SEO plays a role in the success of most online businesses, but it’s kept in a silo. SEO focuses on organic traffic online, while other strategies operate independently around it. What happens when you break down the silos and start working SEO into other company functions?
The ‘Rule of 7‘ suggests that people need to see your messages at least seven times before they start to take notice of your brand. By combining your SEO efforts with ongoing marketing, advertising, and other activities, you can start to accelerate the number of times and channels by which people are seeing your messaging.
SEO and SEM are really just two sides to the same coin. SEO focuses specifically on monitoring and improving organic traffic to your website while SEM has a broad focus on improving conversions through mostly paid strategies. Many companies consider these two activities different enough to keep them separate, a strategy that makes sense when you look at the individual functions that differ from SEO and SEM.
However, when SEO and SEM are collaborating, you can often get better results for both departments. Both activities rely heavily on targeting keywords to draw in more people. By sharing keyword data and insights, both departments can work on targeting and optimizing for the best keywords and phrases, creating a more unified approach that puts content and ads in front of the same audience consistently.
When a website is well optimized, it can improve the results of SEM campaigns. Good SEO practices help Google and other search engines to consider your site as a legitimate source of information. This is good for your organic search placement, but also for your ad placements since search engines are more likely to promote more credible websites.
SEM is also vital during the early stages of an SEO campaign. By using PPC ads as you work on your SEO for a new website, you can start getting more traffic and legitimacy that may speed up your long-term SEO results and help you reach your goals faster.
If you’re using a CRM (customer relationship management) software, you can have a powerful impact on your SEO by utilizing the system to complement ongoing SEO activities. The three most distinct benefits of this collaboration are:
1. Insights about other companies your customers use
CRM systems can help point you toward other services or companies that your customers engage with on a regular basis. With this knowledge, you can approach those companies for guest posts or content collaborations. You’re more likely to get a “yes” if you can show the other company how your customers are related and the value you can offer that’s complementary to what they already offer.
The more relevant, high-quality links you’re getting, the better the results you can expect from your link building strategy.
2. Keyword insights related to holistic customer experiences
SEO analytics are great for showing you where customers can from and which keywords they searched to find you. But what happens if that customer took an unconventional journey?
CRM software is better at tracking the full customer journey, allowing you to gain some insight into the circumstances that brought a person to your website. You’ll be able to see when and where they engaged with you, along with keywords and phrases that may have influenced them along the way.
3. Unified content on all platforms
CRM systems let you see what’s going on all around so you can see how well your messages are mashing up. Whether you’re hosting expert webinar presentations, publishing a series of blogs about a relevant topic, or posting short social media videos, you’ll be able to see how these things are impacting your customers positively or negatively.
Having more data is necessary for successful SEO. You need to know what’s working, where, and why. CRM lets your SEO team draw from more complete data while ensuring that every outgoing message lines up with your ongoing SEO strategy.
If you’re not already combining SEO and social media marketing (SMM) activities, it’s time to catch up. Social media isn’t a good place to worry about keywords and typical SEO strategies, but it’s a very complimentary service that can drive a large amount of traffic to your website directly or to the search engine to look for you.
Messaging and brand voice displayed on social media should match that on other platforms and throughout your content marketing. Social media is a unique platform that’s more informal and comfortable for people wanting to interact with your business. While SMM doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it has an enormous indirect benefit and helps get your content in front of more people, resulting in more backlinks, more engagement, and higher traffic numbers overall.
Give your SMM team guidelines about how to effectively promote your SEO optimized content. SEO teams should make it incredibly easy to share content on social media (high-quality images, easy quotes or snippets, and the works). They should include social media features integrated into the website itself, while SMM teams should put in the work to make sure SEO content is getting out in front of their audience when it’s appropriate. In this way, both teams can help each other succeed.
Traditional marketing has very little overlap with SEO. Since traditional marketing is more concerned with marketing that makes sense in the real world, rather than on the internet, it’s a completely different type of marketing. However, there is an important point of overlap that shouldn’t be ignored. Both marketing and SEO work with specific customer data, refining your brand messages and outreach based on who and how you’re reaching the most people.
Marketing is concerned with knowing as much about your customers or potential customers as possible. If you have a marketing focus that’s not exclusively limited to online marketing, it’s still important to combine these two departments to allow them to share their data back and forth.
The goal of collaborating
At the end of the day, you want to present a unified brand image that gives people the right impressions no matter how they access your brand. Your messaging may vary from platform to platform, but your brand voice should always be the same. All your teams should be working together to reach the same broad company goals and milestones.
When you start from the top and work your SEO strategy into every facet of your business, it’s easier to accomplish or even surpass your goals.
The post Boost SEO teamwork through unexpected collaborations appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Instagram will finally let you chat from your web browser, but the launch contradicts Facebook’s plan for end-to-end encryption in all its messaging apps. Today Instagram began testing Direct Messages on the web for a small percentage of users around the globe, a year after TechCrunch reported it was testing web DMs.
When fully rolled out, Instagram tells us its website users will be able to see when they’ve received new DMs, view their whole inbox, start new message threads or group chats, send photos (but not capture them), double click to Like and share posts from their feed via Direct so they can gossip or blast friends with memes. You won’t be able to send videos, but can view non-disappearing ones. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri tweeted that he hopes to “bring this to everyone soon” once the kinks are worked out.
Web DMs could help office workers, students and others stuck on a full-size computer all day or who don’t have room on their phone for another app to spend more time and stay better connected on Instagram. Direct is crucial to Instagram’s efforts to stay ahead of Snapchat, which has seen its Stories product mercilessly copied by Facebook but is still growing thanks to its rapid fire visual messaging feature that’s popular with teens.
But as Facebook’s former Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos tweeted, “This is fascinating, as it cuts directly against the announced goal of E2E encrypted compatibility between FB/IG/WA. Nobody has ever built a trustworthy web-based E2EE messenger, and I was expecting them to drop web support in FB Messenger. Right hand versus left?”
A year ago Facebook announced it planned to eventually unify Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct so users could chat with each other across apps. It also said it would extend end-to-end encryption from WhatsApp to include Instagram Direct and all of Facebook Messenger, though it could take years to complete. That security protocol means that only the sender and recipient would be able to view the contents of a message, while Facebook, governments and hackers wouldn’t know what was being shared.
“Fixing this problem is extremely hard and would require fundamental changes to how the WWW [world wide web] works” says Stamos. At least we know Instagram has been preparing for today’s launch since at least February when mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong alerted us. We’ve asked Instagram for more details on how it plans to cover web DMs with end-to-end encryption or whether they’ll be exempt from the plan. [Update: An Instagram spokesperson tells me that as with Instagram Direct on mobile, messages currently are not encrypted. The company is working on making its messaging products end-to-end encrypted, and it continues to consider ways to accomplish this.]
Critics have called the messaging unification a blatant attempt to stifle regulators and prevent Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp from being broken up. Yet Facebook has stayed the course on the plan while weathering a $ 5 billion fine plus a slew of privacy and transparency changes mandated by an FTC settlement for its past offenses.
Personally, I’m excited, because it will make DMing sources via Instagram easier, and mean I spend less time opening my phone and potentially being distracted by other apps while working. Almost 10 years after Instagram’s launch and six years since adding Direct, the app seems to finally be embracing its position as a utility, not just entertainment.
Xnor.ai, spun off in 2017 from the nonprofit Allen Institute for AI (AI2), has been acquired by Apple for about $ 200 million. A source close to the company corroborated a report this morning from GeekWire to that effect.
Apple confirmed the reports with its standard statement for this sort of quiet acquisition: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” (I’ve asked for clarification just in case.)
Xnor.ai began as a process for making machine learning algorithms highly efficient — so efficient that they could run on even the lowest tier of hardware out there, things like embedded electronics in security cameras that use only a modicum of power. Yet using Xnor’s algorithms they could accomplish tasks like object recognition, which in other circumstances might require a powerful processor or connection to the cloud.
CEO Ali Farhadi and his founding team put the company together at AI2 and spun it out just before the organization formally launched its incubator program. It raised $ 2.7M in early 2017 and $ 12M in 2018, both rounds led by Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, and has steadily grown its local operations and areas of business.
The $ 200M acquisition price is only approximate, the source indicated, but even if the final number were less by half that would be a big return for Madrona and other investors.
The company will likely move to Apple’s Seattle offices; GeekWire, visiting the Xnor.ai offices (in inclement weather, no less), reported that a move was clearly underway. AI2 confirmed that Farhadi is no longer working there, but he will retain his faculty position at the University of Washington.
An acquisition by Apple makes perfect sense when one thinks of how that company has been directing its efforts towards edge computing. With a chip dedicated to executing machine learning workflows in a variety of situations, Apple clearly intends for its devices to operate independent of the cloud for such tasks as facial recognition, natural language processing, and augmented reality. It’s as much for performance as privacy purposes.
Its camera software especially makes extensive use of machine learning algorithms for both capturing and processing images, a compute-heavy task that could potentially be made much lighter with the inclusion of Xnor’s economizing techniques. The future of photography is code, after all — so the more of it you can execute, and the less time and power it takes to do so, the better.
It could also indicate new forays in the smart home, toward which with HomePod Apple has made some tentative steps. But Xnor’s technology is highly adaptable and as such rather difficult to predict as far as what it enables for such a vast company as Apple.
In this video, Hanapin’s Mary Hartman and Dan Rocklin discuss what they’re excited for in 2020, their resolutions, and their hot takes on overrated strategies.
Read more at PPCHero.com
As inbound marketing continues to be a dominant force, you’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king” more times than you can count. But getting the right message to the right person is not an easy task in a society that’s tangled in a web of digital content, and it requires a top-notch content strategy.
A solid content strategy can help create meaningful, cohesive, engaging and sustainable content that attracts new customers and retains existing ones. Despite the importance that great content can have on your business, two of the biggest challenges for content marketers are knowing how to prioritize marketing efforts for one audience over another and communicating a content strategy effectively across teams so that everyone is on the same page.
Content marketing is different than your typical product marketing efforts as it includes digital materials that answer specific questions and provides customers with valuable tools and information they aren’t getting anywhere else. These include:
- Educational articles
- Social media
Planning a content calendar that includes every item on this list may seem daunting, but there are simple ways to get started.
The idea behind smart content planning is simple. You want to plan content in a way that is:
- Tied to an overarching business objective
- Linked directly to audience needs and desires
- Can be shared in a simple and consistent format
The result is a content calendar that is more relevant to what people are searching for and is also differentiated from the competition. Today, smart content planning tools that use artificial intelligence are becoming more readily available and are making adopting this process a no-brainer.
While a Google search will yield a laundry list of best practices, the following three pillars – or fundamental building blocks – will help you create a successful content strategy that drives results.
Plan content to meet business needs
To be truly effective, all content needs to be anchored to a clear business objective. Why? Because if it doesn’t, there’s no way for you to measurably show that it impacts the company’s growth. You may be nodding your head that yes, of course, it makes sense to plan content with the business objective in mind. But, how do we do that in a way that is meaningful and simple?
You can start by picking an upcoming marketing initiative and stating the quantitative business goal, the intended audience and the competitive context for that initiative. Treating a business objective statement as a template that must be completed for each marketing initiative helps you to face the ambiguity and misalignment that may be bouncing around your organization. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect – the power comes from thinking about what matters most and then pressing forward with your best judgment.
Understand your audience
Once you’ve created an objective statement, your entire team can focus on the true reason behind producing content in the first place: your audience. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks. In that moment of desperation, marketers make a choice between creating content the right way and simply getting content out the door. In reality, content is the very first glimpse of a brand that customers see and first impressions matter. Not only is content your front runner for garnering new customers, but it guides customers through every stage of the buyer journey including initial sale and retention.
A recent survey showed that 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing. However, this is only possible when you understand your audience at a deep level so that the content you create answers the questions they have, helps them do their job more effectively, inspires, or entertains them.
Understanding your target audience’s needs and desires requires the right tools. One way to make sure your content is helping the customer is to build – and then reference – personas when creating content. The modern marketer has access to content intelligence tools that provide key insights to help choose which topics to share, what channels to use and when to go live during the buyer journey. Using multiple data points like CRM, search data, the website traffic, and social listening can diminish false assumptions about your target audience and provide insights on:
- Targetable characteristics
- Customer journey
- Needs and desires
- Perceptions of our strengths vs. competition
- Content format preferences
- Marketing channels where our audience hangs out
- Past content performance
Align your team with the strategy
We know inconsistent external messaging can lead to brand confusion, which in turn leads to a decrease in brand loyalty. The same happens with confusing internal communication. It causes internal teams to lose sight of business goals. The childhood phrase “sharing is caring” is applicable to small and large businesses. When your content strategy is shared within your organization, it will drive alignment across your company and create a stronger brand. As an added bonus, when your team members understand what you do and how you do it, it’s natural for them to see you as a leader.
Once your team understands the “Why?” behind your content strategy, it’s important to create a central location for your content planning to live. Having all content in one spot can make your content more likely to be tied to overarching business objectives, and overall, it’s easier for all departments to align their internal activities with the overall business objectives.
Planning effective content is hard and takes time, but don’t give up! The first step to improve your content planning process is to recognize that smarter content makes a big impact. Remember, smart content starts with an objective statement, audience insight, and a clearly communicated plan. When you take the time to research and outline your audience’s needs and desires, your content will thank you and so will your audience.
Documenting your content marketing strategy gives you the ability to communicate the importance of your content across departments, increase engagement levels with target audiences and create better alignment around customers and marketing priorities. Moving toward smart content planning can add that special ‘something’ to your organization. Let your content strategy be your competitive advantage.
Bart Frischknecht is the vice president of product strategy at Vennli, a content intelligence platform for marketers.
The post The three pillars behind every successful content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Equinix has a set of data centers and co-locations facilities around the world. Companies that may want to have more control over their hardware could use their services including space, power and cooling systems, instead of running their own data centers.
Equinix is getting a unique cloud infrastructure vendor in Packet, one that can provide more customized kinds of hardware configurations than you can get from the mainstream infrastructure vendors like AWS and Azure.
Interestingly, COO George Karidis came over from Equinix when he joined the company, so there is a connection there. Karidis described his company in a September, 2018 TechCrunch article:
“We offer the most diverse hardware options,” he said. That means they could get servers equipped with Intel, ARM, AMD or with specific nVidia GPUs in whatever configurations they want. By contrast public cloud providers tend to offer a more off-the-shelf approach. It’s cheap and abundant, but you have to take what they offer, and that doesn’t always work for every customer.”
In a blog post announcing the deal, company co-founder and CEO Zachary Smith had a message for his customers, who may be worried about the change in ownership, “When the transaction closes later this quarter, Packet will continue operating as before: same team, same platform, same vision,” he wrote.
He also offered the standard value story for a deal like this, saying the company could scale much faster under Equinix than it could on its own with access to its new company’s massive resources including 200+ data centers in 55 markets and 1,800 networks.
Sara Baack, chief product officer at Equinix says bringing the two companies together will provide a diverse set of bare metal options for customers moving forward. “Our combined strengths will further empower companies to be everywhere they need to be, to interconnect everyone and integrate everything that matters to their business,” she said in a statement.
While the companies did not share the purchase price, they did hint that they would have more details on the transaction after it closes, which is expected in the first quarter this year.
Over two dozen encryption experts call on India to rethink changes to its intermediary liability rules
Security and encryption experts from around the world are joining a number of organizations to call on India to reconsider its proposed amendments to local intermediary liability rules.
In an open letter to India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday, 27 security and cryptography experts warned the Indian government that if it goes ahead with its originally proposed changes to the law, it could weaken security and limit the use of strong encryption on the internet.
The Indian government proposed (PDF) a series of changes to its intermediary liability rules in late December 2018 that, if enforced, would require millions of services operated by anyone from small and medium businesses to large corporate giants such as Facebook and Google to make significant changes.
The originally proposed rules say that intermediaries — which the government defines as those services that facilitate communication between two or more users and have five million or more users in India — will have to proactively monitor and filter their users’ content and be able to trace the originator of questionable content to avoid assuming full liability for their users’ actions.
“By tying intermediaries’ protection from liability to their ability to monitor communications being sent across their platforms or systems, the amendments would limit the use of end-to-end encryption and encourage others to weaken existing security measures,” the experts wrote in the letter, coordinated by the Internet Society .
With end-to-end encryption, there is no way for the service provider to access its users’ decrypted content, they said. Some of these experts include individuals who work at Google, Twitter, Access Now, Tor Project and World Wide Web Consortium.
“This means that services using end-to-end encryption cannot provide the level of monitoring required in the proposed amendments. Whether it’s through putting a ‘backdoor’ in an encryption protocol, storing cryptographic keys in escrow, adding silent users to group messages, or some other method, there is no way to create ‘exceptional access’ for some without weakening the security of the system for all,” they added.
Technology giants have so far enjoyed what is known as “safe harbor” laws. The laws, currently applicable in the U.S. under the Communications Decency Act and India under its 2000 Information Technology Act, say that tech platforms won’t be held liable for the things their users share on the platform.
Many organizations have expressed in recent days their reservations about the proposed changes to the law. Earlier this week, Mozilla, GitHub and Cloudflare requested the Indian government to be transparent about the proposals that they have made to the intermediary liability rules. Nobody outside the Indian government has seen the current draft of the proposal, which it plans to submit to India’s Supreme Court for approval by January 15.
Among the concerns raised by some is the vague definition of “intermediary” itself. Critics say the last publicly known version of the draft had an extremely broad definition of the term “intermediary,” that would be applicable to a wide-range of service providers, including popular instant messaging clients, internet service providers, cyber cafes and even Wikipedia.
Amanda Keton, general counsel of Wikimedia Foundation, requested the Indian government late last month to rethink the requirement to bring “traceability” on online communication, as doing so, she warned, would interfere with the ability of Wikipedia contributors to freely participate in the project.
A senior executive with an American technology company, who requested anonymity, told TechCrunch on Wednesday that even as the proposed changes to the intermediary guidelines need major changes, it is high time that the Indian government decided to look into this at all.
“Action on social media platforms, and instant communications services is causing damage in the real world. Spread of hoax has cost us more than at least 30 lives. If tomorrow, someone’s sensitive photos and messages leak on the internet, there is currently little they can expect from their service providers. We need a law to deal with the modern internet’s challenges,” he said.
After years of invasive pop-ups asking for notification permission, Chrome and Firefox have finally taken action.
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