add share buttons

Archive

Digest Archive + Articles

Breaking Content #40: Contrast Storytelling, Thinking Beyond Intent, Facebook Ad Hacks & More

#SEO

Google’s Ranking Factors Depend on the Keyword Intent [Actionable]

Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed my hypothesis on SEO ranking factors I had been pondering on for quite some time, which is that ranking factors differ depending on the intent behind the keyword.

For example, for keywords with the clear buying intent, Google would prioritize ecommerce pages instead of educational content, even if it’s on a high DA page like Forbes.

Conversely, if someone is clearly looking for information by typing in long-tail keywords with interrogative words like “how to clean my laptop keyboard”, Google would more likely return in-depth, long-form articles to the searcher.

The 3-Step Process to Discovering the Real Keyword Intent [Actionable]

Christian from Tenscores shares a very simple yet ingenious approach to determining the real intent behind any keyword phrase.

The process in a nutshell:

The first two layers of this approach are quite well utilized, but the third one, which is the real “gold mine”, is often overlooked.

12 MIN READ

Google Revealed the Best Ways to Switch from M-Dot to Responsive Pages Before the Mobile-First Index [Actionable]

If you are still redirecting mobile users to m-dot pages, you should switch to responsive mobiles pages ASAP—before Google rolls out its mobile-first index.

To make things even easier for you, Google has released an official guide on how to do that without losing link equity.

1 MIN READ

HTML ID Attributes Have No Effect on Your Rankings, According to Google [News]

Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that keywords in HTML ID attributes don’t affect your rankings.

1 MIN READ

 

A Guide to Advanced, Intent-Driven Keyword Research [Actionable]

Keyword queries have evolved drastically in the last few years, as did user expectations. Today searchers want to be served with instantaneous solutions and highly contextual information. As such, your keyword research must go above and beyond semantics.

This article breaks down the process of advanced, intent-based keyword research. A must-read for all SEOs.

How to Predict the Value of Traffic from Your Targeted Keywords [Actionable]

Winning rankings takes time. As such, SEO is a long game with even longer feedback loops. Or I would put it another way, it’s an informed long-term investment with no guarantees.

But there’s a way to make it a little more predictable and test out the keyword’s effectiveness before putting time and effort into content and external SEO efforts around it.

Here’s the idea: run an SEM campaign on the keyword you want to rank organically and observe how traffic from this campaign engages with your site and converts. If the results are encouraging, go ahead and do your best to rank for this keyword organically. Otherwise, pick another keyword and repeat.

Loved the idea.

7 MIN READ

Advanced Techniques for Speeding Up and Designing Sites for SEO in 2017 [Actionable]

This article covers quite a lot of SEO techniques that I haven’t heard of before, from advanced technical tips for optimizing websites to contrarian opinion on where your SEO efforts should be focused.

Even if you don’t take anything from this, which is unlikely, it will be a good exercise to step outside the conventional SEO mindset.

9 MIN READ

#Paid Acquisition

A Step-by-Step Guide To Ditching Audience Duplication in Facebook [Actionable]

If you run numerous Facebook campaigns against multiple audiences, you are at the risk of targeting the same users in multiple ad sets, which can lead to ad fatigue, skewed results, and ultimately false conclusions without you even knowing about it.

This actionable guide from AimClear will teach you how to avoid audience overlap and make your campaigns laser-sharp targeted.

5 MIN READ

Using Storytelling in Facebook Carousel Ads for Better Performance [Actionable]

Storytelling is king in the attention economy—that’s no news, I know. But we often forget that storytelling is not limited to articles, videos, and podcasts.

Facebook Carousel Ads are commonly used to introduce products or services from multiple angles in a single interaction. However, essentially, that’s no different from a bland banner.

This article discusses how to use storytelling in carousel ads to make your creative pop and take this medium to the whole new level.

6 MIN READ

36 Facebook Ad Hacks [Actionable]

The title is self-explanatory, but I will only add that this article is as actionable as it can get. Although some of them may be quite basic, I’m sure you will take away from it at least 5 techniques to incorporate in your next Facebook campaign. And I mean it.

My favorite “hack” from this article:

Facebook ad hack #21: Use the curiosity gap.

Uber

#Editorial

How to Supercharge Your Copy with Contrast Storytelling [Actionable]

This article discusses the concept called “contract storytelling”, which is, in effect, contrasting product benefits with pain points related to the product in order to psychologically inflate its value.

This technique taps into the natural human tendency to compare and evaluate things in relative terms. Be sure you start with pain points and follow with benefits as it will amplify your solution rather than the problem.

The Biggest Collection of Email Copywriting Formulas [Actionable]

Drawing from his experience sending out thousands of newsletters, senior copywriter Daniel Benyo compiled what is probably the biggest compilation of time-tested email marketing formulas.

Yet another huge compilation to bookmark and refer to in your future campaigns.

3 Little-Known Conversion Triggers for Your Email Campaign [Actionable]

As more marketers deploy “urgency” and “scarcity” components in their drips, consumers get increasingly immune to them.

In this article, you’ll learn three lesser-known techniques that will prime leads to convert and make your messaging stand out in today’s overly-crowded inboxes.

#Strategy/Funnel

What Does the Future of Content Marketing Look Like? (Spoiler: Still Less Content) [Food for Thought]

Content marketing has matured.

Consumers are overloaded with content. A decent organic reach is almost impossible. Engagement is dropping. Content doesn’t drive as many leads as it used to.

“Here is the most important takeaway: the top 10% of our posts were responsible for 90% of the results.”

As such, content marketing is morphing into a more targeted, more focused, more intent-based, more proactive, more consumer-centric, more inward-looking form.

The following article from Janessa Lantz covers the 4 biggest trends in content marketing as its effectiveness decline.

Here’s a rundown for quick reference:

  • Content marketers are acting more like product managers
  • More time is spent on optimising existing content than creating new content
  • Content delivery and distribution is getting more focused and sophisticated
  • The composition of content marketing teams is changing

Forbes’ Branded Content Chief: The 2 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics [Food for Thought]

In an interview with Joe Lazauskas from Contently, Ann Marinovich, SVP of Content Strategy and Partnerships at Forbes, revealed her top content marketing metrics, which are:

  • Views from people who are in market for your product — not total views
  • Engagement metrics: time, scroll depth, scroll velocity (in Layman’s terms, the number of people who actually read content as opposed to skimming through it)

This interview just reaffirms the importance of producing quality content that speaks specifically to your bottom-funnel audience.

How Google Is Using Contextual Signals to Break Through with Mobile Users [Food for Thought]

This article inspired me to think of the context in SEM and SEO beyond intent, especially with mobile users. Good food for thought, which also suggests where SEM/SEO are headed to.

3 MIN READ

8 Big Questions From Content Marketing World to Ask Year Round [Food for Thought]

Joe Pulizzi shared some of the “what-if” questions keynote speakers at this year’s Content Marketing World asked themselves, which led them to unique marketing discoveries and breakthroughs.

Here are the questions for quick reference (read the full article for backstories and what breakthroughs these questions have led to):

  • What if … we look for unexpected audiences?
  • What if … our audience tells our brand story?
  • What if … we pay more attention to our customers than our industry?
  • What if … the story was more important than the brand?
  • What if … we listened to our audience, not just their data?
  • What if … we grow a community not just to connect but also to create?
  • What if … our audience can be our brand’s most valuable asset?

A mind-expanding exercise that challenges you to reevaluate your content marketing strategy from multiple angles.

8 MIN READ

#Social Media

Instagram Tests Sharing Stories Directly to Facebook [News]

The line between Facebook and Instagram is getting blurrier. Instagram has been spotted giving users the option to share stories directly to Facebook. Instagram has confirmed the test, but the details as to when or if it is going live in the future are still not clear.

2 MIN READ

Snapchat Brings Bitmojis to Life with New AR Update [News]

Snapchat steps up its AR game with an update that integrates Bitmoji—which it acquired last year for $64 billion—into the app. Now you can create stories projecting your animated three-dimensional avatar into the real world.

snap video moji2

Yet another medium for brands to creatively engage with their audience and connect on the whole new level.

2 MIN READ

Subscribe to the #1 Digest for Content Marketing Pros

Never miss a single digest and stay ahead of the competition


If You Can’t Answer ‘Yes’ to These 5 Questions, Scrap That Draft

I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in marketing miracles either.

Some people say you can’t predict success and that viral campaigns are just a matter of luck. That’s simply not true.

Success and virality are computable. You put a piece of content in front of an initial audience of a reasonable size, trigger a cocktail of emotional responses that create an urge to share and voilà!

How come big brands like Old Spice or Dove pull off viral videos every time? One viral video after another. If it was sheer luck, it would be against all odds — but we know that’s not the case.

They follow a formula.

I have a formula for successful content, too. Each piece of my content must pass this test containing five simple questions before I show it to the world.

Let’s dive in.

Question #1: Is this topic novel, and if not, do I offer a unique point of view?

Sometimes I get very mad. I open an article with a promising title, from a credible company, only to find the very same listicle with almost identical points that I read in the last two articles.

Let’s face it: there’s too much content out there. Oh, that’s not true…. there’s too much great content already out there, so readers sure as hell aren’t going to waste their time on bad content. Nobody is interested in another article on how to make money online.

The Internet is too small.

So before writing any draft, ask yourself a couple of questions.

Is the topic of this draft new? If yes, go ahead and work on it.

If not, then is your take on the subject or angle unique? If yes, go ahead and bang it out.

If not, consider changing the topic or coming up with a new angle.

With a little bit of creativity and extra effort, you can find a unique angle even for the cheesiest and most exhausted topic. Just do your research and connect the dots that nobody has connected before.

Question #2: Do I have a distribution strategy for this piece of content?

Content is key, but distribution is even more so. Without a proper distribution strategy, even a masterpiece is not likely to take off.

I’ve come across so many talents that have no clue about marketing. And not surprisingly, they don’t get eyeballs. Because the web is too crowded. Because properly marketed bullshit drowns out quality content without marketing.

So what happens when you finish your draft? Will you pay Facebook to put it in from of people? If so, in front of whom and why? Do you have an email list or a social following? That’s great. Will this content suit the demographic and interests of your audience?

Do you have relationships with the media, blogs that would be interested specifically in this topic? If not, how are you going to approach them? Have you studied their guidelines? Maybe they don’t accept listicles… just checking.

Lay out the distribution plan for this specific piece of content. If you think it can catch on when you considered everything, go ahead and put together this draft.

If not, consider changing the topic or preparing a better plan for distribution.

Question #3: Is this content relevant to the audience that buys my product?

This is digital marketing 101 — don’t fall prey to vanity metrics.

For those who are not familiar with this term, it’s metrics that create a false sense of success. It’s usually big numbers that make us happy, although they have a questionable effect on the end goal. The most common vanity metrics in content marketing are views, visits, and sometimes even opt-ins.

One of my blogs had an article that generated 1,000,000+ views in a month. It was a clickbait article. But because of its general appeal, the audience that came to read it was, well, general. And so few visitors opted in to my newsletter.

What’s the value of this article apart from my superficial excitement at numbers? None.

The same holds true for lead magnets: ebooks, white papers, checklists. If you put together an ebook on a broader topic, it’s more likely to bring in more leads. But how many of these leads will get to the bottom of your funnel? How many of them will pull out their credit cards and actually buy?

Isn’t it better to focus on a more targeted and niche lead magnet that would tempt in the people that feel the pain your product addresses?

Don’t use the top of the funnel to judge content ideas. Don’t create content that drives most visits/leads. Those are vanity metrics. Instead, create content that addresses people who will buy.

Question #4: Does this content serve its purpose in any stage of the buyer’s journey?

So we’ve already answered the question whether our content is relevant to the buyer of our product or service or not. Now let’s get a little bit deeper into this.

Where in the buyer’s journey you’d like to hook your audience with this piece of content?

Do you want to build awareness for the issue your product solves?

Do you want to tempt in people who are just starting to research products or services like yours?

Or do you want to get your product in front of them when they are deciding between different providers?

If you haven’t yet, map out the journey of your typical customer and think where this content fits in it. This will serve as a guide for making your content and messaging more tailored to your potential prospect.

If it doesn’t serve its purpose in any stages of your buyer’s journey, scrap it. Visits don’t matter.

Question #5: Finally, is this the best you can do?

Picture a thousand of people — professional journalists, your marketing heroes, etc. –sitting right now at their laptops and pounding out drafts on the topic of your article.

Well, this is the reality. If you are tackling a broader topic, there will be many more.

How will your article stack up against their drafts assuming part of them are professional journalists, writers who have access to talented editors, research resources, and vast amounts of data into reader behavior and preferences?

In this light, do you still think your draft is the best you can do? Can you do more research and flesh it out more? Can you edit out the redundancy and improve its readability for a better reading experience? Can you spice it up with a joke at the beginning?

In the age of information overload, there’s no place for the second best. You have to be the best in one way or another. Maybe it’s your voice. Maybe it’s the time and effort you put into research. Maybe it’s your niche. Maybe it’s your creativity. You have to have an edge.

If you think your article has an edge, finish and show it to the world. If not, scrap it. The Internet is too small.

Subscribe to the #1 Digest for Content Marketing Pros

Never miss a single digest and stay ahead of the competition


How to Rank on the First Google Page If You Have a Low-Authority Site

Needless to say, the competition in SEO is fierce no matter the domain.

Google’s top search rankings have been dominated by big players. The most popular search terms belong to 15-ish companies that own big networks of authoritative sites linking to each other.

They can pass link juice around and dominate trending keywords in a new niche in a matter of months, leaving almost no space for smaller players.

Not to mention all the SEO junkies that act on every Google update and optimize their sites down to the smallest detail.

As such, making the first Google page for even long-tail, low-search-volume terms can take forever for small businesses, freelancers, or solo entrepreneurs that have sites with a low domain authority (DA) rank and presumably no SEO support.

But there’s a workaround I call “syndicated SEO content”.

My SEO “aha” moment

The other day I was reviewing an archive of my client’s SEO articles and their rankings. A whole lot of articles didn’t even make the top-30 positions because the competition had much higher DA ranks.

Since we were syndicating more newsworthy content to high-profile publications likes Forbes, Business Insider, I thought, “why don’t we try more evergreen and long-form content on those sites?.”

My intention was to drive some traffic to our site in the short term and then reuse those articles for other SEO efforts.

As expected, the articles did drive some short-term traffic. But unexpectedly, we kept receiving more and more traffic from them over time, which was out of the ordinary for those publications.

Then I looked up the articles on Moz…

In the span of several weeks, these articles made it to the first pages for the keywords we optimized them for on our site. And that’s because our media partners had DA ranks of 85+, which allowed us to outstrip the competition.

Unintentionally, we used them as high DA proxies for our SEO efforts.

In hindsight, it’s seems so obvious. But obvious things often get overlooked when you are deeply immersed in your field.

The SEO article doesn’t have to reside on your page

I know the mantra of content marketers: don’t build property on someone else’s land. That especially holds true in the SEO field, as your syndicated content eventually starts competing with the originals on your site.

But look, if there’s an opportunity to compete for a keyword with a monthly volume of 10,000+ searches by placing your content on someone else’s land, isn’t it worth it?

The good part of it is that the buyer’s journey stays almost intact. People read an article, find a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom, which links to a lead magnet on your site. Isn’t it the same with content posted on your site?

Of course, you can optimize your article pages better by customizing and visualizing the CTA, setting up exit-intent pop-ups and more. But what can you do with your highly optimized page for conversions if it is not receiving traffic?

It’s clear that potential gains of syndicated SEO content outweigh its downsides for those on the lower part of the DA spectrum.

Use only high DA sites as proxies

Now, not all the sites work the magic. If you want to get the most out of syndicated SEO content, you have to go after the most authoritative and credible sites in your domain.

I personally use Moz and their domain authority (DA) metric to evaluate potential sites for syndication. Your goal is the first page, and more precisely, the first three positions, as the click-through rate drops below a mere eight after the 3d ranking (see the chart below).


Credit: SmartInsights

As such, in most cases, you are shooting for sites with a DA of 80 or higher.

For perspective, here are the DA ranks of several highly credible sites:

www.forbes.com — DA: 96

www.thenextweb.com—DA: 89

www.contently.com— DA: 71

Make sure you use effective CTAs

Another key to the success of syndicated SEO content is the quality of CTAs in the article. Since the content doesn’t reside on your site, you are limited to text CTAs, which are not the best type of plugs to catch attention.

But still, there are ways to achieve damn good click-through rates if you are doing it right. (For some reference, I managed to achieve a CTR of five percent with a CTA  on sites like ForbesPlease note that I’m not adding visits to related articles in this figure, which would pump it up twice.)

Now, let’s get back to the topic.

First, you have to understand that the majority of the audience will just glance through the article and spend no more than 10–30 seconds on it, according to multiple studies.

For those people, we want to include a bold CTA that visually stands out from the rest of the article. To that end, I use a CTA note at the bottom with a bolded subhead, a short paragraph about the offer followed by a sentence that entices to take action now.

Example:

FREE eBook: How to Build an Email list of 50,000+ Subscribers from Scratch

In this eBook, you’ll learn seven ways to drive traffic that converts to your brand new blog, five types of high-converting lead magnets and much more to build highly-targeted email lists of 50,000+ subscribers in a year. Claim your free copy today!

Some readers, however, will dive deeper into your article, for whom we need something more organic. To that end, I use one or several subtle contextual CTAs inline with the text. If the publication’s link policy allows me, I bold them.

Example:

…your lead magnets must contain five important elements if you want to achieve a high conversion rate. (I discuss them in depth in my free eBook, 5 lead Magnets that Convert. Download it here)

This kind of CTAs also serves another purpose. Since a CTA note is placed at the bottom, inline CTAs cover the audience that will not make it to the bottom—that’s going to be the bulk of the audience.

In addition to these two types of CTAs, I include links to related content on my sites.

Conclusion 

It’s a no-brainer to post SEO content on your site and leave it there if you have a high DA rank that can compete for keywords with a decent volume of searches in your domain.

But if you are just starting out or have a low-DA site that can’t beat the competition in this respect, this is a good workaround.

I know, getting featured on sites like Forbes is hard and it’s a completely different topic I won’t dive into now. But achieving a DA rank that is not even close to theirs takes way more time and resources.

Subscribe to the #1 Digest for Content Marketing Pros

Never miss a single digest and stay ahead of the competition


Breaking Content #39: New SEO Ranking Factor, Facebook’s Household Targeting, Q&A Content & More

#SEO

“Searcher Task Accomplishment”: The New Most Important Ranking Factor [Research]

Rand Fishkin of Moz came up with a Google ranking concept called “searcher task accomplishment”, which may be the single most important ranking factor from now on.

Put simply, every search query carries a goal. How well your content helps the searcher accomplish it determines your rank.

Wondering if it can be measured at scale? Yes, it does.

If the searcher clicks through to your site and finishes his search with that, that indicates your content most likely helps accomplish the intent behind the search query.

Conversely, if the searcher comes to the site, bounces, and goes to other sites, that would signal your content doesn’t answer the question.

Simple, genius, and quantifiable.

9 MIN READ

Youtube and Google Rank Videos Differently. This Study Shows How and Why [Research/Actionable]

To this day, most marketers have assumed Google is ranking videos on Google and Youtube similarly. However, it turns out ranking algorithms for videos on each platform differs vastly.

This article is an in-depth write up of the experiment conducted by Steon Temple along with extensive checklists for video SEO optimisation on both Google and Youtube.

Here are some takeaways:

  • For Google queries that show YouTube videos, 75% are in the top 10 results;
  • More than half the time, a video that ranks #1 on YouTube isn’t #1 on Google for the same query;
  • More than half the time Google results have multiple YouTube videos, they rank differently than on YT;
  • The more YouTube videos show in a Google result, the more different they rank than on YouTube;
  • Search intent is key to understanding why videos rank differently between Google and YouTube.

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 14.54.55

13 MIN READ

Optimising Sites for Featured Snippets with Q&A Content [Actionable]

Featured snippets are the new position #1.

They are already stealing up to 10% of traffic from top positions on the first page. With growing structured data adoption, featured snippets will become more accurate and precise in answering different queries.

That will render other positions less relevant and further deprive them of traffic.

The following case study from Moz introduces and dissects the idea of creating Q&A type of SEO content that fits in well with the changing landscape of SEO.

Spoiler: 

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 15.03.376 MIN READ

Google Is Testing Auto-Playing Videos in Search Results [News]

Rumour has it that Google has been testing auto-played videos in search results. Google has confirmed the experiment but hasn’t provided a lot of details on it.

According to a Google spokesperson, this is a limited test and they have no plans to rolls this out to all users as of yet.

However, you should keep an eye out for it, as the implications of such a move would be enormous and open many opportunities for SEOs and content marketers.

1 MIN READ

How to Structure and Design Your Content for Google’s Mobile-First Index [Actionable]

Google’s mobile-first index is probably just months away. That basically means your mobile pages will soon become the default versions used in ranking pages.

And as we all know, user experience plays an important role in rankings.

This article gives 9 spot-on tips on structuring content for a better mobile user experience. I believe preparing your site for this paradigm shift is the single most important task of SEOs in 2017, which will determine your rankings for 2018.

Here’s an outline for quick reference:

Table of contents
HTML headings
Expandable content
Tabs
Filters
Summary, highlights, TL;DR
Bullet points or lists
Bold or italic text
Highlight important points

 4 MIN READ

Google Quality Raters Review Algorithms, Not Individual Web Sites [News]

To those obsessed with Google quality raters, John Muller of Google recently denied that they evaluate individual sites.

“Trying to review our algorithms in general, we’re not trying to evaluate individual sites.” That is the essence, they do look at individual sites but all of that is aimed at the review of the algorithms, not of the individual site.

Add Badges to Your Images in Google Search with Structured Data Markup [News/Actionable]

Google has rolled out a new feature that lets you add badges to images in image search results using structured data markup. This is a great way to stand out and drive more organic traffic to your site through images.

Google currently has badges for recipes, videos, products, and GIFs.

cupkakes

1 MIN READ

Google Confirms That Sticky Footers Are OK [News]

Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that sticky footers are acceptable and should not have any effect on SEO rankings.

He also added that webmasters should keep those footers as unobtrusive as possible to ensure a frictionless user experience.

Reminder: Google’s is releasing its official ad blocker for Chrome later this year that will reportedly block intrusive ads—even if they are served by Google. Ads will be qualified based on the better ads standards.

According to those standards, a sticky ad that takes up more 30% of screen space will be considered obtrusive. So keep your sticky footers within this limit, and you’ll be fine.

1 MIN READ

Google Boosts AMPs Internationally [News]

Rank Ranger recently noticed a spike in the number of accelerated mobile pages (AMP) being displayed in News Cards in Google across multiple international markets.

AMPs seem to be increasingly adopted globally and I believe will soon become the new standard for mobile pages, especially when Google rolls out its mobile-first index. For those who haven’t marked up their mobiles pages yet, here’s a primer on how to do that:

http://searchengineland.com/get-started-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp-240688

#PAID ACQUISITION

Facebook Has Launched Pre-Roll Ads [News]

Facebook has started selling video ads that will show up as pre-rolls in Facebook videos. The format is identical to Youtube’s pre-roll ads.

“Marketers will be able to choose to have their ads appear as mid-roll ads within live and on-demand videos on Facebook or as pre-roll or mid-roll ads within videos across Facebook’s Audience Network ad network.”

It looks like Facebook is launching new ad features by the month and quickly catching up with Google in the battle for ad dollars.

 3 MIN READ

Facebook Will Soon Let Brands Target Ads at Entire Families or Specific People Within Households [News]

Facebook will soon roll out a feature that allows you to target the household members of your source audience. It’s yet another step from Facebook in an effort to win over billions in advertising revenue still flowing into TV, which has been famous for its power to influence the entire household at once.

This feature will definitely open up many opportunities for new targeting variations and ad optimisation.

3 MIN READ

How Switching to Automated Bidding Can Increase CTRs in Adwords by 10.9% in One Week [Actionable]

Are you still managing CPC bids manually?

It may be hard to admit that machine learning-based algorithms can replace part of your job and do it much better, but that’s the reality—well, in most cases.

Need one more case study to convince you? Here you go. This one shows how one agency has managed to achieve an overall increase of 49.57% of clicks and held 53.34% of search impression share by shifting from manual to automatic bidding.

3 MIN READ

5 Advanced Adwords Optimisation Tactics [Actionable]

Tom Bukevicius from SCUBE Marketing laid down five advanced tactics for optimising Adwords campaigns when you hit the brick low-CPL wall.

A very prescriptive and actionable guide with examples, screenshots, and action items that most of you working with Adwords will find useful.

Here’s a quick rundown of the tactics covered:

1. Reach people who ignored you due to your budget

2. Improve market share lost due to low Ad Rank

3. Expand into a new buyer stage

4. Expand into new locations

5. Expand your offer

10 MIN READ

How Matching Ad and Landing Page Messaging Can Lift Conversion Rates by 212.74% [Actionable]

PPC heads know that Adwords’ Quality Score directly affects the effectiveness and cost of ad campaigns. An ad that scores below average can cost 64% more than the ad that scores a 5 and more. Conversely, ads with high Quality Scores cost less and secure higher-positioned placements.

In a recent case study, Moz dug deeper into this concept and studied how matching messaging across ads and landing pages can reduce the cost per lead by nearly 70%. They also shared techniques and tools that allow marketers to scale this approach by dynamically changing landing page copy based on ad variations.

A highly-recommended actionable read for those working with Adwords.

9 MIN READ

#Content

6 Psychology-Backed Hacks for Making Engaging Videos [Actionable]

Video has been reigning content marketing for quite some time now. With ever-growing video consumption, every content marketing strategy must involve this medium in one way or another.

One of the keys to success with video content is viewer engagement, as it directly determines how much of the organic reach you will be rewarded with from a platform.

There are a plethora of articles with tips for engaging videos, but the following one from HubSpot has stuck with me in particular. Each argument in this article is backed by specifics scientific studies and psychological theories—and most of them are truly spot on.

4 MIN READ

9 Effective Strategies for High-Impact Data Visualisations [Actionable]

Every day I get an email notifying me about a new article by Avinash Kaushik I know this is going to be a special day. Because every article of his—no matter the topic—is as insightful as it can get. Because every day I read him I learn something new and my as a marketer’s perspective expands to new horizons.

This time, Avinash takes on data visualisations and goes very deeeeep into it… He laid out nine strategies to make them impactful and engaging. To those who work with visual information, this is your most important read of this month—or maybe this year—for sure.

16 MIN READ

#Strategy/Funnel

Scaling Creative with Chatbots: 7 Companies That Use Chatbots in Their Marketing Right [Research]

Chatbots are like VR. Everybody talks about it, but few use.

Yes, chatbots are still in the early stages in terms of their adoption in marketing. But the hype is real. There’s already a number of case studies from companies adopting chatbots and seeing enormously high engagement.

In a few years from now, most brands will be using them.

Where’s the rush? The reward. The reward of being early on in the game is unproportional.

Hence I highly encourage you to read through this great round-up of case studies with brands that successfully implemented chatbots in their marketing mix and take the first step yourself.

This article will serve as a great source of inspiration.

 5 MIN READ

#Social Media

Now You Can Go Live with a Friend on Instagram [News]

Instagram has taken their live videos to the whole new level. Now you can invite a guest to your broadcasts. That opens a plethora of new authentic ways for engaging with your audience.

Again, being early on in the game is highly rewarding. So hit up an influencer in your field and collaborate on a series of live videos together. I’m sure the engagement will be enormous.

1 MIN READ

Linkedin Has Officially Rolled Out Native Videos Worldwide [News]

It’s official! Yet one more way to double down on videos. Yet it’s still not available to company pages…

 3 MIN READ

Subscribe to the #1 Digest for Content Marketing Pros

Never miss a single digest and stay ahead of the competition


Breaking Content #38: Google’s Ad Blocker, PPC Automation, Email vs. Facebook Messenger & More

Breaking Content was a newsletter before. This is the first issue posted publicly.

#SEO

How to Structure and Format Your Content for Google’s Featured Snippets [Actionable]

Google’s featured snippets (aka position #0) are reigning the first page. Some studies show that they steal about 7% of traffic from the once-mighty first position, not to mention the rest of the page (see the graphic below).

CTR

With the growing adoption of structured data markup, instant answers in featured snippets will become more thorough and accurate over time, capturing even a higher percentage of traffic.

I could go on, but it’s obvious that position #0 is the new #1—and it will be more so in the future.

So I studied a lot what makes sites appear in Google’s featured snippets lately. I’ll skip the obvious part about the quality of content and instead zero in on more technical aspects. One study has stuck with me in particular due to the amount quantitative analysis put into the research. It’s from HubSpot.

Here are the main takeaways from the article for optimizing content for featured snippets:

  • Backlinks still matter;
  • The search query should appear in a header (h2, h3, h4, etc.);
  • The answer to the query should be placed in a <p> tag directly below the header mentioned above. This answer should be between 54–58 words long;
  • Google doesn’t always pull a whole paragraph into the featured snippet. If you add “Step 1,” “Step 2,” “Step 3,” etc. to the start of each subheading within a page (h2) then Google will sometimes just pull through the subheads and list them chronologically.
  • Generic keywords (e.g. “Inbound Sales”) are more likely to display a featured snippet with a whole paragraph, while more question-oriented keywords will, in most cases, display a step-by-step list generated from your headings.
  • Google prefers that paragraphs begin as a natural answer would. So don’t twaddle and get straight to the point, particularly at the beginning of a new section under a heading.

Please note that only pages ranking on the first page can show up in these snippets. So I’d suggest the following process for finding featured-snippet opportunities:

  • Compile a list of all your pages ranking on the first page;
  • Identify the type of search queries returnings these pages (is it a generic query like “content marketing”, a how-to question etc.?);
  • Analyze pages ranking in the featured snippet for those queries;
  • Optimize your page better according to the bulleted list above.

 

7 MIN READ

 

Google Treats 301 Redirects to a Non-Identical Page as Soft 404s [News]

Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that websites should use 301 redirects only for identical pages. If the page you 301 redirect to isn’t a 1:1 replacement, Google is likely to treat it as a 404.

404

The Usability Push Continues! Google Has Updated Its Test My Site Tool [News]

Google has updated its Test My Site tool with new features. The updated version shows the percentage of visitors you may be losing due to page speed issues and how your site stacks up against the competition in your industry.

industry

This tool also gives recommendations on how to speed up your site—definitely an instructive tool to utilize for site optimization.

 

Test your site

 

Google Adds “Posts” to Local Business Listings [News]

Google has made Google Posts available to all businesses. This feature lets companies with Google My Business listings post content directly into the search results, in real-time. Posts will appear in both Google’s rich search and map results.

The caveat is that there’s currently no way to automate these posts as there’s no public API yet. In any case, it’s a promising new medium for local businesses.

Plus, this roll-out presents a short window of opportunity to stand out and possibly rank higher for local queries before the feature is widely adopted.

 

2 Min Read

 

Google Will Roll Out Its Mobile-First Index to Sites That Are Ready for It [News]

The same John Mueller from Google also confirmed that they’d roll out their mobile-first index in stages, starting with mobile-optimized sites that are ready for it.

Nobody knows when Google will flip the switch. It’s probably months away. However, one thing is for sure. Making sure your site is 100% optimized for mobile has never been more important than now.

 

1 Min Read

 

#PAID ACQUISITION

Robots Are Taking Over PPC: 3 Automation Features You Must Utilize Now [Actionable]

“Smart” features based on machine learning have been one of the biggest trends in the PPC industry this year. Artificial intelligence now drives about every aspect of innovation in this domain.

Earlier this year, Google has rolled out “Smart Display Campaign” and automatically curated “in-market” and “similar” audiences.

Keeping pace with the industry’s standards, Bing also released its “in-market” and “custom” audiences a few weeks ago.

This article breaks down the most important machine learning-based features in PPC and gives some great advice on how to put them to use. (Note: skip through to the section “New Machine Based Featured”.)

 

4 min read

 

Ads That Google’s Blocker Will Block Starting 2018 [Alert]

Early next year, Google will release an official ad blocker for Chrome to put a stop to intrusive ads, even if they are owned or served by Google. Acceptable ads will be qualified based on the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads.

You can find a list of unacceptable ads for both mobile and desktop along with their mock-ups and descriptions on this page.

Below are screenshots for quick reference:

im1

im2

 

3 MIN READ

 

How to Choose the Right Bid Management Automation Tool [Actionable]

When you have dozens of PPC campaigns across multiple platforms under your supervision, manual bid optimization is nearly impossible.

This is where bid management automation tools come in handy. However, there’s a myriad of them, and without a proper understanding of what to look for, picking one out may be overwhelming.

This article does a great job dissecting PPC bid management automation tools and laying out the process for choosing the right one for your campaigns.

 

4 MIN READ

 

10 Adwords Scripts That Will Take Your Adwords Campaigns to The Next Level [Actionable]

Adwords scripts are a great way stay on top of your campaigns when scaling.

For those not familiar with these scripts, those are JavaScript code snippets that you add to your Adwords account to perform specific tasks, e.g. keep a record of your data, automate bidding, do competitive analysis, etc.

This article from Adstage lists 10 very handy scripts along with in-action screenshots and application examples. It’s one of the best write-ups on Adwords scripts I’ve come across so far.

Here’s the list with links to original sources for quick reference:

Quality Score Tracker by PPC Epiphany
Automated Ad Testing AdWords Script
24-Hour Bidding Script
Weather-Based Bidding AdWords Script
Disable Ads for Out-of-stock Items in Search
N-Gram Search Query Reports
Competitor Tracking Script
“Split Test Anything” Script
24-Hour Heat Map Script
Analyze Quality Score in Detail

If you haven’t set up scripts in Adwords before, here’s a good primer on how to do that: http://www.beyondthepaid.com/learning-adwords-scripts/

 

4 Min read

 

#EDITORIAL

How to Use Udemy to Validate an Idea for Your Next Long-Form Article/Lead Magnet [Actionable]

Oh, I just loved the first piece of advice in this article, which is how to use Udemy to validate content ideas. I’d like to note that this method is more suited for evergreen long-form content, which is what courses are by their nature.

Why is it important?

All too often, we let intuition take hold of our editorial strategy. But with so much noise out there, success in content marketing comes down to consistency and a data-driven editorial approach.

So here’s the idea on how to use Udemy data as a guide in your editorial decisions:

  • Go to Udemy and search the topic you’d like to write your next article, ebook or whatever about;
  • Pick courses around that topic with the most reviews/the best reviews/the most students (use your judgment for quality criteria);
  • The curriculums of your selected courses will suggest you a proven structure for a piece of content on that topic.

People pulled out their wallets and actually paid for that content, which means the content is compelling, important, and, most importantly, in demand. I can’t think of a stronger validation than that.

This article covers more great ideas for creating shareable and SEO-friendly content, but a lot of them fall into the 101 bucket, so I won’t cover them. But the link is below if you are interested.

 

16 min read

 

#Strategy/Funnel

The Case for Switching from Email to Facebook Messenger for Interaction with Leads. (Hint: a 477% reduction in CPL[Research]

Email is dying.

Inboxes are more cluttered than ever. Open and click rates are in decline.

In search of new mediums, Hubspot has recently put Facebook Messenger to test as a channel to interact with their prospects. They conducted three experiments in which Facebook Messenger was stacked up against email in the following applications.

Using Facebook Messenger as a content delivery channel

Results:

h1

“The Facebook Messenger broadcasts had an average open rate of 80% and average CTR of 13%. That was 242% and 609% better than our email controls, respectively.”

Using Facebook Messenger in place of forms

“The results here were even better than we anticipated. We saw a staggering 477% reduction in our cost per lead, while lead quality only slightly decreased.”

The third application was sending updates to event attendees via Facebook Messenger. I’m not covering it because the use is quite niche and HubSpot didn’t provide email results for comparison.

 

4 min read

 

Controversy Alert: Stop All Organic Social Media Activity [Research/Opinion]

Avinash Kaushik (Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google) has literally taken the words out of my mouth with this article.

His premise is that organic social media is dead, and so there’s no reason to invest in it anymore. I second him a hundred percent. (That’s the reason we don’t have social handles for Breaking Content.)

This Facebook post from Expedia paints the picture best:

expedia

Note: Expedia had 6,462,977 fans on their Facebook page when this screenshot was taken. Divide 75 engagements by 6,462,977 and you’ll get an organic reach rate of 0.00113%.

I can’t find a strong enough word to convey how dismal it is.

The takeaway: Don’t invest in organic reach anymore. Instead, shift your focus to creating irresistible content and amplifying its distribution with paid reach.

 

16 min read

 

#Social Media

Facebook Updates Its News Feed Algorithm in Fight Against Clickbait Links [News]

Facebook recently announced an update to their news feed algorithm that will address the issue of high volumes of clickbait content.

Adam Mossery, VP of News Feed, wrote: “By taking steps like this to improve News Feed, we’re able to surface more stories that people find informative and reduce the spread of problematic links such as clickbait, sensationalism and misinformation.”

They added that this update will apply to individual links and won’t have an effect on a domain level.

If you do content marketing right (and I believe you do), this update will work only to your advantage.

 

1 min read

Subscribe to the #1 Digest for Content Marketing Pros

Never miss a single digest and stay ahead of the competition