Ask MarketingExperiments: How do qualitative research, design thinking, and design sprints relate to A/B testing?

We frequently receive questions from our email subscribers asking marketing advice. Instead of hiding those answers in one-to-one email communication, we occasionally publish edited excerpts of some of them here as well as our sister publication, MarketingSherpa, so they can help other readers as well. If you have any questions, let us know.

Dear MarketingExperiments: Hi. I read a lot of your articles and see your videos. Your research techniques are based on A/B testing. What’s your opinion about design sprint and design thinking process and qualitative-based research.

Thanks.

Dear Reader: Thank you for your question. A/B testing is not mutually exclusive from the other techniques you mentioned. In fact, they are often paired together by practitioners who are either aware of specific methodologies incorporated by these techniques, or are simply engaging in many of the tactics in those methodologies without specifically following (or even being aware of) them.

Here is some information to answer your question paired with
some related resources so you can dig further.

Qualitative-based
research

Qualitative research can be valuable to help you build a
theory about your customer. You should then form hypotheses to test your
theories. That’s where A/B testing comes in. The qualitative research can also
help you interpret those test results.

So, for example, you might assume customers care more about the environmental aspects of a product than the luxury aspects of a product based on your qualitative research. You can run an A/B test to determine if you are correct. The qualitative research can then help you answer why customers have the preference. For example, if they care about the environmental aspects for a deeper reason — maybe they are concerned about getting cancer from chemicals — it can lead you to explore other ways to serve those customer motivations with your messaging and your products.

Some sources you might consider for your qualitative
research include:

You can build a database of your qualitative research discoveries to help you track your findings and prioritize what you would like to test.

While the MECLABS methodology employs quantitative methods to study objective evidence in pursuit of a robust Customer Theory, those quantitative methods are enhanced by qualitative methods. Quantitative and qualitative methods are not at odds with each other, rather they work better in tandem.

Design thinking
process

Design thinking is a methodology that focuses on the user. A methodology like design thinking can go hand-in-hand with customer-first marketing.

Key elements of design thinking include empathizing with the
prospective customer or user, defining the problem, ideating a solution,
prototyping that solution and then testing it.

Again, we see where A/B testing can fit into this
methodology.

Design thinking is similar to the MECLABS Conversion Sequence Heuristic — a patented methodology to help you empathize with the customer, define the problem and come up with solutions. And ultimately you want to test to see how your suppositions (hypotheses) behave in the real world.

Design sprint

A design sprint incorporates many of the ideas we’ve already
discussed. It is in many ways a focused application of design thinking in a
condensed amount of time.

That focus can be essential to the modern marketer and
business person. We frequently find our time and attention splintered by all of
the tasks we’re trying to keep up with — from long-term strategy to immediate
fire drills. A surge of effort on a precise task has become a popular way of
attacking a specific problem or opportunity. It can be personally fulfilling as
well, bringing the team closer together and uniting everyone around a common
goal with a clear success metric — building something specific to solve a
specific problem.

As such, this sprint mindset isn’t unique to design or marketing. In fact, it is especially popular in information technology (IT) where practitioners, for example, use the Scrum project-management system for website redesign and software development.

If you are going to engage in a design sprint, it helps to
begin with insights about the challenges and opportunities for the product and/or
user experience based on some information.  This is where qualitative research can come
in.

It also helps to get an understanding of how the thing you
create performs with users and customers — this is where A/B testing comes in.
After all, a design sprint can be a good way to build something based on the
best internal gut thinking, external opinions and other data. But again, this should
lead to a hypothesis which you can ultimately test with real-world behavior.

While we never use the term or official methodology of a design sprint, MECLABS also engages in focused activities with business and marketing teams to get a specific, customer-focused output that can then be tested — our Quick Win Intensives and Value Proposition Workshops.

A common thread

I’ve found that some people in life prefer a specific
methodology or canonical approach to follow.

I’m more of a big-picture guy myself — what can I learn from different methodologies, approaches and belief systems? And how can I apply that in my life, in my career and in specific situations?

If we were to step back for a minute, there is a common
thread in all of the research tactics we’ve discussed:

  • How can you focus on the other (i.e., user or customer)?
  • How can you discover what will best serve the
    other (which can be very different from your own opinion)?
  • How can you structure your time, efforts and
    resources to serve the other?
  • How can you know if your suppositions and effort
    were effective? (What is your single source or truth?)

Thanks again for your question and best of luck in wherever
your research journeys take you.

Related Resources

MECLABS Institute Online Testing on-demand certification course — Learn where to test, what to test, and how to turn basic testing data into customer wisdom

Marketing Analytics: 4 techniques to discuss with your data analysts

Heuristic Cheat Sheet: 10 methods for improving your marketing

Ask MarketingExperiments: How do qualitative research, design thinking, and design sprints relate to A/B testing? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Organic vs. Paid Search: (66 Astonishing) Statistics for 2019

SEO

Let’s just come out and say it: this is not the first “search statistics” article ever written.

But a quick glance through the top results doesn’t give you what you need.

You’ll see posts covering organic search statistics, resources covering paid search statistics, or a walk-through for how to succeed with an organic search strategy.

But none of these articles give you an understanding of both organic and paid search with up-to-date numbers and the actionable ways you can use those statistics to inform your business strategy.

This article will do just that.

We’ll cover it all, with the following sections.

Organic Search Statistics

  1. 67,000 searches are performed on Google every second of every day.
  2. 93% of digital, online experiences start with a search engine.
  3. 46% of all Google searches are local.
  4. 95% of all searchers click on one of the links in the first SERP.
  5. Search traffic converts 10x better than social media traffic (on desktop).
  6. The first position on SERP collects around 30% of the clicks. Second gets 15%; third gets 10%. By the time you get to the ninth and tenth positions, click-through-rates have fallen to about 2%.
  7. Long-tail searches (with four or more words), have a better chance of giving your business clicks – even if you’re not in the top positions. Long-tail results in the sixth position, for instance, get 7% of the total clicks, more than twice as effective as the average SERP.
  8. 50% of search queries are at least four words.
  9. Google owns 96% of all mobile searches, and 93% of all desktop searches.
  10. Yahoo, as the second largest search engine, controls 1.42% of mobile searches and 2.83% of desktop searches.
  11. SEO is the single biggest factor in lead generation, according to 57% of B2B marketers.
  12. 82% of marketers report the effectiveness of SEO is increasing, and 42% report effectiveness is increasing significantly.
  13. Updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%.
  14. It’s estimated that by 2020, half of all online searches will be voice searches.
  15. In 2018 25% of households in the US owned a smart speaker. With 78% year-on-year growth, that number hit 120 million in 2019 (41% of Americans).
  16. After listening to music, search is the #2 and #3-most frequent use-case for smart speakers in a typical week.
  17. Google’s answer box is triggered by 25% of all searches.
  18. The top ranking site is, on average, 17% faster than sites which rank in the #10 spot.
  19. The top ranking pages have 8.7% lower bounce rates than sites which rank in the #10 spot.
  20. The top ranking pages have almost 6x more links than sites which rank in the #10 spot.
  21. The top ranking page contains, on average, 1,890 words.
  22. The highest-impacting SEO factor remains link signals (29%), with on-page signals a close second (24%).

Mobile Organic Search:

  1. 2018 was the first year where the majority of searches came through a mobile device.
  2. 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles.
  3. In 2019, 59% of all searches came through mobile.
  4. 2020 is expected to see 211 million Americans using mobile search.
  5. Mobile’s influenced retail sales to the tune of an estimated $1.4 trillion USD (and that was back in 2016).
  6. Even short connection delays (500ms) result in 26% higher “peak frustration” and up to an 8% decrease in engagement.
  7. 46% of consumers say their biggest frustration from browsing the internet on mobile comes from having to wait for pages to load.

Section Sources:

Organic Search Case Study

Backlinko.

Normally we’d choose a lesser-known business case study to show how businesses just like yours can achieve organic search results.

But the fact of the matter is that Brian Dean’s case study covering on-page site optimization offers actionable takeaways for any business, and it’s a powerful example of how organic search optimization can drive serious traffic.

He’d written a post (an SEO checklist), but it had failed to perform. To improve it, he focused on two main changes:

  1. Address User Intent:

Brian was writing a checklist post, but hadn’t formatted his content to match and title.

After all, if he was focused on people who wanted a checklist, why was his post called [Case Study]?

Google is extremely savvy when it comes to matching user intent to relevant content, so giving your prospective readers exactly what they’re looking for is key.

He also changed the content to be more inclusive, because people searching for a checklist are unlikely to be super advanced SEO experts.

  1. Optimize for User Experience:
  • He added a table of contents (to help readers navigate his monster post).
  • He added video (which has shown to increase time-on-page by 6x)
  • He shortened his short introduction, as he knew long introductions increase bounce rates
  • He increased the number of examples and added subheaders (to better organize the content on the page).

These two strategies helped Backlinko increase the traffic of that post by 652%:

(Source)

Related Reading:

For a complete guide to SEO, check out our “SEO Checklist.” For a guide to ecommerce SEO, check out “E-Commerce SEO Best Practices.”

Paid search statistics

  1. Google dominates search ads, generating $32.4 billion in ad revenue in 2018. Their top competitors (Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yelp) combined for $4.8 billion.
  2. Technically, YouTube (owned by Google) is the second-largest search engine, with more than a billion unique monthly searchers.
  3. Advertising accounts for about 97% of Google’s total revenue.
  4. The average click-through-rate in Google search ads is 3.17% (compared to only .46% for display ads).
  5. The average CPC paid by Google search advertisers for keywords that included their own brand name rose 30% in 2019.
  6. Paid search ads are in the top three most influential generators of website conversions.
  7. 46% of people can’t identify which results are organic and which are paid ads on the SERP.
  8. When asked, 62% of marketers and advertisers said they planned to increase their search advertising budgets in 2019.
  9. Smell businesses generate $3 in revenue for every $1.60 spent on search ads.
  10. Just one brand awareness campaign, when done correctly through paid Google ads, can boost the metric up by 80%.
  11. 72% of paid search advertisers plan to increase their PPC budgets in the coming year.

Paid Search Statistics By Industry

  1. The average click-through-rate is 3.17%.
  2. The highest CTR is found in the dating industry, at 6.05%.
  3. The lowest CTR is found in the technology industry, at 2.09%.
  4. The average cost-per-click is $2.69.
  5. The highest CPC is found in the legal industry, at $6.75.
  6. The lowest CPC is found in the e-commerce industry, at $1.16.
  7. The average conversion rate is 3.75%.
  8. The highest conversion rates are found in the dating industry, at 9.64%.
  9. The lowest conversion rates are found in the advocacy industry, at 1.96.
  10. The average CPA is $48.96.
  11. The highest CPA comes from the technology industry, at $133.52.
  12. The lowest CPA comes from the auto industry, at $33.52.

Mobile:

  1. When it comes to paid mobile search click sharing, Bing and Yahoo aren’t as far behind Google as in (every) other area. 33% of all paid mobile search clicks come through Bing or Yahoo.
  2. Approximately 36% of mobile searches revolve around local search terms.
  3. Mobile devices account for the majority of paid-search clicks (53%).
  4. Mobile phone shoppers convert less than half as frequently as traditional shoppers. Tablet shoppers, in fact, convert more frequently than mobile phone users.

Section Sources:

Organic vs Paid Search Statistics

Arguments for Organic Search:

  1. 70-80% of all searchers ignore paid ads and focus only on organic results.
  2. Organic search leads lose at a rate of 14.6%, compared to only 1.7% for outbound marketing leads.
  3. Approximately 39% of total e-commerce traffic (worldwide) comes from search – 35% of it organic and only 4% of it through paid search ads.
  4. Ad blocker usage increased from 142 million to 615 million between 2018 and 2019.

Arguments for Paid Search:

  1. Paid search results gain 150% as many conversions from clicks as organic search results.
  2. Even with a healthy SEO budget, it’s extremely rare to see organic traffic increases within the first three months of optimization.
  3. 65% of all clicks made by “users who intend to buy” go to search ads.
  4. Paid traffic is 50% more likely to buy from you than organic traffic (as they have a higher intent).
  5. When you pause your ads, don’t expect an influx of organic traffic. Up to 89% of all paid traffic does not get replaced by organic when the ads are paused.
  6. The top three ad spots take 40% of total clicks on the page for “high-value commercial intent” searches.

Section Sources:

Organic vs. Paid Search Case Study

It can be extremely difficult to find good paid search case studies, as most of them are built by PPC agencies who want to guard their strategies carefully, or by Google themselves.

And their case studies come from Fiat, Intel, and the Washington Wizards.

None of whom are particularly relevant to you and your small business.

So we dug a little deeper. We (along with less than .5% of other searchers) headed to the fourth page of Google’s search results.

Gasp!

We found GrowDigital.

GrowDigital is (as you might expect) a PPC agency, but they’re reporting is legitimate and valuable.

Their campaign revolved around whether or not your business should bid on your own brand name.

This question is at the heart of the organic vs paid search conversation.

Here are their findings:

  1. Bidding on your brand name increases the total real estate you control on the SERP.

For example, if you Google “Unbounce,” their paid search ad (plus their organic result) means they control everything above the fold:

This leaves no room for any “Unbounce Competitor” or “Unbounce vs. [Competitor]” pages to rank above the fold.

  1. Bidding on your brand name is extremely cheap (as your quality score is going to be through the roof).

Your competitors may also be bidding on your brand name (usually with a “Why [Your Brand] Isn’t as Good as [Their Brand]”-type page.

But your search ad will appear above theirs, and you’ll get a cheaper PPC than them, simply because of the quality score.

The Results:

GrowDigital tested removing brand search ads for a client over a two-week period: one week without brand ads, and one week with them:

“During the one-week period before shutting it down, the campaign achieved $1,268 daily revenue while organic searches with the brand name included resulted in a magnificent result of $241 daily.

During week 2, after shutting the brand campaigns down in Google Adwords, organic results improved to a stellar daily revenue of $757. This suggests that paid ads indeed cannibalized the results of organic results.

But once we looked at the whole picture, we realized the ugly truth: this huge improvement still could not fully replace the paid channel’s performance.

Simply put, Without brand ads in Adwords, a loss of $750 daily [meant] 50% less revenue [for the client.]”

(Source)

This is the value of search ads even if you’re already ranking organically.

Organic & Paid Search Relevant Tools

  • Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz: These tools all offer a powerful insight into what keywords you should target, both with SEO strategies and paid strategies.
  • SpyFu: SpyFu gives you insight into the strategies of your competitors, both for PPC and SEO.
  • Google Trends & Keyword Planner: These free tools are essential for every organic search optimizer as well as every PPC expert. They give you insight into the competition, cost, and likelihood your brand will be able to rank (paid or organic) for each search term you’re going after.
  • Unbounce, Instapage, or Wishpond: If you run paid search ads, you need to send the people who click to a landing page (otherwise you’ll be wasting your ad budget). These three landing page providers make it easy.
  • Optimizely, VWO, or Google Optimize: Whether you’re optimizing your website for organic traffic or paid, a good A/B testing tool is crucial.
  • Woopra or Mixpanel: Without analytics, every marketing and advertising strategy is a stab in the dark. These two tools are the industry leaders when it comes to buyer path tracking – an essential part of determining your organic or paid search strategy’s success and ROI.

Conclusion

Hopefully these 66 organic and paid search statistics have given you a better understanding of the sheer power of search.

We hope, as well, that you now realize that neither organic nor paid search is inherently superior.

Your business should be trying and testing both (with organic search optimization, you’ll have to test for at least six months, by the way).

Try them both, and see what works for you and your business.

And if you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask the experts.

Organic vs. Paid Search: (66 Astonishing) Statistics for 2019 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Use Screaming Frog: A Beginners Guide

If you are new to search engine optimization (SEO) or coming across your first time using Screaming Frog, this post is for you!

A common issue I noticed while interning at Distilled was the significant amount of trouble interns had setting up and navigating the tools we use for SEO. While trying to find a balance between learning new concepts in SEO as a part-time intern and familiarizing ourselves with the tools we use daily, we noticeably had less time engaging with concepts.

My first crawl as an intern was for a site with over hundreds of thousands of URLs and I ran into a handful of problems I had to learn from. As you begin working in SEO, you will come across powerful tools that will aid you in finding valuable data. It is important to be able to utilize and navigate these tools as efficiently as possible.

At Distilled, a tool we often use is called Screaming Frog, a website crawler that crawls URLs and returns valuable data for us to analyze in order to audit technical and onsite SEO.

In this blog, we will be covering how to set up your device for Screaming Frog and configurations to be made in order to crawl a site, and executing your crawl. All of this will be beneficial in setting you up for success in using Distilled’s very own technical audit checklist and will ensure you’re getting the data you need to run your first audit.

Setting up your device

As you begin crawling sites, you will find some sites are larger than others and require more of your system’s memory to store and process the data that Screaming Frog finds. Before you start crawling websites, it would be beneficial to allocate more of your system’s RAM to Screaming Frog – allowing for more speed and flexibility for all future crawling. This will be necessary for sites with over 150k URLs to crawl.

Configuration > System > Memory

The default setting for 32-bit machines is 1GB of RAM and 2GB of RAM for 64-bit machines. I recommend using 8GB, which allows Screaming Frog to crawl up to 5 million URLs. Screaming Frog recommends using 2GB less than your total RAM, but be wary if you dedicate your total RAM your system may experience a crash.

When you’re done allocating more RAM to Screaming Frog, you will need to restart your software for the changes to apply.

Configurations

Once you begin crawling sites, it’s important to adjust your configurations accordingly to make sure Screaming Frog is crawling efficiently as possible. Here I will show you some basic configurations I like to use.

Configuration > Spider > Basic

These are the default settings Screaming Frog has for every crawl. It is a good habit to set your configurations specific to the crawl you’re about to execute and make adjustments here.

Here are the basic settings I use here at Distilled to run my tech audits:

  • Follow Internal “nofollow: Allows us to crawl internal links with “nofollow attributes” to check if our site is implementing this tag to show content we do/don’t want discovered or indexed.
  • Crawl Canonicals: Allows us to crawl canonical link elements to check if we’re indicating what pages we want ranking.
  • Crawl Next/Prev: Allows us to crawl rel=”next” and rel=”prev” elements to give us an idea if our site is clearly communicating the relationship between pages.
  • Extract hreflang: Displays hreflang language, region codes, and the URL to check we are communicating the different variations of our site.
  • Crawl Linked XML Sitemaps: Allows us to discover URLs in XML sitemaps.
  • Auto Discover XML Sitemaps via robots.txt: Allows us to find sitemaps discoverable through robots.txt

If you are dealing with a site that utilizes JavaScript and want to spot check internal navigation, you’ll need to execute a separate crawl with different configurations for that specific page, not the whole domain. Navigate to the “rendering” tab to make sure our crawler can find those instances. If you want to learn more about debugging javascript check out our Senior Consultant, Sergey Stefoglo’s Moz blog.

Configuration > Spider > Basic > Rendering

After spider configurations, we always need to set custom filters for specific things we want to show up in our crawl.

Configuration > Custom > Search

I regularly use these filters to include and exclude things I want to keep an eye out for and to make sure all pages are accounted for:

Now that you’ve got your configurations set for your initial crawl, you can save these configurations for future crawls so you don’t have to go through this process every time! Just load the configurations you need before running each crawl.

File > Configuration > Save As…

File > Configuration > Load…

Crawling Your First Site

Now that we’ve set up our system and made our configurations, the only thing left to do is to start crawling our site!

To crawl a website you will want to use Screaming Frogs default “Spider” mode. This will allow us to crawl the site and gather links based on our configurations and filters we created. For our example, we’ll crawl https://www.distilled.net/

Mode > Spider > Enter URL > Click Start

In addition to Spider mode, I also utilize “List” mode which will crawl a list of URLs that can come from a file or a simple copy and paste. For this example, we’ll use Distilled’s sitemap URL.

Mode > List > Upload > Download Sitemap



Important things to consider when crawling:

  • You can stop and resume your crawl as needed.
  • Turning off your system or exiting Screaming Frog will result in losing your data.
  • You can always save your crawl and resume to finish at a later time.

After crawling our site, it’s time to use the data we’ve collected and give it some context. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the article, “Technical Audit Checklist for Human Beings” by our Principal Consultant, Ben Estes.

This article will help you transition into conducting your first technical audit using the tech audit checklist provided in Ben’s article. After reading this article and using our tech audit checklist, I hope you find insightful data that triggers your curiosity about the field of SEO.

If you want to share your first experience with Screaming Frog, have any questions or feedback, or found this helpful, please drop a comment down below!

How to Use Screaming Frog: A Beginners Guide was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

New Website SEO: A Comprehensive Guide

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Cover Photo - New Website SEO A Comprehensive Guide

Having a stable SEO foundation is what all of us in industry yearn for. Oftentimes, we have to make do with what we can work with – a relatively old website with so many onsite factors left unoptimized, a spammy backlink profile, and so many facets left ignored. But, there are moments wherein we get the chance to optimize a newly-created website. The chance to lay the perfect SEO foundations for the website is already within reach; what’s left to do is to get started. But how exactly do you optimize a new website for the search engines?

New Website SEO

Having the chance to optimize a new website is definitely a great one, however, there are times where we get overwhelmed and we don’t know where to start. The best thing to do here is to write down your game plan and do them in order of their importance. Here’s an awesome game plan to help you SEO your new website:

Keyword Research

Provided that your new website has your brand name as it’s domain name and has a great web hosting provider then the next thing you should do is to decide which keywords your new site will target. We have a lot of recommended tools such as Mangools’ KWFinder and, of course, Google’s Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner Screenshot

When you’re deciding on keywords you want your new site to target, be mindful of the fact that broader, popular keywords are harder to rank for since high-quality, authoritative websites are ranking for those kinds of keywords.

I recommend you choose semi-broad keywords then focus your content around that keyword. It’s also important to remember that the keyword you choose should be related to your brand’s niche. You can’t target “laptops for sale philippines” then have your business in the cosmetics industry. After deciding on the keywords, here’s what you’ll do next:

Site Structure

Working on a new site that only has a few pages, you can roughly plan out the structure of the site as it slowly grows bigger. So, while you still have control on the minimal number of pages, plan out how your site structure works. A great way of implementing site structure is through topic clusters (which we’re using for a large number of our clients). Here’s what it looks like:

Topic Clusters

(Image Source: HubSpot)

But, the most common one you’ll see in most websites is the pyramid site structure wherein the homepage is at the top and important pages such as contact page, about page, blog page, etc. are in the second layer, then other pages below. It looks a little something like this:

Common Site Structure

Having a definite vision for your site structure enables you to give a sense of organization to your website while being able to give the users a better experience while they’re inside your website.

Onsite Optimization

After deciding on the keywords you’ll target and the site structure, it’s now time to optimize the existing pages. Make sure you optimize the following:

  • URL Slugs – You want your URLs to, as much as possible, contain the keyword and be able to contain what the page is about. Additionally, you want your URLs to be organized and be optimized for your site structure.

    • For example, this article is about new website SEO so the URL slug will be seo-hacker.com/new-website-seo-guide
    • For e-commerce websites, you’re selling laptops and you have a subcategory of brands so the URL slug will be example.com/laptops/brands
  • Title Tags – This should ultimately describe what a specific page is all about. This is also displayed in the search results so it’s important for you to optimize the title tag while keeping it enticing.

    • The optimal structure for your title tag is: Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Brand Keyword
  • Header Tags – This enables you to structure a page’s content. In order of importance, header tags are: H1, H2, H3, H4-H6. It’s important to remember that only the H1 is a ranking factor, but being able to structure your content enables search engine crawlers to better understand your content. So, organize your header tags as much as possible.
  • Content – Always note that search engines place importance on useful and informative content. Make sure that whatever content you put out on your website, it’s useful to the users and is not plagiarized or spammy. 
  • Images – Make sure to optimize your image’s alt text, file name, and title. This is to give your images a chance to rank in Google Image Search, and to help search engine crawlers better understand the image that you used and why you used it. 
  • Meta Descriptions – This is the concise and comprehensive summary of your page. This is also shown in the search results, so if you don’t optimize your meta description (alongside the title tag) to be enticing and “click-worthy”, no one will click on your site. 

Crawlability, Accessibility, and Usability

After doing the steps above, it’s now time to check if your website is crawlable. You can use tools like Google Search Console or Screaming Frog. Just run a scan of your site and make sure that the pages you want to show up in the search engines are crawlable. Additionally, through Screaming Frog, you can check if there are any duplicate content or any other errors in your new website. 

ScreamingFrog Screenshot

The next thing to check is your website’s accessibility. Is your website accessible to all the devices that users may use? Desktops? Laptops? Tablets? Phones? You have to ask your developer to make your website adapt to the devices used by your visitors and, arguably, the most important device would be mobile since a large number of users use their phones to conduct searches on the daily. 

Google Search Console Screenshot

Lastly, ensure that your website’s UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) is top-notch. One factor you can check is your website’s loading speed. You can use PageSpeed Insights to get a better picture of your website’s loading speed and how you can improve it. Additionally, you can run some usability A/B tests to know which facets of your websites are preferred by your visitors.

PageSpeed Insights Screenshot

Sometimes, the primary reason why your site has high bounce rate or low conversion is because of its usability. So, make sure that your site’s UI and UX are great. Test everything that you can test and make a compilation of all the things that performed better and base your website design from there. 

Sitemap

After you’ve completed all the steps above, it’s time to submit your new website’s sitemap to Google. They crawl your website automatically after a certain amount of time, but you can speed up the crawling process through submitting your sitemap in Google Search Console since this is a more direct way of telling Google that “My site exists and I would like it to show up in the search results, please.”

Sitemap GSC Screenshot

Key Takeaway

The most important part of optimizing a new website is to lay down foundations that will still be effective and useful in the long run. By doing this, you’re allowed to run riskier experiments (not black-hat ones) and a more refined strategy in the future since you already have a steady foundation you can fall back on. Did I miss anything or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

New Website SEO: A Comprehensive Guide was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Google May Handle Question Answering when Facts are Missing

I wrote about a similar patent in the post, Google Extracts Facts from the Web to Provide Fact Answers

This one introduces itself with the following statement, indicating a problem that Google may have with answering questions from the facts it may collect from the Web to fill its knowledge graph:

Embodiments relate to relational models of knowledge, such as a graph-based data store, can be used to provide answers to search queries. Such models describe real-world entities (people, places, things) as facts in the form of graph nodes and edges between the nodes. While such graphs may represent a significant amount of facts, even the largest graphs may be missing tens of millions of facts or may have incorrect facts. For example, relationships, edges or other attributes between two or more nodes can often be missing.

That is the problem that this new patent is intended to solve. The patent was filed in November of 2017. The earlier patent I linked to above was granted in June 2017. It does not anticipate missing or incorrect facts like this newer patent warns us about. The newer patent tells us about how they might be able to answer some questions without access to some facts.

It’s also reminding me of another patent that I recently wrote about on the Go Fish Digital Website. That post is titled, Question Answering Explaining Estimates of Missing Facts. Both the patent that post was about and this new patent include Gal Chechik, Yaniv Leviathan, Yoav Tzur, Eyal Segalis, as inventors (the other patent has a couple of additional inventors as well.)

The earlier question answering with estimates patent talks about how they might infer answers, and provide explanations with those answers. This also tells it might infer answers, but doesn’t include the explanations:

Facts and/or attributes missing from a relational model of knowledge often can be inferred based on other related facts (or elements of facts) in the graph. For example, a search system may learn that an individual’s grandfather is a male parent of a parent. Accordingly, the system can determine with high confidence that an individual’s grandfather, even though there is no grandfather edge between nodes, is most likely a parent of a parent (given that there is a parent edge between nodes) with an additional check the parent of the parent is male. While this example uses one piece of supporting evidence (called a feature), inferring an individual’s grandfather, functions estimating missing facts are often more complex and can be based on several, even hundreds, of such features. Once the facts and/or attributes missing from a relational model of knowledge can be inferred, queries based on the facts and/or attributes missing from a relational model of knowledge can be resolved.

The process described in this question answering patent describes how Google may go about coming up with an answer to a question. This patent was filed after the one that includes estimates of how answers were created, so it does not include that step:

In one example embodiment, a computer system includes at least one processor and a memory storing a data graph and instructions. The instructions, when executed by the at least one processor, cause the system to generate a template sentence based on a fact including a first node, a second node and a string, wherein the first node and the second node exist in the data graph and the string represents a fact that is absent from the data graph, search the internet for a document including the template sentence, and upon determining the internet includes the document with the template sentence, infer the fact by generating a series of connections between nodes and edges of the data graph that together with the first node and the second node are configured to represent the fact, the series of connections defining a path, in the data graph, from the first node to the second node.

This process isn’t described in too much detail, but the patent does provide an example, which may be helpful in understanding how it may work. Here is that example:

For example, a node may correspond to a fact describing a parent-child relationship. For example, baseball player Bob Boone is the son of baseball player Ray Boone and the father of baseball players Aaron Boone and Bret Boone. Accordingly, the data graph may include an entity as a node corresponding to Bob Boone, which may include an edge for a parent relationship directed to Ray Boone and two edges for child corresponding, respectively, to Aaron Boone and Bret Boone. The entity or node may also be associated with a fact or an attribute that includes an edge (e.g., occupation) between Bob Boone as a node and baseball as a node. Alternatively, the node Bob Boone may include an attribute as a property (e.g., occupation) set to baseball.

However, there may be no edge in the entity (or the graph as a whole) corresponding to a grandparent relationship. Therefore, the relationship between Ray Boone and Aaron Boone may not be shown in the graph. However, the relationship between Ray Boone and Aaron Boone may be inferred from the graph so long as the question answering system knows (i.e., has been instructed accordingly) that there is such an entity as a grandparent.

The inference may be based on the joint distribution of one or more features, which represent facts in the data graph that are related to the missing information. The system may also be used to store the inferences (e.g., as functions or algorithms) and the semantically structured sentence (e.g., X is the attribute of Y) used to generate the inference. It then uses these entities to map new string that corresponds to relationships between nodes. By that system may be configured to learn new edges between existing nodes in the data graph. In some implementations, the system can generate an inference and its algorithm from a very large data graph, e.g., one with millions of entities and even more edges. The algorithm (or function) can include a series of connections between nodes and edges of the data graph. Accordingly, the algorithm can represent an attribute as an edge in a fact. The algorithm (or function) can also include a check of a property of a node (e.g., a gender property is male). While the system in FIG. 1 is described as an Internet search system, other configurations and applications may be used. For example, the system may be used in any circumstance where estimates based on features of a joint distribution are generated.

This patent that is aimed at helping fill in missing and incorrect facts for question answering systems is:

Semi structured question answering system
Inventors: Yaniv Leviathan, Eyal Segalis, Yoav Tzur, and Gal Chechik
Assignee: GOOGLE LLC
US Patent: 10,346,485
Granted: July 9, 2019
Filed: November 8, 2017

Abstract

In one example embodiment, a computer system includes at least one processor and a memory storing a data graph and instructions. The instructions, when executed by the at least one processor, cause the system to generate a template sentence based on a fact including a first node, a second node and a string, wherein the first node and the second node exist in the data graph and the string represents a fact that is absent from the data graph, search the internet for a document including the template sentence, and upon determining the internet includes the document with the template sentence, infer the fact by generating a series of connections between nodes and edges of the data graph that together with the first node and the second node are configured to represent the fact, the series of connections defining a path, in the data graph, from the first node to the second node.


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How Google May Handle Question Answering when Facts are Missing was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Rank Tracker Update: Competitor Analysis and More Accurate Data

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Rank Tracker Update: Competitor Analysis and More Accurate Data

SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker is already known to be one of the most reliable keyword tracking tools. It separates itself from other keyword tracking tools by providing data that others don’t offer. From the usual keyword rank tracking to ranking progressions, SERP analysis, integration of analytics and search console data, and keyword mapping, Rank Tracker is a proven tool that is worthy to be part of your arsenal of SEO tools.

Rank Tracker is not only known for its tracking features, but it also packs a powerful Keyword Research tool that SEOs should consider using. Twenty-three keyword research tools are integrated into it such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, and Bing Related Search.

Recently, Rank Tracker’s built-in Keyword Research tool got an upgrade making it a better asset for SEOs. They’ve launched major data updates last year like their Backlink Index and Settings Sync. Now, with the recent update they launched, keyword research will be easier, much more detailed, and faster. Here’s a recap of their latest updates.

Server-Side Keyword Analysis Database

SEO Powersuite just launched their own Keyword Analysis Database in Rank Tracker. This allows users to get fresh keywords data from Google Ads without having to connect your own account. It gives you the exact number of a keyword’s search volume – no more rough estimates.

To make sure that users receive the latest data, their database is updated every 14 days. This allows users to make more accurate predictions and reports. To make sure you are using this data open Rank Tracker and go to Preferences and click on SEO/PPC Data. Make sure that under Google Ads Source, SEO PowerSuite Keyword Index is selected.

(This is only available for Professional and Enterprise license users. Visit SEO-Powersuite Rank Tracker to register.)

Keyword Gap Analysis

Getting a sniff of your competitor’s strategy and knowing what keywords they are targetting is an important SEO strategy and the new Keyword Gap Analysis lets you do just that. You plug in your competitor sites and it will show you keywords they are ranking for that you still aren’t.

The data is complete from the number of searches, cost per click for PPC, and estimated keyword difficulty. You could select keywords where your competitor is at the top 10, top 20, top 50, or top 100, and make priorities to the keywords you will target from there. You could filter it to show only keywords that have SERP features.

 The number of estimated searches are based on data of the previous 30 days and the default source of their data is Google Keyword Planner. It is also where they base how competitive a keyword is but you could customize it and change it to your preferred search engine under Preferences.

Competitor Auto-Suggest

One of the things I absolutely love about this update is that you can look for automatic suggestions on competitors based on your niche. It could lead up to new keywords to target and lead to more opportunities. To do that, under Preferences, then select Competitors, and click Suggest and Rank Tracker will automatically give you a list of websites that are in the same niche with you.

What’s Coming: Topic Competitors and Organic Rankings for a Single page/backlink 

Aside from these recent updates, SEO Powersuite is working on more updates for Rank Tracker and their other tools. One of which is called Topic Competitors which will allow you to input any keywords you plan on targetting and see an overview of the search results for these keywords to give you a better idea of what content should you produce. This is to be released mid-July of 2019.

For the other update, it is to be released for SEO Powersuite’s WebSite Auditor and SEO SpyGlass. According to their announcement, you will be able to see the exact pages on your website that is gathering organic traffic and analyze backlinks for not only the potential link juice they could pass on but the potential referral traffic it could give you. There is no specific date yet on when they are going to release this.

Key Takeaway

These latest updates to SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker made it not only a great rank tracking tool but also a versatile keyword research tool. In my opinion, what makes Rank Tracker a great tool is the diversity of its data sources. Aside from their own database, they have data from not only Google but also other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.

Keyword research is a crucial process in SEO. This alone can define the direction of an SEO strategy for months. Having the exact, detailed, and accurate data is important. Stealing competitors’ keywords and monitoring their movement should be a part of any SEO strategy. Have you tried Rank Tracker’s latest update? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of their latest improvements.

Rank Tracker Update: Competitor Analysis and More Accurate Data was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

SearchLove Community Speakers 2019: Applications Now Open

It’s crazy to think that a year has passed since we launched the SearchLove community speaker project. Since then we’ve worked alongside 9 relatively new speakers from Birmingham (UK), Leeds, Belfast, Boston and San Diego, and then had the pleasure of seeing them deliver amazing presentations to audiences at SearchLove London, San Diego and Boston. 

Here’s the best bit: we’re going to do it all over again. Applications for SearchLove London community speakers are now open and we want you to apply!

What is a SearchLove community speaker?

Our community speaker sessions are 20 minutes long and delivered by speakers who have been supported and coached by the Distilled team to take their presenting skills to the next level.  

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of then we are looking for speakers who are:

  1. Looking for opportunities to improve their speaking and presenting skills. It doesn’t matter if you have no speaking experience, have spoken at a meet-up or have some experience; we want to hear from you.
  2. Willing to travel to London to work with our team and attend the conference. 
  3. Available to join us at SearchLove London on 14th & 15th October 2019.

apply to be a searchlove community speaker

We want to give this opportunity to local folks, and so we’ll only be accepting pitches from applicants willing to travel to London for this particular conference. If successful, you will be responsible for your own travel and accommodation. If you’re a sponsor and want to help this year’s speakers with costs reach out to us via events@distilled.net.

I knew speaking at SearchLove would be valuable for me, but I really underestimated the amount of time, effort and direction that the Distilled team would provide. They were beyond instrumental in making my presentation a success for both myself and the audience. While they let me drive and own the presentation/content their willingness to meet with me, go through dry runs and give me feedback proved to be a huge learning experience for myself that I’ll take with me for the rest of my career.

James Corr, Siege Media, SearchLove San Diego 2019 Community Speaker

What’s in it for us and our audience?

Each year our events team work extremely hard to find the best speakers from across the industry to wow our audiences. But, we are also keen to find those that haven’t yet had an opportunity and give them a platform to excel.

We know that there are passionate people just waiting to break through, and with the help and support of our team, the SearchLove conferences are the perfect place to do that. 

Sessions delivered by previous community speakers

  • Andi Jarvis – People are Predictable (Marketing Psychology)
  • Laura Hogan – Controlling Branded SERPs and Preventing Negative Press (SEO)
  • Luke Carthy – How to Nail SEO for Discontinued Products (Technical SEO)
  • Nancy-Lee McLaughlin – Advertising on Amazon: Amazon’s Most Powerful Sales Drivers (Amazon PPC)
  • Raffa Asquer – Why, When and How You Should Update Your Content (Content Marketing)
  • James Corr – How to Better Communicate with Data (Data Visualisation & Reporting)
  • Aja Frost – The Keyword Research Process that Increased HubSpot Blog Organic Traffic by 4.4 Million in 1 Year (Content Strategy & SEO)
  • Vince Nero – Creating Great Content in Boring Industries (Content Strategy)
  • Francine Rodriguez – Más PPC Por Favor – Reaching Hispanic Audiences Through Search (International PPC)

We’re also keen to ensure that we attract a diverse pool of speakers, who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We make our best effort to ensure each conference has a 50/50 split of men and women on stage, and by running this initiative, hope to continue to build a pipeline of talented speakers that can drive this forward at our own and other conferences. You can tell we’re serious about building a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for our speakers and delegates from the way we bake our code of conduct into our events.

Yes, we are aware that we will get a collection of overconfident white men applying (yes, I see the irony in my writing that) but if that doesn’t describe you, I’d especially encourage you to throw your hat in the ring.

What’s in it for you?

This experience completely changed the way I deliver my talks. No one had ever critiqued my decks to this extent before or given such detailed feedback – and it was invaluable. Because of the advice from the Distilled team I’m now speaking at two events I’ve never done before this year!

I’ve also made friends for life with Luke and Andi. You become a little family (with the Distilled team like your aunts and uncles!) and having that support from other peers within the industry is such a boost.

Laura Hogan, Milos Mail, SearchLove London 2018 Community Speaker

The community speaker programme should act as a platform for you to move onto stages all around the world. As a result of the community speaker sessions, we’ve already seen previous community speakers jump from speaking at local meetups to jumping on stages at places such as MozCon in less than a year!

Here’s the full package you’ll receive along with your 20 minutes on stage:

  • A half day of speaker workshops in our London office
  • Deck review and content call to bounce around your session ideas
  • 1 to 1 ongoing support from a Distilled team member
  • Final in-person review with myself and the Distilled team in London before the conference
  • VIP ticket to attend SearchLove London including attending the VIP dinner with all the other speakers the night before the conference
  • A nice bunch of Distilled and SearchLove swag
  • Photo and video pack of your session

A note on the video requirement

Part of our application process requires you to send a video of yourself speaking. We decided to include this because we feel it’s the best way to get to see your presenting style and personality. We also understand that speakers with less experience might not have professionally shot video footage of themselves in action. We wanted to make this process inclusive, and something that everyone can put together. 

What we need from you:

  • The video doesn’t need to be professionally shot and lit. A selfie from a mobile phone is perfectly acceptable, in fact, all our successful community speakers to date have applied in this way. Make sure you think about how you might stand out from the crowd.
  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm, public speaking capabilities and a bit of your depth of knowledge on your chosen topic.
  • Upload the video to a hosting platform such as Wistia, YouTube or Google Drive and double-check the permissions so our team can access it.

I wouldn’t want to ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself, so here’s my pitch for the SearchLove community speaker sessions.

A personal note

I’ve seen in my own career how powerful it has been to get better at public speaking and also the benefits of appearing on bigger stages. Having run a successful community speaker program at our London, Boston and San Diego conferences, I know that we can help more people on this journey.

I’ve been lucky enough to get a start at our own events to bootstrap my way to bigger opportunities but I remember the 20 or so people who paid less than £20 each to come to our first meet-up. We have also now built up enough of a support and coaching capability within Distilled that we have helped members of our team go from their first speaking opportunity to highly-rated SearchLove sessions in a matter of months. I want to bring those opportunities to more people. That means YOU.

I would strongly encourage you to think about the actual requirements. Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome: are there things you are passionate about, where you have deep hands-on knowledge, and where you can teach even an experienced audience new things? If so, don’t sweat your speaking experience – let us be the judge of potential and get your application in.

How to apply

You’ll need to tell us:

  • Why you’d like to speak at SearchLove London
  • Where you are based
  • What your speaking experience looks like so far
  • What topic you’d like to talk about – the more specific and actionable a topic you can describe, the better
  • Remember, the closing date for applications is Wednesday 31st July.

And you’ll need to send us a short video as I described above! If you have any questions feel free to use the comments below or reach out to us on Twitter.

apply to be a searchlove community speaker

Not ready to take the stage yet? Come and join us at this year’s SearchLove London as an attendee or get in touch with us for information sponsoring one of the many sponsorship opportunities we have available.

SearchLove Community Speakers 2019: Applications Now Open was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Understanding Links Through Google’s Eyes

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Cover Photo - Understanding Links Through Google’s Eyes

Link building has always been an integral part of almost all SEO’s foundational strategy. However, as the years went by, understanding which links are “good” or “high quality” for Google has been skewed by the different ways we’ve come up with to build them. In a recent Google Webmasters hangouts, John Mueller talks about what exactly is a “good” link and how webmasters can get them. Let’s find out!

What is a Good Backlink?

Screenshot of Google Webmasters Hangouts

Among all the questions that were asked in the webmaster hangouts like “Google really cares about natural links, is that correct?”  the answer to this is a resounding yes but the webmaster asked a very good follow-up question: 

“…could I get an example, of say, what a good link would be then?”

It’s a simple question but it’s a very good one as well because this helps SEOs and webmasters find out what exactly is a good link in Google’s standards. John Mueller answer is:

“A good link – so I mean the traditional good link is someone who comes across your website and thinks it’s a fantastic website and recommends it to other people with a link.”

That’s it. That’s the most traditional and simplistic answer Google could give. But not a lot of SEOs know this fact and make a complicated guess on what “good” links are. They take data and metrics such as PA/DA, Pagerank, Dofollow/Nofollow, etc. These are all important metrics for explaining the intricacies of a “good” link, but John Mueller’s answer is really the best response Google could give.

How to Build Natural and Good Backlinks 

He goes on to expound on the importance of self-promotion and he understandably empathizes with SEOs and webmasters with how difficult link building can be. He acknowledges that in order to get a link from other websites, there has to be some degree of self-promotion since people will not link to your website if they don’t know it. So, John Mueller is telling us that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t promote or, at the very least, make an effort to make your website known to the right people.

The webmaster asked another great question about how to “naturally” build links. This has been a problem for most SEOs because somewhere along the way of improving SEO, building “natural” links have been lost in translation and were misunderstood by a part of the community. Here’s what the webmaster asked:

“It seems like it would be a rarity. I’ve never really engaged in proactive link building, but I honestly feel like we’ve kind of fallen behind because of that. I think other websites maybe in the niche have a lot more inbound links, and I’m not sure whether they’re actively reaching out to other webmasters, “Hey, can you link to us?”

I’m not sure –  I should really do some more research on that but I think, for some reason, there’s an importance there, right?”

John Mueller acknowledges that there certain difficulties with promoting your site, and sometimes, there are ways wherein it does seem spammy. His complete answer:

“I think it’s tricky because on the one hand it is sometimes useful to reach out to people and say like, “Hey, look at my website, it’s like you have a great website, I have a great website, take a look at my content, our content kind of aligns –  maybe you’d be able to recommend my content if you like it as well.

I mean there are different ways of framing that, there are lots of really, kind of, more spammy ways of doing it, like you mentioned, like people just saying, well, look I have this web page that matches five keywords on your other web page; can you link to it?” Like, that’s not really that useful.”

Links Are Not the Only Factors

A question that’s been on my mind for a long time now is how Google ranks websites that are within a niche that’s very hard to build links in. We have to remember that there are niches that are easy to build links in, i.e. SEO industry. But when it comes to specialized industries that not a lot of people know of, i.e. Plastic Injection Molding industry, there aren’t a lot of websites that could give you a relevant, natural, high-quality backlink. So how does Google deal with this? Here’s John Mueller’s answer:

“The other thing to keep in mind is we use a lot of different things for ranking and it’s not just links. So especially if you’re active in an area where people tend not to link a lot, that’s something that the other competitors have to work with as well and where we do try to pick up other signals to see like this is actually a pretty good website.”

We can’t really be sure what he refers to as “other signals”, but it is an interesting point of reference that if a website is involved in a specific, small industry, Google uses other signals to understand and rank these websites – not just links.

He goes on to explain that links are important in the initial phase of finding and indexing a website since they use it to navigate through websites and find high-quality, useful content. But once they’ve started indexing and crawling a pretty good site, the links are downgraded to a not-so critical factor anymore. 

This is interesting since we can all say that links are one of the most important factors for SEO, and if they’re not critical after the indexation of websites, then building high-quality backlinks regularly isn’t a necessity anymore. However, I still believe that things like link velocity, high-quality links, broken link building, etc. are still important tasks that all SEOs should do to have a website that will rank on the 1st page of Google for the long-term.

Key Takeaway

There’s a certain degree of difficulty in building backlinks and Google acknowledges that. Links are still important, but this does not totally and holistically define the quality of a website – especially if they’re in a specialized, small niche/industry. I suggest you regularly watch or even participate in Google Webmaster Hangouts since it’s an important source of information that directly from Google. Do you have any questions about link building? Here are some resources to help you:

Understanding Links Through Google’s Eyes was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Two Types of Influencers Every Brand Should Collaborate With

Influencer marketing spending is predicted to increase in 2019, with 17% of companies spending over half their marketing budget on this tactic. Although there’s been a lot of controversies recently around influencers, especially as it pertains to the fake follower phenomenon, these budget increases are proof that marketers still find these types of campaigns to be effective. And with many social platforms like Instagram continuing to see steady growth in the number of users, there’s no real sign that this trend will slow down.

This is very exciting for companies that are able to allocate large amounts of media spend budget for influencer marketing, but how do those with smaller budgets (or none at all) take advantage of this trend? The short answer: by implementing a long-term strategy focused on cultivating relationships with those who truly influence the audiences you’re trying to reach.

Interested in the longer answer? In this post, I’ll outline the types of influencers that brands with a smaller budget (or any budget, for that matter) should be strengthening relationships with, examples of campaigns from brands and companies that (in my opinion) are doing it right.

The Everyday Influencer: Leveraging People Who Already Love Your Brand

The smartest brands know that helping their brand advocates become influencers is an essential (and inexpensive) strategy. A recent study from SurveyMonkey found that US consumers are more than 5 times as likely to have made a big purchase due to a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member (65%) than as a result of seeing an online influencer own or endorse the product/service (12%).

The concept is easy enough, just build relationships and amplify the stories (or content) of customers who already know, use and love your product! 

A perfect example of a brand who is beautifully partnering with The Everyday Influencer is Montucky Cold Snacks. In fact, they’ve devoted a whole landing page for honoring self-proclaimed “cold snackin’ fools” in which they invite folks to share “how they snack” and interact with their products. For those who are true fans, they also have a form in which they can apply to join their Ambassador Program.

But, if you can’t commit to creating an entire landing page to showcase content from Everyday Influencers, reposting content that your customers tag you in also works! Moorea Seal, a local boutique in Seattle, often uses their Instagram to repost photos taken by customers rocking products they’ve purchased.

Micro-Influencers: The New Word-of-Mouth 

There’s no clear definition for what would qualify someone as a micro-influencer and this is mainly because you can’t define a micro-influencer by their total number of followers. 

Micro-influencers usually curate content that speaks to a more focused topic or industry, or even targets a more local or regional audience. As a result, they’ve established an immense amount of credibility and trust with niche audiences. In fact, 82% of consumers are likely to follow a micro-influencers’ recommendation.

When trying to identify micro-influencers in your space, what matters most is engagement (the share of followers who like or comment).  Of course, there are a number of other factors to consider when choosing micro-influencers to work with. Along with engagement rate, make sure they post on a regular basis, that they cater to the same audiences that our client’s brand is targeting, and that their values align with those of the brand.

Working with these type of influencers involves a bit more strategy and relationship-building than the examples shared for collaborating with the ‘Everyday Influencer’ but there are a number of inexpensive tactics to begin working with them. The biggest thing to remember though is that they’re more likely to work with you if you are open to collaboration. 

Before brands begin reaching out to influencers, they often times think they’ll need to share an entire campaign brief outlining all of the fine details right off the bat, but this simply isn’t necessary.  In fact, preparing a campaign with strict messaging points and detailed content guidelines can be a huge turn-off for influencers. 

In a recent report from Altimeter, 77% of influencers say they’d be more willing to repeatedly work with a brand if the brand gave them creative freedom on their projects.  Remember, influencers know their audience best. Collaboration is key and their creative recommendations will likely result in a higher engagement rate. 

Arcadia Publishing’s partnership with Fuzzy Puppet is a perfect example for why brands should trust the creative ideas of micro-influencers. To provide context, Arcadia Publishing collaborated with the producer of Fuzzy Puppet on a campaign in which they were promoting the release of a new children’s book series entitled ‘Lucky to Live In’. Instead of producing a short video in which Fuzzy Puppet reads from the book itself, the producer of Fuzzy Puppet suggested including it as part of a larger video in which the puppet begins by playing with fidget spinners (at the time, a trending topic on YouTube), things go awry (you’ll have to watch to understand how), and once the dust settles he then relaxes with a book.  

While many brands might’ve declined this idea, Arcadia Publishing trusted the influencer’s recommendation and believed that the producer’s experience with capturing the attention of young children would be pay off, even if the video isn’t a true advert for their book. The end result was an action-packed story that fit more authentically into Fuzzy Puppet’s programming. 

Whether you’re partnering with Everyday Influencers or Micro-Influencers, collaboration truly is key. Give them the creative freedom to produce content that reflects their personal style and flair and allow authenticity to become an integral part of your marketing strategy.

The Two Types of Influencers Every Brand Should Collaborate With was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Myth of the Brand Promise

How do you strengthen a struggling brand?

Rebranding is a quick fix. But that’s like painting a house instead of fixing the wiring or a faulty foundation. Rebranding alone doesn’t provide lasting results.

Another frequent error is to make brand promises. This will only serve to create doubt. People will naturally want to counter your claims. Then you find yourself in a defensive position, trying to prove your value.

In this YouTube live replay, Flint McGlaughlin explains that the power of a brand is in the customer’s mind, not in a company’s claim; that a brand, in the most classic sense, is simply the aggregate experience of the value proposition. The marketer’s task is to craft observations for the customer. These will produce a series of positive conclusions about your brand, which will power the decision that you’re trying to get the customer to make.

Watch the video to learn how to create a powerful brand so that the customer’s initial impression matches your company’s desired conclusion.

This article was originally published in the MarketingExperiments email newsletter

Related Resources

Marketing Leadership: Aligning the entire team around the unifying vision is an integral part of project management

A Model of your Customer’s Mind: Get these 21 charts and tools that have helped capture more than $500 million in (carefully measured) test wins.

The Trust Trial: Could you sell an iChicken?

The Myth of the Brand Promise was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing