The post How Influence and SEO Can Drive Customer Experience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
The post How Influence and SEO Can Drive Customer Experience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Google hasn’t been merely a search engine for some time. These days it has grown into a massive space on the web where businesses and potential customers can meet. In this article, we’ll touch on the aspects of using Google for branding.
Here’s a list of Google’s underused services, and suggested ways you can use them to your advantage.
Google Marketing Platform is a kind of umbrella brand that Google has developed to make its products work together more effectively. It is essentially a merger of Google Analytics 360 and DoubleClick Digital Marketing.
Source: Google support
Google Analytics is a part of the Google Marketing Platform which tracks website traffic and reports information about who is searching for what and where. There are many analytics services available, but Google’s is the most widely used in the world. It can track visitors to your website, and tell you quite a lot about them and how they interact with your site.
When someone visits your site, Google Analytics can keep track of the duration of the visit, the number of pages they viewed, how they got there, and even the bounce rate. It does all this anonymously, of course, you can distinguish between unique users, but you will not have any idea who any particular user is.
Analytics for Mobile Apps is like Google Analytics, the only difference is, it tracks and gathers data for users of any iOS or Android apps you may have. It was designed to give app developers better data on how people use their apps, what people want from them, and how the apps could be making you more money.
Google My Business is a service that lets business owners verify the data Google holds about them. Google generates its own internal business listings for areas literally all over the world, getting its data from a range of online and offline sources. As the process is mostly automated and done without the human verification, errors sometimes occur.
Google My Business allows business owners to ensure that Google has accurate information about them, after claiming the existing listing business can make all the necessary corrections. Besides, if the company is for some reason still off Google’s radar, by creating a Google listing they can let Google know about them.
Thanks to Google My Business, companies can be certain that their customers will find up-to-date information about their business, and their chances of getting featured in the local pack increase as well.
Google Maps is more than just a navigation tool, as well. Google suggests businesses and events in the areas where people are searching for directions and encourages people to search for services (“Show me restaurants near 35th and Maple”) relevant to the way people use Maps.
Some businesses now try to outsmart Google Maps by adding fake business listings to Google Maps, and so, such fake results sometimes crowd out the real ones. Not let this happen Google is now putting effort into verifying the results it displays in Maps and elsewhere – more on that below.
G Suite is a set of software products developed by Google Cloud. It was initially called Google Apps for Your Domain. The current lineup of tools and services includes collaboration tools like Sites, Forms, Slides, Sheets and Docs, cloud storage solutions like Drive, and communication tools like Currents, Calendar, Hangouts, and Gmail. Premium versions of the service often include Jamboard (an interactive whiteboard app) as well as Vault and an Admin Panel to help you manage both users and features.
Google Cloud Platform is a suite of software services offering cloud-based access to the same global data infrastructure that it uses to deliver Google Search and YouTube. It essentially combines all of Google’s “infrastructure as a service”, “serverless computing”, and “platform as a service”. Google Cloud Platform offers cloud-based processing, data storage, analytics, and even some pretty advanced machine learning applications, all under a single set of management tools.
Google Ads, which was until very recently known as Google AdWords, is where Google really makes its money. It is still at its core a pay-per-click advertising service, but it operates across all the Google’s ever more sprawling service landscape. Businesses of all kinds can pay to get highly targeted users from showing them ads, relevant product listings, videos with sales or branding content, or offering users an opportunity to download the business‘ app.
Some of the services under Google Ads include AdWords Express, Keyword Planner, Reach Planner, Google Ads Manager Accounts, Google Ads Editor, Google Partners, and IP Address Exclusion tool.
Google for Retail is a service designed to make it easier for retailers to connect with existing customers as well as finding new ones. It gives you tools that you can use to better engage with existing customers and potential customers over Maps, Google Assistant, YouTube, and Search.
Source: Google for Retail
Google for Retail includes individualized solutions for offering inventory to local customers, developing shopping campaigns with partner organizations, and combining Google Ads with Smart Shopping Campaigns.
YouTube Ads is, as you might have guessed, the primary way to get your ads served up on YouTube. YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the planet, only Google processes more searches than YouTube. It is the infrastructure that connects nearly 2 billion active users to more than 50 million content creators, and 10% of US businesses already have a YouTube Business Account.
Ad types include TrueView Ads – demos, testimonials and adverts that users often search for directly, Non-Skippable YouTube Ads – ads which last up to 20 seconds that play either before or in the middle of a video, and Bumper Ads which last up to six seconds at the end of a video.
Universal App Campaigns are a way to advertise your app throughout Google Ads, Google Play, YouTube and the rest of Google’s advertising empire. It is heavily automated and relies on Google’s machine learning expertise to determine which of your ads work best with particular types of audiences (the ones which cause more users to install your app) and then ensures that the right users see the right ads.
The big benefit here is that you are relieved of the burden of manually split testing and tracking ad performance.
NAP in Google terms stands for Name, address, and phone number. Most experts believe that Google relies heavily on your business‘ listed NAP to target search results to individual clients. That is why using NAP in SEO is incredibly important. If you aren’t using it consistently and accurately, you could be losing out on a huge number of highly targeted, site visitors every day – those who Google believes are in your area and actively looking for the goods or services you provide.
How do you use it correctly? It’s not difficult. List your business‘ name, address and phone number accurately on your website, and on as many other sites as you can manage. Start with the obvious – your GMB listing, the Internet Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and any local or national business directories which cater to your industry or niche. Most importantly, though, list it consistently. Always use the exact same name, address and phone number, and make sure that all are real.
Why does Google care so much about NAP? It isn’t merely about geo-targeting search results. It is about eliminating false and spam sites from those search results. There are a great many businesses that depend on showing up in as many searches as possible, even those that are not particularly useful to the searcher. Great for them, but it makes Google’s results seem less reliable and relevant to the user, and Google can’t let it happen. It looks for widespread, consistent NAP data for a business or a website to gauge how legitimate your business is. Few false sites have real addresses or phone numbers, and even fewer use them consistently across multiple sites and platforms. Using Name, Address and Phone Number data accurately and consistently help your company look legitimate, as well as bring in geo-targeted searches.
Google has become a vast landscape of user-centric services that are almost completely funded by advertising. It has become incredibly canny about how to get advertising messages out to its users in a way that does not annoy users and brings them something they actually need. They make sure that your sales message reaches people who actually need your service, which truly is a game-changer.
Google now has so many individual services that it can be difficult for non-experts to really get the most from its features. However, failing to gain a certain level of expertise in Google advertising can be disastrous for even a small business these days.
Diana Ford is a digital marketing specialist with writing expertise that spans across online marketing, SEO, social media, and blogging.
The post Google for branding: Getting more from search engine services appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Facebook Adds ‚One-Time Notification‘ API to Messenger for Business
Facebook has given marketers new options for contacting consumers who have agreed to notifications, with the release of an API token system that will enable expanded brand-to-customer contact choices, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today
Twitter says ad tech and product updates will improve direct response advertising
Twitter saw fourth quarter advertising revenues climb by some 12 percent to $885 million, with monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) up 21 percent to 152 million, and pointed to several updates that it expects to continue bringing better direct-response ad revenue, the firm recently reported. Marketing Land
Top Twitter Stats for 2020 [Infographic]
Twitter’s ad engagement rates rose by 23 percent, with video ads on the platform coming in some 50 percent cheaper in cost-per-engagement, two of many statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in recent Hootsuite infographic data. Social Media Today
Facebook Is Killing Off Its Web Supply In Audience Network – And Don’t Be Surprised If It All Shuts Down
Facebook has announced that it is phasing out mobile web publishers in its Audience Network. Shuttering one of its low-performing formats may have been driven by the shift away from browser cookies, as Facebook and other social platforms look to alternate forms of ad tracking. AdExchanger
Pinterest shares surge as revenue, user adds beat estimates
Pinterest announced fourth-quarter revenue increases up 46 percent to $400 million and an accompanying 26 percent increase in monthly active users, as the image-focused platform also announced plans to launch its own Verified Merchant Program. Reuters
New Research Shows Facebook Still Holds Sway With Millennials and Gen Z [Infographic]
Facebook has remained the most popular social platform among Millennials, with some 77 percent using it daily, while 64 percent of the demographic have their purchasing behavior influencer by the YouTube influencers they follow — two of several statistics of interest to digital marketers in newly-released survey data. Social Media Today
Google is Expanding Shopping Ads to Gmail
Google announced that it plans to offer a new variety of ads targeting Gmail users. Beginning March 4, Google’s Product and Showcase Shopping ads will get the ability to run on Gmail, the search giant recently revealed. Search Engine Journal
56% of marketers think AI will negatively impact branding in 2020, study says
The effect artificial intelligence (AI) has on branding is largely seen in a negative light, with 56 percent of marketers expressing fear that the technology could lead to the loss of jobs and lower creativity, while an even higher number — 77 percent — also expressed at least some level of concern over the use of AI with branding efforts. Marketing Dive
Instagram Adds New Listings of ‚Least Interacted With‘ and ‚Most Shown in Feed‘ in Following Tab
Instagram’s „following“ section received a new listing that shows those accounts a user interacts with the least, the Facebook-owned platform recently announced. The new interaction data could help digital marketers discover those users prime for increased engagement efforts. Social Media Today
US Online Media Spend in 2019 and the Outlook for 2020
Continuing on from a strong 2019 online media spend of $145.3 billion in the U.S., 2020 is expected to top $166 billion, an increase of more than 14 percent, along with a record $3.4 billion for influencer spending, according to new forecast report data from MarketingCharts. MarketingCharts
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:
A lighthearted look at 7 types of LinkedIn requests by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist
The 10 Best Super Bowl Ads of 2020 — Adweek
TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:
Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you will return again next week for another selection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. 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: Record Influencer Spending, Google’s Gmail Shopping Ads, Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program, & Twitter Engagement Stats appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
As that last page of the calendar flips over, we’re always reminded to look back, refocus, and prepare for the year ahead. Take yourself back for a moment to the beginning of 2010 – could you even have imagined how much search would change in the last decade?
At a macro level, the last decade has brought about a transformation from search as a perfunctory information-finding task to a complex journey with many touchpoints across devices, networks, and channels. Simply browsing has given way to desires for the convenience of instant answers. As social media has been plagued by “fake news” and rampant misinformation, search has proven far more effective at crowdsourcing the verification of data, whether it’s business location information, answers to informational questions, claims about products, and more.
In fact, ten years ago marketers were hard-pressed to get their messaging in front of people who actually wanted to hear it. Today, over 60% of people expect brands to give them the information they need when they need it, and less than half of them feel that brands are delivering (Google). The face of search is changing and SEOs, more than anyone, need to track the trajectory of these changes to stay relevant.
Voice search is undoubtedly one of the most impactful consumer trends affecting SEOs, and you can expect that to continue over the next decade. Google first introduced Voice Search in 2002, but it’s only in the last several years that consumers have really grown comfortable conversing and engaging with their devices in the way we now do. People are no longer pecking words into the keyboard and hoping Google understands their intent, they’re asking questions and even having ongoing conversations with technology. Longtail is the new norm.
They’re not only asking Google or Alexa, either. Even though Google dominates traditional search engine market share, search is happening on platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube, too. Getting the answer to a single question might span multiple networks as increasingly savvy searchers compare answers from different sources.
SEOs are having to adapt to a zero-click environment, where Google curates so much information that searchers‘ needs are answered without ever leaving the SERP. As a result, SEOs are having to make better use of Featured Snippets and other space available to them throughout the search ecosystem. Schema.org has been around since 2011 but it’s only in the latter part of this last decade that structured data really became one of the core tenets of SEO.
The mobile experience has been an area of focus for many years, but in 2018 it was made mission-critical as Google introduced the mobile-first index and mobile speed updates. Snippets became smaller, page speed became a ranking factor for mobile searches, and video became a far more commonly used content format in the SERPs. SEOs had to move beyond thinking of “mobile-friendly” only in terms of web development and consider how mobile users search for and consume content, as well.
Today, we’ve moved beyond mobile-friendly to mobile-first, where websites need to do a lot more than just work on smartphones. Mobile-first design thinking offers a seamless, intuitive experience with careful thought given to content, navigation and site structure, CTAs in the context of the customer journey, and more.
Many have long assumed that the Quality Rater’s Guidelines were the keys to understanding algorithmic ranking factors, but it wasn’t confirmed by Google until VP of Search, Assistant and News, Ben Gomes told CNBC in 2018,
“You can view the rater guidelines as to where we want the search algorithm to go.”
EAT (expertise, authority, trust) are categorized as “very important” in the Guidelines. This is not new or earth-shattering, but it’s clear that content quality and author/business authority aren’t going anywhere. Crafting authoritative content, citing reputable sources, developing your digital footprint and online profile, and being involved in your niche are all going to be critical in the years to come.
“People come to Search for all types of information to help them form a better understanding of the world and the topics they care about most. […] Now, we’re using the latest in machine learning to bring this approach to top stories in Google Search, making it easier for people to dive into the most useful, timely articles available.”
SEOs are being challenged by machine learning on two fronts – the first, in how Google uses it to evaluate and rank content. But secondly, SEOs have a huge opportunity to scale and maximize their own performance with smart automation and tools that incorporate machine learning.
First, the October 2019 NLP-based BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update, designed to use machine learning to help Google better understand the relationships between queries and content, rolled out affecting 10% of all queries. Google called BERT the “biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search,” so you can bet this is an area SEOs want to focus in the coming years.
As for how SEOs can use machine learning and smart automation, I’ve written about this in recent columns; check out How AI is powering real-time SEO research: Insights and optimization and Five ways SEOs can utilize data with insights, automation, and personalization for more.
Technical SEO is as important as ever, but SEOs are being forced to think more holistically about searcher experience and the entire journey from discovery to conversion and loyalty.
The IDC predicts that in 2025, 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of new data will be created around the world. As the role of SEO has evolved inside organizations, we increasingly find ourselves as the point resource for interpreting and activating marketing data.
In the coming years, we’ll have even more rich and diverse sources of data to draw from, too. For example, marketers now have access to crowdsourced open-source data via Google’s Dataset Search, just out of beta.
“The majority of governments in the world publish their data and describe it with schema.org. The United States leads in the number of open government datasets available, with more than two million. And the most popular data formats? Tables–you can find more than six million of them on Dataset Search.”
– Natasha Noy, Research Scientist at Google Research
Again, I can’t overstate the importance of smart automation for SEOs given the pace of the flood of data organizations are up against. Embracing automation there’s no possible way to perform in a real-time world without them. AI is enabling marketing to target demand, deliver on consumer expectations for real-time personalization, make smart content optimizations content that speaks directly to consumer needs at each stage of the journey across channels and devices, and more.
Video and visual SEO will be increasingly important elements in a comprehensive SEO strategy going forward. The next generation of search continues to push our understanding of what’s possible and develop particularly around how consumers find and consume multimedia content.
SEOs are now able to optimize for the awareness and consideration stages with voice content. Currently, Google Assistant is on over a billion devices and Google Home makes up 24% of the U.S. installed base (Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo accounts for 70%). Amazon uses Alexa as a loss leader to get consumers to spend money elsewhere on Amazon, while Google treats voice search as an extension of the search experience; as a more conversational way to find answers to life’s every need and problem.
Mike Levin, co-founder and partner in Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, said Amazon and Google’s strategies of offering lower-priced devices so people can own more than one in their home seems to be working. “Now, about one-third of both Amazon Echo and Google Home users have multiple units.” The report said 35 percent of owners have more than one device as of the December 2018 quarter, compared with 18 percent the previous year (CNBC).
Knowing that two of the world’s most prolific tech giants are duking it out to ensure there’s a voice search device in every home, car, and pocket, SEOs would be remiss not to make voice search an area of focus.
Don’t forget about your visual content, too, including video. Over two billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views. What’s more, greater than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, according to YouTube. The platform is a massive search engine in its own right. Original content is a great opportunity. But SEOs can also increase the online footprint of their company or clients by creatively repurposing content to capture traffic here and point it back to the next relevant step in the customer journey.
As the various facets of digital marketing continue to collide and converge, SEOs are uniquely positioned to lead. Last year (according to BrightEdge research) organic channel share expanded to 53.3% of website traffic. At some point in recent years, your SEO tasks could have touched on not only technical SEO and data analysis but social media, email marketing, blogging, PR, web design, and more.
The evolution of search is creating the necessity for a sort of Sherpa inside organizations; for hybrid marketers with equal parts analytical and creative thinking. Whether that person is in-house or a contracted extension of the team, the need for this bigger picture conductor who understands the challenges and opportunities of each channel is growing.
In this next phase of SEO, optimizing for search engines and optimizing the consumer experience truly become one. Business leaders will rely more heavily on the insights that SEO provides to make decisions in every department and will look to SEOs for guidance on how organizational data is used. As SEOs continue to bridge the gap between departments and disciplines, we enter a new era where the delivery of dynamic content and SEO is helping to create new experiences across the whole digital journey.
Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform BrightEdge. He can be found on Twitter @jimyu.
The post The changing face of search: Dynamic content and experiences that perform appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
“You’ve really got to put yourself out there. Don’t be too stiff.”
“Be honest and sincere!”
“Be vulnerable and relatable… and it doesn’t hurt if you can make ‘em laugh.”
Is this advice for a middle-aged man trying online dating for the first time? Or is it advice for B2B marketers?
Given the proximity to Valentine’s Day, can’t it be both?
The point is, as good as this advice may be for marketers, it’s as vague as it is omnipresent. We talk about “person-to-person” marketing and “humanizing the brand.” But what does it really mean to humanize a brand?
In some cases, apparently, it means high-octane nightmare fuel. So, maybe don’t try and make an adorable mascot for your software-as-a-service solution.
Here are some better ways to “humanize” your B2B content.
It can be hard to bring out the humanity in B2B content, especially when your product is intangible. Not many folks feel a warm sense of empathy with a cloud-based data solution. You can’t take adorable Instagram photos of happy customers cuddling with your supply chain logistics platform. That just means that B2B content marketers have to be more creative than even our B2C counterparts.
We all know there’s a fine line between being personal and being overly familiar. But we have to find that sweet spot between, “Hi, [firstname]” and “Hey Bob Johnson, 42, who ate a hamburger for lunch, how was your recent prostate exam?”
For B2B marketers, think more about smarter segmentation and less about personalizing on the individual level. As Ardath Albee (persona expert extraordinaire) puts it, “In B2B, we don’t need to know their shoe size and we don’t need to talk about their gender. We don’t need to know they live in the suburbs and have a wife, two kids, and a dog, and they drive a red Corvette.”
What we do need to know are the general challenges and aspirations people with a specific job title in a specific industry might have in common. Then we can customize content to suit their job-related needs — even the ones that don’t relate directly to the product.
It’s hard to imagine someone getting emotional about a B2B product — jumping up and down with excitement, wiping away tears, or eagerly unboxing the latest model. For B2C, the product itself might inspire these emotions. For B2B, the emotion comes in at a different angle.
It’s not about the solution itself — the emotion comes from what the solution can do. For example, the product may be a software solution that enables automation. The emotion comes from an employee who is able to finally leave work on time to be at home with their family.
Or it’s the thrill of earning a promotion with the help of a new analytics tool. Or the intertwined hope and anxiety of starting your own business, using a web hosting platform to launch your first site.
[bctt tweet=““Find the emotional stories that your solution makes possible, and make them the star of your content.” @Nitewrites “ username=“toprank“]
We know that valuable, best-answer content is the minimum for reaching an audience. That’s the new table stakes.
But B2B marketers are frequently accustomed to no-frills, straightforward presentation for all that thoughtful content. It’s called a white paper, after all, not a plaid paper. But when we’re thoughtful about the content experience, we can show off the brand’s creativity and personality, while at the same time showing respect for the audience.
Think about turning a long-scrolling asset into a beautiful and unique interactive experience. Or that series of interview posts into a long-form video series. Content experience is all about telling your audience, “Hey, we know that people need to be entertained. We’re people, too! So we made this not only useful, but also beautiful to look at and fun to play around with.”
I know, it’s tempting to present your brand as the alpha and omega, be-all and end-all source of all knowledge. If your wisdom isn’t absolute, why would people trust you as an authority? But the truth is, humility builds credibility more than the most dazzling display of knowledge does.
It’s called the Ben Franklin effect: When you help someone, you tend to like them — even more than if they helped you. So, give your audience an opportunity to help you out.
Ask questions that you genuinely want to hear answers to. Engage with their responses, ask more, let their expertise drive an ongoing conversation. This type of engagement accomplishes multiple goals:
Brands don’t create content; people do. But frequently we hide the human content creators behind the monolith of the brand. If we’re trying to connect with people on a personal level, we’ve got to let the people shine through.
That means giving employees and executives alike a voice in your content. But don’t stop there: Feature your customers and prospects, too.
Think about including influencers in your content as well, and not just as a one-off. Yet another of the endless perks of influencer marketing is that humanization of your brand. Influencers add credibility and prestige to content, but don’t overlook how they add personality, humor, and humanity, too.
As a creative writer with a weird sense of humor, I’m incredibly lucky to be in marketing right now. Just a decade ago, B2B marketing would have driven me insane by my third dry-as-dust eBook. There’s only so many times you can write about “utilizing and leveraging synergy” in third-person passive voice before the gears start to slip.
Fortunately, B2B content marketing has finally caught up with B2C in terms of creativity, emotional import, and essential humanity. We have “permission” to do it right — so what are we waiting for?
Humanize your brand with some great influencer content this year: Here are 25 ideas to get you started.