Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:35:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 What You Need to Know About Optimizing Content for Voice Search http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/voice-search-optimization/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/voice-search-optimization/#comments Wed, 01 Nov 2017 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23186 Voice Search Content Optimization

Voice Search Content Optimization

Thanks to the emergence of technologies such as mobile personal assistants, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Cortana, and others, there’s no doubt that voice search is on the rise. These days, consumers can send text messages while driving or use a mobile personal assistant to complete simple actions. In fact, Gartner predicts that about 30% of searches will be conducted without a screen by 2020. In addition, another study from ComScore, states that voice searches will account for nearly 50% of searches, too.

That means we marketers need to start thinking how we can get our content in front of our audience via voice search channels. While optimizing content for voice search can seem daunting, there are a few easy tips that can help you start gaining more visibility for those types of queries.

Focus on Featured Snippets

We continue to see featured snippets more and more in search engine results pages (SERPs). These SERP features show qualified results right on the SERP, which can lead to quicker answers to questions. In addition to speeding up the way people are receiving answers on Google, we know that featured snippets drive more organic website traffic, too. Featured snippets can help you leapfrog competition on a SERP to gain more visibility as opposed to only relying on a main keyword ranking. Here's an example of one of TopRank Marketing's own featured snippets.

Featured Snippet Example

Back in July, Britney Muller of Moz gave a presentation at MnSearch about the future of SEO. One area that she focused on was how to rank for featured snippets. The reason Muller focused on this area for the future of SEO was because voice search is fueled by them. With that in mind, she outlined what she thought was the top five ranking factors for featured snippets:

  • Links
  • Quality content
  • On-page optimization
  • Engagement metrics
  • Speed

Each ranking factor is not new to the SEO industry, but they make sense to focus on. Links are still an important ranking factor, as well as content quality and on-page optimization. Engagement metrics and site speed have also been important, but the focus is increasing for these areas. Both areas relate to the experience on mobile devices, since that is where the majority of voice searches are coming from.

To find featured snippets to target, use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to reverse engineer the content. Most of the time, the featured snippets are around 40 to 50 words, so it is important to keep your content clear for the intent. To trigger a featured snippet, use conversational language and/or questions. A quick way to leverage question based featured results is to create a FAQ page with common questions about your business or industry.

Use Conversational Keywords

Speaking of conversational keyword queries, they help reveal the intent more clearly than the “money" (or more traditional) keywords. This often leads to longer queries for voice searches. For example, a traditional "money" keyword may be something like "content marketing software." But a more conversational, voice search keyword query may be something like "what is the best content marketing software."

Google has been encouraging this type of behavior for years, especially with the Hummingbird update back in 2013. People communicate with conversations, not just keywords. Associating the right keywords with concepts helps the overall content quality as opposed to targeting only one or a couple keywords per page. So, it’s important to identify the keywords that people search for, but focus on creating the content that is more conversational.

When it comes to local search, include keywords or landmarks that people in the neighborhood would use. That way, search engines can correlate the content with a geographical area, which can help increase the local visibility for that piece of content. After all, many voice searches are from people looking for directions to local businesses.

Another area to get more conversation queries is from your chat feature on your website (if you have one). People will use a conversational dialog when using a chat function, which could lead you to create content that your audience is directly looking for.

Add Structured Data Markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand what the content is on websites. By helping search engines understand the context of the content, they can provide more informative results for users. Adding schema markup for local businesses can help a business show up in local results for general business information. This information can be highly beneficial for voice searches for directions and phone numbers. Schema.org is a great place to start if you want to learn more.

Schema.org Homepage

If you have a brick and mortar location, you should add schema markup for each place and create a Google My Business listing (and other local citations) to help your audience find you. Voice searches greatly impact local SEO for review websites like Yelp and other third-party websites. Optimize your local citations to make sure they are all correct and consistent. Here's an example from Target. As you can see, the listing includes information on its headquarters and number of locations, as well as links to social profiles.

Google My Business Listing for Target

Beyond Voice Search

While the rise of voice search deserves your attention and action, it’s still just one piece of your content marketing strategy. As always, it’s important to focus on creating content that helps solves your audience's problems.

From our perspective, by creating quality, conversational and structured content, you’ll not only be optimizing your content for voice search, but for the future, too. Why? Because voice search is not the end of the search revolution.

Beyond voice search, we will soon be coming across predictive response, which is related to getting your products or services in front of a targeted audience without them evening looking for it. With that in mind, it will be important to create content that is conversational and impactful.

The post What You Need to Know About Optimizing Content for Voice Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Voice Search Content Optimization

Voice Search Content Optimization Thanks to the emergence of technologies such as mobile personal assistants, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Cortana, and others, there’s no doubt that voice search is on the rise. These days, consumers can send text messages while driving or use a mobile personal assistant to complete simple actions. In fact, Gartner predicts that about 30% of searches will be conducted without a screen by 2020. In addition, another study from ComScore, states that voice searches will account for nearly 50% of searches, too. That means we marketers need to start thinking how we can get our content in front of our audience via voice search channels. While optimizing content for voice search can seem daunting, there are a few easy tips that can help you start gaining more visibility for those types of queries.

Focus on Featured Snippets

We continue to see featured snippets more and more in search engine results pages (SERPs). These SERP features show qualified results right on the SERP, which can lead to quicker answers to questions. In addition to speeding up the way people are receiving answers on Google, we know that featured snippets drive more organic website traffic, too. Featured snippets can help you leapfrog competition on a SERP to gain more visibility as opposed to only relying on a main keyword ranking. Here's an example of one of TopRank Marketing's own featured snippets. Featured Snippet Example Back in July, Britney Muller of Moz gave a presentation at MnSearch about the future of SEO. One area that she focused on was how to rank for featured snippets. The reason Muller focused on this area for the future of SEO was because voice search is fueled by them. With that in mind, she outlined what she thought was the top five ranking factors for featured snippets:
  • Links
  • Quality content
  • On-page optimization
  • Engagement metrics
  • Speed
Each ranking factor is not new to the SEO industry, but they make sense to focus on. Links are still an important ranking factor, as well as content quality and on-page optimization. Engagement metrics and site speed have also been important, but the focus is increasing for these areas. Both areas relate to the experience on mobile devices, since that is where the majority of voice searches are coming from. To find featured snippets to target, use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to reverse engineer the content. Most of the time, the featured snippets are around 40 to 50 words, so it is important to keep your content clear for the intent. To trigger a featured snippet, use conversational language and/or questions. A quick way to leverage question based featured results is to create a FAQ page with common questions about your business or industry.

Use Conversational Keywords

Speaking of conversational keyword queries, they help reveal the intent more clearly than the “money" (or more traditional) keywords. This often leads to longer queries for voice searches. For example, a traditional "money" keyword may be something like "content marketing software." But a more conversational, voice search keyword query may be something like "what is the best content marketing software." Google has been encouraging this type of behavior for years, especially with the Hummingbird update back in 2013. People communicate with conversations, not just keywords. Associating the right keywords with concepts helps the overall content quality as opposed to targeting only one or a couple keywords per page. So, it’s important to identify the keywords that people search for, but focus on creating the content that is more conversational. When it comes to local search, include keywords or landmarks that people in the neighborhood would use. That way, search engines can correlate the content with a geographical area, which can help increase the local visibility for that piece of content. After all, many voice searches are from people looking for directions to local businesses. Another area to get more conversation queries is from your chat feature on your website (if you have one). People will use a conversational dialog when using a chat function, which could lead you to create content that your audience is directly looking for.

Add Structured Data Markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand what the content is on websites. By helping search engines understand the context of the content, they can provide more informative results for users. Adding schema markup for local businesses can help a business show up in local results for general business information. This information can be highly beneficial for voice searches for directions and phone numbers. Schema.org is a great place to start if you want to learn more. Schema.org Homepage If you have a brick and mortar location, you should add schema markup for each place and create a Google My Business listing (and other local citations) to help your audience find you. Voice searches greatly impact local SEO for review websites like Yelp and other third-party websites. Optimize your local citations to make sure they are all correct and consistent. Here's an example from Target. As you can see, the listing includes information on its headquarters and number of locations, as well as links to social profiles. Google My Business Listing for Target

Beyond Voice Search

While the rise of voice search deserves your attention and action, it’s still just one piece of your content marketing strategy. As always, it’s important to focus on creating content that helps solves your audience's problems. From our perspective, by creating quality, conversational and structured content, you’ll not only be optimizing your content for voice search, but for the future, too. Why? Because voice search is not the end of the search revolution. Beyond voice search, we will soon be coming across predictive response, which is related to getting your products or services in front of a targeted audience without them evening looking for it. With that in mind, it will be important to create content that is conversational and impactful.

The post What You Need to Know About Optimizing Content for Voice Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22923 Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.

The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.

But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.

Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink:

My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions.

Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data.

Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:

  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this: 

Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one:

There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases.

Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:

  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be.

Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?

 

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips. The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business. But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories. As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations. Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink: My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions. Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data. Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:
  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this:  Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one: There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases. Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:
  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be. Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?  

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Why HTTPS Matters for Content Marketers: Website Security, SEO, and Customer Trust http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/https-matters-seo/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/08/https-matters-seo/#comments Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22817 Full disclosure: As a content marketer, I’m still trying to round out my technological knowledge. The complex inner workings of the internet might as well be some combination of elves, gnomes, and unicorns. As long as it delivers my content (and a steady stream of memes and status updates), it doesn’t matter how the internet [...]

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Full disclosure: As a content marketer, I’m still trying to round out my technological knowledge. The complex inner workings of the internet might as well be some combination of elves, gnomes, and unicorns. As long as it delivers my content (and a steady stream of memes and status updates), it doesn’t matter how the internet works, right?

But it’s time for all content marketers to get at least a little technical. There are new marching orders from our overlords at tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple, and they’re going to directly affect your content marketing strategy.

The issue is a web security protocol called HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Other terms you might encounter are SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).  Or you may just know it as the little green padlock in the top corner of your web browser:

image showing green padlock on Chrome web browser

No matter what you call it, HTTPS provides a secure, encrypted channel for a website to transfer data to a browser, and vice versa. It uses digital certificates to verify that each party is who they say they are—and that no third-party is intercepting the data.

It’s easy to see why HTTPS is a good idea—you don’t want some shady character snooping on your passwords and credit card information when you’re online banking at Starbucks. And you wouldn’t want to think you’ve connected with your bank, when you’re actually on www.stealyourmoney.biz.

Beyond the safety considerations, however, the push for websites to adopt HTTPS matters for content marketers. Not having HTTPS on your site can now hurt your marketing efforts in two big ways: search engine visibility and customer trust. Here’s what you need to know.

HTTPS Is an SEO Ranking Factor

Google is one of the major supporters of HTTPS, using its considerable leverage to increase adoption of the protocol. To that end, they have added HTTPS status as a ranking factor in searches. Since Google owns well over half of the search market—and over 90% of mobile search—your site’s ranking on Google has a massive impact on your organic traffic.

If your content is just as good as a competitor’s, but they have HTTPS and you don’t, they’re likely to rank higher on the results page. Over time, the coveted top spots will all go to HTTPS-enabled sites, with unsecure sites fighting for the scraps. This graph from Smart Insights shows just how much traffic you lose by dropping even a single slot on the SERP:

Chart showing a dropoff in click through rate versus position on a search engine ranking page

The top result has a 30% click-through rate, while the second gets 12%, and the CTR declines steadily from there.

It’s easy to see why HTTPS matters for content marketers who care about organic traffic (which, let’s hope, is all of us). If you’re trying to create SEO-optimized content that gets viewed and gets results, not having HTTPS on your site can hamstring your efforts from the start.

HTTPS Is a Trust Signal

Let’s say, though, that your content is so useful and so compelling that it still gets a decent ranking, and someone actually clicks through. In the address bar right now, Google Chrome (the most popular browser, with over 60% of all browser traffic) will show a “not secure” warning before your URL:

Gray 'not secure' warning on Google Chrome

In future builds of Chrome, that warning will get more dire, with red text and a caution sign:

Red triangle showing a website is not secure

These warnings may eventually escape the address bar, becoming a popup window that warns people away from your site.

It’s easy to imagine the impact these warnings will have on people’s confidence in your site. When there are plenty of secure websites in the SERP, that warning is enough for your average consumer to hit the back button and find a site with the soothing green padlock.

How to Get HTTPS

In the past, managing even a simple site’s security certificates could be a hassle. But in addition to pushing HTTPS adoption through penalties, Google and many others are also investing in making the technology easier to get. Even if you don’t have a web development team, you can likely get HTTPS up and running with minimal hiccups.

First, check with your internet provider to see if they offer automated HTTPS—many will help you get set up and manage your certificates. For example, our client Pantheon offers free, automated HTTPS to all of its clients.

If your provider doesn’t offer HTTPS management, I recommend Let’s Encrypt. They’re an open-source, free and automated HTTPS provider (or Certificate Authority), funded by contributions from the major players in the tech industry. If you have a little tech savvy, it’s pretty simple to get set up.

Is It Secret? Is It Safe?

Adopting HTTPS is the right choice for you and everyone who visits your site. But it’s more than just the right thing to do. The decision to adopt HTTPS will make it easier for consumers to find your content, and will give people more confidence in your site’s bona fides. On the other hand, not having HTTPS will hurt both your ranking and your reputation.

Looking for more ways to boost your search engine ranking? Check out these quick SEO research tips.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Why HTTPS Matters for Content Marketers: Website Security, SEO, and Customer Trust | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Still Struggling with Your SEO Strategy? Focus on These 4 Best Practices for Improved Results http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/04/seo-strategy/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:30:03 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22114 The pressure of understanding the ins and outs of developing and implementing an integrated digital marketing strategy has many marketers searching for a better way. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just as integral to a successful marketing strategy as it was in previous years. That’s right, SEO is not dead but it has changed. If [...]

The post Still Struggling with Your SEO Strategy? Focus on These 4 Best Practices for Improved Results appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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SEO Strategy

The pressure of understanding the ins and outs of developing and implementing an integrated digital marketing strategy has many marketers searching for a better way. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just as integral to a successful marketing strategy as it was in previous years. That’s right, SEO is not dead but it has changed.

If you’re still struggling to develop a successful SEO strategy, you’re not alone. Search engine optimization experts are still faced with the constant struggle to provide the right results, but the all too often, expectations are focused on vanity metrics or outdated tactics.

Google is making hundreds of algorithm updates each year and they continue to alter the layout of the search engine results pages (SERP). There is constant change that marketers need to stay on top of, which then leads to new tactics that are required to continue to increase visibility online. These changes align directly with the SEO industry. In this post, we outline common SEO situations that brands struggle with including:

  • Focusing on the wrong KPIs
  • Not updating historic content
  • Not implementing strategic linking plan
  • Not maximizing potential search reach and visibility

As marketers, we need to adapt and focus on the right tactics to increase the search visibility for each website. Technology has allowed us to reach more people in our targeted audience than before and it is our job to take best advantage of this opportunity. It’s time to dive in.

#1 – Focusing on the Wrong KPIs

One the first blunders that we see brands make is focusing on the wrong KPIs and search metrics. Often times, companies are only focusing on sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, and other vanity metrics. Those metrics are great to monitor each month to track overall website health, but smart marketers should push to analyze more valuable metrics. Valuable metrics are metrics that prove value and show both internal or external clients what return of investment the SEO campaign is bringing back in.

Optimizing a page is a great search tactic but what we need to question what the outcome of that effort is. We need to try to quantify the amount of effort that goes into each tactic for the potential outcome. For example, if we optimize one webpage and drive more traffic to it, but the converting traffic doesn’t increase, was it worth it? In short, probably not. We want to optimize pages that will bring in more converting traffic to the site so we can make money. Showing an internal or external client an increase in traffic is great, but at the end of the campaign the most important metric is how much return on investment the campaign brought back to the company.

TopRank Marketing Pro Tip: Use vanity metrics as a gage of how well the website or SEO campaign is doing, but show key stakeholders how much revenue the campaign brings back.

#2 – Not Updating Historic Content

Another common SEO opportunity is showing some love to high-performing historic content and saying goodbye to the clutter. Years ago, marketers created a mass amount of content for search purposes. That method of content creation worked too, until search engine algorithms got more sostificated. Now, companies need to complete content audits of the historic content to identify what content is worth keeping and/or editing. Most companies that have been writing content for a while have quality content that needs to be refreshed to stay current.

Historic content should be either updated or removed from the search index (deleted or noindexed). By removing the content that is no longer relevant, you can turn focus to the pages that you want to get traffic too. Most websites get the majority of their traffic from only a select amount of pages instead of traffic being evenly spread out. Focus on those pages that bring in  qualified traffic and either refresh the content or implement some new SEO recommendations.

TopRank Marketing Pro Tip: Refresh historic content that contains priority keyword rankings that are on the second or third page of Google. To identify those pages, use tools like SEMrush or Google Search Console to see how individual pages are performing with keyword rankings and impressions. Those pages of content contain a high amount of potential to increase search visibility quickly.

#3 – Not Implementing Strategic Linking Plan

Believe it or not, strategic linking is still incredibly important for SEO. Too often, companies are forgetting to add internal links to other related content within their site. Internal links help search engines crawl and index pages, as well as pass authority throughout your site. Internal links are an essential part of your website ecosystem and there needs to be a strategic plan on how to link to related pages with the correct type of anchor text.

Additionally, make a habit of linking to related sites that can be used as references. External links to sites help provide credibility for your content and can help search engines understand more context of the content.

TopRank Marketing Pro Tip: After conducting a content audit on a website and identifying what historic content needs to be updated, develop a strategic internal linking plan to link to and from historic content to new content.

#4 – Are you missing out on your SEO potential?

Marketers often forget that there are additional optimization opportunities outside of Google. YouTube, Amazon, and other third-party sites are great places to optimize for in addition to Google. SEO team members should conduct a thorough analysis of where the brand’s audience is spending time online. Google stated in a recent report that “how to” searches have increased by 70% year-over-year. That growth is a great opportunity for marketers to create videos for your audience in another location to maximize visibility.

Besides YouTube, Amazon is another great channel to optimize for ecommerce sites. Adding products to Amazon and optimizing each listing helps put your product in front of your audience besides your website. Focus on getting positive reviews for your listings to help with search visibility. Speaking of reviews, don’t forget about your local listings as another mean of search reach. Optimizing your search listings with positive reviews and local citations to increase local search traffic.

TopRank Marketing Pro Tip: Optimize your current YouTube videos by adding a description, transcript, correct tags, optimizing the title of the video. Also, embed videos to your pages with a transcript to the video right under it and add video schema to the page.

Stop Making the Same SEO Mistakes

These tips only scratch the surface as there are even more common SEO mistakes that brands should for a healthy SEO program. However, if you’re ready to get started start by incorporating these four strategies to achieve the best results for your website. If you need help developing or implementing a Search Engine Optimization program, contact us for a free consultation.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Still Struggling with Your SEO Strategy? Focus on These 4 Best Practices for Improved Results | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Is Bing A Thing? The Answer: It Depends http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/is-bing-a-thing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/11/is-bing-a-thing/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:30:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21475 It’s no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, it owns over 75% of the desktop search engine market share and over 94% of mobile/tablet search engine market share.   And it’s stats like these that have SEO and digital marketing professionals everywhere focusing solely [...]

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is-bing-a-thing

It’s no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, it owns over 75% of the desktop search engine market share and over 94% of mobile/tablet search engine market share.

Desktop Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Desktop Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

 

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share - October 2016

Mobile/Tablet Search Engine Market Share – October 2016

And it’s stats like these that have SEO and digital marketing professionals everywhere focusing solely on Google, when looking to improve organic search visibility. Why focus on optimizing for Bing, or Yahoo, or AOL, when they take up such a small piece of our search pie?

So when we’re asked the question, “Is Bing a Thing?” we’re quick to dismiss the need for optimization focused on Bing’s ranking algorithm; but the truth is, the answer should be “It depends.”

Understanding Bing’s Role in Your Audience’s Search World

The first place to start is your website analytics.

Just yesterday, we saw our client’s Bing traffic hit an all-time high – now accounting for over 5% of the traffic to their site and over 10% of their revenue. What does this tell us? That visitors that find their site through a Bing search are more likely to convert than those on other sources of traffic. In this case, we may want to consider optimizing the website for Bing, where applicable.

What differences in search algorithms do Bing and Google have? According articles from HubSpot and Ignite Visibility, here are a few:

  • Bing favors factually relevant results over socially relevant sites
  • Bing places more weight on only websites with official domain names like .gov or .edu
  • Bing places more emphasis on social media signals
  • Bing still considers keywords used in page title, meta tags, and meta keyword field

What’s important to realize is that every site’s audience is different, and their search preferences are different too. Take a look at your website’s organic search traffic sources over the past 12 months. If you’re seeing that month-over-month, Bing’s piece of the search pie is increasing, then it’s time to consider taking steps to optimize your site to meet Bing’s ranking factors as well as Google’s.

The Future of Bing

In the first quarter of 2016, the comScore released news of Bing’s growing market share. The data showed that as Bing gained a few points of market share, Google lost a few. Sources like SEOChat and SearchEngineJournal theorized on the possible continued growth of Bing this year, with new contracts and acquisitions in the works to improve capabilities and accessibility.

So, as 2016 comes to a close, do these theories hold up? Comment below to let us know if you’ve experienced a notable change in search engine market share in your own analytics.

 

 


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Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/understanding-impact-artificial-intelligence-seo/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/understanding-impact-artificial-intelligence-seo/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:30:54 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20863 Artificial intelligence and machine learning sound like concepts from the future. In reality, it has been used by search engines for a decent amount of time now. Most people have probably heard of Google’s RankBrain by now, but if not, RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system. RankBrain came upon us quickly, and a [...]

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artificial-intelligence-SEO

Artificial intelligence and machine learning sound like concepts from the future. In reality, it has been used by search engines for a decent amount of time now. Most people have probably heard of Google’s RankBrain by now, but if not, RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system. RankBrain came upon us quickly, and a Google representative claims that RankBrain is the third highest ranking factor it uses now.

Artificial intelligence will change, and has been, changing how search marketers should be optimizing websites. It should make us think differently on what to optimize on a website and what experience we are providing our users. In order to optimize our websites, we need to first understand how artificial intelligence is impacting SEO.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Impact SEO?

Artificial intelligence is allowing search engines, like Google, to learn more about search queries rather than just keywords. Google will be able to judge what sites provide the best results based off of user engagement metrics rather than if the page is fully optimized with both on-page and off-page tactics.

Google will also be able to better understand what additional search queries will take place after an initial search, making the process smoother for the users. It will be able to analyze data based off of a search query so that it can show the best results for each user. Artificial intelligence and RankBrain will provide more relevant results based off of non-traditional ranking factors.  

What Can We do as Search Marketers?

As search marketers, we should be excited about Google using artificial intelligence. We have a lot of opportunity to focus on aspects that will provide a better experience for our users than traditional tactics like optimizing the metadata of a page. Of course, those metrics will still hold some relevance to search engines, but we can instead focus on what really matters to users.

We should focus on the following tactics to optimize websites moving forward:

User Engagement on Pages

Google will look more into the engagement metrics on a webpage including: bounce rate, dwell time, average pages per visit, conversion rate, and many other metrics. It will be more important to focus on optimizing the path a user takes once they get on your website. You could even hypothesize that Google may rank a website differently during peak searching hours or certain times based off of the engagement. There are multiple possibilities of engagement metrics that could be used.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR) on SERPs

There has been a good amount of discussion that the CTR on SERPs may impact a rank for websites. REgardless if CTR is a ranking factor or not, we should still optimize for it on SERPs. Search marketers should focus on creating enticing title tags and meta descriptions for each page.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization will always be changing. The trends for certain keywords constantly are fluctuating. Besides that, search engines are getting better at understanding that keywords are related. We need to stop thinking about one keyword and more about what the user really is searching for. Instead, we need to be using long-tail keywords and/or natural language when optimizing our content to match user intent.

Also, we need to know what the next step is after a person conducts a search. People are more savvy online then even a couple years ago. With that in mind, you probably won’t convert most of your first time users, and we should be okay with that. There are multiple touch points in the user’s journey, so we need to have content for all those additional searches. By using artificial intelligence, search engines will be able to have a better understanding of what additional searches take place after a first query is conducted. We need to place ourselves in our user’s shoes to fully understand what they are looking for.

Amplification Rate

Social shares are currently a good way to get more people viewing your content. The people who view your content will then send more data for search engines to analyze when assessing the content. It will be important as search marketers to amplify and promote content within the future. Focus on promoting the top content with amplification tactics including influencer marketing and paid social promotion.

Structured Markup

Another area we can focus on optimizing for artificial intelligence is adding schema markup to the site. This technical SEO tactic is nothing new, but it has become more important. Schema markup tells search engines what the content is actually about. We can help Google to better understand content along with the machine learning algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence is Here

SEO is moving away from general optimization practices and focusing on user engagement data. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be optimizing websites with the traditional tactics, but we need to start thinking about the bigger picture.

At the end of the day, make your website serve the purpose of your customers. Create an experience that will bring them back by creating a fluid user experience and content that is readable. After all, Google wants what is best for the user, not something that is optimized.


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TopRank Marketing’s Online Advertising Predictions for 2016 http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/12/paid-search-2016/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/12/paid-search-2016/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 11:30:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19646 As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to begin thinking about what is on the digital marketing horizon in the coming year. Marketers with budgets large and small are often unsure of which investments will reap the biggest benefits. To help inform you of the options available, we’ll be publishing a series of prediction [...]

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2016-Online-Advertising-Predictions

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to begin thinking about what is on the digital marketing horizon in the coming year. Marketers with budgets large and small are often unsure of which investments will reap the biggest benefits.

To help inform you of the options available, we’ll be publishing a series of prediction posts for different areas of digital marketing. Starting off the series is this post, stock full of paid advertising predictions for the coming year. Below you’ll find insight into some of the key topics and trends that are building steam at TopRank Marketing and will only continue to increase in 2016.

Social Advertising

Worldwide, social media advertising spend is projected to reach $29.9 billion in 2016, that’s a 69% increase since 2014. While the final numbers for 2015 hasn’t been calculated yet, social commerce was projected to drive $30 billion in revenue in 2015, a 50% increase over 2014.

Social media advertising has many benefits for B2B and B2C advertisers alike. We can all expect to see more opportunities surrounding ad formats across all platforms in 2016. From Snapchat’s Two Cent Video Ads, Pinterest’s Motion-Based Ads, Twitter’s Promoted Moments and Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads, every platform is in a mad dash to out-monetize and the race has only begun.

This means more opportunities, which can often lead to confusion. One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is trying to figure out which social advertising opportunity will be the best fit for their business. Budget will still be a major factor in determining which social platform makes the most sense. Social media sites like Snapchat are extremely popular for advertising, but the entry fee is amazingly high. As competition heats up for advertising dollars, I expect to see some of the cost barriers to some of the “It” social properties start to fall and become more accessible.

While social media as a sales channel is increasing, we’re also seeing it similar growth from a lead generation and nurturing standpoint. We’ve had on-going amplification programs running for the past two years on several channels, primarily LinkedIn and performance keeps getting improving. If you have news, paid social is the best bull horn for your dollars.

Video Advertising

It is estimated that 74% of internet traffic in 2017 will be video. In 2016, companies should begin planning on increasing video advertising whether they’re looking at promoting videos via native advertising on Instagram or Vine, or in-stream/in-display video ads on YouTube. We’ve already started to see budgets shifting from standard search to video based advertising for several clients and it’s a trend that is only going to keep growing.

Video can be a hard nut to crack for marketers. Not all videos are alike and creating a video, especially for B2B companies can create some unique challenges. Video is a relatively young channel and so is the audience. We’ve had many clients produce videos and come to us for amplification thinking this would be great fit for YouTube but are disappointed when their in-search numbers are low. For B2B advertisers it’s time to start looking at layering in big data.

Micro-Level Advertising

Account or persona-based marketing creates for a better level of targeting. All major platforms have increased their targeting options this year which is fantastic. But the real shift I’m seeing is clients starting to embrace Demind-Side Platform (DSP) and automation. From Native DSPs like Taboola to old standbys like Rocket Fuel and emerging Account-Based Marketing (ABM) platforms like Terminus and Marketo’s new offering around ABM are making big waves but micro targeting needs micro content for it to successful.

Especially for B2B’s we’ll begin to see more advertising dollars invested in big-data and DSP’s that deliver content to specific personas. However, without a solid content marketing strategy and content execution, these are dollars wasted.)

Expect to spend more money in 2016 for increased targeting and automation. But always make sure that you have the content to make the media expenditure worth your while.

Keywords & Integration

Every so often I hear or read someone saying that keywords are dead. However, AdWords has been beefing up their dynamic search capabilities and if it’s on their radar, others will be following shortly.

With better indexing and new sub-categories, dynamic search is become less of a guessing game more predictable. Dynamic search requires a technically, well structured website and high quality content.

All marketers should have an eye on integration but it appears as though Google is going to start forcing our hand. With Google controlling 65% of the search share, now is the time to ensure that you are deploying an integrated digital marketing strategy.

What Are Your Paid Advertising Predictions For 2016?

Based on our predictions, social and video advertising, targeting and an integrated strategy will be essential parts of a successful paid advertising strategy in 2016. If you need help creating a successful paid strategy for 2016, contact us for more information.

What trends are you most excited to explore in the coming year?

Header image via Shutterstock


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SEO Storm or Light Shower? Google’s Panda 4.0 Update http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/google-panda-4/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/google-panda-4/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 22:40:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16860 The thunder clap of Google’s Matt Cutts’s Twitter post could be heard across the web this week with the announcement of the search engine’s latest update, Panda 4.0. Of course the type of Panda I’m talking about isn’t a cute bear from China. It’s the name of an algorithm used by Google to filter out low quality [...]

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Google Panda 4.0

The thunder clap of Google’s Matt Cutts’s Twitter post could be heard across the web this week with the announcement of the search engine’s latest update, Panda 4.0.

Of course the type of Panda I’m talking about isn’t a cute bear from China. It’s the name of an algorithm used by Google to filter out low quality content from search results.

The first Panda update in Feb, 2011 was fairly aggressive, affecting about 11% of queries on Google and millions of searchers. Panda also had an impact on more than a few website owners who fell from the search results like hail from the sky.

Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable reports that this most recent Panda update is expected to affect 7.5% of English search queries and with 12.5 billion searches per month on Google, that could be a pretty big storm for the SEO world.

For the most part, the types of content being washed away  in the Panda rain represent the low end of the quality spectrum: thin content without much substance, duplicate content and spammy content.

A Softer, Gentler Panda?  Unfortunately, many small businesses were caught up in those earlier updates, but Google has been rolling out a number of refinements to Panda since, to “soften” things up a bit. That is how Panda 4.0 has been characterized on several of the Search Engine Marketing websites covering the space. Not only did Google roll out this major update in it’s efforts to better filter high and low quality sites, but it’s now positioned to continue softening up Panda where needed.

Panda Lightning Strikes: Whether Panda 4.0 was actually a softener or not is up for debate amongst sites like ask.com, ebay.com and examiner.com which were called out by SEO software company SearchMetrics in it’s Winners and Losers List for Google USA. eBay in particular has felt the pain of Panda and Dr. Pete gave a very thorough analysis of that situation over on Moz.

And the Winner Is…  Essentially, the analysis is that this iteration of Panda affected sites both positively and negatively. “Winners” from the Panda 4.0 update include: glassdoor.com, buzzfeed.com and consumer affairs.com. Search Engine Watch also reports that some site owners experienced a significant jump in traffic after the update, so it appears that Panda 4.0 isn’t all bad news for site owners.

Panda Overhaul: As a means to filter out low quality content sites from search results, Panda updates have functioned as rolling data refreshes, but Search Engine Land says Panda 4.0 was significant – an update to the algorithm itself.

The Bottom Line With Panda for Digital Marketers: I think the takeaway here is that while many marketers tightened up their search engine optimization efforts, there’s still plenty of “baby getting tossed out with the bath water” when Google makes significant updates (Panda and Penguin). Every website owner and marketer should be watching their web analytics closely to track changes in organic referred traffic.

Don’t Forget Your SEO Umbrella:  Even if a company thinks their content holds up to the Panda quality filter, it’s important to have a complete audit of all past content as well. It’s not enough to make a commitment to creating robust content that’s easy to find and share in the future, but to determine if any historical content has now become a liability.

If you’re not sure how to manage content and links for maximum SEO benefit and minimum Google penalty, there’s a lot of advice on the topic and plenty of consultants willing to audit and manage it (including TopRank Marketing).

Content Isn’t the Only Way to Get Wet:  Along with the content on your website, inbound and internal links should also be managed.  Companies may be entirely focused on PR related efforts for link acquisition from the most credible of editorial sources, but the totality of a company’s link profile must also be maintained. It’s not above competitors to send nasty links your way in an effort to pull your competitive advantage away. Some of the link sources put in place years ago could not become a liability with Google Penguin – of which another update is imminent.

No Matter How White Hat, Prim and Proper Your SEO Raincoat Is, it’s important to monitor, manage and optimize the search performance of your search marketing assets on an ongoing basis. Just because SEO has changed significantly, doesn’t mean search engines have become static. There’s nothing static about search engines. The continuous change and updates to what’s allowable means companies that expect to attract new business and be easy to find for current customers, will need to maintain search engine readiness.

No site is truly immune to Google’s decisions and that is why no business should have all it’s online marketing eggs in the Google basket.

Has your site been affected by Google’s Panda 4.0 update? Have you seen a sudden drop in organic search traffic form Google in the past week?

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What Google Hummingbird Really Means and What Marketers Can Do About It http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/02/hummingbird-update/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/02/hummingbird-update/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 17:14:41 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16445 Note from Lee: You know the phrase, kill two birds with one stone? That’s what we’re doing with this post format and the topic of Hummingbird.  Our team at TopRank is known for liveblogging conferences, but this co-created blog format is something new. At the same time, we’re covering a topic (Google Hummingbird) and search [...]

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Google Hummingbird

Note from Lee: You know the phrase, kill two birds with one stone? That’s what we’re doing with this post format and the topic of Hummingbird.  Our team at TopRank is known for liveblogging conferences, but this co-created blog format is something new. At the same time, we’re covering a topic (Google Hummingbird) and search + social media that I think warrants some clarity and practical advice. In this post, you’ll see insights our team members took from the SMBMSP event followed by “TopRank Tips” from Eliza and myself.

In the digital marketing world, change is inevitable. At some point in life we are all forced to adapt, change paths, learn new skills or face something we definitely weren’t expecting.

As marketers with strong search marketing skills, adapting to change is something we do all the time at TopRank Online Marketing. With Google’s 665 algorithm updates in 2012 alone, we have to!

Along with the changes in other aspects of professional life, we sometimes get hung up on distractions or efforts to make something more important or scary than it is. The problem is, those distractions can be costly. But sometimes, these changes in the industry really are worth your time and attention. The trick is to figure out what to pay attention to and what to ignore as noise.  A lot of the commentary on Google’s Hummingbird update fits this situation perfectly

At a recent MSP Social Media Breakfast, Google’s Hummingbird update (plus Panda and Penguin) were covered by local search marketing pros Josh Bratten and Jeff Sauer. They shared their perspectives into what Google’s curiously named updates mean and how social media plays into SEO.

As holistic online marketers that consider all means of inbound and organic marketing, our team paid close attention to the insights shared by Josh and Jeff on the trend towards natural language search, the impact of social media on search and other changes coming up. Here’s a roundup of insights shared and follow up tips from the TopRank Marketing team members in attendance:

Brooke Furry

Brooke Furry – @writerbrooke

Insight:  Google’s hundreds of algorithmic updates over the years have focused on filtering out low quality content, warding off black hat SEO, and improving overall search experience for users. So although the recent Hummingbird update is a big deal, it’s a logical progression of Google’s goals: to give users valuable, contextually relevant answers.

TopRank Tip:   When it comes to adapting your online marketing in reaction to Google algorithm changes, don’t focus as much on the update itself, but focus on what the update is trying to achieve. Hummingbird has a focus on queries formed as questions since that is the trend in user behavior.  Understand your own customers’ behavior when it comes to their use of search and adapt your content and optimization accordingly. Be strategic in how you develop processes to provide content and conversations that achieve customer goals, not Google’s, as your top priority.

Insight:  Through Hummingbird’s sophistication of understanding related concepts, Google strives to anticipate not only your next search, but searches in the future that as typical consumer journeys. This is a huge evolution in search! Going forward, if you want to succeed in search, it will be helpful to map personas, concepts, and entities to discover “what is someone going to ask next?” because Google wants to stay one step ahead.

TopRank Tip:  Think about what your customers are searching for, but also think about understanding why.  Think of the questions they’re trying to answer with search prior to landing on your page, and how you can provide content that makes your site the next logical place to go.

Insight:  Today, brands have no excuse to be flimsy or thin with content online. If your company wants to succeed in today’s digital world, you have to succeed overall – build a valuable brand on and offline. With SEO, it doesn’t make sense to focus on finding holes or working the system, because Google’s closing those opportunities.

TopRank Tip:   Be dedicated to building your brand’s online presence. Don’t be the company that doesn’t respond on Twitter, hasn’t blogged since 2012 and auto-posts the same curated news to Facebook and LinkedIn . Become the best answer for your customers, community and the media for the things they care about and that your brand wants to be known for. Implementing this kind of plan requires robust content that will benefit customers as well as search engines.

Emily Bachellor

Emily Bachellor – @EmilyBacheller

Insight:  Google is moving away from keywords and putting more emphasis on context. This means that companies not only need to create a strong brand, but they must also publish content that reflects their brand values and speaks to the interests of their customers.

TopRank Tip:   Understand why your customers are searching using certain keywords and where they may be during the sales cycle. Find out what matters to them, and how their values sync up with the values your brand is promoting. Then, use that understanding of your customers to develop your content strategy.

Insight:  Since Google is likely taking reviews and social sentiment into account when determining the positioning of content, be sure that you’re keeping your customers happy and responding to their concerns as quickly as possible. Their negative online reviews and comments can affect how your brand is found (or not) as well as your sales.

TopRank Tip:  Make sure you have a social team ready to respond to negative, and positive experiences. A negative experience can either become the context for future customers, or be leveraged as an opportunity to demonstrate your exceptional service! We recommend the latter. The age of customer service as marketing is here, don’t miss out on a prime opportunity to keep customers and search engines happy.

Insight:  Google wants to know more about the context of your brand. This means that you need to share information about your location(s), specialties and what your company is authoritative for.

TopRank Tip:   As common sense as it seems, make sure all relevant information about your brand is accessible online. Make your location and phone number easy to find and make sure your site is represented on local listing opportunities. Also, communicate the specific areas of focus for your company on the web site, blog, social networks and in the media. Work to attract industry recognition for that specialization from other authoritative sources. How do you want to be known? Decide and then make it incredibly easy for your target audience, the industry and search engines to agree – you are the best answer for your specialty.

Ben Brausen

Ben Brausen – @BenBrausen

Insight:  While Google’s Matt Cutts recently explained that Google doesn’t rank pages from social media sites differently as they can’t guarantee access to this information, we still have to be aware of the other signals we send surrounding social.  Signals pointing towards social from sites that Google can crawl will still indicate relevant content.  If people are linking to social posts such as breaking news, humorous, or a great story, those signals will still be picked up and weighed by search.

TopRank Tip:  While Google says Twitter and Facebook are not used for rankings, Google Plus was not mentioned in that disclaimer. Whatever signals your brand can provide amongst social networks to support your company’s areas of expertise can indirectly affect engagement. Social discovery of content and ideas can drive search. Brand social content off your website can rank in search.  Focus on social for engagement and be aware of the potential impact for search, but don’t let search be the sole driver for your social media activities.

Insight:  The changes made in Hummingbird mean that along with the content of a page, other signals like reviews, Google+ chatter, locational relevance and much more matter too.

TopRank Tip:   The best approach to Google on a go forward is to be a marketer that optimizes search marketing performance, not optimizing just for search engines. Be customer focused in content marketing, social networking and marketing, online publicity and promotions. By looking at 360 degrees of how your brand is known amongst a target audience that is actively looking for solutions, you align all the necessary tactics to support being the best answer for customers and for Google.

Insight:  Google now takes things like previous searches and location into account when users are searching.  You should too.  Think: What other topics have customers been searching for when they’re looking for the solutions your company offers?  Where are they (geographically) when they’re looking for your content?

TopRank Tip:   Understand how your product or service fulfills your customer’s needs, and what else they’ll search for while making their decision. Use analytics to know what devices they’re using, and if they tend to search from larger cities or rural areas. Then tailor your content to appeal to the behaviors and preferences of those data points.

Nick Ehrenberg

Nick Ehrenberg – @NickEhrenberg

Insight:  Schema is even more important in Hummingbird, and article authorship is one of the strongest signals for the new search algorithm. Using the rel=author tag to link a Google+ profile to a blog post makes that listing stand out in SERPs.

TopRank Tip:   Encourage others in your company (and yourself) to build out Google+ profiles—complete with biographic information, avatars, cover photos, and regular posting—then link them to the content you publish on the web. Encourage off-site authorship amongst key thought leaders and subject matter experts within your company. Also encourage content sharing and engagement within Google Plus.

Insight:  Competitive research involves a thorough analysis of content strengths and weaknesses. If their content is already epic, that means your content must be just a little more epic. If there are gaps, than the opportunities are (slightly) easier.

TopRank Tip:   Look into things like social shares, keywords driving traffic, and the type of content your competitors are creating. Although we never recommend mimicking, it’s important to understand the arena in which you’re playing. Then you’ll know what it takes to stand out.

Michael Bak

Michael Bak – @Bak57006

Insight:  While the bulk of Hummingbirds algorithm is moving towards content and a global view, it has no affect on AdWords which will function per usual.

TopRank Tip:   Use AdWords for a consistent message, and to help build traffic to your site in addition to focusing on the changes in search.

Insight:  A resounding theme in the digital marketing space lately has been, “Answer their questions” and being a voice of authority in your industry. This presents an interesting opportunity for Landing Page testing, shifting from BUY to need fulfillment . . . or soft sell.

TopRank Tip:   Test different versions of landing pages, and add a strategic layer to their design, content, and how you link to them. Then monitor your analytics closely to determine what’s working and what isn’t. It’s important to remember to constantly evolve and innovate.

Insight:  As individual keywords become less of a focus for organic search with Hummingbird, it is important to start utilizing Content Groups and tracking performance to those groups.

TopRank Tip:   Instead of organizing content by search phrase, think of the actual questions customers have about the problem they need solved. Formulate clusters of questions according to topic (keyword phrase) and use as inspiration for content.

Eliza Steely

Eliza Steely – @elizalynnsteely

Insight:  Google is constantly evolving and updating so we can get more relevant information, more often in more ways. The more you search, the more personalized your results can and will become.

TopRank Tip:  Focus on what the updates are trying to achieve. It’s impossible to keep up with 500+ changes that aren’t always explicitly obvious. Strive to create content that helps your audience in ways they’re likely to find it.

Insight:  Assisted conversions (which show when a person comes to your site, leaves, then comes back and converts) are great to track. They can help indicate the success of your social messaging and other tactics.

TopRank Tip:   Make sure you’re monitoring things other than just pageviews and bounce rates. Build a fundamental understanding of why people are coming to your site from Twitter and not from Facebook, or how certain keywords are driving traffic. Then you’ll be able to begin tailoring messaging based on channel, location, and device in ways that are more relevant and likely to succeed.

The Bottom Line on Google Hummingbird and How Social Media Affects SEO:

It appears that the underlying theme of Google updates has been to create more relevant search results that are able to provide the answers searches are looking for. Google is essentially, an “answer engine” and literally handles 1 billion questions per day. How ironic is it that the “answering questions” approach is exactly what drives our content marketing efforts at TopRank!

The mechanics of understanding context for these questions means Google is increasingly leveraging things like location, device, social presence, and messaging to filter out things we are likely to bypass and prioritize content we are likely to trust, take into account, and act on.

As our team discussed the topics shared at the Social Media Breakfast, we pondered one significant question: If Google personalizes every search experience at the individual level, how can you implement search engine optimization for an infinite number of possibilities?

The answer is simple: You don’t.

Instead of getting hung up on optimizing for Google, maybe companies (and especially SEOs) could start thinking about optimizing for customers and context first. Be the best answer for your customers by providing the information they want, in the way they prefer. Get to know your customers and how the find, consume and react to content. Then optimize the performance of that content in search and wherever the customer might look for it on the web.

This is want good marketers do. They adapt and they prioritize what’s important for their business and their customers. That way, when Google rolls out the “Do Do Bird” update, it really won’t matter as much because your marketing is already focused on customers first.

Image source: Shutterstock


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The What, How and Why of Schema for Bloggers #NMX http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/schema-for-bloggers/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/01/schema-for-bloggers/#comments Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:00:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16245 I use Google more times a day than I should ever admit. I look for restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses around me. I use it for directions, looking up people or places, and occasionally for spelling if I just can’t seem to get that word right. My point is: I expect Google to have [...]

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Mitch Canter #NMXI use Google more times a day than I should ever admit. I look for restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses around me. I use it for directions, looking up people or places, and occasionally for spelling if I just can’t seem to get that word right. My point is: I expect Google to have the information I want and present it in a way that I can consume at a glance or on-the-go.

Google must think there are others like me because the way they display their results is constantly and dynamically changing to provide more relevant, meaningful information in SERPs. Things like carousels for local results, image and video results, and authorship markup are helping searches find what they wanted, even if they didn’t know it.

Schema.org markup can be implemented on websites to help search engines like Google gain a stronger understanding of a page’s content, and create those rich snippets we finicky and busy searchers find so useful.

Schema can also be leveraged in the blogging arena. However, it can be hard to know how to explain schema, what types there are, and how to implement. Throw Google+ into the mix and you’re likely to get a tad overwhelmed. Mitch Canter, a veteran front-end developer and WordPress programmer, explained it all during his NMX session.

Why Structured Data is Important

As content creators we are always told we have to write for humans and robots—those crawlers and analytics machines that read and rank our site. We strive to create a balance between the two, but more often than not our content is geared more towards one than the other.

The problem is: search engines aren’t humans—they’re not thinking, they’re processing. As a result, sometimes they can get confused. They might even index your content for something you never even intended it to. That brings your website traffic that has no value.

In order to solve that conundrum you have two options:

  1. Optimize. But the overkill kind that involves keyword stuffing. Robots used to like this, but humans become alienated and quit reading.
  2. Structure. Structuring is not just how your content is written, it’s in the actual development process and code and a few other elements that help search engines know what the page is about without alienating readers.

What is Schema?

There are several textbook definitions of schema that are mostly very technical and hard to understand. Canter boils it down to: taking human-readable content and taking out the inference layer for the search engines so all they have to do is process the information. They don’t have to guess, they can just look and know what’s going on.

Essentially, schema takes human-readable content and changes it into search-engine readable content using microdata. (Microdata is an HTML5 specification that allows machine-readable data to be embedded in HTML documents).

How is Schema Implemented?

1). Define the format. This involves some coding which Canter says, “A lot of people look at like guys look at shoe shopping.” Coding can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around, but it’s not as overwhelming as you think. You’ll have to insert a few things into the code on your page:

  • itemscope: this tells the search engines/robots that this group is an item. An item, for all intents and purposes, is a collection of all the data we want to use. This element of code will be added to the HTML tag that encloses information about the item.
  • itemtype: you’ve indicated that your page has an item with the itemscope code, but now you have to specify what kind of an item it is. You can do so by using the itemtype attribute directly after the itemscope.

2). Assign properties. First you’ll have to define some of the properties you’ll want to name. Think of a movie for example: there are actors, directors, reviews, ratings and more. All of those things show up differently in search, so it’s important to distinguish what kind of content you have. You’ll be using itemprops—an attribute that labels the properties of the content—throughout. A few of the elements you can insert itemprops for include:

  • Permalink to the Title: this indicates where other people will go to view the blog post. It’s the URL, but we’re telling Google this is where people are going to go to see this content.
  • Author Information: you want to define the author by linking to their Google+ profile. This will tell Google who wrote the content, and give your authors some credibility and recognition in search.
  • Date Published: this lets Google knows when your content was published.
  • Keywords: this can be your categories or your tags, depending on which you use most to indicate what the content is mainly about.

What are the Types of Schema?
There are several different kinds of schema that you can implement depending on what kind of content you’re creating. Canter covered several during his session and clarified a few things that fall in each category:

  • Article: things like news articles or investigative reports fall under this category. Blog posts can fit in here, but there is a specific blog post schema that has come out.
  • Review: a review of things like restaurants, movies, stores, books etc.
  • Event: an event happening at a certain time in a certain location.
  • Person: a person (living dead, undead or fictional) – a definition we all found funny.
  • Embeddable Objects: video, audio, images or anything else that is non-text.
  • Creative: books, movies, recipes or other creative works.
  • Product: anything you are selling or offering. You can break it down to SKU, weight, width, and several other aspects of tangible products.

These can be nested—so you can have a review inside a blog post, or a person inside an event. They also happen to be program agnostic making the possibilities endless!

Is There a Plugin for Schema?
There are a few schema plugins that you can install on your site or blog to help out with some of these technicalities. Schema Creator was mentioned by an audience member. However, if you use a plugin you are constrained to only what the plug in can do, so it does have the potential to limit the possibilities.

Canter offers some advice from a past math teacher, “Learn to do it by hand, then use the technology.”

Why Bother with Google+?
You worked really hard to create all of this content, and implement your schema. So why should you bother with Google+? Among other reasons, you can claim your Google Authorship which helps let Google know you own that content, and make a two-way connection between content, your Google+ profile, and your website.

In addition, you get a Rich-Text Snippet. Things like your avatar will appear next to your authored content in SERPs.

How to Set Up Authorship

  1. Verify your email
  2. Link to your Google+ profile to your website
  3. Link your website to your Google+ profile: this helps create the two-way connection between your profile and your website

Schema is a very technical concept and is new enough that not everyone has heard of it and only a handful have actually implemented it. It allows us to do what we do best—writing content that our human readers can infer things from and think critically on, and still dumbs it down for the search engines. Schema lets you have the best of both worlds without having to keyword stuff.


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What You Need to Know about Enhanced Adwords Campaigns http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/adwords-enhanced-campaign-info/ Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:14:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15978 If there’s one thing I’ve heard non-stop lately it’s that digital marketing is becoming more customized and tailored to the wants and needs of consumers. Those creepy Eye See You Mannequins, facial monitoring at gas stations, and those social ads that somehow know that I was shopping for a watch yesterday are all proof that [...]

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Enhanced Adwords Campaigns Session at #SESCHIIf there’s one thing I’ve heard non-stop lately it’s that digital marketing is becoming more customized and tailored to the wants and needs of consumers. Those creepy Eye See You Mannequins, facial monitoring at gas stations, and those social ads that somehow know that I was shopping for a watch yesterday are all proof that brands are able to cater their advertisements to appeal to something we’re actually going to be motivated to buy.

This has created a unique opportunity for marketers: enhanced Google AdWords campaigns which were launched on July 22nd of this year.

In their SES Chicago session, Michael Griffin and Lisa Raehsler reviewed what those campaigns are and how to design, segment, and optimize one. Here are some of the key takeaways from their session:

User Habits Have Changed

A lot of the sessions at SES have been talking about the fact we like to multitask on several devices. Searchers shift between mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, desktops, and laptops simultaneously. So marketers have to stop thinking of things in a channel-centric way, and start thinking (and creating content and design) in terms of all devices. It is also important to become much more strategic in targeting and ad campaigns to help attract and engage multidevice users.

Marketers Need a New Mindset

Search is no longer all about keywords. It’s important to shift your mindset to knowing your customer deeply and leveraging the tools Google gives you to appeal to those customers. The days of mass creation are over–we’re transitioning into a time when customization, personalization, and relevance will make or break the success of your content. Leveraging this data can help you provide the right message to the right people at the right time.

Calculate Bid Modifiers

There is data out there to help you understand your customers at the zip code level, the city level and the state level to help you maximize the impact of your enhanced ad campaign.  Bid modifiers are a great way to tailor your campaign to reach the people who it is most relevant to, and who will likely click on your ads. However, like most things, there is some debate over how to calculate the bid modifiers for an AdWords campaign. The formula the presenters recommend is: [(Revenue per click for a segment divided by revenue per click of the whole) minus 1] * 100.

Use Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

This new feature allows you to create different audiences based on the value you think they might have. You can bid on those people in Google search results differently helping customize your ads. Segmenting on granular level has proven to bring the best results when leveraging this new capability. This deeper level of segmentation will allow you to guide those searchers to where you want them to go on your site, and help make those landing destinations more relevant.

This works well for eCommerce sites by adding value to the items in a shopper’s cart and targeting based on the value of the total items in their cart. The only limitation to this capability is that 1,000 people have to be in a segment for you to bid on it.

Mobilize Your Campaigns

Design ads that are mobile preferred. This will require specific imagery and a tailored call to action that’s easy for mobile users to complete and that assures them it really is ok to click. With the impressive surge in mobile usage, it is important to convey your messages to the mobile users that are visiting your site.

Follow an Action Plan for Capturing Opportunity

When faced with an opportunity, it’s important to not only capture it but to bring it full circle to enhance mobile experiences. Raehsler provided the following action plan for helping brands do so:

  • Increase bid modifier for mobile to increase visibility
  • Increase bid modifier on top states
  • Create ad copy to mobile + location

Use Data to Craft Mobile Adjustments, Targeting and Experience

There is an abundance of data in anything related to Google. Google Analytics can help you see whether or not people are engaged with what you’re showing them based off of how much time they’re spending on your site, how many pages they look at etc. In AdWords you can break down your insights by gender and age. Seeing who is more likely to visit your site can help you target a more engaged user.

Don’t Limit Yourself to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns only

Did you know Bing had enhanced campaigns? Yeah I didn’t either, but they do. They also allow deeper segmentation and more filtering. Don’t limit yourself to using only Google enhanced campaigns, there’s no reason you can’t use both.

Get to Know Bid Strategies

There are 5 bid strategies when it comes to enhanced AdWords campaigns. The last two in the list below are the newest, and most impressive, of the strategies.

  1. Maximize Clicks: this is a flexible version of the Automatic CPC bidding strategy
  2. CPA Bidding: this is a flexible version of Conversion Optimizer used in the target CPA (average CPA) capacity
  3. Enhanced CPC: this is a flexible version of the existing enhanced CPC capability
  4. Search Page Location: AdWords will increase/decrease bids to target a top-of-page or fist page position with ads. This bid strategy works with Search Network only and doesn’t specify a position on the page (so you can’t choose to be in the second, third, fourth position on the page etc.)
  5. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): AdWords predicts future conversions and values based on conversion values advertisers set up. Used for Search Network only or the Search Display Networks, Adwords will try to reach the ROAS targets across all keywords, ad groups, and campaigns.

Use PPC/display results to further design & author

Ad campaigns aren’t a one-and-done type deal. Use consumer reactions and the results you see through analytics to tweak, redesign, and rewrite your content to continuously appeal to audiences and maintain relevance.


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Are Bad Directions Leaving Web Visitors Stranded? Optimize For Outcomes to Improve Experience & Conversions http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/04/bad-directions-leaving-visitors-stranded/ Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:18:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13925 At some point, most of us have been lost. We know our ultimate destination, but either through a wrong turn or poor directions we find ourselves in the wrong place and likely very frustrated. Without landing page optimization, your visitors may have this same lost feeling when they arrive on your website. Whether the content [...]

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At some point, most of us have been lost. We know our ultimate destination, but either through a wrong turn or poor directions we find ourselves in the wrong place and likely very frustrated.

Without landing page optimization, your visitors may have this same lost feeling when they arrive on your website. Whether the content was written 10 days or 10 months ago, it’s easy to make assumptions about your website visitors and assume the directions (read: content and calls to action) you are providing make sense.

If anyone has ever given you directions based on landmarks (turn right at the gas station) you can understand this feeling. And ultimately you are unsure and have questions such as: what gas station, what if there is more than 1 and good grief why didn’t you just give me the street name?

As the Membership Director of MnSearch, I had the chance to attend a “Search Snippets” event on the importance of creating better directions for web visitors in search of solutions.

During that presentation we heard from 3 different speakers, each covering a different perspective on optimizing for the customer journey starting with an overview of Conversion Rate Optimization from Aaron Weiche (@AaronWeiche).

4 Steps To Get Started

Step 1  – Know Where You Are
Just like when you are lost, it’s best to pull over and figure out where you are. This is the wrong time to make assumptions, as you may end up further off course.

Before you implement any edits or changes, measure your current results from the page in question. Maybe the situation isn’t as bad as you perceive it to be.

Step 2 – Optimize The Funnel
Existing funnels can be optimized at every step. Start first by identifying which areas of the funnel are least effective.

As you look at optimizing your funnel, follow a structured approach. The approach Aaron recommended to the audience was READY:

  • Relevant
  • Engaging
  • Authoritative
  • Directional
  • Yield Optimal Results

Step 3 – Know Your Recipe
Any good chef knows that you only change one ingredient at time, otherwise you don’t know what element made the dish more (or less) tasty.

It can be tempting to change multiple elements on a landing page, especially if you are misguided by assumptions about the page (see step 1).

To truly be effective, you have to remain disciplined and only test one page element at a time.

Step 4  – Matrix Your Factors    

Map out the types of factors you may want to adjust and what they accomplish. Start with the following, and make sure you have items in each category:

  • Benefits
  • Features
  • Emotion
  • Value

 Step 5 – Test & Maximize
Starting with a clear hypotheses, then you can A/B test for a champion.

To wrap up, Aaron overviewed the need to use Cohort Charts so you can start to see how data is related and what optimizations are having impact and pursue those items that are making a positive impact.

The Past, Present & Future of SEO Landing Pages

Next in the series of presenters was James Svoboda (@Realicity). He took the audience through the past, present and future of SEO landing pages.  What lessons were learned in the past?

Past Lesson #1 – Learn that every page is a landing page, it’s not just about the home page.

Since every page is an entry point to the site, it’s also important to understand that every page will have an entry point (such as search or social) and an exit point (to another page or leaving the site).

Past Lesson #2 – Analyze data to be informed and make recommendations.

Recommendations have been largely based on how visitors are behaving on the site. There was also a rise in the use of tools as more became available to track a variety of data. Think heatmaps, for example.

Past Lesson#3 – Continually seek information.

You’re reading this blog, so you’ve got this one covered. 🙂

Present Lessons Learned

Lessons we are learning in the present include identifying main conversion points on your site such as:

  • Header
  • Side bar (adjacent to content)
  • In-content conversions (within the content – suggestion to the reader)
  • Footer – (your last resort!)

As you outline the conversion points on the page, be sure to find the fold. Or the point where most visitors will have to scroll to see more information.  Once you understand the elements you have on the page, the next step is to build trust through content and visuals.

Some ways to build trust include associations, BBB logos, customer testimonials etc. The kind you use will depend on the type of business (B2B vs B2C), but don’t shy away from simple statements of credibility. Something like a 25th, 50th or 100th anniversary can instill confidence for the visitor.

The next consideration CROs are currently integrating are social elements. If search is going to be social, then landing pages need social elements both for the visitor and the search engine to recognize the authority of the page.  Finally, current landing page optimization efforts are focused on tracking, testing and analyzing to spot patterns.

Test and analyze SEO results by segmenting analytics data. If you need to get started, here are ways to do so  by analyzing organic traffic:

  • keywords
  • locations
  • devices
  • bounces
  • steps in visitor flow charts
  • conversion type (leads, sales)

Future Lessons

James wrapped up by challenging the user to think of what the future holds for landing pages. One prediction he shared was to think of one url as your ultimate landing page going forward. As social signals influence search, imagine if all of the collective search and social equity was captured among a handful of pages where you invest the most time (vs 100’s of pages with less equity and therefore little to no visibility).

Use Psychology to Boost CRO Results

The final presenter was Josh Braaten (@JLBraaten) of Rasmussen College. He gave the audience a primer on using Psychology to boost CRO results.

Josh started by reminding the audience that when it comes to make decisions emotion beats logic. And the best website visits are emotional experiences, not rational encounters.

As noted in the book Brainfluence by Roger Dooley, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31 vs 16%) as those that were rationale.  Additionally, campaigns that were purely emotional still did better than those that mixed emotional and rationale (31% vs 26%)

In order to achieve higher conversion levels we need to create hypotheses using psychological factors, then develop testing plans.

When considering conversion rate psychology, there are two factors:

  1. Can do – factors that influences a visitors’ ability to complete a task
  2. Will do – factors that influence a visitor’s willingness to complete a task

To get started, ask yourself what is preventing the visitor from taking action and what will make them want to take action?

What I find most interesting about this topic is the reminder that regardless of the company, product or service; at the end of the day we are still people communicating to people – if even through mechanisms that oftentimes remove the face-to-face interaction.

If we were to think about customer needs first and aligned our copy and calls to action to their need to learn and accomplish a goal, would our landing pages be different? I think the answer is Yes.  🙂

 


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Google Analytics Guide: 4 Easy Tips For Getting Started With Analytics & Website Goal Setting http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/10/google-analytics-guide/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/10/google-analytics-guide/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 11:10:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=14257 So, you’ve taken the important step of setting up a Google Analytics on your company’s website.  Implementing Google Analytics is an essential part of gaining insight for improving the customer experience, and improving profitability for your organization.  As they say, what gets measured gets managed. However, when you log in, you are met with a [...]

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So, you’ve taken the important step of setting up a Google Analytics on your company’s website.  Implementing Google Analytics is an essential part of gaining insight for improving the customer experience, and improving profitability for your organization.  As they say, what gets measured gets managed.

However, when you log in, you are met with a sea of data covering nearly every conceivable web metric, a lot of them which you’ve never even heard of.  You may be able to find the information you want, but it most likely involves a lot more time and frustration than it needs to.

The wealth of data available in Google Analytics can be a double edged sword.  On one hand it’s great to have access to the depth of information that is available, but the fact is that a lot of that data is simply not relevant to most businesses, and in fact complicates the analytics process by hiding the most important metrics.  Worst of all this data can be misinterpreted, which can result in drawing incorrect conclusions.

The four tips below will help you get the most out of your analytics program by cutting through the clutter, focusing on the metrics that matter, and saving you tons of time!

*Specific implementation instructions are in reference to Google Analytics, but the tips below are relevant to all analytics programs.

Filter Irrelevant Traffic

Make sure you are getting the most accurate data you can by filtering out as much irrelevant traffic as possible.  In order to get an accurate baseline, it’s a good idea to set up filters as soon as possible.

Some good filters to start with are:

  • Traffic from your company’s internal IP addresses.
  • Remote employee IP addresses.
  • External consultants or venders, such as outsourced web development or marketing teams.
  • Your home IP address if you plan on checking your website from home.

Keep in mind that filtered data cannot be recovered retroactively, so be careful.  A good safeguard is to set up two profiles and apply filters to only one of them. That way you can recover any lost data if you make a mistake.

Set Up Goal Tracking

Goal setting is a very important part of planning your website. Whether your website’s goals are to sell products, answer customer service inquiries, capture leads, or get visitors to view a certain number of pages, the goals for your website should reflect your overall business goals. Measuring your site’s performance in regards to goal completions is the most important application of web analytics, so it’s essential that you setup goals as early as possible.

Your website’s specific goals will probably vary, but the following five are a good place to start:

  • Sales
  • Feed subscriptions
  • Call back requests
  • Lead captures
  • Blog comments

Set Up Custom Alerts

Analytics are like your email inbox.  They both yield lots of important information, but constantly checking either one is a sure to cause you some serious stress.  Custom alerts allow you to rest easy between analytics sessions by alerting you to significant changes in important site metrics.

Some good custom alerts to start with are:

  • Big fluctuations in traffic (both positive and negative).
  • Large rises and drops in goal conversion rates.
  • High bounce rate.
  • Changes in Adwords spend (for linked accounts).

Create Custom Dashboards

Custom dashboards are great time savers because they put your most important analytics data front and center.  Unlike the previous tips, you may want to wait until you are comfortable using analytics before putting together your first set of custom dashboards.  You will have a better idea of which combinations of metrics will be most useful to have at a glance. The initial tendency is to put way too much information in your dashboards, which defeats the purpose.

You can create up to 20 custom dashboards per profile, so don’t limit yourself to just one.  You will find that certain combinations of data naturally make sense to be reviewed together – and deserve their own dashboards.  Some examples are:

  • Traffic: total, sources (organic, paid, referral), and top keywords.
  • Goal tracking: sales, subscriptions, downloads, comments, etc.
  • Visitor behavior: page views, bounce rate, new vs. returning, and time on site.

You can take it a step further by creating custom dashboards for specific roles within your organization, such as sales, marketing, and of course, your boss.  Not only will your co-workers appreciate the favor, it may even save you some work digging through analytics to answer their questions.

What are your essential Google Analytics tips and tricks?  Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Analytics Image provided via Shutterstock.


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Google Bringing You Down? Tips for Avoiding Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues – #SESNY http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/google-bringing-you-down-tips-for-avoiding-duplicate-content-multiple-site-issues-sesny/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/google-bringing-you-down-tips-for-avoiding-duplicate-content-multiple-site-issues-sesny/#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 21:10:57 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13456 Understanding the way that search engines like Google and Bing crawl your sites for duplicate content is not always easy to follow.  What exactly are the rules, and what are the ramifications for not following the rules? This presentation by a group of industry experts focused on gaining an understanding of how search engines read [...]

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duplicate content and syndicationUnderstanding the way that search engines like Google and Bing crawl your sites for duplicate content is not always easy to follow.  What exactly are the rules, and what are the ramifications for not following the rules?

This presentation by a group of industry experts focused on gaining an understanding of how search engines read your content, as well as what steps you can take to avoid penalization for your content.

Peter van der Graff: Redirecting Duplicate Content

We always assume that Google knows best, but is that necessarily true?  According to Peter finding a formula that works 100% of the time is no easy task.  He opened up with a great example “If you have a 301 redirect and you tell Google to go left, they’ll probably go right.”  You could end up implementing a 301 redirect and when you request the location a cached version of the site may still appear instead of the redirect you intended.

As a best practice guide for determining how redirects worked based on your tactic Peter provided a chart similar to the one included below:

website redirect instructions

Jenny Halasz: Let’s Talk About the Panda in the Room

I really appreciated the way that Jenny (@jennyhalasz) related information in her presentation; from the way Google Panda works to the way Pagerank functions.  Pagerank measures the quality and quantity of links to your website and periodically makes updates based on this information.  Google Panda evaluates the quantity and quality of the content housed on your site and assigns a value to your website or section of your website.  It’s important to note that just because you’ve updated your content, changes will not necessarily be reflected by Google until they update your Panda rank.

301 & 302 Easily Explained

A 301 redirect is comparable to putting a sign in your window that says “we’ve moved” and contains your new address.  A 302 page is similar to putting out a “be back soon sign” which gives visitors no idea where you are or when you’ll return, which can often send your visitors on a wild goose chase trying to find you.

301 redirects and 302 pages

Eric Enge: Syndication & Link Juice

Eric (@stonetemple) shared some very insightful information for content syndication, the do’s and don’ts if you will.  According to Enge if your team is consistently creating great content that can be published on different sites and if they link back to you, this is a great way to begin building additional links.

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Content Syndication

The Good

  • Many sites hungry for fresh content
  • By providing quality content you can:
    • Build your relationships with other publishers
    • Increase visibility to their audiences
    • Establish yourself as an expert
    • Net your links and social media mentions

The Bad

  • Search engines can see duplicate content
  • Search engines only want to show one copy

The Ugly

  • Search engines MAY show the original author
  • But, not ALWAYS
  • Don’t get stuck syndicating your content and then not ranking for it!

Multi-Site Solutions for Avoiding Duplicate Site Content

There are best practices associated with developing content for multiple sites.  It’s important to avoid the easy route (a copy and paste) because as we learned during this session there can be some negative effects.  The best practices that were recommended include:

  • Develop separate distinct content for each site
  • Determine what the focus of each site should be and make them different
    • Who is the target audience: age, sex, preferences
    • What is the topical focus: cheap, premium, best
    • Vary your content style by site
      • Academic
      • Humor
      • UGC
      • Videos
      • News

Now that you know what not to do, does this have you considering your current strategy for managing content across multiple sites?  I for one appreciated the insight provided by this panel as it was easy to understand and provided great direction for which solutions are most highly recommended.  Stay tuned for more #SESNY coverage from our team: @toprank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @bslarsonmn.

 


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7 Lessons Learned About Business Optimization from Avinash Kaushik at #SESNY http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/7-lessons-avinash-kaushik-sesny/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/7-lessons-avinash-kaushik-sesny/#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2012 17:20:55 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13451 There could not have been a better way to kick off #SESNY than a morning keynote from Avinash Kaushik (@avinash).  It didn’t matter if speakers had last minute slides to create or attendees stayed out until all hours, everyone made sure they were there. This is the second time I’ve seen Avinash and he does [...]

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avinash ses new york city

Perhaps he is writing some last minute jokes before his keynote?

There could not have been a better way to kick off #SESNY than a morning keynote from Avinash Kaushik (@avinash).  It didn’t matter if speakers had last minute slides to create or attendees stayed out until all hours, everyone made sure they were there.

This is the second time I’ve seen Avinash and he does not disappoint.  He presents the perfect combination of tactical tips and humor that both entertains and educates the crowd.  I’d like to share with you our readers the 7 things that I learned this morning from Avinash.  I hope you find them as useful as I did.

7 Things Avinash Taught Me About Optimization at #SESNY

  1. If you’re only optimizing for a small group of people you are missing out.  Hyperfocus on a small select group of people can hinder your ability to focus on the larger group as a whole.
  2. Identify both the micro and the macro conversions.  It’s important to understand the small picture as well as the big picture, and more importantly how they work together.
  3. Focus on a more broad scale.  Relying only on one metric makes it difficult to have a clear and holistic picture of the situation.
  4. Your salary should be based on the economic value you deliver to the business.  If your team is only focused on metrics that do not affect the companies profitability or bottom line, maybe it’s time to implement a new process.
  5. Figure out how to move past the 2% because all it does is deliver short-term value.  Measuring clicks and visits is not enough, determine the value of the interaction.
  6. Optimize for revenue and value.  It doesn’t matter Doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or B2C company, you can identify the goals that you want to deliver and determine value for the company.
  7. The best things you can do when participating in multiple channels: understand, test, be less wrong.

Two Important Steps Every Online Marketer Should Take

 #1 – Understand how You Are Doing Today

Many online marketers assume that each of their tactics are in a silo, or don’t work together.  The issue that we run into with web analytics is that many times we cannot see or do not look at all of the data.  Having a deep understanding of how particular channels of promotion or tactics are working currently will set the stage for creating a more aggressive and educated campaign.

 #2 – Apply An Optimal Attribution Model

If multiple touch points are required to win or keep customers it is essential that your team is aware of what steps led to the desirable actions. Don’t fall into the trap of following the Make Crap Up (MCU) model which is based solely on current data and not actual impact on the business.  There are many variables to consider with a customized model.  When it comes to attribution the best we can do is apply, understand, and test each action and measure the outcome.

What did other attendee’s think of Avinash’s presentation?

@TinaMBean – Fantastic, exuberant, funny, and invigorating keynote by @avinash at #SESNY #BRAVO!!!

@Tozehnder – This guy is awesome: Data Visualization with @avinash Kaushikhttp://youtu.be/QIyYiegBTCA #SESNY #video

@beebow – rather than obsess about technologies, obsess about digital outcomes for your business @avinash #SESNY

@thomcraver –  Unit volumes are a function of Market share times Market Size. Most of us forget that. @avinash #sesny

What part of this presentation had the biggest impact on the way you look at measuring results?  Which tactics do you believe you should focus on?  As a reminder we will be tweeting and networking throughout the event: @toprank, @leeodden, @azeckman, @bslarsonmn.


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Stuck In A Marketing Rut? 4 Signs That It’s Time To Add Engagement To Your Online Marketing Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/add-engagement-online-marketing-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/add-engagement-online-marketing-strategy/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2012 12:35:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13410 When you ask an online marketer what frustrates them the most about reaching customers and prospects online you’re likely to hear the following: Finding a way to connect with their audience Moving prospects through the buying cycle Growing their network and lists Marketers often talk about their prospects being overloaded with too much information which [...]

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Turn engagement problems into marketing solutions.When you ask an online marketer what frustrates them the most about reaching customers and prospects online you’re likely to hear the following:

  • Finding a way to connect with their audience
  • Moving prospects through the buying cycle
  • Growing their network and lists

Marketers often talk about their prospects being overloaded with too much information which can lead to an indecisive audience, causing marketers to miss projections and sales goals.  Lets face the facts, consumers are engaging online.  Recent studies show that over 53% of active social networkers follow a brand.  If there are that many people actively interacting and engaging with brands online what changes can be made to reach and engage target audiences?

Sign #1 – The Sounds of Silence – No One is Commenting On Our Blog

The first item to audit when trying to figure out why your blog is not getting the traffic and engagement that you want is to take a hard look at your content.  Is the content being created too broad, too specific.  Does it effectively address the pain points of your audience.  If so, take some time reviewing existing customer research or begin surveying existing customers to determine what type of information they like to consume and share.  Consider adding questions in the conclusions of your blog posts that encourage interaction.  Another tactic involves promoting blog content on your company website and other social channels.

Sign #2 – Is Anyone Out There? – Activity Without Engagement

The key to increasing engagement is to be engaging.  Have you made a point of reaching out? If not spend some time identifying key industry influentials as well as organizations or individuals you are looking to target directly.  Your social engagement will not improve if you are constantly in self-promotion mode.  Put some “skin in the game” by sharing original content which mentions those you would like to connect with, or re-share information they have distributed on their networks as a sign of good faith.

Sign #3 – Our Website is Awesome – But No One is Visiting

First question, is your content optimized?  Is this content optimized for search engines and customer experience?  Optimizing for search engines will undoubtedly increase your visibility online.  However, if you aren’t getting the number of inquiries or even the organic traffic you’re aiming for there could be a variety of reasons.  Take some time to review your Google Analytics and analyze your website bounce rate.  Perhaps you’re ranking fairly well but once people get to your site they aren’t finding what they want or need and are exiting the site immediately and moving on to the next.  It is also a good idea to assess the websites of your top competitors and identify what they are doing that is working and not working to draw in your target audience.

Sign #4 – A Sound Investment – Content Creation Without Representation

Before investing in the creation of white papers, infographics, videos, guides, or research you must first consider your audience.  What type of information do your customers and prospects typically consume and share?  Which websites social or otherwise do they spend the most time on?  By identifying these key pieces of information it should help guide you down the path to creating content that is in the proper format and set up to receive adequate exposure.

What is the moral of the story?  If  you want your audience to engage with you and listen to what you have to say it’s time to do the same.  Work to identify what topics and tactics work best for your audience, and evolve these strategies as their preferences change.  Spend just as much time if not more monitoring conversations as you do releasing information on social sites.

What hurdles have been most difficult for you to overcome as an online marketer?  If you could give one piece of advice to other content and social media marketers what would it be?

 


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Online Marketing News: Chrome Gets Hacked, Facebook Can Get your Game Noticed, Take an Interest in Pinterest http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march92012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march92012/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:04:59 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13403 Google+ For Business This infographic was recently shared by Chris Brogan on his website and provides some valuable insight into using Google+ for business.  Highlights include: Why Google+ is the place to be Sharing is the key Taking your business page to the next level “Introducing Google Play:  All your entertainment, anywhere you go”  Google [...]

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How to use Google+ for business

Google+ For Business

This infographic was recently shared by Chris Brogan on his website and provides some valuable insight into using Google+ for business.  Highlights include:

  • Why Google+ is the place to be
  • Sharing is the key
  • Taking your business page to the next level

“Introducing Google Play:  All your entertainment, anywhere you go”  Google is looking to eliminate the hassle of syncing across multiple devices and computers.  Google Play is a digital entertainment destination where users can find everything from music, to books and movies.  The best part about Google Play?  It’s entirely cloud based so everything will always be available.  Via Google Blog.

“Senior execs increase Twitter usage 13%”  A recent survey found that senior executives access media at any give time of day and are using both traditional and new media to gather this information.  It appears that even the 55+ group of executives appears to be pretty digital savvy. Via BtoB.

“Facebook’s tips for getting your mobile game noticed”  Mobile games have taken over smart phone app stores making it difficult to choose.  Facebook believes they have a solution that will make games more discoverable.  Via Venturebeat.

“Pinterest:  Why Your Company Should Take An Interest”  Many brands are beginning to utilize Pinterest as an online marketing vehicle.  While some experts say that it may not be time for every company to participate, Pinterest is definitely something to keep in mind as a tool to leverage some out of the box solutions.  Via the brainyard.

“Google Patches Hacker’s Chrome Bug in Less Than 24 Hours”  Within 15 hours of Google Chrome being hacked at the Pwnium hack competition Google had already developed a solution to fix the hack.  It’s clear that Chrome is no longer unhackable, but props to Google for coming up with a solution quickly.  Via Forbes.

“5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price”  The way that people are shopping has changed to a very online focused business.  However, many businesses fail to address essential questions that their customers may have, especially when it comes to pricing.  This article provides some helpful tips on how and why you should discuss price.  Via Social Media Examiner.

“New Site Helps You Control Google Search Results for Your Name”  If you are interviewing for a job or trying to land a new client you can be sure that your name will be Googled before agreeing to do business with you.  A new website BrandYourself, guides users in optimizing the links that you want Google to push up in the results when your name is searched.  Via Mashable.

TopRank Team News

Brian Larson – Infographic:  The Google Panda Update, One Year Later
There seems to be a widely held belief that Google’s Panda update targeted and impacted article sites. This misnomer serves as a reminder to look back at Panda year later to evaluate what we learned and how we adapted.  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – Can Friendsheet give Facebook the power of Pinterest?
Facebook quietly launched its own version of Pinterest on Tuesday that looks like a 100% knock off.  One obvious benefit to a Facebook version of Pinterest is its seamless integration with your Facebook community.

On the down side, Friendsheets are not easily sharable with people not in your network and the image database is not very searchable.  Also, it doesn’t appear that  Friendsheet has  a toolbar applet for easy image curation available yet.

From a marketing perspective, I will set up and use this tool as a way to expand my reach but I plan to keep using Pinterest as my primary image curation tool because  I like the Pinterest community and the sharing options.  Via SmartBlog.

Time to weigh in:  Will you be targeting older executives more aggressively now that you know they’re spending more time online?  What type of businesses do you think should utilize Pinterest?


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Online Marketing News: Tips for Going Viral, Socially Optimized via Mobile, Facebook Timelines for Business, LinkedIn Company Follow http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march22012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/online-marketing-news-march22012/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:14:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13377 What does it take to go viral? This recent video from Salesforce.com covers what it takes for your content to spread as well as the formula for success.  The video also includes a checklist marketers can use to increase their likelihood of going viral. This Week in Online Marketing News “Getting Socially Optimized with Mobile [...]

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What does it take to go viral?

This recent video from Salesforce.com covers what it takes for your content to spread as well as the formula for success.  The video also includes a checklist marketers can use to increase their likelihood of going viral.

This Week in Online Marketing News

“Getting Socially Optimized with Mobile Marketing” As mobile marketing continues to expand marketers are still searching for the best way to reach their audience through the development of applications for smart phones, ads, and mobile optimized websites.  This article provides some insight into the benefits and challenges of a mobile marketing strategy. Via BtoB Magazine.

“How Twitter is Pairing It’s Interest Graph With Ads”  While Facebook’s social graph provides information on connections, likes, and demographic data Twitter is taking a different approach.  Twitter’s interest graph will focus more on users likes, what they read, and generally what topics they are interested in.  Via Techcrunch.

“Facebook Revamps Pages For Businesses”  In order to create consistency between profiles and pages, Facebook has now rolled out the new timeline for branded pages.  Facebook is encouraging businesses to make the shift from pure advertising to storytelling and hopes that the new timeline will push companies to make the transition. The TopRank Marketing Facebook Page recently rolled out the updated timeline, what do you think?  Via the brainyard.

“Foursquare Says Farewell to Google Maps, Joins OpenStreetMap Movement”  Foursquare has decided to part ways with Google Maps saying that “as a startup, we also often think about how we can make life easier for other startups.”  Curious to know why Foursquare chose this particular product?  Via Mashable.

“Posting From Pinterest To Your Facebook Fan Page”  Tabfusion recently released a Facebook app that allows users to display their “pins” to their Facebook page.  The company shares that once Pinterest releases their application-programming interface there will be further integration.  Be sure to take a look at the clever cartoon attached to the bottom of the article.  Via Marketaire.

“12 important steps bloggers should never forget”  Writing a blog is a serious commitment.  Many bloggers get wrapped up in creating the content and forget some very simple optimization and promotional steps.  This article provides some good insight into steps that bloggers should incorporate into their blogging routine.  Via ragan.

TopRank Team: Search & Social News

Brian Larson – Google Images Adds Previews to Related Searches
Let’s face it, some searches are just inherently more intent on visual content. Google gets it and is making access to relevant images even more convenient. For businesses, this update reinforces the importance of optimizing images as part of an overall online marketing strategy.  Via Search Engine Watch.

Shawna Kenyon  – Clock counts down as Google privacy change looms
Google’s new privacy change is their solution for combining 60 privacy policies for different services. For some Google users this change is unfavorable as there is no way to “opt-out”.  However for those who favor all of Google’s services this will be a way for the user to be presented with content that is similar to what they are already looking for. Google continues to reaffirm its commitment to preserving privacy stating the change will only serve to “simplify” the user experience.  Via Cnet.

Alexis Hall – msnNow Is Driving More Traffic To Bing, But Is It Artificially Inflating Searches?
msnNOW, a new service which aggregates content around trending topics, launched just two weeks ago, but already seems to be having an effect on Bing traffic numbers.  While new traffic to Bing has jumped in the past two weeks, this post suggests that those numbers may be inflated due to how msnNOW links are structured.  We’ll have to keep an eye on this trend to determine how search engine market share may shift, as well as how msnNOW may impact the search and social landscape.  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – LinkedIn Launches Follow Company Button
Here is something every company with a Linkedin profile should jump on right away.  According to execs at LinkedIn, there is a finite limit to how many brands people will follow per channel.  Companies that drag their feet with the LinkedIn “follow company” button may find it more difficult to find willing followers later in the year.  Via AdWeek.

Time to weigh in:  Do you consider the new Facebook timeline for businesses a positive or negative change?  What impact do you think this will have on your business?  Have you integrated mobile marketing into your online marketing strategy?  What have been the results?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Online Marketing News: Tips for Going Viral, Socially Optimized via Mobile, Facebook Timelines for Business, LinkedIn Company Follow | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing News: Left vs. Right Brained Marketers, A Better User Experience, Management: Think Twitter, Growing Beyond Keywords http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb172012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb172012/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 12:30:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13333 What Are Social Channels Good For? Sure you’ve setup your company profiles and pages on social media.  However, do you know what channels are best used for which type of interaction?  This infographic by Grovo shares some great insight into specific uses for many of the popular social media platforms.  Did you know? 40% of [...]

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Use social media to improve customer service, sales, and engagement

What Are Social Channels Good For?

Sure you’ve setup your company profiles and pages on social media.  However, do you know what channels are best used for which type of interaction?  This infographic by Grovo shares some great insight into specific uses for many of the popular social media platforms.  Did you know?

  • 40% of people like brands for discounts and promotions
  • 8% of all Huffington Post traffic comes from Facebook

“Content Marketing Becoming Vital”  Kelly OCG, a workforce consulting and outsourcing organization shares that they do no B2B brand advertising.  Instead they spend about 60% of their marketing budget on creating, distributing, and promoting their own unique content.  According to the Custom Content Council approximately $41billion dollars are spent on creating custom content. Via BtoB Magazine.

“Digital talent:  the innovative & integrated marketing brain”  Since humans only use roughly 10-20% of our brains taking on the task of converging digital marketing strategies can sometimes seem like an impossible task.  The infographic included in this article dives into the notion of Right Brain versus Left Brain Marketers, and the personality traits associated with each side.  Via Econsultancy.

“SEO: A Force for Good”  There is no quick way to increase your search engine rankings, which is exactly as it should be.  SEO isn’t about who can buy the top position, it is about who can earn that position by providing relevant and timely content.  This article provides some great information supporting why SEO  is not dead and it should still be a very essential part of any online marketing strategy.  Via Search Engine Watch.

“Why User Experience is Critical to Customer Relationships”  The relationship between brands and customers is quickly changing.  As customers become increasingly sophisticated and empowered the way that marketers interact with them will have to evolve.  The introduction of smart phones and other web enabled devices only makes this approach so much more important.  Want to know more about how you can connect with your customers in a meaningful way?  Via Fast Company.

“How Twitter Can Improve Your Management (in 140 Characters or Less)”  Social media marketers have learned that with Twitter it is essential that you create a meaningful interaction, in only 140 characters.  This notion of short, concise, and meaningful interaction can be translated to other areas of your business as well.  This article provides some great tips for streamlining and shortening your communication style for improved communication with your team.  Via Inc.

“5 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fan Engagement”  Even if you’ve taken a very interactive approach to posting information regularly and answering the questions of your fans you may be missing out if you aren’t implementing proper calls to action.  This post provides 5 very practical, but essential tips for improving your engagement and ultimately turning followers and fans into customers.  Via Social Media Examiner.

Team TopRank News

Brian Larson – Understanding Ranking Lag Time for New Links

We all know that the number of quality inlinks pointing to a site are factored in the major search engines algorithms. The more difficult question, and one that every marketer who every conducted a link building effort has asked, is how long does it take for a link to influence search rankings? As with many questions related to search performance, the answer depends on several factors. Eric ward successfully outlines several of those key factors in his Link Week column for Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – Complacency in Search Advertising:  Growing Beyond Keywords

This is a very interesting take on the search advertising industry, which, according to eMarketer Daily, will see its  growth rate flat-line.  The problem highlighted here is that in order to seriously scale your search advertising campaign, you need to dramatically increase the number of keywords you’re using.  This simply takes more hours and many companies and agencies are reluctant to invest in the human resources necessary to scale.  Via Media Post.

Time to Weigh In:  Would you consider yourself a left brained or a right brained marketer?  What do you think the benefits are of each type of marketer?  Do you think that when it comes to management, saying less is worth more?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Online Marketing News: Left vs. Right Brained Marketers, A Better User Experience, Management: Think Twitter, Growing Beyond Keywords | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing News: Pinterest’s Sneaky Tactics, Keeping Leaders Honest, 100 Million Videos Watched Per Day http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb102012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/online-marketing-news-feb102012/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:51:40 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13310 How Social Media Keeps Leaders Honest David Jones of Havas and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore recently sat down to talk about the responsibilities of the leaders of today to respond to social media, and how it holds them accountable. “Google Clarifies: No, Ads Shouldn’t Help Rankings & No, SEO Isn’t Bad”  Recent comments made by [...]

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How Social Media Keeps Leaders Honest

David Jones of Havas and Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore recently sat down to talk about the responsibilities of the leaders of today to respond to social media, and how it holds them accountable.

“Google Clarifies: No, Ads Shouldn’t Help Rankings & No, SEO Isn’t Bad”  Recent comments made by a new Google employee have some SEO’s up in arms.  Apparently his comments included “SEO isn’t good for users” and “It’s a bug that you could rank highly in Google without buying ads.”  Curious to know what else he has to say and what reaction this has caused within the online community?  Via Search Engine Land.

“100 Million Americans Watch Online Video Per Day.  Up 43% Since 2010- comScore”  According to comScore Americans streamed 43.5 billion videos in December 2011 alone.  This is an increase of 44% over the previous year.  With this astronomical jump in online views, is television in trouble?  Via TechCrunch.

The Next Big Social Network Is You”  Many companies are trying to address the now common social network exhaustion.  Between the constantly shifting policy changes and programming updates many users are getting tired.  This opinion piece shares that in the near future it will be less about your number of followers and more about a smaller group of well-connected individuals.  What do you think?  Via Information Week.

“5 Essential Spreadsheets for Social Media Analytics”  If you are involved in social media, and are a small business this post provides some useful tools for measuring your data.  Want to know the best part?  They’re free, customizable, and easy to use.  Via Mashable.

“Brand Storytelling Lessons You Can Steal from Hollywood”  Innovation, a term we seem to hear quite frequently these days.  As a content marketer innovation is especially important because not only must you attract customers, you must veer them away from your competition.  Paying close attention to Hollywood entertainment and the way that promotion is done in that industry is a great means for discovering new ideas.  Via Content Marketing Institute.

TopRank Team News

Alexis Hall – Report: National Marketers Love Local, Fail At Basic Tactics
This post discusses survey results from late 2011 which revealed that although many marketers have the perception they are highly invested in local advertising, survey results show they are failing when it comes to basic tactics, like management of local directory listings.  Those seemingly small tactics can have a big impact on local results, so if marketers are really invested in their online local presence, they must be diligent when it comes to education on all types of tactics.  Via Search Engine Land.

Ken Horst – Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins
It appears as though Pinterest has found a way to monetize their site, even at this early beta stage.  Most people would say that’s a good thing however the way they are making money has some people crying foul.

Pinterest is using a service called SkimLinks to add an affiliate link wherever there is a link to a product page that has an affiliate program.  It’s not the idea that people are concerned about, it’s the fact that Pinterest is doing this without providing any disclosure to its users.  Via LLsocial.

Brian Larson – Bing Now A Full Point Ahead of Yahoo In Search Share-comScore
According to comScore, Bing is now a full point ahead of Yahoo! in search share. While Google’s search results are highly flavored by Google+, Bing receives streams of information from Facebook and Twitter. With Yahoo! In Bing’s rear view mirror, is Google next?  Via Search Engine Land.

Time to Weigh In:  What do you think of Pinterest’s money making tactics?  Smart move or too far?  With so many American’s consuming video on a daily basis, are you including video in your 2012 online marketing strategy?


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Online Marketing News: Pinterest’s Sneaky Tactics, Keeping Leaders Honest, 100 Million Videos Watched Per Day | http://www.toprankblog.com

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