Monthly Archives: August 2019
Marc Benioff will discuss building a socially responsible and successful startup at TechCrunch Disrupt
Salesforce chairman, co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff took a lot of big chances when he launched the company 20 years ago. For starters, his was one of the earliest enterprise SaaS companies, but he wasn’t just developing a company on top of a new platform, he was building one from scratch with social responsibility built-in.
Fast-forward 20 years and that company is wildly successful. In its most recent earnings report, it announced a $ 4 billion quarter, putting it on a $ 16 billion run rate, and making it by far the most successful SaaS company ever.
But at the heart of the company’s DNA is a charitable streak, and it’s not something they bolted on after getting successful. Even before the company had a working product, in the earliest planning documents, Salesforce wanted to be a different kind of company. Early on, it designed the 1-1-1 philanthropic model that set aside 1% of Salesforce’s equity, and 1% of its product and 1% of its employees’ time to the community. As the company has grown, that model has serious financial teeth now, and other startups over the years have also adopted the same approach using Salesforce as a model.
In our coverage of Dreamforce, the company’s enormous annual customer conference, in 2016, Benioff outlined his personal philosophy around giving back:
You are at work, and you have great leadership skills. You can isolate yourselves and say I’m going to put those skills to use in a box at work, or you can say I’m going to have an integrated life. The way I look at the world, I’m going to put those skills to work to make the world a better place.
This year Benioff is coming to TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco to discuss with TechCrunch editors how to build a highly successful business, while giving back to the community and the society your business is part of. In fact, he has a book coming out in mid-October called Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change, in which he writes about how businesses can be a positive social force.
Benioff has received numerous awards over the years for his entrepreneurial and charitable spirit, including Innovator of the Decade from Forbes, one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders from Fortune, one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs from Harvard Business Review, GLAAD, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative for his work on equality and the Variety Magazine EmPOWerment Award.
It’s worth noting that in 2018, a group of 618 Salesforce employees presented Benioff with a petition protesting the company’s contract with the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Benioff in public comments stated that the tools were being used in recruitment and management, and not helping to separate families at the border. While Salesforce did not cancel the contract, at the time, co-CEO Keith Block stated that the company would donate $ 1 million to organizations helping separated families, as well as match any internal employee contributions through its charitable arm, Salesforce.org.
Disrupt SF runs October 2 to October 4 at the Moscone Center in the heart of San Francisco. Tickets are available here.
Did you know Extra Crunch annual members get 20% off all TechCrunch event tickets? Head over here to get your annual pass, and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your 20% discount. Please note that it can take up to 24 hours to issue the discount code.
This is a marketing strategy that may change everything you know about content marketing and SEO.
The customer feedback loop is an effective way to improve your offerings to your customers and modify what they get based on their feedback. It’s a business strategy that has been in existence for quite some time, but here, it’s refined towards content marketing and SEO.
Surely, there are ways you can make use of one of the most effective business and marketing strategy in human existence. And it’ll improve your content marketing and SEO efforts and help grow your brand. I’ll be taking a deeper look into the feedback loop, how it works in marketing and how you can apply this to your content marketing and SEO efforts.
What is a marketing feedback loop?
Firstly, let’s try to understand what marketing feedback loop is and how it works in the traditional marketing world. Done correctly, and with a well documented and measured process, the marketing feedback loop can improve your content marketing and SEO results.
According to HubSpot author, Caroline Forsey,
“A feedback loop is a process in which the outputs of a system are circled back and used as inputs. .. this refers to the process of using customer or employee feedback to create a better product or workplace.”
Marketers will understand that there are gems to be found in the feedback their businesses and products receive online. Both the positive and negative feedback you get, if utilized properly, can significantly transform how customers perceive and interact with your brand.
A marketing feedback loop is created when a business utilizes the responses they attract from a campaign effort or a product on the social web, and this can be later utilized in their marketing efforts. This may also include feedbacks from surveys and research campaigns.
Here, we’ll look at how it can be utilized to improve content marketing and SEO efforts.
How to create opportunities marketing feedback loop
Identifying opportunities for marketing feedback loop is just as important as how to make it work for you. Customers will take to social media to raise concerns or praises about your products and services where potential customers are actively participating in discussions that will determine whether or not to choose you over the competition.
Naturally, you’ll incorporate praises about your services into your testimonial campaigns to promote your business. These content are easily seen. Negative feedback, on the other hand, is where the treasure lies. And you will almost always miss them.
Below, let’s take a look at ways to identify marketing feedback loop and ultimately how you use it to improve your content marketing and SEO efforts.
- Necessary tools: The first step to identifying opportunities for feedback loop is to actively monitor mentions about your brand on the web. This includes social media, blogs, and forums. In this case, the right tools, and people are what you need. Some tools to employ may include Mention, Radian6 and setting up Google Alerts for known names/keywords (or phrases) your brand is associated with.
- Surveys: What’s better than the opportunity to secure valuable feedback? One that is solicited. Implementing surveys can help you to elicit feedback from your users right before they share it themselves. This will give room for you to identify potential issues and address them before they become problems.
- The right person/team: Is someone on your team who determines how customers’ feedback should be responded to and what department gets to see and utilize it. This individual is responsible for its proper documentation as well. Naturally, they should be working very closely with the marketing department.
- Interpreting constructive and negative customer feedback: Most times, when emotions run high with customers, constructive criticisms may come off as negative feedback. This may be perceived as an attack on your brand if care is not taken to analyze the issue — leaving you with a missed opportunity to improve on both SEO and content efforts. Instead of making a blanket judgment on the surface and writing of the complainant as a troll, look closely to identify what others may agree within their feedback. There, you’ll find your next content fodder and SEO hack.
How significant are feedback loops to content marketing and SEO?
Customers’ feedback can be looped into the whole brand experience output, which includes user experience(UX), answering the right questions on your website (enabling for richer content experience and broadens keyword opportunities).
Getting content marketing and SEO benefits from implementing feedback loop in your marketing would be a successful effort if done the right way. The following procedures will not only ensure you’re creating a better experience for your users but also gaining SEO advantage in the process.
Using a feedback loop to improve SEO – UX improvements
The most significant drawback to most businesses’ web presence is the user experience, and Google — growing ever-smarter with its constant algorithmic updates — is now effective at scoring a website’s rankings based on overall UX score. The best way for businesses to know how their UX measures up is through direct feedback from those using it. Here, customer feedback can be looped to the design team who can improve upon the website feel and accessibility. The result is a website with better UX and improved search rankings.
A feedback loop can prevent worthless content efforts
Say your content marketing team have been working tirelessly, analyzing trends and interviewing industry experts just to improve visibility and rankings. But the result is slow or abysmal. Here, the marketing team should be tasked to score through the complaints that have been left by your customers and come up with problem-solving content to line up your content calendar. This will not only directly address your users concerns but will help you see improved content marketing efforts.
Where have feedback loops improved SEO efforts?
In 2018, I and my partner at Effective Inbound Marketing, Ayodeji Onibalusi conducted a survey asking people to go visit our website and give feedback about what should be improved on. Majority of the responders wanted us to improve navigation and some others wanted us to produce more marketing content on the blog.
We incorporated the feedback loop by upgrading our content output and introduced breadcrumbs that’ll show the users how they navigated our website. These improvements saw our Alexa ranking move from 850,000 in December of 2018 to 272,000 as of today (August 2019) and our navigation improvement saw our users spend more time on site, dropping bounce rate by 50% and also increasing the number of pages visited per user. This has trickled down to our rankings, with terms like “Amazon” and “Russian Marketing” now driving users to our website.
Three takeaways from this
- The smallest feedback loop implemented can have a significant impact on SEO
- When implementing feedback loops, consider users satisfaction first
- A feedback loop can be equally effective if solicited from users
The right way to use a marketing feedback loop to improve SEO
Getting marketing feedback loop right shouldn’t be tricky if you follow best practices. The core purpose of a marketing feedback loop is to use constructive complaints from your customers to improve your content marketing and SEO efforts. This can be accomplished by identifying their pain-points and incorporating this into your content and SEO campaigns.
Successful marketing feedback loop must follow these rules to positively have an impact on content marketing and SEO.
Customers feedback should be looped to the right department as quickly as possible. Ideally, the customer should already get a response within the first hour, on the same channel. If it’s worth incorporating into a content, your content marketing team should already have a well-thought-out long-form content that addresses critical factors and answers questions such as:
– Was the complaint legitimate?
– Would other customers face this same issue?
– Was there a solution in place before?
– How did the company help the customer resolve the complaint?
– What did the company do prevent future customers from experiencing the same?
The medium of feedback should remain the same
Marketers should not make the mistake of addressing issues on different channels from where feedback originated from. Instead of providing a solution to a problem, this may escalate situations as the customer may assume you’re being defensive and trying to manipulate the situation.
If complaints are generated on social media, the complaints should be acknowledged on the same medium. Then support can take it up from there either through DMs or tickets. After which marketing feedback loop should be implemented once there is satisfaction, and then a campaign can be created out of it.
Must address concerns generated through implemented changes
For example, if users complain about the inability to access your products due to lack of breadcrumbs and poor navigation features — like the absence of a search tool, a short term solution may be to point them to categories or help them identify tags. But going further to introduce the features that’ll create a better experience would serve a longer-term purpose.
Changes implemented may be the focus of marketing feedback loop campaign
If the above approach is implemented, then a content marketing campaign around the customer’s feedback and the success achieved would be a welcome step. This would not only help attract more users through content marketing but would also show your brand as a listening one.
Getting content marketing and SEO right is critical to the success of your business if you’re competing online. Then the goal is to discover strategies that’ll keep your efforts successful and help you serve your users better. Marketing feedback loop helps you get this done.
Have you tried using a marketing feedback loop to optimize your SEO efforts? What results did you get?
Femi Haastrup is Founder and CEO of Femtrup LLC. He can be found on Twitter @Femihaastrup.
The post Four ways to use marketing feedback loop to optimize SEO efforts appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Skype is best known for being a video calling app and, to some extent, that’s because its messaging feature set has been a bit underdeveloped. Today, the company is working to change that image with a series of improvements to Skype’s chatting features aimed at further differentiating it from rival apps.
One of the most useful of the new features is support for Message Drafts.
Similar to email, any message you type up in Skype but don’t yet send is saved within the conversation with a “draft” tag attached. That way you can return to the message to finish it and send it later.
It’s a feature that would be great to see other messaging clients adopt, as well, given how much of modern business and personal communication takes place outside of email.
People have wanted the ability to draft and schedule iMessage texts for years — so much so that clever developers invented app-based workarounds to meet consumers’ needs. Some people even type up their texts in Notepad, waiting for the right time to send them.
In another email-inspired addition, Skype is also introducing the ability to bookmark important messages. To access this option, you just have to long-press a message (on mobile) or right-click (on desktop), then tap or click “Add Bookmark.” This will add the message to your Bookmarks screen for easy retrieval.
You’ll also now be able to preview photos, videos and files before you send them through messages — a worthwhile improvement, but one that’s more about playing catch-up to other communication apps than being particularly innovative.
And if you’re sharing a bunch of photos or videos all at once, Skype will now organize them neatly. Instead of overwhelming recipients with a large set of photos, the photos are grouped in a way that’s more common to what you’d see on social media. That is, only a few are displayed while the rest hide behind a “+” button you have to click in order to see more.
Unrelated to the messaging improvements, Skype also rolled out split window support for all versions of Windows, Mac and Linux. (Windows 10 support was already available.)
As one of the older messaging apps still in use, Skype is no longer the largest or most popular, claiming only 300 million monthly active users compared to WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion, for example.
However, it’s good to see its team getting back to solving real consumer pain points rather than trying to clone Snapchat as it mistakenly tried to do not too long ago. (Thankfully, those changes were rolled back.) What Skype’s remaining users appreciate is the app’s ease-of-use and its productivity focus, and these changes are focused on that direction.
Outside of the expanded access to split view, noted above, all the other new features are rolling out across all Skype platforms, the company says.
By now, the venture world is wary of blood testing startups offering health data from just a few drops of blood. However, Baze, a Swiss-based personal nutrition startup providing blood tests you can do in the convenience of your own home, collects just a smidgen of your sanguine fluid through an MIT manufactured device, which, according to the company, is in accordance with FDA regulations.
The idea is to find out (via your blood sample) which vitamins you’re missing out on and are keeping you from living your best life. That seems to resonate with folks who don’t want to go into the doctor’s office and separately head to their nearest lab for testing.
Most health professionals would agree it’s important to know if you are getting the right amount of nutrition — Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic affecting calcium absorption, hormone regulation, energy levels and muscle weakness. An estimated 74% of the U.S. population does not get the required daily levels of Vitamin D.
“There are definitely widespread deficiencies across the population,” Baze CEO and founder Philipp Schulte tells TechCrunch. “[With the blood test] we see that we can actually close those gaps for the first time ever in the supplement industry.”
While we don’t know exactly how many people have tried out Baze just yet, Schulte says the company has seen 40% month-over-month new subscriber growth.
That has garnered the attention of supplement company Nature’s Way, which has partnered with the company and just added $ 6 million to the coffers to help Baze ramp up marketing efforts in the U.S.
I had the opportunity to try out the test myself. It’s pretty simple to do. You just open up a little pear-shaped device, pop it on your arm and then press it to engage and get it to start collecting your blood. After it’s done, plop it in the provided medical packaging and ship it off to a Baze-contracted lab.
I will say it is certainly more convenient to just pop on a little device myself — although it might be tricky if you’re at all squeamish, as you’ll see a little bubble where the blood is being sucked from your arm. For anyone who hesitates, it might be easier to just head to a lab and have another human do this for you.
The price is also nice, compared to going to a Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp, which can vary depending on which vitamins you need to test for individually. With Baze it’s just $ 100 a pop, plus any additional supplements you might want to buy via monthly subscription after you get your results. The first month of supplements is free with your kit.
Baze’s website will show your results within about 12 days (though Schulte tells TechCrunch the company is working on getting your results faster). It does so with a score and then displays a range of various vitamins tested.
I was told that, overall, I was getting the nutrients I require with a score of 74 out of 100. But I’m already pretty good at taking high-quality vitamins. The only thing that really stuck out was my zinc levels, which I was told was way off the charts high after running the test through twice. Though I suspect, as I am not displaying any symptoms of zinc poisoning, this was likely the result of not wiping off my zinc-based sunscreen well enough before the test began.
For those interested in conducting their own at-home test and not afraid to prick themselves in the arm with something that looks like you might have it on hand in the kitchen, you can do so by heading over to Baze and signing up.
One of the fundamental truths about SEO is that no two Google searches are the same.
This, together with data on devices you use as well as places you go – both in terms of location history and the current IP – lets Google deliver personalized results. While this is convenient, you end up in the infamous “filter bubble”.
In a world of highly customized SERPs on the one hand, and a host of ranking signals for local search Google uses in its algorithms on the other, pulling relevant ranking data is as challenging as it gets.
Luckily, there are a bunch of ways to pop the filter bubble, targeting the one thing that seems to be dominating personalized search – location.
Not only does it determine what users see in search results, but it also helps business owners address the issue of inconsistent SERP performance across their service areas.
The thing is, doing your local SEO homework doesn’t stop at continuous content improvement and link building, targeted specifically for local search. Poor performance can still be an issue – one that is oftentimes attributed to not having enough of a customer base in a certain location. Therefore, the problem can only be diagnosed by checking SERPs for the entirety of the geographical area covered.
Without further ado, let’s look at how you can fetch rankings for different locations manually and using designated tools – all from the comfort of your home.
First off, decide on the level of localization.
For brands working in multiple countries, pulling nationwide results is more than enough. For local businesses operating within a city, ranking data will differ district by district and street by street.
So, say you want to see how well a website performs in country-level search. For that, you’ll need to adjust Google search settings and then specify the region you’d like to run a search for. And yes, you heard it right: simply checking that you have the correct TLD extension is no longer enough since Google stopped serving results on separate country domains a while back.
Now, in order to run a country-specific search manually, locate Search settings in your browser and pick a region from the list available under Region Settings.
Alternatively, use a proxy or VPN service – both work for doing a country-wide search.
Use rank tracking software
To automate the job, turn to the rank tracking software of choice, for example, Rank Tracker. The results will pretty much reflect the SERPs you fetched having manually adjusted search settings in the browser.
There you have it – non-geo-sensitive queries and multilingual websites performance tracking are all taken care of.
Doing SEO for small or medium-sized business comes with many challenges, not the least of which is making sure your website shows up in local search.
Whether you have a physical store or simply provide services within a specific area, tracking ranking coverage on the city level will ultimately improve findability, and drive leads and customers.
To manually run a search limited to a specific city, use the ‘&near=cityname’ search parameter in your Google URL:
As the name suggests, “&near=cityname” lets you pull SERPs near a certain location. While this method is easy to master, many claim that it’s unreliable, with results often delivered for a larger city nearby.
Still, the trick is nice to have up your sleeve as a quick and sound way of checking city-specific rankings manually.
Another silver bullet of local search that is sure to hit the city target is Google Ads’ Preview and Diagnosis Tool.
The Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool lets you pick a location, specify a language as well as user device – and fetch local SERPs regardless of your current whereabouts.
Use rank tracking software
Pretty much every rank tracking tool out there is able to run a city-specific ranking check.
Rank Tracker, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Whitespark, AccuRanker, BrightLocal – you name it – all boast the functionality and deliver local search results. That said, picking the right software for you and your business is a two-fold process.
First, take the time to look into the supported locations for search, since some of the tools, like Whitespark or SEMrush, have a somewhat limited location catalog. Second, you need to double-check that the software you’re most interested in is using their own database, with results relying on a well-designed and trusted crawler.
Doing this type of research helps you safeguard that you are able to easily see accurate SERPs for the location of your choosing.
In case you’re new to city-level ranking checks and/or baffled by the variety of options on the market, go for a single-dashboard tool: BrightLocal would be a perfect example of clean design and intuitive navigation.
Better yet, all data lives on BrightLocal’s website, which adds to the overall user-friendliness and lets you easily automate the monitoring of top search engines for multiple locations.
Google’s Local Pack is the place to be when running any kind of business. With over half of searches run from mobile devices, a single Local Pack may take up as much as an entire results page on a smartphone.
Both Maps and Local Pack results are extremely location-sensitive. Always keep that in mind while you’re doing your research. In order to verify that your business shows up for the right locations within a city, the search is to be narrowed down to a specific street address.
Not to say that you cannot configure an address-specific search by yourself. Even manually, this is still perfectly doable.
However, unlike relying on a toolkit that would basically do the whole process for you, setting up a highly localized search in a browser involves multiple steps and also requires some groundwork.
- To start off, you need to get the exact geo-coordinates of the location you’d like to run the search from. When in doubt, use a designated tool.
- In your Google Chrome browser, open DevTools: navigate to the top right corner of your browser window and click on Tools > Developer Tools. You can also press Control+Shift+C (on Windows) or Command+Option+C(on Mac).
3. Navigate to the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner: from there, click More Tools > Sensors. This step is also the appropriate time to give yourself some credit for getting that far in Google search configuration.
4. In the Geolocation dropdown, select “Other” and paste your target longitude and latitude coordinates.
5. Run a search and retrieve the SERPs for the exact location you specified.
In case you aren’t particularly excited about a multistep search setup, try the Valentin app, it lets you check search results for any location with no DevTools involved.
Use rank tracking software
If anything, rank tracking for multiple precise locations is the one job you want automated and done for you by a tool that was specifically developed for local search.
There you have the idea behind SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker designed to, among other things, pull hyper-localized SERPs for unlimited locations. Configure as many custom search engines as you wish. On top of that, set up scheduled tasks and have local search results checked autonomously.
Not only do I rely on Rank Tracker because it has been built by my team but also because it’s the only toolkit out there that automates what both Chrome and Valentin app help you configure manually. And of course, ranking data retrieved by the software is precise and easily exportable.
Another tool that lets you visualize – quite literally – any business’ search performance across a service area is Local Falcon. Created for Google Maps, the platform runs a search for up to 225 locations within any area specified.
With an overview of your search performance at hand, you can make better targeting choices while expanding outreach and winning new customers.
Given that there are as many SERP variations as there are searches, rank tracking may feel utterly discouraging: if no two users get to see quite the exact same results, why bother? Well, the sentiment is totally understandable.
But in fact, it all boils down to understanding the reasons behind tracking rankings in the first place.
Is it to see how quickly your SEO efforts transform into higher positions in SERPs? That’d be one. Is it to make sense of the changes in traffic and sales at every point and in every location? Sure.
Big and small, businesses today simply have to keep tabs on their rankings not just country-wide but even on a street-by-street basis. There is hardly any excuse to ignore a single metric here.
Not just that, in business as well as SEO there is no such thing as an unexplainable dynamic. And more often than not, you have to take a closer look to see the root of any problem.
We all understand that rankings in themselves aren’t the only metric of success. It’s not as straightforward as having more traffic, getting more business is the main goal.
But it shouldn’t in any way undermine the overall importance of tracking rankings as a tried and tested way of checking that your website is served among relevant search results.
Local search is all about making sure your customers see you and get to you. So use it to your best advantage – whether you go for checking manually or using rank tracking software.
Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.
The post How to check Google search results for different locations appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The moderators who sift through the toxic detritus of social media have gained the spotlight recently, but they’ve been important for far longer — longer than internet giants would like you to know. In her new book “Behind the Screen,” UCLA’s Sarah Roberts illuminates the history of this scrupulously hidden workforce and the many forms the job takes.
It is after all people who look at every heinous image, racist diatribe and porn clip that gets uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and every other platform — people who are often paid like dirt, treated like parts, then disposed of like trash when worn out. And they’ve been doing it for a long time.
True to her academic roots, Roberts lays out the thesis of the book clearly in the introduction, explaining that although content moderators or the companies that employ them may occasionally surface in discussions, the job has been systematically obscured from sight:
The work they do, the conditions under which they do it, and for whose benefit are largely imperceptible to the users of the platforms who pay for and rely upon this labor. In fact, this invisibility is by design.
Roberts, an assistant professor of information studies at UCLA, has been looking into this industry for the better part of a decade, and this book is the culmination of her efforts to document it. While it is not the final word on the topic — no academic would suggest their work was — it is an eye-opening account, engagingly written and not at all the tour of horrors you may reasonably expect it to be.
After reading the book, I talked with Roberts about the process of researching and writing it. As an academic and tech outsider, she was not writing from personal experience or even commenting on the tech itself, but found that she had to essentially invent a new area of research from scratch spanning tech, global labor and sociocultural norms.
“Opacity, obfuscation, and general unwillingness”
“To take you back to 2010 when I started this work, there was literally no academic research on this topic,” Roberts said. “That’s unusual for a grad student, and actually something that made me feel insecure — like maybe this isn’t a thing, maybe no one cares.”
That turned out not to be the case, of course. But the practices we read about with horror, of low-wage workers grinding through endless queues of content from child abuse to terrorist attacks, while they’ve been in place for years and years, have been successfully moderated out of existence by the companies that employ them. But recent events have changed that.
“A number of factors are coalescing to make the public more receptive to this kind of work,” she explained. “Average social media users, just regular people, are becoming more sophisticated about their use, and questioning the integration of those kinds of tools and media in their everyday life. And certainly there were a few key political situations where social media was implicated. Those were a driving force behind the people asking, do I actually know what I’m using? Do I know whether or how I’m being manipulated? How do the things I see on my screen actually get there?”
A handful of reports over the years, like Casey Newton’s in the Verge recently, also pierced the curtain behind which tech firms carefully and repeatedly hid this unrewarding yet essential work. At some point the cat was simply out of the bag. But few people recognized it for what it was.
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Advertising is coming full circle again. Brands realize that search and social are no longer silver bullets that will drive high volumes of sales at a low cost. Branding, funnel building and prospect nurturing are essential in a modern marketing team. Connected TV provides a bridge for the old and the new, to get the right message, to the right person, using modern targeting capabilities on a traditional medium.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Keyword research for creating content can make a tangible difference in your Google rankings. Anyone who works in content marketing knows that keyword research is crucial to ranking on Google and improving content engagement. But it can also be stressful, particularly when you look at how many results on Google appear for the keywords you want to rank for.
What is the process for keyword research and how do you get it right? This is a challenge that most content marketers and creators face. This guide will explain the process of researching keywords and help you begin and improve your content marketing.
Why do keyword research?
Let us get this critical question out of the way – why should you be doing keyword research at all?
Keywords help people find your content on the internet. When users have a specific query they need answers to, they head to a search engine where they input sets of words. Google then searches these indexes to find content that matches those sets of words and how well it answers the query to deliver the content to the user.
The better the content is related to the search input, the higher the content appears. The content that answers a search query best appears at the very top of Google’s first page – under the ads, of course.
Those sets of words are keywords, and they need to appear in your content in strategic areas for Google to deem your content worthy of appearing on their front page.
Content that has good SEO and is relevant will have a better chance of ranking high. As a result, the content will generate more leads, increase sales, and improve ROI.
Without keywords, your content will languish on pages further down the line on Google, ensuring that it doesn’t get seen even if it is good quality.
Business-related keyword research
What does your company sell or produce? Look at the products you have in your store and which ones need to be sold through content marketing strategies.
Make a list of these items and what you think are the most relevant search terms, such as in the example below where we look at “fashion” as a search term.
Create a mind map where you can include all the relevant terms to your industry and business that you can then search-related terms for on Google. This is also a great way to generate ideas for your content.
Search on Google
We have determined the importance of researching keywords and why you should undergo the process. With that out of the way, you should immediately go to Google.
Though there are numerous tools online that will show you keyword rankings and associated keywords, Google is still the best place to find the answers you are looking for. After all, Google is the most popular search engine that content marketers want to rank on.
Whether or not you have decided on the kind of content you are going to create, you can still search Google for keywords to use.
For instance, if you were a clothing brand working on new blogs about the clothes you sell, you could start off by typing in “jeans” and seeing the results, like in the below screenshot.
Source: Google search
But “jeans” is far too broad a category to write about. We have to narrow it down so you have a better chance of ranking and being found by your audience.
Look at what happens when you search for “jeans for men”.
Source: Google search
The terms become more specific the deeper you go in your search. Instead of writing an article about jeans in general, you can write something specifically for men over 40.
And you can go even further in your keyword research.
Source: Google search
When you search for “jeans for men over 40”, you get even more search suggestions for your content, alongside related keywords that you can use.
You could target your content towards “how to dress in your 40s male” instead of just “jeans” for a better chance of reaching your target audience.
The search term “how to dress in your 40s male” is a long-tail keyword, as opposed to a seed or head keyword like “jeans”.
Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for than head keywords, which will have extremely high competition. There are fewer chances of Google ranking you over your competitors in this case.
Instead, you should aim for long-tail keywords that are more niche to your business. Don’t look for your product, as that will generally only show you your competitors.
Search for ways that people use, or will use, your product, and choose your keywords accordingly.
Look at competitors’ keywords
As we have noticed, Google will show you the best results for the search terms you enter. Some of those results will likely be your competitors. Why not study them?
Look at the top three most relevant posts that appear in Google’s search for the terms you have entered. Avoid review sites, as these are not relevant for this exercise.
Once you have chosen the competitor content for research, look at the main headings of the article – these are the h1, h2, and h3 tags within a piece of content.
If a piece of content has great SEO, the keywords they are ranking for have to appear in the headings, most often in the title, and the first heading, as well as across the body copy.
List out what you see in your competitor’s content. Knowing the keywords that your competitor is using will help you tailor and structure your content.
In fact, using competitor names as keywords in Google Ads for your content has become a popular exercise for businesses.
However, this is a tricky area that you should study more about before implementing, even if the results could be positive.
Creating your content
Having chosen your long-tail keyword, you can incorporate it into your content.
An important thing to remember in content marketing is that your material should, first and foremost, answer your customers’ query.
Your goal may be to rank on Google and improve visits to your site, but if your content is solely SEO-focused with little regard to the needs of the reader, you will see higher bounce rates, which will negatively impact your ranking.
Additionally, keywords aren’t the only reason why your content will rank higher on Google. There are a number of other factors that increase rankings, such as link building, incorporating visuals in your content, and bounce rates.
But using relevant keywords that draw in your audiences will see results over time. You can also find out whether your keyword research is reflecting positive results by using tools to study keyword rankings.
Keywords affect your Google rankings, and that is where you should go to find the keywords best suited for you and your content.
Use long-tail keywords instead of head keywords that will have a lot of competition. Also, look at top competitors for your keywords to decide whether or not those keywords will work for you.
Finally, create your content with your consumers in mind, and not purely for SEO, as that will improve the chances of your content being read.
With these steps completed in your keyword research, you are well placed to begin creating content that will help you move towards the top of the Google rankings.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.
The post Your step-by-step guide to content marketing keyword research appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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