5 Steps to Perform Voice Search Optimization For Your Content
So, you’ve created some blinding content. Now you need to get it read. How do you go about this? The traditional search route is to think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and insert some keywords, not forgetting to mention the product a lot. For instance, if your business is all about Databricks Hadoop connector matters, you’ll need to reference this a fair amount on your site.
So far, so obvious.
When it comes to voice search, though, some slightly different thinking is needed. This variety of search has become so commonplace now that anyone wanting to get their content found will be wise to give it some consideration. Consequently, we’ll look at voice search and offer an easy-to-follow method for achieving better prominence for your content.
Voice Search – What’s It All About?
Voice search has become super-popular as a means of searching the internet. How popular? Well, statistics show that over 70% of people prefer using voice search to typing. The driving force behind this transformation is the rise of virtual assistants. The resulting growth in voice search-driven eCommerce is startling.
Voice search is set to become even more popular as more people buy smart speakers and other voice assistants, and will likely see a major increase in use once the Internet of Things really gets going and smart devices proliferate. As a result, it makes sense to consider voice search optimization when thinking about internet visibility.
So, let’s see how you can put this optimization into practice.
1. Conversational Language
The need to adopt a less formal tone has made inroads into content creation, especially in areas such as email copywriting. It’s even more important when considering generating content for voice search.
Voice search queries tend to be phrased more conversationally than their written counterparts. So, search terms might be “vegan shoes Baltimore” in a typed search but will be more likely to be “Where can I get vegan shoes in Baltimore?” when it comes to a verbal query.
Start by listing all the conversational queries a voice search user might employ when searching in your area. For example, “Where can I find vegan brogues in Baltimore center?” and “Show me where there’s a vegan boot shop in Baltimore.”
If you run out of queries quite quickly, do what a sensible person does: Try Google. Put one of the above queries in, and then go to where it says, “People also ask for…”. And then grab the suggestions.
Then, when you’re formulating your content, stop repeatedly to ask yourself, “what kind of query does this material answer?”. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be tailoring your content to be what people are looking for, i.e. answers to questions. Use question keywords and long-tail keywords. This is a good technique to appeal to all searchers.
Moreover, keep the writing tone conversational, and you’ll score big with the voice searchers we’ve been talking about.
2. Know Your Customer
You should have a clear idea of who’s most likely to be interested in your site and angle your content to appeal to them. This is a fairly standard practice in commerce—any lead generation database will use this principle.
However, with voice search optimization, it’s doubly important as the natural language they use when speaking can vary between population segments.
It can be fairly nebulous. It might simply be that you probably appeal to a younger demographic, for instance. In which case, imagine you’re reading out the content to a room full of teens. Are they starting to look a bit bored? Best pep it up a bit with some concise answers and maybe some humor.
Think about the expertise of your customer too. If they’re likely to have some expertise on subjects like Azure data lake cost, then you don’t want to be too elementary in tone.
The more you remember who’s likely to want to access your site, the more likely your site is to be accessed. This a simple point, but a very important one.
3. Emphasize Local
Local’s huge in the voice search world.
What this means for you is that you need to maximize your local findability. In other words, highlight your business locations (should your business have a brick-and-mortar presence, of course). Start by attending to your Google Business Profile listing. Make sure that the business listing information is correct and up to date.
Then go through your content and take the opportunities where they arise to mention your location.
Again, think of what questions people will ask when they’re on the lookout for a local supplier, and key into those phrases.
4. Think fast
It should go without saying that you need a site with speed. The more you lag, the more you lose.
The internet is built on speed and convenience, and users are becoming more and more accustomed to high performance. They don’t want to hang around for ages while a site that may or may not contain what they need struggles to make its wheezy way down to their device.
It’s even more the case with voice searches. People conducting a voice query may be out and about and perhaps multi-tasking. They need a quick answer.
So, make sure you trim the site for speedy performance. This includes getting rid of large images and other factors that can slow things down.
The final step that we’ll look at here is to think about how your site looks and behaves with mobile searches. This is because a considerable proportion of voice search devices are mobiles.
The best way to deal with the demands of mobile devices is to make your site design responsive. This means that it takes into account the device that’s being used to access the site and changes its design accordingly. What was large and landscape on a laptop must be compact and portrait on a mobile device.
Since 2019, being mobile-friendly has impacted a site’s Google ranking, so it makes all kinds of sense to accommodate mobiles into your site design and make the mobile user experience as great as it can be.
Some of the steps to voice search optimization aren’t that dissimilar to standard SEO. However, there are differences there, some large, some small. Pay attention to these, and you’ll soon have voice SEO to shout about.
The post 5 Steps to Perform Voice Search Optimization For Your Content first appeared on PPC Hero.
Jim Whitehurst steps down as president at IBM just 14 months after taking role
In a surprise announcement today, IBM announced that Jim Whitehurst, who came over in the Red Hat deal, would be stepping down as company president just 14 months after taking over in that role.
IBM didn’t give a lot of details as to why he was stepping away, but acknowledged his key role in helping bring the 2018 $ 34 billion Red Hat deal to fruition and helping bring the two companies together after the deal closed. “Jim has been instrumental in articulating IBM’s strategy, but also, in ensuring that IBM and Red Hat work well together and that our technology platforms and innovations provide more value to our clients,” the company stated.
He will stay on as a senior adviser to Krishna, but it begs the question why he is leaving after such a short time in the role, and what he plans to do next. Oftentimes after a deal of this magnitude closes, there is an agreement as to how long key executives will stay. It could be simply that the period has expired and Whitehurst wants to move on, but some saw him as the heir apparent to Krishna and the move comes as a surprise when looked at in that context.
“I am surprised because I always thought Jim would be next in line as IBM CEO. I also liked the pairing between a lifer IBMer and an outsider,” Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insight & Strategies told TechCrunch.
Regardless, it leaves a big hole in Krishna’s leadership team as he works to transform the company into one that is primarily focused on hybrid cloud. Whitehurst was undoubtedly in a position to help drive that change through his depth of industry knowledge and his credibility with the open source community from his time at Red Hat. He is not someone who would be easily replaced and the announcement didn’t mention anyone filling his role.
When IBM bought Red Hat in 2018 for $ 34 billion, it led to a cascading set of changes at both companies. First Ginni Rometty stepped down as CEO at IBM and Arvind Krishna took over. At the same time, Jim Whitehurst, who had been Red Hat CEO moved to IBM as president and long-time employee Paul Cormier moved into his role.
At the same time, the company also announced some other changes including that long-time IBM executive Bridget van Kralingen announced she too was stepping away, leaving her role as senior vice president of global markets. Rob Thomas, who had been senior vice president of IBM cloud and data platform, will step in to replace Van Kraligen.
3 Steps To Finding More Time In Your Day
How do we structure our days so that they are both fulfilling and productive? Carefully thinking through how we spend our hours is critical to success.
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Eight simple steps to write epic product descriptions that boost conversions
- Issues with increasing your site’s organic traffic may be attributed to low organic CTRs.
- Creative title tags helps your site create a positive first impression.
- Limit your meta description to under 160 characters to avoid truncation.
- A well-optimized, keyword-rich URL can increase organic CTRs by 45%.
- Leverage the power of rich results to steal SERP real estate from your competitors.
Product descriptions are an integral part of your sales funnel. By infusing creativity and perfect optimization, you not only can improve your marketing copy but also boost your ecommerce conversion rate.
Since online buying doesn’t allow customers to have a tactile buying experience, ecommerce store owners have to put in extra effort to prove that their product is the right fit for the customers.
The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is they write product descriptions for the sake of describing their product features only. However, the fact is that marketers should create descriptions that help them accentuate their product pages.
Ideally, your product descriptions should represent a unique value proposition alongside offering the perfect solution to an annoying problem.
Online sellers that don’t overlook the significance of creative product descriptions witness lower bounce rates and better ecommerce conversion rate than stores that don’t get this step right.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write epic product descriptions that boost conversions. So without any further delay, let’s get started.
What is a product description?
A product description is a marketing copy that contains information about key product features and benefits. The goal of the product description is to provide customers with information and specifics to encourage them to want to invest their money in your products and services.
As a general rule, your descriptions should provide answers to the following questions:
- “What problem does your product solve?”
- “What does your buyer gain from using this product?”
- “What sets your product apart from the rest of the competition?”
Essentials of a good product description
Before we highlight the eight simple steps to writing compelling product descriptions, we’re going to have a quick look at some of the essentials you should incorporate in your descriptions to convince shoppers to reach their credit cards and make a purchase.
Keywords keep your product descriptions visible in front of search engines. Integrating the right mix of keywords into your product copy helps Google deliver results that direct potential customers to your product pages.
Here the key is to maintain the perfect balance as too little optimization leaves you unnoticed, while too much appears as keyword stuffing.
A winning product description should demonstrate how your product fills a need in the customer’s life.
A description that only highlights product features cannot engage the reader or boost ecommerce conversions. Why? Because it is focusing on generic elements only instead of providing a real-time solution to the customer’s problems.
Poorly-written descriptions are generally boring and unappealing. Most of the time, they contain duplicate content (that you get from your manufacturer).
The information you provide regarding product benefits and features should address potential customer’s queries (even before they’re asked).
Your product pages constantly evolve based upon different factors, including page conversions, bounce rates, and the latest trends. Just ensure you keep tracking changes and adjust your product copy accordingly for the best results.
Eight simple steps to writing epic product descriptions that boost conversions
1. Focus on your target audience
You’ll have to know your target audience before you write product descriptions for your e-commerce store.
Trying to write a copy with a huge crowd of customers in mind will result in descriptions that are not targeted.
Also, the tone and vocabulary you should use in descriptions solely depend on the type of audience you’re writing for. For example, if you run a toy store online, your descriptions should sound fun and humorous. Similarly, if you sell fitness pills or any other type of medicine, you should keep your tone professional.
The process starts by imagining your ideal buyer. Try to find out the best words and phrases that your target audience appreciates and uses regularly.
2. Sell an experience
The biggest ecommerce store mistake owners make is they only focus on individual product benefits and features.
But did you know your potential customers are more interested in the perks of each feature separately? Here, the key is to highlight the advantages of each of your product features. Talk about specs that will help your buyers feel more productive and happy.
Remember, your goal as a marketer is to sell an experience and not just a product.
3. Do not include “yeah-yeah” phrases
Writing creative product descriptions isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a creative skill that requires owners to create a copy that instantly grabs their customer’s attention.
Sadly, the majority of online sellers write descriptions because they feel it’s a part of the entire process. Especially when they’re stuck with words, they try to incorporate filler words and phrases, such as, ‘premium-quality products’, ‘top-rated products’, and the like.
These phrases are called the ‘yeah-yeah’ phrases in the ecommerce world. As soon as a website visitor goes through such words and phrases, they think, yeah, yeah, that’s pretty obvious. After all, nobody ranks its product quality as below-average or bad.
To avoid this reaction, you must stick to the basics. Try to be as specific as possible and highlight technical aspects instead of just bragging about your product quality and benefits.
4. Provide specific proof
Superlatives mean nothing unless you have the proof to back them up. Make sure you have evidence to prove why your product is the best.
For instance, if you deal with electronic products, you can talk about patents, their construction, quality certifications, etc.
The idea is to give your readers the impression that there is something special about your offer. If you don’t have the references to prove that your product is a real deal, you must tone your copy down. Alternatively, you can also quote a customer testimonial to show that there are people who think your product is the best thing they have experienced so far.
5. Include sensory words
Research suggests that sensory words engage more brain processing power and help improve the ecommerce conversion rate.
What are Sensory Words?
Sensory words are descriptive. They explain how we experience the world using our five senses.
Let’s suppose you run a chocolate store online. You can use more sensory adjectives like smooth, crunchy, velvety, sweet, aromatic, and crisp to your descriptions to dazzle your readers.
Similarly, people tend to trust brands that have high-quality images included in their products.
Words, such as ‘you’, ‘new’, ‘guaranteed’, and ‘free’ are Power words that make your descriptions sound more effective and help your customers experience your copy while reading.
6. Use a scannable design
Instead of throwing words in front of your customers, make sure you spend time and energy in creating descriptions that look more organized and professional.
Use white spaces, headlines, and bullets to highlight each product benefit separately. The more readable your product descriptions are, the better your customers will comprehend the associated benefits.
If you sell smartphones, you’ll want to convert specs into a checklist or bullet points for an easy read. Don’t forget to use the right font to improve readability and increase conversions.
7. Split test it
No matter how professional your product descriptions look at first glance, you must always split test them for different factors.
Split testing, also known as A/B testing, enables owners to compare two different variants of the same thing to determine which performs better.
Test your descriptions for different formats, lengths, fonts, and more. With this info at hand, you can better optimize your product pages and boost ecommerce conversions.
8. Include all the details
The goal of writing a compelling product description copy is to provide your potential customers with all the relevant details, specs, and info they might need to make a purchase.
For example, if you sell footwear or apparel online, your product page should include every possible detail, including size charts, care instructions, material info, and other details to help your customers choose the right product for themselves.
Similarly, if you sell any food items, you must highlight allergen details and ingredients to improve the user experience.
Write your own product descriptions
Never copy/paste descriptions you get from your manufacturer. The same manufacturer supplies products to multiple stores, and if they’re also using similar descriptions, your store will have difficulty getting its due place in SERPs.
Also, you’ll be at higher risk of getting penalized due to duplicate content.
It’s crucial to understand that product descriptions provide ecommerce store owners with an opportunity to show the creative side of their business. It’s your chance to prove to your potential customers that your products offer the best value for their money.
If you think writing compelling product descriptions isn’t your cup of tea, you can also hire a creative copywriter to do this job for you.
Use online tools
Also, if hiring a copywriter isn’t an option currently, you may also leverage different tools available online.
You can also hire someone from online academic writing services to create descriptions.
Basic tools, such as Grammarly, Cite It In, etc will help you refine your descriptions. Also, you can use keyword research tools to determine the most appropriate keywords you can use for your descriptions.
Optimize your descriptions for better conversions
Whether it’s your product descriptions, the About Us section on your website, or your blogs, you have to ensure that every content piece available on your website is optimized for SEO.
Again, there are different online tools available for this purpose. The idea is to find out keywords that are relevant to your product. For example, if you dropship cosmetics online, you can choose keywords like ‘MAC highlighters’, ‘Maybelline Red Lipsticks’, and more.
Here, it is crucial to understand that the unnecessary use of keywords is going to ruin your ranking.
Here are a few tips you must consider before you write SEO-optimized product descriptions for your e-store:
- Include keywords in headings/subheadings
- Do not write for search engines
- Leverage LSI keywords
- Optimize product images and videos
- Avoid keyword stuffing at any cost
Use the right tone
Your tone of voice says it all. With the right tone, you can target customers who are truly interested in your product range.
As mentioned above, your tone should be in line with the type of products and services you’re selling online. Those selling life vests or coffins cannot use a casual tone. Similarly, those selling fun products, like swimming pools, fashion accessories, or costumes must stick to a tone that is lively and engaging.
All in all, your descriptions should represent the unique personality of your business. It’s also crucial to keep your brand tone in mind before you write descriptions for your business.
Spell check your work
Carefully go through your descriptions to ensure there are no grammar mistakes and typos.
There you have it – Eight simple steps to write epic product descriptions that boost conversions.
The good thing about these steps is that they’re all tried and tested, meaning you can implement them right away without worrying about the results.
Have questions or are looking to add something valuable to this list? Drop your feedback in the comments section below. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify – free Shopify theme, helping drop shippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.
The post Eight simple steps to write epic product descriptions that boost conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021
- Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
- Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
- The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
- To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
- Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.
The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric.
In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.
Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.
As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:
“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year , and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”
You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.
Elements of the Google page experience metric
Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.
The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.
Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.
1. Core Web Vitals
Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.
The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
- First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.
To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.
2. Mobile-friendly site
Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.
Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic.
Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.
Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.
One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.
To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.
Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.
The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.
If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.
5. No intrusive interstitials
Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.
The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.
However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.
Five steps to optimize your site for 2021
Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.
Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.
Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.
1. Get an excellent web hosting service
Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.
You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.
Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.
2. Keep your page’s size lite
Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.
There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.
You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.
Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.
3. Optimize your site for mobile
As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.
Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized.
The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.
You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.
4. Install security measures
Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.
First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.
Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.
And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.
Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.
5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners
Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.
Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.
As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.
Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.
Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.
Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.
However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.
Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.
The post The Google page experience: What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Alexis Ohanian steps down from Reddit board, asks for his seat to go to a black board member
Alexis Ohanian, the founder and former CEO of Reddit, stepped down from his position on the company’s board Friday as the U.S. roils with nationwide protests against police brutality after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man.
Ohanian is calling on the company he founded to fill his position with a black board member, a high-profile step for a company with its own rocky track record around issues of race.
“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now,” Ohanian said in his announcement. “To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”
I've resigned as a member of the reddit board, I have urged them to fill my seat with a black candidate, + I will use future gains on my Reddit stock to serve the black community, chiefly to curb racial hate, and I’m starting with a pledge of $ 1M to @kaepernick7’s @yourrightscamp
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. (@alexisohanian) June 5, 2020
With the decision, Ohanian also announced that future gains of his company stock would be invested in the black community, “chiefly to curb racial hate.” That amount could total to around $ 50 million, according to reliable sources. His first move will be to give $ 1 million to Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that focuses on self-empowerment and safety for black and brown communities.
Many leaders within tech are calling for the industry to have its own reckoning with entrenched racism, an effort Ohanian’s move may amplify. Tech companies have long been criticized for their broad lack of black leadership at the highest levels, a failing that likely factors into their myriad policy failures around race — like the fact that Facebook only banned white nationalism one year ago.
“I co-founded @reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country” Ohanian wrote on Twitter. “I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’ ”
Update: Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (u/spez) said that the company would honor the request to bring on a black board member in Ohanian’s place.
Ohanian stepped away from his daily duties at Reddit in 2018 but kept a seat on the board at the time. His transition to being more hands-off at the company he founded has been gradual over the last few years as he spent more time on Initialized Capital, an early-stage venture fund he co-founded. In recent years, Ohanian has also become a more outspoken advocate for policies like paid family leave, calling for more equitable, flexible leave policies and citing his own experience as a father. In 2017, Ohanian had a daughter with his wife, tennis legend Serena Williams.
Reddit occupies a unique place among social media platforms. It has largely avoided the spotlight of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but not for lack of its own systemic problems. Though it hasn’t been as high-profile, the platform has faced its own reckoning around harmful content in recent years for hosting virulently racist content on subcommunities like r/blackpeoplehate, r/The_Donald and others. Reddit has taken action against those communities over time, either banning them outright or placing them in a state of “quarantine” where they are not surfaced in search or recommendations and require a user to click through to view them.
The company’s history with diversifying its leadership has been spotty. In 2015, internal turmoil at the company and a backlash from its users led to the resignation of the company’s interim CEO, Ellen Pao. As we reported in 2016, more than a dozen senior Reddit employees, many of them women and people of color, left the company in the resulting tumult. As it continued its overdue campaign to crack down on violence and hate speech, Reddit brought in its first female board member, Porter Gale, last year.
In a post on Reddit, Huffman also addressed the company’s troubled history of allowing often violent and extreme racist content to flourish on the platform.
“In 2018, I confusingly said racism is not against the rules, but also isn’t welcome on Reddit. This gap between our content policy and our values has eroded our effectiveness in combating hate and racism on Reddit; I accept full responsibility for this,” Huffman said.
He also acknowledged concerns from employees about the company’s policy decisions, expressed this week in response to an email he sent out about ongoing protests and the killing of George Floyd.
“These questions, which I know are coming from a place of real pain and which I take to heart, are really a statement: There is an unacceptable gap between our beliefs as people and a company, and what you see in our content policy,” Huffman said.
Online reputation management: Seven steps to success
- Apparently, it’s crucial to track your reputation in order to prevent PR crises. Moreover, monitoring your reputation enables you to discover valuable customer insights.
- Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario, Aleh Barysevich, shares a strategy to tackle the challenges of online reputation management.
- Right from setting up your online reputation management (ORM) protocol to becoming proactive about getting reviews, there’s more to discover.
There’s no need to explain the importance of reputation for businesses. The good word of your customers, potential or existing, is the best promotion tool you have. Meanwhile, scandals and criticism can ruin companies. Reputation becomes even more important during the times of crisis when emotions are heightened and any mistake can lead to a full-blown scandal.
The internet really just amplified the importance of reputation: news and rumours travel fast, but on social media, they travel even faster (and reach more people). Who among us hasn’t checked the reviews before purchasing a product or hasn’t checked out a brand after seeing a friend praising it on social media? No matter the size of your business, people are talking about you online, sharing their opinion on social media or leaving a review on Yelp and the likes of it.
It would be wrong to think about online reputation as something separate from your “real-world” or offline reputation: with three billion social media users and counting your online reputation is simply your reputation, it affects purchasing decisions both online and offline.
For example, Gillette’s polarizing campaign “The Best Men Can Be” gathered a lot of negative feedback (as well as some positive). Social media users publicly denounced the company and promised to stop buying Gillette razors. That wasn’t the first time a social media scandal led to calls for a boycott of the company, Nike and Uber being other notable examples.
Goodbye Gillette. Hello Schick #GilletteAd pic.twitter.com/AfcFE5efNq
— warroom (@warroom) January 15, 2019
Besides the obvious need to track your reputation in order to prevent PR crises, monitoring your reputation enables you to discover valuable customer insights. Once you start paying close attention to your reviews and mentions online, you’ll learn what people love about your product, what they think you could improve, and what influences their decisions the most.
All this makes reputation management more relevant than ever. You simply can’t ignore online conversations around your brand if you want to have a successful business. Luckily, the digital world gives us a lot more tactics and tools to monitor and actively improve our reputation than the offline world ever could. This article covers online reputation management step by step, giving you specific guidelines to follow.
How to manage your reputation online
Most businesses already conduct some type of online reputation management (ORM), for example, answering customers’ comments and posts where they were tagged. But to make your reputation crisis-proof, you need a robust workflow, and that’s what this article is all about. You can use these steps to revise your existing ORM workflow or build a new one from scratch.
Step one: Set up your ORM protocol
Before you even start going through your online reviews, you need to establish some guidelines. These will help you and your team to know when to respond to reviews, do it appropriately and quickly, and know the best way to act if there’s a threat of a reputation crisis. This protocol can be as thorough as you like depending on how much you are synced with your team, but here are some questions to answer to figure out the guidelines:
- How fast should you answer? Obviously, the quicker your response, the better, but it’s a good practice to establish the minimum response time required for your team members.
- How transparent are you willing to be? This will help you determine if you want to go into all the nuances when responding to a customer or simply reassure them that you’re working on the issue. The recent trends prove that transparency is very much appreciated by customers.
- What tone of voice should you use? This, of course, will depend on your brand. Should you be cordial or professional and straight-to-the-point? Can you make jokes? Oftentimes a funny response to a complaint can go viral. For example, Oatly is one of the brands that heavily uses negative reviews in its marketing putting an ironic spin on them. But would it fit your brand’s image?
- Who will be the spokesperson(s) in case of a crisis? If the need arises, who will be giving the official statements on behalf of your brand? Is it the CEO, or the PR manager? Again, you can decide on the answer based on your company’s image — if you’re trying to build authentic relationships with customers and/or have a charismatic leader, it’s only logical that your CEO will do the talking.
- Should you automate your responses? Automation cuts your response time to seconds and allows you to save on staff, but can you be sure it won’t anger your customers? In the example below, the customer grew frustrated after trying to solve their problem on Twitter and getting the same scripted message from Amazon.
@amazonIN you guys should stop using @Sprinklr because they are relying without understanding my actual problem. Bots are only good to an extend. Hope you understand good customer service!
— Karen Das (@menezeskaren) April 12, 2020
- Should you always respond? Some brands take their pride in the “always respond rule”, and for smaller brands, it’s actually a must — the more engagement you get, the higher your brand awareness, especially on social media. But once you start getting a ton of mentions at once, you might need to start prioritizing. Besides, sometimes negative reviews can just become trolling — and if there’s one rule you need to learn on the Internet, it’s “Don’t feed the trolls”.
By answering the questions, you should have a clear outline of dos and don’ts for your social media, community, and PR managers.
Step two: Choose and set up a monitoring tool
You could try tracking your online reviews and mentions manually, but without a specialized tool, it’s practically impossible. Online reputation management tools enable you to find mentions of your company on social media, in the news, and on review aggregator websites. There is an array of monitoring tools for different needs and budgets, such as Awario, Brandwatch, Reputology, and others. How do you choose the right one?
As with the previous step, there are some questions you could ask yourself and your team to decide which tool to settle on:
- Platforms it covers. Of course, when we are doing online reputation management, the more feedback we find, the better. But for some businesses specific websites or social media platforms are crucial: for example, TripAdvisor for tourist guide companies or Instagram for clothing brands.
- Sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis is one of the core features in ORM. It helps you focus on dealing with negative reviews first and see the overall share of negative and positive mentions of your brand.
- Special features. Are there any particular requirements that your team might have? Do you need influencer analytics to quickly prioritize reviews with the biggest reach first? Or do you maybe need a tool that could easily be integrated with your CRM/task manager?
- Pricing. Reputation management tools vary greatly in pricing going from Enterprise-level analytical powerhouses that cost thousands of dollars, to much more affordable options for mid- and small-sized businesses. Make sure the core features you’re looking for are available in the plan you’re ready to pay for!
Most tools offer either free trials or demos to get you acquainted with them, so you can investigate before you are ready to invest.
Once you settle on a tool, you need to set it up to start monitoring. You can monitor your brand name, the name of your products, the names of key public figures in your company. Don’t forget to include common misspellings of these words and phrases – it’s a common mistake that brands make when monitoring their reputation which results in missing a lot of feedback.
Most tools allow you to choose some filters for your monitoring efforts: to find reviews only in a certain language, from certain countries or platforms.
If there’s a topic that causes particular concern for your reputation (for example, Shell and oil spillage), you can create a separate monitoring alert for it using a Boolean search mode.
Most reputation management tools have a notification settings tab where you can choose when and how you want to receive notifications.
Now that you’re finished with your setup, it’s time to check your online reputation!
Step three: Check sentiment analytics and mention spikes
The first thing to do every time you go to your online reputation management tool is to look at the dashboard. This is typically where all your analytics are visualized so you can notice if something is out of the ordinary right away.
First, look at your overall sentiment and see the shares of positive and negative mentions. This will give you an understanding of your overall reputation. You can select different time frames to get a closer look at a certain moment in your company’s history, or vice versa choose as big of a time frame as you want to get a historical perspective.
Other important graphs here are the number and reach of mentions, specifically, sudden spikes in it. A sudden spike in the number of mentions means that a lot of people are talking about you (hopefully, for a good reason) and a sudden spike in reach can also indicate that some influential account or website mentioned your brand. A lot of stories nowadays emerge on social media and paying attention to spikes allows you to get on top of the story right away.
Step four: Deal with the social media mentions
Now that you’re sure that there are no reputation crises unfurling at the moment, it’s time to deal with individual mentions. I suggest focusing on social media first since it’s the media with the biggest “sense of urgency”, that is, the medium where people expect you to answer the quickest. According to the study by The Social Habit, 42% of social media users expect a brand to respond in 60 minutes or less.
Most tools have some kind of a feed that gives you access to individual mentions. For now, filter out everything but the mentions from social media platforms: we will deal with the rest a bit later.
Usually, social media mentions are sorted by date with the newest mentions displayed first. You can filter them to see negative mentions only to make sure you respond to the unhappy customers first, and then take a look at the neutral and positive mentions, thanking users and sharing favorable posts. Testimonials are an extremely powerful way to promote your brand, so don’t neglect the positive reviews you get, use them.
The mentions, both positive and negative, can be a great source of customer insights as well. Pay attention to constructive feedback, you can even tag them to come back to them later or share them with your colleagues.
Step five: Check review sites
Now that social media are dealt with, let’s move on to other types of review platforms: Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, and any industry-specific platforms you might come across.
To find these reviews, do the opposite of what we did in the previous step: filter out all the social media mentions as well as the news. Some tools like Awario even offer a whitelist feature which is used to prioritize certain domains — this could come in handy if you want to make sure you’re getting mentions from specific websites popular in your industry.
Most websites allow you to respond to reviews once you verify your brand’s account — as with social media, start with the negative ones. You can also share the positive reviews on your website and social media through plugins or screenshots.
If you allow reviews on your own website (if you’re running an eCommerce business, for example), now is a good time to go through them as well.
Step six: Check mentions from the media
Granted you haven’t noticed a sudden change in the sentiment or number of mentions at the third step, media outlets and blogs can wait until you’ve dealt with social reviews. Of course, if you’re in the midst of a PR scandal, the news becomes a much more important source. Also, these steps could be tackled by different teams – social and reviews sites can be taken care of by community managers and news and blogs can be handled by the PR professionals. Nevertheless, they will still be using the same online reputation management tool.
Filter out everything but mentions from news and blogs. Then the workflow is pretty much the same: check the negative articles first, then the rest. You can reach out to bloggers and journalists to try to swing their opinion in case of negative coverage or thank them and possibly build lasting relationships.
Step seven: Become proactive about getting reviews
Some communication specialists may treat reviews as a headache: the truth is people are much more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones. This discrepancy can create a feeling of despair when it comes to online reputation management, but this only means that you need to become more proactive about getting reviews from your customers.
The secret to getting more reviews is asking for them! You need to set up a consistent system of encouraging your customers to leave reviews on social media and review platforms. You can do it manually or use automation tools (Buffer, Mailchimp, Delighted) to schedule social media posts and emails encouraging users to leave reviews and add review-requests plugins to your website. Resharing positive reviews on social may also encourage other users to post praises to your business. You can even run a social media contest focusing on positive reviews as the main challenge for your followers. Get creative!
To sum up
With proper preparations, online reputation management becomes a piece of cake. Once you have clear guidelines in place (which can be perfected over time) and set up a reputation management tool, there should be no trouble for you to make your reputation crisis-proof.
Aleh Barysevich is Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario.
The post Online reputation management: Seven steps to success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
How to increase online sales in three easy steps through PPC ads
- Coronavirus and related quarantine measures led to an increase in online sales, the amount of video content consumed, and the time people spend on the internet in general.
- PPC ads are relevant more than ever.
- In this article, you’ll find the most common errors in contextual advertising and get practical recommendations on setting up effective PPC ads.
Coronavirus and related quarantine measures led to an increase in online sales, video content consumption, and the time people spent on the internet in general. That’s why PPC ads are more relevant than ever now for your business. Well crafted ads can be a great way to improve your conversion rate and profit.
In this article, you’ll find the most common errors in contextual advertising and get practical recommendations on setting up effective ads.
The most common errors when setting up ads
1. Contactless ads
Advertisements without contact information take up less space in SERP and lose to competitors’ ads due to the fact that they are less noticeable and informative.
2. Lack of quick links and favicon
This error leads to a decrease in traffic, CTR, and means that the ad budgets will rise.
3. Ads are not optimized for the Google Display Network
A search engine ad campaign is different from one shown on the Google Display Network. If you just copy ads, you’ll not get a good result.
The main difference between campaigns on the thematic sites and in search:
- Images are not displayed in search but on thematic sites, they must be added.
- Advertising on thematic sites should be more creative than in search. There are many different formats in GDN you can experiment with.
4. Lack of division into the industry and regional campaigns
Without this separation, you can waste the budget. Dividing the campaign, you’ll identify which industries or regions are more effective, which part of the campaign should get more attention and budget.
5. Improper structure of PPC ads campaigns
The campaign structure does not appear from scratch but is created on the basis of internet demand and customer market analysis (customer needs and requirements, product demand, and other such parameters).
For example, you can create the following groups from your PPC campaign: On a company brand, on general keywords, on regions, on types of the product, on promotions, and on competitors.
6. The site doesn’t load when clicked
Often, a campaign is running but a server is not configured to process the labels of advertising systems. Therefore, when you click on an ad, the site may not load.
How to set up an effective PPC ads campaign
Work with contextual advertising involves continuous analysis. Before launch, it’s an analysis of the target audience, the strengths and weaknesses of the product, the activities of competitors, and niche filling. Since the situation on the market is changing dynamically, before running an advertising campaign, you should carry out a direct analysis of contextual ads, their results, as well as competitors.
Before starting a PPC campaign
As I’ve already said, you should make a deep analysis before setting up your advertisements. You should learn:
1. The target audience
These are people whose attention you want to capture and convert them into buyers.
A specialist should understand their pains, determine triggers of influence, find out which style works best to communicate with them.
You can do it with the help of different polls and surveys among your clients, talking to your customer support team, and studying your competitors.
2. The product
How are you selling the product? How is it made? How is it different from competitors? What value does it create for buyers? What are its strengths and weaknesses? You should know answers to all these questions because it’ll be rather difficult to sell a product or service without them.
3. The niche
Each business has its specifics. It can be something more familiar to each of us (for example, retail, like Amazon) or something non-standard from B2B (business to business) sphere (for example, content marketing services). Study sites from given examples to see the difference between niches.
Therefore, before selling, you need to understand:
- Whom to sell to?
- How to sell?
- What difficulties could arise?
- What kind of competition you’re surrounded by?
4. Competitors’ ads
A strong competitor can appear at any second. So, you should not lose vigilance at any stage of contextual advertising. High competition always threatens high CPC (cost per click) and lower outreach.
To help an advertiser, there are a number of tools for monitoring the market and creating your successful PPC campaign or optimizing it. You can get the following information from them:
- The quality of the texts, relevance of the ad to the user’s request, benefits which it brings to the buyer.
- Keywords which are used in ads.
- What the landing page looks like if it’s able to convert visitors into buyers due to the unique selling proposition, and convenience of making the order.
- The dynamics of changes in the effectiveness of ads.
There are tons of tools on the market for this but from personal experience, I can share that one of the most popular and easy tools is Serpstat. Here you can find:
- Information about ads campaign entering only the domain of the competitor;
- Keywords and their volume
- Keywords competition
- Links to landing pages
- Main performance metrics
Basic checklist to set up an effective PPC ad campaign
A full checklist for setting up contextual advertising includes hundreds of points. Here, I’ve shared the minimum, most essential requirements that everyone can implement.
1. Separation of B2B and B2C (business to consumer) keywords. It’s a top-level of the structure. You need to study your audience segments in detail.
2. You should optimize ads for different devices. Campaign for mobile search should be a separate one with different keywords and settings.
3. You need to make good ads:
- Keywords in the title
- Qualifying words
- Keyword in the display link
- Keyword in the description
- Call to action
- Quick link with a keyword
4. To increase the effectiveness of your ad, I recommend using different ad extensions: Structured snippets, call, location, price extensions, and more.
5. For high and medium search volume keywords your campaign should be built on the principle – “one keyword = one ad”. Low search volume ones need to be grouped.
6. Launch campaign for near-niches. For example for car dealers, such niches will be car services, leasing, components, and other segments you may find relevant in this niche.
7. Limit budget for ineffective keywords, platforms, channels.
8. Work in GDN but filter platforms not to get rubbish traffic.
9. Try new instruments: ads in Gmail, such campaigns as call-only ads, local search ads, true view, and the others.
10. Use dynamic remarketing on incomplete activities, and abandoned baskets. It allows you to contact users who have already been on your site.
11. Use other promotion channels. One of the best schemes is: bring a new visitor with the help of PPC ad, return him/her to the site with the help of social networks remarketing, lead to a decision on the call or order after the third contact through MyTarget.
12. Remember that ads can be displayed at the wrong time for your company. For example, if you have a B2B offer, you should not spend budget at night or on weekends.
13. Fill in the list of negative keywords.
Analysis of your ads campaign
To estimate your contextual advertising you should use two tools: A site analytics system and Google Analytics or Google Ads.
To analyze your site and its traffic, you can use the Finteza tool. It’s a service that can provide you with information about your audience by 15 basic parameters such as visit sources, events, UTM parameters, page addresses, countries. Everything you need to do here is to filter data by parameters appropriate for your PPC campaign. As a result, you’ll get information in diagrams and funnels.
Indicators you should use to analyze the effectiveness of your advertising according to Google Analytics or Google Ads:
CTR (click through rate)
CTR should increase while CPC needs to decrease. If this doesn’t happen, your ads are of poor quality for this system and you should change your tactics.
CR (conversion rate)
It shows how many users from the ad made a targeted action on the landing page (made an order, left some request, signed up, or followed a link). This point should always increase.
The cost of attracting a customer who will make a purchase should always decrease.
Investments pay off if the indicator is more than zero. It’s great when it increases also.
CAC (customer acquisition cost)
You need to evaluate it to understand how much a new client costs you. Business is fine when this amount is less than the average bill.
LTV (customer lifetime value)
It shows how much money every customer brought to you from the first deal. The larger the number, the better it is for you.
To round up
At first glance, setting up contextual advertising may seem to be easy. In reality, it’s a continuous work with the analysis of your ads and competitors, the full niche. To create an effective campaign you need to have basic marketing knowledge and an analytical mindset.
Contextual advertising will bring profit only if it’s set up correctly and thought out in detail.
The post How to increase online sales in three easy steps through PPC ads appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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