Five common keyword research mistakes you need to avoid

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Before you dive into keyword research for your site, you should know about these common mistakes that many businesses and SEO firms make.

Avoiding these mistakes can save you time, help you re-think your marketing strategy, and drive the right customers to your site.

1) Picking keywords that are irrelevant to your customers

People often pick keywords with high search volumes in their field, but don’t pay enough attention to the relevancy of these keywords to their target customers. You need to choose keywords that match your customer’s concerns.

For example, if you’re targeting affluent families who are searching for good schools for their kids, you shouldn’t pick keywords like “low cost public schools ny” or “affordable schools ny”. These families aren’t searching for those keywords. Instead, you should optimize for keywords such as “best schools ny” and “elite boarding schools ny”

Each of your target customers have different needs and concerns, and they use different words when they search. You need to understand your customers and the language they use. Remember, each searcher has an intent, and is looking for something. Your page needs to provide the answer.

2) Focusing on too specific keywords

If you have a large site with lots of possible keywords combinations, you might be tempted to optimize for every little combination you can, in an attempt to cover them all. For example: type, color, price, size, etc. Do the math. This can lead to an unlimited amount of possible keywords.

Many of these lengthy combinations have low search volumes, with no one even searching for them. Also, targeting too many keywords can distract you from most important keywords.

Focus on the keywords that have good search volumes and the potential to drive business. Keyword quality is more important than keyword quantity.

keyword research

Don’t aim at generic keywords, or too specific keywords. It’s best to start with niche keywords that people use to search and buy your products/services.

These are the “low-hanging fruit” keywords that lead to customers who are easiest to close first. What are the highly specific long-tail keywords that pertain to your industry? Google calls this the “I want to buy” moment.

Once you have your best keyword groups, you can always expand them to target broader groups with various search intents.

art class search page

Example of a niche keyword: “art class for kids”

3) Selecting only a few big keywords

Another mistake that large websites often make is focusing on only a few top keywords. You only see this kind of approach in black-hat SEO claims, like “get top rankings for 30 big keywords” because black hat tactics (such as link networks) are often used to push rankings for a single keyword at a time.

leather womens shoes ppc

Trying to compete for “leather womens shoes” would be a waste of time for many businesses

An online marketplace with over 100,000 pages of content once asked us to do SEO for their list of 30 keywords. This SEO strategy just doesn’t make sense. 100,000 pages should be optimized for 300,000 – 500,000 keywords, in order to drive a big amount of traffic and grow the business.

We often follow a simple rule of thumb: each page should be optimized for 3-5 keywords, so the number of keywords is roughly planned by the amount of content.

4) Finding keywords based on existing site structure

When beginning keyword research, most people look at the main pages and major sections of their website, and then start to look for keywords for those pages.

They then optimize those same pages for the keywords they found. The problem is that you can miss out on a lot of great keywords that the current site structure and site content hasn’t covered.

The purpose of good keyword research is to find all possible keywords that your prospective customers are using to find you, and that has nothing to do with your site structure.

Your customers might be looking for very relevant content to your business, that’s not on your website at all! When doing good SEO, you should actually have to modify your site structure, and create entirely new sections and pages that are better optimized for the right keyword groups.

For a school consulting website, we found many strong keywords for a specific audience, like “boarding school for boys” and “boarding school for girls” which were not on the site at all.

We created new sections and pages for these important keywords. Had we relied on the existing site structure, we’d miss out on many of these valuable keywords.

keyword allocation part one

keyword allocation

5) Putting the wrong keywords on the wrong pages

Once you’ve grouped your keywords, you need to figure out where to place them on your website. This process is called keyword allocation, and it’s a critical step in the keyword research process.

A common mistake is adding irrelevant keywords to pages whose content doesn’t match the keywords, or pages that don’t match the search intent.

For example, users who search for “boarding schools in usa” are usually from overseas. Therefore, the page optimized for that keyword should indicate the value for international families who want to send their kids to US schools.

On the flip side, users who search for “top private schools in upper east side nyc” are usually people who understand the neighborhood, so the page content should adhere to their different needs. The keyword “boarding schools for girls” should be allocated to a page that concerns school girls.

It’s not simply about putting keywords on a page, it’s about matching each keyword with search intent and web page copy.

Mike Le is the Co-Founder and COO of CB/I Digital, a digital agency in New York that offers digital marketing and digital product services for clients. You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How to make speed a core part of your traffic and conversion strategy

speed

Speed can make more of a difference to the success of your online business than anything else, yet very few people talk about it.

If you can increase the speed of your site, traffic can increase and conversion can double.

Here I won’t just be talking about your website speed, but the overall “speed experience” of your online business.

A 2015 Microsoft study that surveyed 2,000 people and monitored brain activity of 112 additional people with EEGs, revealed that the average human attention span has reduced to eight seconds, from 12 seconds in the year 2000.

Interestingly, declining attention spans is affecting online transactions as well. Here are some interesting statistics on what happens when you delay people’s access to your website:

  • A one second delay in page load time will result in a 7% loss in conversion.
  • 40% of people will abandon your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • A study that monitored real time data from 33 major retailers found that improving a site’s load time from eight seconds to two seconds boosted conversion rates by 74%.
  • Slow loading sites cost the U.S. economy over $500 billion every year.

The above statistics point clearly to the impact site speed has on conversion and traffic, but it doesn’t end there. It isn’t a secret that Google now uses site speed as one of its ranking factors.

If you run an online business, making speed a priority can single-handedly double your traffic and conversions. Here are some tips for you:

1) Optimize your site load time

The very first step towards ensuring a faster experience with people who interact with your brand online involves optimizing your site load time.

As established by some of the stats listed above, website speed plays a core role in whether people stay on your website or buy from you.

In fact, an Akamai study found that 47% of people expect a web page to load within two seconds. Here are some ideas to make your site load faster:

  • Get a better host: Really, the foundation of your website is important; if you’re on a poor host, everything else I suggest here is useless. First ensure you’re on a good host. I created this comparison page to make it easy to compare web hosts based on speed.
  • Use a CDN: One of the core benefits of the internet is that it is universal. Someone from the most remote village in Bulgaria can access content from India as soon as it is created. Due to the distance and some other factors, this advantage can also be a disadvantage. Your site won’t load the same for everybody: Your website that is hosted in the US will be faster for people trying to access it in the US, but it will be slower for people trying to access it in China. Speed will vary based on the location of your users. Thanks to CDNs, however, your website can be distributed to servers in different parts of the world. This lets you serve the fastest version of your website to visitors depending on where they are trying to gain access from. This in turn results in a much faster website. CloudFlare and MaxCDN are great CDN options.
  • Disable unnecessary add-ons and plugins: Usability trumps being fancy any day. If you want a faster website, you should be ready to remove anything that is unnecessary; this includes plugins and add-ons that do not serve a purpose. If your website will work fine without a particular plugin or add-on, you don’t need it.
  • Compress images: When you take a picture, or download an image online, it is usually very large. This is especially true if it is a high resolution image. The issue is that the size of images displayed on your website adds to your site’s overall loading speed. A 2.4MB image could easily be compressed to 100KB, resulting in a significant reduction in page load time.

site speed images

  • Use caching: Anytime someone visits your website, their browser has to download files from your server before serving them your site. If this is done every time, not only will your site take a bit longer to load for users but it can result in a slower website if a lot of people try to access your website at once. With caching, however, the files is downloaded and saved by their browser during their first visit. Instead of requesting a new file from your server each time, unless you update your website, their browser will serve the version downloaded earlier. This makes your site faster for both old and new visitors.

2) Create a mobile (or responsive) version of your site

Many website owners focus only on desktop visitors and ignore mobile visitors. The interesting fact, however, is that there are more mobile internet users today than desktop internet users. This is why it is very important for you to create a mobile version of your website.

mobile friendly

Mobile devices do not have the same capacity as desktop computers, so websites – in the original form they are designed for desktop visitors – will take much longer to load on a mobile phone than on a desktop computer even with the same internet speed.

By creating a much smaller mobile site, or by optimizing your site to be responsive for all devices, you can deliver a much faster website to mobile users.

3) Use a completeness meter on your website

Research shows that 75% of people would love to have a progress bar, or some sort of indication of their level of progress, when using a website.

Even when you’ve done your best, you can’t control everything – issues happen when it comes to technology. Sometimes there will be a delay from your payment processor, or your website might just be unusually slow.

Regardless, people are more likely to leave your website – if it is slow – when they are uncertain of how long it will take for their issue to be resolved. The solution to this is to use a “completeness meter.”

A completeness meter, such as a progress bar, will let users know how much longer they have to wait before their issue is resolved; due to the fact that they are now certain about how long they have to wait, they feel a lot less impatient and are likely to continue with their transaction on your site.

4) Reduce your signup forms and pages

Most people think about site load time as the only factor to consider when optimizing a website for speed, but that’s far from it. Even your sign up forms and checkout pages matter.

If you want people to respond more to your offer, reduce the number of hoops they have to jump through; this mean you should reduce the number of form fields users have to fill, the number of questions you ask users, and the number of pages they have to go through. This will result in a much faster experience for your users, and less is more in this case.

5) Optimize your customer support response time

Most importantly, you should optimize your customer support response time.

Research shows that 53% of people expect brands to respond within an hour of reaching out to them on Twitter. Research also shows that people expect you to respond to their emails within 24 hours.

Usually, customers can still request a refund if they are not satisfied. Most importantly, disgruntled customers can do a lot of damage to your brand by spreading the word about their bad experience to others.

Speed optimization doesn’t just end with your website; it is important to maintain a quality attitude to speed even after people become customers.

John Stevens is the CEO of Hosting Facts. He’s a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, Adweek, Internet Retailer and SEW.

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Top Snapchat Demographics That Matter to Social Media Marketers

Snapchat may not be as familiar to marketers as Facebook and Instagram, but its dedicated user base can’t be ignored. Think about these two facts for a moment: The entire population of the world is 7.4 billion people. Snapchatters watch more than 10 billion videos every day. (That’s way up from the 2 billion per day they watched in May 2015.)

Of course, the entire world is not using Snapchat—yet—but more than 100 million people do use it every day (spending an average of 30 minutes a day inside the app), and there are 200 million active users worldwide. And Snapchat’s user numbers are still growing fast: eMarketer forecasts that by the end of this year, Snapchat will have a larger user base in the U.S. than either Twitter or Pinterest.

With all those people posting all that content, it’s important for marketers to get a sense of the most important Snapchat demographics segments so they can plan a marketing strategy that maximizes the app’s unique characteristics, rather than just getting lost in the noise.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together the key details social media marketers need to know before they start Snapping.

Snapchat age demographics

Data from the Statistics Portal backs up the common assumption that Snapchat is still dominated by the young: 60 percent of users are under 25, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) have not yet graduated from high school.

By far the largest Snapchat age demographic is 18- to 24-year-olds. This age group makes up 37 percent of Snapchat users. But well-past-college-aged 25- to 34-year olds make up about 26 percent of Snapchatters, and about 12 percent of users are aged 35 to 54.

Still, Snapchat is not currently a player in the Baby Boomer market: Only two percent of users are over 55.

Apart from how each age group is represented in the Snapchat universe, though, it’s worth looking at Snapchat’s penetration rate in each age category, since these numbers can tell a different story, especially since penetration in the older demographics is growing fast—more than half of new users signing up to Snapchat are over the age of 25.

Three years ago, hardly anyone over age 25 was using the app—just five percent of smartphone users aged 25 to 34 and a tiny two percent of those over 35. But today, well over a third (38 percent) of 25- to 34-year-old smartphone users and 14 percent of smartphone users over the age of 35 use Snapchat. They’re gaining fast on the 18 to 24 group, for which Snapchat’s penetration rate is 69 percent.

According to Snapchat’s own figures, on any given day, 41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds use the app.

Marketers should keep an eye on changes to Snapchat age demographics and be flexible when planning a longer-term strategy. Variety reported that almost a third of the 13- to 24-year-old Snapchatters they surveyed said they used Snapchat specifically because their parents did not. As more parents start to use the app, marketers need to keep an eye on how the younger user base responds.

Targeting that large 18- to 24-year-old demographic and the growing population of slightly older users, FOX used a Snapchat sponsored lens to drum up excitement for its midseason Empire premiere. Superimposing Snapchatters with a pair of gold headphones, sunglasses, and a microphone, the lens also prominently displayed information about the show’s airtime. The campaign reached 27 million Snapchatters, who spent an average of 20 seconds playing with the Empire lens, creating a 16-point increase in brand awareness and an eight-point increase in tune-in intent. Empire was the most-watched show on its premiere night, and took top spot for the 18- to 49-year-old demographic coveted by TV advertisers.

Snapchat gender demographics

Snapchat does not publish gender information for its users, and reliable Snapchat gender demographics data can be hard to come by. But unless things have drastically changed in the last three years, you can bet most Snapchatters are women and girls. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2013 that roughly 70 percent of Snapchat users at that time were women, a figure that came from Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel himself.

A Harvard survey from fall 2015 confirmed that a significantly higher percentage of women use Snapchat than men, with 42 percent of the female 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed saying they had a Snapchat account, compared to 31 percent of male respondents. That survey also showed Snapchat was the fastest growing social network among all respondents, so those numbers have likely increased in the last year.

That high usage among young female users made Snapchat a natural fit when bareMinerals launched its Blemish Remedy acne product. With a campaign dubbed “Zit Happens,” the makeup company created a how-to Snapchat video showing girls how to hide their pimples. Thirty percent of the 1.9 million Snapchatters who saw the videos swiped up to learn more and spent an average of 30 seconds learning about the product. bareMinerals saw the search traffic for the Blemish Remedy product on its website double after the campaign.

Top Snapchat Demographics That Matter to Social Media Marketers | Hootsuite Blog
Image of bareMinerals Snapchat ad via Snapchat.

Snapchat location demographics

Snapchat has its highest penetration rate in Ireland, followed by Saudi Arabia and Sweden, according to the Global Web Index, with India, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and France rounding out the top 10.

The Global Web Index figures, which are based on internet users aged 16 to 64, show that Ireland has a Snapchat penetration rate of nearly 20 percent, compared to about 10 percent in the United States.

If those numbers seem low, it’s because they include users up to age 64 (remember that only two percent of Snapchat users are over 55), and because they include users who only access the internet from a computer—putting the mobile-only Snapchat out of reach.

Back in 2013, AllThingsD reported that 25 percent of smartphone users in the United Kingdom used Snapchat, along with 50 percent of smartphone users in Norway, based on numbers from Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel.

With that diversified global reach, Snapchat is a good platform for campaigns with a global message, like (RED)’s global one-day-only Geofilters marking World AIDS Day. For each use of a Geofilter, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $3 to (RED) for its work in the fight against AIDS.

The campaign reached 14 million Snapchatters and had 76 million total views worldwide—and those who saw the filter were 90 percent more likely to donate to (RED), even apart from the money raised by sharing the Geofilter itself.

This summer, (RED) launched another unique global campaign with The (RED) Kitchen Snapchat cooking show, in which celebrity chefs shared bite-sized cooking lessons with Snapchatters around the world as part of the Eat (RED) Save Lives initiative.

Other Snapchat demographics

The fall 2015 Harvard survey of young (18 to 29) Americans reveals a few more interesting Snapchat demographics that marketers should take note of:

  • College students are more likely to have Snapchat accounts: 53 percent of college students surveyed said they had a Snapchat account, compared to 46 percent of all 18- to 24-year-olds.
  • Snapchat users have no particular political affiliation: 39 percent of Democrats, 37 percent of Republicans, and 35 percent of independent voters said they had Snapchat accounts.
  • 40 percent of young Snapchat users identified as White, 25 percent identified as Black, and 34 percent identified as Hispanic.

Snapchat demographics takeaways

Snapchat users are young, female, and well distributed throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. While Snapchat use among adults up to age 55 is growing fast, Baby Boomers are still a tiny fraction of the Snapchat user base.

As Snapchat demographics start to shift, it will be interesting to see if the young people who currently love Snapchat as the social network their parents haven’t discovered yet continue their love affair with the app. For now, they’re highly engaged, posting like crazy, and willing to interact with brand content that speaks to them.

Now that you understand who’s using Snapchat, you can start using Snapchat for businessdevelop a Snapchat strategy to target your brand’s key demographic, discover some Snapchat hacks to make your Snaps stand out from the crowd, and learn how to craft the perfect Snapchat Story.

Hootsuite’s on Snapchat! Click this link on mobile to go directly to Hootsuite’s profile or scan the Snapcode below to add Hootsuite as a Friend on Snapchat.

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How to use Facebook Ads to find and recruit new employees

How are you recruiting new employees?

Are you using job recruiters? If so, you know their finder fees are ridiculously high. Typically it will cost you 20% of your new employee’s first year salary.

Isn’t there a cheaper route? Why can’t we just find employees through social media?

When you think recruiting and social media, most people think of LinkedIn. Many companies believe this myth that you have to do all your recruiting on LinkedIn.

Honestly, LinkedIn is a site most people use only when they’re out of work and searching for a new job. So your search for employees on LinkedIn will actually end up excluding people who aren’t actively job-hunting.

Often the best employees already have jobs. Some of the greatest employees we’ve hired actually weren’t even looking to change jobs!

facebook-recruiting-thatd-be-great

Can you recruit employees on Facebook?

Facebook is the platform where everyone spends the most time. More than a billion people log into Facebook every day.

You can encourage your employees to share job openings on their Facebook page. But this won’t accomplish much. Your organic reach on Facebook is limited to friends of your employees.

You need people who live near your office. You need people with certain skills.

The number of people who are actually qualified for any open job is low. It’s highly unlikely that your current employees will be connected with someone who is absolutely perfect for the job – and even if they are, that person could easily miss it in their news feed.

If you’re serious about adding top talent to your team (fast), you need to reach a bigger audience on Facebook. You need to use Facebook Ads.

Creating Your Facebook Recruiting Ad

Any great Facebook Ad needs great visuals. So my biggest goal was to make WordStream look cool to future employees.

I took some photos during a company party to help highlight our culture and show off a few of our people. In the ad copy, I said that WordStream was hiring for all departments, listed a few of our amazing perks, told people to message me if they were interested, and linked to our job page.

And then I posted it to my wall and boosted it with Facebook Ads:

larry-kim-wordstream-recruiting-facebook-ad

This is where the ad targeting comes in. People who have heard of you may not realize they’re in your key demographic and that you’re hiring.

Targeting Your Facebook Recruiting Ad

Facebook’s ad targeting is mind-blowing. You just have to know exactly who you’re looking for when you’re recruiting for new team members.

For most companies, location is critical. So you can do geographic targeting within a few miles of your office:

facebook-recruiting-location

Demographics are another critical element of Facebook ad targeting.

What age group are you targeting? If you want someone who is entry-level, you’ll want to target a younger crowd (early to mid-20s).

In addition, you can target your ads so they show based on a Facebook user’s employer, job title, industry, and office type:

facebook-recruiting-work-targeting

Want someone with a certain educational background? You can add education-level targeting.

Interests are another important aspect of Facebook ad targeting. You can target your recruitment ad to people who have certain interests.

For example, I targeted my ads to people who were interested in stuff like C++ programming, inbound marketing, and PPC, because people who are interested in these things would also be interested in finding and applying for a great new job that aligns with their passions.

facebook-recruiting-behavior-interests-targeting

You can even use remarketing to reach people who have visited your site before and are already familiar with your brand.

After all the targeting options for the ad I created, I narrowed down my market, and it was actually quite large (almost 40,000 people reached) plus super relevant.

My Facebook recruiting experiment: the results

First off, check out the relevance score on this ad: a 7 out of 10.

facebook-recruiting-relevance-score

The relevance score shows you how well your audience responds to your ad.

Engagement on this ad was awesome:

  • 83 likes
  • 14 comments
  • 15 shares
  • 773 clicks on the link to our jobs page
  • 15 new likes for my Facebook page

This is pretty incredible engagement for a recruitment ad!

On Facebook, engagement is the key. The higher your engagement, the higher your rewards from Facebook.

This is why you need to know exactly who you want to hire. Targeting your audience based on the demographics, interests, and behaviors that fit your open position will result in more relevant ads and higher engagement.

Had I simply targeted this same post to anyone with a Facebook account, the results would have been far less impressive. The engagement rate would be lower and the costs would be higher.

That’s because the higher your relevancy score, the lower your cost per engagement will be.

In addition to winning big with our new hire, Justin, the same Facebook ad attracted interest (and about 20 resumes) from several other good applicants.

Ultimately it was actually much cheaper in our case to have found our talented hire through Facebook rather than using a recruiter or LinkedIn ads. So next time you’re looking to fill a role in your company, give Facebook Ads a try.

Facebook ads + $200 and great targeting = awesome hires!

This article was originally published on the WordStream blog, it’s reprinted with permission: How to use Facebook Ads to recruit top talent.

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12 video SEO tips to help improve your search rankings

Camera lens

Video content has skyrocketed over the past few years, and therefore it’s time to examine how adding SEO to your videos can impact rankings.

Video is everywhere and this is both a blessing and a curse, especially if you’re trying to stand out from the rest of the crowd at the top of search engine results pages. So consider the following video SEO tips to help put you ahead of the competition…

1) Add value

As common as it may sound, your content should be relevant to your audience, adding value that will convince the users to dedicate the right time to watch your video. The more quality videos, the bigger the chances to serve as an authority, build a trusting relationship with your audience and increase the conversions.

2) Host video to your own domain

If you are creating video content to improve the ranking of your site, then you need to host the video to your own domain, in order to ensure that search engines don’t direct the traffic to another site.

Let’s say for example that you prefer to upload the video on YouTube and add a link back to your site in the description. This may be a good idea if you’re trying to expand your reach, but in terms of SEO, search engines will crawl the Youtube video first, rather than your site.

Moreover, it may be a good idea to create a new page for each video, as Google mentions that this makes the indexing easier.

3) Create interactive content

How about adding the necessary interactive elements to your videos to activate the viewers? Whether it’s the actual content, an annotation, or the caption, there are many ways that you can “gamify” a video to make it more interactive and engaging, helping grab the users’ attention.

You can even split the video into shorter clips, allowing your viewers to pick which one they prefer to watch, a strategy which has been implemented in many successful campaigns.

4) Create relevant metadata

Your video should provide the necessary details to help search engines index it and according to Google, the title, the description and the thumbnail are the most important pieces of information.

Metadata offers more details about the video title, the description, the length of the video and its file name.

Video title has to be short and concise, while the description may provide more details and keywords, boosting the ranking of your content.

Last but not least, make sure the file name of your video is relevant, instead of a generic one like “video415.mph”, as this is another way to describe your content for search engines.

Here’s more advice on how to optimise video for YouTube.

5) Optimise with keywords

Keyword research may also occur in video SEO and it may help you discover the most relevant content for your target audience. Is there a particular keyword, or phrase that could lead to better results? What’s the best way to describe your video?

Feel free to experiment with different keywords and always remember to create descriptive, but also legible content, helping both your audience, but also the search engines.

6) Focus on the thumbnail

The video’s thumbnail is among the first things that users will notice and it might affect their decision whether they’ll actually click on the video.

video SEO

How about picking a thumbnail that is clear and relevant to the content of your video?

7) Make “shareable” content

It’s not just about creating an interactive video, it’s also about producing content that your audience will appreciate.

“Shareable” content is unique, creative and adds value for its target audience, making the sharing easier and the reach bigger.

It’s the quality of your content that will make your video stand out from the rest, and a clear call-to-action may also affect your site’s authority, with new links and mentions.

8) Add a video transcript

A full video transcript is the written version of your video and it can be very useful if it also includes the right use of keywords, helping search engines learn more about your content.

You can either include a transcript to the audio portion of your video, or you may also add it to the description box, along with the HTML of the page. This not only helps search engines to discover your content, but also the readers who may prefer an overview of your video.

9) Create a video sitemap

A video sitemap provides all the necessary data about your video’s content and it provides the details the search engines need to get a clearer picture of its context.

video sitemap

A video’s sitemap is another way to present the video’s title, description, subject, duration and it may even provide more specific details, like an indication of the country restrictions, any expiration dates, platform restrictions or live streams.

It serves as an extension to your site’s general sitemap and although it may often be overlooked in video SEO, it is an important step to help your video’s ranking.

10) Repurpose video

There are many ways to use an existing video and this may extend its “lifespan” and its reach.

For example, you may create a 10-minute video on your site, offering tips about video SEO. Your goal is to push this page to the rankings and increase the awareness and the traffic to your site.

Instead of simply promoting the particular page, which you should do anyway, you may also upload a preview of this video to your Facebook page for example, leading your audience to your site for more details.

Moreover, you can create an infographic, a slideshow, or shorter videos, all leading to the main source of content: your site.

It is a great opportunity to reach a wider audience and promote your main content, helping them discover your page in the most interesting and relevant way.

11) Allow embedding of your video

If users want to embed your video to their site, or their blog, it means that they like it enough to include it on their page. This is already a win for your content and it may lead to a boosted page ranking on SERPs.

Thus, make it easy for your audience to embed your video, as you’re earning more inbound links to help your SEO efforts.

12) Share on social media

Don’t be afraid to promote your content as much as possible to all the relevant channels, as this is the best way to spread word about it and reach the right audience.

This may lead to more viewers, new links, bigger traffic and of course, better positioning on SERPs.

Feel free to reach the right people that may find your content interesting, or even to use your network to promote it accordingly. Even paid promotion may be useful, if you think that this can contribute to your goals.

Social authority cannot be overlooked and in fact, it may be a great way to boost your video’s SEO efforts.

Takeaway

There are numerous ways to apply search optimisation for your video content, but it all comes down to quality once again, as the starting point for your strategy.

It’s the actual content that will grab the audience’s attention and its optimisation can ensure that you are rewarded for your dedication with a higher position on SERPs.

Once you are creating relevant content of high quality, then it’s time to start applying the above tips to get your message noticed, both by users and search engines.

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Google to penalize annoying mobile interstitials

Last year, Google unleashed Mobilegeddon on the world in an effort to make the web more accessible by favoring mobile-friendly sites in the mobile SERPs. 

Now, Google is upping the ante by taking aim at sites that use intrusive interstitials.

Starting January 10, 2017, Google will update its algorithm so that sites “where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

In a post on the Official Google Webmaster Central blog, Google Product Manager Doantam Phan provided examples of techniques that Google isn’t a fan of:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

annoying interstitials

Some common techniques won’t be penalized. These include legal notices, login dialogs on password-protected sites, and banners that don’t take up too much screen real estate and can be dismissed easily.

Reactions show rift between users and publishers

Not surprisingly, many cheered Google’s announcement, hoping that it will help bring about an end to tactics that frequently annoy end users.

But not everyone is thrilled. Rafat Ali, the founder of travel news site Skift, remarked on Twitter that “Now Google wants to define how publishers run our audience acquisition strategies. Will hurt email newsletters most.”

While he noted that the popup his site uses to invites readers to sign up for an email newsletter doesn’t appear on the first page a reader visits and therefore believes “we’re insulated for most part,” he also had some choice words for Google.

Obviously, publishers will want to monitor Google’s update carefully, lest they find themselves penalized.

But Google’s Phan noted that “this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in ranking” and added, “the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”

That suggests the penalty might not be significant, or won’t affect some publishers as much as others, so publishers will need to wait until next year to see how this update pans out.

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5 Features that Prove Myspace Was Way Ahead of Its Time

Those extreme side parts. Shaggy jet-black hair covering moody eyes. Above-the-head camera selfies. Teen angst. A lot of this *~*~*~*. Myspace is known for many things, but if we took the time to pull aside those side bangs of the 2000s, we would have revealed a social network that was way ahead of its time.

So much of how we use the internet today can be traced back to Myspace features from years ago. We didn’t fully appreciate the innovation of things like Myspace Bulletins until Snapchat Stories appeared, or Myspace Polls until we saw Twitter Polls introduced. By reflecting on the ways past platforms were ahead of their time, we have the opportunity to think about the current state of social media—and what it means for the future.

Groups

One of the most obvious benefits of social media is the ability to connect groups of people, no matter their geographic location. Online forums, groups, and collectives can give voices to those who feel as if they don’t belong anywhere in “real life,” and unite like-minded people in ways that weren’t possible before their existence.

In its prime, Myspace popularized the group format with Myspace Groups (RIP, 2003 to 2010). Users could choose to join groups from categories such as “Fashion & Style,” “Music,” or “Food, Drink, and Wine.” They could also join local or national groups to connect with Myspace users in their geographic location. When looking for a specific group, users could also search Myspace Groups to find what they were looking for.

In 2016, the group format is something that is used by millions of people around the world everyday. Facebook Groups, much like Myspace Groups, allow users to easily connect with likeminded individuals or businesses and brands they are interested in. As I explain in my post, Facebook Groups 101: Everything You Need to Know:, “They are a place for your customers and fans to come together to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos, and share related content.”

The rules and best practices for Facebook Groups compared to Myspace Groups aren’t that different, and include the following tips for social media marketers:

Bulletins

The days of a town crier are gone, but Myspace Bulletins did a great job of bringing the group message online. Bulletins were posted to a “bulletin board” for all of your Myspace friends (hi Tom) to see, and allowed users to send a message to an entire list of contacts without having to contact each person individually. After 10 days, a Bulletin was deleted.

Today, Snapchat Stories have taken over as one of the best ways to broadcast a message to a group of friends, contacts, or customers. Snapchat Stories are a great way for brands to share creative messages with a large following—and continue to grow their following in the process.

As explained in my post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Snapchat (But Were Afraid to Ask), you can build brand awareness with creative Snap Stories and influencer marketing, as they are the perfect medium for storytelling. “The highly desirable demographic of 12- to 24-year-olds are here, soif you want to build brand awareness, work on creating a series of Snaps that tell a story. Each Snap is like a piece of the puzzle, and people will have to keep coming back in order to get the whole picture.”

Today Snapchat Stories are used to broadcast messages showcasing things like: special events, behind the scenes content and employee interviews,Q&As, and sneak peeks of new products and services

While Myspace Bulletins may no longer be the broadcast medium of choice for most social media users, Snapchat Stories have picked up where they left off.

Myspace Polls

Getting to know your audience and customers is an important part of any social media strategy. Polls make this process as easy as possible. Polls are obviously a big part of internet culture this year from a political standpoint, but the social media use of polls has been present for years.  

While an original feature of Myspace, the polling feature was temporarily discontinued until 2008 when it was brought back once again to Myspace users. Users could post polls on their profiles and share them with others, gaining valuable information on their contacts and friends in the process.

As a form of social media listening, polls are alive and thriving in 2016 as a key feature of Twitter. My post, 5 Ways to Use Twitter Polls for Your Business shares a few ideas for your Twitter Poll uses, such as conducting market research and getting content feedback—things that you could have done with your Myspace Polls back in the day.

Myspace provided great beginnings to the polling culture that runs rampant in 2016. Top companies know that social intelligence and happy customers go hand-in-hand, so take a page from Myspace’s book and start polling.

Moods

As hard as it is for me to admit it, sometimes you need more than words to convey a message. It can be difficult to get a tone or emotion across without an image of some sort—whether it be an emoji, GIF, photo, or video. Myspace tapped into this early on in the internet’s evolution with the introduction of Myspace Moods. Moods were little emoticon images that were added to a user’s status update and helped show the individual’s current mood.

In 2016, we are given more ways to show emotion and reactions online every day. Facebook introduced their Reactions feature in February 2016, which allowed users to respond to a Facebook post with either a traditional Like, or a “Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry” face.

Image via Facebook
Image via Facebook

Another effective way of showing emotion and adding to your message is with GIFs. If you haven’t incorporated GIFs  into your brand’s social media strategy, it’s time to start. As our Ultimate GIF Guide explains:

  • GIFs show that you’re paying attention to internet trends
  • GIFs show that you and your brand have a fun side
  • GIFs can add more context to a shorter message, post, or Tweet
  • GIFs get your message across in a shorter amount of time
  • GIFs are easily shareable
  • GIFs convey emotions better than text or photos alone

Using visuals such as Reactions and GIFs with your content adds a touch of emotion that further works to humanize your brand.

Social video

In 2006, Mashable said that Myspace Video had really begun to pick up steam and was growing faster than any of its competitors (such as YouTube). In 2007, Myspace changed the name of Myspace Video to MyspaceTV, similar to YouTube (which Myspace banned the sharing of clips from due to competition). In 2009, however, the name reverted to Myspace Video.

Myspace Video unfortunately hasn’t been able to keep up with other video-centric sites. Today Facebook and Snapchat have both surpassed 8 billion daily video views and YouTube’s 1 billion-plus users are watching hundreds of millions of hours of online video every day. Social video is a key part of any good social media marketing strategy, so it’s important that your brand knows how to properly incorporate the medium into your plan.

If you don’t know where to get started, Hootsuite’s senior director of brand Cameron Uganec shares nine crucial tips for your social video in our post A Guide to Social Video, and Where it Fits in Your Marketing Plan.

  1. Design it to be shareable from the get-go.
  2. Create a mission statement for each video platform.
  3. Use the power of storytelling.
  4. Make the customer the hero, and engage them.
  5. Emotions lead to sharing.
  6. Shorter is (almost) always better.
  7. Always start strong (The first 30 seconds are the most important).
  8. Don’t ignore search.
  9. Your distribution strategy is critical. You need to build momentum.

Myspace might have reached its peak long ago, but it has left a legendary impact on social media today.

Voice UI and intelligent assistants: trends to watch out for next

Earlier this year, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research partners (CIRP) pegged the sales of Amazon’s Echo at more than 3 million units.

Echo of course uses Amazon’s cloud based AI “Alexa” to answer questions, play music/games, control smart devices including home automation systems and of course re-order products off Amazon.

More importantly, awareness of this device and others like it continues to accelerate.

51XeN2UYoyL._SL1000_

In fact, according to CIRP, awareness of Echo more than doubled though the course of last year from 20% in March 2015 to more than 50% by year’s end.

While an aggressive and memorable ad effort featuring Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, and Missy Elliot may have contributed to Echo’s increasing awareness and popularity, its value proposition, robust and growing functionality and perceived promise are ushering in a new era – the AI, Machine Learning and voice UI era.

Here are a few trends and predictions to look for as we prepare for this exciting wave which will most certainly become ever more present in our everyday lives and tasks.

Trends in intelligent assistants

Listening to Amazon’s Charles Kindel at the Eniac M1 Summit confirms, Amazon has big plans for its cloud based omnipresent AI technology.

Those plans include how this intelligent assistant can be integrated into and can interact with other IOT devices and services be it your smart phone/watch/home, gaming/music systems and even cars, as is the case with Ford SYNC.

Clearly Amazon believes Echo and “Alexa” is so much more than just a product, it’s a framework and platform that will be open to a growing number of outside developers.

Expect tens of thousands of developers to jump on the bandwagon in the coming years as they look to integrate Alexa into their own products as this technology moves quickly into the mainstream.

But don’t be fooled, Amazon won’t be alone and it’s not the only game in town.

Both Apple with its Siri, Microsoft with its Cortana and Google with the Google Assistant and Google Home offering will compete aggressively here, particularly given their dominance on the mobile/smartphone OS front.

cortana

Given that advantage and footprint, it will be particularly interesting to see how Amazon will explore ways in which Alexa can be more deeply integrated into Apple, Google and Microsoft powered smartphones.

It should also not come as a big surprise if Amazon looks to both acquire and build solutions to support the continued adoption of its intelligent assistant Alexa.

The company’s strong track record to continually experiment and innovate remains part of its culture. Bigger and bigger successes, such as AWS and Echo/Alexa, will only fuel bigger bets and experiments, and rest assured, Alexa-related investments and innovations are forthcoming.

Finally, because these voice UI’s and intelligent assistants continually listen for key words and are collecting more and more info about its users to be helpful, privacy concerns have arisen.

Hopes and fears

While each company has assured users the data is not stored or shared, the always listening and learning capabilities can be unsettling.

Look for greater notice, data access and controls to be integrated into all solutions as our intelligent assistants become an increasing part of our lives.

We are on the threshold of a new era lead by AI, NL and machine learning and the emergence of the voice UI somewhat depicted in the Spike Jonze movie HER is yet another step closer to reality.

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Seven strategies for building a thriving community around your blog

Colorful city with houses

The secret to creating an outstanding blog is to cultivate a strong community of fans that helps generate new traffic.

In this post, I will lay out some tips to creating a bustling community around a blog. I’ll also share tips on monitoring community growth and how to use it to your advantage.

Why should you create a community around your blog?

Here are the benefits to having a community of bloggers or readers around your blog.

  1. A large number of readers encourages social shares which in turn can generate more traffic to your site.
  2. Comments left by fans helps to position the blog as an ‘authority blog’.
  3. A community is social proof and can help attract leads.
  4. By nurturing true relationships with your readers this increases the chances of them linking back to your valuable posts. This adds to SEO value.
  5. Interaction with a large number of readers increases the time spent on a single page, which is also valuable for SEO.
  6. A strong fan base will recommend you to their own communities.

How to build a community around your blog

1. Build it on a single powerful idea

If you speak in a crowd, nobody will listen to you, but if you are talking to a group of like-minded people, they will applaud you. It is the same with blogging. Blogs focused on a specific topic are generally more successful.

Writing blog posts on one topic (say, sports) for a week and another (like astronomy) for the next week will drive your readers away. They will find it difficult to connect with you.

Make sure your blog is about something you are passionate about. Passion spreads like a wildfire, and is a powerful emotion to connect your idea to the right audience. This helps to cultivate an audience who knows what you feel and understands what you write.

This very sense of being connected will build the foundation of your community.

Problogger’s Darren Rowse has successfully evolved his blog problogger.net because he is focused on one single idea – blogging.

Blogging_Darren Rowse_ProBlogger_600

Rowse never tries to merge it with his other passion, photography and has a separate blog for this. The second blog too has a large community around it but with a very different audience set.

Blogging_Darren Rowse_Photography blog_600

2. Make them feel comfortable

Lectures are boring and so are one-sided blogs. Nobody likes to read a blog that rants about its success and strategies and does not include the readers in it. Such blogs eventually die out.

If you want people to be active in your community you have to make them comfortable and feel at home. Here’s how…

a) Be personal

Nothing connects more with your readers than being personal. Being personal doesn’t mean sharing private details, it means writing as though you are communicating.

Make your tone humanized. Tell stories related to the post. Use words like we, you and me so that it comes across as if you are talking directly to your reader.

b) Be approachable

Give your readers the privilege to reach out to you as and when they want. This will invoke a sense of being heard. You can also encourage your subscribers to speak to you via email.

For example, Noah Kagan, the man behind Appsumo, encourages his subscribers to speak about their experiences with him.

Blogging_Noah Kagen_OkDork_About_600

This creates an emotional bond with his subscribers and helps to grow his community.

Blogging_Noah Kagen_OkDork_Tell me_600

3. Include your audience in your blogs

After your audience is comfortable interacting with you and your blog, make them feel more included by creating a strategy to weave your readers into every thread of your blog. Here’s how:

a) Ask readers to comment

After writing a blog post, encourage your readers to take part in it. Ask them for solutions about the problem you address in your post.

People like to be seen as a source of knowledge. Give them this chance by asking them how they would solve the issue being discussed in your blog.

b) Quiz people

Quizzes are smart and fun ways to keep your readers hooked to your community. According to OkDork, eight out of the top 10 most shared content in 2015 were quizzes. The increased share count is also a factor that people love your content, which pushes the blogs popularity even higher.

This is because people love to share things that boost their own credentials and identity.

For example, this marketing buzzwords quiz on the ClickZ website has been a top trending post for the past two weeks. (Have you taken it yet?)

Blogging_ClickZ_SEW_Marketing Buzzwords Quiz_400

4. Brew an ongoing challenge

An ongoing challenge, like this 30 days to powerful blogging, is a good example of how to use a challenge to build a community around your blog.

Blogging_Sarkemedia_30 day challenge_600

Challenges are great because all the members of it have the same pain point. They have similar issues and similar goals. Through this, they develop an emotional bond.

In the end, you are solving a common problem for your readers with your own challenge.

5. Offer value

One of the biggest problems in community building is expecting too much from the community. You need to add value to the community by offering solutions to your followers.

Your community members are more likely to recommend you if you offer something that is valuable.

You can do this by:

1. Writing in-depth posts on your blog. You do not want your readers to go to a second blog for solutions to the same problem.

2. Giving exclusive industry insights. Social Media Examiner uses a weekly post to display all the noteworthy social media news and reviews of new social media tools launched that week.

Blogging_Social media examiner_news feed_600

This helps the reader to save time.

3. Giving a blog backlink can be the best way to tell your fellow bloggers and influencers that you care for them. This way you can use influencer marketing in your blog community building. But beware, only link to articles that are high quality and useful to your blog readers. Linking unrelated posts and low-quality ones will do more harm than good.

6. Monitor ROI and lever your connections

You should always measure your efforts in a campaign and see if you are working in an effective way. A good place to start is measuring conversions and the number of people you were able to connect with.

You can also track your strategies to see what worked and what did not. If social media isn’t your thing, try an organic traffic method. You can also try email lists to communicate with your community members.

7. How to use your community power

There is no harm in benefitting from your community. This holds true for so long as you are providing them with value. Do this by:

  1. If you are writing a great problem-solving post, there is no harm to suggest an affiliate product to your audience that you think will help them.
  2. You can also develop a product that you can upsell to your community after you’ve impressed them with your work.
  3. If none of these applies, ask your audience to spread the word about your blog, share your posts and recommend you to their own community.

Over to you

A thriving community is always a proof of a great valuable blog. The most popular blogs already use this hack to increase their readership and ranks. With the above tips, I am sure you can build a community around your blog and use it to increase your traffic and sales.

If you have any questions around anything I have discussed today, feel free to get in touch by commenting in the comments section below! I would love to hear from you.

Please note: this is an abridged version of an original post published on our sister site ClickZ: How to build a community around your blog.

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Understanding how users, not algorithms, search online will help your SEO

Man looking at rows of boxes in storage room, side view

Studying how end users, not algorithms, search for solutions online can help improve your SEO efforts.

Coming from a background in neuroscience, I’m still learning about the technical side of search engine optimization.

I know a little about the terminology thanks to an array of online communities and experts like my ConsumerAffairs colleague and SEO expert, Jessica Sanford.

I’ve read the Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines from cover to cover and understand more about the content and signals Google looks for to signify quality websites

I know what’s at stake when it comes to the impact of SEO…

User behaviour on the first SERP

Around 84% of all clicks on search engine results pages (SERPs) go to the ads and results above the fourth organic result. Of those, more than 32% go to the first organic result, with the second result claiming fewer than 12% and click through rates (CTR) decreasing dramatically from there.

Dropping from the first to the second or third spot on SERPs can have a tremendous impact on revenue, leaving businesses scrambling to find the cause.

And just so you know ConsumerAffairs has skin in this game—more than 80% of the traffic to ConsumerAffairs comes from organic search.

What I’m still not sold on is the obsession we seem to have with figuring out and gaming Google’s well-guarded search algorithm.

What we get wrong about Google

google

Entire companies have been built (and have subsequently crumbled) around exploitable quirks in Google’s algorithms—stuffing pages full of keywords at the cost of making sense, gathering backlinks through less-than-honest methods, etc.—and it seems like every time Matt Cutts says something into a microphone it lights up the blogosphere with 1,000-word posts dissecting every word.

The reason this focus on figuring out how Google calculates SERP rankings feels wrong to me is that, for all of our effort, we forget about one thing that Google never seems to: the user.

Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin wrote about this disconnect as early as 2007:

“We need to realize that search engines are a tool—a resource driven by intent… The search box is fundamentally different than a visit to a bookmark…it’s unique from a click on the “stumble” button…or a visit to your favorite blog—searches have a direct intent behind them; the user wants to find something.”

One of the reasons Google has been so wildly successful (Google owns more than 65% of the organic search market, with its closest competitor, Bing, controlling around 33%) is that it never seems to lose track of this fact.

Google’s goal, as a business, is to understand exactly what search users are looking for and to provide the most accurate answer to their questions.

A screenshot of Google search results for 'Isaac Newton', which show Wikipedia as the top search result, but also display a brief biography drawn from Wikipedia on the right hand side, giving information on his occupation, birth and death dates, and influences.

In his study on the search giant, John Battelle described Google’s goal to become a “database of intentions” able to understand your “desires, needs, wants and preferences.” 

Google pursues this goal maniacally, and I would wager that having to serve SERPs with more than the exact item you’re looking for (which would be shown as a single link) is probably a mark of shame as it strives to make perfect predictions.

With Google’s intentions so clear, it baffles me that so many companies are still focused on figuring out the algorithm rather than creating quality content designed to answer audience members’ questions.

And yet, here we are, with brands poised to spend $65 billion on SEO in 2016, much of which, according to Foxtail Marketing CEO Mike Templeman, will be wasted on efforts that are either fruitless and will eventually be penalized by Google’s engineers.

Defining search engine intent and values of queries for your business

There have been some earlier attempts by search engine experts to provide a taxonomy of search engine intent (SEI). Fishkin segmented queries into four groups of intent:

  • Navigational queries – Consumers use organic search as a white pages, to navigate to a particular site when they don’t necessarily know the URL.
  • Informational queries – Queries focused on finding specific information, whether local weather, the street address of the best ice cream parlor in town or in which films Meg Ryan appeared with Tom Hanks.
  • Commercial investigation queries – Focused primarily on research for future purchases, finding the best brand of scuba goggles or the best cat food for cats with eczema.
  • Transactional queries – Searches aimed directly at making a purchase, branded queries or queries that meet an immediate need (where is the best fried catfish restaurant in this neighborhood).

Although the first two types of queries could be important to your business, the last two are queries with high purchase intent—meaning the most likely to end with consumers handing over their credit card numbers—which makes aiming the content of your site and your Adwords campaigns to rank for these queries very important.

How does one figure out the relevant search queries with high intent?

Based on traffic or average cost per click (CPC), based on what previous competitors use for keywords (via SEMrush or Spyfu), or based on budget limitations that force you into pursuing only low-volume long tailed keywords?

My proposed solution, although it seems simplistic, is to ask end users what their search queries would be based on certain intentions (so they make the keyword list for you) and in asking what they think is a “fair price” (internal reference price) for the item that they are trying to find.

With that intentional information plus the traffic/costs information you have for those search queries, you can decide if those keywords are worth going after based on making a profit or loss with the fair price they have in mind.

That’s what I think would be efficient. But talk is cheap and I suppose, being a data scientist, I should probably have some numbers to backup my claims. What I have collected is far from definitive, but it does provide a nice pilot to give you a feel for applying search engine intentions (SEI) to your SEO practices.

Studying search engine intent

After a screening process which included a battery of questions testing basic SEO knowledge, I was left with 57 participants who completed the survey and “failed” the SEO test.

I wanted to study participants who failed the test (which included the question “what does SEO stand for?”) because I wanted to results that represented the average consumer, rather than those who work tirelessly to understand how to get their page to rank higher in SERPs.

I gave participants the following task: Below are some scenarios that I want you to imagine yourself in (even if you don’t have a kid or a pet in real life). In the two spaces provided for each scenario, I want you to answer the following:

  1. Exactly what would you type into a search engine to find it?
  2. What do you believe would be a fair price* for the item/service?

With that task in mind, I gave participants 20 intentions to provide answers to, from needing to buy a new washing machine to wanting to buy gold as an investment.

We then used Google Adwords and Bing Ads keyword planners to look up the traffic, estimated clicks and estimated cost per click for every search query our participants came up with. We calculated the profit/loss for each search query based on the following equation:

Profit/Loss = [Fair Price x Daily Clicks x Assumed Click to Sale Rate] – [Daily Clicks x Average CPC]

What we learned about search engine intent

1) Click-to-sale rate determines if you should use Google Adwords or Bing Ads for your PPC campaigns

One particularly interesting conclusion I teased out of this data set was how click-to-sale rate is critical for determining if you should run your paid campaigns on Google Adwords, Bing Ads, both or neither.

For low-converting verticals, Bing will routinely lead to more profit than Adwords (which will usually be a net loss). But, when the click-to-sale rate gets closer to 10%, Adwords is clearly the more profitable platform.

The big caveat is that even at a 10% click-to-sale rate, there are still categories that net a loss on one or both platforms.

2) Organic search is more profitable than PPC

I used paid advertising metrics to help valuate what these search queries are worth in the organic search context of SEO.

If we extrapolate these numbers based on our internal data, the profits from the organic would be much higher than what is stated in these sheets, and this is an important point.

Wordstream gives a good list of high-intent keywords in two categories: buy now keywords, and product keywords. Buy now keywords which include queries like:

  • Buy
  • Discount(s)
  • Deal(s)
  • Coupon(s)
  • Free shipping

These are typically expensive campaigns to run in Adwords and difficult to rank for in organic search. Product keywords include comparison queries like:

  • Affordable
  • Best
  • Cheapest
  • Comparison
  • Review
  • Top

These keywords, although highly competitive and difficult to rank for on your own, present a unique opportunity.

As marketing manager Danica Jones wrote in a recent post on Search Engine Watch, third-party review sites rank high for coveted root and consumer-focused queries, so using these listings to present a positive and transparent brand experience is one of the most cost-effective ways to climb the ranks and increase SERP (search engine results page) real estate quicker than more traditional SEO efforts.

Investing in third-party listings can be more cost effective than running pay-per-click advertising for high-intent keywords.

And while an ad may reach the right person at the wrong time, consumers who use review sites are by and large using review websites to actively research before a purchase (70% according to an internal survey we conducted).

Conclusion

There is still so much that can be taken from this study, and our team wanted to share it with peers in the spirit of focusing more on our end users and less on algorithms.

We want to empower you to run similar studies for your relevant verticals (where you can collect thousands of responses to intentions).

Ultimately this method could prove helpful for the individual needs and focus of your own company. Study the end user’s intentions and stop spending an outsized amount of time trying figure out search engine algorithms.

This is the real focus of Google’s efforts to perfect their search engine, and if the experts are focusing on the end user, we should probably follow suit.

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