Archiv für den Monat: Juli 2017

How to optimize for user intent in search

User intent. Also known as searcher intent, it is a theory that unashamedly stands up to the more primitive pre-Penguin and Panda tactics of optimizing purely for keywords.

User intent and optimizing for it has come into being via a combination of three key factors:

  • Latent Semantic Indexing, Hummingbird, Rankbrain. All have fantastic and mysterious sounding names but all underpinned by the fact that Google’s algorithm is not exactly made up of high school algebra. Google is clever, real clever. The algorithm understands more than just the specific keywords that a user types into the search bar.
  • As a result of the aforementioned ability, people trust Google. They may not trust them as a business that will pay their fair share of tax but they trust the search engine to understand their query and as such will ask more complex questions rather than utilising pure keywords. To ‘Google‘ is a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary!
  • The internet and Google (among other search engines) have made unfathomable amounts of information accessible to the masses. As a by product, Google is often the first port of call for more than just purchasing actions. More on this later.

Voice search has further stamped on the throttle for user intent with more and more never before seen searches due to the conversational nature of voice search. As such, if you are still basing your SEO strategy around keywords you should probably start to think a little bit deeper around user intent.

Finally, and this is an important one. Optimizing for user intent is not just about providing solutions or using synonyms. The majority of SEO campaigns are built around driving revenue and whilst rankings are great and indicative of campaign success, in reality you won’t retain clients without providing ROI.

Fully optimizing for user intent requires an understanding of how your potential customers buy via your inbound marketing channels. As a result, make sure that you have identified these sales funnels as they are crucial for capitalizing on optimizing your website for user intent in search.

User intent: An overview of the basics

What is user intent? In short it is the reason why someone is searching for something in Google. What are they actually trying to achieve as a result of typing (or saying) that search term?

Traditionally, the intent has been categorized as either navigational, informational or transactional although some like to define commercial intent or use different terminology such as ‘to buy something‘, ‘to do something‘, ‘to find something‘, ‘to learn something‘, ‘to go somewhere‘ and so on.

These questions or intents can then help to you to identify your Buyer Personas and the stage that they are at within your inbound funnels. Again, various inbound funnels utilize different terminology, but I am a fan of Hubspot’s methodology:

Image credit: Hubspot

How do you figure out what the user intent is behind a search term? Honestly, it’s pretty easy. Just about everyone uses Google. Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes and ask yourself, “if I used that search term, what would I be looking to do?”

Also look at the types of search results that Google returns for a given search term; this is a great indicator of the user intent that Google itself attaches to that particular query.

Focus on VALUE for the user

Even if you don’t read on, here is a very simple tip that should permeate your entire SEO strategy. Ask yourself this question:

Does what I’m doing here add value for the user and if so, how can I make it as valuable as possible?

If you are taking into account what your user is looking to achieve and therefore providing as much value for the user as possible (forget SEO and rankings for one second), you will put yourself in a great place to have a successful campaign both now and into the future.

It is the primary focus for Google as a search engine, so you should make it your focus as well!

An easy place to start is evaluating each piece of content that you are writing. Does it complete the journey that the user is taking? If not, are there quick call to actions to pages that will? Your content will preferably be the former, providing solutions and value directly to the searcher.

In addition, if you continue to put the user first (instead of being keyword-focused) you will naturally create better, deeper, more complex and solution led content, thus satisfying the aforementioned LSI, Hummingbird and Rankbrain. Write for search engines first and you run the risk of lowering the content quality, in turn lowering the quality of your results.

How to align your SEO strategy with user intent

Targeting transactional search terms

For years SEOs have focussed on the sharp end of the funnel. and for good reason: the search terms with transactional intent bring in revenue. Let’s be clear, these search terms should remain a staple of any website focussed on ROI.

However, there are a few optimization tips associated with transactional search terms. As above, they are all focused around value for the user:

  • How easy is it to make a purchase from that specific page?
  • Are the call to actions clear?
  • Have you provided the user with all the information required to make that purchasing decision?
  • Is the language used focused around the purchase?

As SEOs, we have to make it abundantly clear to Google that if someone types in a purchase based search term, that our page is the very best result for that search term.

I hate to hammer it home, but it is the webpage that will complete the desired outcome for the user and therefore offer the most value.

Targeting informational search terms

This is where a sit down with the team and the drawing up of a content strategy that is aligned to your user intent (and therefore inbound funnels) can unlock serious content marketing magic.

Real results you say? Surely informational searches only result in you giving away free information? Exactly.

Let me take you all the way back to the inbound methodology and the fact that people use Google as a source of information. Creating great informational content can have the following impact:

Providing value earlier in the consumer buying process

They may be wanting to research a product or service prior to making that buying decision. The more awesome information you give them the more aligned with your brand they become. When the time comes for that purchasing decision guess who they will lean more favorably towards? Of course there is a little caveat in that all other things are equal.

Earning links

Even if no sales come as a result of your informational content (unlikely), if it is good enough it will earn links as people reference the content…funnily enough to provide further value for their own users. These links will subsequently improve the authority of your website and help you rank for transactional search terms. It’s a warped digital version of karma.

Understand your user flows

This is particularly relevant for transactional and informational search terms. Top notch SEO incorporates more than just onsite optimization, content creation and link building. It should pull in all marketing channels, including design. It’s all well and good generating traffic, but it counts for nothing if the website does not convert them.

Identify your key user flows and actions that you want your users to complete on your site according to where they are in the funnel. Are they an informational searcher? The website needs to encourage them to continue their hunt for information on your website or start to transition them further down the funnel to a purchasing decision.

Really understanding user intent and user flows will only help you with your conversion rate optimization.

Adjust your appearance in search

In the same vein as design supporting CRO, your appearance in search should be aligned with the user intent. The two standard influencers here are your title tag and meta description, although additional factors such as schema markup can also be implemented.

For example, if the search term is transactional make sure that the metadata is enticing and using purchase driven vocabulary. Whereas if the search term is informational make sure that it hints towards how the information on the corresponding web page will solve the searchers‘ problem.

Use your outreach skills

I thought we were talking about content here? Yes, on the whole we are but there are opportunities within link building as well. Some users will turn to Google not simply to provide them with the best result, but also a list of the options available to them. Common examples of how a small change to the wording can result in this alteration to user intent are as follows:

Tailor London > Best Tailor London

Or

Tailor London > Tailors London

The addition of an adjective or the plural version of a keyword can often result in lists being supplied by Google. Not all of the results will be these lists, but for those not already in the top results they do offer an opportunity.

Contact these sites to get listed – we saw a considerable increase in conversions by doing this for a software platform client recently.

Don’t forget local search

Mobile search vs desktop search is a mainstream conversation nowadays, with some stats showing that mobile search has a 75% chance of action being taken by the user.

With this in mind, don’t forget to optimize your local listing in order to sweep up all of the traffic (over 50% globally now) using Google via mobile devices.

Some useful tools

Keyword research is critical in identifying valuable search terms, whatever the corresponding user intent is. We have listed a few options below, hopefully you are already using these tools alongside Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz’s Keyword Explorer or whichever tool you use to look at traffic. These tools can provide content ideas that will drive your campaign:

Answer The Public

Using a who, what, when, why, how style format, Answer The Public will give you a list of search terms. Use these prompts to create content ideas.

Keywordtool.io

In a similar vein to Answer the Public, Keywordtool.io will display search volumes (if you pay for it) and commonly asked questions that relate to your keywords.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo allows you to view the most shared pieces of content via social for a given subject. Don’t just rely on data fed to you, check how popular these subjects are in real life!

Google Autosuggest

Use Google’s own user oriented functionality to understand the commonly asked questions and search terms for a given subject. Start typing and let Google do the rest.

Impressions via Search Console

We always warn against purely using Search Console and Google Analytics data as the basis for decision moving forward, purely because it is reactive data.

However, you can look at search terms for which you are gaining impressions but potentially a low CTR and adjust the content accordingly. It may be as simple as making your metadata more attractive in the SERPs.

Horses for courses

The base theories will have to be adapted slightly to suit your particular needs. Some businesses may focus on impulse buys where others are deemed comparison goods and will benefit more from informative, longer sales processes. It is a ‘horses for courses‘ scenario.

If you understand what you are trying to achieve via your SEO campaign, the journey taken by your user during the buying process, the various relevant searcher intents and align your strategy accordingly, it will place you in a great position to increase organic traffic and also your conversion rate.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

[Infographic] The In-Flight Guide to Content Marketing

Marketers who plan appropriately significantly increase their likelihood of success. Seems like a novel concept right?

You’d think so, but unfortunately the day-to-day grind can cause many marketers to lose sight of what’s important and essential for content marketing success. In today’s competitive landscape, everything from your strategy to the actual content experience and the way that you amplify content that is created (or co-created) are key factors in the success of your content program.

To help you take your content to new heights, we have topped into some of the top B2B and B2C marketing minds that will be speaking at this year’s Content Marketing World conference in September. Over the past months we have published a series of eBooks that take a deep dive into the content skills and tactics necessary to meet the needs of the modern customer.

We have also pulled some of the top insights from each of these eBooks into the infographic below for you to keep on hand as a guide for content marketing success. Let this handy in-flight content guide serve as a visual reminder of just what it takes to succeed in content marketing today.

Part 1: Prepping for Your Content Marketing Expedition


Figure out what makes you, your team, and your customers unique. @jayacunzo
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You have a story YOU want to tell, but does your audience care to hear it? @buyerpersona
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Adapt and be fluid with your content scheduling. @amandatodo
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Don’t be so wedded to a content schedule that you miss opportunities in your industry. @markwschaefer
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People are hesitant to contribute content is because they don’t know what to write about. @timwasher
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Part 2: Creating a Memorable Content Experience


Build content based on what they want rather than what you think they want! @IanCleary
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Make the audience the hero of the story you’re telling. @ardath421
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A great content experience starts with a story! @BrennerMichael
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Be Useful. Address the why, the what’s in it for me? for your reader. @JillianHillard
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Develop next-level, pathological empathy for your audience. @MarketingProfs
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Part 3: Making the Most of Your Content Journey


Paid social can help marketers greatly improve their reach and engagement. @justinlevy

Hungry for More Content Marketing Insights?

Below are some additional snackable statistics pulled from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs‘ 2017 B2B and B2C Content Marketing reports:

Snackable B2B Stats

  • 28% of B2B companies are in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing
  • 55% B2B of companies have small content marketing teams serving the entire organization
  • 42% B2B of companies have experienced management changes that have had a positive impact on the organization’s content marketing
  • 89% of B2B Marketers use content marketing
  • 55% of B2B companies have a small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing team that serves the entire organization
  • 63% of B2B companies are extremely or very committed to content marketing
  • 62% of B2B companies are much more or somewhat more successful with content marketing than they were one year ago
  • 30% of B2B Marketers say it is not clear what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like

Snackable B2B Stats

  • 30% of B2C companies are in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing maturity
  • 49% of B2C companies have a small content marketing team serving the entire organization
  • 86% of B2C Marketers are using content marketing
  • 49% of B2C companies have a small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing team that serves the entire organization
  • 60% of B2C companies are extremely or very committed to content marketing
  • 25% of B2C companies are extremely or very successful with their overall approach to content marketing
  • 33% of B2C companies are not clear on what effective or successful content marketing programs look like

To gain access to insights from all 41 Content Marketing World speakers, be sure to download the full series!


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[Infographic] The In-Flight Guide to Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post [Infographic] The In-Flight Guide to Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Artist Spotlight: Mirae Kim

“There’s no deeper meaning to my work”: Mirae Kim’s refreshingly open claim demonstrates her easy-going and fresh attitude to art. Her sole creative purpose is to enable people to enjoy her art, as well as becoming the artist known for using the color pink the most; two goals that we think she’s well on the way to achieving. As our featured artist for July, we spoke to her to find out more:

ADOBE STOCK: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background?

Hello. I am a Korean graphic designer, Mirae Kim.

I am always a happy person and think positively and I think my personality is expressed in the design. Also, the most important goal of my graphic design is to make people happy.

It is a designer who pursues ‘fun‘ that can be felt instantly rather than having a profound meaning.

There’s no deeper meaning to my work. Just enjoy and have fun! Thank you.

AS: How would you describe your style?

MK: Two elements of ‘fun‘ and ‘happiness‘ are enough.

AS: Where do you find your inspiration?

MK: I’m mostly inspired by interesting situations, conversations with friends, and creative films.

AS: What’s been your biggest challenge to overcome in the design industry?

MK: It is ‘creativity‘.

Because trends change rapidly, finding newness is very important.

It is also important to have a design that makes the viewers remarkable.

AS: What are your perceptions of stock images, and do you think the perception is changing?

MK: It is a very interesting service that can directly sell our works.

Also, there are more interesting works than before.

I think Adobe Stock is the best among stock companies and most active.

AS: What did you like the most about using Adobe Stock?

MK: It’s a trendy ‘Templates‘ section.

Template download using Adobe program is the best.

It is stylish and offers a mock-up file, which is really effective for designers.

AS: What’s been your favorite project to work on to date?

MK: My project is ‘line tennis‘.

It is my favorite project to blend beautiful colors.

AS: What are you excited to work on in 2017?

MK: I was very happy to be selected by 20 remarkable artists in 2017 who were selected by Adobe, and it seems like I have developed myself through working with Adobe Stock.

Mirae’s exclusive piece of artwork created using just Adobe Stock assets

AS: What music do you currently listen to whilst working (if any!)?

MK: Listening to the Jackson 5,‘ ‘I want you back‘.

The moment I hear the song, I feel better.

Michael Jackson is a great artist since he was a child.

A few months ago, I was addicted to the “Guardians of Galaxy” soundtrack and replayed.

AS: What design trends should we be looking out for this year?

MK: Now ‘simplicity‘ is not fun.

I think that the era of design to subtract something seems to be over. Therefore, it is trend to express fun and sophisticated feeling with rich color.

You can see more of Mirae’s work on her Behance portfolio and her website.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com

What does visual search mean for ecommerce in 2017?

Since the early 2010s, visual search has been offering users a novel alternative to keyword-based search results.

But with the sophistication of visual search tools increasing, and tech giants like Google and Microsoft investing heavily in the space, what commercial opportunities does it offer brands today?

Visual search 101

There are two types of visual search. The first compares metadata keywords for similarities (such as when searching an image database like Shutterstock).

The second is known as ‘content-based image retrieval‚. This takes the colour, shape and texture of the image and compares it to a database, displaying entries according to similarity.

From a user perspective, this massively simplifies the process of finding products they like the look of. Instead of trying to find the words to describe the object, users can simply take a photo and see relevant results.

Visual search engines: A (very) brief history

The first product to really make use of this technology was ‘Google Goggles‚. Released in 2010, it offered some fairly basic image-recognition capabilities. It could register unique objects like books, barcodes, art and landmarks, and provide additional information about them.

It also had the ability to understand and store text in an image – such as a photo of a business card. However, it couldn’t recognize general instances of objects, like trees, animals or items of clothing.

CamFind took the next step, offering an app where users could take photos of any object and see additional information alongside shopping results. My tests (featuring our beautiful office plant) yielded impressively accurate related images and web results.

More importantly for brands, it offers advertising based on the content of the image. However, despite the early offering, the app has yet to achieve widespread adoption.

A Pinterest-ing development

A newer player in the visual search arena, image-focused platform Pinterest has what CamFind doesn’t – engaged users. In fact, it reached 150m monthly users in 2016, 70m of which are in the US with a 60:40 split women to men.

So what do people use Pinterest for? Ben Silbermann, its CEO and co-founder, summed it up in a recent blog post:

“As a Pinner once said to me, “Pinterest is for yourself, not your selfies”—I love that. Pinterest is more of a personal tool than a social one. People don’t come to see what their friends are doing. (There are lots of other great places out there for that!) Instead, they come to Pinterest to find ideas to try, figure out which ones they love, and learn a little bit about themselves in the process.”

In other words, Pinterest is designed for discovery. Users are there to look for products and ideas, not to socialize. Which makes it inherently brand-friendly. In fact, 93% of Pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases, and 87% said they’d bought something because of interest. Adverts are therefore less disruptive in this context than platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where users are focused on socializing, not searching.

Pinterest took their search functionality to the next level in February 2017 with an update offering users three new features:

Shop the Look allowed users to pick just one part of an image they were interested in to explore – like a hat or a pair of shoes.

Related Ideas gives users the ability to explore a tangent based on a single pin. For example, if I were interested in hideously garish jackets, I might click ‘more‘ and see a collection of equally tasteless items.

Pinterest Lens was the heavyweight feature of this release. Linking to the functionality displayed in Shop the Look, it allowed users to take photos on their smartphone and see Pins that looked similar to the object displayed.

In practice, this meant a user might see a chair they were interested in purchasing, take a photo, and find similar styles – in exactly the same way as CamFind.

Pinterest Lens today

What does it mean for ecommerce brands?

Visual search engines have the potential to offer a butter-smooth customer journey – with just a few taps between snapping a picture of something and having it in a basket and checking out. Pinterest took a big step towards that in May this year, announcing they would be connecting their visual search functionality to Promoted Pins – allowing advertisers to get in front of users searching visually by surfacing adverts in the ‘Instant Ideas‘ and the ‘More like this‘ sections.

For retail brands with established Pinterest strategies like Target, Nordstrom, Walgreens and Lululemon, this is welcome news, as it presents a novel opportunity for brands to connect with users looking to purchase products.

Product images can be featured in visual search results

Nearly 2 million people Pin product-rich pins every day. The platform even offers the ability to include prices and other data on pins, which helps drive further engagement. Furthermore, it has the highest average order value of any major social platform at $50, and caters heavily to users on mobile (orders from mobile devices increased from 67% to 80% between 2013-2015).

But while Pinterest may have led the way in terms of visual search, it isn’t alone. Google and Bing have both jumped on the trend with Lens-equivalent products in the last year. Both Google Lens and Bing Visual Search (really, Microsoft? That’s the best you have?) function in an almost identical way to Pinterest Lens. Examples from Bing’s blog post on the product even show it being applied in the same contexts – picking out elements of a domestic scene and displaying shopping results.

One interesting question for ecommerce brands to answer will be how to optimize product images for these kinds of results.

Google Lens, announced at Google’s I/O conference in May to much furore, pitches itself as a tool to help users understand the world. By accessing Google’s vast knowledge base, the app can do things like identify objects, and connect to your WiFi automatically by snapping the code on the box.

Of course, this has a commercial application as well. One of the use cases highlighted by Google CEO Sundar Pichai was photographing a business storefront and having the Google Local result pop up, replete with reviews, menus and contact details.

The key feature here is the ability to connecting a picture taken with an action. It doesn’t take too much to imagine how brands might be able to use this functionality in interesting and engaging ways – for example, booking event tickets directly from an advert, as demonstrated at I/O:

The future

Many marketers think we’re on the brink of a revolution when it comes to search. The growing popularity of voice search is arguably an indicator that consumers are moving away from keyword-based search and towards more intuitive methods.

It’s too soon to write off the medium entirely, of course – keywords are still by the far the easiest way to access most information. But visual search, along with voice, are certainly still useful additions to the roster of tools we might use to access information on the internet.

Ecommerce brands would be wise to keep close tabs on the progress of visual search tools; those that are prepared will have a significant competitive advance over those that aren’t.

This post was originally published on our sister site, ClickZ, and has been reproduced here for the enjoyment of our audience on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Digital Marketing News: Data by the Minute, Email in 2017 & New Instagram Features

How Much Data is Generated Every Minute? [Infographic]
This infographic reveals what happens online every minute. The world internet population now represents 3.7 billion people. The findings on data usage includes social media platforms, video usage and the other most popular data generation websites and apps happening right now. Social Media Today

How Email Is Accessed in 2017: Top Devices, Platforms, and Clients
The report that was based on 27 billion emails opened between May 2016 and April 2017 highlights the devices on which email is accessed most frequently, the most popular email clients and the most popular email platforms that consumers are using. MarketingProfs

Introducing New Features to the Instagram Platform API
Brands are now able to access valuable insights in the Instagram API. You can keep track of organic content performance and have access to comment moderation by being able to hide or toggle on and off. To access these new features, you must have a business profile for Facebook. It is available for Facebook and Instagram Marketing Partners. Instagram Blog

Facebook’s Video Helps Drive $9B in Ad Sales, Up 47%
AdAge reports: “Facebook ad sales topped $9 billion last quarter, proof that its heavy investment in video is paying off, according to industry watchers… Its nearly $9.2 billion in ad revenue represented a 47% gain over the period a year earlier.” AdAge

Easier Way to Block Comments With Links From Your Videos
Video publishers can now block comments that contain links and hashtags with a new setting found in Creator Studio. Once enabled, this setting will hold comments containing links for review before being published. YouTube Help Forum

Google Has Dropped Google Instant Search
Google Instant showed search results as you type them, and Google has removed the feature from Search. Due to the recent changes in how searchers use mobile, Google decided to get rid of the feature. You will only see search suggestions that you can click on, but will no longer load any result pages without clicking on the suggesting, or hitting enter. Search Engine Land

Amazon Launches Spark, A Shoppable Feed of Stories and Photos Aimed at Prime Members
Inspired by Instagram’s use of shoppable photos, Amazon launched a new feature called Spark. The feature is available on the Amazon mobile app only for right now. Start by selecting at least 5 interests you want to follow, and with this information, Amazon Spark will create a customized feed of products and ideas of things to learn more about or shop for. TechCrunch

Facebook is Now Letting Brands and Media Companies Create Their Own Groups Within Pages
Brands and media companies are now able to create their own groups without having to rely on admins to set up the groups from personal accounts. This gives Pages administrators the ability to boost engagement with niche groups, and social media managers more privacy and separation from work. AdWeek

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top marketing news! Have something to share? Dying for more news? Follow @toprank on Twitter or sound off in the comments.

The post Digital Marketing News: Data by the Minute, Email in 2017 & New Instagram Features appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com