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15 Market Research Tools That Will Help You Uncover Incredible Insights

Posted by on Jun 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 15 Market Research Tools That Will Help You Uncover Incredible Insights

15 Market Research Tools That Will Help You Uncover Incredible Insights

In a world of increasing competition, understanding your target market is vital.

Conducting thorough research of past, current, and prospective customers helps you uncover insights to improve your product or create more effective marketing messages.

Those insights don’t have to be hard-won, either. Thanks to new tools and data sources, businesses no longer have to rely on traditional methods like surveys and focus groups.

Ready to learn what your audience really wants? These are the 15 best market research tools to use.

Benefits of Leveraging Marketing Research

There’s a reason the global revenue of the market research industry has more than doubled since 2008 and is now valued in excess of $76.5 billion. It comes with a heap of benefits. Any business wanting to improve their product or launch a new marketing campaign will be at a significant disadvantage without it.

Market research keeps your target audience at the center of every decision. By understanding their needs and desires, you can tailor everything from your product to your marketing to your customer. In doing so, you’ll reduce the number of bad customer experiences—one or two of which are enough to make 66 percent of customers switch to a competitor.

Market research tools can also help you discover new business opportunities and threats. New markets become obvious when speaking to customers and understanding their behavior. So, too, do competitors and external threats that could threaten your business if you don’t act.

Ultimately, using market research will give you a huge competitive advantage. That’s because of the benefits above and because less than 40 percent of marketers are using consumer research to drive decisions.

How to Use Marketing Research Data in Your Marketing

You can leverage market research data in several ways, but using it to inform and optimize your marketing strategy, from campaign creation to execution, is one of the most powerful.

For instance, market research can ensure your new product launch goes off without a hitch. Almost half of all product launches are delayed, and 20 percent fail to meet targets. By understanding exactly what customers want, a successful product launch simply becomes a case of delivering it.

Market research can also help you focus your marketing efforts on areas where you have a competitive advantage. By understanding what customers are really searching for, you could identify untapped markets with very little competition in terms of paid ads or SEO. Focusing your efforts here, rather than on saturated verticals, will send your ROI soaring.

Finally, you can use market research data to optimize your marketing efforts after launch. Analyzing social media and other types of user engagement data can highlight how effective each message is so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

5 Best Free Marketing Research Tools

You don’t have to spend a dime to get the benefits of marketing research. There are plenty of free market research tools out there. I’ve highlighted five of my favorites below.

1. Google Trends

Google Trends shows you what people are searching for on Google. It was introduced in 2006 and tracks the popularity of topics over time by location. You can see exactly how popular searches are for Taylor Swift in the U.S. this year. Or how searches for Brexit have declined in the U.K. since 2019.

At the time of writing, Google processes 102,000 searches every second. That’s 88 billion searches every day, making it the largest and most valuable search data source in existence. Google Trends gives you access to that data in a categorized and aggregated way.

Enter a trend and Google will show you how trendy that term is with a line graph and give you a score out of 100. You can also compare different terms.

Pros

easy to usevisually appealinghuge amount of data

Cons

doesn’t show the exact search volumerelated topics aren’t always relevant

Price

Free.

2. Facebook Page Insights

Facebook Page Insights is a fantastic and free market research if you use Facebook to market your business. If you don’t use Facebook for marketing yet, you probably should. With 2.9 billion monthly active users, it’s one of the best social media platforms for marketing.

The tool provides insights into your audience, post performance, and the health of your pages. You can use the tool to see who likes your page and why, which posts get the most engagement, and learn how to increase the reach of your content.

If you’re struggling to get started, Facebook offers two courses: one on how to generate insights and make data-driven recommendations and one on how to make the most of marketing insights.

Pros

unparalleled insight into your Facebook audienceeasy to usecourses available

Cons

limited to your Facebook pagesnot as comprehensive as it once was

Price

Free.

3. Think With Google

Think With Google is one of the search giant’s lesser-known tools, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. It’s a free-to-use resource library of facts and figures based on Google’s own data and other research that can supercharge your marketing efforts.

If you want a broad understanding of what’s going on in the world, Think With Google is a great starting point. Search the platform, and you can uncover marketing trends, understand the latest consumer behavior and find the insights you need to drive your marketing strategy.

The site is split into four areas (Consumer Insights, Marketing Strategies, Future of Marketing, and Tools) which you can use to find the insights you’re looking for.

Pros

huge resource of statistics and studieseasy to usegreat for marketing research

Cons

limited to marketing studies

Price

Free.

4. Living Facts

As part of the Pew Research Center, LivingFacts provides a free overview of how Americans live today. It’s bursting with research, statistics, infographics, and videos that can help you understand the opinions of your U.S. customers on everything from religion and work to health and family.

The site gets its data from several sources, including the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other reputable organizations. If that wasn’t reassuring enough, you should know the Pew Research Center has over 160 staff members and 11 different research teams. In other words, you can trust the data on LivingFacts.

Pros

great for understanding U.S. demographicshuge amount of free informationunderstand your target audience across multiple topics

Cons

limited to the U.S.research can be too basic for some

Price

Free.

5. U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau website lets you search U.S. census data for free. The Bureau of the Census conducts over 130 surveys a year (which are used to allocate billions of dollars in federal funds), making it an in-depth source of reliable data.

You can filter by several variables, including age, location, and income. It also provides visualization of some data sets. One interesting way to use this data set is to filter the results using your business’ NAICS code to see where and with whom your industry is most popular. This is a great way to discover new target markets.

Pros

one of the biggest demographic resources onlineeasy to search through reports

Cons

limited to the U.S.older census reports can become outdated quickly

Price

Free.

10 Best Paid Marketing Research Tools

Free market research tools are a great way to dip your toes into the industry. However, there will always be limitations when you don’t pay for the data. If you’re serious about market research, you’re going to want to pay for premium access. These are the best paid market research tools to use.

1. SurveyMonkey

So far, we’ve only discussed secondary data sources. If you want to collect your own market research data, polls and surveys are one of the best methods. SurveyMonkey is one of the best and most popular tools to use, with over 20 million questions answered using the platform each day.

The company’s enterprise-grade platform makes it easy to create, send out, and analyze surveys. Surveys can be sent via a link, email, social media, or embedded into a web page. You can browse through individual responses or use the tool’s custom reports and charts to visualize data.

Pros

easy to usegood template selectiongreat free plan

Cons

analytics could be improvedlack of customer support

Price

Basic plan is free. Standard plan costs $99 per month.

2. Statista

Statista is a hub of visual data, market research reports, and statistics. It collates data from several reputable sources, turning most of them into graphs and charts that are easy to digest. Because Statista’s data is continually updated, you can keep coming back to the same chart year after year to see how trends are changing.

The site has data on almost any topic you can imagine, making it a great way to discover consumer behavior and market trends, no matter your business.

Getting started with Statista is as easy as searching for a particular topic. The site’s search functionality is excellent and will return hundreds of reports and dashboards that you can use to influence or support your marketing efforts.

Pros

one of the best statistical resources onlinegreat UXeasy to search for data

Cons

free plan is limitedvisuals aren’t the best

Price

Basic account is free. Premium account costs $59 per month.

3. Typeform

Typeform is another survey-based market research tool and an alternative to SurveyMonkey. It benefits from a more user-friendly design with a bunch of pre-made templates, making it easy to create forms and online surveys that you can send to customers. Typeform drives more than 500 million digital interactions every year and integrates with hundreds of other apps.

You can format questions in multiple ways, including multiple-choice, scale ratings, and open-ended answers—perfect for collecting quantitative and qualitative data. You can even use conditional logic to change the structure of your survey based on a respondent’s answers.

The respondent experience is also different. Unlike other survey tools, respondents are only shown a single question at a time. This makes for a more user-friendly and less intimidating experience that can increase the number of responses.

Pros

easy to userespondent-friendlystrong data visualizationmobile-optimized

Cons

lack of customer supportdata reporting isn’t amazing

Price

Limited free plan available. Premium plans start from $25 per month billed annually.

4. ​​Buzzsumo

Think of Buzzsumo as the content marketing and social media market research tool. It analyzes over 8 billion articles and 300 trillion social engagements, so you can see which topics or types of content receive the most engagement, what’s getting shared on social media, and find influencers who can help increase the reach of your content.

This makes Buzzsumo an incredibly effective market research tool for any marketer looking to put together a content marketing strategy. There’s no need to second guess what’s going to rank well and receive engagement when you can use Buzzsumo to see what’s getting traction at the moment.

There are several ways you can use Buzzsumo. The easiest way is to use the tool’s Content Analyzer to search for a topic and see which articles have the most engagement. You can also set up alerts to monitor mentions of a particular optic or keywords.

Pros

accurate social share countsgreat for competitor research

Cons

doesn’t include every social media channelfiltering could be better

Price

Free plan available. Premium plans start from $99 per month.

5. Qualtrics

Qualtrics is an all-in-one market research tool. From creating advanced surveys to segmenting markets and analyzing data, Qualtrics does it all. Create your own survey to gather data or upload an existing data set and Qualtrics will run statistical tests and apply visualizations to help you gather insights.

There’s no need to spend time finding respondents for your surveys, either. You can use the platform to find a representative sample of your target audience and have them fill in your survey.

There’s even on-demand training to help you get the most from the platform.

Pros

easy to build surveysexcellent data reporting

Cons

software has a steep learning curvelimited customization of surveys

Price

Plans start from $1500 per annum.

6. Qualaroo

Qualaroo is an advanced customer survey tool that helps you ask the right questions at the right times. What separates Qualaroo from other survey tools is that you can embed surveys into your site, allowing you to catch users in real-time, with context. That makes their responses significantly more valuable and insightful.

Creating surveys is easy thanks to a wide range of templates and customization options. Analyzing and reporting results is also a breeze thanks to the platform’s AI-powered analytics tool. There are also tons of other features like dozens of answer types, branching questions, and automatic language translation.

Pros

easy to create and deploy surveysanalytics reduces reporting timeeasy to learn

Cons

pre-built templates can be genericdashboards could be improved

Price

Plans start from $80 per month.

7. BrandMentions

BrandMentions is another social media monitoring platform similar to Buzzsumo but with a greater emphasis on social media. It estimates it currently analyzes billions of social media mentions for over 10,000 companies.

You can use the tool to quickly understand social media users’ opinions on practically any topic. Simply search for a keyword, and BrandMentions will display the most recent social posts as well as the context in which it was used. So not only do you see what people are saying, you understand the broader sentiment around the topic.

The tool also shows a range of other metrics, including how many people view the topic each day, how many people engage with the topic, and which days the topic trends on.

Pros

great for social media researchcan also be used for brand monitoringintuitive UX

Cons

can be time-consuming to automate reportsonly analyzes social media data

Price

Plans start from $99 per month.

8. Gartner

Global research and advisory firm Gartner is a heavyweight when it comes to market research. The company has three core services (trusted insights, strategic advice, and practical tools). We’re only going to focus on its trusted insights offering here.

Trusted insights offer an incredible amount of detailed, verified, and peer-driven research. It’s a fantastic way to identify trends in your industry, spot gaps in the market, and discover other insights to power your business.

These reports are at another level compared to other research teams. Gartner boasts over 2,000 research experts and several proprietary research methodologies to deliver objective and unmatched insights.

Pros

unmatched insightsunbiased data

Cons

very expensive

Price

Plans start at $30,000.

9. Tableau

Tableau is a business intelligence suite centered around data visualization. You can connect to almost any data source and Tableau will transform that data into beautiful visual reports that make it easy to analyze and share with stakeholders.

You don’t need to know any code to use Tableau, and the tool makes it easy to be as broad or granular as you like with data analysis. Import data from tons of different data sources, like PDFs, spreadsheets, and Google Analytics.

Tableau is a trusted market research tool for some of the country’s biggest companies, including Verizon, Lenovo, and Charles Schwab.

Pros

best visual data reporting toolacts as a central repository for dataanalyzing data is easy

Cons

can be slow to upload large data sourcesrequires you to source your own data

Price

Tableau Explorer starts at $42.

10. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is one of the best tools for doing SEO and PPC-focused market research. Put a phrase into the search bar and it will provide you with a list of other relevant keywords people are searching for, along with search volume and a difficulty score. You can also enter your own domain or that of a competitor to identify areas for improvement.

It’s a great tool for identifying the size of a potential market, how competitive that market is and what chance you have of ranking in it. You can also use it to get the low-down on a competitor and find out which audiences they’re targeting.

Pros

great UXone of the best market research tools for digital marketingwide range of affordable plans

Cons

limited to SEO and PPC data

Price

Plans start at $29 per month or $290 for lifetime access.

Market Research Tools Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary market research techniques?

There are five main techniques for conducting primary research: surveys, one-on-one interviews, observational studies, focus groups, and field trials.

The best insight from market research is the discovery of a relevant and actionable insight about your target market you can use to improve your offering or influence your marketing efforts.

Are market research tools worth the cost?

If you are on a budget, there are plenty of free market research tools available. However, the best market research tools cost money and provide access to more data and additional capabilities that can increase the effectiveness of your market research.

Why is it important to do market research?

Market research uncovers important information about your business and target market that can highlight opportunities for your business that would otherwise be missed.

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Conclusion: Market Research Tools

Market research tools are an invaluable way to find out exactly what your target audience is thinking. Whether you use free market research tools or paid market research tools, you can uncover plenty of insights that can have a transformative effect on your business.

Stop making uninformed decisions and start taking time to understand your customers and use that information to inform your marketing strategy.

What are your favorite market research tools?

Entity search is your competitive advantage

Posted by on Jun 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Entity search is your competitive advantage

Entity search is your competitive advantage

Entity search has become a competitive advantage for businesses and brands.

With Google opening its topics API and releasing the most comprehensive deep learning algorithms, such as PaLM, LaMDA2 and MUM, it’s critical to understand the semantic web and how to create and operationalize entity SEO.

This article will start our exploration of the what, why and how of leveraging entity search and deploying a winning strategy across the organization. (There is much more to come in my future Search Engine Land articles.)    

What is entity search and why is it critical?

Before diving deeper into entity SEO or semantic SEO, let’s start with what problems search engines are trying to solve and how entities help solve these problems.

Simply put, search engines are trying to provide the best and most comprehensive answers to every search query across all devices. 

Search evolution from keywords to entities

However, the way we search has evolved.

A few years back, searching meant typing keywords into a search engine. Today, 40-50% of searches are conversational from various devices, such as smartphones, Google Home, Alexa, etc. 

A major challenge for search engines is understanding the context and intent behind the user query. Search algorithms that previously matched content with keywords are inadequate to process and understand queries that are often sentences and paragraphs and match them with the most relevant result.

A search engine can only cater to this changing search behavior by understanding relationships between words without ambiguity.

What are entities and entity search?

An entity could be a person’s name, place, object, event, concept or numerical expression that a search engine can understand without ambiguity, regardless of language.

For example, let’s look at a query like, “what is the cheapest price for a hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area?”

How many ways can that question be asked? How would it appear in different languages? How can search engines understand that all those permutations and combinations of queries mean the same thing? 

In the example above, search engines can understand the highlighted text:

What: a concept – a question qualifierCheapest: numerical expression – lowest costPrice: numerical expressionHotel: organizationSan Francisco: locationBay Area: location

By connecting these entities, search engines can understand both the query and the intent behind the query.

Once the query and the intent are understood, search engines try and find relevant information around “entities” in the query.

Search engines use various sources – the Knowledge Graph, citations, Wikipedia, reviews and various digital content – to provide the most accurate results.

The process of retrieving information by scanning all structured and unstructured content and using AI to provide the most relevant results is called entity/semantic search. 

Traditional SEO versus semantic SEO – the difference

In traditional SEO, pages are ranked based on information retrieval scores using relevance, authority, and backlinks from other popular sites. 

Semantic SEO focuses more on providing the most comprehensive information for user queries using entities, facts associated with those entities, associated attributes, and questions related to that fact.

With entity SEO, the focus is on making it easy for searchers to get the answers they want and the brands that provide the most comprehensive topical information satisfying searcher query intent.  

How does entity optimization work?

Entity optimization brings together three concepts to provide the most holistic results

Simply put, entity optimization brings three concepts together:

What: the central topic of the query and what the searcher expects in the content when they search for that topic. It does sound similar to keywords, right? If you recall the example above, how many different ways can a question be asked in different languages and with cultural nuances? All those different queries are distinct keywords, but they are just one topic since they mean the same thing. Ensuring your content is the most comprehensive source of information on the topic by covering as many related topics as relevant to the searcher helps close topical gaps and address your audience’s needs.Why: The intent behind the query. Are they seeking information? Are they considering and evaluating options? Are they looking to navigate or seeking directions? Are they looking to transact and make a decision? Ideally, your content should cater to every need of your audience across their buying journey. Using a combination of what and why will help you identify all the possible entities relevant to your business. You can then create a content strategy around those topics and inter-connect them, building relationships between these entities.How: How your content is delivered is just as important. If your audience expects a video and you deliver text, it may not have the desired impact. Video, images, headings, bulleted and numbered lists, hours of operation, question and answer, recipe and calories (if you are a food business), the list goes on. These are various entities that we put together to create the most holistic semantic SEO strategy. Therefore, page/content layout becomes a critical part of a semantic search strategy.

These content elements can be marked up with structured data to help search engines understand the context and relationships between the content elements and the entities in your content.

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Why semantic SEO/entity SEO gives you a competitive advantage

Clearly, semantic SEO is critical for businesses. Here’s why to adopt this strategy.  

Search algorithms favor semantic search

SEOs in the past focused on link building and utilizing keywords to help search engines find the information. Search algorithms have surpassed keywords and determine the context and intent behind queries by understanding relationships between entities.

Optimizing keywords will help to some extent. Still, the most sustainable way to succeed is to optimize entities in your content and adopt an entity-first or semantic approach to SEO.

Entities help provide the most comprehensive topical information and relevant SERPs. When page structure is optimized for entities/topics, the page’s focus is to provide the most comprehensive information about the topic, including text, FAQ images, videos, bulleted lists and everything else that entity/topic is associated with. SERP results referencing these topical pages are most relevant across all types of searches, including voice, web, images, video, etc. More areas to rank in SERPS: Google Discovery and Google Trends also appear in results based on entities. Google Discovery helps build layers of relevant entities.Optimizing content around semantic search or entities often yields more longer-term growth: Chasing keywords may give growth momentarily, but you must revisit and revise the content to keep the results.Higher impressions, engagement and traffic value: Content optimized for semantic search leads to higher impressions, more engagement, more rich results and much better-quality traffic.SERPs with rich results also provide traffic that engages downstream and converts better: This is because the media type is directly relevant, and they bring the users closer to their desired answer.

Position zero

Marketers sometimes worry that providing rich results, like in the Quick Answer/Featured Snippet listing, People Also Ask or a How-to, gives the user the information in the SERP without them clicking on the listing and driving visitors to the website.

While this is true, the benefits of appearing high up in the SERP outweigh the perceived detriment of users who do not click.

This is especially true when the listing would otherwise have been below the fold lower down on the search results page.

Entity optimization can also guide you when optimizing the content and rich results to maximize CTR from the SERP.

Milestone Inc. research on rich media frequencies in SERPs across over 500 websites

Milestone Click Curve Research showing saturation of SERPs after optimizing for semantic search

Milestone’s click curve research shows that appearing in rich results listings leads to higher engagement. On average, rich result listings get 41% higher engagement in terms of clicks than standard text SERPs without rich results.

Which entities should you focus on? 

The easy answer is any entity that relates to the content of your business, with two categories being the most important. 

The first is any entity that can help reduce ambiguity, such as business type, location, product details, and contact elements. To identify the right entities related to your business, you should review the schema.org classification for your business.

Entities and schema classifications for any business recognized by Schema.org

The second category is those elements where Google provides insights and demonstrates the structure of the business in the Search Console under Enhancements and Search Appearance.

Your website should have all these entities where relevant to ensure the topic/structure of the website is well understood.

Enhancements from Google Search Console

Why understanding what is recognized and classified by Google and Schema.org is critical

Establishing a comprehensive understanding of what is recognized by Google and schema.org will help you come up with the right site and page structure.

Every business may not have a recipe; however, videos, FAQs, sitelinks and breadcrumb navigation are key elements that should be part of the content strategy for the website. 

This shows the benefit of a well-structured page in SERP appearances and search impressions:

Various rich media search appearance clicks and impressions

Entity-first SEO

Entity SEO is more topical and contextual and often includes rich media to help you position your content as the best answer for any query.

Adopting an entity-first approach can:

Give your brand a competitive advantage in search.Future proof your content and digital asset creation strategy.Give your brand a competitive edge.

The post Entity search is your competitive advantage appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to attract your ideal customers with quality content

Posted by on Jun 10, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to attract your ideal customers with quality content

Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing often work together to help businesses grow organically.

You probably know how powerful the combo is and what great results you get when using the two together. 

But do you ever find yourself looking for content ideas that will attract your ideal customer?

The key is being strategic about the content you’re creating if it’s going to turn browsers into buyers.

What’s the best way to do that?

Zero in on topics that will appeal to your ideal customer and bring them to your website.

Finding content ideas that attract customers

Start with your sales funnel and your current customers

What questions do you get asked all the time? Our own frequently asked questions can often lead us to content ideas that will help grow our business.

Start by brainstorming the questions you get asked constantly and write them down. At this stage, there’s no good or bad question. You can go through them later and determine which ones you want to pursue and which ones you want to ignore. What does your ideal customer need to know before buying?Think about the questions your ideal customer doesn’t know to ask, but still needs to know before purchasing. Go through your sales notes, and think about the process you take with prospects in your sales funnel. What information do you find they need to consider before deciding to purchase? There may be content ideas here. What do they want to do that your product or service can help them with?Now think about how your customers use your product or service. What might they do with your product that you can help teach them? What might they want to accomplish, where your product is the solution or a tool they need to complete the job? 

For example, I worked with a makeup brand and we saw lots of people asking for makeup tutorials. They wanted to learn how to create specific looks, so we set out to create videos and blog posts teaching them how to create those specific looks.

Our products were showcased in the videos, so people who watched the video were more likely to buy products from this client than someone else because they saw it used to achieve the look they wanted.

Snoop on the competition

Look around and see what your competition is doing on their website, blog or social media.

Don’t simply copy your competition. Consider this as a content research audit. Take note of what they’re doing and what followers respond to.

Are they doing lots of Reels or tutorials on YouTube or Instagram? Are they writing blog posts that highlight the features of specific products?Are they addressing the benefits? How is the audience reacting (if you can tell)?

Use keyword research tools 

Go to Google and start searching with keywords related to your business and the content topic you’re thinking about.

What you see in the search results are terms people are searching for right now. Google will try to autofill your search bar with the information they think is relevant to your query. Pay attention to any relevant suggestions.

Take a look at everything that shows up in Autocomplete. This data can be useful when trying to find content ideas that will attract your customers.

Use online research tools 

You can use a tool like AnswerThePublic to find out what questions people ask about topics related to your business.

Start a search with your primary keyword and see what questions the tool generates.

Use your own website

Does your website have site search?

See what questions or keywords your current customers are searching for on your website. You may find that people are looking for specific information that you don’t have on your website or that isn’t easy to find.

These results can help you write blog poss or FAQs

Social listening

Spend a little bit of time on social media simply listening to the conversation.

Join a few social media groups where your ideal customer spends time and listen to the conversation.

See what questions people are asking. Is there misinformation being shared? If so, maybe you need to create a piece of content on myths or mistakes people make related to your field, product, or service. Are they looking for solutions you offer? Take note of what they’re asking and the language they’re using because that’s how you’ll be able to connect with them.

Organizing your ideas and brainstorming notes

Take all of your notes, brainstorm ideas, go back to your keyword research tool, and dig a little deeper into the ideas and keywords you could consider using.

You may even find additional content topics in the keywords you discover. Many queries today are in question form, and a lot of them are great topics for blog posts.

Choose the topics that you think will be the best fit for your ideal customer.

Decide if your product or service is an option for that customer, or if you can truly provide value if they read your blog post.

Next, choose the keyword or keywords you have the best chance of ranking for. You will often want to choose the keywords with the greatest search demand and the lowest competition.

Decide what type of content you will create

When deciding what type of content to create, think about your ideal customer. Are they going to be helped the most with a video or a blog post with lots of images? What will provide the most value to them?

Suppose you’re creating a tutorial such as my client’s makeup tutorials. In that case, you’re probably going to want to use video because that’s going to help your ideal customer more than a blog post with images will.

If you’re creating a checklist or something that will walk your ideal customer through a process that leads to a buying decision, you may want to create a blog post with images and maybe even a checklist they can reference later.

Create helpful content

Your next step is to create that valuable piece of content.

Don’t focus on using your keyword X number of times or writing X number of words. Instead, focus on telling your ideal customer what they need to know about this subject.

Provide value by answering their questions. You will naturally use your chosen keywords because your content piece is about a related topic. But you can always go back and review your piece when you’re done and see if you can add additional keywords or remove them if they’re used too many times.

Make sure your content is optimized to get organic traffic

Make sure you optimize every piece of content you want Google to find and share with more new customers.

Follow SEO best practices and use your keywords in the title, meta description, URL, copy, header tags, image file name, and ALT text on your image.

Choose topics you know your ideal customer is interested in and searching for. Write great content that helps them, and optimize the content for Google. As long as you’re choosing keywords your website can rank for, you’ll start seeing results.

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Twitter announces Product Drops for merchants

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Twitter announces Product Drops for merchants

Twitter announces Product Drops for merchants

Merchants have a new Twitter feature, called Product Drops, to help engage their followers and stay on top of new product releases.

What are Product Drops. Product Drops from Twitter is a new feature that allows brands to notify their followers when they launch a new product. The feature is the first of its kind for a social media platform.

How does it work. When a merchant tweets about an upcoming launch, followers will see a “Remind me” button at the bottom of the tweet. They’ll simply tap that button to be reminded of the launch day. 

On the product’s launch day, they’ll receive a notification in the app 15 minutes before, and at the time of the drop. Clicking the notification will bring them to the merchant’s website where they can shop for the product and (hopefully) grab it in time. 

The devil is in the details. Before followers click the “Remind me” button they can view the full details of the product that’s dropping. To do this, they’ll just click on the tweet and the Product Details page will open. From there, they can view the price, description, and more. 

Ready. Set. Launch. Twitter is rolling out Product Drops to merchants in the US only, on English iOS devices. It’s being tested with select partners including:

DiorFossilJeff StapleHome Depot

There is no word on when the feature will roll out to all merchants.

What Twitter says. “People come to Twitter to talk about products and product drops every day. And merchants have long been dropping products on Twitter without any native product support. We’re excited to change that and introduce new shopping features that empower shoppers to stay on top of the launches that matter most to them and provide merchants with another way to engage shoppers around big product moments.”

Check it out. Read the full announcement from Twitter here

Why we care. Shopping on Twitter isn’t new. But until recently, there hasn’t been any native support surrounding it. This feature aims to help alleviate some of the frustration people feel around missed product drops, angry customers, and overwhelmed brand reps. However, not all of a brands followers are on Twitter. And even if they are, this feature requires they be near their phone or logged into Twitter to receive the notifications. This feature is a good start to increasing brand engagement, but may miss the mark with many of their fans.

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How to win in the SERPs with Google’s auction insights and search intelligence

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to win in the SERPs with Google’s auction insights and search intelligence

How to win in the SERPs with Google’s auction insights and search intelligence

Search marketing channels are experiencing a surge in revenue. Macroeconomic and hiring impacts the world over have led to companies like Google experiencing massive growth, highlighting how search has become a key channel for marketers.

“It’s great for Google, but that means rising costs for us,” said Sean O’Connor, senior CSM and sales engineer at Adthena, in a recent webinar (scroll down to watch the video).

Attribution is one reason why these developments have made it difficult for paid search marketers to succeed in the space.

Google holds more data than ever before but doesn’t always show marketers the full picture when it comes to their campaigns. At the same time, its growth in the search space, and the decline of other marketing avenues, mean growing pressure on paid marketing teams.

“We are going to experience a higher level of scrutiny for Google Ads than we have in the past few years,” O’Connor said. “Search is the first thing you start, and the last thing you stop, when it comes to brand advertising. That isn’t going to change, but it is going to put the microscope over all the activities that we’re doing.”

“We need to have a clear attribution to the success we’re bringing to our businesses,” he added.

Here’s how paid search marketers can better attribute success using Google Ads’ auction insights tool and search intelligence.

Google Ads auction insights

“Auction insights is particularly valuable in providing context on what our competition is doing, but not how they are gaining ground,” O’Connor said. “Impression share and overlapping position rate are somewhat relevant, but they’re not the metrics I particularly care about.”

While many marketers long for the days of “old school” metrics such as average position for individual terms, auction insights still provides useful campaign stats. These include information such as marketing trends, which essentially gives marketers Share of Search data so they can see where they stand.

Source: Sean O’Connor

“It’s not so much about campaign optimization, but rather an insurance policy,” O’Connor said.

To get the most out of auction insights, he recommends the following:

Installation: Build out enhanced dashboards to review campaign data alongside business metrics.Establish a new workflow: Segment campaigns to enable messaging and market share analysis.Take action: Focus on product roadmap development, regional/local segmenting, and spend adjustments.

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Search intelligence

“Google is taking information away from the auction insights section, so we need to be able to shed some light behind the curtain,” O’Connor said. “Considering automation policies, do we let it run? How long does it take to learn? How bundled does it need to be?”

“We need to be able to get past this ‘black box,’” he added.

Auction insights give a good amount of campaign information (e.g., impression share, positive above rate, outranking share), but limit your ability to gauge their efforts against competitors in areas they’re not showing up in, according to O’Connor.

This is why he suggests teams craft their own “formula” that combines data gained from auction insights and a search intelligence platform.

“This creates a ‘whole marketing view,’ which [includes] your terms and closely related competitor terms,” he said. “That whole marketing view is going to show your market opportunity.”

Apply the formulas for success

Acquiring and analyzing search data from auction insights and search intelligence tools isn’t enough to improve Google Ads campaigns. Marketers need to activate the combined data to adjust targets and set benchmarks.

“With enough evidence from auction insights and analytics, you can combine them into a nice visualization that can justify your job and make it easier,” he said.

However, marketers should note when it’s time to conserve budgets. The additional insights gained from these formulas will help teams spend more carefully – when it’s called for – and go after new targets when it makes sense.

“Google’s showing you just what you’re focused on,” O’Connor said, “But we need the context of everything else happening.”

Register to watch the full webinar now:

The post How to win in the SERPs with Google’s auction insights and search intelligence appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Webinar: Get beyond the blast with this next-level email strategy

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Webinar: Get beyond the blast with this next-level email strategy

Webinar: Get beyond the blast with this next-level email strategy

Ever feel like you’re shouting into the void with your email campaigns? You send thousands and thousands of messages; the only response you get is link clicks. It’s useful to see who’s at least somewhat paying attention, but how do you handle all those leads who clicked and didn’t convert?

Join experts from Conversica and learn how companies using conversation automation as part of their email flow see an average of 9.88% response rate, nearly 4x more opportunities and over 10x ROI.

Register today for “Beyond the Blast: Next-Level Email Strategy Requires Conversation,” presented by Conversica.

The post Webinar: Get beyond the blast with this next-level email strategy appeared first on Search Engine Land.

8 Tips to Foster Cross-Team Collaboration

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 8 Tips to Foster Cross-Team Collaboration

It’s increasingly likely that the team you work with will come from more than one source.

A hands-on solution for powerful digital experiences

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on A hands-on solution for powerful digital experiences

In today’s attention economy, legacy content management solutions no longer meet the needs of content creators and their development teams. Arc XP is a cloud-based digital experience platform that helps enterprise companies, retail brands and media and entertainment organizations create and distribute content, drive digital commerce and deliver powerful experiences.

Available on AWS Marketplace, Arc XP’s state-of-the-art digital platform is engineered to meet the demands of modern publishers, brands, and broadcasters around the world. Built by The Washington Post, Arc has powered the digital transformation of clients across the globe, currently serving more than 1.5 billion unique visitors monthly. At its core, Arc is about speed and innovation: for readers, content creators, brands, advertisers and developers.

You will learn:

Learn about major challenges Marketers are facing today Hear how Arc XP can help your organization See an on-demand demo of the solution in practice 

You’re invited

Speaker Bio

Scot Gillespie is the chief technology officer and general manager of Arc XP, a cloud-native digital experience platform. Under Gillespie’s leadership, Arc XP has grown exponentially, evolving from a headless CMS to a feature-rich digital experience platform that supports the content, commerce and digital experiences needs of enterprise companies, retail brands and media and entertainment organizations around the world. Gillespie has also led Arc XP to develop deep partnerships with many of the industry’s top technologies, including deeper integrations with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Akamai and Catchpoint.

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WordPress pages or posts: Which should you use?

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress pages or posts: Which should you use?

Since its launch in May 2003, WordPress has become the most-used website platform globally. The WordPress platform powers almost 37% of the top 1 million trafficked websites, according to BuiltWith data.

Given the low cost (you really only pay for hosting), ease of installation and use and flexibility, WordPress is ready for websites of all sizes, from personal blogs to enterprise businesses.

Count me as a fan. I’ve advocated for its use, going back to nearly the beginning of its existence in 2003.

I’ve worked on many WordPress websites, and one of the most common questions I still get is about pages versus posts – which one should be used?

Before answering that question, let’s review how WordPress pages and posts differ.

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WordPress pages

Pages in WordPress are intended to hold content that may be considered more “evergreen,” such as the home page, product/service pages, or about us-type content.

Pages can be nested to create a directory structure by making one page the “parent” of another.

Generally, pages cannot leverage categories, tags and authors and are usually not included in RSS feeds from the website.

WordPress posts

Posts in WordPress link the platform back to its roots as a blogging platform. Posts were intended to hold news-related, time-sensitive, and other content that might be associated with websites that are strictly blogs.

Posts are time-driven and can leverage categories, tags, and authors for archive pages and on-site search. Posts are included in RSS feeds.

Content authors can make posts appear in a directory structure by setting up categories, which can be in parent/child relationships, and creating the structure in the Permalinks settings in the WordPress settings.

One crucial thing to remember: Both pages and posts are content for your users and the search engines.

The website owner sets their appearance and use. Pages and posts can be used interchangeably for any purpose – though it’s a terrible idea to mix similar content between the two formats.

WordPress pagesWordPress postsIntended for evergreen contentIntended for news or “blog” content – very time-drivenCan be nested together in parent/child arrangements to create a directory structureCan fit into a directory structure using categories that can be nested in parent/child relationshipsCannot leverage categories, tags or authorsLeverages categories, tags, and authorsCannot use RSS feeds to share contentCan use RSS feeds to share contentCan be styled any way the website owner wishesCan be styled any way the website owner wishesIs considered content to the website visitors and search enginesIs considered content to the website visitors and search engines

Evolving recommendations

In the past, I most often recommended that “evergreen” content be created as pages. These would include items like the home page, product/service pages and “about us,” etc.

Other news-related, time-sensitive, instructive, blog-type content would be created as posts. As mentioned above, this follows what most consider the intention of pages and posts.

Although this way of working is still quite valid, I’ve been rethinking this advice lately.

Why?

A large number of websites I’ve worked on lately have had terrible information architecture.

For many of these sites, most, if not all, content is in the website’s root folder. Some sites have content on the same topic mixed between pages and posts. The former issue is relatively easy to fix, the latter, not so much.

Part of the problem is that WordPress is set to put all content at the website’s root by default. Another part is a misunderstanding of how pages and posts are intended to function.

My recommendations now are slightly different if a site is being built from scratch or undergoing a significant reorganization.

In that case, I have two recommendations based on the type of content that will comprise the majority of the website:

For sites with a majority of evergreen-type content, I recommend the site be all pages.
This allows pages to be built and nested together in parent/child relationships to construct a logical folder structure. Even if there is timely blog-type content, pages will work quite well unless there is an absolute need for tag or author connections.For sites with a majority of timely, blog-type content, I recommend the site be all posts.
This allows for content to be organized along category lines. Posts also allow for tag and author archives to be used. This type of setup also allows for easy RSS feeds. The home page can be set up to show the latest posts to help keep it fresh with the newest information.

Either of these arrangements would work well because pages and posts are just content to website visitors and search engines. Both content formats can be styled to suit the needs of the website.

If forms and other interactive features are needed, they can be applied equally well to pages or posts.

From an SEO perspective, the content format on the back end is irrelevant – it’s what is presented to users and search engine spiders that matters.

Should I uproot everything and change the structure of my site?

As I mention above, I recommend building this type of structure on a new site or if a site is undergoing significant work like a re-platforming onto a new theme or migration to a new design.

If your website is working well and you don’t notice any significant problems, it’s OK to take an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

Final thought

The main reason for my changing recommendations is the lack of a logical directory structure on many sites I support. While it is quite possible to create a logical structure with a mix of pages and posts, it is certainly much simpler to set up and maintain if the site is set up with all one type of content.

The post WordPress pages or posts: Which should you use? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

4 proven methods to improve Google RSA conversion rates

Posted by on Jun 9, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 4 proven methods to improve Google RSA conversion rates

As machine learning seizes yet another opportunity to beat out human capabilities, Google Ads is officially retiring Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) on June 30.

The simple days of three headlines and two descriptions will be replaced by mix-and-match opportunities of up to 15 headlines and four descriptions. 

Advantages to running Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) include:

The ability to test multiple ad copies at once without the manual labor of setting up different ads.Endless ad copy combinations, allowing for robust testing and quicker learning. Automatic winning ad-optimization. The system will award the most impressions to the winning ad copy combinations in the end. 

However, trust concerns arise when advertisers use these algorithms. RSA reporting leaves much to be desired, as you can only see the number of impressions for each asset and combination.

Does the lack of control over ad copy combinations leave you questioning if there’s more you can do to optimize performance?

Read on to discover four ways to improve RSA conversion rates – with test findings to back them up.

1. Look beyond impressions for decision-making

Google provides impression volume for each headline and description.

If you’re receiving enough volume (over 5,000 impressions in 30 days), then the algorithm may be able to assign a performance rating to your ad copy. The ratings include:

LowGoodBest

While it is recommended that you replace a “low” performing asset with a new variation to improve CTR, impression volume is simply not enough to dictate a true winner. 

What’s missing?

Click and conversion volume are the missing links in this report.

To put our trust behind RSAs, we need to ensure they are supporting our goals.

CTR and CVR are critical to analyzing performance on campaigns with conversion goals as well as low-volume ad groups where it may be impossible to get out of the learning phase.

A proposed solution

We need to test two RSAs against one another to look at ad-level KPIs, not just copy-level impressions.

Ad copy in each RSA should be intentionally limited to just three headlines and two descriptions and the ads should be tested in an experiment.

In this way, you are creating pseudo-ETAs.

Once you start recognizing winners, you can optimize performance by turning off poor-converting assets in your non-experimental RSAs.

2. Don’t worry about ad strength for conversion volume

When comparing ETAs and RSAs, advertisers often see higher CTR in RSAs but lower CVR.

This could be caused by the lack of messaging control and Google’s push for advertisers to follow best practices to improve their ad strength.

In order to bring your RSA ad strength from Poor to Excellent, Google wants to create and test as many ad copy combinations as possible, recommending:

To maximize the quantity of headlines and descriptions (up to 15 headlines and four descriptions per ad)Unique headlines and descriptionsUnpinned copyTo include high-volume keywords in your ad copy

While following best practices is said to be optimal for performance, advertising rebels should run their own tests. Manual testing can continue after ETAs disappear.

To test how much ad strength impacts conversion rate, we set up an experiment in Google for two weeks:

Client A is on a tCPA bidding strategy and needs to get the most efficient CPL possible.

Control (Base): RSA with ten headlines and four descriptions; no pinned ad copy

Test (Trial): RSA with the same ten headlines and four descriptions; Top 3 headlines and top 2 descriptions pinned, based on impression volume

Impressi-onsClicksImpr. ShareAd StrengthCTRCPCCVRCPLControl17,54051244.53%Average2.92%$18.476.36%$290.60Test16,69244742.44%Poor2.68%$18.486.58%$280.90

Both the control and test showed similar results. With a goal of lower CPL, pinning the headlines and descriptions would be a better decision to optimize this ad group’s performance.

3. Run experiments to test ad copy variables

Now that we know we can pin ad copy without any repercussions to our CPL or CVR, we can think about the proper way to A/B test headline and description variations.

When leveraging smart bidding tactics, algorithms are doing what they can to help you reach your goals. Even when you check the Do not optimize ad rotation option in the settings, Google is not serving your ads evenly because it is working to satisfy your campaign goals first.

Knowing that Google will favor one RSA over another if you run two RSAs in one ad group simultaneously, gaining true KPIs on each ad copy variable is difficult when impression volume is so skewed.

The best way to test one variable at a time is to set up a custom experiment or ad variation. This will ensure that the spend gets split 50/50 for each ad.

4. Create ETAs within RSAs

Although this test defeats the purpose of Google’s ETA exile, you can offer just three headlines and two descriptions per ad.

Testing two pseudo-ETAs in an experiment is a great way to analyze winning ad copy.

In this experiment, we looked at giving the algorithm some freedom while maintaining control of our messaging:

Client B is on a tCPA bidding strategy and needs to get the most efficient CPL possible.

Control (Base): RSA with ten headlines and four descriptions; Top 3 headlines and top 2 descriptions pinned, based on impression volume

Test (Trial): RSA with only top 3 headlines and top 2 description, based on impression volume

ImpressionsClicksImpr. ShareAd StrengthCTRCPCCVRCPLControl11,17630948.72%Poor2.76%$16.254.02%$404.66Test11,27133446.07%Poor2.96%$15.877.04%$225.60

Since the trial copy was unpinned, Google’s algorithms decided which position to show each headline in.

Giving the system this freedom brought CPL down 45%.

This is a great way to test ad copy, as long as specific headline positions aren’t important to you. 

Don’t be afraid to go against best practices to unlock new potential

Trusting the algorithms can be an easy way to test multiple ad copies simultaneously. However, with some extra experimenting and detective work, humans can optimize conversion rates even further than machine learning.

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