B2B Marketing News: Top Enterprise Firm Challenges, What B2B Buyers Want, Mobile Ad-Buy Shift, & LinkedIn’s Content Trends

2020 May 29 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 May 29 MarketingCharts Chart

What B2B Buyers Want From Tech Vendors Right Now
55 percent of B2B buyers say it’s appropriate for marketing efforts to continue during these challenging times, and 53 percent are presently in the market for B2B products and services, with most of those having recent new purchasing interests, according to newly-released survey data. MarketingProfs

Programmatic Ad Spend Down 9% Since Beginning of 2020, Driven by Travel and Auto
Amidst an overall fall of 9 percent in April, ad spending for the technology vertical and the education and training segment were up 70 percent and 63 percent for the year, with streaming ad spend also up by some 18 percent, according to recently-released report data. Adweek

Exclusive: New York Times phasing out all 3rd-party advertising data
The New York Times has begun eliminating all third-party advertising targeting information, and by July the firm will instead use a fully-proprietary platform, the company recently announced. Axios

Google’s digital-ad dominance is harming marketers and publishers, says new study
Digital marketers and publishers have been hurt as a result of Google’s online advertising dominance, according to a new study, with display ads the primary focus of the Omidyar Network and Public Knowledge report. AdAge

Reddit Launches New, 12-Week Online Advertising School Program
Social news and discussion platform Reddit has launched a three-month online community-driven advertising school program, led by director-level-or-above instructors covering 12 marketing topics, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Polls Return to Messenger From Facebook. After a year’s absence Facebook Messenger polls have been brought back
Digital marketers lamenting the elimination of Facebook’s Messenger polls a year ago got good news recently, as the social media giant announced that it has brought the polling option back for group chats. Adweek

2020 May 29 Statistics Image

Pandemic hastens shift in ad buying to mobile, study says
During an overall drop in ad spending, mobile ad spend has fared the best, as its 15 percent decrease was less than the 25 percent seen for desktop ad buying, according to recently-released study data. Mobile Marketer

Facebook Launches New App Called ‘CatchUp’ to Facilitate Group Phone Chats
Facebook recently released a tool to help bring online conversations to real-time phone communications, with the lanch of CatchUp, becomming Facebook’s sixth new app release in the past half year, the firm announced. Social Media Today

Enterprise Companies Struggle with Customer Experience Tasks
Real-time insights, personalization, and consistent data formatting are the top three customer experience (CX) challenges for enterprise firms, according to recently-released study data. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Publishes New Guide to Key Content Trends Amid COVID-19
LinkedIn (client) has released new information about trending content on the Microsoft-owned platform, with top trending hashtags and other information of interest to digital marketers, the firm announced. Social Media Today

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 May 29 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the new normal” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Whoooaaa Duuuuude: Why We Stretch Words in Tweets and Texts — Wired

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — 20 Marketing Experts on Content that Helps Sales Reps Sell – Part 3 — Modus
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Ways to Improve Your Business While Working Remotely — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — Klear interviews Lee Odden — John Gaylor
  • Lee Odden — Stop the Sales Drop: Marketing Shifts For Stronger Growth — Marketing Insider Group
  • Lee Odden — PIMtalk with Lee Odden: PIM, SEO, Content Marketing and B2B influencers [Video] — PIMTalk Podcast
  • Lee Odden — 5 Smart Tips for Managing the WFH Transition in Marketing — monday.com (client)
  • Ashley Zeckman — Ashley Zeckman: 5 Essential Questions to Guide Your B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy — Content Marketing World
  • Lee Odden — “Stop the Sales Drop” Launches Sales and Marketing Peer Group — Business Wire
  • Lee Odden — How to boost SEO flow like a pro during COVID-19 — PR Daily
  • Lee Odden — Interview with Lee Odden – Breaking Free of Status Quo Marketing Tactics — Stop the Sales Drop
  • Lee Odden — Marketing Through Uncertain Times – 15 Experts Share Insights — Insight Brief
  • Lee Odden — Empathetic content marketing falls flat without authenticity [Video] — Search Engine Land
  • Lee Odden — How to measure content KPIs during COVID [Video] — Search Engine Land
  • Lee Odden — How to evaluate content marketing opportunities during COVID [Video] — Search Engine Land
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Fortify the Fundamentals — LinkedIn (client)

Have you come across your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for joining us this week, and we hope that you will 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. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


Source: SEO blog

Crisis Adaptation – Whiteboard Friday

Businesses all over the globe are struggling with new challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers turning to the internet for the majority of their needs, it’s never been more vital to ensure your online presence is easily found and your business updates clearly communicated.

In this special edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller outlines a checklist that businesses can use to meet the changing needs of consumers and improve visibility for local searches.

Bonus — We’ve adapted these tips into a free checklist you can download and share:

Get the checklist

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over crisis adaptation, and I first have to give a huge shout-out to Miriam Ellis, who really helped me package all of this up to deliver to you today.

If you’re not already following Miriam on Twitter, I highly suggest you do. She is a local SEO genius. So let’s dive right in. 

Meet your customers where they are

You often hear this phrase in marketing and in SEO about meeting your customers where they are. This might be important now more than ever because the current landscape, it’s changed so much.

Listen to your customers & understand how their needs have shifted

In order to better meet your customers where they are, you really first have to listen and understand how their needs have shifted, how have their concerns shifted. What are they searching for now? Just really paying attention and listening online to your current target market.

One of the things I also like to suggest is listen to competitive reviews. Keep an eye on competitive reviews being posted on Google and other spaces to get a gauge of how things have perhaps moved. 

Know where your audience is

This could have also shifted a bit. Whiteboard Friday’s OG, Rand Fishkin, launched SparkToro that does exactly that. So you can really deep dive into current data around what your audience is listening to, who they follow, all sorts of great stuff for you to leverage in today’s climate.

Connect with potential customers in meaningful ways

Now is a great time to reach out and engage with not only potential customers but current customer base and remind people that you are still here, you’re still serving them in various ways. So it’s really, really key.

Partner with relevant businesses

I’ve seen this do really well in some great examples of pivoting, where a fruit delivery company partnered with a bakery to include these free cakes within orders. What a great way to get some visibility for that bakery, and vice versa — they could do different things. I think it’s a great time to leverage those relationships and help one another out. I absolutely love that tip. 

Communicate all changes and updates

Now the other big, big priority right now is all around communicating changes and updates to your website visitors. So what do you need to cover?

  • Changes to hours is so important right now. It’s essential that you have that information readily visible to anyone visiting your website, if this applies to you. All forms of availability, video, curbside, no touch delivery, have that information available.
  • Any expected delays and product availability challenges. This is a really great tip too. 
  • Sanitation and any adopted safety precautions. 
  • Payment methods accepted. This can be really helpful in the transaction. 
  • Any philanthropic efforts that you’re doing to help support people in need.

I’m seeing a lot of these show up in banners and readily available information for people visiting websites. I think it’s great to consider making sure that this information is easy for people to access. 

Immediately communicate this information:

Set up online orders and catalog inventory/services

In addition to these things, set up online orders. At the very least, catalog your online inventory or services for people to still have that awareness of what you’re currently offering.

I would suggest if you’re a struggling business and you don’t want to go into a huge website build, you can absolutely check out and explore things like Squarespace or Shopify. I would have never thought I would be suggesting these platforms a year ago just because they’re not usually great for SEO reasons. But they can do a beautiful job of solving this problem so quickly, and then you can roll out V2 and V3 down the road when you’re ready to make those improvements. But I think just getting businesses off the ground is so important right now. 

Add products for free on Google Shopping

This was such a neat thing that Google offered I believe several weeks ago, and it’s doing great. What it basically does is it allows you to list products for free on Google Shopping, giving you that extra visibility right now. So if you’re an e-commerce brand, definitely check that out. 

Create maps showing delivery radiuses

Miriam had this great idea to create maps showing delivery radiuses, if that applies to you, so really giving someone visiting your site an easy to consume idea of the areas that you serve. Sometimes when you see the ZIP codes, it’s a little overwhelming. You have to do a little work. But that’s kind of a great idea. 

Routific

Then this was mentioned in a recent GatherUp webinar by Darren Shaw — Routific. So if you are doing local deliveries and they’re getting a little out of hand, Routific is a company that creates delivery routes to make them most efficient for you, which I thought was so cool.

I didn’t even know that existed. So it’s a good little tool tip. 

Double down on SEO and content marketing

I absolutely loved Mike King’s post on this — I think it was a couple weeks ago — where he explains why economic downturns favor the bold. It’s brilliant. There are incredible use cases around this, and we’ll link to that down below. 

Someone who has impressed the heck out of me the last couple of weeks is Kristin Tynski — I hope I’m saying that right — over at Fractl. She is going above and beyond to create content pieces that are not only genius but are link building opportunities, apply to various clients, and use traditional journalism tactics to gather offline, unique data to present online. I highly suggest you pay attention to what Kristin is up to. She is a genius. Kristin, we have to meet sometime. I’m a huge fan of you. Keep up the great work. 

Local & Google My Business

Now let’s dive into some GMB stuff. While this might not apply to you if you’re not a local business, I think there are still things to take away for larger companies that also either have a local listing or just to be aware of.

So here’s an example of Uptown China Restaurant, a local Chinese restaurant. It’s awesome in Queen Anne, and it’s going to be our example. So what’s the first thing? 

Correct any GMB errors

Just correct any GMB errors. Make sure that the current data shown and information is correct and up to date.

Update hours to remove warning

Then this is probably my favorite hack of all, from Joy Hawkins, about this warning that we see on all businesses currently, because of the pandemic, that says hours or services may differ. You can get this removed simply by updating your hours. How incredible is that?

So I highly suggest you just update your hours. Joy also mentioned in this webinar I keep referring to, that was so good, she suggests using the hours that you are available to take phone calls. Google has never had an issue with that, and it tends to make the most sense. So something to think about.

Respond to reviews

Now is also a great time to invest and be engaged with these reviews. I think it’s one of the most overlooked PR and marketing tactics available, where customers exploring your brand, exploring your location want to know that (a) you care and that (b) you’re going to engage with a customer and that you have a timely response. So I think it’s important to respond to reviews, especially on behalf of the business side. 

Confirm or reject any new Google My Business prompts

So we’re going to continue to see different things roll out. There were senior hours available to, I believe, grocery stores that popped up as an option. No-contact delivery. These things will always be changing. So I think it’s important to maybe put a reminder in your calendar just to keep an eye on are there any new options within Google My Business that I could activate or clarify. Google loves that, and it also helps fill out your listing better.

Update menu and product listings

What a great time to take some good, new photos. Update your menu items. I wish Uptown China Restaurant did this, and I might suggest it to them that they can add those offerings. They can add those things to really pop up on the listing and kind of make it shine.

Use Posts

Posts have always been really, really great for Google My Business listings because it gives you a big photo. It lasts for a while up here, I believe up to 14 days. It’s very prevalent when you see it. Now Google has also been offering COVID-19 posts.

There isn’t an option to add an image with the COVID-19 posts. It’s text only, but it lasts longer and it’s more prominent than a regular post. So it will show up higher in your Google My Business listing, and we’ve also seen it pop up in actual SERPs in the organic area. So pretty cool. Good to know. I suggest you doing that. You have control over the messaging. You can say whatever you would like. You can provide updated info, all that good stuff. 

Use Product Posts

So a shout-out to Darren Shaw, who noticed this.

People are getting really savvy with product posts, which again it would show up in your Google My Business listing with a big photo and a description. What he’s seen people do is basically have a photo of a car with text on it that says “No-Touch Delivery” or different service options as the product.

Google is currently letting that slide. I don’t know if that will last forever. But it’s an interesting thing to explore if you really want that visibility if someone is struggling with their business right now, and you can kind of get that to pop up on the SERPs. 

Enable text messaging

So I’ve heard from so many SEOs that this has continued to go up into the right during the pandemic, and it makes sense.

People want to just quickly get information from businesses. You can create a welcome message. So I highly suggest exploring that if that’s available to you. 

Update images

Again, I think I’ve said this like three times, but update images. It’s a great time to do that, and it can really help make your stuff pop. 

Share these tips with businesses in need!

Lastly, don’t forget to share these tips with businesses.

Understand that there are a lot of people in need right now, and if there’s anything that we can do to help, by all means let’s make all of that stuff happen. The fact is that you’re not alone. So whether you’re doing this work on behalf of a client, or you yourself or family or friends are really struggling with a business right now, there are different support groups and options as far as financial support.

We’ve created a free PDF checklist of all this information that you can download and share with any marketers, clients, or businesses in need:

Download the free checklist

I know we at Moz are going to be putting everything we have into helping you and others during this time, and so I created a form at the bottom of this post where you can fill in some information and let us know if there are specific problems that we could help with. We’re in this together.

We want to help you all as much as we can. I will be taking that very seriously and spending lots of time on replying or creating material to help individuals struggling. So please fill that out. Also, feel free to leave comments and suggestions in the comments. I think some of the best, most valuable takeaways sometimes happen in the comments where you’re either clarifying something that I said or adding something really great. I would really appreciate that. Just want to get all the good information out there so that we can help everyone out. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

20 Marketing Jokes for Marketers Working from Home

Laughing Man at Laptop Image

Laughing Man at Laptop Image

I’m not here to lie to you: Sheltering in place is getting pretty old. 

I do count my blessings, of course. My family and I are healthy. My wife and I both can work from home; our kids are pretty great; we actually enjoy each others’ company. 

Still. There are only so many loaves of bread you can bake, puzzles you can solve, board games you can play before the ennui sets in. 

If you’re like me, you could use a laugh right now. And I need to exercise my comedy muscles before they atrophy.

And in a world where people are still writing articles called, “Should You Include Humor in Your B2B Content,” we need constant reminders that people like jokes. People like to laugh. Laughter brings you closer to your audience and creates a connection.

Not that any of these jokes will make you laugh, of course — but I’ve heard that a smile and a groan is almost as good for you.

20 More Jokes Only a Marketer Could Love

1:

Q: How many agile marketers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Three: A scrum master, a product owner, and a one-man development team. After a weeklong sprint, they deliver a candle, and then iterate from there.

2:

I named my dog “Organic Reach on Facebook.”
I don’t have a dog.

3:

We’re testing an influencer program where you can sponsor the cool kids in a high school to promote your product. We call it “pay per clique.”

4:

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Automated personalization!
Automated personalization, who?
%First_Name, we miss you! Hope things are good in %City.

5:

I hired an ex-marketer to remodel my bathroom. But he couldn’t get the shower dimensions right, because he was only interested in vanity measurements.

6:

I just consulted on a popular spice company’s website. My sage advice was that they needed to increase their thyme on page.

7:

Q: Why did the salmon make a great social media marketer?
A: He had years of experience in live streams.

8:

It’s not that I don’t have that many Twitter followers… I’m just practicing social media distancing.

9:

No matter where I am, Google Maps only recommends businesses from a single town in Alabama. I don’t think this is how Mobile-first indexing is supposed to work.

10:

Apparently there’s a new marketing band called SEO Speedwagon. I couldn’t find them on Google, but I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another…

11:

Working from home is weird. I got so sick of sitting at my desk, I wrote my last blog from my kids’ trampoline. The time-on-page was pretty good, but the bounce rate was really high.

12:

I’m not saying he’s a clueless marketer, but I asked for more evergreen content and he wrote a blog about Christmas trees.

13:

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Indies!
Indies, who?
Indies uncertain times, our brand wants you to know that we care…

14:

Did you hear that Instagram is finally being localized for the U.S. market? It’s rebranding as “Insta .035724 Ounces.”

15:

The CEO at my old job was so clueless about social media…
How clueless was he?
He thought you had to be looking off to one side for your profile picture!

16:

How many clickbait content writers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Only five, but number four will shock you!

17:

My kids hate hearing we’re having leftovers for dinner. So now I call it “Repurposed, snackable content.”

18:

Why did the marketer steal groceries from Whole Foods?
She knows you don’t pay for anything organic.

19:

My buddy recently lost his job doing marketing for one of those serial-killer podcasts. He probably shouldn’t have suggested user-generated content.

20:

Q: Why does the social media marketer keep getting off the elevator at the wrong floor?
A: He’s still trying to figure out Stories.

The Value of a Joke

Content marketers know that great content offers value to the reader. We tend to think of that value as something inspirational or educational. But let’s not overlook entertainment value. If your content provides a brief distraction from the everyday, that’s valuable. That’s something that people need…  and Indies uncertain times, we need it more than ever.

And if you’re in the market for 60 more jokes about marketing, we’ve got you covered:


Source: SEO blog

Hyperspace: 5 Surprising Marketing Lessons From ’80s Arcade Games

Video arcade filled with 1980s-era stand-up video game cabinets image.

Video arcade filled with 1980s-era stand-up video game cabinets image.

What can marketers in 2020 learn from the low-resolution stand-up video arcade games of the 1980s?

Here are five surprisingly-modern marketing lessons that we can learn from and implement today, with roots that come directly from vintage ‘80s arcade games.

Slap that fire button and let’s warp ahead and take a nostalgic look back at a simpler time in both video gaming and marketing, and then hyperspace ahead to today’s vastly different landscape.

1 — Defender: Fire & Forget for a Constant Content Cadence

Williams Defender Arcade Game
Photo by Author

Williams Electronics’ Defender is my all-time favorite stand-up video arcade game, an insidiously difficult side-scrolling spaceship-protecting-the-world shooting match juggernaut from 1981 programmed by early video game legend Eugene Jarvis.

I played Defender so much that I eventually won a local video game competition, and can still almost feel where I had callouses on my hands from hour upon hour of game-play long ago.

Defender teaches marketers the importance of keeping up a steady cadence of publishing content. In the case of Defender, the entire universe depended on firing off never-ending shots to protect humanoid figures from a variety of swiftly-moving alien invaders, while for marketers our success depends on keeping our content marketing fire buttons active to stave off audience abandonment and ghosting.

Smart content marketing features a steady publication of relevant information and best-answer content, which may not save the universe, but when done right can hold your audience’s attention and gain new customers, fans and followers through engaging content.

2 — Robotron: Find Marketing Order in a Sea of Content Chaos

Officially Robotron: 2084, this 1982 Williams 2D multi-directional shooting game also primarily developed by Eugene Jarvis is my second-favorite video game, another intensely challenging dive into a strange alien world populated by a colorful array of 8-bit digital baddies.

Robotron teaches marketers the importance of perseverance in what can at first seem like a stormy sea of digital content chaos.

Robotron’s game-play involves protecting the last humans in the universe as an intimidating collection of serious alien killing machines try to do away with the humans and — especially — you.

Marketers similarly can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media platforms, digital asset creation apps, and the vast amount of data surrounding the content being published.

Making sense of it all takes time and a concerted effort to learn what can at first seem to be an alien landscape, which can be done when you:

3 — Donkey Kong: Take Your Marketing to “Triple Elevators” Success

via GIPHY

An entirely different flavor of ‘80s arcade game is Nintendo’s 1981 hit Donkey Kong, a deceptively simple multi-level platform game with such staying power in our culture that it is still making news in 2020, as the game’s previous world record high-score holder Billy Mitchell — who featured prominently in the cult indie hit King of Kong documentary — has filed a defamation lawsuit.

In Donkey Kong, an angry gorilla hurls barrels of death and other colorful impediments in the path of your player Mario — a character who debuted here, originally called Mr. Video and later Jumpman. Screen after screen bring newfound challenges in the game, culminating with a stage featuring intricately-timed elevators and then a diabolical conveyor belt challenge.

Donkey Kong teaches marketers that successfully avoiding obstacles can take a brand from the humblest beginning to the loftiest heights, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Unlike Defender and Robotron, which each have many random and free-form movement elements and options, Donkey Kong instead can teach marketers the value of learning a particular industry’s unique facts to drive success in a known social media environment.

Educate your marketing Mario by dedicating the time to learn the details of each social media platform your brand is using or plans to have a presence on. We’ve written a number of recent articles exploring the latest social media firm marketing features and platform maneuvers, including these:

[bctt tweet=”“Successfully avoiding obstacles can take a brand from the humblest beginning to the loftiest heights.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

4 — Crystal Castles: Gather Gems & Avoid Tone-Deaf Marketing


Atari’s 1983 arcade game Crystal Castles is another favorite filled with its own marketing lessons even all these years later.

Controlled by a trackball and jump buttons, Crystal Castles sees the player maneuvering a bear around towering castles while picking up enticing gems and avoiding evil trees and dangerous bees.

When released, its bright, colorful graphics and catchy sounds and music — along with level graphics that flew onto and off of the screen accompanied by a tune based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite in a way never seen or heard before — enticed many including myself to repeatedly insert quarters and learn the peculiarities of each castle level.

Crystal Castles teaches content marketers to walk that fine and arduous line between picking up a trail of brand success gems and becoming overly confident and getting ensnared by nasty trees or dancing skeletons in the form of tone deaf marketing.

A while back for Content Marketing World we even published a retro game themed Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing.

5 — Black Widow: A Vector-Based Web of Influencer Marketing


Atari’s Black Widow hit the video arcade scene in 1982, and was among the first vector-graphic stand-up arcade cabinets.

Players control a black widow spider on its colorful web and during the game must ward off certain insects including mosquitoes, hornets, and beetles, while attracting others using the help of other insects, all the while working to prevent foes from laying eggs.

In 1982 a vector-graphics game stood out at the arcade due to the vast contrast between the darkest black pixels and the fine line-based graphics, offering a welcome escape from the standard bitmap imagery in the majority of arcade games.

Black Widow teaches marketers the importance of working together with others to achieve success beyond what can be attained alone, such as when implementing an always-on influencer marketing program.

Always-on influencer marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship-building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

In Black Widow the spider works with other insects to rid its web of enemies, and in marketing brands can find great success working with industry influencers on the web of 2020 to gain reach and engagement that can far exceed what a single marketer or team can achieve.

B2B influencer marketing is a specialty of TopRank Marketing, with several recent articles looking at this growing practice including these:

Going From Game Over To Setting Marketing High Scores

via GIPHY

The challenges today’s marketers face are vastly different from those when Defender, Robotron, Donkey Kong, Crystal Castles and Black Widow came out in the early ‘80s, however despite these difficulties there’s also never been a more opportunity-filled playing field, thanks to the vast online publishing possibilities of 2020.

Implementing a successful marketing program takes time, effort, and dedicated strategy, which leads many brands to use a top B2B influencer marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing, which was the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in Forrester’s “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America” report.


Source: SEO blog

Executing a Domain Migration: An Inside Look From OnLogic (Formerly Logic Supply)

In October 2019, our 16-year-old company rebranded from Logic Supply to OnLogic. The recovery from a traffic standpoint has been pretty smooth (and much faster than we expected), and our customers have embraced our new name and look. We want to share our story, the steps we took to prepare for this major change, and some things we learned along the way about what it takes to execute a successful domain transition (with minimal impact on organic results) in an effort to help those facing the same challenge.

Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay.

First, a little history and background. Logic Supply was founded in 2003 as an e-commerce website that sold components and parts for small form factor computers. Over the years, the company has built up engineering and manufacturing capabilities that today allow us to offer complete industrial and ruggedized computers and technology solutions for a wide range of industries. We’ve known for almost 10 years that our ambitions would someday outgrow our name, and in 2015 we settled on a new one and began laying the groundwork for the transition.

Once we’d gotten past all the research and legal efforts related to the new name itself, we began formulating the website transition plans in 2018. This kind of project requires a long list of individual and team supporters, from the Design and Communications team who helped conceptualize and choose the name OnLogic, to the IT team who would be responsible for making sure the digital transition was executed effectively.

This piece is coming from the perspective of Erika Austin, who has worked in digital marketing for Logic Supply since 2009, with special credit to Tim van der Horst in our Netherlands office who led the roll-out of the new domain and the resulting SEO recovery efforts. Tim applied structure to all the data I had gathered in my head over the past 10 years of decision-making in SEO.

Unstructured Data / Structured Data = Erika / Tim

As I take you through the process and cite our plan, including what we did and didn’t do, as well as the decisions made along the way, you can download a copy of our Go-Live Checklist for your own reference.

Phase one: scoping and planning

I had full confidence that our team could lead a successful transition. The only thing was, I had never done this before. Few have, with the exception of our new IT director who had undergone a few brand and domain migrations in her career.

I had been working on building Logic Supply’s domain authority for 10 years, so the idea of moving to a new domain brought up a lot of questions. To help us along the way, I sought out an expert who could validate our work and answer questions if anything came up. While many of the recommendations online were people that had cited, or written for, authoritative sites such as Moz, I decided to ask Rand Fishkin, the SEO Rockstar himself, who he would recommend as a Jungle Guide for a project like this. He was kind enough to connect us with KickPoint.

Dana DiTomaso at KickPoint was able to quickly understand where we were in the process, and what we needed. Dana proved to be instrumental in validating our efforts along the way, but we were very encouraged by her assessment that our existing plan was thorough and covered the necessary steps. Admittedly, we would have been disappointed otherwise — it was a really detailed plan.

Tim outlined a six-phase project with specifications and definitions of our SEO strategy in a website migration document with an accompanying spreadsheet, complete with an RACI (responsible, accountable, consult, and inform) matrix and timeline. Tim’s plan was extremely clear, with positive outcome scenarios including possible growth as a result of the migration.

I will credit Tim again — my head was spinning with only the potential pitfalls (detailed below) of such a huge change. What about E-A-T? This new domain had no expertise, authority, or trust to it, and growth in traffic wasn’t something I had even considered. Our IT Director agreed that she had never seen that happen in her career, so we set expectations to have about a ten percent decline over six weeks before a full recovery. I squirmed a bit, but okay.

Along with traffic loss, it was important for us to lay out all the possible risks associated with this execution.

Risks

Many of the risks we faced revolved around implementation uncertainty and resource allocation on the IT side. Of the risks that were introduced, the one that I had the most reservations about was migrating our blog to a new URL path. This was decided to be too much of a risk, and we removed it from the initial plan.

*Credit to Modestos Siotos: The Website Migration Guide: SEO Strategy, Process, & Checklist

Redirect strategy for the main brand domain

To help mitigate some of the risks, we discussed options for an overlay notifying customers of the change. But as much as we wanted to get customers excited about our new name and look, we didn’t want it to be too disruptive or be penalized for a disruptive interstitial.

The more we spoke to customers leading up to the big changeover, the more we realized that — while this was a big deal to us — it ultimately didn’t impact them, as long as they could still expect the high quality products and support they’d come to know us for. We ended up implementing a persistent banner on every page of the site that pointed to a page about the brand evolution, but we didn’t choose to force users into interacting with that modal.

Phase two: pre-launch preparation

Technical SEO specification

At this point in the project, we realized we had an XML sitemap that would change, but that we wanted the old sitemaps around to help reinforce the transition in Google Search Console. We also determined that an HTML sitemap would help in laying out our structure. We were six months out from our brand transition, so any changes we wanted to make to our website had to be made ASAP.

So, we cleaned up our URL structure, removing many of the existing server redirects that weren’t being used or followed much anymore by only keeping links from our referral traffic.

We also created more logical URL paths to show relationships, for example:

/products/industrial-computers/ >> /computers/industrial/

/products/rugged-computers/ >> /computers/rugged/

And updated the redirects to point to the right end path without following redirect chains:

Technical CMS specification

When doing a migration to a new domain, the depth and complexity of the technical CMS specification really depends on if you are migrating your existing platform or switching to a new one. The CMS of choice in our case didn’t change from the previous, which made our lives a little easier. We were porting our existing website over to the new domain as-is. It would mostly come down to content at this stage in the plan.

Content updates

One of the most important things at this step was to make sure our content was displaying our new brand properly. Essentially, we planned for a “simple” find/replace:

Find: *Logic Supply*

Replace: *OnLogic*

We took inventory of every attribute and field on our website that mentions the company, and applied the change across the board: descriptions, short descriptions, meta titles, meta descriptions, manufacturer, etc.

At one point we asked ourselves, “What do we do with press releases or past content that says ‘Logic Supply’? Should that be replaced with ‘OnLogic’?” In the end, we decided to exclude certain parts of the website from the script (articles, events, news from our past), but made sure that all the links were updated. We didn’t have to bury Logic Supply as a brand name, as there would be an advantage in having references to this name during the period of transition to remind customers we’re still the same company.

During this phase, we prepared what needed to be changed in Google Ads, such as headlines, descriptions, URLs, sitelinks, and videos. We ramped up our paid search budget for both terms “Logic Supply” and “OnLogic”, and prioritized pages and keywords to elevate in Google Ads in case the domain change did have an impact on our core keyword rankings.

Priority page identification

Since the intent of our migration was to port our existing platform over to a new domain and make very few changes in the process, we didn’t have to list pages we would have to prioritize over others. What we did do was think about external factors that would impact our SEO, and how to limit this impact for our biggest referral traffic sources and top ranking pages.

External Links

We compiled a spreadsheet to help us address, and ideally update, backlinks to our former domain. The categories and data sources are worth noting:

Backlinks: We downloaded all of our backlinks data compiled from SEMRush and Google Search.

Referral traffic and top organic landing pages: This list was pulled from Google Analytics to determine high-traffic, priority pages we’d need to monitor closely after the transition. It also helped to prioritize links that were actively being used.

Partners: We wrote to each of our partners and suppliers about the changes in advance, and asked them to make updates to the links on their websites by certain deadlines. I was delighted to see how quickly this was implemented — a testament to our amazing partners.

Publishers: Anywhere we had a mention in a news story or website that we thought could be updated, we reached out via email at go-live. We did decide at some point we couldn’t erase our history as www.logicsupply.com, but we could at least let those contacts know we had changed. There were a few direct placement advertisements we also had to update.

Directories: We used various internet resources, and a great deal of Googling, to identify business, product, or industry directories that pointed to our old domain and/or used our old name. I hate that directories still have a place in SEO these days, since they date back to the early ages of the internet, but we wanted to cover our bases.

Redirect specification

Redirect mapping

When you’re performing a domain migration, one of the most important things for sustaining organic traffic is to help Google — and any search engine — understand that a page has moved to a new location. One way to do this is with a permanent (301) redirect.

So began our redirect mapping. Our migration scenario was fortunate in the sense that everything remained the same as far as URL structure goes. The only thing that changed was the domain name.

The final redirect map (yes, it’s the world’s most complicated one, ever) was:

logicsupply.com/* -> onlogic.com/*

Internal link redirects

As IT had their redirection mapping server-side prepared, we needed to make sure our internal links weren’t pointing to a 301 redirect, as this would hurt our SEO. Users had to be sent straight to the correct page on the new domain.

Objective: update all links on the site’s content to point to the new domain. Below is the “find/replace” table that our IT team used to help us update all the content for the transition to onlogic.com:

We also launched an HTML sitemap as soon as possible under logicsupply.com after our URL restructure, six months prior to launch.

Contingency plan

We took 15 weeks to prepare, test, and get comfortable with the migration. Once live, there is no going back. Executing thoroughly and exactly on the plan and checking every box is the only approach. So in short: there was no contingency plan. Whatever happened, once we switched domains, that was it.

GULP.

Phase two ended when we started to move away from the specifications and into exactly what needed to happen, and when. We used our Go-Live Checklist to make sure that we had every box checked for creative needs, third party integrations, and to configure file review. Making the checklist highly detailed and accurate was the only way to make sure we succeeded.

Phase three: pre-launch testing

To kick off phase three, we had to get a baseline of where we were at. We had a few errors to correct that had been outstanding in Google Search Console, like submitting noindex links through our XML sitemap. This project also alerted us to the fact that, if everything went well, site speed would be our next project to tackle.

Content review

As content wouldn’t change except for “Logic Supply” becoming “OnLogic”, we didn’t really have to do a lot of reviewing here. We did extensively test the find/replace functionality in the go-live scripts to make sure everything looked as it was supposed to, and that the sections we chose to exclude were in fact left untouched. Updated designs were also part of this review.

Technical review

The technical review involved checking everything we had planned out in the second phase, so making sure redirects, sitemaps, links, and scripts were working and crawlable. IT implemented all server-side conditions, and set up the new domain to work internally for all testing tasks that needed to be executed. Again, the checklist was leading in this endeavor.

Redirect testing

Using ScreamingFrog, we crawled both the sitemaps as well as the staging website we had internally launched for testing purposes — hidden away from the outside world. Any redirect errors that appeared were resolved on the spot.

Site launch risk assessment

Risk assessment was a continuous activity throughout the testing. We had a go or no-go decision prior to go-live, as we couldn’t go back once we flipped the switch on the domain migration. Everything that popped up as an error or flag we swiftly assessed and decided whether to mitigate or ignore for the sake of time. Surprisingly, very few things came up, so we could quickly begin the benchmarking process.

Benchmarking

The template above was what we used to track our site speed before and after. Our benchmarks were consistent between the website before and after our staged migration using both Lighthouse and GTMetrix, meaning we were on track for our go-live date.

Phase four: go-live!

The least impactful day to make this change was over the weekend, because as a B2B company, we’ve noticed that our customers tend to be online during regular office hours.

Our team in the Netherlands, including Tim, flew in to support, and our IT and marketing teams dedicated a Saturday to the migration. It also happened to be my birthday weekend, so I was excited to be able to celebrate with my colleagues while they were in town, and in turn celebrate them for all their hard work!

So, on Saturday, October 19, 2019, around 8 a.m., IT confirmed we were good to go and the maintenance page was up. This was returning a “503 — service temporarily unavailable” server response to make sure Google wouldn’t index our site during the migration.

It was at this point in the process that our Go-Live Checklist took over. It was a lot of work up front, but all of this preparation made the final execution of the domain transition a matter of a few clicks to move and/or publish items.

Among all our other tasks, we updated our page title suffix, which was previously “Logic Supply”, to “Logic Supply is now OnLogic” (today it’s “OnLogic formerly Logic Supply”). This was an indication to Google that we were the same company.

The hardest part was the waiting.

Phases five and six: post-launch and performance review

I had planned to camp out next to my computer for the next few days to watch for problems, but nothing surfaced right away. While organic traffic did take an expected dip, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic or prolonged as we’d been warned it might be. We are still seeing logicsupply.com indexed months later, which is frustrating, but doesn’t seem to be affecting our traffic on the new domain.

Overall, we view our website transition as a success. Our traffic returned to where we were and we surpassed our project benchmarks for both traffic and site performance.

Following the move, we looked for follow-on opportunities to help improve our site speed, including identifying inactive or out-of-date plugins from our blog. Our blog made up at least 40 percent of our organic traffic, so this change made our site faster and helped to reach our organic growth recovery goals in less than six weeks.

We are constantly looking at and prioritizing new opportunities to improve the website experience for our customers, and make doing business with OnLogic as easy as possible. The domain change project was a huge undertaking by the entire organization, and required a great deal of planning and constant communication and collaboration to pull off. That said, the time spent up-front was paid back twice over in the time saved recovering our organic traffic, and making things seamless for our website users to ensure everyone could carry on with business-as-usual.

Break Free B2B Marketing: “Webinerd” Mark Bornstein of ON24 on Dialing In Digital Experiences

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

Break Free B2B Marketing Mark Bornstein Image

Like many other digital experiences, the webinar has traditionally been viewed as a means to an end: Create something that seems valuable to your audience, and use it as a vehicle to acquire contact information for lead generation purposes.

But marketers like Mark Bornstein take a different angle: What if we view the webinar itself as an end — an extremely valuable marketing tool on its own? What if we’re just muddying it up with all these mandatory form-fills and sales-y follow-ups?

“You need the name once, you need the demographic information one time,” he observes. “But why do we keep putting forms together again and again? What matters is the experience.”

[bctt tweet=”“Why do we keep putting lead gen forms together again and again? What matters is the experience.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Mark elaborates: “It’s the experience you give, it’s the way you’re able to connect and interact with audiences that matters. Because that’s where you’re going to get the real data. That’s where you’re going to learn a lot about them.”

Although he is a proud marketer, and VP of Marketing for the webinar solution provider ON24, this self-professed “webinerd,” Mark urges his fellow practitioners to develop a new mindset by moving away from traditional terminologies: “It’s not about marketing anymore. It’s about connecting people to your brand. It’s relationship-building.”

The days of dry, facelessly narrated slide presentations are gone, he argues. We need to dial in and focus on human connections through authenticity, empathy, and compassion. We need to learn more about our customers than how we can contact them with follow-up promotional materials.

At a time where physical events and meetings are off the table, achieving these connections in the digital space via experiential marketing has never been more vital. In his 25-minute conversation with TopRank Marketing’s Susan Misukanis at B2B Marketing Exchange in February, Mark shared a wealth of insights, which have only become more useful and valuable in the weeks and months since.

Break Free B2B Interview with Mark Bornstein

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.

  • 0:45 – Mark’s experience making webinars, and his view on lead gen
  • 2:00 – Have we reached the end of MQLs?
  • 3:15 – What is an experience and what makes a good one?
  • 5:00 – Examples of companies that are getting digital experiences right
  • 7:45 – What role will technology play in experiences going forward?
  • 10:00 – Are brands becoming more open to moving outside the box?
  • 12:00 – Finding and positioning your brand’s narrative
  • 13:30 – Getting back to opt-in marketing fundamentals
  • 16:00 – Where Mark sees the industry going in 2-3 years
  • 17:30 – Who is poised to win in the short-term (SMB/verticals vs. enterprise)?
  • 20:15 – The value of compassion, empathy and connection
  • 24:15 – How can B2B marketers break free?

Susan: So you talk about an experience … Can you take it a level deeper? What is an experience?

Mark: Well, let me tell you about my world. So in the world of webinars, if you think about what a webinar was even a few years ago — and maybe in some cases still now — the webinar was a talking PowerPoint. Just a headless voice, you didn’t see anybody. You just heard somebody going through the slides in a droll way and it wasn’t branded and it was just boring. And maybe a lot of webinars still are kind of boring. But the fact of the matter is, what we see companies doing now is they’re creating serialized programming. They’re creating these really cool almost TV-like viewing experiences, where it’s a show and there’s hosts and the formats are changing. There’s panel discussions and coffee talks and chat shows and new style formats. So companies that are trying to own thought leadership, to establish a voice, to be the company that people go to — they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar on, you know, here’s our content. Here’s our slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences. And I think a really great experience has a few of the following qualities: It should be completely branded. It should be interactive. I always say give yourself the “what can they do?” test. When somebody is experiencing your content, is this all they can do? They’re reading your ebook or watching your video … is that it? An experience is a place where people can ask questions, or they can chat, or they can tweet, or they can download content. They can click on CTAs. You want to create an environment where people are doing stuff, and it’s a multi-touch content experience. And so it’s a different thing today.

[bctt tweet=”“Companies that are trying to own thought leadership, they’re not going to do that through giving a webinar that’s a slide presentation. They’re doing it by building experiences.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Susan: We keep hearing that marketing is moving toward AI and tech — in a few years, it’ll all be bot-driven. How do you reconcile that with your vision?

Mark: One of the things that drives me crazy about marketing in general is that we as marketers are very interesting creatures, in the sense that we’re always willing to try new things. But we also get into habits we can’t break. And a lot of the technologies — whether it’s automation, or artificial intelligence, predictive analytics — all these amazing technologies that have been created to scale our marketing in ways like never before? Well, we are acting like this technology that was created to get people to our marketing has now become our marketing. So you need to look at, you know, artificial intelligence tells us out of this vast infinite number of people who we should be targeting, and maybe some of the topics we should be talking about. We can get a lot of great information. Automation allows us to scale that up in a lot of different ways. But ultimately, there is a moment of engagement. There still is that human engagement. And so all of that technology can inform, but ultimately, what really has to drive that engagement is the conversation that you have with them and the experience that you can deliver.”

[bctt tweet=”“We are acting like this technology that was created to get people to our marketing has now become our marketing.” — @4markb on #BreakFreeB2B #DigitalExperiences” username=”toprank”]

Susan: You tweet a lot about marketers not asking for proper permission to opt in. So maybe our prospective buyer has a need, but getting that opt-in and going about it the right way, that’s a big hurdle.

Mark: It is. I mean, if you’re a marketer in the U.K., you know what this pain feels like. I think especially in the U.S., but really around the globe, marketers are not ready. I don’t think they’re taking this seriously enough. You know, privacy legislation is in the U.S. now, but it’s mostly based on privacy protections. It’s not based on opt-ins and that sort of thing yet. It is coming. It is going to happen very soon, people. And so we need to prepare for this, which means we need to build our marketing around this idea of people opting in. So how do we do this? We have to be able to produce streams of programming that people will want to subscribe to, right? It’s no longer about nurtures, it’s no longer about ‘can you come to my event’ or ‘will you come to this one-off virtual experience or webinar,’ whatever it is. We need to find ways to get people who want our marketing to opt into our marketing. At a time when all of this digital noise is scaring them away. We need to bring them back in through more authentic, more human, more experiential marketing. We’re going to get them there.”

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:


Source: SEO blog

Google Alerts for Link Building: A Quick and Easy Guide

If you’re a link builder, you know how tough it can be to persuade other site owners to link to your site with “out-of-the-blue” pitches. This is true even if you have great content or have been building links for years.

That’s why the mantra “link building is relationship building” exists. Often, before you build a link, you have to build a relationship with the site owner first. This means anything from following them on Twitter, commenting mindfully on their posts, writing emails to them to discuss their content without pitching links, etc. It’s a productive strategy, but also a time-intensive one.

However, there’s another — relatively quick — link building strategy. 

Is your ear itching? If you’re the superstitious type, this means that someone is talking about you.

Sometimes a webmaster will publish your brand name, products, or target keywords on their site without actually linking to your site. In SEO, these are known as “fresh mention” opportunities. These are typically some of the easiest link building opportunities available, since you don’t really have to explain yourself to the site owner. Mostly, you just have to ask them to put an <a href> tag in the code.

But how do you find these fresh mentions? There are multiple methods and tools, but today I’m going to highlight the one I use most often: Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is beneficial in a myriad of ways beyond the world of link building and SEO, but there’s no doubt that it’s the best way to stay on top of your fresh mention opportunities. Allow me to explain how you can use it!

Setting up Google Alerts

First off, the obvious: you need the correct link. To start using Google Alerts, head over to Google Alerts. You can technically set up alerts without a Gmail account, but I would recommend having one. If you don’t have one, click here to find out how to set one up.

When you have an account set up and land on Google Alerts, you will see a page that looks like this:

No, there’s not much to see. Not yet anyway.

Let’s take a basic example. Say you want to create an alert for mentions of link building. Simply type the phrase into the bar at the top.

You will see something similar to the image above, even before you click on anything else. The first box asks for which email address you want to receive the alerts (I’ve erased mine for the purpose of this article, but trust me, it’s there). Below that will be examples of recent alerts for your query.

Click the “Create Alert” button, and alerts will be sent to your selected inbox going forward. However, you can customize a few settings before you do so. Click the “Show options” dropdown next to the button to see a list of settings you can adjust:

Each item is auto-filled with the default setting. You can adjust the settings so that you only get alerts from specific regions, for certain types of content, and more. In general, I have found the default settings to suffice, but there are valid reasons you might want to change them (if you’re only interested in video content, for example).

When you’re done with the settings, you can create the alert!

Google Alert tips

Quotation Marks

From that point on, assuming you stuck with the default option of once-a-day emails, you’ll get an email every 24 hours that looks like this:

Notice the returns in this example include pages that talk about each individual word from your query (in this example the word “link” and the word “building”). Obviously, this isn’t helpful, and it’s a waste of time to sift through these results.

So, how can you make sure that you only get results for an exact phrase? Quotation marks!

I (intentionally) made this mistake when setting up this alert. Notice in the image from the first section that “link building” didn’t include quotation marks around it. Without them, Google Alerts will return results like the ones in the image above.

The quotation marks indicate that you’re looking for an exact match of that phrase, so when you set up an alert using them you will get something that looks like this:

Much better, right?

Note that you can combine terms with and without quotation marks in one alert. Say for example I was looking for content related to link building around images. Instead of “link building images,” a phrase not likely to occur too often, I could use:

This will return results that include both the exact phrase “link building” AND the term “images”.

Set up multiple alerts

If you’re using Google Alerts for link building, I recommend setting up more than one alert. Consider some of the following:

  • Your brand name
  • Your products or services
  • Your focus keywords
  • Personalities associated with your brand

If you’re concerned about all the emails flooding your inbox, adjust the settings to decrease the frequency or stagger delivery days. You can also set up a separate Gmail account that only serves to receive these emails. I personally find the former to be the better option, but I know people who do the latter.

Consider setting up alerts for your competitors as well. Doing so may give you a window into their link building and publicity strategies that you can learn from. Along with that, you might find new potential target sites that aren’t mentioning you. If they mention your competitor, it’s likely they are relevant to your niche.

Also include common misspellings of any of the list items above. While Google’s algorithm is typically smart enough to correct such misspellings in its search, a few valuable results may seep through even still.

Conclusion

Google Alerts can be helpful for other purposes other than link building. Certainly, if you’re engaged in an online reputation management campaign, they’re a necessity. Some use Alerts to track the kind of publicity their competitors are getting as well.

There are other excellent link building tools out there that can complement your “fresh mention” strategy if you are a link builder, but Google Alerts is an essential. I hope you find Google Alerts as helpful for link building as I have. If you have other tools or suggestions, please mention them in the comments below.

Why SEO & Influence are Critical to Pandemic Era Content Marketing

Pandemic Marketing SEO Influence

Pandemic Marketing SEO Influence
On this Memorial Day of 2020, it is important we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country – not only in the military, but those on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to first responders, law enforcement, healthcare workers and all that support them!

The health and economic crisis we are all facing now compounds the many other uncertainties of our time including trust and expectations in the brands we buy from. The COVID-19 pandemic and our society’s reaction to it have changed the reality we have lived with into something different and very digital.

The why of business matters. For those of us in marketing, we have an obligation to seek answers about how social changes, culture, the economy, politics and consumer behaviors will change how business is done. As we peel back the onion for answers, it means revisiting the why of our business, the value of our customers and employees.

Pivot one way or another. Many companies have pivoted their business models and others have adapted their solutions to be more relevant to the time. In most cases, messaging and marketing tactics have changed and along with that goals and how to measure them have changed.

Sales expectations have not gone away. While there has generally been a shift from explicit sales/push marketing content to messaging that is more aligned with the times in terms of being more empathetic to customers, purpose oriented and branding focused, sales expectations still exist. Sales still need to be made and the work still needs to be done – just differently.

Will your brand be the best answer tomorrow? Not only do companies need to mitigate sales losses because of “these uncertain times” but it will be a land grab to be the most relevant for customers when purchasing behavior starts to ramp up again. Because of that, branding goals measured by share of voice for social, share of search and earned media are just as important now as measuring for leads and sales.

SEO more timely than ever. To reach those sales goals but without being “salesly” and tone deaf, there have been many changes in how marketers reach their customers and one in particular has been a shift towards organic search. In fact, 63% of marketers say SEO will be most important marketing tactic during the pandemic according to research from Conductor, as a way to hit lead and sales numbers.

Understanding that B2B buyers already prefer to pull themselves through most of the sales experience with their own research and content, B2B marketers are increasingly emphasizing SEO for the current time when field marketing, events and experiential marketing are no longer an option.

Buyers are in search of B2B technology. More specific to our industry of focus, G2 Crowd has reported B2B tech categories having 200-600% increase in organic search traffic during the pandemic. All capable marketers are closely monitoring changes in organic search traffic and ramping up to meet the increased demand.

Findability meets credibility in crisis marketing.  Customers are as skeptical of brand marketing as ever and are tiring of the “in these uncertain times, we’re here for you” ads and messaging. Bypassing that with search works well for customers but content with 3rd party experts works even better.

Are you optimizing for trust? Demand Gen Report’s study on content preferences showed that 95% of B2B buyers prefer content featuring industry experts. Marketing during a crisis that emphasizes SEO to help buyers pull themselves to brand content that ALSO includes credibility inspiring content from industry experts is what can really create trust and the confidence for buyers to make the connection.

During uncertain times, one thing is true in marketing. There is a lot of uncertainty right now but there is also the truth about what your customers need and the value your brand can deliver to them. Creating useful information, aka content marketing, is more than important than ever, especially in more engaging formats like video, podcasts, interactive and livestreaming.

ABO – Always Be Optimizing. Marketing is about optimizing for improved performance and the role that organic search plays in pulling customers to your brands solutions at the very moment of need is clear. Including trusted industry experts that have the attention and confidence of your customers is even clearer. Here are 5 steps on how to get started.

When it comes to learning more about the intersection of SEO, influence and content marketing, this blog is a useful resource. We have 469 posts about SEO, 159 posts on influencer marketing and over 800 posts on content marketing. Of course if you have unique questions, we are happy to hear and answer them at TopRank Marketing.


Source: SEO blog

Three Steps to a Better-Performing About Page

Somehow, many businesses I’ve come across online have one glaring problem in common: a very weak and unconvincing About Us page.

This doesn’t make any sense in my mind, as the About page is one of the most important brand assets, and unlike link building and social media marketing, it doesn’t require any ongoing effort or investment.

An About page is often part of a buying journey. It can drive people to your site and help convince them to deal with you. And, in these uncertain times, you can use it to help build trust in you and your business.

Creating a solid About page is a one-time task, but it will boost both brand loyalty and conversions for many months to come.

Why is your About page so important?

It is often an entry page

Whether you’re a business owner or blogger, your About page tends to rank incredibly well for brand-driven search queries (those that contain your name or your brand name). If nothing else, it shows up in your sitelinks:

Or your mini-sitelinks:

This means your customers will often enter your site through your About page. Is it making a good first impression to convince them to browse your site further (or engage)?

Let’s not forget that branded queries have high intent, because people typing your brand name in the search box already know you or have heard about your products. Failing to meet their needs equals a missed opportunity.

It is often a conversion trigger (and more)

How often have you checked a business’s About page before buying anything from them? I always do, especially if it’s a new brand I haven’t heard of before.

Or maybe it’s not even about buying.

Anytime someone approaches me with a quote or an interview request, I always check their About page. I refuse to deal with bloggers who don’t take themselves seriously.

Likewise, I often look to the About page when trying to find a press contact to feature a tool in my article.

On a personal level, I always open an About page to find a brand’s social media profiles when I want to follow them.

A lack of a detailed, well-structured About page often means leaked conversions as well as missed backlinks or follows.

It is an important entity optimization asset

We don’t know exactly how Google decides whether a site can be considered a brand, but we have well-educated theories so we can help Google in making this decision. The About page is a perfect entity optimization asset.

First, what we know: An About page is mentioned in Google’s human rating guidelines as one of the ways to determine the “expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness”, or E-A-T, of any page.

Human raters don’t have a direct impact on search results, but their assessments are used to teach Google’s algorithm to better rank pages. So if the About page comes up in their guidelines, it’s likely they use it as a ranking signal.

Second, Google is using information you choose to put on your About page to put your business inside their knowledge base, so it’s important to include as much detail as you can.

With all of this in mind, how should you put together a great About page?

1. Start strong

This step is not unique to this particular page, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Treat your About page as a business card: People should be willing to learn more as soon as they see it. Your page should be eye-catching and memorable, and grab attention at first sight without the need to scroll down.

For example, Cisco starts with a powerful picture and message:

Nextiva starts with their main tagline:

Slack tells us exactly what they are doing and sums up its most impressive stats:

Telling your brand’s story is a great way to make your About page more memorable and relatable. Terminus does a very good job at starting their page with some history about the company that leaves you wanting to know more:

And Zoom starts with a video and a list of the company’s values:

Starting your page with a quick, attention-grabbing video is probably the best idea because video has been proven to convince visitors to linger a little bit longer and start engaging with the page.

You can create a short and professional video within minutes using web-based video editors like InVideo (in fact, InVideo is probably the most affordable solution I’m aware of).

To create a video intro using InVideo:

  • Pick a template
  • Upload your images and videos (or use the ones inside the platform)
  • Edit subtitles to tell your brand’s story
  • Add music or a voiceover

It’ll take you just 30 minutes to create a captivating video to put on your landing page:

2. Link your brand to other entities

With all that Google-fueled nonsense going around about nofollowing external links, or even linking out in general, marketers and bloggers tend to forget about one important thing: A link is the only way for Google to crawl the web.

More than that, Google needs links to:

  • Understand how well-cited (and hence authoritative) any page is
  • Create a map of sites, entities behind them, and concepts they represent

This is where linking out to other “entities” (e.g. brands, organizations, places, etc.) is so important: it helps Google identify your place within their own knowledge base.

To give you some ideas, make sure to link to:

  • Your company’s professional awards
  • Your featured mentions
  • Conferences you were/are speaking at

For personal blogs, feel free to include references to your education, past companies you worked for, etc.

To give you a quick example of how useful this may turn out to be, here’s my own Google Knowledge Graph:



How did I get it?

To start, “Shorty Awards” is Google’s recognized entity. When I was nominated, I linked to that announcement from my blog, so Google connected me to the entity and generated a branded Knowledge Graph.

This nomination is hardly my only — or even most notable — accomplishment, but that’s all Google needed to put me on the map.

Google may know you exist, but without making a connection to a known entity, you can’t become one yourself. So start by making those associations using your About page.

To help Google even more, use semantic analysis to create copy containing related concepts and entities:

  • Register at Text Optimizer and type in your core keyword (something that describes your business model/niche in the best possible way)
  • Choose Google and then “New Text”

Text Optimizer will run your query in Google, grab search snippets, and apply semantic analysis to generate the list of related concepts and entities you should try and include in your content. This will make it easier for Google to understand what your business is about and what kinds of associations it should be building:

Using some structured markup is also a good idea to help Google connect all the dots. You can point Google to your organization’s details (date it was founded, founder’s name, type of company, etc.) as well as some more details including official social media channels, awards, associated books, and more.

Here are a few useful Schema generators to create your code:

For WordPress users, here are a few plugins to help with Schema integration.

3. Include your CTA

Most About pages I’ve had to deal with so far have one issue in common: It’s unclear what users are supposed to do once they land there.

Given the page role in the buying journey (customers may be entering your site through it or using it as a final research touchpoint), it is very important to help them proceed down your conversion channel.

Depending on the nature of your business, include a CTA to:

  • Request a personal demo
  • Contact you
  • Check out your catalogue
  • Talk to your chatbot
  • Opt-in to receive your downloadable brochure or newsletter

Apart from your CTAs, there are helpful ways to make your About page easier to navigate from. These include:

Whatever you do, start treating your About page as a commercial landing page, not just a resource for information about your business. Turn it into a conversion funnel, and this includes monitoring that funnel.

On WordPress, you can set up each link or button on your About page as an event to track using Finteza’s plugin. This way, you’ll be able to tell which of those CTAs bring in more customers and which are leaking conversions.

Finteza allows you to keep a close eye on your conversion funnel and analyze its performance based on traffic source, user location, and more.

For example, here’s us tracking all kinds of “Free Download” buttons. It’s obvious that the home page has many more entries, but the About page seems to do a better job at getting its visitors to convert:

[I am using arrows to show “leaked” clicks. The home page us obviously losing more clicks than the “About” page]

You can absolutely use Google Analytics to analyze your conversion funnel and user journeys once they land on your About page, but it will require some setup. For help, read about Google Analytics Attribution and Google Analytics Custom Dimensions — both resources are helpful in uncovering more insights with Google Analytics, beyond what you would normally monitor.

Like any other top- and middle-of-the-funnel pages, you’re welcome to reinforce your CTA by using social proof (recent reviews, testimonials, featured case studies, etc.). Here are a few ideas for placing testimonials.

Takeaways

Creating and optimizing your About page is a fairly low-effort initiative, especially if you compare it with other marketing tasks. Yet it can bring about several positive changes, like more trust in your brand and better conversion rates.

You should treat this page as a business card: It needs to create a very good impression in an instant. Put something attention-grabbing and engaging in the above-the-fold area — for example, a quick video intro, a tagline, or a photo.

Consider using links, semantic analysis, and structured markups to help Google associate your brand with other niche entities, and put it into its knowledge base.

Add CTAs (and experiment with different kinds of CTAs) to prompt your page visitors to follow your conversion funnel. An About page is often an underestimated, yet a very important part of your customers’ buying journeys, so make sure it’s clear where you want them to proceed.

Thanks for reading, hope it was helpful, let me know your thoughts/questions in the comments. Let’s discuss!

B2B Marketing News: Biggest B2B Differentiators Study, Facebook Buys Giphy, LinkedIn Prepares Stories, & Facebook’s New Video Chat

2020 May 22 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 May 22 MarketingCharts Chart

B2B Decision-Maker Survey: COVID-19’s Impact on Marketing, Buying, and Sales
65 percent of enterprise B2B buyers now view online interactions as being more important than traditional vendor conversations, one of several findings of interest to digital marketers contained in newly-released U.S. B2B pandemic response survey data. MarketingProfs

Facebook just bought Giphy
Facebook has acquired popular animated GIF image platform Giphy in a $400 million move that will likely bring deeper integration with both Facebook-owned Instagram and its messaging features, the social media giant announced.Engadget

LinkedIn Stories Is Almost Here: Will It Reinvent the B2B Social Media Landscape?
LinkedIn (client) has tested its variation of the popular ephemeral stories format. When rolled out to the Microsoft-owned platform’s 690 million users, LinkedIn Stories would bring B2B marketers on the platform a new digital storytelling tool option. MarketingProfs

Brand Awareness is Top of Mind in Email Signature Marketing
82 percent of marketers seek brand awareness from email signature marketing, topping the list of objectives in recently-released survey data, which also showed that 48 percent look to drive website traffic via email, while just 19 percent are looking for customer retention, the survey found. MarketingCharts

Google is auditioning candidates to succeed the third-party cookie
With the use of traditional Web tracking cookies largely being abandoned, Google has continued its testing of the firm’s recently-announced Privacy Sandbox alternative, which still works with the ad auction format, the search giant announced. Digiday

ANA Report Finds Most Marketers Have Supplier ‘Diversity’ Programs, About Half Impact Marketing/Ad Services
While some 75 percent of marketing firms incorporate supplier diversity initiatives, just 40 percent is specifically for advertising services, one of several findings of interest to digital marketers in recently-released report data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). MediaPost

2020 May 22 Statistics Image

Facebook’s ‘Messenger Rooms’ Multi-Participant Video Chat Option is Now Available to All
Facebook has launched its Messenger Rooms video messaging feature with a global release that includes up to 50 video participants and the ability to drop in via Facebook’s feed, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Reddit overhauls ad sales, with a new boss from Pinterest
Reddit has tapped a former Pinterest and Google advertising leader in a new move aimed at bringing more brand advertising activity to the platform, a shift that has also seen the firm restructuring its sales team to adjust to changes brought by the global health crisis. Digiday

Pandemic Sentiment Shifts From ‘Acute’ To ‘Transitory,’ Here’s What Consumers Want From Brands
Some 56 percent of global consumers say that they now approve of brands advertising primarily as normal, according to recently-released survey data of interest to online marketers. 10 percent of respondents, however, said that they somewhat disapprove of brands returning to normal advertising, while 5 percent strongly disapprove, the survey noted.MediaPost

Marketers at B2B Firms Tout the Value of Social Media
37 percent of B2B decision-makers see a brand’s social media presence as the biggest online differentiator, according to newly-release survey data, followed by the digital experience and self-service options both at 33 percent, and content marketing and community involvement, both at 31 percent. MarketingCharts

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 May 22 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “communicating in a crisis” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Freelancer Channels Inner Don Draper to Write $15 Blog for Used Car Dealership — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — 25 Best Digital Marketing Blogs You Need to Follow in 2020 — Better Business Tools
  • Lee Odden — Marketing Through Uncertain Times: Insights From 15 Experts [PDF] — InsightBrief
  • Lee Odden — 20 Marketing Experts on Content that Helps Sales Reps Sell – Part 1 — Modus
  • Lee Odden — 20 Marketing Experts on Content that Helps Sales Reps Sell – Part 2 — Modus
  • Lee Odden and TopRank Marketing — The Definitive List of 2020 Content Marketing Predictions and Other Goodies — UpScribed
  • Lee Odden — Social Media in Times of Social Distancing Planable Webinar [VIDEO] — Planable
  • TopRank Marketing — 20 Clever Link Building Techniques to Earn High-Quality Backlinks — Kevin Payne
  • Lee Odden — 6 Engaging Webinar Formats to Create More Compelling Content — TwentyThree
  • TopRank Marketing — 25 Best Digital Marketing Blogs You Need to Follow in 2020 — Better Business Tools

Have you found your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us this week, and we hope 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. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


Source: SEO blog