CBPO

SEO

Natural Language Query Responses

May 8, 2021 No Comments

Natural Language Query Responses at Google The ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the ease with which searchers can access the Web from many sources can enable searchers to share information and search for information related to their interests. Searchers may share or search for things such as: Photographs Videos Music Blogs Messages Comments Other … Read more

The post Natural Language Query Responses appeared first on SEO by the Sea ⚓.


SEO by the Sea ⚓


Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense

May 6, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers diversify their content programs too quickly, endangering the program from the start
  • Successful content marketers and media companies focus on fewer platform channels
  • Instead of adding more channels, killing off underperforming channels works better
  • Perform a content audit to find out channels in which you should stop creating content

The problem is, simply put, out of control. Just because a company or individual can create and distribute content on a platform, doesn’t mean they should. But it’s happening… and it’s killing content marketing strategies around the globe.

I’ve had the opportunity to analyze content marketing strategies from huge brands, desperately trying to build audiences online leveraging content marketing. In almost every case, each one made the same mistake.

They diversify too quickly.

Let me explain.

When an organization decides to fund a content marketing strategy, the initial stages are always exciting. Just coming to the decision of which audience and content niche to target is an exhausting process, but once complete, the company is ready to create content…everywhere.

Should we do a blog? Check. How about a YouTube video series? Yes to that. Podcast? Sure. TikTok series? Why not. Email newsletter? I guess so.

Then add about five other social media channels and you have yourself a content marketing strategy.

Just not a good one.

According to Content Marketing Institute research, the average enterprise creates content on between 14 and 16 different platforms.

Succeeding at this kind of strategy is like winning the lottery. It just won’t happen.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

One channel. One content type.

The greatest audience-building entities of all time selected one primary channel in which to build their platform:

  • Financial Times—printed newspaper
  • Fortune—printed magazine
  • TED Talks—in-person events
  • ESPN—cable television programming
  • Huffington Post—online magazine format
  • The Joe Rogan Experience—podcast show
  • PewDiePie—YouTube series

Even in today’s age of social media, content empires start with one platform as the core base of operation and primarily deliver content at that one place over time to build an audience.

For my new book ‘Content Inc.‘, we interviewed and analyzed more than 100 individuals and small businesses who went from zero subscribers to a massive audience. After two or three years, these content empires became multi-million-dollar platforms.

The interesting part is that they didn’t diversify immediately, but focused on delivering consistently valuable content, primarily on one channel and one content type, choosing audio, video, or text plus images.

  • Ann Reardon from ‘How to Cook That‘ decided to create consistent videos and distribute them on YouTube
  • Philip Werner from ‘com‘ creates and delivers a text-plus-images blog post every day on his WordPress-developed website
  • Wally Koval from ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson‘ distributes one image per day on Instagram, including amazing textual detail describing the location

But these are the exceptions. Most content marketing strategies run short-term blitzes (sometimes called campaigns), diversifying before the proper time.

Content marketing strategy is about saying “no”

When you decide to employ a content marketing strategy with the goal of building a loyal and trusting audience over time, you actually need to decide to not create and distribute content in certain places.

But what if you are already on multiple platforms? If you already have a content marketing strategy, now is probably the time to start killing some of your channels.

We always want more. We believe more is better. When launching a new content effort, “master of none, jack of all trades” never, ever works. How did Amazon become the most valuable company in the world? For three years the company sold only books. Once they perfected that model, only then did they begin selling other things. A proper content marketing strategy behaves the same way.

Successful content initiatives work because they start their journey with one amazing newsletter, one amazing video series, one amazing in-person event, or one amazing blog rather than 100 randomized content pieces that don’t inspire any kind of behavior change.

There is something about focus. There is something about being truly remarkable at one thing. The problem is that it requires you to choose. It requires you to stop creating content everywhere and focus on what’s really important, what will really move the needle.

The four components

Whether you are a media company, a large enterprise, or a content entrepreneur, building a loyal audience includes four key components.

First, identify one target audience

Choose an audience that is too broad and you’ve already failed.

Second, you need a differentiation area

We call this a content tilt. Basically, why would anyone want to engage in your content on a regular basis? Mark Schaefer, the author of Cumulative Advantage, calls this “finding the seam,” which is a content gap that you can exploit to rise above all the clutter.

Third, you identify the primary content platform

The one that makes the most sense for your storytelling. Both your expertise/skill area and the audience will dictate that.

And finally, you select your primary content type

These could look like videos on YouTube, text/images in an email, audio on a podcast, and imagery on Instagram.

killing your content marketing to focus on formats that will add value

 

When do I diversify into other platforms?

Did you know that Red Bull Media House started with a mini-magazine that they gave away at Formula 1 races? In order to include the results post-race, they actually lugged a Heidelberg press to the track and printed it next to the track.

That mini-magazine turned into ‘Red Bulletin magazine. Once they built what Brian Clark from Copyblogger calls a minimum viable audience, then (and only then) did they diversify into the billion-dollar media conglomerate they are today.

The focus and energy they put into making the Red Bulletin great paid off. But this is not a rare occurrence for successful content empires. All great media companies do this and have for years. Look at ‘The Morning Brew’. They almost exclusively focused on building an amazing email newsletter for years. Once they built an audience of over 100,000 subscribers, then they diversified into the podcasts and the multiple other targeted digital newsletters they successfully developed.

So, set an audience/subscriber target and focus all your energy on reaching that number. Then, once you have a loyal audience that loves you and probably will buy anything from you, you can diversify to another platform.

But what about social media?

Of course, you can keep your precious social media channels. That said, you need to think about them differently. What’s the goal? Is it for research and development? Amplification of content? To build subscribers? Whatever the goal, make sure it aligns with your core platform.

Let’s look at ‘The Hustle’, newly acquired by Hubspot. The Hustle’s goal on Twitter is to be interesting every day to their target audience and ultimately drive new subscribers to their email newsletter. Everything they do on Twitter supports their platform strategy.

So yes, you don’t have to close up all your social media, but you sure as heck have to align your goals with your platform.

Try killing one

Building a platform that works is challenging for any sized company. We all have limited resources in some way.

The best advice is to perform an honest analysis of what you are doing. Maybe that podcast just doesn’t make sense. Maybe that YouTube series is a waste of time? Or maybe not.

Perform a simple content audit and, then, kill something. Kill something so that you can be better at something else. Who knows, maybe your podcast or your email newsletter could be amazing but you just haven’t focused enough because you are tinkering with Facebook groups or TikTok.

Make the tough decisions now so that, later, you can build the audience of your dreams.

Joe Pulizzi is the author of the best-selling content marketing book, Content Inc., and founder of content creation news site, The Tilt.

The post Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Extracting Entities with Automated Data Wrappers

April 24, 2021 No Comments

Extracting Entity Information From Web Pages with Data Wrappers One of the areas of SEO that is worth exploring involves Semantic SEO, which I wrote about in more detail in the post What is Semantic SEO?. And one of the important patents I wrote about in that post involved Entity Extraction for knowledge graphs and … Read more

The post Extracting Entities with Automated Data Wrappers appeared first on SEO by the Sea ⚓.


SEO by the Sea ⚓


Diagnosing a traffic drop? Just breathe!

April 21, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A traffic drop doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong – in most cases, it is natural
  • All sites have experienced a decline in traffic throughout their lifetime which can be explained by seasonality, loss of PPC budget, and many other factors
  • When it comes to organic search traffic decline, it is often caused by stagnant content, the emergence of new competitors, or loss of backlinks
  • To diagnose a traffic drop, identify which traffic source is declining, then find which pages have lost traffic
  • It is important to avoid hasty decisions, take your time exploring whether you lost any positions and which pages replaced yours
  • Try to evaluate why this shift has happened and how you may fix it

Have you ever checked your analytics and saw a sudden or gradual decline in organic traffic? Who hasn’t? If there’s one common thing in just about any marketing strategy: All of us have dealt with organic traffic decrease on many occasions. Any website out there has seen traffic dips, often even regularly.

How to deal with organic traffic decline when you see something like this inside your Google Analytics?

organic traffic dropImage source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Here are four well-defined steps to take when diagnosing a traffic drop:

Step 1: Check which traffic source was effected

This is an obvious one but too many people automatically assume it’s Google organic traffic that has dropped.

So make sure it hasn’t been PPC traffic that has exhausted your budget. This happens more than you think!

So assuming, it is organic traffic, let’s go on checking:

Step 2: Which page has dropped?

To quickly find out which pages dropped, navigate to your Google Analytics account Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels. Click “Organic” there and in the date range, check “Compare to” and in the drop-down select “Previous period”:

comparing website traffic over timeSource: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Now scroll down and click the “Landing pages” tab to see all your pages and how their traffic of this week compares to the previous week.

landing pages and website traffic drop analysis

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

No need to scroll a lot here. If you see a traffic dip, chances are, your higher-ranking page or pages were affected. So look at the top of the list.

Now, most importantly, if all your pages took a hit, that’s a good reason to worry. This may be an indicator of a site being affected by a recent Google Update or even a penalty (the latter is much less common these days). This article lists a few good ways to research whether there was an update and how to evaluate whether you may have been affected.

A more common scenario is that you will see some pages dropping. Others will remain intact or even start gaining in traffic. This is a good indicator you shouldn’t be worried about any possible action from Google. Most pages go up and down search engine result pages all the time. 

Now, you grab the list of declining URLs and research them further.

Step 3: Was there any impact on rankings?

It is not such a rare thing: We see a gradual decline in traffic without any obvious impact on rankings. This can be explained by two possible reasons:

  • People just don’t search for that query that much anymore. This was very common in 2020 when searching patterns shifted dramatically. And this can still be the case for seasonal queries (think “costumes,” “ski gear”, “swimsuits,” etc.)
  • Search engine result pages have added a new search element that steals attention and clicks.

So how do you diagnose if your rankings drop?

This question is harder to answer these days. If you are monitoring your rankings, an obvious step here would be to go check there. 

Google’s Search Console is another platform to check but it is not easy to quickly diagnose the ranking drop there. The tool is a little behind in showing data. Still, if you give it some time, you can analyze your rankings thereby using “Compare” tab within the “Performance” section of the reports:

Search console comparison

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Once you choose your date range, scroll down to your data and filter it by the “Position difference” column.

Mind that all you need to note here is lost or declined first-page ranking because your second-page rankings wouldn’t have driven traffic to lose anyway. So again, breathe.

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Instead, you can filter Search Console data by “Previous positions” to see, for example, lost #1 rankings:

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Another – probably smarter – way to diagnose hit queries is to judge by traffic. Search console shows the number of clicks each query is sending and how it compares to what it used to send. If Google is not the only search engine you are concerned about, using Finteza you can spot search queries that are sending less traffic than they used to:

Finteza search

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Finteza’s default search keyword report consolidates data from all search engines you appear in. You do need it running for some time to accumulate this data. It is easy to integrate.

Finteza is paid (costs  $ 25 per 100,000 unique users a month) but it is the only web analytics solution that still offers reliable keyword data.

For a better understanding of what is going with your organic traffic, I suggest using all of the above (and more) methods. Again, with search personalization and localization, it is very hard to understand where you are gaining (or losing) from, so combining data from multiple sources is the key.

Step 4: Identify why these ranking dropped

Here comes another tedious part in our analysis. More often than not, your rankings may fluctuate or drop due to Google finding a better page to rank. This may happen because:

  • Your query deserves freshness and there is a fresher page that was boosted on top of yours. If this is the case, you’d have got used to fluctuations by now.
  • Your competitor created a better page that has better backlinks.
  • You have lost some important backlinks which has led to losing some equity

Your position monitoring solution may give you some clues as to which page has overcome you in SERPs. Most rank monitoring platforms come with “SERP tracking” feature that grabs a snapshot of your important SERPs on a regular basis.

You can monitor your target SERP movements for you, for example:

Rating website visibilitySource: SE Ranking

For high-search-volume queries, SpyFu is keeping a record of key SERP movements:

Image source: Spyfu

To make it easy to spot your lost backlinks that may have accounted for declined positions, use link monitoring tools. They keep a record of when exactly each link was lost, and so make it easy for you to evaluate if this is what may have had an impact on your rankings and organic traffic:

Source: LinkChecker.pro

When you know which page is replacing you in search results, try to find why. There can be an array of reasons, including the most common ones (as well as the combination of such): 

Conclusion

Keeping your traffic in control is beyond your powers. What you can do is to keep an eye (building a dashboard would make it easier and more consistent) as well as create a well-set routine for analyzing a possible dip.

When you see organic traffic decline or dip, it doesn’t usually mean that your site is under any kind of filter or penalty (which is most often assumed). In most cases, this is a perfectly natural on-going SERP fluctuation. Stay calm and carefully analyze what has changed (and why). Don’t rush to take any action or fix anything until you check various data sources and take time to come up with a strategic plan. And most importantly: Just breathe!

The post Diagnosing a traffic drop? Just breathe! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

April 17, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or its network sites
  • Even though they will be removing the third-party cookie from 2022, the search giant still has a wealth of first-party data from its 270+ products, services, and platforms
  • The Trade Desk’s 20 percent stock price drop is proof of Google’s monopoly and why it shouldn’t enjoy it anymore
  • Google expert, Susan Dolan draws from her rich experience and details the current search scape, insights and predicts future key themes that will arise out of the 3p cookie death

Imagine search as a jungle gym, you automatically imagine Google as the kingpin player on this ground. This has been a reality for decades now and we all know the downside of autonomy which is why the industry now acknowledges a need for regulation. Google announced that it would remove the third-party cookie from 2022. But a lot can happen in a year, 2020 is proof of that! Does this mean that cookies will completely bite the dust? Think again. I dive deep into years of my experience with the web to share some thoughts, observations, and insights on what this really means.

For once, Google is a laggard

Given the monopoly that Google has enjoyed and the list of lawsuits (like the anti-trust one and more) this move is a regulatory step to create a “net-vironment” that feels less like a net and is driven towards transparency and search scape equality.

But Firefox and Safari had already beaten Google to the punch in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Safari had launched the Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) update on March 23, 2020. Firefox had launched its Enhanced Tracking Protection feature in September 2019 to empower and protect users from third-party tracking cookies and crypto miners.

Google’s solution to respect user privacy

Google recently announced that it won’t be using identifiers. Google is developing a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ to ensure that publishers, advertisers, and consumers find a fair middle ground in terms of data control, access, and tracking. The idea is to protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. The Privacy Sandbox will don the FLoC API that can help with interest-based advertising. Google will not be using fingerprints, PII graphs based on people’s email addresses that other browsers use. Google will move towards a Facebook-like “Lookalike audience” model that will group users for profiling.

Did that raise eyebrows? There’s more.

Don’t be fooled – They still have a lavish spread of first-party data

Google is already rich with clusters of historical, individual unique data that they’ve stored, analyzed, predicted, and mastered over the years and across their platforms and services. These statistics give you a clear sense of the gravity of the situation:

  • Google has 270+ products and services (Source)
  • Among the leading search engines, the worldwide market share of Google in January 2021 was almost 86 percent (Source)
  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or Google Network Sites (Source)
  • There are 246 million unique Google users in the US (Source)
  • Google Photos has over one billion active users (Source)
  • YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month (Source)
  • According to Google statistics, Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users (Source)
  • A less-known fact, there are more than two million accounts on Google Ads (Source)
  • There are more than 2.9 million companies that use one or more of Google’s marketing services (Source)
  • As of Jan 2021, Google’s branch out into the Android system has won it a whopping 72 percent of the global smartphone operating system market (Source)
  • Google sees 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (Source)

Google has an almost-never ending spectrum of products, services, and platforms –

Here’s the complete, exhaustive list of Google’s gigantic umbrella.

Google's 270+ products, services, and platforms

Source: Matrics360

Google already has access to your:

  • Location
  • Search history
  • Credit/debit card details shared on Google Pay
  • Data from businesses (more than 2.9 million!) that use Google services
  • Your device microphone
  • Mobile keyboard (G-board)
  • Apps you download from the Google Playstore and grant access to
  • Device camera, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg

Google’s decision to eliminate the third-party cookie dropped The Trade Desk’s stock by 20 percent

Nobody should have monopoly and this incident serves as noteworthy proof. Google’s decision to drop 3p cookies shocked The Trade Desk’s stock prices causing a 20 percent slump in their stock value. The Trade Desk is the largest demand-side platform (DSP) and Google’s decision kills the demand for The Trade Desk’s proprietary Unified ID 1.0 (UID 1.0) – a unique asset that chopped out the need for cookie-syncing process and delivered match rate accuracy up to 99 percent.

Google’s statement on not using PII also jeopardizes the fate of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0. which already has more than 50 million users.

Here’s what Dave Pickles, The Trade Desk’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer had to say,

“Unified ID 2.0 is a broad industry collaboration that includes publishers, advertisers and all players in the ad tech ecosystem.”

“UID provides an opportunity to have conversations with consumers and provide them with the sort of transparency we as an industry have been trying to provide for a really long time.”

Adweek’s March town hall saw advertisers and publishers haunted by the mystery that surrounds Google as Google denied to participate in the event. The industry is growing precarious that Google will use this as a new way to establish market dominance that feeds its own interests.

We love cookies (only when they’re on a plate)

Cookies are annoying because they leave crumbs everywhere… on the internet! Did you know, this is how people feel about being tracked on the web:

  • 72 percent of people feel that almost everything they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies
  • 81 percent say that the potential risks of data collection outweigh the benefits for them

These stats were originally sourced from Pew Research Center, but the irony, I found these stats on one of Google’s blogs.

On a hunt to escape these cookies or to understand the world’s largest “cookie jar” I checked out YouTube which seemed like a good place to start since it has over 1.9 billion monthly active users. You could visit this link to see how ads are personalized for you – the list is long!

My YouTube curiosity further landed me on this page to see how my cookies are shared (you can opt out of these). Even my least used account had 129 websites on this list, imagine how many sites are accessing your data right now.

Back in 2011 when I was the first to crack the Page rank algorithm, I could already sense the power Google held and where this giant was headed – the playground just wasn’t big enough.

Key themes that will emerge

Bottom line is, the cookie death is opening up conversations for advertising transparency and a web-verse that is user-first, and privacy compliant. Here’s what I foresee happening in search and the digital sphere:

  • Ethical consumer targeting
  • Adtech companies collaborating to find ways that respect their audience’s privacy
  • A more private, personalized web
  • More conversations around how much and what data collection is ethical
  • More user-led choices
  • Rise in the usage of alternative browsers
  • Incentivizing users to voluntarily share their data
  • Better use of technology for good

What do you think about the current climate on the internet? Join the conversation with me on @GoogleExpertUK.

Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant first to crack the Google PageRank algorithm as confirmed by Eric Schmidt’s office in 2014. Susan is also the CEO of The Peoples Hub which has been built to help people and to love the planet.

The post The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Clubhouse: popular kids’ hangout or a true asset for brands’ community building?

April 9, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Find out how Clubhouse differentiates itself within the sea of social media apps
  • Clubhouse has turned its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength
  • Users are able to multi-task while staying on the platform as background chatter (like in a coffee shop!)
  • Because the app is so new and fresh it took some time, but many brands are now using Clubhouse
  • Wherever there are influencers, advertisers aren’t far behind
  • Just this week Clubhouse announced a new monetization feature, Clubhouse Payments, as “the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse”
  • Now might be a good time to consider building an online community to add value and deepen the connection with your audience, here’s how

Clubhouse is the latest entrant into the ring of popular social media apps. The pandemic fast-tracked broader usage and many A-list celebrities have adopted the platform pivoting it into a more mainstream space and conversation. Clubhouse is an audio-only network that has become a disruptor to more mainstream social media channels and has provided a breath of fresh air and a much-needed distraction for those of us suffering from video and zoom fatigue.

It’s a welcome change for many of us as the app is built on a voice-led, live, concept and hosts conversations around very impromptu and diverse topics. The topics vary and the app is still limited however as more people continue to get invited a broader array of lifestyle and societal conversations will continue to blend into the feeds.

Clubhouse exclusivity: pro or con?

The MAJOR problem with the app is that the allure still is around its exclusivity.  You can’t join unless you’re invited (and using an iPhone) and for many who have heard of Clubhouse but haven’t joined or been invited it’s a big problem for major expansion.

The “voice only” advantage

One notable differentiator for Clubhouse is that it’s managed to turn its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength. Users are able to use the app as passive background chatter while doing other work and listening in which is a breath of fresh air for many multi-tasking marketers such as me.

Real-time conversations: the heart of what makes Clubhouse tick

The reason Clubhouse is different and exciting is because it’s synchronous. It’s happening live and never again. If you’re not there, you will miss the conversation forever. Traditional social media channels are asynchronous.  You can access and revisit content and review or engage at any time that works for you and catch up at your own pace.  Rooms can be recorded if permission is granted, but that is seemingly rare as the value is in the authenticity of real-time communication and conversation.

As an excited and relatively new Clubhouse user, I’m trying to figure out the value of the platform for my clients as well as myself.  This got me thinking about how brands can use Clubhouse to build an online community to add value.  Clubhouse is a platform centered firmly on creators, not brands, at least for now. A creator can certainly be a brand leader working to expand thought leadership and build community or interest for a brand but within the Club the conversation is around authenticity and the person and NOT the bigger brand.

How brands can use Clubhouse to add to build an online community that adds value

I asked several of my friends and industry colleagues for their opinions on the platform and I found their answers to be useful and inspiring and noteworthy. Below are several responses relevant to the conversation of how brands can use Clubhouse to add to build an online community to add value.

  • Amberly Hilinski, Director of marketing at SodaStream International said “Clubhouse is weighing the reward of facilitating and respecting relevant content you don’t own.  Long lead earned media for brand owners who have the privilege (or budget) to think in terms of years and not quarters.   As the inevitable stampede of influencer dollars roll in, I worry how the conversations shift and how many truly “tune-in” worthy guests are booked.”
  • Margaret Molloy, CMO of Siegel + Gale said, “Time is the primary challenge for many thought leaders, a major consideration is whether we want to dedicate the effort to build a following on another platform. This is especially true for B2B leaders with an active social graph on LinkedIn and/or Twitter already. Clubhouse is centered firmly on creators, not brands, at least for now. A creator could be a brand employee hosting a community as a thought leader/community builder, however, it’s about the person, not the corporate brand.”
  • Ashley Stevens, Brand, Content & Experiential Marketing Expert said, “Brands can use Clubhouse as an extension of another online community or event. It’s a great place to “continue the conversation” and develop more personal relationships with current and potential clients.
  • Rob Durant, Founder of Flywheel Results said, “Brands cannot use Clubhouse the way they have used other platforms. There’s no automating it, There’s no outsourcing it, There’s no editing it, There’s no photoshopping it. People only get to know you when you show up and are fully present. That being said, Brands, even B2B Brands, CAN use Clubhouse. They just need to facilitate conversations instead of dominating them.”
  • Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media at Mercer added, “Clubhouse is an opportunity for brands to rethink how they engage with their audiences. Most brand social channels are broadcast channels, very few have conversations with their audiences, because of resource constraints, lack of know-how, compliance reasons, and other concerns. Platforms like Clubhouse and the audio tools that Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms are working on will challenge corporates to review & redesign how they social up on social media.

It’s taken some time, but brands are now joining the Clubhouse conversations. Many of my colleagues remained dubious of the long-standing return and the overall future of the platform and insisted that brands should concentrate efforts in places providing maximum return. Clubhouse lacks analytics and tangible metrics to measure the investment of time and energy for brands.

Closing thoughts

I remain interested and active on the platform for now I’m cautious that it’s the “popular kids” hangout and the allure and interest is largely based around buzz. Certainly, brands can and should listen into ongoing conversations and get ideas on the audience tuning in and having conversations.  Brands who listen to ideas and have a pulse on the culture and content their market is exposed to will have a long-standing advantage and edge.

Wherever there are influencers, the advertisers aren’t far behind. As it stands today, Clubhouse still is limited with around two million active weekly users on the app. It offers what every advertiser wants – a highly targeted, used in one contained place, but the question remains of how and when to get advertisers involved.

Just this week within Clubhouse’s blog post, the startup announced a new monetization feature, Clubhouse Payments, as “the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse.”

This is the first step towards monetizing Clubhouse and the first of what many assume will come towards steps to monetize the platform.

As Twitter, LinkedIn, and other audio apps emerge Clubhouse will quickly have to adapt and make some changes if it wants to become a mainstream platform for brand marketers. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds over time!

Marissa Pick is a social & digital strategist and Senior Marketing Director at Marissa Pick Consulting LLC. Marissa can be found on Twitter @marissapick.

The post Clubhouse: popular kids’ hangout or a true asset for brands’ community building? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


What five news-SEO experts make of Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search results

March 24, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google recently rolled out the “Full Coverage” feature for mobile SERPs
  • Will this impact SEO traffic for news sites, SEO best practices, and content strategies?
  • Here’s what in-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs foresee

Google’s “Full Coverage” update rolled out earlier this month – but what does it really mean for news-SEOs? In-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs weigh in.

As a news-SEO person myself, I was eager to get my peers’ opinions on: 

  • If this feature will result in greater SEO traffic for news sites?
  • If editorial SEO best practices and content strategies will evolve because of it?
  • If it will result in closer working relationships between SEO and editorial teams?
  • Or, will everything remain “business as usual”?

ICYMI: Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search

Google added the “full coverage”  feature to its mobile search functionality earlier this month – with the aim of making it easier for users to explore content related to developing news stories from a diverse set of publishers, perspectives, and media slants.  

Just below the “Top Stories” carousel, users will now begin seeing the option to tap into “Full Coverage”/“More news on…” for developing news stories. The news stories on this page will be organized in a variety of sub-news topics (versus one running list of stories like we’re used to seeing), such as:

  • Top news
  • Local news
  • Beyond the headlines, and more

Take a look at  in-action, here:

Google's "Full Coverage" feature

Source: Google

While the concept of Google “Full Coverage” was developed back in 2018,  it pertained strictly to the Google News site and app. The technology, temporal co-locality, works by mapping the relationships between entities – and understanding the people, places, and things in a story right as it evolves. And then, organizes it around storylines all in real-time to provide “full coverage” on the topic searched for.

The launch of Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search, specifically, is exciting because it takes its technology a step further; able to detect long-running news stories that span many days, like the Super Bowl, to many weeks or months like the pandemic to serve to users.  The feature is currently available to English speakers in the U.S. and will be rolled out to additional languages and locations over the next few months. 

What five news-SEO experts think about “Full Coverage” in mobile search

Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

1. Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive

Lily Ray is a Senior SEO Director at Path Interactive in New York. She’s a prominent voice within the SEO community (with +15K followers on Twitter), and has been nominated for multiple search marketing awards throughout her career. She is well known for her E-A-T expertise.  Here’s what she had to say:

 

“Full Coverage appears to be another new tool in Google’s arsenal for displaying a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints on recent news and events. It’s a good thing for publisher sites because it represents another opportunity to have news content surfaced organically. It may also serve as a way for niche or local publishers to gain more visibility in organic search, since Google is specifically aiming to show a broader range of viewpoints that may not always come across with the major publications.

Hopefully, Google will allow us to be able to monitor the performance of Full Coverage via either Search Console or Google Analytics, so we can segment out how our articles do in this area compared to in other areas of search.”

Louisa Frahm, SEO Editor at The LA Times on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: LinkedIn

2. Louisa Frahm, SEO Editor at The LA Times

Louisa Frahm currently serves as the SEO Editor at the Los Angeles Times and is also pursuing a master’s degree in communication management at the University of Southern California. Prior to the LA Times, Frahm was an SEO strategist at other high-profile digital publications including Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, TMZ, Yahoo!, and E! Online. Here’s her take:

“I’ve always liked that element of Google News. It taps into readers (like me!) who are consistently hungry for more information. 

Working in the journalism field, I’m always in favor of readers utilizing a diverse array of news sources. I’m glad that this new update will tap into that. I’m interested to see which stories will fall into the “develop over a period of time” criteria. I could see it working well for extended themes like COVID-19, but big breakout themes like Harry and Meghan could also potentially fit that bill. 

A wide variety of story topics have resulted from that Oprah interview, and fresh angles keep flowing in! As we’re in the thick of 2021 awards season, I could also see the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars playing into this with their respective news cycles before, during, and after the events. 

The long-term aspect of this update inspires me to request more updates from writers on recurring themes, so we can connect with the types of topics this particular feature likes. Though pure breaking news stories with short traffic life cycles will always be important for news SEO, this feature reinforces the additional importance of more evergreen long-term content within a publisher’s content strategy. 

I could see this update providing a traffic boost, since it provides one more way for stories to get in front of readers. We always want as many eyeballs as possible on our content. Happy to add one more element to my news SEO tool kit. Google always keeps us on our toes!”

Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

3. Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital

Barry Adams is the founder of SEO consultancy, Polemic Digital. He has earned numerous search marketing awards throughout his career and has also spoken at several industry conferences. His company has helped news and publishing companies such as – The Guardian, The Sun, FOX News, and Tech Radar to name a few. This is his opinion:

“The introduction of Full Coverage directly into search results will theoretically mean there’s one less click for users to make when trying to find the full breadth of reporting on a news topic. 

Whether this actually results in significantly more traffic for publishers is doubtful. The users who are interested in reading a broad range of sources on a news story will already have adopted such click behaviour via the news tab or directly through Google News. 

This removal of one layer of friction between the SERP and a larger number of news stories seems more intended as a way for Google to emphasize its commitment to showing news from all kinds of publishers – the fact remains that the initial Top Stories box is where the vast majority of clicks happen. This Full Coverage option won’t change that.”

John Shehata, Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

4. John Shehata, Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, Founder of NewzDash News SEO

John Shehata is the Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, the media company known for brands such as – Architectural Digest, Allure, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. He’s also the founder of NewzDash News SEO – a News & Editorial SEO tool that helps publishers and news sites boost their visibility and traffic in Google Search. This is his opinion:

“Google has been surfacing more news stories on their SERPs over the past few years, first Top Stories were two-three links then it became a 10-link carousel. Google then started grouping related stories together expanding Top Stories carousel from one to three featuring up 30 news stories. They also introduced local news carousels for some local queries, [and now, this new feature]. It is obvious that Google keeps testing with different formats when it comes to news. One of our top news trends and prediction for 2021 is Google will continue to introduce multiple and different formats in the SERPs beyond Top Stories article formats.

As of the impact on traffic back to publishers, it is a bit early to predict but I do not expect much boost in traffic. Do not get more wrong, this feature provides more chances for more publishers to be seen, the question is how many search users will click. And if users click, Google surfaces over 50 news links plus tweets which makes it even more competitive for publishers to get clicks back to their stories.

I did some quick analysis back in July of last year When Google Search Console started providing News tab data. I found that News Impressions are less than five percent of total web impressions. Not quite sure how is the new “Full Coverage” feature CTR will be and how many users will click! The “full coverage” link placement is better than the tabs, so we might see higher CTR.”

Claudio Cabrera, Deputy Audience Director, News SEO at The New York Times on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: LinkedIn

5. Claudio Cabrera, Deputy Audience Director, News SEO at The New York Times

Claudio Cabrera serves as the Deputy Audience Director of News SEO at the New York Times. He is an award-winning audience development expert, journalist, and educator. Prior to working at The New York Times, he was Director of Social and Search strategy at CBS Local. Here are his thoughts:

“It can be looked at in so many ways. Some brands will look at it as an opportunity to gain more visibility while some will feel their strong foothold may be lost. I think it just encourages better journalism and even better SEO because it forces us to think outside of our playbooks and adjust on some level to what we’re seeing Google provide users. 

From a site traffic perspective, I can’t really comment on whether this has affected us or not but I do know there are so many other areas where sites have done serious research and testing into like Discover where audiences can grow and be picked up if you do see a drop-off. I don’t think the best practices of SEO change too much but I think the relationship between search experts and editors deepens and becomes even closer due to the changes in the algo.”

Conclusion

Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search rolled out earlier this month and is an extension of the full coverage function developed for Google News back in 2018. The aim of this new feature is to help users gain a holistic understanding of complex news stories as they develop – by organizing editorial content in such a way that it goes beyond the top headlines and media outlets. In essence, giving users the “full coverage” of the event. 

News-SEO experts seem to be in agreement that this new feature will make it simpler for users to explore – and gain a holistic understanding of – trending news stories. As far as what this new feature means for SEO traffic and strategy, experts can only speculate until more developing news stories emerge and we can analyze impact. 

Elizabeth Lefelstein is an SEO consultant based in Los Angeles, California. She’s worked with a variety of high-profile brands throughout her career and is passionate about technical SEO, editorial SEO, and blogging. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @lefelstein.

The post What five news-SEO experts make of Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search results appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Four ways to use your website data to discover missed sales opportunities

March 22, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Analyzing and understanding website data helps enhance potential sales and conversions
  • Google Analytics records the exit rate of specific website pages, helping you pinpoint exactly where users abandon your sales filter
  • Google Tag Manager can help identify if users are leaving forms uncompleted, leaving you tantalizingly close to conversion without sticking the landing
  • Recording and analyzing common user search terms on a website will reveal if consumers are seeking services they are willing to pay for but you do not provide
  • Search analysis tools will shine a light on any underutilized and under-monetized website pages, helping you make the most of your PPC budget

In the age of online marketing and data intelligence, every click matters. Traffic is a great metric for the potential success of your business, after all. Alas, traffic means little without conversions. A brick-and-mortar store that sees plenty of footfall but fails to make sufficient sales will be considered a failed business model. The online world is no different. Without conversions, a website is just an expensive – and ultimately unsuccessful – advertising campaign.

A conversion is the completion of any pre-determined action on a website. This could be downloading free content in exchange for joining a mailing list or interacting with the site through social media or a contact form. The gold standard of conversions will always be sales, though. If your product or service is not turning a profit, something needs to change.

By studying and understanding website data, you can pinpoint missed opportunities for sales on your site. Utilizing tools and software, you’ll understand what visitors are looking for and why they bounce without converting.

Data to review

Here are four core KPIs that should be studied to understand why visitors leave your site without making a conversion. By mastering and understanding this data, you can make any necessary adjustments to your website and marketing strategy – potentially reaping financial rewards.

1. Google Analytics exit pages

The exit page of a website, which is tracked on Google Analytics, is the last interaction a user has with your website before terminating a session. Google Analytics records exit pages as a percentage, referring to this as an exit rate.

In an ideal world, the most popular exit page on any website will be the thank you page after completing a conversion. At this stage, the user has concluded their business to the satisfaction of all parties.

If you notice a high exit rate on a different page, it merits investigation. Something about this page is deterring visitors from converting. Ergo, this exit page is potentially responsible for missed sales.

Be aware that an exit rate is not the same as a bounce rate. Bounce rate relates to users that leave a site without any interaction. Exit pages are recorded when users begin the journey toward conversion but fail to complete the process.

By understanding which pages on your website have the highest exit rate, you can improve your sales. Take a look at this page and consider why users are not completing a conversion. Potential explanations include:

  • An unclear or weak call to action
  • A lengthy sales funnel with too many steps
  • Insufficient information about your product or service, failing to convince the user to convert – or too much data, confusing a user and causing them to lose interest
  • Lack of preferred payment options (that is, ewallets – not everybody likes to use their credit card online)

Tweak this exit page to improve user experience and convince users to conclude a conversion. This is easier if one page of your website, in particular, has a high exit rate. If exit pages are equally spread throughout your site, it may be worth considering a complete overhaul and refresh of the content.

2. Google Tag Manager

The internet has brought a lot of good to the world, but enhancing patience is not among these benefits. With so much competition out there, users are unlikely to tolerate any kind of interface issues when attempting to complete a conversion. You can use Google Tag Manager to identify these issues.

Form completion is arguably the best use of GTM. If you study the analytics of a form and find that it is frequently being abandoned before completion, something is amiss. You had the user on the end of your hook – they would not have started to fill in the form otherwise. Unfortunately, something made them change their mind and you missed out on a sale.

Use the GTM debugging mode to ensure that a technical hitch was not to blame. If this is the case, it’s time to look inward. Some of the common reasons for users to abandon forms before completion include:

  • The form is just too long and cumbersome! Slow and steady may win a race, but it bores the life out of online consumers
  • Unnecessary questions. If you’re not selling age-restricted products or services, don’t ask for a user’s date of birth. Unless it’s relevant to the product, do not ask for clarification of gender or race
  • Pop-up advertising. Unfortunately, you may be standing trial for the sins of other sites here – previous experiences elsewhere may tarnish a user’s view of all online forms
  • Lack of assurance about the safety and security of any data that will be provided. Make it clear that you are not in the business is selling personal information to other businesses
  • Lack of mobile device compatibility. Over half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. Ensure your form is not fiddly and persnickety to complete on such a device

Using Google Tag Manager to understand your website data and fix missed conversion opportunities

Source: Google Tag Manager

Using GTM to gain insights into why forms remain uncompleted can be an easy fix, and potentially turn half-completed questionnaires into successful conversions. Don’t miss out on a possible sale for something as prosaic as a needlessly complicated sign-up process.

3. Search records

As we touched upon previously, consumers want to feel understood by a business. The modern visitor to a website will ideally not wish to search to find what they’re looking for. Visitors want to find everything they need before their eyes and to see that your product or service will resolve a particular pain point.

If users are making use of the search function, configure the site to record search terms. This provides the perfect opportunity to study what your potential customers are seeking – and presumably not finding – on your site. If they located what they were looking for, they would likely have completed a conversion.

Understanding what users are searching for means that you can improve and enhance your offering to apply these missing services. Alternatively, it may just reveal that your copy needs a little updating. Check whether users are using terminology that does not match up with keywords used on your site. This is an easy fix with a content refresh and reduces the frustration of being so near but yet so far from a conversion.

This will also have a welcome side-effect of potentially bolstering your SERP standing. Google is moving toward a model of enhanced search equity, which makes your use of copy all the more important. It will be very welcome for a website’s page ranking – and conversion potential – to stand or fall on quality and relevance of content, as opposed to restrictive technical obstacles.

4. Traffic value

To paraphrase George Orwell, “all website traffic is equal, but some traffic is more equal than others.” Some pages on your website will inevitably demonstrate greater potential for sales and conversions. Investing in a search analysis tool can aid you in identifying these pages so you can focus your financial outlay on them. Google Trends can also be an invaluable ally here.

Your website will likely utilize at least one cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads. You may be using several, with Facebook Ads (which includes Instagram Ads) and even Microsoft Advertising providing plentiful leads to conversions. While PPC business models are constantly evolving, some tactics are evergreen.

Perhaps the most critical of these is identifying which pages on your site have potential that is not being maximized. By undertaking SEO analysis, you will gain a greater understanding of what users are looking for online. In learning this, you may realize that you are placing too much of a marketing budget on one page when judicious use of keywords on another may yield greater results.

For example, it’s always tempting to place all of your financial muscle on a completion page. We have discussed already how users are looking for a brief and practical conversion funnel. Do not overlook the potential to educate and entertain before pushing for conversion, though. If you embrace – and more importantly, perfect content marketing, you will convince users to click through to a conversion page after learning more about your offering. This enhances your traffic stats, potentially building brand loyalty in the process.

What next?

Now that you are aware of these metrics, use them to calculate your conversions. That’s easily done – just divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors, then multiply the total by 100. How does that number look to you?

If you feel that your conversion rate is lacking in any of these metrics, there are steps that you can take to improve it. These include:

  • Simplifying any forms and streamlining your sales filter
  • Improve and simplify the copy on pages with a high exit rate
  • Considering adding a pop-up with a renewed CTA – or even the promise of a discount or freebie – when a user tries to close a common exit page
  • Review your search records and ensure your offering matches consumer needs and expectations
  • Keep up to date with search trends and ensure you are monetizing the right pages on your website

Follow these steps and you’ll potentially see your conversions soar. Few things are more frustrating than missing out on a sale that came enticingly close. These minor improvements will not take much work but could make a real difference to your bottom line.

FAQ

What is a website conversion?

Any website will contain a range of actions for visitors to complete. This could be signing up for a newsletter mailing list, sharing a post on personal social media channels, making a query through a contact form, or ideally making a purchase. If a visitor to your website completes this action, it is considered a conversion. The number of people that do so compared to your traffic quantity is referred to as a conversion rate.

What is a good conversion rate for a website?

This depends on a range of factors, including your industry and your anticipated return on investment. A website that operates on a cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads, needs a higher conversion rate to turn a substantial profit. The average conversion rate on this platform is circa three percent. What matters most is that you are seeing a return on your investment – and that your conversion rate continues to grow, not shrink.

How to increase the conversion rate on a website?

The most effective way to increase a conversion rate is to make the process as fast and simple as possible for consumers. Create a superior user experience by making it obvious what a visitor needs to do to convert, and by removing any unnecessary steps from the resulting filter. Every additional action you ask of a user gives them another opportunity to lose patience and walk away.

How to calculate a website conversion rate?

There is a simple formula for calculating the conversion rate of your website. Track your conversions over a set period, divide this by the number of visits to the website in this time, then multiple the total by 100. For example, a website that enjoys 700 conversions from 12,500 visitors over 30 days has a monthly conversion rate of 5.6%.

How to set up conversion rate tracking on your website?

Any website must track conversions to ensure optimum efficiency and return on investment. Major platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads have in-built tracking facilities. Learn how to utilize these tools and turn the data to your advantage.

Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK.

The post Four ways to use your website data to discover missed sales opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021

March 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Data storytelling is the process of combining graphics and narratives to help audiences understand complex data
  • There are eight types of graphs and charts that marketers can use to tell data stories
  • This guide will help you understand why data storytelling is important and what best practices you should follow

We’re seeing the growing importance of storytelling with data in 2021—primarily because of the amount of data being shared with audiences over the past year.

But data needs to make sense to people if it’s to lead to better engagement and increased conversions. That’s where visualization comes in.

According to Venngage’s recent study, data storytelling has become a popular tool in an organization’s arsenal, with 48 percent of marketers creating data visualizations weekly.

Source: Venngage

In this article, we will share why businesses are turning to data storytelling to tell their brand stories and to capture the imagination of their customers.

Why is storytelling with data important?

Data-driven storytelling combines data and graphics to tell a compelling story. It also gives the data more context so audiences can understand it better.

The visual representation of data lies can show readers patterns and connections they may not have deduced on their own.

That’s what makes them such a necessary tool in a small business’ arsenal—data graphics can help businesses track their performance and set goals.

Kinds of data visualizations for storytelling

There are numerous visual tools available to render data—they highlight why data visualization is important.

Some of the kinds of data visualizations for storytelling include:

  • Bar Graphs
  • Bubble Charts
  • Histograms
  • Infographics
  • Line Charts
  • Maps
  • Pie Charts
  • Scatter Plots

Each visualization technique serves a purpose. Bar graphs and charts are ideal for creating comparisons, whereas line charts show linear relationships.

Maps show geographical data, like this example about the languages of the world.

Languages in the world

Source

Pie charts share data according to set categories, while scatter plots show relationships between multiple variables.

To understand which charts and graphs to use to tell your data story, you can refer to the below infographic.

Infographic chart on data storytelling

Source: Venngage

Five advantages of data storytelling

What advantages can businesses expect when storytelling through data?

These are the questions that marketers and designers ask themselves before undertaking such a design-heavy project.

But there are several uses for data graphics that make them worth investing time and effort into.

1. Provides deeper analysis into information

If you look at the types of visualizations described above, you can see how they provide greater insight into information.

A text post or report can do the same work but will require much more labor from the reader—increasing the chances of them leaving your page for shorter content

A graphic, on the other hand, tells the reader the same information in a much shorter time. This improves engagement rates and conversions.

Visuals can also convey patterns easily allowing the reader to analyze information quickly by connecting the dots themselves.

2. Promotes problem-solving

Data stories are succinct materials that boost the problem-solving process and improve productivity.

This is because decision-makers don’t have to read reams of text or sift through information on their own—the graphics do the work for them and speed up problem-solving.

3. Engages internal and external audiences

Content marketing is geared toward engagement—and that’s why strong visuals that catch the eye are so important. 

Visuals are more attractive than blocks of text—and data graphics that are well-made even more so than others.

This is because a data story is compelling in itself—numbers, percentages, relationships, and connections are all reasons for a reader to stop what they’re doing and look at your graphic.

As a result, you increase traffic and views to your content and your website, all while promoting a favorable impression of your brand. 

4. Improves reporting abilities

Reports are part and parcel of business life. A great data story is key to a memorable and powerful analysis, like this simple but elegant finance infographic template.

Data storytelling improves reporting capabilities

Source: Venngage

There is so much data involved in creating reports—if they are articulated through numbers and tables, your audience will be lost, and worse, bored.

That is why great data storytelling is so important in report-making, not just to keep people interested but to tell a good story.

5. Wide reach

Graphics can be repurposed in multiple ways and for a variety of channels. Social media platforms like Twitter, which are chockful of information, require a strong visual to get attention.

That attention can be generated through data storytelling. Bite-sized visuals arrest the viewer as they’re scrolling through their feed—they’re also easy to absorb and more shareable.

Visualized data makes for great content whether for social channels, newsletters, blog posts, or website landing pages.

A great graphic has the potential to go viral, widening the reach of your content and influence.

Data storytelling best practices

Paying heed to the importance of visualizing data means following a few best practices. You can’t create visuals without having a goal. 

You also need to understand the subject matter and the needs of your audience so your data tells the story you want it to and engages your readers.

Here are the six best practices for creating visualizations that will boost customer retention.

Create visual hierarchies

Hierarchies are necessary for people to read and interpret your data. Visual hierarchies are a key component of data storytelling because they help readers create context and patterns.

Since you don’t want to write too much text to explain your graphic, hierarchies are the best way to convey context. Here are the best ways to build visual hierarchies and context:

  • Placement of elements from top to bottom
  • Grouped elements
  • Varying colors
  • Varied visual styles
  • Increasing font sizes

Users will be able to deduce the relationship between data and elements using the above methods.

Build trust into data visuals

The benefits of visualization are completely lost if you can’t elicit trust in the people viewing your information.

When we put statistics together for studies at Venngage, we survey hundreds, if not thousands, of respondents before beginning the design process.

This is necessary to avoid cherry-picking data, which can be misleading, as this graph shows, and accidentally designing bad infographics.

Build trust with data storytelling

Source: Venngage

It is always best to compile data from trusted sources that are unbiased. Verify that data with at least two other sources so you know that the data is representative of the information.

Only then should you move into the design phase. When creating your visuals, avoid distortion as much as possible by following these methods:

  • Choose charts and graphs that suit your data
  • Your visual should include a scale to give context to the data
  • Baselines for data should always start at zero
  • Both axes should appear in the graphic and be equal in size
  • Use all relevant data in the visual; don’t leave important data out

Size plays a major factor in trust-building—use similar-sized visual elements, like icons, that can be scaled on a graph. 

Show changes in data through size and space but both should be equal between all visual elements.

Keep visualizations simple

Pulling together data requires a great deal of time and effort. It can be tempting to design visuals that express as much information as possible.

But that mindset can negate the effectiveness of visually representing data, and overwhelm your audience.

Visualizations should be simple and easy to understand—not only is this a brand design trend in 2021, but it keeps readers more engaged, like this chart we created.

Keep visuals simple

Source: Venngage

While a complex visualization may look sophisticated and interesting, if your audience spends too much time trying to understand it, they’re going to eventually give up and move on.

A badly-designed graphic, like the one below, will also give readers a negative impression of your brand and product, losing you more potential customers.

Bad example

Source

Data graphics should be simple enough to understand at a glance—that’s all the time you have to get users’ attention.

Don’t overuse text

If your data story needs more text to understand it, the visual isn’t well-designed. While there needs to be some text in the graphic, it shouldn’t dominate the image.

You can always write a blog or social media post around your findings, but your readers shouldn’t be lost without the context.

The benefits of data-driven storytelling lie in the fact that your information can be communicated through the visual medium.

If you’re relying on text to do all the talking, your graphic is lacking. Use graphic elements like icons and shapes, and break your data down into bite-sized portions so it’s easy to convey.

Use colors wisely in visualizations

Colors have a lot to do with the importance of data visualization storytelling—they can be used to highlight key information in a graphic and augment the data story you are trying to tell.

But that doesn’t mean you use all the colors in the palette in your graphic. Again, too many colors, like too much information, can overwhelm the audience.

On the flip side, by using too few colors, you can mistakenly create connections between data that aren’t correct.

Use your brand colors in your visualizations, and augment them with two or three colors. Try not to exceed five colors or five hues of a single color. 

If you’re wondering what kinds of colors work together, you can use this list to choose color combinations.

Use muted colors in your graphics, instead of bold ones, as that is what is on-trend at the moment and will make your visuals more relevant to audiences.

Highlight data in visuals

As much as you want users to understand the data as you present it to them in a visual, you aim to capture their attention as quickly as possible.

Even the simplest visuals need some highlights to draw the eye and it’s a great way to maintain the integrity of your data story.

Use a highlight color to make relevant data stand out or increase the font size or icon size to do the same.

By spotlighting the most important information, you will be more successful in attracting attention to your visual and telling your data story. 

Businesses can leverage the importance of data storytelling

We’ve highlighted how data storytelling can make a difference in business growth in 2021.

Graphics share insights and correlations that audiences may have overlooked, while still being compelling tools that engage and convert customers.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, design, and small businesses.

The post Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Get more subscribers with these seven podcast SEO tips

March 18, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Did you know that, as of 2020, upwards of 68 million people listen to a weekly podcast?
  •  Your podcast can easily reach more subscribers if you take some time to do some off-page SEO tactics and a few other best practices along the way
  • Check out these seven podcast SEO tips to help you get in front of more people and get more subscribers

If you have a podcast for your business, something you’ve probably thought about is how to get more subscribers to tune in to future episodes. 

After all, unlike with traditional blogging where you have a dedicated space for your content, your listeners are accessing your podcast episodes through a third-party streaming service or podcast directory. And these services often carry hundreds of thousands of other podcasts in their network. 

So how can you get your podcast discovered by more of the right leads and future customers?

The answer is simple: podcast SEO. Blog posts aren’t the only thing that stands to benefit from search engine optimization techniques. Your podcast can easily reach more subscribers if you take some time to do some off-page SEO tactics and a few other best practices along the way.

Wondering how to get started and get that podcast out there? Check out these seven podcast SEO tips to help you get in front of more people and get more subscribers.

Seven ways to get more podcast subscribers using SEO

1. Have a clear persona for your podcast

Did you know that, as of 2020, upwards of 68 million people listen to a weekly podcast? Given the year-on-year growth of podcasts, you’re bound to have a dedicated audience in that huge market.

But the growing number of podcast listeners is also a sign of the growing number of podcasts available online. In order to stand out, you’ll have to speak to a specific set of podcast listeners instead of trying to reach just anyone.

This is where having an audience persona is helpful. The persona not only tells you what kind of podcast content your ideal subscribers want to see — but it also shows you their lifestyle, beliefs, and goals.

podcast seo - audience persona

Source: Optinmonster

Your audience persona doesn’t have to be complex.

When you have a clear picture of what these things are, you can then optimize not only your podcast as a whole but each episode according to search terms your subscribers might be looking for.

If your podcast listeners are interested in sales, for instance, then use keywords that reflect actual searches they may make. Example episode titles that practice proper podcast SEO for this niche include, “How to train your sales team” or “How to master video sales calls”.

2. Choose the right platform

In technical SEO, uptime and loading speeds are important ranking factors. If your website loads slowly too, your page is less likely to rank higher on search.

The same applies to your podcast. Podcast ranking may be influenced by how quickly your platform loads. The less optimally it performs, the less likely people are going to subscribe.

Many podcasters choose to host their podcast episodes on their own website then create dedicated episode pages to increase their chances of getting in front of their ideal subscribers using typical on-page SEO. When going this route, you need to make sure your platform is up to speed.

Educate yourself on different podcast hosting platforms that prioritize site performance for podcast hosting. Not every web host may be well-optimized for podcasts and cause your site to perform slower or have issues with loading audio files. Fortunately, as the podcasting industry grows, more and more web hosts are making a point to add seamless support for podcast episodes and files.

3. Interview industry leaders

One great way to get in front of your audience and get more podcast subscribers is by inviting well-known thought leaders and influencers in your niche onto your show. 

Their supporters and followers are more likely to listen to your podcast if they know that somebody they trust is sharing valuable information on your platform. Having those important guests just gets your ideal subscriber’s foot in the door — they may discover your podcast for the first time and decide to subscribe for more related content.

If you’re a relatively small podcast, build your way up the ladder before reaching out to huge leaders in your industry. Don’t be afraid to reach for low-hanging fruit and asking industry experts with a slightly smaller following on to your podcast. 

Use this as an opportunity to showcase your interviewing skills and grow your existing listenership before getting in front of bigger names in your niche.

4. Incorporate your podcast into your blog posts

We mentioned briefly that some podcasters choose to host their episodes as dedicated pages on a website. Why not really level up your podcast SEO by attaching podcast episodes into SEO-friendly blog posts?

While Google has been making the effort to include multimedia results on search — including, yes, even podcasts and YouTube videos — the reality is that most of the search query results still pull up blog posts and pages the majority of the time. 

Stay ahead of the competition by combining your blog and podcast efforts. There are a couple of options to go about this. First, you can create a blog post around a podcast episode. So after recording your episode, repurpose it into a high-value blog post that you can then optimize with the best SEO practices.

Another way to do this is doing an audit of your existing blog posts and inserting podcast episodes into them. This allows you to make the most of your blogs’ on-page SEO and get your podcast in front of more visitors and potential subscribers.

Check out this example on the FreshBooks blog that inserts a podcast episode inside a blog post. They went with the first route, where they created a dedicated blog post around the main topics that emerged in this specific podcast episode.

To encourage people to actually listen to the episode, you can tease the content in the form of questions or simply highlight what to expect. Mention key phrases and SEO-friendly search terms to make the most of on-page SEO.

5. Submit your podcast to reputable directories

Another way to get more podcast subscribers? Getting yourself listed in the top podcast directories online. Getting on these podcast directories is often straightforward enough, especially if your podcast is already up and running on one platform.

You can choose to submit your podcast to directories like Apple Podcasts or Spotify one at a time, while another option is using services like Anchor.fm to submit your podcast to multiple directories all at once.

podcast seo and stats on podcasts

Source: Statista

A comparison of the top podcast directories and apps among US listeners between 2019 to 2020, according to Statista.

These top directories are most likely where listeners themselves go to search for new podcasts, so you stand the chance to get more subscribers using this method. With dozens of available options, choose the top-performing apps and services first then slowly trickle your way down the rest of the market.

Also, be aware of any new players that might emerge in the podcast app industry to be at the forefront of their growth. Or if there are niche podcast directories that your specific audience might be on, that can be a fantastic way to reach the right audience without the steep competition.

6. Incorporate this as part of your customer support

If your business has a podcast that creates short, high-value episodes that walk people through your product or service or answer their commonly asked questions, why not incorporate said episodes into your customer support knowledge base?

Users might have frequently asked questions about your product or app, for example. In your FAQs pages and knowledge bases, embed your episodes in relevant pages that will help answer your customers’ queries. 

This can also be a way to humanize and personalize your email ticketing system. Because many email ticket support software allow your team to upload files to send to customers, why not send these helpful podcast episodes in response to their questions or concerns. 

Of course, make sure that the links you send to your customers through support channels are always relevant to their concerns.

7. Cut it up into micro-content

To really drum up your podcast SEO, repurpose your episodes and turn them into micro-content you can share across other platforms. 

For example, choose a segment with a big takeaway or story in under one minute that you can then post on your Instagram feed. Or cut an engaging exchange between guests then post the excerpt on Facebook or YouTube.

The beauty of this tactic is that you can create multiple pieces of micro content from just a single podcast episode, so you’ll be able to make endless content for social media. 

Use soundbites as excerpts, create graphics based on quotes from the episode, turn your main topics into viral-worthy infographics — either way, it’s a great way to not only create content for other platforms but to especially grab attention and bring awareness to your podcast.

The podcast Happier in Hollywood creates micro-content by taking excerpts from their recorded episodes and turning them into videos with subtitles for Instagram.

micro-content for podcast seo

Source: Happier in Hollywood

Key takeaways

Getting more podcast subscribers can seem like an uphill climb, but remember that your content creation efforts have to be punctuated by a solid promotion strategy too. Podcast SEO makes sure that your podcast is seen by the people who’d love to follow your podcast the most. Aside from basic podcast SEO, use the tips in this blog post to help you boost those search results and get your podcast heard.

Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.

The post Get more subscribers with these seven podcast SEO tips appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch