Month: June 2018

Facebook and Twitter now let you see anyone’s ads: Here’s what we found

What has changed

Both Facebook and Twitter have taken steps to let you see the ads any organization is running.

On June 28 Facebook announced that it is making key changes that allow any user to be able to view any ads that are currently active, for any page. Additionally, users can now see any changes that have been made to that page such as page creation date and changes to the page name. The official statement closes with the line “We’ll be adding more Page information in the coming weeks”.

Meanwhile, Twitter unveiled their Ads Transparency Center that was initially announced back in October. Again this gives users and marketers the ability to see any ads currently being run by any page. And while ad targeting isn’t displayed to users, Twitter is letting us see retweets and likes for any given post.

Why has this happened?

This is in response to increasing pressure being put on social networks to be more responsible for the ads served on their platform. One of the issues that drew particular attention to the issue was interference in the US presidential election by Russian companies using bots and adverts on Facebook and Twitter.

Where can you find this information?

For Facebook, just search for any page that you’d like to review, head down to the bottom of the vertical navigation in the left sidebar and you’ll see “Info and ads”. In the middle column of the page, you will now see all active ads for a page (we used our friends over at Moz for our example below). It is important to note that you can’t see historical or paused ads. By using the location drop down located just above the ads, we now have the ability to see which regions a page is targetting.

In some instances, you will see major brands appearing to run no ads at all. Take a look at Coca Cola’s Facebook page. It’s worth checking down in the bottom right, where Facebook is highlighting related pages that are running ad campaigns. To display the ads make sure you select a country from the dropdown menu once you’ve clicked through to the page.

To access this information over on Twitter, head to https://ads.twitter.com/transparency and use the Search advertisers function in the top right.

A good one to get you started is to search for “Facebook” where you’ll see they are currently running ads on Twitter. Weirdly, given the size of the Facebook advertising platform, we don’t see Twitter running ads over on Facebook.

What we found

With the excitement of being able to see ads that are currently live for major brands, political figures, charities and basically anyone, our consulting team couldn’t resist spending an hour digging around social media accounts. Here are some of the more interesting ones that we found:

Political

Our immediate attention was drawn to US politics, and a quick review of the primary accounts linked to Donald Trump. Despite a lack of paid sponsorship on Twitter (here and here), we found the dig into his Facebook page relatively interesting. While we get an insight to his campaign messaging, we would love to have targeting layered over the top of this and to be completely useful and interesting the ability to see past and archived ads.. Maybe this will come soon.

One feature that Facebook is now enforced in the US is political content now has to declare who has paid for the ad alongside archiving ads with political content.

For our UK audience here’s what the two major parties have been up to: Labour have been running way more ads  (or ad variations) than the Conservatives. As of writing the UK hasn’t implemented the same guidelines as the US yet regarding flagging who has sponsored the posts.

Technology

We found nothing massively surprising in this vertical. Apple is focusing their advertising heavily on the European and Asian market and during our quick poke around at present doesn’t seem to be running ads from their main Facebook page, instead relying on Twitter for their ads.

Google is currently focusing their ads on promoting their Google Assistant and leveraging celebrity influencers in the campaigns including David Walliams, John Boyega and Katrina Johnson Thompson.

Charities

The final vertical we took a quick peek at was charities. We reviewed two major UK charities MacMillan Cancer (they don’t appear to be running any Twitter ads)  and Cancer Research UK (Facebook & Twitter). A few of our team have worked for charities before and have first-hand knowledge of how important paid advertising is. Nothing surprising here either as the main two charities leverage strong emotive storytelling within their awareness and fundraising campaigns.

Retail

Retailers

Each retailer has a different target market and brand image, and so our team found comparing their ads pretty interesting. There seems to be trend or retailers advertising more so on Facebook, probably do to the variety of ad type available compared to those on Twitter.

Impacts this might have

Intended impact

The idea behind this change is that the public has more transparency about what adverts an account is putting out, supposedly as a way of giving us more insight into the motivations and tactics of a specific account. The additional information being shared about political advertisers is quite clearly a way to make it harder for them to hide their motivations. That doesn’t just apply to foreign interests, but also to genuine, recognized parties that might not want the general public to know what tactics they are employing.

A key difference between online advertising and advertising in other mediums is it can be a lot harder from the outside to track and prove what is going on, online, particularly as platforms like Facebook allow you to set a limit on how many times an individual will see your ad. A misleading billboard or TV ad can be called out but it can be harder to detect a deceptive or damaging social ad campaign.

This principle doesn’t just apply to political advertisers, while non-political advertisers won’t have the veil pulled back to quite the same extent, the ads and landing pages they are using will become publicly searchable and, as a result, an easier subject of critique.

What our consulting team thinks about these changes

Dominic Woodman – I don’t think this will matter in partisan advertising

For big brands, this is undoubtedly going to give people more accountability. Adidas can’t easily spin up a shell account/page to run Adidas adverts. Seeing it and clicking through to it will immediately raise questions.

Who owns this page? What’s with the questionable targeting/messaging?  Oh look, most of the ads are for Adidas.

I’m not optimistic this will make a difference for political advertising however because accountability won’t work in the same way. Hyper-partisan pages which swing to one side or the other, like this defending the confederacy, I can’t imagine being shamed by having to show they’re targeting people with right-wing interests.

And if you were the Trump campaign and wanted to run a bunch of questionable ads and not be accountable? Just spin up a bunch of legitimate sounding political interest groups and have those run one ad at a time. It’ll be just as hard to monitor as it was in the previous election.

Facebook have talked about archiving political ads in their announcement, and while that will continue to shine a light on the unpleasant mess that is current political ads, people already know it (or they don’t care, and this won’t change their minds). The media has been pushing this line hard for months now.

Facebook is making moves to restrict the supply, rather than just monitor. They made an announcement back in April, about their move to restrict who is allowed to run political ads, but it definitely feels more targeted at curbing overseas influence than dealing with hyper-partisan ad targeting and even then the devil is in the details: what will count as an issue ad, how well will they identify people who don’t sign up for this process etc etc.

Currently, I’m still not super positive the changes will have much of an effect on political advertising,  but if anyone involved in that industry is reading this, I’d love to hear your take on it. Comment me plz.

Emily Potter – A PR stunt with few real consequences

The social media giants are unquestionably under a lot of pressure to address the public and government bodies’ concerns about lack of transparency in advertising and data collection, in addition to the role they have played in the spread of fake news. This new feature just feels to me like a bit of a PR stunt, rather than something adding anything of substantial value.

If Facebook and Twitter were providing the same level of information available on political advertisers for corporate advertising campaigns, then I’d be more inclined to feel something radical was happening. They’d never willingly do that though. These tools are the exact sort of thing that makes it look like they’re making big changes internally, without exposing controversial information that would truly change the landscape.

But more pressing than the public pressure Facebook, Twitter and the likes are under to demonstrate that they are working hard to address these problems, is the threat regulation places to their business models. They’re in an arms race to prove they can regulate themselves before government bodies impose strict regulations on them. Regulations that will inevitably constrict the growth they’ve seen over the past decade.

I’m in agreement that the “Wild West” era of technology and social media corporates is coming to a close, and these last-ditch efforts are not going to stop them from being confronted with the same sorts of regulations imposed on banks and other financial institutions following the 2008 financial crisis.  

They’ll survive though. Regulation on financial institutions has increased, but they still find new and innovative ways to increase their profitability. Tech will be no different. But it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Tim Allen – This creates a good opportunity for marketers to research competitors better

My immediate reaction to this news was positive. From an agency perspective and for anyone out there doing competitor research we are no longer locked into waiting to see ads to understand what our competitors are doing. I now have a wealth of new information and inspiration which can be applied to ads for both my clients and for Distilled.

The cynic in me feels that we either won’t have this tool very long, or it will quickly be abused, most likely the latter will cause the former to happen. But for now we should bask in the new insights we can get into our competitors and take the opportunity to look at what incredibly well-known brands, publishers and individuals are doing with their paid budget.

Robin Lord – This is one of the nice things I’m sure we can’t have

Facebook and Twitter are under a lot of pressure for ads on their platforms to be more accountable. As US Congress considers how to regulate the platforms, it’s understandable that the platforms want to show visible signs that they are breaking down barriers and letting us see how we’re being targeted politically or otherwise.

The problem is, the current climate is largely a response to people using the platform in unexpected ways. Facebook’s main defense during the Cambridge Analytica scandal was they didn’t realise the data was being used that way and – let’s be fair – not many accurately predicted the effectiveness of ad-based election interference.

There are some really nice aspects of these information centres, for instance, the Facebook active ad list tells you if the page name has been changed – which is some protection against pages getting approved for political ads, then changing its face regularly to send polarising ads in different directions. Opening up this data might allow for policing through transparency. However, it also offers a few opportunities for bad actors, a few that come to mind, from least problematic to most:

  • Reverse-engineering competitor conversion funnels by tracking adverts and landing pages
  • Scraping competitors ad copy to quickly generate competing ads
  • Creating a load of accounts to repeatedly report competitor ads (now those ads are much easier to find)
  • Grabbing competitors’ active social tracking codes and landing pages by following the ads, then using them to send realistic-looking fake traffic and conversions – more effectively throwing off their spend
  • Targeting the same demographics as a political party and sending more extreme versions of the same messages to polarise their supporter-base.

This might be a good way for the platforms to show willing but allowing unfettered access to this data may not be the clean fix it seems to be. Where we see a page that doesn’t seem to have any ads running – is that insight into a current lack of activity, or a sign that already some of the bigger brands in competitive industries have turned off ads until they can find a better way to cloak against competitors?

To paraphrase the Princess Bride – never go in against marketers when data is on the line.

What have you found?

As a community we are all naturally curious, so we encourage you to start scouring Facebook and Twitter and look for those interesting stories. When you find them feel free to give us a shout in the comments below or reach out to any of the contributors to this post over on Twitter (Robin Lord, Emily Potter, Dominic Woodman, Will Critchlow and Tim Allen)

Facebook and Twitter now let you see anyone’s ads: Here’s what we found was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Woorank Advanced Review Guide

Woorank Advanced Review Guide

We have been using Woorank for quite some time now, and we even wrote about how it audits websites in a quick and efficient manner. Due to its performance, we have added Woorank in our constantly expanding SEO toolbox, which already contains quality tools such as Link Cheetah, Ahrefs, and SERPED.net.

While we may have written about Wooranks standard review feature, one part that we were not able to cover was the Advanced Reviews feature, which is Woorank’s premium feature, which can only be used in a limited basis. This means that this feature is best suited for websites that need more monitoring and analyses in order to improve its performance. Let’s take a look at Woorank’s Advanced Review and find out what can it do for your website.

Starting up

To start a review for your website, all you need to do is to enter your website URL and click “Create Review”. Woorank will then start the process for the standard review, which takes a few moments.

Enter URL

After viewing the review, you now have the option to create an Advanced Review by clicking “Start Advanced Review”. After another few moments, you can now access the Advanced Review options for your website.

Start Advanced Review

Taking a look

After starting the advanced review, you can take a look at the difference between the number of functions you can perform on a standard review compared to an Advanced Review. Whereas the standard review click options look like this:

Standard Review Click Options

Meanwhile, the Advanced Review has a few more additional options that you can utilize.

Advanced Review Click Options

Now, let’s take a look at some of the advanced review options.

Advanced Review

At a glance, the Advanced Review looks very similar to a standard review, as you are able to access all assessments and reports in the same way. You will be able to view your SEO performance, Mobile friendliness, social media channels, and traffic locations, which we have covered previously.

One section that you can only see in the Advanced Review feature is the toolbar on the left which allows you to access even more features. The toolbar options include Website Review, which is the primary page that you are accessing when conducting a website audit, Keyword Tool, Site Crawl, and Settings. Let’s start with the Keyword Tool.

Advanced Review Toolbar

Keyword Tool                        

To start using the keyword tool, all you have to do is to choose which Google domain that you want your keyword to be tracked and add the keywords.

Keyword Tool

Adding keywords is as simple as adding them on Ahrefs, as you can enter as much as 250 different keywords. If you have entered all of the keywords you need, click apply.

Keyword Tool Add Keyword

After entering the keywords, you can now view their search volume and see if it is a keyword that can generate high traffic and compare it with other keywords. This handy feature allows you to track keywords without the need to use other keyword research tools.

Site Crawl

Another important feature in the Woorank Advanced Review is Site Crawl, which allows you to monitor elements such as title tags, meta descriptions, HTTP Status, Indexed pages, and even canonical tags.

Site Crawl

This feature allows you to view each page of your website, and check for issues that need to be resolved, such as duplicate content, short meta description, and body content. While it may be a feature that simply lists down pages within your website, this comes in handy, as you have a ready-made database where your webpage data can be located.

Site Crawl Sample

With these two key features, Woorank becomes an even more versatile website audit tool that helps assess your website performance, while allowing you to track individual web pages and keywords as well. If you have a website that needs to be prioritized and optimized, Woorank is a tool that helps you take the best steps in improving it.

Key Takeaway

Woorank Advanced Review might be a limited feature that can only be used for a specific number of websites, but it is surely a feature that makes Woorank one of the best SEO audit tools available, and a great addition to our SEO Hacker toolbox.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO tools or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Woorank Advanced Review Guide was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

5 Best Reasons Why Single Page Websites Are Bad For SEO

Why Single Page Websites Are Bad For SEO

“Single page websites are websites that have a single page, or one HTML page.” – Ritely

This means that all the information about the site can be reached on a single page, where you scroll down to the relevant part of the page that you need. Sections like contact, about us, products, can be found on the same page. There is the standard navigation links or buttons, but the navigation links or buttons allow the browser to jump to the needed section of the webpage. This navigation jump is known as parallax scrolling, and it can create some stunning and beautiful websites.

While this may seem like a good thing, and it is to some website owners and users, single page websites do have their drawbacks, five of which are listed below:

Keyword limitation

One of the most significant impediments to single page websites is keyword ranking. SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, relies heavily on keywords, and any website page can most times, be only optimized for a single phrase. Single page websites are designed around a central topic or theme, so such single page websites can only target a single phrase.

Single Page Website Sample 1

Multi-Page websites, on the other hand, do not have this limitation and have more chances of ranking higher in search optimization due to the multiple pages it has. Each web page it has can target a keyword or phrase, increasing the chances of search engines displaying the site. This may be crucial for businesses that have a competitive web presence and every key phrase matters.

Lack of specific content

Single page websites are generally harder to find specific content, as there isn’t space or possibility to create a separate page for each topic; everything has to be shown on a single page. Should a visitor need to know more about a product, idea or content displayed on the site, it will be challenging for a single page website to show more needed content. This lack of relevant content can be frustrating for a visitor who may want to see specific information on the site. Another factor would be the metadata of a single page website.

Single Page Website Sample 2

A single page website has only one set of metadata, which gives you only one title tag and description. As there are no other pages on the site, the website is limited to creating a single title tag. This reduces the chances you have of getting visitors to your website as you only have one chance to grab their attention. This also limits the amount of specialized content the website can display or have. A multipage website, on the other hand, can have Metadata for the various web pages that are contained in the website, increasing the specialized content it may wish the web user to have access to.

Advanced SEO practices

Apart from the ability to create more specific content, multi-page websites can also break their web pages into sections (categories) and subsections to display content better. These subsections or subcategories can be other pages on the website, which can be further broken down into more subsections. This makes it possible to display all the information needed about an item, product or idea. This is done to give as much information as possible to the visitors or web users.

Content Silo

This process is called siloing’ and it is much easier to do on a multipage website than on a single page website. A single page website will find it difficult to display so much content on a particular topic if there are lots of topics to be covered or other contents to display. The single page website will become clogged and disorganized.

Loading time

Having flash videos and images, combined with texts, parallax effects and other content on only a single page means that the page can become heavy and will take a longer time to load than a website with multiple pages. This could be a turnoff to visitors and web users who may not have the patience to wait for the whole site to load via a single web page.

Single Page Website Sample 3

SEO will not rank sites that take a long time to load high on their search engines as loading time is one of their criteria in ranking websites. A multipage webpage, on the other hand, has information spread across many pages so this can make the load time a lot faster. Loading speed is a major ranking factor in the world of SEO, which means on-page optimization is key.

Lack of Links

SEO favor sites with enough links, both internal and external links. Single page websites are limited in their ability to include many internal links, as the website consists of only one webpage. The links on their page only have the ability to jump to another section of the same page. The ability to link to another page is not possible with a single page website. Single page websites also frown against having external links, as this could quickly take the visitor away from their website.

Multi-Page websites are not bogged down with this disadvantage as multi-page websites have the ability to include lots of internal links as they are not limited to the number of pages the site has. Also, having external links increases the sites SEO ranking.

Though single page websites can be patchy and are in vogue, they do have their place in the market, but it is important to note they are not so good for SEO. A lot of thought should be put into considering a single page website. Factors like the target audience, the market and the need for the website should be put into consideration.

Businesses like to be ranked high in search engine result pages as most web users rarely search more than the first or second search result pages. This means that if you don’t rank high in the search result pages, your presence on the web may not be felt.

Key Takeaway

Multi-Page website are more SEO friendly as they are more flexible, can contain more content, should you wish to have them, and can reach a wider audience. You can be more detailed about a product, even dedicate a whole page to a product. This is something that a single page website will find impossible to do.

Author bio:

Mary Seddon is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home for Ritely.com and mother of two. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency.

5 Best Reasons Why Single Page Websites Are Bad For SEO was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Help us find the next search industry rising star

For our upcoming SearchLove conference in London in October on the 15th and 16th, we are introducing a new kind of session: we plan to have up to four shorter (20 minute) sessions presented by newcomers. We anticipate that this will be perfect for people who’ve got some speaking experience on smaller stages / at meet-ups but who haven’t yet had a big-stage opportunity in front of hundreds of people.

When you’ve had a read of everything that follows, swing by our form and apply for a space. You’ve got 3 weeks to apply (deadline: 18th July 2018).

apply now

What’s in it for us and our audience?

Every time we put on a SearchLove show, we (led by our head of events, Lynsey) scour the industry for the best speakers we can find. We often invite back people who blow us away and wow our audience, but we also want to find speakers no-one has seen before. Sometimes we find great speakers who have deep experience in related fields who are underexposed to the search industry, but sometimes we want to be the ones who help people break out for the first time.

In addition to the long game of building partnerships with the great speakers of tomorrow, we believe that these shorter sessions with a little less pressure could end up bringing perspectives and viewpoints we can’t get from our more experienced speakers. Speaking experience often comes with general experience, and that often accompanies moves to management or the growth of the speakers’ own companies. One of the things we also want to see is hands-on advanced and actionable advice from practitioners who are doing the work every day.

We’re also hopeful that we can access a more diverse pool of speakers with different backgrounds and experiences. There are unfortunate barriers in place to getting some of the experience that we typically require and while we put a lot of effort into broadening our intake, we hope that this initiative can play a key role in building the pipeline. (You can tell we’re serious about building a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for our speakers and delegates through the way we bake our code of conduct into our events, and our recent progress: in an industry with too many manels, SearchLove Boston 2018 was our first conference with >50% women speakers and had women appearing as the top-rated speaker and 3 of the top 5 speakers by overall rating.

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

What’s in it for you?

This should be the shortest path from knowing what you’re talking about to getting full speaking opportunities on the industry’s biggest stages. We have seen first hand the speed that you can move from presenting at a meet-up to local conferences to SearchLove, MozCon or Inbound. But up until now, most of the non-Distilled speakers who made it to the SearchLove stage did so after proving themselves at another conference.

Here’s the full package you’ll receive if you are successful (along with your 20 minutes on stage!):

  1. 1/2 day speaker training session at the Distilled London office with our team
  2. Deck review and content call to bounce around your session ideas with me
  3. VIP ticket to attend SearchLove London including attending the VIP dinner with all the other speakers the night before the conference
  4. A nice bunch of Distilled and SearchLove swag

Although we hope to roll the scheme out to our US events if it’s successful, 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.

A note on the video requirement

You will note that the application form asks for a video. We debated whether to include this as a requirement and ultimately came down on the side of including it because by far the biggest limitation we typically have with less experienced speakers’ pitches is an inability to judge how they’ll perform on stage when they don’t have a ton of speaking experience and professional on-stage video. We hope that this is the most inclusive way of achieving this. We’re trying to avoid the too-high hurdle of requiring professional footage or big-event experience and this is something everyone can put together.

We are not expecting you to put together a professionally-lit and shot promo video. We want to see your enthusiasm, public speaking capability, and maybe a bit of your depth of knowledge. A selfie video shot on a mobile phone can totally do the job, but think about how you are going to stand out from the crowd and show us what we need to see. Once you have recorded the video upload it to a hosting platform such as Google Drive, Wistia, YouTube or Vimeo and share the URL in your application form.

In order to avoid asking you to do something I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself, I’ve recorded a short pitch myself. You can see that it’s shot on a phone, and didn’t use any editing:

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. I’ve been lucky enough to get enough of a start at our own events to bootstrap my way to bigger opportunities. I remember the 20 or so people who paid about a tenner each to come to our first meet-up, but now we have built up a support and coaching capability within Distilled that has helped members of our team go from their first speaking opportunity to highly-rated SearchLove sessions in a matter of months. Now I want to find ways to get more people access to the same opportunities.

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
  • What your speaking experience looks like so far (remember we are specifically not looking for super-experienced speakers)
  • 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 18th July 2018

And you’ll need to send us a short video as I described above!

apply now

Help us find the next search industry rising star was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Instagram

We already know that social media is a powerful marketing tool. Even if Google has said that social media is not a ranking factor (this is debatable—it very well might be), we’ve seen the importance of using social media to engage a community, build a brand’s voice, and promote content. However, once you build an audience on your social channels, how do you get their eyes from your beautifully curated feed to converting on your site? I’m going to focus on how you can drive organic traffic and conversions through Instagram (IG). The popular social network is not only a visually pleasing platform full of scenic drone shots, fashion bloggers, and doggie influencers, IG is also a platform that can be used to sell products. Instagram boasts the highest engagement rate of popular social networks and is second behind Facebook in number of monthly active users. And the app’s popularity keeps on growing: as of June 2018, IG has 1 billion monthly active users and announced a new long-form video app, IGTV.

I’m going to share five tips for driving traffic from your IG to your website organically (without paid ads).

1. Include a link in your bio

Every IG account only has one spot on their profile for a clickable link—that is, the “link in bio.” Use a shortened URL to keep this space clean and uncluttered. There should always be a link present in your bio—either to your homepage, shop, a promotional landing page, or wherever you’re hoping to drive traffic. Encourage users to visit this link by referring to your link in bio in the captions of your photos. “Link in bio” is the only location for hyperlinks that every account on IG is able to use. Business accounts with 10K or more followers have more hyperlinking opportunities that we’ll get into later.

Case Study: Bite Beauty, Urban Outfitters, and Into the Gloss

Many B2C brands, like Bite Beauty, will set the link in their bio to a shoppable feed of products featured on their account. Urban Outfitters links to a page on their website where they repost other accounts’ IG photos that feature their products (this encourages user-generated content, or UGC). Into the Gloss (ITG) follows a common approach, which is to use your link in bio to promote a new piece of content or product. ITG’s link goes to a new article on their blog about sunscreen, and they included a CTA on their most recent photo, encouraging their audience to click on their link in bio.

2. Creatively engage your audience to “swipe up” on Instagram Stories

My favorite Instagram feature is Stories because the feature provides even more opportunities for creativity. Instagram first launched Stories in August 2016, and as of November 2017, Stories has over 300M daily active users—meaning over 300 million people watch Stories every day, that’s more than Snapchat’s 187M daily active users. Stories is a relatively new feature, and for many brands, it is an untapped platform for creating and sharing content in a unique way.  

Stories have a number of compelling features, including GIFs, location tags, stickers, boomerangs, and filters. Arguably the best feature of Stories is the ability for users to “swipe up” on a Story post. Business accounts with at least 10K followers have the option to add a link in their story. If your brand’s IG isn’t yet set up as a business account, get on it: business accounts have access to analytics data and special features. Users can access this link by swiping up on a Story post. Other than “link in bio,” adding a link to an IG story is the only other way to directly link to your website from IG.

Brands can use stories to creatively entertain and influence their audience. Stories should be fun, informative, and engaging—they should make users want to keep tapping through. They also shouldn’t overtly try to sell, even when including a link to a product or content piece. Stories disappear within 24 hours, but with the highlights feature, you can save your best Stories to your profile to continuously drive traffic to the links in your Stories.

Some ideas for creatively engaging your audience on stories include:

  • Take your audience behind the scenes–let them see the personality of your office
  • Provide demonstrations of products (and give sneak previews of new releases)
  • Promote giveaways, and partner with influencers to “take over your IG story” for the day
  • Add polls, post boomerang videos, use fun GIFs and stickers—make use of the growing list of stories features

Case Study: Glossier

It’s no secret that Glossier, a skincare/makeup startup founded by Emily Weiss, is crushing the social media game. Glossier gained a cult following largely through the use of social media and word of mouth. Glossier’s social media strategy focuses on building a community and gaining their audience’s trust. Glossier engage their audience in stories through:

  • Behind the scenes: Glossier posts videos around the office where they ask employees questions or show off earlier iterations of a just-released product.
  • Product demonstrations: Glossier posts videos of both makeup artists and their employees using their products, showing viewers how to create a look.
  • Engaging their audience: Glossier encourages UGC by asking their followers what they’re looking for in new products, to review recent releases, and to tag them in photos. Glossier will repost follower’s content to their Stories.

3. Take advantage of the Shopping feature

In 2017, Instagram began rolling out a shoppable feed to business accounts with over 10K followers. This feature allows brands to link to their products directly from their IG photos, making it easy for users to purchase products directly from the app. Previously, the only way brands could link to products was through a single link in their bio. When a user taps on a photo with products tagged, they see annotations of each item’s name, price, and a link to the product page on the brand’s website. The user can also click on a “shop” button, visible on the top of a brand’s profile, to view a feed of all photos with products tagged. Commerce is going to continue to grow on Instagram, as they just announced they’re rolling out shoppable stories.

Case Study: Madewell

Almost every photo on Madewell’s grid is shoppable (as indicated by the white shopping bag icon in the upper right hand corner of a photo). Even though Madewell’s posts link to products, their photos are not overtly selling a product, but rather present a pleasing visual experience. Madewell’s feed feels cohesive, displays a lifestyle their followers want to mimic, and their witty captions are relatable (i.e. “show ‘em who’s embossed” on their photo of sandals) while informing the brand’s identity.

4. Use analytics to understand your demographic and when to post

Instagram Insights provides business accounts with key metrics to help inform their posting strategy, including:

  • Account Activity:
    • Impressions (total number of times all of your posts have been seen)
    • Reach (unique accounts that have seen any of your posts)
    • Link clicks (number of clicks to your link in bio)
    • Profile visits (number of times your profile was viewed)
  • Content Insights—for posts and stories:
    • Profile visits (number of times your profile was visited from a post)
    • Follows (number of accounts that started following you)
    • Reach (number of unique accounts that have seen your post)
    • Impressions (total number of times your post was seen, and where they were seen from—homepage, hashtags, etc.)
  • Stories:
    • Taps forward
    • Taps backward
    • Completion rate (number of people who watched all the way through)
    • Exits (number of people leaving your story)
    • Replies

Analyzing Instagram data can help you understand your audience and inform your social media strategy—when is the best time to post? When are your users most engaged? What kind of content is performing best? For example, if your videos have a wider reach, that could be a good indication that you should invest more time in creating and posting videos. Use your analytics to your advantage by posting when your users are the most active. Post 10 minutes before your audience’s peak activity time—that way, when users login, your content is waiting for them.

If you don’t have a business account yet and therefore don’t have access to analytics, studies show it is generally best to post between 8-9am and at 5pm (these times align with typical commuting hours). However, it’s best to experiment with posting at different times to determine when YOUR audience is the most active.

Instagram insights on a post:

I’m going to use my dog Millie’s Instagram account (isn’t she cute?) to show how Instagram Insights works. Millie has a business account, and I can see under the “activity” tab her account’s reach and impressions. From the “content” tab, I can see an overview of her recent feed posts and story posts, and when I click into a feed or story post I can see more data specific to that post.

5. Collaborate—Partner with other brands, influencers, and your audience

Collaborate with other brands, influencers, and your audience to increase traffic to your IG account and engagement (comments and likes) on your posts.

  1. Partner with other brands – Work with other brands to do a giveaway. Ask your followers to like and comment on the post to enter. Have other participating brands tag you in their post and ask their followers to also follow your account to enter.
  2. Sponsor an influencer – Chances are an influencer has a larger and more-engaged audience than your brand. Send them free products or sponsor a post on their feed to drive their followers to your IG. Make sure they tag your IG account and link to your website on their Story. I like to use BuzzSumo to find influencers.
  3. Encourage your audience to comment/like – Encourage your audience to interact with your content by responding to and liking their comments, writing captions that ask them questions, and reposting their photos on your Stories. If you repost their content, make sure to tag their account to give them credit.

The more your followers interact with your content, the more likely Instagram will serve your photos to the top of their feed. When Instagram sees likes and comments on your post, they’ll also see it as more valuable content and will be more likely to display your post on the explore page.

Case Study: Away

Away created their own hashtag (#travelaway) to encourage UGC. They’ll repost (and tag) their followers’ photos of their luggage that feature the hashtag #travelaway or that tag Away’s IG account. (If you search #travelaway on IG right there, there are over 29,000 posts). PLUS they’ll collaborate with IG influencers. (Just about every travel blogger/vlogger has one of these suitcases now and posts about them.)

Final Thoughts & Discussion

Are you ready to step up your Instagram game and start driving conversions? Instagram CAN be an effective tool for selling products and driving organic traffic to your website when used strategically. Consider doing a social media content audit to develop your content strategy and identify what your competitors are doing well.

What other tips do you have for driving traffic to your website from social channels?

Leave a comment and let us know!

How to Drive Traffic to Your Website with Instagram was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Protected: Five Years of Google Ranking Signals

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Protected: Five Years of Google Ranking Signals was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Video Updates

 

What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Video Updates

 

Video content on Social Media has been at an all-time high recently, with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seeing a rise in the amount of video content from their users. This has led to numerous brands promoting their content through the use of video, which has proven to be effective in generating traffic and user interaction.

When it comes to Facebook, the popular social media platform has become one of the largest video platforms across the internet, with millions of views on a regular basis. In the past few months, more and more video content has been published on Facebook, with a good number of these videos becoming viral. The emergence of video on the platform has proven to be effective in generating reach and creating successful social media campaigns, which has led to numerous updates that aim to optimize quality and add more variety to what users can create and share.

Here are some of these updates coming to Facebook video:

Gamification and Poll Videos

With the prevalence of video content in the platform, one of the new updates about to be launched by Facebook aims to bring in more creativity to how video is done, and give it more functionality. This enhance functionality comes in the form of live video polls and gamification, which allows an improved level of interaction. Live poll videos allow users to vote on various questions and topics and see the results real time.

This can be used by brands and channels for their shows or major events and helps keep the audience interested by giving them the ability to interact real-time. Imagine being a part of an online game show, where picking the right results allow you to progress through the next set of questions and win prizes in the end, and getting incorrect answers means getting eliminated.

Facebook Live 2

On the other hand, live online polls allow you to vote for a variety of choices, such as picking what the hosts will be doing next in their live video or picking a certain personality to see which one is more popular. The update will be launched soon, with popular pages like Buzzfeed and INSIDER launching live shows that utilize and demonstrate the new features.

While these features have yet to be released, users who are interested in testing out the early access version can do so through registration.

Content Monetization and Pre-roll Ads

Another new feature that users that video content creators will find very beneficial are content monetization, which allows users to earn income from their videos through advertisements. This is similar to how YouTube users earn their income through their videos, which is one of the most popular ways to earn online. When users want to submit a video they want to have monetized, the video must first be evaluated by Facebook as a precautionary measure to ensure that it is fit for monetization, which can also be seen as a way to filter out offensive content that may not be suitable for younger audiences. With the number of active users on Facebook, allowing video content to be monetized on the platform is a bold step to making it into the largest video streaming site.

Facebook Live 3

Another new update that will be launched within the year will be Pre-roll video. This feature allows users to be able to view a short snippet of videos on Facebook, which helps generate interest and shows users a glimpse of content that they might want to view. This feature helps increase traffic by a significant amount, which improves your Facebook page visibility. With these two updates, it would not be a surprise to see more Facebook users utilizing the platform as their channel to create their videos.

How does this affect SEO and SMM

With the push to increase the amount of video content on Facebook, implementing a strategy that focuses on this is now more crucial than before. This means utilizing live video more when it comes to promoting the brand and the content to a wider audience and using the gamification features to create more interactions.

Facebook Live

These new features can also create more viral social media campaigns, which help generate a great amount of organic traffic that would prove beneficial for your website. Using relevant hashtags and keywords make these videos more searchable,  Along with more video content, it is best to practice mobile optimization, as most Facebook users access the platform using the mobile application on Android and iOS, which means that they would be viewing your website through their devices.

Key Takeaway

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, and with video content being optimized, it would not be surprising to see it going toe-to-toe against YouTube as the most popular video streaming platform as well. With these updates, expect more Facebook users to create their own video channels with the goal of getting monetized and becoming viral, which helps their brand grow.

If you have questions about Social Media Marketing and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

 

What You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Video Updates was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Voice Marketing Tactics: There’s Only 100k Searches a Month Up For Grabs Anyway

I was recently preparing a presentation and came across a presentation I gave to a small meetup in London in 2013. While there were only 100 or so people in the live audience that day, the presentation has now probably been seen by a hundred thousand people – between Slideshare, a video of a webinar version, and the blog post I wrote about it at the time. When I stumbled back across it, I found it interesting to look back on because it made a bunch of predictions about the next 10 years and now, in 2018, we are halfway through those 10 years.

I was struck by how time has flown and I thought it would be interesting to do a midway-point review of what I was thinking in 2013. I also thought I could use some of the information it gives us about the pace of technology change and user behaviour change to attempt to understand current trends better – particularly around voice interfaces and voice search.

Preview of the punchline: voice isn’t as disruptive as many seem to think

I’m going to run through my predictions and how I think they’re coming along, but I also wanted to give you a preview of where my argument is going. Ultimately, while I think that voice recognition technology has become incredibly good at recognising words and sentences, there are a variety of things that will prevent it quickly cannibalising the rest of search in the short term. This is true of voice interaction generally in my opinion, but is especially true in search where I believe voice is mainly incremental (and isn’t even responsible for anything like all the incremental query growth).

The bulk of the general argument is made very well by Ben Evans in his article voice and the uncanny valley of AI (though these response and rebuttal articles are worth a read too).

I particularly loved the simple way of describing availability and appropriateness as two big issues for voice that I came across in this intercom article: what voice UI is good for (and what it isn’t) credited to Bill Buxton where he talks about what he calls “placeonas”:

I’m not sure about the “placeona” language (a placeona being an adaptation of a persona that focuses on location changing your preferences or behaviour). For reasons that will not surprise regular readers, I distilled it into a couple of 2x2s:

How do we want to consume information?

How do we want to enter information?

In my view, the constraints that voice isn’t always a convenient input, and speech isn’t always a great output place a natural ceiling on the usefulness of voice search – even beyond the issues Evans identified – and they are heightened for what I’m calling real searches. My view is that the majority (if not the vast majority) of what are currently being called “voice searches” in the stats aren’t much like what search marketers think of as searches. When Sundar said in 2016 that 20% of mobile searches in the Google app and on Android were voice searches, my bet is that 75%+ of those were incremental and not “real” searches. They were things you couldn’t do via “search” before and that are naturally done by voice – such as “OK Google, set a timer for 20 minutes”. The interesting thing about these “searches” and the reason I’m classifying them differently is that they are utterly uncommercial. Not only are you never going to “rank” for them, there is literally no intent to discover any kind of information or learn anything at all. They’re only really called searches because you’re doing them with / through Google.

The pace of change: revisiting some old predictions

Before I finish making those arguments, let’s look back at the presentation I opened with. I started by putting my 10-year predictions into context by looking back 10 years (to 2003 – this was 2013, remember).

The 10 years before 2013

I reminded myself and the audience that in 2003 we were on the cusp of:

Scoring my 10-year predictions from 2013 halfway through

Now, I put this initial presentation together for a relatively small meet-up, so I didn’t turn them into completely quantitative and falsifiable projections – though if anyone thinks I’m substantially wrong, I’m still up for hashing out more quantifiable versions of them for the next five years. In that context, here are my main predictions for 2023. We’re now halfway there. How do you think I’m doing?

I said that in 2023 we will:

  • Still be doing email on our phone
  • Still be using keyboards
  • Still be reading text

I’m feeling pretty good about those three. Despite the growth of new input technologies, the growth of video, and the convenience of hardware like airpods making it easier and easier to listen to bits of audio in more places, it doesn’t seem likely to me that any of these are going anywhere.

  • Pay for more [digital] things

I mean. This was kinda cheating. Hard to imagine it going the other way. But the growth of everything from Netflix to the New York Times has continued apace.

I’m not 100% sure what the end-game looks like for media subscriptions. I feel that there has to be some bundling on the horizon somewhere, as I would definitely pay something for a subscription to my second, third, and fourth preference news sources, but there is no good way to do this right now where it’s a primary subscription or nothing.

  • Dumb pipes continue acting dumb

I think that the whole net neutrality issue (interesting take) is pretty good evidence of the continuing ambitions (and, so far, failures) of the “pipes” of the internet to be much more. Having said that, I didn’t get into anything nearly granular enough to count as a falsifiable prediction.

  • Last mile no longer the issue – getting fibre to the exchange is the challenge

I think this is probably the biggest miss. Although there are some core network issues, home and mobile connection speeds have generally continued to improve, and where they haven’t, the problem actually does still lie in the last mile. I suspect that as we move through the next five years to 2023, we will see a continuing divide with speeds continuing to increase (and not being a blocker to advanced new services like 4K streaming) in urban / wealthy / dense enough areas, while rural and poorer areas will continue to lag. In the UK, the smaller size and higher density means that we are already seeing 4G mobile technology cover some areas that don’t have great wired broadband. This trend will no doubt continue, but the huge size and scale of the US means that there will continue to be some unique challenges there.

  • Watch practically no scheduled TV apart from some news, sports and actual live events

This was a bold one. I may have forgotten my own lesson about how fast (read: slowly) consumer habits change. In the accompanying blog post, I wrote:

“I am much less excited by an internet-connected fridge (a supposed benefit of the internet since the late ‘90s) than I am by instant-on, wireless display streaming (see for example AppleTV AirPlay mirroring) making it as easy to stick something on the TV via the web as via terrestrial / cable TV channels.”

This prediction was part of a broader hypothesis I developed and refined in 2013-2014 around the future of TV advertising. The key prediction of that was that $14-25bn /yr of TV ad spend will move out of TV in the US in the next 5 years. We’re about to see what the 2018 upfronts look like, but we’ve already seen a ~$6bn drop. It’ll be interesting to see what 2019 holds and then come back to this in 2023.

  • Have converged capabilities between mobiles and laptops – what I called “everything, everywhere”

That last one was possibly the most granular of the predictions – I envisaged specific enhancements to our mobile devices:

  • Faster than 2013 laptops
    • In fact, the latest iPhones might be faster than 2018 laptops
  • Easier to purchase on than laptops by being more personal
    • This is certainly an area where we have seen huge innovation with more to come

And specific ways that laptop-like devices would become more like 2013 mobiles, with:

  • Touch screens
  • App stores
  • The ability to turn on instantly

The majority of my predictions were directional and not that controversial, but the point I was seeking to make with the first few was that technology and usage generally changes a little slower than we anticipate. I think this is particularly true in voice, especially when it comes to search, and spectacularly true when it comes to commercially-interesting searches (including true informational searches).

What does all this tell us about voice “search”

At a high level, the same arguments I made in 2013 about the suitability of the different kinds of input and output apply to put some kind of cap or ceiling on the ultimate percentage of queries that will eventually shift to voice. Along with that, the experience of what things changed and what stayed the same 2003-2013 and again 2013-2018 remind us that certain kinds of behaviour always change more slowly than we might imagine they will.

All of that combines to remind us that even in the bullish predictions for voice search growth, most will be incremental and so little of it is to the detriment of existing search marketing channels (I wrote more about this in my piece the next trillion searches).

So how many voice searches might there be? And how many are actually real searches (rather than voice controls)? Of those, how many are in any way competitive or commercial? And of those, how many give a significantly different result to the closest-equivalent text search, and hence need any kind of different marketing approach?

A bit of Fermi estimation

Google talked about 20% of mobile searches being voice in 2016. Let’s assume that’s up 50% since then. There are then another fraction of that which will be voice searches on other devices (smart speakers, watches?, laptops).

To make it concrete, let’s assume we have a trillion desktop searches / year and a trillion mobile non-voice searches / year to put very rough numbers against the argument. Then I believe (see next trillion searches) that the new searches will mainly not cannibalise these (and to the extent they do, there will be natural growth in the underlying search volume). So then, taking the conservative assumption of no other growth, we get to something like the following annual search volume:

  • 1 trillion desktop
  • 1 trillion mobile non-voice
  • 300 million mobile voice
  • 300 million voice non-mobile
  • Still to come: 400 million (the rest of the “next trillion”): unfulfilled search demand – queries you can’t do yet. Image searches. New devices. New kinds of searches. Some fraction of these will be voice too.

So – 600 million voice “searches”.

After reading a range of sources, and building some estimation models, I think that total voice “search” volume breaks down roughly as:

  1. 50% (300 million / year): control actions
    1. [set a timer]
    2. [remind me]
    3. [play <song>]
    4. [add <product> to shopping list]
  2. 20% (120 million / year): informational repeated queries with no new discovery (i.e. you want it to do the same thing it did yesterday)
    1. [today’s weather]
    2. [traffic on my commute]
  3. 5-10% (30-60 million / year): personal searches of your own library / curated list
    1. [listen to <podcast>]
    2. [news headlines] (from previously set up list of sources)
  4. 20-25% (120-150 million / year): “real” searches – breaking down as
    1. 1-2% unanswerable
    2. 10% text snippets
    3. 5% other answers (local business name, list of facts, etc)
    4. 5% (where screen present) regular search results equivalent to similar typed search

Unfortunately, there is little “keyword” data for voice to validate this estimation. We simply don’t know how often people perform which different kinds of queries and controls. Most of the research (example 1, example 2) has focused on questions such as “which of the following activities do you use voice search / control for?” or “what tasks do you perform on your smart speaker?” (neither of which capture frequency). While there is some clever estimation you can do with regular keyword research tools, there is little in the way of benchmarking.

The closest I have found is comScore research that talks about “top use cases”:

If we interpret this as capturing frequency (which isn’t clear from the presentation) we can categorise it the same way I did above:

And then sum it to get ratios that fall roughly within my ranges:

  • Control: 51%
  • Informational: 23%
  • Personal: 6%
  • Search: 19%

It’s those 4. c & d that provide a marketing opportunity equivalent to most typed searches (and of course, just like on desktop, many of those are uncompetitive for various reasons – because they are branded, navigational, or have only one obvious “right” answer). But even with those included, we’re looking at global search volume of the order of 12-15 million queries / year.

Still interesting, you might think. But then strip out the queries it’s impossible to compete for, and look at the remaining set: what % of those return either the top organic result, a regular search result page (where a screen is present), or a version of the same featured snippet that appears for a typed search? 80%? 90%? I’m betting that the true voice search opportunity that needs a different activity, tactic or strategy to compete for, defined as:

  • Discovery searches you haven’t performed before (i.e. not [weather] and similar)
  • That return good results
  • That are not essentially the same as the result for the typed query

Is less than 1 million searches / year globally at this point.

What market share of ~100k searches / month across all industries do you think your organisation might be able to capture? How much effort is it worth putting into that?

Where I know I’m wrong

My analysis above is quite general and averaged across all industries. There are a few places where there might be specific actions that make sense to make the most of the improvement in and growth of voice control. For example:

  • News / media – might find that there is an opportunity in a growing demand for news summaries and headlines delivered as a result of a voice interaction rather than as e.g. morning TV news (see for example, this stat that the NYTimes news podcast The Daily has more listeners than they ever had print subscribers)
  • Data providers – if you offer proprietary (and defensible) data that has high value for answering certain kinds of queries (e.g. sports league statistics), there could API integration opportunities with attached commercial opportunities
  • Customer success / retention / happiness for consumer companies – there are a bunch of areas where skills / integrations can make sense as a way to keep your customers or users engaged with you / your service / your app. These might perform like searches that no-one else has access to once your users are using your skill. An example of this is grocery shopping.

At the same time, I would be tempted to argue that most of that is not truly search in any particularly meaningful sense.

Of course, it’s completely possible that I’m just wrong on the scale of the opportunity – Andrew Ng of Baidu (formerly of Google Brain) believes that 50% of all (not just mobile) searches will be voice by 2020 (or at least he did in 2016!). I haven’t seen an updated stat from him and while I am inclined to think that’s too high, you might disagree and I would understand if you thought Ng’s credentials and access to deeper data were stronger than mine here! (Note you’ll also see this prediction bandied around a lot attributed to comScore but as far as I can tell, they just repeated Ng’s assertion).

Disagree? Want to argue with me?

Please do – I’d love to hear other opinions – either in the comments below or on twitter where I’m @willcritchlow.

Voice Marketing Tactics: There’s Only 100k Searches a Month Up For Grabs Anyway was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

SearchLove Boston 2018: The Great Big Round Up

On June 7th and 8th, we made our annual return to Boston for our east coast edition of SearchLove. This year’s conference moved to a brand new venue, the newly refurbished Revere hotel, situated in the heart of downtown Boston, just a stone throw from Boston Common. 200 attendees, 15 speakers from across the globe, an endless amount of coffee consumed, all on a single track stage.

This post is a quick-fire summary of the knowledge our speakers had to share plus their slides. Their whole sessions will be available with a DistilledU membership in a couple of weeks’ time. And if you enjoyed all of that you can sign up for reminders to join us next year!

Will Critchlow – ‘From the Horse’s Mouth: What We Can Learn from Google’s Own Words’

  • Early web spam was fine as long as it didn’t make Google look stupid by flooding the SERPs with low-quality sites. As this spiralled out of control, this forced Google to produce more complex algorithms to protect their reputation.
  • Adsense is one of the most underrated things Google has ever done. It incentivised the creation of a vast amount of long-tail content, but it also created the monster that eventually required Panda to fix it.
  • Where is Google going next? Given their recent purchases, Google is (most likely) coming for the cloud computing space.
  • Facebook is going through many of the learning curves that Google has already experienced, e.g. content spam/fake news.

Ruth Burr Reedy – ‘Scaling JSON-LD Using Google Tag Manager’

  • Google doesn’t always pull knowledge panel information from your website.
  • Both Google and Bing have a very clear understanding of markup implemented using JSON-LD, and it is now their preferred method of implementation.
  • Structured data is a massive driver of voice search.

Samantha Noble – ‘Beyond the Reach of Keyword Targeting: The Evolution of Paid Media’

  • Organic clicks are continuing to shift to paid ads.
  • The number of ad extensions has increased significantly, and they can be used in combination with each other improving CTR, quality score and taking up more space in the SERPs. Naming a few we now have:
    • site links
    • structured snippets
    • call/message
    • location
    • affiliate location
    • price (even if it’s free you can put $0)
    • app
    • review
    • promotion
    • previous visits
    • seller/consumer ratings
  • Most search queries now contain four ads at the top of the SERP. But we are now beginning to see four ads at the foot of the SERP as well.
  • We should be thinking about what Google will monetise next. Google Shopping was previously free; now it is only pay to play.
  • 79% of adults online use Facebook. The amount of data Facebook has on us is incredible and allows impressive levels of targeting.
  • Facebook made $40.5 billion in 2017.

Ryan Charles – ‘Newsjacking: How To Add to the Story and Earn Big Links in Real Time’

  • Newsjacking requires agility. Can you build something and ship it within 24 hours for that story?
  • For newsjacking it’s best to have a connection to the story, there are varying degrees of connections required to newsjack. Do you have a unique and original angle? You need this in order for it to land with the audience.
  • Reporters have to generate news 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they are on the look-out for a story. HARO… Help a reporter out by adding to their story.
  • If you’re looking to newsjack a story, start local. If you see success, this will create a ripple effect into larger news organizations.

Lisa Schneider – ‘The Ecosystem Effect: How Our Social Voice Boosted Our SEO’

  • Merriam-Webster recognized that they were a well-loved brand with a very sleepy social presence.
  • They have a team of people who are passionate about words and wanted to help people understand language better.
  • They used their own search query data to generate interesting social content by identifying new words that were seeing spikes in search volume.
  • Conversations that are happening in your internal Slack channel might be the next best piece of content you produce.

Casie Gillette – ‘The Power of Data: 15 Keys to a Successful Content Strategy’

  • 2 million blog posts are published every single day and 3 days worth of video is uploaded every minute.
  • Over 90% of your traffic will most likely come from less than 10% of your content. Find new and engaging ways to repurpose this content and distribute it further.
  • 27% of search queries are questions. Make sure you are answering the questions your customers are asking. Answerthepublic.com is a great starting place to find these questions, along with Keyword Tool and BuzzSumo.
  • It’s not new or shiny but we still find clients with site search reporting turned off in Google Analytics. Turn on-site search reporting. It shows what customers are looking for!

Bartosz Góralewicz – ‘JavaScript: Looking Past the Hype When the Dust Finally Settles’

  • The absolute minimum JavaScript testing you should be running is to put your site through the Google mobile-friendly test, and Google Search Console fetch and render to see how Google is handling your JavaScript.
  • JavaScript SEO isn’t just a geeky SEO option anymore. All SEOs need to start understanding this as it is impacting the bottom line of companies across all niches.
  • Indexing of modern JavaScript files continues to be a big challenge for Google.
  • Google is working on a new web rendering service that will most likely be rolled out in 2018. This new WRS will allow them to crawl and index JavaScript better than ever before.

Greg Gifford – ‘Zorg’s Tips for Utter Domination Through Local SEO’

  • Any business that has a physical location or that serves a certain area needs Local SEO.
  • What works in one vertical or area, won’t necessarily work in yours. You need to constantly be testing.
  • Pay attention to the annual Local Search Ranking Factors
  • When creating content for Local SEO, read it out loud. It should make sense to a human and read naturally.
  • Citations still work. Your business needs to be listed where Google would expect it to be listed.
  • Respond to every single negative review. This can actually turn potentially lost customers around.
  • Link building sucks, but it matters. The secret is to remember to act like a business rather than an SEO. Look for opportunities:
    • Be involved with local meetups
    • Event sponsorships
    • Sports organization sponsorship
    • Work with local charities
    • Local newspapers

David Levin – ‘Social Content Masterclass: Platform Specificity’

  • 500 million people are watching Facebook videos every single day. Things to consider when producing content for Facebook:
    • Video and more video.
    • Consider the length of your video, use sound where suitable and make sure you offer subtitles as an alternative. Design for sound off, delight with sound on.
    • Be relatable.
    • You need to use paid. Facebook organic reach is limited so put money behind your diamond content.
  • Facebook offers a whole range of content options, from Facebook Live to 360 videos to canvas pages.
  • Video content is just as crucial on Instagram. 300 million users use stories each day.

Emily Grossman – ‘The Marketer’s Guide to Performance Optimization

  • Google’s Speed Update impacts rankings not indexing. It primarily hurts slow pages and does not provide a boost to fast pages.
  • “There’s a difference between optimizing actual site speed and optimizing UX to change a user’s perception of site speed.”
  • Use the Webpagetest, Google Lighthouse, GTmetrix and Pingdom to build a simulation of your site speed.
  • Gather scalable user metrics that will help identify your real pain points by using real user metrics. These can be benchmarked using mPulse, New Relic and Google Performance Observer.
  • Improving site speed involves getting everyone on board. That means simplifying KPIs, clarifying the importance of page performance to everyone in the organization, and tying site speed to actual $$$.

Tom Anthony – ‘Hacking Google: what you can learn from ethical vulnerability research’

  • Use social network login URLs to detect users’ preferred social networks and if they are logged in or not. Use this information to serve custom social sharing icons or even aggressive discounts if you can see they are logged in to a competitor’s site.
  • If you find a security flaw, Google responds pretty quickly. In fact, it took them just 11 minutes to respond to an issue with Google Search Console identified by Tom.
  • Google offers a bug bounty reward system to incentivise hackers and users to report issues.
  • Tom used a flaw in submitting XML sitemaps to have a site with no links ranking for highly competitive transactional terms in just a few days. Disclaimer: Distilled does not condone black hat, and any security flaws were reported to Google.
  • To protect yourself from these types of attack it is recommended to ensure you have no open redirects, have a sitemap with hreflang and media entries, and hide your sitemaps, e.g. LinkedIn.

Chris Savage – ‘The Future of Video is One to One’

  • The future of video is one to one. We’re already living in a world where video content is on the increase, as the cost of producing high-quality footage is on the decrease.
  • Video content is now being used everywhere in the funnel.
  • The latest product from Wista is Soapbox, which allows fast production of high-quality video.
  • Through mobile phones and apps such as SnapChat and Instagram, ordinary people are now producing video content every single day.

Justine Jordan – ‘The State of Email: Insights from 3,000 Marketers’

  • As email marketers, we need to find a balance between our needs and our customer’s needs.
  • 57% of humans report spam because they are sent irrelevant emails or too many emails. 43% unsubscribe because the email didn’t work on their mobile device.
  • Your email is the invitation to the party. Make sure your landing page is the party! It isn’t enough to just get users opening your email.
  • To prevent screen-readers reading out your tabled data, add to the table element  role=”presentation”.
  • Make emails easy to unsubscribe from to prevent users adding you to their spam folder.
  • Don’t trick users with misleading email subject lines.

Dewi Nawasari – ‘Optimizing when Google is your competitor.’

  • Google currently holds more than 80% of total search engine share.
  • Google has over 70 products just for consumers.
  • Google conducts their own form of keyword research to decide which vertical to create unique search results for. Recent examples include flights, hotels, things to do and jobs.
  • As a result, Google takes anywhere between 25-70% of the traffic for any of these unique verticals.

Jes Scholz – ‘Looking Beyond Keywords: From Visual Search to New Realities’

  • 74% of consumers say keyword-based searches are not helping them find the products they want.
  • Optimize the quality of your images for image search.
  • Visitors are 2x more likely to convert if you have user-generated content on your site.
  • Augmented reality presents users with the opportunity to try products before they buy.

Images from SearchLove Boston 2018

https://albumizr.com/a/qcAy

Further Write-ups

If you want to read more about SearchLove Boston, you should head over to KoMarketing and check out their write up of SearchLove Boston 2018.

SearchLove Boston 2018: The Great Big Round Up was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Understanding Semantic Textual Similarity

Understanding Semantic Textual Similarity

Artificial Intelligence is a technology that has seen huge strides in its development over the past few years. This 2018, companies like Google have been developing the technology to improve user-friendliness and allow more functionality in the services that they offer, such as Google Assistant, Google Search, and much more.

These new developments have been headed by Google AI, which is their main research team handling AI technology development. This recently-announced division of Google has been developing an improved AI system, which they demonstrated in May 2018. The demonstration saw Google Assistant’s capability to make phone calls and respond naturally to conversational speech. This capability showcased how Google Assistant is able to handle tasks without the need for user supervision.

Google and other tech giants are currently developing their own sophisticated AI, systems, and these breakthroughs show that AI technology still has long ways to go, and new algorithms and features have yet to be refined for release. One of the latest findings from Google AI is the new Semantic Textual Similarity algorithm, which expands the ability for AI to understand various queries and interactions to create more diverse responses. Let’s take a look at these new updates and see how they can change things up for the future of search.

What is Semantic Textual Similarity?

To set things straight from the get-go, Learning Semantic Textual Similarity is a new algorithm that enables AI system to be able to understand semantically similar queries from users and provide a uniform response. This algorithm aims to not only improve the quality of responses by services such as Google Assistant but also make these interactions feel more natural as well.

Semantic Textual Similarity

For example, if the user asks “How old are you?” or “What is your age?”, the user will expect the same response. The emphasis on semantic similarity aims to create a system that recognizes language and word patterns to craft responses that are similar to how a human conversation works. This algorithm is accomplished through a series of processes and systems that connect together to create an AI system that understands speech patterns. These processes are classified as models, and here are some of the ones that are used by Google.

Universal Sentence Encoder

To create authentic and natural response patterns, Google AI uses a system called a Universal Sentence Encoder that predicts sentences through the use of encode-only architecture that helps drive more predictive tasks that recognized text and creates responses. The encoder performs tasks such as custom text clarification, paraphrase detection, and clustering. This system works by using a deep average network encoder, which is an arrangement that is simpler and more straightforward in generating results. Meanwhile, another version of the Universal Sentence Encoder uses a more complicated network system called the Transformer, which is able to perform better and create quality results.

How will this affect SEO?

The rise of AI assistants and mobile internet also saw the increase in the number of users using voice search on a regular basis. This also meant that applications that use voice search must be able to recognize a diverse array of words and sentence patterns to generate accurate responses. This quality is what makes AI Assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and Bixby some of the most widely used applications in the market, and can be accessed through mobile applications, laptops, and even smart furniture.

With this in mind, the best SEO strategies that allow you to take advantage of voice search is using exact and phrased search terms, long-tail keywords, and creating pages that answer commonly asked questions. Mobile SEO will also become a big part in the future of search as well, especially with more users browsing through mobile, and Google adopting a mobile-first approach.

Voice search optimization is quickly becoming an important practice in the industry, and it is best to implement these on your websites to future-proof your SEO and allow AI assistants to find your website much easier. Mobile optimization is another important matter, as mobile loading speed will not become an important ranking factor this 2018. Creating a user-friendly website through AMP and responsive design helps make the experience of navigating your website much better.

Key Takeaway

AI technology may still be a growing technology that requires a lot of refinements and optimization for it to develop further, but what we currently have shows how much potential that it has in revolutionizing the SEO industry, and how users do search inquiries. Semantic Textual Similarity is just one of these ingredients that help make it work better, and one day allow AI assistants to have more autonomy in the tasks that they accomplish.

If you have questions and inquiries about AI technology and SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

 

Understanding Semantic Textual Similarity was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing