Monthly Archives: June 2020
- Landing pages can help you appeal to your audience, so they want to stick around and make the switch to a paying customer.
- The structure of your landing page is just as important as its content and should lead the human eye directly to the CTA.
- The top 25% of landing pages convert at 5.3% or higher relative to the average conversion rate of 2.35%- it pays to optimize your landing page.
- The anatomy of a landing page is key to increasing conversions; by strengthening first impressions, embedding psychological trust, capturing email leads, demonstrating UPS, and illustrating social proof.
A high proportion of landing pages convert well as they are created following key fundamental steps. This is largely down to the structure of a landing page as it aligns with persuasion, including elements that help to persuade.
A landing page with a high conversion rate is the solid foundation of a successful online business. The average landing page conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, with the top 25% converting at 5.31% or higher. As a business, no matter the conversion goal or the intended audience, following a set of structural rules can elevate your business.
For this specific reason, it is essential to understand the anatomy of a landing page to help boost your business, prompting better results. In most cases, all landing pages look poles apart but read in between the lines the same. Below, we will discuss the structure of landing pages in more detail.
Landing pages – understanding them
In marketing, a lot of time and effort is spent on driving traffic to a website. The intention is to reach the target audience with a hope that they will interact with the site and join the opt-in action, which might be in the form of subscribing to a newsletter or signing-up.
However, this does not always entice an audience into the sales funnel, converting them into customers. For this reason, landing pages are crucial and are at large, consist of effective content, graphics and call-to-actions (CTAs).
What is a landing page?
In all cases, a landing page is a web page that all site visitors are sent to initiate a conversation attempting to close a deal. Some of the most effective landing pages are stand-alone pages that are created for a single purpose where the CTA is pointed directly at the targeted audience. To get a higher conversion rate on email marketing, your landing page ought to give your visitors positive user experience.
To be frank, landing pages live separately from your initial website. They are designed only to receive campaign traffic. Separating them from websites allows organizations to focus on a single objective, making analytics easier, and testing simpler, which we will look at in more detail below. A landing page can be used for almost anything. However, the purpose of the page needs to be clear with a definitive link to an appropriate call-to-action.
For example, taking a look at the landing page above created by Nike, it is immediately evident from the onset precisely what product they are promoting, with a small purpose text and a call to action. The use of different colors also plays a vital role which will explore later.
Why you need a landing page
Landing pages are used to achieve particular goals. These can be either to build an email list, grow a brand, or to make a profit.
Landing pages also offer essential metrics for measuring the success rate of your business’s marketing campaign. By looking at the graph above, it is evident that by analyzing a single landing page, organizations can see the history of important metrics such as bounce rates.
At the core of a landing page sits an opt-in process for page visitors. The landing page metrics give organizations the clear insight they need to grow their business in the right direction successfully.
Here’s a look at numerous benefits that businesses can gain by producing specific landing pages.
Promote a positive first impression
If you consider that there are far more interesting pages to look at online in comparison to your landing page, you will begin to understand that the duration of time visitors spend on your site will be relatively low. For this reason, first impressions count. Landing pages aid businesses to appeal to their audience, transitioning them from a reader into a solid customer.
Use trust elements to your advantage
Images, graphics, and videos can attract visitors and have a way of persuading them emotionally to take action. Many psychology studies have indicated that people respond better to visual information than to text, resulting in much more positive user experience. Doing so can produce spectacular results, potentially giving business over a million unique visitors from Google alone.
The image above indicates processing visual content can be done at rapid speeds with greater retention and appeal, making clear that understanding visual content takes a small fraction of your reader’s attention span.
Increase conversion rate
Landing pages allow you to increase your conversion rate as it is easier to capture email leads from them in comparison to a typical blog. This is because a landing page has only one purpose. A website or a blog focuses on highlighting trending posts, recommending affiliate products or services, whereas the landing page is solely focused on the CTA.
Now we’ve spent a little time looking at what landing pages are, let’s now dissect the anatomy of one, focusing on the key components of a successful high-conversion landing page.
The components of a successful high-conversion landing page
What is your unique selling proposition as a business?
No matter what industry or field your business participates in, a fierce competition is always inevitable. As a business, your unique selling proposition is what sets you and your competitor’s miles apart. Your USP on your landing page is how you decide to position your offering differently.
Landing pages need to communicate this proposition in a succinct way sufficiently. Why? So your visitors can immediately understand what makes your product or service far more appealing compared to others alike. To do so, you must follow and include page elements that aid in telling your story clearly.
The main headline: One of the first things visitors will see and read is the headline. For this reason, it needs to be precise. Keeping the headline punchy and to the point is a must, being direct about your USP is vital. As demonstrated by Apple’s landing page above, they have decided to make the headline their product name, making clear what the landing page is promoting.
Supporting headline: As our heading needs to be short and sweet, additional context can be offered in the form of a subheading, adding a touch more information. The shorter the subheading, the better, as exemplified on Apple’s landing page. A subheading can have two approaches. The first being a direct extension of the headline itself. The second is offering additional information, conveying a secondary message that is persuasive. Apple has chosen the latter, by using the word “love” it adds an emotional element of persuasion.
Reinforcing statement: This is optional and depends on the length of your landing page. If the landing page runs long, you will want to add a reinforcing statement towards the middle of the page to help remind visitors of your USP. However, the reinforcing statement can also be used to persuade, as Apple has done so, by including prices and offering a “trade-in” option.
Closing statement: a closing statement is typically used to back up your USP, giving your visitor one last chance to convert into a customer. It is thought to be the climax to your offering, so making it count will pay off. A strong closing statement will help remind the visitor why they are on your landing page along with a repeat CTA with a little urgency.
The hero image or video
As mentioned above, first impressions are paramount, and so, the hero image is the first visual your visitor will see on your landing page. Hero images are thought to be the primary image that helps to convey your message. The image should clearly demonstrate and convey and communicate the use of your product or service as demonstrated by the below image from Mercedes-Benz.
With that in mind, some businesses prefer to use text-only landing pages that do not include videos or images. The purpose of this strategy is, since page loading times affect Google rankings, text-based landing pages load with speed, increasing the user experience. However, as we explored above, the retention and processing of text is much slower,
Video landing pages have become increasingly popular over the years thanks to sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Research has shown that one-third of all online activity comes from users watching videos. Videos are also increasingly interactive and help to demonstrate how your product or service works transparently.
The graph above provided by Statista indicates the share of businesses that were using videos on their landing page worldwide between the years 2016-2018. As you can see there was an 11% increase between 2016 and 2017 which is considered to be quite high and a 3% decrease in 2018, which is relatively low. Considering economic issues, it seems videos that are present on landing pages are proving to be successful for businesses.
The benefits of your offering
One of the main components of your landing page is the copy that is placed on it which helps to persuade readers. The key to your copy is to describe the specific benefits of your product or service along with flaunting its features. The feature helps to demonstrate a particular quality of your product and the benefit describes its positive impact. To drive and increase conversions, it is better to show off features and benefits together as Apple have done so with their “Lots of love, Less to spend’ copy. In this case, the feature of the product is what it can do for the customer, and the benefit is the price.
A form of social proof
Landing pages that convert well have examples of social proof that can be used to help influence your reader’s decision making. Pictures of customers, social media posts, and testimonials of users using your product help to build trust and help gain conversions. Large organizations such as Apple mix between using this strategy. The image below clearly indicates the benefits of social proof.
Conversion goal – CTA
The landing page’s key focus is a conversion goal, getting visitors to follow the CTA which can be a stand-alone button, a click-through page or a form designed for lead generation. When creating your CTAs, it would be wise not to use a bland button with text that says ‘click here’. Using conversation language as Apple has done so will let visitors know exactly what to expect when clicking on it if you opt to use a form, keep it short while including a privacy statement reassuring visitors that their data is safe.
Considering the psychology of color, Apple has used it to their advantage. Using the right colors help improve landing page conversions. The color blue is thought to make readers feel peaceful, which is the color Apple has chosen for their CTA text. The text also stands out from the other colors used on the pallet of the page.
Increasing your landing page conversion rate
Conducting market research is essential for your landing page. Gathering vital information surrounding your target audience and customers will assist you in creating a valuable and desirable customer experience. Doing so will help you gain an insight into the topics of interest surrounding your target market, allowing you to create a streamlined, well-targeted landing page.
Testing landing pages is vital. A/B testing is the process of running a simultaneous experiment between two or more pages in the aim to see which pages perform the best. Doing so can help gather evidence considering variations between texts, heading, and images.
Gathering metrics from analytics and A/B testing platforms like Finteza and Optimizely can help you make clear and concise decisions based on first-hand data collected when considering the behavior of your audience.
By seeing the effectiveness of a specific landing page, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when it comes to allocating marketing budget and spending time.
The impact of testing can largely elevate your business as President Obama raised an additional $ 60million dollars by using A/B testing in his last campaign.
The post Studying the anatomy of a successful high-conversion landing page appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Horizon Quantum is part of a new crop of startups that focus on building new tools for building software for quantum computers. The Singapore-based company, which is hardware-agnostic but also launched a close partnership with Rigetti Computing in 2018, today announced that it has raised a $ 3.23 million funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. Previous investors SGInnovate, Abies Ventures, DCVC, Qubit Protocol, Summer Capital and Posa CV also participated.
At its core, Horizon Quantum aims to democratize quantum development. Because there is very little about quantum computing that is intuitive, the company argues, it will take a new set of tools to help today’s developers tackle quantum. What makes Horizon unique is that it takes conventional source code and then automatically analyzes that to figure out where a quantum computer could speed up an algorithm. Right now, the company can identify potential speedups in code written for Matlab and Octave.
“The conventional approach to developing quantum applications is to explicitly specify the individual steps of a quantum algorithm, or to use a library where such explicit steps are specified. What makes our approach unique is that we construct quantum algorithms directly from conventional source code, automatically identifying places where it can be sped up,” explained Si-Hui Tan, the chief science officer at Horizon Quantum. “Everything that relates to quantum mechanics happens under-the-hood and on-the-fly in our compiler. This automation is what alleviates the need for any quantum knowledge. All our users have to do is to provide their program in a conventional programming language.”
At the same time, the company’s tools also make life for experienced quantum software developers easier by giving them the tools to write more succinct code that is also automatically optimized for the underlying quantum processors.
“We’re building a compiler that can go all the way from conventional, classical, code down to the control signals sent to the quantum hardware,” Quantum Horizon CEO Joe Fitzsimons told me in an email. “We’re still building, and we have a lot still to do, but we’ve demonstrated key parts of the technology, from identifying speedups in classical code down to characterising and mitigating errors in quantum processors. Our hope is that it will make quantum computing more easily accessible for the millions of software developers out there, and will allow us to leverage quantum computing in new domains (we specifically think about domains like geophysics for the energy sector and computational fluid dynamics for aerospace and automotive sectors).”
The company says it will use the new funding to help bring its technology to market and engage with its early customers.
If there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification… and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.
Set Realistic Expectations:
As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!
Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:
It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.
- Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
- Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
- More continuous visibility.
- Expectations are set to branding only.
- Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
- Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
- High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
- Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.
This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.
Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.
- An under-optimized UX can sometimes limit the user’s journey by creating roadblocks to conversions.
- Internal site search is one of the hidden gems every SEO should know about.
- Not only does it improve UX and conversions but literally shows us what’s missing in our content strategy and product range.
- CRO Expert Marco Bonomo reveals the top eight tips on internal site search optimization.
Making content easy to access and discovering content gaps are one of the greatest challenges in SEO. Aside from that, an under-optimized UX can sometimes limit the users journey by creating roadblocks to conversions. Thankfully, Internal site search can be used to reveal these gaps, and help in making the most of the existing traffic. Here are the top eight tips to take advantage of:
1. Make internal site search part of your optimization routine
Once you’ve set up the internal site search functionality and mastered the internal site search basics, it’s time to make site search part of your optimization routine. Important metrics such as exit rates, search refinements, or the “zero-result” search queries are particularly relevant in adding an extra layer of information to your audits and reports and help you in making more data-driven recommendations.
2. Dive into users’ behavior using the Google Analytics segments
Google Analytics segments come in handy when you’re looking to filter a portion of the traffic by a specific behavior, for example by selecting “Organic Only” visitors. What is less known though, is that Google updated the default segment “Performed Site Search” from “sessions” to “users” not long ago. Even if this might seem like a small change, it means that you might look at users with several sessions and purchases in their history, but who are still looped in this segment because of the way it is measured.
To mitigate this issue, you can copy the “Performed Site Search” segment and make it more targeted in two simple steps. The first one would be switching from “users” to “sessions”, while the second one (optional) consists in adding a “Bounces = 0” condition to exclude users that are less relevant for your site search analysis. For more info about the implementation, I recommend having a read at this piece from Loop54.
3. Analyze the internal site search flow in Google Analytics
Another report I recommend dive into is the Audience’s “Users Flow”. This particular report allows you to analyze the user’s behavior like never before and reveal further gaps in your UX and internal linking. To access the report, click on Audience > Users Flow and add your site’s custom search path (for example “/?s”) into the pop-up window from the node you are interested in querying, as per the screenshot below.
As a result, you should be able to see the specific path the visitors made after triggering the on-site search (see example below). For more information about the setup, I recommend having a look at this post from Bounteous.
4. Use Google Tag Manager to unveil zero-result search queries
Looking at search terms is a great way to have an understanding of what users are looking for, but what about the internal search queries that produced no results at all? Luckily, there’s a quick fix for this as creating a custom Google Tag Manager tag and an event on Analytics enables you to track these queries and identify even more gaps in your content or product ranges. To have this implemented (Analytics does not come with “zero-result” reports out of the box), have a read of the guide ‘How to implement the zero-result google analytics track’ by Dmitri Ilin.
5. Implement a smart site search solution
Using third-party software can enhance internal site search like never before. Especially for ecommerce websites, navigating through thousands of products can now be done in a more efficient way by simply implementing features that help improve the conversion rate. Features like auto-suggest or providing query results for different categories (see screenshot below) are now a must-have for ecommerce brands, as they aid in maximizing the site search revenue.
6. Add a voice search functionality to your internal site search
Especially if you’re working in a B2C niche, it’s definitely worth considering adding a voice search feature to your internal site search. Considering that mobile and tablet are now already generating over 50% of your traffic, it makes sense to make site search even more accessible by adding a feature that can only grow over time.
7. Consider disabling the Google search box
Even though disabling the Google search box might sound like a bizarre idea, I recommend considering this in particular cases. For example, big ecommerce like Amazon might want to leverage the homepage to display personalized deals. Doing so, Amazon encourages users to purchase items they didn’t even think about, but that was made irresistible by a clever combination of search history and flash discounts. To have a look at this, simply follow the Google site links search box guidelines and test it for a short period of time to see if this solution works for your ecommerce too.
8. Use Google Data Studio for internal site search reporting
In order to make sure that an on-site search is part of your optimization routine, I also advise you to create a dedicated Google Data Studio dashboard for your weekly or monthly reporting. The key metrics I suggest to display are the top search terms, search exits, search refinements, revenue, with the ability to filter by country and dates.
Internal site search is one of the hidden gems every SEO should know about. It not only represents another way to improve UX and conversions but literally shows us what’s missing in our content strategy and product range. So why not start using these practical tips, and make the most of this underrated tool today?
Marco Bonomo is an SEO & CRO Expert at MediaCom London. He can be found on Twitter @MarcoBonomoSEO.
The post Eight great tips for internal site search optimization appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
As I was wrapping up a Zoom meeting with my business partners, I could hear my son joking with his classmates in his online chemistry class.
I have to say this is a very strange time for me: As much as I love my family, in normal times, we never spend this much time together. But these aren’t normal times.
In normal times, governments, businesses and schools would never agree to shut everything down. In normal times, my doctor wouldn’t agree to see me over video conferencing.
No one would stand outside a grocery store, looking down to make sure they were six feet apart from one another. In times like these, decisions that would normally take years are being made in a matter of hours. In short, the physical world — brick-and-mortar reality— has shut down. The world still functions, but now it is operating inside everyone’s own home.
This not-so-normal time reminds me of 2008, the depths of the financial crisis. I sold my company BEA Systems, which I co-founded, to Oracle for $ 8.6 billion in cash. This liquidity event was simultaneously the worst and most exhausting time of my career, and the best time of my career, thanks to the many inspiring entrepreneurs I was able to meet.
These were some of the brightest, hardworking, never-take-no-for-an-answer founders, and in this era, many CEOs showed their true colors. That was when Slack, Lyft, Uber, Credit Karma, Twilio, Square, Cloudera and many others got started. All of these companies now have multibillion dollar market caps. And I got to invest and partner with some of them.
Once again, I can’t help but wonder what our world will look like in 10 years. The way we live. The way we learn. The way we consume. The way we will interact with each other.
What will happen 10 years from now?
Welcome to 2030. It’s been more than two decades since the invention of the iPhone, the launch of cloud computing and one decade since the launch of widespread 5G networks. All of the technologies required to change the way we live, work, eat and play are finally here and can be distributed at an unprecedented speed.
The global population is 8.5 billion and everyone owns a smartphone with all of their daily apps running on it. That’s up from around 500 million two decades ago.
Robust internet access and communication platforms have created a new world.
The world’s largest school is a software company — its learning engine uses artificial intelligence to provide personalized learning materials anytime, anywhere, with no physical space necessary. Similar to how Apple upended the music industry with iTunes, all students can now download any information for a super-low price. Tuition fees have dropped significantly: There are no more student debts. Kids can finally focus on learning, not just getting an education. Access to a good education has been equalized.
The world’s largest bank is a software company and all financial transactions are digital. If you want to talk to a banker live, you’ll initiate a text or video conference. On top of that, embedded fintech software now powers all industries.
No more dirty physical money. All money flow is stored, traceable and secured on a blockchain ledger. The financial infrastructure platforms are able to handle customers across all geographies and jurisdictions, all exchanges of value, all types of use-cases (producers, distributors, consumers) and all from the start.
The world’s largest grocery store is a software and robotics company — groceries are delivered whenever and wherever we want as fast as possible. Food is delivered via robot or drones with no human involvement. Customers can track where, when and who is involved in growing and handling my food. Artificial intelligence tells us what we need based on past purchases and our calendars.
The world largest hospital is a software and robotics company — all initial diagnoses are performed via video conferencing. Combined with patient medical records all digitally stored, a doctor in San Francisco and her artificial intelligence assistant can provide personalized prescriptions to her patients in Hong Kong. All surgical procedures are performed by robots, with supervision by a doctor of course, we haven’t gone completely crazy. And even the doctors get to work from home.
Our entire workforce works from home: Don’t forget the main purpose of an office is to support companies’ workers in performing their jobs efficiently. Since 2020, all companies, and especially their CEOs, realized it was more efficient to let their workers work from home. Not only can they save hours of commute time, all companies get to save money on office space and shift resources toward employee benefits. I’m looking back 10 years and saying to myself, “I still remember those days when office space was a thing.”
The world’s largest entertainment company is a software company, and all the content we love is digital. All blockbuster movies are released direct-to-video. We can ask Alexa to deliver popcorn to the house and even watch the film with friends who are far away. If you see something you like in the movie, you can buy it immediately — clothing, objects, whatever you see — and have it delivered right to your house. No more standing in line. No transport time. Reduced pollution. Better planet!
These are just a few industries that have been completely transformed by 2030, but these changes will apply universally to almost anything. We were told software was eating the world.
The saying goes you are what you eat. In 2030, software is the world.
Security and protection no longer just applies to things we can touch and see. What’s valuable for each and every one of us is all stored digitally — our email account, chat history, browsing data and social media accounts. It goes on and on. We don’t need a house alarm, we need a digital alarm.
Even though this crisis makes the near future seem bleak, I am optimistic about the new world and the new companies of tomorrow. I am even more excited about our ability to change as a human race and how this crisis and technology are speeding up the way we live.
This storm shall pass. However the choices we make now will change our lives forever.
My team and I are proud to build and invest in companies that will help shape the new world; new and impactful technologies that are important for many generations to come, companies that matter to humanity, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about.
I am hopeful.
Podcasts Can Be Hard to Find
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. They can be fun to listen to while doing chores around the house, like watering plants, washing dishes, cooking meals, and cleaning up. There are podcasts on many different subjects that I am interested in. A good number about Search Engine Optimization.
Someone asked me If I had seen any patents about podcasts on Twitter recently. I hadn’t at the time and I told them that. A patent application later appeared on January 9, 2020. I returned to the tweet where I replied that I hadn’t seen any, and tweeted that I had found a new one, and would be writing about it. This is that post.
I am not the only one listening more to podcasts. Techcrunch from last year had an article about the growth of audiences for podcasts: After a Breakout Year: looking ahead to the future of Podcasting.
It seems Google noticed this trend and has worked on making podcasts easier to find in search results and by releasing a Google Podcasts app.
Google Tries to Make Podcasts Easier to Find
At the Google Blog, the Keyword, a post last August from Sack Reneay-Wedeen, Product Manager at Google Podcasts, called: Press play: Find and listen to podcast episodes on Search
If you produce a podcast or are looking for one to listen to, you may find this article from last autumn helpful: Google will start surfacing individual podcast episodes in search results.
It tells us that:
Google is taking the next step in making podcasts easier to find. The company will now surface individual podcast episodes in search results, so if someone searches for a show about a niche topic or an interview with a specific person, Google will show them potential podcast episodes that fit their query.
In Google Search Help is a page about finding Podcasts titled Listen to podcasts with Google Podcasts
There are also Google Developer pages about how to submit your Podcasts for them to be found using Google on this page: Google Podcasts, which offer guidelines, management of podcasts information, and troubleshooting for Google Podcasts.
The Google Play Music Help pages offer information about using that service to subscribe and listen to podcasts.
There are also Google Podcast Publisher Tools, which allows you to submit your podcast to be found on the Google Podcasts App, and preview your podcast as it would appear there.
The Google Podcasts App is at: Google Podcasts: Discover free & trending podcasts
How the New Podcast Patent Application Ranks Shows and Episodes
The new Google patent application covers “identifying, curating, and presenting audio content.” That includes audio such as radio stations and podcasts.
The application starts with this statement:
Many people enjoy listening to audio content, such as by tuning to a radio show or subscribing to a podcast and playing a podcast episode. For example, people may enjoy listening to such audio content during a commute between home and work, while exercising, etc. In some cases, people may have difficulty identifying specific content that they would enjoy listening to, such as specific shows or episodes that align with their interests. Additionally, in some cases, people may have difficulty finding shows or episodes that are of a duration that is convenient for them to listen to, such as a duration that aligns with a duration of a commute.
It focuses on solving a specific problem – people being unable to identify and listen to audio content.
The method this patent uncovers for presenting audio content includes:
- Seeing categories of audio content
- Being able to select one of those categories
- Seeing shows based upon that selected category
- Being able to select from the shows in that category
- Seeing episodes from those shows
- Being able to select from an episode, and seeing the duration of playing time for each show
- Ranking the episodes
- Seeing the episodes in order of ranking.
Rankings are based on a likelihood that a searcher might enjoy the episodes being ranked.
The episodes can also be shown based upon a measure of popularity.
The episodes may also be shown based upon how relevant they might be to a searcher.
The identification of a group of candidate episodes is based on an RSS feed associated with shows in the subset of shows.
The patent application about podcasts at Google is:
Methods, Systems, and Media for Identifying, Curating, and Presenting Audio Content
Inventors Jeannette Gatlin, Manish Gaudi
Applicants Google LLC
Publication Number 20200012476
Filed: July 3, 2019
Publication Date January 9, 2020
The methods described in the patent cover podcasts and can apply to other types of audio content, such as:
- Radio shows
- Any other suitable type of audio content
- Television shows
- Any other suitable type of video content
The patent describes several techniques that podcasts are found with.
A group of candidate shows are selected, such as podcast episodes using factors like:
- Inclusion of evergreen content relevant to a listener
- Related to categories or topics that are of interest to a particular user
Recommendations of shows look at whether a show:
- Is associated with episodic content or serial content.
- Typically includes evergreen content (e.g., content that is generally relevant at a future time) or whether the show will become irrelevant at a predetermined future time
- Is likely to include news-related content based on whether a tag or keyword associated with the show includes “news.”
- Has tags indicating categories or topics associated with the show.
- Has tags indicating controversial content, such as mature language, related to particular topics, and/or any other suitable type of controversial content
- Has previously assigned categories or topics associated with a show that are accurate.
- Has episodes likely to include advertisements (e.g., pre-roll advertisements, interstitial advertisements, and/or any other suitable types of advertisements).
- Has episodes that are likely to include standalone segments that can be viewed or listened to individually without viewing the rest of an episode of the show.
- Has episodes often with an opening monologue.
- Has episodes featuring an interview in the middle part of an episode.
- Features episodic content instead of serial content, so it does not require viewing or listening to one episode before another.
- is limited in relevance based on a date (after the fact).
Human evaluators can identify episode based upon features such as:
- General popularity
- Good audio quality
- Associated with particularly accurate keywords or categories
- Any other suitable manner
Some podcasts may have a standalone segment within an episode that may feature:
- A monologue
- An interview
- Any other suitable standalone segment
That standalone segment could be trimmed as a new episode and included to be selected with the other episodes.
Episodes that are deemed too long in duration could be blacklisted or deemed not suitable for selection as a candidate episode.
An episode that contains adult-oriented content may be blacklisted from being presented to a user during daytime hours based on parental controls.
An episode containing a particular type of content may be blacklisted from being presented to a user during weekdays based on user preferences (e.g., particular topics for presentation on the weekdays as opposed to particular topics for presentation on the weekends).
Ranking of Candidate Episodes
Ranking can be based upon:
- Likelihood of enjoyment
- Previous listening history
- Relevance to previously listen to content
- Audio quality
- Reviewed by human evaluators
The patent tells us that this process can rank the subset of the candidate episodes in any suitable manner and based on any suitable information.
It can be based on a popularity metric associated with a show corresponding to each episode and/or based on a popularity metric associated with the episode.
That popularity metric may also be based on any suitable information or combination of information, such as:
- A number of subscriptions to the show
- A number of times a show and/or an episode has been downloaded to a user device
- A number of times links to a show have been shared (e.g., on a social networking service, and/or in any other suitable manner)
- Any other suitable information indicating popularity.
This process can also rank the subset of the candidate episodes based on a likelihood that a particular user of a user device will enjoy the episode.
That likelihood can be based on previous listening history, such as:
- How relevant a category or topic of the episode is to categories/topics of previously listened to episodes (Is it associated with a show the user has previously listened to?)
- Many times the user has previously listened to other episodes associated with the show
- Any other suitable information related to listening history
This process can also rank candidate episodes based on the audio quality of each episode.
Alternatively, this process may also rank candidate episodes based on whether each episode has been identified by a human evaluator, and episodes that have been identified by human evaluators are ranked higher than other episodes.
A combined episode score might be based upon a score from:
- A trusted listener
- The audio quality
- The content quality
- The popularity of the show from which the episode originates
This patent appears to focus primarily upon how podcasts might be ranked on the Google Podcasts App, rather than in Google search results.
The podcasts app isn’t as well known as some of the other places to get podcasts such as iTunes.
I am curious about how many podcasts are being found in search results. I’ve been linking to ones that I’ve been a guest in from the about page on this site, and that helps many of them show up in Google SERPs on a search for my name.
I guess making podcasts easier to find in search results can be similar to making images easier to find, by the text on the page that they are hosted upon, and the links to that page as well.
SEO Industry Podcasts
I thought it might be appropriate if I ended this post with several SEO Podcasts.
I’ve been a guest on many podcasts, and have been involved in a couple over the past few years. I’ve also been listening to some, with some frequency, and have been listening to more, both about SEO and other topics as well. I decided to list some of the ones that I have either been a guest on or have listened to a few times. They are in no particular order
Hosted by Dan Shure. Dan interviews different guests every week about different aspects of SEO and Digital Marketing. I’ve been on a couple of podcasts with Dan and enjoyed answering questions that he has asked, and have listened to him interview others on the show as well. There are some great takeaways in some of the interviews that I have listened to learn from.
A Weekly podcast about Google Algorithm updates, and news and articles from the digital marketing industry. This is a good way to keep informed about what is happening in SEO. She provides some insights into how to deal with updates and changes at Google.
Jim Hedger and Dave Davies have been running this podcast for a few years, and I’ve been a guest on it about 4-5 times. They discuss a lot of current industry news and invite guests to the show to talk about those. My last guest appearance was with David Harry, where we talked about what we thought were the most interesting search-related patents of the last year.
Danny Goodwin, Brent Csutoras, Greg Finn, and Loren Baker take turns hosting and talking with guests from the world of SEO. No two SEOs do things the same way, and learning about the differences in what they do can be interesting.
Erin Sparks hosts a weekly show about Internet Marketing, and he takes an investigative approach to this show, asking some in-depth questions. He asks some interesting questions.
Hosted by Robert O’Haver, Matt Weber, and Michelle Stinson Ross. They offer “Expert Advice on SEO and SEM. I had fun talking with these guys – I just listened half of my last appearance on the show.
Kate Toon is the host of this show, and she focuses on actionable tips and suggestions from guests on doing digital marketing.
Hosted by Mike Blumenthal, Carrie Hill, and Mary Bowling. They often discuss news and articles that focus on local search, but also discuss topics that have a broader impact on sites such as image optimization.
This is hosted by Jason Barnard. The “AEO” in the title is “Answer Engine Optimization” and Jason has been attending conferences to give him a chance to interview people for his podcast. The last time we did a show it was in a bakery across the street from my hotel in a suburb of Paris, talking about Entities at Google.
Martha van Berkel is the host of this show and is one of the people behind Schemaapp. She and I talked about featured snippets.
Barry Schwartz runs Search Engine Roundtable, which is originally based upon the roundtable in tales of King Author that knights would sit at. In this VLOG, he visits people where they work, and asks them questions about what they do. It’s fun seeing where people are from and learning more about them.
This is a weekly conversation between several SEOs having discussions, often about marketing and SEO, but sometimes veering off into different topics. It takes inspiration from early days of SEO where conferences such as Pubcon were often meetups in bars, with people sharing stories about what they had been doing. I am one of the hosts, and recently I’ve been joined by Doc Sheldon, Terry van Horne, Zara Altair, and Steve Gerencser.
Hosted by Jacob Stoops and Jeff Louella. They have guests join them from the world of SEO, and they ask them about their origin stories as SEOs. They have added a news section to the show as well,
These shows feature interviews with some sharp and interesting SEOs and provide details on tips and techniques involving digital marketing and technical SEO.
With David Harry, and Terry van Horne. The Dojo is a center for training and learning SEO. It often includes guests who have been sharing ideas and approaches about SEO for years.
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This blog describes the PPC performance, during the stay-at-home period, of 3 eCommerce businesses and how we maximized revenue during a period of high demand.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Three years ago almost to the day, Intercom announced that it was bringing former Intuit exec Karen Peacock on board as COO. Today, she got promoted to CEO, effective July 1. Current CEO and company co-founder Eoghan McCabe will become Chairman.
As it turns out, these moves aren’t a coincidence. McCabe had been actively thinking about a succession plan when he hired Peacock. “When I first started talking to Eoghan three years ago, he shared with me that his vision was to hire someone as COO, who could then become the CEO at the right time and he could transition into the chairman role,” Peacock told TechCrunch .
She said while the idea was always there, they didn’t feel the need to rush the process. “We were just looking for whatever the right time was, and it wasn’t something we were expected to do in the first year or two. And now is really the right time to transition with all of the momentum that we’re seeing in the market,” she said.
She said as McCabe makes the transition away from running the company he helped found, he will still be around, and they will continue working together on things like product and marketing strategy, but Peacock brings a pedigree of her own to the new role.
Not only has she been in charge of commercial aspects of the Intercom business for the past three years, prior to that she was SVP at Intuit where she ran small business products that included QuickBooks, and grew it from a $ 500 million business to a hefty $ 2.5 billion during her tenure.
McCabe says that experience was one of the reasons he spent six months trying to convince Peacock to become COO at Intercom in 2017. “It’s really hard to find a leader that’s as well rounded, and as unique as Karen is. You know she doesn’t actually fit your typical very experienced operator,” he said. He points to her deep product background, calling her a “product nerd,” and her undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from Harvard as examples.
In spite of the pandemic, she’s taking over a company that’s still managing to grow. The company’s business messenger products, which enable companies to chat with customers online, have become increasingly important during the pandemic with many brick-and-mortar businesses shut down and the majority of business is being conducted digitally.
“Our overall revenue is $ 150 million in annual recurring revenue, and a supporting data point to what we were just talking about is that our new business to up market customers through our sales teams has doubled year over year. So we’re really seeing some quite nice acceleration there,” she said.
Peacock says she wants to continue building the company and using her role to build a diverse and inclusive culture. “I believe that [diversity and inclusion] is not one person’s job, it’s all of our jobs, but we have one person who’s the center post of that (a head of D&I). And then we work with outside consulting firms as well to just try and stay in a place where we understand all of what’s possible and what we can do in the world.”
She adds, “I will say that we need to make more progress on diversity and inclusion. I wouldn’t step back and pat ourselves on the back and say we’ve done this perfectly. There’s a lot more that we need to do, and it’s one of the things that I’m very excited to tackle as CEO.”
According to a February Wall Street Journal article, less than 6% of women hold CEO jobs in the U.S. Peacock certainly sees this and wants to continue to mentor women as she takes over at Intercom. “It is something that I’m very passionate about. I do speak to various different groups of up and coming women leaders, and I mentor a group of women outside of Intercom,” she said. She also sits on the board at Dropbox with other women leaders like Condoleezza Rice and Meg Whitman.
Peacock says that taking over during a pandemic makes it interesting, and instead of visiting the company’s offices, she’ll be doing a lot of video conferences. But neither is she coming in cold to the company having to ramp up on the business side of things, while getting to know everyone.
“I feel very fortunate to have been with Intercom for three years, and so I know all the people and they all know me. And so I think it’s a lot easier to do that virtually than if you’re meeting people for the very first time. Similarly, I also know the business very well, and so it’s not like I’m trying to both ramp up on the business and deal with a pandemic,” she said.
- Customer reviews are a powerful tool that helps businesses understand what they are doing right and where there’s room for improvement.
- To efficiently collect client reviews, use multiple channels to encourage users to share their feedback both internally and on third-party platforms.
- Negative customer feedback is especially precious as, if handled properly, it helps businesses grow and offer better service.
- Social media can help you build a positive brand image, you just need to engage with people mentioning your brand and start building relationships with influential figures in your field.
Businesses tend to think that it’s better to get no reviews than to get bad ones. We at SE Ranking, have an opposing view – for us, customer feedback is always a blessing, be it positive or negative. We have developed a system of collecting, processing, and responding to user reviews that is beneficial both for us and our customers.
Over the years, we’ve built an engaged and motivated community of clients who help us shape our product. They are not just people who happen to use our platform, but also our consultants, partners, and friends who know that their feedback is always appreciated.
I’m Maria Kazakova, reputation manager at SE Ranking, and in this article, I’ll share our experience of gathering user feedback and using it for the product’s sake. The guide will be especially useful for SaaS products.
How to encourage users to share their feedback through different channels
Leaving reviews takes time, so normally users don’t rush to your contact us page or review platforms unless they had a remarkably positive or exceptionally poor experience. Our task as a business is to provide users with opportunities to easily share their feedback across different channels. This is how we do it at SE Ranking.
1. On-site communication
We have a live chat widget on our website, where users can ask their questions and get assistance at any time. The chat is available for both our website visitors and customers with the only difference: our clients are asked to rate their experience on a three-point scale when the chat ends. Then our customer success team works with every feedback approaching both happy and disappointed clients.
When the feedback is negative, our agents’ task is to figure out what went wrong and how we can solve the problem. If the client is happy, we ask them to review our product on a third-party platform. In most cases, they won’t leave a review straight away but will agree to write one sometime later. We add such customers to the list of potential reviewers and later send them a follow-up email once again asking them to leave a review.
What helps us streamline the whole process is our customer communication software by HelpCrunch. It automatically sends the rate-us chat message I mentioned earlier, it keeps all the chat histories, so we can analyze them when necessary. Finally, it provides us with statistics on the number of highly and poorly-rated chats.
Needless, to say that we strive to keep our satisfaction rate high. Our customer success team’s KPI is getting 98% of positive feedback, and they do their best to deliver outstanding service and reach this goal.
2. Net promoter score survey
SE Ranking users who have no reason to contact our customer service also get a chance to share their feedback. After using SE Ranking for a few weeks every customer is asked to rate their experience on a scale of 1-10 – a window with a survey pops up after a user signs in to the platform.
If the client is not ready to rate us immediately, they can close the window and get back to the survey at any time by clicking the ‘Rate us” button. It is accessible across the platform and only disappears when a user completes the survey. At the same time, we made the button absolutely unintrusive so that users could keep using the platform without any inconvenience.
Once a user rates their experience, another window pops up inviting them to leave detailed feedback on how we can further improve our product. Just like with feedbacks we get via chat, we contact every unhappy customer to learn what we can do to provide them with a better experience. Customers who gave us a nine or a ten automatically get an email with a request to review our platform on G2.
Every year before Christmas holidays we ask our users to make a wish—tell us which new features they want us to add to the platform in the year that comes.
We get hundreds of wishes from our customers all over the world which we then carefully analyze. Many customers actually ask for the same things, so we group all the similar ideas and forward them to our CTO who decides which suggestions to take on. And once we have a clear plan to follow, sometime around January we share all the details with our customers committing to fulfill the wishes that made it to our roadmap.
Such an approach is a win-win strategy because through wishes we get to understand what our clients lack the most and users can help us transform the platform in a way that speaks to their needs. We get lots of encouraging comments from users whose wishes were included in our roadmap. These users keep track of our updates become a part of what we call “customer development”—testing new features together with our clients.
For example, last year we implemented the new reporting system. Interested customers were granted early access to the test version of the new tool. We asked them to share their suggestions and report any possible bugs, and once we polished the tool and followed the customer’s most relevant recommendations, the new version replaced the old one.
4. Review platforms
Often, review platforms are considered to be the most important channel of user feedback. For us, it’s rather secondary. Before users leave comments elsewhere they most like have already shared their opinion with us through live chat, surveys, emails, or wishes.
However, reviews on third-party platforms work as rumor mills—more people get to know about our product and its advantages. So, for sure, it’s important to keep an eye on the reviews across different platforms and encourage loyal customers to share their feedback.
Keeping track of the reviews
We at SE Ranking monitor over 20 websites where people can write reviews about us. We realize that users can leave reviews at any time with no push from our end. So, even though monitoring all these platforms is a bit time-consuming, we still want to be sure not a single review goes unnoticed.
My recommendation is to pay special attention to Google reviews. They are a part of a company’s Google My Business profile. It can be seen when the business is searched for on Google Maps, but also often makes its way to the brand SERP as a panel to the right of the blue links. For brick and mortar businesses, Google reviews is the primary platform for working with customer feedback. As we are a SaaS product, Google reviews are not as important for us. However, it’s crucial to monitor and answer reviews and questions on Google, so users won’t get a feeling that you ignore your clients.
Also, keep a close eye on Trustpilot. It is one of the review platforms whose little stars are likely to appear in your brand SERP.
The good and, at the same time, the bad thing about Trustpilot is that there’s no moderation procedure. Nobody checks where the reviews come from, so anybody can write anything about your product here including sneaky competitors trying to manipulate your rating. On the other hand, users find it easy to leave feedback here, so you may get plenty of “organic” reviews.
Encouraging users to leave reviews
When asking your users to share their feedback, you can’t embrace every platform where your business has a profile. To get tangible results, you have to choose one platform to focus on along with one or two supplementary review websites.
Important note: Don’t offer users to leave a review on several platforms at once. If you ask them to “write a review on G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, or Google”, you’ll probably get none. Pick one platform to focus on (we’ve chosen G2). Over time, you can approach the same users and ask them to leave another review on a different platform (on Capterra in our case).
Just like Trustpilot, G2, and Capterra ratings often make their way to the brand SERPs. But the reason that made us choose these two platforms is their excellent reputation.
Unlike Trustpilot, G2 has a complex moderation system in place: every profile needs to be validated and it takes up to a week for a review to be approved and published. To leave a review a user has to spend up to 40 minutes answering 30 questions and sharing detailed feedback. Naturally, such a complex process puts off some customers but this is what makes every review so valuable and the platform so reputable.
So how one can convince clients to review their product on G2?
- First of all, provide a service that is worth talking about.
- Second, use both manual and automated ways of collecting reviews.
I’ve already mentioned how we collect reviews automatically—we target users who shared their feedback in the live chat or through the NPS survey. If a user is happy with your product, or if they were unhappy with it but you solved their problems, they will most likely be up for writing a review for you. Besides, we collect reviews manually by emailing our most loyal customers.
Such an approach has proved efficient as we’ve managed to collect over 500 G2 reviews. Thanks to the amazing feedback of our happy customers, SE Ranking was named the second-best SEO Software among 66 other tools listed. Besides, we were listed among the 50 best software solutions in line with HubSpot, Zoom, and Grammarly.
The big advantage of G2 is that it asks users whether we can use their review elsewhere. This means that we can use G2 reviews on our website without spending time on gathering new ones.
Capterra is another reputable review platform that also has a complex moderation procedure. Among others, they verify the reviewer’s identity, check if they are in any way affiliated with the product or on the contrary work for the competitors. For this platform, we only encourage users to leave a review manually. For example, if a user has already shared their feedback on G2 Crowd, we ask them to share one on Capterra as well. Naturally, some users review us on Capterra out of their own initiative.
How we work with negative feedback
We insist that negative reviews are very important for brand self-reflection.
Most of the time, users write such reviews on the spur of the moment, after having a short unpleasant episode with your product or your staff.
However, sometimes, even a loyal customer with long-lasting relationships with you can still be unsatisfied with some aspects of your work. Negative feedback from such clients shows that you’ve been doing something wrong systematically, so they should be treated as a signal to start fixing things up immediately.
It also happens that users rate you badly by mistake. A misclick can result in a negative review—an actual case we had with our NPS survey.
In any case, you should reach out to the clients, figure out what the problem was, and make things right.
- First, thank them for sharing their feedback and letting you know that something was off.
- Second, say that whatever is the reason for their negative impression, you are sorry for that and ready to make up for it.
- Third, try to figure out what exactly went wrong and how you can help to remedy the situation. At this stage, we can offer our users a demo session, extended trial access, or a prolonged subscription.
- Finally, if you solved the problem and you feel that the user is happy with your efforts, ask them to change the review.
You shouldn’t really care too much about the bad review themselves, but you should feel concerned about providing poor service. Your task here is to do your best to turn the negative experience a user had with your brand into a positive one.
How to build your reputation through monitoring mentions and working with influencers
In addition to internal feedback and review on third-party platforms, we also track our brand mentions as they have a tremendous impact on business online reputation.
Social media brand mentions
People often use social media to share their experiences and exchange recommendations, so we track all social media mentions of our brand to be able to engage with our audience. It helps us build a positive image in social networks.
We have configured Awario to send daily notifications to our “Brand mentions Chat”. Our outreach managers and customer success team try to respond to every post either offering a solution to a problem or simply leaving a thank-you message.
We have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn public pages that people tag when mentioning us.
On top of that, we have a special private community on Facebook, where our users seek advice and share their feedback about our tools and marketing activities. We go through every message, and depending on the nature of a post, it can be answered by our support managers, SMM specialists, content, or tech team members.
Working with influencers
Every now and then SEO specialists and marketers publish reviews of our platform.
Such reviews are especially valuable for two reasons. First, as they are written by the experts in our field such reviews can give us precious insights into the capabilities of our tools. On the other hand, these professionals usually have an audience of people working in the same industry. So, if an influencer recommends our service, lots of potential customers get to know about our platform.
Expert reviews come in all shapes and sizes: blog articles, YouTube videos, social media posts, and other forms of content. We tend to share them on our social pages—provided that they are positive :). We also normally reward reviewers with discounts, presents, or by promoting their blogs to our community.
Most of the reviews come organically, however, it’s always a good idea to boost this process.
To find influencers who could review SE Ranking we use two approaches:
- We find experts with a large following among our clients and ask them to review the platform;
- We find influencers in the field of SEO, offer them an extended trial, run a demo and guide them around our platform. Then, we ask them to share their opinion about the platform.
If you are a happy customer of any business, leave a review
I’d like to round up this post by addressing the clients of any businesses.
Choose to be an active, contributing client.
Reach out to the support team of the company that you have any trouble with. Don’t hesitate to complain—it helps businesses get better.
If there are some online services or products you use daily—share your feedback through any channel you find convenient. Your review can be a decisive factor for someone trying to make the right choice.
We at SE Ranking are thankful for every review and mention from our clients, as we strongly believe that review culture is a driving force that helps businesses grow and provide an outstanding user experience.
Maria Kazakova is the Reputation Manager at SE Ranking.
The post How to turn your customer feedback into a driving force for your product appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- Content marketing and SEO are like a sailboat and its sail, they need each other.
- We’re in a time where only nine percent of content actually sees organic traffic from search results, and nearly 70% of all clicks go to the first five organic search results.
- Co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., Kelsey Raymond shares a five-step guide to help you with an SEO-friendly content creation process that wins in SERPs.
Content marketing and SEO are like a sailboat and its sail, they need each other. Just like your sailboat’s not going anywhere fast without a sail, your content isn’t going to help you reach your goals if people can’t find it. And finding it might be harder than you think.
In a time when there are nearly 80,000 Google searches per second, breaking through the noise can seem impossible. Only nine percent of content actually sees organic traffic from search results, and nearly 70% of all clicks go to the first five organic search results.
So how can you compete in this race to the top of search engine results pages to make sure your target audience can find your content?
By thinking about SEO at every single stage of the content creation process.
Keeping SEO in focus throughout the content creation
Creating high-quality, educational, engaging content is an honorable pursuit, but in order for that content to actually be valuable, you can’t ignore SEO as you’re planning and creating your content. After all, content can only be valuable to someone if she knows that it exists.
So as you’re developing your next batch of content, here’s how you can consider SEO and implement SEO strategies at every stage of the content creation process:
From the very start of content creation — even before you’ve nailed down definite content topics — you should be considering SEO. Two ways you can do that are by looking into which subjects you should cover based on what your audience is searching for and researching potential publications you might want to target.
Let’s start with keyword research. You can use a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to get a grasp on what your audience members are searching for now, how they’re searching for it, and what other content is ranking for those keywords. This research will tell you which keywords you rank for, your position in search results for each keyword, and the traffic that keyword attracts, just to name a few metrics.
As you’re researching keywords to gather content topic ideas, start broad with your overall content theme. For example, if you’re looking into what your audience is searching for related to content marketing, start there. When you search for content marketing in one of the above tools, it will return variations of other keywords that people are searching for that are related to content marketing, such as what it is, techniques, strategies, ROI, case studies, examples, and more. This will help you cast a wide net from the start and narrow your focus from there.
Once you have this information, you can discover what content your audience finds valuable and take the next step of determining how you can create content that’s higher-quality and more engaging and relevant to your audience.
For guest-contributed content
Consider which publications you might want to target based on your niche and subject matter expertise. Once you have that list, research those publications. It’s important to choose publications that are reputable authorities within your industry. While domain authority isn’t a direct ranking factor, a site with a higher DA is perceived as more authoritative, which can potentially lead to more eyeballs on your content and, therefore, a higher ranking due to that engagement. Not sure which sites qualify as authoritative? A good test is to ask yourself whether you’d be comfortable sharing an article from the publication with your colleagues and friends. If not, keep looking.
In addition to considering publications’ credibility, you’ll also want to look at what types of links these publications include in their articles. You can use a tool like MozBar to see which links in an article are “nofollow” or follow and internal or external. A follow link is acknowledged by search engines and drives SEO juice for the linked site. But keep in mind that just because a site doesn’t use follow links, that doesn’t mean it won’t advance your content goals. Follow links do carry link juice, but you can still gain valuable organic referral traffic to generate leads without those follow links.
Also, check to make sure the publication uses contextual links, tools like cognitiveSEO can help with this. Contextual links are links that are surrounded by relevant text within the body of a piece of content. For example, in one of my recently published articles, I included an educational link that was directly related to the surrounding text:
Getting those contextual links in high-authority publications helps Google establish the relevancy of your content, and these links can boost your click-through rate by providing readers with additional valuable information.
Once you’ve chosen a content topic and a publication target for guest-contributed content based on your research, you can begin the outlining phase.
Start by determining a few primary keywords you’re focusing on in this specific piece of content. List out some related long-tail keywords and keyword variations you might consider including so you can keep them in mind during the writing stage. Also, pinpoint any related links you’d like to try to include naturally within the content. Here’s an example:
Next, write up a brief summary of the topic. What’s the big picture? What will this article cover, and what value will it provide to readers? Make sure this summary ties back to your target keywords. Here’s an example, notice the underlined target keywords:
Once you have that summary in place to guide you, you can create a bulleted outline including the actual information you want to cover within the article. Include your own insights, the takeaways you want readers to walk away with, and relevant examples and research.
3. Write with a “people first” approach
When you’re writing your content, remember to write for people first. Write content that is helpful, educational, and engaging, and optimize from there.
When you’re including keywords, use both short- and long-tail keywords naturally. These days, search engines are trying to curate search results that ring true to the searcher’s intent and to do that, they’re trying to understand the searcher’s natural language in the same way another person would. Make sure to include your keywords in a way that would match up with what your audience members are looking to learn based on their search.
Searcher intent is also important when determining the length of your content. If you’re focusing on a keyword that people are searching for when asking a simple question, you might want to keep the content short and sweet — they’re probably not in the market for a long guide. However, it’s still important to balance out those shorter pieces of content with long ones so you can provide valuable content to members of your audience at every stage of their journey with your company.
Consider voice search
Also, remember that search isn’t limited to text anymore. By 2020, almost a third of searches will be done without the help of a screen – think Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. And research shows that only 1.71% of voice search results have the exact match keyword in their title tag. So make sure you’re including keyword phrases in a way that people might speak to help your content rank in voice search. For example, in addition to the keyword “content marketing strategy”, you might also want to include something like “how can I create a content marketing strategy?” into your text.
Make it digestible
Finally, as you’re writing your content, make it digestible. For content that’s on the longer side, use subheadings and bullet points to break up the content to provide a better experience for the reader.
Also, look for opportunities to optimize your content for Google’s “featured snippet” box, also known as “position zero.” Only 12.3% of search queries result in a featured snippet box, and 93% of SEO experts say that claiming the featured snippet box can drive more clicks and visits to a website. A few ways you can optimize your content for the featured snippet box are posing a question in a header and then concisely answering the question directly below, including FAQ schema, and providing a table of contents with anchor links.
Once you have a written draft put together, it’s editing time. It’s best to have someone other than the writer edit the content because a fresh set of eyes is more likely to catch grammatical errors and other content issues.
During the editing stage, make sure the keywords read naturally within the copy. Be on the lookout for keyword stuffing (that is, including tons of keywords without regard for readability) or missed keyword opportunities, and double-check that any hyperlinks you’ve included are placed on keyword phrases when possible.
The anchor text for hyperlinks should be relevant to readers based on where they are within the article, and it should make sense for them to want to click another link. For example, let’s say a reader stumbles across this sentence: “It’s important to optimize your blog posts for SEO.” When the reader sees that “optimize your blog posts” is linked, he will probably assume that the link goes to a page that provides advice on optimizing blog posts for SEO. But if that link leads straight to a homepage that contains no helpful insights related to that topic, the reader will probably get frustrated and bounce.
It’s also important to ensure the content title is relevant and includes keywords so your audience members can find the content in search and see clearly that it can help them solve their pain points or answer their questions.
Next, take a step back and make sure the content is formatted for readability on mobile. Google research found that there are more Google searches on mobile than desktop, so this couldn’t be more important. To ensure your content is formatted for mobile, Jumpfactor CEO Zamir Javer recommends that you “use the squint test to scan the page to identify design and layout flaws so that you can adjust the layout to make it more readable. Don’t bring your readers to a page with a wall of text, or they will leave just as fast as they came. This will ultimately erode your search visibility as Google measures site interaction as a signal for rankings”. This squint test should be done on a mobile device to confirm that everything looks great for your mobile readers.
Evaluate whether there are enough subheadings within the content. Subheadings break up content to make it digestible and less overwhelming for readers, which can improve the user experience and time on site, which then boosts your search rankings. Include relevant keywords within subheadings when appropriate so readers can quickly see that the content is relevant to them and what they’re hoping to learn.
5. Prepping for publishing
Congratulations! You’ve created a high-quality piece of content and have kept SEO in focus throughout the journey. But the work isn’t finished quite yet if you’re creating content for your own site.
Don’t forget to add alt text for any visual elements you’re including. The alt text describes what an image or other visual element contains. This makes your content accessible for people with visual impairments and makes sure Google correctly interprets what those visual elements are.
Also, create an SEO title tag that’s 60 characters or less and a meta description that’s 155 characters or less. The title tag denotes what will appear as the page title in search results, and the meta description is the descriptive text that appears just below the title in those results. These elements ensure searchers can clearly see what your content is about and are enticed to click through to it. Make sure this metadata is both keyword-rich to help with rankings and engaging to drive click-through rates.
Finally, do one last check to make sure the content is visually easy to follow and doesn’t bombard readers with a big wall of text.
Well, there you have it! You’re now armed with the information you need to stay focused on SEO throughout the entire content creation process — all while creating high-quality, engaging content that your audience will love.
Kelsey Raymond is the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a full-service content marketing firm that specializes in helping companies strategize, create, publish, and distribute content that accomplishes their goals.
The post Content creation guide: How to effectively think of SEO at every stage appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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