5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Are you using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help with your content marketing efforts?

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered with a look at some of the most helpful SEO tools to help you refine and augment your content marketing plans.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however we’ve put this collection together so that you can skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of fresh SEO tools to boost your content marketing experiences.

1 — Google Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse

Google’s own Lighthouse tool — an open-source project — offers a simple way to check a number of basic SEO-related issues that every website should consider. Among its auditing functions are tools specifically focusing on performance, SEO, accessibility, and progressive web apps, and it’s also capable of examining webpages requiring authentication.

The tool can be run standalone, from the web, in Google’s Chrome DevTools, or incorporated into continuous integration systems, and its Lighthouse Viewer allows viewing and sharing of analysis data online.

2 — Botify SEO Platform

Botify

There are numerous powerful SEO platforms that each look to be as close to a one-stop-shop as possible for marketers and brands to gain reliable and relevant search insight, and squarely in this category is enterprise SEO suite company Botify.

Botify offers a vast array of SEO analysis, data crawling intelligence and indexing metrics tools, all while working to make this complex information both easy to understand and act on, as Google’s Martin Splitt recently touched on in a live video conversation.

3 — Bing URL Submissions Plugin for WordPress

Bing

B2B marketers in WordPress environments recently got access to an open-source plug-in from Bing Webmaster Tools, automating the submission of new site content to the Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Bing URL Submissions Plugin in a feature-rich plug-in that can also be customized via Bing’s API for incorporation into other content management systems.

4 — Schema.org

Schema

Google and other search engine firms prefer that businesses use schema markup for structured data in the format set forth and maintained by the Schema.org organization, which is especially important today as features including Google’s Knowledge Graphs rely in part on this simple yet often-overlooked element, as Michal Pecánek recently examined for Ahrefs.

5 — WebPagetest

WebPagetest

Another free tool frequently used by savvy search industry professionals is WebPagetest, allowing webmasters and technically-proficient marketers to run a variety of tests including content type breakdowns, page speed data and others providing helpful information.

The data from WebPagetest can be used to troubleshoot website slowness issues, as Barry Schwartz recently outlined in “Google: How To Diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Slowness.”

Smart SEO Tools To Make You A Knowledge Builder

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found at least a few new-to-you SEO content marketing tools among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns that are using the soundest practices of SEO, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

We have a multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are a few of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject:

5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Are you using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help with your content marketing efforts?

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered with a look at some of the most helpful SEO tools to help you refine and augment your content marketing plans.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however we’ve put this collection together so that you can skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of fresh SEO tools to boost your content marketing experiences.

1 — Google Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse

Google’s own Lighthouse tool — an open-source project — offers a simple way to check a number of basic SEO-related issues that every website should consider. Among its auditing functions are tools specifically focusing on performance, SEO, accessibility, and progressive web apps, and it’s also capable of examining webpages requiring authentication.

The tool can be run standalone, from the web, in Google’s Chrome DevTools, or incorporated into continuous integration systems, and its Lighthouse Viewer allows viewing and sharing of analysis data online.

2 — Botify SEO Platform

Botify

There are numerous powerful SEO platforms that each look to be as close to a one-stop-shop as possible for marketers and brands to gain reliable and relevant search insight, and squarely in this category is enterprise SEO suite company Botify.

Botify offers a vast array of SEO analysis, data crawling intelligence and indexing metrics tools, all while working to make this complex information both easy to understand and act on, as Google’s Martin Splitt recently touched on in a live video conversation.

3 — Bing URL Submissions Plugin for WordPress

Bing

B2B marketers in WordPress environments recently got access to an open-source plug-in from Bing Webmaster Tools, automating the submission of new site content to the Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Bing URL Submissions Plugin in a feature-rich plug-in that can also be customized via Bing’s API for incorporation into other content management systems.

4 — Schema.org

Schema

Google and other search engine firms prefer that businesses use schema markup for structured data in the format set forth and maintained by the Schema.org organization, which is especially important today as features including Google’s Knowledge Graphs rely in part on this simple yet often-overlooked element, as Michal Pecánek recently examined for Ahrefs.

5 — WebPagetest

WebPagetest

Another free tool frequently used by savvy search industry professionals is WebPagetest, allowing webmasters and technically-proficient marketers to run a variety of tests including content type breakdowns, page speed data and others providing helpful information.

The data from WebPagetest can be used to troubleshoot website slowness issues, as Barry Schwartz recently outlined in “Google: How To Diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Slowness.”

Smart SEO Tools To Make You A Knowledge Builder

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found at least a few new-to-you SEO content marketing tools among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns that are using the soundest practices of SEO, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

We have a multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are a few of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject:

The post 5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic

B2B Marketing Pandemic

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the B2B world with companies generally reducing marketing budgets. At the same time, many B2B companies are maintaining or increasing marketing spend as we’ve seen with most of our clients at TopRank Marketing.

While there has generally been a shift from explicit sales/push marketing content to brand messaging that is more aligned with the times and empathetic to customers, sales expectations still exist for B2B brands during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge many B2B marketers are facing is to understand how to navigate both the short term changes in what works for customers in the current environment as as well as in the long term, post-crisis.

According to research from McKinsey, one of the biggest changes that has happened is the boost in importance of B2B digital over traditional means of engaging customers – 200% more than before COVID-19. This move to digital means higher expectations by B2B customers of self service as well as B2B ecommerce experiences. With those changes in expectations come changes in marketing, short and long term.

Not only do B2B companies need to mitigate sales losses because of the uncertainty during the pandemic but those who want to continue being the best solution and top of mind for customers when purchasing behavior comes back need to look at what pandemic-era tactics will stick after the crisis has subsided.

For a great overview of how to measure marketing goals in a crisis, be sure to check out Birdie’s post here. 

How buyers feel about B2B brands short and long term will directly contribute to which brands are the most relevant as budgets open up and business solutions investments experience substantial growth. Some of the long term metrics include branding goals measured by share of voice for social, share of search and earned media.

So, can B2B marketers do to optimize and measure their pandemic era marketing?

Content is the kingdom. Providing customers with information and resources for surviving and thriving during the pandemic that are useful from the customer’s perspective is a good starting point. Demonstrating how the B2B brand’s solution provides value in the current environment is also essential for creating relevance and utility with customers. Of course, useful information isn’t all there is. The shift towards digital, B2B brands need to make sure the digital experiences they provide are 100%: Information is easy to find, the inquiry or ordering process is easy and fast, there are zero glitches in using online systems.

Search is even more relevant. As mentioned in the research from McKinsey, self service is an increasing expectations amongst B2B buyers. One way buyers are performing self serve marketing  is through the use of search engines.

An emphasis on search also helps B2B brands reach sales goals without being “salesly”.  This trend has been picked up on by savvy B2B marketers with 63% of marketers saying it will be most important during the pandemic according to a survey by Conductor. This confidence is also exemplified from data reported by G2 Crowd showing B2B tech categories having a 200-600% increase in organic search traffic during the pandemic.

Of course to make search work, B2B brands need content and SEO best practices in place to ensure optimized visibility for what customers are looking for. We’ve seen many B2B brands emphasize SEO during the pandemic which enables buyers who are no longer attending trade shows and engaging in experiential or field marketing activities to use search engines for finding useful information and solutions on their own terms.

Findability works best with credibility.  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. While bypassing that with search engine optimization and advertising works well for connecting with customers, optimized content that has added 3rd party credibility can work even better.

In our own research in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 77% of B2B marketers say their prospects rely on influencers for information. Confidence in influencer marketing is on the rise for B2B marketers. 63% of survey respondents believe they would have better marketing results with an influencer marketing program.

So, crisis era marketing 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. This is why SEO and influence are essential partners for any B2B marketing effort during and after the pandemic.

Measuring the impact of B2B content marketing that is optimized and influencer activated means understanding the search phrases and topics of influence that are most relevant for customers and then tracking the brand’s relevance, engagement and conversion for those topics.

For  search marketing, key measures include:

  • Topic visibility reporting & share of search for those topics
  • Referred traffic to content optimized for the target topics
  • Conversions from target topic content

Influencer marketing, metrics to track include:

  • Share of voice on topics of include
  • Growth of brand affinity with influencers
  • Reach of topic content amongst influencer networks
  • Engagement and conversion performance of topic content shared by influencers
  • Growth in affinity of topics and brand in social
  • Growth of organic brand advocacy by influencers and their networks

Uncertainty is a dangerous state for businesses and making no decision is often worse than making the wrong decision or failing fast. Understanding the shifts in buyer behavior can help B2B brands gain confidence in the role content marketing will play in the short and long term. Relevant content that is both findable for increasingly self-serve buyers and credible through industry expert contributions can give the competitive advantage needed to perform both short term and post-pandemic.

Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic

B2B Marketing Pandemic

B2B Marketing Pandemic

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the B2B world with companies generally reducing marketing budgets. At the same time, many B2B companies are maintaining or increasing marketing spend as we’ve seen with most of our clients at TopRank Marketing.

While there has generally been a shift from explicit sales/push marketing content to brand messaging that is more aligned with the times and empathetic to customers, sales expectations still exist for B2B brands during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge many B2B marketers are facing is to understand how to navigate both the short term changes in what works for customers in the current environment as as well as in the long term, post-crisis.

According to research from McKinsey, one of the biggest changes that has happened is the boost in importance of B2B digital over traditional means of engaging customers – 200% more than before COVID-19. This move to digital means higher expectations by B2B customers of self service as well as B2B ecommerce experiences. With those changes in expectations come changes in marketing, short and long term.

Not only do B2B companies need to mitigate sales losses because of the uncertainty during the pandemic but those who want to continue being the best solution and top of mind for customers when purchasing behavior comes back need to look at what pandemic-era tactics will stick after the crisis has subsided.

For a great overview of how to measure marketing goals in a crisis, be sure to check out Birdie’s post here. 

How buyers feel about B2B brands short and long term will directly contribute to which brands are the most relevant as budgets open up and business solutions investments experience substantial growth. Some of the long term metrics include branding goals measured by share of voice for social, share of search and earned media.

So, can B2B marketers do to optimize and measure their pandemic era marketing?

Content is the kingdom. Providing customers with information and resources for surviving and thriving during the pandemic that are useful from the customer’s perspective is a good starting point. Demonstrating how the B2B brand’s solution provides value in the current environment is also essential for creating relevance and utility with customers. Of course, useful information isn’t all there is. The shift towards digital, B2B brands need to make sure the digital experiences they provide are 100%: Information is easy to find, the inquiry or ordering process is easy and fast, there are zero glitches in using online systems.

Search is even more relevant. As mentioned in the research from McKinsey, self service is an increasing expectations amongst B2B buyers. One way buyers are performing self serve marketing  is through the use of search engines.

An emphasis on search also helps B2B brands reach sales goals without being “salesly”.  This trend has been picked up on by savvy B2B marketers with 63% of marketers saying it will be most important during the pandemic according to a survey by Conductor. This confidence is also exemplified from data reported by G2 Crowd showing B2B tech categories having a 200-600% increase in organic search traffic during the pandemic.

Of course to make search work, B2B brands need content and SEO best practices in place to ensure optimized visibility for what customers are looking for. We’ve seen many B2B brands emphasize SEO during the pandemic which enables buyers who are no longer attending trade shows and engaging in experiential or field marketing activities to use search engines for finding useful information and solutions on their own terms.

Findability works best with credibility.  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. While bypassing that with search engine optimization and advertising works well for connecting with customers, optimized content that has added 3rd party credibility can work even better.

In our own research in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 77% of B2B marketers say their prospects rely on influencers for information. Confidence in influencer marketing is on the rise for B2B marketers. 63% of survey respondents believe they would have better marketing results with an influencer marketing program.

So, crisis era marketing 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. This is why SEO and influence are essential partners for any B2B marketing effort during and after the pandemic.

Measuring the impact of B2B content marketing that is optimized and influencer activated means understanding the search phrases and topics of influence that are most relevant for customers and then tracking the brand’s relevance, engagement and conversion for those topics.

For  search marketing, key measures include:

  • Topic visibility reporting & share of search for those topics
  • Referred traffic to content optimized for the target topics
  • Conversions from target topic content

Influencer marketing, metrics to track include:

  • Share of voice on topics of include
  • Growth of brand affinity with influencers
  • Reach of topic content amongst influencer networks
  • Engagement and conversion performance of topic content shared by influencers
  • Growth in affinity of topics and brand in social
  • Growth of organic brand advocacy by influencers and their networks

Uncertainty is a dangerous state for businesses and making no decision is often worse than making the wrong decision or failing fast. Understanding the shifts in buyer behavior can help B2B brands gain confidence in the role content marketing will play in the short and long term. Relevant content that is both findable for increasingly self-serve buyers and credible through industry expert contributions can give the competitive advantage needed to perform both short term and post-pandemic.

The post Three B2B Marketing Tactics That Will Outlast the COVID19 Pandemic appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

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

How to Measure Changing Marketing Goals During a Crisis

Seated man looking a monitor of marketing goals.

Seated man looking a monitor of marketing goals.

In recent months, I’ve been listening to Paramore’s song “Hard Times” a lot. Their 2017 hit talks about struggling to overcome challenging circumstances above ’80s-inspired new wave pop. It’s a bop, as the kids say, and confronts hardship — truthful and emphatic with a spoonful of sugar.

via GIPHY

During this global health crisis, I’m sure most marketers want to wake up fine, be told that they’re alright, and — in their weakest moments — have “wonder[ed] why [we] even try.”

While we have no control over the state of the world, we do have control over how we react or work in tandem with it. With data, we get a glimpse into how our respective markets have been impacted, and it can inform a new perspective and next steps. Let’s take a look at how the pandemic affects data and analytics, and if B2B marketers need to shift their pre-pandemic goals.

Examine Pre- & Post-Crisis Data, Then Decide If Goals Need Updating

This may be the first time in our lifetimes where the whole world is going through the same crisis, but that doesn’t mean that all businesses are being affected in the same way. Some businesses within industries like tech, religious goods, home improvement, and health and fitness are finding themselves in higher demand. Other industries see buyers backing away from the table or putting processes on hold, waiting for more certain times.

Since stay-at-home orders across the U.S. started in early March, we now have enough data to see how this time has impacted shopping and purchasing. We can examine market trends — for example, has search volume around your target keywords changed since March? If so, how? Look at website traffic and revenue data for the last 90 days and compare it to pre-crisis and average or seasonal data. It should be evident whether your business is growing or slowing.

via GIPHY

Both camps can benefit from an update in goals. I say “update” rather than “pivot” because sales expectations haven’t disappeared. The journey has just changed.

Businesses that are experiencing increased demand want to become as visible and available to their customers as possible while supplies last, while those with the short end of the stick want to mitigate sales losses and prepare for the end of the crisis. An update to marketing goals may bring changes to strategies, which brings changes to how we measure performance.

[bctt tweet=”“Sales expectations haven’t disappeared. The journey has just changed.” @birdie_zepeda” username=”toprank”]

Ensure Your Approach Fits Updated Goals

For Sales-Centric Goals

SEO

As shared in a previous SEO for B2B Marketers post, we are seeing reports that both B2B and B2C brands have seen increases in website traffic, improving 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data. Buying online is even more popular and many users are using search engines to find online stores.

Consequently, those with sales-centric goals should focus on optimizing landing pages with high conversion rates and that target keywords for the bottom of the sales funnel (i.e. Intent, Purchase, and Customer Loyalty).

Content

Even if growing brand awareness isn’t the primary target of your updated crisis goals, it’s important to update copy to reflect the tone of current times. Customers or clients may not want to partner with someone who isn’t acknowledging that the way of the world has changed, even though it may be temporary.

This allows for the opportunity to ensure high trafficked pages have calls to action that are relevant for visitors that navigate or land there. That way, you can help customers best find what they’re searching for during this time.

Paid Advertisements

Similar to SEO efforts, focusing on search queries or campaigns that are high converters or at the bottom of the funnel can make the most of your ad spend. If possible, consider increasing ad spend where you’re already seeing great returns.

For Branding-Centric Goals

via GIPHY

We’re seeing marketers anticipate longer sales cycles by shifting focus from explicit sales to brand awareness for when the crisis begins to settle, so that customers and clients think of your business first when they’re ready to act. For example, just because I can’t travel right now doesn’t mean I’m not dreaming of being on a beach or visiting my family once travel restrictions are lifted!

Content & Influencer Marketing

Content with a distinct voice is at the center of any brand awareness campaign. It supports SEO efforts by creating content for gaps in coverage of top- and middle-of-funnel search queries. It builds credibility and thought leadership when paired with industry leaders and influencers. As audiences become more skeptical of brand marketing and tired of in these uncertain times, we’re here for you ads, unique content can build relationships.

Find your voice and work to make it stand out and provide value to your audience.

SEO

Identifying keywords and optimizing content for the top and middle of the sales funnel (such as: Awareness, Discovery, and Evaluation) supports brand awareness efforts and can help you reach sales goals without coming off as “salesy.” While your customer may not be ready today, you’re proactively helping them make a buying decision.

Paid Advertisements

If you find your budget is smaller, target smarter. Are there geographies that are or aren’t buying? Can your targeting better reflect your converting demographic? Can you focus on keywords or tactics that have a better return on advertising spend (ROAS)?

If you find your budget is unchanged or has even increased, don’t be afraid to try new tactics to gain visibility. This can come in the form of display campaigns, social media promotions, or commercials on digital media platforms.

[bctt tweet=”“Content with a distinct voice is at the center of any brand awareness campaign. It supports SEO efforts by creating content for gaps in coverage of top-and-middle-of-funnel search queries.” @birdie_zepeda” username=”toprank”]

Measurement for New Times (KPIs)

Organic Search & Content Marketing

  • increase in impressions
  • improvement in ranking/position for target keywords
  • increase in organic traffic
  • increase in conversions

Paid Advertisements

  • improved ROAS
  • increased click-through rates (CTR)
  • increase in conversions

Social Media or Influencer Marketing

  • increase in impressions
  • increase in engagement
    • likes, shares
  • brand mentions in social and earned media
  • referral traffic to website from social

Hard Times Feeling Easier?

via GIPHY

These hard times are trying, but we hope in covering this topic that times start to feel a bit easier.

If hard times were to be easier with some extra support or guidance, reach out to TopRank Marketing to learn how we can help.


Source: SEO blog

The B2B Marketing Force Multiplier: Integrated SEO and Influencer Marketing

B2B Marketing Force Multiplier SEO Influence

B2B Marketing Force Multiplier SEO Influence

As business customers with questions are ignoring tone deaf brand marketing (and tiring of Pandemic messaging too) they are increasingly in search of information more than ever. Trust Radius reports that some B2B tech categories are seeing anywhere from 194% to 613% increases in search driven traffic. Search engines are clearly positioned to deliver answers for buyers seeking answers, but where is the trust? And more importantly, is your brand the best answer when and where buyers are looking?

SEO alone is not enough. A study from CSO insights ranked Web searches the 8th most trusted source of information for technology buyers. According to a study by Forbes/Yext, only 50% of customers believe search results. Search ads are not necessarily the solution because 65% of marketers don’t trust them either (HubSpot).

What good is being found in search if customers don’t trust what they find?

The solution? Make search optimized content more trustworthy, credible and useful by partnering with industry experts to create it. A Demand Gen Report study reports that 95% of buyers prefer influencer content. That’s an incredibly strong level of preference that B2B marketers would be negligent to ignore.

SEO and influence are excellent partners to deliver a satisfying content experience. To do that, you must first find the sweet spot for your customers with content that is findable with SEO and credible by showcasing relevant expertise from industry influencers.

Influencer content also optimizes B2B brands for Google E-A-T. Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are page quality characteristics highlighted in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. When B2B companies ensure their content demonstrates E-A-T characteristics, it’s akin to optimizing for both better Google and customers.

Credible Content Creation and Promotion can be a force multiplier for your marketing performance for multiple reasons. First, influential experts can extend the output of your marketing department by helping you make content. Second, those same experts can add credibility to brand content with quotes, insights on entirely influencer generated content. Third, the investment in content creation by those influential experts can also inspire them to promote that content to their trusted networks through social shares, inclusion in industry publications or cross published to influencer media (podcasts, livestream video, recorded video, blog posts, etc).

Like all marketing efforts, its important to identify your SEO and influencer marketing goals: improved organic search visibility, increased click through rates from Google to your site, improved time on site, increased click throughs from SEO landing pages to deeper content, and conversions referred from organic search.

Because influencers are involved, you can also benchmark and monitor the brand share of voice on social networks for the influencers you are working with, the social reach and impressions of their social shares, the referred traffic and conversions from their shares.

If the influencers you are working with publish their own content and you are able to engage them to cross-post or create original content aligned with your campaign, you can track the search visibility of your brand mentions on their websites. Doing so can help you manage achieving multiple positions within search results on the same query.

To help you get started towards realizing the marketing multiplier effect of integrated SEO and influencer marketing, here is a checklist of considerations in 5 sections:

Step 1 – Create Your Target Customer Profile

  • Describe your customer – demographics, psychographics, firmographics
  • What search keywords matter to this customer?
  • Which types of influencers matter to this customer?
  • What content topics and types are important for this customer?
  • What questions does this customer want answered?
  • Which social platforms does this customer use?
  • Which publications, podcasts or “shows” does this customer subscribe to?

Step 2 – Identify Influencers for SEO Topics

  • Leveraging SEO keyword research and an understanding of the content to be created/optimized, research 5-10 on-topic influencers using BuzzSumo, Traackr or other influencer marketing software.
  • Identify influencers creating on-topic content with great search visibility (Consider influencers recognized by Google with a Knowledge Panel).
  • Evaluate influencer’s link attraction rate when they publish or contribute content.
  • Align search keywords and corresponding influencers with content intended to function at the appropriate stage in the customer journey: Top, Middle and Bottom of funnel.

Step 3 – Activate Influencers to C0-Create Optimized Content

  • Use the Target Customer Profile to document specific content types and content sources (social platforms, media, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, YouTube channels etc) that matter to your customer.
  • By topic, map relevant influencers to specific content assets for activation.
  • Engage influencers and invite them to provide content for their assigned topics in the format preferred.
  • Use SEO topics in influencer interview questions to inspire SEO-friendly answers.

Step 4 – Inspire Content Promotion & Links

  • Identify opportunities to engage individual influencers for content promotion. Examples include: podcast, webinar, report contribution, social shares, quotes for blog posts, 3rd party editorial, newsletter or brand social channels.
  • Create UTM codes for URLs of content provided to influencers to share so they can be tracked in your analytics.
  • Provide influencer creators with topic clusters they can organically use in content and social shares.
  • Identify pre-launch influencer engagement opportunities – provide prewritten social shares.
  • Create an announcement blog posts, social promotions and engage influencers to create blog, video and social network content.
  • Create a series of promotional emails.
  • Support blog, social and earned media with targeted online advertising.
  • Post launch, repurpose influencer content on brand social networks, blog and in contributed articles.

Step 5 – Implement Ongoing Optimization & Influencer Engagement

  • Monitor the group of influencers you are working with for brand & keyword mentions on social networks and engage appropriately.
  • Repurpose influencer quotes in ongoing content: newsletters, presentations, contributed articles to publications, ebooks, infographics, etc.
  • Share updates with the influencers you are working with on the status of the campaign they participated in, updates to relevant technology or solutions and about your influencer program.
  • Find ways to connect influencers with each other: host an influencer happy hour on Zoom, create a LinkedIn or Facebook group, create channel on Slack.
  • Surprise and delight influencer contributors with feedback, tokens of appreciation and thank you’s.
  • Consider providing influencers with SEO audits of their blogs so they can improve their organic search visibility.

Topics that drive SEO and topics that guide influencer identification and content collaboration are a natural fit and can expand the impact of your organic search visibility as well as the advocacy about your brand amongst trusted voices in your industry. As effective organic search visibility requires ongoing care and optimization, influencer relationships also require ongoing care and nurturing.

Organic SEO is a form of “always on marketing” that works 24/7 and a small ongoing investment can pay big dividends when your B2B brand content is presented by Google at the very moment the buyer is looking. The same optimism about influencers can be said when it comes to brand advocacy and a trusted industry expert organically recommends your brand.

I hope this checklist has provided you with some direction that will help you get started with a search optimized and integrated influencer marketing strategy. There are many levels of process, tools and deep expertise that can make implementing an effort like this successful in a reasonable amount of time. If you have any questions or need help, the masters of SEO and Influence at TopRank Marketing are happy to help! Visit our Influencer Marketing Services resources or contact us directly.


Source: SEO blog

5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content

Hidden Content Image

Hidden Content Image

“Look, marketers. Everywhere the light touches is content beloved by customers.”

“But what about that shadowy place over there?”

“That’s our unseen content. We worked hard to create it, but nobody ever visits it.”

“That’s really depressing.”

“That’s life.”

Okay, sorry to bring the room down. And I’m also sorry to say that it gets worse. A recent study found that 69% of all web content is not seen by consumers.

Hidden Content Image
The remaining 31% is our kingdom.

Fortunately, there are many ways to create content that beats the odds. For example, you can co-create with influencers, or experiment with interactive content that inspires social media sharing. But what about the content you have already created? The really good stuff that never caught on with an audience?

With the right search engine optimization, you can shine a light on that content and help it earn organic traffic. Here’s how we do it.

Ungate the Good Stuff

Five years ago, the best practice for marketers was to gate your most valuable content. It makes sense: You’re offering something great, so people should be willing to offer their contact info in return for it. It’s a simple value exchange.

The flip side, though, is that your most impressive and useful content is now being seen by a smaller audience. You’re intentionally introducing a barrier between your target audience and your most persuasive content. 

I’ll grant that the debate of “to gate or not to gate” is ongoing, and marketers are seeing results with either tactic. But especially for SEO purposes, we recommend trying an ungated approach. 

For example, this asset from client SAP has it all: influencer participation, stats, eye-popping interactive visuals. It’s ungated, and the container page is optimized for search. Keeping this substantial piece of content ungated makes it more crawlable, findable and sharable. As people discover and share it, it gets even more SEO juice. And as an added bonus, the included influencers are far more likely to share an ungated asset.

SAP Image

Ditch the PDFs

Everybody loves PDFs, but… okay, so nobody really loves PDFs. Their popularity is really a holdover from the old days of the web. You didn’t want to take a beautifully-designed piece of content and try to recreate it in clunky HTML. So the PDF made sure people would see the content exactly as it was designed.

Now, however, you don’t have to be a web designer to create something beautiful on a regular web page. And since plain text is crawlable and PDFs are not, turning that PDF into a web page is a solid SEO move.

Our client Prophix just published original research in their CFO Benchmarks Report. Instead of making a landing page with an ungated PDF embedded, we turned the report into a long-scrawl web page, then offered a PDF download at the bottom. That way, the content is crawlable by search engines and more easily accessible to potential readers. What’s more, the content is now optimized for visually impaired users as well.

Prophix Image

Consolidate Posts by Topic Clusters

It’s standard SEO practice to combine thin content that addresses the same keyword into one comprehensive post. If you’re not doing that type of repurposing yet, that’s a good place to start. 

To take it to the next level, think beyond individual keywords and consolidate posts around topic clusters. For example, your outdoor gear company might have a post for the best hiking shoes, one on how to pick the right backpack, one on the best shirts to wick away sweat, and so on. 

Even though these posts have different keywords they’re aiming for, they all fall under a cluster: Best hiking gear. Combining all the posts into a mega post with navigation elements gives you a more valuable asset for search engines and humans. People will likely spend more time on the page, and be more likely to share and link to your comprehensive resource.

Build a Web of Internal Links

Another common cause of hidden content is that it’s minimally accessible through your site’s navigation. This is especially true if you’ve changed your site architecture over time — and who hasn’t? Content can end up with only a couple links to it, or even none at all.

Content architecture is one way that search engines can better understand your site and which content to recommend to searchers. An orphaned page with few or no links is unlikely to pass muster. 

This guide from Search Engine Journal can help you find your orphaned pages. Once you identify them, add links to and from relevant pages throughout your site. The goal is to build a logical link structure that helps users and bots understand which content is the most important.

You may also find that these orphaned pages are ripe for consolidation and optimization into more substantial content pieces, too.

Build External Links 

The end goal of our first four points is creating assets that are substantial, valuable, easy to find and share, and optimized for SEO and humans. This type of content is perfect for ethical link building. 

Backlinko has an excellent, comprehensive linkbuilding guide (ungated!) that’s well worth your time. But here are a few quick strategies to get started:

  1. Write guest posts for relevant industry publications and include links back to your content.
  2. Identify posts that are linking to similar, but outdated content and suggest updating with a link to your piece.
  3. Promote your content with paid and unpaid social media posts — those shares will indirectly influence your ranking, and can lead to more backlinks as well.

Let Your Little Light Shine

It can be demoralizing to think that 69% of your content is stuck in the dark. But think of it this way: You have a massive resource of already-written content that can find an audience with just a little SEO illumination. Make your content more accessible, easier to find, and more substantial for your audience, and you can bring that forgotten content into the light.

We can help bring your content out of the dark. Request an SEO audit to get started.

The post 5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers

8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers

8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers

It’s the beginning of our second week of social distancing here in Minnesota. I’ve already cleaned my house no fewer than 10 times, cleaned and organized closets, and gone on approximately 100 walks. I’m about 24 hours away from dressing my cats in costumes and putting on a (very sharp, bitey) show. But if that’s what it takes to keep spirits up and minds occupied at home, that’s what we will do.

Among the uncertainty and boredom we all face in these unprecedented times, we tend to take solace in the familiar. Keeping ourselves busy with ideas, concepts and work that nourish our minds is one thing we can do to stay sane and focus on the things we can impact.

While many of our favorite search conferences are being postponed to later dates, there are still plenty of excellent virtual conferences to attend in the meantime. If you, like me, are looking for something tangible and productive to put your mind to, this list of 8 virtual search engine optimization (SEO) conferences may be just the ticket for you.

[bctt tweet=”“While many of our favorite search conferences are being postponed to later dates, there are still plenty of excellent virtual conferences to attend in the meantime.” @Tiffani_Allen” username=”toprank”]


The CMC 2020 Digital Experience: The 2020 Content Marketing Conference has been relocated to their online CMC Academy this year. Conference sessions will be available beginning April 21st including session recordings and workshops from speakers like:

They are also offering a free ticket to next year’s CMC 2021 LIVE for CMC 2020 ticket holders so you can make connections and meet in person next year!


Midwest Digital Marketing Conference: This popular conference has moved online this year. Join the live, two-day virtual marketing summit on Wednesday, May 20th and Thursday, May 21st to hear from speakers like:

If you aren’t able to make those days work, the on-demand experience will be available online for a year following the event.


Adobe Summit: Get the latest insights into customer experience, which is an important factor for every SEO, at the first-ever digital Adobe Summit. The full lineup has yet to be announced, but you can register here for updates about the March 31 event.


Atomicon: This year’s Atomicon conference has gone fully virtual this year to bring insights from the world of content marketing, social media and search engine optimization. The conference takes place on April 28, 2020 featuring sessions from speakers like:

Not all the sessions are SEO specific, but every session touches on a digital marketing tactic that’s integral to making the whole digital mix successful.


SMX Munich: The first of the SMX series to move online, coming at you from Munich with everything you need to know about trends in PPC, SEO and search marketing overall. Speakers include:


Confab: This content strategy conference is a must-see for search marketers, and the virtual experience will be live on May 17-May 20. Search absolutely needs (and deserves) a seat at the content strategy table, and vice versa. The details are not yet finalized for the online version of this conference, but they should be coming soon! Some speakers to note:


SEMRush Live Webinars: SEMRush has compiled live webinars from some heavy hitters in the SEO and content marketing industry to provide advice, tips and other educational nuggets for marketers. Some webinars that look promising include:

Of course, there are many other past events to view on-demand as well.


Search Engine Journal Webinars: Browse on-demand and upcoming live webinars on topics ranking from BERT to boosting lead volume. A few that I found exciting were:

Stay Connected and Learn at Virtual Conferences

Attending conferences – even in a virtual setting – is a great way to stay connected to the marketing and SEO community. And, we could all use some human connection right now. Take some time to build your skills, renew your passion for search marketing, and avoid skin and eyeball risking activities like cat costume parties.

Did I miss an event you’re looking forward to? Leave me a note in the comments or tweet us @toprank.

The post 8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Marketing During a Pandemnic: Stop Pushing and Start Pulling with SEO

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020

Top 10 SEO Trends 2020
Customer empathy is at the forefront of the best marketing and tone deaf promotions as if things were normal during the COVID-19 pandemic are probably some of the worst.

When it comes to understanding the customer state of mind right now, I think Dean Shaw from SAS summed it up well on Twitter:

And while we know many of these personal concerns are top of mind, we also know that in many ways, the work continues.

So how can marketers meet the information needs of customers in an environment where push advertising and marketing seems so out of place?

The customer empathy model I’ve always used to keep content and context relevant is Discover, Engage, Action.

Where are buyers finding their information? What formats create the best experience and which triggers inspire action? Answer these questions and you’ll be on the road to providing the kind of authentic content that customers want, where they want it and in a way that drives satisfaction for all.

Right now one channel for information discovery that is firing hot are search engines. Instead of being tone deaf or completely opportunistic about marketing, companies can double down on their SEO efforts to become the best answer for customers at the very moment they need a solution. Whether you do fresh technical SEO, or content SEO or link audits – companies would do well to make sure that it’s as easy and relevant as possible for customers to pull themselves to brand content through search. SEO helps customers solve information problems on their terms, instead of alienating people with opportunism or status quo marketing.

SEO helps customers surface information on their terms, instead of alienating people with opportunism or tone deaf marketing.

To point marketers in the right direction for SEO, here is a new infographic featuring 10 SEO best practices from some of the top SEO minds in the industry including:

  • Barry Schwartz – President of Rusty Brick, Executive Editor at Search Engine Roundtable, News Editor at Search Engine Land
  • Jono Alderson – Digital Marketing Strategist and Special Ops at Yoast
  • Aleyda Solis – SEO Consultant and Founder at Orainti
  • Jesse McDonald – Global SEO Strategist at IBM
  • Britney Muller – Senior SEO Scientist at Moz
  • Ayat Shukairy – Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Invest
  • Dixon Jones – CEO at inLinks.net
  • Hamlet Batista – CEO at RankSense
  • Tiffany Allen – Associate Director of Search and Analytics at TopRank Marketing

SEO Trends 2020

You can download a full size PDF of the SEO trends 2020 infographic here.

As you consider how to be more empathetic about what’s really on your customers’ minds right now, hopefully these SEO trends will give you some direction in terms of how to optimize content to attract, engage and inspire action with more of a pull approach than push.

The post Marketing During a Pandemnic: Stop Pushing and Start Pulling with SEO appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog