5 Powerful Types (And Examples) of Link-Worthy Content

How to Create Link-Worthy Content

Since the inception of the search engine, marketers have spent an obscene amount of time optimizing their content and strategy for search. And while the old days of keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics are behind (most marketers), there’s two constants that remain the same for driving organic search results: The importance of good content and getting credible links to that good content.

In fact, Google’s former Search Quality Senior Strategist and current Partner Development Manager, Andre Lippattsev, made it official in a recent interview stating that content and backlinks were the top two ranking factors in Google’s elusive algorithm.

As a result, there’s little doubt that we marketers must create something irresistible for searchers and search engines if we want to score good results.

via GIPHY

To help you create link-worthy content that has the potential to generate credible referrals and backlinks, and give organic visibility a boost, here are five types of content worthy of consideration.

#1 – Original Research

Marketers are always looking for credible facts, statistics, and insights to not only understand more about their industry and keep up on trends, but also bolster their own content. As a result, original research can be an incredibly powerful and link-attracting piece of content.

For example, the Content Marketing Institute’s State of B2B Content Marketing Annual Report is a something we often reference and link to in our own blog posts.

CMI's 2018 B2B Content Marketing Report

With statistics that highlight common content marketing trends, patterns, and pain points for B2B marketers, their report helps us learn more about our industry, but also reinforce our some of our own marketing philosophies and present the facts. As a result, CMI’s 2018 report has over 2,000 inbound links.

018 B2B Content Marketing Report Inbound Link Results

Source: Moz Link Explorer

Conducting your own industry research, however, is a time- and resource-intensive task. We know this first-hand from our own experience working with DivvyHQ to create our 2018 Content Planning Survey.

To make sure that you’re putting together accurate, quality research, there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow. For instance, you’ll want to get a large enough sample size for your survey or study to ensure that your findings represent your industry accurately—you don’t want to collect only a few responses from people you know.

In addition, avoid open-ended questions when conducting research as you’ll want to make sure that your findings are quantitative. And as with any content you create, make sure you have a robust amplification plan in place to drive awareness.

In the end, if you’re able to put together fresh, useful research, your audience will find value and insight, and sources who cite your research will be compelled to link to your report, increasing your number of inbound links and (hopefully) rankings.

#2 – Infographics

Original research isn’t the only thing readers and sources rely on to find new, relevant insights that help them tell their stories. As a visual, engaging way to digest a lot of information at once, infographics are another type of linkable asset that resonates with readers and sources alike.

Loaded with quotes, graphics, statistics, and more, infographics house plenty of information without overwhelming your audience. Packed with helpful insights, it’s no wonder that other sites will link to a beautiful infographic over a text-heavy white paper.

For example, GetVoIP, a cloud communications advisory, created an infographic on “How To Get More Energy At Work.” The infographic resulted in 66 inbound links and was also picked up by Entrepreneur.com.

GetVoIP Infographic

If you’ve already done some original research as suggested above, creating an infographic is a great way to promote or get some additional life out of your research report. However, infographics can also be curated from credible sources representing statistics, quotes, and data in new, visual ways.

To create infographics that readers and sources alike will appreciate, look at your existing content for repurposing opportunities. For example, you could take one of your top-performing, stat-packed blog posts and turn it into an infographic for an easy win. Or, find credible sources with data points that support the tips or takeaways you want to share and turn them into fun graphics. And of course, make sure the data and facts included are highly relevant to your target audience, and you have an amplification plan in place.

#3 – Online Tools & Resources

The two previous types of link-worthy content focus heavily on earning links through data. However, data isn’t the only link-worthy type of content. Inbound links are also earned by providing helpful tools and resources to your readers. The more “bookmark-able” resources you can produce, the more links you have the opportunity to capture.

What kind of tools or resources are we talking about?

Check out HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator as an example below. While there isn’t a lot of visible content on the page, there is a lot of value in the tool itself as it can help solve a big pain point among their target audience: writer’s block.

HubSpot Ideas Generator Tool

And the results of providing something so useful are substantial with the tool generating over 12,000 inbound links and 200 ranking keywords.

Linking Results from HubSpot's Blog Idea Generator Tool

Source: Moz Link Explorer

Besides an idea generator, you could also create a calculator, calendar, or even just a listicle of helpful tools and resources. As an example, our own blog post featuring over 100 Search Engine Marketing Resources is one of our most linked-to pages with 3,114 inbound links.

#4 – Rankings

Rankings are also helpful, link-worthy types of content. People want to know who the best people are to follow on LinkedIn, what tools are best for employee advocacy, or what the top tactics are for generating leads. And creating a ranking is one of the ways you can offer those recommendations.

Content that shares valuable, must-know information is what earns the most links, and rankings definitely tick that box. Plus, the individuals or brands featured on your list are also likely to share and link to your ranking in order to promote their accomplishment. In fact, Great Place to Work published their annual list of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and received over 350 inbound links in just under six months.

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018

When creating your own rankings, make sure you have a set process or methodology. There needs to be a clear rationale behind your choices. This shows your readers and potential link sources how you reached your ranking decisions, adding to the credibility of your list. And again, make sure you have an amplification plan in place before launch.

#5 – Guides & Tutorials

Another type of resource that gets a lot of attention from other sources on the web are guides and tutorials. As the “one-stop shop” for everything you need to know on a given subject or task, guides and tutorials are helpful links for others to add to their content. For example, Blockgeeks, a blockchain training and education platform, created an in-depth guide on Bitcoin containing over 2,800 words.

Bitcoin Tutorial Example

The power page has resulted in over 800 inbound links and 180 ranking keywords for Blockgeeks.

Linking Results From the What Is Bitcoin Guide

Source: Moz Link Explorer

To build those in-depth content opportunities, use tools like SEMrush.com to identify relevant variations of a keyword you would like to target. For example, if you want to cover the topic “document management,” the Keyword Magic Tool will give you a list of all of the related long-tail and question keyword variations to tackle in your guide like “document management software,” “what is document management,” “how does document management work,” and “why document management is important.”

Those keyword variations should then serve as the outline for your guide, ensuring that you cover all of the relevant questions and topics your audience and sources might like to learn about. And while it’s already been said in this piece, I’ll say it again: make sure you have an amplification plan beyond SEO to drive awareness, engagement, and clicks.

Give Them Something to “Link About”

Searchers and search engines are on the hunt for quality, insightful content to answer questions, bolster their research, and share with their audiences. By strategically creating guides, resources, research reports, or infographics, you can serve up useful, insightful, and link-worthy content that leaves them thinking:

via GIPHY

Just remember to keep quality and usefulness top of mind when creating your content. As our own CEO, Lee Odden, says:

No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful.

No matter how many tactics you find here and elsewhere, there simply is no substitute for creating content that others may find useful. – @leeodden Click To Tweet

Earning backlinks is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your organic search rankings. Have a highly competitive word you want to rank for? Check out our guide on how to rank for competitive keywords.

Redesigning Your Website? Make Sure SEO & Content Have a Seat at Website Migration Table

SEO and Content Integration During Website Migration

Digital marketers know their company’s website is more than a digital storefront. It’s a marketplace that must deliver a quality, engaging experience for prospects and customers once they arrive. So, it’s no surprise that the average company invests in a website redesign every three years to stay fresh, competitive, and meet evolving customer expectations.

In our experience, however, design faux pas aren’t the biggest marketing missteps that can lead to poor results after a migration—it’s the lack of a solid website migration strategy that encompasses both SEO and content considerations.

There’s no question that SEO needs to play a leading role in the planning, design, and execution of any website migration. But SEO can’t stand alone—it needs a content lens to ensure a solid performance after the switch is flipped.

Better Together: Content + SEO for Migration Success

A poorly planned and executed migration after a site refresh or redesign can lead to decreases in organic traffic and reduced search visibility in both the short- and long-term. And chances are, your marketing team has spent innumerable hours crafting content and optimizing your site for both user experience and search engine performance—and you don’t want it all to be for naught.

By baking content and SEO into your website migration strategy, you have the opportunity to:

#1 – Strike that oh-so-necessary balance between SEO and user experience.

If you’re embarking on a website redesign, chances are your goals are to improve user experience and optimize conversions paths, all while strengthening your organic search footprint. But without SEO and content working together, the steps you take to reach those goals can’t be fully informed or reach their full potential. The key is integration from the start.

For a smooth website migration process, integration of #content & #SEO is key from the start. – @Alexis5484 Click To Tweet

#2 – Bolster top performing content (and weed out weak or irrelevant content).

Site migrations often involve some picking and choosing as far as what content needs to be kept, killed, updated, or created. The last thing you want to do is cut or disrupt the content your audience loves—but you also don’t want to pass up opportunities for adding or improving content with potential or killing content that’s no longer viable. As a result, this is definitely the sweet spot for SEO and content integration in a migration scenario.

From an SEO perspective, you can leverage Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyze traffic, conversions, ranking, and engagement rates. Then content can be grouped into suggested buckets of what content stays, what content needs updates, what content can be killed, and what content you may be missing. From there, strategic content tweaks can be made with both SEO and user experience in mind before launch.

During a website migration, the last thing you want to do is cut content your audience loves. But you also want to take advantage of opportunities to improve content with potential. – @Alexis5484 Click To Tweet

Read: How to Use Google Search Console to Increase SEO Visibility

#3 – Promote your new and improved site.

After making your shiny new site live, it can be tempting to relax and celebrate. But the work isn’t done. Of course, technical SEO considerations such as 301 redirects, site crawlability, site speed, mobile friendliness, and backlinks need QA and monitoring to ensure your content is working its magic on search engines. You’ll also need to make sure your site map is updated in Google Search Console if any URL structures have changed.

But where does that leave your customers and prospects?

Communicating and promoting the changes you made is a must—but it’s something that is often overlooked. So, in addition to your post-migration SEO checklist, create a promotional plan (e.g. email newsletter update, social media, blog post highlighting key new features, etc.) to ensure you’re getting the word out.

The importance of communication & promotion after a website migration should not be overlooked. – @Alexis5485 Click To Tweet

#4 – Make ongoing tweaks that satisfy user and search engine needs.

After launching your redesigned site, you’ll likely be measuring like crazy to learn where users are dropping off, if you’re losing any traffic to key pages, and if you’re losing conversions from anywhere.

Of course, tweaks will be needed to capitalize on SEO opportunities. But just sprinkling in keywords isn’t the answer. You need context and insight—some of which can be drawn from the competitive content landscape—in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions, as well as send positive signals to search engines.

You need context & insight in order to make strategic content updates that better answer your audience’s questions & send positive signals to search engines. – @Alexis5484 #websitemigration Click To Tweet

Integration = More Successful Migration

There’s little doubt that SEO needs be at the forefront of any website redesign and subsequent migration. But it shouldn’t stand alone. By pairing content and SEO together, you can make more thoughtful and strategic decisions that will help you bolster user experience as well as search visibility.

Looking for more insights and tips on SEO and content integration? Here’s some light reading:

Looking for a website migration partner? Look no further. We can help.

Relationship Powered Link Building #Pubcon Florida

Relationship Powered Link Building Pubcon

Keywords, content and links. This is the currency of the Search Engine Optimization world and the rules for spending that currency seem to be in a constant state of flux.

At TopRank Marketing, we take a conservative approach to attracting links through purely organic means. Our focus is on creating content that’s actually worth being linked to with an emphasis on customer engagement and share optimization over pure SEO value.

The irony of this approach is that while we don’t “build links” directly for SEO, the attraction based approach we take typically results in links that are very high value and sustainable that many overt link building tactics.

In this session at Pubcon Florida, Ann Smarty @seosmarty from Internet Marketing Ninjas broke her multi-year silence on link building to share her current insights on the topic of link building through relationships.

To understand link building for SEO, you must first understand what NOT to do.

One important lesson is not to scale link building. Scale risks not being useful to consumers and Google responds to that with penalties.

Early on, Ann recognized the value of guest blogging and started a community. In 2012 Matt Cutts from Google shared that guest posts were ok as long as bloggers simply didn’t duplicate the same post over and over.

However, once SEOs recognized the value of link building, they exploited it. In 2014 Google penalized Ann’’s community and guest blogging has been deemed a risky tactic ever since.

Controlled link building of the past:
* Paid links
* Directory links
* Press releases
* Site networks

The effect of Google’s penalties on link building tactics like those listed above has been significant. 89% of sites that ranked 7 years ago are not ranking today. Marcus Tober, SearchMetrics

The rub: You cannot scale link building, but you can’t really get anywhere in SEO without it.

The adjusted approach suggested by Ann is “link earning” vs. “link building” with a focus on building relationships

1. Relationship powered link building. The most important rule is that you do not “ask” for links. Be authentic. Genuinely and openly do your best for each opportunity you come across.

  • SEMRush does a great job at this – they have multiple active community managers, they create free and useful content that attracts links organically.
  • “The best way to ensure that lucky things happen is to make sure a lot of things happen.”
  • Spend at least 20% of your time genuinely helping people without asking for anything back.
  • Make sure your brand identity is consistent across all your web networking channels.
  • Create relationships of mutual value and the relationships will grow. This is true with people who are not yet influencers – they may be more willing to collaborate. But when they do become influencers, the relationship will be far more valuable.

2. Resource Building + Outreach (Trust bait)

  • Brainstorm educational resources and types. What can you contribute to the community in terms of educational content?
  • Research niche quotes (answerthepublic.com). Research niche questions. (serpstat.com and buzzsumo.com/research/questions
  • Research broken links in your industry and related industries: Take a trusted resource in your industry and use Majestic Site Explorer to identify broken links. Find all pages linking to that deleted resource. Then reach out to with a fix using your resource.
  • Research broken links in your industry and build a powerful connection. Work with industry experts (scientists, teachers, writes) to create a better resource than the original. Enhance your outreach by mentioning a notable industry expert who has been working with you on the new resource (that had been involved with the deleted resource).

Why use research-powered trust bait linking:
1. You create a better guide, it improves content quality
2. You can refer to a well known expert in your outreach
3. You’ll receive links from your experts / contributors
3. Viral Marketing and relationships.

Create a variety of formats of content, aka digital assets. Use viral content + social media promotion + smart email outreach. Get exposure on popular destination or community sites. For example, find moderators or sub-reddit influencers to seed your content on Reddit.

Content that gets featured on Reddit’s front page can attract many links. If you seed your content the right way, it can get noticed by many media properties which can mean a quantity of high value and organically sourced links.

Tools for seeding content assets:

  • LaterForReddit allows you to discover relevant subreddits and analyze what time slots and days of week are best for discovering content. Also helps identify active Reddit users and moderators.
  • Twiangulate  can be used to discover influential media contacts (journalists or bloggers) in your niche / location. Search using the specific publication name to find employees.
  • BuzzSumo to discover more influential media contacts in your niche. Search content to find interviews that have already been done and who did the interviews. Also who was the interviewee so you can interview them as well.
  • Twitter Lists & TweetDeck to manage influential media and engage with them.

To EARN links:

  1. Engage in relationship building 24/7 with influencers, bloggers, and journalists.
  2. Create a LOT of good content, both educational and viral / entertaining + identify people who can help you get the word out.
  3. Invest in community management and brand ambassadors.
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How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Improved SEO #Pubcon Florida

How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Improved SEO

This session on influencer marketing and SEO is the first up for me on day one of Pubcon Florida, which has grown from a one day to a two day event. It’s easy to see why: The speaker line up is chock full of current smart search marketing advice from a great collection of expert practitioners.

With moderation duties handled by Susan Wenograd @SusanEDub the speakers for this session included the dynamic duo of:
Marcela De Vivo @marceladevivo from SEMRush
Dixon Jones @Dixon_Jones from Majestic

First up is birthday woman Marcela De Vivo. Happy Birthday Marcela!

Influencer Marketing is hot right now for a variety of reasons: consumers increased use of ad blocking, increased competition and working with the right influencers can make your marketing more effective, especially with SEO.

But working with influencers and getting them to pay attention to your brand can be hard.

There are many examples of big brands leveraging influencer marketing including Pedigree, Hulu and Bob’s Red Mill. But there are also small brands like YogaClub that have had great results too. “Working with influencers revolutionized our brand.”

Impressions are nice, but how do you get influencers to truly impact your ROI?

One of the best ways to get ROI out of influencer marketing is to bring it into your SEO strategy.

To do that, understanding the top SEO ranking factors will help you understand opportunities to incorporate influence with SEO.

  1. Site traffic – Number of direct visits for high volume keywords. Influencers can be a great source for direct traffic. Influencers can generate demand for your brand which also creates visits to your site.
  2. User engagement signals – Visitors coming to your website from search – pages viewed per session and bounce rate. Influencers that have a trusted niche of followers that trust them to recommend sites to visit. That trust should result in an audience that delivers stronger user engagement signals.
  3. Links – Total backlinks to a domain, referring IPs, and total follow backlinks. With influencers you get links they share to your site but ideally, their followers may also link to you. One way to work with influencers this way is through giveaways where content is part of the contest.
  4. Natural organic content – Longer content tends to perform better than shorter content. Things like keywords in the title and H1 tags. Influencers can contribute content to your site that your brand owns. Then you can encourage influencers to share that content that they created hosted on your site. You can also use Facebook ads to promote that content. Alternatively, you can sponsor the influencer to create content on their own site and encourage them to promote.

Steps to build an effective influencer marketing campaign:

  1. Start by picking the social media channels you want to target.
  2. Create a list of potential influencers using Google, social networks or specialty tools / networks of influencers.
  3. Shortlist your influencers.
  4. Contact the influencers via email, phone and/or social media. Get creative.
  5. Get pricing information from the influencer.
  6. Negotiate a detailed agreement with deliverables. Focus on long term partnerships.
  7. Send the influencer a descriptive campaign brief.
  8. Track, monitor and amplify their posts.
  9. Measure performance.

Hacks for working with influencers:

Measure influencers against each other with an assessment tool. Gather all the data about influencer activity and estimate the CPM value. Include data like: followers, blog traffic, demographic data, engagement per post.

Calculate total relevant audience. Then figure out the engagement to audience ratio. Add total cost and divide by total relevant audience divided by 1000. With this data you can identify which influencers are the best to work with.

Combine Facebook live videos with influencer amplification. Live videos often have good organic reach. Run ads against the influencers own audience. Be sure to use the same post ID when you promote content to build social proof.

After the live video on Facebook, upload them to YouTube, creata a bog post with them, get the influencer to share your video blog post and use Facebook ads to amplify the posts.

Following these guidelines will result in links, traffic and engagement – all signals that are good for SEO.

Next up is Dixon Jones who is retiring after 20 years in the industry at the end of this year. Congratulations Dixon!

Dixon asks, to leverage influencer marketing to improve SEO what are we trying to do? Get them to write about you and to get them to like and share your content.

Likes and shares are nice, but they’re just not as impactful to SEO as links.

BuzzSumo did some research on why people share and link to content which is useful when planning how to get influencers to link to your content.

Why might influencers link to your content?

  1. Original insights research
  2. As reference to support an article
  3. To share authoritative content including research and facts
  4. To cite dynamic data that changes

But do links still matter? “Yes” says Andrey Lipattsev from Google. Also Google’s Gary Illes, “Ranking without links is really, really hard. Not impossible, but very hard.”

Takeaway – An influencer can amplify a link for you very effectively.

How many links is enough? Dixon says “one” if they’re from the right source. It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality. That means being careful about which influencers you work with.

Steps to engaging influencers:

  1. Identify the right influencers. Use Majestic’s search engine to find relevant content with desirable inbound co-linking ratios. Also, BuzzSumo’s tool for finding top content and authors for a keyword. Review where they publish. Use whatever communication tool that the influencer prefers – not what is most convenient to you.
  2. Engage the influencers. Doing this right is hard. Networking is priceless. It’s your chemistry not the tools that matter. Use tools like Influsionsoft, Sendible, Outlook, Rapportive. Build trust, be honest and be sincere. Ultimately, its about the beer (for Dixon). Build genuine relationships that can be leveraged when you have something valuable to share with them.
  3. Define the digital asset. Content isn’t necessarily king. The best thing might be an idea, a produce, or a process. It doesn’t have to be a URL.
  4. Prepare the launch. When you have something good to say and great relationships with relevant influencers, send them a preview of what you’re going to announce. Tell them the link URL and the exact time of launch. Then remind them it is live.
  5. Monitor results. Choose a KPI and stick to it, Is it a digital asset? Traffic from the influencer’s content? Search traffic? Citation flow or Trust flow? Just be sure to look at impact over time, not just in the short term. Compare similar campaign metrics with each other vs. mis-matched metrics.

Finally, Dixon asks and answers: How can you get influencers’ attention? By sharing something new, authoritative, referenceable, or unique.

And that’s a wrap. Great job Marcela and Dixon!

If you’re interested in influencer marketing tools to use or other content about influencer marketing, be sure to check out our past posts on the topic.

SEO + Paid Search: An Aristotelian Lesson in Search Marketing Integration

Paid and SEO Search Marketing Integration

The first search engine was created in 1990, over two millennia from when Aristotle, the famed Greek philosopher, walked the earth. Having never lived in a world that included a search engine, let alone paper, you might be wondering what advice Aristotle could possibly offer when it comes to search marketing, but one of his most famous quotes offers an invaluable lesson:

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 

Even in ~330 BC, Aristotle understood that combining two tactics together results in powerful outcomes that are greater than their individual parts.

Adopting this classic teaching to your modern paid search and SEO tactics, means getting more bang for your buck in search marketing. For starters, integrating paid and organic search has been found to increase conversions by 200%, according to Search Engine Watch. If you want to maximize your potential return on your search marketing efforts, they need to work together.

At TopRank Marketing, we believe integration makes the digital marketing world go round, bringing balance and harmony to your digital marketing efforts. To help you weave your paid search and SEO tactics together, we asked TopRank Marketing’s own search marketing philosophers, Joe Manier and Steve Slater, to share their advice and insights.

A Complementary Pair

Since we’re being philosophical and metaphorical, paid search and SEO are the pizza and beer pairing of digital marketing. They’re both awesome in their own right, but in coming together, they give you a more satisfying meal.

With “search” in the name of both tactics, you might already have an indication of why they make such a great pair. But in case you didn’t know, Joe and Steve give their reasons why they complement each other so well.

“SEO and paid search are two ways of coming at the same goal of getting clicks from searchers you care about,” is how Joe explains it.

For example, both tactics aim to earn high visibility in search results for target keywords. In order to reach that goal however, they utilize different strategies and techniques, allowing you to cover more ground in search results.

“SEO is not a promotional strategy. When you need to get eyeballs to a webpage, SEO can take time and the results come slowly. But when you turn on a paid search campaign, you instantly get traffic to your web page. Using the two together leads to instant impact and long-term results,” Steve says.

Not only do paid search and SEO go after similar goals, but they do it in two different ways, opening up the possibility of increasing your results exponentially.

Paid search & #SEO are the pizza & beer pairing of #DigitalMarketing. They’re both awesome in their own right, but in coming together, they give you a more satisfying meal. – @aleuman4 Click To Tweet

4 Lessons from Our Own Search Marketing Philosophers

To bring the two tactics together and get those high-flying results that Aristotle mentions, you need to use paid search to influence SEO and vice versa to create a truly synergistic relationship. To help you create that relationship, this is the advice that Joe and Steve have to offer.

#1 – Use paid search to test your hypothesis.

Because paid search is a way to “cheat” your way into a top ranking, you can actually glean a lot of insights from your search ads. Taking up the top four spots, ads receive a lot of impressions on search engine results pages (SERPs), giving you valuable information on what attracts clicks or conversions and what doesn’t.

“I use paid search as a testing method for what content resonates with searchers. After a campaign has run, I can see what messages led to higher click-through rates (CTR) with each of our target audiences. Then, I apply those insights to title tags and meta descriptions on high impression keywords or pages to boost organic CTR,” Joe says.

And by naming your campaigns strategically, you can immediately see what types of messaging perform well. For example, Joe has found success with solution-based ad messages, earning a great number of clicks and conversions. Knowing this, he can then insert more solution-based messages into organic meta content to try and replicate those same results.

Using the same principle, paid search could be a faster method for A/B testing any meta description or title tag changes as it doesn’t require that you actually update your website.

Use paid search as a testing method for what content resonates with searchers. – @joemanier #SearchMarketing Click To Tweet

#2 – Take stock of conversions and the competition.

Paid search campaign data isn’t only good for meta content, it’s also great for assessing the keywords you want to target.

“If you want to know exactly what keywords lead to a conversion, you can run a paid search campaign and pretty easily start to fill in the blanks,” Steve explains.

In this scenario, you can look at the results of your paid campaign in Google AdWords (see below) to determine which keyword bids led to conversions. Those top converting keywords can then serve as focus areas for your SEO efforts.

Keyword Results from Google AdWords

In addition, AdWords data can help you identify which keywords are more difficult to go after. If you notice that a target keyword has a high average cost per click (CPC), it’s safe to assume that there’s a lot of competition driving the bids up. Given this information, you may want to adjust your optimization efforts towards lower-difficulty keywords that you have a better chance of ranking for.

#3 – Form your paid strategy based on current rankings.

We’ve shared how paid can influence your SEO strategy, but what about the other way around?

Well, if you have a keyword glossary, Joe likes to use it to divvy up which keywords are ideal for SEO and which are better to go after with paid search.

“I like to combine newly finished keyword research with ranking reports from the get-go as it gives instant visibility into how we’re doing organically. Then, I sort the keywords based on if they’d be a better fit for SEO (such as long-tail question keywords) or paid search (keywords where we stand little chance of seeing organic wins in the near-term),” Joe offers.

In analyzing the different type of keywords you rank for, you can more easily identify keywords you should bid on in your paid search campaigns.

If you’re hoping to improve those organic rankings, however, you shouldn’t rely on your paid campaigns to move the needle.

“One thing you should not expect when it comes to running paid search and SEO together is even better rankings. Turning on paid search is not going to improve organic rankings,” Steve warns.

To improve organic rankings, it’s best to stick to alternative methods like on-page optimization around target keywords, internal cross-linking, or additional content.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that #PaidSearch will move organic rankings. – @TheSteve_Slater #SearchMarketing Click To Tweet

#4 – Adopt an SEO philosophy when structuring paid search campaigns.

Using an SEO mindset when structuring a paid search campaign is another method that can be very beneficial. For example, tapping into SEO knowledge can help you earn higher quality scores for your AdWords campaigns.

“The quality score largely determines how a keyword performs in your AdWords campaign. The quality score is calculated by factoring in expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. When you think like an SEO it’s pretty easy to break these elements down.

“As an SEO, you understand how bots interpret a page and search intent, helping you craft relevant ad copy and an easy-to-use landing page experience that increases CTR and your quality score,” Steve says.

According to Google, ads with “higher quality scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions.” Increasing your score means optimizing your ads for increased visibility and clicks while lowering your CPC.

Tapping into #SEO knowledge can help you earn higher quality scores for your #AdWords campaigns. #SearchMarketing Click To Tweet

A Timeless Lesson With Infinite Possibilities

Aristotle was onto something all the way back in ~330 BC and his advice is still relevant today.

While paid search and SEO can stand on their own and increase your search marketing results, if they’re paired together correctly, they can increase your CTR, boost impressions, and expand your keyword umbrella even further.

But that’s not the only opportunity for you to integrate your marketing strategies to drive incredible results. Find out how social media and SEO make an unlikely, yet beneficial pairing.

This Changes Everything: How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

Will artificial intelligence (AI) put marketers out of work?

It’s a question I’m seeing a lot lately, and to me, it’s a strange one. It’s like if everyone 150 years ago was asking: “Will the tractor put farmers out of work?” Of course, John Deere didn’t put farmers out of business; better tools just made them more efficient and better able to scale.

Granted, the tractor did reduce the demand for horses and farmhands. So, no, AI will not put you out of work…as long as your work is creative, innovative and intelligent. If all of your daily work can be done by a machine, eventually it will be.

To be the farmer rather than the horse, you need to understand what AI can do to augment and scale your efforts, not replace them. Here’s what AI can do to improve your digital marketing efforts right now.

#1: Artificial Intelligence and SEO

If there’s one area of digital marketing that is most affected by AI right now, it’s SEO. Machine learning is directly affecting site visibility right now, and its influence will only increase in the future.

A machine learning algorithm called RankBrain (link to Backlinko’s incredibly useful guide) is currently Google’s third most important ranking signal. In the past, Google’s developers monitored search results and tweaked algorithms to better suit search needs. SEO experts then tried to reverse-engineer each algorithm change to better position their content.

With RankBrain in the driver’s seat, though, no human being will know why content is ranked up or down. The algorithm will continuously be testing and refining settings based on user behavior.

This switch means some traditional SEO activities, like keyword lists and backlinks, will decline in importance. The ranking signals that will matter most will be those related to user activity:

  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Pogo sticking
  • Scroll depth

Any indicator that shows how a user found your content valuable is now an SEO indicator. SEO experts and content creators will need to work more closely together to ensure content meets a specific search need, addresses a specific audience, and is compelling to read.

That’s not to say technical SEO is dead, but it is evolving. SEO experts should focus on structuring data, applying schema, implementing AMP, and optimizing for voice search. What do these tasks have in common? They’re all candidates for automation. SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own AI and using it to apply these ranking factors to content at scale.

#SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own #AI & using it to apply ranking factors to content at scale. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

#2: Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

Chatbots are AI-driven programs that interact with users in a natural-language environment. These programs are rapidly becoming a major area of interest for marketers, as an increasing amount of social media traffic takes place on private messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Buffer’s annual social media report found that there are more people on the top four messaging apps than on the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). That’s an engagement opportunity that’s hard to ignore. And, of course, chatbots can live on your brand’s homepage, answering questions and providing support.

Most digital marketers see chatbots as a way to provide personalized customer service at scale – which is tangentially related to marketing, but not directly a marketing function. However, chatbots can also help guide users through a customer journey to a sale.

A lot of the chatter (no pun intended) around chatbots is how to make them indistinguishable from interacting with a human. Marketers seem to care a great deal about this issue, but I would argue customers don’t. Customers want their questions to be understood and quickly answered; it doesn’t matter if it’s Robby the Robot or Robby the Call Center Rep who has the answers.

Marketers can make use of chatbots themselves, too. There are a growing number of smart assistants available that can aggregate and report on data in real-time, through Slack and other private messaging services.

Customers want their questions to be understood and quickly answered; it doesn’t matter if it’s Robby the Robot or Robby the Call Center Rep who has the answers. – @NiteWrites on #AI in #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet

#3: Artificial Intelligence and Content Marketing

If you’re a content creator, talking about AI and content marketing likely makes you feel the cold fingers of obsolescence tighten around your throat. Gartner says by the end of the year, 20% of business content will be authored by machines. AI is already being used for everything from white papers to earning reports. It’s enough to make you feel like a horse watching the farmer start up his tractor.

Should you be worried about your job? Neigh. For one, AI right now isn’t quite ready to draft content with personality and a strong hook for the reader. Since SEO is increasingly about the reader’s experience, that means human-crafted content will win out for the foreseeable future. And even when AI can write convincingly like a human, it will still need creative input from humans.

So think like a farmer: Use AI to take care of repetitive, mindless tasks like metadata tagging and adding recommended content to blog posts. And use it to deliver personalized content at scale. AI can use data from your site’s visitors to dynamically customize and display the content you create.

As the content creator, part of your new AI-enhanced job will be to look at how your audience can be segmented by behavior, and draft modular content that the AI can put together based on user behavior.

Marketers, think like a farmer: Use #AI to take care of repetitive, mindless tasks like metadata tagging & adding recommended content to blog posts. And use it to deliver personalized #content at scale. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

#4: Artificial Intelligence and Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective forms of marketing out there. Sixty-one percent of consumers enjoy receiving weekly promotional emails. Which may explain why email marketing has higher conversion rates than social media and search combined.

AI is making email marketing even better, both for you and your customer. Personalization at scale is every marketer’s dream – and AI makes it possible. AI can use data to create personalized emails to every one of your subscribers, based on their previous interactions with the brand. It can customize based on what content they’ve consumed, what’s on their wish list, what pages they have spent the most time on, and more. For example, if one user always visits links to product pages in your email, but another skips those links and goes straight for content, the AI can send different messaging with the most relevant links for each user.

AI is also making drip campaigns more sophisticated. Instead of one or two triggers and a few customized emails, you can use “If/Then” statements to customize emails for dozens of different triggers. Rather than, “send an email in two weeks,” or “send another if they opened the last one,” you could say, “if they visited three product pages, send an email with a link to a related blog post and recommended products other people have purchased.”

When it comes to #EmailMarketing, personalization at scale is every marketer’s dream & #AI makes it possible. – @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

#5: Artificial Intelligence Influencers to Follow

As AI continues to evolve, one thing’s for sure: None of us know as much about it as we should (myself included). These four influencers are among the select few who really have a handle on AI’s potential to transform marketing.

1. Chris Penn, VP of Marketing Technology, SHIFT Communications

Chris Penn of SHIIFT Communications

Chris is a futurist, a keynote speaker, and AI visionary. His presentation at Content Marketing World last year alternately energized and scared the pants off me.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

2. Paul Roetzer, Founder, Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute (MAII)

Paul Roetzer of Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute

Through the MAII, Paul aims to do for AI what Joe Pulizzi did for content marketing: Provide resources to educate people on how to use AI in marketing, and develop the standards to make AI a useful strategic tool.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

3. Magnus Unemyr, Marketing Automation & AI Consultant

Magnus Unemyr - Marketing Automation & AI Consultant

Magnus has turned out a ton of high-quality content on marketing automation and AI in the past few years. He publishes daily newsletters available through his blog and Twitter feed, and has written a series of books on e-commerce and online marketing.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

I, for One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Will AI put marketers out of a job? Not if you think like a farmer with a shiny new tractor. It’s a tool, not a replacement – a multi-use tool that will eliminate drudgework and help you reach your audience more easily and with more compelling, personalized content.

The rise of AI in marketing is one of the top trends in 2018. Find out what other digital marketing trends deserve your attention in 2018 and into the future.