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Quality content is the foundation of all other Internet marketing. It is a fundamental component of advertising, public relations, branding, social media and website content. If it is done right, it can cause engagement at a high level. It can also be the difference between conversion and bounce.
For Internet marketers, quality content is the first priority. A recent poll shows that most internet marketing teams are well aware of this fact; 10 percent of all teams dedicate at least one full-time member of staff to quality content creation. For marketers, quality content is the top priority.
What Is Quality Content?
Quality content focuses on the user, not the webmaster or the writer. Quality content should have the following characteristics:
- Well-written—free of errors in spelling, grammar and formatting.
- Direct—captures the user’s attention within 10 seconds.
- Clear—not overly wordy or written at a high reading level.
- Focused—shows the user the benefit of reading and learning more about a product or service.
What Counts as Content?
Content is anything you release on the web. It includes:
- Web Pages—should be at least 250 words and explain its purpose clearly with the brand voice.
- Press Releases—300 to 400 words and optimized for keywords.
- Tweets—140 characters of straightforward message, links, hashtags and pictures.
- Social media—conversational tone and creative posts that drive user engagement.
- Photos and videos—today’s customers like to watch, so YouTube videos with searchable text, photos with embedded links and other visual materials make great content.
Where Should You Start?
Blogging gives website owners the opportunity to write many pages of content. A blog provides opportunities to target keywords, especially those of the long-tail variety. Users get a chance to read useful information and informative articles. Blogging is a win-win situation for everyone.
Those who blog should keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep brand voice in mind. Although you can be more opinionated or creative in a blog, do not forget you represent your brand.
- Include a call to action. Readers love to post on blogs with experiences, questions or suggestions. Give them the opportunity to participate to build user loyalty.
- Use blogging strategy. Blogging is not just randomly posting stories. You should use headers, keywords and other strategies to extend your marketing reach.
- Make it lengthy. Many marketers forget that blogging is not Twitter. Use at least 400 words for each blog to gain recognition with the search engines.
- Include pictures. Pictures drive higher user engagement with a blog.
- Use social media to promote blogs. Do not forget to promote blog posts with social media and cross-promote it within other platforms.
The best advertising strategy in the world will not save poor content. However, advertising is critical to promote good content. No matter how well-written your content is, it does not matter if no one ever sees it! Be sure to promote your content in all possible ways including social media platforms, keyword campaigns and other forms of advertising.
Every PPC marketer wants to be known as a great retargeter, and unfortunately many of them are claiming expertise in the field simply by understanding some very basic concepts.
Retargeting, at its heart, is not a difficult thing to understand. It is the recapture of a customer who has left your site without converting and is snagged back in by an ad on another site.
However, retargeting means more than simply funneling people back to your website. It also means strategic marketing based on a careful analysis of the feedback available to you.
Product retargeting should follow the buyer rather than forcing the buyer to follow the ad. If it is done right, retargeting gently pushes users into the right stage of the sales funnel so discreetly that they do not realize they are being pushed.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are taking advantage of retargeting opportunities is to take inventory of your existing ads and amplify them. Use impression caps to avoid creepiness.
Another important point is to monitor where your retarget ads send users. The ideal situation is to send users to exactly where they want to go, never to a home page or unrelated content page. Send them directly to the category page or product page and streamline the buying process. Add a call to action to drive purchases.
5 Keys to Remarketing
- Build your audience first. To successfully retarget, you must first create segments to classify your target market. You should have a solid number of unique visitors before you attempt remarketing; most experts recommend at least 100,000 per month.
- Define your strategy. Identify consumer behaviors and use this information to build your pool of cookies. Identify segments and go after email signups, product reviews, and shopping for accessories in addition to conversions.
- Deliver relevant messages. You should segment your banners and create dynamic interactions based on user profiles. Relevance can life your sales by as much as 28 percent.
- Prevent fatigue. There is a level at which ROI levels off and begins to decline. Experiment to find the optimum frequency for your customers.
- Measure benefits. You can measure the incremental lift on your conversion rate and site traffic. This helps you understand how retargeting is affecting your bottom line.
Google now offers a new product for remarketing known as RLSA or remarketing lists for search audiences. Google must turn this beta program on for you but it works from your regular remarketing pixel and applies audiences at the ad group level. Negative audiences can also be applied.
Google’s new tool allows you to understand your converters, abandoners and others more completely. You can segment the new versus the existing converters and introduce new products to re-engage those who have not converted.
New tools also allow you to introduce new products, promotions, and special messages with widely-used keywords. All the new Google tools are designed to give SEO professionals the power to drive conversions.
Have you thought about trying LinkedIn’s free 30-day premium account? If you decide to upgrade, you can gain several important benefits and features. Upgraded accounts can be a great asset to job seekers who can use the upgraded accounts to be “featured applicants” and for recruiters who can use the system contact those outside their own network groups.
Upgraded accounts also offer several features designed to give you more insight into your own engagement and the engagement of others with you.
Benefits of Upgrading
When you upgrade to a premium LinkedIn account, you get the opportunity to display your gold “In” badge and the “OpenLink” badge, notifying others that you are a premium member.
You also get expanded search results, permission to contact users outside your network and tools that allow you to bookmark and annotate others’ profiles. An upgraded account also gives you the option to join the OpenLink network that allows others to message you at no cost, even if they are not in your group.
Another great tool is the “Profile Stats Pro” that allows you to see a list of who has viewed your profile in a certain period of time. You can also show views of your profile by industry or by location, and monitor the keyword searches that have featured your profile. You can see views by any of these categories easily and even find other helpful viewer information.
The Profile Stats Pro tool provides a better understanding of who is searching for you and how they are searching. You may be able to tailor information in your profile to make you stand out in these types of searches.
For example, if you live in Atlanta and you see that people in that area are looking for technical writers, it might pay to spend some time brushing up your profile from a technical writing standpoint. This might include optimizing your profile for keywords related to technical writing as well as keywords for cities around the Atlanta area where large technical writing firms are established. It might also mean that you want to request endorsements from those who have worked with you as a technical writer in the past. LinkedIn suggests common endorsement types; in the technical writer example, it might ask your colleagues to endorse you for technical writing as well as editing, composing, proofreading and other similar skills.
Cost of Upgrading
While LinkedIn offers a free 30-day trial of the upgraded account, it will cost you after the trial period. The total cost depends on what type of premium account you choose and the features it contains.
There’s No Harm in Trying It
As long as you cancel before your 30 days are up, there is no cost to try the LinkedIn profile upgrade. Try it out and see if the features work for you as you attempt to push yourself and your brand out to others who are looking for people like you.
You’ve heard your SEO or marketing consultant recommend a blog, and you get it. After all, a blog allows you to do lots of great things for your business:
- Put a face on your company.
- Do reputation management, to deal with negative feedback.
- Strengthen the focus of your site with new ideas and content.
- Publish funny, entertaining or otherwise “viral” content that will get you attention online.
You know that blogging for your customers will build trust in your brand and improve users’ experience with you, making them more likely to associate themselves with you in the future. But you still have questions. Like, what can I expect the blog to contribute to sales? And if not directly connected to sales, how will I measure the blog’s success?
First understand that blogging is an awareness channel, positioned at the top of the conversion funnel. Conversions assigned to the blog should be things that create another connection between you and the audience, like a newsletter sign-up or Facebook like. The goal of the blog is to have people actively choose to connect with you elsewhere, a position that will put you at the customer’s top of mind when a need for your product or service surfaces.
A 2011 State of the Blogosphere report from Technorati Media surveyed bloggers, and the results of the question, “How do you measure the success of your blog?” saw a variety of responses:
In 2011, personal satisfaction, unique visitors and number of comments were reported as the top 3 ways bloggers measured the success of their blogs.
Along with the metrics listed above, today it’s generally recommended that businesses engaged in social media track the search volume of branded terms — a good indicator of the effectiveness of social media efforts and the share of market voice.
Conversion Tracking on Your Blog with Google Analytics
Now that you know a few things to measure your blog with, here are some basic steps for putting in place tracking with Google Analytics.
Before you get into GA to set your goals, outline what your blog success metrics will be. Everything from clicking through to social accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, to form completions to signing up for your email list or newsletter, time spent on site and pages per visit might align with your business goals.
With that straight, use Google Analytics set up tracking for those conversions with a variety of goal types:
- URL destination: When a user hits a page that signals a conversion, like a thank you or confirmation screen, that’s a goal.
- Visit duration: Time spent on a page is a type of goal that aligns well with the engagement role of a blog.
- Pages per visit: Here again, your blog will be doing its job if it causes visitors to hit multiple pages on your site.
- Event: Actions like downloads, video views, specific links and buttons that get clicked — these may line up with conversion goals you have for your blog.
With an understanding of what your blog is doing for you and GA set up to measure and track those actions, you’ll know why you’re blogging and how the investment is contributing to your business.
SEO marketers and webmasters have an unpleasant surprise coming in the form of Google Chrome.
The new Google Chrome 25 uses SSL to encrypt searches through Omnibox, the search tool used to type URLs, even if the user is not logged in. Previously, searchers were encrypted only for logged-in users. The keyword is no longer passed through analytics software, so this cuts down on the site owner’s ability to track keyword performance.
More (not provided), Fewer Keywords
Firefox made the decision to offer secure search in July 2012, surprising beating out iOS6, which jumped on the bandwagon in September 2012.
Since 2011, when the idea was first implemented, the (not provided) results have been steadily increasing. Currently, SEO experts report rates between 20 and 39 percent of this message and the numbers are rising consistently.
What can you do about this growing issue?
Fortunately, there are ways to reclaim some of the lost ground. The keyword data you are searching for does not pass through the referrer but it is still aggregated in Google Webmaster Tools and in AdWords, so look there. It may not be as simple as using a referrer but you can still get a feel for keyword performance.
Another option is to use other search engine’s data such as Bing or Yahoo. These two still send information through, so a “spot check” with these search engines may be enlightening. However, you must understand that it will not be equivalent to Google results. In other words, there is not necessarily a linear relationship between the number of Google users searching for specific keywords and those on Bing or Yahoo looking for the same keywords. Bing and Yahoo users tend to be in different demographics than Google users, so they may have different search parameters.
You can also set up filters in Google Analytics to extract keyword position from the referring string, then append it to “not provided” or the landing page in question. You can also simply look at “not provided” and the land page data. This is not 100 percent guaranteed to give you good results but it is often useful as you think about common keyword strings.
Implications of Dark Data
What does dark data mean for SEO analysts and webmasters? Although it is not the end of the world, it is something that must be considered when planning organic search strategy, if only because you no longer have access to the same analytic information as in the past. Here is a summary of the implications of Google’s decision to “go dark” with Chrome 25:
- - The new version of Google Chrome 25 will encrypt all search data, meaning that all requests via the Omnibox will be hidden from analytics.
- - Keyword data will not be passed to your analytics software from Chrome’s Omnibox, so you will receive a “not provided” code.
- - Tracking search traffic by referring keyword is, therefore, becoming increasingly difficult.
- - It is very likely that these (not provided) codes will appear at an increasing rate in the future.
- - You can use other available data to estimate the lost keyword data from the (not provided) codes. Possible tools including Webmaster Tools, AdWords, landing pages and Google Analytics.