posts has been open for quite some time now, after all, but very few companies are active on the platform. Either demand is suspiciously low or (more likely) Google is taking its time on this one.

Google Posts: GIFs and videos published directly to SERPs

That said, any opportunities to increase organic traffic are very welcome nowadays, and that could be what Posts comes to offer us.

For now, we can only join the waitlist and patiently look forward to an invitation to start Posting.

Optimization at the intersection of search, content, social, mobile and local in 2017

The digital environment is rapidly shifting. There are over a billion websites online, and customers have countless brands to choose from when seeking solutions to their needs.

Consumer behavior has rapidly matured with the growth of the online world. Customers access the internet through a variety of different platforms and channels. Two thirds of shoppers report using more than one channel when deciding to make a purchase.

At the same time, customers have also begun to abandon a traditional buyer’s journey. They now interact with brands through a series of high-intent touch points across multiple devices. Customers now guide the relationship, and brands need to be there to serve them.

Search engines responded to this shift by evolving the query algorithm to better understand intent and mold their search engine results pages (SERPs) and provide fast, convenient answers for users.

To succeed in this modern digital ecosystem, brands must do the same. They must understand how to develop content that accurately reaches the target audience based upon concrete goals.

Not only is understanding cross-channel trends within marketing key to reaching customers, but it’s also a key ingredient for brands to achieve greater ROI. Nearly 3/4 of marketers employing cross-channel methods report that these interactions result in ‘major’ impacts to the number of site conversions.

More than half also say that cross-channel marketing helps them improve their retention, and increases the likelihood of customers becoming brand advocates. Customers who arrive at your brand through cross-channel research also carry a 30 percent higher lifetime value. So organizations that go through the extra effort to create the cross-channel atmosphere will see value from their decisions.

Opportunities at the intersection of channels

For the modern marketer, the opportunity for brand success lies at the intersection between search, social, content, mobile and local. SEO is the core driver as it helps ensure material is easy to find online.

Social is then your megaphone. It broadcasts a message across the various ‘watercoolers’ of the online world, helping to engage customers in a personal way, while also drawing attention to content. These two work together to build visibility and traffic.

Next, combine efforts from these two channels with content, mobile and local strategies. Effective campaigns in these three areas grasp the devices customers use and their intent behind searches. Creating material that fills these needs builds engagement and drives relationships and conversions.

The key is creating content ready to serve customers across various devices and platforms. Brands need to meet customers where they are in order to provide them information; but without data, this is impossible. Data can let brands know what their customers search for and what they want to see when they make these queries.

It will also inform them of the success of their efforts and where adjustments can be made.

Our research at BrightEdge shows that organic remains the largest driver of traffic, with 51 percent of the people arriving on a site coming from SERPs. When using SEO as a multi-channel asset that can attract visitors across different touch points, it’s easy to understand how these different types of marketing intersect to spur growth.

Making a success of the intersection of search, content, social, mobile and local

Step 1. Analyze your current website

As companies adapt to a mobile-first world, they must create web experiences that are responsive and driven by rich experiences. However, without understanding or adhering to SEO best practices, content creators can inadvertently cause technical errors, duplicate content, or orphan pages.

These issues severely impact organic search performance resulting in decreased traffic, conversions, and revenue.

To best understand how the intersection between these various elements will work for your brand, you need to look at your site currently and gauge how leads arrive. Ensure that you break down traffic, including by device, to better understand the motivations of your existing customers.

This will provide insight into where to focus more of your efforts and safeguard your content and website.

Step 2. Perform keyword research

Looking at statistics behind applicable keywords will reveal traffic rates and competition levels, helping you better understand the terms and topics that most interest your prospects.

You also want to monitor trends as part of this research. Trends will reveal rising topics of interest, allowing you to create and promote content of interest before all of your competitors, establishing your authority and ranking.

Step 3. Look at the user intent behind keywords

Marketing today is about understanding the micro-moments that dominate user activity. Customers reach for their devices when they experience a particular type of need they want fulfilled. The better you understand the intent of these customers – whether they want to go, do, buy, or know something – the better you will be able to tailor your content to meet these needs.

Search engines have been tailored to predict the intent of customers, which explains why some searches have features such as local 3-packs, featured images or videos and Quick Answers. Understanding the intent behind searches allows marketers to create content messages and formats that will most likely appeal to customers.

Step 4. Make sure all content is mobile friendly

Customers today are on mobile for a large part of their digital experience. More searches today take place on mobile. Compared to desktop, mobile devices now account for 65 percent of all digital time spent. All content produced should serve the needs of customers on these devices through responsive web design, fast mobile load times, page navigation and layouts that reflect the needs of mobile users.

Remember that mobile also strongly overlaps with the need for local optimization. Over fifty percent of on-the-go searches have local intent. Local mobile search can be a powerful step in the conversion process. In fact, 80 percent of these searches result in offline purchases.

This means that as brands optimize for mobile, they should also pay close attention to the local and “I want to go” intent for particular keywords. Optimizing for hyperlocal search can be critical for attracting these customers.

Step 5. Optimize all content through SEO best practices

Remember, SEO is the driver of this explosive intersection between channels. As you create content for different user intents and devices, you must optimize it. This means more than just including keywords. You should also pay attention to meta descriptions, title tags, image alt tags, layout and how the content fits in with the rest of the website.

Familiarize your content creators with basic SEO practices and ensure they work closely with the SEO team to create material that will rank as highly as possible from the moment of publication.

Step 6. Broadcast content through social media

As you create optimized content for different channels, ensure your content and web teams partner with the social media team to develop a promotional strategy. Followers on your social media platforms have already revealed some degree of interest in your brand. A strong posting strategy will enhance this relationship and encourage more to enter the sales funnel.

As you publish content, promote it on the social media sites where the target audience most likely resides. For example, highly visual content developed for young adults in their late teens and early twenties might best promoted through platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. The better you understand your audiences, the more highly targeted your content strategy will become to generate returns.

Such promotion will broadcast your content, encourage sharing and increase visibility before it even ranks highly on SERPs. As an added bonus, promotion can also drive traffic and attention to your site, increasing the odds of others linking to your page from their own websites.

This can then help boost your reputation and authority in the Google algorithm, potentially increasing your position on SERPs. As you rise in rankings, your content will naturally attract a wider audience, showing how the different pieces of this strategy work together.

Although the dangers of siloed marketing have been apparent for several years now, the potential implications of relying on these outdated strategies cannot be more apparent than they are today. The customer does not live on one channel or one platform, and brands must meet these needs with a consistent voice.

Understanding how these elements intersect can help brands create an effective strategy. Follow this six stage process and see how using content, SEO, search, social, mobile, and local can spell success for your organization in 2017.

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7 quick ways to use content marketing to boost search ranking

Content marketing can be very effective in increasing traffic, generating leads, enabling sales – and contributing to SEO. So how can businesses use it to improve their search rankings?

When done well, content marketing can contribute to boosting a site’s position in search rankings.

Although this may not seem like the most obvious benefit to a successful content marketing strategy, it’s an effect that no business can ignore.

Here’s how to take advantage of your site’s content to rank higher in the SERPs.

1. Create fresh content

A site can never have enough content. There is always an opportunity to create new pieces of content, and the newness – or ‘freshness’ – of content is also one of Google’s ranking signals.

Content freshness as a ranking factor is not just judged by the publication date of the page, but can also include:

  • updates to the content
  • new pages
  • an increasing number of links towards a page
  • an increased level of traffic reaching the page

These criteria show that older posts can still be valuable, especially if they offer an in-depth analysis on a topic, are evergreen, or have been regularly updated to keep them relevant. Which leads us on to…

2. Repurpose old content

There’s no reason to ignore the older content you’ve published in the past, especially if it still gains a significant amount of traffic.

As content marketing evolves, it is more beneficial to go beyond the written posts to new formats that allow you to broaden your value.

That’s why repurposing content can help you analyse a topic in more detail, by allowing you to create multiple types of content without losing their value or becoming repetitive. This saves you time spent coming up with new content ideas, and also gives you a regular supply of fresh, valuable content to boost your ranking.

Going beyond blog posts, here are other types of content you could create from your older material:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Lists
  • How-to posts
  • Podcasts
  • Guides
  • Presentation

Your target audience might be more receptive for example to infographics rather than a blog post, or you may discover that you can achieve higher conversion rates through a presentation rather than a podcast.

Every content type serves its own goal and as every audience has different needs, experimentation can be very useful, until you discover which formats work best for your business.

3. Test headlines

A headline is usually the first thing we notice when accessing a search engine, and this reminds us that a headline should be:

  • valuable
  • relevant
  • simple
  • appealing

It may seem as if some of these points contradict each other, but the trick is in striking a balance between informativeness and length, or relevance and complexity.

Keywords can also be used as part of a headline, and this requires further planning on finding the best way to be SEO-friendly without sacrificing the flow of the headline.

Moreover, there’s a thin line between a click-worthy headline and clickbait, which is why it’s important to bear value to the reader in mind when creating a headline.

CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer is a very useful tool that can help you explore all the possible ways to improve your headline. Once you add your suggested headline, you receive a quick analysis, along with a score and tips on how to improve it.

7 quick ways to use content marketing to boost search ranking

4. Create visual content

Although visual content can be considered part of our earlier point on the importance of testing new content types, it deserves a special mention for its powers of grabbing the user’s attention.

Visual content has become very popular on the internet due to our own ability to process an image faster than any written text. This wins the first impression and it can be very powerful within the context of a page.

Previously used mostly to accompany written content, visual content has reached the stage where it’s now considered a form of content in its own right, standing on its own to increase awareness, engagement and leads.

On top of this, it can be optimized for search, offering a new opportunity for a business to stand out from its competitors via images and videos. The optimization of your visual content can lead to surprisingly positive results, provided that you follow a series of small steps that ensure that they are SEO-friendly.

7 quick ways to use content marketing to boost search ranking

Keep in mind, search crawlers cannot “read” images, only the text that accompanies them. This means that it’s important to focus on:

  • Image title (don’t upload an image with a filename 4fogowr.jpg, but rather rename it to something more relevant, e.g. contentforseoguide.jpg
  • Alt tags (the tags that describe the image for screen reader users, or if the image fails to load)
  • Image size (large images affect a page’s load time, which can have a negative effect on your search ranking)

5. Choose the right keywords

Keyword research can turn into a useful ally, especially if you bear in mind that you don’t always need to target the most obvious keywords.

Targeting highly sought-after keywords can make it harder for you to rank higher in search, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t become an authority on a topic by using different phrases for the same concept.

How about picking words and phrases that are less competitive but still high in rankings? Find the keywords that best suit your content, and think outside the box when deciding on the focus keywords you want to target.

6. Create link-worthy content

Link building helps your content reach a broader audience, increasing both your site’s visibility and its authority. Moreover, it can grow your search traffic, as the number of unique domains linking to your site helps search engines understand whether your content is informative enough to rank higher in the SERP.

Not all links are equal, as high-authority sites contribute more heavily in this regard. This means you should aim for more reputable mentions – but without snubbing any lesser sites that might link to you, as it all adds up. It’s easier for a source to link to your content if it’s authentic, interesting and well-researched, so always aim for quality over quantity.

It is useful to come up with a link building strategy that will help other sources discover your content and feature it if they find it relevant enough for their target audience – without losing sight of the need to create valuable content, of course.

7. Discover the connection between content and user experience

What’s the connection between content and user experience and how does that affect your rankings? We’ve talked about user experience and SEO in the past, and come to the conclusion that the more usable and readable your content, the more it is likely to boost your search ranking.

7 quick ways to use content marketing to boost search ranking

A Google-friendly website is valuable, appealing, and functional. Your readers should not struggle with reading or accessing your content, and search engines expect the same from each page they crawl.

The quality of content extends in this case to the page and how it helps the user experience with minimal effort. For example, have you tested the load time? Are your images hurting your site’s speed? Is your content too difficult to understood from your audience? Is your structure helpful both for your readers and for search engines?

Overview

The main aim of your content should still be to provide value and relevance for your target audience, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be slightly more SEO-focused.

As the ultimate goal is to get more readers to your pages, an improved ranking on SERPs can help you tap into a new audience that will appreciate your content.

There’s no need to obsess over SEO throughout the whole content creation process, but getting into the SEO mindset can offer useful insights into how to make your content more effective from now on.

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Three reasons for companies to consider using .brand TLDs

On February 28, 2017, ClickZ Intelligence presented the webinar ‘Still using .com? Here’s why 50% of all Fortune 500 companies are about to use .brand’ in association with Neustar.

This article has been adapted from a post originally published on our sister website ClickZ.

When asked why they were investigating the possibilities of .brand domains, more than 60% of attendees of the webinar answered that they wished to improve search engine marketing. Forty-three percent reported they wished to improve the customer experience.

So how can the adoption of .brand domains achieve these goals as well as alleviate other issues facing digital today?

Tony Kirsch from Neustar, Matt Dorville from Major League Baseball, and Katie Hankinson of VaynerMedia explored the use of .brand domains and their potential to improve the customer experience, advertising effectiveness, and overall long-term brand health.

.brand domains are being adopted by many of the top brands in the world

Currently there are approximately 550 “.brand” extensions across all sectors of business. Roughly 50 global brands have already adapted to the new industry standard of naming, and have created a ‘home.brand’ domain name.

Three reasons for companies to consider using .brand TLDs

Neustar’s Tony Kirsch has identified four major issues facing digital today:

  1. Websites are becoming too large and complex to navigate – consumers want to find deeper content quickly and easily.
  2. Inefficient calls to action – the large variety of techniques within advertising is not inspiring consumers to act how advertisers want them to.
  3. Exponential growth in paid search – paid search is costly.
  4. Inability to measure leakage – brands run the risk of customers getting distracted and going elsewhere while searching for content.

The use of .brand domains can counteract these issues by giving a company’s digital content its own identity. Consumers will have access to deeper content in a more direct and intuitive manner by merely typing in any number of URLs which end in .brand (i.e. surface.microsoft).

.brand domains make it simple for users to find content

Matt Dorville of Major League Baseball finds that the use of .brand domains is useful in building campaigns. Because the .brand URLs are easy to remember, consumers find it less complicated to find the content they are being driven to by campaigns. They also work well in a social spaces such as Twitter or blogging because of their ease and simplicity to share.

Another added benefit is the elimination of domain squatting. Because .brands are owned exclusively by the company, this opens up a whole range of URLs that can be used without the need to purchase the URL from a third party.

The use of .brand domains allows for a clarity of message in your call to action

From an advertising perspective, Katie Hankinson of VaynerMedia believes that .brand domains have the potential to create an ‘elegant and intuitive way’ to direct people to content on your site. She also finds that many brands are interested in what is new in digital and how they can capitalize on the changes.

Want to hear more?

Interested in learning more about why many of the world’s largest and most innovative organizations are adopting this new evolution in digital? Then watch the Still using .com? Here’s why 50% of all Fortune 500 companies are about to use .brand’ webinar on demand to hear more.

 

For more information on how you can get involved with the ClickZ Webinar Series please contact sam.lawson@clickz.com.

This webinar was produced in association with Neustar. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Search Engine Watch.

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Challenges and opportunities for inbound marketing in 2017

It’s not easy to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, but it still offers great opportunities once marketers understand its potential. What do we need to know, then, about inbound marketing in 2017?

Content can be a powerful tool for a business when used strategically, and that’s how inbound marketing has become an effective method of capturing leads and increasing traffic.

More marketers are ready to explore its benefits, which is why we’re examining the best ways to use it in 2017. It’s interesting to look into Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2016 to see what other businesses think of inbound marketing and how to take advantage of its potential.

Top marketing priorities

Marketers are leaving 2016 behind, and their top priorities for the year ahead are:

  • converting leads into customers
  • growing traffic to their website
  • increasing revenue from existing customers
  • proving the ROI from their marketing activities

All these priorities have to do with the effectiveness and the profit coming from their marketing efforts. As competition increases, it is becoming more important to find the tactics that will boost a brand’s goals, and inbound marketing has played a key role in this attempt.

Top inbound marketing priorities

According to Hubspot, inbound marketers are much more likely to be satisfied with the tactics their organisations are prioritizing. Ranking their priorities for the past year, the growth of SEO and their organic presence was their main focus, while content creation and distribution were next.

Another interesting priority was marketing automation: there seems to be a growing interest in the best ways of including automation in a marketing strategy.

Moreover, blog content doesn’t seem to be the only concern, as marketers also included interactive and visual content among their main priorities.

All these priorities demonstrate the complexity of inbound marketing and how each organization interprets it differently, depending on their goals and their plans.

Challenges and opportunities for inbound marketing in 2017

Top marketing challenges

Inbound marketing is not just about great opportunities, but also about big challenges, ranging from finding effectiveness to budget and training.

It’s not easy to create a successful inbound marketing strategy, and the main challenge for marketers is to generate traffic and leads from it, while justifying their activities through ROI is also a big concern.

Moreover, as content evolves, so does the need for a bigger budget. This is a challenge that small businesses understand, especially when they’re trying to compete with bigger ones.

Challenges and opportunities for inbound marketing in 2017

Adding new content distribution channels

A good way to overcome the challenges in inbound marketing is to explore new content distribution channels. For this reason, marketers are ready to focus more on Youtube, Facebook videos, Instagram and messaging apps, as these seem to be the biggest trends in content marketing.

Moreover, podcasts are still among their preferences when trying to reach a different audience, while Medium is also an interesting choice in terms of simplistic content consumption.

Their first three choices for 2017 indicate that visual content and video, in particular, is a key choice for the coming months, and as it seems to increase engagement, we can expect more businesses to try it out this year.

Challenges and opportunities for inbound marketing in 2017

Inbound vs Outbound

When it comes to marketers’ primary approach to marketing, Hubspot’s State of Inbound shows that 73% of respondents pick inbound marketing over outbound marketing.

Although both aspects are important, the preference over inbound marketing proves how the rise of content turned it into a powerful weapon for every marketing strategy. Despite the challenges and the budget limitations it may occasionally bring, the consistency in inbound marketing can lead to great long term results.

Challenges and opportunities for inbound marketing in 2017

Inbound marketing in 2017

It’s an interesting time to explore inbound marketing, as content creation and distribution reaches new levels of maturity. This means that more businesses will be able to find the desired ROI when embracing inbound marketing techniques as part of their bigger marketing strategy.

Although marketers are aware of the challenges that come with inbound marketing, they seem to be focused on finding the best ways to make it work along with their goals.

The best way to start exploring the benefits of inbound marketing is to analyse your existing content and explore its potential and how it can affect your marketing and sales goals.

How can you improve it? How can you create more strategic content from now on?

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Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

There have been a number of debates over the years about the SEO value of having keywords in your domain URL.

In a 2009 Google Webmaster video, Google’s then-head of web spam Matt Cutts confirmed that from a pure ranking standpoint, “it does help a little bit to have keywords in the URL”.

More recently, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller stated in a Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout that keywords in URLs are a “really small ranking factor”. But small can still make a difference in the grand scheme of things, and there are also compelling reasons from a usability standpoint to include keywords where they are relevant.

A new study by HigherVisibility.com, whose findings were shared exclusively with Search Engine Watch, set out to investigate the relationship between the top ranked websites in various industries and the inclusion of keywords in their URLs.

It found that nearly two thirds of top-ranking websites use keywords in their URLs – but this can vary significantly from industry to industry. So what can we learn from the findings about the importance of having keywords in your domain URL?

Key findings

The study looked at the top 10 keywords across 10 major industries: business, credit cards, debt, email software, food and beverage, government and trade, hotel, plumbing, software and weight loss. It then analysed the top page results for these keywords and their URLs, to find out how often keywords were used, and in what form.

Overall, 63% of the top ranking sites for each industry – nearly two thirds – included keywords in their domain URL. Of the industries analysed, the debt industry had the highest incidence of keywords in their domain URLs, with 76% of URLs in the debt industry using a keyword.

As an industry, email software was the least likely to use keywords in its domain URL, with less than half – 47% – of sites in the email software industry using keywords in their URLs.

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

Among the top ranking websites for each industry, seven out of ten sites used a keyword in their URLs, two included a partial keyword – for example ‘tp’ for ‘trade policy’ – and only one site included no keyword at all. This was the top ranking site for the weight loss industry, although it included the word ‘diet’ instead.

The debt industry: keywords galore

The debt industry had a high level of keyword usage in its domain URLs across various search terms. Out of the top 10 ranked websites for the word ‘debt’, 100% of sites used the keyword in their URLs.

Similarly, all top ranking sites for the keyword ‘debt equity’ used the term in their URLs, while 95% of the top ranked sites for ‘debt finance’ used the keyword in their domain URLs.

The keywords least likely to appear in domain URLs for the debt industry were ‘debt equity loans’ and ‘credit debt loans’, with 55% of top ranking sites using these keywords in their URLs. This could be because these keywords are longer, making it less likely that they would be used in their entirety.

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

Email software: less is more

The industry with the lowest incidence of keyword usage in its URLs was email software, although it’s interesting to note that this was also the industry with the longest keywords, with all keywords having at least two words, and some having four or five.

No set of websites rose above 60% keyword usage in their URLs, and the least-used keyword – ‘bulk email software buy’ – appeared in just 35% of URLs for the top ranked sites. ‘Newsletter email software’ and ‘best email software’ were the keywords most likely to appear in URLs, with both keywords appearing in 60% of top ranking URLs.

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

Hotel keywords: regional differences

The hotel industry had 62% usage of keywords in URLs overall, with seven out of the 10 top ranked sites for the term ‘hotel’ including the keyword in their domain URLs.

Popular booking sites like Travelocity have made it to the top of the SERP without needing to include the keyword (although the word ‘travel’ could arguably be considered a related keyword). Another of the top ranked websites was www.otel.com, which although it doesn’t contain the keyword in its entirety, has all except one letter!

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

‘Region-specific’ keywords such as ‘san hotel’ (i.e. San Francisco or San Diego) or ‘york hotel’ were more likely to appear in URLs, appearing in 100% and 80% of URLs for their respective keywords.

At the lower end of the spectrum, ‘hotel discount’ and ‘reservations hotel’ were the keywords least likely to appear in URLs, appearing in 35% and 25% of URLs, respectively.

How can URL keywords help you rank higher?

It’s clear that there is a link between the websites which rank highly for a certain keyword and whether or not that keyword appears in its URL. However, this is unlikely to be the only factor that determines whether or not a site can rank well.

As those of us in the industry know, countless other things can contribute to good SEO, and the study by HigherVisibility.com was focused on one aspect. But does this mean that you shouldn’t bother with keywords in your URLs? Not at all.

Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz, published ‘15 SEO best practices for structuring URLs‘ in which he argued that “using the keywords you’re targeting for rankings in your URLs is a solid idea”. Firstly from a readability and usability perspective, having relevant keywords in your URL lets users know exactly what they’re getting.

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

Image: Moz

Google’s SEO Starter Guide also states that, “If your URL contains relevant words, this provides users and search engines with more information about the page than an ID or oddly named parameter would.” In other words, including keywords – or at least clear and direct information – in your URL is a best practice.

Secondly, Fishkin points out, URLs are frequently copied and pasted, and when no anchor text is used in a link, the URL itself will serve as anchor text – a powerful ranking input. However, he also cautions against keyword-stuffing your URLs or using keyword repetition:

“Google and Bing have moved far beyond algorithms that positively reward a keyword appearing multiple times in the URL string. Don’t hurt your chances of earning a click (which CAN impact your rankings) by overdoing keyword matching/repetition in your URLs.”

Study: How valuable is it to have keywords in your domain URL?

Fiskin also cites research from the International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining which demonstrated that the URL is one of the most prominent elements searchers consider when deciding which site to click on.

Again, having clear and relevant information in your URL helps you to earn clicks – and while click-through rate is still hotly debated as a possible ranking factor, once you do manage to rank for a particular keyword, it’s no good if no-one clicks through to your site.

What about Exact Match Domains?

Exact Match Domains (EMDs) – when the domain of a site exactly matches the keyword that you want to target – can also be a means of ranking well for your keyword, but use them wisely.

Most brands will derive their domain from the name of their brand, which might also contain a keyword – such as glassesdirect.com. But Exact Match Domains are often a sign of a spammy website, and one which Google is on the lookout for.

On the other hand, EMDs are often memorable, which is good from a usability standpoint – a user searching for cheap flights will have no trouble remembering the URL ‘cheapflights.com’, and there can be no mistake as to what the website is for.

If you have a legitimate reason for using an EMD and aren’t combining it with any other spammy tactics, then you should be fine.

In conclusion: usability first!

The bottom line of all of this is to consider the user experience first and foremost. As we’ve seen, a clear, direct URL is the best route to take in order to ensure that users know what they’re getting from your website and are prepared to click on it. In many cases, this can also help your ranking as an added bonus.

Many of the top websites in various industries thus use keywords in their URLs, but others which don’t are still able to rank highly. Much as we now know that writing quality content is better than stuffing it with keywords, the same applies to creating quality URLs. In the end, it comes down to what makes sense for your brand and website.

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Make no mistake: content errors harm your brand and SEO

How to optimize for audience trust. Plus, four tips for dealing with mistakes that can kill your brand’s reputation.

Trust matters. Whether you’re creating content for a standalone brand publication or a company blog, you want people and search engines to trust the information on your website is accurate and current.

Now, with engagement metrics seemingly becoming a larger factor in SEO, you can’t have one without the other. Google won’t trust (and reward rankings to) a website that doesn’t attract and engage an audience, and visitors won’t trust (or even find) content that doesn’t rank well on Google.

Trust is how you build that audience.

For publishers, content is your product and your brand. You establish a relationship with your audience through the content you publish.

Sometimes your content will simply fail to generate the traffic, rankings, shares, and leads you were hoping for.

But something even worse could happen. For most publishers, it’s inevitable. It’s not a question of if, but when.

You could publish content that contains inaccurate information. Not just small typos or spelling mistakes – stuff that’s worthy of an apology and a correction (or even a retraction).

Will such a huge mistake be forgotten by the following day? Perhaps, especially if you’ve built a really strong brand and you don’t make any more huge mistakes.

But if your brand consistently publishes content filled with errors, will it make your core audience start to question whether your brand can be trusted? Absolutely. Your brand will look amateurish.

People have zero tolerance for content that wastes their time.

Losing the trust of your audience will ultimately damage your brand and cause serious harm to your SEO efforts.

Optimize for your audience

You need to have a clear idea of your target audience. Who do you want visiting your site on a regular basis?

  • What are the demographics of your target audience? Age, gender, location, job title, and income level are just a few elements that might matter to you.
  • What topics are of interest to your target audience? What are their wants, needs, and pain points?
  • What’s your content goal? Why are you creating this content – will it be the best answer or solution to a question or problem your audience has?

Figure out what topics your target audience wants to read about and will engage with. Provide that content to them and speak to them in their own language.

Optimize for authority

Although author authority may have gone out of style, authority still matters to your audience. They want to know the content they’re reading or watching comes from people who know their stuff. In other words: authors who are experts in their industry or niche.

  • Do your authors have full biographies? At minimum, they need a byline, photo, and details on their career and areas of expertise. If any of these elements are missing, it raises serious questions.
  • Do you make it easy for people to find contact information for your brand? Give your audience ways to connect with you how they want, whether it’s via social media, a contact form, email, or phone.
  • Do you link to your sources? Doing so gives credit to the work that helped make yours possible, helps strengthen your argument, and can be helpful for anybody reading who might want to go deeper into that subject.

Optimize for accuracy

Your audience demands you to be accurate. When you get it wrong, you’ll hear about it – in your comments section, on social media, and (should things spiral too far out of control) on other websites.

Make no mistake: content errors harm your brand and SEO

Or, even worse, you won’t hear anything at all. Traffic will just slowly erode.

Have you ever tried out a new restaurant and experienced terrible service or received the wrong order? Or both? Did you go to a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor to give the restaurant a scathing 1-star review – or did you simply just never return to that restaurant? (Either outcome is bad for you, obviously!)

After you’ve done all the hard work of optimizing your content to get someone to visit your site, don’t greet that user a terrible content experience. Don’t let one of your worst moments be their first experience with your brand. They likely won’t be back.

  • Is your content edited well? Hire a great editor and content team or outsource your content marketing to a proven agency that will handle it for you.
  • Is your content objective? Acknowledge any biases you may have, explore multiple viewpoints whenever possible, and always try to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
  • Is your content current? Make it part of your regular routine to check old content. Update as needed.

Optimize for reputation

Building up a loyal, engaged audience or community has big benefits. Direct visitors spend far more time on your site and consume far more pages per month, according to Pew Research.

Readers who find your content valuable (because it is useful, solves a relevant problem, provides insight, shares a new discovery, or is just entertaining in some way) are also more likely to share that content, which leads to more people discovering your great work, subscribing, and sharing future content pieces, further expanding your reach.

The surest way to fail to halt any momentum or see your audience abandon you is to publish subpar content. As the old saying goes, bad news travels fast.

If a site declines in quality, for whatever reason, people will notice. If you screw up, people will talk about it.

In an era where fake news, alternative facts, gossip, and anonymous claims are reported as fact, your brand must hold itself to the highest standard. “Publish first and apologize later” is a losing model in the long-term.

Ultimately, people can love you or hate you for what your content says. But if your loyal audience loses trust in you, they simply won’t be there anymore.

4 tips for dealing with harmful content errors

Whether it’s mainstream media or an industry/niche site, editors are the last line of defense. Be ready.

1. Have a Plan

We all know the importance of having a social media crisis management plan. Do you have a plan in place should your content create a crisis?

Just as you should have a fire escape plan if the worst happens at your home, it’s better to have a content “fire” plan and not need it than to never have one. Decide who will own it. Ideally it should be one of the top editors or the trusted “face” of the publication.

After the crisis has passed, review whether your plan worked or failed. Adjust for the future (though hopefully you won’t have a repeat, right?).

2. Act Quickly

Internally, make sure everyone who needs to know what is going on is apprised of the situation.

Externally, acknowledge the problem across your digital channels and platforms. Explain what you’re doing to address or fix the error. Apologize.

Update the post or be present in the comments and on social media around discussions about your content crisis.

Aside from being combative toward upset readers or customers, appearing unresponsive is one of the worst things you can do now.

3. What Should Happen To Your Post?

When things go so wrong the only option you have is to remove/retract the post, what should you do? Generally, it comes down to three options:

  • Leave the post. Take your lumps publicly. Make sure an editor’s note or a correction appears at the top of the article. In theory, when you admit you screwed up, it will restore some level of trust. See Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” as an example of a publication that left a controversial article on its site.
  • Leave the page. But only with a correction or apology, explaining what happened. Here’s an example from Upworthy, which had to retract a post on artificial sweeteners.
  • Delete the content. Ideally, 301 redirect the page to a page on the same or a similar topic, or if that doesn’t work, to the homepage. If the information is inaccurate, you may decide to just get rid of it. You have to decide if it’s worth bringing people to a page that has zero value to you.

4. Reduce the Odds of Having a Disaster

A few quick tips to prevent some major and minor errors:

  • When in doubt about the claims made in an article, ask the writer for evidence (e.g., images/documents).
  • If still in doubt, ask for more evidence (and consider legal advice, depending on the topic).
  • Publish images as evidence (don’t just claim you “have images”), especially when there is no previously existing documentation.
  • Check names (people, places, things).
  • Check job titles.
  • Attribute ideas/quotes to original source.
  • Verify and link to useful sources.

You are what you publish

One major content error could be a fluke. Twice might be a coincidence. But after this point, clearly there’s a bad pattern. Your editorial process needs fixing.

It’s sort of like that famous scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the Black Knight is fighting with King Arthur. You can say your content errors are “just a flesh wound,” but really your brand is being sliced to bits.

There’s a lot of pressure to provide readers with a steady dose of content that is educational, informative, inspiring, or entertaining. But that doesn’t mean you should ever lower your standards.

You are what you publish. All the SEO in the world won’t help if the content you publish compromises the health of your brand.

 

Danny Goodwin is a content strategist at Longneck & Thunderfoot, a brand publishing company. A professional editor, writer, and ghostwriter with over 10 years of experience in marketing, he has created content for SMBs and global brands alike, spanning all things search and digital. He was formerly the editor of Search Engine Watch. Follow Danny on Twitter.

3 ROI-positive ways to segment your remarketing audiences

Everyone knows that remarketing is an efficient method of bringing back users to get them to convert.

But are you being smart about your remarketing efforts? It’s not a one-size-fits-all endeavor; segmentation is a huge part of the picture.

In other words, don’t just dump everyone who has visited your site and remarket to them; think about how you can segment visitors into groups of identifiable characteristics that can allow you to create a more tailored (and ROI-positive) experience. In this post, we’ll explore three simple segmentation types that can drive huge results for your remarketing dollar.

1) Audience segmentation based on website interaction

This allows us to understand and speak to a user’s intent. For example, compare someone who has visited the home page and bounced with someone who has gotten to a signup page/lead form/add-to-cart page and bounced; we know the latter person has higher intent. At the very minimum, you should be segmenting your audiences by “researchers” vs “high intent”. “

Researchers” should include audiences who have visited more high-level pages such as the home page, about page, blog, etc. “High Intent” would consist of audiences that got lower in the funnel – product page, services page, lead form, etc. For each of these audiences, you should tailor ads specifically, supplying the right customized messaging and creative to push them further down the funnel.

2) Segmentation by time

One thing you want to avoid is being that annoying company that follows people around, showing them the same ad over and over again. By segmenting audiences by how long ago they visited your site, you can avoid this scenario.

For example, let’s segment audiences by week. In week 1 since they have visited the site, you should them a specific ad (with tailored creative and messaging). In week 2, you experiment with a different message, creative, etc. And in week 3, if they still haven’t come back to convert, perhaps you can get more aggressive and offer an incentive/discount/promo.

3) Segmentation by Google Analytics data

If you have a decent amount of traffic visiting your site, multiple pages with great content, etc. – you’re well positioned to leverage all of the advanced capabilities of Google Analytics to create remarketing audiences.

Some great ways to segment out audiences include time on site, number of pages viewed, and Google Smart Lists – which leverage Google’s machine-learning capabilities to identify users most likely to convert in subsequent sessions and dynamically manages the audiences to focus on those users.

I haven’t talked about bidding yet, but the success of all of these segmentation types will also rely on bidding nuances – e.g. bidding more for higher-intent users than for researchers. Bucketing more valuable users will allow you to be more aggressive when warranted while keeping bids conservative for users you’re trying to simply re-engage.

With the right mix of segments and tailored bids and ads, you’ll be well on your way to remarketing success.

 

Sana Ansari is General Manager of 3Q Accelerate, the high-growth division of 3Q Digital, and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.