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Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar that boosts conversions

Editorial calendar - Template

30-second summary:

  • Content creation can be an overwhelming task for websites/blogs that need to push out content on a daily basis, to a consistent audience.
  • ‘Quality‘ exceeds ‘Quantity‘ and webmasters and content creators should absolutely follow that to make sure they’re not churning low-quality content pieces for their audience. This is where the requirement of an ‘Editorial Calendar‘ comes in.
  • With the careful implementation of the right Editorial Calendar, content teams can stay prepared and streamline their efforts towards the common goal.
  • There are various formats that one can work with. However, as they progress with the events of their calendar, they will need to keep updating their Editorial Calendar for relevance, based on feedback.
  • The benefits are myriad. The team is clearly able to see the number of published content for a given period and make modifications accordingly.

Did you know that 86% of B2C companies use content marketing as a part of their marketing strategy? The significance lies in two facts: the right mix of content marketing strategies can reach out to a wider audience. And the successful ones can provide the audience more than what they come to expect. High-quality content that comes from the right content marketing mix is not only useful for the audience but also helps brands establish a reputed impression for the target demographic. And it is highly agreed that an ‘Editorial Calendar‘ is the stepping stone to creating a great content mix that is going to work wonders for the efforts put in by marketers.

With a schedule in place, marketers are able to use the editorial calendar to control their content type for media platforms during a given period. They are able to coordinate content for publishing blog posts, ebooks, White papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, newsletters, or social media.

By better organizing and scheduling the brand’s content packets, an editorial calendar can help everyone on the team streamline their efforts.

An editorial calendar’s contribution to your business and brand

There’s so much to accomplish when an appropriate and strategically crafted editorial calendar is in place for the marketing team to work with. It becomes fairly easy to keep track and be prepared for upcoming content. The team is clearly able to see the number of published content for a given period. And any lack of strategy or effort gets reflected instantly and this is when it can be addressed right in time, without missing any deadlines.

While all of that is a collective team effort, a calendar also helps keep every team member accountable for the tasks they are designated with. Based on what others are doing to keep the content and marketing vehicle moving, everyone can prioritize tasks and manage their time more effectively, without having to hastily create content that might not be high in quality.

Moving on, content marketers cannot deny the fact that content redundancy is a thing. While an editorial calendar cannot completely eliminate this, it can help your team make adjustments ahead of time.

So, what does it take to create that perfect editorial calendar that works wonders and boosts conversions? Let’s find out in this guide below.

Contents of a successful Editorial Calendar

Your marketing calendar can be in any of these three formats: a spreadsheet, an application, or a printed calendar.

While freedom of choice can be well exercised in assessing the format of your editorial calendar, it is what’s inside that really matters. Keeping it elaborate is highly recommended so that any other team member is always able to comprehend it.

Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar: Categorizing an editorial calendar

The designs and contents of the calendar should sit well and align with all the roles associated with the responsibilities of creating content. We are talking – Content Writers, Bloggers, Content Managers, Social Media Content Manager, Editor, Assistant Editor, and the likes. While they have individual roles to serve, a well-crafted editorial calendar will act as a common reference for them to plan and merge their tasks, track deadlines, and churn high-quality content. Based on your strategy, the editorial calendar can carry a variety of details. Here’s an ideal listicle:

  • Type of Content
  • The title
  • Date of publication
  • Time of publication
  • Title, headline, or content topic
  • Author of content
  • Status of content completion
  • Content completion deadline
  • Feedback/Revision
  • Publish URL/Platform
  • Audience engagement metrics

The listicle is not hard-bound. Based on the needs of your content mix and what your brand is wanting to achieve with the calendar, the major fields can keep changing. And as and when the brand grows, the calendar can either get more complex or even simpler.

How to create a super-effective Editorial Calendar

Step 1: Jot down your priorities

You can start jotting down all the topics that you would want to cover in a listicle format. If you have already written a lot of content, then make sure to check out the subjects that you are yet to cover.

If you used to write generalized content previously, then try to write something that can address the specific concern of your audience. For example, if you own a website of mobile phones, then you can attempt to compose a buying guide on them. Remember, your goal is to help those people who are struggling to find a perfect device that suits their budget.

In addition to it, you would also need to determine your specific blog goals. Once you have found it, then you can put together different marketing targets, such as –

  • Getting more web traffic to your blog site
  • Enhancing the infrastructure of your blog’s on-site and off-site SEO
  • Boosting the reach and awareness of your blog
  • Generating more conversations and leads for improving your clientele list
  • Building a base of loyalty among your target customer and audience

Step 2: Decide upon your publication channels

Your editorial calendar is a reflection of planning. There are several channels available out there for publishing your work and each of them suits different types of writing. Make sure you assess them appropriately for publishing your posts, ebooks, White papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, newsletters, or social media

Step 3: Determine the frequency of your posts

Now, you will need to determine the number of posts that you are willing to upload at a regular interval. Just make sure to keep your momentum intact. A streamlined publishing schedule can help boost conversion because while the audience gets high-quality content to engage with, they can also rely on the brand to keep coming up with similar content to keep things moving. When they know when to expect your posts, they keep checking your space at regular intervals, helping strengthen their trust in your brand.

Step 4: Create a proper spreadsheet

Whether you are planning for business or trying to market your content, a spreadsheet can help you in several ways. With it, you can keep track of a lot of crucial things. For an editorial calendar, here’s what you can put down on the spreadsheet:

  • Date of publication
  • Choice of SEO optimized keywords
  • The name of the author
  • Description of the content
  • Title of the write-up
  • Status (complete, draft, hold, or published)
  • A proper list of CTAs
  • Your marketing goals
  • Channels of publication

Make sure to create the spreadsheet on your Google Drive to collaborate with your team members. Also, if you are thinking about creating something a bit sophisticated, then you can try out WordPress‘ Editorial Calendar plugin for your WordPress blog as well. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog. Here’s what else you can do:

  1. See all of your posts and when they’ll be posted.
  2. Drag and drop to change your post dates.
  3. Manage your drafts with the new drafts drawer.
  4. Quickly edit post titles, contents, and times.
  5. Publish posts or manage drafts.
  6. Easily see the status of your posts.
  7. Manage posts from multiple authors.

Step 5: Fill It up

As of now, you have only created the editorial calendar. So, to make it fully functional, you will need to fill it up. While writing for different spaces, try to come up with as many ideas as possible. But, make sure to be a little bit realistic as well. Moreover, if you are trying to help out people through your content, then make sure to focus more on the takeaway proposition of your blogs. In a guide-stylized write-up, you will need to add as many tips as possible.

Step 6: Strategize your workflow

The last step in this aspect for you would be strategizing your workflow. Collaborate and discuss with your team members to achieve all the following aspects:

  • Your marketing goals
  • A proper editorial guide (for helping the team produce niche content)
  • A thorough suggestion-based list on how to operate through the editorial calendar
  • The name of your team members and their responsibilities
  • Feedback, if any

The right content mix to successfully engage your audience

Yet another reason to implement the usage of editorial calendars across your content and marketing team is that they help you achieve a balance of the right mix; a mix that is going to successfully engage your audience and serve them everything but in the right ratios.

Let us put this in simpler words.

For example, your brand is publishing either a lot of blog posts or a lot of video content, without balancing the mix. Too much of any content type and under-utilization of other types can seriously harm your content strategy and you might miss out on an entire segment of your audience. This is where the visual nature of an editorial calendar can help your brand strike the right balance of published content formats.

Advanced Editorial Calendar tips for marketers

While editorial calendars are not entirely new to the marketing space, many experienced marketers still miss out on fronts that can help them ace their marketing mix for absolute success. Here are the most common ones:

  • Reviewing the editorial calendar and making changes to it at regular intervals is highly recommended. This is important because the marketing strategy can keep evolving and that needs to be reflected in the planning calendar as well. This can lead to changes in your publishing schedule and also the topics you choose to explore.
  • It is absolutely necessary to determine if your current publishing schedule is increasing your reader engagement. Any drop in the number of visitors needs to be looked into and fixed with additional efforts and changes in the publishing schedule.
  • Do not shy away from investing in project management tools like Trello to help you create your calendar. The tool offers ready-made templates that can fit your strategy like a glove. It lets you move tiles on a board to mark the start-to-finish for each project. However, if you are using Trello, make sure you are making the most out of them.

We absolutely love how editorial calendars are such a loop activity to work with. The trajectory of published pieces does not only easily help the team determine if the content was done properly but also lets them know if follow-up content would be required. This is where new content ideas can also shape up. Hence, the workflow and thought of the organizational chain can be easily established with the right editorial calendar in place. Remember, it is always about publishing the next best piece of content for your audience to engage with. So, keep working with your editorial calendar to make the most out of it.

Good luck with your editorial planning!

The post Advanced guide to creating an editorial calendar that boosts conversions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech Image

Oliver Christie of PertexaHealthTech Image

Just what is a B2B influencer, and what do they actually look like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews we’re having in-depth conversations with an impressive array of top B2B influencers, exploring the important issues that each expert is influential about.

Successful B2B influencers have a rare mix of the 5 Ps — proficiency, personality, publishing, promotion, and popularity — as our CEO Lee Odden has carefully outlined in „5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers.“

Offering up all of those boxes and more is Oliver Christie, chief artificial intelligence (AI) officer at PertexaHealthTech, who we’re delighted to be profiling today.

Nothing helps individuals and the businesses they work for break free from the norm quite like a tech disruption. The microprocessor. The internet. Mobile data. E-Commerce. When these technologies came onto the scene, everything changed… but what’s next?

According to Oliver Christie, it’s AI. In his own words: „Artificial Intelligence is the biggest technology disruption of our generation.“ As far as he’s concerned, A.I. isn’t just the future, it’s the present. In today’s new episode of the Break Free B2B Marketing Interview series, Christie speaks about the role of artificial intelligence in our lives, including topics like A.I. and morality, bias in A.I., and the direction of A.I.’s future.

Artificial intelligence isn’t science fiction. It’s very much a science reality, and Oliver Christie is one of the leading experts talking and consulting on the topic. In today’s 31 minute interview with TopRank’s own Josh Nite, he’ll be passing some of that expertise along.

Break Free B2B Interview with Oliver Christie

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • :55 – Introduction to Oliver Christie
  • 3:05 – Human-centric artificial intelligence
  • 4:14 – Personalization and how to avoid the „diabolical side“
  • 5:46 – The ways Oliver believes AI will impact the life of the everyday person in the next couple years
  • 7:10 – Personalization on Amazon
  • 11:13 – How AI will be reshaping business
  • 13:46 – What’s your new question?“
  • 16:50 – How the pandemic is changing the way technology is being developed
  • 19:10 – Bias in AI
  • 22:46 – How Oliver Christie found his niche as a thought leader
  • 27:58 – The importance of being yourself

Josh: I’m really interested in what we were talking about before we started. The idea of human-centric AI. AI can feel like this distant or cold thing or something that is, you know, it’s powering my Netflix algorithm. But I don’t know how it relates to my day to day. How is it a human-centric thing? We’re thinking about people and individuals.

Oliver: Something we’re moving more and more towards is thinking about people as individuals and what matters to us. How we talk. How do we act? What are our interests? You mentioned Netflix. The algorithm which says what you should watch next. If that’s successful, you watch more. If it has an understanding of what you might like, you can see more media if you get it. If it gets it wrong, if it doesn’t know who you are, it is a turnoff and you never see the difference between that and other media services. I think that the next big leap is going to be our products and services are going to be much more reactive to who we are. How will we live? And so on. But there are some big challenges. So it’s not a quick and easy thing to do. But I think the future is pretty exciting.

[bctt tweet=““I think that the next big leap is going to be our products and services are going to be much more reactive to who we are.” @OliverChristie #BreakFreeB2B #ArtificialIntelligence #AI“ username=“toprank“]

Josh: Have you ever been on Amazon while not logged in? It’s such a striking thing to open an incognito window or something and you see how much personalization goes into that page and how just clueless it seems when it’s not on there.

Oliver: Amazon’s an interesting one. It’s algorithm is better than nothing. And it works to a degree. Some of the time, if you match a pattern — so the music you listen to, the books you buy — f someone is quite close to that, it works. As soon as you deviate, it pulls down or as soon as you’re looking for something original, it also doesn’t work. So I think Amazon is a good example of where we are at the moment, but not where we could be next. Amazon doesn’t once ask, what are you trying to achieve in your shopping? What are you trying to do next? And I think that’s going to be one of the big shifts that will happen.

Josh: What are we trying to achieve with that shopping, though? Besides, for me, it’s filling the void of not being able to go out to a concert and having a party, having something to look forward to with deliveries coming in. What kind of intent are you thinking about?

Oliver: Imagine you had the same shopping experience and let’s say it’s for books, videos, or courses. And the simple question can be, what would you like to achieve in your career in the next six months? Where would you like to be or what’s happening in your personal life? Want some advice and information which could be really useful? I think this sort of tailoring is where things are heading. So it’s still selling books and courses and videos and so on. But it’s understandably the intent behind content. What could this do to your career? What could this do for your family life, your love life, whatever it might be? Now, of course, we’re all locked down at the moment. So it’s a very different sort of situation. But I think some of the same things still apply. There’s going to be a back and forth. So how much do you want to give up about your personal life? Better recommendation. And I think it’s kind of early in some respects. But the data they passed shows, yes, if you get something positive out of it, you’ll have to give up some of that previously.

[bctt tweet=““Amazon is a good example of where we are at the moment, but not where we could be next. Amazon doesn’t once ask, what are you trying to achieve in your shopping? What are you trying to do next?.” @OliverChristie #BreakFreeB2B“ username=“toprank“]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Oliver Christie on Making Life Better With AI appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Core Web Vitals report: 28 Ways to supercharge your site

Core Web Vitals report elements - Above and Below the Fold

30-second summary:

  • Google plans to roll out the new Core Web Vitals update in early 2021.
  • The overall size, dimensions, load order, and format of your images will drastically affect your PageSpeed score.
  • Loading critical CSS and JS inline can improve the perceived load time of your site.
  • Above-the-fold videos and large background images can be particularly damaging to your Largest Contentful Paint time.
  • A server upgrade and a CDN can improve your server response time and your contentful paint score.
  • Founder of Content Powered, James Parsons, shares an exhaustive list of 28 elements that will supercharge your site for Google’s Core Web Vitals update and Google PageSpeed Insights.

Announced in early 2020, the Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics Google is developing and plans to roll into their overall search algorithm in May of 2021. Given that it’s almost 2021 now, anyone who wants to get ahead on optimizing their site for this new algorithm update can get to work now. Thankfully, Google has been very good about publicly disclosing what these new metrics are and how they work.

Armed with that information, it’s possible to build a checklist of action items to check and optimize on your site to ready yourself for the inevitable rollout of these new ranking factors. Here are 28 such items for that checklist.

A. Image optimization

Images are one of the largest influencing factors in the core web vitals. All of the web vitals measure the time until some initial rendering, and loading images is the largest source of delay before a page is initially fully loaded. Thus, optimizing images tends to be the most powerful tool for improving core web vitals.

1. Reduce the Dimensions of Background Images

Background images are rarely fully necessary to a site design and can be a large source of delay in loading a page for the first time.

If you use a background image, reduce how large that image is and optimize it so it loads as close to instantaneously as possible.

2. Minimize or Replace Background Images with Patterns

If you’re not tied to a specific background image, either replace the image with flat colors, a gradient, or even a simple tiled pattern. Again, the goal is to minimize how many assets need to load before the initial load of the website is complete. Since background images don’t make a huge impact (and are even less necessary on mobile), minimize or remove them as much as possible.

3. Remove Images on Mobile Above the Fold

Speaking of mobile, the mobile browsing experience is often slower than desktop browsing due to the quality of cell and wireless signals. Mobile devices are especially susceptible to delays in the first input and on the content shift.

To help avoid that, strive to make as much of your above-the-fold content as possible based on text and other simple elements. Large images and slideshows above the fold are particularly rough on your score, so remove or move them as much as possible.

4. Implement Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a common technique for speeding up the initial load of any given page. With Google’s new metrics on the horizon, it’s no surprise that support for it is quickly becoming a default feature. WordPress, for example, added native default lazy loading in version 5.5 earlier this year. Make use of lazy loading for any content, particularly images, that doesn’t need to load above the fold initially.

5. Use WebP Images

Another Google initiative, WebP is a new image format developed back in 2010. It’s a smaller image format with better compression algorithms than your traditional image formats like PNG.

While it hasn’t really picked up widespread traction until recently, it’s becoming more and more valuable as both users and search engines are increasingly concerned with speed and load times. Support is widespread, even if usage isn’t, so you can more-or-less safely use WebP images as your primary image files.

6. Optimize Image File Sizes

Using a tool to crunch or smush image files to be smaller in file size should be a default part of optimizing images for the web by this point.

Core Web Vitals report elements - WebP Image Optimization

If you don’t do it already, make sure you implement a way to process images as part of your blogging workflow moving forward. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve defined the height and width of images to prevent layout shift.

B. CSS optimization

CSS has become an increasingly critical part of many site designs, so much so that blocking it makes the web almost unrecognizable. With so much of a site reliant on CSS for everything from colors to positioning, making sure your code is optimized is more important than ever.

7. Inline Critical CSS

You don’t need to inline every bit of your CSS, though that works as well. In particular, you want to inline CSS that is critical to the overall design and layout of your theme.

Core Web Vitals report elements - Inlining CSS

This minimizes the number of individual files a browser needs to call from your server just to load the initial layout and paint the initial content on your site.

8. Minify CSS

CSS is by default a very minimalist language and can operate perfectly well without spaces, indentation, comments, and other text that makes it more user-friendly and easier to develop. Before uploading new code to your site, run it through a tool to minify it and remove all of that excess cruft that has a microscopic-yet-tangible effect on page loading.

9. Consolidate CSS Files and Code

It can be tempting to store CSS in a variety of files and scattered throughout your code, placing it where it seems like it should be rather than where it makes sense to put it. Remember; what is easiest as a developer is not necessarily the fastest for a user. Consolidate your CSS, whether it’s inline or in separate files, and only execute specific elements as necessary.

10. Optimize CSS Delivery

CSS is often a late-loading element of site code. Traditional site design loads the framework for the site, then the content, then the CSS to format it all. Particularly when CSS is stored in an external file, this delays loading significantly. Preloading your CSS is a strategy recommended by Google to force the browser to load the CSS and have it ready when it’s needed.

C. JavaScript optimization

JavaScript is one of the biggest sources of code bloat and delay in loading websites. Optimizing your site’s JS can help speed it up tremendously, even when it doesn’t seem like it would have much of an effect based on what you’re doing to it.

11. Minify JS Scripts

Like CSS, JavaScript doesn’t need extraneous spaces and breaks to function. It also doesn’t need verbose variable names, which are useful for development but can increase the size of scripts by a significant amount.

Run your scripts through a minifier before adding them to your site.

Core Web Vitals report elements - Minify your Javascript

12. Consolidate Scripts and Minimize Usage

Many of the purposes web designers use JavaScript for have been available as features in HTML5 and CSS3 for years now. Particularly in older websites, a revamp or review of scripts can find alternative, faster ways to do the same things. Review and optimize, minimize, consolidate, and strip as much JavaScript as you can from your site.

13. Defer or Async Scripts Whenever Possible

Scripts are roadblocks in rendering a website. When a browser has to render a JS script, it has to process through that script before it can continue loading the page. Since many developers put scripts in their headers, this delays page loading significantly. Using Defer allows the browser to continue loading the page before executing the script, while Async allows them to load simultaneously. Using these two features allows you to offset the delay inherent in using scripts and speed up your initial page loads.

14. Remove jQuery Migrate

A recent update to jQuery has led to a lot of old plugins and scripts no longer working. To buy time and allow webmasters to update their sites, the Migrate module was introduced. This is essentially a translation module that allows old jQuery to function on sites that utilize a newer version of jQuery.

Core Web Vitals report elements - Remove jQuery Migrate

Perform an audit of your site to see if anything you’re using – particularly old plugins and apps – uses jQuery Migrate. If so, consider updating or replace those plugins. Your goal is to remove usage of the Migrate module entirely because it’s rather bulky and can slow down websites dramatically.

15. Use Google Hosted JS Whenever Possible

Google offers a range of standard libraries hosted on their servers for use on your website. Rather than relying on a third party for those libraries or hosting them yourself, use Google’s versions for the fastest possible load times.

D. Video optimization

Videos are increasingly popular as part of the average website, from core elements of content to video-based advertising and everything in between. They’re also extremely large files, even with partial loading and modern video buffering. Optimize your use of video as much as possible.

16. Use Image Placeholders for Video Thumbnails

There are plenty of users who browse the web with no desire to watch videos, so forcing videos to load in the background for them is completely unnecessary. A good workaround is to use an image placeholder where the video would normally load.

Core Web Vitals report elements - Lazy load your videos

The image loads faster and looks like the video player with a loaded thumbnail. When a user clicks it to start the video, it begins the video load but doesn’t require loading any of the video file or player until that point.

17. Minimize Videos Above the Fold

As with images, video files are extremely heavy, so loading them above the fold is a guaranteed delay on your first content paint. Push them below the fold; most people want to read a title and introduction before they get to the video anyway.

E. Font and icon optimization

Fonts and icon usage can be a lot heavier on a site’s load times than you might expect. Optimizing them might seem like minuscule detail work, but when you see the impact it can have, you’ll wonder why you never made these minor-yet-impactful optimizations before.

18. Preload Fonts

Similar to scripts, when your website calls for a font that it needs to load, loading that font takes precedence and stops the rest of the code from rendering.

Using a preload command to load the font earlier than necessary helps speed up page loading, as well as preventing the “flash of unstyled text” effect that happens for a brief instant between the text loading and the font styling appearing.

Core Web Vitals report elements - Pre-load your fonts

19. Only Use Fonts You Need

Many web fonts and font families load their entire character sets and stylesheets when called, even if your page doesn’t utilize 90% of that content. Often, you can limit how much you load, though you may need to pay for premium font access. It can be quite worthwhile if you’re using limited amounts of a given font, or a font that has a particularly large character set included.

20. Use SVG Whenever Possible

SVGs are Scalable Vector Graphics and are a way to create extremely small elements of a page that can nevertheless scale indefinitely, as well as be manipulated individually, to a much greater degree than traditional fonts and icons. If possible, switch to using SVGs instead of your usual icons.

F. Server optimization

No matter how many optimizations you make to the code of your website, to your images, or to other elements of your site, none of it matters if your server is slow. The proliferation of web hosting companies, the ongoing development of faster and stronger tech, all means that web hosting shows its age very quickly. Every few years, it can be worthwhile to change or upgrade hosting to faster infrastructure.

21. Upgrade to a Faster Server

You don’t necessarily need to upgrade from a shared host to a dedicated host, though this can help with some of the speed issues inherent in shared hosting. Even simply upgrading from a slower package to a faster one can be a good use of a budget.

22. Use a CDN

Modern content delivery networks can handle most of the elements of your site faster than your typical web host can in almost every circumstance. At a minimum, consider using a CDN for your images, videos, and other multimedia. You can also consider offloading stand-alone script files as well.

23. Preload DNS Queries

Preloading or prefetching DNS queries helps minimize the delay between an asset being requested by the visitor and the display of that asset.

This couples with using a CDN to store assets by loading and resolving the CDN’s domain before it’s called for the first time, further speeding up page load times.

Preload DNS queries - DNS lookups

24. Preload Your Cache

Often, a cache plugin or script used on a website triggers when the first visitor arrives to view the page. That first visitor has a slower experience, but their loads cache the page for future visitors until the cache expires. Unfortunately, the first visit is often a Google bot crawling your page from your XML sitemap or an internal link, and that means that Google is the first one to experience the slow version of your site. You can get around this by preloading the cache on your website so Google’s next visit is a guaranteed fast-loading web page.

25. Consider a Server-Side Cache

Software such as Varnish Cache acts as a server-side cache to further speed up the generation and serving of a cached version of your page, making it as fast as possible with as few server calls as possible.

G. Additional optimization

Anything that didn’t fit in another category has been added here. These additional optimizations might not apply to your site design, but if they do, taking care of them can be a great boon.

26. Minimize Third-Party Scripts

Webmasters in 2021 will need to strike a balance between site speed optimizations and user engagement tools.

Many plugins, such as social sharing buttons, third-party comment systems, and media embeds all need to execute third-party scripts in order to work, but those scripts slow down the site. Minimize them as much as possible, and try to find the fastest versions of each.

Minimize third-party scripts

27. Avoid Pre-Load Filler

A common technique for sites with slower load times is to add a spinner, a loading icon, an animation, or another form of content that loads and displays to indicate to a user that the site is, in fact, loading. While this can help minimize bounces, it’s a huge hit to the initial loads measured by the core web vitals. Remove these and work to speed up your site such that you don’t need them.

28. Consider a Site Redesign

When all is said and done, sometimes you need to make so many changes to so many foundational elements of your site that it’s easier to simply scrap your current design and engineer a new one with speed in mind. Consider it a possibility, and analyze the benefits you’ll get from optimized core web vitals. No one knows yet how influential those metrics will be on the overall algorithm, but it certainly can’t hurt to optimize for them.

James Parsons is the founder of Content Powered, a blog management & content marketing company. He’s worked as a senior-level content marketer for over a decade and writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and Business Insider.

The post Core Web Vitals report: 28 Ways to supercharge your site appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Search in 2021: Five must knows for advertisers and marketers

30-second summary:

  • 2020 set the stage for one of the most disruptive and fluid years search has ever seen.
  • Local search and Google My Business (GMB) set to be key focal areas for search advertisers and marketers amid shifts in COVID era search activity.
  • Google continues to make moves at further integrating ecommerce into search.
  • Manual Text Ads look to be on shaky ground as we move into 2021.
  • Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena, shares five must-knows for search in 2021.

From algorithm changes to shifts in search activity as a result of COVID-19, 2020 was one of the most disruptive years that the search industry has ever seen. And although positive movements have been made in helping to rein in the COVID-19, a “return to normal” still seems a long way off. However, with the COVID-19 vaccine raising the possibility that “non-COVID era” search habits may return, search professionals are hard at work trying to determine which industry changes are here to stay, and which may fade away, as the world begins to get long overdue COVID relief. This means the landscape of search in 2021 is likely to see just as unpredictable of evolution as it did in 2020.

With that in mind, here are three key areas search advertisers and marketers should pay close attention to as we move into, and through, 2021.

Doubling down on GMB and local search

Remember when Google My Business (GMB) was just a helpful little tool for search advertising and marketing? Those days are now behind us.

Accounting for 33% of how local businesses are ranked, GMB is now a huge factor when it comes to SEO. Moreover, as local continues to become a bigger part of the search environment as more users are opting to stay close to home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, advertisers and marketers need to optimize their search strategies appropriately and stay abreast of any enhancements to GMB.

Greater consideration for voice search

With 157 million Amazon Echos in homes around the US at the start of 2020, voice search is poised to continue being a massive player in search moving forward. And given how easy it is, the fact that more smart speakers are set to be purchased in the years to come, voice search is likely to go from a secondary voice channel to a primary one in short order. Therefore, with this new avenue opening up and PPC having to be rethought as a result, advertisers should begin thinking about how to optimize their searches from traditional keyword search logic to spoken word-centric phrases.

Direct buy on Google? Amazon beware

E-commerce is set to be one of the most intriguing areas of search in 2021 as Google continues to indicate that shopping will be a key goal for its platform moving forward. For years, Google has been signaling that shopping and e-commerce are key focal areas for its platform. And through the rollout of features such as Smart Shopping — among other things — Google has never been in a better position to drive sales directly from its SERPs. This means that not only should Amazon be on high-alert, but traditional retail search advertisers need to seriously consider their search strategies in the year ahead.

The end of the text ad?

Could 2021 be the end of the road for text ads? This has been the question on search pros minds particularly since Google briefly scrapped the ability to create text ads in October — not to mention when the ability to create ETAs disappeared from Google Ads dropdown menus on a smaller scale in August. Plus, given the added emphasis being placed on Smart Bidding, it seems that manual text ads could have a limited lifespan at best, and 2021 could be the year where we see this search staple wound down entirely.

Being OK with uncertainty

Search advertisers are used to adapting to continuously evolving circumstances. But 2021 could push the term “evolution” to an extreme. From better understanding search patterns during the COVID era to figuring out which trends are here to stay and which are just passing fads, 2021 is going to be a very hard year for search professionals to get their heads around — let alone always get it right. With that in mind, it has never been more important for search professionals to lean into both technology and teamwork to make sense of what lies ahead. Moreover, search professionals need to move into 2021 with a whole new perspective on flexibility. Simply put, search advertising is set to chart completely foreign waters in 2021, and by embracing the fact that uncertainty is the new normal search professionals will likely have a much easier time adapting to these new circumstances.

Closing note

While 2020 presented the search industry with an unprecedented amount of uncertainty, 2021 could represent a period of even greater unpredictability as several foundational changes seem to be set to take place within the space. However, by keeping an eye on these emerging areas and game planning now, search advertisers and marketers will not only be able to avoid potential headaches and growing pains but be able to put themselves in a position to drive success as soon as possible.

Ashley Fletcher is VP of Marketing at Adthena.

The post Search in 2021: Five must knows for advertisers and marketers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers

Busy business-people climbing stairs image.

Busy business-people climbing stairs image.

Are you wondering whether you’re missing valuable customer feedback because you’re just not looking in the right places?

Our digital landscape today offers a wide array of well-used standard methods for B2B marketers to collect customer feedback, with just a few including:

  • Monitoring Social Media Activity
  • Customer Experience Surveys
  • Feedback Forms
  • Website Data Analysis
  • Customer Reviews & Other User Generated Content
  • Direct Interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Usability Test Data
  • Sales & Customer Service Team Data

There are many other traditional ways as well, and each method excels in its own specific way, holding the promise of providing insightful information about customers or prospective customers.

There is also an entirely different realm of customer feedback opportunities, however — an area filled with less-explored avenues that offer a great deal of audience insight to B2B marketers willing to venture off the beaten feedback path.

B2B marketers can optimize their 2021 marketing efforts by using any or all of the five powerful unconventional sources of finding customer feedback that we’ll explore.

Let’s jump right in with five unconventional sources of valuable customer feedback.

1 — Google Question Hub & Other Tools

Getting to the heart of the questions most important to your customers and potential audience is a helpful path to learning more about your customers and gaining the information necessary to provide best-answer solutions.

We’ve looked at numerous tools for finding the questions customers are asking, such as those I explored in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” and now Google has expanded on its Google Search Console offering with the recent U.S. rollout of its Question Hub, a new service for finding unanswered search question data.

Google Question Hub, previously only available in three non-U.S. nations, focuses on the unanswered questions searchers are seeking to answer — data that can then be used to create content that fills these informational gaps — a potential goldmine for B2B marketers looking to differentiate their business with best answer content.

Google Question Hub uses topic categories to organize unanswered questions searchers have submitted, and allows those using the tool to add their own answers, in the form of articles or videos on sites verified in Google Search Console, or via YouTube video.

Question Hub lets users of the utility see how well the answers they’ve submitted have performed, and although the search giant notes that providing answers in Question Hub doesn’t affect search rankings for connected sites, forthcoming updates could eventually consider this sort of content among new search ranking signals should Google choose to do so.

As a new free tool, B2B marketers looking to both learn more about customers and the questions they’re asking, and to provide answers through Google Question Hub may find it worthwhile to explore this new Google functionality.

2 — Asking In Unexpected Places

Sometimes asking for customer feedback in unexpected places — and during unexpected times — can catch a customer at just the right spot to provide extremely frank insight.

As I explored in “5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews,” Airbnb saw success by making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys. Offering brands the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews, Airbnb’s system allowed users to easily leave video by turning on their phone or computer’s camera to leave a video response.

This video review format leads some customers — especially those who like the option to leave audio or video feedback — to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn can give businesses greater insight into customers.

The richly emotional opportunities afforded through direct video feedback can help B2B firms lend a more empathetic ear, and can lead to the creation of content that addresses any concerns brought up in customer video feedback.

“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

The technology to gather video or audio feedback — whether via survey forms or other feedback systems — has never been easier to implement, and in 2021 savvy B2B marketers looking to up their customer feedback strategy would be wise to consider such possibilities.

A key element to this approach is offering the ability to leave video or audio feedback at a point in the customer journey where it isn’t necessarily expected. This isn’t to say that feedback options shouldn’t also exist in the traditional places on company websites or social platforms, however the power of surprising a customer with the ability to share their thoughts verbally and visually — without having to type in feedback — may be underestimated among B2B organizations.

3 — Niche & Up-and-Coming Social Platforms

Where do you go in the online universe when you want to find honest thoughts from real people about topics that are new to you, whether they revolve around a local business or a global enterprise?

More people than ever have started including the search term “Reddit” in their search queries, to see what word on the digital street is regarding almost any particular subject, which may be why the social news aggregator and discussion platform is courting the half billion average monthly active user mark, and why its generated more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content.

Whether it’s gathering customer feedback in the form of ask-me-anything (AMA) events or keeping tabs on how your audiences are venting about possible frustrations relating to your brand, Reddit offers a slew of insight for B2B marketers willing to explore, as I dug into recently in “8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.”

With its sizable growth in past years Reddit can hardly be considered either an up-and-coming social platform or a niche-only network any longer, but others in the social landscape are still in that wild west stage of finding a specialty, and B2B marketers can benefit by taking a look at these communities, such as Clubhouse, Slack Communities, and others.

4 — Social Polls

Polls offer a special two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality customer and prospect feedback while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element.

Brands that take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions gain an inside glimpse into where marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use, and are also a helpful way to increase brand awareness.

While social media polls are by nature more limited in the number of responses that can be offered, brands can draw people in beyond simply selecting an existing poll choice by using the final poll choice to encourage responses in comments.

Brands can also gather social media poll data to get feedback on existing products and services, to learn customer pain points, to test interest in new product offerings, and to gauge reactions to new industry trends.

To learn more about social media polls check out my LinkedIn*-specific guide, “Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls,” helpful tactics for a variety of social platform polls in our content marketing manager Nick Nelson’s “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and take a look at what poll data can tell B2B marketers in my “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.”

5 — New Forms of Audience Usage Information

Websites today can collect more data than ever, yet filtering out the noise to harness the truly relevant gems of helpful customer feedback information may also be at an all-time level of difficulty.

Whether in the form of real-time human support chat logs, chatbot interaction data, or website usage information, pulling out the good stuff has been an ongoing challenge faced by B2B firms.

Luckily, to combat the record volumes of data, an impressive array of powerful data extraction tools have been developed, some focused primarily on gathering customer feedback.

There are some online spots holding potentially valuable customer feedback that may often get overlooked, especially some of the chat functions in applications used alongside virtual events. Just a few in these categories, where you may find customer feedback, include:

  • Zoom Chat Logs
  • Slack Channels
  • Skype Chat Logs
  • Google Hangouts Chats
  • Microsoft Teams Chats
  • Custom Event Chat Application Logs

Smart B2B Marketers Stand Out With Better Customer Feedback

via GIPHY

In the increasingly complex business environment of 2021, B2B brands need more than ever to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition.

Thankfully, finding and using customer feedback in places your competitors may not be monitoring can prove to be a strong technique to help your business stand out. We hope the unorthodox forms of finding customer feedback we’ve looked at here, from Google Question Hub to Clubhouse and more will help with your B2B marketing efforts in 2021.

Getting closer to customers takes many forms besides feedback, and to learn more check out “How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers,” by our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite.

The post 5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com