What is a Creative Strategist Role, and Why is it Important?
Creative Strategist. It may seem like an oxymoron, like a biased judge or a cowardly soldier.
After all, to be a creative requires imagination, world-building, risk-taking and an element of dreaming. On the other hand, a strategist requires systems, structure, calculated decisions and a clear plan of action. However, the merging of these two results in the Creative Strategist role- a position that is becoming increasingly popular in workplaces. The job combines the left and right brain- keeping your head in the clouds while your feet are on the ground. It requires the merging of emotion and logic, a partnership between the dreaming and doing, in order to meet targets and help businesses grow their revenue.
So, why the rise in need for Creative Strategists? In the last year or so, creative has become the most important cog in the Facebook media buying machine. Let’s discuss the 3 major reasons for this shift.
1. Human Behaviour
According to studies, our attention span has changed remarkably in the last few decades, decreasing from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2018. In fact, scientists now believe that we have shorter attention spans than goldfish. This means marketers and creative teams have a very narrow window to capture their audiences’ interest and “stop the scroll”. Studies have proven that the act of scrolling is highly addictive and stimulates brain pathways in the same mechanism as a chemical addiction. This means social media ads have to be so engaging, they literally stop human nature- quite a task!
Digital marketing experts estimate that most Westerners are exposed to around 4000 to 10,000 ads every single day. At some point, we start a screening process for what we engage with and start ignoring brands and advertising messages that we don’t resonate strongly enough with. On social media especially, the number of businesses joining the platforms increases exponentially on a daily basis. This results in rising CPMs, stiffer competition and a creative bar that is constantly being raised.
3. Every Changing Marketing Environment
By now, everyone is privy to the iOS14 updates, and what they will mean to the media buying space. Pixel tracking will become less efficient, ROAS will no longer be a reliable success metric and overall targeting will become more difficult. However, while this change may leave many marketers scratching their heads, those who focus heavily on creative will come out on top. This major shift has now brought us back to being true marketers- connecting with people and tapping into psychology in order to introduce them to, and sell them on a product.
So, let’s summarise what we’ve just discussed. As humans become less receptive to advertising, updates are made to iOS, and competition and CPMs grow across the platform, creative assets have become the most powerful tool marketers have up their sleeve. While there are many optimisations that media buyers can make within the business manager to improve results, the simplest way to reach targets will always be creative. The better the ad, the more people click, the more people in your funnel, the more people you can retarget, the more conversions you will achieve. Seems simple enough, right?
Well…not exactly. As the social platforms evolve, the creatives must evolve too. Gone are the days that a single still image could be profitable on Facebook for 8 weeks- now teams must focus on building a strong feedback loop between the creative team and media buyers, anticipating when campaigns will burn out, and be ready with the next tests. This is where a Creative Strategist comes in.
Now, what exactly do they do…?
Understanding the Client
One of the most important elements of creative strategy is researching and understanding the brand. Who is their audience? What pain point are they satisfying? Who are their competitors? What would a customer’s biggest objection be?
Market research is an essential process for all businesses and will lay down the foundation for marketers. Broken down to the basics, it focuses on understanding your customers by exploring their attitudes, needs, motivations and behaviour as they relate to the business.
This ultimately helps you better identify, understand, analyse and retain customers. By gathering data around buyer personas, target audiences and competitor analysis, you will be able to meet buyers where they are.
What platform are they most likely to use? Would they interact more with a product shot or a lifestyle image? Are they likely to purchase the products upon their first time seeing it, or will this be a longer buyer journey that requires nurturing?
There are a few useful tools that will help you gather this information:
1. Facebook Ad Library
The Ad Library is a database where you search for all ads that are running across Facebook platforms. Your competitors’ social advertising strategies provide incredibly valuable insight into your own campaigns.
You can search by Brand Name or even Keyword. At the top of each ad, icons indicate the placements in which it ran (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc.) and you can also view how long the ad has been running for.
By analysing the creatives your competitors are using, you can identify how they are positioning themselves in the market, and also infer what their audience is resonating with. Are they using a variety of creative formats, such as videos, carousels and collection ads? Do they include text overlays in their images? If so, what type of message are they pushing?
Additionally, the Ad Library is a fantastic place to observe how competitors are writing their copy. Is long-form or short-form more prevalent? Are they writing in a formal or colloquial tone? Analysing this data helps you understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and allows you to refine your strategy in response.
2. Google Trends
Google Trends is an insight tool built by Google that allows you to visualise the popularity of searches. You can choose to see the relative popularity of a search term over the entire history of Google or within a certain time period.
This data allows marketers to analyse spikes in searches and identify trends within specific locations to make predictions about the future. You can also view related topics, which is useful when building buyer personas, as you are able to get a fuller picture of the interests and buying habits of your target customer.
Additionally, this tool can be used to compare search terms, which helps when selecting keywords to highlight within creative or copy. Choosing trending “buzzwords” is one way to immediately connect with your audience.
3. Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights helps you connect your brand directly to your customers. Understanding your audience is about more than just their age or gender. What do they do for a living? What are their hobbies? What pages do they like on the platform?
While this tool is vital for media buyers, creatives should also take advantage of Audience Insights too. Building a complete customer profile and understanding their activity outside of the Facebook platform is an incredibly useful tool when writing creative briefs and copy.
4. General Customer Feedback
Besides the major platforms listed above, a savvy Creative Strategist should always keep a lookout for customer feedback and opinions. Websites such as Quora can be a gold mine for understanding what topics people are interested in within your specific niche.
If, for example, you are working for a beauty company, it’s important to know which skincare products people most are interested in at the moment. Similarly, if you are doing lead generation for a real estate agent, you can search Quora for commonly asked questions, and address this immediately in your creative and copy.
Comments under your or your competitors’ organic posts are another great way to expose yourself to the current dialogue in your niche. Find out what people are commenting on in real-time, and use creative methods to address these in your ads. Other resources, such as polls, surveys and statistics are also readily available to marketers online.
While a lot of the research groundwork is conducted in the early stages of a campaign, a Creative Strategist should be constantly monitoring the above resources (plus more) to keep ahead of the market and stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape.
The Importance of Creative Reporting
So, now you’ve done the research. You understand the unique selling propositions of a business, target audience, key competitors and what common objections may arise. You are ready to create and test a new campaign.
What comes next? Well, perhaps the most important part of the Creative Strategist’s role. Communication.
Communication of results (both the wins and failures) is essential for the success of a campaign. Digital marketing requires a dynamic, reactive and responsive approach. We receive performance data instantaneously; how many people clicked on the ad, what percentage of the video they watched, how many people viewed the content, how many people added to cart, etc. There are many metrics that marketers can observe to obtain valuable information, however below, we will run through a few of the key ones.
1. Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPMs)
CPMs can also be considered as a ‘relevance score’. The higher the relevance score is, the lower the CPMs. This metric can be used to gauge exactly how relevant your ad is to the audience you are presenting it to. When launching a campaign, if your CPMs are extremely high, this means your relevance score is low, and the ad is not resonating with the audience in the way it should. There are many factors that can affect CPMs (competition, time of the year, audience targeting) however, it’s a useful metric to keep an eye on to see if your campaign is appropriately relevant.
2. 3 Second Video Views
The first 3 seconds of the video matters the most in digital marketing. While traditional advertising follows a more conventional storyline with a gradual build-up, social marketing needs to be reverse manufactured. The first 2-3 seconds need to capture interest immediately, while the remainder of the creative needs to backfill the rest of the vital information. If this metric is low, this is a good indicator that the ads creative is not thumb-stopping enough, so it might be time to go back to the drawing board on the opening scene.
3. Video Engagement
To understand how long people are engaging with your content for, it’s incredibly useful to dig into the Video Engagement section. This will allow you to see how many people watch the first 25%, 50% and 100% of the video and the average watch time. From this data, you can understand where your video views begin to decrease, and exactly where the drop-off occurs. If the drop-off is early in the video, this might be an indication that the first few seconds are not engaging enough, and you may need to brainstorm a new, more “thumb-stopping” opener. Conversely, if the drop-off occurs later in the video, this is an indicator that your video has a great hook but gets less interesting towards the end. Video engagement data is a great metric to measure strong and weak points within your video.
4. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Perhaps the most important metric for creative performance on the Facebook platform is CTR, which measures the ratio of clicks (how often someone clicked on your ad) to impressions (how many times your ad was viewed on the platform) for individual ads. According to a 2020 study, the average Facebook CTR is approximately 1.00%. A low CTR but high average watch time means people are seeing your ad, but aren’t taking action, which may mean that the messaging isn’t clear, the call to action isn’t strong enough or the offer isn’t enticing enough. When Facebook sees your ads are getting impressions but no clicks, it logically assumes your audience doesn’t find the ad relevant and this can result in paying more per click and overall poor performance. Improving CTR can be facilitated through copy change or a creative refresh.
While there are many metrics that can provide marketers with valuable data, the four above provide an insightful overview of creative performance. The method in which you receive, interpret and communicate this data back to your creative team is highly personalised and depends on a multitude of factors. The end fact, however, remains the same- reacting to creative data is pivotal to a campaign’s success.
So, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this post! I hope you’ve now got an insight into what a Creative Strategist is, the importance of the role and the reason it’s growing in popularity across all industries. As human behaviour changes, competition increases and the platforms themselves develop, it’s pivotal to understand all aspects of your business, and also to develop clear and thought-out methods of reporting in order to constantly improve your creative output. Ultimately, a Creative Strategist is a diverse role that combines creative thinking with thought-out business plans in order to create thumb-stopping social ads that result in conversions.
But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, after all, good marketing is all about being a cut above the rest and standing out.
And today we’re going to dissect the science that is high- converting landing pages.
Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
The secret behind why landing pages convert so well is because they’ve got the fundamentals down, no matter the end conversion goal or their intended audience or the price point of what they’re offering. And no matter the creative campaign you’re running. The structure of a landing page is positioned to persuade leads and the elements help carry them over the conversion line.
By understanding the building blocks of a landing page and sticking to this guide, you’ll almost guarantee conversions. This opens the door to optimising your page to continually stay ahead of the curve.
So what is a landing page and what does art have to do with it?
It is an independent web page that potential customers reach after clicking a promotional URL in an ad, a social media post or search engine result, etc… With one design goal in mind, to get its visitors to convert.
The conversion goals could be anything from collecting your details for a free consultation or your email to subscribe to an email newsletter. To achieve that intended outcome, your post-click landing page should leverage psychological principles, colour theory, UX best practices and so much more…
The Winning Components of a Landing Page
Each landing page is a snowflake of design, Unique. However, there are 7 core elements that every high converting page must have:
- A unique selling proposition (USP)
- Throat grabbing Headline/Sub-headline
- Eye-capturing hero creatives
- Concise copy that outlines the benefits of your offer
- Some form of social proof
- No “drop off points”
- Keep that loading speed super quick
- The strongest conversion goal that’s ever existed (your call to action)
1. Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your USP is the diamond in the rough that sets your product or service apart from your competition. It’s the answer to the customer’s question, “ What makes this offer so outstanding?”
Your uniqueness will only get you so far. Think of your USP as how you position your offering as special & better than all the rest.
The communication on your landing page must be clear and to the point so that your visitors immediately understand why your product or service is so enticing.
The headline is the first thing that your visitors will read. So it’s vital that it very clearly announces what a visitor is expected to get from your product or service. Keep your headline zesty and direct about your USP- keep the fluffy poetic stuff for your personal notes.
Since the headline is brief and direct, the supporting headline is where you can embellish with a little extra information. A sub-headline can take two approaches:
It can act as a direct extension of the headline, like a call and response act. (The headline should act as the main character. Or it can offer additional value or convey a secondary persuasive message that’s still related to the headline.
3. Eye-Capturing Hero Creatives
As humans and visual art has evolved, so has our ability to process them. We can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and such first impressions are crucial when visitors first arrive on your landing page.
Forget the use of generic stock images, invest in using a “hero shot” to tease them how your product or service will change their lives for the better.
A short explanatory video of how your product works, focussing on how it will benefit your prospects is just as tasteful.
A winning ingredient to use in these creatives is using genuinely satisfied customers in your photo or video. This kills two birds with one stone by explaining your product/service and doubling as social proof.
4. Concise copy that outlines the benefits of your offer
Your landing page needs a message matched copy following the headline to persuade most site visitors and convert them to prospects. The trick here is to describe specific benefits paired with features. Like our short and succinct headlines, the messaging of our copy should be snappy and easily digestible.
The recommended length shouldn’t be longer than two or three consecutive sentences of block text or a direct listing of benefits that sets your product/service apart.
For example, if we were advertising noise-cancelling headphones, we wouldn’t talk about the various colours or the multitude of materials used. We’d talk about the unrivalled sound quality, 30hr long battery life, controllable noise cancellation, reliable Bluetooth connection etc..
As mentioned previously, every landing page is unique. That also means the copy. Depending on the product and its price point or complexity, it might require a lengthier explanation.
5. Social Proof
If you’re like most people then before buying a product or service, you ask friends and family, to see just how good that air fryer is or that new gym app subscription before you fork out that hard-earned dough and regret your purchase.
This translates in the online space too.
92% of people value recommendations from a peer & 70% of people trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
So why does that matter for the post-click landing page?
Using social proof will influence your prospects and boost the probability to click on your CTA button tenfold. Social proof is unmistakably the strongest tool in your arsenal when creating high converting landing pages, so here’s a few examples of how to correctly execute it.
On a landing page, your social proof can take many forms:
- Direct quotes from customers
- Case studies (or links to case studies)
- Video interviews or testimonials
- Logos of customer companies
- Review scores from sites like Google, Amazon, or Facebook
- Authority badges
Theragun uses social proof through influencer marketing testimonials, Authority badges of respected magazines and awards and direct quotes from such publications.
Get specific. Get names, numbers, fact-driven results from happy customers that are speaking on behalf of your business. The more you can display about them, the more trustworthy they seem to your visitors.
6. No “drop-off” points
If you have a bucket with a bunch of holes in the bottom of it, it’s not really going to hold much water in it, is it?
That is what links are to a landing page.
Your landing page is the bucket; optimised for the end goal: conversions. And too many links are those holes, pouring your leads into new tabs and distracting escape routes away from the conversion goal.
I urge you to resist the temptation to add unnecessary links such as social media buttons, site navigation, additional calls-to-action or even links back to the homepage. All of these are just another hole in the bucket that your prospects can escape through.
And if you think that they’ll open a new tab, browse around and then come back to your landing page, you’re surely dreaming. The average attention span on a website is 8 seconds. You want to make your landing page as airtight and externally link free as possible.
7. Fast loading speeds = Faster conversions
According to page speed reports by Unbounce, they show that 70% of consumers admit that loading time influences their desire to buy. If your pages are taking more than 3 seconds to load on a mobile device, you’re going to lose a lot of potential customers. (Source: Page Speed Report for Marketers)
Statistics by Hubspot show that the first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics#)
Avoid loading your loading page with too many elements. Everything on there should have an intended purpose. Make sure images, videos and all your other content has been optimised.
If your landing page is still slow, follow Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) steps to produce lighting fast speed times.
8. The Call-to-Action
The throat grabbing headline, compelling copy, the satisfied customer testimonials and optimizations are the recipe for one thing: to get your prospects to click on that call-to-action button.
This landing page element should jump out to your visitors almost instantly when they land on your page.
It doesn’t mean make it obscenely large they can’t miss it or a ridiculous bright pink or orange.
Using The Fundamentals of Color Theory we can psychologically hack our visitors brains and perception to automatically resonate with the brand through colour.
Find the right shade, gradient, tint or tone that stands out from the rest of your page.
As far as the copy of your CTA, don’t settle for bland or boring. Spice it up to message-match what your advertising says.
For example, if you’re a finance broker advertising low interest rates, you want all the information possible to make the right decision before making a large finance decision. A CTA like “Get Free Expert Advice Today” gives prospects the assurance they’ll get all the information they need to make that decision.
Most importantly, make sure that button LOOKS like a button. Your visitors should know they need to click on your CTA to get the value from your offer otherwise poor design could lead to, well no leads.
Remember this is just the skeleton fundamentals to designing a high- converting post- click landing page. Constantly iterating and optimising the elements above will produce varied results for your individual business. The best way to find out what works and what doesn’t is continually A/B testing each page to find the winning formula to your perfect landing page.
Don’t waste time thinking about this epic advertising trend, start introducing these fundamentals within your landing pages. If you need a digital marketing agency to design, implement and grow your business then contact Defiant Digital.
As a Creative Strategist at Defiant Digital, I am responsible for writing and directing social media advertising campaigns for my clients. In order for these campaigns to be successful they must engage scrollers, encourage users to click through and subsequently… purchase!
Pretty simple formula right? Well, not exactly. For most, products and services require a little bit more warming up to before they are ‘added to cart’. Modern day social media marketers have recognised and accepted that we now have less than 3 seconds to capture attention on social media, making that first mili-second of an ad creative, the most crucial.
You might be thinking, “how will I engage and convey my message within 3 seconds?” and I’m happy to tell you that you can still create 15 seconds to a minute long ads on social media, you just have to ensure that the first 3 seconds are stimulating enough to click through.
The key is to continue pushing the creative boundaries and trying new things that you haven’t seen anyone else try before. That is why I have been spending a lot of time investigating “Interactive Ads”, A revolutionary way to capture and engage scrollers in 2021.
What is an Interactive Ad?
Interactive ads are advertisements that invite users to actively participate, collaborate or experience your brand instantly. Some formats of Interactive ads include:
● AR Filters
● Instant Experiences
Unlike regular ads which automatically play as users scroll, using visual cues and copy to grab their attention, Interactive ads need the user’s action in order to play. Encouraging users to act on your ads rather than passively view can help you meet your creative KPI’s such as “click through rate” with ease.
Let’s take a deeper look into each interactive ad format and how other brands have used them and how you can use them for your brand too.
It is likely that you have already used Instagram/Facebook story polls in your organic content strategy however, using them in your ads can be super effective for keeping your band top-of-mind if done properly.
Some huge brands which have embraced polls in their paid media strategy include Asics and Milo. These examples are very different types of businesses however, they are both using polls for the same purpose of engaging and encouraging their audience to interact directly with their ads to increase brand awareness.
As part of Milo’s “Hot or Cold” campaign, Milo utilised poll ads to uncover whether their audience preferred their Milo hot or cold. The ads allowed their audience to feel as though they were contributing to the conversation while creating a little bit of friendly rivalry between their audience.
Poll ads should not be underestimated as simple engagement tools, they can actually help to uncover your audience’s true wants and needs so that you can inform your strategy with messaging and products that are in line with their responses.
Another great thing about poll ads is that they are versatile and can open up lots of creative opportunities to make super engaging ads which showcase both of your poll options. Making your poll ads visually engaging only makes the decision for a user to participate easier which in turn will give you more data on your users, a higher CTR and stronger brand recall.
An additional bonus to using poll ads is that Facebook’s algorithm will prioritise content that receives instant engagement therefore your CPM’s (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) will be substantially lower than conversion campaigns, making paid brand awareness campaigns even cheaper.
Snapchat was the first to pioneer the use of Augmented Reality filters or AR filters on social media in 2011 and since then they can be found on many different online channels, but did you know that you can create AR powered ads on Facebook and Instagram?
What can be more engaging than seeing yourself in an ad?
Well that’s exactly how AR Filter ads work and they are extremely effective for giving your audience an instant experience and allowing them to truly interact with your brand. Global brands which are utilising this trend include furniture brand MADE who created an instant experience for their customers by targeting them with ads which allowed them to instantly use their camera from the ad and seemingly ‘stage’ their products in their own space using AR technology.
To get started with AR Filters, download “Spark AR Studio” and create filters which can be uploaded straight to Facebook and Instagram!
Playable ads are often used for apps and games however they can be altered to suit just about any business with the right creative flare. Playable ads offer a sneak peak into the interface or service of a business and give users the opportunity to physically tap and play within the interface of the ad. Put simply, they’re not just your “tap to play” style ads but more so “tap to try before you buy” and are often referred to as micro games.
The framework for playable ads is often in the sequence of:
Lead In: Create a short intro clearly indicating that the ad is playable.
Demo: Once the user opts in, they will be able to “play” a fullscreen demo directly on the ad.
Call To Action: The demo ends with an enticing call to action or offer to entice people to learn more or play more.
Aside from game apps which utilize this form of advertising often, other brands outside of the gaming sphere have adopted this type of marketing.
Babbel, the learning language app created playable ads to drive subscription sales, the ad began with a lead in to “tap and try before you buy” which then opened up users to interact with a full screen demo of their Spanish Language Course.
Through this ad, users expectations of the app were set and could now familiarise with the interface, thus leading users to download the app and opt in to their subscription service.
An Instant Experience styled ad on Facebook or Instagram is any ad where a user’s action to watch or click on the ad offers an instant experience. Examples of this include, Instant Lead Forms, instant Storefront, Instant Collections, Carousels and Instant Swipe Ups.
All of these ad mediums allow users to take direct action on the ads either through scrolling a store directly from an ad, filling out their details directly from an app and swiping through a collection, carousel or swiping up.
You may already be utilizing some of these ad types but are you using them correctly?
These ads are designed for a more informative experience so using these mediums not only to sell but to storytell and educate more than what standard ads allow will help improve your users brand recall when interacting with an Instant Experience style ad.
Why Should Brands Be Using Interactive Advertising?
Interactive ads have many advantages that will benefit a brand long term. Not only are users more likely to engage with and pay attention to brands that utilise interactive ads due to the technical advancement these brands appear to have and the interactivity they provide, they are more likely to take action.
Below are more reasons why interactive ads should be considered within businesses marketing strategy.
Users Are Used To Stimulation And Value Interactivity
Media entertainment has been around for decades and the world has become accustomed to media stimulation. In fact, some would in fact argue that as the entertainment industry progressed from newspapers to radio to television, users became desensitised to artificial stimulation.
As technology has shifted towards smartphones and social media, short burst entertainment has become a commodity and everyday Creative Strategists just like me are creating multiple adverts for that tiny bit of attention and interaction daily.
This is why interactive ads are so valuable, they call out users directly, put control back into their hands, give them the power to alter their individual experience of the ad and stimulate their curiosity. The more interactive an ad is, the more likely a user will take note of what the brand is trying to promote.
Interactive ads are so effective at gaining the attention of potential customers that around 88% of marketers believe they are the best way to stand out from competitors.
Interactive Ads Lead To Better Recall Of The Brand And It’s Message
I’m sure we can all agree that the key purpose of an ad is for consumers to remember the brand and the message that it was trying to convey (as well as opt in and purchase).
It is crucial for brands to be memorable and stand out from competitors. Regular forms of marketing such as statistics, videos, emails etc is something consumers have been doing for so long that studies show many users experience what marketers call “banner blindness”.
This is a psychological mechanism that blocks out the ad, resulting in the consumer not paying attention at all due to desensitisation. This is where interactive ads shine- compared to static or non-interactive ads as they require the user to do something such as click, like, answer a question, play a micro game or wear an AR filter which causes them to notice the ad, engage and remember it later.
Worldwide studies back this up. A study by MAGNA found that interactive video ads can increase the amount of time a user spends on the ad by 47% compared to the time spent on a static ad of video. This allows much more time for the brand message to sink in.
Interactive ads are 32% more likely to be memorable and have a 9 times higher impact on a user’s intent to purchase.
Interactive Ads Lead To More User Data
With the trackability of social media marketing, advertisers are more reliant on data than ever. Data helps to inform businesses of their customer base’s preferences so that they can tailor their advertisements and services to meet their needs, in the hopes of expanding their brand. Interactive ads have the ability to collect more data than regular ads as they can be engaged with in a variety of ways. Interactive ads can give brands data on how long consumers are viewing their ads for, what parts of the ad they were interested in enough to click, if consumers replayed anything within the ad as well as detailed data about topics crafted through the ad such as answers and votes to polls and questions.
This gives brands insightful data they can use to refine their marketing process, in an effort to shape future ads and better target users.
Leading Platforms Want To Display Interactive Ads
While brands pay advertising platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google to place ads on their channels, advertisers within certain platforms are beginning to favor some ads over others.
Leading platforms such as Google are pushing the use of interactive ads as they believe it improves their customer’s experience and keeps them on their channel longer.
Therefore, these ads are more likely to be prominent on these channels, gaining brands more attention and recognition.
Interactive Ads Have Better Performance Rates
When comparing regular ads to interactive ads, 91% of users found interactive ads to be more engaging, while 70% respectively found them more engaging and stimulating.
Interactive ads are found to have a 300% higher click through rate, meaning users engaging with these ads are actively trying to find out more about a business or purchase their products faster.
This takes us to the next metric where interactive ads are performing dramatically better, conversion rate. The conversion rate on interactive ads sits at around 3 times higher than that of a static ad and is up to 7 times higher for playable ads.
Interactive ads symbolise the future of advertising. With brands working harder to gain the attention of consumers in this increasingly over-stimulating environment, the key is to increase engagement and click through rates first and foremost.
Creating ads that ask potential customers to do something, whether it be playing a trial version of a game, answering a quiz or wearing an AR filter is proven to increase these metrics.
With so many different types of interactive ads to choose from, it’s time to start brainstorming ways you can create ones that suit your business and improve the quality of your brand’s advertising!
Don’t waste time thinking about this epic advertising trend, start introducing interactive ads to your marketing strategy by consulting experts like Defiant Digital Marketing Agency.
SEO analytics tracking is crucial for analyzing your website’s overall success.
Creating and implementing an SEO strategy requires data & performance analysis & the simplest way to do it is by leveraging tools like Google Analytics.
Google Analytics offers tons of information on website performance. And by evaluating this, you’ll always be clear on the direction of your SEO campaign or if you need to modify your strategy.
It’s one thing collecting data, but understanding how to leverage it to make business decisions is where you get the most value.
In this article, we’re going to breakdown analytics & SEO tracking & the 5 metrics your business needs to be monitoring.
1. Organic Search Traffic- SEO Analytics
The main performance indicators of any SEO campaign is an increase in organic traffic & the easiest way to track it is by using Google Analytics.
To check organic search traffic reports, you can check “Channels” underneath “Acquisition” in the Google Analytics page to view all total sessions against other channels. You can also change the time-period to see how organic search results have performed compared to past weeks or months.
2. Conversions (Leads or Sales)
You’re driving sufficient organic traffic to your website, what next?
You need to check if that traffic is converting or not. Measure what percentage of the overall organic search visitors take action and turn into a lead or a customer. To measure this, set Conversion Goals in Google Analytics. Once you do, you can track how the call-to-actions are performing.
Furthermore, if you have got a multi-step checkout process, you can view your Goal Flow reports to check how far your organic search visitors go in the process.
Conversion rates can be affected by various factors. Some factors revolve around the intention and awareness of the user. If your traffic is coming from early research keywords, they might not convert immediately. However, this does not mean that it is not working. Try to understand how organic search works in combination with other traffic channels to boost the conversion rate.
Start with exploring the “Multi-Channel Funnels”, “Assisted Conversion” and “Model Comparison Tool” to know how you can use the organic traffic to increase conversions that usually show up as coming from other channels.
3. Page Load Time
Here’s a fact– user experience plays a crucial role in your website’s ability to rank higher and convert your visitors into leads. And one of the factors impacting user experience is page load time. Even a delay of 100 milliseconds can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%.
So when you optimize your website, you must check how the changes have affected your website’s page load time.
Luckily, you can easily monitor your website’s load time using Google Pagespeed Insights. However, boosting page load time might need some technical support. So you can consider hiring an SEO agency in Sydney.
If you want to speed up your website by yourself, here are a few tips to help you:
- Reduce redirects.
- Improve server response time.
- Use a content distribution network.
- Optimize images.
4. Bounce Rate
Simply put, bounce rate is the measure of the percentage of sessions in which a user loads the page but exits immediately without taking any action.
You can calculate it by dividing the total number of non-interactive sessions by the total number of sessions.
As search engines like Google prioritize satisfying the user-intent, bounce rates show if the website is relevant to the user search query or not. And that makes the bounce rate an important KPI.
Therefore, if a website has a high bounce rate, Google might think that it isn’t satisfying the user intent, and hence it shouldn’t be ranking high.
Now to rank higher in the SERP, you should consider regularly checking the bounce rate of each page of your website and optimize the pages accordingly. Here are a few ways to decrease the bounce rate of your website:
- Improve your content’s readability.
- Avoid pop-ups.
- Add compelling call-to-action.
- Improve your brand storytelling.
- Keep updating your blog with fresh content.
- Target keywords with high-value traffic.
- Attract the right visitors.
- Write attractive meta descriptions for search users.
- Create multiple landing pages for high-volume keywords.
- Speed up your page load time.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
Need help with this? Hire an SEO Agency to help!
5. Time on Page From Organic Traffic
Last but not the least, time on page from organic traffic is another important factor that you should consider. The easiest method to track time on page is by checking “Average Time on Page” and “Average Session Duration” reports on the Google Analytics page. You can check the total organic traffic for all pages or check for individual pages.
Usually, the more time a user spends on a webpage, the better it will be for the SEO of that page. But there are exceptions. For example, the contact form page should be easy and quick to fill in by the user. If the user is spending a lot of time on that page then you might need to optimize the form or shorten it.
Every page on your website serves a different purpose, therefore, you should identify and optimize the pages with problems.
If your visitors are leaving your website immediately, audit your website and see if you’re providing your visitors with the solutions they are looking for through your content. To make your visitors stay on your website, add more relevant content, links, videos, etc.
6. *BONUS* Branded vs Non-Branded Keyword Traffic
If you’re running an online business, this metric is crucial for you to track. Branded keywords refer to queries that include your brand or product/service name, as well as related terms. For instance, Samsung phone, Samsung smartphone, or Samsung Galaxy Note are all branded keywords for Samsung.
Now keywords that are not related to a brand particularly are called non-branded keywords. If your content is ranking well, it means that you’re ranking well for both kinds of keywords.
It can be a strenuous task to track branded as well as non-branded keywords for organic search using Google Analytics as the tool doesn’t provide much data about organic keywords. If you look at the keywords report in Google Analytics, you’ll see that most of the clicks fall under one category, identified as “(not provided)”. It means all those clicks from organic search are encrypted to protect the users’ privacy.
To check the branded and non-branded keywords using Google Search Console, go to the “Performance” page and then click on “Queries” to check all the keyword queries that generated impressions and clicks for your website.
Now whether you’re just starting your business or have been running it for quite some time, tracking the right SEO metrics is essential. These were the 5 major SEO analytics that you should measure to track your online growth. Without these metrics, you won’t be able to understand if your SEO strategy is on the right track or not for SEO Analytics.
Focus on the right SEO metrics and dedicate the rest of your time to improving your website content. And if you think that you can’t do it yourself, you may hire SEO services in Sydney to get the work done by experts. We are a full-fledged SEO and Facebook Ads Agency in Sydney that can help to improve your SEO strategy and rank higher on the search engine results page.
In the good old days, websites used to be more like repositories for keywords than the online face of businesses. Well, today, the scenario is not quite the same. SEO has evolved over time. You can no longer trick the system by stuffing content with keywords and expect a great result. The keyword-focused approach has changed to a more engagement centric approach.
With the dawn of the new decade, the role of digital marketing has superseded any other medium of communication and presentation. To rank your content, it needs to be shareable, accessible & likeable on every platform.
In this article, we’ll walk you through 7 practical online marketing tips to run SEO for small businesses seamlessly.
The DO’s of SEO for small businesses
1- Good User Experience
SEO + UX = Guaranteed Success
A good digital marketing strategy emphasizes creating a great ‘user experience’ that adds value to your customers, readers, and target audience.
Search engines collect data and employ advanced data mining operations to monitor user behaviour. With the help of that data, they tweak the algorithm to provide more of what the user wants and less of what they don’t. That simply means websites that successfully understand the user’s needs are automatically ranked high by Google.
What does this mean for you?
You need to understand what your audience is looking for and provide it to them in the most presentable and convenient form.
It merely means using the right combination of generic + specific keywords, Header (H1, H2) tags, and easy site navigation. You also need to include the searcher’s intent, improve site speed, optimize a mobile-friendly website experience, and remove any clutter from your website or content.
For example, Novo Banking uses ‘banking’ as the primary keyword, which is further combined with other supporting keywords to add value to the customer reading it. Anyone using this keyword with ‘small business’ or ‘freelance’ or ‘small business solutions’ would be able to find the site. With a clear message above the fold, it’s easy for the readers to understand how they help and who they help.
Similarly, if you notice Swiped’s mobile version, you can see that they cater to ‘copywriting‘ and ‘marketing‘ as their primary keywords. You can easily browse through their topics, blogs, ideas, and much more at the click of a button.
Smart and straightforward designs go a long way in establishing a quick recall value with the audience and also makes Google and other search engines love your website.
2- Focus on Local Search
If you thought SEO for small businesses is for small corner shops or ‘retail stores’ only, you couldn’t be more mistaken! Today, the digital marketing world is constantly changing and evolving at a rapid pace. Hence, it makes more sense to cater to your local audience than concentrate on a global level only.
Local search encompasses search terms that scream local intent, such as –
- Salons near me
- Doctors near me
- Digital marketing agency in Sydney
- Lawyers in Bondi
Your SEO for small businesses strategy has to focus on increasing your presence in your local area to get more hits on your link, more inquiries, more walk-ins, and a more comprehensive digital footprint locally. All your content, on-page optimizations, and link building with local intent in mind will help you gain more traction amongst your target audience.
A good idea will be to optimize Google My Business to build your small scale business or even a start-up. It is a misconception that it is only for small brick-and-mortar shops. It’s value to your business is much more than that.
According to Statista, SEO for small businesses has grown by nearly 50% since the pandemic and will continue to grow exponentially. If you read the image, you can see the increased use of terms ‘near me’ and ‘close to me has become more popular for people from across the country. The trend continues to rise globally.
If you want to generate a strong social media presence, don’t ignore your local audience and local exposure. Publishing engaging content that is relative to your city is the perfect online marketing strategy to generate sales and leads from people in your own backyard.
3- Focus on Videos and Visual Content
Experiential learning adds more value to students than words and sentences on a paper. Most of us fall in the category of ‘visual learning enthusiasts’ and prefer to consume visual content rather than actually reading written material.
Incorporating visuals and videos in your content can go a long way in retaining your audience’s attention and grabbing a preferential sweet spot in your consumer’s mind. If you notice below, Venngage distinctly creates a visual board to help you (audience) understand the importance of ‘why visual and video content is significant for large and small businesses alike.
A classic example of optimum video and visual content is the leading food delivery partner and player- Zomato.
- 90% of Zomato traffic comes organically from Google.
- They optimize top keywords to create unique URLs and web pages.
- They put a lot of effort into using real people and real stories coupled with great copywriting to create magic on the internet.
- From newsletters to emails, web content, blogs, and even display adverts on social media, Zomato has captured the local and national market with its strategic SEO campaigns.
If you want to create an impact on your audience’s mind, a small business should incorporate SEO driven visual content as part of the online marketing strategy.
While it sounds easy in the SEO world, there are a few iconic blunders you need to avoid altogether.
Don’ts of SEO for small businesses
4- Stuffing Keywords Into Your Content
For those of you who think you can trick Google (or any other search engine) to rank your content based solely on Keywords, you couldn’t be more wrong! Stuffing keywords in no distinct order that’s readable and user friendly will often lead to your website being penalized by Google.
There was a time when small businesses stuffed keywords in as few as three sentences and made their website rank. But that was nearly a decade ago.
Today, the same strategy can get you blacklisted by search engines and will make you lose out on potential rankings for your website.
A classic example of keyword stuffing looks like this:
Develop a habit of creating content that puts ‘reader’s first and one that matters to your audience. Use your main keywords sparingly, i.e., 2 or 3 times per 500 words. Using specific long-tail keywords will help search engine crawlers identify your content’s worth.
5- Shady Link Building Techniques
We, and so many other websites, couldn’t have said this enough ‘don’t use shady link building techniques’ to try and rank on Google. It will crawl through the website, catch it, and penalize it. With Panda and Penguin always on the lookout, using spammy techniques to gain followers and ‘seem’ relevant to your audience will not work.
Whenever businesses use Black Hat SEO techniques, it often backfires. Submitting to article sites or directories which only deal in volume is a big no-no.
If you get an offer to utilize do-follow services, it is best to stay away. These marketers charge businesses a hefty amount and violate the Google quality guidelines. Having too many “do-follow” links from unrelated websites will harm your website’s ranking.
(Source: Neil Patel)
Save your website from any manual or algorithmic penalty and avoid using shady link building techniques to strengthen your digital marketing strategy.
6- Spun Content/Low-Quality Content
Most small businesses utilize the services of low priced and low-quality writers or SEO agencies who rewrite existing content ‘concept by concept’ and present them as unique. Spinning the same content in different ways will push back all your marketing efforts and deteriorate your brand image.
An example of spun content:
7- Blog Forum Spam
Google has a pretty neat way of finding out spam comments and blog link requests. These do not benefit the readers anyway and will hurt your digital marketing strategy and impact your website’s ranking in the long run.
If you have been part of a community related to your product or service, posting your website link in the comments will not harm your business. However, if you are new and indulge in posting ‘Hi, I am ABC. Have a look at my website XYZ to get more offers.’ It will harm your website’s reputation and your own. If you see this on your website as well, stay away.
Several tried and tested ways to drive an effective SEO for small businesses Strategy exist; however, what works for others may not work for you. Marketing trends change all the time, and it is advisable to start using the SEO techniques mentioned above to help build a scalable small business. The key is to pay attention to the trends in digital marketing and employ qualified and experienced SEO agencies to help you deliver the desired result.
Search engine optimization is an ever-evolving process & with every Google update, you have to re-evaluate your SEO strategy to make changes to your website and improve your SEO rankings.
With the right keyword research and tools, you can tap into what your potential customers are looking for and develop content that solves their problems. You can also create content that guides the prospect down the path to a sale or a conversion. SEO-optimized websites load faster, are easy to browse and surf, and can be easily viewed on different screen sizes.
SEO also helps build brand awareness for your business as search engine users are more likely to trust a site on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) than other brands. 81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing. Hence, digital marketers know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most crucial investments to grow your business online.
After knowing the importance of SEO tools and how it helps your business, comes the next big question:
How to implement it?
You can appoint a reputable SEO agency or digital marketing agency as they already have highly experienced professionals that know how to get results. In case you don’t want to go through that route, you can also learn and implement SEO strategies yourself.
As a website owner, you should know the key SEO tools even if you are outsourcing to contractors or a digital marketing agency. SEO can be more efficient and effective when the right tools are employed, so we’ve put together five of the most powerful SEO tools which can work like magic for your business.
1- Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most widely used website analytics application. It helps you understand the performance of your website and traffic sources.
Often, we believe that most of our traffic is routing mainly from our Homepage, but in Google Analytics, you can check the URL of the other pages that are getting traffic which helps you make data-driven decisions in your business.
The navigation path followed by visitors on your website may be entirely different from what you had planned. From the Navigation Summary in your Google Analytics dashboard, you can see where they came from and which page they visited next.
If you have a frequently updated blog, it will undoubtedly generate traffic from informational and conversational search queries. Blogs are visited frequently on websites, and once we understand which of our blogs are ranking higher, we can develop more useful content and opt-ins around those blog posts. Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic on average. Another stat says that 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.
Firstly, segregate your overall traffic based on the source or medium it is coming from. After filtering the traffic, the first section that appears is the landing pages that led people from Google to your website. As you can see from the screenshot given below, the homepage received only 852 views while the other pages (the top three) received thousands of views.
GA gives you a straight breakdown of the queries that are bringing users to your website and which pages are performing best.
With the help of Google Analytics, you are not shooting in the dark while developing your content. Rather, you know what is already performing and can boost that further to enhance the results.
2- Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool built by Google that gives you tons of information needed for an effective SEO strategy. It helps you rectify errors as well as strategize and optimize your search engine rankings. It primarily generates three types of reports: Performance, Coverage, and Enhancement.
Its “Performance” report contains the necessary pieces of information you need to plan an effective SEO campaign. It provides you with the data like what keywords your site ranks for, what position you occupy in those keywords, how often people are clicking your result, and which other sites have linked to your content. It also tells you about crawl errors, manual actions, and whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
The Coverage report shows insights about your site’s URLs that Google has indexed over the past year and displays all indexed pages in your sitemap.
The data generated through Google Search Console can help your business to discover new opportunities. It helps to boost existing performance and learn how exactly people are coming to your website. It’s a reliable tool for businesses that depend on their website to get leads through organic traffic.
3- Google Keyword Planner
There are many tools to help you find keywords related to your business, but Google Keyword Planner is arguably the most powerful one, and free too. But to use it, you need to have a Google Ads account.
This tool helps you find and create a list of keywords for your upcoming PPC campaign.
It also helps you to identify the list of relevant keywords in your niche which has high search volume. You get two different tools within the Keyword Planner: ‘Discover new keywords’ and ‘Get search volume and forecasts’.
Discover new keywords helps you to find new keywords. Firstly, enter products or services closely related to your business.
Once you’ve entered your information into one or in all three fields, click Get Results and, you will get the Keyword result page.
The Get search volume and forecasts are helpful when you already have a long list of keywords and are interested to check their search volume.
You can easily choose keywords based on three criteria: Search Volume, Commercial Intent, and Organic SEO competition. This tool can be used for blogs, press releases, conference agendas, podcast transcripts, in short for any page that has text.
There are 3 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of those have never been seen before. Every month around more than 20,000 companies do wonderful things with AnswerThePublic, and over 200,000 people from all over the world use it every month for content ideas, ongoing search monitoring, keyword research, and much more.
It is a keyword tool that visualizes search questions and suggests autocomplete searches. The categories consist of the 5 Ws (What, When, Where, Who, and Why) plus how, can, are, which, and will.
You can use 3 free searches every day, which means around 21 searches a week. You can pick the data or visualization view based on your needs. Hide the suggestions that aren’t useful to you, so you don’t have to waste time on them.
It represents the data in nice visuals and allows you to get to know your audience better. AnswerThePublic analyzes the questions that users are asking. This insight is valuable for your SEO strategy as it helps to target keyword research and helps you answer questions that can get you into Google’s featured snippets. With these valuable insights, you can create content that enjoys optimized ranking on SERPs. This type of content attracts more audiences and plays a crucial role in generating more organic traffic.
Woorank is an SEO tool and website analysis tool that enables you to create detailed reviews that are easy to understand and assist in finding the best steps to optimize your websites. It is user-friendly and offers free and paid options to keep track of your website’s performance.
When you log into Woorank, you can easily create a review by entering the URL. There are two options available Advanced and Standard Review, and both these options provide you with a sufficient amount of data.
You can do an unlimited amount of standard reviews while the number of advanced reviews is limited. It can track down website rankings and see how well they are performing. It presents you with a detailed SEO audit for all the essential ranking factors like secure and accessible websites, mobile-friendliness, page speed, technical SEO, and much more. With Woorank, you can have these details in a few seconds, whereas retrieving this kind of information manually can take hours.
The SEO audit is a report of your website’s health. You can use this information to fix any bugs or mistakes that may harm your rankings. Woorank has properties like website reviews, keyword tools, site crawl analysis, marketing checklist, and competitive analysis.
Hence, it is the ideal tool that allows you to analyze your website, whether you’re an SEO agency, digital marketing agency, or website owner.
In a year alone, Google makes upwards of 3,200 updates to its search engine algorithms. The SEO strategies that worked for one company won’t work automatically for the others. Whether you are looking for an SEO company in Sydney or New York remember that no business and their needs are exactly the same. So, choose the best SEO company with full-scope SEO services to achieve your desired results.
Even though SEO campaigns may not necessarily drive results overnight, by sticking with the best SEO strategies and using the right tools, you can build an impressive online presence. The right SEO tool will help improve your rankings, and once you are in the top spots, you’ll continue to generate profit with lesser time, effort, and expenses.
How will SEO change in 2021? Well, it’s no secret that Google loves updating their SEO algorithm. And only the companies that can adapt to the changes in the search engine landscape will be the ones who thrive in digital marketing.
SEO is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. When you optimize your content the right way, you’ll see your content ranking on Google and every other search engine.
Whether you are looking to boost your website traffic, start online digital marketing, build a presence online, or start a digital marketing and SEO agency, this guide will help you get started on the right foot. This article contains the best SEO practices for 2021, so you can improve your site’s performance in the search results, get more traffic, leads, and sales.
Let’s have a look at all of them one by one.
Rank for Featured Snippets for digital marketing
According to SEMrush, 6.83% of all search results have a featured snippet. These are the results that show up on the top of search engine results pages, typically after the ads but before the ranked results. There are different types of featured snippets including paragraph, numbers, bulleted list, table, YouTube videos.
Here is how a Numbered Featured Snippet looks:
How do these snippets help SEO rankings?
These snippets make content consumption faster as well as easier for users and keep traffic on Google’s search result page. Therefore, Google promotes such content and awards it by keeping them at the top of search results with high visibility. It is nevertheless beneficial for websites to implement it because you have a chance to be featured, which would eventually drive tons of traffic to your website.
According to the data from Ahrefs, featured snippets, on average, get around 8.6% CTR while the top organic result gets 19.6% of the traffic. This is extremely impressive and shows the power of a featured snippet in getting search traffic on your website.
Now, let’s learn how to get your snippet featured on the Google search result page.
Some of the key ways to optimize featured snippets are:
- Organize your content in a structured way.
- Opt for eye-catching pictures.
- Create answers to frequently asked questions.
- Write dedicated headings to answer featured snippets
For in-depth learning on optimizing content for Featured Snippets, read this article by Optin Monster.
Mobile Continues to Gain Importance
Google gives preference to the sites that are fully responsive and adapt to different screen sizes for a better online experience.
Most developers and webmasters are building their sites on desktop, but around 73% of internet users are accessing those sites through their mobile devices.
The trend towards mobile-friendly and responsive sites will continue to gain further traction in 2021. If not done already, you should take some immediate measures to make your website responsive and easier for users to browse on smaller screens as well.
To check whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, visit this Mobile-friendly test by Google.
Alternatively, you can also run a mobile-friendly analysis of your website at Rank watch.
Master Search Intent
Understanding the user’s intent when they type a keyword in the search engine is important for webmasters, as it helps them to rank their website higher in the search results.
User’s intent and behavior are changing all the time and so is the algorithm behind the search engine.
Therefore, creating content that’s a 1:1 search intent match is going to be a must in 2021.
You can follow the steps below to match your content with the user’s intent:
- Figure out your Target Keyword’s Search Intent.
Sometimes the user’s intent is clear, like when they type in the keyword ‘compare’ or ‘buy’.
But usually, it’s not always the case. You’ll have to look more deeply at the keyword search intent from the search results.
For example, take a keyword like, Avocado Oil.
Someone searching for that term could want to buy oil, or maybe they want to learn more about Avocado Oil and its benefits.
Well, according to Google’s first page for that keyword, most people searching for Avocado Oil are looking for information, not to purchase an Avocado.
- Now, after you have identified search intent, create content that matches the search intent.
The length of your content is also very important because content with more than 2000 words leads to higher ranks in SERPs. A well-researched and detailed piece of content also demonstrates authority on the topic and helps you in getting high authority backlinks.
- Re-optimize old content for search intent.
If you identify that your old article is not getting much traffic or not ranking on the first top 5 pages of SERPS, then think about re-optimizing it. Keep the user’s search intent in mind and include content that is more useful for readers.
Rise of Video Content
Video has been steadily gaining importance in the past few years, and it is now one of the most easily consumable forms of media on the internet. In fact, according to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be online videos by 2022. So, it becomes imperative to develop and optimize your video content as an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
Videos can be uploaded to Youtube as standalone content or can be embedded in your website too.
As mentioned above, the video featured snippets are really prominent on search queries beginning with How-to tutorials, DIY videos and other forms of educational content. These are the three most important things to keep in mind to get your video content in featured snippets.
- Clearly mark sections in your video. It helps Google to use different clips from your video in a snippet.
- Optimize your video for SEO with title, description, and tags to clarify what your video is all about.
- Include titles in your video to help Google understand the content better.
Domain Authority used to be a metric to predict ranking based on the number of backlinks. But now, Google has confirmed that it also evaluates the site on EAT Principle. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
In other terms EAT is Domain Authority 2.0. A Domain Authority score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher ability to rank.
- Google mentions that content written by people who are experts on a particular topic will be more valuable than the content written by random freelancers.
- To increase the authority of your site, try and get cited on lots of other trusted websites and get other people to mention you and your site as a valuable
To check your domain authority score, visit the MozBar website, or you can also download the MozBar Chrome Extension tool.
Getting Ahead With Right Keywords
Keywords are the linchpins between what people are searching for and what content you are providing. You may have heard that keyword-targeting is dead. But, in reality, keywords will always remain an integral part of the SEO strategy. You want to be sure that the keywords you are targeting are the right ones and satisfies the intent of the user.
There are four ways to categorize search intent, and you want to optimize your content for all types of searches.
- Navigational: when trying to find a particular site
- Informational: when searching for the answer to a question
- Investigational: pre-purchase searches
- Transactional: when users actually want to buy
Apart from search intent keywords, there are three other types of keywords, and amongst them, Long Tail keywords are the ones that are easier to rank. Below is the brief description of the 3 types of keywords
- Short keywords: Are no more than 1 or 2 words, with a high search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes)
- Medium keywords: Are 2 to 3-word phrases with a medium search volume. (Ex: WordPress Themes for Blogs)
Long Tail keywords: Are phrases of 4 or more words with a low search volume. Most web traffic comes from long-tail keywords. (Ex: Free Responsive WordPress Themes for Blog)
Google features such as Google Autocomplete, People Also Ask, or Related Searches can be a great source to explore long-tail keyword ideas.
For more free Keyword tools, visit the blog by Ahrefs.
Visual Search is a Game-Changer
Visual search is changing the search marketing landscape, as improved visual search functionality is being built into platforms such as Pinterest, Bing, and Google.
According to a report by Google, Google Lens has already been used 1 billion times. Pinterest gets 600 million visual searches per month. People are increasingly conducting more visual searches than ever before.
Today, Google Lens can identify 1 billion objects. And that number is growing every day. Visual search is super helpful for shopping, directions, identifying landmarks, translation, recipes, and much more. Visual search is poised to take off in 2021.
For more information on Visual Search as a game-changer in SEO, read this blog by W3 Lab.
As the human attention span is declining, SEO in 2021 will be more focussed on visual content with visual search on the rise. Each year, Google introduces more than 3000 small changes to their algorithms, and each year, trends emerge in this volatile sector that nobody has been able to predict.
Stay on top of algorithms but, don’t dwell on them as important as they are; the fundamentals have never changed. The right SEO tools can help you get the information you need to guide a smart SEO strategy. The most important point on SEO strategy will always be to develop insightful and useful content for your audience.
3.2 million blog posts are published every day, that means that roughly 34 articles are read every second!
If you’re a business owner with an active website, you don’t need the above stats to understand that your content is forever competing with millions of other websites trying to rank specific keywords on Google…
Nor do you need us to tell you that SEO has 20x more traffic opportunities than any PPC ads.
As a savvy entrepreneur, you already know the importance of SEO and the results it can bring, and the reasons you’re here is to learn the ropes of SEO and exponentially increase your website traffic.
Every digital marketing expert, SEO agency, and the social agency has loads of information to share but here’s something that no one is telling you…
The search engine’s job is to help users find the most relevant piece of information assisting with one’s query. Therefore, if your site is optimized for humans, it is optimized for the search engine also.
In this article, we bring you the top 7 SEO tactics which are crucial for every beginner.
Top 7 tactics for SEO beginners
1- Website Speed
How many times have you waited for more than a few seconds for a site to load? Can’t remember? Me too. It’s because we have a small attention span of eight seconds.
Even a delay of one second can affect your conversion rate by 7%.
Now that you know that a slow speed spoils the overall user experience, let’s look at it from an SEO angle.
A site with a longer load time will have a higher bounce rate, sending a negative signal to the Google algorithm.
Feel free to use this Google tool to find the speed of your website for desktop and mobile.
Once you know your page load time, here’s what you can do to improve it:
- Deactivate and delete the plugins that no longer serve any purpose. You can find all plugins in your WordPress dashboard area.
- Use the Smush plugin to bulk-compress the size of your images
- Download a website cache plugin
Here’s a detailed and practical guide on how to increase your page load speed.
2- Secure Website
Just search anything on the internet and you’ll notice that all the page 1 results are HTTPS sites.
HTTPS gained importance for the first time when Google announced it as a ranking factor in 2014. Today, having an HTTPS site is almost essential. Visitors to an HTTP site are shown frequent “not secure” warnings. If you’re still running an insecure website, you may have noticed high bounce rates.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to install HTTPS on your site.
3- Keyword Research
Word on the street is that keyword targeting is dead. The reality is that keywords aren’t only just required for SEO alone. They reveal a lot about your audience and what they are searching for.
What doesn’t work nowadays is targeting an individual keyword or targeting a single page for a single keyword. On the other hand long-tail keywords and queries do work.
Here are some free tools to find what your ideal customers are searching for:
a- Answer the public
Answer the public is a keyword tool that visualizes search questions and suggested autocomplete searches in an image called a search cloud.
If you’re writing on the topic- content marketing, then running a simple query will give you popular questions asked around content marketing in a visual format.
Here’s how this clever software looks.
Another great tool is Buzzsumo.
Buzzsumo allows you to run a search audit and find popular content ideas trending on different social media platforms.
For example, if you’re writing on the topic- ‘content marketing’, then a simple query will give you top trending topics around those keywords
3- Quora/ Reddit
4- User Intent
Marketing today is customer-centric. Understanding user intent is imperative to creating content that your audience actually wants to read.
Coschedule skyrocketed their traffic by 594% by aligning their SEO content strategy with user intent.
Here’s how it works-
Say, you’re looking for a quick recipe for a sandwich and the top-ranking video/ blog shows a watch time of 20 minutes. If you are looking for a video with the intent to prep a sandwich ‘quickly’ (based on your intent of getting something in your mouth fast) that 20min piece of content is probably missing the mark. Based on your intent you’ll be more likely to click on a 3/4-minute quick guide. Each and every click the link gets will help the content automatically crawl its way up the rankings harnessing the power of user intent content.
Once you know what your customers want to hear from you, you must then understand the underlying reason beneath it.
There are three major forms of user intent-
Informational: When people search for a piece of information to learn something
Transactional: When people look for a product or service with the intent to buy.
Navigational: When people look for a particular website or redirection link.
So, what is the best way to discover User Intent?
- Have a topic of focus around what you want to write; then take a look at the SERP result to find what type of content is ranking in the first place. Chances are, these are the content pieces that have triggered the user intent well and answered their queries to their satisfaction.
- Another smart way to find user intent is your Google Analytics. Navigate to Google Analytics> All Traffic> Channels and now click on the organic search. Here you’ll find the keywords that people are searching for. If you see your company name in organic searches, these are navigational search terms. Similarly, you can also find informational search terms like ‘hire a blogger’. That means people are looking for information on how to hire a blogger, maybe its pros and cons and average salary, etc.
5- Quality Content
Do NOT create content to rank high. Create content to help your audience find the answer to their questions and help them make the right decisions. A good SEO agency will always prompt you to avoid getting into low-value tactics like creating multiple geo-pages of the same product and having thin content on all.
Provide valuable information on your site.
Finally, review and update content on your site regularly.
6- On-Page SEO
A law firm witnessed a 62 percent increase in organic traffic by merely updating H1 tags. Another company increased its organic traffic by 48 percent by cleaning up metadata and internal linking structure.
So what are the key on-page SEO areas of focus?
- at the beginning of the Title Tag
- in the URL string
- in the Title description/ metadata
- Keyword in the Heading and body text
Have proper headings in your article: H1, H2…
Big chunks of dense text are scary.
Having headings makes your content easier to scan with the intent to act as a breather. As a result of that, the readability score of your content goes up.
Internal link building is also crucial for on-page SEO and your overall digital marketing. You must add a relevant article to your blog posts to always keep your readers engaged. Not only will this help the users problem-solve, but it will also increase the time spent on your blog. Consequently, this will send another positive signal to Google.
7- Earn high-quality links
Inbound links will remain the lifeblood of search engine ranking and online marketing, no matter what. Links from high authority sites to your site send positive signals to Google – and always WILL!
So how do you encourage good sites to link back to you? Here are a few ways:
A- Create high-quality content
B- write expert roundups and submit requests to high-authority sites to share them with their audience
C- Focus on the clients’ success stories. They may like to share it on their sites
D- Publish surveys and real data studies
Every year we have major ranking shifts and new factors that go to impact Google indexing.
In 2015 it was mobile usability. In 2016, the focus shifted to content development. HTTPS websites regained importance in 2017 after a major drop-off in 2014. The following year, the focus changed to mobile speed.
In short, ranking factors will keep on changing. But here is one thing that never will –
Google will forever keep rolling out new updates (roughly every few months) so it is your job to keep well informed and stay ahead of the game.