After a period of public feedback, Twitter adjusted some its plans for a new verification process, set to roll out next year. The company suspended public verification applications in 2017 and since appears to have rethought a few aspects of what information the platform should signal to its users, blue checks and beyond.
One big verification-adjacent change around the corner: Twitter plans to add a way of distinguishing bots and other automated accounts.
“… It can be confusing to people if it’s not clear that these accounts are automated,” the company wrote in a blog post. “In 2021, we’re planning to build a new account type to distinguish automated accounts from human-run accounts to make it easier for people to know what’s a bot and what’s not.”
Of course, not all bots are good bots, but automated accounts have flourished on the platform since its early days and bots remain some of the most useful, whimsical and otherwise beloved sources of tweets.
The company is also working on a better way to handle accounts for users who have died, and plans to introduce a memorialization process in 2021. Twitter says that memorialized accounts, like bots, will become “a new account type,” making them distinct from normal users. The idea grew out of the same spirit as Twitter’s labels for political figures, which sought to provide contextual info about users that can be seen at a glance.
Taking more than 22,000 pieces of feedback on the new verification process into account, Twitter will no longer require a profile bio or header picture to verify users, calling its former thinking “too restrictive.” It’s also redefined a few of its eligible verification categories, expanding “sports” to include esports and adding more language around digital content creators into the entertainment category.
Twitter also apparently received a lot of suggestions calling for additional verification categories for scientists, academics and religious figures. Until it spins out more categories, those users can seek verification under the “activists, organizers, and other influential individuals” catch-all category.
Verification applicants will need to apply under a particular category and provide links or other information supporting their application. The new “self-serve” verification process will be available through account settings on both mobile and desktop.
Twitter will implement the new account verification policy on January 20, 2021, three years after freezing the process. The company did not specify when public verification applications will be accepted again, but it sounds like the wait won’t be too long and the company plans to share more soon. Starting on the 20th, Twitter will begin sweeping out inactive verified accounts and others that don’t meet its new bar for a “complete account.”
In the adjusted policy, a complete account — and one eligible for verification — must have a verified email or phone number, a profile image and a display name. Anyone who’s verified but doesn’t meet those criteria will receive notifications of the required changes, which must be made before January 20.
Twitter’s new policy also lays out the company’s right to revoke verification for accounts in “severe or repeated violation” of the platform’s rules. It sounds like new policy could lay a clearer path for the company to take against users who break the rules, though that ultimately will come down to enforcement rather than written policies.
“We will continue to evaluate such accounts on a case-by-case basis, and will make improvements in 2021 on the relationship between enforcement of our rules and verification,” Twitter wrote in the post.
Twitter paused the verification process in November, 2017 following a public outcry over its decision to verify Jason Kessler. Kessler infamously organized the Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia that gathered neo-Nazis and white supremacists, ultimately leaving one peaceful counterprotester dead. The pause was extended the next year as the company decided to direct more resources toward election integrity.
With the midterms and the general U.S. election behind it, Twitter has returned to its effort to rethink the verification process and what it symbolizes for users on the platform. The company is also experimenting with new features that could dial down harassment, toxicity and misinformation.
Twitter recently added friction to the retweet process in an effort to slow the spread of misinformation, though it rolled the change back after the election. Twitter’s latest test: A new pop-up that displays shared interests and a profile bio when a user goes to reply to someone they don’t follow.
Sometimes you have more in common than you think.
On Android, we're testing a way to highlight things you have in common when you reply to someone you don’t follow or engage with. We may show the Topics you both follow, your mutual connections, or their profile bio. pic.twitter.com/aaPnCXtxTJ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 17, 2020
- Optimizing your content for search results requires search intent.
- Understanding search intent will help you generate effective content.
- Target search intent by examining high ranking search results.
- How-to and listicles are the most shared blog post ideas.
- Focusing on key on-page SEO elements drives higher search visibility.
When it comes to blog posts, not all content formats are created equal.
What’s more, with more than 500 million blogs out there all vying for attention, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out amidst the noise.
For a blog to be successful these days, it takes more than just shareable images or enticing headlines. While these elements are undoubtedly important, writing blog posts that attract the right kind of reader requires careful ideation, optimization, and outreach.
Fortunately, SEO content is not rocket science. Whether you’re struggling with content ideas or looking to monetize your ideas better, below are the seven most popular types of posts that will help your blog gain better traction and drive traffic to your site.
Why understanding search intent matters
Before I identify the blog post types already proven to deliver results, we must first talk about search intent. If you don’t know what search intent is, search intent is the why behind a specific search.
Each type of search falls into one (or several) intention types:
1. Informational intent
The search user wants to learn something. While this type of search typically includes words like “how-to,” “what is,” or “who,” not all informational searches are posed as questions (for example, JFK International Airport directions).
2. Navigational intent
The search user wants to visit a specific site. People would rather ask a search engine than type the full web address in the URL bar because they may be unsure of the exact website. Examples include “Facebook” or “WestIn contact number.”
3. Transactional intent
The search user wants to purchase something. A transactional intent typically means the search user is wallet-ready. They’re merely looking for a website to make a purchase. Typical search queries include “buy iPhone 12,” “spa package,” and “MacBook air cheap.”
4. Commercial investigation
The search user has the intention to buy but is still at the research stage. People performing these types of searches require more information about the product or service that they have an interest in buying.
They search for terms like “top restaurant in New York” or “best android phone” to compare a specific product or service.
By understanding the specific intent behind a search, you can optimize your blog post for the right search terms. And when the correct type of searcher finds your content, your blog can generate relevant and targeted traffic.
How to target search intent with your blog
With Google’s perpetual goal focused on providing the most relevant information for a search query, aligning your content with your audience’s search intent allows your blog to rank high for relevant search results.
For SEO success, relevance is a core tenet not to be overlooked.
So how can you infer search intent and create content that drives significant traffic potential?
The answer lies in the search query itself.
Let’s look at the search term “how to bake a cake,” for example. For those keywords alone, it may appear like the search has informational intent. But, don’t just guess search intent. A quick way to confirm the specific intent of a search is by performing a Google search.
By inputting your keywords into Google’s search, which in this case is “how to bake a cake,” it’s clear from the results that users are looking for cake recipe ideas and baking guides. To rank competitively high for this type of search intent, you should focus your content around a how-to post or a list article.
Now that we have a better grasp of search intent and its role in content creation, let’s look at the most popular blog post ideas that you can use today to start producing high-quality content.
Seven blog post ideas that deliver valuable, engaging content
Ready to put virtual pen to paper? Take the guesswork out of content ideation with these top-ranked content ideas.
1. How-tos and tutorials
With 80% of all Google searches being informational, how-to and tutorial posts are a staple for any blog, no matter your niche or industry. Since the goal of a how-to guide or tutorial is to solve a problem, readers of your article will be more inclined to invest in your product or service.
And as you’re an authority in your business, how-to type articles are simple ways to connect with your audience and establish credibility while showcasing your expertise.
To maximize the effectiveness of these types of post ideas, be sure to include visuals like images and videos in your articles. Not only do visuals enrich the content, but they also help readers comprehend the information provided better.
Readers are also more willing to take action when content is easy to process.
A great example of how-to content is Ann Smarty’s blog post, “Google’s featured snippets: How to get your YouTube video featured in Google.”
Another content powerhouse, list articles (listicles) help to streamline information. Just how powerful are list articles?
In a comparison between list-based articles and non-list articles, SEMrush found that the presence of lists resulted in 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares. What’s more, 36% of readers are more likely to click on an article with list headlines.
With content typically formatted as a numbered list, readers can quickly consume the content of your list posts. It being easily digestible also helps readers better share the post and act on the information.
Like how-to guides, list-style articles can be a useful tool for informational intent, as well as transactional intent and commercial investigation.
As an example, here’s an excellent list-based post on web development tools.
3. Case studies
A case study post is a highly valuable marketing and brand promotional tool. In B2B marketing, case studies can provide the following five benefits:
- Showcase the tangible value of your product and capabilities
- Highlights how your product resolves customer pain points
- Establish credibility with real customers
- Provide social proof for prospective customers
- Uncover your brand evangelists
In several content marketing surveys, B2B marketers identified customer testimonials (89%) and case studies (88%) as being the most effective content marketing tools for lead generation. And three-quarters of B2B marketers found case studies accelerated leads through latter stages of the funnel quicker than any other content marketing format.
To realize the power of case studies, structure your process from challenge or problem to potential solutions and, finally, the results and conclusion. Here’s a great SEO case study example showing off this structure without being dull or boring.
4. Predictions and trends
The brilliance of writing posts on future trends is that you’re able to display your expertise and industry knowledge. What’s more, as people are always looking for advice or information about the next market trend (commercial investigation), prediction posts can generate great responses, and even spark debates.
Statistics by Hubspot found that few people who regularly read blogs do so to learn about a brand’s products. Instead, people commonly read blogs for three reasons:
- To learn something new
- To be entertained
- To learn about news or trends in their industry
And when it comes to content formats, 47% of bloggers have found trend pieces to be highly popular among their readers. Prediction and trend post ideas are only outpaced by lists (57%) and how-to articles (77%).
5. Ultimate guides
Ultimate guides are the most definitive blog posts you can write. These types of long-form post ideas typically exceed 3,000 words. Some guides can even take as many as 10,000+ words to write effectively.
So why would you want to commit to writing a detailed, comprehensive blog post? Here are a few benefits to ultimate guides:
- Produce evergreen content that produces traffic year-round
- Positions you and your brand as a subject matter expert
- Indicator of relevance, which is vital to search intent
- Provides your brand with marketing campaign assets
- Receives more social shares, increasing content engagement
- Expands keyword opportunities
Regardless of the topic or niche, long-form content outperforms shorter blog posts. In a study done by Brian Dean, blog posts longer than 3,000 words had 77.2% more referring domains than short-form content. And thanks to Google’s RankBrain, long-form content gets rewarded with higher-ranking positions.
Interview posts are a great addition to any blog as it diversifies your site’s blog content and relieves some pressure to content creation. Interviews allow your brand to:
- Expand its influence
- Broaden its network
- Generate more quality backlinks
- Increase its authority
- Diversify its blog content
As an influencer outreach tool, interviews are undeniably powerful. With 69% of consumers distrusting traditional advertising, collaborative content like interviews enables your brand to reach and connect with audiences in a more natural way.
First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture firm, knows all too well the transformative power of interviews. A single interview about Slack’s launch strategy earned First Round Capital a total of 2,243 backlinks from major publication sites like Fast Company and Entrepreneur.
If your blog is relatively new and you’re unable to attract any influencers to interview, consider writing expert round-up posts. Influencers love participating in round-up posts as these provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their expertise.
Both post ideas can contribute to more significant blog traffic as influencers are more willing to share your content with their network.
As images are more attention-grabbing than text, consider adding infographics to your blog content calendar. Infographics are not just attractive or exciting to read; they are also shared 3x more than any other type of content.
Admittedly, infographics work best when professionally designed. Fortunately, there are many online infographic tools like Canva and Piktochart that enable you to create beautiful infographics at a freemium price.
Now that you have plenty of post ideas to keep your content calendar full, let’s look at specific on-page SEO elements that will help attract the right visitors to your blog.
Three on-page SEO factors for greater searchability
Whether you’re looking to write a listicle, tutorial, or ultimate guide, include these three on-page SEO factors into your content before hitting publish.
1. Target one or two medium-tail keywords
As the primary goal for any blog is to attract an audience, keyword research is vital. After all, no content can compete in search results without keyword research. If you don’t know what your audience is searching for, how can you get your content in front of them?
With that said, though, don’t try to rank for short-head search terms like “chocolate cake.” These search terms are highly competitive, making it difficult to rank high against already established blogs. Instead, focus on medium-tail keywords like “chocolate pound cake recipe.”
Medium-tail keywords, like the previous example, are more specific than short-head terms. People using medium-tail keywords are more likely to read your content. They are also more motivated to take action, resulting in a positive interaction with your brand.
Once you’ve done your keyword research and compiled a list of medium-tail keywords, include them into these important places in your blog post:
- Title tag
- Meta description
You can also add your keywords into the body but don’t over-optimize your content.
Over-optimization is a form of keyword stuffing, which goes against Google’s guidelines. Just add your target keyword in the first 100 words of your article.
2. Link to important pages
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to a different web page on the same domain. Internal links are an SEO best practice because it helps search engines find and index relevant content. Visitors also use internal links to check out high-value pages, increasing site dwell time.
When linking internally, aim for two to three links. Use a descriptive anchor text with keywords that are relevant to the linked-to page. Another way to include more internal links to your blog post is by adding a related post section at the bottom of the page.
3. Optimize images for maximum shareability
Blog posts that only contain text are flat-out dull. Adding quality images to your post better explains complex information and makes your content more visually appealing. Because visuals stand out, images can improve the scannability of your post significantly.
But don’t just pop images into your post and hit publish. Images can also be optimized for SEO, allowing your visuals to rank for Google Images. When optimizing images for search, be sure to:
- Write a descriptive alt text with your keyword.
- Keep alt text under 125 characters.
- Include your target keyword in the filename.
- Compress the image for faster load times.
- Use unique images rather than stock imagery.
- Use the proper file extension for your image.
- Resize your image to optimum proportions.
Putting it all together
By writing for relevant search intent and incorporating these SEO best practices to your post ideas, your blog will gain more opportunities to appear high in search results. More visibility in search means increased organic traffic to your blog.
After you’ve published your blog post, let the world know about it. Promoting your content via outreach can be done by sharing your post on social media, engaging in forums like Reddit, reaching out to influencers, and advertising through Facebook.
Karl Tablante is Inbound Marketing Manager at SEO Sherpa.
The post Seven most popular types of blog posts guaranteed to boost traffic appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- The convergence of content and SEO has happened and digital is next.
- Brands that produce quality content over quantity using insights to understand intent stand to capture market share from competitors.
- Producing search friendly, optimized content out of the gate and aligned with paid media strategy gives marketers the best opportunity to dominate SERP real estate.
- In B2B combined search averages 76% of traffic.
- Content also provides value beyond SEO and across whole organizations from branding and awareness through to sales, customer service, and product marketing.
- Jim Yu shares the top five content types that also serve SEO value.
The convergence of SEO and content has happened. Today, we’re experiencing the convergence of content with all things digital. That was evolution enough—then a pandemic swept through to really shake things up, accelerating digital transforming digital nearly overnight.
As businesses look to reopening, people are hungrier than ever for content. Media consumption is spiking as so many scour their laptops, phones, and tablets for information about which businesses are open, what products and services they can access nearby, and how businesses are adjusting to the “new normal”.
In the coming months, businesses are going to be challenged to adapt their SEO and content strategies to meet the constantly shifting needs of consumers. Now you have not only seasonal trends and personalization to contend with but different stages of business recovery and access across verticals and regions, too.
Look to SEO now for real-time customer insights
We have never before experienced a global, all-encompassing, and near-universal experience such as this. Nearly every customer has been affected in some way. Customer journey maps must be updated but moreover, it is critical now that you are set up to monitor and analyze customer data in as near to real-time as possible.
You can expect the rest of 2020 to bring dramatic shifts and swings in consumer behavior, and SEO insights are about as close to real-time voice-of-customer as you can get.
Search data is rich in customer needs and intent. Now more than ever, consumers are turning to search engines for their every need. The insights gleaned from search trends and queries, local search analytics, and on-site activity will help inform the decisions your business must make going forward. Aligning SEO and PPC strategy is becoming more critical. According to BrightEdge research in B2B combined search averages 76% of traffic.
If you didn’t have a structured method of communicating search insights to department heads and the C-level before, now is the time. Start with the questions your organization needs answered and work backward from there:
- Are consumers remaining loyal to their usual/familiar brands, or is it a mix of usual and new brands (perhaps out of necessity and due to availability)?
- Where are your customers spending their time online right now?
- What are customers saying about your brand in social media, on review sites, and elsewhere on the web—and are you in a position to engage and respond in real-time?
- How have your customers’ needs changed due to COVID-19?
- Are you seeing any surprising or unexpected behavioral changes in how people discover and consume your content?
- Are consumers using your products or services (or others similar to yours) in new or different ways?
These insights will help guide not only your marketing strategy but how the entire organization rebuilds and find opportunities for growth in the coming months.
Five content types to power your content strategy now and in future
Get ready to move fast on opportunities for prime search visibility and share of voice, as there’s a distinct advantage to being the first-mover. Choose your content types wisely to ensure you’re presenting information to customers in the best format for their needs, devices, and intent, and experience.
Make sure these five types of search-friendly content are part of your arsenal:
1. Written word
Text-based web content still drives the vast majority of search results. It can be made more interesting and engaging with the inclusion of other content types (which we’ll talk about in a minute), but a well-written article or webpage is still one of the most powerful tools in your content arsenal.
This is what Google calls “Main Content” in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines—“any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose”. It can be text, imagery, video, or even user-generated content, and includes the page title. The written word is often complemented by multimedia elements but usually serves as the basis on which the content piece is built.
Writing is a great way to establish thought leadership, to guide users through step-by-step processes, to share opinions and perspectives and expertise. Landing pages, glossaries, listicles, feature stories, media releases—there are countless ways to tell your company’s stories and share messages in writing.
How can you make your written content stronger and maximize its SEO value?
- Understand what Google is looking for: “…unique and original content created by highly skilled and talented artists or content creators. Such artistic content requires a high degree of skill/talent, time, and effort.”
- Avoid writing mistakes that Google says detracts from the quality of a piece: grammar and punctuation errors, paraphrasing another piece of content but introducing inaccuracies, lack of adherence to E-A-T principles, poor quality writing, meaningless statements, failing to cite sources, sharing mostly commonly known information, text broken up by large ads that disrupt the user experience.
2. Visual content types: Photos, infographics, and illustrations
Images can feature prominently in search results, depending on the query, and can really enhance the quality of a piece of written content. They can help tell the story, illustrate specific points, help a reader envision a complex idea, and more.
We know that image alt text helps Google understand an image’s relevance to the rest of the page content (and to the query, as a result). But it serves an even more important function: improving the accessibility of your content. By now, descriptive alt texts should be best practice for all content teams.
What else do we know about Google’s evaluation of image content?
- Images can be considered “Main Content” by Google. In section 4.2, Google states that quality evaluators are to look for “a satisfying amount of main content’ and list multiple product images as one example of achieving this.
- Evaluators are to consider the “skill/talent, time, and effort” it appears to have taken to create images.
- Shocking images that don’t match the main content, sexually suggestive or grotesque images, deceptive images that imply a celebrity endorsement where is none for example, and images that don’t fit the screen on mobile are all examples of image content that detract from the user experience and therefore their SEO value.
Google says that a picture truly is worth a thousand words, in some cases. Using the example of a trestle bridge, the guidelines state that “a picture may be more helpful than a text description due to the unique design of the bridge.” Keep this in mind as you create written content—if you’re writing at length to explain something, could an image help?
3. Video content types
More than 500 hours of video are being uploaded to YouTube per minute and users still can’t get enough, devouring over a billion hours of YouTube content per day. If video isn’t yet a part of your content mix, this is the time to figure out how you’re going to make it so.
Videos can also count as the main content, and they’re great for augmenting written text. Explainers, how-to guides, product or service demos, behind-the-scenes looks, expert interviews, and more are all great material for a high-quality video.
And what is Google looking for when it comes to video? Increase its SEO value by keeping in mind that:
- Google considers “a satisfying or comprehensive amount of very high-quality main content” and “High E-A-T for the purpose of the page” indicators of quality in video content.
- Other characteristics of a good quality video include that it is well-produced, subject matter expertise, uniqueness and originality.
- Things that detract from your video’s SEO value include a subject matter with no clear expertise on the topic, publishing on a network with little oversight, or an attempt to deceive audiences in some way.
Note that Google specifically instructs raters that they “must consider the reputation and E-A-T of both the website and the creators of the MC in order to assign a Page Quality rating”. Protect the reputation of your creators and your site by ensuring that these best practices are employed in every video you publish.
4. Audio content types
The explosion in popularity of voice search and content formats such as podcasts and internet radio has made audio content a key component in the marketing mix. in optimizing audio content for voice search, you want to make sure you’re using structured data, concise headlines, and descriptions that help people understand what the content is about. Google’s main concerns about voice search as far as search quality goes have to do with mobile-friendliness. When a person uses their mobile phone for a voice query, for example, it’s not a good user experience if the page they are delivered to isn’t optimized for mobile.
For audio content such as podcasts, the content you create around the episode is key. In fact, you should be considering SEO implications even as you choose your topics and structure your shows, to ensure you’re talking about things people are actually looking to hear about. Optimize your podcast title and description in the same way you do other web content, around a focused keyword. Write a blog post that helps people understand what the episode is about and share a transcript, if possible.
5. Interactive content types
Webinars, virtual events, online courses, and other similar interactive content, when put together well, offer great value for participants and therefore can be considered quality content by Google. We’re about to see an explosion in their popularity, given the potential long-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic, too.
You can improve the SEO strength of your interactive content and virtual events by creating and optimizing supportive content for each channel in which you’ll promote the event. Create graphics to promote the speakers. Shoot a quick explainer video that tells people what they’ll learn or experience if they participate.
And don’t just hold the event and forget it about it—share the recording, write a wrap-up blog post, create an infographic with the top takeaways, create an ebook, and more. Ask participants to share their best photos and feedback and share them on a dedicated page on your site.
The best content isn’t just optimized for search—it starts with search
Optimizing for search isn’t an activity you tack onto the end of the writing process or something you do to an image before publishing. How and where your audience will discover and engage with your different types of content needs to be a key consideration from the very earliest planning stages of your content strategy.
Redesigning the website? Ask how SEO needs to be involved. Writing content? Consider how it can be optimized to fit the SEO strategy. Launching a new product? Involve SEO sooner in the planning. SEO needs to be ingrained throughout every aspect of the business right now, from the very initial planning stages of any project or initiative.
As you become more intentional in strategic content planning, your data will show you which content formats work best at each stage of your unique funnel. Work on developing these measurement and attribution systems, if you do not already have them in place. They will drive your content creation, optimization, and amplification strategy across all channels throughout your COVID-19 recovery and beyond.
Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform BrightEdge. He can be found on Twitter @jimyu.
The post Five SEO content types to power and grow your business through 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- In-home media consumption during the quarantine of March 2020, worldwide, shows that 35% are reading more books/listening to more audiobooks, and 44% are spending more time on social media.
- People are looking for education without getting slumped with an information overload. For example, LinkedIn professionals are going “live” to share data-driven and real insight with their audiences.
- On the other hand, people are looking to stay entertained and keep their minds in a good place during this time of change and are resorting to TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
- How can your brand support your audience and employees? How can you test different methods to motivate and encourage, showing that we’re all in this together?
- Lead digital PR strategist at Directive, Ashton Newell helps businesses create content types that can reach their people through.
- Observations, tips, and personal examples of content types and how her organization has performed in quarantimes.
No one planned for a global pandemic. How could you?
However, the performance marketers who were able to adjust quickly and provide support to their audience (in various ways) are reaping the benefits.
As you know, social media is a tool for people to connect and can be used to empower your brand. Now, it’s one of the few ways to stay connected virtually and build genuine relationships with your audience.
So, what are the winners doing? Here’s a look at the content types that are winning in “quarantimes”:
Think virtual marketing conferences, free online training courses, TikTok dances, business leaders live on LinkedIn, etc.
For those who are interested, continued education has become a way to keep productive and sane during this extra time at home.
According to Statista, in-home media consumption during the quarantine of March 2020, worldwide, shows that 35% are reading more books/listening to more audiobooks, and 44% are spending more time on social media.
Wait, social media….learning? It’s true. Gone are the days of social media just to mindlessly scroll.
For example, LinkedIn professionals are going “live” to share data-driven and real insight with their audiences. This gives them a platform to address what’s happening, share how they’re adjusting, and be vulnerable with their followers.
For example, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley, puts together “a pop-up twice-weekly video show about coping with COVID-19, business, and life” on her LinkedIn profile.
Source: Screenshot from Ann Handley on LinkedIn
Additionally, sharing helpful content is important. However, people may not be as open to read a long whitepaper right now.
How can you provide support and empathy, without being too focused on quarantine that it bums out your reader?
Give them a game plan to succeed during this time.
Source: Screenshot from @thefuturishere on Instagram
The Instagram post above shares 10 quality design slides, actionable tips with real tools the audience can use to add to their WFH set-up, and a strong call-to-action for the reader to leave their favourite tools, so others continue to learn.
A different route
For others, they might not be looking to learn new business skills during this time. Instead, people are looking to stay entertained and keep their minds in a good place during this time of change.
According to Vox, people are turning to Instagram and TikTok to learn how to make Dalgona coffee (whipped coffee) and baking bread. The word “bread” even hit an “all-time high” on Google searches, according to Eater.
Additionally, TikTok videos are now a way that families can learn dances and bond together, according to CNN.
According to the article, TikTok offers various COVID-19 resources for families to engage in positive ways. A nightly series called #HappyAtHome features top creators who share advice, motivation, and more. Educational live streams are also available throughout the popular app.
So, as marketers, why do we care?
As you’re crafting content for social media, what can you share that is educational in some way?
How can you share easily digestible content that leaves the audience taking something new away from it?
- The whipped coffee recipe has three ingredients, and it went viral.
- You don’t need professional equipment to create TikTok videos.
- To go live on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, you don’t need any equipment. Simply hit “Go Live”.
- You can create free infographics with impressive data using Canva.
Overall, listen to your audience. Find what they need during this time.
Give them something they can learn.
Think mental health advocates going live, empathetic stories shared by brands, support for hospitals, charity work.
While your audience may be open to learning, many people are feeling low right now.
Job security may be lost, kids may be home from school, the weather may be depressing, a family member may be sick – this may not be the time your audience wants to pick up a new business book or create something new.
So, how can your brand support them? How can you test different methods to motivate and encourage, showing that we’re all in this together?
It might sound crazy, but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars and make a brand new campaign to reach your people.
Check out this Instagram post from Hubspot that received incredible engagement (their highest of the week) by sharing motivational words that resonate with their audience of marketers and sales specialists looking to grow their businesses.
Screenshot from Hubspot’s Instagram
Additionally, companies are doing big things to support mental health.
According to an article on CNN, the Disaster Distress Helpline, a federal crisis hotline operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, calls in March have gone up by more than 300%, compared to February. Compared to March of last year, the hotline has seen 891% more calls, according to the article.
At Directive, we wanted to support our team and clients during this time by providing “motivation through movement”. As an E-RYT certified yoga instructor, through YouTube Live, I was able to teach a class for our people to get moving, focus on their breath, and keep their wellness a priority through these challenging times.
It was incredibly encouraging to hear feedback that both parties enjoyed the class and felt better, and I was thankful to share my love of the yoga practice with them all.
We highlighted this on social media to encourage other companies to try something similar, as well.
Screenshot from Directive on Instagram
Additionally, companies like Salesforce are utilizing social media to build a schedule around guided meditation, conversations with health and wellness experts, and being present.
Screenshot from Salesforce on LinkedIn
Additionally, companies like Headspace provide motivational (and educational) content on Instagram on how followers can make “no-sew masks from home”. This can help motivate people to stay healthy, even if they don’t have new income coming in.
Source: @headspace on Instagram
While bringing in new income is essential to your business, right now, it’s imperative to put your brand and culture first. People will remember how you made them feel.
Show sentiment to your audience, and make sure it’s authentic. Your actions should be more powerful than your words.
After you find a rhythm that works for your social content, make sure that what you’re sharing is resonating with your audience. We are marketers, and our audience shows us what they like and don’t like through the data.
According to Janet Balis’s article on Harvard Business Review:
“Frequent tracking of human behavioural trends will help marketers gain better insights in real-time. Marketers will want to measure sentiment and consumption trends on a regular basis to better adapt messaging, closely observing the conversation across social media platforms, community sites, and e-commerce product pages to look for opportunities and identify looming crises more quickly.”
Be there for your audience. Mean it. Track it.
3. Building a virtual community
Think Zoom happy hours, live Instagram workouts, Instagram challenges, community support, real images from working from home.
Without your community, life can seem a little duller. Luckily, technology has your back and helps you see your colleagues and loved ones as much as you’d like to.
For some, this has been the key to working remotely and showing up every day.
From experience, the Directive team has all Zoom meetings with the cameras on, to see teammates’ faces, and to have “real” conversations and connections.
Source: Image from Directive
Sharing a real image (like the one above) on social media shows your team coming together and the power of your community.
Additionally, Directive was excited to participate in a #ShowUsYourWorkspace social media challenge. It was encouraging to see the team share their spaces, show their furry friends, and how they’re adapting into their everyday work lives.
They also tagged other companies to “share their spaces” to carry on the challenge as well.
Here is one of the examples
Source: Image from @directiveconsulting on Instagram
Building community with your audience, adjusting to working from home, and showing how you’re sticking together behind the scenes is impactful.
Show your followers how you are doing it and continue to do it. Also, find creative ways to keep your followers engaged.
We’re all in this together
While the world continues to feel a little different, you can educate, motivate, and build your community to encourage your audience to push through and stay on their feet.
You have the tools you need, it’s your time to create winning content for your audience.
Ashton Newell is the lead digital PR strategist at Directive, a performance marketing agency specialized in the software space. When Ashton is away from her day job, she spends her time teaching yoga, cheering on the ASU Sun Devils, and drinking numerous cups of coffee. She can be found on Twitter @ashtonmeisner.
The post Why these three content types are winning quarantine season appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google Ads has recently announced that it now allows ads to be served for queries that it understands to share the same meaning on broad modified and phrase match keywords.
For bigger advertisers, this is probably not a huge concern, as they are not limited by budget. Being visible for a wider range of search terms without having to add thousands of keyword variations can only be a good thing.
But what about those with limited budgets, and those in niche industries that need to target very specific keywords?
While there will undoubtedly be challenges to overcome in light of these changes, there are also likely to be opportunities.
1. Spend may increase
An increase in impressions is likely to equate to more clicks, which is fine if these clicks go on to convert. But with Google determining how relevant a search term is to the keywords in your campaigns, just how much could spend skyrocket if left unchecked?
Neil Andrew from AdTech startup PPC Protect, says:
“These changes are definitely going to result in a massive increase in irrelevant and even invalid traffic on Google Ads accounts that aren’t actively managed/monitored. Our internal analysis on this shows up to 20% increases in budget usage from the change in broad/phrase match keywords, the vast majority of which isn’t relevant to a conversion action. As a SaaS platform provider, we are in a unique position to analyse this.
We have over 35,000 Google Ads accounts connected to our system currently, and we have had a number of users notice an uptick in both wasted spend and irrelevant traffic. We’ve also seen a large share of this traffic be invalid – mostly from bot activity and competitor clicking activity. It seems like narrow niche targeting is getting tougher to achieve by the day.”
2. Impressions may be wasted on irrelevant search terms
If you’re using a target impression share bid strategy, now might be the time to review it as this might impact impression share metrics.
Impressions may now include ads triggered by keywords that Google determines to have the same meaning (unless they are added as negatives). Just how much impression share is Google going to give to variants, rather than the keywords actually in the campaign?
3. Irrelevant terms/keywords would need to be revisited and reviewed
Ads showing for irrelevant terms/keywords that are already in the account that were tested earlier and paused due to poor performance are a major bugbear of mine.
I’ve noticed keywords that have been tested previously, and paused, can still be shown as a close match. So if you have keywords that you’ve paused because they historically haven’t worked well, you’ll now need to check if Google is still serving ads for the keyword and exclude it.
This means you’ll end up with keywords that state both added and excluded.
4. More time will need to be spent on analyzing search term reports and building negative keyword lists
Yes, analyzing search term reports is absolutely something that all PPC managers should be doing on a regular basis. However, having to check search term reports daily to exclude the keywords an advertiser doesn’t want to serve ads for is going to be time-consuming, especially on large accounts, taking time away from managing and optimizing other aspects of a campaign.
Sam Kessenich, Chief Digital Officer, RyTech, is already noticing impressions ramp up.
“Regarding the most recent changes to keyword targeting, without a doubt, these changes will increase impressions and clicks across almost every campaign. We’re noticing an increase across all search campaigns due to this change, and are being forced to do daily or weekly negative keyword additions when keywords don’t match goals. Proper negative keyword research and search term monitoring is the most effective strategy we can do before accounts launch and as accounts are running.”
5. Building ad groups with single keywords just got a lot more difficult
A great way to have control over a campaign at a very granular level is to build single keyword ad groups (SKAG). This strategy allows for highly focused ad copy and landing pages, and as a result, quality scores for this type of campaign are high.
Carolina Jaramillo, Paid Media Manager at POLARIS explains why this strategy will no longer be as effective.
“I’m a big fan of creating SKAG structured campaigns, and this new change might make it more difficult to protect the single keyword ad group structure. Consequently, due to this new change, how will we be able to optimise ad copy for a single keyword when this keyword is liable to match a wide range of different queries? Although I am interested to see how Google will look for opportunities to expand our reach to serve ads for relevant queries as they say in their update, and as they state 15% of searches we see every day are new, we will have to wait and see how this change will affect our clients’ Google Ads campaigns.”
So, can any good come of these changes?
1. May reveal new keywords that were not previously targeted which actually convert
Not everyone searches the same. So coming up with a comprehensive keyword list that captures every single potential search term a user might enter to find your products and services is nigh-on impossible. Keyword research can only take you so far.
With this in mind, showing ads for searches that share the same intent may provide a great opportunity to track down some high converting keywords, which may have otherwise been overlooked.
Haley Anhut, PPC Manager at Clean Origin thinks there are benefits of Google showing not only for close variants but also conceptually related keywords.
“I have already seen some very smart close variants triggering existing keywords. Whether these keywords can be left alone, included within an existing ad group or a new ad group created around those keywords for highly targeted ad copy; all offer a great way to expand your campaign reach and performance. The greater the awareness of a consumer’s journey to conversion, and how that journey functions within the search funnel, allows for a highly tactical approach when reaching consumers. With more data at our fingertips, we can enhance campaign optimization strategy and expand reach through relevant searches.”
2. Will save time creating granular ad groups
As Google is capable of understanding when search terms mean the same thing, and will serve ads as a result, you no longer need to worry about including the keywords within that ad group in the ad copy. While it’s not yet clear how showing ads for close match and intent-based variations of your keywords will impact metrics like ad relevancy, this catch-all approach could save time when it comes to creating granular ad groups containing just a couple of keywords for every campaign.
Coupled with a feature like keyword insertion, this could be a powerful way of increasing reach on low impression campaigns while making the ads more relevant to the user’s search term with minimal effort.
3. Top tips and advice from PPC managers
Rather than panic, you should be proactive in preparing for this change and keep a very close eye on your accounts as it begins to roll out.
“Broad and phrase match CPCs are increasing because there are more campaigns competing for the same keywords now. A good tactic is to allocate a portion of the daily budget to the new phrase match and broad match parameters and see which keywords are resulting in low CPCs and high CTRs. Those keywords can then be optimized into ‘exact matches.’ Overall, this change makes keyword research much more important now because a higher value will lie in ‘exact match’ keywords.”
Haris Karim, Lead Digital Strategist at MAB.
“To avoid the negative effects of unwanted reach, skew towards more specific match types like exact match, although exact match already allows same-meaning close variant targeting so that is not as specific as it once was, too. In addition to this, make sure you are using a robust negative keyword strategy to avoid showing for unwanted queries. Lastly, review your search term reports regularly to ensure your impressions are relevant to your ad group keywords, ads, and landing pages.”
Timothy Johnson, SMB Solutions and PPC Lead at Portent Digital Agency.
“I would say that if you still have some ad groups built around different match types, you should consolidate those ad groups into one. For instance, if you have an ad group dedicated to exact match keywords, and another ad group dedicated to phrase match, the phrase match keywords (which now are showing for more phrases) will cannibalize all of that exact-match traffic unless the exact-match keywords have higher bids and ad rank.”
Adam Gingery, Digital Strategy and Paid Search Manager at Majux Marketing.
“I feel like Google is trying to make our lives easier with this latest change, but it’s actually just making them harder. Yes, there will be opportunities for the big spenders to get more exposure from the lower volume terms that they may not have thought of or come across yet, but for the smaller players that need to spend their limited budget very wisely, it means more time needs to be spent constantly monitoring search term reports and adding more and more negatives. So my tip for those smaller advertisers would be to focus on negative keywords. Regularly check search term reports and add negative phrases straight from there, but also take the single terms within the longer phrases that are wrong, and add those as broad match negatives to stop Google showing ads for another phrase containing that term, if it will always be wrong.”
Ashleigh Davison, Head of Biddable Media, Browser Media.
“The obvious suggestion here to minimize impact is to focus on negative keywords, especially if you can do this preemptively before they start costing you money. So instead of just thinking of all the most obvious negatives that a business would want to avoid, you will now need to start thinking about close variations of your products or services that you may want to add.”
Ryan Scollon, PPC freelance consultant.
What do you think the impact will be? We’d love to know your thoughts.
The post Google Ads announce more changes to match types – Challenges and opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
By knowing how the different type of keywords work and how to utilize these match types, you will be able to reduce unwanted clicks and wasted spend.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Small businesses face a big challenge: they must balance the need to market themselves with small marketing budgets. It’s crucial that they get the word out about their products and services, but they often have limited resources. Therefore, small businesses need ways to market themselves in ways that don’t break the bank.
- Data scientists: Bring the narrative to the forefront
- Core Web Vitals & Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update
- Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads
- The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death
- The FDA’s Decision to Pause J&J Could Help Defeat Covid-19