Mission SEO Impossible: Rank a Single Brand Website for a Broad, Plural Search Query with Comparative Intent – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Competing with comparison sites in the SERPs can feel like a losing game, but it doesn’t have to. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains the challenges and outlines five solutions that can help you begin ranking for those high-value comparative terms.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to this impossible edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about one of the toughest things that a lot of SEOs face, which is trying to rank for these specific types of queries that have a plural comparative intent behind them.

Some examples:

So I’ll give you a bunch of examples just to set the stage for this.

Let’s say I’m a hotel operator in Edinburgh, and I run one individual hotel, maybe a boutique hotel, and I want to rank for “best hotels in Edinburgh.” But that is nearly impossible, because if you look at the front page of results, all the folks there are comparative types of sites. They’re media properties. They’re hotel comparison shopping sites. So it’s TripAdvisor and Telegraph and US News & World Report, and This is Edinburgh, which is a media magazine there.

If I want to rank for “compare headphones” and I am the maker of one particular type of headphones, it’s incredibly difficult to outrank a PC Magazine, Forbes, HeadphonesCompare.com, CNET, Reevoo. This is an incredible challenge, right?

“Best Broadway shows,” if I’m operating a new Broadway show and I want to come up for this, which would be really meaningful for my Broadway show, which, by the way, most of them lose money. It’s an incredibly tough business. NYC Theatre, Time Out, Broadway.com, how do I get in there?

Or let’s say I’m in the software field. I’m FullContact, and I want to rank for “FullContact versus Clearbit.” There are lots of comparative types of searches like this. If you search for your brand name or your product’s brand name and “versus,” you’ll almost certainly come up with a bunch of suggestions. Well, it turns out neither FullContact nor Clearbit rank for this type of query. It’s Inbound.org and StackShare and Quora and Analyzo.

For “Android word games,” if I’ve come out with a new word game, it could be huge for me to rank for this term. But you know what? It’s going to be Android Central and Google Play, Tom’s Guide, Android Headlines, right?

If I have a new TV comedy, it would be fantastic because a lot of people are searching for “TV comedies” or “TV comedies on Netflix” or what have you. If I was Netflix or if I were some of these folks, I would love to come up here. But instead, it’s UPROXX and Ranker and IMDB. It’s comparative media sites almost always.

The problems

So what do we do? The first step is we have to identify the problem, like what is fundamentally going on. Why is it that these types of sites consistently outperform? This is not universal, but it’s close enough, especially on competitive head terms, like some of these, where it gets close to impossible or feels that way.

I. It’s really tough to rank without using the right words and phrases.

If you are a boutique hotel in Edinburgh, you might not be very comfortable using words like Hilton or Marriott or some of these other words that are branded terms that are owned by your competition. There could be legal issues around that, but it might also just be a brand guidelines type of thing. So that’s one part of the hard problem.

II. It’s really hard to rank without serving the searcher’s true intent.

In these cases, the searcher’s intent is, “I want to compare multiples of these things.” So if you have an individual hotel website or an individual headphone website, an individual Android word game, that’s not actually answering the searcher’s intent. It used to be easier, back before RankBrain and before Google got really smart with Hummingbird around their query intent understanding. But these days, very, very challenging. So that’s the second one.

III. It’s really hard to get links, hard to get links when you’re purely promotional or self-interested, you’re just one brand trying to outrank these folks, because these types of pieces of content seem sort of less selfish. The comparisons feel less self-interested, and therefore it’s easier for them to get organic links.

So tough challenge here. Three big issues that we have to address.

5 primary solutions

There actually are some solutions. There are some ways that some very creative and clever folks have worked around this in the past, and you can use them as well.

1. You can try separating your media or your blog or editorial content.

By separate, I mean one of two ways. You could go with a wholly separate domain. That’s pretty tough. You won’t inherit the domain authority. It will probably be a new domain, so that will be a challenge. Or you simply separate it editorially, such that it’s segmented from the promotional content. Moz actually does this, and, as a result, we rank for a lot of these types of queries. We even rank for a lot of SEO software types of queries that are clearly comparative, because we have that editorial independence in our editorial content. So this is one way you can go about doing that.

2. You could try a guest posting strategy or a guest contribution.

So if you can go out to the websites that are already listed here or ones like them, those independent, editorial, media-driven properties and say, “Hey, I will contribute to this as an independent author or writer. Yes, I work for this brand, but I think when you see my content, you will see that I’ve done my research and I am not biased.” If you can prove that to the editors at these publications, you can often prove that to the audience as well, and then you can earn these types of rankings.

You can actually see an example of this. I think it was, yes, I think the Forbes contributor here, I suspect they worked either with or for or at least in conjunction with a brand, because it seemed like they had a preference behind them and the author had a connection there.

3. You can commission independent research.

This is something that a lot of big companies will do. They’ll go out and they’ll say, “Hey, you’re an independent research firm that’s well-trusted. Will you do some research in our particular space?” Then hopefully it’s something that the press will pick up. It’s these press websites that you’re actually hoping are going to earn the rankings over here.

I will say while most of the folks doing this right now are very large companies with big research budgets and big advertising and promotional budgets, you don’t have to be. You can go and contract a single expert in the field, someone that you trust to do a great job, and you can say, “Hey, you already contribute to CNET, you already contribute to Time Out, you’re already a contributor to Tom’s Guide or Android Headlines or whatever it is. Could you do this independent research? We’ll pay you. Whatever the results you find, we’ll pay you regardless.” That can be quite successful.

4. If you need to do it yourself, but you don’t want to keep it on your own site, you could use a microsite.

So creating a site like if I’m Q over here and I’m XvsYvsQ.com, I’m not sure the exact match domain is precisely the route I’d take, but conceivably that microsite can perform well in these searches, and there are several examples, few and far between though they are, of this strategy working.

5. Win all the lists.

So if I want to rank in “best Broadway shows,” well, maybe I could just be “Hamilton.” If I want to win at “compare headphones,” maybe I could invent that patent on the noise-cancelling headphones that Bose have, which, by the way, win like three out of five of these. If I want to win the FullContact versus Clearbit, well, I need the features and the functionality and the things that these reviewers are using in order to win.

There’s almost always a bunch of objective criteria that you can identify by looking through these SERPs and related SERPs to figure out what you need to do. The challenge is it’s not just a marketing or an SEO or a content problem. Now it becomes a product and a positioning and oftentimes an engineering problem as well in order to have that win. But now you’ve got the strategies, hard though it may be. This is not impossible. It’s just difficult.

All right. Look forward to your comments and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Digital Marketing News: Marketing Personalization, Google Website Builder and Bing Ads

Four Steps to Unlocking the Real Power of Marketing Personalization [Infographic] Personalization is a priority for many marketers to better reach and engage with their audience. This infographic shares statistics and 4 easy steps to create content experiences that resonate with your audience and provide valuable and personalized information. MarketingProfs Google Releases A Website Builder for Small Businesses A new tool called “Website”, is a single-page website builder that is free and allows small business owners to create and edit websites in minutes, either on desktop or mobile. This feature is an extension of Google My Business, meaning you have to have a complete GMB listing to use the tool. Search Engine Journal The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques This is an updated study, originally conducted in 2004, to understand how consumers respond to online advertisements today. Participants were shown different types of advertisements and rated how much they liked or disliked them. The results show the most (and least) “hated” online advertisements for both mobile and desktop platforms, and some of the characteristics remained the same as the early 2000’s. Nielsen Norman Group Data-Inspired Guides to B2B Sales & Marketing Lead Generation Targeting the right leads at the right time is one of the biggest challenges for B2B marketers, and this report shows you insights on lead generations, how quality data can optimize demand generation programs and ways to shorten the modern sales cycle. Dun & Bradstreet Bing Ads: Opt Out of Displaying Ads on Desktop Advertisers can completely opt out of desktop displayed ads by now setting their bids to -100%. This is a new feature that is aimed to support mobile-only campaigns and allows advertisers to set negative bids for desktops. It will be available to all advertisers in the next few weeks, and is supported by Bing Ads Web Interface, Bing Ads Editor for Mac and Windows and Bing Ads API. Search Engine Journal Snapchat Opens Self-Serve Ad Platform, Provides New Ad Creation Tools and Options Advertisers can now create and purchase their own Snapchat ads via a new dashboard. You can also use Snapchat audiences, which includes lookalikes, Audience Match options and Snap Lifestyle categories which use in-app data and location-tracking to reach audiences with more relevant messaging. Lastly, the Snap Publisher tool allows advertisers to create Snap ads with pre-designed templates, which will be available in the near future. Social Media Today Twitter is Testing a Way to Let Users Know What’s ‘Happening Now’ Twitter’s new module at the top of a user’s timeline showcase popular events that are occurring, such as sports. You can click on a card to see a timeline of tweets related to those events. This feature is still in experimentation phase, but could be launched soon. AdWeek Introducing the LinkedIn Content Insights Quarterly: Q1 2017 These insights will appear after the close of every quarter which uses LinkedIn data to examine what content LinkedIn members are engaging with on the platform. Categories included in this report are top topics, top articles, top growth topics and advertising and engagement topics and articles. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! Need daily news? Follow @toprank on Twitter!

The post Digital Marketing News: Marketing Personalization, Google Website Builder and Bing Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Facebook Moments gets a standalone website

 Late last year, Facebook brought its mobile photo-sharing application Moments to the web in a limited capacity by adding a link to the service in the desktop version of Facebook. Now, Facebook is again expanding Moments to the web, this time by setting up a standalone web version for the service that offers access to the online albums you’ve previously shared with friends. However, like… Read More
Social – TechCrunch

This website is the Facebook for scientists, and it’s growing with a $50 million raise

TwitterFacebook

Across plenty of social media sites, facts and hard evidence aren’t always easy to come by. 

On ResearchGate, however, the search for such truths is at the heart of everything the social network does. It’s been called a “Facebook-style” platform for a scientists, a place where they can come to share and discuss the studies they’re completing and connect with other experts in their field. 

SEE ALSO: Harvard scientists have created the rarest material on earth

With the Tuesday announcement of a $ 52.6 million raise, the site appears to be experiencing some pretty healthy growth, New York Times reports. That round of funding was actually secured in 2015, but the company couldn’t make it public until this week, in accordance with corporate accounting rules in Germany. Read more…

More about Study, Academia, Social Media, Science, and Researchgate


Social Media

Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Design and Build

Posted by Maryna_Samokhina

The aim: This post highlights SEO areas that need to be addressed and decided on before the website brief is sent to designers and developers.

Imagine a scenario: a client asks what they should do to improve their organic rankings. After a diligent tech audit, market analysis, and a conversion funnel review, you have to deliver some tough recommendations:

“You have to redesign your site architecture,” or

“You have to migrate your site altogether,” or even

“You have to rethink your business model, because currently you are not providing any significant value.”

This can happen when SEO is only seriously considered after the site and business are up and running. As a marketing grad, I can tell you that SEO has not been on my syllabus amongst other classic components of the marketing mix. It’s not hard to imagine even mentored and supported businesses overlooking this area.

This post aims to highlight areas that need to be addressed along with your SWOT analysis and pricing models — the areas before you design and build your digital ‘place’:

  • Wider strategic areas
  • Technical areas to be discussed with developers.
  • Design areas to be discussed with designers.

Note: This post is not meant to be a pre-launch checklist (hence areas like robots.txt, analytics, social, & title tags are completely omitted), but rather a list of SEO-affecting areas that will be hard to change after the website is built.

Wider strategic questions that should be answered:

1. How do we communicate our mission statement online?

After you identify your classic marketing ‘value proposition,’ next comes working out how you communicate it online.

Are terms describing the customer problem/your solution being searched for? Your value proposition might not have many searches; in this case, you need to create a brand association with the problem-solving for specific customer needs. (Other ways of getting traffic are discussed in: “How to Do SEO for Sites and Products with No Search Demand”).

How competitive are these terms? You may find that space is too competitive and you will need to look into alternative or long-tail variations of your offering.

2. Do we understand our customer segments?

These are the questions that are a starting point in your research:

  • How large is our market? Is the potential audience growing or shrinking? (A tool to assist you: Google Trends.)
  • What are our key personas — their demographics, motivations, roles, and needs? (If you are short on time, Craig Bradford’s Persona Research in Under 5 Minutes shows how to draw insights using Twitter.)
  • How do they behave online and offline? What are their touch points beyond the site? (A detailed post on Content and the Marketing Funnel.)

This understanding will allow you to build your site architecture around the stages your customers need to go through before completing their goal. Rand offers a useful framework for how to build killer content by mapping keywords. Ideally, this process should be performed in advance of the site build, to guide which pages you should have to target specific intents and keywords that signify them.

3. Who are our digital competitors?

Knowing who you are competing against in the digital space should inform decisions like site architecture, user experience, and outreach. First, you want to identify who fall under three main types of competitors:

  • You search competitors: those who rank for the product/service you offer. They will compete for the same keywords as those you are targeting, but may cater to a completely different intent.
  • Your business competitors: those that are currently solving the customer problem you aim to solve.
  • Cross-industry competitors: those that solve your customer problem indirectly.

After you come up with the list of competitors, analyze where each stands and how much operational resource it will take to get where they are:

  • What are our competitors’ size and performance?
  • How do they differentiate themselves?
  • How strong is their brand?
  • What does their link profile look like?
  • Are they doing anything different/interesting with their site architecture?

Tools to assist you: Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, and Ahrefs for competitor link analysis, and SEM rush for identifying who is ranking for your targeted keywords.

Technical areas to consider in order to avoid future migration/rebuild

1. HTTP or HTTPS

Decide on whether you want to use HTTPS or HTTP. In most instances, the answer will be the former, considering that this is also one of the ranking factors by Google. The rule of thumb is that if you ever plan on accepting payments on your site, you need HTTPS on those pages at a minimum.

2. Decide on a canonical version of your URLs

Duplicate content issues may arise when Google can access the same piece of content via multiple URLs. Without one clear version, pages will compete with one another unnecessarily.

In developer’s eyes, a page is unique if it has a unique ID in the website’s database, while for search engines the URL is a unique identifier. A developer should be reminded that each piece of content should be accessed via only one URL.

3. Site speed

Developers are under pressure to deliver code on time and might neglect areas affecting page speed. Communicate the importance of page speed from the start and put in some time in the brief to optimize the site’s performance (A three-part Site Speed for Dummies Guide explains why we should care about this area.)

4. Languages and locations

If you are planning on targeting users from different countries, you need to decide whether your site would be multi-lingual, multi-regional, or both. Localized keyword research, hreflang considerations, and duplicate content are all issues better addressed before the site build.

Using separate country-level domains gives an advantage of being able to target a country or language more closely. This approach is, however, reliant upon you having the resources to build and maintain infrastructure, write unique content, and promote each domain.

If you plan to go down the route of multiple language/country combinations on a single site, typically the best approach is subfolders (e.g. example.com/uk, example.com/de). Subfolders can run from one platform/CMS, which means that development setup/maintenance is significantly lower.

5. Ease of editing and flexibility in a platform

Google tends to update their recommendations and requirements all the time. Your platform needs to be flexible enough to make quick changes at scale on your site.

Design areas to consider in order to avoid future redesign

1. Architecture and internal linking

An effective information architecture is critical if you want search engines to be able to find your content and serve it to users. If crawlers cannot access the content, they cannot rank it well. From a human point of view, information architecture is important so that users can easily find what they are looking for.

Where possible, you should look to create a flat site structure that will keep pages no deeper than 4 clicks from the homepage. That allows search engines and users to find content in as few clicks as possible.

Use keyword and competitor research to guide which pages you should have. However, the way pages should be grouped and connected should be user-focused. See how users map out relationships between your content using a card sorting technique — you don’t have to have website mockup or even products in order to do that. (This guide discusses in detail how to Improve Your Information Architecture With Card Sorting.)

2. Content-first design

Consider what types of content you will host. Will it be large guides/whitepapers, or a video library? Your content strategy needs to be mapped out at this point to understand what formats you will use and hence what kind of functionality this will require. Knowing what content type you will producing will help with designing page types and create a more consistent user interface.

3. Machine readability (Flash, JS, iFrame) and structured data

Your web pages might use a variety of technologies such as Javascript, Flash, and Ajax that can be hard for crawlers to understand. Although they may be necessary to provide a better user experience, you need to be aware of the issues these technologies can cause. In order to improve your site’s machine readability, mark up your pages with structured data as described in more detail in the post: “How to Audit a Site for Structured Data Opportunities”.

4. Responsive design

As we see more variation in devices and their requirements, along with shifting behavior patterns of mobile device use, ‘mobile’ is becoming less of a separate channel and instead is becoming an underlying technology for accessing the web. Therefore, the long-term goal should be to create a seamless and consistent user experience across all devices. In the interest of this goal, responsive design and dynamic serving methods can assist with creating device-specific experiences.

Closing thoughts

As a business owner/someone responsible for launching a site, you have a lot on your plate. It is probably not the best use of your time to go down the rabbit hole, reading about how to implement structured data and whether JSON-LD is better than Microdata. This post gives you important areas that you should keep in mind and address with those you are delegating them to — even if the scope of such delegation is doing research for you (“Give me pros and cons of HTTPS for my business” ) rather than complete implementation/handling.

I invite my fellow marketers to add other areas/issues you feel should be addressed at the initial planning stages in the comments below!

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Does Your Website Pass the Mobile Test?

It is hard to argue that the adoption of mobile devices hasn’t exploded with popularity. Most searches are being performed on mobile devices, with more searches expected to continue on mobile.

Mobile is not only important for organic performance but for conversions from all types of traffic including email and paid channels. It is important to understand your mobile traffic to focus on the channels that convert the most on those devices. For some websites, mobile devices might bring in the majority of your traffic but the conversions might not be as high as desktop searches, because of less focus on the mobile experience.

Today, most websites are built with a responsive design to help make it mobile friendly, but that doesn’t mean marketers should stop there. Instead, marketers should optimize the entire mobile experience to enhance conversions and overall performance. To help you out, we built a list of actionable tips to make sure your site is mobile friendly from three categories: SEO for mobile devices, mobile content, and mobile conversions.

Mobile SEO Tactics

#1 – Choosing the right mobile website setup

When choosing your website setup, make sure you understand what mobile design you want. There are three main types of mobile sites including:

  • Responsive design
  • Dynamic site
  • Mobile only site (m.example.com)

Google recommends using a responsive design for your website to help make sure it is mobile friendly, but any option works when done correctly.

TopRank Marketing tip: Analyze your audience to understand what the best option is for your site. Not all sites need to have a responsive design, considering a mobile only site can be tailored to your mobile audience easier in some cases.

 

#2 – Test your site for mobile friendliness

There are multiple ways to test if your site is mobile friendly including the Google Usability Test, Google Search Console report, and Chrome Developer tools. Use multiple tools to be sure that your mobile site is rendering correctly instead of assuming that your site is mobile friendly.

TopRank Marketing tip: Use the Chrome Developer Tools to get a better idea of how your website looks like on certain devices by selecting the “inspect” element. Then in the bottom left-hand corner, select the button that looks like a mobile device (see below).

The screenshot below shows the look on a mobile device. You can choose between a responsive site by pixel size or actual mobile phones by selecting the drop down at the top of the screen.

 

#3 – Optimize your metadata

Mobile SERPs (search engine results page) have less real estate for organic listings than desktop SERPs. It is important to understand the search landscape and SERP space available to market yourself over your competitors.

TopRank Marketing tip: Keep your title tags shorter and more concise to avoid your title tags being cut off in the SERP. It is best practice to keep your title tags under, at least, 70 characters for your title tags.

 

#4 – Optimize for mobile keywords

Have you ever conducted a search with a “near me” signifier attached to it? Near me searches are increasing and doubled in 2015 for all types of users, but especially for mobile users. Mobile keywords can also include more voice queries that people conduct with their phones.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make sure you conduct keyword research for mobile users and target mobile keywords. The search intent of a keyword query can vary based on the device people use so optimizing for all types of keywords will help increase your visibility.

 

#5 – Content for mobile devices

There are multiple types of content that should be considered when creating content for mobile users and your audience. Most marketers are already considering the type of content to write for their website on the attract, engage, convert model, but there sometimes is a lack of focus on mobile consumption habits. Mobile consumption habits can change depending on the industry, so it is important to consider how your audience interacts with your website.

TopRank Marketing tip: If you are are sending email campaigns, consider your audience’s mobile consumption habits. Most emails are consumed on mobile devices (see below). Create all your content that you are promoting via your email or social media channels to be mobile friendly.

 

Image via: cdn.emailtoday.com

 

#6 – Geotargeting on your mobile app

If you have a larger audience that uses your mobile app, you might want to consider geotargeting the users when they are close to a storefront, event, or at a specific location. Geotargeting is a great way to encourage action from your audience when they are located in the right areas at the right time.

TopRank Marketing tip: Consider using different imagery and messaging for users in different locations when they are using your app or website. Also, consider sending notifications to mobile app users to entice action when they are at a physical location.

 

Mobile Content Creation

#1 – Consider the content length and types

Consider the length and type of content you are creating for your audience, both on mobile and desktop. As we already covered, there typically is a difference in search intent for users on mobile devices compared to desktop computers. With that in mind, you need to be customer-focused and analyze where your audience is within the funnel for your content assets.

TopRank Marketing tip: Develop audience personas to understand the way your audience searches online. Personas can be a powerful tool when creating content for your website.

 

#2 – Make sure to communicate the value quickly

It is important to communicate your value clearly and quickly to mobile users. Often, banners sometimes push the value proportion below the fold, which may increase the amount of bounces on the page and confuse users where they are on your website.

TopRank Marketing tip: Reduce the amount of unnecessary space or elements on your mobile device to only include what is needed. Less is often more when you are dealing with the limited amount of space on a mobile device.

 

#3 – App optimization

Mobile websites are a must for your online strategy, but apps can provide even a better user experience. Not all companies need to develop and create a mobile app, but for the ones that do, you need to optimize those experiences. Apps should be tailored to solving the user’s problem or creating an unique experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Optimize your app for the user experience to solve your audience’s problem. After you create your app, make sure you optimize your App store listing to increase your visibility on other channels.

 

#4 – QR codes

QR codes are another solid tactic to add to the dedicated mobile experience. When used correctly, you can push users directly to a location easily with QR codes on psychical flyers or other traditional marketing materials.

TopRank Marketing tip: Test using QR codes on physical marketing materials to push people to a section online with their mobile phones that offers an experience dedicated to them.

 

#5 – SMS messaging

SMS messaging is a way to help you get in front of more of your audience via messaging apps. SMS messaging can be a powerful tool to send notifications to your audience that opted in to encourage specific actions or enhance customer experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make your messages personal to help encourage action. Also, make sure to include a clear CTA within the message to see the most value out of your campaign.

 

Mobile Conversions

#1 – Manually audit your layout on your responsive design

Your site might not be mobile friendly even though it might have a responsive design. A responsive site is typically better than a non-mobile site but sometimes issues can still arise. Some issues we typically see are videos not formatted to the correct screen size, the layout pushes the content below the fold, or the font size is too small.

There could be a vast majority of other issues with a responsive design, so make sure you optimize the layout of each page type.

TopRank Marketing tip: Look at what screen size is being utilized the most on your website within Google Analytics. Navigate in your Google Analytics dashboard to go to Audience ? Mobile ? Overview ? Screen Size to quickly analyze what screen size to optimize for first.

 

#2 – Consider your thumb reach

Make sure you consider the thumb reach to encourage action on your mobile design. Making your users reach and work out their thumb can create friction and a low-quality user experience.

TopRank Marketing tip: Make your CTAs within a thumbs reach to improve conversions. Also, consider using sticky headers to help mobile users navigate quickly through your site.

 

#3 – Site speed

Site speed has become more important as a ranking factor for search engines, and rightly so. A fast loading site helps provide a solid user experience and can help increase the crawl rate of the site by search engines. All marketers should be focusing on site speed as a priority item. Below are some tools to test your site speed:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • WebPageTest
  • GTmetrix

TopRank Marketing tip: Test your mobile site with multiple different tools to get a holistic view on site speed aspects. Prioritize the site speed items to get the most ROI from the work instead of optimizing for every site speed item.

 

#4 – Image optimization

Similarly to site speed, optimizing images will help site speed and user experience. A responsive site often uses the same image that is not probably sized for each device screen.

TopRank Marketing tip: Use different image sizes that can be used at different viewports to pull in images that are the correct size for the device.

 

#5 – Form Optimization

Congratulations! Someone has decided to start filling out a form on your site. That is a great goal to accomplish, but nothing is more disappointing than losing that user after they choose to abandon the form. Optimizing your forms for mobile users is a great way to increase conversions.

TopRank Marketing tip: Adjust the type of the keyboard for mobile users to use the right one for the form fields. For example, use the keyword field to show numbers for phone number fields and a different keyboard for email fields.

 

Your Optimized Mobile Experience

Above are some actionable tactics that you might want to optimize for your mobile website. There are even more areas and opportunities to optimize on your mobile website than listed above. If you’d like to find out if your website passes the mobile test, contact us today to receive a mobile optimization audit.


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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media

For the past decade, many small business marketers have taken an “If you build it, they will come” approach to Facebook. They share engaging content, encourage conversation, and optimize their Facebook page to meet their goals. Unfortunately, too often the expected outcome doesn’t quite match the reality:

Facebook has an average of 1.71 billion active users a month—that’s an audience worth addressing. Yet business owners struggle to convert Facebook users into organic traffic to their websites.

Business app discovery platform GetApp recently surveyed 500 owners of small and medium-sized businesses. Less than 30% of respondents reported that Facebook was moderately to extremely effective at driving organic traffic to their sites. By contrast, 20.1% rated it slightly effective, and over 25% said it was not effective at all.

If you’re a small business owner and Facebook is the focus of your marketing efforts, it may be time to branch out. Here are a few ways to use a little strategy and a small budget to increase traffic to your website.

#1: Make Sure Your Shares Encourage Website Traffic

Some businesses do a great job creating a fun, relatable feed. They have memes. They use emoji in a cool, not cringe-worthy way. They even share valuable content from around the web.

All of that is great for building your audience on Facebook. But it’s not enough to build a hip Facebook page, put your URL in the sidebar, and watch the clicks roll in. Make sure to regularly share content hosted on your website, with an eye-catching visual and a summary that compels a click.

If you’re already doing that, keep reading for more tips. But if you haven’t been explicitly, actively, repeatedly encouraging your Facebook audience to visit your site, this is an easy win.

#2: Use a Little Strategic Paid Promotion

“Stellar work, Nite,” I hear you say. “So the way to generate more organic traffic is to pay for traffic?”

Hear me out, though. Organic traffic is free(ish), and that’s great. It’s wonderful when people opt to look at your content. But what’s better is traffic from a more relevant audience of your choosing. Facebook makes it easy to get results with a really small budget.

Take your top-performing organic content—the post that already has likes and shares, so you know people like it—and put $ 5 behind it. Target it to a specific audience that is valuable to you. Most importantly, use the “Create a Lookalike Audience” option to reach a new audience.

Keep a close eye on your $ 5 investment and use what you learn to optimize the next round. The small investment is worth it, if it pays off in more relevant traffic. As you attract a new audience, you can start to pull them from Facebook to your own site.

#3: Turn Facebook Followers into Subscribers

As Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi puts it, “Don’t build your house on rented land.” As long as your audience is exclusively on Facebook (or any other social media platform), the platform determines how and when you can reach them. If Facebook has a choice between allowing you organic reach or demanding a ransom—well, you can guess which way they’ll go.

So when you share links to your site’s content on Facebook, make sure there are prominent opportunities to subscribe. Whether it’s to your blog feed or a weekly newsletter, give your audience the option to opt in.

You can also add a Subscribe button to your Facebook Page. When you’re logged in as the page, you will see the “Add a Button” option right under your header image. Choose the “Sign Up” button and link it to a subscription landing page.

Make sure the page has a quick but compelling statement of benefit and very little else—just a quick form to fill out and a big shiny Subscribe button.

#4: Look to LinkedIn*

If your business is B2B, Facebook is likely not the best fit for a primary marketing focus. LinkedIn tends to be a better place for B2B business to build an audience and generate leads—according to research, 80% of B2B leads are sourced through the platform.

LinkedIn isn’t exclusively for B2B, however. You can create a Company Page and build an audience for your B2C company as well. You can also use long-form posts on LinkedIn to promote your personal thought leadership. Use the platform to build credibility and visibility that can transfer to your business. Great content leads to more profile views, and you can construct your profile to lead visitors to your business’ website.

Do You Believe in Life after Facebook?

Facebook can still be a good place to build an audience and boost your business’ brand awareness. But don’t rely on likes and follows to do any heavy lifting. Make sure what you share on your feed is strategically created to encourage action. Don’t be afraid to invest $ 5-10 every few weeks on targeted promotion, or to try other social media platforms better suited to your company’s offerings. Finally, the end goal should be to amass an audience on your own site, not someone else’s platform.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | Small Business Owners: Use These Tips to Increase Website Traffic from Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Twitter Deep Dive: How to Use Social Media to 10x Your Website Traffic – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by TaraReed_

This week, Whiteboard Friday is hosted by the amazing Tara Reed who’ll walk us through how to use social media broadly and Twitter in particular not only to earn engagement and a following, but to drive visitors directly to our websites and to the content that converts. Let’s dive in!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey. My name is Tara Reed. I’m the CEO of appswithoutcode.com, and you’re hanging out with me today for Whiteboard Friday. Today, we’re talking about how to use social media to 10x your website traffic. Specifically, we’re talking about how to use Twitter. We’re doing a deep dive of Twitter and how to use Twitter to do that 10x-ing of your website traffic. How do you take people from your social media content to your actual website and flow them through that funnel? I’m going to be giving you a process today to automate a lot of that work that sometimes we do manually.

Before we jump into that, I just want to ask you a quick question. How many of you feel like you have a well-oiled machine that is taking people from your social media content through and all the way to your site? If you don’t feel like you have a really strong, well-oiled machine, I’ve got one here for you, and you can implement all three parts of this three-step process I’m going to show you in order to really, really drive a lot more traffic, squeeze a lot more traffic out of your social media following and your social media presence.

Reach

So this process has three steps. The first step is reach. This is something that most people skip over entirely. They sit back passively, and they wait for people to find their social media site. So I want to offer an alternative for you that’s going to be a lot more proactive, and here’s how it works.

There are thousands, if not millions of people out there who are actively posting, tweeting, and saying that they want your product, your service, whatever it is that you have. So for example, if you have a company that helps people find apartments, there are thousands of people every day who are posting, “I’m thinking about moving to Seattle next month,” “thinking about going here.” They’re actually saying these things in their social media posts, and you’re just letting them say these things and you’re not actually engaging with them. But there’s a really awesome way that you can do that, and I want to walk you through how.

Keywords

So what you’re going to want to do first, in order to find these people, is write down a couple really clear keywords around the types of things that people are saying in social media to indicate high interest.

These keywords are going to be slightly different than the keywords that someone might type into Google or into a search bar, because the types of things you say on social media are just slightly different. So for example, you might say “looking for an apartment” on social media, but on Google search you might type in “apartments in Seattle,” and that’s a slight difference there. So you want to be conscious of the social media platform that you’re on when you’re writing out your keywords.

Automated workflow

Once you have your keywords, the next thing you want to do is build an automated workflow to engage with these people. There are a couple different things that you can do to create an automated workflow. You get to decide which of these four elements you want to use to create the most organic experience for you and for your brand. But there are four different types of ways you can engage with these people who are actively saying that they want whatever it is that you have. So you can:

  • Like their posts
  • Follow them
  • Add them to a list
  • Send them a DM that says, “Hey, Tara, saw you were interested in apartments. Check out this blog post of the top apartments in Seattle that we put together last week,” whatever it might be.

But what you’re going to want to do is use some of these, maybe not all four of them. But come up with a strategy that feels really organic and an outreach, because you don’t want to just leave these people hanging out there. You want to make sure that you’re engaging with them in some way. It’s low-hanging fruit, and it’s really going to help you squeeze a lot of value out of your social media content.

Resources

So I’ve outlined some resources for you to use in order to do that. These are two of my favorite tools.

Socedo does a really good job automating this workflow of reaching out to people who are prospective customers, prospective users, prospective visitors of your website. There’s also a tool called Narrow.io that you can use.

Click

So once you’re doing this outreach, you’re not passively sitting back, you’re actually engaging with the people who really want whatever it is that you have, we’re going to move over to the second strategy — to click. Now, what you want to do here is have something really valuable for these people to actually click on, because what they’re going to do is they’re going to click on your profile link and they’re going to arrive here. That is why I recommend people implement something I call a 14-day experiment.

14-day experiment

A 14-day experiment is when you take your top blog posts and for 14 days, every single day you post 14 posts, different blog posts. You can mix them up. But every day you are posting 14 links to a blog post with some interesting, unique content. The reason you want to do this is that the average user spends just 13 minutes on Twitter at a time. So the chances of them seeing more than one of those posts in your day is really slim. So you want to do 14. It may feel like a lot for your company and for your brand, but really that’s where you want to be in order to really squeeze out all that value on your social media site.

Spreadsheet

Now, in order to get prepared for this 14-day experiment, what you’re going to want to do is get out a spreadsheet. In the first column of your spreadsheet, you’re going to want to put links to all of your top blog posts. I’d say grab somewhere between 14 and 25 blog posts that you want to use.

In the next column, for this specific blog post, you’re going to write a tweet, a piece of content. You can grab out a quote from the blog post, or you can do a summary of the blog post, whatever it might be. But you’re going to write a tweet about that blog post, and if you want, you can add an accompanying image.

You’re going to do that again for the same blog post, but you’re going to put a new piece of content, a new tweet, and a new image. This spreadsheet will go on for about 28 rows, because you’re going to do about 14 different posts for each blog post. It’s going to really push you to think about different angles and different ways that people can think about the content that you’ve already written. Most of us just post one or two times on our blog post, but you can really push out 14.

Resources

Some resources to help you do this, obviously a spreadsheet. Really easy, that is all you need. But I also have a book recommendation for you. It’s called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk. I’ve had my team and other teams read this book as a group. As they go through putting together their 14-day experiment, it’s a really great way to rally your team around the ideas and get everyone involved. So if they want to contribute some content into this spreadsheet, they’re already on board and excited to do it.

Recycle

Now, then you move on to the third part of the strategy, which is to recycle your content. Again, most of us are posting again and again and again on social media, but people are only seeing a few of those posts, because the average user is only spending a few minutes on Twitter every day. So what you’re going to want to do is use a tool to recycle your content.

Resources

You’re not just going to want to post your blog post one or two times. You’re going to want to take everything you put in the spreadsheet and put it into a tool like Edgar. Edgar is a tool that allows you to recycle content. So after the blog post has gone up one day, 14 days later, a month later, it’ll show up again, that same exact post. People probably haven’t seen it yet, and so it’s going to allow you to recycle your content on auto-pilot.

These two elements on the side of me — the outreach part and the recycling part — those are things that you can get going on auto-pilot. They’re running on their own. This middle piece, you’re going to have to do some upkeep. You’re going to have to maintain content, add new content to your funnels. But for the most part, this is going to allow you to cohesively build a really cohesive strategy that’s going to automate the experience. It’s going to really squeeze a lot of the content, a lot of the engagement that you can get to get people from just looking at your social media profile, bring them to your social media profile, and then funnel them through to actually be on your website.

Thanks for hanging out with me on Whiteboard Friday.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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