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Citrix is acquiring Wrike from Vista for $2.25B

January 19, 2021 No Comments

Citrix announced today that it plans to acquire Wrike, a SaaS project management platform, from Vista Equity Partners for $ 2.25 billion. Vista bought the company just two years ago.

Citrix, which is best known for its digital workspaces, sees this as a good match, especially at a time where employees have been forced to work from home because of the pandemic. By combining the two companies, it produces a powerful combination, one that didn’t escape Citrix CEO and president David Henshall

“Together, Citrix and Wrike will deliver the solutions needed to power a cloud-delivered digital workspace experience that enables teams to securely access the resources and tools they need to collaborate and get work done in the most efficient and effective way possible across any channel, device or location,” Henshall said in a statement.

Andrew Filev, founder and CEO at Wrike, who has managed the company through these multiple changes and remains at the helm, believes his company has landed in a good spot with the Citrix purchase.

“First, as part of the Citrix family we will be able to scale our product and accelerate our roadmap to deliver capabilities that will help our customers get more from their Wrike investment. We have always listened to our customers and have built our product based on their feedback — now we will be able to do more of that, faster.,” Filev wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal, stating a typical argument from CEOs of acquired companies.

The startup reports $ 140 million ARR, growing at 30% annually, so that comes out to approximately 16x its present-day revenue, which is the price companies are generally paying for acquisitions these days. However, as Wrike expects to reach $ 180 million to $ 190 million in ARR this year, the company’s sale price could look like a bargain in a few years’ time if the projections come to pass.

The price was not revealed in the 2018 sale, but it surely feels like a big win for Vista. Consider that Wrike has previously raised just $ 26 million.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


SEO takeaways from 2020: A review of the most unusual year for search

January 9, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google launched over 4,000 search improvements and new features throughout 2020.
  • Baidu continued to crack down on poor quality sites with its 2020 updates its StrongWind algorithm was introduced to control aggregator content from malicious sites.
  • Bing attempted to build on its approximately 2.8% global search engine market share by adding a Bing app to Xbox.
  • Throughout the year, DuckDuckGo added a number of new features and made updates designed to improve the user experience while protecting privacy.
  • GIPHY now serves more than 7 billion GIFs per day and is seen by more than 500 million daily optimizing GIFs is a great way for SEO to drive awareness and keep people engaged with your website page(s).
  • Throughout 2020 Yandex continued to add more human elements into its search engine.
  • 2020 was a year where search took central stage in digital marketing.
  • Consumer behavior is still set to continue to be volatile in 2021.
  • A list of key SEO trends to watch in 2021 – new channels for visual and image search opportunities, international SEO will rise once again, combining PPC and SEO, utilizing Marketing technology, and more.

Many an SEO will be huddled around the television or computer screen this year for New Year celebrations, muttering, “Don’t let the door hit you,” as we bid 2020 goodbye. Despite the release of several vaccinations worldwide, we still find ourselves firmly in the grip of a global pandemic with no definitive end in sight.

In this post, we’ll take a look back at how top search engines changed the game this past year, and where marketers should be looking as we head into 2021 with continuing uncertainty about the year ahead.

Key search engine updates in 2020

The latest figures from Oberlo show that Google reigns as the dominant search engine both in the US and worldwide with 88.1% and 92.3% market share, respectively. Even so, there’s a lot of traffic left on the table if you aren’t optimizing for all of the top search engines.

Here are some of the most impactful and notable updates across Google, Bing (which also powers Yahoo! Search), DuckDuckGo in 2020.

1. Google

According to Emily Moxley, Google’s Product Management for Search, Google launched over 4,000 search improvements and new features throughout 2020. Among them:

  • Google added the Removals report to Search Console in January, enabling site owners and SEOs to temporarily hide a page from Google Search results. In February, they made it easier to export more data from almost all reports.
  • March saw the launch of the com/covid19 website with country or state-based information, safety and prevention tips, and search trends related to COVID-19. Other pandemic-related features rolled out in 2020 include the Exposure Notifications API, an SOS Alerts system, and a slate of new GMB features to help businesses better communicate special hours, temporary closures, and other COVID-19 information to searchers.
  • In August, Google confirmed it had made a number of improvements designed to be “as invisible as possible” to the Search Console API.
  • In October, the Justice Department sued Google and claimed the search engine is an illegal monopoly. Antitrust accusations are not new to Google, and this case could drag on for years.
  • Google announced in October that BERT language understanding systems first introduced in 2019 are now being used in nearly every English-language query.
  • The improved Crawl Stats Report came out in November with new features including detailed information on host status and URL examples showing where on-site requests occurred.
  • Also in November, Google announced that voice search had become smarter. New language capabilities and the carrying over of context from one voice search to another meant Google could gradually “learn” more about the searcher’s true intent.
  • Google announced late in the year that it is “refocusing the Structured Data Testing Tool and migrating it to a new domain serving the schema.org community by April 2021.” Notably, once this transition is complete the tool will no longer check for Google Search rich result types.

Notably, the timeframe for mobile-first indexing was extended from September 2020 to the end of March 2021.

2. Microsoft Bing

Bing attempted to build on its approximately 2.8% global search engine market share by adding a Bing app to Xbox, adding nearby product search to local results, and introducing image-based product search.

Microsoft’s search engine also evolved quickly to provide COVID-19 information and updates to consumers with a tally of local and global cases appearing in search results for any Coronavirus-related query.

In May, Bing gave us a look under the hood at its AI capabilities and experiences, stating that:

“Over the past few years, Bing and Microsoft Research have been developing and deploying large neural network models such as MT-DNN, Unicoder, and UniLM to maximize the search experience for our customers. The best of those learnings are open-sourced into the Microsoft Turing language models. The large-scale, multilingual Natural Language Representation (NLR) model serves as the foundation for several fine-tuned models, each powering a different part of the search experience.”

Examples of AI at scale in Bing include Yes or No summaries to straightforward questions in search, the expansion of intelligent answers to more languages, and a new NLR-based model for understanding complex or ambiguous queries.

3. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo’s intense focus on privacy makes it more difficult to optimize for, as user data is not tracked. Even so, 0.5% of the global search market share (and 1.7% in the US) still makes it one of the world’s top search engines.

Throughout the year, DuckDuckGo added a number of new features and made updates designed to improve the user experience while protecting privacy. In October, DuckDuckGo launched private walking and driving directions powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework

In October, we saw the punchy small search engine take a direct shot at Google in regards to its antitrust lawsuit. In an open letter, DuckDuckGo pointedly asked,

“So, Google, given that you’ve often said competition is one click away, and you’re aware a complicated process suppresses competition, why does it take fifteen+ clicks to make DuckDuckGo Search or any other alternative the default on Android devices?”

4. Yandex

Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine announced early in 2020 “Vega” as its new algorithm. This included 1,500 enhancements to Yandex Search. Throughout 2020 Yandex continued to add more human elements into its search engine.

Andrey Styskin, head of Yandex Search, stated, “At Yandex, it’s our goal to help consumers and businesses better navigate the online and offline world.  With this new search update, users across the RuNet are helping us do just that”.

According to research from Mikhail Volovich and Olga Yudina of Ashmanov & Partners and reported by Dan Taylor differences in ranking factors between Yandex and Google include;

  • Lesser effects of links within Yandex compared to Google
  • “On mobile, site speed appears to be more important to Google than Yandex, but in Yandex, the number of Turbo pages has increased greatly (outside of the top 3 results).”
  • The research also predicted mobile search will see an increase in both AMP and Turbo pages.

5. Baidu

The leading search engine in China, controls over 74% of searches, and ever since the 2017 release of the ‘Hurricane’ algorithm continues to focus on content quality.

As it continues to crack down on poor quality sites with its 2020 updates its StrongWind algorithm was introduced to control aggregator content from malicious sites.

Baidu SEO 2020 update, the content has become king in the Baidu algorithm. The Baidu spider focuses on enhancing the user experience. Like Google, Baidu has vigorously diversified, and provides dozens of services from maps to cloud storage – and its search engine backs up the whole ecosystem.

SEO trends to watch in 2021

SEOs take heart! Google launched a new blog series in 2020 designed to showcase the value of SEO to businesses. The first post was an overview of how a Korean company used SEO to double its web traffic. While Google has historically shied away from association with the optimization of sites for its search algorithms, it seems SEO is no longer a dirty phrase. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Here are some other areas to watch in 2021 and beyond:

1. Brands adapt to rapidly shifting consumer behavior

The first pandemic experience of our lifetimes has changed the way people search, shop, communicate, and work. Just how long these changes will hold or how consumer behavior will evolve over this next year is a giant question mark on business and marketing plans the world over.

Here’s what we do know: anxiety, stress, and public health concerns drove massive changes in consumer behavior in 2020. We saw dramatic shifts in search interest and conversions, with very different impacts across verticals. And in the absence of historic data to guide marketers through such an event, insights from search data became our closest approximation of real-time voice of the customer.

While we don’t know what 2021 has in store for us, it’s clear that the best place to track consumer behavior changes as they happen is in your search data. Business leaders will be looking to SEOs to bring them these insights in relatable, understandable ways that can be put to work immediately driving intelligent business decisions.

2. Core Web Vitals gain importance

As Google explained its April 2020 Web Vitals explanation, “Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.”

On its face, Google’s CWV update is a reinforcement of what we already know to be best practices for user experience. If you want to take a deeper dive into the research and methodology driving this update, Defining the Core Web Vitals metrics thresholds by Google software engineer Bryan McQuade is a good read.

Google also promises that the definitions and thresholds of Core Web Vitals will be stable and that marketers will have prior notice of updates, which will have a predictable, annual cadence.

3. Image and visual search

As brands compete for consumers’ attention and as image and visual content optimization continue to gain SERP real estate, new channels are opening up beyond just YouTube. Brands, looking to stand out in 2021 should be utilizing combinations of images and videos to inform and educate customers as they spend more and more time online. Beyond Google niche (non-traditional) vertical optimization opportunities may just be opening up.

Below are two brief examples.

Vimeo

According to Cisco, video will make up 82 percent of all internet traffic in 2021. While YouTube still dominates more and more platforms are opening up, presenting more opportunities to optimize content.

Vimeo, the video-sharing platform originally created by filmmakers is building a large community of creative marketers producing content. Although opportunities to rank are less there are still opportunities for marketers in this niche.

“In the last seven months we’ve welcomed over 30 million new members, seen over 60 million new videos created and uploaded, and powered millions of live events that went digital for the first time — more than the prior 3 years combined,”

Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud.

No doubt COVID-19 has fuelled the growth in demand for more creativity in video production and as IAC (its owner) looks to spin it off as a standalone public company in 2021 time will tell where and if this fits and sits for SEO.

GIPHY

Everyone likes a good image, especially if animated. Facebook (Instagram) owned Giphy is allowing more and more marketers opportunities to make their content engaging. This is especially true with younger generations. A search engine in its own right, optimizing for Giphy presents new opportunities to optimize for intent and rank on their own site.

Now serving more than 7 billion GIFs per day and seen by more than 500 million daily optimizing GIFs on Giphy (and in general) is a great way for SEO to drive awareness and keep people engaged with your website page(s).

For SEOs, standard image optimization best practices can work well on Giphy, but the competition is intense, and optimization nuances exist. For brand marketers (in particular) Giphy and GIFs can be an awareness channel in itself.

4. PPC and SEO converge

In increasingly rich and diverse search results, it is imperative that marketers have a solid grasp on how their paid and organic search strategies work in tandem to achieve the best business results. As the lines between paid and organic continue to blur, it makes less and less sense to have these two channels as distinct departments or teams competing over budget.

Successful search teams will work together more seamlessly in 2021 to monitor both paid and organic results, determining from a more holistic point of view where the brand’s greatest opportunities lie—and which tactic is key to achieving the greatest visibility and conversion from search. Together, paid and organic teams will strategize how to use tools like Dynamic Search Ads and Discovery Campaigns, bidding automation, and AI-driven content optimizations to drive brand awareness and content promotion in both types of results.

5. Brands demand ROI and mastery of martech solutions

2020 provided us “The Great Pause”, literally stopping the world in its tracks. It gave us a chance to slow down, take a breath, and take a critical look at what’s working—and what is not. Even before the pandemic struck, it was clear that stacks cobbled together of point solutions not designed to integrate were problematic, but the full extent of their shortcomings became clear this year.

Consumer behavior changed so rapidly, and completely that real-time insights were elevated from “nice to have” to life or death. Brands that only knew how to rely on the performance of previous months or years found themselves lacking a sense of direction and unable to pivot. Going forward, brands are looking for platform solutions that not only automate but do so intelligently with AI and machine learning. Moreover, they are looking for agile marketers capable of getting the best possible output from these martech solutions.

What does 2021 have in store for the business world? Only time will tell. However, SEOs are among those best-positioned to lead in the face of uncertainty and should expect stakeholders across the organization to look to them this coming year for guidance. This is true both regionally and internally as interest in International SEO rises once again.

Now is the time to ensure you’re set up with the right tools and skills to deliver.

The post SEO takeaways from 2020: A review of the most unusual year for search appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


What to expect from SEO in 2021?

December 30, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The pace of technological advances and progress in the SEO sector isn’t slowing down, and you should expect major changes and updates in 2021.
  • Google has already announced two algorithm updates slated for March and May 2021.
  • There are various trends for SEO in 2020 like UX SEO and feature snippets which appear to become more prominent in the upcoming year.

From the humble beginnings of the Internet and online advertising, we’ve reached an era where the Internet is an essential communication tool, and online advertising is valued at more than 400 billion dollars a year, more prominent than even the TV ad industry. The global pandemic only accelerated this trend and pushed more companies online. So, what can we expect out of SEO in 2021? Which trends should we be looking forward to? Which changes will impact the industry? In this article, we’ll discuss the main trends we expect to have an impact and change the direction of SEO in the coming year.

Direct changes to search engines

SEO is entirely dependent on the major search engines, primarily Google. Any changes to Google’s modus operandi, algorithm, and priorities will have direct, wide-ranging impacts on SEO in 2021. These changes lead to losses in billions of dollars for some businesses while leading to gains of billions of dollars for others. It is important to be aware of the upcoming changes and how to best prepare for them.

#1 Page experience as a ranking factor on Google [May 2021]

As of May 2021, you should expect what Google dubs as “page experience signals” to be a ranking factor. The page experience refers to the way the visitors feel as they interact with the web page. It is determined by a multitude of attributes from mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS, and the others. These were already ranking factors previously, but they’ve been more institutionalized and work within the “page experience” framework. Furthermore, Google is introducing Core Web Vitals as part of ‘page experience’. They’re considered to be user-centric metrics that try to determine the quality of the user experience. These user-centric metrics will measure the loading speed (Largest Contentful Paint), interactivity (First Input Delay), and visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift). The first two items that go into Core Web Vitals seem quite self-evident, so it doesn’t seem like a good idea to spend more time explaining them in this article.

Although, the third item might confuse some people. Visual stability refers to how much the layout shifts and jumps around. For example, imagine if a button tracks your mouse and jumps around whenever you get close to it, this is quite a self-evidently bad user experience, and this variable aims to capture this. The self-advertised purpose of adding an explicit page experience ranking factor is so that Google can provide higher-quality, more engaging content to its users. Considering the variables that it takes account of, a website with a high page experience score will load faster, be more interactive, more stable, more secure, more mobile-friendly, and much more. These all combined, admittedly, will lead to a superior experience.

Get featured in top stories without AMP

Another purpose of the introduction of the new page experience ranking framework is to make non-AMP content eligible to appear in the Top Stories feature for mobile phones. It is one of the main ways websites drive traffic to their content from mobile, so this could be a significant change that would disrupt the rankings of many websites on mobile. This change will also roll out in May of 2021, which makes May a hell of a busy month for SEO specialists.

We need to be ready for all the drastic changes this change in the algorithm can bring. We can’t possibly ascertain its impact at this stage.

#2 Mobile-first indexing for all websites on Google [March 2021]

Mobile-first indexing is certainly not new, Google has been using it for more than several years. It was first introduced as an answer to a widespread problem: more and more people are using their phones to look up stuff and browse the net. The problem is that the mobile and desktop versions of websites don’t always match up in content, and Google usually only indexes one version, which traditionally was the PC version. This creates a mismatch between the rankings on mobile and the content on these pages. To alleviate this mismatch as it was becoming a growing problem due to the increasing popularity of mobile, Google decided to implement mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing refers to the practice of indexing the mobile version of the website first in Google’s databases instead of the desktop version. This would accurately gauge the amount of content on mobile sites and their relevance before displaying the results.

Going from an entirely desktop-first indexing scheme to an entirely mobile-first one would’ve been a massive step, however, and this is why Google has been taking years implementing this change. It started by allowing the option to webmasters to change their website indexing to mobile-first. It was followed by making mobile-first the default option for crawling new websites. The final and latest update is going to come in March 2021 when Google will start making mobile-first indexing the default option for all websites. This means that the way your website is indexed and the content that’s considered might change in March. It is hard to determine how big of an impact this will make beforehand, but you should expect some instability.

Thankfully, Google has published a basic guideline to ensuring the transition to mobile-first indexing goes smoothly on your website:

  • Make sure the content of your website is visible to Google crawlers and bots.
  • Ensure you fill out all the relevant meta tags on both the mobile and the desktop

versions of your landing pages.

  • Ensure that your mobile website loads quickly by enabling lazy loading.
  • Ensure that you are not blocking any relevant mobile-specific URLs in your robots.txt file.
  • Although it is hard to ensure identical content, you should try to have at least identical primary content on both versions.
  • Check the alt tags of both image and video embeds.

Wider SEO trends

Aside from specific updates to algorithms, we have prior information about, some wider trends in the sector that are going to change how we engage with SEO. Some of these trends have been going on for years and only just accelerating and others are new. Below, we’ll cover the most prominent ones.

#1 Voice search is becoming more and more prominent

Voice search was virtually non-existent just five years ago. Still, the development and proliferation of Alexa, Google Assistant, and a multitude of other voice assistants over the last few years have popularized voice search beyond our wildest dreams. According to data, voice search revenue will more than quadruple from 2017 to 2022 from just 2 billion to 40 billion dollars. This explosion in popularity presents opportunities and challenges to traditional SEO approaches. Just as an example, in voice searches, getting the first position is much more important than it is in traditional text searches. That’s why you need different approaches to capitalize on this new, emerging SEO arena fully.

#2 Feature snippets and microdata

Google is trying to introduce more and more types of featured snippets to its home page. These range from recipes to news and tutorials. These snippets aim to make searching faster for users and keep traffic on Google’s website. It is nevertheless beneficial for websites to implement it because you have a chance to be featured, which would drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Of course, getting featured doesn’t always mean you’ll see exponential growth in traffic, but data from Ahrefs shows it matters a lot! On average, getting featured means you’ll get, on average, around 8,6% CTR while the top ‘natural result’ will get 19,6% of the traffic. This is extremely impressive and shows that the featured snippet steals a substantial amount of clicks from the top position, which would get around 26% CTR in SERPs without a featured snippet. Although, you have to be careful about how Google features you. You should monitor your ranking and readjust your snippet and optimize it for more clicks.

#3 Non-textual content

As we move into the next year, we’re seeing an Internet saturated with blogs and landing pages. and it is becoming increasingly difficult to rank for noteworthy keywords with decent traffic. That’s why many SEO agencies are trying to expand their reach by diversifying the type of content they produce and publish. Infographics are one of the easier ways to create engagement and rank higher. Although, even they’ve been overused in recent years. A much more promising frontier for 2021 seems to be videos. These could be uploaded to Youtube as standalone content or embedded in your website too. It’ll help you gain more traffic from Youtube views, which seems way less saturated than Google’s traditional search engine currently. This doesn’t mean it is any less important. YouTube generates 15 billion dollars for Google each year. It is a platform you can’t afford to ignore.

It is also worth mentioning that there are specific video snippets on SERPs that you can only rank for through video content, and these video snippets are really prominent on search queries beginning with “how-to”, asking for tutorials, and other forms of educational content. They are prime real estate that you can potentially rank for with a reasonably produced video.

#4 UX SEO

The days where SEO was just about meta-tags and titles have long gone. Nowadays, SEO is an intricate subject that combines expertise from many different fields from marketing to software engineering and creative writing to achieve the best result. A recent trend in SEO that is gaining more and more stream is the UX SEO framework.

UX SEO refers to the practice of optimizing the user experience of a website to achieve better conversion rates and engagement. It isn’t only important that your site gets regular visitors, but it is also equally important to ensure that these visitors engage with your website. UX redesign success stories are almost limitless, for example, ESPN found out that just a homepage redesign increased their revenues by 35%. There is no reason why UX optimization could not be an integral part of your SEO strategy, and UX SEO gives you a framework to achieve this.

Conclusion

Each year, Google introduces more than 3600 small changes to their algorithms, and each year, trends emerge in this volatile sector that nobody has been able to predict. You need to continually keep up with the news to be on top of your SEO game, reading an article on the trends in the upcoming year isn’t enough. Nevertheless, I tried to make this article as comprehensive as possible, and you should be moderately prepared for the challenges ahead if you pay attention to all the trends that I’ve featured here.

Adrian Kempiak is CTO at Neadoo Digital – SEO agency. Adrian is a tech enthusiast, in the SEO industry for over 9 years. Consultations and audits for businesses from various markets. Responsible for running both worldwide SEO campaigns for ecommerce stores and local SEO for businesses worldwide (UK, USA, Australia, Spain, and much more).

The post What to expect from SEO in 2021? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

December 22, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before.
  • Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online since the beginning of 2020.
  • We caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.
  • Know how CMOs can find value in SMM efforts, conduct market analysis, and run social media campaigns that actually succeed in the eyes of top management.

From learning banana bread recipes to connecting with loved ones, hunting jobs, and now shopping holiday gifts, the pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before. 2020 has shown us how people have resorted to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. While Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online, we caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.

Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite - Q&AQ. Paid ads have their own cons like reduced page reach, how do you maintain an upward graph for organic page reach and boost relationships, engagement, and direct sales?

Henk Campher: Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing, especially with organic content. To reach a large audience, organic posts need to be optimized. To do this, you need to understand the platform and audience you are optimizing for. Start by focusing on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you may find the most value on LinkedIn or Twitter whereas a B2C company may gravitate towards Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok to reach a younger crowd. 

If you want organic content to perform well on social media, create engaging and personalized content that is fitting for the platform you are using. Give people a reason to follow and engage with your social posts. To better understand what content resonates with your audience, start by using social listening tools—at Hootsuite, we integrate directly with Brandwatch so our customers can navigate social intelligence capabilities directly from their dashboard.

Case study:

Securian Financial, a Hootsuite financial services customer, was able to leverage social listening to determine that their key demographics shifted away from complaining about quarantine to sharing positive content around being connected. What arose was Life Balance Remix, a UGC campaign encouraging people to share content that highlighted their “new normal” and garnered thousands of participants with over 2.5 million campaign impressions across Twitter and Instagram. 

Beyond creating the right content for the right platform, it’s essential to connect with people. Show your audience the human side of your brand. You can do this by lifting up your employees on social media and sharing their stories or connecting with the wider community through an employee advocacy tool, like Hootsuite’s Amplify tool. If you want to boost engagement on posts, ask your audience relevant and interesting questions. This is also a great opportunity to learn about what interests them. If you focus on value and creating the right content, you’ll be able to successfully develop relationships with your audience, boost engagement, and drive sales.

Q. What are the top social media metrics that can help CMOs see direct value in marketers’ social media marketing efforts?

Henk Campher: For both B2C and B2B brands, the key to successful social measurement is to keep your metrics simple. Trust classic cross-platform metrics like return-on-ad spend and lifetime value, as these measures also tie directly to your organization’s business goals. Once you choose the content you think will resonate with your audience, test your ideas to identify which posts generate the most engagement, shares, and impressions, and do this for each social platform. Continue to test, learn, and optimize. But when it comes to measuring your efforts on social, it is important to keep your business objectives in mind and develop KPIs that match the overall goals and expectations of your organization. Metrics such as impressions and reach should be analyzed consciously.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, focus on overall engagement and how long visitors are staying on your website. This will help evaluate if your content isn’t just “content-for-content-sake” but is actually resonating with your audience and driving conversions. 

Q. What are the typical touchpoints/aspects marketers must include in their social media campaigns to reflect value for the brand and meet CMO expectations?

Henk Campher: One of the most important aspects of a social media campaign is social listening. A robust social listening tool allows you access to real-time insights into consumer sentiment, shifting trends, and competitive intelligence. These insights are key to helping a brand better understand how consumers feel about a campaign and what they want from your brand.  

The best social media campaigns also have specific goals in mind and are purpose-driven. You must understand the customer segment you’re trying to reach through a specific campaign. To achieve this, create profiles or personas for your core constituencies that integrate data and insights from marketing channels (including social) and CRM. Understanding how, where, and when to engage with your constituents requires a clear picture of their motivations and their needs.

Another important aspect is social data integration. Our ‘Social Transformation Report uncovered that only 10% of marketers feel they have mature practices around integrating social data into enterprise systems like Adobe, Microsoft, Marketo, or Salesforce. However, according to our ‘2021 Social Trends Report, 85% of organizations that integrate social data into their other systems have the confidence to accurately quantify the ROI of social media. While data integration is a complex process, a much more accessible entry point that can help marketers better connect social engagement to customer identity and measurable ROI is integrating paid and organic social media activity.  We found that mature organizations with completely integrated paid and organic social strategies are 32% more confident in quantifying the ROI of social media. 

Q. How important is it for any brand to have involvement in social matters and social investments?

Henk Campher: The most successful brands this year didn’t put themselves front and center of the conversation—they decided to listen instead. After taking the time to listen, brands must find creative and empathetic ways of adding value to the conversation instead of trying to lead it. Brands should stay true to their identities and their audience by asking:

  • “What is my role?”
  • “What conversations make sense for me to weigh in on and why?”
  • “How can social media contribute to my business objectives?”

Having a voice in important conversations is powerful for a brand. However, if a brand is posting about topics that don’t align with the brand’s personality and identity, customers will notice. As a wealth of different conversations are taking place across social media at all times, it’s important to create a blueprint for how to comment on a conversation, if at all. 

Q. What methods can CMOs implement to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for effective market analysis?

Henk Campher: There are various tried-and-true methods CMOs can implement when using social media platforms for market analysis. Before you begin your analysis, always have a clear goal in mind. It’s important to look at what exactly you want to analyze whether it’s your brand, product, or competitors. Doing a quantitative content analysis by assessing the engagement rate of your social posts can give companies an idea of if a message or product is resonating with your followers. Social listening is another incredibly powerful tool for analysis. Through social listening, you can zero in on how people are talking about your brand.  It’s also important to not be shy. Be empowered as a brand to implement tactics like polls and surveys on social to get in touch with customers and glean informative insights into how your audience is thinking about your brand. 

Q. How would you push an online event that involves employee referral on social media for a maximum turnaround?

Henk Campher: Develop an effective social media strategy in advance and provide your employees with the right resources and tools to promote the event. You can do this by crafting the content and social platform guidelines in advance so it is easy for employees to spread the word on social media. At Hootsuite our Amplify tool allows brands to extend their social reach and increase employee engagement. Using platforms that are suited for employee advocacy will garner the most successful results. 

Q. What are your expert tips on the most effective ways to run a social media campaign, especially during the holiday season 2020?

Henk Campher: The holidays are a great opportunity for brands to increase engagement and drive sales on social media. Here are my four tips to create an effective social media campaign and stand out from the competition: 

  1. Tweak your social media posting schedule to accommodate changing workdays or times. B2B businesses often have higher engagement rates during the day, as employees are leaving early and working less in the evening. B2C companies generally have a better reach when it’s not during typical work hours. 
  2. Continue to curate content over the holidays, even if there might be a downturn of activity on social channels across the board. If you go quiet on social, your customers will notice. 
  3. Maintain community engagement as relationships, connections and engagement are key to any successful social media campaign. Always respond to customer issues or comments promptly.
  4. The holidays are a great time to showcase the ‘human’ side of your business. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram to showcase the company, employees, and interact with the community at large. 

Q. What are the most common mistakes you see brands making in their social media pushes?

Henk Campher: The most common mistake brands make is thinking of social media merely as a broadcast medium. With nearly three billion people on Facebook every month, more than one million on Instagram, and hundreds of millions more on Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat, it’s tempting to think that way. While social media started with organic posts and later turned to paid social advertising, brands should never lose sight of social media’s core value: establishing and maintaining relationships. Take the time to invest in relationship building, as this helps brands build strong bonds with their audiences and boost customer loyalty, which ultimately benefits their business. Rather than pump out promotional content, take the time to establish your brand’s personality, and connect with customers by taking on an empathetic “human-first” approach.

How is your brand making the most of social media marketing this holiday season? Are there challenges you’re facing with regards to creating value from a board room perspective? Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview, drop a comment!

The post How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Taking a PPC holiday: how to take a break from your ads without disaster

November 16, 2020 No Comments

One specialist shares her top 5 tips for taking a PPC holiday without disaster striking.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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One Clear Message From Voters This Election? More Privacy

November 5, 2020 No Comments

Ballot measures were approved in California to restrict commercial use of user data and in Michigan to require warrants for searches of electronic information.
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REEF Technology raises $700M from SoftBank and others to remake parking lots

November 3, 2020 No Comments

It seems like SoftBank and the Mubadala Corp. aren’t finished taking big swings at the commercial real estate business in the U.S. Even after the collapse of WeWork, the investors are doubling down on a similar business model as part of a syndicate investing $ 700 million into REEF Technology.

REEF began its life as Miami-based ParkJockey, providing hardware, software and management services for parking lots. It has since expanded its vision while remaining true to its basic business model. While it still manages parking lots, it now it adds infrastructure for cloud kitchens, healthcare clinics, logistics and last-mile delivery, and even old school brick and mortar retail and experiential consumer spaces on top of those now-empty parking structures and spaces.

Like WeWork, REEF leases most of the real estate it operates and upgrades it before leasing it to other occupants (or using the spaces itself). Unlike WeWork, the business actually has a fair shot at working out — especially given business trends that have accelerated in response to the health and safety measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In part that’s because REEF does operate its own businesses on the premises and works with startups to provide actual goods and services that are location dependent for their success and revenue generating.

The money will be used to scale from its roughly 4,800 locations to 10,000 new locations around the country and to transform the parking lots into “neighborhood hubs,” according to Ari Ojalvo, the company’s co-founder and chief executive.

SoftBank and Mubadala are joining private equity and financial investment giants Oaktree, UBS Asset Management and the European venture capital firm Target Global in providing the cash for the massive equity financing. Meanwhile, REEF Technology and Oaktree are collaborating on a $ 300 million real estate investment vehicle, the Neighborhood Property Group, as Bloomberg reported on Monday.

In all, REEF, which could reasonably be described as a WeWork for the neighborhood store, has $ 1 billion in capital coming to build out what it calls a proximity-as-a-service platform.

Since taking a minority investment from SoftBank back in 2018 (an investment which reportedly valued the company at $ 1 billion) and transforming from ParkJockey into REEF Technology, the company added a booming cloud kitchen business to support the increase in virtual restaurant chains.

In addition, it added a number of service providers as partners, including last-mile delivery startup Bond (and the logistics giant, DHL); the national primary healthcare services clinic operator and technology developer, Carbon Health; the electric vehicle charging and maintenance provider, Get Charged; and — at its operations in London — the new vertical farm developer, Crate to Plate (Ojalvo said it was in talks with the established vertical farming companies in the U.S. on potential partnerships).

Next year, the company plans to launch the first of its experiential, open-air entertainment venues at a space it operates in Austin, according to Ojalvo.

And further down the road, the company sees an opportunity to serve as a hub for the kinds of data-processing centers and telecommunications gateways that will power the smart city of the 21st century, Ojalvo said.

“We have inbound interest from companies that do edge computing and companies getting ready with 5G,” he said. “Data and infrastructure is a big part of our neighborhood hub. It’s like electricity. Without electricity and connectivity, we don’t have the world we want to see.” 

Rental Cars Stored At Dodger Stadium During Coronavirus Pandemic

Rental cars are stored in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium in this aerial photograph taken over Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. will sell as many of its rental cars as possible while in bankruptcy to bring its huge fleet in line with reduced future demand in a post-pandemic economy.

The bulk of the company’s revenue is coming from its parking business, but Ojalvo expects that to change as the its cloud kitchen business continues to grow. “Neighborhood Kitchens will be a significant part of non-parking revenue,” said Ojalvo.

REEF already operates more than 100 Neighborhood Kitchens across more than 20 markets in North America, and that number will only grow as the company expands its regional footprint. It’s hosting virtual kitchens from celebrity chefs like David Chang’s Fuku, and, according to the company, offering lifelines to beloved local restaurateurs like the chain Jack’s Wife Freda in New York or Michelle Bernstein’s kitchens in Miami.

These restaurants are, in some cases, taking advantage of the employees that REEF Technology has operating its network of kitchens. It’s another difference between WeWork and REEF. The company not only provides the space, in many instances it’s providing the labor that’s allowing businesses to scale.

The company already employs over a thousand kitchen workers prepping food at its restaurants. And REEF acquired a company earlier in May to consolidate its back-end service for on-demand deliveries.

That same strategy will likely apply to other aspects of the company’s services, as well.

“We’re building a platform of proximity,” says Ojalvo. “That proximity is driven through an install base that’s in parking lots or parking garages… [and] that enables all sorts of companies to use its proximity as a platform. To basically build their marketplaces.”

CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 22: A Deliveroo rider at work at night on December 22, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

As REEF raises money for expansion, it’s tapping into a new theory of urban development embraced by mayors from Amsterdam to Tempe, Ariz. calling for a 15-minute city (one where the amenities needed for a comfortable urban existence are no more than 15 minutes away).

It’s a worthwhile goal, but while mayors seem to place the emphasis on the availability of accessible amenities, REEF’s leadership acknowledges that only a few of its parking lots and garages will be multi-use and accessible to neighborhood residents. According to a spokesman, only several hundred of the company’s planned 10,000 businesses will have the kind of multi-use mall environment that encourages neighborhood access. Instead, its business seems to be based on the notion that most delivery services should be no more than 15 minutes away.

It’s a different project, but it also has a number of supporters. One could argue that cloud kitchen providers like Zuul, Kitchen United, and Travis Kalanick’s Cloud Kitchens all ascribe to the same belief. Kalanick, the Uber co-founder and former CEO whose company received billions from SoftBank, has been snapping up properties in the US and Asia under an investment vehicle called City Storage Systems, which also uses parking lots and abandoned malls as fulfillment centers.

Big retailers also have taken notice of the new revenue stream and one of America’s largest, Kroger, is even running a ghost kitchen experiment in the Midwest.

If that’s not enough, there are plenty of under-utilized assets that are already on the market thanks to the economic downturn wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s efforts to contain it.

“I guess a lot depends on how you think delivery players work out in the coming years versus say drive through or curbside pickup which seems to be where large national players are focused (Starbucks, McDonalds, Dominos, etc),” wrote on venture investor in an email. “But how do delivery players use these spaces versus say lots of low cost retail spaces that can be used to staging or package returns. Maybe there is a play to add modular or prefab units to the existing parking spaces on provide flex for scaling, but it’s not clear that anyone is growing at a frantic pace… I’m just not sure how to see converted parking versus other… commercial spaces for retail or office that are all searching for new applications.”

REEF Technology last mile delivery vehicle and DHL-branded vehicle. Image Credit: REEF Technology

The COVID-19 outbreak that has changed so much of modern life in America so quickly in the span of a single year didn’t create the urge to transform the urban environment, but it did much to accelerate it.

As REEF acknowledges, cities are the future.

Roughly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, and the world’s largest cities are cracking under the pressures of economic, civil, and environmental transformations that they have not been able to address effectively.

Mobility and, by extension, places to store and maintain those mobile technologies are part of the problem. Roughly half of the average modern American city, as REEF notes, is devoted to parking, while parks occupy only 10% of urban spaces. REEF’s language is centered on changing a world of parking lots into a space of paradises, but that language belies a reality that makes its money (at least for now) off of isolating individuals into personal spaces where their commercial needs are met by delivery — not by community interaction.

Still, the fact remains that something needs to change.

“Traditional developers and local policies have been slow to adopt new technologies and operating models,” said Stonly Baptiste, an investor in the transformation of urban environments through the fund, Urban.Us (which is not a backer of REEF). “But the demand is growing for a better ‘city product’, the need to make cities better for the environment and our lives has never been greater, and the dream to build the city of the future never dies. Not that dream is subsidized by VC.”


Startups – TechCrunch


Digital Marketing in a VUCA World: Is it Time to Emerge from Plato’s Cave?

October 31, 2020 No Comments

Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. are giving digital marketers what Socrates would call a “superficial truth”. The data sets are incomplete.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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How to immediately profit from your next piece of content

October 31, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most content marketers focus on creating blog posts and writing guest posts to improve SEO rankings. This approach overlooks the value of insightful content as a sales resource, especially for B2B firms.
  • What type of content works best for sales prospecting. Examples of content and an overview of how to create your outreach list.
  • An overview of two campaigns where blog content was used to generate leads for an SEO agency. Included in the overview are email templates and campaign outcomes.
  • How to review and optimize your content marketing outreach campaigns to generate more leads for your business.

Significant business resources are invested in creating content that is never engaged with, writing guest posts that are never read, and sharing content that is never seen. It’s a reality that most of us choose to ignore because we are fixated on inbound marketing.

While inbound marketing is effective, it’s not without problems:

  1. Most of the visitors who engage with your content will never return. It’s generally agreed that somewhere in the region of 2%-6% of first-time visitors return to a website.
  2. You have little control over who visits, and most visitors do not fit the profile of your customer persona (you’ll be doing very well if you convert even 0.3% of site visitors into customers).
  3. There are only so many spaces on the front page of Google. Truthfully, most of us will be fighting and failing to achieve our desired SERP rankings.

Outbound marketing sidesteps two of those three issues.

When you create a list of companies that fit your target demographic and then send emails to the relevant people in that company, you gain a degree of control over who consumes your content. Where you sit in the search rankings will not impact the outcome of your campaign.

While most sales teams use outbound marketing, few companies coordinate their content marketing efforts with outbound sales initiatives.

I believe that this is an oversight. I’ve secured several new customers for my agency in the last three months by coordinating my sales and content marketing efforts.

This guide will share an approach that I believe can help all businesses, but especially small to medium-sized businesses, that operate in the B2B space acquire new customers. It’s a strategy that relies upon creating a small amount of really great content, then actively promoting that content to the right people. Let’s dive in.

1. Consider the goals of your customer

Ideally, your outbound marketing strategy should neatly fit into your long term content marketing goals. For me, an optimal content campaign that aligns with sales should look something like this.

At the start of the campaign, you need to identify relevant keywords to target.

The keywords you pick should align with your ideal customer’s pain points and the solution that you offer either through your product or service. For example, at my company, we help businesses in the SaaS niche secure guest posts on relevant sites. I decided that the initial outreach campaign would be based around my guide on how to guest post.

You can see how the topic aligns with the solution.

If you’re going to run an outreach campaign that utilizes content from your site, you must use informative content that offers value. After all, the article will be the first impression that you leave with a potential customer interacting with your business.

You can create multiple pieces of content around your product or service offering. However, I recommend you start with one piece of cornerstone content.

2. Create a customer outreach list

There is a good chance that you already have a strategy in place to promote new content. Often, that involves creating a list of sites that have linked to a competing piece of content. You then find the contact details of the author and send them a message asking for a link.

A sales outreach campaign based around a piece of content is just as straightforward. However, the goal and who you target is different.

I’ll assume you have a customer persona. You know what type of companies buy your products or services. You need to create a list of suitable companies. You can use resources like Google My Business, the Inc 5,000, and other business roundups to quickly create a list of suitable companies to contact. 

Once you’ve created your shortlist, you need to find the details of the person in charge of purchasing decisions at each company. For an SEO agency, that person typically has a job title like ‘Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)’.

I generally use a combination of LinkedIn and an email finder to get their contact details. Hunter and Voila Norbert both offer 50 free searches, which is enough for an initial campaign.

Pull all of that information you collect into a Google Sheet.

3. Run your outreach campaign

There are numerous types of sales outreach campaigns you can run that incorporate blog content. For example, I collected the details of everyone who left a comment on the Backlinko blog. I removed individuals and companies that didn’t fit my customer persona and sent them all an email.

Below is a screenshot of the email template I used alongside one of the responses.

Piece of content - Profit from it by email outreach - Example 1

You can see this is a soft sell. The only reference to the service I offer is my email signature that links to a sales page. The primary resource in the email was this blog post.

I wanted to start a conversation with prospective customers not generate an instant sale.

This particular outreach campaign, which was sent to around 200 people, generated two leads. In addition, I was asked to appear on a podcast and was offered a couple of guest post opportunities.

You can be more direct. Here is an example from another campaign.

Piece of content - Profit from it by email outreach

We leveraged the credibility of Sumo for this sales campaign. The company has more brand recognition than Launch Space, a site that few people would recognize.

The primary resource used for the Sumo sales campaign was this article. The guest post fits the criteria of a cornerstone piece of content. It’s actionable, insightful, and relevant to the needs of prospective customers.

You might have noticed that I adapted my email signature for the campaign. We generated two leads from our first 100 emails.

4. Review the results

If this is your first campaign, I recommend you send outreach emails to between 100-200 companies. Send your emails, then a week or two later, review the results.

The first campaign we ran had a 1% conversion rate. I sent 100 emails and got one customer.

The math was simple.

I didn’t use any marketing tools for the campaign. You might choose to start the same way.

To improve the results of any marketing campaign, you need to track relevant metrics. There are plenty of affordable email tracking tools that provide insights like email opens, link clicks, and other statistics.

Good email tracking tools will allow you to split test your copy. You’ll also gather information on when people open your email and who opened your message multiple times but didn’t respond. You can use this data to improve your campaign results, for example, by scheduling your emails for the optimal time or day of the week or deciding on who to send multiple emails to.

Wrapping up

In this guide, I outlined how you can include blog posts and guest posts in your cold outreach to generate leads for your business. It’s a strategy that I’ve used to consistently land fresh clients, which has, in turn, helped me grow my business.

If you’re a B2B company selling a product or service with a high-profit margin, outbound marketing will normally provide you with a positive Return On Investment (ROI). It’s logical to utilize blog content as a sales resource, especially if you presume that the content will eventually generate leads through inbound marketing. Most companies don’t do this; I hope this article has provided you with the impetus to try.

Nico Prins is an online marketer and the founder of Launch Space. He helps companies develop their digital marketing strategies. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups helping them develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals. Follow him on Twitter @nhdprins.

The post How to immediately profit from your next piece of content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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PageRank sculpting: How to get more from your links

October 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO strategists focused on link building often forget that it’s much easier to optimize their existing link equity than it is to build more.
  • Large enterprise and ecommerce websites with thousands of landing pages often spread PageRank too thin, sending link equity to pages that are unlikely to ever rank.
  • SEO strategists can achieve dramatic ranking improvements by changing the internal linking profile of their websites to concentrate more PageRank on their highest-value landing pages.
  • An iterative approach to internal link edits with a crawler, A/B testing, and site rollbacks allows webmasters to make adjustments until they get their PageRank distribution right.

Over the past decade, some SEOs have loudly proclaimed that the art of PageRank sculpting is dead. As is often true when armchair technologists voice their opinions with clickbait headlines, they got it dead wrong. In fact, the larger the site and the more PageRank it has, the more effective PageRank sculpting can be.

PageRank-driven link algorithms are Google’s original authority metrics. They are still the fundamental basis for how authority is evaluated on a per-page and per-domain basis. PageRank even underlies the PA/DA metrics from Moz and UR/DR from Ahrefs. Google uses its PageRank algorithms to separate the signal from the noise in its massive 30 trillion page index and provide high-quality search results. 

Call me a traditionalist, but one of the reasons I love experimenting with PageRank is because it is an onsite strategy that I have 100% control over. Earning new links is great, but it’s time-consuming work. Maximizing the value of my existing links is much easier than building new ones. For websites with large existing backlink profiles, it’s often more immediately impactful. 

Not trying to use PageRank to your advantage is a major missed opportunity, particularly for enterprise-level or e-commerce sites with hundreds to thousands of landing pages. This post will break down three powerful PageRank strategies that I use with my clients to improve their rankings. But first — some history.

How PageRank sculpting died and why it should come back

Once upon a time, Google offered full transparency about their PageRank calculations for any page on the internet directly from their database. SEOs knew which pages had more PageRank and did everything they could to capitalize on it. 

PageRank toolbar

One of the ways SEOs used to do PageRank sculpting was by using nofollow tags to direct more link juice to specific pages. Google responded by making it so that all links on a page transfer the same amount of equity, regardless of nofollows. Also, Google decided to deprecate and later fully shutter their PageRank API endpoints. 

Although we no longer have a window into PageRank metrics, it is still being distributed across our sites, so thinking about where we are sending it is really important. I regularly see large websites with multiple landing pages that target too many competitive keywords. Ninety-five percent of their pages get no traffic, but their PageRank is being stretched across all of them. 

Some ecommerce sites have a product page for every SKU in their catalog, resulting in too much PageRank being sent to inventory that’s low-value, out-of-stock, or unlikely to rank on Google. Those ecommerce sites that dynamically create new pages from a template for every city or state often only rank for keywords with low search volume. Those kinds of pages usually don’t have enough unique content for Google to see them as valuable, so sending link equity there is a complete waste of precious PageRank.

New ecommerce sites with thousands of product SKUs right off-the-bat never work because they’ve spread their site authority across too many pages and don’t have enough PageRank for the pages that matter. When you look at successful large sites like Amazon (which has over 300 million landing pages), they put their most important product segments into the navigation menu, so they can direct their domain’s PageRank where they want it for SEO purposes. 

So how do you shift your page PageRank in a way that actually has an impact? You do it through internal links. Internal links spread around your link equity from one page of your site to another. Here are some of the internal linking strategies that I’ve used to shift PageRank and produce dramatic results for large websites.

#1: Reclaim lost PageRank by redirecting broken internal pages

A page that is 404-ing cannot rank in search results and doesn’t pass PageRank to other pages. One of the first ways you can get more out of your links is by redirecting those broken internal links to your highest-value landing pages. 

As we build our websites over time, site structure changes, and URL permalinks can change too. This is especially true for older websites with a lot of history, as well as larger websites with lots of web pages. The links that point to your site are static, so it’s very common for older backlinks to point to broken pages. It’s also common that old internal links in blog posts or other content regions of our site point to pages that no longer exist. Google’s crawlers see all of this, and it reflects the poorly on-site quality.

To reclaim that PageRank, you just need to create redirects from the 404ing page to the appropriate landing page. Here are a few strategies for finding your broken backlinks and 404ing pages:

  1. Google Search Console: Check your 404 logs to see a list of broken links and pages
  2. Audit your incoming backlinks: Use a backlink analysis tool to test the pages where the incoming links are going to make sure they are resolving. If you know how to code, you can build a simple Python script to do this for you.
  3. Analyze server logfiles: If you’re tech-savvy, check your apache or Nginx log files to find 404ing pages, especially those crawled by Googlebot.

It’s a good idea to do this regularly, especially for dynamic sites with a lot of content. I like to run my crawler across our sites every month to make sure all of the internal links are pointing to valid landing pages without any 301 redirects or 404ing broken pages. This is a signal to Google that there’s a webmaster looking after the site and the site is high-quality.

It’s important to think about whether the content of your redirected pages is topically relevant to the old page. Universally redirecting 404s back to your homepage is lazy and not a great idea. Once you identify the broken links pointing to your site, find landing pages that would make sense to redirect them to. 

Also, keep in mind that the PageRank algorithm has a “damping factor”. Each time PageRank transfers from page to page, it incurs a 15% loss, including across redirects. For internal links, there’s no reason to be losing 15% of your internal PageRank. For external links, a 301 redirect lets you capture 85% of the link equity, which is much better than getting 0% with a 404. 

#2: Concentrate the PageRank of your domain onto the pages that really matter

Google uses the internal linking structure of your website to calculate the amount of PageRank on each page. Most sites have the bulk of their PageRank on their home page, which then passes link juice through to the rest of the site. Pages that are closer to the homepage, like those linked to in a navigation menu and footer, or pages that are internally linked to frequently, will always have more PageRank. 

PageRank-animation-2

Image source: Linkgraph.io

To identify which pages on your site you should remove or push deeper, check Google Analytics to see which of your landing pages aren’t getting organic traffic. It helps to build a list of the pages you want to take PageRank away from, as well as the highest opportunity landing pages on your site that you want to push more PageRank towards. Here are a few strategies for how to concentrate PageRank where you want it to go.

  1. Use your header and footer: They serve as a kind of buoy for PageRank across your domain, so linking the most important pages on your site in them concentrates your PageRank onto those important pages.
  2. Remove the worst performing pages: To make your internal linking more effective, don’t have pages in the header and footer that don’t get traffic or rank well. Remove links to them from the home page, nest them deeper into your site, merge pages, or remove them altogether.
  3. Create category pages: Category pages are a great way to build silos of PageRank that you can concentrate on select pages. Prioritize the items on these pages, and link to pages that matter the most near the top of the page.
  4. Use a site:search on Google: The order in which your pages appear will help you understand which pages that search engines see as the most important by PageRank.
  5. Use Blog Content: Blog content allows you to link to your high-value landing pages in a way that is contextually relevant. This helps reinforce topical relevance, depth, and authority for your most important pages.

#3: A/B test your PageRank sculpting

For those who want to attempt some heavy PageRank shifting, it’s important to take an iterative approach to your internal link edits. It helps to use a version control system (like Git) or site snapshots that you can deploy and crawl in a staging environment. As I make my edits, I recrawl my site in the staging environment each time to see how much more PageRank I’m getting on the pages that matter.

Once I’m ready, I’ll deploy the new version live and then monitor my keyword rankings for the affected pages over the course of a week or two. If you’ve picked the right pages to prune and promote, you should see a nice lift in keyword rankings where it matters. If not, you can easily rollback. 

PageRank sculpting works best when used on a site with high-quality landing pages with good UI/UX and strong core web vitals. As with all SEO strategies, they work best when combined. If your primary pages are not high quality or have poor UI/UX, no amount of PageRank shifting is going to get them onto page one. 

Overall, larger websites run a greater risk of spreading link equity too thin simply due to their size. But for those that have quality pages, PageRank sculpting is an ideal strategy for helping Google recognize the pages that matter most.

What are your thoughts on PageRank sculpting? Have you ever tried your hand at it? Feel free to share your thoughts and queries in the comments section.

Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning digital marketing and SEO agency that provides SEO, paid media, and content marketing services. He is also the founder and CEO of SearchAtlas, a software suite of free SEO tools. You can find Manick on Twitter @madmanick.

The post PageRank sculpting: How to get more from your links appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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