Nothing forces you to keep a close eye on Google updates quite like having a wide variety of SEO projects and clients.
With clients in almost every industry, I’m forced to check early and often when changes appear in search to see how they’re playing out differently based on the industry (and even the search intent within each industry).
Moreover, I have to think ahead.
In 2018, most of the big changes came from Google’s search ranking algorithm updates, its growing emphasis on structured data, and tweaks in the Google search console.
But there’s also a shift in focus from what sites owners wanted to what users need.
The rollout of mobile-first indexing demonstrates Google’s response to the impact of technology on human behavior.
As people spend more time with their mobile devices, it’s only natural to pay more attention to content that’s optimized to be dynamic and mobile-friendly.
Google’s speakable markup typifies both the company’s plans for search and the AI-is-the-future mantra. The growing popularity of voice assistants and their newfound place in smart homes have certainly guided advances in how search engines operate.
However, as somebody who drives rankings for a wide variety of clients and personal projects, I’m still holding my breath as to whether voice search can drive any meaningful business metrics.
In 2019, content optimization will continue to matter. From structured data to on-page optimization, competition for ranking advantage may come down to which sites can meet Google updates standards.
For the SEO community, 2019 requires a better understanding of how people engage online in order to create meaningful content that positively impacts user experience and a site’s search engine visibility.
SEOs will need to double-down in understanding four key areas:
According to Pew Research Center, one in five American adults access the internet through their smartphone.
In the latest report by We Are Social, mobile phones account for 50% of the web traffic share by device globally.
The growth of the mobile industry has not been overlooked by Google, who rolled out the mobile-first indexing in the first quarter of 2018, after over a year and a half of experimentation.
This move shows that Google is increasingly using the mobile version of your page for its crawling, indexing, and ranking systems. While this update does not provide any ranking advantages per se, SEO in 2019 will certainly put greater emphasis on optimizing pages for mobile crawlers.
Sites that offer two versions of their content will continue to see a negative impact on their SERP (search engine results pages) performance if mobile renderings are amiss. For digital marketers, this means both mobile and desktop content should be equivalent.
As mobile web pages become Google’s primary search engine index, webmasters, SEO specialists, and digital marketers must ensure websites are well-coded and mobile-responsive. Checking out how your page’s content renders across various mobile devices is critical to identifying issues like speed and performance which could potentially affect your bounce rates.
Content optimization through structured data
The search engine results page, especially in terms of informational searches, is dominated by structured data and schema: snippets of information that help Google understand the content of your page rather than guess the data.
Structured data provides Google contextual information that helps in classifying your page and which, when done right, enhances the appearance of your site in search.
In 2019, the SEO community will continue to explore how to further optimize this feature, which is valuable for e-commerce pages and business web pages especially as schema options grow. According to Rebecca Gill of emagine, using expert profiles and structured data can convey to Google who you are, what you’re doing, and why your website should be on page one real estate.
Here are some types of information that can be added through structured data:
While structured data enables your site to be featured in Google’s knowledge graph, it’s not a guarantee. Google is stringent and rightfully so on how structured data is implemented.
Done right, it can do wonders to your SERP performance. But if the information provided is inaccurate, too broad, or badly formed, Google will identify your structured data as ineligible, which would negatively affect your rankings.
Research and relevance
RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning AI system introduced in 2015 reflects the evolution of how people look for content online.
Despite very little information from Google about how it works, we know that the technology is an important ranking signal, and it’s unique in its capacity to understand if users are satisfied with their search query results. This means that SEO in 2019 will continue to have a stronger emphasis on watching search intent.
What do users want? Information, resources, or products? Mapping keywords based on a buyer’s journey will be crucial this year.
In addition, RankBrain’s ability to process both single and long-tail keywords demands even more comprehensive keyword research and expanded awareness about your consumers.
Businesses will have to look for all the topics relevant to their industry, understand the search intent around the various topics, and make sure that they match a site’s content closely. Still, Google will continue to favor larger and more authoritative sites, so unless you’re running a page comparable in breadth and depth as Wikipedia or Forbes, the focus should be on niche relevant keywords.
In the meantime, consider updating site content. Since 2011’s Google Freshness update, dated content continues to significantly impact rankings in the SERP. Updating old posts, including its publishing data, will tell Google that sites are providing fresh content, especially those that are linked to higher authority sites.
It’s not about writing daily, weekly, or even monthly. It’s about making sure that your best content is always relevant based on the most recent information.
Last year saw links losing value and the trend will continue in 2019.
Relevance is the new “authority” when it comes to links.
A competitor analysis audit will be essential to determining just how many links, and what links, will work for your industry or niche.
Content and accessibility
If Google’s priority is user experience, then on-page optimization efforts are non-negotiable.
We’ve seen how keyword density is no longer as impactful as before, especially with structured data playing a bigger role in search. Content and writing style will also be influenced by semantic search with Google’s efforts to identify the contextual meaning of the query.
In 2019, expect content with more images, videos, and even music embed. Google looks at user satisfaction and rich media is one way to improve online engagement.
But even if your content is well-written, accessibility to your site can impact how you rank in SERP.
“As of the 2010 census, one in five Americans have a disability, and one in ten people have a disability that directly impacts their computer use. That’s 56.7 million people! This is a huge portion of our potential users, and we have an ethical duty to help all people who will use the technology we create.” – Fen Slattery, Accessibility Lead at Clique Studios.
Accessibility is about inclusion and when your website performs terribly for a group of people, it’s unlikely that it will hold any sort of rankings for a significant period of time.
Change is the only thing certain in the SEO industry. Google’s interest in AI technology is firmly anchored on how people look for information online, and the way they do so has changed over the years.
2019 is likely to see even lower organic CTR than in 2018 as Google continues to offer more and more options to keep users in search.
For the SEO industry, this means understanding how people think, and how people act. Digital marketers, website owners, and businesses need to be flexible, curious, and creative. They need to look for ways to gain trust and authority, two values that have not only remained important in an ever-changing SEO landscape but are now considered non-negotiable to getting on page one.
Brendan is an SEO Team Lead at CliqueChicago. He can be found on Twitter @BrendanHufford.
With all this gushing about PPC and Google Remarketing campaigns, I strongly feel the need to let you know that I am not to be romanticized or this isn’t a sponsored post. I enjoy following remarketing best practices, and I’d like to provide some justifications as to why I think it is the need of the hour.
Gone are the days when you were required to pay for people just to see your ads. Today, with PPC advertising, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. The only downside is that you still need to pay for traffic that doesn’t buy the first time around. Here’s when remarketing comes into play.
For those who have no idea regarding the term: it is the practice of using ads to target those people who have visited your website or have already shown an interest in your products or services. The method allows you to show ads to people who have previously visited your website, as they are more likely to click on your ads in comparison to the new ones.
Renowned networks like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads allow you to set up such campaigns easily. All you have to do is install a remarketing pixel on your existing site. This will automatically add a cookie on your visitor’s browser. Your ad network automatically identifies the cookie and lets you display a customized presentation to allure them.
Why consider Google Dynamic Remarketing?
The term allows you to show ads to those who have previously visited your website, but Google Dynamic Remarketing works on another level. Here it will enable you to show previous visitors’ ads that contain products and services they viewed on your site.
So why should you use it? A few reasons.
1. Retain site abandoners
One of the prime reasons is that Google Dynamic Remarketing enables advertisers to display ads to visitors who have abandoned their site, but it is mainly based on prior engagement. Which means ads can be displayed to those who have:
2. Google display network
In layman’s terms, Google’s display network includes web pages or sites where Google ads appear. Right from Google search, YouTube, and Gmail, Google’s display network covers Google’s partner sites across the web. It’s pretty significant and is substantiated where retailers can get the opportunity to reach customers across different sites using different ad formats. In fact, you can choose which sites you want your remarketing ads to appear on, analyze site impressions, clicks, costs, revenue, and so forth.
3. Bid competitively
By using Google’s conversion optimizer, you can use conversion tracking on the Google display network to identify purchase behavior from click to purchase. By doing so, retailers can optimize their spend on remarketing. It may quite interest you to know that with the help of this conversion data you will know who purchased (and from where), the Conversion Optimizer identifies trends to help you avoid over-bidding for ad placements.
Here are five ways to reduce cart abandonment rates
As I said before, cart abandonment is a major concern these days. Like it or not, unless you are a master of remarketing you won’t be able to reach out to your previous visitors and get them back. Fret not! Down below I would like you to get acquainted with a few dynamic techniques that can increase customer retention.
1. Narrow down your audiences
Before you start any campaign, it is essential to segment your audiences. I often find businesses making this terrible mistake of targeting every visitor with the same campaign. No, that’s not how it should work. What’s a better way to split your audiences?
2. There is a way beyond the landing page
Is a landing page everything that your visitors need? Probably not. To make the most of your remarketing efforts, you need to track users beyond the landing page to determine the pages they visit. This includes the landing page, product page, product category page, checkout and what not. Checking all these pages tells you a lot about a visitor’s interest. For example, the products they are interested in or the item they almost bought, and so forth.
If someone is showing a clear interest in your product, it apparently means stop targeting them with ads featuring your brand logo. Instead, target them with ads featuring the product they’re interested in and make it too tempting to resist.
3. Cart abandonment campaigns
Dynamic remarketing can reduce your cart abandonment rates. It all starts with tracking page visits. Try identifying users who tend to make it as far as the checkout but never reach the confirmation page. With the help of event tracking, one can track which products people add to their carts. In case if their products are still waiting for them, you can remind them.
Many people quit halfway through signing up for your webinar, filling out a quote, etc — you can track them as well.
4. Create campaigns for existing customers
In the quest for retaining previous customers, don’t forget to pursue the existing customers. According to several experts, it takes five times more effort to acquire a new customer than it does to keep your existing ones. So what can be done is:
5. Guide users along the buying process
Making a purchase is a complex journey for the end user as he/she has to make a ton of interactions with brands. The best advertisers tend to create campaigns that guide users along this journey.
Wrapping it up.
I hope I have made my point pretty clear stating why Google Dynamic Remarketing is apt for your online store. Share your thoughts in the comments.
Charles Richards is a Business Analyst at TatvaSoft UK.
The post Drive customer retention with Google Dynamic Remarketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Did you know the world’s top 15 luxury brands generate more than 45 million web searches per year?
Gucci, ranked as the number one most popular luxury brand online based on Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2018 study, has approximately 9.5 million web searches per year alone.
Luxury brands, resellers, and even counterfeiters are competing to win the top organic positions for these searches. This means that SEO is not just an opportunity for luxury brands, but an imperative. SEO is a highly strategic and effective way to fend off the competition and maintain a vital source of traffic to luxury brands’ websites.
However, before you can get to work on a rock-solid SEO campaign, you need to understand the mindset of the luxury goods consumer.
In this first of a three-part luxury search marketing series, I’ll dive into the consumer mindset in the luxury vertical. In the follow-up articles, we’ll discuss how to strategize and execute SEO campaigns based on this mindset and other aspects of the luxury industry.
Why do we buy luxury brands? The psychology driving our purchase decisions
The world’s 100 largest luxury goods companies generated over $217 billion in sales based on Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2018 study.
That’s no small amount. As consumers we buy these goods for a variety of reasons. My own experience with luxury goods offers some helpful insight into why consumers purchase luxury items.
When I was growing up, wearing brands like Liz Claiborne, Reebok, and Guess meant you were one of the cool kids. My first “luxury” purchase was a Liz Claiborne purse, and my grandmother bought me a matching wallet for my 16th birthday. I was so excited that day. But, what was really driving my excitement? Ultimately, the purse fulfilled an emotional need for me – the need to fit in. Carrying my very own Liz Claiborne bag gave me confidence and appealed to my sense of belonging.
There are many other factors that influence the luxury shopper’s mindset. As search marketers, we need to have a solid understanding of these factors and how they drive your customer to search for and buy your brand.
Psychological and physiological factors to consider in marketing luxury goods
Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs sheds greater light on our needs versus our wants. According to Maslow, human beings have a specific number of needs and these needs are arranged in a hierarchy, with physiological and safety needs being more basic than other needs such as social needs.
Once our basic needs like food, warmth, and safety are met, we can start to prioritize higher-level social needs like cultivating a sense of accomplishment and prestige.
As search marketers, we need to have a deep understanding of our customer and find a way to fulfill his/her need and wants. Although I was convinced it was a “need” for me at the time, my Liz Claiborne bag was really a want. There’s a big difference between spending $30 on a handbag as opposed to $3,000. If I’m looking for a specific handbag to carry my essentials in, then from a functional standpoint, the $30 bag meets that basic need. But, it doesn’t fulfill my higher-level emotional needs.
Questions for marketers to ask themselves:
What does it mean for search?
You should first determine if the product is a need or a want. Think about the ways you can communicate this information through organic search, for example, through meta tags, and copy. You should also think about how you can communicate the ways your product or brand can fulfill your customers’ higher-level needs. We’ll explore further strategies and tactics for this in subsequent articles.
Our purchase decisions are driven by utilitarian and hedonic considerations. Marketing utilitarian goods and hedonic goods require different approaches.
Utilitarian products are useful, practical, and functional. These products are bought out of necessity and meet our basic needs. Utilitarian products include things like groceries, hygiene products, cars, etc.
Hedonic products satisfy emotional and sensory needs after the basic needs have been met. These products are bought for pleasure and exceed our basic needs. Hedonic products include things like designer watches, expensive vacations, and more.
There’s a significant difference between buying groceries and booking a vacation. Buying groceries addresses a need whereas booking a vacation is a satisfying experience. Several years ago, I bought my first Fendi bag not because I needed it, but because I wanted it and had the means to buy it. It was an incredible experience for me to go into the store and make that purchase.
In marketing utilitarian products, advertisers should highlight the benefits and practical, functional features. In marketing hedonic products, it’s important to emphasize the experience it will provide the consumers. An example of a brand that achieves both is Apple. Apple’s iPhone X commercial does an excellent job with highlighting benefits and features and creating experiences at the same time.
They make you want to go out and buy the new phone immediately, so you can experience something that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Questions for marketers:
What does it mean for search?
You should first determine whether your product is a utilitarian purchase, a hedonic purchase, or a little bit of both.
Remember, luxury consumers are looking for an experience. You should be thinking about ways to communicate the experience through your SEO strategy. More to come about this in subsequent articles!
Our brains have a physiological role in our purchase decisions. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is best known for its role in the brain’s reward system. It helps regulate emotional responses, learning, attention, and movement.
Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, has conducted extensive research about the role that dopamine plays in a human’s ability to pursue rewards that are months or years away.
Dopamine levels rise significantly when we anticipate rewards that are uncertain and far in the future. A perfect example of an uncertain reward is playing the lottery.
In “Dopamine Jackpot! Sapolsky on the Science of Pleasure” he says that “dopamine is not about the pleasure, but the anticipation of pleasure.”
It is the uncertainty that increases the anticipation. As an example, when we place an order for a product online, we don’t get the product immediately. We have to wait for it, and the anticipation is increased through waiting.
Buying luxury products and/or shopping a sale can trigger a dopamine hit.
Kit Yarrow, San Francisco-based consumer psychologist and author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind, says that during a sale, the body’s autonomic nervous system (the same system that triggers the fight or flight response) takes over and creates a heightened response in the body, like the one early humans had when facing predators.
The fear of missing out can switch us into a competitive mode. This physiological response was designed to protect us from predators, not other shoppers. Yarrow says, “The reason [our response] is so powerful is because people don’t even think about it.”
Questions for marketers:
What does it mean for search?
You should be thinking about how you can communicate the product/brands’ exclusivity from an organic search perspective. More importantly, you should look for ways to build anticipation of your product or brand. We’ll explore this point further later in the series.
Ultimately, we buy luxury goods because of how it makes us feel. We crave an experience, exclusivity, and we want to have our higher-level needs met. The Liz Claiborne and Fendi bags, while functional, really met a greater need – the need to belong and the need to fit in.
Dopamine drives our behavior. It’s not about the rewards we get, but the anticipation. The anticipation of going to the store and purchasing the Fendi bag before someone else could was a strong motivator for me to buy the bag immediately.
In the next article in the series we’ll discuss how you can apply these concepts while also integrating search marketing with other channels in the luxury goods industry.
Jennifer Kenyon is a Director of Organic Search at Catalyst (part of GroupM). She can be found on Twitter @JennKCatalyst.
The post Luxury marketing search strategy, Part 1: Consumer mindset appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Having worked across paid search strategies in all kinds of industries, you get to learn they all have their individual quirks: high CPCs, certain keywords that just don’t work, and other things that just drive you mad.
When it comes to B2B and lead generation strategies that are no different, in fact, it’s probably a bit more challenging when you can’t see the direct conversions or e-commerce revenue.
As such, I thought it would only be fair to share six of my favorite tips to help you get the best out of your paid search activity when working in the B2B world.
Six tips for B2B paid search success
1. Tracking & attribution
Without a doubt, the hardest thing about running a B2B strategy is tracking and attributing your leads, clients, and sales back to specific campaigns and keywords, but for me, this is where it gets most exciting.
When working on an e-commerce strategy as long as your tracking is set up correctly, you can see your data quite clearly and you can understand where your sales and revenue are coming from. But with a lead gen strategy, you need to be able to collect data from multiple sources and bring it back together to get a clear picture of performance.
Whilst there are many ways you can track your paid search performance, I prefer to append the UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) information onto URLs, if you’re not sure how to do this I suggest checking out Google’s URL Builder Tool as your starting point.
The reason I like this approach is that you can get your developers to pull this data through the website form completions and then pull this into your CRM. This allows you to begin the attribution process.
It’s easy and, to be totally honest, lazy to optimize a lead gen PPC account based on conversions in Google Ads. Looking at this data does not take into account whether you actually made any revenue from any given lead.
This is where you can get onto the attribution bit.
Your aim should be to pull a report from your CRM, detailing the leads generated from your paid search campaigns, with the UTM data from URLs and the lead status i.e. closed, lost, ongoing and any associated revenue.
This view will allow you to see what you actually got from the campaigns you are running. You are then able to optimize your account based on the campaigns that generate you the highest quality leads and revenue, rather than optimizing towards the campaigns that generate the most form completions.
2. Bing Ads
Okay, so this sounds basic, but too often B2B companies don’t look past Google when it comes to paid search.
While Bing is unlikely to ever bring you the same volume of conversions, the chances are it will be a lot more efficient when it comes to your CPC’s and CPA’s. So why miss out on cheaper conversions?
A key thing to remember is most businesses are using Microsoft OS on their hardware and guess what the default search engine is? Bing, of course. Even at home Bing is gaining more prominence, have you tried to not use Edge and Bing on a new laptop? It’s a challenge to just install Chrome nowadays.
A very simple and quick way to get up and running on Bing is to copy over your Google campaigns using the import feature. Whilst this works relatively well, you always need to manually check all settings to ensure nothing goes wrong.
That said, it can be equally valuable to build a bespoke campaign and strategy for Bing. Consider things like search volumes, user intent, and demographics, all very different from that of Google. Therefore tailoring your approach can result in much better performance.
With Microsoft owned websites accounting for over 20 percent of search market share in the US and growing you cannot afford to be missing out on this traffic source.
3. Paid social
Paid social advertising has been getting more and more popular among advertisers in B2B businesses, particularly LinkedIn.
The targeting options on LinkedIn should really not be missed. The ability to pinpoint your target audience specifically and serve them tailored ad content is essentially everything we should all be doing as digital marketers and LinkedIn allows exactly that.
You are able to target people based on things like:
If you are a Software as a service (SaaS) business promoting a new accounting tool it is so easy to target an audience of senior-level finance professionals in large businesses; or if you are a marketing agency promoting your PPC services, you can quickly show ads to in house marketers.
There’s also the recent introduction of interesting targeting, which allows you to target users based on interests at a generic level, marketing and advertising, or go as specific as digital marketing or even further to pay-per-click.
Further still, the advertising space on LinkedIn is constantly evolving with text ads, videos, static images, carousels, spotlight ads. The opportunity to serve relevant content to relevant audiences in various formats is everything we want. You just need to ensure you are utilizing the opportunity.
4. Audience targeting
Both Google and Bing are heavily pushing advertisers to use audience targeting within their accounts and the options they now provide can be very beneficial to B2B businesses.
The kind of audiences now available include everything from people interested in SEO, to baby clothes, to interior design.
Modifying your bids based on the audience is a great way to analyze performance; it allows you to qualify users before they get to your site by seeing which audiences convert and which don’t. You can then use this insight to apply bid modifiers and only target the traffic that works for you, therefore reducing your CPA and improving the quality of the leads you generate.
Historically, audiences were seen as a display tactic, but this has become more and more prominent on search campaigns, and the results can be fantastic. I’ve seen CPA reduce by up to 25 percent when I’ve used them myself.
This is a quick and simple thing to setup:
Just remember that the optimization is only going to be as good as the data you are analyzing, so make sure you leave enough time to see real trends.
If you want to go a step further you could build out specific audience-focused campaigns to give you greater control over your bidding and CPA performance.
5. Competitor strategy
Bidding on your competitors’ brand terms can be somewhat taboo, but it is rife among B2B companies, in fact, all companies really.
I would expect any paid search strategy to already have your own brand segmented out into individual campaigns, if it’s not, you should be doing this now. But I would also recommend adding your competitor brand terms into their own campaign and bidding on these too.
Whilst your CPC and CPA will be higher than your own branded campaigns, you will quite often find they are cheaper than on generic keywords. When a user searches a competitor term it can often be because they know they want the service they offer, so you are just showing them an alternative service provider.
The steps to take are:
Provided you are not infringing trademarks and using brand terms directly in your ads you are perfectly able to do this.
I would also highly recommend that you set up some kind of reporting structure to monitor the impact that competitor activity is having on your brand. I look at this kind of data almost daily with the view of monitoring the relationship between my brand CPC and my competitor’s impression share and average position.
If you keep a close eye on the data you can do everything in your power to make sure you minimize any negative impact on your own brand performance.
6. Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
Sometimes you can do everything right in your paid search strategy and acquire huge numbers of visitors to your site, but that doesn’t mean that they all convert to leads and sales.
It is easy to think of traffic from paid search as being highly qualified, especially when you are bidding on long tail keywords and using things like audience targeting, but this traffic is often entering the conversion funnel on your site for the first time.
In order to get the best out of your paid search strategy, you should be continually testing elements on your website and landing pages to work out a way to create the best user experience and generate the most conversions with a well thought out CRO plan.
Basic tests include things like A/B testing different colored CTA buttons and adding conversion focused messaging on to landing pages, but you could go as far as totally redesigning landing pages specific to your PPC.
Sometimes the best and easiest way to optimize your paid search performance is to aim towards increasing your site conversion rate.
So to summarize, the key areas to consider in order to get the best performance from your B2B paid search strategy are:
Admittedly that’s quite a lot to be considering and working on at any one time but combined these areas will help you to get the best performance possible.
Dan Marshall is Digital Marketing Manager at Moneypenny.
It’s been nearly 3½ years since Google first announced their usage of RankBrain (October 26th 2015, but it had started being rolled out early 2015, in multiple languages).
In that time, there’s been little in the way of details coming from G about what it is or how it works.
The result is that numerous SEOs have stepped up to fill that void with their own speculations and opinions, and in doing that, have caused all sorts of confusion.
This is my attempt to correct and clean up some of that mess.
(There is a TL:DR at the bottom if you want to skip the verbiage :D)
What does RankBrain do?
Though there isn’t much publicly available, what we do have is fairly specific:
Or, if you want it more succinct than that;
Google receives a fair percentage of queries per day that it hasn’t seen before: 15% at last check.
These may include misspellings and typos, elisions/omissions, unusual phrasing/syntactic structures, the wrong word(s) being used, negations (“not x”), things that have only just happened etc. etc. etc.
RB receives these weird, wonderful, and new searches, and attempts to identify existing searches and results that are probably suitable for the searcher’s query.
How does RankBrain work?
Again, we aren’t exactly given a guided tour by G on this, but there are a few bits and pieces.
So, rather than looking at words and attempting to parse them and understand the semantics (traditional Natural Language Processing [NLP]), it converts them into numbers and plots them on a chart (with multiple dimensions, not just X and Y).
Items near each other possess some form of relationship. The type of relationship will be reflected by each term’s position and distance from its neighbors.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it sounds very similar to Word2Vector.
So when G receives a query it doesn’t quite recognize, it can find semantically related pieces, and look at the results.
But, what if it’s wrong?
Well, that’s where Gary Illyes’s answer to a question on his recent Reddit AMA may come in:
I’ve added the bold to draw your eye to the key part.
G may go back and look at what gets clicked for different searches, and check their performance. This can help the system learn what suggestions are suitable, and which ones are fails.
If you want something with a bit more meat, you may be wanting some patents?
If so, I was lucky enough to get some help from Bill Slawski, who pointed me to two potentially interesting patents:
The first patent (computing numeric…) was worked on by Greg Corrado, from the Bloomberg quote previously referenced.
If you don’t fancy suffering the trauma of reading the patents, Bill has two far nicer bits that get you the insights without the need for painkillers:
Example of what RankBrain may be doing
How about we walk through a simple demo of the type of thing that RB does?
Query: How Nemee 2020
Google receives that query, and has nothing that appears to be a match and little that seems above a weak relevance.
So, it needs to do some work.
The query is vectorized, and the nearest neighbors for those vectors are found.
Included in the results are vectors that represent:
So we have two probable query types:
But we have a 3rd factor, the “2020”. When we look at the result groups, there are barely any pre-existing queries or results that include time with pronunciation, where are there are a moderate number of “how to” queries and results that do.
RB decides that the most likely results that match this query are those from the “how to make” queries, and so the results you would receive would match;
“how to make a meme 2020”.
Does RankBrain use user experience signals?
And that’s what this post is about -- clearing up all the baloney some people have been pushing about “Dwell Time” and “Click Through Rate” and “Bounces” etc.
RankBrain doesn’t use UX signals from your pages.
For quick confirmation;
“… Dwell time, CTR, … those are generally made up crap …”
That’s from Gary’s AMA response I quoted above.
But, you can use a little common sense yourself at this point.
Ask yourself the following question:
Why would a system that is built to try to encapsulate relationships between text-strings be looking at how long someone spent on a page, or how fast they left?
When you stop and look at it that way, and consider the example above, you can see how site based UX signals have no relevance for RankBrain.
The only such metric we know they may use are SERP-based clicks to identify what type of results appeared relevant to that type of query.
Can you optimize for RankBrain?
Google has even told us that we can
I know — it’s a bit lame.
But, if you roll back a bit, G have actually spelled out how to optimize for RankBrain!
All you have to do is fly in the face of standard SEO practices, and aim for the exact opposite of what you would normally go for -- high search volume.
Instead, look at all the queries, and then generate variants that aren’t in the lists.
I know, that’s even lamer!
(But, be honest, you did want to know :D)
But there is more -- particularly for those that deal with time-relevant content; events and occurrences.
As these are “new”, the queries likely will be too (at least partially). To gain an advantage here, you might be able to look at similar searches yourself, and look at the patterns they possess. Once you have some samples and associated search volume data, you can pick and choose the ones you feel are most advantageous and relevant, and then weave them into your content.
If you want a little more insight into RB, and things like Association Rule Learning (delving deeper into the computing side of things), Dan Taylor has a previous article that may be of interest: Here’s how RankBrain does (and doesn’t) impact SEO
Does RankBrain influence rankings?
No — it’s a matter of inclusion.
Though Google has stated that RB is one of the most influential Ranking Factors, it’s not a typical SEO factor.
Unlike Titles or Link Text, it’s not a gradient or variable — it’s Boolean.
Either you are perceived as relevant, and included in the SERPs for a query — or you aren’t.
So you can optimize for RankBrain — but it isn’t a matter of ranking influence, it’s a matter of index inclusion.
What does RB do?
It attempts to answer unknown queries by looking at previous search data and the relationship of the terms used in those searches.
How does RB do that?
By converting words into numbers and plotting them into vector-space.
It can then break a query into parts and look for similar terms in the vector space to try to understand the relationship and potential intent of the search.
Query : “how nemee 2020”
Convert query to vectors, find closest vectors, try to calculate probable matches.
Two distinct query types are surfaced; “create” and “say”.
“2020” associates more strongly with “create” than “say”.
RB will return SERPs for “how to make a meme 2020”.
Does RB use UX?
It handles words and vectors.
Things like Bounce Rate, Long Clicks etc. aren’t used.
Can you optimize for RB?
By writing naturally and ensuring your content contains variations.
For some types of content (occurrences/events/news) you may be able to check similar searches and get ahead of the pack.
Does RankBrain influence rankings?
Not in the traditional SEO sense. It’s not about “position”, it’s about whether you show for that query or not.
The post Google RankBrain: Clearing up the myths and misconceptions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Alternatives to Google: Mojeek believes a truly independent and tracking-free search engine must be built from scratch
It has become something of a personal mission of mine to take some time to explore global alternatives to Google here at Search Engine Watch. This all began with my piece No need for Google and has continued with more in-depth studies into Ecosia, DuckDuckGo, Baidu and Yandex.
Today, I want to turn my attention to Mojeek.
This UK-based search engine which is aiming itself at web users who want a non-creepy search engine in the vein of DuckDuckGo and Startpage, as well as a greener option akin to Ecosia.
A couple weeks ago, Marc and Finn from Mojeek hosted a Reddit AMA about their project. The response was massive.
The debate about technical choices and hurdles, the ethics of search, as well as the value of fledgling engines in the era of Google’s dominance raged on for another 48 hours after the initial livechat.
Here are some of my takeaways from that and from my own deep dive into the world of Mojeek.
How is Mojeek different?
The elevator pitch for Mojeek is ‘Independent and unbiased search results with no user tracking.’
The engine has been building its own index from scratch since 2006 which currently stands at around 2.3 billion pages with the aim of passing 4 billion by the end of 2019.
This unique index is the key differentiator between Mojeek and its competitors.
While DuckDuckGo depends in part on ad results from the Bing-Yahoo network and Startpage delivers untracked results from Google, Mojeek is seeking to ensure true independence from the corporate names by doing everything itself. In doing so they are seeking to eliminate bias in the SERPs and to be wholly trustworthy in regards to user privacy.
On top of that, Mojeek is also proud of its environmental credentials. As the service states on its homepage, its servers are hosted at ‘the UK’s greenest data center, Custodian.’
Crawler-based versus metasearch
From the outset, we can see that Mojeek is promising a lot. To really be viewed as an alternative, its founders have set themselves the monumental task of crawling the web themselves, something Google has been doing since 1997.
Its 2.3 billion page index can’t really compete with the feted ‘hundreds of billions of webpages’ Google crawls. But there’s something quite admirable about the dedication to crawler-based search while other competitors opt for the metasearch route, i.e. paying to use information from other, often more-established, crawlers to bolster results in the SERPs.
Mojeek might have its work cut out in ever matching the size of an index that Google and the metasearch engines have access to. But for users, who do want a truly different lens through which to view the web, its own crawler-based service is the only real option to them.
Unbiased results. Is this possible?
The notion of unbiased results in search is an interesting one and was a big talking point in Mojeek’s recent AMA.
Things would be quite simple if Mojeek were taking bias (and their own lack of it) as related to user-tracking and how our past activity affects the SERPs we see at Google et al.
But for Marc and Finn, bias is a lot more than simply eliminating the echo chamber, as the AMA reflects, “It means we would never intentionally manipulate our results to show any particular point of view. We don‘t believe a search engine should have an agenda, whether political or otherwise and returning as relevant but opposing views should be a goal.”
So, Mojeek is fundamentally opposed to censorship or filtering results in the SERPs on political grounds. We can also infer that they would not give preferential visibility to advertisers nor to their own products/affiliates (as we might assume from an engine with a more capitalist agenda).
These are great values. But as some commenters point out, completely unbiased results in search is extremely difficult to achieve. Algorithms always have some bias, in practice.
And as we have seen with criticism leveled at Google when CEO Sundar Pichai answered to Congress last December – the very make-up of the staff working at Mojeek (including their age, race, gender) can lead to some biases. To some users, these may be quite innocuous. To others, not so.
How can we be sure of absolute privacy/unbiased results if we don’t know who is investing in Mojeek?
There is also a slight disconnect between Mojeek’s purported dedication to privacy/unbiased results and the lack of transparency about who is investing in the search engine.
While the company stresses that their backers are private, non-institutional and not known tech investors, it is clear from the AMA that a number of potential users do not trust a business who can’t disclose this. While some commenters ignored this point, others were skeptical that further investment in Mojeek down the line wouldn’t see some of its core values be eroded.
Challenging Google’s monopoly, or finding another niche?
One of Mojeek’s best virtues is that it is an alternative crawler to Google. This challenge to Google’s monopoly did seem to win over some visitors to the AMA who are excited about the prospect of there being another destination for search users which offers a different view of the web.
There were salient suggestions that Mojeek might do well to make more of offering a niche search service, perhaps by only indexing sites which meet certain privacy standards themselves (although, of course, the question of bias rears its head again here). Of course, Mojeek will only really succeed at challenging Google’s monopoly if it can offer a comparable service or offer something Google doesn’t.
Mojeek does actually have a niche type of search that they are testing in beta alongside emotion computing business EMRAYS.
The ‘search by emotion’ function gives users the option to input search terms to acquire results from pages which match that sentiment.
It works well, especially for broad terms. A search for ‘panda’ via the love emotion sees results such as cute panda pics and the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam. Click for angry results, however, and you see top pages referring to news stories about panda meat and mistreatment.
This functionality highlights something quite key about the usefulness of Mojeek. While it seeks to be an alternative, it doesn’t store our past searches, and boasts of unbiased results, a basic search via its homepage often returns results not dissimilar to what we would find with a Google search.
This is especially true if I search, for instance, for my hometown ‘Plymouth’. The first result is a Google-style knowledge panel with information from Wikipedia.
For certain searches, then, it is easy to see how difficult a task Mojeek has for providing a true alternative to Google while still offering relevant results. The ‘search by emotion’ function, however, does show that search results can be organized in a different way or to return to a phrase I used earlier, the web can be viewed through a different lens.
I wonder about the potential of a search engine that sets itself apart as an emotional engine or, indeed, offers a more utopian view of the world wide web. I’m unsure how practical this would be.
But I think there’s something to be said for wanting to view the web via an engine which values empathy, humanity, positivity, love, especially during an era of flamebait, trolling, online negativity, divisive content.
A search engine with its own independent crawler and no-tracking ethos would be well placed for such an experiment. Even if it does mean admitting that a bit of bias in search can be useful.
Luke Richards is a Search Engine Watch columnist.
Everyone knows that mobile is red-hot right now. In fact, there is a pretty good chance you are reading this very article on a mobile device.
And yet, like an old dog who just won’t learn a new trick, most people are still designing websites for desktop computers and then trying to make them work well on mobile devices. Square peg, meet round hole.
Quite simply, it doesn’t make sense. Why would you create a website for a dying medium (cough, cough; desktop) and then try to force it to work for new technology? It doesn’t have to be this way.
Why not, instead, create a website for the devices most people are using that will also work on a desktop?
Google has made it clear that mobile-first is the way to go. It is time to leave the past behind because five billion mobile phone users have made it clear they aren’t going anywhere.
Here is why designing for desktop first is a mistake, why responsive mobile design isn’t enough, and why mobile first is the only way to go in 2019.
It is time to put a stop to responsive mobile design
Let’s say you need a train. You want a fast one, one that can get you from Paris to London in two hours. (Ignore, if you will, that this train already exists.) Would you build a coal train, then convert it to a high-speed diesel-electric train? No, that would be a ridiculous waste of time and resources, particularly since the high-speed train can run on standard tracks.
And yet, that is what most people are doing when it comes to designing sites for mobile. They create a site for desktop first, then try to make it work on mobile instead of building a better, faster site that will work just fine on both.
Before we dig into how to design mobile first websites, we need to talk about responsive design.
What is the difference between responsive mobile design and mobile first design? Aren’t they, essentially, the same thing? Not quite.
Is ‘mobile responsive’ the same as ‘mobile first’?
Mobile responsive and mobile first have some of the same ingredients, but their methods, approaches, and strategies are totally different.
Here is how they differ:
Mobile responsive is a technical web design approach where CSS is used to adjust the site to the device it is viewed on. The coding is more complex, and the design still often places desktop needs at the forefront. In other words, the website’s built for desktop users first and then made to work on mobile later.
Mobile first, on the other hand, is a design strategy. While it may use a mobile responsive framework, it considers mobile users’ needs first and foremost. Instead of creating a desktop website and then forcing it to fit in a mobile box, you create a website that considers the majority of users (on mobile) first.
Mobile websites have been an afterthought for years. Yet, 52.64% of all internet traffic happens on a mobile device.
By implementing the seven strategies below, you’ll start designing websites for the devices users are actually using and not just for desktop.
Seven easy strategies to create mobile-first websites
Designing for mobile first doesn’t have to be complicated. And with the rise of the freelancer and gig economy, finding high-quality designers isn’t complicated either.
So get started and start putting the needs of your mobile users first.
Here’s how you can keep your mobile users at the forefront of your mind and get a few handy tools to make your life easier.
1. Less is more when it comes to content (yes, really)
Wait, what? Isn’t longer content better?
Well, (here comes everyone’s favorite internet answer) it depends.
Longer, more in-depth blog posts are, in fact, proven to generate nine times more leads than short posts.
But, mobile readers are looking at tiny little screens.
To be mobile first, your content needs to be concise and clear, so keep the mobile-first design in mind when starting your blogging strategy.
Solution: Keep your copy succinct and unique using a grammar tool to deliver in-depth information in as few words as possible. Break up text into single-sentence paragraphs when possible.
2. Keep your site simple
Minimization is having a pop-culture moment. The truth is people, love simplicity. It reduces anxiety, improves clarity, and makes us happier.
This applies to web design as well. Less, really is more. Keep the website elements you truly need and ditch the rest.
“But, what about X thing that my site really, really needs??” Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” If yes, then keep it.
Ask yourself if each element is really necessary. For example, could you ask fewer questions on your 13 field contact us form?
Can you reduce the number of links on your nav bar?
Here are six more website simplification tips:
Solution: Keep it simple. Get rid of tiny buttons, ditch scrolling images, trash that 13 field form.
3. Bring your calls to action (CTA) into the 21st
There is nothing worse than clicking on a link from your mobile device that doesn’t load because, while the main site is mobile responsive, the landing page it links to is not.
Or, our favorite, when you get taken to an off-center, impossible to fill out lead-gen form.
Your calls to action are useless if they aren’t designed with mobile in mind. Which means you are missing out on leads and sales.
Solution: Stop throwing money down the drain. Make sure your CTA is designed mobile-first, too. Test links and consider using mobile-friendly calls to action such as SMS text messaging and live chat.
Additionally, your mobile conversion funnel needs to be brought into the 21st century with new features like mobile vibration on button clicks, full-screen mobile e-commerce experiences, and signature collection.
4. Let’s talk about it: Make mobile communication a breeze
There is no question that mobile devices have changed the way we communicate with each other and with brands.
People want answers to their questions now, not at 9 a.m. when your phone support opens back up.
And they don’t want to call you if they don’t have to.
Have you adjusted your contact methods to meet the communication preferences of today’s consumers? If not, you may be leaving customers dissatisfied–without even know it. It is time to change. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to make this shift painless.
Consider using a help desk software like Freshdesk to manage your customer communications across channels and devices. It can track previous conversations, prioritize incoming requests, and even help automate the process.
Or, consider adding a live chat or a chatbot to your website to humanize your website for mobile users. If you are looking for an easy way to transition, this is it. Chatbots are a great way to give a fantastic mobile experience without a massive overhaul of your entire website.
Solution: Use technology like chatbots and mobile-friendly help-desk software to make mobile communication frictionless.
5. Graphic design for mobile first
You might be wondering, “Does graphic design really matter when it comes to mobile first?” The answer is a resounding yes!
A study into the value of graphic design found companies who emphasized on graphic design outperformed non-design-focused companies by 200 percent. Well-designed websites are also considered more trustworthy, more memorable, and easier to use.
So, what does mobile first graphic design look like?
According to Venngage, the most significant graphic design trends of 2019 are:
What does this all mean in practice?
Aim for bold shapes, clean lines, bright colors, and typographical elements. Make use of white space, which is both visually soothing and makes navigating on mobile easier.
Solution: Use graphic design tools to make creating memorable, trustworthy, and easy to use websites simple. We love Canva and Snappa for their library of templates and stock photos.
6. A need for speed
Site speed has always been important to user experience. But now, site speed is a Google ranking factor, too.
If you are too cool to care about what Google thinks, consider that 40% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Even more damaging, 79% of shoppers are less likely to buy from a site again if they experience web performance issues.
Clearly, your site needs to load fast if you want to survive on mobile.
How to improve speed on your mobile first website
Luckily, building your site with an eye on mobile first means you aren’t stuck trying to strip features away to make your site load faster on mobile.
Instead, you can implement speed protocols from the beginning.
Here is how to build a fast, mobile-first website.
Solution: Start by testing your mobile page speed, then implementing the changes above.
7. Test, test, test
The more things change, the more things stay the same.
Testing is more important than ever for websites. Even the most carefully designed mobile first website needs to be tested on multiple devices.
Why? Currently, there are at least nine different operating systems in use on mobile devices.
According to StatCounter, Android makes up 75% of the mobile operating system market share. iOS clocks in with just under 22 percent of the marketing share, but KaiOs, Windows, and Samsung all claim at least a small portion of the market.
Dozens of new phones are released every year. In fact, Motorola released 11 new mobile devices in just 2017.
In 2018, Apple released two new iPad models (Mini and Pro), two new iPhones (iPhone XS and XR), and three new computers (new models for the iMac Pro, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini).
Trying to keep up is just plain exhausting. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to test your site across platforms regularly.
Solution: Use a cross browser and cross platform tool to see how your site performs across the multitude of different operating systems and devices.
The desktop computer is dying. Mobile responsiveness is not enough to keep mobile users on your site.
If you want to create an easy to use website that Google and users will love, mobile first design is simply the only way to go.
But changing the way we’ve always done things can feel overwhelming.
You’ve got enough on your plate, right?
As you can see, the mobile first design doesn’t mean changing your entire process. Instead, it means reimagining how we create content, images, CTAs, and communications while keeping a firm focus on mobile users’ needs.
Stop spending too much time creating sub-par mobile sites that users hate. Instead, use these tips to build websites that search engines and (more importantly) web users will love.
Adam Enfroy is Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce, and also does Content Marketing Consulting and Blogging at adamenfroy.com. He can be found on Twitter @AdamEnfroy.
The post Why mobile first design is the only 2019 strategy that will work appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
It’s tempting to go after broad, high-volume keywords with huge audiences (and equally huge competition). But there’s an equally large — albeit more distributed audience — to be reached by targeting lower-competition, long tail keywords.
Imagine comets flying through the SEO solar system, if the most popular keywords make up the head of the comets (‘running shoes’, for example), each comet is trailed by a tail of more specific keywords like ‘long distance trail running shoes 2018’ and ‘best running shoes for flat feet’, that are useful in niche marketing.
Strategically pursuing the right long tail keywords as part of your SEO strategy can deliver several advantages.
As they have lower search volumes, they are usually much less competitive, making it easier for your brand to rank highly in search engine results.
Also, the specificity of long tail keywords generally indicates that those web searchers are nearer to the action part of their customers’ journeys. As a result, these keywords tend to have higher conversion rates.
Therefore, long tail keywords offer the opportunity to be discovered by your target audience when they are near their crucial decision points.
If you deeply understand and satisfy their specific search intent by providing compelling information or offers, even large competitors might not stand in your way.
But knowing that you need a long tail SEO strategy is only half the battle won, you need to find those keywords which are not always obvious.
Here are eight simple techniques that will help you target and find long tail keywords that align with your business’ goals:
1. Let Google autofill suggest long tail keywords for you
This is as simple as it seems, type a broad search term into the Google search bar and you’ll see a list of long tail keywords tuned to fit popular searches by users.
For further suggestions, you can then enter these phrases (or variations that they inspire) and view more long tail keywords to target with your SEO campaigns. For example, inputting ‘running shoes for women’ will generate a fresh list of Google auto-filled suggestions based around that (longer) keyword that get even longer tail still.
2. Leverage Google’s related searches
Similar to autofill, another completely free technique that leverages Google’s search engine is to look at Google’s related searches. Simply type any keyword and scroll to the bottom of the search results page to view useful long tail keyword suggestions.
3. Take suggestions from Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest is a tool you can use to find long tail keywords. Simply enter a term to receive a list of top suggestions.
4. Generate suggestions with the LSIGraph keyword generator
While the LSIGraph keyword generator helps you discover latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords for semantic SEO, most LSI keywords can double as long tail keywords once you know how to recognize them.
5. Find long tail keywords in question forms with Answer The Public
Answer The Public aggregates results from Google and Bing to provide the most commonly searched questions related to a given term, and in a rather compelling visual format. Because valuable long tail keywords often happen to be in the form of a question, your SEO can benefit by utilizing these targets and providing content that directly answers questions pertaining to your brand.
6. Search for relevant users’ questions on Quora
Another way to source long tail keywords in question formats is to take a look at what people are asking on Quora. For example, searching for the topic ‘running shoes’ will show questions that might be smart to target as long tail keywords (and answer with your content).
7. Check out user discussions in online forums
Forums can also prove informative by offering yet another window into the questions and interests that potential customers are focused on. You can leverage these more specific topics as long tail keywords, and choose those that spark the most active conversations. To locate forums that cover a particular topic, search for ‘[your broad search term] + forum’.
8. Use a Keyword Difficulty Tool
Inputting a targeted generic term into a Keyword Difficulty tool can yield numerous related-keyword opportunities, many of which will be long tail options.
Tools tracking keyword difficulty usually also provide useful metrics to help you decide which long tail keywords make the most sense to target.
These include relevance to the original keyword, the popularity of the search term, the level of competition you’ll need to overcome in order to rank for your new long tail terms, and whether that keyword competition is within your site’s competitive power.
How to turn long tail keywords into SEO success?
Once you have a solid list of long tail keywords that are appropriate candidates to consider centering (or expanding) your SEO efforts around, you’ll need to vet them with research to ensure they possess the potential to deliver value. Ultimately, they must meet the two criteria that you need to keep top of mind:
Once you’re sure the long tail keywords you’ve selected are the right ones, follow SEO best practices to include the targeted terms in your content, and help maximize the likelihood for each page to rank in search engine results for the respective terms.
SEO best practices include using the long tail keyword across the following page locations:
It’s also a best practice to use three or four LSI keywords related to the long tail keyword within your content and to create links on other pages within your site that point to each new content page.
With generic search terms ever-more-competitive and less apt for driving targeted traffic, it’s wise to pursue a diversified strategy that also utilizes long tail keywords, offering focused content to reach an audience that knows more about what it wants and is ready to be converted into customers.
Kim Kosaka is the Director of Marketing at Alexa.com.
The post Eight shortcuts to find long tail keywords (and how to use them) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Influencer marketing has been one of the hottest marketing tactics for a while. It only seems logical that we had influencer marketing long before the invention of social media.
The internet simply made influencer marketing much more targeted and available even for smaller brands.
Blogging and vlogging on social media allow influencers to find a loyal audience even in the most niche categories. Even if the product you market is not very exciting — say, power drills — you will always find a blog, a YouTube channel, or even a Pinterest profile dedicated to it.
Whether you work in a social media marketing agency or an inner marketing department of a specific brand, at some point you will need to find influencers for your campaign. You can turn to a talent agency, however, it would be much more cost-efficient to use an influencer marketing tool. The only challenge is to choose the right one. This list will help you to do exactly that.
Also read: Top social media trends for 2019
Awario is primarily a social listening tool. It allows you to monitor brands, competitors, carry out social selling and, of course, discover influencers in a chosen niche.
You can find influencers with Awario by monitoring keywords across social media and websites (it monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, blogs, and news articles). All you need to do is choose the keywords related to your industry (for example, “gadgets”, “fitness tracker”, “headphones” if you’re looking to promote a new tech) and put them in Awario.
It gathers social mentions and articles with your keywords and analyzes their authors to find the most prominent voices in a chosen industry. It ranks influencers and platforms based on their reach and number of followers or daily visits, depending on the source.
Using a social listening tool for influencer search gives you a lot of flexibility. You can discover influencers in your industry, see who works with your competitors or the influencers who already mentioned your brand. Besides, you can use it for multiple purposes to enrich your business strategy at every stage, from marketing to product development.
Influencer search is included in all plans as well as in the free trial. Plans start at $29/month.
Followerwonk specifically focuses on Twitter and is essentially a Twitter analytics tool which can be used to discover influencers on the platform.
It also uses your keywords to find influential Twitter profiles, but this time it doesn’t monitor social mentions i.e. tweets, and searches based on Twitter bios, names, URLs and locations.
One of its most useful features for influencer marketing is the ability to compare Twitter accounts with each other. It can be used to find influencers who have the audience with similar interests and at the same time, doesn’t overlap with your own audience.
Besides, it analyzes your Twitter followers and segments them by their bio, location, and who they follow.
The pricing depends on the number of followers of the accounts you want to analyze. With the accounts which have 25,000 followers and less, you can get the tool for free. If you need to analyze bigger influencers, you can buy the cheapest plan for $29 or invest in a more expensive one.
Klear is a tool specifically dedicated to influencer marketing, which uses a wide range of social data to find influencers. It even has some social listening features which allow you to monitor competitors and analyze the success of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Using sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, Klear divides influencers into over 60,000 topic categories and offers deep analytics about their audiences’ demographics and psychographics respectively.
The great thing about Klear is that the search won’t take much time, it has a huge number of profiles already indexed and associated with millions of data points in its database.
You can filter your findings by social channel, audience size, skills (chosen from the categories the AI organized them into), mentioned keywords, location, influencer gender, audience gender, and age.
Overall, you can be sure that you’ll discover influencers in the chosen field and will get a ton of useful insights about them.
Klear offers a range of free tools to help you identify influencers on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Of course, free tools are quite limited in their functionality and do not include sophisticated analytics.
The prices for the tool are not disclosed. However, according to customers, they start at about $250 per month.
BuzzSumo is a tool that can be very useful if you want to double-down on influencer marketing and content creation since it can help you in both cases. BuzzSumo uses social data to identify content trends as well as to find influencers.
Firstly, it can discover the most popular content to let you know who the top performing content creators in your niche are. BuzzSumo has a great range of features dedicated to content research, therefore you will be able to use it in your own content strategy or give the influencer guidelines on what type of content they could create during your collaboration.
Secondly, BuzzSumo has a powerful influencer search for Twitter. It monitors tweets and profile bios based on the keywords you provide. They also differentiate Twitter accounts by their type, i.e. blogger, influencer, journalist.
The cheapest plan costs $79 per month.
Although the names are similar, BuzzSumo and BuzzStream are quite different. BuzzStream is primarily a link-building tool, but it still enables you to organize every stage of your influencer marketing journey, from discovering influencers to reaching out to them.
You can discover influencers based on your keywords and see a comprehensive overview of this influencer’s website and social media presence on one page.
After that, you can add discovered influencers to a prospect list. You can sort and filter the list to choose influencers for a specific campaign. For example, you can sort them by authority, or whether someone has promoted you in the past or not.
Then you can start contacting influencers from your prospect list. BuzzStream will help you keep track of your outreach successes and failures, and will even send out automated follow-ups.
Prices for BuzzStream plans depend on the number of accounts you want to reach out to. In the cheapest plan ($24) you have 30 searches and can get 1000 contacts in total.
Traackr is one of the pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. It stepped into social media influencer marketing analytics back in 2008, just a couple of years after major social media platforms were created.
Traackr has its own influencer database which you can search and filter by social channel, topic keyword, language, location, age, gender, and brand affinities. You can also use the same filters to analyze the followers of an influencer.
The database is created by an algorithm and curated by humans. If there’s an influencer you want to work with who isn’t in the database, you can manually enter their username from one service, and Traackr goes out and finds all of their social channels, then indexes posts and statistics.
Since the tool focuses on building relationships with influencers, it doesn’t stop at the search stage. After you’ve found relevant influencers, you can create highly customizable lists depending on their social platforms, your plans of collaboration, the audiences you want to reach, and so on.
Another way to organize influencers is by relationships, have you interacted or worked together before? Traackr will take notice of that. This will simplify working in big teams and collaboration with other departments.
An in-built social listening feature allows you to follow the performance of your influencer campaigns and analyze which influencers are bringing you the most value.
The tool prices are revealed upon request, but according to the users, prices start at around $500 per month.
Upfluence is a self-proclaimed ‘Google of influence’. It uses its own massive database of nearly 1 million influencers which is constantly revised and updated. Every piece of content their algorithms find is analyzed for reach and engagement. You can look for influencers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and blogs.
While searching for influencers, you can put in several keywords and assign them different degrees of importance. Let’s say, you’re promoting organic and gluten-free products, and you’re especially interested in reaching people who are allergic to gluten. You can assign more weight to keywords related to gluten and thus the tool will look for influencers who cater to this audience the most.
Another cool feature is that during your search, Upfluence groups influencers depending on the size of their respective audience. You can also filter influencers by location, social platform, and the number of followers.
There is also an audience analytics feature, unfortunately, only available for Instagram. You can analyze influencers’ audiences by brand affinities, cultural interests, and more.
You can add influencers to lists upon discovery and customize them according to your needs.
Upfluence also has an outreach tool, which allows you to personalize your outreach emails. All email correspondence is archived for easy reference. It will also help you track what stage of influencer collaboration you’re on, who you’re negotiating with, who you’re waiting for to complete content, who are waiting on payment, and so on.
The cheapest plan includes 500 contacts and costs $795 per month.
Should you try influencer marketing?
According to eMarketer, 81% of marketers that tried influencer marketing reported that it is an effective channel. There are two main reasons why influencer marketing is so popular:
The tools on this list vary from enterprise-level solutions best suited for social media agencies to more affordable options that cover a wide range of marketing needs.
If you’re planning to carry out multiple influencer marketing campaigns on a regular basis working in huge, possibly international teams, I’d recommend going with big guns like Traackr. However, if you need a solution for influencer search, I’d go with a social listening tool, for instance, the above mentioned Awario.
The tools can help you to discover influencers and organize your workflow with them, but how you will work with an influencer is on you. Personalize your influencer outreach, create engaging content together in the true spirit of collaboration, and maybe they will become a brand evangelist.
Aleh Barysevich is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.
The post Seven best tools to find influencers on social media appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
It is no secret that Google and other search engines like quality links and consider them as one of the top ranking factors. Search engines are getting smarter and better at identifying unnatural link building. Updated algorithms can assess the brand’s strength and content’s usefulness at a glance.
This results in higher requirements for the quality of links and content you use for your SEO. Fortunately, there is a way to create engaging content and build quality links from authority sites simultaneously. The solution is to align SEO efforts with PR. Public Relations puts a business in the spotlight, creating brand awareness and reputation through press coverage. Mentions about the company boost the quality of SEO as well.
I came up with this strategy based on a video Rand Fishkin had created on ‘The Marketing Flywheel.’ It’s an old Whiteboard Friday that still resonates today.
Rand’s video explains strategies that can impact and scale your link building. I had to find a solution as many of us are in our assigned positions, we are a team of one. So I had to make friends, and fast!
In this article, we will take a look at how scaling PR is one of the best link building strategies that can scale your efforts and brand your business fast.
What is an online PR strategy?
A highly cost-effective marketing technique, online PR is a way to spread a word about your brand on the web. A good PR strategy is really important in this modern age. It does not just help you start influencing people but also gains trust and reputation quickly.
I started reading books from Ryan Holiday, a successful marketer and American Eagle executive that has pulled a lot of crazy stunts to scale earned media.
He does not focus on SEO as he is more on branding and growth hacking, but his strategies are unconventional and allow you to think out of the box.
Connecting with quality influencers and journalists
You already do it with guest posting, why not do this by finding journalists and other influencers with blogs?
The payoff for building these relationships is organic backlinks. Connecting with high authority journalists and influencers in the industry or general media can work wonders for your SEO.
The key is to come up with something that can attract their attention, we used a scholarship mixed with a need and based on current priorities that the manufacturing industry had, this is how we recently landed a sweet article on IndustryWeek.
It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to using an online PR strategy for link building. You should develop a PR scaling plan that suits your company needs.
Here are some useful tips to do link building with PR for your business
1. Media relations
Public relations is different from guest blogging and is about developing healthy relations resulting in high-quality opportunities for the placement of content. Building relations with journalists, bloggers, publishers, and influencers is important.
Focus on quality rather than quantity and take time to build these relations. Begin by targeting a few people and nurture a relationship with them. Do some research and find writers, journalists, and influencers in your niche and start engaging with them. Know them and listen to what they say before asking them for links.
Like and comment on what they post on social media. Send some useful information to them, even if it is not about you. This will create a positive impression about you in their minds. This way, they will be ready to work with you when the time comes.
2. Priority of online reputation management (ORM)
Your online business reputation has to be on point. One suggestion to create fast, positive feedback is to email potential influencers in your industry with some free products and ask for feedback. Seven out of ten times, they will write about you on their blog or create a video endorsing your product. Bloggers love free stuff and this is a quick way to gain positive feedback and reviews on your brand and products.
Don’t make your own products? That’s okay! Gift cards work as well with a focus on asking for feedback on your user experience or app. It works both ways.
3. Use of press releases
Press releases have evolved over the years and a good press release which catches the attention of journalists gives a great opportunity for social media coverage and organic links.
Consider our example in introducing a scholarship program to bridge the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. This initiative helped us get some great PR and we built trust and reputation within the industry in a matter of a few months.
4. .EDU links help
It also helped us fuel our acquisition of .EDU Links. We targeted media and industry sites first and then with the trust in place, we contacted schools and universities offering manufacturing courses.
We pitched our scholarships and included these articles with links of the stories about the scholarship. The result we got from these efforts were awesome. In less than four months, we went from DA 17 to DA 30 and still growing with over 15 .EDUs and 1200 backlinks which we acquired in just a few weeks.
Rather than distributing the press release through syndicated websites with no-follow links, consider distributing it on social media and use some keywords that help influencers and journalists find it easily. You can make it appealing by sending it to influencers before releasing it.
5. Timely content
Try to tie your content to a current event to make it appealing to high-quality sites. Most SEO pros write a story around something timely and pitch it before their competitors do. This is also referred to as newsjacking, it works with the right pitch and data but may backfire if you get too controversial.
Doing this right requires that you stay updated on the local and national news and events, and always be ready to give the expert opinion. Such commentary comes with a mention and possibly a link. You can set up Google Alerts for topics and people in your niche to know whenever a big story is up.
6. Use of social media
Social media is one of the most powerful tools for public relations. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook make it easy for brands to get introduced to influencers and build relations. By using social media to boost your SEO, you get more people to read your content. Always ensure you are visible where you should be and you don’t miss out on anything. Don’t share your content on social media just to get clicks.
Encourage the audience to share your content, comment on it, mention to their contacts and use other ways to spread it across the internet. This is how social media can help you generate new, organic links.
7. Buy your PR team some doughnuts
PR has a valuable place in SEO and vice versa. When the two industries work together, the results are amazing. As you can see here, there are numerous benefits of scaling PR with link building.
Links do matter but where you get them from is more important. Building relations and connections are imperative to success. With the bar of link quality going up at a constant rate, make sure you use PR strategies in your SEO campaigns to generate organic links from high-authority sites.
How would you use PR to boost your link building? Let us know in the comments section below.
Jonathan Alonso is Director of Digital Marketing at CNCMachines.Net. He can be found on Twitter at @jongeek.
Pleasure to introduce my self i am Sean Webb i am 27 years old from Manchester, UK.I am doing affiliate marketing and have spend lots of time learning how to rank easy to medium competition keywords. I have recently started PPL and Video Marketing and learning more about it.