2021 Local SEO Success: Expert Tips & Predictions

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist teacher

Image credit: Maulvi

My warm New Year’s greetings to all local business owners and local SEOs reading my column today. Add to this my sincere sentiments of solidarity for what we went through together in 2020 — we won’t soon forget it, and our stories from the journey contain important teachings for our market and industry.

I often find that the best local SEO takeaways sprout from the real-world anecdotes of colleagues and friends, and you’ll find those here today along with my personal predictions for the year ahead. Let’s get learning!

Teachings from the real lives of local SEOs

In a year when we were physically distant from one another in unprecedented ways, I’ve found memorable lessons in how local business owners broke down barriers to keep communities connected. I asked four wonderful colleagues to share a personal anecdote with me about a local business they transacted with, both prior to and during the pandemic. As you read these brief stories, see if you can identify six common threads running through them.


Amanda Jordan, Director of Local Search at LOCOMOTIVE Agency

“One of my favorite businesses that I have used before and during 2020 is Pete’s Diner. I first found out about them by driving by, but they have been in the community for decades.

Before the pandemic, my husband and I would have breakfast with his parents every Saturday at a different local restaurant. It became one of our regular breakfast spots because their food is great and it’s pretty close to our home. They also carried a hard-to-find, high-quality olive oil that we would buy in large quantities while we were there.

During the pandemic, we decided to do our best to continue to support local businesses. Pete’s really has adapted to the current climate by offering online ordering and delivery without raising prices significantly or compromising on the quality of their food. Moving into 2021, I recommend that local businesses continue to offer delivery and online ordering even after the pandemic is over. Use Google Posts to keep customers up to date on specials or new services and products.”


John Vuong, Founder of Local SEO Search Inc.

“I discovered my favorite Vietnamese pho restaurant three years ago. I was on the hunt for something that was close to my home, was family-run, and that had an amazing Vietnamese bone broth noodle soup that would remind me of my childhood (my family immigrated to Canada from Vietnam).

Like many SEOs do, I found it through Google Search. I always check Google reviews to see what a company’s online reputation is. The first time I stepped foot in their restaurant, they recognized that I was new. They took the time to explain their business and tell me their most popular dishes. They took the time to build a personal relationship and rapport with me by asking my name and sharing theirs. It felt like there was a real personal touch. And of course, the food was amazing, the service was quick, and they topped it all off with complimentary dessert. I was hooked!

I’d been going to this pho restaurant weekly — that is until the pandemic hit. I didn’t visit them for a little over three months when lockdown first went into effect. But when I did, I was so happy to see that they had implemented all of the necessary health precautions to make their customers and staff feel safe. I noticed a huge influx of takeout orders.

I think my best local marketing advice for 2021 would be to take care of your customers! Listen to them intently and go over and above what you typically would. Treat every single customer like they’re your family and they will feel the love! Don’t expect anything in return, and you will be rewarded when you least expect it!”


Niki Mosier, Head of SEO at Two Octobers

“There is a local cafe/coffee shop near me that I would frequent, especially for their homemade doughnut Fridays. The proximity of the location (two blocks away), the quality of the food, and the customer service made me a repeat customer.

The business was quick to offer delivery (even for two blocks away), which has been amazing — who doesn’t want Irish coffee and fresh doughnuts delivered to their door on a Friday morning? They’ve added other fun takeaway options, too, like bake-your-own cookie dough, meals, and a Thanksgiving pie and beer collab with the brewery down the street. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to pivot. Focus on customer service and your customers will stay loyal.”


Garrett Sussman, Head of Marketing at Grade.us

“Some might argue that Wegmans, the northeast grocery chain, has a cult following. It’s easy to understand why. I first discovered the store from my father. He raved about the way they had special baked goods, quality produce, and an assortment of branded products. I was living in New Jersey at the time, and I was hooked after my first visit. Maybe it was the takeout sandwiches, the fresh sushi, or the large and open layout of the store — and it didn’t hurt that they were about five minutes from my apartment at the time.

Since then, I’ve learned more about the brand and appreciate their philosophy: ‘Employees first, customers second.’ I want to go to a store that takes care of their employees. They’ve even invested $5 million dollars in employee scholarships. How cool is that?

In 2020, they adapted to the pandemic by being one of the first grocery stores to implement mask policies, glass splash guards, and social distancing. They increased their employees’ wages in March by $2.00, and had hand sanitizer at entrances very early on. If I had to give them one piece of local search marketing advice, I’d recommend utilizing Google Posts more frequently. Adding a post once every couple of months is better than nothing, but it’s such an opportunity to attract more customers to their grocery stores.”


6 common threads for 2021 local SEO strategy

Image credit: RJP

Did you spot the commonalities in the four stories? When I distill them down into local SEO themes, here’s what I see:

1. Essential local businesses take pride of place

When I asked for a story about a favorite business, Amanda, John, Niki, and Garrett all chose an essential business — a restaurant or grocery store that fed them! Eating is the most fundamental of all activities, as recent times have highlighted for us all. One of my major takeaways from 2020 that I’ll be bringing with me into 2021 is that operating an essential business which fulfills the basic structural needs of a community is the wisest entrepreneurial strategy.

If you’re adjusting your business model and its inventory, opening a new business this year, or advising local entrepreneurs, learn to map community essentials and create a business plan that puts basics before luxuries.

2. Local business discovery is multi-channel

Getting found is the preliminary step to every local business transaction:

  • Amanda found a restaurant while driving
  • John looked at Google listings and reviews
  • Niki needed a spot in close proximity to her workplace
  • Garrett heard by word-of-mouth from a family member

Being there for the customer means being discoverable both online and offline, via vehicle, foot traffic, web-based local business platforms, and by word-of-mouth recommendations. Your visibility strategy for the year ahead needs to cover all these bases.

3. Local businesses can deliver multiple types of value

The local businesses you’re marketing have the best chance of success if you can unlock the secret of what patrons value most. These examples abound in our four anecdotes:

  • Great selection — Amanda’s olive oil, Garret’s baked goods, John’s pho, Niki’s Irish coffee.
  • High quality — clearly, all of these foods are extra delicious!
  • Convenience — everyone wanted something nearby.
  • Brand affinity — John wants a family-owned business, Garret wants employees to be cared for, Niki likes businesses that partner up with one another, and Amanda likes a brand that maintains quality without raising prices too much.
  • Brand adaptability — all four brands made safety adjustments to keep serving the public.

This year, find out what your customers and potential customers value most, and make common cause with them.

4. Pandemic adaptations drive loyalty

The four businesses our contributors highlighted are successfully weathering an incredible storm via the praiseworthy changes they made to keep serving the public safely, like:

  • Implementing new sanitary policies
  • Implementing digital commerce
  • Offering home delivery
  • Doubling down on takeout service
  • Increasing employees’ wages
  • Trying new things, like meal kits
  • Forming new cross-sales partnerships with fellow businesses

Taking maximum safety precautions, delivering at the curb or the front door, facilitating online purchasing, and experimenting with new ideas are all must-haves for 2021.

5. There’s even more that good local brands can do

I asked our experts what they’d suggest if they could offer once piece of local SEO advice to their favorite businesses for 2021. They recommended:

  • Maintaining all new sales and service channels, even after the hoped-for end of COVID-19.
  • Making consistent use of Google Posts as a communications channel.
  • Listening intently to evolving customer needs.
  • Putting customer service at the center of everything.
  • Making customers feel loved.

6. The most important local SEO factor is the human factor

These are the parts of the stories I like best, because they show businesses making us feel less alone, despite our necessary distancing.

  • Amanda found a place a family feels so welcome, they made it a regular multi-generational hangout.
  • Niki found a place that added a sense of fun to life with their creativity.
  • John found a place that not only served a beloved dish from childhood, but where the staff took the time to build a personal relationship with him.
  • Garrett found a place where he can feel good shopping because they take genuine care of their staff.

Philosopher Thích Nhất Hạnh might say that each of these businesses found a way to shatter the illusion of separateness, in the midst of a pandemic, by making each of these patrons feel like valued members of the community. Any local business you market in 2021 can definitely do the same.

My own local SEO predictions and tips for 2021

Here we go!

1. Your local business website will be more essential than in any previous year

Image credit: Robbert Noordjiz

It’s hard to believe that just three years ago, I felt compelled to publish a piece on why you still needed a website, pushing back on the narrative that the amount of zero-click-type SERPs was making websites irrelevant. Nobody can claim this in 2021, and recent stats from Moxtra’s Small Business Digital Resilience Report make the “why” of this clear. Consider:

  • 66% of respondents say the pandemic made them more likely to do business with SMBs in the future (and I’ve seen higher numbers than this in other surveys).
  • But, 2020 saw 30% growth in consumers requiring that digital capabilities be present to facilitate transactions (think e-commerce and telemeetings).
  • And, 84% said if these capabilities were lacking, they’d consider looking elsewhere for a brand that could serve them online (84% is a huge number!).

Local digital sales are where it’s at in 2021, so finding the best possible e-commerce provider should be the top priority for all relevant brands. Don’t worry too much about zero-click SERPs this year. Yes, Google has its shopping engine and has even ramped up its “nearby” filter in 2020, but focus on pulling in every bit of traffic you can to your website’s own shopping cart this year. This goal will build stronger-than-ever bridges between local and organic SEO, so this is the time for local-focused agencies to double down on organic skills.

I’m also watching with interest the rise of medical devices and apps that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals. There’s a telemedicine revolution going on, which should seep into other professional services that could improve customer convenience via secure telemeetings, any time face-to-face appointments aren’t essential.

Has anyone ever really enjoyed sitting for hours in a waiting room to speak to an accountant, a consultant, a banker? I don’t think so. In 2021, websites for professional service providers should be optimized to drive online bookings for as many remote meetings as possible.

2. The triumphant return of the milkman and the everything-delivery person!

I’ve been predicting the return of the milkman for many years here at Moz, and 2020 made it happen. Thousands of customers signed up this past summer to make standing orders with Alpenrose Dairy in the Portland area, after a 40-year absence of home delivery service. Under new leadership, the old dairy invested in a fleet of trucks, drivers, branded delivery boxes, and even dog biscuits to toss to barking pups along the way. As their success grew, Alpenrose began partnering up with other local brands to deliver all kinds of treats and groceries, and their social profiles are being rewarded with nostalgic, happy praise from locals and a ton of transactions.

What I find absolutely key to this story is that Alpenrose is managing delivery in-house. They aren’t outsourcing to a third party and losing something like one-third of their revenue. If a local business you’re marketing can deliver, it definitely should.

Further, I’d urge digital marketing agencies to have vital conversations with clients in Q1 about the problems inherent in outsourcing customer experience to a third party. As I’ve learned from both restaurateurs and grocers, it’s generally too costly and too risky to let another company get between you and your customers. This means that a key problem to solve in the year ahead is the employment and transportation of in-house drivers.

“Oyster man. Oyster manny-manny-manny!”

A vintage cookbook tells me this is the song residents of mid-century New Orleans heard each day as a seafood wagon came down their streets. When I look through and beyond 2021, my best inspiration comes from examining the past, with its bountiful produce trucks making rounds, and ladies coming onto porches to purvey gumbo file powder. Ask your elders for reminiscences to inspire 2021 opportunities, because everything old is becoming new again, and whenever I ask around, customers who have gotten a taste of home delivery want it to continue beyond the hoped-for end of the pandemic.

But here’s one problem I need help to solve: If I’m predicting the continued expansion of delivery, and I’m looking back in time, I see lots of households with somebody available to accept perishable orders. In June of 2020, 42% of the US workforce was working at home, but if and when we return to formal workplaces, who will be in situ to bring in the meat and dairy before they spoil?

Will the return of the milkman necessitate the return of the outdoor icebox, or at least some form of it, like a fridge on the porch, a cooler the driver knows to fill, an apartment complex cold case? Inventors, please speak up, because there’s just no way I’m going to let Amazon into my house.

3. My tossed salad of local search marketing predictions

Image credit: Slice of Chic

So, solving for local digital sales and delivery are the two biggest stories I’m focused on in the year ahead, but here are my mixed greens of other developments I think we’ll see in the next twelve months:

1. Google’s Core Web Vitals is coming, and it will be felt on local business shores. But the truth is that — as recently as 2019 — one-third of small businesses still reported having no website at all (hence, nothing to optimize for Google’s latest initiatives). While local SERPs make it clear that it’s quite possible to rank a site-less local business in even moderately competitive packs and finders, 2020 turned the lack of a digital presence into a dire disadvantage for the smallest brands. Even a free website will be better than nothing in the year ahead.

2. Google will push harder on Google Messaging, and brands and agencies will need to decide whether to invite them into customer communications to this degree. If Google Messaging ever fully takes off, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google sunset Questions & Answers as a result.

3. Google’s purchase of Pointy should start to surface more clearly as key to their strategy for a local transactional future. I strongly believe Google’s greatest growth potential lies in facilitating local online shopping through a mapped interface, and I’m expecting their game plan for this to be more obvious by the end of 2021.

4. Reviews will continue to be absolutely central, but unless Google does something more about vetting the quality of reviews and Q&A responses from its Local Guides program, searcher experience will suffer. We won’t see a massive erosion of trust to threaten Google’s review dominance in 2021, but review spam and poor content will continue the confidence leak at a slow, aggravating trickle unless Google plugs it up.

5. If Apple launches its search engine this year, the local SEO industry’s necessary hyper-focus on Google could see some welcome variation. Moz Local already distributes to Apple Maps, so if you’re a customer, you’re ahead of the Apple game, but coverage of optimizing for Apple search will deserve your closest attention to be an early bird.

6. The rise of Nextdoor for local business visibility will hit a new high, and hopefully prompt the company to start developing more agency-friendly solutions. Nextdoor is the structured citation platform in which I’m most interested for the new year, and Moz Local now offers a top tier plan with a solution for agencies to help get all their clients onto Nextdoor (a function that’s absent from the platform’s own interface). Watch the Moz Blog for further coverage this year!

7. Local medical and personal service providers may need to expand hires (at least temporarily). Once a truly successful COVID-19 vaccine has been widely implemented, expect a glut of bookings from clients who have put off all kinds of appointments during lockdown. Now is the time to investigate good booking software and also evaluate Google’s options for this, because online reputation will be impacted by the ability to see clients in a timely manner once it’s safe to do so.

8. Public-brand affinity will set conscientious local businesses apart. Centering deep concern for whatever your local public cares about most will be increasingly important in the coming year. Whether through brand activism or allyship with major movements like Black Lives Matter or climate change addressal, or diligent support of local programs to alleviate poverty or increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, company reputations will become further tied to actions for the common good.

In summary

I’ll sum up by saying that there’s never been a tougher year than 2021 for making marketing predictions. After all, how many of us foresaw the harsh realities of 2020? But, as I look to the sunrise of a vaccine, and couple this with multiple polls indicating just how strongly the public wants to support local businesses, I think there’s both reason for optimism and genuine opportunity ahead.

2020 reminded us of just how interdependent we all are, for the basics of daily living and for human support, encouragement, and hope. Everyone benefits from inhabiting well-resourced, sustainable communities and if your brand or agency can help with this, the future belongs to you.

B2B Marketing News: LinkedIn’s 2021 Planning Report, Traits of Top B2B Performers Study, Google’s Question Hub, & Apple’s Search Aspirations

2021 January 8 Fortella Chart

2021 January 8 Fortella Chart

LinkedIn Shares New Usage Insights for Your 2021 Planning [Infographic]
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has released updated usage statistics showing that the professional social network’s LinkedIn Live video streams have increased by 89 percent since March, along with strong levels of member engagement — two of numerous statistics of interest to digital marketers. Social Media Today

Google Question Hub Is Open & It’s A Great Way To Find Content Ideas
Google has rolled out a new service showing unanswered search question data, offering U.S users access to its Question Hub for the first time — a feature previously only available in three non-U.S. nations. Search Engine Roundtable

Why B2B marketers need to bet big on ‘The Big Long’
Brand investment is key for providing business value according to data from the 2030 Marketing Trends report from Linkedin’s The B2B Institute, and Marketing Week explores five of the key benefits that come from building a B2B brand. Marketing Week

The Top 20 Content Marketing Hashtags, Topics, and Searches
71 percent of content marketers use a digital marketing hashtag alongside their content marketing tag, while strategy, SEO, and social media are the top three topics discussed with content marketing, according to newly-released study data from SEMrush examining more than 600,000 tweets and Google searches, the firm announced. MarketingProfs

Most Covered Terms Of 2020: ‘COVID-19,’ ‘Digital,’ ‘Personalization,’ ‘Meaningful’
COVID-19, “meaningful” and “personalization” led the way when it came to the most covered search terms during 2020 at MediaPost, in its annual look at the most-referenced terms of the year. MediaPost

Bing Webmaster Tools adds crawl requests, crawl errors & indexed pages to performance report
Microsoft’s Bing has added new functionality to its Bing Webmaster Tools utilities, with additional metrics that can aid marketers in spotting potential trouble-spots, the firm recently announced. Search Engine Land

2021 January 8 Statistics Image

Emerging New Brand Role: Enabler Of Personal Innovation
Brands increasingly see success when they create conditions that foster personal innovation, according to recently-released annual trend report data showing a variety of new forms of interaction and brand-shaping. MediaPost

Amazon acquires podcast network Wondery
Amazon has acquired the podcasting network Wondery, the firm recently announced, noting that the newly-acquired podcast network will be added to Amazon Music, offering new opportunities for digital marketers seeking to promote podcast content. TechCrunch

Apple Granted Patent Supporting Further Development Of Search Technology
Apple has received a patent that will allow it to delve further into search engine functionality, with domain-based influencer scoring among the firm’s search technologies that were granted a patent, Apple recently announced. MediaPost

Fortella Releases “State of B2B Marketing: 2021” Report, Examines the Traits of Top-Performing Marketing Departments
64 percent of B2B marketers find budgeting resources to be a top challenge, followed by tracking, quality data, and finding the right talent, according to recently-released survey data exploring top challenge strategies and tactics employed by marketing executives at leading B2B companies. MarTech Series

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2021 January 8 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “we’re going agile” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Adweek’s Most Popular Online Stories of 2020 — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • SAP — Global CMO of SAP Discusses Intersectionality in The Business of Marketing — Adweek

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

Thanks for joining us for another edition of our B2B marketing news, 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.

The post B2B Marketing News: LinkedIn’s 2021 Planning Report, Traits of Top B2B Performers Study, Google’s Question Hub, & Apple’s Search Aspirations appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: LinkedIn’s 2021 Planning Report, Traits of Top B2B Performers Study, Google’s Question Hub, & Apple’s Search Aspirations

2021 January 8 Fortella Chart

LinkedIn Shares New Usage Insights for Your 2021 Planning [Infographic]
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has released updated usage statistics showing that the professional social network’s LinkedIn Live video streams have increased by 89 percent since March, along with strong levels of member engagement — two of numerous statistics of interest to digital marketers. Social Media Today

Google Question Hub Is Open & It’s A Great Way To Find Content Ideas
Google has rolled out a new service showing unanswered search question data, offering U.S users access to its Question Hub for the first time — a feature previously only available in three non-U.S. nations. Search Engine Roundtable

Why B2B marketers need to bet big on ‘The Big Long’
Brand investment is key for providing business value according to data from the 2030 Marketing Trends report from Linkedin’s The B2B Institute, and Marketing Week explores five of the key benefits that come from building a B2B brand. Marketing Week

The Top 20 Content Marketing Hashtags, Topics, and Searches
71 percent of content marketers use a digital marketing hashtag alongside their content marketing tag, while strategy, SEO, and social media are the top three topics discussed with content marketing, according to newly-released study data from SEMrush examining more than 600,000 tweets and Google searches, the firm announced. MarketingProfs

Most Covered Terms Of 2020: ‘COVID-19,’ ‘Digital,’ ‘Personalization,’ ‘Meaningful’
COVID-19, “meaningful” and “personalization” led the way when it came to the most covered search terms during 2020 at MediaPost, in its annual look at the most-referenced terms of the year. MediaPost

Bing Webmaster Tools adds crawl requests, crawl errors & indexed pages to performance report
Microsoft’s Bing has added new functionality to its Bing Webmaster Tools utilities, with additional metrics that can aid marketers in spotting potential trouble-spots, the firm recently announced. Search Engine Land

2021 January 8 Statistics Image

Emerging New Brand Role: Enabler Of Personal Innovation
Brands increasingly see success when they create conditions that foster personal innovation, according to recently-released annual trend report data showing a variety of new forms of interaction and brand-shaping. MediaPost

Amazon acquires podcast network Wondery
Amazon has acquired the podcasting network Wondery, the firm recently announced, noting that the newly-acquired podcast network will be added to Amazon Music, offering new opportunities for digital marketers seeking to promote podcast content. TechCrunch

Apple Granted Patent Supporting Further Development Of Search Technology
Apple has received a patent that will allow it to delve further into search engine functionality, with domain-based influencer scoring among the firm’s search technologies that were granted a patent, Apple recently announced. MediaPost

Fortella Releases “State of B2B Marketing: 2021” Report, Examines the Traits of Top-Performing Marketing Departments
64 percent of B2B marketers find budgeting resources to be a top challenge, followed by tracking, quality data, and finding the right talent, according to recently-released survey data exploring top challenge strategies and tactics employed by marketing executives at leading B2B companies. MarTech Series

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2021 January 8 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “we’re going agile” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Adweek’s Most Popular Online Stories of 2020 — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • SAP — Global CMO of SAP Discusses Intersectionality in The Business of Marketing — Adweek

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

Thanks for joining us for another edition of our B2B marketing news, 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.

21 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2021

Happy new year, readers! We’re back with a brand new season of Whiteboard Friday episodes for your viewing pleasure. 

First up: Moz SEO expert Cyrus Shepard shares his top 21 tips for successful Google SEO in 2021, including what to prioritize and what to look out for in the year ahead. He’s also included a bunch of helpful resources for your reference in the transcription below! 

Watch and enjoy, and as always, leave your questions and your own suggestions in the comment section. 

21 Smart SEO Tips for 2021

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard. Today, so glad that you can join us. We are talking about 21 smart Google SEO tips for 2021. We’re getting ready for a new year, a new year of SEO strategies. These are 21 practical tips that you can implement that should, hopefully, move the needle on your organic traffic. 

These are some of the best tips that I’ve collected over the past year. Many of them that I’m going to use myself in my own SEO strategies. 

Now we have four categories: increasing clicks, content/on-page SEO tips, technical SEO, and a little bit of link building. There are 21 of these. These are going to go fast. We’re trying to do 10 to 12 minutes, so we don’t get to spend a lot of time on each one. But don’t fret. We’re going to link to appropriate resources in the transcript below so that we can keep along and explore a little bit more. All right. Ready to dive in? 

Increasing clicks

Let’s start with clicks, specifically earning more clicks from Google without actually ranking higher, because that’s one of the great things about SEO. You don’t actually have to rank higher to get more traffic if you can get more clicks from the rankings that you already have. So let’s talk about some specific strategies for getting more clicks without increasing rankings. 

1. Favicon optimization

First, favicon optimization.

Now I’m surprised more people haven’t talked about this in 2020. Google displays favicons in mobile search results, and they can influence your click-through rate if they’re high contrast, if they’re visible or not visible. Having a good favicon can make a few percentage points difference, very minor, but it does make a difference if you can get it right. Aaron Wall, SEO Book, wrote one of the very few posts about that

2. Breadcrumb optimization

While we’re optimizing our favicons, let’s take a look at breadcrumb optimization. Google displays breadcrumbs in both desktop and mobile search results. They can be keyword-rich breadcrumbs, which can influence your click-through rate. Now Google gets their breadcrumbs from a lot of places. That can be your URL, your schema markup, your actual breadcrumbs on the page.

What you want to do is make sure Google is displaying the breadcrumbs that you want them to display, using those keywords that you choose. The best way to do that, make sure that you have breadcrumbs actually on your page with links, that you’re using schema markup. Ideally, it would match your URL structure, but that isn’t always necessary. So a great breadcrumb optimization audit. 

3. Meta descriptions

Let’s optimize those meta descriptions. This is so old-school SEO. But a recent study shows that 30% of websites don’t even use meta descriptions. Now that’s understandable because another study shows that 70% of the time, Google will rewrite the meta description, usually because it’s not using the keywords that the user is searching for. But if we write a well-crafted meta description, it can compel users to click, and that means using keyword-rich descriptions that people are actually searching for, so when Google does use your meta description, it’s encouraging those clicks and acting as marketing copy for your website.

4. Numbers in titles

Along with meta descriptions, titles. Just shared a study recently showing that dates added to titles increased rankings for a particular brand. Numbers are generally one thing that I always test in title tags that usually produce pretty consistent results. Specifically, dates in title tags are often a winner, January 2021.

Don’t be spammy about it. Don’t include it if it doesn’t make sense and don’t fake it. But if you can include a number, it will often increase your click-through rate for any given query. 

5. <Title> boilerplate

How about doing a boilerplate audit for your title tag? Tip number five. What’s boilerplate? Boilerplate are the parts of your title tag that repeat every single time.

For example, here at Moz, we put “Moz,” our brand name at the end of every title tag. We used to put “Whiteboard Friday” at the end of every Whiteboard Friday until we tested it and found out that we actually got more clicks and higher rankings when we removed it. So boilerplate, you want your titles to be unique, provide unique value. So I would encourage you to experiment with your boilerplate and see if removing it actually increases your rankings.

Sometimes it’s not going to. Sometimes you need that boilerplate. But do the test to find out. 

6. FAQ and how-to schema

Tip number six: schema, specifically FAQ and how-to schema. Google gave us a huge gift when they introduced these in search results. FAQ schema gives you a lot of SERP real estate. You can’t always win it, and you can’t always win the how-to schema, but when you do, that can definitely increase or influence people to click on your result, expand those FAQ schemas out.

It’s not appropriate for every page. You want to make sure that you actually have those FAQs on your pages. But it is one way, in appropriate situations, that you can increase clicks without increasing your actual Google ranking. All right. 

Content/on-page SEO

Let’s move on to some content and on-page tips. 

7. Relaunch top content

All right, number seven. This is the year I want you to look into relaunching your top content.

Content can go stale after a few years. So we launch content. You have a blog, you launch it, and you share it on social media. Most people forget about it after that. So go back, look at your top content over the last two to five years or even 10 years, if you want to go back that far, and see what you can relaunch by updating it, keeping it on the same URL. In some cases, you can see gains of 500% to 1,000% just by relaunching some of your old content with some updates.

So do a relaunch audit in 2021. 

8. Increase internal linking

Number eight: increasing internal linking. Now a lot of top SEO agencies, when they need to quickly increase rankings for clients, there are generally two things that they know are the easiest levers to pull. First, title tags and meta descriptions, what’s getting more clicks, but second is increasing the internal linking.

You know that you can increase internal links on your site, and there are probably some opportunities there that you just haven’t explored. So let’s talk about a couple easy ways to do that without having too much work. 

9. Update old content with new links

Number nine is updating your old content with new links. This is a step that we see people skip time and time again. When you publish a new blog post, publish a new piece of content, make sure you’re going back and updating your old content with those new links.

So you’re looking at the top keyword that you want to rank for, and going in Google Search Console or checking tools like Keyword Explorer to see what other pages on your site rank for that keyword, and then adding links to the new content to those pages. I find when I do this, time and time again, it lowers the bounce rate. So you’re not only updating your old page with fresh content and fresh links and adding relevance. You’re adding links to your new content. So make sure, when you publish new content, you’re updating your old content with those new links. 

10. Remove unnecessary links

Number 10, remove unnecessary links from your content. Now this is a form of PageRank sculpting. PageRank sculpting is a dirty word in SEO, but actually it works to a certain extent. It’s not nofollow link page sculpting.

It is removing unnecessary links. Do you really need a link to your team page on every page of your website? Do you need a link to your contact form on every page of your website? In many cases, you don’t. Sometimes you do. But if you remove the unnecessary links, you can pass more link equity through the links that actually count, and those links are a major Google ranking signal.

11. Mobile link parity audit

Number 11, need you to do a mobile link parity audit. What is that? What is a mobile link parity audit? That is ensuring that the links on your mobile site are the same as the links on your desktop site. Why is that important? Well, the last couple of years Google has moved to a mobile first index, meaning what they see on your mobile site, that’s your website.

That’s what counts. So a lot of sites, they have a desktop site, and then they reduce it to their mobile site and they’re missing links. They get rid of header navigation, footer links, and things like that. A recent study showed that the average desktop page has 61 links and the average mobile page has 54 links. That means on the web as a whole there are seven fewer links on mobile pages than desktop pages, meaning a lot of link equity is being lost.

So do a study on your own website. Make sure you have mobile link parity between your desktop and your mobile site so you’re not losing that equity. 

12. Invest in long-form content

Number 12: need you to invest in long-form content. Now I am not saying that content length is a ranking factor. It is not. Short-form content can rank perfectly well. The reason I want you to invest in long-form content is because consistently, time and time again, when we study this, long-form content earns more links and shares.

It also generally tends to rank higher in Google search results. Nothing against short-form content. Love short-form content. But long-form content generally gives you more bang for your buck in terms of SEO ranking potential. 

13. Use more headers

When you’re doing that long-form content, make sure you do number 13: use more headers. I’m talking about H2 and H3 tags.

Break up your content with good, keyword-rich header tags. Why? Well, we have research from A.J. Ghergich that shows that the more header tags you have, generally you rank for more featured snippets. Sites with 12-13, which seems like a lot of header tags, rank for the most featured snippets of anything that they looked at in their most recent study.

So make sure you’re breaking up your content with header tags. It adds a little contextual relevance. It’s a great way to add some ranking potential to your content. 

14. Leverage topic clusters

Number 14, leverage topic clusters. Don’t just launch one piece of content. Make sure you write about multiple pieces of content around the same subject and link those together. When you do that and you link them intelligently, you can increase engagement because people are reading the different articles.

You can add the right contextual inner links. I have a great case study that I want to show you in the transcript below, where someone did this and produced amazing results. So look into topic clusters for 2021. 

15. Bring content out of tabs

Finally, bring your content out of tabs. If you have content that is in accordions or drop-downs or you have to click to reveal the content, study after study after study shows that content that’s brought out of tabs and brought into the main body, so people don’t have to click to see, generally performs better than content that’s hidden in tabs.

Now to be clear, I don’t believe that Google discriminates content in tabs. They seem to be able to index and rank it just fine. But I think people generally engage with content when it’s out of tabs, and maybe some of those signals help those pages to rank a little better. 

Technical SEO

All right. Just a very few technical SEO tips. We’re going fast.

16. Core Web Vitals

Number 16: this is the year to invest in Core Web Vitals. These are some of the page experience signals that Google is bringing to the forefront in 2021. It’s going to be an actual ranking factor very soon. We’re talking about cumulative shift layout, hard word to say. Generally, we’re talking about site speed and delivering great page experience. Now some of these things are very technical, and Google has some tools, like Lighthouse, to try to help you to figure them out.

One tip I like to share, if you are on WordPress, I highly recommend using Cloudflare, in particular their APO for WordPress. It’s a great way to speed up your WordPress website and help you score better for some of these Core Web Vitals. It’s very low cost, it’s easy to implement, and it’s a great way to speed up your WordPress website.

17. Limit sitemaps to 10,000

Number 17: sitemaps. Sitemaps, you’re allowed to have 50,000 URLs per sitemap. This is always a question in every SEO quiz. How many URLs per sitemap are you allowed? Instead, if you have a large site and you have indexing issues, tip number 17, limit your sitemaps to 10,000 URLs. You don’t have to use all 50,000.

We have some evidence that using smaller sitemaps, compressing those into a limited URL set can actually improve your crawlability of those. It’s kind of like Google might prioritize those in some way. The data seems to support it. You also get a little bit better data out of Google Search Console. You can see what’s being indexed and what’s not.

18. Leverage dynamic sitemaps

Also, leverage dynamic sitemaps. Our friend Oliver Mason shows — that I’ll link to in the transcript below — that a dynamic sitemap is a sitemap that changes based upon what you want Google to crawl. So if you have a large corpus of URLs that you want Google to crawl, put the high priority ones in their own special sitemap.

Maybe you limit it to one thousand URLs. As Google crawls and discovers those, remove them and put in additional high priority URLs that you want Google to discover. Keep the sitemap small and tight, and let Google know that those are the ones that you want them to pay attention to. 

Link building

Let’s quickly talk about link building tips for 2021, because everybody loves link building.

No, kidding. Everybody hates link building. Link building is so hard. There are some professionals and there are some great people in the industry who do love it, who are great at it. Personally, I’m not that great at link building, but I still am able to build a lot of links. 

19. Passive link acquisition

One way that I’m able to do that is number 19: passive link acquisition. What passive link acquisition means is creating content that passively earns links as people discover it in the SERPs.

It means I don’t have to outreach to people. It means that when they find it, when journalists find it, when bloggers find it, they naturally want to link to it. You do that by creating the types of content that journalists and bloggers and web creators are looking for. These are generally data, guides, definitions, how to, such as this video. When you create that kind of content, it generally earns a lot of links as people find it. Passive link building is one of the most sustainable ways to earn links over time. 

20. Page-level link intersect

Number 20, page-level link intersect. When you do have to do outreach, you want to do outreach to the pages most likely to link to you. Now we’ve known for a long time one of the top SEO tips for link building is find websites that link to your competitors but not to you.

I like to make that a little more specific and find web pages that link to at least two of my competitors but not to me. That means that they are generally a resource page, if they’re linking to multiple competitors but not to me, and more likely to link to me if I ask them. We have a great tool here at Moz, Link Explorer, that does page-level link intersect. I think it’s the best tool for this specific task in the SEO industry, not because I’m biased, because I actually use it.

21. Be the last click

Tip number 21 for 2021, be the last click. What do I mean by that? I mean satisfy your users. Once you earn the first click, you want to get that first click that people click, but you also want to be the last click. That means they found what they are looking for. User satisfaction is ranking signal number one. Your goal with all of this is to satisfy the user, to give them what they search for.

That’s the magic of SEO. They’re searching for something, and you’re delivering it to them at the exact moment they search for it. When you can be the last click, you’re almost guaranteed to rise in rankings and get the traffic that you deserve. 

All right, those are 21 tips. That’s your roadmap for 2021. Hope you enjoyed it. Please share this video and share your tips for 2021 in the comments below.

Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers

Professional with cellphone and laptops image.

Professional with cellphone and laptops image.

Last year I finished up my fifth full year as a B2B marketer. A lot has changed in that half decade.

When I started, there was a growing movement: “B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring.” 

Now we’ve finally moved on to, “B2B marketing can’t afford to be boring.” We’ve finally acknowledged that B2B buyers are people — they want useful information, they want to be entertained, and they’re just as bored by corporate-speak-laden white papers as everyone else.

To our credit, I think marketers already knew this. We just had to convince the rest of the organization. 

For the most part,  we marketers have more leeway to choose the best way to reach our audience. And, of course, with that freedom comes responsibility. 

How do we hit the sweet spot of what our audience wants to hear, and what our brand is trying to get across? How do we give them that value that inspires reciprocity?

Here’s how B2B marketers can get closer to their audience in 2021.

#1: Ask the Sales Team

Let’s make 2021 the year we finally ditch the sales v. marketing mentality for good. Tighter alignment between the members of the Revenue Squad can only benefit everyone. 

The sales team has a wealth of insights about your target audience. They’re the ones taking meetings, answering questions, talking one-on-one with members of the buying committee.

In short, sales can tell you where the sticking points are, where more persuasion is needed, and what type of content ultimately sways people toward a purchase. Tight alignment with sales will make your content more relevant to your audience and more useful for your sales team.

#2: Flip the Script on SEO 

Are you still thinking of SEO as, “The way to get search engines to recommend our content?” If so, it’s time to update that mentality. 

The most valuable function of keyword research right now is to determine what humans are searching for and how those queries are worded. It’s all about guiding content creation to match your audience’s demand, from the planning stages through execution.

The best SEO strategy is to create content that genuinely meets — and exceeds — your audience’s needs. If your content doesn’t meet a proven need, no amount of keyword stuffing or H1 tagging will grant it visibility.

Make your keyword research a tool for understanding your audience. What do they want? How are they trying to find it? How can you be the best answer?

[bctt tweet=”“The most valuable function of keyword research right now is to determine what humans are searching for and how those queries are worded.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#3: Broaden Your Horizons

B2B buyers don’t spend their entire waking lives thinking about work. If we want to know our audiences better, we need to think about the broader context of their lives, too. 

When we see our potential buyers more holistically, we have a much broader canvas for relevant content. We can talk about maintaining work-life balance, the challenges of remote work, even the challenges that working parents face in relating to their children.  

Any topic for content is relevant, provided that 1) Your employees or brand has expertise on it, and 2) It serves to make your audience’s life better in some meaningful way. 

If you’ve been stuck writing “X more reasons you should try our solution” style content, let this broader context inspire you to write more useful, helpful content that takes the whole person into consideration.

#4: Explore Influence

At the heart of it, marketers are trying to earn people’s attention. It makes perfect sense to take lessons from the folks who have already captured that interest — people who are already engaging and serving your target audience.

Tools like Traackr and Buzzsumo can help you determine which voices your audience is listening to. From there, you can see what type of content they’re creating, how they’re capturing interest, and let that inform your own content creation.

And, of course, you can take it to the next level: Co-creating content with these influencers and reaching their audience directly (see our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report for more).

#5: Above All, Be Useful

When we see our target audience as people, rather than B2B buyers (or a target audience, for that matter), we can begin to practice truly radical empathy. Not just the empathy that lets us walk in someone’s shoes long enough to sell them something, either. 

I mean the type of empathy that leads us to find out how to improve their personal and professional lives, to be genuinely useful, to lift people up because we care about them. Content that sets out with this aim in mind is guaranteed to pull you and your customers closer together.

And, of course, helping people and caring about their success is a great way to earn attention, build relationships, and develop long-standing loyalty to your brand.

[bctt tweet=”“Helping people and caring about their success is a great way to earn attention, build relationships, and develop long-standing loyalty to your brand.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”] 

In fact, it may be the only way we have left to do all of the above.

Need help creating content that gets you closer to your customers? We’ve got you covered.

The post How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers

Professional with cellphone and laptops image.

Last year I finished up my fifth full year as a B2B marketer. A lot has changed in that half decade.

When I started, there was a growing movement: “B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring.” 

Now we’ve finally moved on to, “B2B marketing can’t afford to be boring.” We’ve finally acknowledged that B2B buyers are people — they want useful information, they want to be entertained, and they’re just as bored by corporate-speak-laden white papers as everyone else.

To our credit, I think marketers already knew this. We just had to convince the rest of the organization. 

For the most part,  we marketers have more leeway to choose the best way to reach our audience. And, of course, with that freedom comes responsibility. 

How do we hit the sweet spot of what our audience wants to hear, and what our brand is trying to get across? How do we give them that value that inspires reciprocity?

Here’s how B2B marketers can get closer to their audience in 2021.

#1: Ask the Sales Team

Let’s make 2021 the year we finally ditch the sales v. marketing mentality for good. Tighter alignment between the members of the Revenue Squad can only benefit everyone. 

The sales team has a wealth of insights about your target audience. They’re the ones taking meetings, answering questions, talking one-on-one with members of the buying committee.

In short, sales can tell you where the sticking points are, where more persuasion is needed, and what type of content ultimately sways people toward a purchase. Tight alignment with sales will make your content more relevant to your audience and more useful for your sales team.

#2: Flip the Script on SEO 

Are you still thinking of SEO as, “The way to get search engines to recommend our content?” If so, it’s time to update that mentality. 

The most valuable function of keyword research right now is to determine what humans are searching for and how those queries are worded. It’s all about guiding content creation to match your audience’s demand, from the planning stages through execution.

The best SEO strategy is to create content that genuinely meets — and exceeds — your audience’s needs. If your content doesn’t meet a proven need, no amount of keyword stuffing or H1 tagging will grant it visibility.

Make your keyword research a tool for understanding your audience. What do they want? How are they trying to find it? How can you be the best answer?

“The most valuable function of keyword research right now is to determine what humans are searching for and how those queries are worded.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

#3: Broaden Your Horizons

B2B buyers don’t spend their entire waking lives thinking about work. If we want to know our audiences better, we need to think about the broader context of their lives, too. 

When we see our potential buyers more holistically, we have a much broader canvas for relevant content. We can talk about maintaining work-life balance, the challenges of remote work, even the challenges that working parents face in relating to their children.  

Any topic for content is relevant, provided that 1) Your employees or brand has expertise on it, and 2) It serves to make your audience’s life better in some meaningful way. 

If you’ve been stuck writing “X more reasons you should try our solution” style content, let this broader context inspire you to write more useful, helpful content that takes the whole person into consideration.

#4: Explore Influence

At the heart of it, marketers are trying to earn people’s attention. It makes perfect sense to take lessons from the folks who have already captured that interest — people who are already engaging and serving your target audience.

Tools like Traackr and Buzzsumo can help you determine which voices your audience is listening to. From there, you can see what type of content they’re creating, how they’re capturing interest, and let that inform your own content creation.

And, of course, you can take it to the next level: Co-creating content with these influencers and reaching their audience directly (see our 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report for more).

#5: Above All, Be Useful

When we see our target audience as people, rather than B2B buyers (or a target audience, for that matter), we can begin to practice truly radical empathy. Not just the empathy that lets us walk in someone’s shoes long enough to sell them something, either. 

I mean the type of empathy that leads us to find out how to improve their personal and professional lives, to be genuinely useful, to lift people up because we care about them. Content that sets out with this aim in mind is guaranteed to pull you and your customers closer together.

And, of course, helping people and caring about their success is a great way to earn attention, build relationships, and develop long-standing loyalty to your brand.

“Helping people and caring about their success is a great way to earn attention, build relationships, and develop long-standing loyalty to your brand.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet 

In fact, it may be the only way we have left to do all of the above.

Need help creating content that gets you closer to your customers? We’ve got you covered.

5 More Handy Tools For 2021’s Busy B2B Marketers

Happy businesswoman using multiple devices image.

Happy businesswoman using multiple devices image.

Most B2B marketers in 2021 are busier than ever due to the pandemic, remote work challenges, and increased expectations to show results.

Thankfully, keeping pace with the swift changes marketers face today are a whole slew of tools tasked with streamlining busy marketing efforts.

We’ll take a look at some of these helpful tools for busy marketers, and several new social media platforms that are poised to rise during the year ahead, all to help refine and augment your B2B marketing strategy.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available marketing tools and platforms 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 tools you can use today to help you create unforgettable B2B marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of handy tools and platforms to boost your marketing experiences.

1 — Awario

Awario

Awario is a social media and web monitoring tool offering a variety of real-time social listening and analytics features, focused on bringing brands insights about their customers, competitors, and industries.

Awario also hosts an active industry blog, which our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has mentioned in “Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs.”

The competitive intelligence and instant social listening feature set Awario offers can also be helpful for B2B influencer marketing, providing insight into whether mentions are positive or not, as well as other functions including global location data, topic clouds, and additional demographic information that can help ward off potential customer care issues.

2 — Descript

Descript

Descript allows marketers to create podcasts, videos, transcripts and more through a collection of powerful collaborative tools, highlighted by the ability to edit audio using text instead of traditional wave-forms.

The collection of utilities Descript has brought together aims to make video editing similar to a video word processor, to speed up development time and increase productivity and efficiency — all areas busy marketers are looking to do better in 2021.

3 — Telegram

Telegram

While more a platform than a tool at heart, by recently courting the half billion user mark, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging and video call platform Telegram — noted for its word-of-mouth insight — now represents a wealth of opportunities for marketers looking for new customer engagement sources.

In 2021, marketers will likely see the free service launch its first advertising platform, presenting opportunities via its public one-to-many channels.

4 — Clubhouse

Clubhouse

Audio-based social platform Clubhouse has generated considerable interest for a limited-release service, in part due to Silicon Valley backing that has led to some 600,000 invitation-only users registering to use its pop-up audio chat room features. Active involvement of celebrities on the platform has also played a part, and the app’s recent “Creator Pilot Program” has also increased interest among curious marketers.

Marketers have for the most part cautiously observed Clubhouse, yet 2021 is nearly certain to see more brands — undoubtedly including certain B2B firms — testing the waters at Clubhouse when it becomes publicly available. Some marketers including industry veteran Dennis Yu have shared their initial forays into using Clubhouse, while others such as A. Lee Judge are actively seeking marketing perspectives for embracing the new platform.

Creative professionals in multiple industries are weighing in as well, such as photographers and those in technology.

5 — DATAtab Statistics Calculator

DATAtab

Bringing complex statistical calculation functionality to private and secure web browser sessions is the specialty of DATAtab, a simple and swift tool marketers can use to perform browser-based data analysis without having to send important data to the cloud.

The service forgoes tracking cookies and third party providers, offering more secure handling of sensitive data.

An additional bonus spreadsheet-related tool from Microsoft allows marketers to incorporate certain elements of machine learning into Microsoft Excel data, providing a glimpse of how artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in various aspects of marketers’ lives.

Get Off The Marketing Assembly Line With Helpful Tools

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found several new-to-you marketing tools and up-and-coming platforms among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them helpful as you build new campaigns in 2021, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

Need more helpful tools? Here are several articles we’ve written exploring additional tools for B2B marketers:

The post 5 More Handy Tools For 2021’s Busy B2B Marketers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 More Handy Tools For 2021’s Busy B2B Marketers

Happy businesswoman using multiple devices image.

Most B2B marketers in 2021 are busier than ever due to the pandemic, remote work challenges, and increased expectations to show results.

Thankfully, keeping pace with the swift changes marketers face today are a whole slew of tools tasked with streamlining busy marketing efforts.

We’ll take a look at some of these helpful tools for busy marketers, and several new social media platforms that are poised to rise during the year ahead, all to help refine and augment your B2B marketing strategy.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available marketing tools and platforms 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 tools you can use today to help you create unforgettable B2B marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of handy tools and platforms to boost your marketing experiences.

1 — Awario

Awario

Awario is a social media and web monitoring tool offering a variety of real-time social listening and analytics features, focused on bringing brands insights about their customers, competitors, and industries.

Awario also hosts an active industry blog, which our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden has mentioned in “Over 50 Top Social Media Marketing Blogs.”

The competitive intelligence and instant social listening feature set Awario offers can also be helpful for B2B influencer marketing, providing insight into whether mentions are positive or not, as well as other functions including global location data, topic clouds, and additional demographic information that can help ward off potential customer care issues.

2 — Descript

Descript

Descript allows marketers to create podcasts, videos, transcripts and more through a collection of powerful collaborative tools, highlighted by the ability to edit audio using text instead of traditional wave-forms.

The collection of utilities Descript has brought together aims to make video editing similar to a video word processor, to speed up development time and increase productivity and efficiency — all areas busy marketers are looking to do better in 2021.

3 — Telegram

Telegram

While more a platform than a tool at heart, by recently courting the half billion user mark, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging and video call platform Telegram — noted for its word-of-mouth insight — now represents a wealth of opportunities for marketers looking for new customer engagement sources.

In 2021, marketers will likely see the free service launch its first advertising platform, presenting opportunities via its public one-to-many channels.

4 — Clubhouse

Clubhouse

Audio-based social platform Clubhouse has generated considerable interest for a limited-release service, in part due to Silicon Valley backing that has led to some 600,000 invitation-only users registering to use its pop-up audio chat room features. Active involvement of celebrities on the platform has also played a part, and the app’s recent “Creator Pilot Program” has also increased interest among curious marketers.

Marketers have for the most part cautiously observed Clubhouse, yet 2021 is nearly certain to see more brands — undoubtedly including certain B2B firms — testing the waters at Clubhouse when it becomes publicly available. Some marketers including industry veteran Dennis Yu have shared their initial forays into using Clubhouse, while others such as A. Lee Judge are actively seeking marketing perspectives for embracing the new platform.

Creative professionals in multiple industries are weighing in as well, such as photographers and those in technology.

5 — DATAtab Statistics Calculator

DATAtab

Bringing complex statistical calculation functionality to private and secure web browser sessions is the specialty of DATAtab, a simple and swift tool marketers can use to perform browser-based data analysis without having to send important data to the cloud.

The service forgoes tracking cookies and third party providers, offering more secure handling of sensitive data.

An additional bonus spreadsheet-related tool from Microsoft allows marketers to incorporate certain elements of machine learning into Microsoft Excel data, providing a glimpse of how artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used in various aspects of marketers’ lives.

Get Off The Marketing Assembly Line With Helpful Tools

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found several new-to-you marketing tools and up-and-coming platforms among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them helpful as you build new campaigns in 2021, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

Need more helpful tools? Here are several articles we’ve written exploring additional tools for B2B marketers:

Pitfall! Steering Clear of 5 Common B2B Content Marketing Missteps

Woman Jumping Over Pitfalls Image

Woman Jumping Over Pitfalls Image

It’s been almost 40 years since Pitfall!, the classic side-scrolling platformer for the original Atari, was first released. David Crane’s creation went on to become one of the first console video game hits, selling more than 4 million copies, and is now remembered as an influential breakthrough for the medium.

Why did Pitfall! gain such rampant popularity? Because it was realistic and relatable!

I’m not talking about the pixelated 2D graphics or exotic jungle setting. I’m talking about the basic premise of problem-solving. The game is full of traps, hazards, and challenges, but there’s always a way around them. “Oh hey, a giant pit full of alligators. How will I get to the other side? Perhaps by grabbing hold of that swinging vine…”

via Gfycat

Today’s B2B content marketers may feel like they’re navigating a landscape filled with pitfalls — dangers or difficulties that are easily encountered but not immediately obvious. To help you on your journey, we’ve identified five of the most pervasive pitfalls so you can spot them and avoid them.

5 Pitfalls in B2B Content Marketing & How to Steer Clear

From messaging to strategy to execution, these are five of the most counterproductive missteps that are commonly made by modern content marketing practitioners.

1 — Speaking to the Many Instead of the Few

If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody. This is a critical guiding philosophy, which may run counter to the way many marketers and writers were trained. (Especially those with backgrounds in journalism or media.)

There’s a natural compulsion to make B2B content as accessible and broadly applicable possible, in order to maximize the potential reach. But with so much information and so many resources at the fingertips of today’s decision makers, marketers need to get more specific and direct. Joel Goobich of Vestorly called out “vague, generalized content” at the top of his recent list of B2B content marketing mistakes shared at Forbes.

“Why would your B2B audience want to consume content that doesn’t speak directly to them and their interests?” he wonders. “Often B2B content is overly generalized and lacks a target audience and specific industry focus.”

What To Do: Narrow your scope. Get a clear handle on the audience(s) you want to reach, and the unique qualities, characteristics, or challenges that differentiate them from other segments. Don’t be afraid to turn away those readers or viewers who won’t find the content useful. Then, make sure your measurement strategy aligns with this selective approach. In other words, de-prioritize vanity metrics like impressions in favor of those measuring business impact.

2 — Strategizing SEO Around Keywords Instead of Intent

Keywords have been the driving force in search engine optimization for many years, serving as a cornerstone in the strategic framework for many content strategies. And keywords still have a valuable purpose. But more and more, achieving success with SEO initiatives is about understanding search intent and aligning with the motivations of searchers. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Unless you operate in a novel industry or vertical, it’s likely that the most valuable keywords you’re targeting are highly competitive. Focusing on search intent lends itself to longer-tail keywords and semantic searches, opening up more topical areas to pursue with your content.
  2. Accounting for intent rather than solely looking at keywords makes the content better. Traditionally, businesses have had a tendency to say, “This keyword has high volume and is relevant to our industry, let’s write blog posts that tie it to our product.” But if it’s not a keyword with transactional or commercial intent, then such an angle will likely miss the mark with searchers.
  3. For this reason, intent-based SEO content is more successful. It moves creators away from outdated tricks like keyword-stacking, and toward methods that actually help content rank today. A recent post from Backlinko notes that “satisfying Search Intent is ultimately Google’s #1 goal,” while pointing out that Google’s latest Quality Rater Guidelines (released in October of 2020) are “OBSESSED with Search Intent.”

What To Do: Make search intent the foundation of your SEO strategy, giving keywords and search phrases the context they need to be meaningful. The informative post from Backlinko above, as well as Google’s report on how intent is redefining the marketing funnel, are enlightening reads on the subject.

[bctt tweet=”“Make search intent the foundation of your SEO strategy, giving keywords and search phrases the context they need to be meaningful.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

3 — Failing to Connect with Relevance

One reason Pitfall! was such a hit back in the early 1980s is that it struck a resonant chord with audiences, who were transfixed by its treasure-hunting adventure theme following the 1981 theatrical release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. This same dynamic was at play with early arcade breakthroughs like Space Invaders and Asteroids, which channeled the sci-fi enthusiasm fueled by movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

What do the people in your audience care about? Don’t limit your thinking to their professional interests. One of my favorite case studies from our clients at LinkedIn highlighted a company called SolarWinds, which recognized that its IT customer base tended to share a special affinity for sci-fi and Star Wars especially. So they did a promotion on LinkedIn that involved giving away a multitool in the shape of the Millenium Falcon.

SolarWinds’ manager of demand and marketing later said the campaign’s engagement was “probably the highest I’ve ever seen for any campaign that I’ve run across any platform.”

What To Do: Scrutinize your content hooks — the introductory sentences of articles or the early seconds of a video — to confirm you’re drawing an immediate thread of relevance with your audience. Never put yourself or your solutions first. And, in accordance with item No. 1 on this list, aim to be narrow instead of broad.

4 — Speaking to the Mind and Not the Heart

Business decisions are made on the basis of rational and logical drivers, out of necessity. But they are not made solely through those lenses. Humans are complex and emotional beings, not robots. In our recent round-up of B2B content marketing predictions for 2021, Ty Heath suggested that 2020’s pandemic “will accelerate the shift to a ‘right-brain’ movement,” with greater emphasis on humor, storytelling, and emotion.

Engaging your audience at a deeper level will help you build genuine trust, which is the single most essential ingredient for long-term business success.

What To Do: Challenge yourself and your team to create content that goes beyond dry informational details, specs, features, and product benefits. Cultivate a brand voice that is professional but not overly formal and stuffy. Build trust through storytelling.

5— Failing to Learn from Failure

Although Pitfall! was a bit before my time, I learned much about trial-and-error from my early experiences with 8-bit video games. Back then, it was all about learning from your mistakes — “Oops, I just fell into the lava and died … I’ll remember that was there next time through.”

Content marketing isn’t quite the same, because we’re not just playing through the same level over and over again, but there are always constructive lessons to be taken away from a dead end or disappointing outcome. Learning and growing often requires a willingness to fail. The alternative is constantly playing it safe, which in the end isn’t really all that safe.

In her own prediction for 2021, Carla Johnson cautions against this urge, which may be heightened in a precarious economic environment. She argues that responding to the demands of 2020 left marketers with “no room for trial and error,” and that in the coming year, “B2B content marketing will be about taking smart risks that lead to more innovative work.”

What To Do: Experiment! Make small bets and take measured risks as you seek out fresh ways to engage and connect with your audience. Ironically, one of the biggest mistakes we can make as B2B content marketers is being too afraid to make mistakes.

[bctt tweet=”“Ironically, one of the biggest mistakes we can make as B2B content marketers is being too afraid to make mistakes.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Here’s to Smooth Sailing in 2021

Every marketer is bound to hit their share of snags and setbacks this year. But if we stay vigilant in avoiding the pitfalls we can anticipate —like the five cited above — and embrace the unpredictable hardships as opportunities to learn and adapt, we’ll make it through and come out stronger on the other end.

For more guidance and inspiration to carry you through the new year, check out our top 10 content marketing posts from 2020.

The post Pitfall! Steering Clear of 5 Common B2B Content Marketing Missteps appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Pitfall! Steering Clear of 5 Common B2B Content Marketing Missteps

Woman Jumping Over Pitfalls Image

It’s been almost 40 years since Pitfall!, the classic side-scrolling platformer for the original Atari, was first released. David Crane’s creation went on to become one of the first console video game hits, selling more than 4 million copies, and is now remembered as an influential breakthrough for the medium.

Why did Pitfall! gain such rampant popularity? Because it was realistic and relatable!

I’m not talking about the pixelated 2D graphics or exotic jungle setting. I’m talking about the basic premise of problem-solving. The game is full of traps, hazards, and challenges, but there’s always a way around them. “Oh hey, a giant pit full of alligators. How will I get to the other side? Perhaps by grabbing hold of that swinging vine…”

via Gfycat

Today’s B2B content marketers may feel like they’re navigating a landscape filled with pitfalls — dangers or difficulties that are easily encountered but not immediately obvious. To help you on your journey, we’ve identified five of the most pervasive pitfalls so you can spot them and avoid them.

5 Pitfalls in B2B Content Marketing & How to Steer Clear

From messaging to strategy to execution, these are five of the most counterproductive missteps that are commonly made by modern content marketing practitioners.

1 — Speaking to the Many Instead of the Few

If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody. This is a critical guiding philosophy, which may run counter to the way many marketers and writers were trained. (Especially those with backgrounds in journalism or media.)

There’s a natural compulsion to make B2B content as accessible and broadly applicable possible, in order to maximize the potential reach. But with so much information and so many resources at the fingertips of today’s decision makers, marketers need to get more specific and direct. Joel Goobich of Vestorly called out “vague, generalized content” at the top of his recent list of B2B content marketing mistakes shared at Forbes.

“Why would your B2B audience want to consume content that doesn’t speak directly to them and their interests?” he wonders. “Often B2B content is overly generalized and lacks a target audience and specific industry focus.”

What To Do: Narrow your scope. Get a clear handle on the audience(s) you want to reach, and the unique qualities, characteristics, or challenges that differentiate them from other segments. Don’t be afraid to turn away those readers or viewers who won’t find the content useful. Then, make sure your measurement strategy aligns with this selective approach. In other words, de-prioritize vanity metrics like impressions in favor of those measuring business impact.

2 — Strategizing SEO Around Keywords Instead of Intent

Keywords have been the driving force in search engine optimization for many years, serving as a cornerstone in the strategic framework for many content strategies. And keywords still have a valuable purpose. But more and more, achieving success with SEO initiatives is about understanding search intent and aligning with the motivations of searchers. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Unless you operate in a novel industry or vertical, it’s likely that the most valuable keywords you’re targeting are highly competitive. Focusing on search intent lends itself to longer-tail keywords and semantic searches, opening up more topical areas to pursue with your content.
  2. Accounting for intent rather than solely looking at keywords makes the content better. Traditionally, businesses have had a tendency to say, “This keyword has high volume and is relevant to our industry, let’s write blog posts that tie it to our product.” But if it’s not a keyword with transactional or commercial intent, then such an angle will likely miss the mark with searchers.
  3. For this reason, intent-based SEO content is more successful. It moves creators away from outdated tricks like keyword-stacking, and toward methods that actually help content rank today. A recent post from Backlinko notes that “satisfying Search Intent is ultimately Google’s #1 goal,” while pointing out that Google’s latest Quality Rater Guidelines (released in October of 2020) are “OBSESSED with Search Intent.”

What To Do: Make search intent the foundation of your SEO strategy, giving keywords and search phrases the context they need to be meaningful. The informative post from Backlinko above, as well as Google’s report on how intent is redefining the marketing funnel, are enlightening reads on the subject.

“Make search intent the foundation of your SEO strategy, giving keywords and search phrases the context they need to be meaningful.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet

3 — Failing to Connect with Relevance

One reason Pitfall! was such a hit back in the early 1980s is that it struck a resonant chord with audiences, who were transfixed by its treasure-hunting adventure theme following the 1981 theatrical release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. This same dynamic was at play with early arcade breakthroughs like Space Invaders and Asteroids, which channeled the sci-fi enthusiasm fueled by movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

What do the people in your audience care about? Don’t limit your thinking to their professional interests. One of my favorite case studies from our clients at LinkedIn highlighted a company called SolarWinds, which recognized that its IT customer base tended to share a special affinity for sci-fi and Star Wars especially. So they did a promotion on LinkedIn that involved giving away a multitool in the shape of the Millenium Falcon.

SolarWinds’ manager of demand and marketing later said the campaign’s engagement was “probably the highest I’ve ever seen for any campaign that I’ve run across any platform.”

What To Do: Scrutinize your content hooks — the introductory sentences of articles or the early seconds of a video — to confirm you’re drawing an immediate thread of relevance with your audience. Never put yourself or your solutions first. And, in accordance with item No. 1 on this list, aim to be narrow instead of broad.

4 — Speaking to the Mind and Not the Heart

Business decisions are made on the basis of rational and logical drivers, out of necessity. But they are not made solely through those lenses. Humans are complex and emotional beings, not robots. In our recent round-up of B2B content marketing predictions for 2021, Ty Heath suggested that 2020’s pandemic “will accelerate the shift to a ‘right-brain’ movement,” with greater emphasis on humor, storytelling, and emotion.

Engaging your audience at a deeper level will help you build genuine trust, which is the single most essential ingredient for long-term business success.

What To Do: Challenge yourself and your team to create content that goes beyond dry informational details, specs, features, and product benefits. Cultivate a brand voice that is professional but not overly formal and stuffy. Build trust through storytelling.

5— Failing to Learn from Failure

Although Pitfall! was a bit before my time, I learned much about trial-and-error from my early experiences with 8-bit video games. Back then, it was all about learning from your mistakes — “Oops, I just fell into the lava and died … I’ll remember that was there next time through.”

Content marketing isn’t quite the same, because we’re not just playing through the same level over and over again, but there are always constructive lessons to be taken away from a dead end or disappointing outcome. Learning and growing often requires a willingness to fail. The alternative is constantly playing it safe, which in the end isn’t really all that safe.

In her own prediction for 2021, Carla Johnson cautions against this urge, which may be heightened in a precarious economic environment. She argues that responding to the demands of 2020 left marketers with “no room for trial and error,” and that in the coming year, “B2B content marketing will be about taking smart risks that lead to more innovative work.”

What To Do: Experiment! Make small bets and take measured risks as you seek out fresh ways to engage and connect with your audience. Ironically, one of the biggest mistakes we can make as B2B content marketers is being too afraid to make mistakes.

“Ironically, one of the biggest mistakes we can make as B2B content marketers is being too afraid to make mistakes.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet

Here’s to Smooth Sailing in 2021

Every marketer is bound to hit their share of snags and setbacks this year. But if we stay vigilant in avoiding the pitfalls we can anticipate —like the five cited above — and embrace the unpredictable hardships as opportunities to learn and adapt, we’ll make it through and come out stronger on the other end.

For more guidance and inspiration to carry you through the new year, check out our top 10 content marketing posts from 2020.