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10 Digital Marketing Fundamentals Every SEO Pro Should Know

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10 Digital Marketing Fundamentals Every SEO Pro Should Know


Marketing budgets as a percentage of company revenue fell from 11% to 6.4% in 2021, the lowest proportion allocated to marketing in the history of Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey.

For SEO professionals and marketing organization leaders trying to fund growth and recovery by doing more with less, revisiting your budget and available resources ahead of 2022 is essential.

It’s always good practice to allocate a portion of the budget to innovating and testing new ideas. But that part of the budget may shrink as marketers look for tried and proven digital marketing strategies and tactics to maximize performance this year.

In this column, we’ll explore 10 fundamental areas of digital marketing knowledge and opportunities you may want to tap into (as you plan for the months and years ahead).

1. Understanding Your Digital Presence – All Of It

Sure, you have a good handle on your owned media. After all, these are the pieces of content, listings and profiles, websites, and other assets you created yourself.

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And you had better know where and when your brand is appearing online in paid placements.

But earned media can be tricky. If you aren’t actively monitoring for brand mentions, relevant social content, online reviews, and inbound links, do you really have a clear picture of your web presence as a whole?

“Earned” isn’t only what you actively sought out to build. Social listening, search insights, and reputation monitoring help you inventory and monitor your web presence as a whole.

2. The Fundamentals Of How Search Engines Work

SEO has evolved from a single digital marketing channel into the business intelligence nerve center of the organization.

Having a firm grasp of how search engines work will help you and your team not only optimize content for discovery but also deepen your understanding of how people search, learn, and consume content, as well.

Developing an appreciation for the intricacies of search engine crawling and indexing will guide you in structuring websites and pages for maximum visibility.

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Knowing how search algorithms rank content – and what the algorithm cannot do – can help you better optimize content and more quickly diagnose issues when your analytics point to them.

Don’t forget that Google isn’t the only search engine game in town, too.

3. Digital User Experience And Customer Journeys

“Build it and they will come” may have worked in Field of Dreams but it just doesn’t fly in digital marketing.

Succeeding in attracting an audience requires that you have a deep, meaningful understanding of who those people are and what problems you solve for them.

Google knows it, too – its algorithm updates are increasingly focused on improving the experiences people are having online and removing friction in each customer’s journey.

Today’s consumer understands that the sacrifice of privacy inherent to online tracking is a value exchange. They expect personalized experiences in return.

Across devices, sessions, and platforms, customers expect seamless interactions and experiences from start to finish.

This holistic view across the customer lifecycle will be table stakes going forward.

4. The Fundamentals Of Competitor Analysis

The art and science of competitor analysis are evolving; in the online space, competitors may not be who you think.

Yes, you’re competing for “airtime” with other businesses that sell products and services like yours.

But today, companies are competing against media publications, social networks and forums, map pack business listings, video and photo assets, and more in increasingly rich and diverse search results.

There are an increasing number of potential touchpoints for competitors, as well – podcast and video ads, push notifications from geofencing, influencer marketing, and augmented reality in physical spaces among them.

It’s essential that you have a clear view of who is getting in front of your customers and how. Not so you can replicate their efforts – that’s no way to stand out.

Competitor analysis will inform budget allocation to the content types, ad networks, and campaigns that will keep your brand top of mind and positioned ahead of the pack in every possible channel.

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5. Content And Digital Marketing

Content is so integral to marketing’s success that we’re now seeing marketing agencies and brands acquire their own content studios.

Two recent examples of this trend are MSQ’s acquisition of creative production studio Brave Spark and Made Thought’s being scooped up by WPP.

You may not be in a position to build or buy an entire in-house studio. The size of your organization and the scope of your content needs will guide the best production strategy.

For some, this means bringing writers, editors, videographers, photographers, and other creatives in-house.

Others choose to augment in-house marketing teams with an agency or freelance creatives – or even to turn production over entirely to external contractors.

What matters most is not how it comes together but that your brand has the people, processes, and tools in place to create and promote optimized content at the scale your audience’s demand requires.

6. Online Advertising

Hard-won, long-lasting organic search results are valuable but most digital marketing strategies have an element of paid promotion, too.

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There’s no shortage of options on the paid side, from display and SEM to native ads, social media advertising, out-of-home (OOH) and digital out-of-home (DOOH), and beyond.

Expanding your knowledge of online advertising fundamentals means understanding:

  • Paid media pricing models such as CPM or CPC.
  • The advertising platforms and tactics available in your space.
  • Different types of ad creative including text, video, and imagery.
  • Advances in ad technologies, such as Smart Bidding.
  • Privacy issues and their impact on the quantity and quality of data available to you.
  • Changing consumer behaviors and the impact this has on what resonates in the ad copy.

Staying current on what’s happening in the ever-evolving paid media landscape is essential for all digital marketers – not only those directly responsible for campaign management.

For SEO pros, email marketers, content marketers, and the CMOs who drive strategy, developing a deeper understanding of paid media can help you make better use of it for complementing and augmenting all types of campaigns.

7. Social Media

Social media is still a great channel for getting found and engaging potential customers.

Business features vary by platform but at the very least, your brand should claim all available profiles and listings. If you are less active on some, use the description or attributes to point prospects to connect on your more active channels.

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Some forget that Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other networks each have search functions of their own that consumers can use to find relevant businesses, too.

On social, consumers are looking for brands to be authentic and responsive. They may be reading reviews on Facebook or niche social networks before converting, so monitoring for and responding to new reviews is key.

Have workflows and permissions in place to ensure front-line social marketers are empowered to engage but there are brand protections in place. Have clearly defined customer service and issue escalation processes available to ensure each interaction is as positive and useful as possible.

8. The Fundamentals Of Analytics

The Coronavirus pandemic taught many a marketing team about the risks of relying solely on historic data to guide future performance.

Having access to real-time (or as near real-time as possible) analytics is essential in a world where technological innovations, financial and socioeconomic factors, and more can change the business landscape in the blink of an eye.

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Again, this is an area where you may not be entirely proficient – and that’s okay. You do not need to achieve mastery in Google Analytics 4 to put it to work for your organization.

Rather, you should have a base understanding of what analytics platforms are available, which types of data deliver the most valuable insights, and what types of professionals can best drive your analytical processes.

This awareness will help you build a team and select the tools you’ll use to fuel the next fundamental area of digital marketing on our list: business intelligence.

9. Activating Data As Business Intelligence

As consumer touchpoints increase in volume and frequency, marketing leaders are finding that disconnected point solutions just don’t cut it anymore.

Having access to descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analysis inside a single, user-friendly dashboard drives the types of insights and optimizations that truly move the needle.

Organizations must be able to look beyond themselves in order to identify new opportunities and money being left on the table. Customer behavior, competitive analysis, real-time search insights, and macroeconomic trends all fuel business decision-making.

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And in the current environment, it’s next to impossible to analyze that data at any sort of scale (let alone activating it via analysis) at any sort of scale.

Which brings us to our final point: intelligent automation.

10. Programmatic, Machine Learning, And Automation

Automated media buying is not new but growing rapidly, and programmatic ad spend is expected to top $100 billion in 2022.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are making organic media more exciting, as well, as we move beyond predictive analytics and recommended optimizations to actually having technology assist in personalizing content in real-time.

AR/VR is creating deeper connections between customers and brands and delivering more seamless, immersive experiences.

In fact, we’re on the cusp of wide stream adoption of the metaverse, that untapped virtual universe in which we’ll be able to bring elements of our physical world. The implications for marketing are not yet known, and the anticipation is palpable.

Whether your business is using intelligent automation in your business processes, improving ad targeting and ROI with programmatic, or looking to create an entirely new virtual world for customers, staying current on emerging digital marketing technologies will serve you well.

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SEO As The Leader In Digital Transformation in 2022

As the bridge between IT, marketing, and sales and the arbiters of all things data, SEO professionals are well-positioned to lead their organizations through digital transformation in 2022.

Whether your focus is technical SEO, content optimizations, link building, or local – or whatever size organization you work with, be it small business to enterprise – having a holistic understanding of all digital marketing channels and tactics positions you to lead going forward.

If you’re still looking for opportunities to expand your knowledge, check out these digital marketing courses and this list of digital marketing certificate programs to get you started.

More resources:


Featured Image: WHYFRAME/Shutterstock





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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content

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Googlebot Crawls & Indexes First 15 MB HTML Content


In an update to Googlebot’s help document, Google quietly announced it will crawl the first 15 MB of a webpage. Anything after this cutoff will not be included in rankings calculations.

Google specifies in the help document:

“Any resources referenced in the HTML such as images, videos, CSS and JavaScript are fetched separately. After the first 15 MB of the file, Googlebot stops crawling and only considers the first 15 MB of the file for indexing. The file size limit is applied on the uncompressed data.”

This left some in the SEO community wondering if this meant Googlebot would completely disregard text that fell below images at the cutoff in HTML files.

“It’s specific to the HTML file itself, like it’s written,” John Mueller, Google Search Advocate, clarified via Twitter. “Embedded resources/content pulled in with IMG tags is not a part of the HTML file.”

What This Means For SEO

To ensure it is weighted by Googlebot, important content must now be included near the top of webpages. This means code must be structured in a way that puts the SEO-relevant information with the first 15 MB in an HTML or supported text-based file.

It also means images and videos should be compressed not be encoded directly into the HTML, whenever possible.

SEO best practices currently recommend keeping HTML pages to 100 KB or less, so many sites will be unaffected by this change. Page size can be checked with a variety of tools, including Google Page Speed Insights.

In theory, it may sound worrisome that you could potentially have content on a page that doesn’t get used for indexing. In practice, however, 15MB is a considerably large amount of HTML.

As Google states, resources such as images and videos are fetched separately. Based on Google’s wording, it sounds like this 15MB cutoff applies to HTML only.

It would be difficult to go over that limit with HTML unless you were publishing entire books’ worth of text on a single page.

Should you have pages that exceed 15MB of HTML it’s likely you have underlying issues that need to be fixed anyway.


Source: Google Search Central
Featured Image: SNEHIT PHOTO/Shutterstock





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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 24, 2022

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google is experimenting with YouTube Shorts for SEO help content. Google is testing inserting keywords from queries in shopping ads. Google says keywords in domains are overrated and to ignore black hat traffic. Google said it is fine to link to WhatsApp numbers on your site. Plus my weekly SEO video recap is live.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Search News Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Ranking Updates, Google News Updated, SEO, Ads, Local & More

    This week, we had some interesting tremors and ranking shifts from an unconfirmed Juneteenth Google search ranking update that really spiked a day or so ago. Google News revamped its design…
  • Google: Ignore Black Hat Traffic, We Do.

    Google’s John Mueller said it is safe to ignore black hat traffic, he said it is just spam and there is no need to worry about it from an SEO perspective. He said on Twitter that black hat traffic is just spam and you should ignore it.

  • Google Tries YouTube Shorts For SEO Help Content

    Back in March, Gary Illyes and friends hinted that they may try creating short form video content for the Google help documents. Well, Google’s Alan Kent produced one of the first ones on the topic of why it is important to specify image dimensions.

  • Google Shopping Ads Tests Inserting Material In Ad Title From Query

    Google is testing a dynamic keyword insertion feature for Google Shopping Ads where it may insert the material in the product if used in the searcher’s query. I do not know if this is 100% new or not but it might be.

  • Google: Keywords In Domain Names Are Overrated

    Google’s John Mueller said once again that “keywords in domain names are overrated.” He and Googlers over time have said this numerous times over the years and he said it again. Instead he said “pick something for your business, pick something for the long term.”

  • Google: WhatsApp Phone Numbers On Your Site Is Not A Bad SEO Practice

    Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that it is not a bad SEO practice to link to your WhatsApp number on your site. This is despite what some SEO toolsets say, linking to a WhatsApp number, phone number or fax number is fine and Google does not judge your site differently based on the type of number you link to.

  • Aurora Morales Recording In A Google Studio

    Aurora Morales of Google has done a nice number of videos for Google, specifically on the publisher monetization front. She did a nice number of those while at home since COVID. She now said she is b

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, you can follow us on Facebook and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.





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5 Amazing Landing Page Examples To Inspire Your Own

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5 Amazing Landing Page Examples To Inspire Your Own


Landing pages – they’re powerful, aren’t they?

When we click on an ad, it’s the landing page that helps us decide what to do next.

Ideally, it makes you do a double-take and proclaim, “I must have this!”

It can also fall flat and go viral for all the wrong reasons. (I’m looking at you Rainbow capitalism.)

The design of a good landing page is an intersection of art, marketing, and psychology.

And, if you’re reading this article, that means you’re looking for guidance and inspiration to improve your own landing pages.

That’s exactly what we’re going to do.

We are going to share the features of what makes an amazing landing page and break down five examples to learn from.

Features Of An Amazing Landing Page

The hard truth: Getting people to opt in is tricky.

Even when the tech is amazing and the product is innovative.

If you send visitors to a webpage that fails to communicate the value, all of your market research and product development efforts go right down the drain.

The good news is this article is all about helping you create amazing landing pages that encourage more conversions – and, ultimately, generate more customers.

Improve your success rate by weaving these six features into your landing page design.

Poppin’

Landing pages should be distraction-free in order to focus on the task at hand – getting the visitor to convert.

This means that top navigation can be ditched in favor of a sleek, one-page design. Just be sure to leave a clickable logo in case users want a way out but still want to interact with your brand.

Revealing the product with clear annotated product visuals, helps visitors picture themselves using it.

Most importantly, the page has to pop! An eye-catching hero image and visuals help to capture the visitor’s attention and convey what the offer is in a way our brains can process quicker.

Free Of Fluff

The copy on a landing page is one of the most important elements. It’s what convinces website visitors to convert.

Great landing page copy uses strong headlines, clear value propositions, and explains “why” they matter.

Content should focus on user benefits over product features and address any doubts so visitors don’t leave.

The copy should be focused and free of fluff; every word should serve a purpose.

FOMO

FOMO is real. One of the most powerful persuasion techniques that landing pages can use is social proof.

If we see that others (we respect) are doing it, we are more likely to do it, too. This is the business equivalent of your mom asking you, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

…Yes, yes I would.

You can create FOMO by featuring testimonials from happy (relatable) customers or including statistics about how many people are using and loving the service or product.

Ready, Set, Go

A landing page shouldn’t feel like trying to break out of an escape room.

You need a strong call-to-action (CTA) if you want the visitor to convert.

A strong CTA is clear, concise, and explains why it’s important for the visitor to take this action.

A clear and concise call-to-action is just one action and the button contrasts with the page – this is so users can’t miss it.

Need For Speed

Page speed is how quickly a webpage loads. Basically, make sure it loads fast so people don’t leave. That’s it.

5 Examples Of Landing Pages

An amazing landing page is one that helps website visitors feel that this is the right company (or the right product) for the job.

And, there’s no better way to learn about what makes an amazing landing page than by exploring real-world examples from some of the best landing pages on the web.

Here are five examples of amazing landing pages.

1. ASOS

British online retailer ASOS is among the world’s most valuable apparel brands, competing with Nike, Adidas, and Zara.

This means there must be something really special behind those marketing strategies that online retailers can learn from.

Let’s see what they’re doing right.

I searched for [wedding guest plus size dresses] and saw a search network ad from ASOS which took me to a landing page for women’s plus size dresses for U.S. web visitors.

Screenshot from ASOS, June 2022.

For starters, the ad took me directly to a landing page related to my search query – I love when that happens.

The full-length thumbnails of plus size models, moving in the dresses, helps me immediately know that I’m in the right place and I can begin to imagine myself in the product.

Top navigation breadcrumbs let me know exactly where I am on the site, so if I want to go back and see all the curve clothing, that’s really simple to do.

Filters are front and center for me to further refine my search by how new it is, eco-responsibility, color, price, and more.

Sales copy is free of fluff allowing the user to focus on the product (clothes). Description of the category page does include reference to which brands to check out for trending styles.

All in all, it’s a clean, well-organized landing page that keeps attention directly on the product.

ASOS may want to test adding social proof to their landing page by adding a filter based on user reviews or engage FOMO by highlighting that an item is selling fast.

2. DRIFT

B2B commerce startup Drift is a conversational marketing and sales technology company, well known for its live chatbot.

It is one of the only Latino-founded companies to ever achieve a valuation over $1 billion.

“Our purpose as a company remains simple and consistent: Build a platform that makes it simpler for customers to buy from you,” Drift CEO David Cancel said in a statement.

Let’s see how simple Drift makes their product to buy and check out their live-chat landing page.

B2B SaaS landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

Ok, I am geeking out over the bright and minimalistic design (slight 90s vibes); it looks so sharp on all devices.

Above the fold, we see a big, bold headline immediately addressing how the app helps business owners “engage and convert” with Drift’s solution “live chat.”

Below the headline, the content block explains why users are not engaging or converting: “Today’s buyer doesn’t want to wait.”

Nice contrasting color on the CTA inviting web visitors to “Get a Demo.”

The header image uses the product as the example which is 10x better than a stock photo.

And, I have to call out the shield icon in the bottom left-hand corner that opens privacy settings. This small addition provides site visitors with a subconscious affirmation that the company takes data privacy seriously.

As we scroll down the page, we see social proof with a video review by the senior director of a global marketing operations and technology company.

Video testimonial on landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

If you can get video reviews, do it! They are way more engaging than a standard text review because they’re really hard to fake.

Continuing to scroll down the page, the content teeter-totters between sharing different use cases with a summary and image or .gif and social proof in the form of a text quote or case study.

At the end of the long-form landing page, there is a solid call to action “start conversations with your website visitors now.” With a contrasting button, “Get a Demo.”

Bottom of page CTA landing page exampleScreenshot from DRIFT, June 2022.

When you click on “Get a Demo” it launches the product itself and you interact with the Drift bot to book a demo.

Drift’s live chat page checks off all the features of an amazing landing page, making it extremely easy to buy from them.

3. LawnDoctor.com

Lawn Doctor offers lawn maintenance and pest control services, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill landscaping company.

This lawn care brand has grown to more than 630 locations, increasing its year-over-year sales by 16% in 2020.

Local service providers can learn a lot from Lawn Doctor’s landing page. Let’s take a look at how they’ve designed their landing page to attract new customers.

local service provider landing page exampleScreenshot from Lawn Doctor, June 2022.

Lawn Doctor is such a great example for local service companies.

The color palette uses the rich color of green consumers wants to attain with a hero image featuring what the site visitor wants, a beautifully landscaped backyard.

Social proof is visualized with the 4.7 star average Google rating overlay on the image. The exact number of 4.7 is helpful because it feels like a real number and not an approximation.

The estimate form is available at the top; users don’t have to go scrolling for it, and a phone number is available in the top right corner for those that don’t want to wait.

When I enter my zip code into the form, the city and state are automatically populated for me which is awesome because I get lazy and don’t want to enter every detail.

Sales copy gets right to the point; the header explains you’re getting customized lawn care with a scientific approach.

The word choice “custom” and “scientific” makes me think that I’m getting a better service than I would from anyone else.

Below the header image but above the fold, Lawn Doctor upsells me services that are highly relevant to the current season.

I can click on that CTA to learn more or I’m more likely to ask about it when a sales representative calls me.

Just in case a user had any hesitation, there is a 100% refund if I’m not fully satisfied, followed by Google reviews for social proof.

The only thing this page is missing is the fear of missing out which Lawn Doctor could do with a countdown discount timer.

4. Flywheel

Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine in 2019.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but in an interview, Heather Brunner confirmed Flywheel’s annual recurring revenue was $18 million at the time of acquisition.

What made Flywheel so successful? Aside from being a great managed WordPress hosting platform, the company’s marketing was dialed in. Take a look!

eBook landing page exampleScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Top navigation is not present, helping the page visitor to stay focused on the content you want them to.

The logo reminds site visitors where they are and is clickable providing an easy escape back to the main domain.

The beautiful color scheme with the calm business blue and contrasting money green call-to-action button above the fold.

The headline includes the word “free” letting visitors know they won’t have to pay for the download.

Text is broken up into chunks making it easy to read on mobile.

ebook landing page example_show the productScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Below the fold is a mini-preview of the chapters so I know what I’m exchanging my personal information for. Gives me a sense of whether or not it’s worth it to me.

The final CTA at the bottom of the landing page reinforces that the ebook is completely free and filled with secrets! The download is a quick and simple company email.

ebook landing page example_bottom of the page ctaScreenshot from Flywheel, June 2022.

Form completion confirmation takes me to the product home page to further explore the product. All in all a beautiful ebook landing page that lead gen companies can learn from.

The only suggestion here is to add social proof near the bottom CTA to “seal the deal.”

5. Breathwrk

Breathwrk is a female-founded startup that raised an undisclosed amount from a total of 10 investors including Demo Lovato and BAM Ventures.

The breathing exercises app has over 1.2 million users worldwide.

Let’s see if the landing page can reduce our stress and improve landing page design?

The search query for this landing page was, “how to handle stress at work.”

App landing page exampleScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

The main Navigation is simplified, which keeps the users focused on the information you want them to look at.

But if they click the “More” button a drop-down list of additional pages (Science, FAQ, Blog, and more) is available.

The color palette is calming tones of blue and green with a contrasting CTA button “contact us” in purple.

Just like Drift, Breathwrk shows the product which allows site visitors to see what they’re going to get.

The headline starts with the main idea, “Improve your workplace,” and the subheading tells us how to “help your employees reduce stress and improve focus…”

Followed by the FOMO by showcasing the companies who are using the Breathwrk app for their employees.

As we scroll down the landing page, Breathwrk does a brilliant job explaining the app’s features from the perspective of the user.

App landing page example_explaining features as user benefitScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

A user doesn’t really care that there’s an option for breathing exercises before meetings but a user is interested in reducing employee stress and improving focus between back-to-back meetings, and before a big pitch.

The sales copy minimizes objections by explaining that the app is easy to set up and easy to manage.

App landing page example_reduce objectionsScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

This is important because the last thing an organization needs is stress setting up an app to reduce stress.

Easy onboarding, ongoing support, and user analytics (so you can see if employees are using the app and how they’re using the app).

Breathwrk provides social proof in the form of text review quotes right before the CTA “Get Breathwrk for your team” and form fill.

App landing page example_social proofScreenshot from Breathwrk, June 2022.

An amazing example of an App landing page. It grabs attention, shows the product, and explains how it creates value for the site visitor.

Final Thoughts

Overall, an amazing landing page helps site visitors decide what to do next.

Some features to consider when designing a landing page is:

  • The design captures visitors’ attention and keeps it on the end goal.
  • Copy is focused and free of fluff.
  • Use social proof and FOMO.
  • Minimize objections and have a clear CTA.
  • Make sure it loads fast.

And, don’t forget to set up Analytics to measure and learn from user activity. Testing is going to be your secret to success.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock





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