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B2B Marketers on the Move: Celebrating May B2B Industry Movers & New Opportunities

Celebrating May 2022 B2B marketers on the move in new leadership roles

Celebrating May 2022 B2B marketers on the move in new leadership roles

Today’s B2B marketing landscape consists of swift changes, often accompanied by growth that happens so fast that it can be difficult to fully appreciate.

For over two decades, TopRank Marketing has been honored to help a wide array of the world’s top B2B marketers and major brands elevate and go beyond merely being competitive, to standing out from the crowd with a variety of creative, award-winning successes. In this spirit, we like to regularly take time to congratulate and honor business marketers, thought leaders, industry influencers as well as our own talented team members who have recently seen career advancement.

When B2B marketers take on new leadership roles, it’s only natural to seek out trusted resources to help professionals in new positions hit the ground running, and TopRank Marketing is happy to have been a go-to B2B content and influencer marketing agency for so many great marketers in new leadership roles. We are also always seeking out B2B technology industry influencers advancing in their careers to partner with on unique content collaborations.

We extend congratulations to our B2B technology industry partners, clients, associates, friends and teammates in this fifth edition of B2B Marketers on the Move.

B2B Marketers on the Move: May Movers

Alan MutherAlan Muther has taken a new position as Senior SEO & Content Marketing Manager, at LinkedIn*.

I am very happy to share that I’ve started a new position as Senior SEO & Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn! I’m very thankful to join a company that I’ve been an ambassador of since my early days at Florida State University.

LinkedIn’s culture is all about transformation, integrity, collaboration, humor, and results. I am excited to be here and to contribute to the company’s mission: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

Alexandra WrightAlexandra Wright has taken a new position as Head Of Marketing, at Mapware.

Super thrilled to officially announce that I have joined the talented team at Mapware as the Head of Marketing.

I couldn’t be more excited to share the magic of Mapware and our mission to make advanced geospatial intelligence available to everyone. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish!

Alice BedwellAlice Bedwell has been promoted to Marketing Executive — ABM, at Ometria.

It’s more than email engagement & soft metrics. It’s about understanding customers and where they are in their purchase journey to ensure you and your team are supporting their needs in the most proactive way.

Amanda M PasicznyAmanda M Pasiczny has taken a new position as Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships, at ExecOnline.

Thrilled to officially announce a new chapter in my career with ExecOnline and hoping Minneapolis Spring season follows!
4/5ths of a decade, through two acquisitions, and a slew of truly incredible people/partners/clients has branded my time at Gartner quite a wonderful duration.
I am immensely grateful to my fantastic leaders and teammates throughout my time calling Iconoculture/CEB/Gartner home. Thank you truly!
I cannot wait to join the People and Mission of ExecOnline in the democratization of executive leadership development!

Annett MurphyAnnett Murphy has taken a new position as Chief Marketing Officer, at Critical Healthcare Ltd.

eCommerce leaders need to think strategy first. As a strong advocate of a strategy first approach in all industry sectors including e-commerce, I believe in the need to let strategy be the framework to test creativity, businesses without a clearly defined strategy across all functional areas lack structure, data and insights to measure the impact of emerging creativity.

Anthony Santa MariaAnthony Santa Maria has taken a new position as Marketing Manager, at Praxis Labs.

Thrilled to share that I’ve joined Praxis Labs an immersive (think VR/AR) learning and analytics platform that drives actionable insights for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

I’m really excited for the opportunity to kick off the marketing team and ready to LEARN a lot. Open to any and all resources from anyone who is in a similar position.

Bradley CohenBradley Cohen has taken a new position as Director, Corporate Product Marketing, at Oracle.

Brian ProvostBrian Provost has taken a new position as GM, at Yahoo.

This week I start as GM at Yahoo. I’ve been reminded that no one’s ever taken a point of market share from Google. Let’s see if we can change that.

Cassandra ClarkCassandra Clark has taken a new position as Senior Director, Demand Generation, at Zenput.

Excited to kickoff my next adventure as Senior Director, Demand Generation at Zenput! There were not many companies I was willing to leave LinkedIn for, but this company checked all the boxes. Zenput is changing the game in restaurant operations. Even more impressive is the leadership team and people that work there. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead!

Charlie RileyCharlie Riley has taken a new position as Global Demand Generation Director, at CybelAngel.

Thrilled to announce I’ve joined the CybelAngel team to serve the #marketing team as the Global Demand Generation Director. I’m staying in #cybersecurity because data breaches will continue to grow.

Carol-Lyn JardineCarol-Lyn Jardine has taken a new position as Vice President Of Strategic Marketing, at Persado.

Carol-Lyn has been featured on our TopRank Marketing blog several times, including in a Break Free B2B Marketing video interview alongside Heather Hurst, „Break Free B2B Series: Carol-Lyn Jardine and Heather Hurst on Effectively Managing Change in B2B Marketing.“

[bctt tweet=“I always try and make sure that when I’m going through change management, I assume good intent until it’s proven that I can’t. @cljardine #BreakFreeB2B #ChangeManagement“ username=“toprank“]

Christine SeymourChristine Seymour has been promoted to Strategy Leader, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, at Honeywell.

Honeywell is ranked 4th on Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Enterprise Companies. Not too bad for a 100+ year old company. Proud be a #futureshaper and part of a high-achieving team, where EVERY day inspires.

Erica ChappellErica Chappell has been promoted to Director of Content Marketing, at ClickUp.

Georgia CrossGeorgia Cross has taken a new position as Customer Success Manager, Digital working in MarTech + Shopper Marketing, at Inmar Intelligence.

We’re all here to help each other, that is a childhood lesson I’ve learned that I brought into my personal life and in my career. I lead with that intent of…let’s get together, let’s figure out how we can work together and let’s make the world a better place

Haithuy NguyenHaithuy Nguyen has been promoted to Marketing Director, at Fungible.

Heather HurstHeather Hurst has taken a new position as Vice President of Marketing, at Canopy.

Keep your network strong. Take that lunch or coffee meeting with current and former colleagues every time. You never know where those relationships will take your career and opportunities.

Isla McKettaIsla McKetta has taken a new position as Director of Content, at Ookla.

Amazing to see what progress can be made in improving technology that affects our daily lives – even during a global pandemic.

Jacalyn BealesJacalyn Beales has been promoted to Manager, Demand Generation, at Lever.

Before you create and distribute, do you research. Get to know your audience. Get to know your buyer. And know the difference between stages of intent.

Jason InskeepJason Inskeep has been promoted to AVP – 5G COE (Private Cellular, MEC, Edge), at AT&T.

2022 will be a pivotal year for many organizations and 5G adoption. But their degree of success will greatly depend on how those organizations pair 5G with technology, like private cellular networks. Using the „just right mix“ questions.

Jason SchoberJason Schober has been promoted to Director, Content Marketing, at Circle.

Jeff DavisJeff Davis has taken a new position as Associate Director, Digital and Omnichannel Strategy, at AbbVie.

More than ever, B2B companies must meet the demands of the modern buyer by better understanding how they actually buy and developing cohesive, easy-to-navigate buying experiences.

Jeff has appear on our blog numerous times over the years, including as a featured contributor to our groundbreaking „2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report from TopRank Marketing.“

Jeremiah OwyangJeremiah Owyang has taken a new position as Chief Marketing Officer, at RLY Network Association.

As the new CMO of RLY Network Association, the first ask I took was: Market Research. I first surveyed the landscape documenting and detailing down insights about what competitors are doing, influencers, and of course, customers, in our case, web developers. I scored, sorted, prioritized and wrote down where the industry was, and presented the „state of“ to the C-suite. Aligning this to the business goals, the roadmap literally fell right out that process, making it very clear on where I needed to head, and in what order. The insight isn’t a new one, it’s „look before you leap“. Now, to execute, I can’t wait to onboard web developers onto our product, RLY Protocol.

Jessica ScheuJessica Scheu has taken a new position as Social/Paid Media Specialist, at Optum.

Jolina PetticeJolina Pettice has been promoted to Sr. Director of Digital Marketing and Consumer Content, at HealthPartners.

If you aren’t using data to inform your content strategy, what are you using? Gut feeling, testing, and / or creative epiphany should drive no more than 25% of your content efforts. The rest should be driven by understanding what content is resulting in conversions, assisted conversions, traffic from search and social, and what your audiences are looking for online in relation to your business offering.

Jolina is a TopRank alumni and has been featured numerous times on our blog.

Josh SpilkerJosh Spilker has taken a new position as Director of Content, at Range.

The better you are at content marketing and SEO, the worse off your email inbox will be. There’s a direct correlation.

Kirby WadsworthKirby Wadsworth has taken a new position as Chief Marketing Officer, at Elevate Security.

Kurt LambertKurt Lambert has taken a new position as Director, Strategic Accounts, at Quattr Inc.

Page speed and overall website performance have always been areas that are near and dear to me. It’s more important than ever in the world of SEO, and can have major impacts beyond just organic strategies.

Linda PophalLinda Pophal has taken a new position as Digital Marketing Specialist, at Purdue University Center for Regional Development.

Marketing and sales teams must share the same objective view of the marketplace, your target clients, and how you stack up against competitors. Having the process to do the research and share the results frequently will help both teams monitor and respond quickly to marketplace changes and target clients‘ evolving needs.

Lucy Zarlengo MoranLucy Zarlengo Moran has taken a new position as Chief Marketing Officer, at Bonterra.

Introducing, Bonterra! Today we launched our new brand, Bonterra, which brings together Social Solutions, EveryAction, CyberGrants and Network for Good to form the second-largest and fastest-growing social good software company in the world. I am so thrilled to be a part of an organization that supports the do-ers – those behind the scenes at social good organizations that enable social impact.

Lucy has been featured numerous times on our blog, including being listed in our „50 Influential Women in B2B Marketing Who Rocked in 2020.“

Maya Kaplan BarkayMaya Kaplan Barkay has taken a new position as Vice President Marketing, at EverC.

Omar Al-SinjariOmar Al-Sinjari has been promoted to Senior Director Of Customer Marketing, at Honeywell Advanced Sensing Technologies.

Find your learning niche – most recently for me it is listening to audiobooks and walking. I alternate between one book for me and one book for my career. Currently listening to “The First 90 Days” by Michael D. Watkins

Samantha KellySamantha Kelly has taken a new position as Women’s Inspire Network Program Director, at Wedo.

Self care is crucial – You can’t run your business without looking after your own mental health. When you are well, strong and healthy then your business will be the same.

Steve WattSteve Watt has taken a new position as Director, Market Insights | Social Selling SME, at Seismic.

In B2B the stakes are higher, the decisions more complex, and outcomes less certain. And this means trust reigns supreme. When stakes are high, the decisions complex, and outcomes uncertain, trust is paramount. Brand is trust at scale. And it’s a different world when you are truly trusted.

Todd FriesenTodd Friesen has taken a new position as VP of Global SEO, at Vimeo.

Leaders stand in front of their team in the bad times and behind them in the good. Take the blame and pass on the credit. Your team should be the key to your career just as you are to theirs. Selfish growth is limited. Shared growth is boundless.

Venus WillsVenus Wills has been promoted to VP of Brand and Corporate Marketing, at Tanium.

One of the best ways for cybersecurity professionals to stay on top of the game is to attend security conferences.

Vivian Kobeh PalacioVivian Kobeh Palacio has taken a new position as Group Head of External Communications and PR, at BAI Communications.

Thanks To Each of These Leaders For Helping Elevate the B2B Marketing Industry

We extend many thanks to each of the talented B2B marketing professionals we’ve featured here who have recently been promoted or taken new industry positions. We’re certain that you’ll elevate and reach new heights when it comes to the performance you’ll deliver in your new roles.

You can find our previous edition of B2B Marketers on the Move here.

If you’re looking for a new change of your own, be sure to check out our own list of current job openings at TopRank Marketing on our careers page.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post B2B Marketers on the Move: Celebrating May B2B Industry Movers & New Opportunities appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Automating Ourselves Out of Existence

Time has grown more scarce after having a child, so I rarely blog anymore. Though I thought it probably made sense to make at least a quarterly(ish) post so people know I still exist.

One of the big things I have been noticing over the past year or so is an increasing level of automation in ways that are not particularly brilliant. 😀

Just from this past week I’ve had 3 treat encounters on this front.

One marketplace closed my account after I made a bunch of big purchases, likely presuming the purchases were fraudulent based on the volume, new account & an IP address in an emerging market economy. I never asked for a refund or anything like that, but when I believe in something I usually push pretty hard, so I bought a lot. What was dumb about that is they took a person who would have been a whale client & a person they were repeatedly targeting with ads & turned them into a person who would not recommend them … after being a paying client who spent a lot and had zero specific customer interactions or requests … an all profit margin client who spent big and then they discarded. Dumb.

Similarly one ad network had my account automatically closed after I had not used it for a while. When I went to reactivate it the person in customer support told me it would be easier to just create a new account as reactivating it would take a half week or more. I said ok, went to set up a new account, and it was auto-banned and they did not disclose why. I asked feedback as to why and they said that they could not offer any but it was permanent and lifetime.

A few months go by and I wondered what was up with that and I logged into my inactive account & set up a subaccount and it worked right away. Weird. But then even there they offer automated suggestions and feedback on improving your account performance and some of them were just not rooted in fact. Worse yet, if they set the default targeting options to overly broad it can cause account issues in a country like Vietnam to where if you click to approve (or even auto approve!) their automated suggestions you then get notifications about how you are violating some sort of ToS or guidelines … if they can run that logic *after* you activate *their* suggestions, why wouldn’t they instead run that logic earlier? How well do they think you will trust & believe in their automated optimization tips if after you follow them you get warning pop overs?

Another big bonus recently was a client was mentioned in a stray spam email. The email wasn’t from the client or me, but the fact that a random page on their site was mentioned in a stray spoofed email that got flagged as spam meant that when the ticket notification from the host sent wounded up in spam they never saw it and then the host simply took their site offline. Based on a single email sent from some other server.

Upon calling the host with a friendly WTF they explained to the customer that they had so many customers they have to automate everything. At the same time when it came time to restoring hosting that the client was paying for they suggested the client boot in secure mode, run Apache commands x and y, etc. … even though they knew the problem was not with the server, but an overmalicious automated response to a stray mention in a singular spam email sent by some third party.

When the host tried to explain that they „have to“ automate everything because they have so many customers the customer quickly cut them off with „No, that is a business choice. You could charge different prices or choose to reach out to people who have spent tens of thousands on hosting and have not had any issues in years.“

Nothing in the world is fair. Nothing in the world is equal. But there are smart ways to run a business & dumb ways to run a business.

Businesses should treat their heavy spenders or customers with a long history of a clean account with more care than a newly opened account. I sort of get that one small marketplace presuming my purchases might have been a scam based on how many I did, how new my account was, and how small they were, but the hosting companies & ad networks that are worth 9 to 12 figures should generally do a bit better. Though in many ways the market cap is a sign the entity is insulated from market pressures & can automate away customer service hoping that their existing base is big enough to offset the customer support horror stories that undermine their brand.

It works.

At least for a while.

A parallel to the above is my Facebook ad account, which was closed about a half decade or so ago due to geographic mismatch. That got removed, but then sort of only half way. If I go to run ads it says that I can’t, but then if I go to request an account review to once again explain the geographic difference I can’t even get the form to submit unless I edit the HTML of the page on the fly to seed the correct data into the form field as by default it says I can not request a review since I have no ad account.

The flip side of the above is if that level of automation can torch existing paid accounts you have to expect the big data search & social companies are taking a rather skeptical view of new sites or players wanting to rank freely in their organic search results or social feeds. With that being the case, it helps to seed what you can to provide many signals that may remove some of the risks of getting set in the bad pile.

I have seen loads of people have their YouTube or Facebook or whatever such account get torched & only override the automated technocratic persona non grata policies by having followers in another channel who shared their dire situation so it could get flagged for human review and restoration. If that happens to established & widely followed players who have spent years investing into a platform the odds of it happening to most newer sites & players is quite high.

You can play it safe and never say anything interesting, ensuring you are well within the Overtone Window in all aspects of life. That though also almost certainly guarantees failure as it is hard to catch up or build momentum if your defining attribute is being a conformist.


Source:: seobook.com

Episodic Expansion: How to Optimize B2B Experiences by Expanding Your Podcast to Full-On Video

Expanding your B2B podcast to full-on video woman and wall of video screens image

Expanding your B2B podcast to full-on video woman and wall of video screens imagePodcasts have been having their 15 minutes of fame for nearly a decade now. For marketers, we’ve seen podcasts go from off the radar, to a wide open new channel, to an established, even crowded, medium.

It’s true that it’s harder to build a subscriber base now than it was at the beginning of the B2B podcast boom. That doesn’t mean podcasts aren’t a valuable channel, however — just that it takes strategy and time to realize their full potential.

No, the proliferation of podcasts means that you should be repurposing your podcast content for other channels. This content can help drive traffic to the podcast, raise awareness of your brand’s thought leadership, and even become superstar content in its own right.

Here’s how to turn your superstar podcast content into video marketing.

Turn Your B2B Podcast into Video Marketing

Video is the preferred type of content for virtually every social media site. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter all have algorithms that grant video content more visibility. So the first step in repurposing your podcast is…

1 — Start Capturing Video

Most B2B podcasts are interview-style, featuring a conversation between two or three participants. Turning this kind of content into video is simple with a recording platform like Riverside or Zencastr. These programs can record high-quality video and audio at the same time, and will produce separate files for audio-only and audio + video.

To make sure your guests look as good as they sound, make sure they:

  • Set the camera at a flattering angle
  • Have a blank background behind them — and no virtual backgrounds
  • Have a source of light in front of their face, not behind their head (a cheap ring light is a good way to get the right illumination)
  • Wear solid colors, without distracting patterns

We always send a briefing to guests prior to recording, including the above information. That way, everyone knows what to expect going in. We’ve also found it helpful to send a webcam with a built-in ring light to each guest — that way, you can still get high-quality video even if they’re rocking a 15-year-old laptop.

2 — Turn Raw Footage into Video Episodes

For an interview podcast, you’ll only have to do minimal editing to produce the video. A simple video editing program (like iMovie) will let you cut out the non-relevant bits and add intro/outro clips. Make sure to add captions for accessibility, too!

If you have the time and resources, you can spice up the video with b-roll (also known as stock footage). A few clips that illustrate what the speaker is talking about will work wonders for adding visual interest.

You can upload your video podcast to your brand’s YouTube channel, or use a platform like Libsyn to syndicate it.

3 — Atomize the Video

You could post entire episodes of your video podcast to social media — but the algorithm would choke on them. LinkedIn recommends 1-minute maximum for a video post, for example.

Better to focus on the most compelling takeaways. Let’s say you have three killer soundbites from the recording. You could create a short video for each, adding visual interest. For example, add slides with quotes from the audio, b-roll, or a combination of both.

You can post these clips natively to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to spark engagement with the video on social itself — not necessarily to drive traffic to the podcast. They can be great thought leadership content in their own right.

4 — Organize for the Future

When you’re regularly producing video content, it’s crucial to have it properly tagged and organized. You can repurpose the content for years to come — provided your future marketing team can find what it needs. As you build your library, make sure to organize as you go to avoid a massive headache down the road.

Platforms like our client Brightcove make it easier to both organize your collection and make it easily accessible across the organization.

5 — Cast Your Pods Even Further

As podcast recording platforms have gotten more sophisticated, it’s now simple to add video recording to your interview sessions. This raw footage can become a launching ground for your content, taking it to more channels and reaching more people than it would in audio-only form.

Does podcasting work for B2B? Check out the story of SAP’s Tech Unknown podcast.

The post Episodic Expansion: How to Optimize B2B Experiences by Expanding Your Podcast to Full-On Video appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

B2B Marketing News: B2B Data Onboarding Insight, Google’s New Ad Formats, Marketing Campaign Performance Study, & LinkedIn’s Employer Branding Guide

022 May 20 MarketingCharts Image

022 May 20 MarketingCharts ImageGoogle Shares Sneak Peek At New Advertising Features
Google has offered a look inside several of its new forthcoming Google Ads features, including responsive display and mobile ads that animate static imagery and better white space formatting, highlighted in a showcase of examples from firms that have tested the new tools, Google recently announed. Search Engine Journal

Twitter is testing a new ‚Liked by Author‘ label for tweets
Twitter has tested the ability for tweet replies on the platform that have been liked by the post’s author to show a red heart liked-by-author badge and similar text designation, with the aim of making it easier to spot top tweet replies in lengthy reply chains, Twitter recently announced. TechCrunch

Videoconferencing hinders creativity — study
When it comes to conceiving creative ideas among teams of two, brainstorming in person has been shown to produce 15 percent more ideas than doing so over remote video meetings using Zoom or similar technology, according to newly-released report data of interest to digital marketers published in the journal Nature. Philstar

Listeners Like What They Bought From Podcast Ads. But They Have Ad Complaints Too.
Podcast listeners are more receptive to advertising presented in the audio format, with 80 percent of podcast listeners having said that marketing messages heard during a podcast didn’t negatively affect the content’s quality, while 70 percent noted that they preferred ads which were read live during a podcast rather than prerecorded — two of several findings of interest to B2B marketers contained in recently-released survey data. InsideRadio

[bctt tweet=““Once your podcast has an audience, make sure it’s still fun. But, also consider this: What are you doing with the content after the podcast and livestream?” — Christoph Trappe @CTrappe“ username=“toprank“]

Google to allow users to control brands and topics they see in ads
With a forthcoming new My Ad Center feature, search giant Google will allow users a choice to see either more or less advertising content from specific brands or about certain topics, along with other ad customization features, while retaining the ability to turn ad personalization features off, Google recently announced. Campaign US

LinkedIn Publishes New Pocket Guide to Effective Employer Branding
When it comes to how organizations are succeeding with employer branding on Microsoft’s LinkedIn professional social platform, prospective customers are some six times more likely to convert when they are exposed to a combination of brand and acquisition messaging — one of numerous findings of interest to B2B marketers contained in newly-released data from LinkedIn (client) offered in guide format, along with a selection of digital outreach strategy success stories. Social Media Today

2022 May 20 Statistics ImageWhat Do Marketers Think Is Most Important in Influencing Campaign Performance?
Smart audience targeting, ad creative, audience reach, and data quality came out on top as the most important tactics affecting marketing campaign success, according to recently-released Nielsen survey data gathered from global marketing professionals at organizations with budgets of $1 million or more annually. MarketingCharts

Social media tops the charts for brands‘ confidence in measuring ROI
64 percent of global brand marketers pointed to social media as the paid media channel that they were the most confident in when it comes to measuring return on investment (ROI), followed by video for online and mobile at 59 percent, and search at 58 percent, according to newly-released report data. eMarketer

New Report Highlights Ecommerce Trends Resulting From Pandemic
Worldwide e-commerce spending is expected to hit $5.4 trillion in 2022, and new survey data explores shifting consumer digital buying trends that also offers insight for B2B organizations, especially as the boundaries between B2C and B2B blur in a digital-first landscape. MediaPost

B2B Marketers Showing Some Concern Over Cookie-Less Solutions‘ Impact on Data Onboarding
87 percent of B2B marketers pointed to website analytics as the area that will be most affected by the loss of web browser ad tracking cookies, followed by targeted ads at 76 percent, third-party data integrations at 67 percent, and website personalization initiatives at 64 percent, according to recently-released survey data of interest to B2B marketers. MarketingCharts


2022 May 20 Marketoonist Comic Image

A lighthearted look at “Who else should we target?” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Accountant with Wife and Kids Has “guitar” At End of Instagram Username For Unknown Reason — The Hard Times


  • Joshua Nite — This Week in Marketing: Content Marketing Evolution — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lane R. Ellis — The great reshuffle, ABM strategies, and a PMM reading list — Cronycle

Have you found your own top B2B marketing news for the week? If so, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us for the week’s TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you’ll come back again next Friday for another array of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us on our LinkedIn page, or at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Data Onboarding Insight, Google’s New Ad Formats, Marketing Campaign Performance Study, & LinkedIn’s Employer Branding Guide appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Three critical keyword research trends you must embrace

Three critical keyword research trends you must embrace

30-second summary:

  • Exact-match keywords are useful for researching patterns and trends but not so much for optimization purposes
  • When optimizing for keywords, optimize for intent and solve problems, don’t just match your page to the keyword
  • Brand-driven keywords should be your top priority because you cannot control SERPs but you can rank assets that will drive people back to your site
  • Instead of focusing on keyword strings, research your niche entities and find the ways to associate your business with those through on-site content and PR/link building efforts

If you ask an SEO expert to name one SEO tactic that has changed the most over the years, they are likely to confidently answer “link building.” Some will point out to “technical tasks”, and very few will ever think of “keyword research.”

The truth is, most SEO tasks look completely different these days but few SEO experts have changed the fundamental way they do keyword research and optimize content for those keywords.

Yes, we seem to have finally left keyword density behind (unless Google forces it back) but fundamentally nothing has changed: We run keyword tools, find relevant keyword strings and use them as much as we can throughout a dedicated page.

In the meantime, Google’s understanding and treatments of keywords has changed completely.

1. Exact-match keywords are getting obsolete

Google has a long history of trying to understand search queries beyond matching word strings in them to the documents in the search index.

And they succeeded.

It started years ago with Hummingbird being first quietly introduced then officially announced in August of 2013.

Yet, few SEOs actually understood the update or realized how much of a change to everything they knew it was.

With Hummingbird Google made it clear that they were striving for a deeper understanding of searching journeys and that would ultimately fix all their problems. As they manage to know exactly what a searcher wants and learn to give them that, no fake signals or algorithm manipulations will impact their search quality.

Hummingbird was the first time Google announced they wanted to understand “things” instead of matching “strings of words.” In other words, with Hummingbird exact-match keyword strings started becoming less and less useful.

Then, after Hummingbird came BERT that helped Google to enhance its understanding of how people search.

Exact match keywords becoming obsolete after the Google BERT updateImage source: Google

There’s a short but pretty enlightening video on the struggles and solutions of Google engineers trying to teach the machine to understand the obvious: What is it people mean when typing a search query?

That video explains the evolution of SEO perfectly:

  • Context is what matters
  • Google is struggling, yet slowly succeeding at understanding “context, tone and intention”
  • Search queries are becoming less predictable as more and more people talk to a search engine they way they think
  • Stop words do actually add meaning, and are often crucial at changing it.

The takeaway here: Keyword research tools are still useful. They help you understand the patterns: How people tend to phrase a query when looking for answers and solutions in your niche.

But those keywords with search volume are not always what people use to research your target topic. According to Google, people search in diverse, often unpredictable ways. According to Google, on a daily basis 15% of searches are ones Google hasn’t seen before.

Every day Google encounters 15% of completely new search queries. That’s how diverse searching behaviors are.

Moving away from keyword matching, Google strives to give complete and actionable answers to the query. And that’s what your SEO strategy should be aiming at doing as well.

Whatever keyword research process you’ve been using is likely still valid: It helps you understand the demand for certain queries, prioritize your content assets and structure your site.

It’s the optimization step that is completely different these days. It is no longer enough to use that word in the page title, description and headings.

So when creating an optimization strategy for every keyword you identify:

  • Try to figure out what would satisfy the search intent behind that query: What is it that searcher really looking for? A list? A video? A product to buy? A guide to follow? Even slight changes in a searchable keyword string (e.g. plural vs singular) can signal a searching intent you need to be aware of.
  • Search Google for that query and look through search snippets: Google is very good at identifying what a searcher needs, so they generate search snippets that can give you lots of clues.

Notice how none of the high-ranking documents has that exact search query included:

Ranking resources for diverse keywords vs exact match keywordsImage source: Screenshot made by the author

2. Branded keywords are your priority

More and more people are using search to navigate to a website, and there are several reasons for that:

  • A few strongest browsers allow people search from the address bar (those include Safari on both desktop and mobile and, obviously, Google Chrome)
  • People are getting used to voice searching, so they just speak brand names to perform a search.

Ranking for branded keywords to funnel target audience to assets

Image source: Screenshot made by the author

In other words, your customers who likely know about your brand and are possibly ready to make a purchase – those hard-earned customers are forced to search for your brand name or for your branded query.

And what will they see?

It is astounding how many companies have no idea what comes up for their branded search, or how many customers they lose over poorly managed (or more often non-existent) in-SERP reputation management.

There are three crucial things to know about brand-driven search:

  • These are mostly high-intent queries: These searchers are typing your brand name intending to buy from you
  • These are often your existing, returning customers that tend to buy more than first-time customers
  • Both of the above factors make these your brands‘ top priority.

And yet, you don’t have control over what people see when searching for your brand. In fact, monitoring and optimizing for those brand-driven queries is not a one-time task. It is there for as long as your brand exists.

  • Treat your brand name as a keyword: Expand it, optimize for it, monitor your site’s rankings
  • Identify deeper level problems behind your customers‘ brand-driven searching patterns: What is it you can improve to solve problems behind those queries?

Identifying customer pain points for keyword researchImage source: Screenshot made by the author

Your branded search queries should become part of your sales funnel – everything from About page to product pages and lead magnets should capture those brand-driven opportunities.

In many cases, when you see a large amount of brand-driven keywords, you may need a higher level approach, like setting up a standalone knowledge base.

3. Entities are key

Entities are Google’s way to understand this world.

Entities are all proper names out there: Places, people, brands, etc.

Google has a map of entities – called Knowledge Graph – that makes up Google’s understanding of the world.

Entities help Google understand the context and the search intent.

Using entities and semantic searchImage search: The beginner’s guide to semantic search

Being Google’s entity means coming up in searches where you were implied but never mentioned:

Using Google entities for keyword researchImage source: Screenshot made by the author

Through entity associations, Google knows what any search is about.

Entities should be the core of your keyword research process: What are known entities is your niche and how do you associate your brand with those entities?


Search engine optimization is evolving fast, so it requires an agile strategy for brands to keep up. If you are doing keyword research the old, exact-match, way, your business is about 10 years behind!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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Source:: searchenginewatch.com