Sunday, 29 May 2016

How to Effectively Prioritize and Amplify SEO Content

Many SEOs these days are focused on content marketing. This involves building out high-quality content optimized for searcher intent, then amplifying that content through social to capture end users in their moment of need.
But what are the right steps to prioritize and amplify content? Read on.

SEO content prioritization & creation

At one point in SEO, all we talked about was being “relevant” in order to rank. However, modern SEO is about being both relevant and useful; content that achieves this is exactly what Google is looking for.
You can prioritize based on intent, striking distance, search volume and (if you have them) conversion metrics. I recommend that you remove branded keywords and low search volume keywords to get a more accurate picture.

Define your goals, and find low-hanging fruit

Let’s look at your goals. If your goal is to increase traffic by 15 percent year over year, you need to put together a plan to see where you can drive incremental traffic: local, optimizing existing landing pages, building out new content, optimizing videos and so on.
As a first step, I recommend taking a look at your website analytics and ranking tools to see what opportunities there are to drive incremental traffic with your existing assets. This could be done by looking at “striking distance” keywords, which are those that rank on page 2 of the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). Moving striking distance keywords from page 2 to page 1 can drive incremental revenue and traffic, especially for keywords that have a lot of volume and transactional intent.
Pro tip: Focus on keywords that convert well from paid search and drive a lot of volume based on intent. These keywords should be your target for SEO, especially with Google’s new paid search layout pushing organic search further down the page.

Evaluate existing content and look for gaps

Determine where you need to develop useful content by conducting a gap analysis. All brands need to develop content around each stage of the buyer’s journey, as this allows you to capture search queries for many different kinds of user intent.
While many businesses understand the need to appear in search results for high-converting keywords (i.e., queries that signal intent to purchase), they often overlook the value of being visible in SERPs during the research phases of the buyer’s journey. In the digital era, this journey is not linear, but is a fragmented path to purchase — so you’ll want to be present at all stages in order to keep your brand top of mind.
Review your existing content and segment it based on intent — in other words, what stage of the buyer’s journey does it map to? From there, figure out where gaps exist, and build out content to fill in those gaps.
You can also see how your competition is doing using a tool like SEMrush, which allows you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Determine where they’re visible and where they have no presence across the buyer’s journey. Take advantage of where they aren’t present by building quality content in those areas (or greatly improving existing content).

Communicate with other departments

Despite the push towards omni-channel digital marketing, many SEOs still find themselves in a silo. Having open communication with other departments (if you are in-house) or your client and their vendors (if you’re at an agency) will ensure that you are aware of any important content initiatives that need to be further optimized and prioritized.
Evaluate the content other departments are producing, prioritize it based on intent, search volume and opportunity and promote it through paid social and your existing social profiles.

Social listening

Listening to customers and finding influencers can impact visits and engagement. Social listening can give you a detailed review of your owned social landscape and competitive set. Plus, it can identify key social trends from the millions of conversations happening every day, which can help drive your content strategy by uncovering new keywords and trends that are happening now.

Content promotion

Now that you have prioritized and created your content, it’s time to promote it. The saying, “If you build it, they will come,” is sadly inaccurate. Content needs to be promoted, and a catalyst is needed to get things started.

Social amplification

Search helps social. Brands should always focus on creating high-quality and engaging content. Engaging content will be shared through social media to attract social endorsements and links, which will help improve your visibility in the search engine result pages from prioritized content.

Paid social

Paid social is a cost-effective way to help promote priority content and to drive more traffic and sales. Since paid social is relatively inexpensive, I recommend testing it to see what results you can get from paid social campaigns (e.g., an increase in links, social mentions and traffic, since they all can influence rankings).
I would only recommend putting paid support behind engaging and useful content that answers users’ questions throughout the user journey.

Final thoughts

Prioritizing content is a must for every SEO campaign to drive incremental traffic and revenue. As SEOs, we must continue to focus on building out high-quality content based on user intent that can move the needle and help our clients achieve their goals.
To view the original article Click Here

Friday, 27 May 2016

The 7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing

Reasons why businesses fail in their content strategy.
Content marketing has become a popular online marketing tactic over the last few years, with many businesses incorporating it into their larger digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) aren’t always integrated well — or at all — within an organization.
Content creation strategies should be based on a thorough SEO analysis, including advanced keyword research. Without SEO, content marketing efforts can’t reach their full potential with regard to online visibility. Even content that is well-written, attractively presented and expensive to create will underperform without careful preparatory research.
Following are seven common mistakes businesses make by not integrating SEO (and other digital marketing disciplines) into their content strategy.

1. Not doing proper keyword research

Some content marketers imagine keyword research is only about keywords and search volumes. But it’s much more. Keyword research is a tool for planning your content strategically, not just from an SEO perspective, but also for branding, communication and public relations, with the overarching focus of achieving business goals.
It’s astonishing how many content creators don’t undertake keyword research at all, instead going by gut feelings and instinct. They don’t map out a topic to uncover all the relevant keywords. They use guesswork and random brainstorming to find some relevant phrases and trust that that is good enough. But if your content strategy is not based on real data from thorough research, it’s not going to perform to its potential.
Smart keyword research lets you predict what your audience needs — before they tell you, or even before they know it themselves! Guided by a properly prioritized set of keywords, your content team can be creative while anchoring their ideas to data.
Your role, as a content marketer, is to play matchmaker between content and the people searching for it. Look at their intent, needs and wants. Apply that intelligence to create content which converts visitors into buyers.

2. Not testing out content ideas

Tools like BuzzSumo help you predict if your content ideas will work by studying how they worked for others. Use it to find out what kind of content about a specific topic or keyword is more engaging to your audience. Look at statistics to see how many times it has been shared with others on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. That information helps you plan future content.

3. Not utilizing AdWords data to study conversion rates and performance

With paid search and Google AdWords, you can see how keywords in your search campaigns are converting. Planning your content around the best-converting keywords can make your website more profitable.

4. Relying solely on Google data to guide content topics

Google’s tools are good, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of keyword research for SEO and content marketing.
For example, Google Analytics only reviews data you already have. You can tell which search terms brought you more visitors or which content is more popular. But this tells you nothing about your actual unrealized potential. While Google Analytics should be part of your keyword research, it is not enough by itself.
Similarly, I find that Google’s own keyword research tool, Google Keyword Planner, doesn’t provide reliable search volume data. While the tool is good for spotting seasonal or directional trends, as well as comparing the relative popularity of multiple search terms, the exact search volume numbers themselves should not be taken as gospel.
I also find Google Keyword Planner conceals many long-tail keywords, unless you know how to dig deep for them. This means you’ll miss out on important data. Keyword phrases with three or more words are more specific and can help you discern user intent, letting you can create content that answers their questions and meets their expectations better.
Again, Google tools should absolutely be used in your keyword research for SEO and content marketing, but you’ll need to use other data sources as well.

5. Not measuring performance or taking action on the data

Having worked with omnichannel marketing clients and large companies that have a combination of e-commerce and local retail stores in different cities, I often find they don’t measure performance of the content they have invested in.
Sometimes they simply don’t know how to do it or don’t have the tools, systems or knowledge to do it right. But in many instances, it’s only because they lack motivation.
Let me ask you this: If content producers are given the opportunity to produce ineffective content over a period of several years, without anyone paying attention to the problem, whose responsibility is it?

6. Thinking content marketing is the new SEO

Content marketing isn’t SEO. Yes, high-quality content is important in order to rank well. But search engines demand more than that. Search Engine Land’s very own Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors offers an excellent overview of how Google works and how SEO isn’t limited to content alone.
Blasting out one blog post after another won’t help you reach your highest SEO potential. In fact, creating a few outstanding, memorable articles that are well-researched and written by experts, ones that others would have a hard time improving upon, can set you apart from everyone else — especially if they’ve been properly optimized for search engines.

7. Failing to apply new knowledge

The most disappointing reason that businesses fail with content marketing is that many business leaders, content producers, agencies and strategists actually know most of what I’ve just said — but they don’t act on their knowledge.
They are passive and keep postponing any corrective action. They know it’s important, but they don’t want results badly enough to make the changes happen. It’s easier to pretend nothing’s wrong and carry on. Sometimes, it takes a serious failure to jolt them out of their comfort zone.

Final thoughts

I hope you liked this compilation of reasons why content marketing fails and found it interesting and helpful. If you found any of the reasons or examples relevant to your own situation, then it’s time to bite the bullet and make changes. Bookmark this page as a reminder. Share it with your team.
Make sure this is the day you change the way you think about content marketing and SEO. Sure, it often hurts to know the truth. But this is also your wake-up call to step out of the shadows and into the light.
To view the original article Click Here

Sunday, 22 May 2016

6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Blog

What I wish I knew when I first started blogging
This is a guest contribution from Will Nicholls.
It was a little over two years ago when I first went online and bought my blog’s domain name.
I wanted to announce it to the world and get started straight away, but instead I spent the next 6 months developing and filling the website with content so that I wasn’t launching on an empty stomach. I probably read the entirety of the ProBlogger website in that time, as well as other web development blogs, cramming in as much knowledge as I could.
My preparation was successful, starting my blog from the word go with 600 unique visitors per day (and sustaining those numbers).
Despite that, and even with a lot of in-depth research on marketing, the blogosphere and online business, there are a number of things I wish I knew when I finally took down my ‘Coming Soon’ page and opened for business.

Before You Begin

In this article I’m going to look at some of the things that I have learnt since, and tell you how they can help you grow your blog. All of the things I’m going to mention are what I’ve only implemented relatively recently. In fact, the combination of all these techniques tripled my traffic almost overnight.

1. Be the Breaker of News

This is something I’ve only recently started to do, and I’m really kicking myself for it.
My blog is in the photography niche, and when new products are released I will publish a post about it. They’re relatively quick and easy to write: some images, the press release, a little personal summary from yours truly and it’s ready to go. Then I just post it to my blog’s social media feeds, resulting in an instant spike in traffic. I just wish I’d started doing this sooner.
How can you stay ahead of the game? Well it’s pretty simple actually. You need to find out who already breaks news in your niche – for me these are the big technology blogs. I downloaded an RSS reader called RSS Bot, although there are many others available, such as Feedly. But what I really love about it is that is pushes notifications straight through to my Mac laptop when websites I follow publish posts. This means I’m always at the ready to publish news as it is broken. 

2. Use Snappy Social Metadata 

It’s really important that you include OpenGraph tags in the metadata of all your posts.
There are plugins that can help you do this, such as WPSSO, which allow you to determine how links look when they are shared on social media sites. You can change the titles, descriptions, images and more.
It makes posting online really customisable. I’ve started to alter the titles of my posts when they are shared on social media, so that they are different to what is displayed on my website. I usually add an interesting and enticing bit on the end.
The result? People are drawn to clicking on the link, whilst keeping it straight and to the point on the website. Plus, these changes work for anyone who shares the webpage on social media, not just yourself.

3. Provide Tweetable Quotes to Encourage Sharing

Having share bars on your website is all well and good, but people grow accustomed to them. They float around on the side, doing their own thing, and people are less inclined to use them.
When you look at opinion articles, you often see a block with an important quote within it. Now what if you made these tweetable?
By using a great app from CoSchedule called Click to Tweet, I’ve managed to see countless shares each day of articles which have these tweetable quotes present. It’s fantastic – it’s revolutionised the way my articles are shared. The best thing about it is the quotes BEG to be clicked: they entice Twitter users to your website.
The quotes are easy to include in your posts. You just activate the plugin and write a shortcode where you want the quote to appear. It’s that simple. This is something I really wish I had started doing from the beginning.
I think it is important not to go overboard with this plugin though. Not every article needs them, or is suitable for them. Instead, use these tweetable quotes on opinion or discussion articles. If every article has them then your readers will become blind to them. If they are only situated on the occasional article, they will surprise readers and grab their attention.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of a Full Screen Splash 

Getting email subscribers is very important – they’re the lifeblood of your blog. Social media websites come and go, but email is here for the long haul. If you haven’t already, make sure you start a weekly newsletter that sends a digest of your posts to your readers. But how to turn casual visitors into subscribers is another issue.
I’ve tried using pop-ups, prompting users to download an eBook in return for their email address. These work well, and I saw a definite increase in conversion.
However, as of the last few months I’ve installed a full screen splash using the OptinMonster* plugin. Conversions went through the roof. My original sidebar sign-up widget saw a 0.5% conversion, but the splash now sees 4.54% of website visitors signing up to my newsletter. That’s an 808% increase.
Using a full screen splash can be daunting. It almost certainly detracts from the content and we don’t want to annoy our readers. But I’ve only had three complaints about it out of over 20,000 impressions, and two of those were because the users hadn’t enabled cookies in their browsers and so the splash was showing every time they visited the website.
Don’t be afraid to try it out – you definitely won’t regret it.

5. Use Autoresponders to Continually Drive Traffic to Your Blog 

Autoresponders. You’ve heard it again and again from Darren and countless other guest contributors – so I’m going to add myself to that list: use autoresponders!
Once someone signs up to your mailing list, they are fresh and looking for more information. If they’re only receiving your ‘same old’ newsletter each week, then you’ll see your open rate drop. For me, my newsletter is opened by about 38% of my 7,000 subscribers.
My autoresponders are a different story. I used MailChimp* to set up a chain of six emails, with one being sent every month, that look at a different group of problems a photographer might be having. The first email a subscriber will see is the welcome email, introducing them to the website and preparing them for the ‘special editions’ of the newsletter they’re about to receive. I also include some links to articles to get them started, and this email sees a 70% open rate.
The following five emails see an average open rate of 43.4%, although it is the final email which sees an open rate of 35.5% that brings that average down. Why is that? The final email is just a survey sent to my readers asking what they’d like to see next, so naturally the subject line is less engaging.
You should make sure that you are linking to the correct articles, too. What do I mean by that? Well, you should be linking to articles that are the pillars of your blog. They themselves will link out to many other relevant posts, sending your brand new readers whizzing around your archives and filling your website stats with pageviews. This is a great way to ensure that new readers don’t miss the older, but still useful, posts that are deep in the depths of your blog.

6. Experiment with Advertising

Online marketing doesn’t have to be scary. It can be a bottomless pit for you to pour your money into if you don’t do your research, but take baby steps and you should soon see success.
I use Facebook advertising to promote different articles on my website, often asking a question or inviting users to comment on the post within the advert. This increases engagement and encourages users to share the post, meaning it ends up in even more people’s feeds (and that is organic, so it doesn’t cost any extra).
Having highly engaging adverts with targeted audiences on Facebook is allowing me to spend only $0.01 per engagement – and that’s with my adverts targeting the USA and UK. Only a few dollars every day spent on advertising keeps my posts in my reader’s feeds and drives traffic through to my website, which then converts into newsletter subscribers, and the rest is history.

In Conclusion

Every step that I’ve described above has made a significant difference in my website’s traffic in recent months.
I recommend that you give a few of them a try and see how they work for you. I’m over the moon, of course, after all that’s what it’s about for me. The more traffic I get on my website, the more subscribers I get and the more successful my website is.
I just wish I’d done it sooner.
To view the original article Click Here

9 Proven Ways to Improve Your Facebook Marketing

9 Proven Ways to Improve Your Facebook Marketing
Are you using Facebook to market your business, but struggling to create momentum?
Would you like to finally make sense (and take full advantage) of this social giant?
Sure, there’s no one-size fits all solution. But there are proven ways to improve your Facebook marketing results.
But like any marketing venture, you need to know where you’re headed before jumping in.
In this article, I’m going to share a Facebook marketing strategy you can’t afford to miss.
And none of it is theoretical or speculative. It’s the strategy we follow daily at Post Planner and one we’ve shown successful over the years.
In fact, it’s the exact one that helped grow our Facebook Page by 193% in 2015. Pretty crazy, right?
Just take a look at the Post Planner Facebook Page and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That growth is what launched a case study by Simply Measured into how we did it and the tactics we used.
Ready to do the same with your Page?
Below are nine tips to help you market your business on Facebook and ignite growth.
PLUS, grab a copy of our FREE eBook that outlines every step we took to grow our Facebook Page!
9 Proven Ways to Improve Your Facebook Marketing (a Growth Strategy Guide - FREE Download #Ebook) via @PostPlanner

9 Proven Ways to Improve Your Facebook Marketing

  1. Define Objectives and Key Results

If I asked you why you you’re using Facebook to market your business, could you tell me?
In other words, Facebook should be one pillar of your marketing strategy. Knowing how you expect it to benefit your business makes it much easier to leverage.
Not sure how it’s helping you achieve your goals? Think about it this way.
You get in the car for a cross country road trip. A few minutes in you realize your phone is dead which means you have no GPS.
With no idea how to get from where you are to where you want to be, you’re going to get lost pretty fast.
So, what have you done? Set yourself up for failure.
The same holds true for Facebook marketing. If you don’t know what you want out of Facebook, you have no business setting up a Page and throwing out content.
Your first step is to determine what you want to achieve.
At Post Planner, our Facebook objectives support our company goals. This means everything we do rolls up into a larger key objective.
Yours should too.
For example, you might be eager to:
  • Build brand awareness
  • Familiarize people with your product
  • Attract new customers
  • Improve customer service
  • Engage previous customers
  • Establish new relationships
Each one is doable with the right Facebook strategy in place. Your next step is to assess your current usage of Facebook.

  2. Analyze How You’re Using Facebook

When was the last time you looked at your Facebook newsfeed for the first time?
If you say never, you need to get busy.
Sit down and take a good hard look at your content from the eyes of a new (or potential) fan.
Now you’re going to conduct a deep dive into who you’re speaking with.

  3. Know Your Audience

Want to stay relevant and viable in the mind of your audience? Get to know who they are, what problem you solve and how you can be the solution.
Do this by looking at things from your customers point of view. What do they need when seeking your product or service?
This is a chance for you to spell out specifics.
Here’s what that might look like for Post Planner. Our audience includes marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs.
Each has used Facebook for 2-3 years to market their business and has more than a basic understanding.
When they seek us out, they are eager to:
  • Find great content without wasting a ton of time.
  • Grow a fanbase through predictive content designed to improve current results.
  • Get more interaction and engagement on content shared.
Have you defined your target market and the why behind their connection with you?
Once you do, finding and sharing the right content becomes terribly easy.

How to Make This Work in Your Business

Answer each one of these questions:
  • What is the intent of your audience?
  • What are they struggling with?
  • How do you solve that problem?

  4. Mine Data for Top Opportunities

Facebook can be used for many different reasons.
Everything from marketing, analysis, research, sales, human resource and customer service are top uses.
Mining your data to better understand how your audience interacts your Page, offers valuable insight.
Look to your Insights to see relevance and engagement statistics and patterns.

  5. Choose Your Core Topics

These will act as keywords (or the intent of your audience) that will help with search optimization.
In short, create topics that you would want your business to be known for. At the same time, those topics will attract and keep the attention of your fans and potential customers.
This can be helped immensely by the use of images and catchy graphics. Something that still to this day creates massive engagement.
Before you venture into your main content, you should write down the topics you want to cover.
The easiest way to do this is to think of customer FAQ questions. Answer those in a clear and concise way.

  6. Select Your Success Metrics

This involves determining how you will measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your social media plan.
You’ll also determine how to grow an engaged and loyal legion of fans.
Because despite what many social experts claim about ROI, it can be measured.  
This process will require a better understanding of your customer lifetime value (CLV) or the average revenue generated by a customer during their entire engagement period with your company.
Use this figure and compare it to the results you’ve generated across each Facebook campaign.

  7. Measure Facebook Results

Set up all the things that you will need to measure your results base on the objectives of your business.
It is also important to make the process of measuring your results easy.
You can do this by tracking your results by use of a landing page or even a unique promotional code.
Don’t make the mistake of simply jumping the in with a sea of competition and discerning consumers without having any clue. Research is very important as basis for execution.
This will include an action plan for today’s top social media platforms.
Take time to check out what’s out there, scope the competition and understand your target audience.  

  8. Automate, Engage and GROW

Have a clear system that you can follow to stay on top of your updates while engaging with your customers. 
You can do this by automating your updates which will prove to be a success for consistently sharing of updates.
Apart from that, get involved in the conversation. Answer questions, talk back when they talk to you.
This will help build strong relationships with clients, customers and even prospects.

  9. Never Stop Testing

This means that after you’ve measured your results, you use this data to calculate and estimate how you’re going to improve.
What one change can you make to A/B test? What small tweak will increase your market reach and fan base?
This is an important aspect that should be done to perpetuate growth.
It also involves determining whether the previous goals have been attained. If you’ve met them, it’s time to set new ones.
If not, it’s time to re-evaluate. What’s working, what’s not, and what needs an overhaul?

Final Thoughts

To succeed on Facebook (or anything else for that matter), it has to be a long-term commitment.
One where you show up on a regular basis, rather than whenever it’s convenient.
But more than that, you’re developing a process that will give you purpose.
Ready to grow a profitable (and successful) Facebook marketing strategy?
To view the original article Click Here

Saturday, 21 May 2016

How to optimise your personalisation efforts with segmentation

Most companies are exploring personalisation as a marketing strategy, but many are finding it difficult fitting it into the marketing mix.  
Here is one interesting way to do it.
Econsultancy recently held roundtable discussions in Jakarta, Indonesia about The Rise of Customer Experience & Customer Journey, sponsored by IBM.  
Client-side marketers brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.
One of the three tables discussed personalisation and arrived at an interesting way in which marketers can implement their customer experience strategy.

Why personalisation?

At the table, participants first discussed why companies were so interested in personalisation.
They determined that one of the marketer's most important roles was to engage with customers through the whole customer lifecycle.  
With so many communication channels available, though, it is hard for companies to grab and keep their customers' attention.
Attendees agreed that by personalising communications, marketers were far more likely to be able to maintain a high level of engagements, so personalisation was a very useful strategy for marketers.

Barriers to personalisation

But in order to deploy a new strategy, marketers need to convince management of its value. 
One participant noted that it was particularly difficult to do this with personalisation as implementing it is resource-intensive and expensive.
First off, personalisation requires creating a single view of the customer which means tackling the data silos in place at most organisations.
Next, marketers had to do some channel automation so that the personalisation initiative could scale to their whole customer base.
And finally, there is a non-trivial amount of data cleaning and testing required so that your efforts to greet your customer using their name does not fail spectacularly.
Participants agreed that even simple email personalisation can be difficult to implement with a large customer base.

How to overcome barriers

One marketer described, in detail, their approach.
First off, he suggested, marketers need to look at their customers in three segments which typically fall into a normal distribution, or bell-curve.  
The horizontal access is the size of the customers typical order and the vertical is the total revenue you get from the customer.
This allows you to segment your customers into three 'value areas' so that you can use the best strategy for that particular group.

Small customers: Content

Customers who only buy a small amount occasionally will on the left. Because their orders are small and infrequent, the revenue gained from them will also be small.
Because of this, it is not worthwhile to spend extraordinary effort on marketing to them.
Instead, as one participant noted, use a broad content strategy to keep them aware of the company and encourage them to buy more frequently.

Bread-and-butter customers: Automation

Customers who makes significant purchases regularly will be in the middle. This is the largest group of customers and the strategy is to get them to stay where they are.
Participants argued that offering discounts, offers, and special treatment were all useful ways to keep a company's mass market buying more.
Another suggested that marketing automation including recommendation emails based on past purchases are good strategies for this group.

Elite customers: Personalisation

Finally, on the right you have customers who have large orders, but only buy occasionally. 
Because they are not frequent buyers, the total revenue gained from them is not nearly as much as you get from bread-and-butter customers.
When they do make purchases, though, they 'move the needle' on revenue and profit, typically.
Participants noted that this is the group which should be the focus of personalisation initiatives.
Because one buyer's individual contribution makes a difference to the the top-line performance of your marketing, it is worth tackling the barriers to deliver a personal service to them.
Initiatives can be as simple as including their name and other personal details on all communications and as extensive as offering a concierge service with a unique contact number and named representative.
The purpose of personalisation for this group is to make the customer feel special, so extensive effort will need to be made to do so.
The ROI of such strategies, one participant noted, must still be measured and considered, however.
To view the original article Click Here