B2B Marketing News: Top B2B Content Barriers Study, Google Adds New My Business Data, Top Posting Times Report, & Tech Spending On The Rise

2021 January 15 MarketingCharts Chart

The Top Barriers to Creating Great B2B Content [Study]
Workload, resources, interference and changing priorities rank as the leading obstacles faced by B2B content marketers, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

Google My Business launches new performance reporting
Google has added new performance reporting features to its Google My Business service, which now includes search term data from Google Search and Maps, among other new reporting information available. Search Engine Land

The Best Times to Post Your Social Media Updates in 2021 [Infographic]
One LinkedIn post a day published on Tuesday through Thursday between 7 to 10 a.m. or 5 to 6 p.m. are the top posting days and times on the platform, according to newly-released report data, which also covers other social media platform top posting times. Social Media Today

Pandemic Accelerated Consumer Media Tech In 2020, Makes For Tough Comps In Next Few Years
U.S. consumer technology industry sales grew by 17 percent during the pandemic year of 2020 — its strongest performance of the past seven years — a growth rate that isn’t expected to continue during 2021 or 2022, according to recently-released forecast data. MediaPost

What Kinds of Online Ads Do Early Tech Adopters Say Catch Their Attention?
47 percent of early technology adopters prefer social network side banner ads and brand promotional content, while 37 percent prefer online video ads and some 34 percent favor traditional website banner ads, according to recently-released survey data of interest to online marketers. MarketingCharts

Advertiser Perceptions: Google Looms Large Over The ID Resolution Market, But Indies Are Also Making A Splash
29 percent of advertisers and agencies use Google as their top identity resolution solution, ahead of second place LiveRamp and Salesforce, according to new data from the Advertiser Perceptions ID resolution marketplace report. AdExchanger

2021 January 15 Statistics Image

Pinterest A Safe Haven For Brands As They Reportedly Cut Budgets Amidst Turmoil
The role of the primarily-positive social media platform Pinterest has undergone change during recent tumultuous times — changes that certain brands are benefiting from, as Pinterest announced fourth quarter usage gains. MediaPost

2021 Instagram Stories Benchmark Report
Brands are utilizing Instagram Stories more than ever, according to new RivalIQ report data of interest to digital marketers, detailing how retention rates are relatively flat and reach rates have fallen. RivalIQ

Consumers Want Warm And Cuddly Ads, Study Finds
Inspiration, joy, love and hope represent the top emotions that consumers are seeking in advertising, while 73 percent said that they wanted brands to feature greater diversity in campaigns during 2021, according to recently-released survey data examined by MediaPost. MediaPost

Here’s What Women Want to See from Brands in Advancing Gender Equality
More female leadership, stronger support, and more accurate portrayal in advertising are among the initiatives most wanted among brands seeking to advance the stature and representation of women, recently-released survey data shows. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2021 January 15 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “marketing beyond cookies” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

How Old-School Text Adventures Inspired Our Virtual Spaces — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Nick Nelson — 10 Important Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn from 2020 — Small Business Trends
  • TopRank Marketing — B2B Influencer Marketing: Vorteile richtig nutzen [In German.] — Contentpepper

Have you found your own top B2B marketing story from the past week of industry news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us for this edition of the TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you’ll return again next Friday for more 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.

Investigating Traffic Upticks

In this week’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Jo Cameron — Moz’s Learning Team Manager — dives into the process of addressing and capitalizing on traffic spikes, including how to determine where traffic is coming from and what to do with the increased attention. Enjoy! 

21 Smart SEO Tips for 2021

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. I’m going to be talking through the journey that you embark upon when you notice a sudden change in traffic to a particular page on your site. In our case, this was a sudden and consistent increase, which may on the face of it look great.

You may perceive that this is exactly what you and your clients have been striving for. But as we know, traffic funneling into your site isn’t the end of the story. You’re also going to want that traffic to convert. But also, when something like this happens, there can be other lessons that you can learn and potentially apply to other pages and areas of your site.

I’m Jo. I’m the Learning Team Manager here at Moz. We create all the course material that you’ll see on the Moz Academy. This is where you can advance your SEO education and earn your SEO Essentials Certification. We also write the documentation for how to use the Moz tools, and this is where our story begins.

What’s driving the spike? 

Over the summer, we noticed a fairly drastic increase in visitors to a particular MozBar help page. We wanted to go beyond trying to understand why we’re getting that traffic and turn this into an opportunity to support our company goals. 

So when you see something like this happen, your first question might reasonably be: Why? Why are we getting this traffic? What has changed? What has caused this? And also, what do we already know from the metrics we’re collecting? 

What do we know?

On the Moz Learning Team, we track top-level metrics monthly, including unique visitors. We also collect visitor sentiment through the “Feedback” button on the page. And we also collect reporting every month in our Moz Pro campaign, using Keyword Explorer and Link Explorer as handy research tools in our toolkit.

So first of all, we had a dig into the monthly metrics on a more granular level. We looked at the cadence of the traffic in Google Analytics to see if this was a sudden spike or a consistent trend over time. 

Now before you can be totally confident in the quality of your Google Analytics data, you may want to clear up and filter that data. You can learn all about this in the SEO Essentials Certification. With this course, we take you through our SEO methodology, which helps you to approach SEO strategically. This is made up of five sections: research, audit, optimize, amplify, and iterate. Reporting sits in the fifth section of the methodology, which is iterate. Within that, we break it down into awareness metrics, on-site activity, and the all important conversions. The lessons in the SEO Essentials Certification take you through this in much more detail, and you can download the SEO report card when you purchase this course.

So back to what we saw in Google Analytics, we noticed an upward trend that also reflected the pattern followed by our previous traffic trends. We saw these scallop shapes, which nicely line up with the weekdays and the weekends. You may be used to seeing a different shape depending on your industry. 

We also looked at referral data in Google Analytics and compared this to what we saw before the spike. We also looked at how traffic was entering and exiting that page through Google Analytics, and we had a dig around in Google Trends to see if we could identify any related topics taking off. I’m tracking the help section of the moz.com domain in my Moz Pro campaign, and I have this connected to Google Analytics. This pulls in the overall visits and landing pages. This is the data that you’ll see in the acquisition section of Google Analytics. 

So while my team is focused primarily on one area of moz.com, this gives me an idea of where this page sits as a percentage of search traffic in relation to other landing pages. 

Now this is where it all starts to come together. Under the rankings tab in my Moz Pro campaign, I can now see the landing page data cross-referenced with my tracked keywords and their rankings. So I can also see search volume and estimated visits for each tracked keyword. We also entered the MozBar URL into Keyword Explorer to review the ranking keywords for that URL, and then added these keywords to my existing campaign to track them over time.

We know that SEO and SEO reporting is iterative. So by building out your tracked keywords in this way, this will help you to fill in the blanks as to which keywords are sending traffic to your site. 

We also saw some interesting data from the “Visitor Satisfaction” button. This is the thumbs up or thumbs down option that you can select on this page and generally indicates if the content was helpful or not.

We saw that there were a lot more people responding that this content was indeed helpful. So this is not only positive for my team and I, but it’s also informative. It gave us a really good idea that the content on this page was generally matching the intent of the visitors. So we looked at all of this together, and we drew some conclusions.

It didn’t seem like this visitor traffic was coming from one particular source or campaign that we could reasonably attribute this to. It looked like it was reflecting our previous traffic trends, just a lot more of it. So it’s probably quite important now to explain a bit more about the page that we are investigating.

The page is about MozBar. It’s an overview of how to use our free Chrome extension. Now it would also be remiss of me not to mention the fact that we have had a massive shift this year in terms of changes to our lives and businesses due to COVID-19, which has had a massive impact on how people spend their time, how businesses are run, and many, many other areas of our lives.

So after we looked at data for that page, in addition to all the other reporting metrics, we took a step back and we thought, “Well, what is this page about, and how has this shift impacted demand for these types of tools?” Because of these two things, nothing else really standing out as a flag to indicate a single event and this global change, we started to lean towards this being part of an increase in demand for free tools.

MozBar is a free extension that sits at the top of your Chrome browser, and it displays link metrics for your pages that you visit on the web. It’s also got some other handy features, like the ability to highlight different types of links, so it can show you internal or external links on a page, and to check your on-page elements, and so on. So with all of this information we collected, we’re now circling around understanding what caused this.

What do we do with the traffic?



The trick for us wasn’t just to figure out why this was happening or why it happened, but to turn this into some kind of positive action. So what we decided to do was to test driving traffic directly from these pages or this particular page to our key Moz initiatives. So this would be our personalized, one-to-one walkthroughs of the Moz Pro tool and the Moz Pro free trial.

This was a quick edit for my team. We could add those in there fairly quickly to test this out. We already know that this page is doing a standup job of helping people to understand how to use MozBar, so let’s see if they are interested in our other SEO tools. We added length to this page to help people identify what to do next once they’ve given MozBar a go.

And what we found out was that we are indeed seeing people taking us up on this offer, and they are clicking through to have a chat with our excellent Onboarding Team and also to check out the Moz Pro 30-day free trial. So with this relatively small amount of effort from my team we’ve now started to collect data on visitor behavior that can better inform future decisions and future projects.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that this helps.

Video transcription by Speechpad.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: SEO blog

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

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.

“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 Click To Tweet

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.

“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 Click To Tweet

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:

Travel SEO Trends and Pivots from 2020 (and What to Carry into 2021)

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you can’t predict the future of tourism. Unlike nearly any other industry, tourism is simultaneously dictated by a number of factors including consumer proclivity, weather and climate, global economics, and government.

Travel was undoubtedly one of the hardest hit sectors in the 2020 shutdowns, which affected every business domain from the largest destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to local small businesses that thrive on the foot traffic tourism normally brings. US Travel’s year-end assessment determined there was a 48% drop in travel-related spending for December 2020 compared to 2019, and a year-long loss of $500 billion. Success in tourism in 2020 meant simply surviving for many businesses, accompanied by total content strategy revamps, product pivots, local SEO investments, and local marketing activations.

What worked in 2020

Locals-only tourism

With out-of-state quarantines in effect for most of the US, and especially prevalent in the northeast, once global destinations and metros became intensely local. Succeeding locally meant celebrating local culture and playing to the hometown advantage, and creating and activating hyper-local content and SEO to sell reimagined experiences and drive renewed interest at home.

Visit Philadelphia, the DMO for the greater Philadelphia region, revamped its 2020 marketing efforts to rollout “Our Turn To Tourist” through winter 2021, a “regional marketing initiative [that] encourages people to take staycations and close-to-home drive trips.”

Visit Philadelphia’s main objective is to attract tourists from all over the country to the city of Philadelphia. With millions of out-of-state visitors each year, and huge growth each year proceeding 2020, Visit Philadelphia had the early foresight to create content geared towards both locals and visitors, and adopted a local-first SEO strategy for things to do, see, and eat nearby.

The organization went so far as to create local-centric mini itineraries based off of current restrictions, optimizing for local tourism and attraction-related keywords, and widely distributing new COVID-19 content. This campaign supported not only the hotels and attractions in the city, but also the local restaurants and small businesses.

While not totally divergent in its approach, the long-term investment that Visit Philadelphia has made into winning at local search, snagging SERP features, and embracing new features like Discover, helps ensure it will continue to be a successful advocate for Philadelphia as “the greatest city in the USA to spend the weekend”.

Reinvented experiences

Tourism and experience-based companies hadn’t extensively ventured into the virtual space prior to 2020 — after all, why plan to watch the action from home when you could board a plane and take part live and in-person?

Philadelphia-based Beyond the Bell Tours, the only LGBTQ+-owned-and-run tour operator in the city, faced a critical decision in May 2020: Their hallmark Pride-themed “Drag Me Along” drag queen trolly bar crawl was unable to launch with bars closed indefinitely and social gatherings restricted. As searches continued to increase for virtual events, virtual gatherings, and virtual things to do, businesses that rose to meet the demand found success. For Beyond the Bell, that meant turning the “Drag Me Along” concept into “Pride In A Box”: a series of five different themed Pride boxes that included products and experiential components for use at home.

Though their website was originally built on a tour-booking engine, to execute a pivoted product strategy, they restructured it to allow an e-commerce integrated function, and optimized to sell products and experiences for Pride.

Founder Rebecca Fisher said, “We thought about how a box could embody a community. We highlighted queer people, businesses, and queer products, and held weekly events for Pride, all proceeds of which were donated to racial justice. A single ‘box’ purchased during Pride supported many queer businesses, and we wanted people to feel that impact.”

Ultimately, businesses that adapted quickly to changes in consumer search behavior, and that conducted and implemented keyword research for new content targeting previously unranked/low-volume terms, were better positioned to maintain consumer support and visibility even though actual travelers continued to drop.

Up-to-date info on expanding and changing regulations

Domestic travel is rarely regulated in the US, so when cities across the country responded to shut down orders, hot spots beloved by locals and tourists alike emptied out and revenue began to drastically fall.

As an SEO community (especially local!) we’re always advocates of the value of keeping local listings in Google My Business up-to-date, and it never mattered more than in 2020. Coming out on top were those who updated hours, COVID-19 policies and procedures, and published delivery or third-party partnerships. Unsurprisingly, AirBnB’s and VRBO’s new Covid content “enhanced cleaning protocol” and “guidelines for owners” come out top in searches for short term rental cleaning best practices, and cleanliness related to travel accomodations. Updated local listings allowed exasperated consumers to easily see what businesses were open, and allowed search-savvy businesses to leverage their GMB to position themselves as safety-conscious, accessible, and prioritize addressing consumer concerns (not to mention the features released to help businesses access these tools).

What to expect from tourism in 2021

It’s hard to remember a time of greater collective cabin fever. Though with border closings, pre-travel testing, and business closures remaining a moving target, we can still expect that a majority of travel will happen closer to home in early 2021. Here’s where we can expect to see growth first.

Short term stays: road trips, workspace respites, and snow birds

What’s ahead for short-term travels? Continued RV sales, for one, which were up 4.5% annually in 2020. These growth indicators, as well as public perceptions of travel safety, continue to slate hometown and close-by exploration as the early 2021 winners.

Outdoor and spaced-out activities show continued interest in search volume and sales. Yellowstone National Park alone saw a 21% increase in year-over-year visitation in September 2020. Don’t expect this to slow down any time soon.

Another trend we expect to see continue in early 2021? Snow birding. Once reserved for the retired, heading south for the winter is especially popular this year for northerners leaving lockdowns at home. Expect extended stays, fuller flights, and busier beaches than normal.

One final place you can expect to see travelers? In a nearby hotel. Formerly reserved for the luxurious staycations, local hotels have become workplace respites for those fully remote workers who lack adequate home office space. Though not “technically” travel, many hotels (Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton, for starters) are offering single-day, day-time only, “work from hotel” deals to help relieve lost revenue and fried nerves of managing co-occurring zoom calls at the kitchen table.

Extended visits: remote relocations

With many children and families, not to mention formerly remote employees, feeling the squeeze of their walls at home, many hotels and villa properties are offering cost-effective extended stays (three weeks or more). Mid-term relocations are becoming incredibly common, with particular flight happening from metro centers in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Individual countries are actively trying to scoop up consumer demand for change of scenery and pace, with countries like Dubai, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands offering temporary extended work visas to US citizens as a way to revive local tourism.

Short term rental properties such as beach house bookings, waterfront properties, mountain cabins, and southern getaways — or you know, just a yard if you’re a city-dweller — are booking in greater numbers in 2020 than nearly any time in 2019. AirDNA notes, “Among those leading the rebound are beaches, mountain towns, lakeside getaways, and really anything within driving distance of a major urban hub.”

Longer-term remote stays, whether for yourself or your family, are increasingly popular, as are remote work options which, according to Google trend data, have increased by two-times the previous levels pre-pandemic. Searches for extended stay vacations peaked at the end of December 2020, with previous highs in October and April 2020. Moving into 2021, we’ll likely see expanded tourism offerings to match this consumer demand, and also to accommodate pre-quarantine requirements, which vary city to city.

In conclusion

Travel isn’t what it used to be, and for the time being, we’re seeing increasingly important local search activations and feature adoption. And as remote work and location agnostic work becomes more the norm, the lessons we learned from pandemic travel search will help businesses thrive in this new tourism climate moving forward.

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: SEO blog

5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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 Evolution of SEO [Video Presentation]

Last November, Moz VP Product, Rob Ousbey, gave a presentation at Web Con 2020 on the evolution of SEO, and we’re sharing it with you today! Rob draws on his years of research experience in the industry to discuss how SEO has changed, and what that means for your strategies. 

Editor’s Note: Rob mentions a promo in the video that has since expired, but you can still get a free month of Moz Pro + free walkthrough here

Video Transcription

Hello, everyone. Thank you for that introduction. I very much appreciate it, and it’s wonderful to be with all of you here today. I’m Rob Ousbey from Moz.

Real quick, I was going to share my screen here and say that my gift to you for coming to the session today is this link. This won’t just get you a free month of Moz Pro, but everybody who signs up can get a free walkthrough with an SEO expert to help you get started. I’ll put this link up again at the end of the session. But if you’re interested in SEO or using a tool suite to help you, then Moz might be the toolset that can help.

Also, if you want to learn more about SEO, come join me on Twitter. I am @RobOusbey, and it would be wonderful to chat to you over there.

One reason I put my bio up here is because I’ve not been at Moz for all that long. I just started about a year ago. Before that, I was at Distilled, which is an international digital marketing agency, and I ran the Seattle office there for over a decade. I mention that because I want to share with you today examples of what I discovered when I was doing my client work. I want to share the research that my team members did when we were in your shoes.

A troubling story

So I wanted to kick off with an experience that stuck in my mind. Like I say, I’ve been doing this professionally for about 12 or 13 years, and back when I started, SEO was certainly more straightforward, if not getting easier.

People like my friend Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, used to do correlation studies that would discover what factors seem to correlate with rankings, and we’d publish these kinds of reports. This was the top ranking factors for 2005. And back then, they were broadly split between factors that assessed whether a page was relevant for a particular term and those that asked whether a site was authoritative. A lot of that relevance came from the use of keywords on a page, and the authority was judged by the number of links to the site. So we would help companies by doing good SEO. We’d put keywords on a page and build a bunch of links.

And I want to tell you a story about one of our clients. This is from just a couple of years ago, but it definitely stuck in my head. We were doing a lot of content creation for this client. We created some really informative pages and some really fun pages that would go viral and take over the Internet, and all of this earned them a lot of links. And this was the result of our efforts — a consistent, steady growth in the number of domains linking to that site. We had an incredible impact for them.

And here’s the graph of how many keywords they had when they ranked on the first page. This is fantastic. They ranked for a lot of keywords. And finally, here’s the graph of organic traffic to the site. Amazing.

But if you looked a little closer, you notice something that is a bit troubling. We never stopped acquiring links. In fact, a lot of the content we produced is so evergreen that even content built two or three years ago is still gathering new links every single week. But the number of keywords we have ranking in the top 10 went up and up and then stopped growing. And not surprisingly, the same trend is there in organic search traffic as well. What appears to have happened here is that we got strong enough to get on the front page with these keywords, to be a player in the industry, but after that, just building more links to the site didn’t help it rank for more keywords and it didn’t help it get any more search traffic.

SEO fundamentals

It seems like all the SEO fundamentals that we’ve learned about, keywords and links and technical SEO still apply and they’re still necessary to help you become a player in a particular industry. But after that, there are other factors that you need to focus on.

Now this evolution of SEO into new factors has been an accelerating process. My colleague at Moz, Dr. Pete Meyers has been tracking and collecting a lot of data about this. Last year, Google made close to 4,000 improvements to their results, and that’s the result of running something like 45,000 different experiments.

Pete has also been tracking how much the search results change every day. Blue is really stable results. Orange is a lot of changes. And so if you felt like your rankings for your site are getting more volatile than ever, you’re not wrong. When we hit 2017, we saw more changes to the results every day than we ever had before.

Now the way that Google’s algorithms used to be updated was by a bunch of people in a room making decisions. In fact, it was this bunch of people in this room. They decided what factors to dial up or down to create the best results.

Google’s goal: portal to the Internet

But what does this mean? What does it mean to make the best results? Well, we should think about what Google’s real goal is. They want to be your portal to the Internet. They want your web experience to begin with a Google search, and you’ll continue to do that if they make you satisfied with the results you see and the pages you click on. If they send you to the perfect web page for your query, that’s a satisfying experience that reflects well on Google. If they send you to page that’s a bad experience, it reflects poorly on them.

So it’s interesting to ask, “How would Google avoid doing that, and what would be a bad user experience?” Well, there are some obvious things, like if you arrive on a page that installs malware or a virus on your computer, or you arrive at a product page where everything is out of stock, or you go to a website that’s really slow or full of adverts. These are the pages Google does not want to include in their results.

And they’ve always been good at measuring these things pretty directly. More than 10 years ago they were testing how fast sites are and then using that to inform their rankings. If they spot malware or viruses on a site, they’ll temporarily remove it from the search results.

But they also tried more opinion-based measures. For a while, they were running surveys to ask people: Are you satisfied with these results? This was how they knew if their algorithm was working to get people what they wanted, to give them a good experience. 

But the Google way of doing this is to try and do it at massive scale and hopefully to do it in the background, where users don’t have to answer a survey pop-up like this. And doing this in the background, doing it at huge scale has been more and more possible, firstly because of how much data Google has.

Click through rates

So I want to take a look at some of the kinds of things they might be looking at. Here’s an example of something they may want to do. Let’s consider the average click-through rate for every ranking position in the search results. Imagine that Google knows that 30% of people click on the first result and 22% click on number two and 5% click on number six and so on. They have a good understanding of these averages. But then for a particular keyword, let’s say they notice number six is getting 12% of the clicks. Something is going on there. What is happening? Well, whatever the reason why this is, Google could be better satisfying its users if that result was higher up in the rankings. Whoever is ranking at number six is what people want. Maybe they should rank higher.

“Pogo sticking”

Here’s another example. This is what we call pogo sticking. A user does a search and then clicks on a result, and then after a couple seconds looking at the page, they realize they don’t like it, so they click the back button and they select a different result. But let’s say they don’t like that one either, so they click back and they select a third result, and now they stay here and they use that site. Imagine a lot of people did the same thing. Well, if we were Google, when we saw this happening, it would be a pretty strong indicator that the third result is what’s actually satisfying users. That’s actually a good result for this query, and it probably deserves to be ranking much higher up.

User satisfaction: refinement

There’s even an extension of this where users pogo stick around the SERPs, and then they decide they can’t find anything to do with what they wanted. So they refine their search. They try typing something else, and then they find what they want on a different query. If too many people are not satisfied by any of the results on the first page, it’s probably a sign to make a pretty serious change to that SERP or to nudge people to do this other query instead.

Google’s evolution with Machine Learning

And doing this kind of huge analysis on a massive scale is something that was made much easier with the advent of machine learning. Now for a long time the folks in charge of the search results at Google were very reluctant to incorporate any machine learning into their work. It was something they did not want to do. But then Google appointed a new head of search, and they chose someone who had spent their career at Google promoting machine learning and its opportunities. So now they’ve moved towards doing that. In fact, Wired magazine described Google as remaking themselves as a “machine learning first” company.

What we’re seeing now

So this is where I want to move from my conjecture about what they could do into giving some examples and evidence of all of this for you. And I want to talk about two particular modern ranking factors that we have evidence for and that if you’re doing SEO or digital marketing or working on a website you can start considering today.

User signals

Firstly, I talked about the way that users interact with the results, what are they clicking on, how are they engaging with pages they find. So let’s dive into that.

A lot of this research comes from my former colleague, Tom Capper. We worked at Distilled together, but he’s also a Moz Associate, and a lot of this has been published on the Moz Blog.

User engagement

Let’s imagine you start on Google. You type in your query, and here’s the results. Here’s page one of results. Here’s page two of results. Not going to worry much about what happens after that because no one tends to click through further than page two.

Now let’s think about how much data Google has about the way people interact with those search results. On the front page, they see lots going on. There are lots of clicks. They can see patterns. They can see trends. They can see what people spend time on or what they pogo stick back from. On the second page and beyond, there’s very little user engagement happening. No one is going there, so there’s not many clicks and not much data that Google can use.

So when we look at what factors seem to correlate with rankings, here’s what we see. On page two, there is some correlation between the number of links a site has and where it ranks. That’s kind of what we expected. That’s what SEOs have been preaching for the last decade or more. But when we get to the bottom of page one, there’s a weaker correlation with links. And at the top of page 1, there’s almost no correlation between the number of links you have and the position you rank in. 

Now we do see that the folks on page one have more links than the sites on page two. You do need the SEO basics to get you ranking on the first page in the first place. We talk about this as the consideration set. Google will consider you for the first page of results if you have good enough SEO and if you have enough links.

But what we can take away from this is that when all that user data exists, when Google know where you’re clicking, how people are engaging with sites, they will use those user metrics as a ranking factor. And then in situations where there isn’t much user data, the rankings might be more determined by link metrics, and that’s why deeper in the results we see links being a more highly correlated factor.

In a similar way, we can look at the whole keyword space, from the very popular head terms in green to the long tail terms in red that are very rarely searched for. Head terms have a lot of people searching for them, so Google has a lot of user data to make an assessment about where people are clicking. For long tail terms, they might only get a couple of searches every month, they just don’t have that much data. 

And again, what we see is that the popular, competitive terms, where there’s lots of searching happening, Google seems to be giving better rankings to sites with better engagement. For long tail terms, where they don’t have that data, the rankings are more based on link strength. And there have been plenty of studies that bear this out.

Larry Kim found a relationship between high click-through rates and better rankings. Brian Dean found a relationship between more engagement with a page and better rankings. And Searchmetrics found that time on site correlated with rankings better than any on-page factor.

Contemporary SEO

And even though Google keeps a tight lid on this, they won’t admit to exactly what they’re doing, and they don’t describe their algorithms in detail, there are occasionally insights that we get to see. 

A couple of years ago, journalists from CNBC had the chance to sit in on a Google meeting where they were discussing changes to the algorithm. One interesting part of this article was when Googlers talked about the things they were optimizing for when they were designing a new feature on the results page. They were looking at this new type of result they’d added, and they were testing how many people clicked on it but then bounced back to the results, which they considered a bad sign. So this idea of pogo sticking came up once again.

If that was something that they were monitoring in the SERPs, we should be able to see examples of it. We should be able to see the sites where people pogo stick don’t do so well in SEO, which is why I’m always interested when I find a page that has, for whatever reason, it has a bad experience.

User metrics as a ranking factor

So here’s a site that lists movie trivia for any movie you might be interested in. It’s so full of ads and pop-ups that you can barely see any of the content on the page. It’s completely overrun with adverts. So if my hypothesis was correct, we’d see this site losing search visibility, and in fact that’s exactly what happened to them. Since their peak in 2014, the search visibility for the site has gone down and down and down.

Here’s another example. This is a weird search. It’s for a particular chemical that you buy if you were making face creams and lotions and that kind of thing. So let’s have a look at some of the results here. I think this first result is the manufacturer’s page with information about the chemical. The second is an industrial chemical research site. It has all the data sheets, all the safety sheets on it. The third is a site where you can buy the chemical itself.

And then here’s another result from a marketplace site. I’ve blurred out their name because I don’t want to be unfair to them. But when you click through on the result, this is what you get, an immediate blocker. It’s asking you to either log in or register, and there’s no way I want to complete this form. I’m going to hit the back button right away. Google had listed nine other pages that I’m going to look at before I even consider handing over all my data and creating an account here. 

Now if my theory is right, as soon as they put this registration wall up, visitors would have started bouncing. Google would have noticed, and their search visibility would have suffered. 

And that’s exactly what we see. This was a fast-growing startup, getting lots of press coverage, earning lots of links. But their search traffic responded very poorly and very quickly once that registration wall was in place. The bottom graph is organic traffic, and it just drops precipitously.

Here’s my final example of this, Forbes. It’s a 100-year-old publishing brand. They’ve been online for over 20 years. And when you land on a page, this is the kind of thing you see for an article. Now I don’t begrudge advertising on a page. They need to make some money. And there’s only one banner ad here. I was actually pleasantly surprised by that.

But I’m baffled by their decision to include a video documentary in the corner about a totally different topic. Like I came to read this article and you gave me this unrelated video. 

And then suddenly this slides into view to make absolutely sure that I didn’t miss the other ad that it had in the sidebar. And then the video, that I didn’t want any way about an unrelated topic, starts playing a pre-roll ad. Meanwhile their browser alert thing pops up, and then the video — about the unrelated topic that I didn’t want in the first place — starts playing. So I’m trying to read and I scroll away from all this clutter on the page. But then the video — about an unrelated topic that I didn’t want in the first place — pins itself down here and follows me down the page. What is going on? And then there’s more sidebar ads for good measure.

And I want to say that if my theory is right, people will be bouncing away from Forbes. People will avoid clicking on Forbes in the first place, and they will be losing search traffic. But I also know that they are a powerhouse. So let’s have a look at what the data said. 

I grabbed their link profile, and people will not stop linking to Forbes. They’re earning links from 700 new domains every single day. This is unstoppable. But here’s their organic search visibility. Forbes is down 35% year-on-year. I think this is pretty validating.

At this point, I’m confident saying that Google has too much data about how people engage with the search results and with websites for you to ignore this. If your site is a bad experience, why would Google let you in the top results to begin with and why would they keep you there?

What can you do?

So what can you do about this? Where can you start? Well, you can go to Google Search Console and take a look through the click-through rates for your pages when they appear in search. And in your analytics package, GA or whatever else, you can see the bounce rate for visitors landing on your pages, particularly those coming from search. So look for themes, look for trends. Find out if there are pages or sections of your site that people don’t like clicking on when they appear in the results. Find out if there are pages that when people land on them, they bounce right away. Either of those are bad signs and it could be letting you down in the results.

You can also qualitatively take a critical look at your site or get a third party or someone else to do this. Think about the experience that people have when they arrive. Are there too many adverts? Is there a frustrating registration wall? These things can hurt you, and they might need a closer look.

Brand signals

Okay, so we talked about those user signals. But the other area I want to look at is what I talk about as brand signals. Brand can apply to a company or a person. And when I think about the idea being a brand, I think about how well-known the company is and how well-liked they are. These are some questions that signal you have a strong brand, that people have heard of you, people are looking for you, people would recommend you. 

And this second one sounds like something SEOs know how to research. When we say people are looking for you, it sounds like we’re just talking about search volume. How many times every month are people typing your brand name into Google?

Again, my colleague, Tom Capper did some research about this that’s published on the Moz Blog. He looked at this problem and said, “Okay. Well, then let’s see if the number of people searching for a brand has any correlation to how well they rank.” And then there’s a load of math and a long story that led to this conclusion, that branded search volume did correlate with rankings. This is in blue. In fact, it correlated more strongly with rankings than Domain Authority does, so that’s the measure that shows you the link strength of a website. 

So think about this. We’ve worried about links for two decades, but actually something around brand strength and maybe branded search volume seems to correlate better.

For data geeks, here’s a way of using the R-squared calculation to answer the question, “How much does this explain the rankings?” Again, what you need to know here is that branded search volume explained more of the rankings than anything else.

So we’ve been preaching about this for a while, and then literally two days ago I saw this tweet. A team in the UK was asking about controversial SEO opinions. And the SEO manager for Ticketmaster came out and said this. He believes that when Google sees people searching for your brand name alongside a query, they start ranking you higher for the non-branded terms. And I don’t think this is controversial. And in fact, one of the replies to this was from Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz. He also now believes that the brand signals are more powerful than what links and keywords can do.

What can you do? 

So what can you do about this? Well, first you have to realize that any investment you make in brand building, whether that’s through PR activities or through like traditional advertising, is good business to do anyway. But it now has twice the value because of its impact on SEO, because those activities will get people looking for you, following you, sharing your brand. If you work for a billion-dollar company, you should make sure that your SEO and PR teams are well-connected and well-aligned and talking together. If you don’t work for a billion-dollar company, I’ve got two small, interesting examples for you.

Example: AdaFruit

First I want to call out this site, AdaFruit.com. They sell electronic components. There are many, many sites on the web that sell similar products. Not only do they have great product pages with good quality images and helpful descriptions, but I can also look at a product like this and then I can click through to get ideas for things I can build with it. This is some LED lights that you can chain together. And here’s an idea for a paper craft glowing crystal you can build with them. Here’s the wiring diagram I’d need for that project plus some code I can use to make it more interactive. It’s only an $8 product, but I know that this site will make it easy for me to get started and to get value from making this purchase.

They go even further and have a pretty impressive AdaFruit channel on YouTube. They’ve got 350,000 subscribers. Here’s the videos, for instance, that they publish every week walking you through all the new products that they’ve recently added to the site. 

The CEO does a hands-on demo telling you about everything they have in stock. And then they have other collections of videos, like their women in hardware series that reaches an audience that’s been typically underserved in this space.

AdaFruit made a significant investment in content for their own channels, and it paid off with some brand authority, but brand trust and brand engagement as well.

Example: Investor Junkie

But I want to show you one other example here from arguably a much less exciting industry and someone who couldn’t invest so much in content. This is InvestorJunkie.com, a site that does reviews of financial services and products. And when I was working at the agency, we worked with this site and specifically with its founder, Larry. Larry was an expert in personal finance and particularly in personal investments. And this was his solo project. He blogged on the site and used his expertise. But as the site grew, he hired some contractors as well as our agency, and they created a lot of great content for the site, which really helped with SEO. But to make a significant impact on brand strength, we had to get the word out in front of loads of people who didn’t already know about him.

So we took Larry’s expertise and we offered him as a guest to podcasts, a lot of podcasts, and they loved having him on as a guest. Suddenly Larry was able to provide his expertise to huge new audiences, and he was able to get the Investor Junkie brand and their message in front of lots of people who had never heard of the site before.

But better still, this had a compounding effect, because people who are interested in these topics typically don’t just subscribe to one of these podcasts. They subscribe to a bunch of them. And so if they hear about Larry and Investor Junkie once, they might never think about it again. But if he shows up in their feed two or three or four times over the course of a few months, they’ll start to form a new association with the brand, maybe trusting him more, maybe seeking out the site.

And as an aside, there’s one other thing I love about podcasts, which is that if you’re creating a blog post, that can take hours and hours of work. If you’re creating a conference presentation, it can take days or weeks of work. If you’re a guest on a 30-minute podcast, it literally takes you about 30 minutes. You log on, you talk to a host, and then your part of the work is done.

So this can get you in front of a new audience. It gets people looking for you, which Google will notice. But it has even more SEO value as well, because every podcast typically has a page like this with show notes. It’s a page that Google can index, a page that Google can understand. And Google can see the signals of trust. It can see your brand being mentioned. It can see the links back to your site as well. I obviously can’t speak highly enough of podcasts for PR, for brand awareness, and even for SEO.

Did this help Larry and the Investor Junkie team? Yeah. This obviously wasn’t the extent of their SEO strategy. But everything they did contributed to them getting great rankings for a variety of competitive terms, and it helped them rank up against much bigger sites with much bigger teams and much bigger budgets. And that story actually came to an end just about two years ago, because the site was finally acquired for $6 million, which is not bad for a solo founder who was just busy building his own brand.

In summary

All right. I’ll wrap up with some of these thoughts. Google has been evolving. They’ve now been able to collect so much more data about the way people interact with the search results and other pages, and they’re now using machine learning to process all of that so they can better assess: Are we giving people a good user experience? Are the sites that we’re ranking the ones that satisfy people’s queries? The game of SEO has changed.

Now when you’re starting out, all the basics still apply. Come to Moz, read the Beginner’s Guide, do great technical SEO, do great keyword research, do great link building. Those are still necessary to be considered to become a player in your industry to help get you near the first page for any terms you want to target.

But when you’re trying to move up the front page, when you’re trying to establish yourself much further and become a much bigger brand, we’re not seeing a lot of correlation between things like links and getting into the very top rankings for any particular term. Instead, think about the good game that Google is playing. They want to make sure that when someone clicks on a result, they stay there. They don’t want to see this pogo sticking. They don’t want to see the link and the title that people want to click on sitting down at number six. So target their KPIs. Think about how you can help Google by making sure that your results are the ones people want to click on. Make sure that when people click on your results, that’s the page that they stay on.

But ultimately, you will never lose out if you improve your brand authority and engagement with your content. These are just good things to do for business. A stronger brand, content, and a website that people want to spend time on is hugely important and pays dividends. But now it’s all doubly important because it also has this massive impact on your SEO.

Video transcription by Speechpad

How the Most Successful B2B Marketers Approach Influencer Marketing in 2021

Keys to Success B2B Influencer Marketing 2021

Keys to Success B2B Influencer Marketing 2021

According to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 96% of B2B marketers that engage influencers consider their program to be successful and 90% expect their budget for influencer marketing to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.

Why the confidence? 77% of marketers say their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts with 84% engaging influencers to create brand awareness and 69% counting on influencers for lead generation.

Influence plays a role across the entire B2B customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy and with B2B marketing going decidedly digital during the pandemic and uncertainty of 2020, the importance of peer, expert and influencer recommendations through social and digital media are more important than ever.

Without question, the uncertainties driven by economic, political and public health have affected business customers in a variety of ways from pausing on purchasing to taking more time to do research on solutions. How B2B marketers adapt to these changes is essential for success in 2021 and beyond.

So how are B2B brands like LinkedIn, SAP, monday.com and others finding marketing wins during a time of uncertainty? One way is through understanding which voices are most influential to their customers and then partnering with those influencers to collaborate on content used for thought leadership, brand engagement and lead generation.

Based on research of hundreds of B2B marketers, several best practices have emerged to optimize content with influence. The most successful B2B influencer marketing programs share certain characteristics including:

  • Engaging in ongoing (Always-On) influencer marketing vs. periodic campaigns
  • Rely on industry experts and analysts vs. purely social influencers
  • Use blogs as content publishing platforms
  • Use software to identify and qualify influencers vs. gut feel
  • Create interactive content with influencers
  • Have a centralized influencer marketing program
  • Have a documented influencer marketing strategy

But what can B2B brands expect from influencers? Everything from increased social reach to improved credibility of brand content to increases in leads in sales.

Working with the right influencers, you build credibility with the audience you are trying to reach. influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates and inspires your intended audience. The biggest benefit is the engagement, how you can work with your influencers to create meaningful engagement that leads to the right outcomes for your brand.
Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP

B2B Influence in Action: Monday.com

When the pandemic swept through the world in 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely. To help position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams, Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing program featuring remote work experts that could reach and engage teams facing remote work challenges more effectively than the brand on its own.

By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, the Monday.com influencer program added value to the target audience and increased awareness of Monday.com’s solutions.

  • 1,790% above goal social reach from influencer shares
  • 300k organic brand social impressions from influences
  • Nearly 3k video views of a livestream featuring 2 influencers during the first week

Learn more about Monday.com’s best practices approach to working with B2B influencers in this case study.

Engaging influencers creates a competitive advantage for B2B brands.

Influencers’ industry expertise lends credibility that results in convincing and converting your target audience.
Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe

Our research supports Rani’s insight with 77% of marketers saying their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts.

What B2B marketers can do to take advantage of the influence opportunity is to decide what topics the brand wants to be known for that customers are seeking. Using topics of influence, a content marketing program can be developed that incorporates industry experts that are influential about those same topics.

Collaborating on content of mutual value provides influencers an incentive to help share that content with potential customers that are likely ignoring ads and formal brand marketing. As B2B brands continue to engage influencers, benefits include content for demand and lead gen as well as relationships with trusted voices that can organically advocate for the brand.

For many B2B marketers, the challenges of this past year have forced an even greater focus on marketing that is more in line with how buyers are discovering, engaging and acting on digital information. These challenges have also put a greater emphasis on marketing strategies that create a true return and impact on the business. Engaging with relevant, trusted influencers provides an opportunity to do both.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview
Learn more about B2B influencer marketing best practices from the most successful B2B brands by getting your copy of the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.

The post How the Most Successful B2B Marketers Approach Influencer Marketing in 2021 appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

How the Most Successful B2B Marketers Approach Influencer Marketing in 2021

Keys to Success B2B Influencer Marketing 2021

According to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 96% of B2B marketers that engage influencers consider their program to be successful and 90% expect their budget for influencer marketing to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.

Why the confidence? 77% of marketers say their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts with 84% engaging influencers to create brand awareness and 69% counting on influencers for lead generation.

Influence plays a role across the entire B2B customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy and with B2B marketing going decidedly digital during the pandemic and uncertainty of 2020, the importance of peer, expert and influencer recommendations through social and digital media are more important than ever.

Without question, the uncertainties driven by economic, political and public health have affected business customers in a variety of ways from pausing on purchasing to taking more time to do research on solutions. How B2B marketers adapt to these changes is essential for success in 2021 and beyond.

So how are B2B brands like LinkedIn, SAP, monday.com and others finding marketing wins during a time of uncertainty? One way is through understanding which voices are most influential to their customers and then partnering with those influencers to collaborate on content used for thought leadership, brand engagement and lead generation.

Based on research of hundreds of B2B marketers, several best practices have emerged to optimize content with influence. The most successful B2B influencer marketing programs share certain characteristics including:

  • Engaging in ongoing (Always-On) influencer marketing vs. periodic campaigns
  • Rely on industry experts and analysts vs. purely social influencers
  • Use blogs as content publishing platforms
  • Use software to identify and qualify influencers vs. gut feel
  • Create interactive content with influencers
  • Have a centralized influencer marketing program
  • Have a documented influencer marketing strategy

But what can B2B brands expect from influencers? Everything from increased social reach to improved credibility of brand content to increases in leads in sales.

Working with the right influencers, you build credibility with the audience you are trying to reach. influencers can help you deliver content that solves problems, educates and inspires your intended audience. The biggest benefit is the engagement, how you can work with your influencers to create meaningful engagement that leads to the right outcomes for your brand.
Amisha Gandhi, VP Influencer Marketing and Communications at SAP

B2B Influence in Action: Monday.com

When the pandemic swept through the world in 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely. To help position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams, Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing program featuring remote work experts that could reach and engage teams facing remote work challenges more effectively than the brand on its own.

By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, the Monday.com influencer program added value to the target audience and increased awareness of Monday.com’s solutions.

  • 1,790% above goal social reach from influencer shares
  • 300k organic brand social impressions from influences
  • Nearly 3k video views of a livestream featuring 2 influencers during the first week

Learn more about Monday.com’s best practices approach to working with B2B influencers in this case study.

Engaging influencers creates a competitive advantage for B2B brands.

Influencers’ industry expertise lends credibility that results in convincing and converting your target audience.
Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe

Our research supports Rani’s insight with 77% of marketers saying their prospective customers rely on advice from industry experts.

What B2B marketers can do to take advantage of the influence opportunity is to decide what topics the brand wants to be known for that customers are seeking. Using topics of influence, a content marketing program can be developed that incorporates industry experts that are influential about those same topics.

Collaborating on content of mutual value provides influencers an incentive to help share that content with potential customers that are likely ignoring ads and formal brand marketing. As B2B brands continue to engage influencers, benefits include content for demand and lead gen as well as relationships with trusted voices that can organically advocate for the brand.

For many B2B marketers, the challenges of this past year have forced an even greater focus on marketing that is more in line with how buyers are discovering, engaging and acting on digital information. These challenges have also put a greater emphasis on marketing strategies that create a true return and impact on the business. Engaging with relevant, trusted influencers provides an opportunity to do both.

B2B Influencer Marketing Report Preview
Learn more about B2B influencer marketing best practices from the most successful B2B brands by getting your copy of the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report.