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Month: January 2020

What’s the most helpful audience-building strategy you’ve ascertained today?

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How to Make Content SEO Friendly

Building consistent organic search traffic is every digital publisher’s dream. But what does it really take to make your content SEO friendly?

The good news is it is not a rocket science.

On top of that, despite what many people think, it has nothing to do with “tricking” Google into thinking your content is high-quality or SEO friendly.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, which basically means making sure a search algorithm can easily access and understand your content. There’s no dark art involved.

Here are the steps you should take to make your content SEO friendly:

1. Match Your Content Idea to a Searchable Phrase (Search Query)

So you have an idea in mind which you feel like writing about. This is where any content creation starts: “I have something to say on this topic, and I feel like it will be interesting and/or useful”.

Is anyone searching for this topic?

Chances are, if you have come up with the topic, there should be other people who may feel intrigued enough to research it in Google.

But how exactly are people searching for it?

This is the key question you should ask if you want to generate organic search engine traffic to your future content.

You need to know what people type in a search box when trying to find answers to questions you are covering in your content.

So your first step is to find those actual search queries.

This exercise is also useful because it helps research. Knowing what people are typing in Google’s search box will likely help you discover interesting angles, narrow your initial idea down to make it more specific and even structure your future article to make it more useful.

So even if you don’t really care about organic search positions, keyword research is useful to do.

But how?

The keyword research process — at its core — hasn’t changed much over the years. We do have much more data to work with, but the actual process is the same.

These days, we have a variety of tools that help you identify a keyword to focus on. Here are a few tools and approaches you can try:

1.1. Type Your Terms into Ahrefs

Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is a great tool for that because it offers “All keyword ideas” tab that broadens your initial idea to related and synonymous terms.

So if you were to type [grow tomatoes] and click through to that section, you’d find both phrases containing the term (e.g. “how to grow tomatoes”) and related concepts (e.g. “when to plant tomatoes“):

Ahrefs

This broadens your outlook and helps you come up with more words to include in your copy.

1.2. Discover What Your Future Competitor is Ranking For

If you’ve done at least some research on your content idea, you may have found some resources that are on the same or similar topic. So use those URLs to discover what they are ranking for.

Serpstats’ URL Analysis section is great for that:

SERPstat

Notice that Serpstat is also showing all “extra” search elements that show up for each query in Google, so you get a good idea of what your future target SERPs (search engine result pages) may look like.

Note that both of these platforms offer “keyword difficulty” metric signaling of the level of your future organic competition. Obviously, the lower the keyword difficulty is, the better.

On the other hand, the higher the search volume, the more clicks each SERP may drive. So you want to try and pick a keyword that has high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

Here’s a more detailed guide on keyword research for you to become better at it. And here are even more keyword research questions answered.

2. Put Those Keywords in Prominent Places

While the process of researching keywords hasn’t changed much, the way we use keywords within content has.

These days, we don’t sacrifice the quality or flow of our copy for the sake of keyword density. In fact, we don’t pay attention to how many times we have used those keywords on-page.

We do use those keywords in prominent places on the page to make both Google and our human visitors more comfortable and confident there.

To put it simply, upon landing on your page, your users should clearly see terms they initially typed in the search box. That will put them more at ease and prompt them to linger a bit longer.

Keyword prominence means making your keywords visible on the page. It helps both search engine optimization and user-retention. Both of these help rankings.

Basically, you want those keywords to appear in:

  1. Page title
  2. Page URL slug (which in WordPress will be transferred from your title anyway)
  3. First paragraph
  4. Page subheading(s)
  5. Image alt text (Do make those alt text descriptive as it helps accessibility)

Keyword prominence

Many SEO plugins (like Yoast and SEO Editor) can handle a lot of these SEO elements, so it is a good idea to pick one.

3. Use Semantic Analysis to Match Google’s Expectations and Make Your Content More Indepth

As I have already stated before, Google has moved away from matching the exact query to the pages in its index. Ever since its Hummingbird update, Google has slowly but surely become better and better at understanding each query context and searcher’s intent behind it.

To match that context better and optimize for the intent, use semantic analysis, which is basically about clustering each query into underlying and related concepts and covering you in your content.

Text Optimizer is a tool that takes Google’s search snippets for any query and applies semantic analysis to identify areas of improvement. Text Optimizer can be used for writing new content from scratch:

Text Optimizer new content

You can also use the tool to analyze your existing content to identify areas of improvements:

Text Optimizer existing content

As you can see, Text Optimizer also helps analyze whether your content meets the query intent.

To increase your score at Text Optimizer:

  • Choose the most suitable words for your content and include them naturally into your article. Avoid keyword stuffing. Only choose terms that you find fitting your current context.
  • You may modify sentences or write new ones until you reach at least 80%

4. Diversify Your Content Formats

Google loves textual content, but the Internet in general and Google in particular has moved beyond text-only. Web users expect to see more formats, including videos and images. And Google recognizes that demand for content diversity, so it will feature all of those content formats.

In my previous article for Convince and Convert I described how videos improve SEO on many levels, including more exposure in search engine result pages and better on-page engagement.

With that in mind, any time you work on your article, think which other content assets can be created to enhance its value and improve SEO.

Luckily, creating videos doesn’t require any budget or skills. With tools like InVideo you can turn your articles into videos in a matter of seconds:

  • Select “I want to convert article into video” option
  • Paste in a maximum of 50 sentences (I usually use the tool to turn my article takeaways or subheadings into a video)
  • Pick the template and let the tool do the job
  • You can upload your own images (screenshots), tweak the subtitles and select the music

Invideo options

You are done! Now, upload the video to Youtube, add a keyword-rich title and description and embed it to your article.

For images, you can use Venngage or Visme to create nice visual takeaways or flowcharts (in case you have instructions to follow).

5. Set up an On-Page SEO Monitoring Routine

Finally, there’s always room for improvement, so monitoring your organic traffic is an important step here.

The must-have tool for that is Google’s own Search Console, which will show you which queries are sending you traffic. Just check your “Performance” tab regularly:

Google's own Search Console

Another useful tool to have is Finteza, which shows your organic traffic performance allowing you to dig deeper to see whether your organic traffic clicks engage with your ads.

Finteza

… or whether each search query sends traffic that brings conversions.

Finteza conversions

6. Don’t Forget External (Off-Site) Signals

Obviously, it is more to Google position than on-page optimization. You still need those backlinks that would help Google assign some authority to your content. But that’s a topic outside of the scope of this article. Besides, there’s a lot of content already written on that. And here’s another collection of tips on how to build links.

Finally, the above steps apply to any kind of optimization, whether it’s a blog, product pages or lead-generating landing pages.

I hope this guide will help you optimize your content to make it easier for Google to understand and hence help the search giant’s algorithm assign search positions it truly deserves.

The post How to Make Content SEO Friendly appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Was Philomela Really a Nightingale?

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle ponders the curious story of Philomela the nightingale from classical myth The story of Philomela is well-known. But a quick reminder never hurts, so here’s the story: Tereus … marries Procne, the daughter of Pandion. Tereus coming a second […]

The post Was Philomela Really a Nightingale? appeared first on Interesting Literature.

How will you use the strategy from this post?

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How to Make Content SEO Friendly

Building consistent organic search traffic is every digital publisher’s dream. But what does it really take to make your content SEO friendly?

The good news is it is not a rocket science.

On top of that, despite what many people think, it has nothing to do with “tricking” Google into thinking your content is high-quality or SEO friendly.

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, which basically means making sure a search algorithm can easily access and understand your content. There’s no dark art involved.

Here are the steps you should take to make your content SEO friendly:

1. Match Your Content Idea to a Searchable Phrase (Search Query)

So you have an idea in mind which you feel like writing about. This is where any content creation starts: “I have something to say on this topic, and I feel like it will be interesting and/or useful”.

Is anyone searching for this topic?

Chances are, if you have come up with the topic, there should be other people who may feel intrigued enough to research it in Google.

But how exactly are people searching for it?

This is the key question you should ask if you want to generate organic search engine traffic to your future content.

You need to know what people type in a search box when trying to find answers to questions you are covering in your content.

So your first step is to find those actual search queries.

This exercise is also useful because it helps research. Knowing what people are typing in Google’s search box will likely help you discover interesting angles, narrow your initial idea down to make it more specific and even structure your future article to make it more useful.

So even if you don’t really care about organic search positions, keyword research is useful to do.

But how?

The keyword research process — at its core — hasn’t changed much over the years. We do have much more data to work with, but the actual process is the same.

These days, we have a variety of tools that help you identify a keyword to focus on. Here are a few tools and approaches you can try:

1.1. Type Your Terms into Ahrefs

Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is a great tool for that because it offers “All keyword ideas” tab that broadens your initial idea to related and synonymous terms.

So if you were to type [grow tomatoes] and click through to that section, you’d find both phrases containing the term (e.g. “how to grow tomatoes”) and related concepts (e.g. “when to plant tomatoes“):

Ahrefs

This broadens your outlook and helps you come up with more words to include in your copy.

1.2. Discover What Your Future Competitor is Ranking For

If you’ve done at least some research on your content idea, you may have found some resources that are on the same or similar topic. So use those URLs to discover what they are ranking for.

Serpstats’ URL Analysis section is great for that:

SERPstat

Notice that Serpstat is also showing all “extra” search elements that show up for each query in Google, so you get a good idea of what your future target SERPs (search engine result pages) may look like.

Note that both of these platforms offer “keyword difficulty” metric signaling of the level of your future organic competition. Obviously, the lower the keyword difficulty is, the better.

On the other hand, the higher the search volume, the more clicks each SERP may drive. So you want to try and pick a keyword that has high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

Here’s a more detailed guide on keyword research for you to become better at it. And here are even more keyword research questions answered.

2. Put Those Keywords in Prominent Places

While the process of researching keywords hasn’t changed much, the way we use keywords within content has.

These days, we don’t sacrifice the quality or flow of our copy for the sake of keyword density. In fact, we don’t pay attention to how many times we have used those keywords on-page.

We do use those keywords in prominent places on the page to make both Google and our human visitors more comfortable and confident there.

To put it simply, upon landing on your page, your users should clearly see terms they initially typed in the search box. That will put them more at ease and prompt them to linger a bit longer.

Keyword prominence means making your keywords visible on the page. It helps both search engine optimization and user-retention. Both of these help rankings.

Basically, you want those keywords to appear in:

  1. Page title
  2. Page URL slug (which in WordPress will be transferred from your title anyway)
  3. First paragraph
  4. Page subheading(s)
  5. Image alt text (Do make those alt text descriptive as it helps accessibility)

Keyword prominence

Many SEO plugins (like Yoast and SEO Editor) can handle a lot of these SEO elements, so it is a good idea to pick one.

3. Use Semantic Analysis to Match Google’s Expectations and Make Your Content More Indepth

As I have already stated before, Google has moved away from matching the exact query to the pages in its index. Ever since its Hummingbird update, Google has slowly but surely become better and better at understanding each query context and searcher’s intent behind it.

To match that context better and optimize for the intent, use semantic analysis, which is basically about clustering each query into underlying and related concepts and covering you in your content.

Text Optimizer is a tool that takes Google’s search snippets for any query and applies semantic analysis to identify areas of improvement. Text Optimizer can be used for writing new content from scratch:

Text Optimizer new content

You can also use the tool to analyze your existing content to identify areas of improvements:

Text Optimizer existing content

As you can see, Text Optimizer also helps analyze whether your content meets the query intent.

To increase your score at Text Optimizer:

  • Choose the most suitable words for your content and include them naturally into your article. Avoid keyword stuffing. Only choose terms that you find fitting your current context.
  • You may modify sentences or write new ones until you reach at least 80%

4. Diversify Your Content Formats

Google loves textual content, but the Internet in general and Google in particular has moved beyond text-only. Web users expect to see more formats, including videos and images. And Google recognizes that demand for content diversity, so it will feature all of those content formats.

In my previous article for Convince and Convert I described how videos improve SEO on many levels, including more exposure in search engine result pages and better on-page engagement.

With that in mind, any time you work on your article, think which other content assets can be created to enhance its value and improve SEO.

Luckily, creating videos doesn’t require any budget or skills. With tools like InVideo you can turn your articles into videos in a matter of seconds:

  • Select “I want to convert article into video” option
  • Paste in a maximum of 50 sentences (I usually use the tool to turn my article takeaways or subheadings into a video)
  • Pick the template and let the tool do the job
  • You can upload your own images (screenshots), tweak the subtitles and select the music

Invideo options

You are done! Now, upload the video to Youtube, add a keyword-rich title and description and embed it to your article.

For images, you can use Venngage or Visme to create nice visual takeaways or flowcharts (in case you have instructions to follow).

5. Set up an On-Page SEO Monitoring Routine

Finally, there’s always room for improvement, so monitoring your organic traffic is an important step here.

The must-have tool for that is Google’s own Search Console, which will show you which queries are sending you traffic. Just check your “Performance” tab regularly:

Google's own Search Console

Another useful tool to have is Finteza, which shows your organic traffic performance allowing you to dig deeper to see whether your organic traffic clicks engage with your ads.

Finteza

… or whether each search query sends traffic that brings conversions.

Finteza conversions

6. Don’t Forget External (Off-Site) Signals

Obviously, it is more to Google position than on-page optimization. You still need those backlinks that would help Google assign some authority to your content. But that’s a topic outside of the scope of this article. Besides, there’s a lot of content already written on that. And here’s another collection of tips on how to build links.

Finally, the above steps apply to any kind of optimization, whether it’s a blog, product pages or lead-generating landing pages.

I hope this guide will help you optimize your content to make it easier for Google to understand and hence help the search giant’s algorithm assign search positions it truly deserves.

The post How to Make Content SEO Friendly appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Drop a site below if you’ve shared anything cool for bloggers!

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Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

Trust in marketing—how to build it and how to wield it for good—needs to be top of mind for every modern marketer. Why? Because nearly every decision people make, especially when it comes to purchasing decisions, has an element of trust built in. And content marketers have the opportunity to become trusty guides.

“No one knows everything about everything,” Margaret Magnarelli, Executive Director of Digital Product Evolution and Growth Marketing at Morgan Stanley, shared with us in a recent Break Free B2B interview. “So, we have to be able to give our customers as much information as we can… and take them as close to the line of purchase—to the experience of purchase—as we can.”

According to Margaret, understanding and leveraging the psychology of trust—the intellectual and emotional factors that guide our trust instincts—can be incredibly powerful. But building trust isn’t a solo marketing department endeavor (or ploy).

“If you want to be a trustworthy company… it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy,” she said. “People can see through fake attempts to build trust. So, I would caution brands away from being all things to all people.”

[bctt tweet="If you want to be a trustworthy company… it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy. @mmagnarelli #BreakFreeB2B #TrustInMarketing" username="toprank"]

From the four “trust factors” to engaging the C-suite around trust to key metrics, listen into Margaret’s full audio interview with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis below.

Break Free B2B Interview with Margaret Magnarelli

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdzgT8g4J7s]

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:10 – Why marketers need to car about building trust
  • 2:50 – Four factors of trust
  • 5:20 – Trust as a corporate value
  • 7:12 – Where marketers can make a difference in building trust with consumers
  • 9:40 – Maintaining authenticity while tailoring messages to audience “weaknesses”
  • 10:57 – Building brand intimacy with consistency
  • 13:20 – The bottom-line impact of “trust incidents”
  • 15:16 – Engaging the C-suite around trust
  • 19:20 – Measuring and monitoring brand trust
  • 20:30 – Intertwining trust messaging in current content marketing projects
  • 22:18 – Building trust under pressure to drive results
  • 23:15 – The state of trust in marketing in 3 to 5 years
  • 24:57 – How marketers can break free

Sue: How are we providing prospective customers the information they need to bring them as close to the line of purchase as possible? How does trust factor in?

Margaret: … Trust comes out of two different parts of our brain. There’s the cognitive part of trust that comes out of logic and proof points and data. And then there’s the intuitive part of trust that comes out of our feelings and our intuition or heart. And interestingly enough, some of the research that has been done by marketing academics, has shown that [when there’s a] higher price point for a purchase, the more that process becomes intuitive rather than cognitive. 

[bctt tweet="Trust comes out of two different parts of our brain. There’s the cognitive part that comes out of logic, proof points, and data. And there’s the intuitive part that comes out of our feelings, intuition, or heart. @mmagnarelli #BreakFreeB2B " username="toprank"]

In any case, there are four major themes and factors into the trust analysis that we do. And they are benevolence, capability, authenticity and honesty

So, benevolence: We want to know… does this person have our best interests at heart? Capability: Can they actually do the things that they say they can do? Authenticity: Are they real and genuine? And honesty: Are they truthful and transparent and what they’re doing? And so using these four factors, and making sure that we are telling our stories with that framework in mind can really help us to establish trust with consumers.

Sue: Where do you think the gaps are in terms of getting to that trust utopia?

Margaret: I think that part of it comes from people’s initial perspectives on trust. There’s one thing that we can’t really overcome as brands and that’s people’s trust disposition. 

So, if you look at the psychological research—with Erik Erikson, the developmental psychologist—the first phase of development is earning trust. It’s the first task of the ego, he has said. And, and what, what that means is that we learn whether or not to be trusting individuals in those first 18 months of life because as babies if you’re crying, are your needs being met? Is someone coming to feed you or put you in bed or hold you? If you are not in a household that has that level of responsiveness and care, you might actually have a very low trust disposition— meaning that you are disinclined to trust, versus someone who was in a household that was very responsive to that and they have a high trust responsiveness. 

Now that is something that our consumers all come to us with… it’s their personal history, and we have no ability to change that right. So where we have the ability to change things is in those four factors that that I was talking about—the capability benevolence, authenticity and honesty… The things that we could do more of as content marketers is, I think, the capability aspect… Making sure that we are not just telling people that we do with thing, but like really showing them… 

So how can we actually in video form or even in text form, like really prove to the people that our products work? And I think that also comes out of using third party validation where we can… It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing. So if you have other people who say you can do a thing and you can do it well, and they can be your advocates, that’s really powerful. So that’s another area that I think that we really have the ability as brands to continue to leverage… Looking for our customers to help be our advocates, and looking for those outside proof points, and sharing those with our audiences so that they can understand how things work.

[bctt tweet="It’s hard for consumers to just believe a brand when they say they can do a thing... That’s where third party validation can be really powerful. @mmagnarelli #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

Sue: You talk about “trust incidents”—Can you share a little bit about that?

Margaret: The main reasons that people lose trust with brands or what you would expect. So the primary one is poor product experience, like someone has not achieved the goal that they were looking to achieve with the product, or the product and didn’t deliver in some other way, or felt they felt negative after the product experience. The second one is poor customer experience.

But then some of the other reasons that people lose trust are again, things that you would probably expect, things like security breaches, leadership scandals, and that sort of thing… When something happens on a mass scale, like a leadership scandal or a security breach, companies really suffer the data shows that they suffer. I think it was an average 5% loss in revenue growth for the year that the trust incident happened; I believe that Accenture did that study.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

If you’re hungry for more insight and advice on the state of trust in marketing, check out our Trust Factors series:

The post Break Free B2B Series: Margaret Magnarelli on the Psychology of Trust for Better Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

What’s the most intriguing writer tip you’ve uncovered from this post?

https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-analyze-linkedin-profile-using-linkedin-dashboard/

Looking for analytics to assess your LinkedIn profile’s performance? Are you looking at the LinkedIn dashboard for profiles? In this article, you’ll discover how to use the dashboard on your personal LinkedIn profile to analyze and improve your profile visibility, prospecting, and content strategy. What Is “Your Dashboard” on LinkedIn? Every LinkedIn profile has a […]

The post How to Analyze Your LinkedIn Profile Using the LinkedIn Dashboard appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

What’s the most useful writer tip you’ve found from this post?

https://wordtothewise.com/2020/01/using-reply-to/

Yesterday I learned that some ESPs don’t support the reply to: address. I asked around to discover which ESPs did. Here’s what I learned.

ESPs that support reply-to:

ActiveCampaign
AmazonSES
ConstantContact
Cordial
Delivra
Eloqua
Emma
iContact
Listrak
Mailkit
Marketo
Responsys
Sailthru
SFMC
Sharpspring
Twilio / SendGrid
Zeta Global

Thanks to all the colleagues who answered my question.