Video content impacts organic performance more than any other asset that can be displayed on a web page. In today’s online marketing world, videos have become an integral step in the user journey.
Yet for the large enterprises, video optimization is still not an essential part of their website optimization plan. Video content is still battling for recognition among the B2B marketer. Other industries, on the other hand, have already harnessed this power of video.
In the recent Google Marketing Live, Google mentioned that 80% of all online searches are followed by a video search. Some other stats to take into consideration, according to Smallbiztrends by 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. Furthermore, pages with videos are 53 times more likely to rank on Google’s first page.
I took a deeper look into video content and its impact on organic performance. My analysis started in the fall of 2018. Google had already started to display video thumbnails in the SERPs. According to research from BrightEdge, Google is now showing video thumbnails in 26% of search results.
Understanding the true influence of video SEO for your business will require some testing. I did four different sets of tests to arrive at the sweet spot for our pages.
The first test was to gauge if having video content on the page made any significant changes. I identified a page that ranked on page four of the SERP’s in spite of being well optimized. The team placed video content relevant to the textual content to the page. And the test result was loud and clear, having a video on the page increased relevance, resulting in increased rankings, and visibility in universal search. The Page started to rank on page one and the video thumbnail in the SERPs displayed the desired video and linked back to the page.
The next test was to understand the impact of the method of delivery. I measured what was the level of user engagement and organic performance when video contents are displayed/delivered on the page via different formats. The page was set up wherein users could get access to the video content either via a link that would take the user to YouTube or as a pop-up or as an embedded file that actually plays the video on the page itself. Results were very evident – every time the video was embedded on the page the user engagement increased, which decreased the bounce rate, and improved page ranking.
Taking a step further in our testing journey, I conducted a follow-up test to evaluate which category of video content performs better? Like any other SEO strategy, video optimization isn’t different. Skip the marketing fluff and go for product feature videos, “how-to” videos, or “what is” videos. We tested assorted video contents on the same page. Whenever the content of the video addressed a user need and was relevant to the page textual content the page rankings improved.
Lastly, I tested if Google prefers YouTube videos or domain hosted videos. On this subject, several of my business colleagues and I have budded heads. There is no universal truth. Google does display both YouTube and domain hosted videos in the thumbnails on the SERPs. Different sites will see different results. I tested the impacts of an embedded YouTube video on the page. What I found was something I had not even considered in my hypothesis. When the video was already present on YouTube and then embedded on the page, the URL improved in rankings and at the same time the thumbnails on the SERPs showed the YouTube video but when the user clicked on the video it took them to the product page and not to the YouTube video.
Many enterprise SEO strategists failed to leverage the video content because they feel their products are not that B2C in nature. Remember that search engines like videos because searchers like videos.
Videos take the static image or textual content to experience content, wherein the user can actually view how to use the information. This brings in a much higher and stronger level of engagement that in turn improving the brand reputation.
What video content should you consider?
I recommend starting at square one – what is the user intend/need you are trying to address. Define the goals you want to achieve from this video marketing. Are you looking to drive conversions or spread brand awareness? Put some thought into whether the video is informative and engaging and whether it is relevant to the page that it is displayed in.
Don’t overlook how that message is conveyed as well. Take into account personas as that establishes your intended target audience, the overall tone that the video should take. What stage of the user journey is being targeted? Understanding the areas where video results are high can help provide insight and guidance for additional content strategy ideas.
Things to remember when starting to incorporate video content
More and more people are searching and viewing content on their handheld devices. Therefore, you have to optimize this content with a mobile-first approach.
The basic SEO principle still applies. Optimize title, description, tags, transcript. Matching these to the user intent can encourage click-throughs
Ensure its page placement. Always surround your video with relevant content to tie it all together.
Don’t just link to it, embed it onto your site and make sure the video image is compelling.
This is the critical time to incorporate video content and optimization into your content strategy for 2019. When quality videos are added to web pages, it gets recognized as rich content, a step up from the regular text-filled pages. Video content will only help your optimization strategy in expanding your reach to driving engaged site visits.
Tanu Javeri is Senior Global SEO Strategist at IBM.
Keyword research is one of the most important digital marketing tasks. Furthermore, it lies at the foundation of any business strategy or campaign you are planning.
Keyword research provides useful insight into organic ranking opportunities, persona building, competitive research, product development — you name it!
Another reason why I love keyword research is that it’s a highly creative process. There is never such a thing as “enough tools” when it comes to keyword research. Each data source and the way the data is presented brings something new to the table. Sometimes when I feel stuck, all I need is to play with a new keyword intelligence tool.
With that in mind, I decided to create a roundup of free (and freemium) keyword research tools, i.e. those tools you can run right now, without the need to pay first.
Some of those tools are freemium (meaning you can pay for the upgrade) but all of them are quite usable for free (which is what I recommend doing first before deciding if you need to upgrade). Finally, I am not going to include obvious tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Search Console as I am sure SEW readers are well aware of.
New tools inspire new tactics which is what I hope you’ll end up with.
1. Rank Tracker: Aggregated keyword suggestions from multiple sources
Rank Tracker free version gives you access to its keyword research feature that uses around 20 different keyword research sources, including Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google Suggest,Wordtracker, SEMRush and more.
Rank Tracker is a downloadable tool and you do have to provide your name and email to start downloading. Other than that, the installation takes seconds, and running it won’t kill your browser.
The free version includes keyword analysis feature helping you to discover most promising keywords to include into your content strategy. These metrics include:
Monthly search volume (according to Google)
Keyword difficulty that reflects the estimated level of organic competition of each query.
…keywords with the Keyword Difficulty score below 60 are the hardest to find but the easiest to rank for. When accompanied by a considerable and steady number of searches, they become perfect keywords to optimize your pages for. You may also have a look at KEI, visibility, and CPC parameters for a deeper analysis.
You can export the whole list into an Excel file to play further.
The premium features include collaboration, cross-tool reporting, task scheduler, multiple projects, etc.
You can see the full list of features you’ll get free access to here.
2. Answer The Public: Google Suggest driven questions and more
Answer The Public is a completely free keyword research tool that requires no registration. It uses Google Suggest data to discover questions, comparison-based queries and keywords containing prepositions.
Answer The Public allows to view the data in two ways: Visualization (i.e. a mindmap) and Data:
You can also export all the results in a CSV file or save any visualization as a PNG file.
The recently launched premium version allows you to target keywords by location, compare data and add team members for collaboration.
Tip: You can also use this tool to upload your Answer The Public spreadsheet to add Google search volume to each question. This will help you focus on those questions that are often being searched in Google.
3. Text Optimizer: Related concepts and terms
Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool helping you identify related concepts behind each topic or query. It uses Google’s search snippets to analyze the keyword context to come up with related concepts and entities that help Google understand and classify the topic.
Text Optimizer is both content optimization and research tool helping you direct your whole content creation process.
Don’t get misled though: It’s not about stuffing your content with the suggested terms. Use the tool for deeper topic understanding and as a writing aid.
The premium version allows to use geo-targeting, build whole sentences to help you in writing and access your historic records.
Kparser is a freemium tool that runs the whole keyword analysis for free, without requiring registration. You won’t be able to export the keyword list unless you upgrade but you can use the keyword filters to the left to group and cluster your list by a common modifier.
Kparser combines multiple keyword sources including Google Trends, Ebay, Amazon, Google Trends, and YouTube.
It’s a somewhat basic approach to keyword clustering but it’s nonetheless nice to have completely for free as it helps to discover more queries to optimize for.
The premium features include unlimited searches, geo-targeting and more.
Finteza is a nice affordable alternative to Google Analytics with huge focus on conversion optimization and monetization.
One of its highly useful feature is search analysis section showing you which keywords brought most clicks to your site. It’s a great way to identify more queries to focus on:
If you select any of the queries and keep browsing the site, you’ll see data related to that keyword only, e.g. its conversion rate, associated conversion funnel analysis and user demographics. Finteza also recently added retargeting feature allowing you to serve specific content based on the initial referral or engagement.
You can read more on Finteza’s traffic analytics here.
Which keyword research tools do you know that are usable free of charge? Please share yours in the comments!
Featured snippets, also known as “position zero” placements on Google, have been receiving their fair share of glory and blame lately.
While some big corporations like Forbes went ahead and questioned if Google is stealing traffic with the featured snippet, content creators like me have found it easy to get more traffic, thanks to being able to rank small sites on a featured snippet.
This post will give you a brief idea on how you can rank a page on Google’s featured snippet — without building any links to that page.
Understand the types
There are three major types of featured snippets that you can go for. As most of our clients are bloggers, we tend to go for either the paragraph snippets or the list snippets. Table snippet is another popular one that you can target.
Here’s a quick graph from Ahrefs about the snippet type and their percentages.
Targeting the right keywords
Once you finalize the type of snippet that you would want to go for, it is time to dig deep into your keyword research to find keywords that suit your blog and match the requirements for the type of snippet that you are going after.
If you are going for a paragraph snippet, you will have to find keywords that are primarily related to these types:
If you are trying to rank for a numeric list (numbered list or bullet points), the idea would be to structure your content in a way so that it offers step by step guides to someone. As per our experience, Google only shows a numeric list on featured snippet when the keyword tells Google that the searcher is looking for a list.
For table snippets, the idea is to have structured schema data on your website that compares at least two sets of data on the page. You don’t really have to have a properly formatted column-based table to be able to rank for table snippets as long as the comparison and the schema is there.
Understanding the type and targeting the right keywords will do more than half of the job for you when it comes to ranking your website on the featured snippet with zero links.
However, you are not going to win the battle by out-throwing an already existing featured snippet. This will only work for keywords that don’t already have a featured snippet ranking on Google.
To grab featured snippets from the existing competition, you will need to go ahead and perform a few more steps.
Copying your competitor
Some will call it “being inspired”, but essentially, what you are doing is copying the structure of an existing featured snippet article and trying to make it better (both with content and if possible, with links).
What do I mean when I say, copying the structure of an existing page and making it better? If you want to rank for the featured snippet for the keyword “best cat food brands” and if the one, ranking at this moment already has a list of 20, you will have to create a list of 25, in the exact same format that the current one is using.
Once that’s done, the final step is simply to make sure you have proper schema on the page.
Note: It is very unlikely that this method will help you outrank an existing featured snippet unless you also rank in the top ten for that keyword.
How do we find keywords for featured snippets?
As you can imagine, finding the right keyword to target is winning half of the battle when it comes to ranking on featured snippets.
I use Semrush, but feel free to use your own tools. Here’s what our agency’s process looks like.
Let’s assume, for the purpose of this article, that I run a pet blog and I am interested in ranking for multiple featured snippets.
I would go to Semrush, and put one of my competitors on search.
Now click on “Organic Research”, select positions and from advanced filters, select – Include > Search features > featured snippet.
This will give you a huge list of keywords that are currently ranking as featured snippets. As you can see, we found about 231 opportunities to target here:
It is time to add another condition to our advanced filters. Let’s select include > words count > greater than five. Here’s what the new result looks like:
From here on, simply organize the keywords by volume and then select the ones that you think matches with your target market. Like any keyword research, you will have to find keywords that have low competition and moderate search volume. Personally, I would try to go for keywords that have less than 500 monthly searches.
Make sure that you are following the initial three steps that we discussed. You will almost always have a higher chance of ranking on featured snippet following this strategy.
Khalid Farhan blogs about internet marketing at KhalidFarhan.com. He can be found on Twitter @iamkhalidfarhan.
Sometimes that can be encouraging, even exhilarating. You’ve got plenty of space for all your ideas, and countless opportunities to engage with potential customers and to build a stronger relationship with existing ones.
But producing a constant stream of content can be exhausting.
You’ll find yourself running out of ideas and running out of steam. And at that point, it can be really difficult to keep creating high-quality content on a regular basis.
Even if you’re in a position to hire someone to help, you’ll still need to have a fair amount of involvement in content production – supplying ideas and outlines, at the very least.
So how can you keep up with all the content you need to produce? Before we dig into some specific tips, let’s take a look at how much you actually need to create.
How frequently should you post on your blog and your social media accounts?
There are no rules here different blogs do different things, often within the same industry. In the content marketing world, for instance:
Smart Blogger posts (very in-depth) pieces once a week
Copyblogger publishes three or four posts a week
Content Marketing Institute posts one piece each weekday
As a rough guideline, you’ll probably want to aim for at least one weekly post, one daily Facebook and/or Instagram post, and three or more posts a day on fast-moving networks like Twitter. (According to Louise Myers, the “general consensus” is that anything from three to 30 Tweets per day is fine.
So how do you keep up with this level of content, week after week?
How to create great content without burning out
Here are nine ways to keep up your content production without getting to the point of feeling so burned out that you simply give up.
You can use these as a step by step process, or you can pick and choose ideas that’ll make your existing process go more smoothly.
1. Decide how often you’ll post content
While there’s no “right” answer to how often to post content, there’s definitely a “wrong” one. Posting content whenever you feel like it, at wildly varying frequencies.
It’s best – for you and for your audience – to have a consistent posting schedule, both on your blog and on social networks. That might mean, for instance, two blog posts each week, one Facebook post each day (more may be counter-productive), and five Twitter posts each day.
While you might vary your schedule a little, having a clear idea of what to aim for makes it much more likely that you’ll write and publish regular posts.
2. Come up with a suitable pattern for your content
With social media, in particular, it’s helpful to “pattern” your content. This is also a useful practice for blog posts, especially if you post twice a week or more on your blog.
Rather than starting with a blank page when it comes to generating ideas, you can have a pre-set “pattern” for the content you’re going to create.
For instance, if you’re writing five Twitter posts each day, you might decide to have:
Two posts linking to other people’s great content
One post linking to your most recent piece of content
One post linking to a piece of content from your archive
One post that asks a question or prompts a discussion
3. Brainstorm lots of ideas
Simply coming up with ideas for content can take a lot of time. Instead of sitting down and staring at a blank page, try “batching” the idea generation process: set aside time once every week or two to come up with a whole list of ideas.
Some great ways to find content ideas include:
Common search terms within your industry: this is part of keyword research and as well as being a useful SEO tool, it’s great for idea-generation.
Questions that you frequently get asked by potential customers.
Problems that you faced when you were starting out in your industry.
Other people’s content – could you create something that tackles a topic in more depth, or from a different angle?
Your own content: can you go back to an old blog post and update it, or take some social media posts and weave them into a piece for your blog?
With short posts on Twitter and Facebook, you probably don’t need an outline – just a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.
For blog posts, though, you’ll find it’s much faster to write when you’ve got a solid outline in place, especially if you’re producing long-form content. Again, it’s often a good idea to “batch produce” your outlines, by picking four or so ideas and outlining all those posts at once.
That way, when it’s time to write those posts, a lot of the hard work is already done. Plus, if you outline several posts in a single session, you’ll find it much easier to create links between them.
You might want to queue up a week’s worth of posts all at once. Buffer is a great tool for this, allowing you to schedule posts to go out at any time you want – making it easier to reach potential clients in other timezones or those on unusual schedules.
6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces
Creating content requires a lot of focus – it’s not something you can easily do while you’re fielding phone calls or responding to emails every few minutes.
Block out periods of time (ideally two hours long) in advance, where you can shut your office door, ignore your email, and let calls go to voicemail.
6. Set aside focused time for longer pieces
While you may have no choice but to self-edit your content, if it’s possible, get an editor involved. This might be someone already on your team, or a freelancer external to your company.
A good editor will go far beyond correcting spelling mistakes and grammatical slips. They’ll help to ensure your content is well structured, that it flows smoothly, and that it’s as engaging as possible.
8. Have an assistant format and upload your content
If you’re uploading all your own posts on your blog and social media, you’ll be spending time finding images, selecting categories, adding hashtags, including links, and so on.
While these tasks are an important part of the content creation process, they don’t need to be done by you. Delegate as much of the repetitive work as possible to an assistant so that you can free up more time to write or design the content itself.
9. Get ahead and take time off
If content creation is starting to feel like a treadmill that you can’t get off, then you’re probably heading for burnout. Plan your schedule so you can get ahead, perhaps by creating an extra piece or two of content each week.
That way, you can take a week off from content creation occasionally (plus, you’ll also be covered for any unexpected events, like a particularly busy period, or illness).
10. Repurpose your existing content
There may well be excellent blog posts in your archive that rarely get read, and your social media posts will almost certainly only gather fleeting attention.
Instead of always coming up with fresh ideas and creating new pieces from scratch, how about reusing some of your existing content? That might be as simple as writing an updated version of a blog post, and republishing it – or it could involve something more involved like turning a series of tweets into a blog post, or turning a post into an infographic.
Valuable, high-quality content is great for your business, your potential and existing customers, and your SEO. By trying some or all of the tips above, you can keep up the flow of content, without burning out.
If you have a tip for creating lots of great content, consistently, feel free to share it with us in the comments below.
Joe Williams is the founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on Twitter at @joetheseo.
Search engines and people love the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages. Having a well-written FAQ section on your website is a great way to show online customers that you care about their experience and get you found from outside your website, directly responding to the needs of your audience and their search queries.
For good reason, voice search is becoming increasingly popular. Google reports that 20% of searches are voice related. So, it cannot be denied that people are looking for easier and faster ways to get answers to their questions.
FAQ content can drive a bunch of highly targeted traffic to your website. In many cases, business owners have to use it as a winning content marketing strategy. Here are some reasons why you should create an SEO-friendly FAQ section:
It helps refund and customer service inquiries.
It attracts potential customers and builds trust in your business.
It improves your SEO rankings because Google values that your website is focused on helping people to get all the information to take an educated decision on your product.
So, if you want to get the most out of your FAQ resource, you should build it right. Here are five ways to make it both focused and comprehensive.
1. Collect relevant FAQs
Before creating your FAQ page, it’s crucial to raise the right questions to educate your online customers about your service or product and generate demand. It takes a thorough and continuous question research, a lot of planning, and a little strategic work.
If you have a support center or customer service reps – frontline employees that are always getting bombarded with questions, you can easily find out what questions your customers regularly ask. They are valuable sources of information for collecting questions and giving answers to multiple people at the same time.
To take this further, collecting customer and visitor feedback is a good practice to improve any business. Online survey tools like Survey Anyplace helps you create an online survey questionnaire, identify pain points that your target audience has, and supplement your content with unique data and insights.
Keyword research tools like SE Ranking lets you detect the most popular keywords people are using around the web. The tool uses a separate algorithm that generates the most common words in your niche questions together with search volume, traffic cost, keyword effectiveness index (KEI), and other parameters. You can easily filter and export your results so it can be saved.
Source: SE Ranking
While Google highlights a lot of insight into the most popular questions, forums like Quora or Reddit will bring up the most trending questions people are interested in at this very moment. The best way to find questions is to follow a particular category and check for new questions on a regular basis. There is also an additional benefit of making more meaningful connections out there and position yourself as a niche expert.
Check out your competitors’ FAQ pages, product reviews for items in your niche, and look closer at what they are doing, and what questions they answer that you haven’t. Have you heard these questions from your consumers before? Adopt their best experiences and improve your FAQ page.
2. Implement structured data
Adding structured data to your FAQ page is a good way to become more visually appealing in the SERP, get a higher average click-through rate, and pull ahead of your competitors in your niche. Fortunately, Google recently added support for FAQ structured data in search and Google Assistant.
By implementing this structured data, you can make your content eligible to show questions and answers directly on Google Search and the Assistant. Notice that FAQ can be used for single pages that provide official questions and answers.
You should not be confused with Q&A Page markup that is designed for sites like forums, Quora where users can submit answers to questions. You can find out more about this markup in the FAQ developer.
To track any FAQ issues and search appearance, Google included a new enhancement report in Search Console. It displays all warnings, errors, and valid items related to your FAQ pages.
3. Think visually
Sometimes a picture is a better way to explain touch concepts, grab attention, and make the learning process more fluid. Don’t limit your answers to text. Use stunning and well-designed images, graphics, illustrations or videos to add more visual appeal to your FAQ page and make it easier for visitors to receive clear answers to their questions.
For example, if you’re giving instructions for executing a specific process, or are providing details about how to use a certain feature of one of your services, images, charts, graphics, and screenshots can guide customers through it step-by-step. They simply help people break up big chunks of text and improve their comprehension.
4. Build a brilliant navigational structure
No matter how well-written your FAQ section is, it’s not going to get to your prospects if users can’t find it or even navigate it. Giving your FAQ section a structure will improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and SEO for the entire website.
If you have longer FAQ pages, many categories, and subcategories, search functionality will make it easier for users to find answers instantaneously. It keeps them from clicking through your knowledge base to find the right question. Notice that the FAQ search is distinguished from the general search option of the website. Consider this difference to shorten the number of search results and provide the right solutions for your customers.
It’s a good idea to divide questions into categories and lead to informative subheadings. For example, shipping, sizing, features, and other such relevant details – and in case you provide a long list of questions.
In the image given below, Pepper offers the FAQ page that is intuitively categorized and easy to navigate.
To reduce your page to a more manageable size, you can list only the questions and include links to take readers to the answers. It’s great for SEO as it drives traffic to many pages on your site and causes high spikes in page views that Google measures to decide how valuable your content is. If you want to optimize your FAQ section for search queries, this structure can be a good fit for that.
Make short SEO-friendly URLs for each FAQ post to simply direct customers to exactly the right answer, build trust in the searcher and easily share useful information with others. Use popular social media to spread the word about your FAQ page.
5. Check analytics on a regular basis
Once you’ve created your FAQ page, you should start with the analytics of your website in order to see whether the page is getting traffic and ranking for useful keyword phrases.
Are users visiting your FAQ page or are they going by? How long do they stay? Where do they go after looking at the FAQ page? What paths are they taking? Getting these meaningful and actionable insights, you can add some minor changes or rework your page to better direct visitors to the FAQ section.
To get advanced web analytics, you can start a quick overview of a page in Finteza. The tool features full-cycle data management to find out whether your marketing campaign has reached desired targets, which channels and sources generate the highest traffic and how conversion rate can be further improved.
Checking analytics regularly will help you fine-tune your FAQ pages and other web pages within your site.
Generally, an FAQ page looks like an afterthought for many websites. But if used strategically, it can give you much value in different ways, from reducing purchase anxiety to easing the burden on support teams.
What’s more, you’ll be able to educate your teams and yourself while creating a list of FAQ questions, and offer a better service or product on the go.
Are you making the most of your FAQ page? What tactic works well for your business? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
Irina Weber is Brand Manager at SE Ranking. She can be found on Twitter @irinaweber048.
As digital advertisers, driving strong performance is at the heart of what we do. But, what is the true goal of paid search ad copy? If clicks, conversions, and demand generation are what is most imperative to client success and satisfaction, do you really need fresh ad copy to accomplish these goals?
At first glance, you might think, yes.
Forbes estimated that in 2017, Americans were exposed to 4,000 different forms of ads and brand messaging each day. With ads packed on top of each other, it can sometimes be difficult to fully capture user attention and interest. This idea leads some people to believe that they have to consistently develop and redevelop novel ad copy that breaks through the clutter. While it isn’t wrong to try and separate yourself from competitors within the marketplace, you don’t have to spend too much time creating niche variances in your copy.
Do users actually care about ad copy?
In this highly saturated ecommerce landscape, people aren’t going to spend time reading all of the specifics of your ad copy, regardless of how fascinating it might be. The average user only spends a couple of seconds navigating the SERP after typing in their query, meaning that they’re not going to actively take the time to read all three headlines as well as both description lines. In my experience as a consumer, when I type in a query, I scan the ad’s first two headlines, display URL, and site links before deciding whether or not to click.
To prove this theory of whether users truly care about the wording and actual detail within the ad copy, we ran an A/B test for one of our clients during a promotional period. From a high-level perspective, the test involved running evergreen ad copy versus promotion-driven ad copy across all of our branded trademark campaigns.
The results: Evergreen copy drove a 30% higher click-through rate
The outcomes we found were captivating. Our evergreen copy drove a 30% higher click-through rate over the course of the promo period, as well as a 19% lower cost per click. Ultimately, this decrease in CPC helped facilitate increased efficiency, saving us thousands of dollars. Evergreen copy also drove stronger back-end metrics, showing +2800bps in conversion rate versus our promotion copy.
With this being said, I’m not trying to say that it’s acceptable to get complacent with your copy development. I do believe that there are things you can apply to your ad copy that will help your ad stand out, drive relevance, increase quality score in the auction process, and ultimately drive increased traffic to the site.
Typically, strong PPC ads commonly contain features, benefits, and a strong call to action. The purpose of including these elements isn’t because they’re going to necessarily be heavily read or sifted through. It is merely to increase visibility, user experience, and ultimately get higher conversions for your clients.
The fight for SERP real estate isn’t won through compelling ad copy, but through relevance, quality score, and keyword inclusion. These elements convince the user that your ad will provide the solution to their query.
The answer isn’t easy
Incorporating this practice can hold many challenges, especially within an advertiser to client relationship. There are many times where a client pushes us to use copy that is either developed in-house, has a specific promotional message, or is nearly identical to the wording on their website. Sometimes these ad copy suggestions can be successful in increasing the quality score and relevance. But being an agency, it is our job to suggest running tests on different variations of ad copy that can potentially drive higher performance, especially since the window of time when users assess PPC ads is extremely small. At the end of the day, many brands will want to utilize whatever will drive the highest traffic, conversions, and demand across their accounts.
Focus not on wording, but on results
To summarize, ad copy is absolutely imperative for PPC success. But remember, users, are unlikely to take the time to read all of the intricacies included within each headline and description. Instead of spending time focusing solely on eloquent wording, it is important to suggest tests with your clients and ensure that you are having conversations about continuously optimizing your copy from a performance-based mindset. With this clutter-filled ecommerce marketplace, the essential benefits of ad copy lay in creating copy that will have a high-quality score and drive heavy clicks.
Nicolas Ross is an SEM Coordinator at PMG.
What are your thoughts on this? Share them in the comments.
Are you putting enough thought into your meta description tags? If not, you’re missing out. Yes, your meta description tag should describe your post but many companies and websites will go well beyond that to carefully craft descriptions that can massively increase their click-through rate from search engines.
You can do the same. We’re going to take a look at nine types of meta descriptions that can help you get more clicks.
For each, I’ll walk you through an example, showing you what’s working well with that meta description tag and what it could potentially be doing better.
You don’t have to pick just one of these methods to use. You might want to focus on a particular angle, like writing a meta description tag that’s “call-to-action” focused but add in something else too like power words or a USP.
Meta description tags should be clear, letting the searcher know what they’re going to get. After all, if you confuse people, they’re not going to click through.
What works well
This description takes a “what it says on the tin” approach in describing the website. It’s very clear about who the target audience is – “nerds and average Joes” rather than, for instance, hardcore bodybuilders. It also clearly and succinctly explains the benefits the site can provide for the searcher with the description line, “lose weight, get stronger, live better”.
Room for improvement
The title tag and meta description are repetitive. The second part of the title tag (after the colon) is the same as the second sentence in the meta description. It would read better if these were both different, this would also provide room to give more information or benefits.
The title tag also appears to be targeting generic keywords like “lose weight”, so it might be better to focus on more specific keywords here.
2. USP focused
A “USP” is a company’s “unique selling point”. It’s something that distinguishes their product from all the other similar products out there. The USP could be based on added value, quality, service, speed, advanced features, or almost anything else that acts as a differentiator.
Leading with a USP can work particularly work well for site homepages, where the meta description might otherwise seem rather generic.
What works well
Zappos is well known for its outstanding customer support and in the United States, it’s often considered the gold standard for online businesses. Here, Zappos communicates this through several strong USPs like “free shipping and returns”, “1000s of styles”, “365-day return policy”, and “24/7 customer service”.
The word “legendary” helps emphasize how Zappos is famed for its customer service and makes them sound a bit more epic. (See point six for more on using power words in your meta description tag.)
Room for improvement
This is a little picky, but all caps plus an exclamation point for “GET FREE SHIPPING & RETURNS!” comes across as a little shouty. It makes it seem like Zappos is trying a bit too hard, and doesn’t really convey quite the right feel for a large, professional company.
3. Question focused
People tend to turn to search engines because they’ve got a question so why not ask them one to help show that you know what they’re looking for?
This is my go-to type of meta description when I’m struggling with ideas and it works in almost all contexts.
What works well
If someone’s searching for SEO tips, asking if they’re interested in learning more about SEO will almost certainly get a positive response – they’re hardly going to say “nope”! The inclusion of “in 2019” helps suggest that the advice provided will be up-to-date, and “key trends” also ties in with this, indicating that this article will focus on tips that follow the latest thinking in the SEO industry.
Room for improvement
This is very picky, but the URL and the date stamp that appear immediately before this meta description tag both include “2018”. It’s obvious if you think about why this is the case. This post was published at the end of 2018, looking toward trends in 2019 but it could create a brief moment of confusion for a searcher who’s scanning through results quickly.
In some cases, it might be appropriate to emphasize a greater purpose behind your website, whether that’s a particular corporate value or a very practical way in which you make a difference. This can provide searchers with an additional incentive to check out your site rather than the others.
What works well
TOMS’ purpose is very clear from this short, easy-to-read description. They’re not driven by profit, but instead by helping others. Even if the searcher hasn’t heard of them and their “One for One” policy, it’s clear what it means from the context and the ® icon helps indicate that it’s a recognized and registered policy.
Room for improvement
It isn’t actually clear what TOMS sells. They started as a company selling shoes and matching each pair sold with a new pair given to a child in need. They now sell shoes and sunglasses, but you wouldn’t know that from the meta description tag above.
Note: Since the initial research for this post, TOMS has indeed updated their title tag to include shoes and sunglasses, but their meta description tag still uses the rather generic word “product”.
5. Call-to-action focused
Providing a call-to-action in your meta description tag might sound unusual, but for many products, it makes great sense. A clear call-to-action can prompt searchers not only to click but to also do something once they arrive on your site.
What works well
The call to action is both clear and repeated with statements like “Download the full version” and “Start your free trial today”. Having it at both the start and end of the meta description emphasizes it, especially with the word “free” being used in both places.
Room for improvement
The second sentence of the meta description tag is fairly generic, “photos, images, 3D artwork and more”. Given that Adobe is a huge brand, it might be worth it for them to try a little harder here to add more appeal to creative types, perhaps by using some stronger power words. (See point seven.)
6. Offer focused
This type of description combines a question or a point of curiosity with specific offers to entice readers to click through.
What works well
Starting with a question, as we’ve seen already, can help get an easy “yes”. The offers here sound impressively good, a four-star London hotel for £21 definitely sounds attractive. Including details of “The Savoy” makes it clear that KAYAK isn’t just for bargain hunters, though, and includes prestigious hotels too.
Room for improvement
I’m a bit of a stickler for making sure meta descriptions are within the limits and not truncated with the “…” at the end, but some SEOs feel this approach entices the user to click through. You might want to try using an SEO tool that helps check the meta content preview for length and strength, and see how it works for you.
It’s a small detail, but it seems a little odd that KAYAK has “3 stars from £33” and “4 stars+ from £21” – which is significantly cheaper. Obviously, there are lots of reasons this could be the case (e.g. location, special details) but it might cause a brief moment of confusion or even skepticism for the reader.
7. Power words focused
Focusing on power words like “incredible”, “powerful”, “secret”, “little-known”, and so on can help make your meta description tag stand out. Smart Blogger has an enormous list of power words here if you need some more suggestions. Be careful to not overdo it, though. If you stuff your keyword description with power words, it’ll look over-hyped.
What works well
The words “free” and “expert” both work well to grab attention. “Free” is always a good promise and “expert” implies that this advice will be well worth following and ensures that it will go beyond the basics. In the final sentence, “complete” is also a good power word as it suggests the searcher won’t need to turn to any other resource if they use this one.
Room for improvement
The sentence “Get your complete online career advice service” reads rather oddly. It reads more like it’s been optimized for search engines rather than for the people reading it. I’d suggest something like “We’re your complete online career advice service” or “Use our complete online career advice service” (and even those might sound a little over-optimized).
8. Special characters focused
Including symbols and emojis in your meta description tag can help it visually stand out in a sea of words. Depending on your brand, it could tie in well with your values. For example, if you want to come across as playful, or if you’re a brand aimed at teens you could focus on conveying the “fun” element.
Keep in mind that some searchers may react negatively to symbols and emojis, considering them unprofessional or even spammy.
What works well
The green boxes with check marks catch the searcher’s eye, drawing them to the listing. They help to highlight key points in the listing with “the best deals”, “the lowest prices”, and “great savings”.
Room for improvement
This meta description tag is written in a rather generic way probably because eBay has automatically created it according to a set of rules. The exact same description could be used for many other pages with just the words “Temporary Tattoos” changed, so it lacks relevance.
One final approach to meta description tags is to focus on the solution or win that you’re providing for searchers. This type of meta description will promise something that the searcher will achieve through buying from the website or in some cases, simply from reading the content on a site.
What works well
This meta description tag starts with a question that searchers are very likely to say “yes” to. The question “Want to learn how to snowboard in a day?” offers a clear outcome for the reader and also brings in a USP with “the quickest training method” implying that it’s quicker than other similar companies.
Room for improvement
“Recreational standard” lacks clarity, and sounds rather like in-house lingo. Total beginners may not know what this really means, so it would be better to use language that their target audience will understand.
Meta descriptions can make or break how much SEO traffic you get. A great meta description tag will allow any page (including your homepage) to punch above its weight on Google, getting you more clicks through an increased-click through rate, potentially even a higher ranking.
Joe Williams is founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on Twitter at @joetheseo.
“A search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”
Some people say that this score does more harm than good because it distracts digital marketers from what matters. Improving your DA doesn’t mean you’re improving your rankings. Others tend to find it useful on its own as a quick way to determine the quality or trustworthiness of a site.
Here’s what I say, from a digital PR perspective, domain authority is valuable when you’re using it to compare sites relative to one another. In fact, DA provides value for us PRs and is incredibly useful to our work.
Think of it this way. There are more websites than ever before, about 1.5 billion to be exact and so in some ways, this means there is more opportunity for marketers to get their content out in the world and in front of new audiences. While most people think that journalism is dying out, an enlightening post on Recode by Rani Molla explains that “while job postings for journalists are off more than 10 percent since 2004, jobs broadly related to content have almost quadrupled.”
But even the most skilled PR teams can’t reach out to 1.5 billion sites. The knowledgeable ones know that you really only need one successful placement to get your content to spread like wildfire all over the Internet, earning links and gaining exposure for your brand in the process. With so many options out there, how do PR professionals know which sites to spend time targeting?
That’s where DA comes into play. When it comes to link building, content marketers know that not all backlinks and brand mentions are created equally. The value of a link or mention varies depending on the referring website. Moz’s DA score is a way for us PRs to quickly and easily assess the quality of the websites we target for our client’s content marketing campaigns.
Our team tends to bucket online publishers, blogs, and websites into three categories:
Keep in mind, particularly with the new Moz update, when deciding who to pitch, you must take a holistic approach. While domain authority is an excellent way to quickly assess the quality of a website, a site’s DA can change at any minute due to a multitude of factors, so make sure you are also taking into account your goals, the site’s audience, social following, and reputation as well as Moz DA score. In response to a Marketing Land tweet about the new DA, Stevie Howard says it perfectly.
What constitutes a top-tier website? Can a top-tier site have a low DA? Potentially, but it’s uncommon.
When you look at the holy grail of media coverage, DA tends to align perfectly. Take, for example, the following seven major publishers that any brand or business would love to earn coverage on. The DA scores for all of these sites fall above 90. These sites all have an extremely large audience, both on-site and on social media.
Our team at Fractl has an innate sense of the online publisher landscape, and the largest and most well-known content publishers out there all tend to have a domain authority above 90. This is what we consider to be the “top-tier”.
Mid-tier sites may not be the holy grail of news publishers, but they’re our bread and butter. This is where the majority of placements tend to happen. These publishers hit a sweet spot for digital PR pros—they’re not as sought-after as Buzzfeed and don’t deeply scrutinize pitches the way The New York Times does, but they have large audiences and tend to be much more responsive to content pitches.
I tend to categorize the mid-tier as publishers that fall within a DA of 66 to 89. Here are some examples of publishers that may be considered mid-tier.
Don’t underestimate a low-tier site simply because of its domain authority. For example, it wasn’t long ago that personal finance website, Money-ish, had a DA of 1. Launched in 2017, it was first its own website before being absorbed as part of the larger MarketWatch domain. MarketWatch has a DA of 93, with social engagement as high as 12,294,777 in the last year. If you ignored Money-ish because of its DA when they first started, you would have missed out on a chance to get your content featured on MarketWatch as well as build relationships with writers that are now under the MarketWatch umbrella. There are all types of content, and most marketers can figure out which projects have “legs” and which have less appeal. These lower-tier sites are often very niche and the perfect home for content that is aimed towards smaller, more precise audiences. These lower-tier sites also tend to have a high engagement where it matters, your target audience. Consider the site’s community. Does this site have a ton of email subscribers or high comment engagement? Are they killing it on Instagram or on another social network? You never know which site will become the next Money-ish, either!
Pitching differences for each tier
There are plenty of sites that fall within different ranges of domain authority that would be an excellent fit for your content. It all just depends on your goals. In Fractl’s latest internal study, we were able to identify trends in the way journalists respond to PR professionals, based on the DA of the site they write for.
Feedback from writers working for sites with a DA lower than 89 was most likely to be complimentary of the content campaigns we pitched them.
The verbiage of their responses was also more positive on average than those from journalists working for publishers with a DA of 90 or above.
An example of the feedback we received that would be labeled as complimentary is,
“Thanks for sending this over, it fits perfectly with our audience. I scheduled a post on this study to go up tomorrow.”- Contributor, Matador Network (DA: 82)
Those of us that have been pitching mainstream publishers for a while know from experience that it’s often easier to place with websites that tend to fall in the mid to low-tier buckets. Writers at these publishers are usually open to email pitches and open to writing about outside content because such websites have less stringent editorial guidelines.
Conversely, publishers that fall into our definition of “high-tier” were less positive on average than writers working for publishers with a DA less than 90. On average, the higher the DA, the less positive the language becomes.
Why might that be? It makes perfect sense that publishers like The New York Times, CNN, TIME, and The Washington Post would be less positive. They’re likely receiving hundreds of PR pitches a day because of their popularity. If they do respond to a pitch, they want to ensure that they’re inquiring about content that would eventually meet their editorial guidelines, should they decide to cover it.
According to our study, when journalists at publishers with a DA of 90 or above do respond, they’re more likely to be asking about the methodology or source of the content.
An example of this feedback is from a staff writer at CNN.
“Thanks for sending along. I’m interested to know more about the methodology of the study.”
A response like this isn’t necessarily bad, in fact, it’s quite good. If a journalist is taking time to ask you more about the details of the content you pitched, it’s a good indication that the writer is hoping to cover it, they just need more information to ensure that any data-driven content is methodologically-sound.
Domain authority will continue to remain a controversial metric for SEOs, but for those of us working in digital PR, the metric provides a lot of value. Our study found a link between the DA of a site and the type of responses we received from writers at these publishers. High DA sites were less positive on average and requested research back methodologies more than lower-tier sites. Knowing the DA of a site allows you to:
Predict the outcome of a content campaign depending on where you placed the “exclusive”
Remember, just because a site has a high DA, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good fit for your content. Always be sure to take a holistic approach to your list building process. Keep in mind the social engagement of the site, the topics they cover, who their audience is, their editorial guidelines, and most importantly, the goals of you or your client before reaching out to any publisher solely based on domain authority.
Domenica is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.
Publishing original content to your website is, of course, critical for building your audience and boosting your SEO.
The benefits of unique and original content are twofold:
Original content delivers a superior user experience.
Original content helps ensure that search engines aren’t forced to choose between multiple pages of yours that have the same content.
However, when content is duplicated either accidentally or on purpose, search engines will not be duped and may penalize a site with lower search rankings accordingly. Unfortunately, many businesses often publish repeated content without being aware that they’re doing so. This is why auditing your site with a duplicate content checker is so valuable in helping sites to recognize and replace such content as necessary.
This article will help you better understand what is considered duplicate content, and steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t hamper your SEO efforts.
How does Google define “duplicate content”?
Duplicate content is described by Google as content “within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar”. Content fitting this description can be repeated either on more than one page within your site, or across different websites. Common places where this duplicate content might be hiding include duplicated copy across landing pages or blog posts, or harder-to-detect areas such as meta descriptions that are repeated in a webpage’s code. Duplicate content can be produced erroneously in a number of ways, from simply reposting existing content by mistake to allowing the same page content to be accessible via multiple URLs.
When visitors come to your page and begin reading what seems to be newly posted content only to realize they’ve read it before, that experience can reduce their trust in your site and likeliness that they’ll seek out your content in the future. Search engines have an equally confusing experience when faced with multiple pages with similar or identical content and often respond to the challenge by assigning lower search rankings across the board.
At the same time, there are sites that intentionally duplicate content for malicious purposes, scraping content from other sites that don’t belong to them or duplicating content known to deliver successful SEO in an attempt to game search engine algorithms. However, most commonly, duplicated content is simply published by mistake. There are also scenarios where republishing existing content is acceptable, such as guest blogs, syndicated content, intentional variations on the copy, and more. These techniques should only be used in tandem with best practices that help search engines understand that this content is being republished on purpose (described below).
Source: Alexa.com SEO Audit
An automated duplicate content checker tool can quickly and easily help you determine where such content exists on your site, even if hidden in the site code. Such tools should display each URL and meta description containing duplicate content so that you can methodically perform the work of addressing these issues. While the most obvious practice is to either remove repeated content or add original copy as a replacement, there are several other approaches you might find valuable.
This tool helps you tell Google not to crawl pages with specific parameters. This might be a good solution if your site uses parameters as a way to deliver content to the visitor that is mostly the same content with minor changes (i.e. headline changes, color changes, etc). This tool makes it simple to let Google know that your duplicated content is intentional and should not be considered for SEO purposes.
Source: Alexa.com SEO Audit
By actively checking your site for duplicated content and addressing any issues satisfactorily, you can improve not only the search rankings of your site’s pages but also make sure that your site visitors are directed to fresh content that keeps them coming back for more.
Got any effective tips of how you deal with on-site content duplication? Share them in the comments.
Tough competition on the ecommerce market makes retailers continuously search for new ideas to improve web stores’ UX. Optimizing the product page is one of the key areas in this quest for enhancements.
We reviewed the best practices of ecommerce leaders and success stories of smaller merchants, and came up with three hacks that make any product page convert more visitors into customers.
1. Optimize product descriptions
A good product description is a top factor influencing customers’ desire to purchase. The problem is customers want to get answers to their questions, but they don’t want to read a lot. Average web-surfers give a web page no more than 15 seconds to capture their attention. If a product description fails to meet this deadline, it fails to convert.
Customers think about different aspects of a product: Some are interested in materials, some are more concerned about durability. To make a product page convert well, you have to strike a balance between being informative and brief. Here are the best practices in product description derived from the success of market leaders:
Start with a unique value proposition: A brief product description that welcomes a potential shopper must clearly explain what is so special about this item. A selling product page doesn’t speak about features, it shows what particular benefits customers get when they buy the item.
Avoid visual overload: Structure key information using headers and collapsible sections to save space on the page. This makes product pages more transparent and interactive, as well as minimizes the time required to get the key ideas.
The screenshot below shows how Oliver implements these principles on their product pages. They hide the detailed information about product features, materials and delivery options in expandable sections.
Mulberry went a step further and combined tabs for Description, Details, Material, and Size Charts with pop-ups for Delivery and Returns. The result? All types of customers get excessive information about the product without reloads and scrolling.
The case of The Sims 3 manufacturers also proved that clarity and order drive conversion. They tested six versions of the “game launcher,” all of which had particular benefits, simpler design, and lesser information. As a result, conversion increased up to 128%.
2. Give people more images to describe items
Human beings are very good at processing visual information, much better than at reading. This means pictures and colors on product pages create the first impression of items and thus are even more important than descriptions.
Size matters: A product image is the only way for a customer to feel the product. So make sure that shoppers can zoom in to examine the product in detail (its fabric and tiny parts). These are not just words. Larger images helped Skinner Auctions by 63%. Skinner Auctions scaled their catalog images from 250 pixels to 350 pixels. And what’s even better? The amount of bidding visitors who actually filled out all the online forms required to place a bid rose to a huge 329%.
Angles matter as well: Surprisingly, it is a common mistake to show the product only facing forward. Customers want to see the interior pockets of a purse, the back of a dress, and the outsole of a shoe. A well-selling page features the product from different angles or even provides a video showing how it looks in motion. Look at ASOS, they allow you both to inspect the skirt’s texture and buttons and to watch a short video clip.
Customers want to try on items: Online shoppers are concerned about how items will suit real them rather than professional models. Many successful web stores show their products on people with different body shapes. This helps customers imagine themselves with items and make purchase decisions easier and faster.
We believe people more than models: Amazon and ModCloth ask their customers to share personal photos in the product reviews. Such a gallery is included in the product description to show customers how items look in everyday life and make the product page more trustworthy.
3. Dialog with customers
Do online retailers have fewer opportunities to talk to their customers than brick-and-mortar do? Not really. Though communication between web stores and shoppers doesn’t happen face to face, merchants can still say everything customers want to hear and ask for everything they need to know.
Add an FAQ and tips to the description to clarify any doubts. An FAQ has several benefits as it:
Answers the questions of the customers that are already on the page.
Attracts new visitors to product pages from the browser’s search results.
Helps keep product descriptions short.
Apart from a full-fledged FAQ, you can try short tips as RollerSkateNation.com did. Their sincere advice was not oriented on increasing sales directly. In fact, it showed customers how to replace roller states for kids less frequently by buying larger items and wearing double socks. Customers felt taken care of and increased purchases by 69%.
The position of the tips and the FAQ section is also important. In the above case study, RollerSkateNation managed to further boost revenue by 99% by placing their hint below the product description. Customers had enough time to process key details and then got really useful advice as a surprise.
Use reviews to build trust. When it comes to making a purchase decision, reviews are almost as important as product descriptions and prices. Most shoppers look for reviews and, at best, they can read credible feedback right on the product page. This way customers don’t have to leave the web store and are less likely to choose another vendor. The case study of Express Watches proves that a well-designed Reviews section can increase conversion by 59%.What does this “well-designed” mean? The product page should let shoppers sort and rate reviews, add images and stars. To show even more credibility, you can pick some reviews and put them forward as testimonials.
And for sure be careful with negative reviews. Try to express your professionalism and care. In fact, a well-processed negative review can be even more convincing than a dozen positive ones.
Ask customers how to improve conversion. Small details, like words and button colors, influence the success of product pages. Though A/B tests make attempts to polish the web store less risky, don’t be shy to ask customers directly about their impression. For example, Amazon introduced a new feedback feature that shows how shoppers rate the size of the item.
By the way, this is a great CX feature per se that allows customers to quickly understand which size to take without exploring the size guide. But now pay extra attention to their poll about the utility of the feature. Why not ask customers if you can do it?
However good best practices are, they work well nine times out of ten. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your case isn’t the tenth one. Trust seals normally improve conversion as they make the website look trustworthy. But Icouponblog managed to increase their conversion by 400% by removing a security badge. What does this mean for you? The theory is worth reading, but real results appear only after you test and try. Devote enough time to validate your ideas, and you will definitely find the way to a high-converting product page.
Maria Marinina is a Digital Marketing Manager at Iflexion.