Kategorie-Archiv: SEO

How to lead SEO teams and track its performance effectively: Experts’ tips

Julian Redlich

Leading an SEO team is not an easy task, whether it’s an in-house or an agency one. Moreover, tracking and measuring results is a critical part of any SEO campaign. You need to make sure that your work provides the results.

In this article, you’ll learn how to effectively guide your SEO team and assess their performance from nine outstanding experts in this niche.

People we’ve asked

1. Julian Redlich @JulianRedlich

Product Manager (SEO) at Booking.com. Leading the product vision and development efforts for all of our over >100M landing pages for all demand channels (paid/organic) with a team of developers, designers, and copywriters.

Braden Becker2. Braden Becker @BradenBecker

Senior SEO Strategist at HubSpot. Writer, editor, marketer, photographer, athlete, environmentalist, and SEO strategist.

Vytautas Palovis

3. Vytautas Palovis @VytautasPalovis

SEO & International Growth Lead | Oberlo at Shopify. An experienced ‘T-shaped‘ digital marketer with strong skills across a broad range of Digital disciplines such as SEO, Web Analytics, A/B & MVT testing, PPC campaigns, content marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing.

Chris Makara

4. Chris Makara @ChrisMakara

Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at Insperity. A self-taught SEO expert with more than 15 years of digital marketing experience, who helps business owners reach their goals by building and implementing an effective digital strategy.

Marcus Miller

5. Marcus Miller @marcusbowlerhat

SEO, PPC & Digital Marketing Consultant and Strategist at Bowler Hat. SEO, PPC & Digital Marketing consultant with over 18 years experience.

Rodrigo Stockebrand

6. Rodrigo Stockebrand @spanglishseo

Vice President, Digital Analytics & SEO at Univision Communications Inc. A professional search engine optimization and marketing (SEO/SEM) and digital analytics practitioner, trainer, and consultant with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

Artem Melikian

7. Artem Melikian

Team Lead of SEO at Netpeak Agency. A professional SEO specialist and digital marketer.

Sean Si

8. Sean Si @SEO_Hacker

CEO and Founder at SEO Hacker. An SEO specialist, Growth Hacker, internet marketer, Copywriter, and blogger.

Eren Kozik

9. Eren Kozik @ErenKozik

Founder and Head of SEO at SEOPT. He has been in the online industry for over 15 years now. In digital marketing, especially in the field of search engine optimization, he feels particularly at home.

Questions we asked and they answered

1. How do you measure the results of your SEO team and individual members?

Julian Redlich

At Booking.com, we do not have SEOs in the traditional sense; rather my team consists of Backend Developers, Frontend Developers, Designers, Analysts, and Copywriters. All of them contribute to a collectively designed vision in our agile environment but approach this from a different angle. As a Product Manager, I prioritize the tasks for the team in alignment with business priorities, although this isn’t without input from the team. At Booking.com, we put the customer at the center of everything we do, and all of us are working together to leverage their own special skill sets to accomplish this collective goal.

Braden Becker

We use organic traffic to measure our SEO team’s performance, and this extends to multiple properties belonging to our website. However, a variety of factors can drive the results we see, and we go through a process of elimination to diagnose issues and attribute successes. When analyzing a period of low performance, for example, things like seasonality, international traffic, and updates to Google’s ranking algorithm are often the first to be looked at.

Individual employees are rather measured by where they’re spending their time, how they’re thinking about team challenges, and what they’re doing to address them. Everyone here has pretty specific focuses, and this makes it easy to hold ourselves accountable when things go particularly wrong or right.

Vytautas Palovis

We have monthly goals, as well as projection for the rest of the year. There are two main KPIs which we track as a team:

  • Organic traffic
  • Conversions from organic traffic

Also, we have a bunch of individual metrics for each SEO area we work on:

  • On-page SEO optimization, we check before/after improvements in terms of organic traffic change.
  • For off-page SEO, we do track how many unique referring domains we gained (when it comes to off-page SEO, we create a different type of content – linkable assets, as we call them). We also check how powerful are these links, DA/DR metrics, are these links contextual, did they move the needle and helped that page rank better.

Chris Makara

Sometimes it depends on the overall goal of the initiative, but it usually can be done by keeping track of a spreadsheet or looking at results in Ahrefs.

Marcus Miller

We try to take a more holistic approach to SEO than others do. Which is, we don’t just look at organic rankings for a handful of keywords. We really try and look at various KPIs which are typically customized to the needs of each client. I talk about this in some detail in this post.

We tend to have two sets of primary KPIs:

SEO KPIs

These are KPIs that show us that our SEO health metrics are all going in the right direction:

  • Rank for main converting keywords (local/organic)
  • Rank for secondary benchmark keywords (local/organic)
  • Majestic Citation Flow
  • Majestic Trust Flow
  • Majestic Trust & Citation Balance
  • Moz Domain Authority
  • Moz Page Authority
  • Moz Spam Score

Real-world SEO KPIs

We then track what we call real-world KPIs designed to tell us if the improvements in the SEO metrics are tracking to real-world results.

  • Increase in organic traffic
  • Increase in the number of pages on the site that generate traffic
  • Increase in non-branded search traffic
  • Percentage increase in organic conversions
  • Percentage increase in traffic from specific geographic regions
  • Organic Impressions (Search Console)
  • Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR) (Search Console)

Rodrigo Stockebrand

At Univision, our team’s goals are aligned with business objectives for Digital and we measure results based on macro, micro, and nano SEO metrics. Macro would be things like growth in traffic, conversions, revenue, etc. Micro would be things like improvements to page speed, lower bounce rates/exits, and growth in keywords in the top three. And nano metrics would be the positive movement of each individual page for its core keywords, as well as victories like capturing position “0” or getting premium placement in news, video, or image carousel.

For individual contributors, I measure their results in terms of completion of key action items as well as the contribution that those activities had towards performance growth. And while I do help with the assignments and prioritization of tasks, each team member is encouraged to come up with their own assignments, tasks, and performance KPIs.

The main things that I’m looking to accomplish with this method are:

• Empower everyone to create their own performance and task roadmap – you may know far better than I, what’s important and when it should be done. I want people to have the flexibility and freedom to choose.

• Reward value where it’s due – some of the most important tasks in our department have no impact (at least not directly) on organic search performance. Nonetheless, they are critical in getting other things (that do have a direct impact) moving forward. Therefore, for those individuals that are great at moving these particular pieces, we put less importance on the traffic growth side of performance. In general, I want people to do what they do best and measure them fairly for those tasks, whether they impact performance directly or not. Because in the end, it’s even the stairs to the ship that makes its voyage possible.

Artem Melikian

Of course, we measure the result of teamwork in the number of growing projects and in the volume of growth based on data from the analytics of organic channels. But there are other metrics important to the team:

  • Number of projects (the number of old projects should not decrease, and new projects should come)
  • Work with budgets (projects should increase the budget if it’ll be useful)

A very similar process is for individual team members. Each specialist is interested in the growth of his/her project. For juniors, it’s a little more complicated.

Sean Si

Through our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). We have different teams that specialize in the various facets of SEO – content, tech, links, strategizing. Our team’s results are measured by being able to produce a set number that coincides with their monthly quotas. So, that’s the primary way we measure results, but for other select teams, we measure results through rankings since that is what we specialize in. So, if a client does not rank well, that means the team in charge of coming up with strategies/experiments/tasks to make a client rank are not performing well.

Eren Kozik

Here we use a variety of systems and SEO tools, not only to record project progress and communicate but also to record the results of the team (before / after). As we have no programmers and no need for custom development, we mostly use systems from valued tool providers. Sistrix, Ahrefs, ScreamingFrog, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the most important tools for us to measure and log the progress and (partial) results of our work. The toolset may change, depending on the requirement and the target.

2. Which CRM systems do you use?

Braden Becker

HubSpot uses its very own HubSpot CRM, and we recommend it to others! It’s completely free, forever.

Vytautas Palovis

We usually use these two tools:

  • Ahrefs
  • Google Search Console

Chris Makara

For SEO, I usually use a combination of tools. These are Serpstat, Ahrefs, Google Sheets, Website Auditor, Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, and Reports.io.

Marcus Miller

We don’t use a dedicated CRM at Bowler Hat and we tend to manage most of our projects within the Asana work management platform. We track leads and sales for Bowler Hat within Asana and we manage all client projects within Asana. Great tool. 🙂

When working with clients we have worked with a huge range of CRM systems – everything from Salesforce and Hubspot to bespoke CRMs.

Julian Redlich

I’m using Jira as a project management tool with my team, but this isn’t the only tool used across Booking.com.

Rodrigo Stockebrand

Mostly Salesforce.

Artem Melikian

We have an in-house ERP system in our company, which covers almost the entire work cycle of a specialist. And what it does not cover, we connect with external services.

So, for tasks we use Planfix. We also build communication with the client here (tasks to and from him/her).

To fix SEO metrics (such as positions), we use Serpstat. Its multi-user mode allows us to add and remove specialists when needed. It is convenient to monitor the activity and volume of monitoring. Through the Serpstat API, we pull up information on the positions of customer sites in ERP. Based on this + analytics, we determine the success of the project. In such a way, we can immediately see if a project has any problem and fix it quickly. Well, using the same API, we pull this into the client dashboard. So the client can at any time see the situation on the project, not only the analytics of visits but also the dynamics of the positions.

Sean Si

For CRM, we mainly use Pipedrive and Aweber.

Eren Kozik

We currently use a combination of different tools:

  • MeisterTask for project management
  • Todoist for daily task management
  • Harvest for time recording
  • Slack for digital communication in the team

It has been shown that we are currently riding the best with the combination of these tools.

3. How do your team members provide reports on their results?

Julian Redlich

Objectives are crucial to reporting and results at Booking.com. As a team, we continuously align on objectives, spending time to regularly discuss how we are delivering against the objectives and whether these are still the most impactful priorities for us to work on. We really do believe that our performance is based on what we deliver, but also how we deliver it. That may include factors like quality, velocity, and resilience. But I think it also encourages an environment where everyone is empowered to bring their ideas to the table to anticipate issues and solve problems. When we do this, we really are showing our best talent and feel more invested in a given project. As a Product Manager, I am not in the line of management of the team and within this structure, we are able to build trust and improve performance across the team because people are encouraged to raise their hands when they have an idea or solution.

Braden Becker

We’re a highly transparent team when reporting on performance. Because we’re scoped on monthly traffic targets, we meet regularly to update a single slide deck and share our progress. Depending on an employee’s focus, we also dig into page-level traffic, lead-generation data, and updates to projects that make our SEO strategy more proactive.

Vytautas Palovis

One-on-one weekly meetings is a good way to touch a base and see the progress. We also track monthly updates.

Chris Makara

This is usually done by pulling reports from Ahrefs and/or Google Analytics.

Marcus Miller

We use Raventools to provide a report that includes some manual feedback on jobs done and how these benefit the client to the traditional metrics and KPIs relevant to that client. The key point is that we customize this for each and every client.

Rodrigo Stockebrand

We generally measure results in terms of the following: Ticket status, task pacing, and performance dashboards (macro/micro/nano) that we configure via APIs to bring in data real-time and with alerts to capture flags/issues as they occur. We also use Ryte.com to monitor site changes which are pivotal in understanding the ongoing evolution of the site. It’s amazing to see the changes that happen to the site daily that would otherwise go undetected.

Artem Melikian

Our ERP captures the results of work on projects. Team members are good enough to work and monitor the vital signs of projects.

Sean Si

We have a monthly reporting system for all the teams where they input all the tasks that were done for a specific client and we treat that as a progress and client report. It helps us keep track of every team’s progress and it also enables us to know which teams are under-performing. It’s also a good tracker to use to see if our efforts for a specific client are working and it allows to know if our current strategy for the client is really working.

Eren Kozik

Two to three times a week the project progress is discussed. In the end, it’s all about team performance, because that is the only way we can actually achieve the defined project goals. This only works through a well-rehearsed team that has worked together for several years. Productivity, effectiveness and efficiency increase with team experience.

To be honest, there is a lot of personal conversation going on. That is what binds and welds more together. Granted, from a certain size so certainly not possible.

For me, the personal contact with my employees is currently very important in order to relate to the achievements and results. That way I can do even better the mentoring role that I, as the Head of SEO and CEO, will take on.

4. How do you build an incentive system and determine salary rates for SEOs?

Vytautas Palovis

Well, that’s a great question! We offer a very competitive salary in the market, and I’m not talking specifically only about our SEO team, at Shopify as a company, salaries are on a high level, as well as a bunch of perks and benefits on top.

As for promotions in my team, we try to be a results-driven team. But when a team grows, all soft skills also become important – the ability to work in a team, culture fit, eager to learn, take ownership and get shit done – everything becomes important. As a team lead, I try to evaluate all these things and reward my team members when the time comes. Also, it’s very important to set the right expectations to direct reports in the first place. What do you expect from them? What must be achieved in order to get a salary increase or promotion? I must say, sometimes it could be a tough decision to make.

Chris Makara

I haven’t really built out an incentive system yet, as I typically pay for hours worked (provided tasks are completed in a reasonable time). As for the rates, it will depend on the level of work needed. For example, if someone is doing an SEO audit, that can take more skill than researching link opportunities.

Marcus Miller

Client retention throughout the business is our primary metric for the bonus scheme and salary is always based on experience and performance.

Rodrigo Stockebrand

We use general market rates for salaries. For incentives, we take into consideration a variety of activities including rank-a-thons and point-based “achievement unlocks.”

Artem Melikian

The incentive system is built on the results of projects conducted by our team. (Except for projects in which the result is difficult to measure or not measured in specific numeric KPIs).

There is a fixed part and bonus. The last one consists of several subparts:

  • Bonus for project management – Usually more than the fixed part
  • Bonus for achieving the result – More the bonus for project management

Bonus for project management depends on the project’s budget. Bonus for achieving the result depends on the result itself (the better the result, the bigger the bonus).

The win-win-win strategy: The client receives the result, the specialist – a good reward, the agency – satisfied customers and specialists, and LT.

Sean Si

  • Since we have a dedicated sales team, we offer incentives/commissions to them every time they make a sale or close a client. For our regular team members, we don’t really like the idea of overworking and we strongly discourage overtime since a healthy person can do a lot more than someone that has burned themselves out. This is why we have a relatively generous vacation system and we really encourage our team members to take a break once in a while since it’s an important aspect of staying healthy.
  • The salary rate in the Philippines is pretty straightforward and we work around or use that amount as a standard/baseline since we never hired SEOs outside of the company. All our SEOs have been internally trained and started out as a normal team member.

Eren Kozik

I go individually to the wishes of the employees and try to fulfill them if the wishes are not completely beyond the scope. Listen, appreciate and be honest. Especially in our fast-moving time, it is important to take time for the employees.

No one needs a football table to feel comfortable in a company. For example, instead of a foosball table, we have the option of a job bike, which I fully finance as an AG.

Of course, flexible working hours, job tickets and options for HomeOffice days are must-haves, so that employees can spend a little more free time. Amenities that make work more enjoyable, because only a co-worker who feels comfortable and does not have to worry can concentrate fully on the work and perform at their best.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and tips in the comments section.

Inna Yatsyna is a Brand and Community Development Specialist at Serpstat. She can be found on Twitter @erin_yat.

The post How to lead SEO teams and track its performance effectively: Experts‘ tips appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Digital Marketing News: Google Phases Out Search Console & Adds Bidding Options, Marketing Business to Gen Z, Instagram Post Study & More

2019 September 13 Campaign Monitor Chart

2019 September 13 Campaign Monitor ChartThe rise of Spotify as an advertising channel
Spotify has over 217 million users, and the music and podcasts they increasingly listen to have brought greater attention from marketers. ClickZ takes a look at how marketers are embracing Spotify for advertising. ClickZ

Ad Revenue Holds Steady Despite Recession Worries
Digital advertising spending was up nearly 20 percent in the second quarter of 2019, according to newly-released study data that also highlights the comparatively greater number of small-to-medium size firms using digital versus traditional formats. Broadcasting & Cable

Google’s First-Price Auction Switch Is Making Header Bidding Partners Win More
Google has moved to implement a full launch of its previously-announced unified first-price ad auctions, a move that will take place in the coming weeks, bringing new options for digital marketers who use Google Ad Manager. AdExchanger

Forrester: How Amazon’s ad growth will threaten Google, Facebook, agencies and ad-tech
Forrester Research has released a new report looking at the strong growth of Amazon ads and how the company’s rise is affecting an array of rivals from Facebook to agencies and ad-tech firms. Marketing Dive takes a look at the report and how Amazon’s ad growth may also affect marketers and vendors. Marketing Dive

Mozilla flips the default switch on Firefox tracker cookie blocking
Firefox web browser creator Mozilla has released a new version that enables anti-tracking settings by default, a change from its previous optional default setting, and TechCrunch looks at how the switch may affect digital marketers. TechCrunch

Gen Z Marketing: How to Market Your Business to the Next Generation [Infographic]
Only 14.4 percent of Gen Z survey respondents between the ages of 14 and 26 use email for work, with 68 percent opening emails that include sales or special offers, while 85 percent use YouTube — several of the recently-released statistics from Campaign Monitor of interest to online marketers. Social Media Today

2019 September 13 Statistics ImageHow Consumers Really Feel About Ads
74 percent of survey respondents implemented strategies to avoid ads, up from 64 percent in 2018, and a newly-released eMarketer podcast looks at consumer sentiment and how it relates to ads, especially what drives attempts to block them. eMarketer

Older Consumers Embrace New Media, Tech In Big Way
84 percent of millennials and 74 percent of Gen Xers use Facebook, while their older demographic counterparts the Baby Boomers and those in the Silent Generation have seen the biggest rise in usage of the platform over the past four years, some of the data from a Pew Research Center study examining technology usage. MediaPost

Saying goodbye to the old Search Console
Google has bid adieu to longstanding portions of its Search Console, as the search giant continues work on the newest incarnation, and this week it completely shut down its old Google Search Console. Google Webmaster Central

New Study Looks at How Emojis, Videos and Caption Lengths Impact Instagram Post Performance
Business Instagram usage was the focus of newly-released study data examining over 5.4 million posts from some 34,000 firms. The report from Quintly revealed that over 68 percent of posts consist of single images, among other findings of interest to digital marketers. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2019 September 13 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at big data promises by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Apple Reveals New iPhones At Yearly September Event — The Onion

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing & Lane R. Ellis — Total Annarchy Ann Handley newsletter edition #43 — Ann Handley
  • Lane R. Ellis & Lee Odden — Brett Tabke on Pubcon Turning 20, Anger at Google & The Power of Content [PODCAST] — Search Engine Journal
  • Lane R. Ellis — What’s Trending: Learning on the Job — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — How to Create More Content Marketing Impact with Conference Presentations — LinkedIn (client)
  • Ashley Zeckman & Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 4 — SocialAnimal
  • Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 3 — SocialAnimal
  • Lee Odden — Content Marketing World 2019: Social Roundup, Day 2 — SocialAnimal
  • Nick Nelson — Use These 10 Expert Tips to Improve Your Small Business — Small Business Trends
  • Nick Nelson — Is AP style on the decline? Also, why your audiences are ghosting you, plus Rose McKinney of Pineapple RM (Ep. 119) [Podcast] — Hanson & Hunt Talking Points Podcast
  • Alexis Hall — How Data Visualization Improves PR Communications — William Comcowich

Have you found your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week?

Thanks for joining us, and we hope you’ll come back again next week for more top digital marketing industry news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Google Phases Out Search Console & Adds Bidding Options, Marketing Business to Gen Z, Instagram Post Study & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

SEO is a team sport: How brands and agencies organize work

The importance of teamwork and workflow is often missing from discussions of SEO success.

So I interviewed 31 people, with titles ranging from Content Specialist to SEO Director, to CEO, and asked them about how teamwork and workflow affect their SEO operations and success.

Why did I do this? Because we can all learn from the experience of others. By understanding what works for others, we can hopefully avoid making their early mistakes.

Costs of poor coordination are traffic, conversions, working relationships

These costs are very real. Websites can suffer from less organic traffic and/or decreased conversions.

In the same way that people who run relay races practice how they hand the baton from runner to runner, the various team members working on a website need to work on how they interact and hand off work to each other.

Sometimes the technical SEO suffers, sometimes the design aesthetics suffer, sometimes the user experience suffers. Sometimes tradeoffs between the three need to be made. Something’s gotta give, and you don’t want these discussions to erode team cohesion.

How do agencies and brands coordinate SEO tasks effectively?

While there is almost universal agreement about what matters, there are interesting similarities and differences in how teams prioritize what matters. To use the relay race analogy again, there are differences in how people define a “smooth handoff”.

Can we learn something from each other in taking a high-level look at how we organize our SEO and content work? I think so. This belief is the basis of this article.

This article describes similarities and differences in SEO operations

When I started interviewing people for this article, I wasn’t sure what shape it would take. After several interviews, I realized people organize their teams around certain guiding principles. There seem to be a limited number of these guiding principles, and the order of importance varies from team to team.

As stated earlier, I interviewed 31 people, and the interviews uncovered seven guiding principles. Every guiding principle matters to everyone, but there are differences in opinion about which are most important.

There is also sometimes a need to make tradeoffs. For example, in order to properly use H2, H3, headers, they must appear on the page. For some pages, the designers may feel they don’t fit. So, it sometimes happens that to improve the page design aesthetics, you give a little in on-page SEO, and vice versa.

How conflicting priorities are managed also differs from team to team, and stems from which guiding principles are considered to be most important.

Disclaimer: A small data sample leads to some fuzziness in thinking

My data sample was only 31 people, and each organization was represented by one person. If I were to interview many more people, the distribution of the most important guiding principles might be different, and I might have uncovered more. If I had spoken to a different person within the organization, my understanding of their most important guiding principles might have been different.

Of the 31 people interviewed, 21 worked for agencies, and 10 worked for brands.

I believe there is something we can learn from each other through a high-level examination of how content and SEO teams organize their work and manage conflicting priorities.

The seven guiding principles around which people organized their SEO work

Below are the seven guiding principles, along with the number of people who considered each one to be most important. There is a brief description of each in which I explain how it’s different from guiding principles to which it seems similar.

Again, I wish to emphasize that everyone places importance on all seven. What’s different is the relative order of importance. Saying that six people are listed under “project management” means that six people felt project management was most important, not that any of the others are unimportant.

1. Project management: A primary focus on objections, milestones, and tasks

This is the tried-and-true project management we’re all familiar with. Objectives, milestones, tasks, and more. Six people spoke of this as being their most important guiding principle. That makes it the second most popular guiding principle, tied with context (see below).

2. Collaboration: Working together well is considered to be the most important

Collaboration is different from project management as the focus is more on working together, rather than on the structure in which the work is managed. This feels to me to be more fluid and to involve more give and take.

Of course, there is a project structure in which the work is done. It’s that the emphasis is collaboration first, then project management structure second. Four people spoke of this as their most important guiding principle.

3. Client management: An interesting way some agencies focus their internal staff

As you can imagine, this was exclusively the concern of agencies. The idea here is:

1. The internal team honors what the client has agreed to, and what the client has agreed to is spelled out in detail so as to provide guidance to the internal teams and any outside contractors they manage

2. By spelling this out in detail for the clients, the clients are educated about SEO. Two people spoke of this as their most important guiding principle.

4. Priorities: Where managing relative priorities take center stage

The focus here is on managing relative priorities. The core idea is a very structured way of determining how tradeoffs are made, which is central to how these people run projects.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is how I have been known to run projects, and this method has worked very well for me. Three people spoke of this as their most important guiding principle.

5. Education and knowledge: An interesting concept of a marketplace of ideas

The main focus here is that it’s not enough for people to tell other people what’s important, they must also explain and persuade as to why that point of view is important. Within these teams, team members “sell” each other on ideas to help streamline work.

SEOs teach designers why headers matter. Designers teach SEOs why templates matter.

Some of these teams also keep a shared knowledge base that everyone contributes to, which allows new team members to come up to speed faster.

This was THE most popular guiding principle around which people organized work, having been spoken of by seven people (five agencies and two brands).

6. Context: One of my personal favorites where everything is context-dependent

These last two are my personal favorites. The six people for whom context is the main guiding principle all work at agencies.

The concept could be applied in a more limited way for brands, but only agency people brought it up all, let alone described it as their main guiding principle.

The idea is that what matters most is context-dependent.

Are you working with a client who already has a lot of organic traffic and wants to increase conversion rates? Are you working with a blog post whose job is to attract readers and hand them off to a landing page, or a landing page whose job is to get the reader to download an eBook?

The context within a specific project, or set of tasks within a project, determines what matters most.

7. Experimentation: Or in other words, show me the data

Three companies, all brands, stressed the importance of experimentation as their main guiding principle.

It’s the standard methodology taught in the books: The Lean Startup and Running Lean

For those of you who haven’t read those books, the main ideas are:

1. Write down your assumptions

2. Translate those assumptions into a testable hypothesis

3. Structure experiments with which to test those hypotheses

4. Analyze the results of the experiments

If an experiment proves a hypothesis to be true, do more of that. If it proves a hypothesis to be false, stop doing that.

What is left out of the short descriptions above

It’s not the case that each team organized their work around only one guiding principle. That idea showed up in none of the interviews. That every team assigned different importance, or weight, to the different guiding principles IS the difference in how they organized their work.

Everyone settled into their patterns over time. Everyone had, at times in the past, experienced frustrations when work was coordinated and/or handed off poorly and/or simply done poorly.

As they encountered issues, they talked about how to solve them and made changes to how they worked. The guiding principles that came to be most important to them seem to be a result of the specific problems they needed to fix.

Who was interviewed and what did they say?

This section is divided into groups by guiding principles. It identifies who contributed which ideas and provides more about their thinking.

Front and center are principles of project management

The people for whom project management is the main guiding principle are:

  • Dean Cacioppo, Founder, OneClickSEO (agency)
  • Hamna Amjad, Content Marketing Executive, GigWorker (brand)
  • Juan Reyes, Digital Marketing Manager, Monkee Boy (agency)
  • Luke Wester, Digital Marketing Analyst, Miva (brand)
  • Mark Bruneman, Principle Digital Marketing Strategist, David-Kenneth Group (brand)
  • Thomas Pickett, Onpage SEO and Digital Design Specialist, FitSmallBusiness (brand)

Two of the companies above (GigWorker and FitSmallBusiness) make money through affiliate sales. As such, their websites are very large; their business objective is to attract a very high number of readers, some of whom make purchases that pay commissions.

Their websites and website teams are large. In both cases, most of the company is involved in web publishing in some way. They both have adopted rigorous publishing processes, as a result of the scale of their publishing efforts.

The other four companies (two brands and two agencies) find a strong process focus clarifies requirements upfront and prevents rework.

Dean expressed that scaling is achieved through task specialization, and fitting the various specialized tasks together requires a system.

Mark stated that everything done on the website starts with a team meeting, even creating and publishing a single blog post. These meetings can last up to two hours. Mark expressed that this greatly reduced rework as everyone understood what everyone else needed, before starting work on their part.

Juan expressed how their exacting process orientation is both their greatest strength and simultaneously keeping their processes updated to reflect industry changes is a significant challenge.

Luke expressed that every project starts with SEO requirements, around which everyone else organizes their work.

For whom collaboration matters most

The people for whom collaboration is the main guiding principle are:

  • Bryan Pattman, SEO Analyst, 9Sail (agency)
  • Nikki Bisel, Owner and Founder, Seafoam Media (agency)
  • Phil Mackie, Senior Digital Analyst and Owner, Top Sail Digital (agency)
  • Stephen Jeske, Senior Content Strategist, MarketMuse (brand)

To reiterate, collaboration differs from project management in terms of emphasis. Here, working well together can cause the project management structure to “give” a little when needed.

Bryan’s main points are 1) They work as an extension of their clients‘ marketing department, so being close to their customers is critical, and 2) Clients need to understand SEO as they have some responsibility for their SEO effort.

Nikki has an interesting concept of a monthly cadence with each client, which consists of multiple touchpoints throughout the month.

Phil expressed that tradeoffs that must be made between technical SEO and design aesthetics are very nuanced, requiring close collaboration.

Stephen stated their focus on collaboration is less intentional due to the stage of their company. He implied that as they grow, the way they organize work will likely shift.

This group most values client management

The people for whom client management is the main guiding principle are:

Again, client management is where requirements are spelled out in detail for the client, which serves two purposes; 1) educates clients about SEO, and 2) informs the team as to what the client expects in detail.

David described how there is a “translator” between the client and the internal team, the client advisor. This client interface person enables others to focus on their specialized tasks, which improves the quality of what they deliver.

Lee took this idea further and stated: “It’s all about managing clients”. This is critical to them as some of their clients are so big, there are silos within marketing at the client firm, and the folks at TK101 Global have to manage conflicting requirements from different people at the same customer.

This group most values the managing of relative priorities

The people for whom managing relative priorities is the main guiding principle are:

The managing of relative priorities has always been a bit of a sacred cow for me personally. While this is one of the most uncompromising guiding principles, in my opinion, it provides a solid framework for managing resources, whether that resource is a design template or the time of the people involved.

David stated the user experience is the new holy grail and relevancy is a critically important ranking factor.

Markelle expressed that the buyer (their client’s customer) is the anchor around which they build everything, and their priorities come from that.

Stacy strictly applies a prioritization of UX first, technical SEO second, and design third.

This group most values education and knowledge

The people for education and knowledge are the main guiding principles are:

This is where telling others what matters is not enough, you must also provide evidence as to why those things matter.

Greg said everyone on his team is cross-trained. SEO’s learn the basics of design, and designers learn the basics of technical SEO. This builds empathy, making team decisions much easier when it comes to collaboration and priorities.

Kevin expressed the same idea in different words. He said creative teams need to be educated on technical SEO basics and SEOs need to be educated on the importance of design templates.

Matt has a saying he uses to help people focus: “It’s not personal. It’s SEO”. This starts a conversation about why the things that matter, matter.

Michelle considers that part of her mandate is to make sure everyone has a basic knowledge of technical SEO.

Quincy has worked to ensure technical SEO is taken into consideration when design templates are created and requires SEOs and designers to provide supporting backup when explaining to each other why something matters.

Shelby starts with detailed analytics of successful websites (of clients‘ competitors and others) and uses that as a starting point to discuss how and why those websites are successful, and what their clients must do to compete.

Steve said something to the effect of “It’s all about education”, then expanded on the importance of SEOs and designers teaching each other.

This group embraces the idea that everything is context

The people for context this is the main guiding principle are:

Context refers to people who believe what is most important is very context-dependent. There were a lot of similarities in how people spoke of this – a lot.

Amine focused on the importance of the competitiveness of the industry and the relative values the client places on traffic versus conversion.

Chronis spoke about how they prioritize with their client after examining the top-ranking sites within a niche.

Joe provided the interesting statement of “the client provides the catalyst,” then expanded upon how their clients business situations determine the focus of their efforts.

Justin said something similar, that their client sets the criteria by which they make tradeoffs, and stated they sometimes feel the need to push back and make a case for what they see as a better set of priorities and tradeoffs.

Steve stated that how priorities are set and managed starts with their client, and they structure their work from that.

Tony provided what I consider to be an interesting way of thinking about this. A very high-level rigorous structure provides the framework for free-flowing creativity at a more granular level.

These folks are not from Missouri (the show me state), but they want to see the data

The people for whom experimentation is the main guiding principle are:

There are few, but interesting, differences in the way these people spoke about the importance of running experiments.

Apu made the interesting observation that short term ROI wins help fund longer-term efforts.

Chris stated that when their technical SEO people and their designers disagree, they don’t argue, they experiment.

Nadya and Chris both expressed the importance of how structured experiments based on testable hypotheses eliminate personal bias from these discussions.

The key take away for me, after talking with thirty-one people

SEO, like life, involves an endless series of trade-offs, and this is demonstrated by something as basic as how people prioritize the seven guiding principles uncovered through these interviews.

Not everything can be equally important, so you must decide which organizing principles are most important to you and your team, and how important they are relative to each other.

I recognize that as a “relative priorities” guy, the prior sentence reveals a personal bias of mine, but I don’t know a better way to describe the idea.

Success requires consistency, consistency requires some level of stability, and stability requires that the rules aren’t arbitrary and frequently changing.

So you need to know which organizing principles are most important to you and your team and organize the way you do your SEO work, around the principles most important to you.

The post SEO is a team sport: How brands and agencies organize work appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ann Handley on Being a “Badaxe” Marketer #b2bforum

Interview Ann Handley

Interview Ann Handley
Twelve years ago I had the good fortune to connect with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and she’s been a positive influence to me on what’s possible in content and B2B marketing ever since.

I’m not alone.

During that time, we’ve both grown as marketers. Well, maybe I’ve grown, but Ann has exploded. She regularly fills keynote rooms at conferences, draws long, long lines of people to get one of her best selling books signed and her company MarketingProfs has attracted over 600,000 subscribers.

Ann Handley is a marketing influencers’s influencer or more creatively, she’s an Annfluencer.

Since Ann is the very first Chief Content Officer ever, a multi-book best selling author, international keynote speaker and who I like to call, The Khaleesi of Content, we’re pretty fortunate to share the following interview. And after recent events in Toronto, you call also call her a “badaxe“ marketer.

In the video below Ann and I connected through Zoom to talk about a range of topics including a game of “hot or not” with content marketing tactics, examples of B2B brands doing it right, how she’s achieved meteoric success with her newsletter growth and of course, the upcoming B2B Forum conference happening near Washington D.C. on October 16-18.

Enjoy!

Thank you Ann!

B2B ForumBound for B2B Forum: For more information about imagining what’s possible in B2B, check out the MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference including agenda, list of speakers (including Ashley Zeckman and myself) and many other fun facts on the website here.

If you’re in marketing, I can’t recommend Ann’s Newsletter, Total Annarchy enough. You can subscribe and see back issues here.

Follow Ann on the Twitters here: @marketingprofs & @annhandley

The post B2B Marketing Spotlight: Ann Handley on Being a “Badaxe” Marketer #b2bforum appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

How to write landing page copy that converts like crazy

Example of Quicksprout's landing page copy for ctas

Businesses that use 10 to 15 landing pages experience up to 55% more leads. However, it isn’t as easy as slapping a landing page up and watching the money come in. You need amazing copy to experience that.

Copywriting is the art of using words to convince customers to purchase a product. Furthermore, landing pages are bare-bones sales pages with one goal – to sell something.

That means landing pages need to have a crisp copy that gets the customer excited or they’ll leave in a snap of a finger. This is also why we’re going to be covering seven landing page copywriting techniques that boost conversion rates today if you keep reading.

Let’s dive in.

Effective landing page copywriting strategies

These are some of the best copywriting strategies you can use throughout a landing page. Try them out in headlines, subheadings, and within the body. Use them in different combinations and see the results for yourself.

1. Include plenty of calls to action

Calls to action are phrases and words which tell the customers to do something. This typically involves helping them to take the next action in a sales funnel. Common CTAs that work well include:

  • Buy now
  • Shop now
  • Add to cart
  • Order today
  • Don’t wait

They are subtle but extremely powerful. In fact, it’s been found that 90% of visitors who will read your headline read the call to action copy, too. That means if you wheel them in with a great headline, you’re increasing the chances of customers converting by adding a CTA afterward.

Check out this landing page for QuickSprout where they use the prompt “Start Now” in the text field for free website analysis.

Note how the headline “Grow your business, faster.” gets the reader’s attention while the CTA seals the deal.

2. Agitate the customer’s pain points

Why do customers purchase a product? To solve a problem. Reminding them of this issue and the related experiences bring out emotions that can help improve the chances of a sale.

You have to remember that the purchasing process is very emotional. As a matter of fact, a Harvard University professor argues that it’s roughly 95% emotional. By making the customer feel emotions associated with the product and solution, you’re aligning with this consumer behavior.

Look how this customer success company uses this strategy on their website:

Landing page copy that agitates pain points

The copy on this ebook’s landing page mentions the pain point of customer churn multiple times, reminding anyone losing customers of their problem. Stating how this book can remedy this experience via bullet points is the icing on the cake.

3. Use storytelling to relate to your audience

Everyone loves a good story. In fact, it’s how we communicated through means like cave art centuries before modern language. It should be no surprise that testimonials, which are just a variant of storytelling, are proven to boost conversions on landing pages.

This is why no landing page is complete without some great customer stories. You will need to ensure that you ask previous customers for permission before using their feedback and possibly their image, too.

Furthermore, storytelling can be executed by telling a personal tale of how you once too were in the customer’s shoes. Explain your situation as it relates to theirs and how they succeeded thanks to your product or service.

4. Create a slippery slope

Joseph Sugarman, one of the world’s greatest copywriters, coined the term slippery slope in one of his famous books, ‘The Adweek Copywriters Handbook‘. This is the strategy of organizing copy in a way that helps customers flow through it effortlessly, ultimately getting to the end sale sooner.

You can achieve this on your own landing page by first ensuring that the copy is organized in a logical sequence. This normally looks like:

  • A captivating headline that grabs the reader’s attention
  • An introduction to the offer, its features, and benefits
  • Pricing and justification for the investment
  • Testimonials that act as social proof
  • Answers to questions and objections customers may have
  • Call to action for purchasing the product

See how that order flows in a natural way? Furthermore, a slippery slope is created by using short and snappy sentences. This makes copy easier to read and less intimidating.

Taking this approach along with the other copywriting strategies we’re teaching you today will produce a landing page customers can’t wait to finish.

5. Keep the language simple and digestible

Roughly 32 million adults in the United States read at a basic level. That means if you use complex vocabulary and technical jargon, you’re filtering out a large group of people reading a landing page.

Instead, you should opt to use a simple and casual language that sounds like a friend speaking to a friend. This is much more digestible, fun to read, and personable.

You should also aim to write as you speak. So, don’t be afraid to break some grammar rules to sound natural and human-like because it can pay off big time.

6. Ask questions that get the customer answering with a “yes”

The more you get the customer thinking “yes” all along the landing page, the more likely they will be able to say that towards the sale. How do you do this? By asking questions they are thinking.

These don’t have to be extremely complex, either. In fact, the simpler the better. You should have a good idea of your customer’s interests, feelings, values, and more. Use this to add questions you’re confident are on their mind to get them relating to your copy more and more.

Look how this marketing publication used this strategy in one of their resource compilations for SEO:

Example of landing page copy headlines

Anyone struggling to perform SEO effectively will read the headline and instantly be more intrigued since they can relate.

7. Use urgency to entice quicker action

Think about it from the customer’s perspective. They see that there’s only a limited time to take advantage of an offer. How would they feel? Urgent to take action. This is precisely why you need to mix in urgent copywriting into landing pages.

Urgency can be created in many ways, as well. The first of which is to frame your offer as “only available for a limited time”. Look how the telephone company Telus pulls this off one of their sales pages:

Telus landing page

Customers will feel more enticed to shop now as they’ll miss out on a great deal. We also call this fear of missing out or FOMO for short. It’s a common aspect of human psychology you can tug on as a copywriter.

Wrapping up landing page copy with key takeaways

Great copy can make or break a landing page. That’s why you need to take the time to craft an epic copy that gets customers itching to buy from you. This can be achieved by applying the main takeaways of today’s article:

  1. Use calls to action for pushing customers along the sales funnel
  2. Bring up pain points customers are experiencing to create emotion
  3. Take advantage of testimonials and storytelling for social proof
  4. Short paragraphs, snappy sentences, and a logical sequence create a slippery slope
  5. Simple language is more easily readable and less intimidating
  6. Ask questions that relate to the customer’s experience
  7. Use urgency and scarcity to make customers feel they need to take immediate action

Got some more tips for landing page copy? Share them in the comments.

Carmine Mastropierro is Founder of Mastro Commerce.

The post How to write landing page copy that converts like crazy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com