Ecommerce Tips

Better Content Through NLP (Natural Language Processing) – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by RuthBurrReedyGone are the days of optimizing content solely for search engines. For modern SEO, your content needs to please both robots and humans. But how do you know that what you’re writing can check the boxes for both man and machine?
In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Ruth Burr Reedy focuses on part of her recent MozCon 2019 talk and teaches us all about how Google uses NLP (natural language processing) to truly understand content, plus how you can harness that knowledge to better optimize what you write for people and bots alike.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans. I’m Ruth Burr Reedy, and I am the Vice President of Strategy at UpBuild, a boutique technical marketing agency specializing in technical SEO and advanced web analytics. I recently spoke at MozCon on a basic framework for SEO and approaching changes to our industry that thinks about SEO in the light of we are humans who are marketing to humans, but we are using a machine as the intermediary.
Those videos will be available online at some point. [Editor’s note: that point is now!] But today I wanted to talk about one point from my talk that I found really interesting and that has kind of changed the way that I approach content creation, and that is the idea that writing content that is easier for Google, a robot, to understand can actually make you a better writer and help you write better content for humans. It is a win-win. 
The relationships between entities, words, and how people search
To understand how Google is currently approaching parsing content and understanding what content is about, Google is spending a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of money on things like neural matching and natural language processing, which seek to understand basically when people talk, what are they talking about?
This goes along with the evolution of search to be more conversational. But there are a lot of times when someone is searching, but they don’t totally know what they want, and Google still wants them to get what they want because that’s how Google makes money. They are spending a lot of time trying to understand the relationships between entities and between words and how people use words to search.
The example that Danny Sullivan gave online, that I think is a really great example, is if someone is experiencing the soap opera effect on their TV. If you’ve ever seen a soap opera, you’ve noticed that they look kind of weird. Someone might be experiencing that, and not knowing what that’s called they can’t Google soap opera effect because they don’t know about it.
They might search something like, “Why does my TV look funny?” Neural matching helps Google understand that when somebody is searching “Why does my TV look funny?” one possible answer might be the soap opera effect. So they can serve up that result, and people are happy. 
Understanding salience
As we’re thinking about natural language processing, a core component of natural language processing is understanding salience.
Salience, content, and entities
Salience is a one-word way to sum up to what extent is this piece of content about this specific entity? At this point Google is really good at extracting entities from a piece of content. Entities are basically nouns, people, places, things, proper nouns, regular nouns.
Entities are things, people, etc., numbers, things like that. Google is really good at taking those out and saying, “Okay, here are all of the entities that are contained within this piece of content.” Salience attempts to understand how they’re related to each other, because what Google is really trying to understand when they’re crawling a page is: What is this page about, and is this a good example of a page about this topic?
Salience really goes into the second piece. To what extent is any given entity be the topic of a piece of content? It’s often amazing the degree to which a piece of content that a person has created is not actually about anything. I think we’ve all experienced that.
You’re searching and you come to a page and you’re like, “This was too vague. This was too broad. This said that it was about one thing, but it was actually about something else. I didn’t find what I needed. This wasn’t good information for me.” As marketers, we’re often on the other side of that, trying to get our clients to say what their product actually does on their website or say, “I know you think that you created a guide to Instagram for the holidays. But you actually wrote one paragraph about the holidays and then seven paragraphs about your new Instagram tool. This is not actually a blog post about Instagram for the holidays. It’s a piece of content about your tool.” These are the kinds of battles that we fight as marketers. 
Natural Language Processing (NLP) APIs
Fortunately, there are now a number of different APIs that you can use to understand natural language processing: 
IBM has one: https://www.ibm.com/watson/services/natural-language-understanding/ Google actually has a natural language processing API that’s right here on https://cloud.google.com/natural-language/Is it as sophisticated as what they’re using on their own stuff? Probably not. But you can test it out. Put in a piece of content and see (a) what entities Google is able to extract from it, and (b) how salient Google feels each of these entities is to the piece of content as a whole. Again, to what degree is this piece of content about this thing?
So this natural language processing API, which you can try for free and it’s actually not that expensive for an API if you want to build a tool with it, will assign each entity that it can extract a salient score between 0 and 1, saying, “Okay, how sure are we that this piece of content is about this thing versus just containing it?”
So the higher or the closer you get to 1, the more confident the tool is that this piece of content is about this thing. 0.9 would be really, really good. 0.01 means it’s there, but they’re not sure how well it’s related. 
A delicious example of how salience and entities work
The example I have here, and this is not taken from a real piece of content — these numbers are made up, it’s just an example — is if you had a chocolate chip cookie recipe, you would want chocolate cookies or chocolate chip cookies recipe, chocolate chip cookies, something like that to be the number one entity, the most salient entity, and you would want it to have a pretty high salient score.
You would want the tool to feel pretty confident, yes, this piece of content is about this topic. But what you can also see is the other entities it’s extracting and to what degree they are also salient to the topic. So you can see things like if you have a chocolate chip cookie recipe, you would expect to see things like cookie, butter, sugar, 350, which is the temperature you heat your oven, all of the different things that come together to make a chocolate chip cookie recipe.
But I think that it’s really, really important for us as SEOs to understand that salience is the future of related keywords. We’re beyond the time when to optimize for chocolate chip cookie recipe, we would also be looking for things like chocolate recipe, chocolate chips, chocolate cookie recipe, things like that. Stems, variants, TF-IDF, these are all older methodologies for understanding what a piece of content is about.
Instead what we need to understand is what are the entities that Google, using its vast body of knowledge, using things like Freebase, using large portions of the internet, where is Google seeing these entities co-occur at such a rate that they feel reasonably confident that a piece of content on one entity in order to be salient to that entity would include these other entities?
Using an expert is the best way to create content that’s salient to a topic
So chocolate chip cookie recipe, we’re now also making sure we’re adding things like butter, flour, sugar. This is actually really easy to do if you actually have a chocolate chip cookie recipe to put up there. This is I think what we’re going to start seeing as a content trend in SEO is that the best way to create content that is salient to a topic is to have an actual expert in that topic create that content.
Somebody with deep knowledge of a topic is naturally going to include co-occurring terms, because they know how to create something that’s about what it’s supposed to be about. I think what we’re going to start seeing is that people are going to have to start paying more for content marketing, frankly. Unfortunately, a lot of companies seem to think that content marketing is and should be cheap.
Content marketers, I feel you on that. It sucks, and it’s no longer the case. We need to start investing in content and investing in experts to create that content so that they can create that deep, rich, salient content that everybody really needs. 
How can you use this API to improve your own SEO? 
One of the things that I like to do with this kind of information is look at — and this is something that I’ve done for years, just not in this context — but a prime optimization target in general is pages that rank for a topic, but they rank on page 2.
What this often means is that Google understands that that keyword is a topic of the page, but it doesn’t necessarily understand that it is a good piece of content on that topic, that the page is actually solely about that content, that it’s a good resource. In other words, the signal is there, but it’s weak.
What you can do is take content that ranks but not well, run it through this natural language API or another natural language processing tool, and look at how the entities are extracted and how Google is determining that they’re related to each other. Sometimes it might be that you need to do some disambiguation. So in this example, you’ll notice that while chocolate cookies is called a work of art, and I agree, cookie here is actually called other.
This is because cookie means more than one thing. There’s cookies, the baked good, but then there’s also cookies, the packet of data. Both of those are legitimate uses of the word “cookie.” Words have multiple meanings. If you notice that Google, that this natural language processing API is having trouble correctly classifying your entities, that’s a good time to go in and do some disambiguation.
Make sure that the terms surrounding that term are clearly saying, “No, I mean the baked good, not the software piece of data.” That’s a really great way to kind of bump up your salience. Look at whether or not you have a strong salient score for your primary entity. You’d be amazed at how many pieces of content you can plug into this tool and the top, most salient entity is still only like a 0.01, a 0.14.
A lot of times the API is like “I think this is what it’s about,” but it’s not sure. This is a great time to go in and bump up that content, make it more robust, and look at ways that you can make those entities easier to both extract and to relate to each other. This brings me to my second point, which is my new favorite thing in the world.
Writing for humans and writing for machines, you can now do both at the same time. You no longer have to, and you really haven’t had to do this in a long time, but the idea that you might keyword stuff or otherwise create content for Google that your users might not see or care about is way, way, way over.
Now you can create content for Google that also is better for users, because the tenets of machine readability and human readability are moving closer and closer together. 
Tips for writing for human and machine readability:
What I’ve done here is I did some research not on natural language processing, but on writing for human readability, that is advice from writers, from writing experts on how to write better, clearer, easier to read, easier to understand content.Then I pulled out the pieces of advice that also work as pieces of advice for writing for natural language processing. So natural language processing, again, is the process by which Google or really anything that might be processing language tries to understand how entities are related to each other within a given body of content.
Short, simple sentences
Short, simple sentences. Write simply. Don’t use a lot of flowery language. Short sentences and try to keep it to one idea per sentence. 
One idea per sentence
If you’re running on, if you’ve got a lot of different clauses, if you’re using a lot of pronouns and it’s becoming confusing what you’re talking about, that’s not great for readers.
It also makes it harder for machines to parse your content. 
Connect questions to answers
Then closely connecting questions to answers. So don’t say, “What is the best temperature to bake cookies? Well, let me tell you a story about my grandmother and my childhood,” and 500 words later here’s the answer. Connect questions to answers. 
What all three of those readability tips have in common is they boil down to reducing the semantic distance between entities.
If you want natural language processing to understand that two entities in your content are closely related, move them closer together in the sentence. Move the words closer together. Reduce the clutter, reduce the fluff, reduce the number of semantic hops that a robot might have to take between one entity and another to understand the relationship, and you’ve now created content that is more readable because it’s shorter and easier to skim, but also easier for a robot to parse and understand.
Be specific first, then explain nuance
Going back to the example of “What is the best temperature to bake chocolate chip cookies at?” Now the real answer to what is the best temperature to bake chocolate cookies is it depends. Hello. Hi, I’m an SEO, and I just answered a question with it depends. It does depend.
That is true, and that is real, but it is not a good answer. It is also not the kind of thing that a robot could extract and reproduce in, for example, voice search or a featured snippet. If somebody says, “Okay, Google, what is a good temperature to bake cookies at?” and Google says, “It depends,” that helps nobody even though it’s true. So in order to write for both machine and human readability, be specific first and then you can explain nuance.
Then you can go into the details. So a better, just as correct answer to “What is the temperature to bake chocolate chip cookies?” is the best temperature to bake chocolate chip cookies is usually between 325 and 425 degrees, depending on your altitude and how crisp you like your cookie. That is just as true as it depends and, in fact, means the same thing as it depends, but it’s a lot more specific.
It’s a lot more precise. It uses real numbers. It provides a real answer. I’ve shortened the distance between the question and the answer. I didn’t say it depends first. I said it depends at the end. That’s the kind of thing that you can do to improve readability and understanding for both humans and machines.
Get to the point (don’t bury the lede)
Get to the point. Don’t bury the lead. All of you journalists who try to become content marketers, and then everybody in content marketing said, “Oh, you need to wait till the end to get to your point or they won’t read the whole thing,”and you were like, “Don’t bury the lead,” you are correct. For those of you who aren’t familiar with journalism speak, not burying the lead basically means get to the point upfront, at the top.
Include all the information that somebody would really need to get from that piece of content. If they don’t read anything else, they read that one paragraph and they’ve gotten the gist. Then people who want to go deep can go deep. That’s how people actually like to consume content, and surprisingly it doesn’t mean they won’t read the content. It just means they don’t have to read it if they don’t have time, if they need a quick answer.
The same is true with machines. Get to the point upfront. Make it clear right away what the primary entity, the primary topic, the primary focus of your content is and then get into the details. You’ll have a much better structured piece of content that’s easier to parse on all sides. 
Avoid jargon and “marketing speak”
Avoid jargon. Avoid marketing speak. Not only is it terrible and very hard to understand. You see this a lot. I’m going back again to the example of getting your clients to say what their products do. You work with a lot of B2B companies, you will you will often run into this. Yes, but what does it do? It provides solutions to streamline the workflow and blah, blah. Okay, what does it do? This is the kind of thing that can be really, really hard for companies to get out of their own heads about, but it’s so important for users, for machines.
Avoid jargon. Avoid marketing speak. Not to get too tautological, but the more esoteric a word is, the less commonly it’s used. That’s actually what esoteric means. What that means is the less commonly a word is used, the less likely it is that Google is going to understand its semantic relationships to other entities.
Keep it simple. Be specific. Say what you mean. Wipe out all of the jargon. By wiping out jargon and kind of marketing speak and kind of the fluff that can happen in your content, you’re also, once again, reducing the semantic distances between entities, making them easier to parse. 
Organize your information to match the user journey
Organize it and map it out to the user journey. Think about the information somebody might need and the order in which they might need it. 
Break out subtopics with headings
Then break it out with subheadings. This is like very, very basic writing advice, and yet you all aren’t doing it. So if you’re not going to do it for your users, do it for machines. 
Format lists with bullets or numbers
You can also really impact skimmability for users by breaking out lists with bullets or numbers.
The great thing about that is that breaking out a list with bullets or numbers also makes information easier for a robot to parse and extract. If a lot of these tips seem like they’re the same tips that you would use to get featured snippets, they are, because featured snippets are actually a pretty good indicator that you’re creating content that a robot can find, parse, understand, and extract, and that’s what you want.
So if you’re targeting featured snippets, you’re probably already doing a lot of these things, good job. 
Grammar and spelling count!
The last thing, which I shouldn’t have to say, but I’m going to say is that grammar and spelling and punctuation and things like that absolutely do count. They count to users. They don’t count to all users, but they count to users. They also count to search engines.
Things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation are very, very easy signals for a machine to find and parse. Google has been specific in things, like the “Quality Rater Guidelines,”that a well-written, well-structured, well-spelled, grammatically correct document, that these are signs of authoritativeness. I’m not saying that having a greatly spelled document is going to mean that you immediately rocket to the top of the results.
I am saying that if you’re not on that stuff, it’s probably going to hurt you. So take the time to make sure everything is nice and tidy. You can use vernacular English. You don’t have to be perfect “AP Style Guide” all the time. But make sure that you are formatting things properly from a grammatical standpoint as well as a technical standpoint. What I love about all of this, this is just good writing.
This is good writing. It’s easy to understand. It’s easy to parse. It’s still so hard, especially in the marketing world, to get out of that world of jargon, to get to the point, to stop writing 2,000 words because we think we need 2,000 words, to really think about are we creating content that’s about what we think it’s about.
Use these tools to understand how readable, parsable, and understandable your content is

So my hope for the SEO world and for you is that you can use these tools not just to think about how to dial in the perfect keyword density or whatever to get an almost perfect score on the salience in the natural language processing API. What I’m hoping is that you will use these tools to help yourself understand how readable, how parsable, and how understandable your content is, how much your content is about what you say it’s about and what you think it’s about so you can create better stuff for users.
It makes the internet a better place, and it will probably make you some money as well. So these are my thoughts. I’d love to hear in the comments if you’re using the natural language processing API now, if you’ve built a tool with it, if you want to build a tool with it, what do you think about this, how do you use this, how has it gone. Tell me all about it. Holla atcha girl.
Have a great Friday.
Video transcription by Speechpad.comSign 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!

Blogger Workshop: It’s not too late for Q4 readiness

The biggest shopping days of the year are coming up quick and we are going over a last minute checklist for all our publisher partners. Publishers, this is YOUR time! As big shopping days like Black Friday & Cyber Monday are just a week away and sales increase year after year, it is important for […]
The post Blogger Workshop: It’s not too late for Q4 readiness appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

TikTok Ads: Everything You Need to Know About Marketing on TikTok

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the buzz about social media app TikTok. And with its easy-to-consume content being watched by millions of people every day, it’s simple to understand why there’s a growing buzz about TikTok ads. With the app attracting 500 million active users […]
The post TikTok Ads: Everything You Need to Know About Marketing on TikTok appeared first on Oberlo.

Find Ranking Keywords, Uncover Opportunities, Check Rankings, & More: 5 Workflows for Easier Keyword Research

Posted by FeliciaCrawfordHave you ever wished there were an easy way to see all the top keywords your site is ranking for? How about a competitor’s? What about those times when you’re stumped trying to come up with keywords related to your core topic, or want to know the questions people are asking around your keywords?
There’s plenty of keyword research workflow gold to be uncovered in Keyword Explorer. It’s a tool that can save you a ton of time when it comes to both general keyword research and the nitty-gritty details. And time and again, we hear from folks who are surprised that a tool they use all the time can do [insert cool and helpful thing here] — they had no idea! 
Well, let’s remedy that! Starting with today’s post, we’ll be publishing a series of quick videos put together by our own brilliant SEO scientist (and, according to Google, the smartest SEO in the world) Britney Muller. Each one will highlight one super useful workflow to solve a keyword research problem, and most are quick — just under a couple of minutes. Take a gander at the videos or skim the transcripts to find a workflow that catches your eye, and if you’re the type of person who likes to try it out in real time, head to the tool and give it a spin (if you have a Moz Community account like most Moz Blog readers, you already have free access):
Follow along in Keyword Explorer
1. How to do general keyword research

5:37 video
Find relevant keywords
You can do this a couple of ways. One is just to enter in a head keyword term that you want to explore — so maybe that’s “SEO” — and you can click Search. From here, you can go to Keyword Suggestions, where you can find all sorts of other keywords relevant to the keyword “SEO.”
We have a couple filters available to help you narrow down that search a little bit better. Here, without doing any filtering, you can see all of these keywords, and they’re ranked by relevancy and then search volume. So you do tend to see the higher search volume keywords at the top.
Save keyword suggestions in a list
But you can go through here and click the keywords that you want to save for your list. You can also do some filtering. We could group keywords by low lexical similarity. What this means is it’s basically just going to take somewhat similar keywords and batch them together for you to make it a bit easier.
Here you can see there are 141 group keywords under “SEO.” Fifty keywords have fallen under “SEO services” and so on. This gives you a higher level, topical awareness of what the keywords look like. If you were to select these groups, you could add a list for these.
When I say add list, I mean you can just save them in a keyword list that you can refer back to time and time again. These lists are amazing, one of my favorite features. What you would basically do is create a new list. I’m just going to call it Test. That adds all of your selected keywords to a list. You can continue adding keywords by different filters.
Filter by which keywords are questions
One of my other favorite things to filter by is “Are questions.” This will give you keywords that are actual questions, and it’s really neat to be able to try to bake these into your content marketing or an FAQ page. Really helpful. You can select all up here. Then I can just add that to that SEO Test list that we already created. I hope this gives you an idea of how to use some of these general filters.
Filter based on closely or broadly related topics and synonyms
You can also filter based on closely related topics, broadly related topics and synonyms. Keywords with similar result pages is very interesting. You can really play around with both of these filters. 
Filter by volume
You can also filter by volume. If you are trying to go after those high volume keywords, maybe you set a filter for here. Maybe you’re looking for long tail keywords, and then you’re going to look a little bit on the smaller search volume end here. These can all help in playing around and discovering more keywords.
Find the keywords a domain currently ranks for
Another thing that you can do to expand your keyword research is by entering in a domain. You can see that this changed to root domain when I entered moz.com. If you click Search, you’re going to get all of the keywords that that domain currently ranks for, which is really powerful. You could see all of the ranking keywords, add that to a list, and monitor how your website is performing.
Find competitors’ keywords
If you want to get really strategic, you can plug in some of your competitor sites and see what their keywords are. These are all things that you can do to expand your keyword research set. From there, you’re going to hopefully have one or a couple keyword lists that house all of this data for you to better strategically route your SEO strategy.
If we know that related questions are occurring most often, you can create strategic content around that. The opportunities here with these filters and sorts for keyword opportunities are endless.
2. How to discover ranking keywords for a particular domain or an exact page

1:37 video
See all the keywords a particular domain ranks for
This is super easy to do in Keyword Explorer. You just go to the main search bar. Let’s just throw in moz.com for example. I can see all the keywords that currently rank for moz.com.
We’re seeing over 114,000, and we get this really beautiful, high-level overview as to what that looks like. You can see the ranking distribution, and then you can even go into all of those ranking keywords in this tab here, which is really cool.
See all the keywords a specific page ranks for
You can do the same exact thing for a specific page. So let’s take the Beginner’s Guide. This will toggle to Exact Page, and you just click Search. Here we’re going to see that it ranks for 804 keywords. You get to know exactly what those are, what the difficulty is, the monthly search volume.
Keep track of those keywords in a list
You can add these things to a list to keep an eye on. It’s also great to do for competitive pages that appear to be doing very well or popular things occurring in your space. But this is just a quick and easy way to see what root domains or exact pages are currently ranking for.
3. How to quickly find keyword opportunities for a URL or a specific page

1:21 video
Find lower-ranking keywords that could be improved upon
I’m just going to paste in the URL to the Beginner’s Guide to SEO in Keyword Explorer. I’m going to look at all of the ranking keywords for this URL, and what I want to do is I want to sort by rank.
I want to see what’s ranking between 4 to 50 and see where or what keywords aren’t doing so well that we could improve upon. Right away we’re seeing this huge monthly search volume keyword, “SEO best practices,” and we’re ranking number 4.
It can definitely be improved upon. You can also go ahead and take a look at keywords that you rank for outside of page 1, meaning you rank 11 or beyond for these keywords. These could definitely also be improved upon. You can save these keywords to a list.
You can export them and strategically create content to improve those results. 
4. How to check rankings for a set of keywords

0:48 video
Use keyword lists to check rankings for a subset of keywords
This is pretty easy. So let’s say you have a keyword list for your target keywords. Here I’ve got an SEO Test keyword list. I want to see how Moz is ranking for these keywords.
This is where you would just add Check Rankings For and add your URL. I’m just going to put moz.com, check rankings, and I can immediately see how well we’re doing for these specific keywords.
I can filter highest to lowest and vice versa.
5. How to track your keywords

2:08 video
Set up a Campaign
If you don’t already have a list of your keywords that you would like to track, I suggest watching the General Keyword Research video above to help discover some of those keywords. But if you already have the keywords you know that you want to track for a particular site, definitely set up an account with Moz Pro and set up a Campaign.
It walks you through all of the steps to set up a particular Campaign for a URL. If you already have your Campaign set up, for example this is my Moz Campaign and I want to add say a new list of keywords to track, what you can do is you can come into this dashboard view and then go to Rankings.
If you scroll down here, you can add keywords. So let’s say Moz is breaking into the conversion rate optimization space. I can paste in a list of my CRO keywords, and then I can add a label.
Use keyword labels to track progress on topics over time 
Now that’s going to append that tag so I can filter by just CRO keywords. Then I’m going to click Add Keywords. This is going to take a little while to start to kick into gear basically.
But once it starts tracking, once these keywords are added, you’ll get to see them historically over time and even you against your competitors. It’s a really great way to monitor how you’re doing with keywords, where you’re seeing big drops or gains, and how you can better pivot your strategy to target those things.
Discover anything new or especially useful? Let us know on Twitter or here in the comments, and keep an eye out for more quick and fun keyword research workflow videos in the coming weeks — we’ve got some good stuff coming your way, from finding organic CTR for a keyword to discovering SERP feature opportunities and more.
Try out some new tricks in Keyword ExplorerSign 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!

What to Do Once You’ve Made Your First Sale

Making your first sale is a big deal. Sit back, and enjoy the moment.  You did it. You managed to convince somebody that they need your products enough to purchase them. And it was probably from a store that they might not have heard of before.  Honestly, that’s exactly what […]
The post What to Do Once You’ve Made Your First Sale appeared first on Oberlo.

Successful Affiliate Marketing Examples for Inspiration

Time, patience, and attention to detail are some of the pre-requisites for becoming a successful affiliate marketer. Yet success isn’t always about knowing what to do. It’s also not always a fast process. Yes, there are plenty of ways to make money online, but many people pick affiliate marketing for a […]
The post Successful Affiliate Marketing Examples for Inspiration appeared first on Oberlo.

Bonanza SEO: How to Maximize Traffic and Sales on a Seller-Centric Marketplace

Looking for a new marketplace to sell your custom Printful products? Look no further than Bonanza. With more than 50,000 active sellers and more than 2 million monthly visitors, this seller-centric marketplace is popular with small and medium-sized business owners and is an ideal choice for niche brands.  What sets Bonanza apart is its commitment […]
The post Bonanza SEO: How to Maximize Traffic and Sales on a Seller-Centric Marketplace appeared first on Blog – Printful.

Setting Yourself UP for Q4 Online Sales Success

The fourth quarter has historically been retail’s busiest season, and the 2019 holiday season is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. Data from Rakuten Marketing’s just-released 2019 Unwrapping […]
The post Setting Yourself UP for Q4 Online Sales Success appeared first on Rakuten Marketing Blog.

15 Creative Black Friday Marketing Ideas for 2019

Two of the biggest shopping days for online retailers are quickly approaching: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As an online merchant, these two days are essential to increasing your sales. This article is your how-to template to join the frenzy and make more money online. These 15 different Black Friday […]
The post 15 Creative Black Friday Marketing Ideas for 2019 appeared first on Oberlo.

Outsourcing: The Ecommerce Strategy Nobody is Talking About

It’s midnight in Anchorage Alaska, and Ovidiu Sofron is hiding in his car. He snuck out of the house to talk to me over the phone, hoping to avoid waking his three-year-old son.  Despite the late hour, Ovidiu is wide awake. He’s positively chirpy, chatting and making jokes, pausing our […]
The post Outsourcing: The Ecommerce Strategy Nobody is Talking About appeared first on Oberlo.

10 Best-Selling Oberlo Products of All Time

Since Oberlo first launched in 2015, there have been countless trending products that have taken over sales for both new and experienced store owners. Today, for the first time ever, we’re going to share some of the best-selling Oberlo products of all time. Our goal is to help you see […]
The post 10 Best-Selling Oberlo Products of All Time appeared first on Oberlo.

10 Best Products to Sell at Christmas 2019

The weather might be cooling down, but shopping season is about to heat up. And if you’re beginning to wonder what dropshipping products you should sell for Christmas 2019, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ve revealed a list of items we believe have high potential for the 2019 Christmas season. […]
The post 10 Best Products to Sell at Christmas 2019 appeared first on Oberlo.

Here Are the Biggest Dropshipping Niches in the Biggest Markets

Have you ever wondered what the most popular dropshipping niches are? Or the best markets for dropshippers? Well, in this article, we’re going to share just that. That’s right. The best niches. The best markets. By the end of this post, you’ll discover: The dropshipping niches fueling success in the […]
The post Here Are the Biggest Dropshipping Niches in the Biggest Markets appeared first on Oberlo.

Here’s to the Crazy Ones: How These Two Friends Built a Business No One Expected

“When we started doing $1,000 days, I’m sitting around with all these guys at work and I’m just thinking, ‘My life is about to change, and I can’t even tell anybody.’” When Rodney Zachariuk and Kory Szostak started their ecommerce business, nobody knew. Even as the months ticked by and […]
The post Here’s to the Crazy Ones: How These Two Friends Built a Business No One Expected appeared first on Oberlo.

How will Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Golden Quarter unfold in 2019?

The Awin Group will be covering Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Golden Quarter on our Black Friday hub. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have seen the hyperbole surrounding it decrease in some markets in recent years, it continues to be a peak trading day on the Awin and ShareASale networks. But with fellow November retail […]
The post How will Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Golden Quarter unfold in 2019? appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

It’s Content and It’s Links – Are We Making SEO Too Complicated?

Posted by AndrewDennis33Content and links — to successfully leverage search as a marketing channel you need useful content and relevant links.
Many experienced SEOs have run numerous tests and experiments to correlate backlinks with higher rankings, and Google has espoused the importance of “great content” for as long as I can remember.
In fact, a Google employee straight up told us that content and links are two of the three (the other being RankBrain) most important ranking factors in its search algorithm.
So why do we seem to overcomplicate SEO by chasing new trends and tactics, overreacting to fluctuations in rankings, and obsessing over the length of our title tags? SEO is simple — it’s content and it’s links.
Now, this is a simple concept, but it is much more nuanced and complex to execute well. However, I believe that by getting back to basics and focusing on these two pillars of SEO we can all spend more time doing the work that will be most impactful, creating a better, more connected web, and elevating SEO as a practice within the marketing realm.
To support this movement, I want to provide you with strategic, actionable takeaways that you can leverage in your own content marketing and link building campaigns. So, without further ado, let’s look at how you can be successful in search with content and links.
Building the right content
As the Wu-Tang Clan famously said, “Content rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M,” …well, it was something like that. The point is, everything in SEO begins and ends with content. Whether it’s a blog post, infographic, video, in-depth guide, interactive tool, or something else, content truly rules everything around us online.
Content attracts and engages visitors, building positive associations with your brand and inspiring them to take desired actions. Content also helps search engines better understand what your website is about and how they should rank your pages within their search results.
So where do you start with something as wide-reaching and important as a content strategy? Well, if everything in SEO begins and ends with content, then everything in content strategy begins and ends with keyword research.
Proper keyword research is the difference between a targeted content strategy that drives organic visibility and simply creating content for the sake of creating content. But don’t just take my word for it — check out this client project where keyword research was executed after a year of publishing content that wasn’t backed by keyword analysis:
(Note: Each line represents content published within a given year, not total organic sessions of the site.)
In 2018, we started creating content based on keyword opportunities. The performance of that content has quickly surpassed (in terms of organic sessions) the older pages that were created without strategic research.
Start with keyword research
The concept of keyword research is straightforward — find the key terms and phrases that your audience uses to find information related to your business online. However, the execution of keyword research can be a bit more nuanced, and simply starting is often the most difficult part.
The best place to start is with the keywords that are already bringing people to your site, which you can find within Google Search Console.
Beyond the keywords that already bring people to your website, a baseline list of seed keywords can help you expand your keyword reach.
Seed keywords are the foundational terms that are related to your business and brand.
As a running example, let’s use Quip, a brand that sells oral care products. Quip’s seed keywords would be:
[toothbrush][toothpaste][toothbrush set][electric toothbrush][electric toothbrush set][toothbrush subscription]These are some of the most basic head terms related to Quip’s products and services. From here, the list could be expanded, using keyword tools such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer, to find granular long-tail keywords and other related terms.
Expanded keyword research and analysis
The first step in keyword research and expanding your organic reach is to identify current rankings that can and should be improved.
Here are some examples of terms Moz’s Keyword Explorer reports Quip has top 50 rankings for:
[teeth whitening][sensitive teeth][whiten teeth][automatic toothbrush][tooth sensitivity][how often should you change your toothbrush]These keywords represent “near-miss” opportunities for Quip, where it ranks on page two or three. Optimization and updates to existing pages could help Quip earn page one rankings and substantially more traffic.
For example, here are the first page results for [how often should you change your toothbrush]:
As expected, the results here are hyper-focused on answering the question how often a toothbrush needs to be changed, and there is a rich snippet that answers the question directly.
Now, look at Quip’s page where we can see there is room for improvement in answering searcher intent:
The title of the page isn’t optimized for the main query, and a simple title change could help this page earn more visibility. Moz reports 1.7k–2.9k monthly search volume for [how often should you change your toothbrush]:
This is a stark contrast to the volume reported by Moz for [why is a fresh brush head so important] which is “no data” (which usually means very small):
Quip’s page is already ranking on page two for [how often should you change your toothbrush], so optimizing the title could help the page crack the top ten.
Furthermore, the content on the page is not optimized either:
Rather than answering the question of how often to change a toothbrush concisely (like the page that has earned the rich snippet), the content is closer to ad copy. Putting a direct, clear answer to this question at the beginning of the content could help this page rank better.
And that’s just one query and one page!
Keyword research should uncover these types of opportunities, and with Moz’s Keyword Explorer you can also find ideas for new content through “Keyword Suggestions.”
Using Quip as an example again, we can plug in their seed keyword [toothbrush] and get multiple suggestions (MSV = monthly search volume):
[toothbrush holder] – MSV: 6.5k–9.3k[how to properly brush your teeth] – MSV: 851–1.7k[toothbrush cover] – MSV: 851–1.7k[toothbrush for braces] – MSV: 501–850[electric toothbrush holder] – MSV: 501–850[toothbrush timer] – MSV: 501–850[soft vs medium toothbrush] – MSV: 201–500[electric toothbrush for braces] – MSV: 201–500[electric toothbrush head holder] – MSV: 101–200[toothbrush delivery] – MSV: 101–200Using this method, we can extrapolate one seed keyword into ten more granular and related long-tail keywords — each of which may require a new page.
This handful of terms generates a wealth of content ideas and different ways Quip could address pain points and reach its audience.
Another source for keyword opportunities and inspiration are your competitors. For Quip, one of its strongest competitors is Colgate, a household name brand. Moz demonstrates the difference in market position with its “Competitor Overlap” tool:
Although many of Colgate’s keywords aren’t relevant to Quip, there are still opportunities to be gleaned here for Quip. One such example is [sensitive teeth], where Colgate is ranking top five, but Quip is on page two:
While many of the other keywords show Quip is ranking outside of the top 50, this is an opportunity that Quip could potentially capitalize on.
To analyze this opportunity, let’s look at the actual search results first.
It’s immediately clear that the intent here is informational — something to note when we examine Quip’s page. Also, scrolling down we can see that Colgate has two pages ranking on page one:
One of these pages is from a separate domain for hygienists and other dental professionals, but it still carries the Colgate brand and further demonstrates Colgate’s investment into this query, signaling this is a quality opportunity.
The next step for investigating this opportunity is to examine Colgate’s ranking page and check if it’s realistic for Quip to beat what they have. Here is Colgate’s page:
This page is essentially a blog post:
If this page is ranking, it’s reasonable to believe that Quip could craft something that would be at least as good of a result for the query, and there is room for improvement in terms of design and formatting.
One thing to note, that is likely helping this page rank is the clear definition of “tooth sensitivity” and signs and symptoms listed on the sidebar:
Now, let’s look at Quip’s page:
This appears to be a blog-esque page as well.
This page offers solid information on sensitive teeth, which matches the queries intent and is likely why the pages ranks on page two. However, the page appears to be targeted at [tooth sensitivity]:
This is another great keyword opportunity for Quip:
However, this should be a secondary opportunity to [sensitive teeth] and should be mixed in to the copy on the page, but not the focal point. Also, the page one results for [tooth sensitivity] are largely the same as those for [sensitive teeth], including Colgate’s page:
So, one optimization Quip could make to the page could be to change some of these headers to include “sensitive teeth” (also, these are all H3s, and the page has no H2s, which isn’t optimal). Quip could draw inspiration from the questions that Google lists in the “People also ask” section of the SERP:
Also, a quick takeaway I had was that Quip’s page does not lead off with a definition of sensitive teeth or tooth sensitivity. We learned from Colgate’s page that quickly defining the term (sensitive teeth) and the associated symptoms could help the page rank better.
These are just a few of the options available to Quip to optimize its page, and as mentioned before, an investment into a sleek, easy to digest design could separate its page from the pack.
If Quip were able to move its page onto the first page of search results for [sensitive teeth], the increase in organic traffic could be significant. And [sensitive teeth] is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg — there is a wealth of opportunity with associated keywords, that Quip would rank well for also:
Executing well on these content opportunities and repeating the process over and over for relevant keywords is how you scale keyword-focused content that will perform well in search and bring more organic visitors.
Google won’t rank your page highly for simply existing. If you want to rank in Google search, start by creating a page that provides the best result for searchers and deserves to rank.
At Page One Power, we’ve leveraged this strategy and seen great results for clients. Here is an example of a client that is primarily focused on content creation and their corresponding growth in organic sessions:
These pages (15) were all published in January, and you can see that roughly one month after publishing, these pages started taking off in terms of organic traffic. This is because these pages are backed by keyword research and optimized so well that even with few external backlinks, they can rank on or near page one for multiple queries.
However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore backlinks and link acquisition. While the above pages rank well without many links, the domain they’re on has a substantial backlink profile cultivated through strategic link building. Securing relevant, worthwhile links is still a major part of a successful SEO campaign.
Earning real links and credibility
The other half of this complicated “it’s content and it’s links” equation is… links, and while it seems straightforward, successful execution is rather difficult — particularly when it comes to link acquisition.
While there are tools and processes that can increase organization and efficiency, at the end of the day link building takes a lot of time and a lot of work — you must manually email real website owners to earn real links. As Matt Cutts famously said (we miss you, Matt!), “Link building is sweat, plus creativity.”
However, you can greatly improve your chances for success with link acquisition if you identify which pages (existing or need to be created) on your site are link-worthy and promote them for links.
Spoiler alert: these are not your “money pages.”
Converting pages certainly have a function on your website, but they typically have limited opportunities when it comes to link acquisition. Instead, you can support these pages — and other content on your site — through internal linking from more linkable pages.
So how do you identify linkable assets? Well, there are some general characteristics that directly correlate with link-worthiness:
Usefulness — concept explanation, step-by-step guide, collection of resources and advice, etc.Uniqueness — a new or fresh perspective on an established topic, original research or data, prevailing coverage of a newsworthy event, etc.Entertaining — novel game or quiz, humorous take on a typically serious subject, interactive tool, etc.Along with these characteristics, you also need to consider the size of your potential linking audience. The further you move down your marketing funnel, the smaller the linking audience size; converting pages are traditionally difficult to earn links to because they serve a small audience of people looking to buy.
Instead, focus on assets that exist at the top of your marketing funnel and serve large audiences looking for information. The keywords associated with these pages are typically head terms that may prove difficult to rank for, but if your content is strong you can still earn links through targeted, manual outreach to relevant sites.
Ironically, your most linkable pages aren’t always the pages that will rank well for you in search, since larger audiences also mean more competition. However, using linkable assets to secure worthwhile links will help grow the authority and credibility of your brand and domain, supporting rankings for your keyword-focused and converting pages.
Going back to our Quip example, we see a page on their site that has the potential to be a linkable asset:
Currently, this page is geared more towards conversions which hurts linkability. However, Quip could easily move conversion-focused elements to another page and internally link from this page to maintain a pathway to conversion while improving link-worthiness.
To truly make this page a linkable asset, Quip would need add depth on the topic of how to brush your teeth and hone in on a more specific audience. As the page currently stands, it is targeted at everybody who brushes, but to make the page more linkable Quip could focus on a specific age group (toddlers, young children, elderly, etc.) or perhaps a profession or group who works odd hours or travels frequently and doesn’t have the convenience of brushing at home. An increased focus on audience will help with linkability, making this page one that shares useful information in a way that is unique and entertaining.
It also happens that [how to properly brush your teeth] was one of the opportunities we identified earlier in our (light) keyword research, so this could be a great opportunity to earn keyword rankings and links!
Putting it all together and simplifying our message
Now before we put it all together and solve SEO once and for all, you might be thinking, “What about technical and on-page SEO?!?”
And to that, I say, well those are just makeu…just kidding!
Technical and on-page elements play a major role in successful SEO and getting these elements wrong can derail the success of any content you create and undermine the equity of the links you secure.
Let’s be clear: if Google can’t crawl your site, you’re not showing up in its search results.
However, I categorize these optimizations under the umbrella of “content” within our content and links formula. If you’re not considering how search engines consume your content, along with human readers, then your content likely won’t perform well in the results of said search engines.
Rather than dive into the deep and complex world of technical and on-page SEO in this post, I recommend reading some of the great resources here on Moz to ensure your content is set up for success from a technical standpoint.
But to review the strategy I’ve laid out here, to be successful in search you need to:
Research your keywords and niche – Having the right content for your audience is critical to earning search visibility and business. Before you start creating content or updating existing pages, make sure you take the time to research your keywords and niche to better understand your current rankings and position in the search marketplace.Analyze and expand keyword opportunities – Beyond understanding your current rankings, you also need to identify and prioritize available keyword opportunities. Using tools like Moz you can uncover hidden opportunities with long-tail and related key terms, ensuring your content strategy is targeting your best opportunities.Craft strategic content that serves your search goals – Using keyword analysis to inform content creation, you can build content that addresses underserved queries and helpful guides that attract links. An essential aspect of a successful content plan is balancing keyword-focused content with broader, more linkable content and ensuring you’re addressing both SEO goals.Promote your pages for relevant links – Billions of new pages go live each day, and without proper promotion, even the best pages will be buried in the sea of content online. Strategic promotion of your pages will net you powerful backlinks and extra visibility from your audience.Again, these concepts seem simple but are quite difficult to execute well. However, by drilling down to the two main factors for search visibility — content and links — you can avoid being overwhelmed or focusing on the wrong priorities and instead put all your efforts into the strategies that will provide the most SEO impact.
However, along with refocusing our own efforts, as SEOs we also need to simplify our message to the uninitiated (or as they’re also known, the other 99% of the population). I know from personal experience how quickly the eyes start to glaze over when I get into the nitty-gritty of SEO, so I typically pivot to focus on the most basic concepts: content and links.
People can wrap their minds around the simple process of creating good pages that answer a specific set of questions and then promoting those pages to acquire endorsements (backlinks). I suggest we embrace this same approach, on a broader scale, as an industry.
When we talk to potential and existing clients, colleagues, executives, etc., let’s keep things simple. If we focus on the two concepts that are the easiest to explain we will get better understanding and more buy-in for the work we do (it also happens that these two factors are the biggest drivers of success).
So go out, shout it from the rooftops — CONTENT AND LINKS — and let’s continue to do the work that will drive positive results for our websites and help secure SEOs rightful seat at the marketing table.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!

Google BERT Algorithm Update: What Is It?

In October, Google released its newest and largest algorithm update since RankBrain – BERT. So, what exactly is BERT and does it matter to your SEO? BERT – Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers – is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing and has the ability to better understand the full context of your […]
The post Google BERT Algorithm Update: What Is It? appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

How to Dropship More Sustainably (and 9 Products to Help You Get Started)

When creating an online store, you hear a lot about building something sustainable, which makes sense – after all, you want to make a business that you can maintain. But having a sustainable business in this day and age isn’t just about managing money and time. Sustainability can also mean […]
The post How to Dropship More Sustainably (and 9 Products to Help You Get Started) appeared first on Oberlo.

9 Reports Every SEO Needs: Introducing Custom Report Templates in Moz Pro

Posted by rachelgooodmanmooreReporting is central to our jobs as SEOs and helps us to communicate the value of our work to stakeholders and clients alike. Without good reporting, it can be a challenge to illustrate our success in search. We know how important it is — but it can also be painful and clunky.
Am I the only one who moderately dreads what we might call “reporting season?” The timing of that season might vary — based on who you work for, what a reporting cycle looks like, and other factors — but ultimately it’s the time of year when we have to get our ducks in a row and report to our stakeholders: not only on the SEO progress that we’ve made, but what that progress equates to in terms of real-world implications.
For me, one of the biggest time-black-holes when building reports is the fact that I’m reaching to collect data from disparate sources to paint a full picture of my SEO work. I find myself grabbing screenshots from various tools, pulling them into a template that I’ve built, and wishing I had a streamlined process for it all … then, repeating the exact same data-wild-goose-chase-and-template-building-acrobatics for each site I track. Ugh.
A solution (which I admit I’m a totally biased fan of) has launched in Moz Pro this week. Within a Campaign’s custom reports, we’ve introduced nine custom report templates to help you report on what matters to your stakeholders. Just select a template and dive into the insights.
These templates are rooted in workflows that are popular within the Moz Pro app. Our team also conducted tons of customer interviews to identify what kinds of templates we needed to build. While you can edit templates to suit your individual needs, they come pre-loaded with descriptive insights and data that stands on its own to tell a story. If you have a Medium-level plan or higher, you’ve already got instant access to these templates.
Get started with your templates
Use one of Moz’s new report templates to pull together the data you need—depending on exactly what your reader needs to know. Choose from one of our nine most popular templates to tell your SEO story. Here’s what we’ve got:
1. Competitive Analysis Overview Report
The Competitive Analysis Overview Report provides a brief overview of how your site compares to your competitors. It highlights competitive metrics like search visibility and compares your site’s featured snippets, link profiles, and tracked keywords to your competitors. As an overview report, it will help quickly show stakeholders how your site compares to your competitors.
2. Full Competitive Analysis Report
The Full Competitive Analysis Report gives a complete and thorough view of how your site stacks up against the competition. More in-depth and detailed than the aforementioned overview report, this one is perfect for stakeholders who want to know all the details about your SEO competition. It highlights competitive metrics, as well as in-depth comparisons across links, keyword performance, Domain Authority, and more.
3. Campaign Overview Report
The Campaign Overview Report is perfect to provide to any team members or clients who want exactly that—an overview of your site’s Campaign. The report includes a view of your Campaign dashboard, Search Visibility, and a look at site health, link data, and traffic.
4. Link Analysis Report
The Link Analysis Report is ideal to pass along to any stakeholder who is particularly interested in link data. It provides an in-depth look at your own site’s links, as well as how your site stacks up against its competitors when it comes to link profiles. This report includes many important link metrics, including discovered & lost links, linking domains, anchor text, Domain Authority, and more.
5. Rankings Analysis Report
The Rankings Analysis Report will be great for anyone who is curious about your site’s ranking performance, especially when it comes to top keywords. The report highlights a high-level overview of keyword performance, and then digs in to best- and worst-performing keywords, Search Visibility, traffic, and keyword opportunities.
6. Ranking Opportunities Report
The Ranking Opportunities Report is ideal for the stakeholder in your life who wants to know what the next steps might be for your keyword strategy. This report identifies some of the top keyword opportunities pulled in from Keyword Explorer and your Campaign, based on your site’s current performance. By highlighting keywords your site is already ranking for that you aren’t tracking, and opportunities to rank for new keywords, this is an easy report to pass along for consideration around future keyword strategy.
7. Full Site Audit Report
The Full Site Audit Report provides a very thorough, in-depth look at your site’s health. This report is ideal for any stakeholder or client who wants to know precisely how the site is doing and what outstanding work still needs to be done. Based on your site crawl in Moz Pro, this highlights actionable insights such as new and critical issues, crawler warnings, redirect issues, and metadata/content issues.
8. Quick Site Audit Report
The Quick Site Audit Report is a briefer version of the aforementioned Full Site Audit Report. This report is easily digestible for any stakeholders who just want a high-level view of your site’s health and link profile. It highlights top-level crawl metrics, new site crawl issues, and quick link metrics.
9. Search Visibility Report
The Search Visibility Report is ideal for a client or boss who just wants to know the answer to the age-old question: “How visible is my site?” This report provides a quick overview of your Moz Campaign before diving into trending search visibility and a comparison against competitors. Provide a clear answer to the question of how visible your site is with this concise report.
Try custom report templates now!
Feeling ready to jump into year-end reporting? We’re looking forward to your feedback. How do the new templates fit into your reporting workflows? Got other ideas on how we can continue to improve your reporting? Please feel free to share in the comments! 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!

Chrome Makes SEO Title Tags Much More Visible on Hover

Chrome updated recently and now when you hover over a tab with your mouse it pops up a very prominent card with your full title tag and url. Previously, the title tag would display on hover but on a much smaller card. This change makes it easier for your visitors to read and gives you […]
The post Chrome Makes SEO Title Tags Much More Visible on Hover appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

What is Thought Leadership? 5 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader

Thought leadership is original content from a person or a company that is recognized as expert in a specific topic or industry. Business continues to evolve and change, and customer expectations mature right alongside them. Consumers like to know that the companies they trust to provide them with solutions have the latest and most-effective products, […]
The post What is Thought Leadership? 5 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

What is Word of Mouth? Use Referral Marketing to Boost Sharing and Sales

Word of mouth has been around since the beginning of human civilization. In the early days, people used language to share information about where to find food and shelter. As our society has advanced, people use what’s called word of mouth marketing to tell friends and family about a great product. Word of mouth marketing […]
The post What is Word of Mouth? Use Referral Marketing to Boost Sharing and Sales appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

The Content Distribution Playbook – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rosssimmondsIf you’re one of the many marketers that shares your content on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked before calling it good and moving on, this Whiteboard Friday is for you. In a super actionable follow-up to his MozCon 2019 presentation, Ross Simmonds reveals how to go beyond the mediocre when it comes to your content distribution plan, reaching new audiences in just the right place at the right time.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!Video Transcription
What’s going on, Whiteboard Friday fans? My name is Ross Simmonds from Foundation Marketing, and today we’re going to be talking about how to develop a content distribution playbook that will drive meaningful and measurable results for your business. 
What is content distribution and why does it matter?
First and foremost, content distribution is the thing that you need to be thinking about if you want to combat the fact that it is becoming harder and harder than ever before to stand out as a content marketer, as a storyteller, and as a content creator in today’s landscape. It’s getting more and more difficult to rank for content. It’s getting more and more difficult to get organic reach through our social media channels, and that is why content distribution is so important.
You are facing a time when organic reach on social continues to drop more and more, where the ability to rank is becoming even more difficult because you’re competing against more ad space. You’re competing against more featured snippets. You’re competing against more companies. Because content marketers have screamed at the top of their lungs that content is king and the world has listened, it is becoming more and more difficult to stand out amongst the noise.
Most marketers have embraced this idea because for years we screamed, “Content is king, create more content,”and that is what the world has done. Most marketers start by just creating content, hoping that traffic will come, hoping that reach will come, and hoping that as a result of them creating content that profits will follow. In reality, the profits never come because they miss a significant piece of the puzzle, which is content distribution.
In today’s video, we’re going to be talking about how you can distribute your content more effectively across a few different channels, a few different strategies, and how you can take your content to the next level. 
There are two things that you can spend when it comes to content distribution: 
You can spend time, or you can spend money. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about exactly how you can distribute your content so when you write that blog post, you write that landing page, when you create that e-book, you create that infographic, whatever resource you’ve developed, you can ensure that that content is reaching the right people on the right channel at the right time.
◷: Owned channels
So how can you do it? We all have heard of owned channels. Owned channels are things that you own as a business, as a brand, as an organization. These are things that you can do without question probably today. 
Email marketing
For example, email marketing, it’s very likely that you have an email list of some sort. You can distribute your content to those people. 
In-app notifications
Let’s say you have a website that offers people a solution or a service directly inside of the site. Say it’s software as a service or something of that nature. If people are logging in on a regular basis to access your product, you can use in-app notifications to let those people know that you’ve launched a blog post. Or better yet, if you have a mobile app of any sort, you can do the same thing. You can use your app to let people know that you just launched a new piece of content.
Social channels
You have social media channels. Let’s say you have Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Share that content to your heart’s desire on those channels as well. 
On-site banner
If you have a website, you can update an on-site banner, at the top or in the bottom right, that is letting people know who visit your site that you have a new piece of content. Let them know. They want to know that you’re creating new content. So why not advise them that you have done such?
Sales outreach
If you have a sales team of any sort, let’s say you’re in B2B and you have a sales team, one of the most effective ways is to empower your sales team, to communicate to your sales team that you have developed a new piece of content so they can follow up with leads, they can nurture those existing relationships and even existing customers to let them know that a new piece of content has gone live. That one-to-one connection can be huge. 
◷: Social media / other channels
So when you’ve done all of that, what else can you do? You can go into social media. You can go into other channels. Again, you can spend time distributing your content into these places where your audience is spending time as well. 
Social channels and groups
So if you have a Twitter account, you can send out tweets. If you have a Facebook page, of course you can put up status updates.
If you have a LinkedIn page, you can put up a status update as well. These three things are typically what most organizations do in that Phase 2, but that’s not where it ends. You can go deeper. You can do more. You can go into Facebook groups, whether as a page or as a human, and share your content into these communities as well. You can let them know that you’ve published a new piece of research and you would love for them to check it out.
Or you’re in these groups and you’re looking and waiting and looking for somebody to ask a question that your blog post, your research has answered, and then you respond to that question with the content that you’ve developed. Or you do the same exact thing in a LinkedIn group. LinkedIn groups are an awesome opportunity for you to go in and start seeding your content as well.
Medium
Or you go to Medium.com. You repurpose the content that you’ve developed. You launch it on Medium.com as well. There’s an import function on Medium where you can import your content, get a canonical link directly to your site, and you can share that on Medium as well. Medium.com is a great distribution channel, because you can seed that content to publications as well.
When your content is going to these publications, they already have existing subscribers, and those subscribers get notified that there’s a new piece being submitted by you. When they see it, that’s a new audience that you wouldn’t have reached before using any of those owned channels, because these are people who you wouldn’t have had access to before. So you want to take advantage of that as well.
Keep in mind you don’t always have to upload even the full article. You can upload a snippet and then have a CTA at the bottom, a call to action driving people to the article on your website. 
LinkedIn video
You can use LinkedIn video to do the same thing. Very similar concept. Imagine you have a LinkedIn video. You look into the camera and you say to your connections, “Hey, everyone, we just launched a new research piece that is breaking down X, Y, and Z, ABC. I would love for you to check it out. Check the link below.”
If you created that video and you shared it on your LinkedIn, your connections are going to see this video, and it’s going to break their pattern of what they typically see on LinkedIn. So when they see it, they’re going to engage, they’re going to watch that video, they’re going to click the link, and you’re going to get more reach for the content that you developed in the past. 
Slack communities
Slack communities are another great place to distribute your content. Slack isn’t just a great channel to build internal culture and communicate as an internal team.
There are actual communities, people who are passionate about photography, people who are passionate about e-commerce, people who are passionate about SEO. There are Slack communities today where these people are gathering to talk about their passions and their interests, and you can do the same thing that you would do in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups in these various Slack communities. 
Instagram / Facebook stories
Instagram stories and Facebook stories, awesome, great channel for you to also distribute your content. You can add a link to these stories that you’re uploading, and you can simply say, “Swipe up if you want to get access to our latest research.” Or you can design a graphic that will say, “Swipe up to get our latest post.” People who are following you on these channels will swipe up. They’ll land on your article, they’ll land on your research, and they’ll consume that content as well. 
LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn Pulse, you have the opportunity now to upload an article directly to LinkedIn, press Publish, and again let it soar. You can use the same strategies that I talked about around Medium.com on LinkedIn, and you can drive results. 
Quora
Quora, it’s like a question-and-answer site, like Yahoo Answers back in the day, except with a way better design. You can go into Quora, and you can share just a native link and tag it with relevant content, relevant topics, and things of that nature. Or you can find a few questions that are related to the topic that you’ve covered in your post, in your research, whatever asset you developed, and you can add value to that person who asked that question, and within that value you make a reference to the link and the article that you developed in the past as well.
SlideShare
SlideShare, one of OGs of B2B marketing. You can go to SlideShare, upload a presentation version of the content that you’ve already developed. Let’s say you’ve written a long blog post. Why not take the assets within that blog post, turn them into a PDF, a SlideShare presentation, upload them there, and then distribute it through that network as well? Once you have those SlideShare presentations put together, what’s great about it is you can take those graphics and you can share them on Twitter, you can share them on Facebook, LinkedIn, you can put them into Medium.com, and distribute them further there as well.
Forums
You can go into forums. Let’s think about it. If your audience is spending time in a forum communicating about something, why not go into these communities and into these forums and connect with them on a one-to-one basis as well? There’s a huge opportunity in forums and communities that exist online, where you can build trust and you can seed your content into these communities where your audience is spending time.
A lot of people think forums are dead. They could never be more alive. If you type in your audience, your industry forums, I promise you you’ll probably come across something that will surprise you as an opportunity to seed your content. 
Reddit communities
Reddit communities, a lot of marketers get the heebie-jeebies when I talk about Reddit. They’re all like, “Marketers on Reddit? That doesn’t work. Reddit hates marketing.” I get it.
I understand what you’re thinking. But what they actually hate is the fact that marketers don’t get Reddit. Marketers don’t get the fact that Redditors just want value. If you can deliver value to people using Reddit, whether it’s through a post or in the comments, they will meet you with happiness and joy. They will be grateful of the fact that you’ve added value to their communities, to their subreddits, and they will reward you with upvotes, with traffic and clicks, and maybe even a few leads or a customer or two in the process.
Do not ignore Reddit as being the site that you can’t embrace. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, Redditors can like your content. Redditors will like your content if you go in with value first. 
Imgur
Sites like Imgur, another great distribution channel. Take some of those slides that you developed in the past, upload them to Imgur, and let them sing there as well.
There are way more distribution channels and distribution techniques that you can use that go beyond even what I’ve described here. But these just a few examples that show you that the power of distribution doesn’t exist just in a couple posts. It exists in actually spending the time, taking the time to distribute your stories and distribute your content across a wide variety of different channels.
$: Paid marketing
That’s spending time. You can also spend money through paid marketing. Paid marketing is also an opportunity for any brand to distribute their stories. 
Remarketing
First and foremost, you can use remarketing. Let’s talk about that email list that you’ve already developed. If you take that email list and you run remarketing ads to those people on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, you can reach those people and get them engaged with new content that you’ve developed.
Let’s say somebody is already visiting your page. People are visiting your website. They’re visiting your content. Why not run remarketing ads to those people who already demonstrate some type of interest to get them back on your site, back engaged with your content, and tell your story to them as well? Another great opportunity is if you’ve leveraged video in any way, you can do remarketing ads on Facebook to people who have watched 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 20 seconds, whatever it may be to your content as well.
Quora ads
Then one of the opportunities that is definitely underrated is the fact that Quora now offers advertising as well. You can run ads on Quora to people who are asking or looking at questions related to your industry, related to the content that you’ve developed, and get your content in front of them as well. 
Influencer marketing
Then influencers, you can do sponsored content. You can reach out to these influencers and have them talk about your stories, talk about your content, and have them share it as well on behalf of the fact that you’ve developed something new and something that is interesting.
Think differently & rise above mediocrity
When I talk about influencer marketing, I talk about Reddit, I talk about SlideShare, I talk about LinkedIn video, I talk about Slack communities, a lot of marketers will quickly say, “I don’t think this is for me. I think this is too much. I think that this is too much manual work. I think this is too many niche communities. I think this is a little bit too much for my brand.”
I get that. I understand your mindset, but this is what you need to recognize. Most marketers are going through this process. If you think that by distributing your content into the communities that your audience is spending time is just a little bit off brand or it doesn’t really suit you, that’s what most marketers already think. Most marketers already think that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is all they need to do to share their stories, get their content out there, and call it a day.
If you want to be like most marketers, you’re going to get what most marketers receive as a result, which is mediocre results. So I push you to think differently. I push you to push yourself to not be like most marketers, not to go down the path of mediocrity, and instead start looking for ways that you can either invest time or money into channels, into opportunities, and into communities where you can spread your content with value first and ultimately generate results for your business at the end of all of it.
So I hope that you can use this to uncover for yourself a content distribution playbook that works for your brand. Whether you’re in B2C or you’re in B2B, it doesn’t matter. You have to understand where your audience is spending time, understand how you can seed your content into these different spaces and unlock the power of content distribution. My name is Ross Simmonds.
I really hope you enjoyed this video. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter, at TheCoolestCool, or hit me up any other way. I’m on every other channel. Of course I am. I love social. I love digital. I’m everywhere that you could find me, so feel free to reach out.
I hope you enjoyed this video and you can use it to give your content more reach and ultimately drive meaningful and measurable results for your business. Thank you so much.
Video transcription by Speechpad.com

If Ross’s Whiteboard Friday left you feeling energized and inspired to try new things with your content marketing, you’ll love his full MozCon 2019 talk — Keywords Aren’t Enough: How to Uncover Content Ideas Worth Chasing — available in our recently released video bundle. Learn how to use many of these same distribution channels as idea factories for your content, plus access 26 additional future-focused SEO topics from our top-notch speakers:
Grab the sessions now!
And don’t be shy — share the learnings with your whole team, preferably with snacks. It’s what video was made for!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!

Competitively position your brand with a ThinkTank premium sponsorship

Discover the different sponsorship opportunities available at Awin + ShareASale ThinkTank US 2020. ThinkTank US 2020 premium sponsorships offer businesses additional targeted exposure to highly-qualified executives and decision makers on Awin and ShareASale, further cultivating important relationships and fostering new business development. As a ThinkTank premium sponsor, clients receive extensive online, offline and on-site product […]
The post Competitively position your brand with a ThinkTank premium sponsorship appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

How Lululemon Uses Lifestyle Marketing to Create a Strong Brand Community

The best brands in the world are able to create something far more powerful than a premium product, or even a strong brand personality. The best-of-the-best create an entire lifestyle that their most loyal customers strive to achieve. These brands are commonly known as lifestyle brands, but with so many different definitions floating around, what exactly is a lifestyle brand, and how can you replicate their winning strategies for your own small business?

Brand vs. Branding: Why ‘Away’ is More Than a Luggage Company

Away has achieved cult-like status for its meticulously designed luggage. The bags have become part of a lifestyle, a must-have feature of the jet-set uniform. Even more than airport cred, Away has become an Instagram darling with travelers organically sharing their Away bags in artfully styled photos from their trips.

“Being direct-to-consumer is a huge competitive advantage. Every time someone buys something from us, they interact with someone at our company in some way,” Away CEO and Co-founder Steph Korey told Forbes. These customer interactions feed into rave reviews and a level of brand loyalty that brings shoppers back to buy the complete luggage set and eagerly await new color drops.

Founded in 2015, Away has already achieved unicorn status with a valuation of $1.4 billion. As TechCrunch explains, “Away‘s new lofty valuation proves how far you can get with excellent branding.”

How did Away go from zero to unicorn in under three years?

Selena Kalvaria, the …This story continues at Yotpo

Publisher spotlight: Tapjoy

Tapjoy is revolutionizing the mobile advertising and app monetization industry. Tapjoy works with advertisers to help them reach their ideal mobile audience through rewarded video ads and through their offerwall. They work with publishers to help them acquire new users and monetize their mobile apps. Why and when was Tapjoy created? Tapjoy was founded in 2007 […]
The post Publisher spotlight: Tapjoy appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

Ilaria Carboni (Oct8ne): while in a brick-and-mortar store there will always be a shop assistant attending the customer

What trends do you think have marked e-commerce in 2019 and will be key during 2020? Personalization, Customer Engagement, ChatBots, and AI have definitely been top topics in 2019.  For e-commerce, the lack of personal interaction with the customer is one of the major issues and causes of cart abandonment. This is the reason why […]
The post Ilaria Carboni (Oct8ne): while in a brick-and-mortar store there will always be a shop assistant attending the customer appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

The Retail Summit 2020

The Retail Summit 10-11 March 2020 Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai www.theretailsummit.com  Taking place on 10-11 March 2020 in Dubai, The Retail Summit brings together senior executives from international retailers and parallel industries to create and debate the future of commerce. The Summit addresses urgent issues changing the global retail landscape and highlights the need for […]
The post The Retail Summit 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

Building a Local Marketing Strategy for Franchises [Guide Sneak Peek]

Posted by MiriamEllis
A roller is a good tool for painting a house in big, broad strokes. But creating a masterpiece of art requires finer brushes.
Franchises face a unique challenge here: they know how to market at the national level, but often lack the detailed tools for reaching their local customers at a granular level. Google has stated that localization of search results is the greatest form of personalization they currently engage in. For franchises, where local sensitivity is lacking in the marketing plan, opportunity is being lost.
Don’t settle for this. Know that less-motivated competitors are losing this opportunity, too. This creates a large, blank canvas for a franchise you’re marketing to paint a new picture which takes state, regional and community nuances into account.
One famous example of localized marketing is McDonald’s offering SPAM in Hawaii and green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico. For your franchise, it could revolve around customizing content for regional language differences (sub sandwich vs. po’ boy), or knowing when to promote seasonal merchandise at which locations (California vs. North Dakota weather).
What you need is marketing plan capable of scaling from national priorities to hyperlocal customers. Want the complete strategy now?
Get The Practical Guide to Franchise Marketing
From paint roller to sumi-e brush: A franchise marketing plan
Today, we’ll explore the basics of getting to know your local customers, so that your national franchise can customize how you serve them. Build a strategy around the following:
Your step-by-step guide to how to create a local marketing strategy
Finding your target audience
First, you need to understand who your customers are. If you have an existing franchise, you can do this fairly easily by simply observing or asking them. You might run an online survey, or you might do some quick spot interviews right in your place of business. What you want to work out is:
Demographics: What are the common ages, genders, income levels, and other relevant characteristics of your customers. Psychographics: How do your customers think? What are their attitudes, behaviors and beliefs as they relate to your franchise?Pain points: What problems do your customers have that you could potentially solve? Maybe they want to eat healthy but have no time. Maybe they want a gym that will help them become better athletes. Consumption habits: How do your customers decide where to buy? Are they online? Do they have smartphones? Do they prioritize reviews/recommendations? Do they like video, or podcasts? Which social platforms do they frequent? What events do they attend?Understanding the customer’s journey
Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about what we call the “customer journey.” This is just another way of saying we want to understand what happens between us and customers before they know our brand exist, after they discover it, up until they buy, and then beyond.
The best way to do this is to divide that experience into steps, understanding that some people will drop out of the process at every stage. Most corporate franchisers will recognize this as the “sales funnel.”
Here’s a simplified version of a sales funnel. Take the time to determine what happens at each stage in your own customers’ experience, and you’ll be a long way toward understanding how you can influence and help customers from one step to the next. 
Mapping a sales funnel
AwarenessThis is where a customer first discovers you exist and starts to form an opinion about you based on what they see. Often, this is managed by the activities being conducted by corporate franchisors (like a national TV ad campaign). But, it can also happen through franchisee-generated references and referrals (like a searcher discovering you via a Google Maps search on their phone).DiscoveryThis is where a customer has already absorbed information about you and your product and begins to actively try to learn more about it. This stage often encompasses online research. It local word-of-mouth queries between potential customers and their friends and family.EvaluationThis is where a customer has decided to probably purchase something similar to what you offer, but is trying to decide where to buy. They might stop by your business in this stage, or they may give you a call. They might visit your online website or listings to look at your hours, or menu or price list. This stage is influenced by both franchisor and franchisee activity.IntentNow the customer has decided to buy from you — which means they are your customer to lose. Franchisors can lose them at this stage through misinformation in the brand’s local business listings — like incorrect hours or bad directions that lead customers to the wrong place and cause them to give up. Franchisees could lose the business through poor on-premises experiences — like uncleanliness, long wait times, low inventory, pricing, or poor customer service.PurchaseThis is where the transaction takes place, and is generally entirely within the control of the franchisee.LoyaltyThis stage determines whether the customer will return to buy again, and whether or not they will become an advocate for your business, give you good reviews, or rate you poorly. Again, this is typically within the control of the franchisee unless the issue is a decision made at the franchisor level, such as product/menu, pricing or policy.Sometimes this whole funnel can take place in the time it takes to spot a sign for ice cream and purchase a double scoop sundae. Sometimes it may take weeks, as your customers labor over the right financial advisor to choose. Understanding how your customer is thinking and what goes into making the decision to use you is important and will guide decision-making and sales activity at both the franchisor and franchisee levels.
Scoping out the competition
Most brands have already worked out their positioning with regard to other national brands, so this one is mainly for franchisees. Take some time to figure out who your direct competitors are in your local market. They might be other big brands, but there will also probably be local SMBs that are not on the corporate franchisor’s radar.
Understand:
Where they are stronger or weaker, compared to youWho they attract, compared to youHow they are marketing their businessHaving this information should help you to position yourself to win a bigger piece of the local pie. Is your competitor a gym that has better weight training and machines than you? Are they marketing mainly to younger men and athletes? Are they advertising on local radio? Perhaps you should double down on your cardio and yoga classes and try to attract more women or older clientele. Maybe adding some nutrition classes will encourage people trying to lose weight. And so on.
Building your authority
Once you’ve figured out who your customers are, how they buy, and how you plan to position your franchise in the local market, it’s time to put that plan into action by creating some content to support it.
For franchisors at corporate this means putting in the time to create an informative, interesting brand website with dynamic, engaging content. Your content should aim to educate, inform and/or entertain, rather than only sell. The more points of engagement your website offers to customers, the more reason they have to read, share, and link to your content, building authority. Your most valuable content will, of course, be the elements or pages that directly convert visitors into customers.
The content you put out over social media should follow this same precept, and lead back to your site as often as possible. Experts suggest that “60% of your posts you create should be engaging, timely content, 30% should be shared content, and only 10% should be promoting your products & services.” (Medium)
Invest some time in link building, in order to show Google’s algorithm how influential your site is and boost your authority and ranking. Here are a few tips:
Use Moz’s “Find Opportunities” feature to locate sites which are linking to your competitors and not you (yet).Look for people who are already referencing your site and ask them to hyperlink to you.Do a little PR or news-making and ask articles to link to your site. (This is something local franchisees can excel at.)Ask for links from local trade organizations, community organizations or commerce groups.Sponsor events and ask for a link.Start a scholarship and post it on local .edu sites.Find out more about link building and unstructured citation and how to increase them in The Guide to Building Linked Unstructured Citations for Local SEO. 
Managing channels and budgets efficiently
Armed with good, authoritative content and an effective website, you’ll want to focus on how you manage all the channels available to you. This also includes managing your budget effectively. Most franchisor budgets are focused on the brand, and many franchisees don’t have a lot left over for local marketing, but here are some things to think about.
Listings first: Your listings aren’t expensive to manage, but they give your marketing it’s biggest overall value — in some cases literally guiding people to your registers. Make great local business listings your top priority.Claim everything: Franchisors, be sure you are the one in control of your directory listings and social profiles. Complete your Google My Business profile and establish a presence on key social media and review platforms like Facebook and Yelp. Budget wisely: Do the strategy work to understand who your customers are and how best to reach them before you allocate your franchisor or franchisee marketing dollars. Pointillism for franchises
Adept franchise marketing requires the eye of Seurat: the ability to see life in hundreds of tiny points, making up a masterpiece. For you, franchise pointillism includes:
Points representing each customerPoints for the customer’s community, as a wholePoints representing your locations on the mapPoints across the web where engagement happensPoints offline where engagement happensPoints of resource at all levels of the franchise, from franchisor to franchiseeReady for expert help from Moz in seeing the finer points? Download your copy:
The Practical Guide to Franchise MarketingSign 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!

How to Better Execute Cross-channel Strategies

Your digital marketing efforts don’t operate in a vacuum. Consumers are influenced by countless ad messages a day – in fact, experts estimate that Americans are exposed to upwards of 10,000 […]
The post How to Better Execute Cross-channel Strategies appeared first on Rakuten Marketing Blog.

Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Shipping Pricing

To start an ecommerce business, you need four things:  Products—something that customers in your niche need and you can provide with. Storefront—a place where they can find and purchase those products. Payment processor—a tool that will carry out the business transaction between you and your customers. Shipping—a way to deliver your products to your customers. […]
The post Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Shipping Pricing appeared first on Blog – Printful.

The Marketing Tactics People Love (And Love to Hate) [Exclusive Survey]

Posted by amandamilliganI’ve always considered the most challenging part about digital marketing to be prioritizing.
There are hundreds of tactics available to you, and it can be overwhelming to determine which of them are most appropriate for your marketing goals and your target audience. (And we all know what happens when you try to do too much — you do it all poorly.)
It’s critical to analyze the attitudes and behaviors of your current and potential clients/customers in order to best communicate with them in the methods they prefer.
But every now and then, it’s also helpful to zoom out and see how different marketing tactics are faring in general.
That’s why we surveyed 500+ Americans, asking them their thoughts on a variety of inbound and outbound marketing tactics.
Our objective was to better understand which tactics might be most effective on a broad scale and how people might feel about the various tactics they encounter.
Here are the biggest insights.
1. Very few channels “die”
Here’s the thing: The marketing industry experiences a constant ebb and flow. A tactic like email marketing becomes popular, everyone does it, the space becomes diluted, and then other tactics start to gain traction as people seek out “quieter” channels.
That doesn’t mean those tactics no longer work. It just means it becomes harder for your message to be seen because the volume of content out there for people to read is expansive. You have to work harder for it, have an intimate understanding of the information your audience wants, and test relentlessly.
Fractl surveyed 500+ people and asked them, “What is the most effective way for a company to attract your business?” The top result at 54.33% was “Appearing in search results when I’m looking for something I need or want.” The bottom result at 20.71% was “Being promoted or endorsed by an influencer on social media or elsewhere.”The prime example of this revealed in this survey is that when asked what people think is the best way to attract their business, they picked snail mail (53.31%) over email (38.37%).
A couple of years ago, I’d never have thought to consider direct mail over email. It’s costly and people tend to find mail cumbersome, sending a lot of it straight to the trash.
But over time, some have started to feel that way about email. It’s hard to filter out all of the spam, discern between good pitches and bad ones, and just sort through what feels like an endless stream of messages. Direct mail has started to feel more like a novelty. In fact, 28% of our respondents said they’ve never clicked on the “Promotions” Gmail tab.
The takeaway: Don’t let anyone tell you a channel is dead (except for maybe MySpace and other sites that are abandoned.) Take advantage of “quiet” channels but only if it makes sense for your audience. Focus on them, and the appropriate channel for you will become more obvious.
For example, some brands are seeing success endeavoring into the print magazine realm, a “quieter” channel that appeals to their specific audiences. (And how many times have we heard that print is dead?)
2. Don’t seem intrusive
Privacy has certainly been a hot topic these days, but we shouldn’t be focusing solely on GDPR and other regulations (that’s where don’t be intrusive comes in). It’s not just about what’s legal — it’s also about what’s off-putting. Unsurprisingly, people don’t like to feel like they’re being oddly approached or “followed” online (or anywhere).
That probably explains why our survey found that of the 78% of people who said they notice retargeted ads, 56% have negative feelings toward them. That’s a pretty large amount of negativity for a tactic. In a separate question, 53% said they have ad blockers, choosing to bypass ads altogether.
Outbound marketing is about reaching out to people cold, but there’s an art to this.
Fractl surveyed 500+ people and asked them if they felt positively, negatively, or neutrally about different marketing tactics. Website and blog articles had the best sentiment. Website ads had the worst sentiment.Traditional advertising achieves No. 2 on the sentiment scale, and my interpretation of this is that people are so used to seeing advertisements on television and hearing them on the radio that it no longer has an intrusive vibe.
Email, sponsored social media posts, and ads still can carry that feeling, though.
Does that mean you shouldn’t utilize these tactics? Of course not. It does mean you have to be very strategy in applying them, though, or you’ll turn off your audience almost immediately.
The takeaway: When utilizing outbound strategies, make sure the recipients understand why they’re receiving the information and ensure what you’re providing speaks to a want or need of theirs. Make the value you’re providing immediately clear.
For example, I made a reservation at an Italian restaurant called Osteria Morini about a year ago. I received an email from them with the subject line “Fall Pasta Classes are Here!” Even though I didn’t remember signing up for their updates, I opened the email because I knew exactly what they were trying to tell me and I was interested. I also just went back and checked; they’ve only emailed me once since the reservation. That’s an extreme — I don’t advocate you sending one email a year — but only send emails with real value.
3. Prioritize search
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that search engine optimization won out as one of the strongest strategies out there.
Notice in the first graph in the article that appearing in search results was listed as the best way to earn respondents’ business, and in the second graph, you’ll see that reading the type of content you’d find on those results carries the best sentiment.
Not only is it effective, but it’s also a common practice.
Fractl surveyed 500+ people and asked them, “In the last week, have you done any of the following?” The top result at 89% was “Used online search to find information about a company or product.” The bottom result at 30.4% was “Read a company or brand blog post.”Using search engines to find answers is essentially an inherent online experience; nearly everyone does it, and if you’re not showing up in the SERPs, you can be missing out on massive opportunities to increase your brand awareness, connect with potential clients/customers, and build authority in your space.
I’d say authority is a huge piece of why search is so important to people. When you rank highly, it’s almost like the online equivalent of being published — “people” (other sites and Google) — vouch for you.
Fractl surveyed 500+ people and asked them, “How do you learn about a company or product?” The top result at 86.4% was “Do an online search.” The bottom result at 15.8% was “Download content from their site.”The authority piece is greater represented in the graph above. Reading customer reviews comes in right behind performing searches for how people learn more about a company or product, because people are constantly looking for authority and quality indicators in order to make the best decisions possible. (This is why E-A-T has been such a hot topic lately.)
The takeaway: SEO should always be a primary objective of your marketing team. If you’re in a competitive space and finding it difficult to rank for your target keywords, focus on the long-tail for queries that are directly relevant to your business. That way, you’re building authority with people who are already close to becoming customers/clients.
For example, when searching for daily planners, I noticed there are a few related keywords regarding daily planners that start as early as 5 a.m. The Better Dayplanner has an article that ranks for these types of keywords, meaning that people looking for something very specific will see them first. Sure, the search volume is low, but the traffic is as relevant as you can get.
Conclusion
After reading through this article (and reviewing the full inbound and outbound marketing survey), you can get a sense of which of your tactics may need modifying and which opportunities may be present. There’s no universally right or wrong answer; it’s highly dependent on the specifics of your brand and your target audience. But knowing general trends and preferences can help you shape your strategy so it’s as effective as possible.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!

2019 Brand Loyalty Statistics

Brands are experiencing a renaissance. That’s what Yotpo CEO Tomer Tagrin said at our Destination:D2C conference in September, and our most recent consumer survey proves that he’s definitely onto something.

In Yotpo’s latest poll of 2,000 consumers in the United States, nearly 9 of 10 respondents said their brand loyalty has either remained constant or increased over time, with about a quarter (24.8%) saying they’re more brand loyal this year as compared to last year.
What is brand loyalty?
Asked to define their brand loyalty, consumers polled overwhelmingly characterized it as repeat purchasing (67.8%), followed by “love” for the brand (39.5%), and finally, preference despite price (37.7%).

Echoing the above explanations of brand loyalty, 36.5% of shoppers said they will spend more on products if they’re loyal to a brand, even if they can find cheaper options elsewhere. In a world where many shoppers flock to Amazon for the best deal, building true brand loyalty …This story continues at Yotpo

eTail Asia 2020

Its official- eTail Asia is back for its 8th edition from 3-5 March 2020. Held in the incredible and luxurious Equarious Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, our Asia Summit will be the biggest show yet. Join over 650+ attendees from Singapore and the surrounding Asia region to bring the future of eCommerce, Digital Marketing and […]
The post eTail Asia 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

Brands vs Ads

About 7 years ago I wrote about how the search relevancy algorithms were placing heavy weighting on brand-related signals after Vince & Panda on the (half correct!) presumption that this would lead to excessive industry consolidation which in turn would force Google to turn the dials in the other direction.
My thesis was Google would need to increasingly promote some smaller niche sites to make general web search differentiated from other web channels & minimize the market power of vertical leading providers.
The reason my thesis was only half correct (and ultimately led to the absolutely wrong conclusion) is Google has the ability to provide the illusion of diversity while using sort of eye candy displacement efforts to shift an increasing share of searches from organic to paid results.
As long as any market has at least 2 competitors in it Google can create a “me too” offering that they hard code front & center and force the other 2 players (along with other players along the value chain) to bid for marketshare. If competitors are likely to complain about the thinness of the me too offering & it being built upon scraping other websites, Google can buy out a brand like Zagat or a data supplier like ITA Software to undermine criticism until the artificially promoted vertical service has enough usage that it is nearly on par with other players in the ecosystem.
Google need not win every market. They only need to ensure there are at least 2 competing bids left in the marketplace while dialing back SEO exposure. They can then run other services to redirect user flow and force the ad buy. They can insert their own bid as a sort of shill floor bid in their auction. If you bid below that amount they’ll collect the profit through serving the customer directly, if you bid above that they’ll let you buy the customer vs doing a direct booking.
Where this gets more than a bit tricky is if you are a supplier of third party goods & services where you buy in bulk to get preferential pricing for resale. If you buy 100 rooms a night from a particular hotel based on the presumption of prior market performance & certain channels effectively disappear you have to bid above market to sell some portion of the rooms because getting anything for them is better than leaving them unsold.
Dipping a bit back into history here, but after Groupon said no to Google’s acquisition offer Google promptly partnered with players 2 through n to ensure Groupon did not have a lasting competitive advantage. In the fullness of time most those companies died, LivingSocial was acquired by Groupon for nothing & Groupon is today worth less than the amount they raised in VC & IPO funding.
Most large markets will ultimately consolidate down to a couple players (e.g. Booking vs Expedia) while smaller players lack the scale needed to have the economic leverage to pay Google’s increasing rents.
This sort of consolidation was happening even when the search results were mostly organic & relevancy was driven primarily by links. As Google has folded in usage data & increased ad load on the search results it becomes harder for a generically descriptive domain name to build brand-related signals.

It is not only generically descriptive sorts of sites that have faded though. Many brand investments turned out to be money losers after the search result set was displaced by more ads (& many brand-related search result pages also carry ads above the organic results).
The ill informed might write something like this:
Since the Motorola debacle, it was Google’s largest acquisition after the $676 million purchase of ITA Software, which became Google Flights. (Uh, remember that? Does anyone use that instead of Travelocity or one of the many others? Neither do I.)
The reality is brands lose value as the organic result set is displaced. To make the margins work they might desperately outsource just about everything but marketing to a competitor / partner, which will then latter acquire them for a song.
Travelocity had roughly 3,000 people on the payroll globally as recently as a couple of years ago, but the Travelocity workforce has been whittled to around 50 employees in North America with many based in the Dallas area.
The best relevancy algorithm in the world is trumped by preferential placement of inferior results which bypasses the algorithm. If inferior results are hard coded in placements which violate net neutrality for an extended period of time, they can starve other players in the market from the vital user data & revenues needed to reinvest into growth and differentiation.
Value plays see their stocks crash as growth slows or goes in reverse. With the exception of startups frunded by Softbank, growth plays are locked out of receiving further investment rounds as their growth rate slides.
Startups like Hipmunk disappear. Even an Orbitz or Travelocity become bolt on acquisitions.
The viability of TripAdvisor as a stand alone business becomes questioned, leading them to partner with Ctrip.
TripAdvisor has one of the best link profiles of any commercially oriented website outside of perhaps Amazon.com. But ranking #1 doesn’t count for much if that #1 ranking is below the fold.
TripAdvisor shifted their business model to allow direct booking to better monetize mobile web users, but as Google has ate screen real estate and grew Google Travel into a $100 billion business other players have seen their stocks sag.
Google sits at the top of the funnel & all other parts of the value chain are compliments to be commoditized.
Buy premium domain names? Google’s SERPs test replacing domain names with words & make the domain name gray.
Improve conversion rates? Your competitor almost certainly did as well, now you both can bid more & hand over an increasing economic rent to Google.
Invest in brand awareness? Google shows ads for competitors on your brand terms, forcing you to buy to protect the brand equity you paid to build.Search Metrics mentioned Hotels.com was one of the biggest losers during the recent algorithm updates: “I’m going to keep on this same theme there, and I’m not going to say overall numbers, the biggest loser, but for my loser I’m going to pick Hotels.com, because they were literally like neck and neck, like one and two with Booking, as far as how close together they were, and the last four weeks, they’ve really increased that separation. … I’m going to give a winner. The fire department that’s fighting the fires in Northern California.”
As Google ate the travel category the value of hotel-related domain names has fallen through the floor.
Most of the top selling hotel-related domain names were sold about a decade ago:
On August 8th HongKongHotels.com sold for $4,038. And the buyer may have overpaid for it!
Google consistently grows their ad revenues 20% a year in a global economy growing at under 4%.
There are only about 6 ways they can do that
growth of web usage (though many of those who are getting online today have a far lower disposable income than those who got on a decade or two ago did)
gain marketshare (very hard in search given that they effectively are the market in most markets outside of China & Russia)
create new inventory (new ad types on Google Maps & YouTube)
charge more for clicks
improve at targeting by better surveillance of web users (getting harder after GDPR & similar efforts from some states in the next year or two)
shift click streams away from organic toward paid channels (through larger ads, more interactive ad units, less appealing organic result formatting, etc.)
Wednesday both Expedia and TripAdvisor reported earnings after hours & both fell off a cliff: “Both Okerstrom and Kaufer complained that their organic, or free, links are ending up further down the page in Google search results as Google prioritizes its own travel businesses.”

Thursday Google hit fresh all time highs.

Booking held up much better than TripAdvisor & Expedia as they have a bigger footprint in Europe (where antitrust is a thing) and they have a higher reliance on paid search versus organic.
The broader SEO industry is to some degree frozen by fear. Roughly half of SEOs claim to have not bought *ANY* links in a half-decade.
Anonymous survey: have you (or your company) purchased backlinks – of ANY quality – for your own site, or any of your clients’ sites, at any point in the past ~5 years?— Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc) October 24, 2019
Long after most of the industry has stopped buying links some people still run the “paid links are a potential FTC violation guideline” line as though it is insightful and/or useful.
Some people may be violating FTC rules by purchasing links that are not labeled as sponsored. This includes “content marketers” who publish articles with paid links on sites they curate. It’s a ticking time bomb because it’s illegal.— Roger Montti (@martinibuster) October 24, 2019
Ask the people carrying Google’s water what they think of the official FTC guidance on poor ad labeling in search results and you will hear the beautiful sound of crickets chirping.
Where is the ad labeling in this unit?

Does small gray text in the upper right corner stating “about these results” count as legitimate ad labeling?
And then when you scroll over that gray text and click on it you get “Some of these hotel search results may be personalized based on your browsing activity and recent searches on Google, as well as travel confirmations sent to your Gmail. Hotel prices come from Google’s partners.”
Zooming out a bit further on the above ad unit to look at the entire search result page, we can now see the following:
4 text ad units above the map
huge map which segments demand by price tier, current sales, luxury, average review, geographic location
organic results below the above wall of ads, and the number of organic search results has been reduced from 10 to 7
How many scrolls does one need to do to get past the above wall of ads?
If one clicks on one of the hotel prices the follow up page is … more ads.
Check out how the ad label is visually overwhelmed by a bright blue pop over.

Worth noting Google Chrome has a built-in ad blocking feature which allows them to strip all ads from displaying on third party websites if they follow Google’s best practices layout used in the search results.

You won’t see ads on websites that have poor ad experiences, like:
Too many ads
Annoying ads with flashing graphics or autoplaying audio
Ad walls before you can see contentWhen these ads are blocked, you’ll see an “Intrusive ads blocked” message. Intrusive ads will be removed from the page.

Hotels have been at the forefront of SEO for many years. They drive massive revenues & were perhaps the only vertical ever referenced in the Google rater guidelines which stated all affiliate sites should be labeled as spam even if they are helpful to users.
Google has won most of the profits in the travel market & so they’ll need to eat other markets to continue their 20% annual growth.
Some people who market themselves as SEO experts not only recognize this trend but even encourage this sort of behavior:
Zoopla, Rightmove and On The Market are all dominant players in the industry, and many of their house and apartment listings are duplicated across the different property portals. This represents a very real reason for Google to step in and create a more streamlined service that will help users make a more informed decision. … The launch of Google Jobs should not have come as a surprise to anyone, and neither should its potential foray into real estate. Google will want to diversify its revenue channels as much as possible, and any market that allows it to do so will be in its sights. It is no longer a matter of if they succeed, but when.
We are nearing many inflection points in many markets where markets that seemed somewhat disconnected by search will still end up being dominated by search. Google is investing heavily in quantum computing. Google Fiber was a nothingburger to force competing ISPs into accelerating expensive network upgrades, but beaming in internet services from satellites will allow Google to bypass local politics, local regulations & heavy network infrastructure construction costs. A startup named Kepler recently provided high-bandwidth connectivity to the Arctic. When Google launches a free ISP there will be many knock on effects.
Categories: google

What Is BERT? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMullerThere’s a lot of hype and misinformation about the new Google algorithm update. What actually is BERT, how does it work, and why does it matter to our work as SEOs? Join our own machine learning and natural language processing expert Britney Muller as she breaks down exactly what BERT is and what it means for the search industry.

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 are talking about all things BERT and I’m super excited to attempt to really break this down for everyone. I don’t claim to be a BERT expert. I have just done lots and lots of research. I’ve been able to interview some experts in the field and my goal is to try to be a catalyst for this information to be a little bit easier to understand. 
There is a ton of commotion going on right now in the industry about you can’t optimize for BERT. While that is absolutely true, you cannot, you just need to be writing really good content for your users, I still think many of us got into this space because we are curious by nature. If you are curious to learn a little bit more about BERT and be able to explain it a little bit better to clients or have better conversations around the context of BERT, then I hope you enjoy this video. If not, and this isn’t for you, that’s fine too.
Word of caution: Don’t over-hype BERT!
I’m so excited to jump right in. The first thing I do want to mention is I was able to sit down with Allyson Ettinger, who is a Natural Language Processing researcher. She is a professor at the University of Chicago. When I got to speak with her, the main takeaway was that it’s very, very important to not over-hype BERT. There is a lot of commotion going on right now, but it’s still far away from understanding language and context in the same way that we humans can understand it. So I think that’s important to keep in mind that we are not overemphasizing what this model can do, but it’s still really exciting and it’s a pretty monumental moment in NLP and machine learning. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Where did BERT come from?
I wanted to give everyone a wider context to where BERT came from and where it’s going. I think a lot of times these announcements are kind of bombs dropped on the industry and it’s essentially a still frame in a series of a movie and we don’t get the full before and after movie bits. We just get this one still frame. So we get this BERT announcement, but let’s go back in time a little bit. 
Natural language processing
Traditionally computers have had an impossible time understanding language. They can store text, we can enter text, but understanding language has always been incredibly difficult for computers. So along comes natural language processing (NLP), the field in which researchers were developing specific models to solve for various types of language understanding. A couple of examples are named entity recognition, classification. We see sentiment, question answering. All of these things have traditionally been sold by individual NLP models and so it looks a little bit like your kitchen. 
If you think about the individual models like utensils that you use in your kitchen, they all have a very specific task that they do very well. But when along came BERT, it was sort of the be-all end-all of kitchen utensils. It was the one kitchen utensil that does ten-plus or eleven natural language processing solutions really, really well after it’s fine tuned. This is a really exciting differentiation in the space. That’s why people got really excited about it, because no longer do they have all these one-off things. They can use BERT to solve for all of this stuff, which makes sense in that Google would incorporate it into their algorithm. Super, super exciting. 
Where is BERT going?
Where is this heading? Where is this going? Allyson had said, 
“I think we’ll be heading on the same trajectory for a while building bigger and better variants of BERT that are stronger in the ways that BERT is strong and probably with the same fundamental limitations.”
There are already tons of different versions of BERT out there and we are going to continue to see more and more of that. It will be interesting to see where this space is heading.
How did BERT get so smart?
How about we take a look at a very oversimplified view of how BERT got so smart? I find this stuff fascinating. It is quite amazing that Google was able to do this. Google took Wikipedia text and a lot of money for computational power TPUs in which they put together in a V3 pod, so huge computer system that can power these models. And they used an unsupervised neural network. What’s interesting about how it learns and how it gets smarter is it takes any arbitrary length of text, which is good because language is quite arbitrary in the way that we speak, in the length of texts, and it transcribes it into a vector.
It will take a length of text and code it into a vector, which is a fixed string of numbers to help sort of translate it to the machine. This happens in a really wild and dimensional space that we can’t even really imagine. But what it does is it puts context and different things within our language in the same areas together. Similar to Word2vec, it uses this trick called masking. 
So it will take different sentences that it’s training on and it will mask a word. It uses this bi-directional model to look at the words before and after it to predict what the masked word is. It does this over and over and over again until it’s extremely powerful. And then it can further be fine-tuned to do all of these natural language processing tasks. Really, really exciting and a fun time to be in this space.
In a nutshell, BERT is the first deeply bi-directional. All that means is it’s just looking at the words before and after entities and context, unsupervised language representation, pre-trained on Wikipedia. So it’s this really beautiful pre-trained model that can be used in all sorts of ways. 
What are some things BERT cannot do? 
Allyson Ettinger wrote this really great research paper called What BERT Can’t Do. There is a Bitly link that you can use to go directly to that. The most surprising takeaway from her research was this area of negation diagnostics, meaning that BERT isn’t very good at understanding negation. 
For example, when inputted with a Robin is a… It predicted bird, which is right, that’s great. But when entered a Robin is not a… It also predicted bird. So in cases where BERT hasn’t seen negation examples or context, it will still have a hard time understanding that. There are a ton more really interesting takeaways. I highly suggest you check that out, really good stuff.
How do you optimize for BERT? (You can’t!)
Finally, how do you optimize for BERT? Again, you can’t. The only way to improve your website with this update is to write really great content for your users and fulfill the intent that they are seeking. And so you can’t, but one thing I just have to mention because I honestly cannot get this out of my head, is there is a YouTube video where Jeff Dean, we will link to it, it’s a keynote by Jeff Dean where he speaking about BERT and he goes into natural questions and natural question understanding. The big takeaway for me was this example around, okay, let’s say someone asked the question, can you make and receive calls in airplane mode? The block of text in which Google’s natural language translation layer is trying to understand all this text. It’s a ton of words. It’s kind of very technical, hard to understand.
With these layers, leveraging things like BERT, they were able to just answer no out of all of this very complex, long, confusing language. It’s really, really powerful in our space. Consider things like featured snippets; consider things like just general SERP features. I mean, this can start to have a huge impact in our space. So I think it’s important to sort of have a pulse on where it’s all heading and what’s going on in this field. 
I really hope you enjoyed this version of Whiteboard Friday. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments down below and I look forward to seeing you all again next time. Thanks so much.
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!

Finding Ideas for a Video Series or Podcast – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by PhilNottinghamVideo and podcasts are only growing in popularity, proving to be an engaging way to reach your audience and find ways to talk about your industry or product. But it’s a crowded market out there, and finding a good idea is only half the battle. Join video marketing extraordinaire Phil Nottingham from Wistia as he explores how we can both uncover great ideas for a podcast or video series and follow through on them in this week’s episode of Whiteboard Friday.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans. My name is Phil Nottingham, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going to talk about how to come up with a great idea for your video series or podcast. I think a lot of businesses out there understand that there’s just this great opportunity now to do a longer form series, a show in podcast or video form, but really struggle with that moment of finding what kind of idea could take them to the next level and help them stand out.
1. Audience
I think the most common error that businesses make is to start with the worst idea in the world, which is interviewing our customers about how they use our product. I’m sure many of you have accidentally fallen down this trap, where you’ve thought, “Ah, maybe that will be a good idea.” But the thing is even if you’re Ferrari or Christian Louboutin or the most desirable product in the world, it’s never going to be interesting for someone to sit there and just listen to your customers talking about your product.
The problem is that your customers are not a unique group of people, aside from the fact that they use your product. Usually there isn’t anything else that brings them together. For this kind of content, for a video series and podcast to really stand out and to grow in terms of their audience, we need to harness word of mouth. Word of mouth doesn’t grow through the way we often think about audience growth in marketing.
Many of us, particularly in the performance marketing space, are used to thinking about funnels. So we get more and more traffic into the funnel, get more people in there, and ultimately some of them convert. But the way word of mouth works is that a small group of people start communicating to another group of people who start communicating to another group of people. You have these ever-expanding circles of communication that ultimately allow you to grow your audience.
How to find a niche audience
But that means you need to start with a group of people who are talking to one another. Invariably, your customers are not talking to each other as a kind of rule of thumb. So what you need to do is find a group of people, an audience who are talking to each other, and that really means a subculture, a community, or maybe an interest group. So find your group of customers and work out what is a subset of customers, what kind of community, wider culture they’re part of, a group of people who you could actually speak to.
The way you might find this is using things like Reddit. If there’s a subculture, there’s going to be a subreddit. A tool like SparkToro will allow you to discover other topics that your customer base might be interested in. Slack communities can be a great source of this. Blogs, there’s often any sort of topic or a niche audience have a blog. Hashtags as well on social media and perhaps meetup groups as well.
So spend some time finding who this audience is for your show, a real group of people who are communicating with one another and who ultimately are someone who you could speak to in a meaningful way. 
2. Insight
Once you’ve got your audience, you then need to think about the insight. What the insight is, is this gap between desire and outcome. So what you normally find is that when you’re speaking to groups of people, they will have something they want to achieve, but there is a barrier in the way of them doing it.
This might be something to do with tools or hardware/software. It could be just to do with professional experience. It could be to do with emotional problems. It could be anything really. So you need to kind of discover what that might be. The essential way to do that is just through good, old-fashioned talking to people. 
Focus groups, Surveys, Social media interactions, Conversations, Data that you have from search, like using Google Search Console, Internal site search, Search volume That kind of thing might tell you exactly what sort of topics, what problems people are having that they really try to solve in this interest group.
Solve for the barrier
So what we need to do is find this particular little nugget of wisdom, this gold that’s going to give us the insight that allows us to come up with a really good idea to try and solve this barrier, whatever that might be, that makes a difference between desire and outcome for this audience. Once we’ve got that, you might see a show idea starting to emerge. So let’s take a couple of examples.
A few examples
Let’s assume that we are working for like a DIY supplies company. Maybe we’re doing just sort of piping. We will discover that a subset of our customers are plumbers, and there’s a community there of plumbing professionals. Now what might we find about plumbers? Well, maybe it’s true that all plumbers are kind of really into cars, and one of the challenges they have is making sure that their car or their van is up to the job for their work.
Okay, so we now have an interesting insight there, that there’s something to do with improving cars that we could hook up for plumbers. Or let’s say we are doing a furniture company and we’re creating furniture for people. We might discover that a subset of our audience are actually amateur carpenters who really love wooden furniture. Their desire is to become professional.
But maybe the barrier is they don’t have the skills or the experience or the belief that they could actually do that with their lives and their career. So we see these sort of very personal problems that we can start to emerge an idea for a show that we might have. 
3. Format
So once we’ve got that, we can then take inspiration from existing TV and media. I think the mistake that a lot of us make is thinking about the format that we might be doing with a show in a very broad sense.
Don’t think about the format in a broad sense — get specific
So like we’re doing an interview show. We’re doing a talk show. We’re doing a documentary. We’re doing a talent show. Whatever it might be. But actually, if we think about the great history of TV and radio the last hundred years or so, all these really smart formats have emerged. So within talk show, there’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” a very sort of serious, long, in-depth interview with one person about their practice.
There’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which has got lots of kind of set pieces and sketches and things that intermingle with the interview. There’s “Ellen,” where multiple people are interviewed in one show. If we think about documentaries, there’s like fly-on-the-wall stuff, just run and gun with a camera, like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Carrying on the food thing, there’s “Chef’s Table,” where it’s very planned and meticulously shot and is an exposé of one particular chef.
Or something like “Ugly Delicious,” which is a bit more like a kind of exploratory piece of documentary, where there’s kind of one protagonist going around the world and they piece it together at the end. So you can think about all these different formats and try to find an idea that maybe has been done before in TV in some format and find your way through that. 
A few more examples
So let’s think about our plumber example. Plumbers who love cars, well, we could do “Pimp My Ride for Tradesmen.”
That’s an interesting idea for a talk. Or let’s say we’re going after like amateur carpenters who would love to be professional. We could easily do “American Idol for Lumberjacks or Carpenters.” So we can start to see this idea emerge. Or let’s take a kind of B2B example. Maybe we are a marketing agency, as I’m sure many of you are. If you’re a marketing agency, maybe you know that some of your customers are in startups, and there’s this startup community.
One of the real problems that startups have is getting their product ready for market. So you could kind of think, well, the barrier is getting the product ready for market. We could then do “Queer Eye for Product Teams and Startups,”and we’ll bring in five specialists in different areas to kind of get their product ready and sort of iron out the details and make sure they’re ready to go to market and support marketing.
So you can start to see by having a clear niche audience and an insight into the problems that they’re having, then pulling together a whole list of different show ideas how you can bring together an idea for a potential, interesting TV show, video series, or podcast that could really make your business stand out. But remember that great ideas are kind of 10 a penny, and the really hard thing is finding the right one and making sure that it works for you.
So spend a lot of time coming up with lots and lots of different executions, trying them out, doing kind of little pilots before you work out and commit to the idea that works for you. The most important thing is to keep going and keep trying and teasing out those ideas rather than just settling on the first thing that comes to mind, because usually it’s not going to be the right answer. So I hope that was very useful, and we will see you again on another episode of Whiteboard Friday.
Take care.
Video transcription by Speechpad.comSign 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!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Emotional Marketing

Emotional marketing is all the rage right now in the world of content marketing. But what exactly is it? Does posting a cute picture of a baby or puppy on your social media count? Or do you need an extensive omnichannel marketing strategy? The truth is, emotional marketing is all based on your customers’ needs and desires since they are the ones you are trying to create an emotional connection with.

Last-Minute Tips for Boosting Ecommerce Sales This Holiday Season

Can you believe it’s crunch time already? If last year tells us anything, it’s that most store owners will still be wrapping up their holiday promotions just days (even hours) before launch. The good news is, whether your sales event is tomorrow or still weeks ahead, there are always some tweaks you can make to […]
The post Last-Minute Tips for Boosting Ecommerce Sales This Holiday Season appeared first on Blog – Printful.

How to use gift guides to generate affiliate sales during the holidays

Regardless of niche, Q4 is a great time for publishers to generate increased commissions from affiliate activity. Last year on Awin and ShareASale, there was a 46% increase in the number of sales generated and a 51% increase in the number of publisher commissions earned YoY on Black Friday alone. Knowing this Q4 is likely to result in similarly impressive results, […]
The post How to use gift guides to generate affiliate sales during the holidays appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

7 Tips to Keep Customers Come Back Several Times without Begging Them

To grow sustainably, acquiring new customers is not enough. For life-long value, you need a plan to keep customers coming back to you and increase customer retention rates. 5% increase in customer retention rate can lift 25%- 95% profits. Retaining an existing customer is 7x more expensive than acquiring a…
Continue reading…
The post 7 Tips to Keep Customers Come Back Several Times without Begging Them appeared first on Beeketing Blog.

The 5 Most Creative Holiday Marketing Campaigns

During the biggest shopping season of the year, most eCommerce businesses are too busy dealing with the practicalities of holiday prep to think outside the box and create a unique marketing campaign.

But with a projected $123.4 billion in online sales on the table over November and December alone, brands can’t afford to let the opportunity go and risk missing out on masses of new traffic who can become loyal customers over the new year.

So, we rounded up some of the strongest and most creative holiday campaigns we’ve seen yet to give you some seasonal inspiration.
1) L.L.Bean spreads cheer with puppies

Sometimes the best way to resonate with your customers is by showing you care about the things they love most — in this case, their dogs. L.L.Bean runs an annual holiday Instagram campaign called #12DaysofPuppies, inviting their followers to share sweet photos of their dogs for the chance to be featured and win a giftcard. Since most dog owners love sharing pictures of t …This story continues at Yotpo