Monthly Archives: September 2020

Leaked memo excoriates Facebook’s ‘slapdash and haphazard’ response to global political manipulation

September 14, 2020 No Comments

A former Facebook data scientist dropped a detailed, damning memo on her last day there, calling the social network out for what she describes as an arbitrary, slow and generally inadequate response to fake accounts and activity affecting politics worldwide.

BuzzFeed News acquired the full memo and has published excerpts in this report, which is well worth reading in its entirety.

Zhang was reportedly fired earlier in September for, as she describes it, ongoing disagreement with management about the company’s priorities and response to widespread manipulation.

In the 6,600-word memo, Zhang describes a system where the focus is very much on ordinary spam — which is of course a major problem for the platform — while “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB) attempting to influence elections is not awarded as much priority or resources. Unless it’s politically expedient, for example if a botnet needs to be rolled up before testimony in Congress or pressure from the press.

As the memo reported by BuzzFeed News reads:

It’s an open secret within the civic integrity space that Facebook’s short-term decisions are largely motivated by PR and the potential for negative attention… It’s why I’ve seen priorities of escalations shoot up when others start threatening to go to the press, and why I was informed by a leader in my organization that my civic work was not impactful under the rationale that if the problems were meaningful they would have attracted attention, became a press fire, and convinced the company to devote more attention to the space.

Overall, the focus of my organization – and most of Facebook – was on large-scale problems, an approach which fixated us on spam. The civic aspect was discounted because of its small volume, its disproportionate impact ignored.

I’ve asked Facebook for comment on the memo, including the following specific claims reportedly made by Zhang:

  • Large-scale political manipulation returned in Honduras weeks after Facebook made attempts to stop it
  • Her report of coordinated manipulation campaigns in Azerbaijan was not investigated for a year afterwards
  • More than 10 million fake reactions and accounts were removed from the U.S. and Brazil 2018 elections and never disclosed
  • A major political influence campaign in Delhi, India this February was never reported
  • Some 672,000 accounts were removed this spring from COVID-related misinformation campaigns in Spain and the U.S., also never disclosed
  • Whether to pursue a misinformation campaign at all is often left to mid-level employees like Zhang, who claimed she had “no oversight whatsoever”
  • Zhang’s push to dedicate more resources to civic platform problems led to her dismissal

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, attempted to play down the memo in a tweet, saying that Zhang was describing “fake likes”: “Like any team in the industry or government, we prioritize stopping the most urgent and harmful threats globally. Fake likes is not one of them,” he wrote. Certainly some of what Zhang describes is fake engagement, but far from all of it, and at any rate Facebook’s judgment in assigning priority is part of what the memo takes issue with.

The memo states outright what many have suspected is the case all along: That Facebook “projects an image of strength and competence… but the reality is that many of our actions are slapdash and haphazard accidents.” Not only that, but that the picture of Facebook’s efforts to combat this sort of thing is highly tailored by the company itself and not, it seems, in any way a complete or accurate one.

This post will be updated if we receive any substantial comment from Facebook. (It has been updated with Rosen’s tweet.)

Social – TechCrunch

Airtable’s Howie Liu has no interest in exiting, even as the company’s valuation soars

September 14, 2020 No Comments

In the middle of a pandemic, Airtable, the low-code startup, has actually had an excellent year. Just the other day, the company announced it had raised $ 185 million on a whopping $ 2.585 billion valuation. It also announced some new features that take it from the realm of pure no-code, and deeper into low-code territory, which allows users to extend the product in new ways.

Airtable CEO and co-founder Howie Liu was a guest today at TechCrunch Disrupt, where he was interviewed by TechCrunch News Editor Frederic Lardinois.

Liu said that the original vision that has stayed pretty steady since the company launched in 2013 was to democratize software creation. “We believe that more people in the world should become software builders, not just software users, and pretty much the whole time that we’ve been working on this company we’ve been charting our course towards that end goal,” he said.

But something changed recently, where Liu saw people who needed to do a bit more with the tool than that original vision allowed.

“So, the biggest shift that’s happening today with our fundraise and our launch announcement is that we’re going from being a no-code product, a purely no-code solution where you don’t have to use code, but neither can you use code to extend the product to now being a low-code solution, and one that also has a lot more extensibility with other features like automation, allowing people to build logic into Airtable without any technical knowledge,” he said.

In addition, the company, with 200,00 customers, has created a marketplace where users can share applications they’ve built. As the pandemic has taken hold, Liu says that he’s seen a shift in the types of deals he’s been seeing. That’s partly due to small businesses, which were once his company’s bread and butter, suffering more economic pain as a result of COVID.

But he has seen larger enterprise customers fill the void, and it’s not too big a stretch to think that the new extensibility features could be a nod to these more lucrative customers, who may require a bit more power than a pure no-code solution would provide.

“On the enterprise side of our business we’ve seen, for instance this summer, a 5x increase in enterprise deal closing velocity from the prior summer period, and this incredible appetite from enterprise signings with dozens of six figure deals, some seven figure deals and thousands of new paid customers overall,” he said.

In spite of this great success, the upward trend of the business and the fat valuation, Liu was in no mood to talk about an IPO. In his view, there is plenty of time for that, and in spite of being a seven-year-old company with great momentum, he says he’s simply not thinking about it.

Nor did he express any interest in being acquired, and he says that his investors weren’t putting any pressure on him to exit.

“It’s always been about finding investors who are really committed and aligned to the long term goals and approach that we have to this business that matters more to us than the actual valuation numbers or any other kind of technical aspects of the round,” he said.

Startups – TechCrunch

Inbound marketing for brand awareness: Four up-to-date ways to do it

September 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • You probably can’t afford a super bowl ad, yet you want to make a name for your brand in an industry dominated by big guns.
  • How do you crack the code using the right method and what’s the most effective for you? Inbound marketing or outbound marketing?
  • Ali Faagba discusses the challenges of inbound marketing and the how-to solve them

The first rule in the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is to be the first. But what do you do when you are not?

You probably can’t afford a super bowl ad, yet you want to make a name for your brand in an industry dominated by big guns.

Inbound marketing or outbound marketing: Which one will work for you best? How?

This piece discusses the challenges and the how-to of solving them.

Proprietary eponym! You may never have heard of it, but it is the bane of new brands trying to create brand awareness or make headways into industries dominated by big guns.

Imagine someone in the soft drink industry. The competition is with Coca-Cola, yet, most consumers will ask for a coke when hanging out in a cafe.

In industries where specific brand names have become synonymous with their original product, new brands can easily be suffocated out of the game.

Big names use their longevity, time-tested popularity, and a fat purse to create a monopoly and call the market shot — and having earned proprietary eponyms, they push low-budget upcoming competitors into the abyss.

You are not paranoid. They are really out to get you.

But this is an internet marketing world, and you are willing to try against all the odds, knowing fully well that creating a proprietary eponym of your own is, in all likelihood, impossible. Yet, you want your brand to gain traction and make a dent, in spite of the dominant brands.

Where do you start? Do you pay social media companies to disrupt the attention of an innocent user who is already loyal to one brand or, do you try creating content that brings your prospects to you through an organic search?

Say you already make an offer that surpasses your big competitors – beating them to solve a problem your prospects would like solved or building into your product a new experience you know they will want to have, let’s look into what you should do.

Inbound marketing or outbound marketing: Which one is better in creating brand awareness?

First, let’s deal with this question with some data. Numbers don’t lie, they say.

According to PPC Protect, the average person sees between 6000-7000 ads a day. From TV ads to outdoor signage to social media ads, ads are paralyzing us. 

Similar research from Small Biz Genius shows that the average person is targeted with over 1,700 ads per day but only gets to see half of them.

Statista forecasted that revenue loss due to ad-blockers would increase to 12.2 billion US dollars. 

We can go on, but even the first two stats suffice. 

So, what kind of response do you expect to get from an ad-addled brain that’s already loyal to a specific brand when a gazillion of you are vying for his attention?

When it comes to creating awareness for your business, let the need to solve a problem spur research in your prospect, get your inbound marketing arsenal ready to be the magnet of those prospects, and make your brand message lure them into a relationship. 

That way, you won’t be spending your top dollars on indifferent audiences. How much further do you need to know to be sure inbound marketing can do a better job of brand awareness for you than outbound marketing?

What are the top inbound marketing strategies you can use to build brand awareness?

1. Start with a scalable guest post strategy

I’m not trying to put the cart before the horse here. And if it appears that way, hear me out first.

For every serious entrepreneur, there is a fountain of energy that never runs dry in doing things. Still, this fountain runs low whenever something depends on the third party.

Don’t be surprised I mentioned guest post as the first thing you should pay attention to; after all, for guest post campaigns to truly succeed, you need a landing page people can refer to or a blog post that is rewarded with backlinks from your guest post efforts.

The problem, though, is that despite doing your due diligence in keyword research, putting content on your blog site, and optimizing them for search engines, one problem you will encounter is that no one may ever get to see them.

Even if you have a large follower base on social media, organic reach on social platforms is in a steady decline. You can’t blame the social media companies for this, they are entrepreneurs too, and their profit depends on the money you take away from them when your post reaches too far.

Hence, my choice of guest post strategy as a starting point in using inbound marketing to build brand awareness and visibility.

But don’t take my word for it. Ample examples exist to prove the effectiveness of guest posting in gaining brand visibility.

Suppose you have been in the content marketing space for a while. In that case, you might have heard of Aaron Orendorf, a philosophy teacher, who used guest posting to catapult himself into prominence in the marketing world. 

Through guest posting, he rose from an obscure online writer to become the editor-in-chief at Shopify Plus and became one of the most sought after content marketers in the world.

What you can do

When you guest post to share a stand-out message and authenticity, you establish yourself as an industry leader and make people want to look more into what you do.

Take Neil Patel and the growth of Ubersuggest. While this is not a quintessential example of brand awareness through guest posting, it is a classical example of product growth tied with the popularity of the product owner.

If guest posting can bring one popularity, then it can create brand awareness. 

But the pain area remains, whether your guest post gets published or not, it is solely in the discretion of the publisher/editor of your target publications which is why you should think deep and long about three things:

  1. What publication do you want to get featured in?
  2. Do they align with your brand identity?
  3. What do they want from you?
  4. What do you want to achieve with your guest post campaign (thought leadership, backlinks, referral traffic, and other such parameters)?
  5. Will you need help to achieve that?
  6. Or, can you pay them for a brand mention, and is this best for you?

2. Content that solves a problem: Complete, lucid, and actionable

Let’s not forget: for all its buzz, content marketing works because of a single streak: it gives. It gives for free. It gives it all. Unsparingly. 

Big companies use content — in terms of blog posts, whitepapers, Infographics, ebooks, etc. — in a well-knitted series of strategies to attract prospects who are looking to solve a problem, and then hook them into a sales funnel.

When it comes to content marketing, trust is the key. And how do you gain trust?

It is by giving; by posting a problem-solving kind of content that leaves your visitor saying, “That’s what I’m looking for”, then promising them more in exchange for their email address.

This works like magic every time. Let’s run a little exercise on Google.

Now I’m searching on Google to look for how to create a logo.

Inbound marketing exercise - Google "create a logo"

Some random SEO optimized website showed up, and I clicked on it, leading me here:

Landing on website for "creating a logo" keyword

And after inserting the name of my brand and clicking on the Get Started button, I found myself here:

After adding brand name

Once I have chosen an option, I was led to another page where I can now save my new logo:

Inbound marketing through website: Save logo

As I attempted to save my logo, below is what I got:

Using website touch points to providing a free service and get first-party data like email ids

That’s it. Attracting leads with inbound marketing is not so complicated.

While the name of this logo design company is Free Logo Design, you may notice that I wasn’t searching for a specific company in my Google search.

I was only looking for a generic term that helps me to solve my most immediate problem, which is to create a logo.

By searching, I found someone who has provided a solution for it, and now they are asking me for my contact should I want more. 

Perhaps I do, maybe I don’t just have the money yet. Maybe soon. Or perhaps I just haven’t decided to pay. Or maybe I don’t know they have a feature that I’m looking for. 

Now they have an opportunity to show me all they’ve got since they now have my contact, and I am now familiar with their brand.

Don’t forget you don’t have to give a freemium to get a lead; a problem-solving content will suffice in most cases, so long as your prospect is out to solve a problem. And I bet it’s the one that wants to solve a problem you are looking for.

3. Webinar and other education platforms

In the peak period of the “shelter in place” in response to COVID-19, On24, a webinar hosting platform, saw an eight percent jump in the number of marketing-centric webinars hosted on its platform.

But even more impressive is how educational webinars have exploded in comparison, On24 reports. It also reported that training and continuing education jumped by 11% and 22%, respectively. 

At the same time, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are rising year on year. It is not just the stay at home order of the pandemic that brought about the upward trend in e-learning. The comfort and flexibility of learning online have always been of attraction to long-life learners.

Hence, smart corporate institutions and businesses use online course platforms to provide learning opportunities for willing learners and also turn them to leads.

In 2020 alone, Neil Patel has launched no less than two online courses. If you had attended any of them, you would understand that they are a pure lead generation strategy tailor-made to boost visibility and adoption of his Ubersuggest. 

Today, as the marketing options are getting narrower based on the disproportionate number of ads run online, learning webinars and online classes are where people go out of their own volition.

For marketers, this means an opportunity to sell to a group of prospects who aren’t just passive readers or random social media users but active listeners who are willing to end the day having learned and encountered something new.

If you are willing to use inbound marketing as your key awareness-building option, launching webinars and free online courses should be among your first-in-lines.

Podcasting should not be left out

In all marketing kinds, attention matters a lot. In the past, passive awareness never sold things. Today, passive awareness never sells anything.

And eBay knows this better than anyone else. Imagine the popularity of eBay. Still, the company launched a podcast show dubbed “Open for Business.” Albeit frank about its aim to build more brand awareness, 85% of the show’s time teaches, for free, how to build a business to success.

“From the hiring, to pricing, to financing and customer service, Open for Business is a must for anyone looking to succeed in business,” an introduction on its podcast landing page reads. 

HubSpot says in 2018, 18% of marketers were looking to add podcasting to their strategy. If you checked now, the number must have gone above that.


If you have been looking to Google for an answer about what’s best for building brand awareness, and you have interest in inbound marketing, or it is your budget that confines you, you may have found, as I have found, that most articles are generic and state the obvious.

Most annoyingly, they state no reasons as to why their strategy works. They walk you through most of the inbound marketing strategies but take no cognizance of what stage you are and whether you have the capacity to implement them.

Imagine an article that wants you to gain awareness but tells you to use email marketing, not even minding whether you have an email list in the first place or not. 

If you are just starting out, this article is, by no means, exhaustive, but consider it a nudge in the right direction and a playbook to help you set about building your brand recognition the right way.

Ali Faagba is a copywriter, content marketer, and a tech freelance writer. He’s been featured in Entrepreneur, Thrive Global and others. He can be found on Twitter @contentmints.

The post Inbound marketing for brand awareness: Four up-to-date ways to do it appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

AT&T customers can now make and receive calls via Alexa

September 13, 2020 No Comments

Amazon this morning announced it’s teaming up with AT&T on a new feature that will allow some AT&T customers to make and receive phone calls through their Alexa-enabled devices, like an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Once enabled, customers with supported devices will be able to speak to the Alexa digital assistant to start a phone call or answer an incoming call, even if their phone is out of reach, turned off or out of battery.

The feature, “AT&T calling with Alexa,” has to first be set up under the user’s Alexa account.

To do so, users who want to enable the option will need to go to the “Communication” section in their Alexa app’s Settings. From there, you’ll select “AT&T” and then follow the on-screen instructions to link your mobile number.

Once linked, AT&T customers will be able to say things like “Alexa, call Jessica,” or “Alexa, dial XXX-XXX-XXXX” (where the Xes represent someone’s phone number).

When a call is coming in, Alexa will announce the call by saying, “Incoming call from James,” or whomever is ringing you. You can respond, “Alexa, answer,” to pick up, then speak to the caller via your Alexa device.

There are a few different ways to control when you want to receive incoming calls.

You can create an Alexa Routine that specifies you’ll only receive your calls through Alexa during workday hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for example. You could also make a routine that allowed you to disable AT&T calls on your device when you said a trigger phrase, like “Alexa, I’m leaving home.” Plus, you can manually turn off the feature when you’re leaving the house by switching on the “Away Mode” setting in the Alexa app.

The new feature is made possible by AT&T’s NumberSync service that allows users to make and receive phone calls on smartwatches, tablets, computers and, now, Alexa devices. There’s no cost associated with using the feature, which is included with all eligible AT&T mobile plans.

Amazon says AT&T Calling with Alexa is available on post-paid plans for those customers who have a compatible HD-voice mobile phone, like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device, among many others.

While only AT&T customers in the U.S. can take advantage of the feature, they’re able to place outgoing calls to numbers across Mexico, Canada and the U.K., as well as the U.S.

Amazon declined to say if it plans to offer a similar feature to customers with other carriers, but says it will respond to user feedback to evolve the feature over time.

This is not the first feature designed to make Alexa devices a tool for communication.

Amazon has already tried to make its Alexa devices work like a cross between a home intercom and a phone. With features like Drop-In, users can check in on family members in other parts of the home. Or they could use Announcements to broadcast messages, like “Dinner’s ready!” Meanwhile, calling features like Alexa-to-Alexa Calling or Alexa Outbound Calling have allowed users to make free phone calls to both other Alexa users and most mobile and landline numbers in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Mexico through Alexa devices or the Alexa app.

However, these features didn’t support incoming calls or calls to emergency services, like 911, so they weren’t full phone replacements.

Arguably, it may also be hard to get users to change their habit of using their cell phone in favor of an Alexa device, given that many people tend to keep phones nearby at all times, even when at home.

By offering a way to tie an Alexa device to a real phone number, however, users may be more inclined to try calling through Alexa.

The feature could also benefit the elderly, who couldn’t get to their phone in time, in the event of an emergency, or those with other special needs or disabilities that make walking over to a cell phone to answer a call more difficult.

Unfortunately, there’s still a major roadblock to using this service: spam calls. So many calls today are unwanted robocalls and spam. Having them announced over Alexa could become more of an annoyance than a help, unless users already subscribe to an advanced call blocker service.

Amazon says the new feature is live today across the U.S.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

PPC Naming Conventions Guide [New Resource]

September 13, 2020 No Comments

We are releasing a new, free resource: The Complete Guide To Naming Conventions. This is a quick summary of its contents.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Unpacking the TikTok algorithm: Three reasons why it’s the most addictive social network

September 12, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular, addictive social networks.
  • President Trump issued an executive order threatening to ban the platform in the US, and TikTok filed a lawsuit in response. If it can continue to operate, it’s slated to become one of the most powerful marketing tools for brands.
  • Beyond creative users and an open, democratized essence, TikTok is designed for the user.
  • CEO and founder of Heartbeat, Brian Freeman, dissects the TikTok algorithm and highlights three key features that make it one of the biggest consumer engagement platforms on earth.

TikTok is quickly dominating social media. In less than 18 months, the app has seen its adult user base in the US multiply 5.5 times. Its revenue has grown more than 300%, and it boasts nearly 60 million active monthly users in the US. In recent months, as people have quarantined at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, TikTok’s average daily traffic increased by more than 15%. What’s the secret sauce to this global craze, you may think? That’s where the TikTok algorithm comes into light.

With the latest news on TikTok about President Trump issuing an executive order threatening to ban the app from operating in the US, added to the summer heat. In response, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the US government on the grounds that the ban prevents due process for the company. While we’ll have to watch how the legal proceedings pan out, if TikTok is allowed to keep operating, it is slated to become one of the most powerful marketing tools for American brands.

TikTok’s power goes beyond its democratized, creative essence. While the app’s design and ability to foster a creative community caused it to surge onto the social media scene, it’s exploding because of the way it gathers and harnesses data to enhance the user experience. Personalized content has become even more important as brands compete for the attention of people spending significantly more time online while navigating stay-at-home orders.

A big part of this is influencer marketing, which is also known as “creator” marketing on TikTok. Audiences connect with influencers because they provide a sense of authenticity — and during stay-at-home orders, normalcy. Seeing someone advocate for a brand or products that they’re using is an incredibly personal form of marketing. People are hypersensitive to the messages brands are putting out during this pandemic, which means this personal touch matters more than ever.

The best, most masterful platform to let brands and influencers do this? TikTok. Let’s dissect the TikTok algorithm to point three key features that set it apart:

The TikTok algorithm offers a streamlined feed

Within the app, the main feed is a stream of content curated for individual users each day. It’s quite literally called the “For You” page, and it’s where 99% of people spend their time on TikTok. As a marketer, this gives you a ton of real estate to showcase relevant content and generate high engagement.

The TikTok algorithm pushes engaging content to the top of its feed, which gives those trending videos more exposure, more frequently. And views, shares, comments, and likes, relative to how often a video has been seen, determine distribution on TikTok — not the number of followers. Momentum builds quickly on this platform and can keep going for multiple days.

2. It leverages what you love (and what you don’t)

TikTok has an intuitive way of assessing user preferences. When a user watches a video through to the end, it triggers TikTok to pull similar content into that user’s feed to keep them coming back for more. Of course, this can backfire (like when I watched a pimple-popping video all the way through), but users can easily tell the app they don’t want to see more of a particular type of content.

The result? Creative matching leads to relevance and can help your brand’s and influencers’ posts go viral. While Instagram influencers focus on getting impressions and increasing engagement, and Twitter posts go viral largely when key distributors such as Ellen DeGeneres or Jimmy Kimmel share them, TikTok doesn’t demand that users or influencers have a global platform. If your brand influencers truly create content relevant to and aligned with your target, it’s likely going to be far more visible on TikTok than on any other social network.

3. The team hand-picks content

Everything you see in TikTok isn’t picked by robots. The user experience also relies on a creative team that combs through content and decides what to push to the top every day.

Why does this matter to you as a marketer? Never before have you had this opportunity to get a fantastic distribution because you create fantastic content. It’s not like Instagram, where you have to buy your way in with brute force. It is organic, authentic power through content, which is precisely what all brands and influencers should want.

These features are clearly working for TikTok. ByteDance’s ad revenue for the first half of 2019 reached seven billion USD, which far surpassed Twitter’s $ 1.4 billion. The platform has reached critical mass — now it’s just a question of how businesses will embrace yet another new social platform. There will be billion-dollar brands built on TikTok and market share lost by companies that don’t act quickly. The race is on.

Brian Freeman is the CEO and founder of Heartbeat, the first platform for ambassador-powered marketing at scale. Driven by empowering real women, Heartbeat has more than 140,000 on-demand female brand ambassadors for launching turnkey ambassador solutions and has done campaigns with Amazon, Laura Mercier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Warner Bros., Netflix, and other big brands.

The post Unpacking the TikTok algorithm: Three reasons why it’s the most addictive social network appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

How to get your YouTube videos appear in Google’s video carousel

September 11, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google is giving a lot of visibility to video content through its interactive SERP section called a “video carousel”.
  • Getting your video ranked in Google’s “video carousels” can drive lots of views to your channel but it will also allow you to control more elements in your target SERPs.
  • Ranking in Google’s video carousel is quite doable and doesn’t require months of work or waiting. All you need is keyword research and video page optimization.

YouTube is one of the most popular social media networks out there allowing brands to get discovered by their customers. While creating a popular YouTube channel takes time and a lot of effort, it is well worth it. One piece of a puzzle many YouTube creators are missing is optimizing your videos for organic discoverability through Google’s video carousel.

Here’s a comprehensive guide that looks into all the elements that you can capture to win your spot in Google’s top SERP real estate.

What are YouTube video carousels?

Google offers a huge deal of organic visibility to YouTube videos through so-called video carousels, that is, interactive boxes featuring videos relating to the target search query:

What are Google's video carousels

Source: Google as of August 2020

There’s even more organic visibility for videos in mobile search results where videos carousels take almost the whole screen:

Mobile search results for Google's video carouselSource: Google as of August 2020

Whenever my video starts ranking in Google organic, it brings in lots of well-engaged views, especially as compared to other videos, even for very new/inactive channels:

video carouselSource: YouTube as of August 2020

But this strategy is not only helpful for driving views to your own channel. It is also a good way to better control your target Google SERPs. 

There’s no denying a fact that videos are highly engaging and convert well, and we are pretty sure that visuals (in this case video thumbnails) may be stealing a lot of attention from Google’s organic results (in fact, there’s a real science behind the visual impact on consumers’ behavior), so ranking your video there will help you drive more exposure for your brand.

The good news, YouTube SEO takes less time than traditional SEO does. I have seen my videos ranking in Google within a week after I upload them to YouTube! So this is a pretty fast way to boost your channel views by ranking your videos in Google’s video carousel. 

Craft a detailed and factual title

Your video page title is what you type in the “title” field when uploading your video:

Create a well informed title to rank your YouTube video in Google's video carousel

For SEO purposes (which implies organic search visibility), the title of the page is the most important on-page element, so treat it with care.

Optimizing a page title is always about maintaining a fine balance: You want it to be creative and original enough to get clicks while still being able to add some searchable keywords.

You can only make your title 100 characters long max which is not much!

Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Always include a searchable keyword (here’s a quick guide on identifying one)
  • If your video includes entities (names, places, events, brands, products, etc), include those in the video title
  • Titles that include numbers generally get more clicks, so experiment with adding numbers to your video title
  • Titles that are worded as questions may spur curiosity and get more clicks
  • How-to titles always perform well for guides and instructions

Tip: Create videos around your target queries

You can go the other way around: Instead of trying to find a searchable keyword for your video idea, you can create videos around keywords you already know are popular with Google’s users.

You can easily do that with tools like Placeit that allows you to turn text content into the video format:

Placeit - using a tool to identify keywords for YouTube videosScreenshot source: Placeit as of August 2020

Placeit doesn’t require subscription payment, plus it offers free templates which makes it the most affordable video creation solution on the market.

The way it could work:

  • Grab any article from your site that received Google traffic
  • Use Google Search Console to find which search queries exactly drive clicks to your page
  • Create videos around those queries (using your existing article)

Another way to find opportunities to get your video visible on Google’s video carousel is by using Ahrefs:

  • Run your domain in Ahrefs and click to “Organic keywords”
  • Click the filter called “SERP features” and check “Videos”

Here you go. There are all keywords your site is ranking for in Google and those are also search queries showing video carousels. 

Ahrefs tool showing organic keywords for YouTube videosSource: Ahrefs as of August 2020

Ahrefs is my preferred SERP analytics tool due to its usability but of course, there are many more cool tools that can help you with this task.

Create a longer description

While for the video titles, we don’t have too many characters to work with, the video description field allows more characters than enough, so take the full advantage of those.

The video description field allows creators to put up to 5000 characters. It is important to create more detailed description for your video because search engines still rely on text content to index and rank your video.

Here are a few ideas on creating a more detailed and high-ranking video description:

1. Create your script

If you are uploading a video interview, a webinar, or conference coverage, chances are you have more than enough text spoken to create a detailed description.

Fiverr is full of gigs offering you to transcribe a video and turn it into text, so it is a pretty easy way to create the text version of any video:

Getting video transcribes with FivverSource: Fiverr as of August 2020

2. Use semantic analysis

I turn to semantic analysis at any time I am writing content. It always helps me discover more topics to cover and identify more questions to answer.

Text Optimizer is an easy and effective semantic research tool that analyzes Google’s search snippets to identify underlying concepts which will make your content more relevant to your target topic:

TextOptimizer brandedSource: Text Optimizer as of August 2020

I don’t think I know an alternative to Text Optimizer for creating an optimized context so easily, but here’s more on semantic analysis and why it is useful.

3. Create a time-stamped video outline

Don’t miss this step! YouTube allows you to add clickable timestamps that take viewers deeper into your video to where you discuss that subtopic.

Here’s a detailed tutorial on creating YouTube timestamps:

  1. Play your video up to the point where it starts discussing a new topic
  2. Pause your video at the point you want to timestamp
  3. Type the time exactly as you see in the video player into the video description field.

Copy time YouTube timestamp - Use it to get your video ranked in Google's video carouselSource: YouTube as of August 2020

This clickable video outline in the video description will drive people deep into the video, so you will see more engagements.

On top of that, your video may enjoy even more exposure in search, because Google sometimes grabs that outline to show right inside search results:

Video outline in Google's video carousel searchSource: Google as of August 2020. (Google giving extra visibility to a video by showing its clickable outline right inside search results)

Add more tags and a few hashtags

YouTube tagging is still a good way to categorize your video the right way. They help search engines to better understand what it is your video is about and rank it accordingly.

You can up to 500-character worth of tags for each of your videos, and there’s no reason saving on those characters. Feel free to use all of them.

Hashtags were introduced not so long ago, and creators still confuse the two, so to help you out, here’s a quick list of how they work and:

YouTube tags YouTube hashtags
Where to enter Separate the “Tags” field on the video edit page Anywhere in the video description
Has limits  Max 500 characters Max 15 hashtags
Have the hash/pound symbol # No Yes
Is visible on the public video pages No Yes
Helps make the video more findable Yes Yes

While tags are mostly for YouTube search rankings, hashtags appear as a visible part of the page, so they send some relevancy signals to search engines:

Tags and hashtags help find relevanceSource: YouTube as of August 2020. (Enter hashtags into the description area and tags in the separate “Tags” field)

If you need help brainstorming more tags for your video, try Rapidtags.io which generates tags:

Rapidtags.ioSource: Rapidtags.io as of August 2020

Create an eye-catching video thumbnail

A video thumbnail is what shows up in Google’s video carousel, so it will directly impact your click-through. This makes your video thumbnail one of the major assets for your video:

Create eye-catching video thumbnails to rank in Google's video carousel

Source: YouTube as of August 2020

Luckily creating an eye-catching and, more importantly, click-inviting video thumbnail is not difficult. There are tools to create one for free, as well as cool templates to come up with your own unique recognizable style:


YouTube video optimization strategy is very much like any SEO strategy: You need to create a lot of relevant context for search engines to be able to understand and correctly classify your video. To optimize your YouTube video page:

  • Craft an attention-grabbing title which would include your target keyword
  • Write a detailed, semantically optimized video description (and include clickable video outline for viewers and search engines to easily access the part they are most interested in)
  • Add tags and hashtags to make your video even more findable

Finally, links play a huge part in organic visibility, so make sure to link to your videos from your own site. This includes both embedding your videos and linking to them directly.

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

The post How to get your YouTube videos appear in Google’s video carousel appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Why Google Ads and Google Analytics Convs. Don’t Align (And Why You Should Try The Attribution Beta)

September 11, 2020 No Comments

In this blog, one PPC expert walks through Google Ads and Analytics conv. discrepancy scenarios and how the Google Attribution beta (within GA) can help.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Daily Crunch: Facebook launches a college-only network

September 11, 2020 No Comments

Facebook returns to its college roots, Alexa gets a printing feature and we take a deep dive into Unity’s business. This is your Daily Crunch for September 10, 2020.

The big story: Facebook launches a college-only network

If you’re old and decrepit like me, you remember when Facebook was only for college students and required a college email address to join. Well, it seems everything old is new again, because the company is piloting a new feature called Facebook Campus … which is only for college students and requires a college email address to join.

Facebook’s Charmaine Hung argued that the product is particularly relevant now: “With COVID-19, we see that many students aren’t returning to campus in the fall. Now, classes are being held online and students are trying to react to this new normal of what it’s like to connect to clubs and organizations that you care about, when you’re not together.”

Of course, this could also be a way for Facebook to try to stay relevant to a younger demographic, before they move on to other apps.

The tech giants

Amazon launches Alexa Print, a way to print lists, recipes, games and educational content using your voice — The feature works with any second-generation Echo device or newer, as well as a range of printers.

Google says it’s eliminating Autocomplete suggestions that target candidates or voting — The company says that it will now remove any Autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party, or that make a claim about voting or the electoral process.

Microsoft Surface Duo review — Brian Heater calls it a beautiful, expensive work in progress.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Orchard real estate platform raises $ 69 million Series C led by Revolution Growth — Orchard (formerly Perch) launched in 2017 with a mission to digitize the entire experience of buying and selling a home.

How Unity built a gaming engine for the future — Eric Peckham offers an in-depth look at the company’s financials as it prepares to go public.

India’s Zomato raises $ 100M from Tiger Global, says it is planning to file for IPO next year — In an email to employees, CEO Deepinder Goyal said the food delivery startup has about $ 250 million cash in the bank, with several more “big name” investors preparing to join the current round.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Use ‘productive paranoia’ to build cybersecurity culture at your startup — We asked Casey Ellis, founder, chairman and chief technology officer at Bugcrowd, to share his ideas for how startups can improve their security posture.

What’s driving API-powered startups forward in 2020? — It’s not hard to find startups with API-based delivery models that are doing well this year.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Announcing the Startup Battlefield companies at TechCrunch Disrupt 2020 — This is our most competitive batch to date.

$ 3 million Breakthrough Prize goes to scientist designing molecules to fight COVID-19 — David Baker’s work over the last 20 years has helped validate the idea that computers can help us understand and create complex molecules like proteins.

Recorded music revenue is up on streaming growth, as physical sales plummet — With vastly more people stuck inside seeking novel methods of entertainment, paid subscriptions are up 24% year-over-year.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

Social – TechCrunch