Twitter Lets Users Schedule Tweets in Advance via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 3:02 pm on Search Engine Journal: Twitter now offers its own method of scheduling tweets in advance, a feature that was once only available with third-party tools. When using Twitter in a web browser, users will now see an option to schedule a tweet from the composer screen. Not quite ready to send that Tweet? Now on https://t.co/fuPJa36kt0 you can save it as a draft or schedule it to send at a specific time –– all from the Tweet composer! pic.twitter.com/d89ESgVZal — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 28, 2020 How to Schedule Tweets on Twitter.com Tweets can be scheduled in a few simple steps. First, compose your tweet. Then, instead of hitting send, click the calendar icon as shown below. Twitter will give users the option to schedule tweets at any time up to 18 months in advance. From the pop-up window you can specify the exact date and time down to the minute. From this window you can also view a list of all scheduled tweets and make and adjustments if needed. Again, this feature is only available on the browser-based version of Twitter. It’s not yet available on Twitter’s official mobile app. Twitter’s mobile app updates are often more spread out, with a number of features added all at the same time. That’s in contrast to the web based version of Twitter, which tends to have new features added more frequently. I suspect with the next app update we’ll get scheduled tweets and other features exclusive to the web version of Twitter, such as saved searches. In the meantime, you can visit Twitter on a mobile browser to use features that are missing from the mobile app. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Save Drafts on Twitter.com Along with the scheduled tweets feature, the web based version of Twitter is also getting the ability to save drafts. Saving drafts is a feature so ingrained in Twitter’s mobile app it’s easy to forget you can’t do it on the web version. But it hasn’t been supported on the web version of Twitter, at least until today’s update. If you’re familiar with saving drafts on the mobile app – it works exactly the same way on the web version. Compose your tweet and then click the ‘X’ button to close out of it. Twitter will ask if you want to save what you’ve composed or permanently delete it. If you choose to save a tweet as a draft, you can come back to it at any time and finish it. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW As far as I can tell, tweet drafts can be accessed across platforms. So you can save a draft on the mobile app and revisit it on web based Twitter. One of the most positive things about the ability to save drafts is that it gives Twitter users time to put more thought into what they’re sending out to the world. Many people can relate to the feeling of tweeting something they later regret, which is something that drafts can mitigate to a certain extent. Users can compose a tweet and then back out of it without abandoning it altogether. Then they can revisit the tweet at a later time and assess whether it’s still a good idea to send it. I’d wager a lot of regrettable tweets have gone unsent since Twitter introduced drafts in the mobile app. Now users can re-think their tweets by saving drafts whether they’re using the app or the web version of Twitter. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Google to Use Page Experience as a Ranking Factor & This Week’s Digital Marketing News [PODCAST] via @shepzirnheld
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 11:00 am on Search Engine Journal: The Marketing O’Clock team discusses Google’s announcement that user experience will be a ranking factor, the launch of Google Discovery ads, and more / 13 seconds ago ADVERTISEMENT Jess Budde, Greg Finn, and Christine “Shep” Zirnheld talk about the digital marketing news of the week, plus, deadbeat bird dads, dangerous methods for opening beer bottles, and complimentary shortbread cookies. Here are this week’s top stories: Google Page Experience Update Google announced a future update that will consider the quality of the perceived user experience on a page in rankings. Discovery Campaigns Launch Globally Discovery ads can be in a responsive or carousel format and can run on YouTube, the discover feed in the Google app, and Gmail. Retail Category Reporting in Google Ads Ecommerce retailers who sell on Google search and shopping can now see retail category performance based on where their ads showed. IGTV Monetization Instagram users may see ads before IGTV videos in the near future. Instagram also announced badges that allow users to donate to their favorite creators. Then, we take a look at what normal Google users really think of the search engine. It seems people just wanted a search engine and not a clairvoyant telling them what they actually meant to search for. Also, it’s in nteresting to see how prevalent search operators are throughout the thread. — Gisele Navarro (@ichbinGisele) May 23, 2020 We’ll answer these important digital marketing questions during our lightning round segment: Who issued a new executive order that could mean big changes for social media companies? What new attributes are available for Google My Business listings? When can we expect audio tweets to roll out? Where can you host your next virtual team meeting? Why are Google search results getting pulled into YouTube? How can you customize your columns in LinkedIn Campaign Manager? If you enjoyed the show, visit the Marketing O’Clock site to read the articles we reported today and subscribe. Thank you to our sponsors! Ahrefs – An all-in-one SEO toolset that gives you the tools you need to rank your website in Google and get tons of search traffic. Opteo – Helps Google Ads managers automate time-consuming manual tasks so they can spend more time on high-level strategy and creative work. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Featured Image Credit: Cypress North Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Trump Executive Order May Target Blogs, Recipe Sites & Forums via @martinibuster
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 9:50 am on Search Engine Journal: A new executive order from President Trump may affect every blog, recipe site, review site, ecommerce site, and online forum that publishes user-generated content. The executive order specifically mentions Facebook and Twitter. But the scope of the order includes all websites that publish user-generated content that is moderated. According to the text published by the White House: “Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.” I asked Jeff Ferguson, Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at UCLA and partner at Amplitude Digital (@AmplitudeAgency) about the scope of that executive order and he offered this opinion: “The definition of an “online platform” as defined by the president’s executive order is very broad and can encompass a blog, an online forum, or even a recipe site that allows users to share recipes, in addition to the common examples of ‘social media’ that usually come to mind.” ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW I agree with Jeff that the phrasing is very broad: “…any website… that allows users to create and share content…” Common Decency Act Section 230 (CDA 230) The purpose of CDA 230 was to make it safe for anyone to create a site that allows users to create and share content without worrying about getting sued for content that was published by a user. This freedom from litigation allowed the Internet to grow and fostered free speech. Most importantly, sites were free to moderate their users and not be classified as publishers of that content, a designation could open a site up to lawsuits. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): “CDA 230 also offers its legal shield to bloggers who act as intermediaries by hosting comments on their blogs. Under the law, bloggers are not liable for comments left by readers, the work of guest bloggers, tips sent via email, or information received through RSS feeds. This legal protection can still hold even if a blogger is aware of the objectionable content or makes editorial judgments.” ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW According to the executive order, a publisher who restricts “access to content that it considers to be ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable…” might be subject to having their legal immunity lifted if they fail to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or an opportunity for a hearing. Here’s the specific clause from the executive order: “(ii) the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not “taken in good faith” within the meaning of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can be “taken in good faith” if they are: …taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or a meaningful opportunity to be heard;” The definition of what is “objectionable” can vary from site to site. Many online forums ban discussions of religion and politics on the basis that they are “objectionable” because those kinds of comments lead to divisions among the forum members. And what about a religious forum? Does this mean that “objectionable” comments promoting an alternative religion cannot be restricted without giving the commenter adequate notice, a reasoned explanation or a meaningful opportunity to be heard? The EFF writes: “Section 230 forbids the imposition of publisher liability on a service provider for the exercise of its editorial and self-regulatory functions. As the Fourth Circuit noted: Lawsuits seeking to hold a service liable for its exercise of a publisher’s traditional editorial functions – such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content – are barred. The purpose of this statutory immunity is not difficult to discern. Congress recognized the threat that tort-based lawsuits pose to freedom of speech in the new and burgeoning Internet medium. . . . Section 230 was enacted, in part, to maintain the robust nature of Internet communication.” Rather than increase freedom of speech, this executive order might do the opposite by removing the traditional immunity from litigation granted to online forums, bloggers, and many other kinds of websites with user-generated content. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Citations Electronic Frontier Foundation:Exercise of Editorial Functions Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act White House: White House executive order Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
6 Reasons to Keep Creating Content During COVID-19 via @Manish_Analyst
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 9:00 am on Search Engine Journal: The COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t bring every marketing effort in your company to a halt. Here’s why you should keep creating content now and beyond. The post 6 Reasons to Keep Creating Content During COVID-19 via @Manish_Analyst appeared first on Search Engine Journal. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Hreflang FAQ: 7 Basic Questions You Always Wanted to Ask via @motokohunt
Google Now Has 6 Ways to Measure Core Web Vitals via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 7:30 am on Search Engine Journal: Google is quickly expanding the number of ways site owners can measure Core Web Vitals, now offering 6 ways in total. Core Web Vitals were introduced just weeks ago, and at the time they could only be measured using the Chrome UX report. With the announcement that Core Web Vitals will be incorporated into Google’s ranking algorithm, the company is adding measurement capabilities to many of its existing tools. See: Google’s Core Web Vitals to Become Ranking Signals Core Web Vitals can now be measured using: Search Console PageSpeed Insights Lighthouse Chrome DevTools Chrome UX Report Web Vitals Extension Here’s more about using each of these tools to measure Core Web Vitals. Search Console There’s a new Core Web Vitals report in Search Console to help site owners to evaluate pages across an entire site. The report identifies groups of pages that require attention, based on real-world data from the Chrome UX report. With this report, be aware that URLs will be omitted if they do not have a minimum amount of reporting data. PageSpeed Insights PageSpeed Insights has been upgraded to use Lighthouse 6.0, which makes it capable of measuring Core Web Vitals in both the lab and field sections of the report. Core Web Vitals are annotated with a blue ribbon as shown below. Lighthouse Lighthouse was recently upgraded to version 6.0, which includes additional audits, new metrics, and a newly composed performance score. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Two of these new metrics added are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics are lab implementations of Core Web Vitals and provide diagnostic information for optimizing user experience. The third new metric — Total Blocking Time (TBT) — is said to correlate well with First Input Delay (FID), which is another Core Web Vitals metric. All of the products that Lighthouse powers are updated to reflect the latest version. Chrome UX Report Also referred to as CrUX, this report is is a public dataset of real user experience data on millions of websites. The Chrome UX report measures field versions of all the Core Web Vitals, which means it reports on real-world data rather than lab data. Google has recently updated the report with a new Core Web Vitals landing page. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW The report can be accessed here. Chrome DevTools Chrome DevTools has been updated to help site owners find and fix visual instability issues on a page that can contribute to Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Select a Layout Shift to view its details in the Summary tab. To visualize where the shift itself occurred, hover over the Moved from and Moved to fields. Chrome DevTools also measures Total Blocking Time (TBT), which is useful when it ones to improving First Input Delay (FID). ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW TBT is now shown in the footer of the Chrome DevTools Performance panel when you measure page performance. Performance optimizations that improve TBT in the lab should also improve FID. Web Vitals Extension A new extension, now available to install from the Chrome Web Store, measures the three Core Web Vitals metrics in real-time. You can download and install the extension here. Source: Web.dev Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Is Sleep Apnea Robbing You of Your Rest? via @rehor
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 7:00 am on Search Engine Journal: Here’s how I learned I had sleep apnea and how I’m managing the challenges that come with it. The post Is Sleep Apnea Robbing You of Your Rest? via @rehor appeared first on Search Engine Journal. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
The 13 Best Email Template Builders for Any Budget
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 6:00 am on HubSpot: Email marketing is an undeniably powerful strategy for lead acquisition and customer retention — in fact, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI, and 93% use email as a major channel for content distribution. Of course, creating an email marketing campaign isn’t easy, and it might require you to build a template using HTML so you’re not designing and altering every new email from scratch. Thankfully, there are dozens of email template builders available, all of which can help you intuitively and quickly create new email templates for your upcoming campaigns. Then again, the fact that there are dozens of tools available can pose a challenge — how are you supposed to know which template builder will best suit your needs? Fortunately, you’re in luck. We’ve done the homework for you, compiling a list of our 13 favorite email template builders, complete with pricing, screenshots, and a general overview of each app’s unique features. Keep reading to choose the best email template builder for your company. But first — why do you need an email template builder, anyway? Why You Need an Email Template Builder Email marketing remains one of the highest-ROI marketing strategies, in part because of how easy and inexpensive it is to create a campaign, but if you’re designing and sending emails on a frequent basis, you’ll need additional support to work efficiently—and maximize your results. An email template builder grants you several advantages: Better design features. Without a template builder, you may struggle to arrange your content in blocks as you want, or add videos to your email. Initial time savings. Most email template builders rely on intuitive mechanics, like drag-and-drop editors, so you can design your emails faster. Long-term time savings. Creating a library of email templates can save you a ton of time long-term, allowing you to quickly choose and lightly edit past templates for new emails. Replicability. Did you see impressive results with your most recent campaign? With an email template builder, you can easily replicate it with some minor tweaks in the future. Analytics. Most email template builders also feature built-in analytics, which you can use to study your past email marketing efforts and make improvements to your approach. Additionally, depending on the email template builder you’re using, you may have access to even more features. Let’s dive into some of the best builders, next. The Best Email Template Builders 1. HubSpot HubSpot offers a comprehensive, start-to-finish solution for all your marketing needs. You can create a sleek, on-brand email campaign using HubSpot’s drag-and-drop editor, and customize the template to match your brand and align with your goals. Additionally, you can customize each email depending on your recipient’s lifecycle stage, list membership, or any information in their contact records to ensure each email is designed for optimal conversions. Best of all, the email tool provides top-notch analytics and A/B testing tools so you can continue to refine your marketing strategy over time. Unique Features Analytics to provide deep insights into your email success rates, including open-rate, most popular links clicked in an email, who engages with each email, when and on which device, and what emails perform best. Tailor each email to individual subscribers based on lifecycle stage, list membership, or any other contact information to serve the best calls-to-action to segmented groups. Ability to run A/B tests to improve open-rates and clickthroughs. More than 100 email templates available by default. Custom landing page creation tools. Advanced social sharing options. Integrations with other marketing tools (more than 300 third-party apps). 24/7 support from customer service reps. Pricing You can get started with HubSpot’s email tool for free. Alternatively, if you’re already a HubSpot customer (professional or enterprise), the email tool is already included. 2. MailChimp MailChimp is one of the top names in email marketing, in part because of its accessibility. It’s super easy to learn and build your first few email templates, and you can get started right now with a free plan. As you scale your business, you’ll find additional options, features, and tools for your needs. Image Source Unique Features More than 100 email templates available by default. Custom landing page creation tools. Advanced social sharing options. Integrations with other marketing tools (more than 300 third-party apps). 24/7 support from customer service reps. Pricing MailChimp offers a free plan that provides basic templates, marketing CRM, surveys, and even website creation. At $9.99 per month, you’ll get additional support, custom branding, A/B testing, and all email templates. To get access to custom templates, retargeting ads, and better audience insights, you’ll need the Standard plan at $14.99 per month. Advanced plans, including a Premium tier at $299.00 per month, are also available, and offer features like advanced segmentation, multivariate testing, and more. 3. BEE Free BEE Free is a free online email editor that has been used by more than a million people. In just a few clicks, you can get started designing your first email template — or use one of the 150 templates currently available by default. It also offers free design ideas on its own blog. Image Source Unique Features 150 predesigned templates (and additional paid templates). Full responsiveness for mobile friendly designs. Integration with many SaaS apps. Options to pick up where you left off. Pricing BEE Free, as you might have guessed, is free. You can drag-and-drop to create emails without even needing to sign up. However, you may eventually want to upgrade to one of three BEE Pro packages, which are targeted to freelancers, marketing teams, and agencies. Pro plans start at $15 per month. 4. Mosaico Mosaico.io is an open source email template builder, which is something of a rarity. You won’t find any predesigned templates, as you would with other email template builders, but you will be able to alter the tool however you see fit. Image Source Unique Features A unique click-based design tool, abandoning the traditional “drag-and-drop” model. Community support, due to its open source nature. Infinite flexibility, if you’re willing to put in the work to customize it. Pricing Mosaico is currently completely open source, so you can use it for free. In fact, the entire code base is available on GitHub. 5. Email Monster Email Monster is another free email template builder, with a simple, easy-to-grasp approach. You can choose any of its 100+ base kit templates and edit the template as you see fit. You can also install the free Chrome extension if you want to integrate directly into Gmail. Image Source Unique Features Template designs are immediately available, so you can start in mere minutes. A free Chrome plugin so you can use the tool directly in your browser. The ability to save and download templates for future use. Pricing Email Monster is free, with no upgrades or paid plan options available at this time. 6. AWeber AWeber is specifically designed for small businesses eager to get started with email marketing, but who might have trouble knowing where to begin. Predesigned templates, custom designs, and email automation are all available. Image Source Unique Features A drag and drop AMP carousel, which allows you to add AMP image carousels to your emails. AWeber’s Smart Designer, which uses AI to construct and recommend email templates. A campaign marketplace that allows you to design and launch full email campaigns. 24/7 customer service. Pricing Pricing scales based on the number of subscribers you’re emailing. Plans start at $19 per month, which covers you up to 500 subscribers. The top tier, for 10,000 to 25,000 subscribers, is $149 per month. Pricing options for businesses with more than 25,000 subscribers are available upon request. You can also choose to be billed quarterly or annually to reduce your per-month costs. 7. Unlayer Unlayer allows you to build email templates from scratch, but also utilize merge tags and embed customizable, dynamic content into the body of your messages. It’s designed for SaaS companies, but could feasibly be used by any industry. Image Source Unique Features Dynamic content that changes based on defined conditions. Large-scale template management. Developer friendliness, with full support documentation, for unique customizations. Options for landing pages and further marketing support. Pricing The basic plan option is free. Premium packages are available at $99 for startups, $199 for businesses, and $399 for growing businesses. 8. Campaign Monitor Campaign Monitor is primarily focused on email marketing, but has other features you can use for a variety of other marketing and ecommerce purposes. Because it’s designed to work for teams, it’s ideal if you have many people working together on your campaigns. Image Source Unique Features Template management and collaboration for teams. Built-in support for surveys with unlimited questions. 80 predesigned email templates. Pricing Pricing varies based on how many subscribers you have. You can get started for free, but if you want access for more features, or if you need more support, you’ll need the Basic plan for $9 per month, the Unlimited plan for $29 per month, or the Premier plan for $149. 9. Chamaileon.io Chamaileon.io is a cleverly-named email template builder that allows your team to design emails collaboratively, complete with drag-and-drop mechanics so you never have to worry about coding. You can also design and follow a set email campaign workflow, simplifying your efforts in the future. Image Source Unique Features Collaborative email design for teams working together on the same templates. Unique and flexible account roles for multiple levels of access. Replicable testing settings to allow for easy testing of new designs. Pricing The free plan gives you much of what you need as an individual, but as you start adding seats and getting access to more features, the cost goes up. Premium plans start at $20 per month, with the Pro plan at $40 per month, and the Pro Team plan at $200 per month. 10. Designmodo Designmodo‘s email builder is designed to bring teams together for the email template building process. You can use it to design emails however you like, then export as HTML, or to a full email service provider like Mailchimp. Image Source Unique Features Modular designs that help you stack, customize, and rearrange your options. Long-term content management to help you revisit previous successes. Unlimited exports, which is ideal if you’re exporting to other services frequently. Pricing For a single user and 10 modules, you can use Postcards for free. Business plans start at $15 per month, and an agency plan starts at $25 per month. 11. Stripo.email Stripo.email helps you create responsive email templates without any HTML coding skills necessary. It also features innate dynamic AMP support, and a robust testing tool to help you preview your email in more than 90 popular environments, including variants for devices and browsers. Image Source Unique Features Drag-and-drop AMP blocks for image carousel and/or accordion support. Thorough testing in nearly 100 different environments. A customizable module library, allowing you to reuse past successful elements. Integration with many ESPs and third-party tools. Pricing The free plan is all you’ll need to get started. Billed yearly, the Business plan is $125 (or $10.42 per month), and the Agency plan is $400 (or $33.33 per month). 12. Taxi for Email Taxi for Email provides scalable email template creation, as well as the ability to create email workflows. It also allows you to assign various tasks and permissions to your team, so each of your marketers can play a role in perfecting your email campaign. Image Source Unique Features Team dynamics, including collaborative tools, access assignment, and user permissions. Robust testing on-demand as you design. Support for multiple languages and email segmentation. Pricing Taxi for Email doesn’t publish their pricing, but you can submit a short contact form on their website to get a free quote. 13. SendGrid SendGrid is an email service that provides support for email template designs — additionally, it offers email functions like automatic shipping notifications and password resets. It also boasts an open API, which you can use to integrate with just about anything. Image Source Unique Features A wide variety of tools, including email design, automation, signup forms, and more. APIs, SMTP Relay, and Webhooks. Delivery optimization tools so you can increase delivery rates. Pricing The basic version of the tool is free, and paid plans start at $14.95 per month for the essentials, or $89.95 per month for the Pro plan. Rates increase as you send more emails per month. Choose the Best Email Template Builder for Your Needs While it’s arguable that some of these email template builders are superior to some of the others, all of them have strengths and weaknesses. The best email template builder will be the one that most closely aligns with your organization’s goals — giving you all the tools you need, at a price within your budget. When you narrow the list down to a few options, give each one a try (since most of these tools either offer a free trial, or a free version altogether), and get a hands-on feel for which tool might serve your organization best. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
How to Use Google Analytics to Eliminate Uncertainty
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 5:00 am on Social Media Examiner: Social Media Marketing Industry Report In our 12th annual social media study (46 pages, 60+ charts) of 5,200+ marketers, you’ll discover which social networks marketers most plan on using, organic social activities, paid social media plans, and much more! Get this free report and never miss another great article from Social Media Examiner. Learn more about Social Media Examiner by visiting their website.
8 Best WordPress Notification Bar Plugins (Compared)
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 5:00 am on WP Beginner: Do you want to add a notification bar on your website? A floating bar or “hello bar” can be an effective and non-intrusive way to alert users about a sale or coupon. However, it could also get annoying if it’s not setup properly. For instance, a notification bar that takes half the screen on mobile is not a good user experience. In this article, we’ll help you pick the best WordPress notification bar plugins to boost traffic, get more subscribers, and increase sales. What to look for in a WordPress Notification Bar Plugin? There are plenty of WordPress notification bar plugins available in the market, but not all of them have the right set features you may need for getting the maximum results. For example, some notification bar plugins are too simple and does not come with proper settings for allowing users to hide the notification. Others may not have the ability to add dynamic elements such as call to action buttons or countdown timers to boost urgency. Basically, you need to choose a floating bar plugin that aligns with your goal: increase traffic, show announcement alert, grow your email list, increase sales conversion, etc. Here are some of the most important factors you need to look for when choosing a notification bar plugin: Targeting and Cookie Settings – Your notification plugin should have targeting option that allows you to customize the message for different sections, and also remember what user has seen in the past to improve user experience. Dynamic Elements – A good alert notification plugin allows you to add dynamic elements such as countdown timers, multiple call-to-action buttons, animation effects, etc. Newsletter Integrations – If your goal is to grow your email newsletter, then you need to make sure that the sticky bar plugin integrates with popular email marketing services. Support options – Lastly, you need to make sure that there are support options available. Good support can save you a lot of money in the long run. With that said, let’s take a look at our comparison of the best WordPress notification bar plugins. 1. OptinMonster OptinMonster is the best conversation optimization software that comes with several marketing tools to help you turn website visitors into subscribers and customers. It also includes a notification bar feature with dozens of beautiful templates. Their drag and drop builder allows you to customize the design or even create completely custom templates to match your brand. You can include things like a countdown timer, too. OptinMonster is great for notification bars that encourage action. It has advanced targeting features that allow you to personalize the message based on your goals and users’ past behavior. You can also use OptinMonster’s notification bars to show an alert or message. If you’ve had to suddenly change your business hours, for instance, you can alert your website visitors to this. Other use-cases include: creating a free shipping bar notice for WooCommerce, add a newsletter opt-in form, create a discount alert bar, redirect traffic to a landing page, and more. Below are some real example screenshots from their floating bar gallery: Aside from just notification bars, you can use OptinMonster to create all sorts of different popups and alerts including spin to win gamified opt-in forms, exit-intent popups, fullscreen welcome mats, and more: Not to mention, there is no other solution that offers more personalization and targeting features than OptinMonster. Take a look at some of their targeting rules: 2. SeedProd’s Notification Bar Pro SeedProd is best known for its ‘Coming Soon’ page plugin. However, they also have a floating bar plugin, called Notification Bar Pro. You can buy Notification Bar Pro as part of the SeedProd bundle. With SeedProd’s Notification Bar Pro, you can design your notification bar however you want. It shows a live preview of your notification bar as you design it. This makes it easy to tweak it to look however you want. You don’t have to show your notification bar on every page of your site. Instead, you might choose to show it on just the home page. You could also allow or exclude specific pages. It’s very quick to build and tweak your notification bar with SeedProd. If you want to go further than the wide range of built-in options, then you can also add custom CSS to style the floating bar. There’s a limited free version available, too, called WordPress Notification Bar. This doesn’t offer all the features of the full version, but you might like to try it out if you’re just getting started. 3. TrustPulse TrustPulse is a little different from the plugins we’ve looked at so far. It offers a real-time social proof notifications, letting your users know what’s happening right now on your site. This can be a great way to take advantage of the FOMO effect while building trust around your brand. When someone visits your site, TrustPulse will show a small notification bar that lets them know who’s buying your product right now, or who’s bought it recently. This is a powerful form of social proof that is proven to increase conversions. It works with all top eCommerce platforms including WooCommerce. You can also set up TrustPulse to track other types of interactions. For instance, you could use it to show a notification when someone joins your email list. TrustPulse is incredibly easy to use out of the box. However, there are plenty of features you can customize if you want to. You can easily change the message, colors, and images used in your notifications, for instance. It also gives you lots of useful analytics, showing you which pages are delivering the highest conversion rate. There’s even a free version, which lets you show notifications for up to 500 sessions (visits from users). 4. WP Notification Bar Pro WP Notification Bar Pro offers multiple different notification types. You can use it to build your email list, grow your social media following, advertise sales, and more. This is a great option if you want to show something a bit unusual in your notification bar. For instance, you can use WP Notification Bar Pro to show your latest posts or even posts that are related to the one the user is on. You can even display a search form or social media buttons in your notification bar. WP Notification Bar Pro lets you create multiple notification bars. You can set their priority so the most important one always displays on a given page. You can also split test your bars to see which performs best. You can track your views and clicks, too. 5. Hello Bar Hello Bar is a well known and popular notification bar plugin for WordPress. It’s easy and straightforward to use. If you’re a complete beginner, it could be a good option. Like with OptinMonster, you can use Hello Bar to add users to your email lists, as it integrates with popular email marketing services. As well as notification bars, Hello Bar lets you create other types of popups such as sliders and even popups that take over the whole screen. There’s a limited free version of Hello Bar available. You’ll need to create an account with Hello Bar in order to use it. The free version doesn’t give you as much control over your notification bars as the full version. You’ll still be able to make some basic design changes using it, though. Note: You won’t be able to remove the Hello Bar branding unless you pay for a premium plan at which point OptinMonster is a much better option at the price. 6. Easy Notification Bar Easy Notification Bar is a simple, free option. You can just install it on your site and get started straight away. It doesn’t have all the options you’ll get from other plugins, but you can still do basic things like type in your text, choose a font size, add a link, and customize the colors. Unlike many of the other plugins here, Easy Notification Bar only offers a floating bar. It doesn’t let you create other types of popup too. If you just want to put an alert on your website, it could be a great option. For instance, if you run a restaurant and want to alert customers to a temporary closure or change in business hours, this plugin might be all you need. It’s completely free, and there’s no premium version. If you’re on a tight budget after the other costs of building a WordPress site, then this could be a good plugin to start with. 7. WPFront Notification Bar WPFront Notification bar is another simple plugin that lets you create notification bars in WordPress. You can place the bar at the top or bottom of the page. You can set the bar to automatically close and/or have a close button for your visitors. You can also configure when the bar appears, for example you might set a start and end date for it. WPFront Notification Bar is completely free and regularly updated. As with Easy Notification Bar, there’s no premium version. One key drawback with this plugin is that you can only create a single notification bar at a time. 8. Divi Notification Bar Divi by Elegant Themes is one of the most popular drag & drop page builder for WordPress. Aside from letting you create custom landing pages, Divi also allows you to easily create and add notification alerts in your pages with their easy drag & drop interface. Although it doesn’t come with the powerful personalization and targeting features like OptinMonster, it is still a suitable solution for basic needs. Expert Pick: Which is the Best Notification Bar Plugin for WordPress? In our opinion, OptinMonster is the best WordPress notification bar plugin because of it’s large template selection, easy to use design customizer, advanced personalization / targeting features, and hundreds of integrations with popular email marketing services & CRMs. Not to mention, it also gives you a whole range of other marketing tools like popups, slide-ins, fullscreen welcome mats, gamified spin a wheel opt-in forms, and more. If you’re looking to display social proof notifications, then TrustPulse is an ideal solution. We hope this article helped you learn about the best WordPress notification bar plugins. You might also want to take a look at our expert list of the best business phone services and must have WordPress plugins for small business. If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook. The post 8 Best WordPress Notification Bar Plugins (Compared) appeared first on WPBeginner. Learn more about WP Beginner by visiting their website.
How to Run a Successful Grassroots Marketing Campaign [+ Examples]
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 29, 2020 4:30 am on HubSpot: When I try to think of marketing campaigns that were emotional and memorable, one of the first ones that comes to mind is the Dove Real Beauty campaign. The reason? Dove uses grassroots marketing strategies to create targeted content that their audience wants to share with everyone they know. As a marketer, that might seem like a daunting task. However, grassroots marketing can actually be cost-effective and achievable for any brand. Below, let’s review grassroots marketing from the best strategies to examples that’ll inspire your own campaigns. Grassroots marketing is similar to viral marketing because the goal is to create content that your audience wants to share. However, this might be more cost-effective since you’re building a campaign that’s targeted at a smaller, specific audience. These campaigns will be different from your everyday marketing campaigns because your goal is to inspire a small audience to take action. With other marketing campaigns, you’re probably hoping to reach a large number of people. However, with grassroots marketing, you’re creating highly specific content with the hope that your audience will share your message for you. 1. Know your target audience. It’s true, it’s going to be important for you to know your audience for any marketing campaign. However, with grassroots marketing it’s a necessity. The entire concept of grassroots marketing is that your audience will share your content for you. Yet, they won’t do that if your content doesn’t inspire them to. Before you get started with grassroots marketing, you need to know what motivates and inspires your audience. Figure out what they care about and create content surrounding that. 2. Get creative and inspire action. Again, your grassroots marketing content should inspire your audience to take action. But you might be wondering, “How do I do that?” One way is be creative and start a movement. Your content doesn’t have to be political, but it has to be inspiring and relatable. 3. Focus on storytelling. While I might be biased because I’m a writer, the best grassroots marketing campaigns are focused on storytelling. Ideally, your content will explore your audience’s emotions. For example, if your target audience is parents, you can create a video that’s focused on the parent/child relationship. This will tug at their heartstrings and make them want to share with their friends. In fact, think about grassroots marketing as a way to tell your audience’s stories. If they feel represented by your content, they’re going to share it wildly. 4. Start hyperlocal. It might seem like grassroots marketing is about creating viral content, however, no grassroots campaign started that way. With grassroots marketing, your content should be laser focused on your target audience. The goal is to attain national attention by sheer shareability and word of mouth. 5. Use reviews to your advantage. One strategy for your grassroots campaign should be to focus on getting reviews. You should spend time building your reputation on Yelp or Google reviews so you can gain organic attention online. For example, a year ago, I started to hear all about this thing called a Hydro Flask. I saw the reviews and heard people talking about it for months. I finally decided to buy one even though I had literally never used a water bottle in my day-to-day life before. That’s the result of a great grassroots marketing campaign. With reviews from happy customers amplifying your message, you can reach people you weren’t even targeting originally. 6. Create YouTube content. YouTube is one of the best channels to disseminate your grassroots marketing content. On this social media platform, you can share highly targeted content that’s educational, helpful, and emotional. If your video continues to get shared by your audience, you can begin to reach even more people organically because your video might rank better. Grassroots Marketing Ideas 1. Text your customer. With grassroots marketing, it’s important to get creative with how you reach your audience. One way to do this is to use text marketing. With SMS messages, you can have a real conversation with your customers. You can learn about them, send them one-touch surveys, or offer targeted marketing based on their feedback. The trick with text marketing is to only send messages to customers who have signed up to receive your texts. No one wants to get a random text from an unidentified number. 2. Include visuals. Almost every grassroots marketing campaign should be focused around the visuals. In fact, in a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support. Visual content is what your audience wants to see. Plus, the main idea is that grassroots marketing is shareable and visual content is easier to share. 3. Don’t forget a call-to-action. Not to beat a dead horse, but your grassroots marketing campaign should inspire action. To do this, you have to include a call-to-action in your campaign. With successful grassroots marketing, your target audience has shared your content with their friends. Now that you have people’s attention, you need to decide what to do with it. For example, you can ask people to donate to a cause or purchase a product. 4. Support a cause. A quick and easy way to implement grassroots marketing in your strategy is to support a cause that your audience cares about. When people see that your company is charitable, they’re more likely to trust you and have positive associations with your brand. You can support a cause by donating, encouraging your audience to donate, amplifying and representing the message of a cause, or listing the causes you support on your website. When your content is focused around philanthropic efforts, your audience is more likely to share it. 5. Use influencers. Influencer marketing is a modern day version of grassroots marketing. The theory is that when influential people promote your brand, your audience is more likely to share that message and be inspired to take action. To get started, you could send influencers in your niche free products, or discounts. Hopefully, that will inspire them to talk about your brand and spread the word. Grassroots Marketing Examples 1. Extra Gum Commercial. I don’t typically cry when I see commercials on TV. However, Extra Gum has made me emotional with several of their grassroots marketing campaigns. This first commercial tells the story of a father and daughter who bonded over making origami birds from Extra gum wrappers. This hasn’t aired since 2015, but it was one of the first campaigns I thought of when I thought of grassroots marketing. In this second commercial, we get to watch the love story of a couple who meets in high school, falls in love, and captures their love story by drawing on Extra gum wrappers. Again, this last aired over a year ago, but I remembered it because of the emotional storytelling. Both these commercials are meant to tug at your heart strings and inspire you to share them with your family and friends. 2. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In 2014, the ALS ice bucket challenge went viral. The concept was that you would take a video pouring a bucket of ice water on yourself and then challenge someone else to do the same. If you participated, you were supposed to donate money to the ALS Association. Before this campaign went viral, people weren’t exactly talking about ALS. In fact, many people might not have even heard of the disease. That’s how you know this was a successful grassroots marketing campaign. It started with a small idea, and grew to a national campaign. For this challenge to be shareable, everyone who participated had to nominate a friend to do it. This grassroots campaign started a movement, inspired action, and supported a cause. Plus, celebrities and influential people got involved. Below are a couple of images of the celebrities that participated in sharing the grassroots campaign. Image Source Image Source 3. Dove Real Beauty Campaign. This is one of my favorite grassroots marketing campaigns. That’s why it bears mentioning twice. In the Dove Real Beauty campaign, Dove had a forensic artist draw women as they saw themselves and then as strangers saw them. This is an excellent example of what grassroots content will look like when you know your audience intimately. By knowing its audience of real women, Dove was able to start a movement. In fact, this video has over 68 million views on YouTube. The powerful video barely mentioned the product, but inspired women around the world. Grassroots marketing is a great way to focus on reaching your audience, with the hope that they’ll share your campaign with people they know. Essentially, it’s word of mouth marketing at its best. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
Crisis Adaptation – Whiteboard Friday
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 7:08 pm on MOZ: Posted by BritneyMuller Businesses all over the globe are struggling with new challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers turning to the internet for the majority of their needs, it’s never been more vital to ensure your online presence is easily found and your business updates clearly communicated. In this special edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller outlines a checklist that businesses can use to meet the changing needs of consumers and improve visibility for local searches. Bonus — We’ve adapted these tips into a free checklist you can download and share: Get the checklist Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over crisis adaptation, and I first have to give a huge shout-out to Miriam Ellis, who really helped me package all of this up to deliver to you today. If you’re not already following Miriam on Twitter, I highly suggest you do. She is a local SEO genius. So let’s dive right in. Meet your customers where they are You often hear this phrase in marketing and in SEO about meeting your customers where they are. This might be important now more than ever because the current landscape, it’s changed so much. Listen to your customers & understand how their needs have shifted In order to better meet your customers where they are, you really first have to listen and understand how their needs have shifted, how have their concerns shifted. What are they searching for now? Just really paying attention and listening online to your current target market. One of the things I also like to suggest is listen to competitive reviews. Keep an eye on competitive reviews being posted on Google and other spaces to get a gauge of how things have perhaps moved. Know where your audience is This could have also shifted a bit. Whiteboard Friday’s OG, Rand Fishkin, launched SparkToro that does exactly that. So you can really deep dive into current data around what your audience is listening to, who they follow, all sorts of great stuff for you to leverage in today’s climate. Connect with potential customers in meaningful ways Now is a great time to reach out and engage with not only potential customers but current customer base and remind people that you are still here, you’re still serving them in various ways. So it’s really, really key. Partner with relevant businesses I’ve seen this do really well in some great examples of pivoting, where a fruit delivery company partnered with a bakery to include these free cakes within orders. What a great way to get some visibility for that bakery, and vice versa — they could do different things. I think it’s a great time to leverage those relationships and help one another out. I absolutely love that tip. Communicate all changes and updates Now the other big, big priority right now is all around communicating changes and updates to your website visitors. So what do you need to cover? Changes to hours is so important right now. It’s essential that you have that information readily visible to anyone visiting your website, if this applies to you. All forms of availability, video, curbside, no touch delivery, have that information available. Any expected delays and product availability challenges. This is a really great tip too. Sanitation and any adopted safety precautions. Payment methods accepted. This can be really helpful in the transaction. Any philanthropic efforts that you’re doing to help support people in need. I’m seeing a lot of these show up in banners and readily available information for people visiting websites. I think it’s great to consider making sure that this information is easy for people to access. Immediately communicate this information: Set up online orders and catalog inventory/services In addition to these things, set up online orders. At the very least, catalog your online inventory or services for people to still have that awareness of what you’re currently offering. I would suggest if you’re a struggling business and you don’t want to go into a huge website build, you can absolutely check out and explore things like Squarespace or Shopify. I would have never thought I would be suggesting these platforms a year ago just because they’re not usually great for SEO reasons. But they can do a beautiful job of solving this problem so quickly, and then you can roll out V2 and V3 down the road when you’re ready to make those improvements. But I think just getting businesses off the ground is so important right now. Add products for free on Google Shopping This was such a neat thing that Google offered I believe several weeks ago, and it’s doing great. What it basically does is it allows you to list products for free on Google Shopping, giving you that extra visibility right now. So if you’re an e-commerce brand, definitely check that out. Create maps showing delivery radiuses Miriam had this great idea to create maps showing delivery radiuses, if that applies to you, so really giving someone visiting your site an easy to consume idea of the areas that you serve. Sometimes when you see the ZIP codes, it’s a little overwhelming. You have to do a little work. But that’s kind of a great idea. Routific Then this was mentioned in a recent GatherUp webinar by Darren Shaw — Routific. So if you are doing local deliveries and they’re getting a little out of hand, Routific is a company that creates delivery routes to make them most efficient for you, which I thought was so cool. I didn’t even know that existed. So it’s a good little tool tip. Double down on SEO and content marketing I absolutely loved Mike King’s post on this — I think it was a couple weeks ago — where he explains why economic downturns favor the bold. It’s brilliant. There are incredible use cases around this, and we’ll link to that down below. Someone who has impressed the heck out of me the last couple of weeks is Kristin Tynski — I hope I’m saying that right — over at Fractl. She is going above and beyond to create content pieces that are not only genius but are link building opportunities, apply to various clients, and use traditional journalism tactics to gather offline, unique data to present online. I highly suggest you pay attention to what Kristin is up to. She is a genius. Kristin, we have to meet sometime. I’m a huge fan of you. Keep up the great work. Local & Google My Business Now let’s dive into some GMB stuff. While this might not apply to you if you’re not a local business, I think there are still things to take away for larger companies that also either have a local listing or just to be aware of. So here’s an example of Uptown China Restaurant, a local Chinese restaurant. It’s awesome in Queen Anne, and it’s going to be our example. So what’s the first thing? Correct any GMB errors Just correct any GMB errors. Make sure that the current data shown and information is correct and up to date. Update hours to remove warning Then this is probably my favorite hack of all, from Joy Hawkins, about this warning that we see on all businesses currently, because of the pandemic, that says hours or services may differ. You can get this removed simply by updating your hours. How incredible is that? So I highly suggest you just update your hours. Joy also mentioned in this webinar I keep referring to, that was so good, she suggests using the hours that you are available to take phone calls. Google has never had an issue with that, and it tends to make the most sense. So something to think about. Respond to reviews Now is also a great time to invest and be engaged with these reviews. I think it’s one of the most overlooked PR and marketing tactics available, where customers exploring your brand, exploring your location want to know that (a) you care and that (b) you’re going to engage with a customer and that you have a timely response. So I think it’s important to respond to reviews, especially on behalf of the business side. Confirm or reject any new Google My Business prompts So we’re going to continue to see different things roll out. There were senior hours available to, I believe, grocery stores that popped up as an option. No-contact delivery. These things will always be changing. So I think it’s important to maybe put a reminder in your calendar just to keep an eye on are there any new options within Google My Business that I could activate or clarify. Google loves that, and it also helps fill out your listing better. Update menu and product listings What a great time to take some good, new photos. Update your menu items. I wish Uptown China Restaurant did this, and I might suggest it to them that they can add those offerings. They can add those things to really pop up on the listing and kind of make it shine. Use Posts Posts have always been really, really great for Google My Business listings because it gives you a big photo. It lasts for a while up here, I believe up to 14 days. It’s very prevalent when you see it. Now Google has also been offering COVID-19 posts. There isn’t an option to add an image with the COVID-19 posts. It’s text only, but it lasts longer and it’s more prominent than a regular post. So it will show up higher in your Google My Business listing, and we’ve also seen it pop up in actual SERPs in the organic area. So pretty cool. Good to know. I suggest you doing that. You have control over the messaging. You can say whatever you would like. You can provide updated info, all that good stuff. Use Product Posts So a shout-out to Darren Shaw, who noticed this. People are getting really savvy with product posts, which again it would show up in your Google My Business listing with a big photo and a description. What he’s seen people do is basically have a photo of a car with text on it that says “No-Touch Delivery” or different service options as the product. Google is currently letting that slide. I don’t know if that will last forever. But it’s an interesting thing to explore if you really want that visibility if someone is struggling with their business right now, and you can kind of get that to pop up on the SERPs. Enable text messaging So I’ve heard from so many SEOs that this has continued to go up into the right during the pandemic, and it makes sense. People want to just quickly get information from businesses. You can create a welcome message. So I highly suggest exploring that if that’s available to you. Update images Again, I think I’ve said this like three times, but update images. It’s a great time to do that, and it can really help make your stuff pop. Share these tips with businesses in need! Lastly, don’t forget to share these tips with businesses. Understand that there are a lot of people in need right now, and if there’s anything that we can do to help, by all means let’s make all of that stuff happen. The fact is that you’re not alone. So whether you’re doing this work on behalf of a client, or you yourself or family or friends are really struggling with a business right now, there are different support groups and options as far as financial support. We’ve created a free PDF checklist of all this information that you can download and share with any marketers, clients, or businesses in need: Download the free checklist I know we at Moz are going to be putting everything we have into helping you and others during this time, and so I created a form at the bottom of this post where you can fill in some information and let us know if there are specific problems that we could help with. We’re in this together. We want to help you all as much as we can. I will be taking that very seriously and spending lots of time on replying or creating material to help individuals struggling. So please fill that out. Also, feel free to leave comments and suggestions in the comments. I think some of the best, most valuable takeaways sometimes happen in the comments where you’re either clarifying something that I said or adding something really great. I would really appreciate that. Just want to get all the good information out there so that we can help everyone out. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks. Video transcription by Speechpad.com Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read! Learn more about MOZ by visiting their website.
Google’s ‘Top Stories’ to Show More Than Just AMP Pages via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 7:03 pm on Search Engine Journal: Google is making a change to its ‘top stories’ section in search results by removing AMP as one of the requirements for getting featured. The post Google’s ‘Top Stories’ to Show More Than Just AMP Pages via @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Website Redesign Strategy
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 2:00 pm on HubSpot: So… you want to redesign your website. Maybe you just finished a brand overhaul or your product was recently updated. Whatever your reason, a redesign can be a huge success — or a total flop. It can also be a long and tedious undertaking, which is why every redesign needs to start with a clear vision and/or problem to solve. The better you are at defining that vision at the very beginning, the more successful your redesign will be — and the smoother the entire process will be as well. Whether you’re working with an agency, redesigning your site in-house, or proposing a redesign to company stakeholders, this guide will help you strategize your website redesign and ensure it turns out to be a huge success — not a total flop. Many organizations opt to redesign their website to welcome more traffic as their business grows and scales; others invest in a website redesign as part of a larger rebranding initiative. Regardless of why your company is interested in a website redesign, the project itself is a massive undertaking. Not to mention an important one to get right considering the critical role your website plays in your marketing and brand image. In fact, 80% of consumers say the experience your company provides is as important as the products or services you sell — including the experience they have with your website. How Often Should You Redesign Your Website? According to Business 2 Community, the average lifespan for a website is 1.5 to 2.5 years. Because design trends change and technology advances, this is the average amount of time that a redesign will feel “fresh” and competitive. However, that time frame is only a benchmark, so you will need to determine what works best for your organization. The following factors will determine how often you should redesign your website: How often your brand or goals change. When you’re itching for a new site, first ask yourself, “Does this website still represent who we are as a company?” How much budget you allot to design and development. Ask yourself, “Can a site design wait, or do I have reasons to use the budget on our site now?” How long your website stays functional and fast. Step into your customers’ shoes and see if you can navigate the site well and find everything you want to find without encountering errors or long page load times. The performance of your website. Ask yourself, “Is this site converting a reasonable amount of traffic? Do people stay on the page for a reasonable amount of time, or do they bounce?” Changes in the industry. For example, when Google announced that it would be changing to mobile-first indexing, it necessitated that sites be mobile-friendly, or they’d lose organic traffic from Google. Your website is where visitors and customers go when they want to ask questions, read content, or purchase products or services. For that reason, it’s best to be extra prepared when committing to a website redesign. You may spend more time building your website redesign strategy than you will on the redesign itself. If you’re wondering what should go into your website redesign strategy, start with the steps below. Let’s unpack eight critical steps to take when redesigning your website. 1. Benchmark your current performance metrics. Before you begin planning your website redesign, document your current performance metrics. This will give you a good idea of where your current website stands and what metrics you can improve upon through your redesign. Analyze your existing website’s monthly performance in the following areas. The importance and relevance of each may vary depending on your website redesign goals, but it’s helpful to pull each metric before you dive into your redesign. Number of visits, visitors, and unique visitors Bounce rate Time on site Top-performing keywords in terms of rank, traffic, and lead generation Number of inbound linking domains Total new leads and form submissions Total sales generated (in dollars) Total pages indexed Total pages that receive traffic If you don’t have access to this information, I recommend adding tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot’s Marketing Analytics for better tracking and visibility into your website’s performance. Furthermore, make note of which tools you used to measure each of these benchmarks in the past. Ideally, you’ll want to use those same tools when collecting your post-redesign metrics. Otherwise, you’ll be comparing apples to oranges. 2. Determine your website redesign goals. What’s the “why” behind your website redesign? When considering a redesign, there should always be a good reason behind it. If you’re answering with “well, it’s been a while since we’ve done one” or “my competitor just did a redesign,” those reasons aren’t good enough on their own. Remember: It’s not just about how your site looks, but rather how it works. Be crystal clear about why you’re doing a website redesign, and tie those goals to measurable results. Then communicate your goals with your team, designer, and/or agency. Consider the following data-driven objectives for your own website: To increase the number of visits and visitors (both are important as one visitor could visit more than once) To reduce bounce rate To increase time on site To improve domain authority To increase the total new leads and form submissions To increase the total sales generated To enhance current SEO rankings for important keywords Many of these goals are dependent on one another. For example, in order to generate more conversions, you may also need to increase traffic while decreasing your site’s bounce rate. Also, take a look at the metrics you pulled out in step one. Are there any metrics you can improve upon with your new website? Perhaps you use your old website metrics to inspire new goals, too. 3. Define your branding and messaging. Before crafting your new website design and content, be crystal clear about your desired branding, messaging, and unique value proposition. Doing so will ensure consistency across your entire website. Anyone who visits your website for the first time should immediately understand what you do, how it may benefit them, and why they should stay on your site and not flee to your competitors’. Think about whether you plan to change your branding and/or messaging, or if it will stay the same. If you plan to change it, what about it needs to change? Keep these changes top-of-mind as you redesign your website. Download this free workbook for guidance and templates to simplify your next website redesign project. As you develop your messaging, use clear, concise language. Avoid using industry jargon that may alienate parts of your audience and make you sound more like a business-babbling robot than a human. Consider the following example of how we could describe HubSpot in a “gobbledygook” way: HubSpot helps companies across multiple countries reduce churn by backfilling the sales pipeline with highly qualified traffic that generates leads that convert into customers with high lifetime value. We achieve this by providing leading-edge software that integrates all marketing channels for a synergistic view of the data that determines and prioritizes high-value marketing activities. Say what? Let’s translate that into the way people actually speak: HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software helps more than 6,000 businesses in 45 countries attract leads and convert them into customers. A pioneer in inbound marketing, HubSpot aims to help its customers make marketing that people actually love. Much clearer! I think visitors and potential customers would prefer the second description — don’t you? Additionally, as you develop your branding, consider what visual aspects of your website need to be redesigned and what can stay the same. Have you created a new logo, style guide, or color palette? Make sure these are applied to your new website so it remains consistent with other parts of your brand. 4. Define your buyer persona(s). Your website is not just about you. Actually, it’s hardly about you. When your visitors land on your website, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me? How could this help me?” Speak to your visitors in their language by crafting your website design and content around your buyer personas. For instance, if you’re a marketing manager at a hotel looking to bring in new business, you might target five different buyer personas: an independent business traveler, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception. Make sure you clearly identify your buyer personas so you can shape your website redesign strategy around the website visitors that matter most to you. Check out our handy buyer personas template to help you research and create detailed buyer personas. Is your target audience changing as part of your website redesign? Do your branding and content align with this audience? Answer these questions as you’re strategizing your website redesign. 5. Protect your search engine optimized pages. Getting discovered online is also essential to improving your website’s metrics. If no one is able to find and visit your site, how can you increase new leads, reconversions, or sales? Here are some tips for designing your new website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind: Document your most search-valued pages. Use your marketing analytics to figure out which pages receive the most traffic and inbound links, convert the most leads, and ultimately cover the most influential topics in your industry. If you plan to move any of these highly valuable pages, make sure you create the proper 301 redirects. Create a 301 redirect strategy. Speaking of 301 redirects, these are extremely important in terms of retaining the traffic and link value associated with a given page. Create a spreadsheet to record and map out your 301 redirects (old URLs vs. new URLs). Then hand this document over to someone technical for proper implementation. Do your keyword research. For every page on your newly designed website, pick one keyword/topic each page will focus on. Once you determine the keyword(s), use on-page SEO best practices to optimize your website pages. Furthermore, consider adding new content and pages to your website that address those particular keywords and topics that may be neglected on your current site. Save time and rank higher on Google with our free on-page SEO template. 6. Analyze the competition. While we don’t recommend obsessing over your competitors, it can help to know how you compare. First, run your website through HubSpot’s free Website Grader tool to generate a report card of how well your website is performing. You can also use this diagnostic tool to evaluate your competitors’ websites, so you’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Next, take a look at your competitors’ websites, and take note of what you like — and what you don’t. This process is to help you realize what you can do better on your website. Once you conduct your competitive analysis, put together a list of action items highlighting some areas for improvement and how you can set yourself apart from your competitors. 7. Take inventory of your high-performing content. While a redesign is a great way to improve the performance of your website, there are unfortunately countless ways in which it can hurt you. Your existing website likely contains many high-performing content assets that you’ve already built up, and losing their effectiveness because of a redesign can severely damage your marketing results. For instance, such assets might include your: Most-shared or viewed content High-traffic pages Best performing or ranking keywords and associated pages Number of inbound links to individual pages For example, if you end up removing a page from your site that has accumulated a high number of inbound links, you could potentially lose a lot of SEO credit, which would make it increasingly difficult for you to get found on search engine results pages (SERPs). Keep in mind that many web designers don’t consider this step because they are neither marketers nor SEO specialists. Don’t hesitate to remind them about this, and help them along by auditing your site and providing them with a list for maintaining or updating critical pages on your site. 8. Choose the right software. The final (but arguably most important) step of the website redesign process is choosing the right software with which to create and host your website. This software is typically called a content management system (CMS), and it’s used to develop, design, and publish your website for the world to see. CMS software is beneficial for a few reasons. Whether you’re a novice digital marketer or a master web developer, a CMS can easily help you create a gorgeous, functional website. Choosing the right CMS depends on your business, such as what CMSs you’re already familiar with and what features your website redesign requires. There are hundreds of CMSs to choose from, including CMS Hub — the only combined CMS and CRM. Or you can review some of the best CMS platforms to learn about your options. Get Started on Your Website Redesign Today Whew! Now you’re ready to plan, design, build, optimize, launch, and analyze your new website. Apply these seven steps to redesign a website that attracts more consumers, wows more visitors, and converts more customers. Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
Google’s Core Web Vitals to Become Ranking Signals via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 11:21 am on Search Engine Journal: Google is introducing a new ranking signal that combines Core Web Vitals with existing signals to better evaluate the quality of a user’s experience. The post Google’s Core Web Vitals to Become Ranking Signals via @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Nearly two-thirds of online publishers saw lower CPMs in early May
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 10:45 am on Search Engine Land: Technology companies and agencies have been reporting that CPMs are down for the past two months, although they’re now creeping back up. The IAB is out with survey data that seeks to quantify the extent of price declines from a publisher perspective. 62% seeing declines. Using a sample of 173 publishers and “programmatic specialists” (SSPs, Ad Exchanges, Ad Networks), the trade body reports that 62% of publishers have seen significantly or somewhat reduced CPMs in the face of ad budget cuts and diminished advertiser competition. The survey was conducted between April 29 and May 11. Source: IAB survey, n=173 Programmatic less impacted. Programmatic providers have been less impacted overall, with a few even seeing rate increases, compared with publishers that offer direct ad sales. Publishers have cut CPM rates in an effort to remain competitive and maintain revenue. Online news publishers may be among the hardest hit. The biggest CPM price drops have happened in the category of “open web display” ads, followed by mobile web advertising, which are off 34% and 33%, respectively. By comparison, social media advertising is down by 18%. CPM prices on desktop overall are down 27%; they’re off 28% on mobile phones. The channel that has been most resistant to price declines (or resilient) is connected TV, according to the survey. Source: IAB survey, n=173 These publisher-respondents project an average CPM revenue decline of 16% for the full year, compared with original 2020 forecasts. While the sample is small, it’s undoubtedly directionally accurate and suggests that if there is ad revenue growth in 2020, it will be in the very low single digits. Why we care. It makes sense that programmatic networks have seen fewer declines, as many advertisers essentially abandoned harder-to-measure brand or awareness advertising and focused more narrowly on performance and lower funnel strategies. These reduced CPMs — which are starting to increase — represent a buying opportunity for marketers and brands now seeking to reactivate or re-engage with customers and prospects. As budgets start to return in early Q3, the discounts may not last that much longer. About The Author Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall. Learn more about Search Engine Land by visiting their website.
Online ad revenue was almost $125 billion in 2019 but growth is slowing
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 9:27 am on Search Engine Land: Digital advertising in 2019 was worth $124.6 billion, according to the IAB and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. That’s about $54 billion more than advertisers spent on television, the number two medium. Online ad growth is slowing, however. Last year, it came in just under 16% year-over-year, $17 billion more than 2018. Categories that exceeded the overall 16% growth rate included: Online video advertising – 33.5% Mobile – 24% Social media advertising – 23% Internet audio advertising – 21.2% Roughly 70% of digital ads were served and seen on mobile devices, a five-point gain from last year. But, mobile ad revenue growth is slowing too, “as the underlying platform is maturing.” Desktop revenue, however, is nearly flat: $37.9 (2019) vs. $37.6 billion (2018). Revenue share by channel. Paid search captured 43.9% of total ad revenue, reaching $54.7 billion in 2019, up about 13% year-over-year. Display advertising and sponsorships had a roughly 31% share ($38.1 billion). Video’s share was about 17% ($21.7 billion), an increase of 33.5% compared with 2018. The remaining $10 billion consisted of classifieds ($4.0 billion), lead-gen ($3.4 billion) and audio advertising ($2.7 billion). Ad buying through programmatic platforms reached $57 billion, which was nearly $10 billion more than last year. To put that in context, programmatic is driving the vast majority (81.5%) of “non-search advertising” online. Perhaps more concerning than slowing growth is the concentration of revenue in fewer companies. According to the IAB, the top 10 internet companies controlled about 77% of digital revenue in 2019, up from 76% a year ago. That one-point gain may not sound significant but in real dollars it represents $14 billion in revenue unevenly distributed across 10 companies. Why we care. The days of explosive online ad revenue growth appear to be winding down. Yet the internet remains the largest ad medium and the only one still growing by double-digits, with the lone exception of e-sports. What’s in store for the remainder of 2020 remains unclear. The IAB says January and February were “strong growth months” but March was sharply impacted by COVID-19. Total revenue for Q1 2020 was $31.4 billion (12% growth YoY) according to the report. Some firms such as eMarketer continue to predict growth in global ad spend for the year. However, if there is growth, it will likely be in the single digits. About The Author Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall. Learn more about Search Engine Land by visiting their website.
How to Use GitHub for Enterprise SEO via @SEOGoddess
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 9:00 am on Search Engine Journal: My engineering friends have often shown me what they are working on through GitHub and I see open source projects stored and shared on the site for SEO. What Is Git? Large-scale enterprise sites are complex, and it can be difficult to manage version control with a team of engineers constantly accessing, modifying, and adding things. Git was originally developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds as an example of a distributed architecture, or distributed version control system (DVCS), in which every developer’s working copy of the code is also a repository that can contain the full history of all changes. Git repositories are connected locally, allowing engineers to work on their own machine, but are also connected to a shared repository. This helps them easily collaborate with others by pushing and pulling changes when previously their only option would be to have a single place for their code’s complete version history in CVS or Subversion (also known as SVN). ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW In addition to being distributed, Git has been designed with performance, security, and flexibility in mind. If you’re still confused on what Git is, GitHub has a simple walkthrough from install to commit all the way through the pull and push process in their Git Guides. What Is GitHub? Perhaps you’ve heard that GitHub is a code sharing and publishing service, or that it’s a social networking site for programmers. While both statements are true, neither explains exactly what GitHub really is. GitHub is a Git repository hosting service providing a web-based graphical interface allowing for access control and additional collaboration features, such as wikis, basic task management tools for projects through issues, coordinating teams, and so much more. It’s also home to a community where more than 50 million people learn, share, and work together to build software. How Does GitHub Work with Git? Git is at the heart of GitHub. Like other version control systems, it manages and stores revisions of projects. Although it’s mostly used for code. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Git can also be used to manage any other type of file, like Word docs, Final Cut projects, and SEO-related files. Think of it as a way to coordinate with multiple teams and manage versions in one location. GitHub hosts Git repositories, while also providing a web-based graphical interface, access controls, and other collaboration features like wikis and project management. Using GitHub for Enterprise SEO Along with everything that Git repositories provide for engineers, GitHub offers multiple features for enterprise-level SEO. From easy-to-update GitHub Pages to tools that simplify collaboration across SEO teams and large organizations, GitHub supports SEO with features like: Team discussions: Enterprise organizations often have multiple SEO teams that need to stay in communication with each other. GitHub pages: SEO and marketing teams can use Github Pages for optimization without having to rely too much on product or engineering resources. Wikis: A majority of an enterprise SEO’s responsibilities is to educate and communicate across the company. GitHub wikis are a great resource for adding basic SEO FAQs related to the organization. Whether it’s coordinating work or optimizing with open source scripts, there’s something on GitHub for every large enterprise SEO team. Resources Available on GitHub From the Open Source Community There are a lot of great resources for scripts available on the GitHub platform that help with your SEO. Here are a few that I recommend. Lighthouse Reports in Gist Lighthouse is an open source Google tool that analyzes the performance of your site’s pages. In addition to the main focus of web applications and mobile sites, Lighthouse provides useful information and recommendations that can improve any site. The reports are focused on performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and progressive web applications. A report is generated in JSON files with details in each area giving you the test result and guidance with actionable advice. If you don’t want to pass around JSON files, you can share your reports as a secret GitHub Gist. A Gist is a snippet of code hosted by GitHub that has all of the benefits of a GitHub repository in a lightweight way to easily digest. It’s super easy to create a new Gist, add, modify, and delete files and code entirely in the browser – no need to install or download anything. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW SEO Analyzer Tool There are many tools available that can check your site’s SEO, but for a fee. Seth Black has created this free SEO Analyzer script, which can be used to analyze the structure of a site and provide an analysis of basic SEO issues. Requiring Python 3.6+, BeautifulSoup4, and urllib3, it crawls the site, analyzes the structure, counts words in the body of the site, and warns of any technical SEO issues. You can crawl your website from the homepage or XML sitemap. Image Optimizer Images can be the biggest culprit of any site’s page speed, which negatively impacts SEO. Victor Domingos created a Python script that can reduce the file size of images. The application is intended to be pure Python, with no special dependencies besides Pillow to ensure compatibility with a wide range of systems, including iPhones and iPads running Pythonista 3. You can optimize a single image or a folder of multiple images depending on how you determine the query string. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW It’s also recommended that you save a copy before running the operation because this script optimizes images permanently. SEO with GitHub for Teams GitHub made all their core features free for teams in April 2020. It’s a great way to try out the collaboration features on your organization before making the leap to an enterprise-level or alternative plan. With an unlimited number of collaborators for both public and private repositories, your team can create issues for project boards, track milestones, communicate in team discussions, and manage project access on a team-by-team or individual basis. Whatever platform you use to coordinate your enterprise SEO efforts, streamlining your tools, communication, and projects can help everyone on your team work better together. Full disclosure: I’ve written this piece as a recent hire managing GitHub’s SEO. I’ve been familiar with GitHub for many years. More Resources: Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
How to Meet the Increased Demand for Website Accessibility via @kim_cre8pc
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 8:00 am on Search Engine Journal: Sometimes it takes a sudden spike in bounce rates to illustrate a problem with the accessibility and usability of a website. The increased demand for website accessibility revealed how many businesses were unprepared. When people around the world were ordered to stay home, their dependence on the web for basic necessities increased. Many websites and apps were unprepared to handle the increased load or demands for their services and products. The more interesting development from the crush was discovering how inaccessible websites are. Suddenly more people were walking in the shoes of those who already knew from personal experience. For example, many people suddenly found themselves crash course learning Zoom to join employee meetings or helping patients and customers by appointment. Zoom does not provide closed captioning for video webinars with the free version. People with poor vision and deaf users have to pay a fee for captions, which is discrimination. This was quickly called out by the accessibility community. Closed captions should be available at no extra charge to users. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Blunders like this one provide insight into where human biases and inexperience affect digital product development. Closed captions help all sorts of people understand audio, especially if speakers have an accent or mumble. The words on the screen help viewers stay focused and less distracted. In some use cases, audio must be turned off so as not to annoy someone nearby. Closed captioning allows people to follow along quietly. Bounce rates are a signal that there are barriers to task completion. The missing piece during the design and development phases is user testing with people in their normal environment using the computer devices they rely on. There are no accessibility automated tools capable of providing the test feedback required to meet all the requirements for building an online business, app, or website. However, newer accessibility testing software in beta stages are becoming smarter, which will be helpful in the future. For the present, the pressure to improve website accessibility is urgent. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW “While the coronavirus and court closures may have temporarily slowed the trend of digital accessibility lawsuits, increased online use during the pandemic make for a ripe accessibility lawsuit atmosphere. Indeed, COVID-19 related digital accessibility lawsuits are already beginning to emerge.” – Amihai Miron, CEO User1st Planning the Details If your website data is like reading a mystery thriller novel with unpredictable characters leaving bounce rates and poor conversions with no clues to follow, you are not alone. According to the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people are visually impaired. In a study published by Diamond, of the top 100 websites ranked by Alexa in February 2020 a whopping 98.1% of home pages had at least one detectable WCAG 2 failure and 97.8% on interior pages. Overall, an average of 60.9 errors were detected per home page and 53 errors on average were found on interior pages. These are the top 100 ranked websites. Are you wondering where your website stands? Understanding what your online visitors are doing, plus how, where, and why they are doing it is as fun as figuring out how to traverse a corn maze. There is no avoiding the details if you want to make improvements and certainly if building from scratch. Without a plan, your developers are unguided. Creating user personas is not always an effective method for understanding your target market because large segments of people with unique behaviors are left out. It is too easy to create composite users. The result is learning what is missed after a website or app is released to the public. Regardless of whether you work for a global corporation or a small business, success is directly traceable to planning, procedures, guidelines, dedication to excellence, and a desire to explore new opportunities. Look at all bounce rates, (not just super high ones), low conversions, and web site abandonment. Keep testing forms, do user testing within your target market, and learn how to use at least one screen reader. Safari Voice Over is free on a Mac. Several studies on accessibility indicate a decline in meeting WCAG guidelines by websites. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW In addition to declining revenue, as more countries enforce their digital accessibility laws, an accessibility lawsuit is a real concern. Is there any target market user behavior you have not planned for? What other design ideas can you try? What actionable steps can you take now to make immediate improvements to the usability and accessibility of your website? I hope to inspire you to think outside your comfort zone because for millions of website users, discomfort is what they have come to expect from our websites. The Inaccessible Website Wake-up Call A red alert sounded with COVID-19 and the stay-at-home response by governments around the world. Employees, teachers, students, and the general public forced to stay home and use the web for basic survival needs like going to work or buying food quickly realized they could do neither painlessly. Businesses sent their employees home without considering their home setups. Staff without high-speed internet or newer computers are struggling to efficiently do their jobs. Students and parents faced with online lessons, homework, and correspondence with teachers felt the brunt of badly built educational websites. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW In the U.S. alone, 13,600 public school districts care for 7.5 million students with special needs. Closing the schools created enormous hurdles for online accessibility for these students. The shocking discovery was the sheer number of websites that are neither accessible nor user-friendly. They are not designed for people in distress, who may have disabilities, or special needs (whether permanent or temporary), and those who depend on assistive computer devices to use the web at all. None of this is news to the accessibility community who have been designing, testing, developing, training, and advocating for inclusion for years. Deque published the results of a recent survey among the accessibility community and found that 83% of all respondents said that, “COVID-19 has raised the profile and importance of digital channels for their organization.” Before this, it was the threat of an ADA accessibility lawsuit that raised concern. The CDC released interesting data, too. A new CDC study estimates that autism affects roughly 5.4 million people in the U.S. aged 18 and older. This would be a prevalence of 2.21% of U.S. adults, or roughly 1 in 45. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Website survival in today’s global economy depends on a willingness to invest in understanding and designing for new challenges. Agencies providing digital services such as website design, software development, or online marketing need procedures and planning that adapt to frequent changes in technology and guidelines. Some ideas: Implement organized in-house development procedures. Educate all staff, from salespersons to designers, on the basics of building accessible and usable websites. Encourage cross-training and skill-sharing among your IT people. Hire remote employees. If the long-term goal is to put a business on the web, it has to prove it will work for everyone wishing to interact with it. Discoveries begin in-house. Invest in In-House Skills & Procedures Developers build better products when they are given the time and resources to properly understand what they are asked to design. Education They need continuous education and training to keep up with the required skills. Provide them with access to user behavior research, computers, mobile devices, operating systems, browsers and the freedom to include these with their planning, test plans, user testing, and long-term maintenance. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Each generation of people uses the web differently. This is critically important if you are building apps that target different age groups. Break up your development and designers into teams and let the senior level mentor junior level. Then, reverse that to give the junior level staff the opportunity to introduce fresh ideas to seasoned staff who may be stuck using the same procedures. Remove Assumptions A common mistake is making assumptions about who will use your website or app. For example, it is assumed that everyone has a mobile phone. It is assumed everyone has the latest operating system, browser, and fast internet. It is assumed that everyone can see, hear, has a computer mouse, and recalls content. It may be assumed that all CMS themes and plugins work properly and are designed to meet current design W3C and WCAG requirements. Study User Behavior There is simply no way your company can develop and market digital products without an intimate knowledge about who will use them. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Bounce rates alert you that someone could not or did not finish a task. Planning from the Start At the first hint that a new website, software, or mobile app is on deck, gather and document every detail and track it. Gather up requirements, from business to digital to goals and target market. Prioritize it all and write a requirements document. Develop the methodologies for testing and validation of those requirements. Plan to change your plans. Web design guidelines change. Businesses change. Companies change. Follow all updates to WCAG to be sure you have the latest accessibility guidelines. Design for specific situations such as changing ADA laws in various countries, physical environments, emotional stress, or unexpected distractions. Research user interface design patterns for mobile, desktop, and laptops. Do not choose any design that is a fad, does not fit with your business requirements, or does not fit your personal brand. Develop a QA process. When is it implemented? How are issues tracked? Who keeps your processes updated? Is there regression testing? How does data influence design decisions? Overlooked Accessibility and Usability Here are less commonly implemented best practices for accessibility and usability. Links must be discernable to screen readers and visual users. Screen readers announce links, and then read the link text. Putting the brand name first in the title on every page makes it difficult to distinguish between pages when looking at them in a set of tabs. For screen reader users the brand is repeated to them each time they visit a new page and since the tab can only contain so much text, the purpose of the page is cut off. All PDFs must be accessible. That includes reading order, alt text, and tables. Use Adobe’s Accessibility tool or Common Look to remediate. Indicate whether a link opens in a new window or tab by using either text instruction (e.g., “opens in a new window”) or a 16 x 16 icon with equivalent Alt text. Always differentiate between a link and text. For “Read More” links in blog posts, add the article title using an aria-label. <p> <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/website-accessibility-law/285199/” aria-label="Read more about Website Accessibility & the Law: Why Your Website Must Be Compliant"> Read more... </a> <p> ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Don’t allow alternative text for an image link to be a repetition of the adjacent link text. If the image is not linked, the link text is sufficient. Use the empty alt attribute instead for the image. Redundant links on a page are a hazard for screen readers and visual users. Avoid using the same link text for links going to different destinations. Distinguish them by link text or WAI-ARIA labels (‘aria-labelledby’ or ‘aria-label’) to make it clear that they lead to different destinations. Skipped heading levels are common errors. Follow the proper order for header tags. Open Your Doors Accessibility testing is sometimes ignored because people say it is too hard to learn. Ignoring WCAG and Section 508 guidelines can result in a website or app that is not only difficult to learn but impossible to use. Countless millions of people need for us to be encouraged to learn how to build accessible, usable, and inclusive websites and apps. Companies are encouraged to hire people with the passion to learn, even if their skills are not perfect or they lack certification in accessibility. Employers need to examine hiring practices that exclude: Persons with disabilities or minor human impairments such as poor eyesight that requires correction. Persons who rely on assistive devices like screen readers to do the work. Persons who are older. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW These are the people able to help developers because they know what it is like to be excluded. Resources Here are additional resources to help you now. More Resources: Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
WordPress Conversion Tracking Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 7:17 am on WP Beginner: Do you want to add conversion tracking features to your WordPress website? Conversion tracking helps you measure the impact of your marketing efforts and makes it easier to understand how users interact with your website. In this guide, we will show you how to add conversion tracking in WordPress and track your conversions like a total pro. This is a comprehensive WordPress conversion tracking guide, so we have divided it up into different sections. Here is what we’ll cover in this guide: What is conversion tracking? Why is conversion tracking important? Tools you need to setup conversion tracking in WordPress Setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics Turning on enhanced eCommerce conversion tracking Viewing eCommerce conversion tracking reports Turning on form conversion tracking in Google Analytics Setting up goals for conversion tracking in Google Analytics Google Ads conversion tracking in Google Analytics Usinng UTM parameters for conversion tracking in Google Analytics Setting up Facebook conversion tracking in WordPress Setting up Twitter conversion tracking in WordPress Optimizing conversion rates to boost sales What is Conversion Tracking? Conversion tracking is the ability to track and measure the success of your various marketing efforts. Depending on your business, the conversion is the desired action you want users to perform on your website. For an online store / eCommerce website, a conversion could be a successful purchase. For a news/blog site, the conversion could be a successful subscription of the email newsletter. For a professional services website, a conversion could be a user filling up a contact form. Simply put, conversion tracking shows you how many of your website visitors successfully perform the desired action. Why is Conversion Tracking Important? Conversion tracking is important because it helps you make data-driven decisions to grow your business. For instance, it shows you that users coming from a specific traffic source are more likely to convert. You can then focus your attention on getting more traffic from that particular source. Conversion tracking also helps you uncover the users who are not converting so well. For instance, you may learn that users open the contact page but many abandon before submitting the form. You can then make your form easier by removing unnecessary fields, make it conversational, change colors, setup partial form submission, etc. Basically, you need conversion tracking to measure your success and failures and then improve upon them to grow your online business. That being said, let’s take a look at what tools we’ll need to set up conversion tracking in WordPress. Tools You Need to Setup Conversion Tracking in WordPress Most conversion optimization experts rely heavily on Google Analytics. It is a free tool provided by Google that helps you track your website traffic. It shows where your users are coming from, and what they do while on your website. If you are running Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, to promote your business, then you’ll need to set up those as well for conversion tracking. This may sound complicated, but you’ll only have to set it up once, and we’ll walk you through every step of the way. Ready? Let’s get started. Setting up Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics First, you need to install Google Analytics on your website. The easiest way to do this is by using MonsterInsights. It is the best Google Analytics plugin on the market that comes with enhanced eCommerce tracking, form tracking, and other conversion tracking tools built-in. You’ll need the PRO version of the plugin to access eCommerce and other conversion tracking features. For basic tracking, the free version works as well. Simply install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit the Insights » Reports page in WordPress admin area. You’ll be prompted to setup MonsterInsights by launching the setup wizard. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect your WordPress site to Google Analytics using MonsterInsights. For more details, see our guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress. Now that you have installed Google Analytics, let’s set up conversion tracking on your website. Turning on Enhanced Ecommerce Conversion Tracking Ecommerce tracking helps you see which products are doing well on your site, which products are being looked at but not purchased, and what’s bringing you the most revenue. Google Analytics comes with enhanced eCommerce tracking which works for most eCommerce websites including WooCommerce. However, you’ll need to manually enable it for your website. Step 1. Turn on Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics First, you need to enable enhanced eCommerce tracking in your Google Analytics account. Go to your Google Analytics dashboard and select your website. From here, you need to click on the Admin button located at the bottom left corner of the screen. On the next screen, you’ll see different Google Analytics settings. Under the ‘View’ column, click the ‘Ecommerce Settings’ link: After that, you need to turn on ‘Enable eCommerce’ and ‘Enable Enhanced Commerce’ options. Google Analytics will now turn on the eCommerce reporting feature for your account. Step 2. Turn on eCommerce Tracking in MonsterInsights MonsterInsights come with an eCommerce addon that allows you to properly set up eCommerce conversion tracking in Google Analytics. It works with all top eCommerce platforms for WordPress including WooCommerce, MemberPress, LifterLMS, and Easy Digital Downloads. First, you need to visit the Insights » Addons page to install and activate the eCommerce addon. After that, you need to visit the Insights » Settings page and switch to the eCommerce tab. From here, you need to turn on the ‘Use Enhanced Ecommerce’ option. MonsterInsights will automatically detect your eCommerce software and enable advanced eCommerce tracking for your store. Note: the manual process for adding eCommerce conversion tracking has a lot of room for errors, so we strongly recommend that you use a plugin like MonsterInsights. Viewing Ecommerce Conversion Tracking Reports Now that you have enabled eCommerce conversion tracking on your website. Let’s see how to view these reports and use them to make informed decisions about your business. Ecommerce Conversion Reports in MonsterInsights Simply go to the Insights » Reports page inside WordPress admin area and then switch to the eCommerce tab. At the top, you’ll see your most important conversion metrics the conversion rate, transactions, revenue, and average order value. Below that you will see a list of your top products with quantity, sale percentage, and total revenue. This shows you which products are doing well in your store. Next, you’ll see your top conversion sources with the number of visits, conversion share, and revenue. You can see which sources are bringing you more revenue and which traffic sources are not very effective. MonsterInsights will also show you shopper behavior reports with the number of times products were added to and removed from the cart. That’s not all the data. You can drill down these reports even further inside Google Analytics. Ecommerce Conversion Reports in Google Analytics Simply visit your Google Analytics dashboard and click on the Conversions » Ecommerce from the left column. The overview section offers the most important stats such as revenue, conversion rate, transactions, and average order value. You can further drill down to view different reports. For example, you can switch to shopping and checkout behavior reports to see how users reach to the conversion page. You can also figure out what stopped them at the last minute from completing the transaction. Turning on Form Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics Not all websites use an eCommerce platform to conduct business. For instance, a restaurant website may use an order delivery form, or a salon may use a booking form. Many businesses use contact forms to capture leads from their website. A lot of news and blogs use an email newsletter to convert website visitors into subscribers. To track them, you need to enable form conversion tracking in Google Analytics. MonsterInsights come with a Forms addon which allows you to easily track form conversions on your WordPress site. It works with all popular WordPress form plugins including WPForms, Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and more. Simply go to the Insights » Addons page. Scroll down to the ‘Forms’ addon, and then click on the Install button. Upon activation, you need to visit Insights » Settings page and switch to the ‘Connversions’ tab. MonsterInsights will automatically detect your WordPress form plugin and will also start tracking miscellaneous WordPress forms on your site. Viewing Your Form Conversion Reports You can now view your form conversion reports inside your WordPress admin area. Head over to Insights » Reports page and switch to the ‘Forms’ tab. You’ll see a list of forms on your website with their impressions, conversion, and conversion rates. You can also click on the ‘View full forms report’ button which will take you to the Google Analytics website. It will show all your form conversions as individual events. Setting up Goals for Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics So far we have covered how to track eCommerce and form conversions. What if you wanted to manually set up conversion goals and track them in Google Analytics? For instance, you may want to consider users visiting a specific page as a conversion. Since it is not a form submission or an eCommerce transaction it will not appear as a conversion in your reports. Google Analytics allows you to create your own goals and track their conversion. Let’s see how to set them up and track them on your website. Go to the Google Analytics dashboard and click the ‘Admin’ tab on the bottom left. Then, in the View column, click on Goals. Now, you need to click on the + New Goal button to set up a new goal. If you previously selected industry for your website, then you may see a template section here. You can skip this and click on the Custom radio button beneath. Then click Continue. Destination: this tracks whether a visitor went to a specific page. This could be a thank you page, or any conversion page on your site. Duration: this tracks how long a visitor spent on your website. More time spent on website means more engagement. Pages/Screens per session: this tracks how many pages an average visitor looks at on your site. Event: this can track all sorts of things, like button clicks, video plays, and downloads. It requires a bit more setup than the other options. Destination and Event types are the most commonly used goal types for most businesses. For this tutorial, we are going to create a ‘Destination’ goal to track visitors who view our thank you page after filling out a form. First, provide a name for your Goal. It needs to be something meaningful so that you can easily identify it in your Google Analytics reports. Choose ‘Destination’ as your goal type and click on the continue button. Now you can simply provide the last part of the URL that you want to track as the destination. For instance, if your page is: https://www.example.com/thank-you-for-booking/ Then you should enter: /thank-you-for-booking/ Below that, you can optionally add a value for the conversion. This makes sense if people are completing a payment form, or if you know how much each lead is worth to you on average. If you want to track a funnel, such as a customer moving through a checkout process, then you can also do this as part of the destination goal. This can help you pinpoint areas you might want to improve. Once you’re happy with your goal, click the Save button. You should then see your goal listed in a table. You can edit it, switch it off and on, or create more goals here. Viewing Your Goal Conversions in Google Analytics Now that you have created your goal allow Google Analytics to collect some data. After that, you can view your Goal Conversion report under the Google Analytics dashboard. Simply, go to the Conversions » Goals and then click on the overview. Like all Google Analytics reports you can drill down to view visitor journey and get deeper insights. For more details, see our complete guide on setting up goals in Google Analytics Google Ads Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics If you run Google Ads (formerly, Google AdWords), to bring targetted traffic to your website, then you may want to track those conversions. It is a bit complicated to set up but we will walk you through it step by step. Step 1. Link Google Ads to Your Analytics Account Login to your Google Analytics dashboard and click on the admin button at the bottom left corner of the screen. Next, click on the ‘Google Ads Linking’ under the ‘Property’ column. Next, you’ll be asked to select your Google Ads account. The Google account you are using for your Analytics should also have access to your Google Ads account. Under the ‘Link configuration’ section, provide a title for this link group and then turn on the All Website Data. Finally, you can also check the box next to ‘Share my Analytics data with linked Google Ads accounts’ option. This will allow you to track your Google Analytics goals in Google Ads. Click on the link account button to save your changes. Once you have linked to your Google Ads account, analytics will automatically begin tracking your Google Ads. Step 2. Enable Conversion Tracking in Google Ads If you running an eCommerce store then you would also want to enable conversion tracking in your Google Ads account. This helps you compare your ads budget with the revenue generated by those ads. Login to your Google Ads account and click on the ‘Tools & Settings’ button at the top bar. From here, you need to select the ‘Conversions’ link under the Measurement section. Next, you need to select ‘Website’ when asked what do you want to track. After that, you will be asked to configure your conversion tracking. There are a bunch of options available. For instance, you can track purchases, add to cart, leads, sign ups, and so on. You can also provide a fixed value for each conversion or an average value. Once you are happy with your settings, click on the ‘Create and Continue’ button. Next, you will be asked to install the tracking code on your website. You need to select ‘Install the tag yourself’ option. From here, you need to choose the option ‘The global site tag isn’t installed on all your HTML pages’ option. After that, copy the code you see on the screen and paste it in a text editor like Notepad. Next, you need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page. From here, you need to paste the code you copied earlier in the header section. You can now click on the Save button to store your settings. Your Google Ads account has now conversion tracking enabled. Viewing Google Ads Conversion Reports in Google Analytics Your Google Ads conversion tracking will now start appearing in your Google Analytics reports. You can view them under Acquisation » Campaigns » Paid Campaigns section. Use UTM Parameters for Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics UTM parameters are special tags that you can add to URLs to pass along important information to Google Analytics. For instance, if you want to track users coming from a particular ad, then you can add UTM parameters to your ad URL like this: https://yourwebsite.com/special-offer/?utm_source=ads&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=bfad You can also use UTM parameters anywhere you want to share your URLs. For instance, your email newsletter, Tweets, SMS campaigns, and more. https://yourwebsite.com/special-offer/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=jan_sale MonsterInsights makes it super easy to build URLs with UTM parameters. Simply head over to Insights » Tools page and add your URL under the URL builder. Simply enter the UTM parameters you want to use and it will automatically generate the URL which you can then use in your campaigns. Viewing UTM Parameter Reports in Google Analytics You can now track conversions of your campaigns under your Google Analytics dashboard. Simply switch to the Acquisation » Campaigns » All Campaigns report. Your campaigns will appear here and you can click on any of them to further drill down. Setting up Facebook Conversion Tracking in WordPress Facebook is the largest social media website on the planet with billions of active users. This is why Facebook ads are sometimes the easiest way to reach a very niche audience. Now, if you are running Facebook ads then you may want to see how well your ads are doing by implementing conversion tracking for your Facebook ads. Let’s set up Facebook conversion tracking on your WordPress website. Installing the Facebook Pixel in WordPress First, you need to visit the Facebook Ads Manager website and select the ‘Event Manager’ option from the top menu. Next, you need to click on the ‘Add New Data Source’ button from the left column and then select ‘Facebook Pixel’. Facebook Ads Manager will now create a unique Pixel for your ad account. You now need to click on the ‘Set up Pixel’ button to continue. This will bring up a popup where you need to select ‘Manually add pixel code to website’ option. Next, you’ll see a code snippet that you need to copy and paste in a plain text editor like Notepad. Now you need to leave this browser tab open and access your WordPress site’s admin area in a new tab. Next, you need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page. From here, you need to paste the Facebook Pixel base code in the header section. You can now click on the Save button to store your settings. Once you have installed the Facebook pixel base code, switch back to the Facebook Pixel set up tab. You can now click on the continue button to get the next code. The easiest way to do this by simply entering your website URL and then choose which events you want to track. Facebook will now open your website in a new browser tab. You can follow the on-screen instructions to set up events you want to track. Viewing Facebook Conversion Tracking Reports Facebook offers in-depth analysis for your ads and the Facebook pixel. Simply visit the Facebook Analytics website and select your Facebook pixel to view conversion reports. Setting up Twitter Conversion Tracking in WordPress If you run Twitter Ads to promote your business, then you’ll need to setup Twitter conversion tracking to measure the success of your ads. Simply log in to your Twitter Ads account and click on the Tools » Conversion tracking link. This will bring you to the conversion tracking set up for your Twitter Ads. Click on the ‘Generate website tag for conversion tracking’ button. On the next screen, you will see the website tag code. You need to copy this code and paste it in a text editor like Notepad. Now, you need to switch back to your WordPress website’s admin area. If you haven’t already done so, then go ahead and install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page. Now you can paste the Twitter conversion tracking code into the body section. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your settings. Once you have successfully installed the conversion tracking code, you will be able to view reports under the conversion tracking page on your Twitter Ads account. Optimizing Conversion Rates to Boost Sales Once you start tracking conversions on your website, the next step is to make improve those conversion rates. You’d be surprised how little things can make huge impact on your business. The best way to improve your conversions is by using OptinMonster. It is the best conversion optimization software on the market and helps you convert more visitors into customers. OptinMonster comes with tools like lightbox popups, fullscreen welcome mats, countdown timer, slide-in boxes, and more. It integrates with any email marketing service and works with all popular eCommerce platforms. OptinMonster’s display rules allow you to show targetted messages to your customers at the precise time and nudge them into making a buying decision. For instance, if you notice that customers are leaving a product page without taking any action, then you can offer them a discount when they are about to exit. Similarly, you can run time-sensitive campaigns to trigger FOMO effect and give customers a nudge in the right direction. For more practical tips, see our guide on how ways to recover WooCommerce abandoned cart sales. We hope this guide helped you set up conversion tracking in WordPress. You may also want to see our comparison of the best business phone services and best drag & drop page builders for WordPress. If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook. The post WordPress Conversion Tracking Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide appeared first on WPBeginner. Learn more about WP Beginner by visiting their website.
Paid Advertising Beyond the Conversion with Susan Wenograd – Ep. 197
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 7:00 am on Search Engine Journal: Podcast: Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | For episode 197 of The Search Engine Journal Show, I had the opportunity to interview Susan Wenograd, Chief Marketing Officer at Aimclear, as well as PPC Reporter at Search Engine Journal. Wenograd, who’ll also be speaking at the SEJ eSummit on June 2, discusses how to incorporate and understand paid advertising beyond the conversion. What actually is there beyond the conversion for PPC marketers to actually look at and find value in? Susan Wenograd (SW): Because we all started pretty much with paid search, and that’s such a bottom of funnel tactic, we’ve just been conditioned to evaluate everything that way. So even amongst the channels themselves, there’s been that push and pull about how do we evaluate these channels. The fact of the matter is the targeting that’s available on a lot of them exists specifically to not necessarily be at that conversion point. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW So when you’re thinking about the channels that you’re working with, just like you’re really thinking about anything else in your full marketing stack, you have to evaluate them on their own merits. So if you’re running something on Facebook, yes, you’ll probably get conversions from it, especially if you have it set up to optimize that way. But you’re also probably reaching a lot of people that might not buy now, but they’re still in the future a good audience for you. You’ll still find a lot of brands and advertisers that will look at it and say, “Well, Facebook doesn’t do as well as Google Search,” or, “It doesn’t do as well as this,” or, “It does better than that.” It’s comparing apples to oranges. A lot of times, they’re not meant to do the same thing. The users are not at the same process. They’re not in the same process as far as how close they are to buying or where they are in awareness. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW So there’s this ongoing continuum of where people are as far as if they need what you sell, if they understand what you sell, if they can afford what you have. They’re all along this continuum, and so to go in and say, “We’re just spending this money to get these conversions,” is pretty short-sighted. Brent Csutoras (BC): I would say the majority of ad dollars doesn’t have a conversion on it. Like when you see a billboard with Nike, when you see a commercial, where do you “buy now”? There is now “Buy Now.” So much of marketing is long-term conditioning and influence, and so to say that it all comes down to one point and you don’t care about anything else, it just felt so disconnected from everything we had come to learn in marketing. SW: One of the things that we’ve really seen heavily, especially the past two years, was how difficult it was getting from a direct-to-consumer perspective to get people to convert the way they used to. We saw this really big on Facebook and definitely in some pockets on Google where there was so much reliance on just it being, like you said, it was the magic money machine. It’s what I always call it, where it’s like, “Well, I put in $2, and so I have to make $10.” The thing is that’s not a sustainable marketing strategy. It’s not how you’re going to grow your brand, and so the short-sightedness of that I think is you’re finally was coming home to roost where people are realizing, “You know, there is value in something like a billboard. There is value in television commercials.” But everyone thought that because you couldn’t draw a straight line from point A to point B, they just had no value. I think a lot of advertisers forget that the competition thing is a lot more obvious in paid search. In paid social, it’s a little different just from how I’ve seen brands and advertisers react. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW They just operate a little more methodically about it where they’re just like, “Well, I always used to get a 500% return, and now I’m not. What’s going on?” So I had worked with a large brand that spent six figures a month, and it was direct-to-consumer, but they were in a competitive industry. They weren’t the cheapest, and they were continually frustrated that their results were so much easier a year before. The other thing that happens too is that because you’re just focusing on people that are likely to buy or likely to convert, you’re not building your pipeline. So you become solely reliant on people that are at the buying stage, and you’re not actually creating any demand or creating any brand awareness so that you’re top of mind when that happens. It seems like it should be Marketing 101, right? It’s like if you take any marketing course, you have these stages to purchase. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW But with paid, because everyone was so conditioned to looking at the data and saying, “OK. When I put money here, this is how much I make,” everyone just forgot about how to market, and no one wanted to spend the money on things that they didn’t feel was driving a direct conversion. No one wanted to look at things like an incremental lift or incremental brand search. No one wanted to look at that stuff because they didn’t have to. So what’s become interesting now is I do feel like the smart brands and advertisers are realizing that they’re not building a brand when they do that… It’s like the second they stop spending money, they have no sales. You don’t own a brand if that happens. Like you really don’t have much of a business. BC: Well, I think that the other aspect you really have to consider is storytelling, right? ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW I think that’s what happens a lot of times over the last probably three or four years specifically with paid is that we’ve seen this transition from SEO, from paid, from everything because storytelling has shifted significantly. Brands are really shining is where they’re understanding where that storytelling goes. I’m guessing that paid search isn’t gone. It’s just that paid search and especially a lot of the paid search I’ve been involved with lately hasn’t been about a conversion. It’s been about continuing that storytelling. SW: Yeah, and Google really has made nods and strides toward that with the in-market audiences that you can add as layers to your search campaigns and bid on them differently. They’ve definitely pivoted more. They’ve had all these data for a while, and the effectiveness of some of it was hit or miss. But I feel like ever since we’ve been able to have these audience layers and used the stuff that we traditionally would use and display to apply it to search, they really started doing a better job of integrating that behavioral piece to supplement what you’re doing so it’s not just all about the search. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW It does start accounting for those things of: Who are these people? Where are they in their journey? What do they care about? Because that’s the other piece is that even though people might search for the same words, it doesn’t mean that they need the same things. How do I have to approach paid advertising if conversion is not what I’m going for? SW: That is still usually the most difficult part, especially for things that have longer sales cycles. A lot of times, the higher value product you’re selling, the higher money you’re going to have to pay to move that person along the purchase path. So that’s where those conversations about goals that have to do with behavior on your site, or other behaviors, or micro-conversions that people can do along the way become more important because you want users to self-select into being in the group that you know you want to be targeting if that makes sense. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW So for example, if you do something like a white paper download or a case study, or a checklist giveaway, or whatever those things are, those are not ultimately the conversion you’re looking for, but they’re signals that you’re reaching the right people. If you spend money, and drive 2,000 people to a landing page, and no one downloads anything, then you know, “OK. This is probably not the people that I really want to be reaching.” So it becomes about thinking backward… I always call it getting people to raise their hand to be like, “Yes, I am the person you’re looking for,” because it’s not always going to be in terms of just a purchase. Something like LinkedIn is a really good example of that, especially when you get into these high-value, but also high-dollar stakes. There are have been so many brands that I’ve worked with, especially in B2B where LinkedIn has that targeting that they need, but they say, “It’s really expensive, and we’ve tried it. Nothing happened.” ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW A lot of times, what winds up happening is they’re driving them to a software product that’s thousands of dollars, and they’re like, “Well, no one signed up.” So you’re trying to go from zero to 60 way too quickly. So that’s when you have to have those kinds of conversations about… If you look in Salesforce or whatever [CRM] it is you’re using, there’s probably an average number of times that someone has contacted or visits your site, or whatever it is they do before they even become a prospect let alone someone that’s going to buy. So you can’t hold paid platforms responsible for things that they can’t possibly do because that doesn’t happen anywhere else in your business. It’s like what you were saying before. There’s this weird expectation that all marketing rules don’t apply to paid and they should just sell things. One of the things that I try and work with customers on is getting into this mindset that it’s not about just getting them to click and to buy right away. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW At this point, there are so many audiences. There are so many ways to target people. You need to start just creating buckets of audiences that you can continue to talk to. I don’t want to just run everywhere forever and hope I get sales off of it. I want to carve off all the people that aren’t really the people I’m looking for, and then just focus on those with the rest of my spend. In the LinkedIn example, if you’re spending $16, $20 something, $30 something a click, given their prices, you don’t want to be that brand that’s like, “Well, we spent that money and nothing happened.” Nine times out of 10, when I look at the strategy, there was no strategy other than to just drive them to the site, or they’re like, “We got all these white paper downloads, and then nothing happened,” because it’s not about the paid media doing all that for you. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW There has to be something that happens after that. If you’re spending that much money, you were buying an audience. You have to look at it as though you were buying that audience so you can continue to market to them, but so many companies don’t do that. This podcast is brought to you by Ahrefs and Opteo. To listen to this Search Engine Show Podcast with Susan Wenograd: Visit our podcast archive to listen to other Search Engine Journal Show podcasts! Image Credits Featured Image: Paulo Bobita Podcast: Download Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
The Google Page Experience Update: User experience to become a Google ranking factor
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 7:00 am on Search Engine Land: Google today announced a new ranking algorithm designed to judge web pages based on how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. That means if Google thinks your website users will have a poor experience on your pages, Google may not rank those pages as highly as they are now. This update is called the Google Page Experience update and is not expected to go live until sometime in 2021, so you have plenty of time to prepare. What is page experience? Google has a detailed developer document on the page experience criteria but in short, these metrics aim to understand how a user will perceive the experience of a specific web page: considerations such as whether the page loads quickly, if it’s mobile-friendly, runs on HTTPS, the presence of intrusive ads and if content jumps around as the page loads. Page experience is made up of several existing Google search ranking factors, including the mobile-friendly update, Page Speed Update, the HTTPS ranking boost, the intrusive interstitials penalty, safe browsing penalty, while refining metrics around speed and usability. These refinements are under what Google calls Core Web Vitals. What are core web vitals. Core Web Vitals include real-world, user-centered metrics, that give scores on aspects of your pages including load time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. These metrics fall under these metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading. First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1. What it all looks like. When you group these all together, you get this page experience name for all these elements. Google said page experience specifically is not a ranking score, but rather, each element within has its own weights and rankings in the overall Google ranking algorithm. What are all these factors. We linked to most of them above, but here is how Google documents each individual factor within page experience: Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This is a new metric that basically looks at if the page is stable when it loads (i.e., do images, content, buttons move around the page as the page loads or does the page stay put and solid). In short, is the layout of the page shifting, resulting in a poor user experience. Google shared a GIF of this in action: Prepare for this update. Google said this is not going live today, there are no new ranking factors going live today. This will go live sometime in 2021, Google promised to give six-months notice before it goes live. Google is giving us time, not just because Google normally gives us a heads up to prepare for these updates, but also because of the unstable environment we are all living through during this pandemic. We will update you all when Google announces a date for the release of this update. You can prepare now for all of these ranking changes with the tools listed above. You can also use the new Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console that was released yesterday. How big of an update will this be? We have heard from Google about previous Google updates, how some like Panda’s initial released impacted 11.8% of all queries, or Google BERT impacted 10% of queries, or that HTTPS is a small factor. But with this update, we don’t know yet. We spoke with Rudy Galfi, the product lead on the Google Search ecosystem team, and he said they are not discussing how much each factor is weighted. Rudy did say that great content will still be the more important factor and great content with a poor page experience can still rank highly in Google search. Great content is still supreme. Google made it clear that great content will still rank highly in Google Search, despite a poor page experience. “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search,” Google wrote. Top Stories. As we covered in our AMP won’t be required for Google’s Top Stories section, AMP is no longer required for inclusion in the Top Stories section in the mobile Google search results. What will matter is that Google will look at the page experience scores and this will play a vital role in what content shows in Google’s Top Stories section, Rudy Galfi told us. AMP. AMP will still surface in the Google mobile search results if you have AMP pages. That is not changing, but what is changing is that now your AMP pages will compete with other pages for the Top Stories section in Google. If you have AMP, the good news is that the majority of AMP pages do extremely well in terms of page experience metrics, Rudy Galfi said. It doesn’t mean that all AMP pages will have top page experience metrics, but AMP is built in a way to help with this. Google on mobile will use the page experience metrics from your AMP content. Since Google serves AMP pages on mobile, if you have an AMP version of your page, then Google will use the AMP page experience metrics for scoring purposes. Again, it is what Google serves to the user that will be judged for ranking. Why we care. Google has announced a set of new ranking factors under the page experience name. This means that we have until 2021 to prepare for this ranking update. Use the tools Google has given us to get our sites and our client sites ready for this update. We will keep you posted on when this new update is going live and what else you can do to prepare for this change. Check out SMX Next. Don’t forget to register for our free SMX Next virtual conference. One of the keynotes will be about the timeline of Google algorithm updates and where you need to be in order to be prepare for this and future algorithm updates. About The Author Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. Learn more about Search Engine Land by visiting their website.
Which Types of Live Video Are People Actually Watching? [New Data]
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 6:00 am on HubSpot: In 2019, global internet users watched 1.1 billion hours of live video. That equates to 12,557 decades of online content. And the craziest part? People will probably spend even more time streaming content in 2020. The statistic above is just one of many that shows how popular live video is becoming. And, with any social media or online video trend, marketers are taking notice and learning how to implement it in their own tactics. If the mounting research about live video has intrigued you, you might be asking more questions about live video in the near future. Specifically, you might be wondering, “Which types of live content are driving people to tune in?” To figure out what’s driving the world to watch multiple lifetimes’ worth of content in one year, I decided to conduct a Lucid survey of over 400 consumers to learn which types of content they watch the most. Which live videos do consumers actually watch? If you’ve followed live stream trends, you might think content that focuses on entertainment such as behind-the-scenes content, or video game streaming, might make the top of the list as the most popular type of live content. However, when I asked consumers, “Which type of live video are you most likely to watch if you see it on one of your social network feeds?”, their answers surprised me. The top three live videos that people say they’re most likely to click on actually emphasize content that’s educational or allows viewers to learn something new. In fact, the type of live videos consumers are most likely to view is “A Q&A with an influencer, celebrity, or expert in your industry,” which received nearly 30% of the votes. Below is a quick look at the top four live video types that polled consumers selected: Data Source Live video formats that consumers were less interested in were behind the scenes video streams, theatrical stories with a script or plotline, and virtual conferences or events. These topics received between three to eight percent of the votes. While the least popular types of live video focus more on gaming and entertainment, the top three formats are informational and can be used by brands to discuss their industry, grow awareness, or highlight a product online. Below, I’ll walk you through the three most common live video formats, note how you can leverage them as a marketer, and offer branded live video examples to inspire you. 3 Types of Live Video Consumers Love Watching Live Q&As Live Q&As can be affordable to produce, engage multiple audiences at once, allow you to interact with your fans, and highlight your brand’s expertise at the same time. If you host a Q&A with an influencer or thought leader, you boost the chances of their followers tuning in to comment with questions or learn more about the guest. In the process, they’ll learn a bit about you and your brand. If you appear on a Q&A, the host’s audiences will learn more about you and potentially get the opportunity to interact. Can’t book a thought leader or influencer? You can also coordinate Q&As with experts from your own company. This will allow experts in your industry to learn about a topic your employees are highly skilled in. This provides audiences value and allows them to engage with your brand in a new way. Additionally, prospects and customers that view this type of live video will see the depth of knowledge that your team has, which might result in them trusting the quality of your product. Product Tutorials While brands have been recording, editing, and publishing online product demos and tutorials for years, this process can also take place on live platforms. Although a pre-recorded product tutorial has the benefit of being edited, a live product tutorial authentically highlights a product with no added editing. Here’s an example of a live product tutorial streamed by The Nail Prop Shop which highlights tools that help consumers paint their nails like professionals: In the product tutorial above, you’re seeing how the product and the host authentically without edits, artificial lighting, or anything else that could boost the aesthetics of the product. Because of this, you can easily imagine what it would be like to use the product in your own life. Educational Content People crave knowledge. And, even when you don’t directly discuss your product or service, you can leverage your audience’s curiosity by launching live how-tos or explainers related to your industry. For example, if you’re marketing a restaurant, you might create a recipe or food-related how-to video. Or, if you’re marketing a fitness brand, you might stream a workout that audiences can try. Like Q&As, a how-to or explainer gives you the opportunity to show off your brand’s range of knowledge and expertise in your industry. Audiences who see this content might value your expertise and trust your brand because its team has shown a strong understanding of the industry and what audiences want to learn about. Here’s an example of a live how-to streamed by Planet Fitness. Rather than discussing what customers can get from a gym membership, a trainer from the gym shows audiences workouts that they can use to stay in shape — even outside the gym. Creating Your First Live Video If you’ve been inspired by the data or the videos above and are interested in coordinating your first live video, here are a few things you should consider before going live: Picking the Right Plattform: Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, TikTok, and LinkedIn offer a live video feature. Before you go live, research the audiences of each platform to determine which will best align with your own targets. Planning and Rehearsing: Once you go live, people will immediately be able to watch your content. To prevent any major blunders, you might want to rehearse prior to streaming or create an outline of what you plan to do while live. Including Interactive Elements: To engage with audiences further, consider encouraging them to ask questions or share their thoughts in the video stream’s comment section. Try to answer a few of these questions or respond to one of the comments to show viewers that you’re interested in what they have to say. To lean more about the things you should check before going live, check out this helpful guide. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
24 LinkedIn Stats That Marketers Need to Know in 2020
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 6:00 am on HubSpot: With nearly 700 million active users in 2020, LinkedIn’s expanded from a networking site for professionals to one of the top social media platforms. By now, most of us have used LinkedIn to market our brands, post industry thought leadership, or look for our dream jobs. As LinkedIn’s continued to evolve by adding new features, like live video, it’s steadily grown its user base. While the LinkedIn audience still skews towards career-minded professionals, the industries, interests, and demographics represented on the platform have become much broader since its launch. Aside from LinkedIn’s user growth, it’s also continued to expand on advertising opportunities, which has helped make it the second most used platform of B2B marketers. Today, it’s becoming quite clear that LinkedIn isn’t just for people in executive corporate roles. With millions of company pages and individual members, there’s a discussion, post, or professional network for almost anyone on this channel. But, despite LinkedIn’s growth and advertising opportunities, many marketers or brands still worry that the platform is still too formal or corporate for their audiences. The truth is — LinkedIn could very well be one of your most underrated marketing channels. If LinkedIn’s growth has caught your attention and you want to determine if it’s audiences and ad offerings are right for you, it’s important to do some research before devoting more time and resources to this network. To get you started on your LinkedIn research, here are 24 need-to-know stats about the platform’s audience, growth, and most common marketing tactics. LinkedIn Stats to Know in 2020 General LinkedIn Stats In Q2 of 2020, LinkedIn revenue increased 21 percent year-over-year (LinkedIn) In 2019, LinkedIn made more than 6.8 billion in revenue. (LinkedIn) LinkedIn has more than 690 million active users. (LinkedIn) In Q1 of 2020, LinkedIn sessions increased 22 percent year-over-year. (LinkedIn) Marketing Solutions is LinkedIn’s fastest-growing segment. It grew 44 percent year-over-year in Q1. (LinkedIn) LinkedIn received 30 billion sessions from its members in 2019. This was a year-over-year increase of 27 percent. (LinkedIn) In 2019, LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network. (Business Insider) Source In March of 2020, professionals watched more than four million hours of LinkedIn Learning content — a nearly 50% increase month-over-month. (LinkedIn) LinkedIn Live streams have increased by 158% since February 2020. (LinkedIn) More than four million LinkedIn members were hired through the platform in 2019. (LinkedIn) LinkedIn’s Talent Insights service, launched in 2019, got more than 1,300 customers in its first year. (LinkedIn) LinkedIn Demographics 57% of global LinkedIn users are male. (Statista) 25% of U.S. internet users say they use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center) While 34% of those between 25 to 30 and 33% of those aged 30 to 49 say they use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center) 45% of internet users who make more than $75,000 annually use LinkedIn while only 25% of those in the $50,000 to $74,999 range use the platform. (Pew Research Center) 50% of internet users with a college degree or higher use LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center) Four out of five LinkedIn members drive business decisions at their companies. (LinkedIn) Marketing Tactics and Lead Generation LinkedIn is the second most popular platform of B2B marketers, followed by Facebook. (Social Media Examiner) As of January 2020, 663.3 million users have been reached by LinkedIn Ads. (We Are Social) Data shows that the most engaging LinkedIn posts are published on Wednesdays between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and noon, Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday at 9 a.m. (Sprout Social) LinkedIn’s lead conversion rates are 3X higher than other major ad platforms, including Google Ads. (LinkedIn) Roughly 15% of marketers are creating content for LinkedIn. (HubSpot) Only 10% of marketers say they’re investing in LinkedIn. (HubSpot) In a study of over 5,000 businesses, HubSpot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost three times or 277% higher than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%). (HubSpot) Mastering LinkedIn Marketing Because LinkedIn is a slightly different audience from other major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, you’ll want to understand the audience before investing time or resources into a campaign or advertisement. Be sure to keep the stats above, as well as emerging research about the platform and its audiences, in mind as you prepare your next social media strategy. If you’re looking for more inspiration or hard research to help you guide your LinkedIn strategy, check out this great post which highlights the most engaging topics and posting strategies on the platform. If you’re more interested in boosting your personal profile and network on LinkedIn, here’s a guide on how to become a LinkedIn thought leader. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
The Ultimate Google Disavow Guide
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 28, 2020 5:59 am on Search Engine Land: Since its introduction in 2012 the Google Disavow Tool has become an indispensable instrument for website operators and online marketers It is the only method of positively mitigating backlink risks and maintaining off-page signals. If used correctly, the Disavow Tool becomes a one-way communication channel with Google. The wider application of the Disavow Tool and the vast amounts of data that it continues to generate for Google remains a source of speculation. It’s main purpose, at least from the website operator’s point of view, remains the dissociation of their website from PageRank passing backlinks that may otherwise hold organic search visibility down. When used carelessly, however, the Disavow Tool can spell doom for Google Rankings. This Ultimate Google Disavow Guide, strongly influenced by the author’s professional experience while working for Google Search, both penalizing offending websites as well as lifting Google penalties, is an attempt to clarify frequent misbeliefs around the Google Disavow Tool and its application. At the same time, it is an effort to address commonly associated questions and provide a blueprint for anyone considering using the Disavow Tool in order to improve their website signals. Disavow or not to disavow? Ostensibly there is a central question: does every website require a disavow file? The unequivocal answer to that question is a resounding: no! Not every website needs a compelling disavow file. In fact, in the scale of things, relatively few websites need to actively monitor and manage their backlink signals. Websites such as personal blogs, government platforms, charities, non-governmental websites, even small niche or local webshops frequently aren’t in acute need to disavow spam backlinks. The reason for this is that these websites rarely conduct link building. Many thrive on direct traffic and have neither the capacity nor the desire to improve their Google rankings. Often their target audience is aware of and familiar with their presence. Hence type-in traffic represents almost all of the traffic they enjoy. Consequently, they rarely if ever actively pursue PageRank, passing backlinks that Google, in turn, may frown upon. With relatively few backlinks in all, disavowing is virtually a non-issue. It is an entirely different situation when looking at commercial websites, such as online shops, price comparison platforms, market places, media outlets, portals or major brands. Their overriding commercial intent makes them susceptible to optimization, which may or may not always have been Google Webmaster Guidelines compliant. Google remains adamant with regard to, in Google’s mind, not merit based backlinks, hence managing backlink risks is for these websites a critical part of conducting online business. They need to use the Disavow Tool as a shield protecting their organic rankings. There’s also a situation where every affected website must use the Disavow Tool in their defense. That’s when a Google manual spam action aka manual penalty due to link building is in place. As a general rule, any Google penalty should be removed as swiftly as possible. However, a penalty in relation to backlinks, in particular, must be addressed immediately, since it progressively impacts the website’s position in Google Search Results. Any website held back by a manual penalty due to spam backlinks must use the Disavow Tool. When to disavow? There are a number of important, yet only two main factors which must be considered if backlinks may constitute a liability for the website: the volume of incoming backlinks and their quality. The first indicator can frequently be gauged almost instantly, by looking at the total number of backlinks reported in trustworthy third party tools such as Majestic. For example, the minimum number of backlinks ever recorded pointing to example.com is the sum of fresh and historic total combined. While no single tool is capable of providing an exact figure, approximately 300 million backlinks is a substantial number that in case of a commercial website may warrant a review and updating the disavow file. Majestic, similarly to other great data gathering tools recommended later in this guide, is unlikely to detect all backlinks ever to be in existence. Like all other commercial tools, it may not identify private (blog) backlink networks, created specifically in order to avoid third party detection. PBNs are however a ludicrous concept from its inception. Link building is explicitly done for Google, backlinks must be detectable by Google and therefore always pose a clear liability to the website’s rankings. Google Search Console, while indispensable in the process, can’t be considered as the ultimate data source because of the build in reporting limit, capping samples at 100.000 backlinks. That having said, when looking for a tangible threshold 100.000 backlinks may be taken as a rule of thumb. Fewer backlinks likely do not warrant the effort required for disavowing. More backlinks may, potentially. The second main indicator -quality- is significantly less simple to even ascertain, let alone to accurately assess. Backlink quality depends on the type of anchor text used, anchor text distribution, the quality of content surrounding backlink anchors, as well as where else the same page links to. In a nutshell, it can only be analyzed by experienced human experts armed with powerful, purpose built tools which help to expedite the process. No tools however can fully replace this labour intensive, detail oriented approach. Manual analysis and investigating backlink quality requires crawling backlink data in a first, critical step. Short of going through the entire process, there’s one additional indicator which can help to gauge how much of an acute risk a backlink profile may pose: the anchor text distribution. While there are no hard thresholds to observe, the ground rule is that the more the top ten anchor texts appear optimized for the specific products or services offered, the higher the probability that PageRank passing link building was conducted at some point in time. And that consequently legacy and fresh backlinks are more likely to pose a serious risk. Several tools offer insights in this regard, including Ahrefs and Majestic, with varying depth. Evaluating all but the top 10 anchor texts is however superfluous, since commercial anchors tend to surface to the top anyway. Highly commercial top 10 anchor text distribution, as in this example, usually is a strong indicator of backlink liabilities. What to disavow? Any backlink analysis must begin with aggregating as much relevant backlink data as possible. Google Search Console backlink samples are a stepping stone towards that purpose. As mentioned previously, these are limited, effectively reducing their informative value for websites with substantial backlink profiles of 10 million backlinks and more. While it is possible to boost the GSC sample output by adding a multitude of patterns next to domain property, such as with www. and without www., both https and http as well as a combination of all the above and possibly other subdomains or directories, these steps remain a work-around. Google’s continuous insistence on the matter that GSC samples are sufficient for any eventuality is true, yet only for relatively small websites. Websites which over time accumulated substantial backlink profiles must not rely on GSC samples alone. A cost-effective, yet time-consuming option can be collecting backlink data samples from other search engines webmaster tools as well. Similarly to Google Search Console, the Bing Webmaster Tool BETA feature offers a free of charge glimpse at the backlink data. On a side note, Bing also allows webmasters concerned with Bing rankings to disassociate their websites from undesirable backlinks, not unlike Google does. This Ultimate Google Disavow Guide however is solely focussed on Google best practices. Other leading search engines webmaster tools, such as Yandex or Baidu can be useful to collect yet more backlink data over a period of time. While the former however seems to take a long time before amassing and displaying backlink data, the latter poses a formidable language challenge for many website operators. As mentioned, none of the search engines provided data samples, mentioned alone or even combined, is complete enough when reliable data is acutely needed. In a critical situation it is of the greatest importance that other third party data samples are also taken into consideration in order to generate a sufficient data sample for actionable results. Here again ideally a multitude of different tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic, SEMrush, Ryte and LinkResearchTools should be used in order to accumulate and verify as much backlink data as possible. However, this redundant approach comes at a cost. The few high-quality services available come at a price, which can become substantial, once individual backlink data exports exceed 100 million backlinks. That modest number also dispels any lingering doubts whether Google Search Console backlink samples possibly could be sufficient for a through backlink analysis. Google Search Console capped 100 thousand backlink examples represent 0.1% sample of a 100 million backlink profile. A number hardly sufficient to cleanse a website of problematic link building past. When the potentially time consuming process of collecting data is finalized, the samples collected are deduped and filtered in order to expedite the following, necessarily manual review process. Zero impact backlinks e.g. pointing to landing pages which are excluded in the websites robots.txt file or backlinks bearing a rel=”nofollow” attribute can be immediately dropped from consideration. They are inconsequential from a spam risk assessment perspective. Both the attributes rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc”, which at this point remain scarcely applied novelties do not require any differentiated approach. They are exclusive to Google and not recognized by any other search engine, which is why if they were to be used at all, they must be applied in tandem with the industry-wide standard . Similarly to backlinks that have no impact, there are also websites which can legitimately cross link, even using the most commercial anchor texts imagined, because they share ownership. In other words a website operator or organisation is at liberty to cross link their websites without risking violating Google Webmaster Guidelines. Hence the entire website/domain portfolio should be excluded from further analysis. Contrary to that situation, subjectively high authority or respectable brand websites should not be whitelabeled in a similar fashion. There are a lot of misconceptions around authority, most of all highlighting an elusive DA or domain authority value. The term so often tossed around is in-fact not relevant to Google. Experience shows that presumably respectable websites or brands frequently are in violation with Google linking policies. A fact not lost on the Google team. Therefore backlinks originating from what may be considered respectable sources must not be evaluated in any other way. Equally high risk backlinks that are about to be removed entirely, changed or nofollowed, still need to be included in the evaluation process. If deemed a threat, they all must be included in the disavow file, despite the fact they may have changed already. Google may not have crawled them anew yet. Consequently changed signals may not be reflected in Google data and algorithms either, which makes such backlinks a lingering threat. If and when such backlinks are recrawled depends on the websites individual crawl budget allocation and management. And it can take some time, especially in case of low quality sites. When commencing the analysis the backlinks intent, why they came to existence, and not ownership or origins remains in the focus of the investigation. Google neither asks nor cares how exactly spam backlinks came into existence, who created them or when. Therefore it isn’t necessary to record additional information for later processing or documentation purposes. With fresh backlink data at hand, high probability spam backlinks can be grouped together. While every website’s backlink profile is different and constantly changing, there are backlinks that can with 100% certainty be regarded as a liability and securely disavowed. Templated spam, including auto generated websites with none, scraped or gibberish content are firmly within this group and must be disavowed. High Risk TLDs No TLD can be considered 100% spam. None should be disavowed merely on the grounds of the linking sites TLDs. There are however some TLDs which tend to over proportionally attract spam. The Spamhaus Project 2020 Top 10 statistics are rather revealing in this regard, even if the list isn’t comprehensively long. Backlinks originating from websites hosted on domains such as .tk, .gq, .top, .ml or .loan to name just a few among many TLDs that can not be outright dismissed as spam, but in the backlink review process they can be filtered and grouped together. Often repetitive patterns in their domain naming or URL structure, identical templates and gibberish, easy to spot content help to make a swift risk assessment. The situation is similar, yet slightly more nuanced, with spam free-hosting services. Every free-host does of course include some low quality websites. Some however notoriously fail to rid themselves of auto-generated spam, which in the past triggered a collective punishment reaction on Google’s part. These arguably few publicly noticed instances demonstrate that Google did and does care about free-hosts. There is no need to preemptively include free-host services into the disavow file, however when dodgy free-hosted websites are identified in the course of the backlink analysis, there is no need to proceed with caution. Free-hosted spam backlinks justify including all of the service using the domain: operator to the disavow file. Several TLDs are prone to attract templated spam websites, which must be disavowed. Expired domains backlinks While investigating backlink risk levels, some sites or, in this instance, domains are more easily recognized as spam and therefore harmful then others. Expired domains, that’s previously legitimate websites, dropped by their original operators just to be revived with scraped or templated content in the hope to benefit from reputation built in the past. They are a clear violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines and a black hat SEO smoking gun. Consequently all expired domains must be disavowed. Such sites are almost universally auto generated and therefore easily to spot and to filter. Where there is even a shadow of a doubt, the Internet Archive provides invaluable and free of charge services, showing most sites past records. An example of a legitimate website before the domain expired. And the same site after the domain expired. Such websites are generally to disavow. Hacked sites backlinks Similarly to expired domains, all legitimate yet compromised e.g. hacked websites, unknowingly linking through injected code without the legitimate operators consent, must be disavowed. Since this method as a trend is in decline, typically even for very large backlink profiles there will be only a hand-full of hacked websites in their backlink profile. This is the only group which may be revisited periodically to reassess the situation. Sites that have been cleansed of injected backlinks and content can be safely removed for the disavow file, however this is an optional step. Press release backlinks PageRank passing press release backlinks, especially the ones bearing commercial anchor texts as mentioned specifically in Google Linking Guidelines, must all be included in a compelling disavow file. Google has time and again highlighted their stands on press release link building and maintains their position that doing so is a clear Webmaster Guidelines offence. Veteran Google employees including John Muller have repeatedly reiterated on the specific point. Affiliate backlinks Google does not look unkindly at affiliate websites in general. PageRank passing affiliate backlinks however, are considered a thorn in the side, since they are not merit based as far as Google is concerned. Consequently, when managing backlink risks, all affiliate backlinks must be included in the disavow file. Coupon or special deals websites, as well as price comparison platforms, are worthy of special attention. By far not all of these legitimate services choose to ignore Google Linking Guidelines intentionally, however the ultimate responsibility to check, remains as with all backlinks with the site operator concerned for his or her websites Google rankings. Directories backlinks All SEO and link directories must be disavowed. At this point there are no legitimate reasons to make any exceptions. There are countless giveaways betraying the sole purpose for directories existence, which is passing PageRank. Among these are the fact that almost no directories are moderated, they lack topicality or any oversight and frequently even the domains used highlight SEO or links rather than any other editorial value. While frequently and rightly seen as a legacy issue, directory backlinks remain a liability for websites even many years later. Directories have lost credibility and should be disavowed. Off-topic forums backlinks As previously mentioned, PageRank passing spam backlinks have no expiration date. As long as they exist, they continue to pose a threat. Which is why even truly antiquated black hat link building methods like SEO directories and off-topic forum spamming must be included in the analysis. Especially the latter bares some serious legacy potential to cause harm, with efficient software solutions like XRumer on the market for a decade. Of course, not all forum backlinks are harmful to the target website. On the contrary, relevant, community-driven and moderated forum references can be great. And most importantly, drive converting traffic too. However, these are in a manual review easily separated from the spam entries, from junior form members that have little substance and no standing in the respective community. The latter type of spam backlinks must be disavowed. Paid blogs backlinks While the above mentioned types of link spam are usually swiftly identified based on similarities, it is paid blog posts that require more scrutiny. The decisive factor for determining the risk that paid blog posts cumulatively pose is intent. In other words, if the quality of the website linking, the depth of its contents, its unrestrictive linking policies, as well as the type of anchor text used and the landing page the backlinks point to indicate intent to benefit from passing PageRank, such backlinks pose a risk. They must be disavowed. While paid blogging is rarely done with quality in mind, short of relying on tested CMS’ and reliable, cheap hosting such as WordPress paid blogs do not necessarily display the same level of uniformity that allows for efficient filtering in the review process. Like all of the types of spam specifically mentioned in this guide, paid blog backlinks require a manual review in preparation for a risk assessment and in order to build a compelling disavow file. When in-doubt these are some questions that may help ascertain, whether a backlink is a risk contributing factor and possibly should be disavowed: Is the backlink passing PageRank? If it isn’t, either because of a rel=”nofollow” attribute or because the landing page is robots.txt-ed out, it does not pose a problem. All subsequent questions become obsolete. If the backlink is passing PageRank, addressing the following questions can help: Was the link paid for? Do you create and control the backlink? Was the backlink auto generated? If any of these questions are met with a positive response, the backlink likely is a risk factor. Ultimately, the key question that can help to determine if a backlink is legitimate as far as Google is concerned or not as much is: Would you be comfortable sharing this link with a competitor or a Google Search employee? That latter question answered rarely fails to sort the wheat from the chaff. How to disavow? Once the analysis is complete a few, albeit important steps remain. Google does provide some guidance regarding the formatting and disavow file limitations set. The two most obvious limits, which are maximum 2MB file size and a total of 100.000 URLs constrain few, but the most heavily link spammed websites on the web. Avoiding individual, granular patterns and always utilizing the domain: operator on site level [e.g. domain:example.com] are basic best practices to abide. The correct file format of the .txt document which must be UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII remains the last important point to consider. As long as it ends on .txt the file name used is inconsequential. Website operators can verify the validity of their disavow file using the only free of charge Disavow File Testing Tool website, created by ex-Google engineer and fellow Search Engine Land author Fili Wiese. No tool, however, can detect contextual errors, such as disavowing one’s own domains, which can and should legitimately cross-link. This is why a final check should ensure no relevant, legitimately linking domains that belong to the same website operator are included. Before submission a new disavow file should be tested. Another hack in the final step is to submit the disavow file individually to all verified Google Search Console patterns, including all combinations, such as with www. and without www., https and http as well as any other subdomains and directories. While Google officially recommends to focus exclusively on the primary property, this seemingly redundant effort, can help to protect the website from undesirable backlinks in a rare case of Google systems failing, whether temporarily or critically. A finalized and double-checked disavow file is best submitted without delay. Backlink profiles of all websites evolve and change constantly. New backlinks come into existence, desirable ones as well as spam backlinks. That’s why disavow files degenerate over time. That process happens faster for websites with already relatively large backlink profiles. Which is why a finalized disavow file represents a temporary remedy. The value of which declines as time passes. An updated or new disavow file is best submitted individually to all verified GSC patterns. What’s next? For Google an individual disavow file represents a website operator recommendation, not a directive. Whether it chooses to follow that recommandation in full or partially isn’t however disclosed via Google Search Console. For the website operator, the very same disavow file represents a temporary protection shield. For how long it may provide some level of confidence, depends on subsequent backlink growth and its quality. While there are few general rules to follow, a disavow file should be revisited and updated based on fresh data at least once per year, as part of an annual maintenance cycle. When that reiteration happens, previously disavowed and newly detected spam backlink patterns must be combined into one new disavow file before uploading. Merely uploading new patterns will inevitably and irreversibly delete previously submitted spam backlink patterns and thereby undo the past good work. The submitted disavow file has at the same time no impact on converting traffic forthcoming from included backlinks. In other words, while backlink risks are mitigated, whatever traffic may originate from the same suspicious backlinks, isn’t affected. Updating a disavow file can lead to a traffic growth spurt. There are no methods of confidently predicting traffic trajectory after disavowing spam backlinks in Google. Three scenarios are distinctly possible. Websites traffic can stagnate, sharply increase as back link ballast is removed or drop significantly. Disavowing questionable backlinks isn’t about growing traffic though. That’s what an on- and off-page technical audit is for. Disavowing helps to maintain the website’s off-page signal input. At the same time, the very fact that Google penalizes websites for building PageRank passing links demonstrates without any doubt that link building, including risk-taking link building in violation with Google Webmaster Guidelines, can work. Above and beyond, passing PageRank links as a ranking factor is here to stay and must be considered as an important SEO signal, especially for content discovery, searchbot crawl prioritization, user navigation and converting traffic. There are risk-averse, conversion-oriented alternative approaches towards building backlinks, as comprehensively covered in the How to build links article, which offers a new perspective. One that, if fully embraced, can also help to reduce the need to disavow backlinks in the future to come. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here. About The Author Kaspar Szymanski is a founding member of Search Brothers and well-known search expert specializing in recovering websites from Google penalties and helping websites improve their rankings with SEO Consulting. Before founding SearchBrothers.com, Kaspar was part of the Google Search Quality team where he was a driving force behind global web spam tackling initiatives. He is the author of the ultimate guide to Google penalties and part of the Ask the SMXperts series. Learn more about Search Engine Land by visiting their website.
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Everything You Need to Know about Guest Blogging
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 27, 2020 12:00 pm on HubSpot: If you’re looking for the best way to divide a room full of marketers, bring up the topic of guest blogging. Without a doubt, you’ll start a heated debate. Some will say it’s a waste of time. Others will swear by it and treat it like an essential part of their marketing strategy. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle: yes, it can be a waste of time and resources, but, done right, it can be a powerful fuel for your growth. Aside from the brand awareness aspect of it, guest blogging can also be an ethical and sustainable way to build high-quality backlinks and improve your SEO performance. That’s why I wanted to create this comprehensive guide to guest blogging that anyone, from any industry, can start using right away. Here you’ll learn the essential steps to creating a successful strategy: Set specific, achievable goals. Choose topics that will benefit your own business goals. Find reputable guest blogging sites. Conduct guest blogging outreach. Write the post. Track your posts’ results over time. But before we dive into the strategy, let’s first define what guest blogging really is. What is guest blogging? Guest blogging is a content marketing tactic that involves writing and publishing one or more articles for other websites. These articles include your byline and, often times, are highlighted by the editor of that website (or publication) as being written by a “guest author” or a “contributor”. Depending on the publication, you might receive compensation for your guest blogging efforts. However, that’s not always the case. Some publications will offer non-monetary rewards for your post, instead, like a link back to your personal website or social media accounts. Let’s dive into a few major benefits of guest blogging: Benefits of Guest Blogging Here are some of the biggest benefits people get from guest blogging: Build a profile as an industry expert/thought leader Grow your personal brand Grow an audience (social followers, subscribers etc.) Improve SEO performance Build authoritative backlinks Build relationships and drive new partnerships e.g. co-marketing partnerships, job offers Drive referral traffic Improve a company’s brand awareness Get more leads, users and even customers Now that we’ve covered that, let’s dive-deep into each step of the guest blogging process if you want to become a successful guest blogger for major publications. How to Become a Successful Guest Blogger 1. Set specific, achievable goals. The first step to start a successful guest blogging process is to set attainable, measurable goals. These goals might be related to your business performance (like getting more leads or clients) or your website performance (like improving your search visibility or your referral traffic). Whatever your goal is, make it SMART. When you have a clear goal, it becomes much easier to the pick topics you write about, the blogs where you want to publish, how frequently you write, and so on. Most importantly, a SMART goal will tell you if this tactic is right for your business and how much you should invest in it in the future. If you’re just getting started, here are five examples of measurable goals you can set: Get X referral visits from your guest posts OR Increase referral traffic by X% from your guest posts Get X leads from referral traffic from your guest posts OR Increase the number of leads from from your guest posts by X% Get X clients from your guest posts OR Increase clients from your guest posts by X% Improve your SEO performance or SERP visibility by X% Get X number of high-quality backlinks to relevant content from your guest posts My personal preference is to set goals around referral visits, SEO traffic, and backlinks. A change in these metrics can be somewhat easily traced back to guest posts. Clients and leads are obviously more important for the business and can be influenced by guest blogging, but correct attribution can be a challenge. Next let’s talk about keyword research and how that fuels the content creation process. 2. Choose topics that will benefit your own business goals. Many times, guest bloggers fail because they focus on the publications instead of the content. That’s a good strategy to make sure you get published, but it serves the publishers’ goals, instead of yours. To have a successful guest blogging program, pick topics that serve your ultimate goal — whether that’s referral traffic, SEO performance, leads, or clients. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or you’re just learning how to start a blog, you should build a successful guest blogging program by picking topics that serve your ultimate goal, whether that’s referral traffic, SEO performance, leads or clients. Start by making a short list of your top website pages that you want to promote and include in your future guest blogs. For each page, analyze your current status, like your monthly SEO traffic, and set a goal that you want to achieve in a certain timeframe of guest blogging. You can have an overall website goal as well as page-specific goals. For each target page, pick an overarching topic that is relevant to your expertise and would be useful for readers. Then you can start using keyword research tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs (just to name a couple) to fuel your bank ideas for future guest posts. Let’s take a meta-example and say we build a guest blogging strategy around the overarching topic of “guest blogging”. We can create different types of content under the umbrella of this topic: how-to articles, thought leadership, case studies, and ultimate guides. For each type of content we can find relevant article ideas using keyword research tools. 3. Find reputable guest blogging sites. Now that you have your content ideas mapped out, it’s time to find relevant publications. Start by putting together a list of target websites, as in the example below: Here’s how you can discover guest blogging opportunities and populate your list: Use Advanced Search Operators — where you use advanced search operators like “intext:submit a guest post”. Use Google Reverse Image Search — where you take the headshot of a popular guest blogger and you use it to find places where they’ve published in the past. Those publications most likely accept guest posts. Look for lists of top websites that accept guests posts. Check your competitors’ backlinks. Next, make sure you prioritize your list and only pitch blogs that have: Domain Authority of 40 or higher (or Domain Rating if you’re using Ahrefs) Spam Score of 3% or lower Thorough editorial process 4. Conduct guest blogging outreach. At this point, it’s time to start thinking about how to pitch your guest post ideas. As I mentioned in the previous step, the publications you want to target have a thorough editorial process. So first look for the website’s guest blogging guidelines, then prepare your pitch idea. My suggestion would be to approach your blogger outreach process very strategically, starting from the keywords you previously found and your target publication. Check if your target website already ranks for the topic you chose. Sara McGuire, Content Marketing Lead at Venngage, says that “before pitching an idea to a site, it’s fundamental that you do your research. Go through their posts and see if there’s a topic that hasn’t been covered or an angle you could take to complement their existing posts. Then, craft your pitch with their publishing guidelines in mind.” “Doing the groundwork first will show editors that you are willing to put in the work to produce good content for them and that you want to contribute value to their site — something most editors will find irresistible.” Once your pitch is ready, it’s time to find your contact person and reach out to them. While there are many tactics you can use to get a response, a good heuristic to follow is asking yourself, “does my pitch offer value?” My colleague Alex Birkett wrote a post on his email outreach rules — one of which is “don’t beat around the bush.” If you’ve done your research, and especially if you’ve already built up a portfolio of visibly great content, then a straightforward pitch should do the trick. Lots of marketers still use Google Sheets or Excel to track their contacts and responses. It’s not bad, but it means you’re missing out on tracking a lot of valuable information. A powerful CRM can help you track all of the relevant information you need — emails, meeting notes, projects. Plus you can go back and refresh your memory any time. In my case, I’m using our own HubSpot CRM, but any CRM you’re using would work for this task. If you’re looking for one now, HubSpot CRM is 100% free forever, no matter how many contacts you’re adding. For the outreach part, I also suggest trying Respona. There are many great outreach tools out there and I’ve listed most of them at the end of this article. I’m mentioning Respona specifically because it’s a newly launched tool with a unique offering. Respona is an all-in-one search, outreach, and engagement platform. Using AI, it helps you with your content and keyword research, lets you find contact information for your target publications, and enables you to send dynamic emails (Yes, it includes email templates for almost any type of campaign). Once your pitch is approved by the editor (yay!) it’s time to start fleshing out your idea and writing an awesome draft. Note: Some publications, including HubSpot, require a full draft to be included in the initial pitch. Make sure you always read the guest blogging guidelines of the site to ensure your pitch includes all necessary elements. 5. Write the post. This should be the easier step of the process, as long as you’ve picked a topic that you feel passionate about and you have expertise in. You just need to set time aside and start typing. If you’re not comfortable with your writing, it’s perfectly fine to hire an editor to review your draft. I’d actually highly recommend it, even for experienced writers. It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes pick your article apart and make suggestions. Feedback is the breakfast of champions! Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned writer, here are ten essential recommendations for writing guest posts (and any type of post, for that matter): Write long-form, compelling content (at least 1,000 words) Break the text into small, digestible paragraphs Optimize for on-page SEO Use original images and graphs to make the content more linkable (Canva is a great tool for novice designers) Add quotes from friends and influencers Link to your other published guest posts Link to your own, relevant content Link to other publications: studies, data, thought leadership etc. Link internally, to other articles from your publisher Add your byline and explain what makes you an expert on that topic When you send your final draft to the editor, don’t forget to include your author details: your full name, a short bio, your social media links so readers can connect with you, a headshot, and your website. Now you’re all set to hit “send” and deliver your guest post to the editor. There’s just one more step before you call this project done: measuring the results. 6. Track your posts’ results over time. This is the last but arguably most important step of the process. You’ll want to ensure you always compare your results to where you were at the beginning of the process (in step 1. Goal setting). Depending on your goals you can have different tools to track different metrics. Below, I’ve created a list of the top guest blogging tools you might need. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to check everything from changes in the number of backlinks, referring domains, organic traffic performance, or even the number of keywords for which the website ranks in Google (see the example below): Guest Blogging SEO Since I mentioned how to prioritize your opportunities based on Domain Authority and Spam score, I think it’s important to discuss the SEO aspect of guest blogging. According to a study by SEMRush, 53% of digital marketing specialists say that guest blogging (or guest posting) is in fact the most effective way to build a backlink profile. A similar link building study published by Aira in 2020 showed that guest blogging is the 3rd most effective way to build backlinks — 51% of respondents said they use it. Guest blogging is such a popular SEO tactic because websites that accept guest posts usually allow authors to link back to their own content or resources, as long as it makes sense for the reader. The link is usually placed in the body of the article, or in the author’s bio. Oftentimes, blog editors place a no-follow tag on links from guest authors. In the past, that was seen as a “lower-value” backlink because it didn’t carry any authority. With relatively recent updates, Google has made it public that even “no-follow” backlinks are seen as signals by their ranking algorithm. Important: Don’t try to overdo it with guest blogging for the sake of building backlinks. If you ignore content quality and user experience, you’ll most likely end up hurting your SEO performance and ultimately your reputation. Write to educate and entertain your readers and you’ll see positive results. Top Tools for Guest Blogging BuzzStream Respona JustReachOut BuzzSumo Clearscope RocketReach Ahrefs SEMRush SimilarWeb HubSpot CRM I hope you now feel better equipped to start crafting your own guest blogging strategy. The best strategy for your business and your context is always going to be the one you craft, after trial and error. So don’t be afraid to just get started and learn along the way. Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.
Breaking: IGTV Announces Monetization for Creators via @SusanEDub
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 27, 2020 11:34 am on Search Engine Journal: As the influencer and creator world continues to heat up with platforms wooing content creators, IGTV has jumped into the fray. IGTV’s Initial Monetization Offerings There will be two initial offerings: ads and badges. They have also noted they will continue to expand their Live Shopping offering, as well. IGTV Live Badges There will also be badges sold through Instagram Live, which will be tested next month with a small group of creators. Viewers can choose between 3 badges, ranging in price from $0.99 to $4.99. Once a badge is bought, it’ll show in front of a user’s name and their comments will populate higher than others. IGTV will not be taking a cut of this revenue at first, but will move to a revenue sharing model in the future. IGTV Ads Ads will be showing and monetized for an initial group of 200 approved creators. The ads will be from larger brand name advertisers such as Ikea, Puma, Sephora, and others. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW A 55% cut will go to the creators, according to Justin Osofsky, Instagram’s COO. This will only be an initial group, with plans to expand being confirmed. How IGTV Ads Will Appear Users will only see ads after clicking away from the feed preview to view the full-screen version. The ads will be in typical Instagram vertical proportions, and last up to 15 seconds. Unlike what users are used to will full-screen ads in Stories, IGTV ads will NOT be a swipe up functionality. Users will tap through instead. There may be additional experiences later in the year, such as the familiar feature of skipping ads. The Rules of Monetization To protect brand reputation, there is an Instagram monetization policy in place. It is stricter than the usual content policy on the platform, with the example given that you can’t curse or swear on videos you intend to monetize. There are rules pertaining to formats, behaviors and categories/content types. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Specifically Banned Content Formats cannot be any of the following: static videos static image polls slideshows of images continuously looping videos text montages embedded ads Creators may not incentivize users to click or engage, or barters items for extreme behavior in return (for example, “if you give me x, I’ll eat this live rattlesnake.”) Categories that touch on any of the following categories in an inflammatory or discriminatory matter will also be prohibited, including: race gender nationality age politics ethnicity disabilites sexual orientation economic class religion immigration Anything depicts or favorably discusses abuse or illegal activities is prohibited, along with graphic content including content that’s sexual or gory. There will also be third-part fact checking for content to prevent misinformation, and a ban on any medical information that’s verified as misleading (including anti-vaccine sentiment). Can Government or Political Entities Participate? With the election approaching, a lot of advertising is about whether it can be used by political entities, and if so, how. The answer for this is it cannot be used at all for monetization, along with any other communication that would normally be regulated by campaign finance rules. What This Means for the Monetization Landscape While IGTV has flailed a bit in the mind of users, and failed to really capture the long-form video audience, this is a major move for IGTV. YouTube has been the go-to platform for creator monetization, which can create a mutually beneficial ecosystem for platforms wanting eyeballs and time spent and video makers. IGTV didn’t have much incentive before for creators. Viewership was low, and the format is vertical, which means having to think through shoots differently than they may have for YouTube dimensions. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW What Works, What IGTV Has to Look Out For It’s no secret YouTube has had its share of issues with questionable content. IGTV has watched and learned. In addition, the surge in app usage and content creation from the pandemic has meant more captive eyeballs who have more time to discover new content. While in the beginning they will be human-reviewing every video, that obviously won’t scale over time. It will move to an AI-human hybrid review process, and they will need to be careful to not fall into the issues YouTube has faced. The coming months will tell the tale: Can this move finally get creators to take IGTV seriously as a long-form platform worth their time? Will it fare well for creators already making content adapted for Instagram specs? Will it take money from YouTube, or be an add-on? Your move, creators. You can find the original story as reported by The Verge. Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Google Search Console Updated With Core Web Vitals Report via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 27, 2020 11:32 am on Search Engine Journal: Google’s Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics deemed essential to delivering a good user experience, now have their own report in Search Console. Core Web Vitals were first introduced earlier this month as a way to measure the quality of the user experience provided by a website. Google considers these metrics “critical” to all web experiences, and is now providing site owners with an easy way to measure them. Measuring Core Web Vitals in Search Console Google is rolling out a Core Web Vitals report in Search Console which will replace the old Speed report. Replacing the Speed report with the Core Web Vitals report goes to show how Google’s thinking has evolved regarding user experience. There’s more to keeping users happy than having a site that loads fast. In order to provide a good user experience, according to Google, a site needs to meet certain expectations for loading, interactivity, and visual stability. With that said, let’s take a look at what exactly are the Core Web Vitals. What are the Core Web Vitals? These three metrics represent the 2020 Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint: measures perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded. An ideal speed is 2.5 seconds or faster. First Input Delay: measures responsiveness and quantifies the experience users feel when trying to first interact with the page. An ideal measurement is less than 100 seconds. Cumulative Layout Shift: measures visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content. An ideal measurement is less than 0.1. Why are these metrics more important than others? Google rationalizes choosing these metrics as the Core Web Vitals because they: capture important user-centric outcomes, are measurable, and have supporting lab diagnostic metric equivalents. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Reading the Core Web Vitals Report Here’s how to make sense of what you see in the new report. The Core Web Vitals report shows URL performance grouped by status, metric type, and URL group (groups of similar web pages). On the Overview tab you can toggle between ‘Poor,’ ‘Needs Improvement,’ or ‘Good’ tabs. From one of those tabs, click Open Report to see the page performance numbers for mobile and desktop. You can click on individual rows in the table to see details about URL groups affected by a specific issue. If this sounds similar to navigating other reports in Search Console, it’s because the Core Web Vitals report works exactly the same way, Improving Core Web Vitals Google recommends fixing everything labeled “Poor” first, then prioritize what to do next based on issues affecting the most URLs. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Non-technical users may need the assistance of a developer to fix specific issues. If that’s the case, then you can download the and of the reports and send them to the person assisting you. Google says some of the most common page fixes should include: Reduce your page size to less than 500KB. Limit the number of page resources to 50. Consider using AMP. Like other Search Console reports, when an issue is fixed it can be validated directly within the Search Console report. Source: Google Search Console Help Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.
Facebook Marketplace is open for businesses selling new products
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 27, 2020 10:04 am on Search Engine Land: There is an old misconception that Facebook Marketplace is still only a C2C platform similar to Craigslist. That is no longer true. In its initial stages, Facebook Marketplace was only offering individual users the opportunity to list and purchase items locally. As the Marketplace grew in popularity, Facebook added new features, like the ability to process a transaction through checkout, and the option to offer shipping. Now, Facebook Marketplace is open to US-based businesses selling new products. According to Facebook’s internal data from 2019, one out of three Facebook users also utilize Facebook Marketplace, which means there is a major B2C opportunity for US retailers. Here are four reasons why sellers should get a jump on Facebook Marketplace. 1. Facebook Marketplace has low selling fees With commission rates of 5% or a minimum of $0.40 for transactions under $8.00, Facebook currently offers some of the lowest selling fees among marketplaces. As of today, the commission rates do not change based on product category, unlike other major marketplaces. On Facebook Marketplace, there are also no listing fees, which means you can upload unlimited inventory, and there are no subscription fees or tiered selling plans for signing up as a retailer. As marketplaces grow in popularity, they tend to increase their commission rates. Amazon’s recent increase from 15% to 17% for apparel categories is a prime example (pun intended). Although Facebook has given no indication that they intend to increase their commission rates in the future, supply and demand dictates that it’s better to get in early. We highly recommend establishing a strong seller history now, when commission rates are low. 2. Getting on Facebook Marketplace can be a simple transition Since the B2C opportunity on Facebook Marketplace is still in beta, you must meet certain criteria in order to list on Marketplace. Facebook prefers that retailers work with an approved listing partner, like Feedonomics, to get their items on the Marketplace. This is because listing partners have already gone through the onboarding process several times and have contacts at Facebook who can help with any tricky situations. The onboarding process consists of the usual marketplace setup: input your business information, adjust your shipping and tax settings, link accounts for payments, and select your data feed source. My company has been helping many clients get live on Facebook Marketplace, and the timeframe for going live on Facebook Marketplace usually depends on how quickly a merchant can provide the information above. Source: Facebook screenshot If you already use data feeds to list ads on Facebook or Google Shopping, then transitioning to Facebook Marketplace is fairly simple. Typically, the main additional requirement for selling on a marketplace is that you include your inventory quantities in your feed. It’s important to create inventory rules that prevent you from overselling products that exist on multiple marketplaces. In a Facebook Marketplace case study, the e-commerce company Daily Steals opted into deals on Facebook and ran a promotion on their Sony PS4 controllers. They reached 6.4 million people and had a 5x faster sales rate than similarly-priced deals that were not promoted on the Marketplace. To see if Facebook checkout resulted in more conversions, they conducted a split test, and found that shoppers converted twice as often if they used checkout directly through the Facebook app, compared to going through checkout on their website. If you are somebody who already runs ads on Facebook, note that Facebook Marketplace will need to use your child-level SKU as the product identifier. This is because a successful order integration requires a child-level SKU to be associated with a customer’s order. When it comes to product ads, merchants may often choose to use parent-level IDs for Pixel tracking—this makes sense when you want to show a display ad for a parent product, instead of showing an ad for every size of a product. However, when listing your products on a marketplace, using child-level product identifiers is the only way to make sure your order integration links to the correct product data for fulfillment. 3. Facebook Marketplace is a package deal Listing your inventory on Facebook Marketplace opens the door to using the same catalog for checkout on Instagram. Instagram and Facebook are the two most widely-used social media networks in the US, and the 5% commission rate stays the same across both apps. This can give you access to significantly different audiences, without requiring much additional setup on the integration side. According to the Pew Research Center, Instagram captures a younger demographic and Facebook trends toward an older demographic, with significant overlap in the middle. Before you list your products on both sites, consider which channel fits in with your business strategy. Instagram Shopping does require more curating, since the products are primarily promoted through the creation of shoppable posts; if you have a strong visual focus and social media resources, you can be very successful on Instagram. You have the ability to opt-in only your best sellers on Instagram, to make sure you’re being efficient with your posting. While the integration is fairly simple, the strategy for selling with checkout on Instagram should be different. Source: Instagram screenshot However, if you don’t feel as social media savvy, Facebook Marketplace has the infrastructure to handle most of the product exposure for you, as explained below. Facebook Marketplace is a little more “set it and forget it” than Instagram – though we’d never recommend a “set it and forget it” approach for ad campaigns or data feeds in general. 4. Facebook has the ability to make shopping highly personalized Facebook uses the data about its users to help connect them to products that they’ll like. As a user interacts with Facebook Marketplace over time, customers will experience a more tailored feed based on variables such as products that their interests or what they’ve clicked on. This results in a data-based, personalized shopping experience, where the products find the customers. Your products on Facebook will show up in multiple places – Newsfeed, Marketplace and Page Shops. Newsfeed listings appear between posts, as suggested products. Marketplace listings will appear among other Marketplace products, but each user will be shown the products that they are likely to purchase. Because of this, no two users will have the same Marketplace feed. A Page Shop will show all your products grouped together, in what is classically considered a store. The Page Shop will make your products visible when a customer uses the Marketplace and browses through the “Stores,” and will allow customers to purchase products directly from your Facebook page. In a Facebook Marketplace case study, the e-commerce company Succulents Box saw a 66% average increase in total purchases after listing their products on the Marketplace. They found that Facebook’s targeting brought new audiences and increased engagement on their Page. They also saw a 19% average increase in monthly revenue from Marketplace. If you have a Facebook Business Page, you will be able to set up a Facebook Page Shop. It’s relatively easy. Source: Facebook Page Shop screenshot You will need to be logged onto a computer, then go to your Facebook page and click the Shop tab. From there, you will be directed to your Commerce Manager, where you will need to link your accounts, set up your business policies, and set up payouts. Once you link your catalog and publish it, you should be good to go! There is also an additional beta program in the works. Select sellers will be able to utilize the checkout function for their Dynamic Product Ads and Instagram Shopping ads. Essentially, customers will be able to click on a product ad and then checkout directly from the ad. Combining the visual features of Facebook’s Creative Hub, the targeting ability of DPAs, and the frictionless experience of checkout will give you a lot of potential to convert quickly. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here. About The Author Brian is the co-founder and chief architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of different channels, like Google Shopping, Facebook and Amazon. Brian oversees all of Feedonomics’ automation processes. Brian received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude. Learn more about Search Engine Land by visiting their website.
Google Rolls Out 3 New Attributes For GMB Listings via @MattGSouthern
The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published May 27, 2020 9:40 am on Search Engine Journal: Google is adding new ways for businesses to highlight service offerings in their Google My Business profile. / 2 seconds ago Google is letting businesses highlight more types of service offerings by adding three new attributes to Google My Business profiles. Attributes in a Google My Business profile let customers know what a place has to offer so they can make informed decisions about where to visit. Google My Business attributes are visible to customers who look up a business in Google Search and Maps. Some common attributes have traditionally been “WiFi,” “outdoor seating,” and things of that nature. In the world we live in now, it’s more helpful to know whether a business has curbside pickup than it is to know if they have outdoor seating, for example. With some businesses now re-opening, it’s also important to highlight whether a business has resumed its dine-in service or not. That’s what the new attributes rolling out today are focused on. New Google My Business Attributes Google has added the following attributes to Google My Business profiles, which appear in Search and Maps: “curbside pickup” “no contact delivery” “dine-in” Google notes that millions of restaurants have made changes to their dining attributes over the past two months: “Since March, more than 3 million restaurants have added or edited their dining attributes. Some restaurateurs are even ditching dining areas for good. To support all types of food merchants, virtual kitchens can now verify their businesses on Google My Business.” These updates are available now. Businesses can add or edit attributes by following the steps below: Sign in to Google My Business. Open the location you’d like to manage. From the menu, click Info. Find “Add Attributes” and click Edit. You can search for the attribute you want to add, or scroll through all the available options for your business. When you’re finished updating your attributes, click Apply. ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW Source: Google Learn more about Search Engine Journal by visiting their website.