Archiv für den Monat: Juni 2017

The ultimate law of mobile site design: Entertain users and drive conversion

Most consumers rely on their smartphones to make purchases and gain knowledge. In 2017, any business that lacks a mobile presence runs a serious risk of falling behind.

But it’s not just about having a site – it needs to provide a good experience. According to Google, 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

Mobile users are goal-oriented, and they expect to find what they need from a responsive mobile instantly and easily. So punch up your conversion rates by designing your mobile site with the user’s intent and needs in focus.

1. Homepage and navigation

A homepage can serve as a promotional space and welcome page, but should provide users with the content they are searching for. A conversion focused homepage should tick off the following elements: concise CTAs, homepage shortcuts, minimal selling or promotions.

Navigating on a smaller screen, it is easy for users to miss key elements on your homepage. Therefore it is advisable to put your calls-to-action where users will see them easily, such as occupying the bottom half or above the fold.

Your call-to-action signifies the tipping point between conversion and bounce. To design calls-to-action that convert, optimize the copy and design, i.e. choice of words, color, size, fonts, etc.

We understand the travails of losing our way in the mall or a mart? The same happens on mobile sites, the lack of navigation menus or location bars can hurt conversion. Mobile users expect to get back to the homepage with a single tap either through tapping your logo or clicking the home navigation menu. For best practices, use your logo as the homepage shortcut.

Too often, ads and promotion beat the purpose of visiting a page and users get turned off. To entertain visitors and drive conversion, ads or promotional banners should be kept to the minimum and placed in a position which won’t affect the user experience.

To place ads on your homepage, think like a user. What is the user trying to accomplish? Where will their attention be focused? How do I keep the page clean and uncluttered?

By answering these questions, ad placement on your homepage will be a breeze and won’t need to negatively impact user experience.

2. Commerce and reviews

With an increased rate of digitization, users expect smooth mobile experiences when searching, reviewing and purchasing products. How can marketers and businesses increase their conversion rates while ensuring excellent mobile experiences for visitors?

The answer lies in allowing visitors/users to convert on their own terms.

For an ecommerce store, requesting that visitors sign up very early in the customer’s journey is a major turn off. Visitors will abandon a website demanding registration before they can continue, resulting in low conversion unless the site is an authoritative brand.

For better results, allow visitors explore your site before requesting for registration and enable visitors purchase products as a guest. For mobile commerce sites, easy and quick should be the watchword when designing the checkout process.

Best practices for mobile commerce include the availability of multiple payment options for commerce sites. Adding payments options such as Apple Pay, PayPal and Android Pay can boost conversion rates saving users the stress of inputting credit card information. For previous users, load and pre-fill their data fields for convenience in filling shipping information.

Statistics show that 92% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product or doing business with a company. Meaning reviews are an important part of the decision-making process for consumers, include reviews on your web pages then allow filters be applied to these reviews. Filters such as “most recent reviews”, “most positive reviews” and “lowest ratings”.

3. Site usability

When it comes to mobile site design, every little detail matters. Details such as zooming, expandable images, transparency about the use of visitors data will aid conversion.

According to studies, users found it easier to navigate a mobile-optimized website than desktop sites on smartphones. To ensure consistency, optimize every single page on your website for mobile devices, including forms, images, etc.

Your search bar should be placed near the top of your homepage for users to search for specific products and ensure the first search results are the best. Remember to include filters on search results to narrow down users intent or preferences on your mobile site.

Be careful not to label the link to your desktop site as full site. This might confuse visitors into thinking the mobile site is not fully featured causing them to opt for the full site, simply label the link to the desktop site as “Desktop Site” and link to the mobile site as “Mobile Site”.

When optimizing a mobile site, remember to disable pinch to zoom on your images as this might affect the general site experience, calls-to-action will be missed and messages will be covered. Basically, upload images that are sized properly and will render perfectly on any device.

Due to the nature of mobile devices, lengthy forms will hurt conversion when trying to gain leads. On surveys or multiple page forms, include a progress bar with upcoming sections at the top or bottom to guide users through the process.

To aid or satisfy customers, implement auto-fill on forms for name, phone and zip code fields. For date and time fields, include a visual calendar as users might not remember dates for the next weekend but the visual calendar will stop users from leaving your page to use the calendar app.

There are numerous resources on forms that include the use of calendars and other custom input fields, including Google forms, Xamarin Forms and FormHub.

4. Technicalities

While great design drives conversions, do not ignore the very foundation of your website. The following technicalities should be implemented and audited monthly.

  • Implement analytics and track conversion on mobile and desktop
  • Test your site as a visitor and load content in their intent
  • Optimize and test your mobile site on various devices and browsers to ensure optimum performance
  • Mobile ads should redirect to mobile sites, not desktop sites
  • Check your site speed using Google speed tool
  • Check for elements of Flash and remove them as they won’t render on iOS and slow on Android
  • Submit your mobile site pages XML sitemap submitted to Google.

Finally, run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Content is Still King in 2017 [Infographic]
The way content marketing draws attention and helps build genuine relationships with the audience is what sets it apart from other marketing tactics. Smart marketers are using content marketing to approach their target audience in a more subtle way to ensure the customer needs are met while building brand credibility and trust. (Social Media Today)

What Influences Consumers to Purchase From Marketing Emails?
A recent survey conducted of 1,004 consumers who have received marketing emails in the past year reports how the different generations are influenced in their purchase decisions. Consumers are most influenced to make purchases from marketing emails by sales/discounts and brand reputation. (MarketingProfs)

The Rise of Influencer Marketing in B2B Technology
B2B marketing has definitely shifted with new challenges when it comes to influencer marketing in enterprise technology. To better understand these shifts and get actionable solutions, 10 industry experts have weighed in about implementing and scaling influencer marketing. (Traackr) Click here for the Influence 2.0 study from today’s video!

See How You Stack Up With Inline Competitive Metrics
Six new metrics are available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels in the main UI and Reports tab in Bing Ads. You can also access these reports via the Bing Ads API. Advertisers can now see how their campaigns, Ad groups and keywords stack up against the competition. (Bing Ads Blog)

Google to Stop Using Information in Gmail to Target Personalized Ads
Google announced that the enterprise version of Gmail and the consumer version will more closely align later this year. Both enterprise and consumer versions of Gmail will not be used to target personalized ads. The ads shown will be based on a user’s settings, including the option to disable personalized ads altogether. (Search Engine Journal)

New Ways to Protect Your Pinterest Account
Pinterest is rolling out a two-factor authentication to everyone in the next few weeks to add security by requiring a verification code every time you log in. You can receive the code via text message, or for added security, download Twilio’s Authy app. If the two-factor authentication is enabled, it works across your entire account on all devices. (Pinterest Blog)

Adobe Is Launching AI-Powered Voice Analytics
Adobe is adding voice analytics to the Adobe Analytics Cloud which will help people better understand how media is consumed via voice-enabled devices. You can track voice usage by intent and add specific parameters and a brand can measure top-of-funnel metrics, as well as trends and patterns at scale over time. (AdWeek)

Messenger Just Added More Fun to Your Video Chats
Facebook Messenger has added new features to video chats. You can now use animated reactions, filters, masks and effects. You can also take pictures of your one-on-one and group video chats and share them with your friends. (Facebook Newsroom)

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news. For more news and expert insights, follow @toprank on Twitter!

The post Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

5 UX best practices for a search engine focused website

Irrespective of your industry, you rely on your website to build trust, build relationships, provide services, and sell products.

Proper SEO will draw customers to your website, thereby improving your search rankings while UX helps a visitor to locate the needed information on your website and helps in starting a relationship with your prospective customer.

Your website visitors have specific problems, and they use search engines to find the answers they seek. Once they locate a website that answers their questions, they expect to view the answers quickly and easily.

This is why it is essential that SEO and UX complement each other to produce results. Simply put: SEO + UX = $.

It is worthless and pointless to drive traffic to your site unless that traffic is qualified. Likewise, your website design is a waste of time if you don’t have any traffic to convert.

Together, the focus of SEO and UX needs to be on the intent of your website visitors so that your business has a website that converts visitors into customers.

The strategies discussed below identify 5 UX best practices for a search engine focused website.

#1 Responsive and mobile-optimized

If you look around any waiting room, restaurant or any other public place today, you’ll notice that most people are usually occupied with their phone. Statistics on consumer mobile usage by Smart Insights revealed that time spent on mobile devices has outgrown time spent on desktops by 51% to 42%.

96% of Smartphone users have run into websites that were not designed for mobile devices. If a mobile user arrives at your website and your site isn’t optimized for mobile, that user is five times more likely to abandon the task and bounce off your site.

Your website responsiveness should be given priority as Google has altered its algorithms to consider just how responsive your overall design is and reward mobile-optimized websites. This means that an irresponsive website will have difficulty ranking in search engine results.

With more and more people making use of mobile devices, having a responsive website is easy and a must for great UX and SEO.

#2 Optimize page speed

Google has been very clear about the impact of page speed on its search engine ranking. Google has stated on a number of occasions that it includes page speed signals in its search algorithms. This indicates that improving your website speed will yield dividends when it comes to ranking on search engine.

Slow web pages ruin customers experience because almost half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. You can obtain a clear data on your web page speed performance with Google Analytics, Page Speed, YSlow, WebPagetest or Page Speed Insights.

Slow web pages are not ideal from a UX and SEO perspective, as corroborated by Matt Cutts:

“Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs.”

Below are some resources you can consult to learn how to optimize your website speed.

#3 Make use of rich snippets

A rich snippet might be an image, review, video, or even an event calendar, embedded right there in the SERP listing. The initiative, of course, is to enrich the UX and to provide additional info right in the search result page, compelling the user to click on your webpage for more information.

Website owners and marketing managers need to make use of any opportunity to lure internet searchers to click on their page instead of a competitor’s. With rich snippet, you can enhance your search results with add-ons like photos and rating, which help to draw the searcher’s eye as well as offering additional information.

With numerous paid ads, image results, and other visually interesting elements competing for attention on the search results page, rich snippets can be that unique effect that attracts the eye and wins the click.

Implementation of rich snippet can be done in two ways, as follows:

Very few brands implement rich snippets, so this undoubtedly is an opportunity for your website to stand out in SERPs, enhance UX and boost click-throughs.

#4 Use Sensitive Navigation

According to Google, “The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important…”

When creating a new website or redesigning an existing one, you should consider your website’s navigation process. Website navigation can be used to enhance UX while being used to optimize for search engine also, you might choose between multiple pages or an infinite scroll across your web pages as seen on Inc.com and others.

Designing a sensitive navigation not only improves your website UX but if applied properly can enhance your website conversion rate also. For example, bounce rate on Time.com dropped by 15 percent after they adopted continuous scrolling.

If you have clear calls to action (CTA) working in connection with a user-friendly navigation, it will help to make it easier to drive your visitors through the goal funnels and avoid frustration for your website visitors who have to take avoidable steps to reach their final destination.

#5 Support your content with graphics

Good images in your content not only help to make your website content more attractive and informative, it also helps to create an aura essential for UX.

Images help to deliver effective ideas to the user and attract interaction, and most SEO experts will tell you the benefits of optimizing your images for search as well.

When your image and title is properly formatted with relevant keywords relevant to the content of each respective image, there will be an increased likelihood of them showing up when a related image search is carried out in search engines.

For practical tips on how to make sure your images are properly search optimized, check out Christopher Ratcliff’s guide to optimizing your images for SEO.

Conclusion

It’s easy to blend SEO and UX to enhance your website’s performance, and it’s important to recognize that these two cannot work separately anymore, at least not with the same effectiveness.

SEO will lead traffic to your site and help it attain a higher position on SERPs, however, it’s UX that will determine whether the traffic can be sustained and converted into customers.

Thus, every site trying to improve its performance through UX and SEO should offer:

  • Attractive design that focuses on accessibility
  • Relevant, quality, and Informative content
  • Optimization of text and images to please both your site users and search engines
  • Simple and effective navigation and easy to use structure
  • Clear call-to-action, around both the users‘ next clicks and around the desired conversion.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

You Know Influencers: 5 Tips to Unlock Powerful Employee Advocacy

[Editor’s Note: I am pleased to introduce you to Will Peterson, another new contributor on TopRankBlog.com. Will is an Account Manager that services many of our B2B Enterprise clients. Welcome Will!]

Don’t look now, but you’re surrounded by influencers. You may not realize it, and they may not realize it themselves, but you and everyone you work with carry an immense amount of potential influence. Read on to discover how to uncover a powerful hidden force that can add significant value to everything from your company’s social media presence all the way down to its bottom line.


Everyone is influential about something. @leeodden
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Are you in a book club? Do you share recipes with friends? Are you an avid reader and contributor of motorcycle racing forums? Anytime you’re discussing your interests with someone else, be it online or in person, you are exerting your influence on that discussion. The same goes for your employees, team members, and coworkers. Without going too much into the weeds about how to exactly define an influencer, we can safely say that your co-workers, team members, and employees each have their own sphere of influence. A look at some recent research shows that 88% of employees are personally active on at least one social media site. That means your people have people, and they are talking to them, tweeting at them, and sharing with them. So how do you encourage all that potential social influence to work for your team?

Influence the Influencers

Your employees or fellow employees are also consumers, and consumers in this day and age know how to sniff out a salesy marketing pitch. That being said, consumers trust other consumers, and according to multiple studies on trust, we know employees are seen as more credible than executives. Employee advocacy is a powerful marketing tool and encouraging your employees to speak as influencers about your company is a wonderful way to increase brand engagement. Follow these steps to capitalize on that trust and help your employees tap into their influencer power.

#1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. Remind your employees that their positive comments about your company on social media make life better for everyone. With an improved online profile, your company will have an easier time recruiting top talent, earning top clients, and keeping top customers. Once your team realizes that they are only helping themselves, they will be more motivated to share!

One benefit of employees sharing their high opinions of our company has been TopRank Marketing being named one of the Top 100 Places to Work in Minnesota two years running. This has helped tremendously with hiring great people!

#2. All Social is Good Social

Not everyone has social media accounts on every channel. I barely touched my twitter account until I joined the team at TopRank Marketing. Now I regularly post about clients, company mentions in the news, and other marketing-related topics there and on my LinkedIn page as well. I don’t do much on Facebook however, because I’d rather keep it more personal and less professional. Don’t force your employees to use one channel over the other. If they’d rather sing your praises on Google Plus than Pinterest, encourage them to do so!

#3. The Right Tool for the Right Job

My dad always says you can do anything if you have the right tool for the right job. Make your employees lives easier and introduce them to Buffer, Hootsuite, or some other social media management tool. These can be incredible time savers and will increase the likelihood of your influencers getting the word out there more regularly. In just a few minutes each week, they can appear to be full-time social media mavens.

#4. Prevent Writers‘ Block Before It Strikes

Some employees may fret that they “just wouldn’t know what to say” about their company. Not to fear, the Weekly Social Messaging Email is here! Send one email per week with some content ideas for your team to share. This could be anything from recent mentions in the news, client updates, relevant news stories for your industry, or even personal victories for your team members. The point is to get them comfortable with the process and help them build their voice on social channels so their spheres of influence hear it more often.

#5. To the Victors Go the Spoils

Track engagement of your company’s social mentions and let the team know who the biggest sharers (aka influencers) have been for the past week. Using a tool like Hootsuite Amplify, LinkedIn Elevate, or Dynamic Signal can create ease of use and make tracking a snap. Make it a challenge they want to win! Offer an extra drink at the company happy hour or a piece of company swag for the top dog each week! This kind of gamification is a great way to encourage participation among employees.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you know the benefits of tapping into the marketing influencers around you at work, and some of the ways to encourage them to get active on social media, get out there and make it happen. Your employees will feel good about this easy way to contribute to the success of their company.

What else can you do to influence your influencers?

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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The post You Know Influencers: 5 Tips to Unlock Powerful Employee Advocacy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Marketing with intent: The combined power of SEO and content

If we can agree that the ultimate purpose of marketing is to attract attention and generate interest, then combining SEO and content marketing is a no-brainer for smart brands and marketers.

SEO is all about creating brand visibility – it ensures that customers can find your website. Engaging content is what will make them click and stay on your website.

SEO and content marketing, when combined effectively and intelligently, become an unbeatable one-two punch that defines the experience – and success – of your brand.

Today’s digital world is insanely competitive; it’s always shifting and evolving. More than a billion websites are competing for the attention of today’s consumers. Millions of new pieces of content are generated every minute of every day – blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, videos, GIFs, social media updates, and much, much more.

All of this is done in the hopes of influencing people when they are in the market to buy a product or a service. Customers are seeking out solutions on their own terms. They find brands using any number different devices, channels, and platforms. In fact, 66 percent of customers use more than one channel during the entire purchase decision journey.

To meet and convert customer demand, it’s up to brands to be visible, be persuasive, and wow consumers at every possible micro-moment with amazing experiences. Content is the key to building these relationships. It should encourage readers to think deeply and it should invoke emotions.

As much as people like to think their choices are based on logic or concrete facts, emotions and psychology are important parts of making decisions. People remember experiences, not text. That’s why stories resonate. Creating content and stories that resonate with an audience is key to content engagement.

Content and SEO: One in the same?

Because so much of the buyer’s journey happens via digital, brands must have content that is optimized, engaging, and reaching customers wherever they are. And to do this, marketers must optimize for intent.

The types of searches users conduct can help marketers learn a lot about their intent. Searches typically fall into one of three types:

  • Navigational: The user knows a brand and uses Google or another search engines to find that specific website (e.g., “Microsoft”).
  • Informational: The user wants to learn something about a company, product, or service (e.g., “how much does Microsoft Word cost”).
  • Transactional: The user enters a highly commercial query, signalling that he or she is ready (or nearly ready) to buy a product or service and (e.g., “buy Microsoft Office 2016”).

By combining SEO and content marketing efforts into one function, marketers can influence consumers whether they are in the discovery phase or purchase stage.

According to new research from BrightEdge (my company) over 97% of digital marketers now believe that SEO and Content Marketing have become one and the same.

SEO is vital to content discovery. Discovery tends to start via the organic search channel. Did you know that organic search:

  • Drives 51 percent of all visits to B2B and B2C websites
  • Has no direct media cost and extremely high returns
  • Impacts all digital marketing channels and offline sales
  • Builds brand awareness
  • Helps increase revenue?

So it’s critical to identify keywords that demonstrate commercial intent. With this data, marketers can better understand the intent of customers and create and optimize intelligent content that is more likely to convert.

Combining SEO and content isn’t just good in theory. Cross-channel marketing is helping marketers achieve a higher ROI. Integration results in higher conversion rates, engagement, customer retention, and brand advocacy.

It’s critical to understand what will resonate with customers and help influence them during the decision-making journey. But to create the intelligent content that engages and converts, marketers need intelligent data. You need to know who your target audience is – their ages, demographics, locations, interests, habits, and preferences.

How do you market with intent by combining SEO and content marketing into one function?

Developing a powerful content optimization program takes time and careful planning, but there are five things marketers can do to establish a strong foundation.

1. Know your audience

Everything a brand does must revolve around the customer – the products, experience, and marketing strategy. Defining an audience allows marketers to create content on interesting and relevant topics that will grow loyal audiences and achieve business objectives.

Yet, a surprising number of brands – 80 percent – say they don’t know their customers,

Brands that intimately understand the motivations, pain points, and processes of their audience are best set up to deliver better and more impactful content that helps drive revenue, growth, and long-term sustainability.

Here are three keys to marketing with intent to your audience:

  • See how people engage. Examine how customers consume and engage with your content. Identify what generates interest and results in people taking action. Adjust and optimize content as needed.
  • Think about the customer journey. Consider how customers engage with different types of content across channels and devices, at different stages, and in different states of mind. Understand conversion and buying behavior as customers move between devices (smartphones, tablets, and desktops).
  • Do ongoing customer analysis. What customers are interested in or desire today can quickly change. Performing regular analysis of customer-brand interactions. Listen and gather insights to keep up with the trends and continue delivering the right experiences.

2. Have a purpose

Just as a brand needs a mission statement – a stated aspirational or inspirational purpose for existing – content also must have a purpose. Every piece of content you create should have a reason for existing. Generally, the purpose of content is to inform, educate, persuade, entertain, or inspire.

Keep purpose top of mind when developing a content strategy by incorporating the following:

  • The goal of creating and publishing content is to become a valuable resource and tell memorable stories. Incorporate customer pain points and interests into the content strategy and creation process. Also, remember these three Es:

    • Experiment: Try different content types.
    • Experience: Make your audience feel.
    • Engage: Keep them coming back for more.
  • Consistency: A brand’s voice should mimic the way its customers speak, whether it’s conversational, edgy, or professional. This voice should be consistent across all content, regardless of who creates it or where it’s published.
  • Goals: Set realistic and concrete goals for your content, whether it’s to drive awareness, organic search traffic and rankings, social engagement, conversions, or revenue.

3. Create & optimize content

After nailing down a target audience and a purpose, the next step is creating and optimizing content for maximum visibility. Failing to optimize content is a suicide mission. People who can’t find content, no matter how great it may be, can’t engage with that content – or the brand that created it.

Every piece of content can always be improved through optimization, whether that content is for your website, social media, or email campaigns. Some tips:

  • Choose relevant topics: Content should be customer-centric, not brand- or business-centric. Topics should appeal based on demographics, behaviors, and interests.
  • Use the right keywords: Ditch the corporate jargon. Use words people actually use when searching for your products or services.
  • Map content to specific personas and purchase funnels: Customer journey mapping helps set up content for success from the start.
  • Mobile optimization: This is especially critical for mobile. Brands that fail to optimize for mobile get 68 percent less traffic.

4. Combine quality & quantity

Many marketers believe consumers are simply overwhelmed by all the content we’re creating. After all, U.S. adults consume an astounding 10 hours and 39 minutes of media every single day. According to Smart Insights, every minute 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube; nearly 150,000 emails are sent; nearly 1,500 new WordPress posts are published; 3.3 million new Facebook posts are published; and 448,000 new tweets appear on Twitter.

This had led many marketers to one conclusion: focus on quality, not quantity. It makes sense in theory. After all, more content doesn’t usually mean better content.

Yes, there is an enormous amount of content on the web in aggregate. Global Internet traffic is forecast to hit an unfathomable 2.3 zettabytes by 2020, according to Cisco.

However, the average person has no desire to consume every piece of content that exists on the web. They want to consume intelligent content that is personalized, relevant, and helpful to them.

  • Does quality matter? Absolutely! Poorly crafted content is ineffective, won’t help you attain your goals, and can turn off potential customers.
  • Does quantity matter? Yes! Consistently telling stories and starting conversations with customers through memorable and compelling content helps keep brands top of mind.

5. Measure results & iterate

That which isn’t measured can’t be improved. Luckily, marketers have access to a wealth of real-time data to gain content performance insights and track metrics to determine ROI.

Brands can learn from every content campaign, whether it failed or achieved its goals.

  • Content failures: Compare underperforming content to previously successful content (both your own and that of third parties). See where it falls short. Pay close attention to traffic, conversions, and revenue attributed to or influenced by content.
  • Content wins: Figure out what made your best content stand out. Try to replicate the success and turn anomalies into more regular occurrences.

Below is a great framework on how best to approach SEO and content in your organization:

Conclusion

Optimization is critical to maximize the value of content. The right audience must be able to find the content. And the content must drive business results. Ensuring your content is search engine-friendly and optimized across the buyer’s journey is critical to the success of a combined content and SEO team.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com