Digital Marketing Archives - Search Engine Watch https://www.searchenginewatch.com/category/digital-marketing/ Mon, 23 Oct 2023 13:03:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.3.2 Establishing niche authority: leveraging strategic content as a key differentiator https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/10/17/establishing-niche-authority-leveraging-strategic-content-as-a-key-differentiator/ Tue, 17 Oct 2023 15:00:56 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144583 As Google continues to update its algorithms, the use of content has never been more crucial, and this article explains how you can use it to build authority

The post Establishing niche authority: leveraging strategic content as a key differentiator appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Whether you are new to SEO or an experienced SEO junkie, one cannot deny the importance of content to rank well on search engines such as Google and Bing.

Google has often referred to the notion that ‘content is king’ and have made the use of content very key to their algorithms over the years. Such as E-E-A-T update (expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness) and last month’s Google Helpful Content Update which either rewarded or downgraded websites based on the quality and helpfulness of their content.

With this in mind, we speak to some industry experts and growing businesses to understand how they use content to build authority in their industry.

Create guides with statistics

“For a new or existing brand, it is always helpful to add blog posts and guides to their website,” explains Richard Allan, co-founder of energy startup, Warmable.

“Having lots of content shows that you have substance and a website with 50 pages and posts is likely to outrank a site with just 5 or 10.”

However, making this content statistic driven and honing in on real things that people are looking for is a very good way to gain authority.

“So rather than adding the top 10 tips for this or how to save money on that, consider phrases such as these below and be sure to add key statistics high up the page and in the meta-data to make it stand out in the SERPs.”

  • What percentage of people use ….
  • What is the number of people that …
  • How many people do / do not ….
  • How much money can be saved by …
  • How many people in the US/UK are …
  • How much is this (name) industry worth?
  • How many people in the US use …

“A lot of users and indeed journalists are looking for that killer statistic, so you need to be able to show it very early and clearly and have it backed up by a strong source.”

“You will also find that this helps with natural link building because if you rank top for a good phrase or statistical-based question, a journalist will naturally link to you and very often they just take one of the first sources that they see on Google as fact. You would be surprised how many simple and quality links you could generate.”

The layout of the content is key

“How you present your content is very important,” explains Justine Gray of content platform, Trending Impact

To be truly educational, authoritative and informative, you have to make the content very palatable and easy to digest. This can be as simple as adding key bullet points in the beginning of the piece of content to give an overview, using short paragraphs to make clear points and using graphs or images with data to make it stand out. Importantly, you need to get into the information early on and avoid waffling for the sake of increasing the word count.

“A nice feature to organise your text includes using accordion tabs for FAQs, dropdown menus and clickable tabs at the top of the page that take you straight to the desired section,” says Gray.

Use people and use authority figures

Google has added more weighting to the use of authors, guest writers and real expertise behind any guides or blog posts.

With reference to the recent Google Helpful Content Update, webmasters will gain greater authority from having a real face or team member clearly stated as the author on a piece of content, including landing pages and blog posts. 

Saying things such as ‘reviewed by’ and ‘edited by’ will add a lot of credibility, especially if it has a bio which includes relevant qualifications or suggests years of experience – and this is perfect for medical and financial industries. 

Additionally, authors can add their Linkedin and Twitter profile to their bio for added effect.

“We have found that using guest writers who are experts in their fields adds great value,” explains Dr Max Linden, founder of The Hawker Online. “Finding people who run companies, have followers or like putting themselves out there is a good place to start.

“Not only is guest and expertly contributed content more insightful and personable, but you can share it on your social network and theirs too to maximize reach.”

Don’t just use text, use video

“As we all know today, content is not just textual but highly visual,” informs Dean Benzaken, co-founder of Techvolutionary.

“With the help of AI, there are a lot of ways to take your existing content and quickly turn it into voice notes that people can click and hear on the page.”

In addition, videos add great value to any piece of content, and you have some superb tools to help you facilitate this today. So, if you have a long video, you can use Opus to break it down into 10 smaller videos with captions included, or you can use Synthesia to create an AI avatar to auto-generate the text. The opportunities are vast to make your content standout and to create authority in your space.

The post Establishing niche authority: leveraging strategic content as a key differentiator appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Optimize Google’s new Interaction to Next Paint metric https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/05/19/optimize-googles-new-interaction-to-next-paint-metric/ Fri, 19 May 2023 13:00:05 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144546 Interaction to Next Paint is becoming one of the Core Web Vitals metrics that impact Google rankings. Learn what this change means and how you can optimize your website

The post Optimize Google’s new Interaction to Next Paint metric appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

30-second summary:

  • Good page speed and user experience help your site stand out in search results
  • The Interaction to Next Paint metric is replacing First Input Delay
  • You can improve make your site respond faster to user input by reducing CPU processing times

The Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google has defined to measure how good a website’s user experience is. They first became a ranking signal in 2021.

While the metric definitions have been tweaked over time, the introduction of the Interaction to Next Paint metric is the biggest change since the launch of the Core Web Vitals initiative.

What is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?

Interaction to Next Paint is a metric that evaluates how quickly your website responds to user interaction. It measures how much time elapses between the user input, like a button click, and the next time the page content refreshes (the “next paint”).

To rank better in Google this interaction delay should be less than 200 milliseconds. This ensures that the website feels responsive to users.

How are the Core Web Vitals changing?

Google has announced that Interaction to Next Paint will become one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics in March 2024. At that point a website that responds to user input too slowly could do worse in search result rankings.

INP will replace the current First Input Delay (FID) metric. While FID also measures responsiveness, it is more limited as it only looks at the first user interaction. It also only measures the delay until the input event starts being handled, rather than waiting until the user can see the result.

Currently only 64.9% of mobile websites do well on the Interaction to Next Paint metric and it will be harder to get a good INP score than a good First Input Delay score.

How can I measure the Interaction to Next Paint metric on my website?

Run a website speed test to see how fast your website loads and how quickly it responds to user input.

Open the “Web Vitals” tab once your test is complete. You can see the Interaction to Next Paint metric at the bottom of the page.

In this case only 38% of users have a good INP experience.

How can I optimize Interaction to Next Paint?

Interaction delays happen when the browser needs to perform a lot of CPU processing before it can update the page. This can happen for two reasons:

  • Ongoing background tasks prevent the user input from being handled
  • Handling the user input itself is taking a lot of time

Background tasks often happen during the initial page load, but can happen later on as well. They are often caused by third party code embedded on the website.

Responding to a user interaction can require a lot of processing. If that can’t be optimized you can consider showing a spinner to provide visual feedback until the processing task is complete.

Running JavaScript code is the most common type of processing, but complex visual updates can also take a long time.

Use Chrome DevTools to analyze performance

The Chrome DevTools performance profiler shows what tasks are taking a long time and should be optimized. Start a recording, click on an element on the page, and then click on the longest bars in the visualization.

This allows you to identify whether the code comes from a third party or from your own website. You can also dive deeper to see how the task can be sped up.

Check the Total Blocking Time metric to identify background tasks

The Total Blocking Time metric tracks how often there are background CPU tasks that could block other code from running. If the user interacts with the page while a task is already in progress then the browser first completes that task before handling the input event.

You can use tools like Google Lighthouse to see how this metric can be optimized.

If processing-heavy tasks on your website are part of your core website code you’ll need to work with your development team to optimize these. For third parties you can review whether the script is still needed, or contact customer support of the vendor to see if it’s possible to optimize the code.

Monitor Interaction to Next Paint

Want to keep track of how you’re doing on INP and other Core Web Vitals? DebugBear can keep track of your website speed and help you optimize it.

Start a free 14-day trial today and deliver a better user experience.

Conclusion

The Interaction to Next Paint metric represents the biggest change to Google’s Core Web Vitals since they were originally announced. INP addresses the deficiencies of the previous First Input Delay metric and provides a better representation of how users experience a website.

Check how your website does on the Interaction to Next Paint metric before the ranking change is rolled out in 2024. That way you’ll have plenty of time to identify optimizations and make your website faster.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

The post Optimize Google’s new Interaction to Next Paint metric appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Keeping up with the fluidity of the modern consumer https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/04/11/keeping-up-with-the-fluidity-of-the-modern-consumer/ Tue, 11 Apr 2023 09:43:36 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144538 Getting omnichannel targeting right in a complex, digital-first world

The post Keeping up with the fluidity of the modern consumer appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Humanity’s relationship with digital media is changing at an extraordinary pace. In 2021, adults in the United States were already spending an average of 485 minutes a day with digital media. That is over eight hours every day. 31% of U.S. adults claimed they go online “almost constantly” based on a survey from the Pew Research Center.

Because of the uptick in digital usage, we’re also exposed to thousands of ads daily. This represents a dramatic increase over the last decade thanks in large part to social media, among other apps, serving up heavy doses of targeted advertising.

Consumers are fully accustomed to the onslaught of ads, but expectations for relevancy are high. 71% expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this does not happen. So, while they spend more time engaged with digital media and online activities and want the abundance of engagements personalized and meaningful, they also aren’t eager to give up personal information to make that possible.

All of this makes building a unified digital identity, built around email addresses, even more important.  Utilizing the email address as the key identifier is the most effective way for businesses to ensure they’re reaching the intended consumer with consistent, personalized messaging across multiple channels.

 When MarTech and data explode

The pandemic brought about a wave of behavioral changes in consumers. From increased eCommerce sales and digitally purchased groceries and household goods, to reduced loyalty as consumers sampled new brands. Many of these changes seem to have staying power.

Managing digital identities becomes necessary, but more challenging, when you consider the expanding universe of data, devices, platforms, and channels comprising the digital world.

The MarTech ecosystem is bulging at the seams with companies trying to capitalize thanks to these new opportunities. As of 2022, there were nearly 10,000 MarTech vendors offering solutions, growing a staggering 6,521% from 2011 to 2022 (ChiefMartec).

The cause for concern runs high. With so many applications and solutions in play at any given time, it is easy to understand how organizations struggle to keep consumer data up to date and synced appropriately. It’s common to discover companies have conflicting or incorrect information.

Moreover, people may use different email addresses depending on how and with whom they interact. For example, online shopping. Retailers may have a customer’s email linked to their billing information, another tied to promotions and loyalty programs, and perhaps a third from contact with customer support. Finding that multiple email addresses link back to the same person is highly beneficial.

Not only do consumers use multiple email addresses, but when close to 30% of data decays annually, it’s likely some of them created or are using a different email address than what exists in a company’s system. Targeting can only reach the audience if based on up-to-date and preferred information.

Despite the growing number of apps in companies’ tech stacks, businesses are recognizing the importance of properly and actively managing digital identities by placing them in the hands of the marketers and data analysts that use these profiles every day. This renewed focus is the only way forward to meet customer’s expectations for personalization, keep retention high, and effectively improve digital marketing overall.  

Email data underpins digital identity

Centering around consumer email data provides marketers with the strongest foundation to keep pace with customers and prospects. That’s because email remains the center of digital transactions for a large number of industries. The most effective way marketers can make sure they have clean, valid email addresses and connect with actual customers is by utilizing a process for email validation.

Marketers need to verify that email addresses exist, are deliverable, and contain no risk. Running email addresses through a series of syntax, domain, and mailbox checks will meet the goals of pinpointing and deleting bad emails, correcting errors, and resolving discrepancies.

After all, messaging that doesn’t reach the recipient wastes resources with missed opportunities and poor campaign performance. When it comes to email marketing, for example, email service providers may direct senders with bad lists to the spam folder or worse, block emails entirely.

Email validation helps digital omnichannel campaigns reach their targets. And good email data can also help companies protect themselves against fraud as an estimated 40% of fraudsters use a newly created email, and 10% of fraud is attempted using invalid or fake addresses.

Keeping up to speed with the modern consumer as they engage brands across a plethora of touchpoints is not easy. Even the number of connections attributed to the average consumer is growing – over 13 for North America in 2023 (

The one common thread tying together all of these transactions and interactions? The email address.

Managing this data doesn’t need to be as daunting as it might seem. With proper validation you can be certain you’re using good information. Utilizing email intelligence will allow for the personalization consumers are expecting. Resolving digital identities will make their experience consistent. And the proper data will help reduce potential fraud. All of this revolves around strong email address data.

Learn how the right email-centric data drastically affects digital marketing

 

The post Keeping up with the fluidity of the modern consumer appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Outreach: Make every email count https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/03/17/outreach-make-every-email-count/ Fri, 17 Mar 2023 15:15:45 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144528 Email outreach is getting harder and harder as people are tired of daily unsolicited emails. Here’s how to generate better results with your email outreach

The post Outreach: Make every email count appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

30-second summary:

  • Send emails manually to be able to build longer-lasting relationships with your recipients
  • Set up your email signature to make your emails look professional
  • Track email opens to be able to tell which emails were never seen
  • Create an effective follow-up strategy (which includes Twitter)
  • Organize your email campaigns using labels

Email fatigue is real: People get weary of opening yet another email pitch, especially people like bloggers and journalists who are bombarded by emails on a daily hourly basis.

Editors are skeptical of people looking for links, popular bloggers have more offers than they can handle and influencers are too busy to give your email a chance.

Fortunately, there are a few little email tricks you can use to help make things easier and help you get more responses.

Don’t email from an outreach tool

I know the overall industry’s standard is to always use some kind of email outreach platform in order to be able to send hundreds of emails a day. Most outreach managers will tell you that you cannot have a successful email outreach campaign without streamlining it with tools (and they actually told me that).

When I am not a professional outreach manager, and when you do outreach for clients, that’s likely true. But when you reach out to people on behalf of your own business or about your own project, have your team do it manually.

Yes, it will take more time but the reward will be more niche relationships.

Somehow tools make it too quick and faceless. You automate pretty much anything and move on from contact to contact without paying much attention.

When you send manually, you get to know each contact better. You spend some time reading their site or their column. You may even click on their social media links and follow them. You take time to personalize your email with some nice details.

People respond to these emails better. It always feels like there’s a truly personal touch. You just cannot fake it.

Create a detailed email signature

Have your outreach people set up their email signatures which would mention your business, their position, and maybe your social media accounts.

This is a great way to show that you represent a trustworthy brand and can be worked with. It makes it easy for the editor you’re trying to reach to do a little bit of research on you beforehand and know that you’re not hiding anything.

Here’s how to add a signature in Outlook, and here’s how to do that in Gmail. Here’s also a guide for Mac Mail users.

It is also a good idea to include some kind of soft CTA into your email subject. For example, you can invite your prospects to subscribe to your newsletter. This way there will be an additional conversion funnel for those who didn’t feel like replying right away.

Experiment with your copy

This step can never be perfected because there are no limits to improving your response rate. Just try different subjects and copy ideas to try and get more people to notice your email.

Asking ChatGPT for some email subject and copy ideas is a good way to get inspired!

ChatGPT on email ideas

There are also quite a few templates to experiment with different layouts and wording.

Track your email opens

There are quite a few tools that track certain emails to see whether or not they’ve been opened. You are in control of which emails you want to track so you are not overloaded with information, and those tools work with Gmail, Outlook, and even a few specialty email platforms.

I am using one called Mailtrack, and here’s what it looks like when my email wasn’t read:

Icon when email is unread

The icon changes once your email is opened:

Change email icons

If an email has been opened, you will get a notification at the top of your screen. You can also organize your sent messages to show only unopened emails you are tracking. You can “mute” a conversation whenever you’d like and there are plenty of customizable settings.

This is an excellent way to see where you should spend your time sending follow-up messages. If you know that someone opened your email and did not respond, it means they will likely recognize a second one and may have forgotten to respond. You don’t want to be overbearing, but this helps you see where your opportunities may lie.

Fine-tune your follow-up strategy

Life is busy, so your email may be unnoticed by those who would otherwise find it useful. Following-up is an integral part of any outreach.

Gmail comes with a few nice features helping you follow up manually. For example, it will remind you of unanswered emails automatically after a few days. You can also snooze your emails to be reminded of them once the time comes. To enable snoozing:

  • Select the email you want to Snooze.
  • Click the Snooze button on top of the list
  • Pick a date and time to bring that email back to the top of your inbox.

Snooze emails

You can find your snoozed emails in the Snoozed tab in Gmail.

When it comes to follow-up, a little automation won’t hurt, so you can use one of the many follow-up solutions that work on Gmail or your email client.

It is always a good idea to ping that person on Twitter. This will make you look real and will likely help your lead remember you and find your email in the inbox. Obviously, you can only do that for those contacts that are very important to you.

Use labels to create folders for your pitches

There are certainly different ways you can craft your email pitch, but there are also methods you can use that are directly related to your email interface that can help you stay organized if you use them in the right way. Using labels is one of those methods.

This is another way to stay organized if you’re trying to find different opportunities. As you continue to pitch different editors, you can create a label to sort out all of your emails. You will already have System Labels, such as your Inbox, Starred, Sent, etc., as well as Categories, such as Social, Updates, etc., but you have the opportunity to create custom labels.

If you group your email pitches using campaign-based labels, you can help keep them away from your other work emails and have one specific place to see everyone you’ve tried to reach out to within every campaign; thus helping you know when it’s time for a follow-up email.

Conclusion

Email outreach is still the most effective way to generate backlinks, build niche contacts and create brand awareness. It is becoming harder year by year. Hopefully, the above tips will make yours easier and more productive!


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Outreach: Make every email count appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Five video optimization tips to help boost your landing page conversions https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/02/23/five-video-optimization-tips-to-help-boost-your-landing-page-conversions/ Thu, 23 Feb 2023 12:21:47 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144515 Videos can considerably increase your landing page conversions, if you use them right. They will also help you create additional traffic and product discovery channels

The post Five video optimization tips to help boost your landing page conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

30-second summary:

  • According to various studies, videos help engage your page visitors as well as get them to remember your value proposition better and help them make purchase decisions
  • When creating marketing videos to add to your landing page, keep them shorter than 2 minutes and position them prominently on the page
  • Make sure to add convincing CTAs within your video to drive action
  • While videos can boost on-page engagements, they can slow down your page (which may hurt its rankings), so make sure to lazy-load your videos and keep an eye on your Core Web Vitals
  • Optimize your video page to increase its chances to rank in Google and generate traffic and product awareness

Video marketing has been on the rise for over a decade now. Consumers are getting more and more used to watching video content wherever they go, be it on Facebook or on a product page.

Which may make one think:

Isn’t video content expected by now?

Shouldn’t we produce a video every chance we get?

However, the real question is: Will videos be a conversion ignitor or a conversion killer?

Let’s find out!

First, some tempting stats…

There are plenty of case studies and reports claiming that using a video on a landing page is a great idea for boosting conversions:

  • How-to videos is the most popular type of videos. According to Google itself, it is the most popular format of the video, even more popular than music or gaming.
  • Viewers tend to remember 95% of a message after watching a video, and only 10% after reading it. Moreover, videos are capable of boosting conversions by 10-20% (Studies vary here, so numbers can even be much higher).
  • Consumers tend to watch a video about a product rather than to read about it. Forbes Insights found that 83% of people prefer watching video to reading text.
  • In an older Animoto survey, nearly all the respondents (96% of them) found videos helpful when making purchasing decisions online.

Now, some important technical stats…

1. The longer a video, the lower its engagement

You have about 10 seconds to grab the attention of viewers with a video marketing clip. According to Facebook, people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch for at least ten more seconds, so there’s a pretty tight window here.

Once your video manages to grab a viewer’s attention, they will likely engage for two more minutes. After two minutes the engagement is sharply declining. Obviously, the more interesting a video is, the more people will watch but since we are talking about the engagement with a landing page, it is not about narrative videos that are able to hold viewers’ attention for 30 minutes or more.

That being said:

  • Make sure your video’s first 10 seconds will grab attention
  • Then make it no longer than two minutes to ensure your page visitors will perform a desired action on the page, instead of feeling bored or vice versa too engaged with your video.

Average-engagment-vs-video-length

2. In-video CTAs work!

Lots of landing page videos I’ve seen are missing in-video CTAs which is unfortunate because a video on a landing page is a very essential part of most buying journeys. In fact, a call-to-action within a video may drive as much as 380% more clicks to a landing page.

The whole purpose of a video on a landing page is to drive conversions, so create a video that leads into the sales funnel and gives detailed instructions on what to do next.

In-video CTAs can be in the form of verbal messages (i.e. the narrator encourages users to follow certain steps) and graphic end screens (an end screen with a call-to-action).

Don’t forget that your video may also be a traffic driver (i.e. people from Youtube clicking a link in the description to get to your landing page) as well as the discovery channel (people watch that video elsewhere and become aware of your product).

So make sure those CTAs can be followed directly without visiting your site, for example, where possible provide a phone number to call right away. On a similar note, make sure that desired action can be performed any time without direct involvement of your team. Set up smart AI-powered communication technology that can engage your leads during off-hours, like IVR or chatbots.

3. Video placement matters

Video placement is never something to take lightly. There’s no single tactic here, because no product or page is the same. A/B test different layouts and then experiment more.

From an SEO perspective, Google recommends using a video prominently on a page for it to index it and potentially generate video rich snippets.

Prominent videos can boost engagement by 50%. Additionally, repeating a video in the product image carousel and then lower on the page can improve performance of a page.

CrateBarrel

If your site runs on WordPress, there are a few themes that have video landing pages already coded up. I have found a few great ones on this list, so check it out when you have a moment.

4. Videos can slow down your page

Embedding any third-party content, including videos, will slow down the page, and lower your Core Web Vitals score. This can, in turn, hurt your page rankings because Core Web Vitals are official ranking signals. As an examples, here are scores before I embed a video:

embedded-video

And here’s the same page but with a video embedded:

embedded-video-2

Depending on your content management system, there may be different solutions to make this step easier. Here’s the workaround for WordPress (which will also help speed up your whole site, not just that specific landing page), and here’s a tutorial for Shopify. Wix claims to handle video lazy-loading for you. Check with your current CMS if you are using an alternative one.

5. Videos rank!

Wherever you are hosting your video (Youtube, Wistia, or else), don’t forget the basics: Use your keywords in the most prominent places (title, description, file name, etc.). Remember: Videos rank incredibly well and they can actually drive more people to your site and build awareness, not just help boost conversions.

Video page optimization is not much different from any content optimization process: You need relevant and useful content surrounding your video. You can also check out my Youtube optimization checklist to get your videos to rank higher:

How-to-make-your-video-rank-higher

So, should you start pumping out videos?

Videos can be very expensive and time consuming to produce. Which makes creating them difficult to justify if you’re a conversion focused organization.

What it really comes down to is your list of conversion hypotheses. Every growth team and conversion optimization team should have a running list of hypotheses to test. Each hypothesis should be ranked (at the very least) by:

  • Test ease (or difficulty).
  • Test cost. Consider developer-hours, video production costs, designer costs.
  • Potential reward. How much do you expect this particular hypothesis to move the needle and why?

By creating a list that ranks your hypotheses, you can make better judgment calls as to what tests to run immediately and what tests you should put on the back burner.

You may have significant data (qualitative and/or quantitative) that suggests creating videos will produce a large return on investment. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid – get your director’s hat on and start pumping out video!

Side note: The system you create for your hypothesis list will most likely require continual improvement and tweaking to get it right. The important thing is to start one now if you haven’t. As you run tests, you’ll figure out what other metrics or ranking factors help you make better decisions for choosing what tests to run. Just be sure to iteratively improve your system according to your new findings.

Do you feel up to it?

Using videos to increase conversions is yet another risk vs. reward calculation. The upside can be huge, so don’t shy away from this conversion boosting technique.


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Five video optimization tips to help boost your landing page conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Insights to empower 2023 ecommerce strategies https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/02/16/insights-to-empower-2023-ecommerce-strategies/ Thu, 16 Feb 2023 11:18:23 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144507 Discover four tips retailers and advertisers can use to boost conversion, improve ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), optimize price, and build successful ecommerce strategies in 2023

The post Insights to empower 2023 ecommerce strategies appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

Insights to empower 2023 ecommerce strategies

30-second summary:

  • Retailers should use a data-driven approach to develop their marketing strategies to succeed in today’s volatile economy
  • Current tumultuous economic conditions are disrupting the retail landscape by forcing store closures and forecasting bankruptcies
  • Marketing intelligence for pricing, advertising, and promotions is critical in gaining an edge against competitors
  • Managing Partner at GrowByData, Prasanna Dhungel, shares ecommerce strategy tips for 2023 to attract, convert and retain customers

The economy in 2020 was in a volatile state, primarily due to the pandemic. In November 2020, despite rising Covid cases, retailers were providing SALE offers on 13% of ads and special promotions on only 7% of ads. On the other hand, consumer spending growth was recorded at 9%.

Fast-forward to 2021 – The economy was recovering from COVID that was evident in consumer spending growth of 13.5%. With a slightly eased supply chain and better economic conditions, November holidays in 2021 saw 14% growth in special offers, which had grown twice as much compared to 2020. Furthermore, SALE offers were seen on 12% of ads which was slightly lower than the previous year.

However, in 2022, the Russia-Ukraine war coupled with unfathomable COVID rise in manufacturing nation like China impacted the economic indicators once again. With rising inflation, consumer spending had fallen drastically to mere growth rate of 6%-8%. For this year’s November Holiday, 60% of consumers mentioned discounts and promotions playing a huge role in their purchasing decisions.

Surprisingly, during November 2022, there was a drop with only 8% focused on special promotion ads.  However, SALE offer was in a rise visible in 15% of ads.

sales vs special promotions - ecommerce strategies

A similar trend was seen in average pricing in Google Shopping ads that is, turbulent economy was reflecting in lower average price in 2020 and 2022 compared to 2021 – when the economy was flourishing.

Average Pricing - ecommerce strategies

Heading into a deeper recession in 2023 

As we enter 2023, we expect to continue heading into a recession.

According to a monthly survey conducted by Bloomberg, the likelihood of a US recession in 2023 jumped to a whopping  70% – as a series of Federal Reserve interest hikes drove fears of a stagnant economy. To make matters worse, a rise in US unemployment throughout the year has also been predicted to cause more pain in the labor market.

On the contrary, to remain competitive in the market, gross margin in retail is expected to go down. In this paradigm, pressure will rise on spending like advertising.  Consumers will start scouting for cheaper products causing retailers and advertisers to provide low-priced products to win market share. Therefore, the road ahead for retailers is going to be bumpy.  Per UBS analyst report, 50,000 store closures in the US is expected over the next 5 years. News of mega-stores like Bed Bath & Beyond potentially going to bankruptcy has emerged.

Based on our 2020 and 2022 economic analysis, retailers most likely will have unsold inventories to clear during the 2023 November Holidays. That said, consumers will see more SALE ads over special promotions, alongside noticing a drop in average pricing in shopping ads.

Tips for 2023 ecommerce strategies

Consumer spending, which has been decreasing in the last 3 years, will most likely fall in 2023 as well. Discounts, Promotions, and cheaper prices are the only ways to attract customers to stretch their wallets.

Despite the bleak outlook, retailers utilizing marketing intelligence for their pricing, advertising, and promotions will most likely survive and gain an edge in 2023. Here are a few tips for retailers and advertisers to succeed in 2023 –

1. Optimize ecommerce trustworthiness factors to boost conversion

Trust plays an integral role in converting business. To ensure a high conversion rate, it is imperative to build a customer’s trust in your eCommerce ecosystem. It is fair to say that online shoppers are often reluctant to make a purchase due to uncertainty on an unfamiliar channel or brand or product. For an eCommerce business, gaining trust is crucial as customers are unable to physically see the product. Businesses must focus on optimizing trustworthiness as it will have tremendous impact in the conversion. That being said, trust is a psychological state that can be easily influenced.

Here are the ways to optimize your ecommerce trustworthiness.

  1. Showcase customer reviews and ratings, use trust badges and seals, offer secure payment options, display contact information prominently, maintain a strong presence on social media – all these attributes gain trust from your customers. Additionally, have good shipping & return policies, and enhance your website’s user experience. This will reassure your company’s transparency and guarantee customer satisfaction. All these should lead to increased customer loyalty and sales. For instance, Google rewards the “trusted store” badge to stores offering fast shipping, good return policies, a high-quality website, and good ratings – all the factors that signify a good customer experience.
  2. Shopping ad extensions is another great way to improve the trustworthiness and effectiveness of your shopping ads. Ad extensions allows you to provide additional information about your product/business in your ad, which will help increase the credibility of your ad and the likelihood of users clicking on it. For example, you can use the “product review & ratings” extension to display the average rating your business has received from customers. This can help potential customers feel more secure during their purchase journey.
  3. Offer competitive shipping and return policies to add a layer of trust and credibility for your brand. Customers generally prefer to shop with brands that offer free shipping or expedited shipping options. A hassle-free return policy will not only help build trust with customers but also create a good brand image since you have taken that extra step to ensure the customer’s satisfaction. For example: if you offer a 10-day return policy while your competitor is offering a 3-day return, customers are more likely to choose your product vs your competition. Additionally, having a local presence in the market is also a plus point. Customers will know you exist in their market. Offer 24/7 customer helpline and chat for your customers to get feel like they can contact you easily.
  4. If you are a brand, you should have a MAP policy in the US and Canada. Having a MAP and channel policy helps ensure your brand’s product’s price and channel consistency across the digital shelves.  You must clearly communicate your MAP policy to your retailers & partners and provide them with the necessary guidelines for selling your products. Setting up a MAP policy and ensuring its enforcement helps brand maintain their value and ultimately improves trust and credibility amongst resellers and ultimately shoppers.

2. Optimize ROAS by lowering advertising cost

Here are six ways to achieve this –

  1. Pursue Holistic Search Strategy to mobilize budget across SEO and SEM to dominate Google SERP. In 2022, our top Auto retailer client increased 20% revenue by redirecting ad spending from keywords where they were doing well in Organic.
  2. Improve your keyword quality score to boost impressions and CTR with lower CPC. We have noticed retailers not utilizing special offers during this adverse time. We humbly disagree with this strategy as it is imperative to offer discounts through special offers over dropping prices. This simple tactic can improve your ad quality and reduce your CPC.
  3. Optimize your product experience by focusing on product title, price, quality, color, description, promotions, reviews, etc. This will not only increase your chance of conversion but also help improve your keyword quality score.
  4. Ensure affiliate compliance to reduce revenue churn and better partner with your loyal affiliates.
  5. Monitor violations in your brand term that are inflating your CPC.
  6. Enforce MAP Compliance to avoid pricing wars reducing your margins and brand value.

3. Dynamic pricing optimization to maximize margin

To be on top of the game, retailers must have insights into current market pricing to ensure optimum pricing to beat competitors. The approach taken for dynamic pricing strategies to penetrate while maximizing margin from the market will be critical for growth.

4. Strategic promotional planning to attract consumers

Consumers will always be gazing for promotions. In this adverse economic situation, a strategic promotion plan will help optimize advertising and conversions.

Conclusion

As the pandemic-riddled period comes to an end, innovation becomes a key factor for survival in the volatile market of today. Furthermore, with a shift in the retail landscape consumer expectations and demands will be a leading force in 2023.

Retailers and advertisers must remain flexible, adaptive, and affordable to get an edge against competitors to maximize their market share. They should use a unified marketing intelligence solution that showcases them versus competition in the eyes of the shoppers on the digital shelves. We recommend retailers use a data-driven approach to developing their marketing strategies to improve their chances of success in 2023.


Prasanna Dhungel co-founded and runs GrowByData, which powers performance marketing for leading brands such as Crocs and top agencies like Merkle. GrowByData offers marketing intelligence for search, marketplace, and product management to win new revenue, boost marketing performance and manage brand compliance.

Prasanna also advises executives, board & investors on data strategy, growth, and product. He has advised leading firms such as Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, Athena Health, and Apellis Pharma.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Insights to empower 2023 ecommerce strategies appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Seven huge, yet common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2023 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2023/02/15/seven-huge-yet-common-seo-mistakes-to-avoid-in-2023/ Wed, 15 Feb 2023 10:21:05 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144499 Here are some of the most common SEO mistakes that could be sabotaging your online presence and how to avoid them in easy steps

The post Seven huge, yet common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2023 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

SEO friendly

30-second summary:

  • SEO has become a key area of practice for online businesses to gain visibility. If it’s done wrong, however, it can stagnate or even sabotage your online visibility
  • From filling an entire page up with nothing but images to creating tons of bad keywords or spending too much time on meta keywords
  • Here is a list of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid and be future-ready

It is easy to make mistakes when doing SEO for a website. I’ve even caught myself making stupid mistakes here and there. That being said, it’s important for webmasters to know what some of the bad things to do are when it comes to SEO.

Sites with no mistakes stand a better chance against the big guys. Sites that have many backlinks, but have some problems in the markup can quickly climb in the search results when the SEO boo-boos are fixed. Luckily for webmasters, most of these mistakes are extremely easy to fix and can be completely fixed within minutes.

For those with search engines regularly crawling their sites, the changes can be made search engine-side almost instantly. Those with slightly lower crawl rates will naturally have to wait longer, but the changes will have their benefits in time. I want to add also that this article will be reflecting the changes in SEO in recent years as meta keywords, for example, are definitely not as important as they once were.

Here are the most common SEO mistakes and how to solve them:

SEO mistake #1: Nothing to read

The problem:

You have either filled an entire page up with nothing but images OR you are using development methods that aren’t crawler friendly, for example a site that uses nothing but flash. The search engine has no text (or anything) to read.

You may have a well-written and keyword rich article that may be beautifully displayed in flash or images, but the search engines may not be able to read it. Therefore, you won’t rank very well for your keyword rich article.

The solution:

According to Google’s official webmaster guidelines,

Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include a few words of descriptive text“.

Also, I would recommend you to always go for more plain text on your website. And just because it is called plain text doesn’t mean it has to look plain. There are some very beautifully designed sites that are easily readable by search engines. You don’t have to sacrifice beauty so that the search engines can crawl your site.

SEO mistake #2: Nondescript URLs

The problem:

You might have a great webpage on your website with a keyword rich description on let’s say strawberry cheesecake. You go in depth on your article about how wonderful and deliciously moist your cheesecake recipe is. Your URL, however just says www.somesortofsite.com/node61. Search engines place importance not only on the URL, which should describe your site in some way, but also on the slug which, in this case, I’ve called node61.

The solution:

Get a URL that describes your site. If you have a website on affiliate marketing, for instance, try to get something like https://affiliatemarketing.com. If you write an article about affiliate marketing tips, insights or whatever else, make sure the slug represents that somehow so that the URL will be something like that one of this article about affiliate marketing programs. There are many ways to do this depending on the content management system you use. You can configure WordPress to automatically give you a descriptive slug based on the title of your article or you can also input your own slug.

SEO mistake #3: Meta keywords obsession

The problem:

You are spending too much time researching and finding the BEST keywords to use in your meta tags.

The solution:

Don’t spend too much time doing this.

According to Neil Patel, the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar:

Meta keywords are no longer relevant in today’s SEO. Google may decide to change the rules in the future, but for now, you don’t have to waste your time on it“.

If you’re a WordPress user, there’s no need to add more tags that you think are relevant to your content,” he added.

While there are still many webmasters who still think the opposite, they are definitely not as important as they were in the past. they were so important in the past, that I even still have an article on nothing but meta keywords! Now, however, meta keywords mean much less than they did in the past. I must confess that I DO still input information into those cute little metadata fields, but I do not spend nearly as much time on that as I used to. You shouldn’t either. Get some quick tags and a nice little description in there and call it a day. Basically just set it and forget it.

SEO mistake #4: Missing alt tags

The problem:

No “alt tags” on your images.

The solution:

Add alt tags to each of your images. By doing this, you’re giving search engines information about what’s in the photo. You don’t have to describe the entire picture, but at least put something descriptive there!

According to Google:

… If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include a few words of descriptive text

Everyone likes to know what’s in a photo, even if they can’t see it. Many people do not have the time to input alt tags for every single little icon or part of the design. It isn’t really necessary to have alt tags on ALL images, just the important ones. The alt tag argument is becoming more and more controversial, but it doesn’t hurt to add them and personally, I’ve noticed a difference since adding them.

SEO mistake #5: Using HTML instead of CSS

The problem:

Everything on your site is HTML. You love HTML and can’t get enough of it.

The solution:

If your site design is in HTML, you’re committing a cardinal development sin. What year is this – 1997? Site design should be written in CSS. Why is this a problem? Search engines can have difficulty differentiating what is design and what is content if your site is written strictly in HTML.

Another difficulty faced by those whose sites aren’t in CSS is painstaking process of making changes to a layout.

SEO mistake #6: No backlinks

The problem:

Your site has no back links.

The solution:

A site’s on-page SEO really helps, but off-page SEO is what’s going to bring it to the top. Websites need back links and quality back links.

According to Patel:

When deciding how to rank your website, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines look at how many links lead to your site (and the quality of those links)“.

The more high-quality, trustworthy, and authoritative sites linking to you, the higher your blog posts and sales pages will appear on search result pages,” he added.

In fact, one of the most important part of SEO is back links. It’s important to also put your keywords in your backlinks. It’s important for backlinks to be natural… or at least appear natural, so webmasters must take care in not creating too many backlinks right away.

Too many backlinks in a short span of time looks fishy and sites have been penalized for this. Take it slow. Add a new backlink here and there. Taking it slow allows you a lot of space to dabble a little – to see what works and what doesn’t without a major investment of time or money.

SEO mistake #7: Bad keywords

The problem:

You’ve picked a great keyword, but you have 50,387 back links and still don’t rank for the keyword.

The solution:

You’ve picked some bad keywords. If you’ve already got a ton of backlinks and you wish to stay in your niche, you’ll probably bring a lot more traffic in with “ahem” slightly less competitive keywords.

Every niche has those extremely competitive keywords, but those with a little creativity and research, you can come up with some good keywords – ones that people search for often, but is something for which your website can rank.


Jacob McMillen is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant. He can be found on Twitter @jmcmillen89 and LinkedIn as Jacob McMillen.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Seven huge, yet common SEO mistakes to avoid in 2023 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
Google market pulse for search marketers https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/12/20/google-market-pulse-for-search-marketers/ Tue, 20 Dec 2022 12:06:03 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144377 A guide covering all the key organic Google SERP features you can harness for a successful strategy in 2023

The post Google market pulse for search marketers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

Google market pulse for search marketers

30-second summary:

  • Google is always testing new spots on the page for SERP components
  • In simple terms, the #1 position in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your paid ad listing will be visible without scrolling
  • Organic position #1 reported by Google Search Console is not the actual position 1 on page
  • A lot of anomalies and assumptions impact your paid and organic clicks – is there a smart way to counter this problem?
  • Leading advisor and performance marketing expert, Prasanna Dhungel unravels four key insights marketers to maximize performance marketing initiatives in 2023

Over the last two decades, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has evolved a lot. The Google SERP, which once only had organic listings now features dynamic paid ads and other organic SERP components as well.

Currently, Google SERP has many organic features like –

  • People also ask (PAA),
  • Popular products,
  • featured snippets,
  • Google MAP,
  • image packs,
  • videos,
  • Tweets, and many more that I believe we are just scratching the surface of

Paid features currently seen on Google SERP are –

  • Shopping ads,
  • text ads, and
  • MAP local search ads

These are some paid features advertisers should not ignore if they want to build better advertising and content strategies for maximum search marketing ROI.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

Google varies the composition of SERP by keyword, geography, time of day, and device. Google is testing new spots on the page for SERP components. What does all this mean, you may ask? In simple terms, the #1 position in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your listing will be visible without scrolling. It means that an organic position #1 reported by Google Search Console is not actual position 1 on the page. So, you have a much lower CTR than you expect, and all these impact your paid and organic clicks.

People Also Ask results across industries and products

With this dynamic nature of SERP, search marketers must understand the SERP landscape and their brand’s true rank on Google vs competition. This view will enable search marketers to deploy the right paid and SEO tactics to maximize visibility and clicks.

Based on my experience and understanding of the dynamic SERP, here are four key insights marketers should focus on to maximize their performance marketing initiatives.

1. Analyze the composition of SERP for your keywords

Marketers must understand SERP features visible for their keywords. The graph below suggests that along with organic, SERP features like PAA and popular products are taking significant real estate for “apparel” and “accessories” keywords. Search marketers that are not targeting these components will miss acquiring customers in different stages of their buying journey that are clicking on People Also Ask.

SERP-Presence

2. Monitor emerging and contracting SERP features

Marketers must understand new SERP features that have appeared and are getting popular for their keyword traffic. This helps develop a long-term advertising and content plan that targets popular SERP features.

In the last quarter, we identified Map Local Search Ads and App Install (in mobile devices) SERP features appearing in the “apparel” and “accessories” keywords. We saw growth in the popularity of PAA and popular products across many keyword groups.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

3. Keep track of above-the-fold SERP features

Understanding the SERP features visible above-the-fold real estate is critical. These insights will help marketers understand the dynamics of rising and falling SERP click-through rates. You may wonder why the clicks are declining even though your average position reported on Google Reports is improving. Such questions can be answered with true ad position in SERP.

As shown in the below graph, the usual organic component in this keyword landscape has lower above-the-fold coverage compared to SERP features like PAA and popular products.

Insights like these help marketers understand the fastest gateway to the first page above the fold position. Marketers can build a holistic search strategy to correctly allocate their search marketing budget across organic and paid SERP features.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

4. Monitor competitor’s through SERP features

Google is an ultra-competitive channel. You have many domains appear on Google SERP from aggregators to publishers to actual competitors of your business model. To build the right marketing tactics -it is imperative to understand the top domains by SERP features, their competitive tactics, and the SERP landscape changes.

From planning link building to acquiring secondary traffic to improving authority score to crafting advertising and content strategies – SERP-driven insights like these help you maximize search advertising performance.

Track and monitor Leaders-by-SERP-feature

Additionally, monitoring your top emerging competitors’ tactics across SERP formats allows you to timely optimize your advertising campaigns. As shown in the graph below, Amazon has tremendously improved its Google Shopping Ads Share of Voice from May to July 2022.

When brands like this are heavily advertising in a category, marketers will need to advertise products in categories Amazon is not aggressively pushing and come back when Amazon advertising slows down.

Time your search ads based on historical trends to optimize performance

Conclusion

Google is increasingly sharing less data. Google ad data doesn’t show advertisers which low impressions may be appearing and creeping up on your CPCs. Google search console data doesn’t show true rank, and the organic rank shared isn’t representative of the actual location on the page.

Going into 2023, it is imperative for search marketers to use SERP-driven insights to gain an edge in their performance marketing campaigns.


Prasanna Dhungel co-founded and runs GrowByData, which powers performance marketing for leading brands such as Crocs and top agencies like Merkle. GrowByData offers marketing intelligence for search, marketplace, and product management to win new revenue, boost marketing performance and manage brand compliance.

Prasanna also advises executives, board & investors on data strategy, growth, and product. He has advised leading firms such as Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, Athena Health, and Apellis Pharma.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Google market pulse for search marketers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
From cookie, to beyond CRM and constant consent – why cookieless means a brighter future for digital experience https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/11/10/from-cookie-to-beyond-crm-and-constant-consent-why-cookieless-means-a-brighter-future-for-digital-experience/ Thu, 10 Nov 2022 14:00:35 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144291 Parking the issue and sleeping on the job could prove more problematic in the long run

The post From cookie, to beyond CRM and constant consent – why cookieless means a brighter future for digital experience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
The demise of the cookie as we know it may have been given yet another stay of execution by Google, but let there be no doubt: its end is coming. Yet, people are still underprepared: one recent study of 500 CMOs in the UK and US suggests that nearly 50 percent are not well prepared for the days when cookies become a thing of the past.

They are not alone. Repeated delays and a lack of concrete roadmaps for credible scalable long-term alternatives for identification, targeting, reporting and evolving marketing strategies are muddying the waters. However, there are steps which can and should be taken by businesses of all kinds to prepare for the day the cookie is finally removed from the jar. Parking the issue and sleeping on the job could prove more problematic in the long run, as the cookie has been one of the more foundational aspects of performance marketing and digital infrastructure as a whole. Preparing for its absence is a marathon, not a sprint.

It may not be sexy, but a full data compliance, first-party data and activation strategy needs to be a crucial first step. The problem with cookies is their ubiquity. We’ve all become very used to dealing with them; still, they are far from the be all and end all of recognising customers online and especially in these increasingly privacy-conscious days, they have significant limitations. Google’s own VP and GM of ads, Gerry Dischler, put it best: “Cookies and other third party identifiers which some are advocating for within the industry do not meet rising expectations that consumers have when it comes to privacy. They will not stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions. They simply cannot be trusted in the long term.”

Luckily, businesses have been gifted more breathing space to prepare for this coming paradigm shift both organisationally and technically in how brands and platforms garner consent, remain relevant and foster full-funnel, and long-term, relationships. Make no bones about it, the impact of cookie depreciation will be wide ranging. It will restrict the potential for remarketing, long a staple of online acquisition in an attempt to recapture the attention of those who may have looked at a product or site and slipped through the net. It will also limit resolution with walled gardens, which have become so influential. Brands often cannot envisage a future without liaison with Facebook or LinkedIn platforms to broaden the perspective on customers. Apple are already ahead having taken a product first stance on ad privacy opt-ins – given this path is now beaten, it looks set to be a well-trodden one. This may also trigger a complete overhaul of consent and re-evaluation of remarketing as a strategy, and many should be acting now to overhaul their first party data consent if they re-imagine their propositions in a new, cookie-free future.

The reappraisal of data doesn’t stop there – to fill perceived gaps in knowledge we are looking at a rise again in use of second party data sources and partnerships, and profiling to build a more complete view of the customer. As ad networks’ audiences diminish, the size, scale and accuracy of cross-device tracking will make it harder and less valuable to sequence creative. CRM approaches will become much more valuable as a result, evolving into Experience Relationship Management (ERM) and providing a much richer view of customer behaviour. This will fold CRM-to-ERM strategies much more closely back into digital planning, but also drive yet further focus on consent. This in turn will raise the bar for value exchanges with consumers – basic offerings will no longer suffice, and bolder service exchanges will be needed to match the needs of audiences who are well aware of the value of their time, attention and data. When you need to reaffirm consent frequently, you open regular doors to people jumping ship. The value to stay needs to be significant.

The relationship between brand and publisher will also change – no longer as simple as starting with ‘dropping a cookie’, the onus will be on brands to pass express and clear first party consent on to any intended publisher for enrichment. Data clean rooms and an owned-ID graph will become much more widespread to manage this process alongside dynamically maintained consent practice. We also expect to see further IP masking develop, again following the path beaten by Apple with Mail’s ability to mask tracking pixels, and to mask IP addresses from email senders. All of this combines to make brand trust in data handling and stewardship a fundamental given within the post-cookie world.

All of this may seem like a lot – effectively some of the longstanding fabric of digital marketing practice and internet infrastructure is being unpicked, without clarity on what will replace it. But brands and marketers can take action to prepare for what comes next. Embrace changes of adtech partners, who are also better prepared for the newly cookieless landscape. Rethink consent and the reciprocal value exchanges to consumers. Amplify current data collection, and find an ID resolution partner who suits your purposes. Start to build second party data partnerships, and ultimately, recognise that tough conversations are coming and necessary. The cookie-free future might seem uncertain, scary and unfamiliar, but it is worth remembering it’s roots and the often missed potential. Cookies have always been given credibility without question which for technologists has always been a frustration. The cookieless future should remove the limits they have long set on the market, and instead open up a new, broader and richer future for well-rounded and valuable digital experiences with audiences as a whole.

There are some key actions that we’ve been taking with our savvy clients over the past 12-24 months which turn what can seem like a daunting negative into a consumer focused positive:

  1. Assess your vendor list to see which partners you already have, and may not be utilising their data clean room functionality e.g. Microsoft, AppsFlyer, Snowflake, AWS and GCP. Don’t be scared off by putting your eggs into one basket – the whole purpose of the clean room is to be a safe platform agnostic home for all your 1st part data to broker its integration between your external marketing ecosystem partners

realtime monitoring of the marketing ecosystem

  1. Get your technology, product marketing, data and experience design teams talking seriously about evolving your data-value exchanges. Start evolving now, and accelerate if you’ve already started. Move beyond newsletter sign-ups, voucher-codes and re-engagement well after purchase. Build true unique reasons to sign-up and keep connected with your brand e.g. exclusive bundles, loyalty only you can do, sustainability and community programmes that amplify reasons to share data beyond the core products. This can include recycling schemes, pop-up experiences, and partner events.
  2. Don’t forget that the 3rd party cookie-sunset doesn’t shut the door on partner data sharing. Use your clean room (AKA. CDP, DMP 2.0) to broker meaningful and transparent relationships with trusted partners whose proposition is complimentary or can extend new value-adds to your customer base.
  3. .. don’t forget addressing the measurement challenges that the cookie-sunset is already causing. Rethink or reconsider Multi-touch Attribution. It has fallen short of delivering on its promises. Multi-touch Attribution is developing a reputation for failure. It’s NOT about deploying an off the shelf CDP/DMP or attribution modeling solution and hey-presto!

It’s ABOUT combining all available data to interpret and contextualise performance drivers, to demystify contributors and influence confident optimisation – we call this Full-funnel Attribution outputs of which include:

  • Marketing spend with attributed view lens (e.g. Attributed vs Last Click)
  • Channel contribution to drive trusted budget reallocation
  • Explore conversion paths to easily act on conversion blockers
  • Act on segment impact to optimise linear spend and invest in specific cohorts
  • Content effectiveness attributes value to pages and contribution to conversion
  • Project and campaign incrementality drill-downs to map performance attributed to specific initiatives run across teams
  • Unify measurement of search (Paid + Organic) to align strategies and begin to eliminate cannibalisation – starting to confidently prove incrementality

 

funnel attribution modelling without the cookie


Anthony Magee is the Director of data and experience technology at SYZYGY.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post From cookie, to beyond CRM and constant consent – why cookieless means a brighter future for digital experience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>
SEO doesn’t have to be scary: shift from a reactive to proactive strategy https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/10/31/seo-doesnt-have-to-be-scary-shift-from-a-reactive-to-proactive-strategy/ Mon, 31 Oct 2022 16:57:34 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144249 Top marketing leader, John Rampton on transforming your approach and taking the reins of your digital marketing strategy

The post SEO doesn’t have to be scary: shift from a reactive to proactive strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>

SEO doesn't have to be scary shift from a reactive to proactive strategy

30-second summary:

  • SEO is a reality that all marketers face and many try to steer clear of as they devise an all-encompassing digital marketing strategy that is reactive in nature
  • Begin by familiarizing yourself with Google’s Page Quality Rating Guidelines
  • Create a sound SEO strategy to use every time you start the content creation process, include – researching audience needs, keyword considerations, and internal linking
  • Make sure to clean up and update your existing content so that it doesn’t drag down new, SEO-optimized content

SEO can be vague. It is nuanced. It is always in a state of evolution. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a very real factor that impacts your marketing, whether you plan for it or not. 

Many marketers discover the powerful effects of SEO when it’s too late. Their content is already underperforming. It isn’t ranking for the right keywords. It isn’t retaining readers and has a low dwell time. 

Fixing the issue of bad SEO wastes time and resources. It’s also completely unavoidable.

The key to utilizing SEO to your advantage is to approach it in a proactive rather than a reactive manner. If you’re in a pattern of noticing the effects of SEO on your online content and trying to make adjustments after the fact, here are some suggestions to help you seize the reins and regain a sense of control over your organic search traffic.

1. Associate yourself with Google’s Page Quality Rating Guidelines

If you want to dominate with your SEO, you need to start by understanding it as much as possible. This is much easier said than done. SEO often feels more like an art form than a science. Algorithms can be difficult to follow. Results can be conflicting. But there are ways to bring some clarity to the chaos.

Google provides a number of pointers for how its search engine works via its Page Quality Rating Guidelines. This is a massive document that used to be privy to Google employees only. Now that it’s public, it enables marketers and SEO experts to better inform their proactive SEO strategies.

There are several key areas of the document that shed light on how Google evaluates your website. For instance, it’s important to understand key concepts, like YMYL pages. These are ‘Your Money or Your Life‘ pages, which contain important information to help readers make critical decisions. Due to their higher degree of importance, Google grades these pages with a more stringent, high-quality standard. That means you need to keep them impeccably informed and up-to-date (more on that further down).

E-A-T is another essential element of Google ranking. The acronym stands for expertise, authority, and trust — a trio of elements that help define how high to rank a web page.

Google’s Page Quality Rating Guidelines may be extensive, comprehensive, and a bit overwhelming. But you don’t need to read it cover to cover every quarter. Instead, familiarize yourself with many of the basic concepts. And, of course, keep it bookmarked for easy reference so that it can continue to inform your SEO strategy in the future.

2. Build each piece of content thoughtfully from the get-go

Everyone and their mother knows about the importance of keywords and linking in SEO. The problem is when you fail to address these critical content components in the planning phase — i.e. before you actually make your content.

Now, this is where things can get tricky. If you focus entirely on things like keywords, it’s easy to over-prioritize SEO at the expense of the reader — and that is always a bad strategy. 

Good SEO comes from putting the reader first and the search engines second. That naturally creates content that better satisfies the searcher’s intent. This has the effect of boosting critical SEO criteria, like dwell time …which ends up boosting your SEO in the long run anyway.

Even so, it’s important to factor things like keywords and linking into your initial content creation strategy. A good way to do this while still prioritizing your audience is by using the following steps:

  • Search for important keywords and phrases related to your audience: What is your target demographic searching for? What answers or advice do they need? One easy way to see this is by looking up generic keywords from your audience and checking the “Related searches” section at the bottom of the SERPs. Use this to guide what content you create.
  • Choose additional keywords: Use a keyword planner to add other keywords to your initial topic. Don’t be excessive. Just use a handful of additional terms to help your content stand out in search results.
  • Create complete content: When you go to create the content itself, try to make it as comprehensive as possible. Complete content refers to something that doesn’t just answer an initial inquiry but any follow-up questions, as well.
  • Add internal links: Finally, remember to link to other areas of your site throughout each piece. Consistently linking to important pages can tie your site together and help it perform better.

By planning keywords and links ahead of time, you can ensure that you optimize each piece of content right out of the gate.

3. Cultivate existing content

It’s tempting to dive right into creating fresh, new content that is SEO-friendly. But let’s stop for a minute and think things through.

If your current site is already performing poorly, creating better content is only going to solve part of the problem. Many chronic SEO issues are a site-wide affair. In fact, Google has clarified that thin content (that is, content without much value) doesn’t apply to individual posts. It’s a site-wide problem.

That means if you start the proactive SEO process by creating new content, it’s going to have to overcome the flaws of your past low-quality content before it can really start to lift your site out of the SEO gutter.

Instead, as you study Google’s search engine guidelines and gain a better grasp of how to improve your SEO, start the reformation process by assessing the state of your current content. Conduct a review of the existing content on your site by asking these questions:

As you go along, try to identify YMYL pages. Remember, those are the pages that contain high value for readers — and which consequently tend to be graded on a higher curve. Make a list of these and check in on them from time to time to keep them at peak value.

Don’t leave SEO to chance

SEO is a powerful tool that can make or break your online content. It’s not the kind of thing that you want to leave to chance. It’s also hard to overcome by reacting to poor SEO after the fact.

Instead, take control of your SEO by using the suggestions above. Start by familiarizing yourself with Google’s guidelines. Then create a sound strategy to guide each new piece of content. Finally, review your existing site (especially any YMYL pages) to make sure you’re offering value with both past and future content.

If you can stay proactive with your SEO, you can turn it into a key element of your marketing strategy.


John Rampton is a top marketing leader and founder of Calendar. Find John on Twitter @johnrampton.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post SEO doesn’t have to be scary: shift from a reactive to proactive strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

]]>