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TikTok’s In-Feed Ads get more visual with Interactive Add-Ons

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on TikTok’s In-Feed Ads get more visual with Interactive Add-Ons

A handful of new Interactive Add-Ons have arrived within TikTok’s For Your Page. These new additions are available globally for In-Feed Ads and will be unique creative additions that will allow for more customized, engaging ads.

These new features come in two different flavors, Standard or Premium. According to TikTok, standard Add-Ons are made to “reach lower-funnel marketing goals, like driving clicks and conversions” while Premium Ads move up the funnel to aid in “brand awareness and community building”.

The new Interactive Add-Ons are compatible with App installs, Conversion, and Reach & Frequency (Traffic, Video Views) campaigns.

Premium Add-Ons. The new elements to target the lower funnel include:

Pop-out Showcase. This image element will lay over the ad with the ability to drive product clicks that can be accompanied by text.Gesture. With a tap or swipe, a user can interact to obtain reward credits in the ‘Gesture reward card’.Super Like 2.0. This is coming soon but will allow for an even more visuals after a user likes an ad, including a pop up card after the like.

Standard Add-Ons. The new elements to target the mid/upper funnel include:

Display Card. Visually showcase brand messaging or offers via Display Card that transcends the standard card format.Gift Code Sticker. Contrary to the TikTok release, these arguably target the lower funnel as viewers can click for a code and copy it before heading to purchase.Voting Sticker. Leverage the community for their input with a traditional looking voting sticker.Countdown Sticker. Slap additional information over an ad for upcoming releases or important dates.

Why we care: These creative new ad enhancers are a great way to add interactivity for more ad engagement. According to TikTok “viewers who have shared, liked, or commented on a TikTok brand video are 150% more likely to buy a product or service” and these new elements will surely help with that interaction.

The post TikTok’s In-Feed Ads get more visual with Interactive Add-Ons appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Universal Analytics real time latency issues won’t be fully fixed, says Google

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Universal Analytics real time latency issues won’t be fully fixed, says Google

Google has responded to the complaints around Google Analytics’s real time reporting being off and inaccurate within Universal Analytics 3, saying they won’t be fully fixing the issue. Google has responded to the issue tracker thread saying that the engineering team has “not been able to fully eliminate the issue.” Google added that the company is “no longer seeking to resolve this issue.”

What is the issue. Many site owners love looking at real time analytics, specifically in Universal Analytics, because it tells them what is trending on their web sites right now. GA4’s real time analytics shows you the past 30 minutes or so, while Universal Analytics is within minutes, not 30 minutes. Earlier this month, site owners have noticed that the real time analytics in Universal Analytics, aka Google Analytics 3, has been off or lagged. Google confirmed the issue but has not been able to fully resolve the issue.

Google’s resolution. Google posted a “resolution” but that resolution is not a fix, it is just saying Google has given up on fixing the issue. Here is what Google wrote:

As you have indicated that you were experiencing an issue with realtime reporting in your Classic Analytics property. Our Product and Engineering team has extensively investigated this issue to find the root cause, but after making a few improvements to the report we have not been able to fully eliminate the issue.

Knowing that this issue is temporary and that ‘Google Analytics 4’ (GA4) properties have an improved Realtime report that does not suffer from this issue, we’re no longer seeking to resolve this issue. We recommend waiting a few minutes to see accurate numbers in UA Realtime reports, or we invite you to consider implementing an GA4 property alongside your existing Universal Analytics property to access our next generation of Real-time reporting (help center: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9744165?hl=en&ref_topic=9143232).

We understand that this may be frustrating to hear after so many months of waiting, but please know that we exhausted all options before coming to this conclusion. Unfortunately we will not be able to help troubleshoot the Realtime inflation/deflation further.

What to do. Google says either (1) wait “a few minutes to see accurate numbers in UA Realtime reports” to see if they load properly or (2) implement GA4 for that real time analytics. Both don’t seem like a good solution but with Google to sunset UA3 for GA4, it doesn’t seem likely Google will resolve the UA3 issues.

Why we care. If you notice your that your real time analytics data is off in Universal Analytics, you are not alone and Google likely won’t be fixing this ever. So you need to adapt and understand that what you are seeing (or not seeing) in UA3 real time analytics is not fully real time or accurate. Communicate this to your clients so they are aware as well.

The post Universal Analytics real time latency issues won’t be fully fixed, says Google appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to get reviews for local SEO: The must-do list 

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to get reviews for local SEO: The must-do list 

Online reviews are important. They improve trust signals with users, provide social proof that your brand is who it says it is, and can even assist in SEO efforts.

While the focus on reviews in SEO tends to be on how reviews affect rankings, rankings are just a small part of why reviews are important for local SEO.

Benefits of a healthy review profile include increased leads, social proof, customer service opportunities and increased customer loyalty and engagement, to name a few. 

Why does this matter?

Great and terrible reputations alike spread quickly. While you don’t want to be known for having a bad reputation, you also don’t want your brand to get lost in the shuffle.

Reviews are a free way to generate brand recognition, a reputation for responsiveness and great customer service, positive exposure, SEO benefits and influencing purchasing decisions with potential clients.

Even negative reviews offer an opportunity – showing potential clients how you respond to or handle frustrations (all reasonable clients know that things can and do go wrong occasionally), and they provide you with free feedback on which aspects of your business can be improved upon.

Use critical reviews to better your offering and client experience. This will show in your overall review profile over time, and in client satisfaction immediately. If all of your customers hate the coffee in your lobby, change it. 

Getting reviews for a local business

So how do you go about getting reviews?

One of the most common questions we get from clients when it comes to reviews for their local businesses is how to encourage their customers to leave reviews without annoying them or risking public negative feedback.

Here are some top tips on how to secure reviews for local SEO.

The Ask

It seems simple, right? Ask, and ye shall receive. But

The “Person You Already Know” Ask

Good sources of online reviews include:

Clients.Customers.Colleagues.Business partners.Personal contacts (depending on the platform).

This is a great way to source reviews because if you’re asking someone you know and are comfortable with, you likely have an established relationship with them and they’re more likely to leave a great review.

While Google does not allow reviews from non-customers, Facebook does not limit reviews to paying clients and customers. Industry partners, your neighbor, and even your mail carrier are totally welcome to leave a review.

Don’t ask them to lie, however, as authenticity is key here. If it’s not a client or customer, ask the reviewer instead to speak to your integrity, professionalism, personality, or character vs a brand-specific experience.

The “Verbal” Ask

Like the person you already know, the verbal ask allows you to decide whether someone would be a good candidate for a positive review.

You can ask a customer in passing, or even pick up the phone and call them. If you’re going to call them, it’s often best to start the conversation by thanking them for their business and asking for their feedback to let them know that you care about their experience with your brand before asking them to do you a favor.

The “Digital” Ask

The digital ask allows you to choose who you’d like to receive a review from. The digital ask can be delivered via email, text message, or even directly on your social channels.

Not everyone you ask will take the time to review their experience with you. However, this is a great way to grab some positive low-hanging fruit.

The “Passive” Ask

Your reception area, flyers, and other printed materials offer a fantastic opportunity to provide a QR code directly linking to your reviews.

Add some social proof, such as an image of one of your best reviews, a star rating, or some verbiage on why you want them to scan the code to encourage participation.

Review Request Tips

Make sure to add a personal contact for a real human in messages – this allows an opportunity to talk to an unhappy customer and smooth things out before they share a public review.Keep it simple! People do not have time to read a five-paragraph essay on why you want them to review you. Respect their time and get to the point quickly.It’s OK to follow up in a few weeks if they don’t review you, but be careful to not get annoying. You do not want someone reviewing your business when they’re irritated with you.If you can add personal details without laying it on too heavy, it’s great! Be careful to avoid potentially embarrassing or overly personal information. (“we’re so glad we were able to get rid of the bed bugs in your hotel!” will not go well for you)

Review Management Tools

A variety of review management tools can help you request, compile, and respond to online reviews.

Be careful if you use a third-party tool to request or respond to reviews to ensure they aren’t engaging in questionable tactics for displaying or managing review content.

Review management platforms have recently been under fire from the FTC for “avoiding the collection or publication of negative reviews,” which violates FTC guidelines.

Mike Blumenthal of NearMedia has been following recent FTC cases and guideline updates and does a fantastic job explaining them on the Near Media blog

Strategies to Ensure a Positive Review Profile

Always respond to reviews (positive and negative): Showing your current and potential customers, business partners, and community members that you’re paying attention and actually care about what people have to say can go a long way in building a positive review profile and brand reputation.Know your customers: Not only does this foster a positive connection with your customers, but it also helps you spot fake reviews from disgruntled employees or the competition quickly. Knowing your customers also helps you successfully plan initiatives, promotions, and offers that will be popular with your customer base.Make it easy – provide instructions if needed: If your customer base is not tech-savvy or may have difficulty submitting an online review, help them. Create easy-to-follow instructions that walk them through the process. This can be digital or printed out. Bonus points for visual aids and clickable links or scannable QR codes.Encourage honest feedback: Don’t bribe or guilt people into leaving a positive review. Encourage them to be honest in their reviews so you know your strengths and weaknesses alike. Make sure your request is personalized: Whether you’re sending an email or asking in person, make sure you let the customer know that you know who they are and care about their experience with your brand BEFORE you request the review. Asking how their kid’s sporting event went, or if their spouse is enjoying their new job can go a long way in fostering a positive, long-term relationship.

What Not to Do When Seeking Reviews for Local SEO

Don’t get hung up on one platform: Meet your audience where they are, because chances are, if they frequently turn to Yelp to leave reviews, you have other customers looking there for information about your brand.  You don’t want to overwhelm people with options and create decision paralysis, but give them two or three options for review sites.Don’t pay for or incentivize reviews: Ever. Never, ever, ever.Don’t ask people to leave fake reviews: This is tacky, bad business, and it will come back to bite you.Don’t leave fake reviews for your competition: As with requesting positive fake reviews, leaving negative reviews that are not accurate or true will not go well for you. Just don’t do it.Don’t ignore the feedback you receive: Look at negative reviews as an opportunity to provide your customers with a better product, service, or experience. Take the feedback and learn from it, or you’re doomed to continue repeating past mistakes. Don’t use Facebook’s autoresponder for reviews: People can tell, and you will lose their trust.Don’t delete negative reviews: Use them as a tool to show current and potential customers that you’ve taken the feedback seriously and improved your business.

Online reviews for local business: The bottom line

Why do reviews matter so much?

Great and terrible reputations alike spread quickly. While you don’t want to be known for having a bad reputation, you also don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.

Reviews are a free way to generate brand recognition, a reputation for responsiveness and great customer service, positive exposure, SEO benefits, and of course, influencing purchasing decisions with potential clients. 

Even negative reviews offer opportunities. It shows potential clients how you respond to or handle frustrations (all reasonable clients know that things can and do go wrong occasionally) and they provide you with free feedback on which aspects of your business can be improved upon.

Use critical reviews to better your offering and client experience. This will show in your overall review profile over time, and in client satisfaction immediately. If all of your customers hate the coffee in your lobby, change it. 

Remember, online reviews help with lead gen, have SEO benefits, show you what your customers really want and expect from your business, inform you of areas of your business that have room for improvement, and help drive conversions. 

The post How to get reviews for local SEO: The must-do list  appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business

How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business

30-second summary:

The need to become a public persona in order to be a successful business owner is overrated
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to create an anonymous digital entity while using a majority of efficient marketing strategies
The problem arises when you already have your personal data published and want to delete it – it is neither easy nor possible (given all the variety of archiving tools that are publicly accessible these days)
So how do you keep your life private while owning a successful online business?
How do you navigate this conundrum as your private content may still become public at any moment?

The internet is both, a boon and a bane, depending on – how you use it, and how others use it to interact with you. A lot of new businesses and side hustles emerged post the pandemic, while brick and mortar businesses started digitizing themselves. This has raised well-being challenges around how business owners and senior executives can separate work from their personal pockets over the internet. How can they ensure their privacy and online safety are strong while building a digital business footprint?

Here are a few things you should know about safeguarding your online identity from the internet:

1. Making your site anonymous

Digitizing your business while remaining anonymous is difficult but doable. Here are all the steps you need to take to create an anonymous blog. In essence:

You need to come up with an online pseudonym (a moniker as we used to call it back in the days when we were using forums and never used our real names around the web)
Set up a new email address and create your new public social media profiles representing your business
In addition, you will need to pay for domain privacy protection to prevent your phone, email, and address from being tied to your domain. Domain privacy protection replaces personal information with proxy info in the public WHOIS directory.
Make sure you are using an SSL certificate (which you can do for free)

I know we have been talking about transparency and authenticity and building your personal brand too much, so creating a successful anonymous site without exposing yourself seems almost like an unpopular choice.

Well, I believe there’s still a place for anonymity in social media, and you can still succeed without the cost of compromising your personal details to the public. You just need to take careful steps when using all kinds of marketing tactics – like blogging and social media marketing – in order to keep your private life – well – private.

Of course, that means, not posting family pictures on Instagram, and not telling personal stories, but there is still a wealth of opportunities, from SEO to PPC ads. With more personal tactics, like blogger outreach, you will likely have to come up with an alternative identity as no one likes anonymous emails or emails coming from a business.

There’s one thing to note here: For both ecommerce and SaaS businesses creating an anonymous business entity is doable. Of course, some of your customers may be curious who is behind your brand but if you have working contact information, it is not a huge issue. It is, of course, more challenging for a freelancing business, as most freelance marketplaces require your real name in order to join.

Some may argue about the possibility of anonymity in the context of E-A-T but in reality, it isn’t common knowledge how exactly Google translates its E-A-T requirements into a ranking algorithm. So far, I’ve seen plenty of websites with no humanized ‘About’ pages ranking, and ranking high. Besides, you can tell the story of your business without telling the personal story of its founder. 

The need to become a public persona in order to be a successful business owner is overrated. It is still a matter of choice. Technical SEO and high-quality backlinks, as well as the quality of content and properly performed keyword research – remain the three pillars of solid organic visibility. A well-done ‘About’ page can exist without personal branding as long as it conveys your business’ proposition, origin story, and conveys values that will resonate with your target consumers/audience.

2. Delete your public content from third-party platforms

Chances are, you have been contributing to several third-party platforms using your real name. It is only natural because there are a few powerful social media players (like Facebook and Quora) that have real-name policies in place preventing users from maintaining anonymity.

If at some point you decide that you don’t want that content to come up in search when anyone is searching for your name, what are your choices?

The hard truth is that removing your own content that you added to a third-party site is a challenge. Some platforms don’t even have tools for mass-deleting content from the platform. In the case of Quora, you will probably need to delete your own account in order to get rid of your content.

In some cases, like Reddit and Tumblr, even deleting your own account won’t help as your content will remain there assigned to a removed entity.

In case you are curious, here’s a break-through of major third-party content-based networks and how you can wipe your content off them in an easier way:

Third-party content- driven platform
Any Way to Mass-Delete Content?
Will the content be gone once you delete your entire account?

Reddit
No
No

Quora
No
Yes
(except for questions which are mostly anonymous)

Instagram
Yes
(You can also make your profile private)

Twitter
No
(However, you can make them all private/protected)
Yes

Facebook
No (But you can make them all private/hidden)
Yes

Pinterest
No
Yes
(but NOT re-pins other people make from your pins)

Tumblr
Yes
(Using the mass post editor)
Not all
(Your group blog contributions will be kept)

Yelp
No
Yes
(But not instantly)

YouTube
Yes
(You can mass-delete your comments and mass-hide your videos)
Yes

In summary, deleting your content from the web will take some work, and in some cases, it will not happen instantly. But it is better than saving future hours trying to block and delete spam communications targeted toward you and your business.

You can, of course, change your username on most of these networks to hide your real name but mind that your previous name will be still visible through the Wayback Machine and similar archiving tools, should anyone take the time to research.

3. Make your remaining accounts private

If you think going off the grid is an extreme sport and want to maintain some sort of social media presence to stay in touch with friends and family, simply make your accounts private. But remember that your name and profile picture may still be public and findable through Google, even when a profile is set to private.

Here’s an example of a private account on Instagram which still makes your name, username, description, profile picture, and website public, even for a non-logged-in viewer:

Generally, when a social media account is set to private, neither logged-in nor unregistered people cannot access your content or your friend list.

The culture of spontaneous sharing is going too strong: People publish and share private information without much consideration or without meaning any harm.

And let’s not forget about an always possible data breach risk that can land your personal information in the possession of hackers. From the past incidents, it is quite clear a social media platform is unlikely to even let their users know about the breach (they may do that but months after it happened, months after your private data may have ended up in the wrong hands).

That being said, deleting your accounts is probably a better – still not a perfect – option.

Conclusion

The truth is, once we start opening up our lives to the digital world, that private content gets wings of its own. It becomes very difficult to bring it under control and can easily spread without you even being aware.

If this is something of a concern to you, take at least some steps now: When starting a new business or digitizing your current one, keep your anonymity options in mind and make an informed decision as to what you want your customers to know about your personal life.

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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The post How to safeguard your privacy while building your digital business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Why WebOps wins for web teams

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Why WebOps wins for web teams

Why WebOps wins for web teams

Websites, like any asset, can become more valuable over time. A website can appreciate, or it can depreciate. To get a high-value website to appreciate even more is with a high-functioning professional web team. With this type of team, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

The success of any given website depends on how well all the members of a web team (designers, developers, content editors, strategists and more) can effectively combine their work to pursue a common goal.

These team members must walk the same path that a new idea might take them to get to a website through ideation, design, development, deployment, measurement and iteration. While the components and details may change, what remains constant is the importance of teammates working together. 

But new technology alone can’t fix a broken team, process or a damaged relationship.

Join Steve Persch, director of technical marketing, Pantheon, in his informative MarTech session as he covers the choices and strategies a web team can pursue to set themselves up for long-term success, including the role of content management systems, automation and governance.

Once you attend the session, you’ll be able to increase the pace of website iteration, find flaky elements of website architecture that can be standardized or automated and plan for long-term website evolution.

Watch the session and get the WebOps-mindset you need to embrace the team sport nature of making websites. Learn to clean up and standardize the parts that are dragging you down and shift energy towards the areas where you can make the most significant impact.

The post Why WebOps wins for web teams appeared first on Search Engine Land.

20220421 SEL Brief

Posted by on Apr 21, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 20220421 SEL Brief

The post 20220421 SEL Brief appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google tests big changes to featured snippets

Posted by on Apr 20, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google tests big changes to featured snippets

Google tests big changes to featured snippets

Google is testing some significant changes to featured snippets. Both will give searchers a more diverse set of sources in the coveted featured snippet position. 

From the web. A typical featured snippet features text from, and a link to, one website. In this From the web test, Google shows brief excerpts from two or three different websites, linking to each source separately. Google also includes the site’s favicon.

Here’s an example screenshot (shared via Twitter by @vladrpt): 

Other sites say. There’s also another variation of this featured snippet test where Google groups three sites beneath the typical paragraph-style featured snippet, under a heading of Other sites say.

Here’s a screenshot (shared via Twitter by @SarahBlocksidge): 

Hat tip. Barry Schwartz reported on these changes earlier today at Search Engine Roundtable

Why we care. If you own featured snippets for important keywords, you potentially could see your traffic reduced, as clicks could go to competing pages. Rather than owning the valuable SERP real estate outright, your site might end up sharing a featured snippet with at least one or two other sites (the number of sources could even be higher in the future, depending on whether this change rolls out permanently and how Google judges the success of the feature). On the flip side, if you don’t currently own a featured snippet, this gives you two additional chances to get there and potentially drive some more traffic. 

The post Google tests big changes to featured snippets appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Brave Search adds Discussions to search results

Posted by on Apr 20, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Brave Search adds Discussions to search results

Brave Search adds Discussions to search results

Privacy-focused search engine Brave Search is adding conversations from forums to its results with a new feature called Discussions. It is now available for desktop and mobile. 

Why Brave Search created Discussions. Brave said the goal is to provide more conversations around topics. Whereas websites have one point of view, a site like Reddit offers multiple points of view. Reddit also has a built-in way to measure the quality of an answer (upvotes or likes).

“Discussions are the first step to making search more diverse in content, increasing points of view in results, and ultimately helping people find the most useful, relevant info,” Brave said in a statement to Search Engine Land. “People want easy access to a variety of authentic search results. With Discussions, Brave Search is meeting that demand.”

What Discussions look like. Here’s a screenshot of a Discussion on a search for [lcd vs oled monitor]:

How Discussions work. Discussions can be triggered in search by questions about products, current events, travel, computer programming and coding, as well as “highly unique or specific questions.”

Brave Search said its ranking algorithm can detect queries where a discussion forum might give an alternative or complementary viewpoint to the search results. Brave creates a “discussion worthiness” score based on a variety of signals, including:

Freshness (or recency) of the topic.The popularity of the topic on a given forum.The quality of the conversation (as measured by user engagement, such as upvotes or responses).The search quality score (which measures how relevant the discussion is to a query).

Where Discussions come from. Brave Search now includes conversations from Reddit and StackExchange. However, Brave said it plans to add more sources soon.

New milestone. Brave Search is not a major player in search and probably isn’t even given any thought as part of your search strategy. However, Brave Search does continue to grow. It has passed 12 million queries per day, or roughly 4.2 billion per year. (For comparison, DuckDuckGo serves 97 million searches per day, while estimates put Google at more than 5 billion per day). 

Why we care. This is a particularly interesting feature in light of recent criticisms of Google around a lack of diversity in search results. There was just a long thread going on Reddit yesterday filled with complaints about Google’s search quality. What Brave Search is doing could be a model that will end up helping Google solve some of these problems. Interestingly, Google seems to be testing a similar feature called What people are saying that highlights discussions from Reddit and other communities. 

Ultimately, a discussion or conversation feature could be coming to Google, which means even more competition in the SERPs. So it may be worth looking at a platform like Reddit to see if there is an opportunity to get your brand or business mentioned in relevant discussions for queries that include this SERP feature.

The post Brave Search adds Discussions to search results appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Clean up your old content with our SEO workout!

Posted by on Apr 20, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Clean up your old content with our SEO workout!

Clean up your old content with our SEO workout!

It’s time to spring clean your content! Does your website have any dusty corners or content that’s been swept under the carpet? Keeping your content fresh and findable is essential for SEO. So it’s time to give your site a spring clean and tidy that content up! Just follow the four simple steps in our super-easy workout to get your old content cleaned up in a jiffy.

When it comes to content, keeping on top of all the loose ends has always been a challenge. It’s easy to end up with orphaned content that nobody can find. Our orphaned content workout will help you identify pages and posts that don’t have any links, and walk you through four simple steps to get your site tidy again. In the end, you’ll have better, more findable content. And that means improving your chances to get that content ranking in Google!

Unlock our SEO workouts with Yoast SEO Premium

Get Yoast SEO Premium and enjoy access to all our best SEO tools, training and SEO workouts!

Get Yoast SEO Premium »Only €99 EUR / per year (ex VAT) for 1 site

What is orphaned content? Why is it bad?

A tidy website has a clear structure, and each page has at least one internal link from another relevant page. In short, internal links are what make it possible for users to navigate to find your content. Besides that, they help make your pages and site crawlable too. So they’re really important for SEO. The links connect the dots, so to say.

Orphaned content is pages or posts that don’t receive any links from other pages on your site. These pages are out there, somewhere, but nobody is ever going to find them. (And that includes Google). However, orphaned content isn’t just bad because it’s hidden away and hard for search engines to find. It can make you feel rubbish about your website, too.

We all start out with the best intentions, making great content to build websites that we love. And that we want everyone else to love, too! But as time goes on, you can’t help losing track of the details (especially if you create a lot of content). Some pages or posts are bound to slip through the net, one way or another. Pages that you cared about, once upon a time.

It’s easy to feel gloomy when you’re looking at all the mess and imperfections. But it’s not as bad as it seems. Once you give your site a good spring cleaning, you can feel great about your content again! Let’s get started.

Need a hand? If you need any help using the orphaned content SEO workout, you can find more information on our help page.

Spring clean your content with our workout

When you open the workout, you’ll see your orphaned posts and pages listed, ready for you to work on. The end goal is to connect these pages to your site structure by adding links to them from other pages on your website.

But before you start adding all those links, you should check whether each page is something you actually want people to find. And with that, we come to the big question you need be asking yourself…

Love it or leave it?

During the first step, you’ll probably see pages and posts in the workout that are outdated, or that don’t meet your expectations in terms of quality. For each page in the list, think about how it makes you feel. Will you miss this page if you get rid of it? Do you love this page and want to keep working on it? Is the page so old it’s become completely irrelevant for your site and you never want to see it again?

It might be tempting to decide just by looking at the titles of the pages, but it’s important to take a look at the actual content. You might be surprised by what you find! You can look more closely at each content item by clicking on the links provided in the list:

Don’t love all your pages and posts? Then do something about it! These are your options:

➔ Delete (and redirect) pages you don’t want

If you find posts or pages that you don’t have any reason to keep, put them in the trash. Remember that it’s also best practice to redirect the URL of each deleted page, ideally sending users to a similar page. You can delete and redirect your unwanted pages right away in the workout, saving you loads of time and hassle.

Read more: How to properly delete a page from your site »

➔ Keep a page, but stop people from finding it

In some cases, you might want to keep a page unfindable. For instance, you might not want a landing page for your Christmas sale to show up year-round, but you plan to re-use it eventually. If the content isn’t suitable for your users to see now, for whatever reason, but you don’t want to delete the page or improve it, then it’s a good idea to hide that page from Google. To do so, simply choose ‘Hide from search engines’ and the workout will automatically noindex it for you. Nice!

Keep reading: Which pages of your website should you noindex? »

➔ Keep a page and make it findable

When you find content you want to keep, take a few moments to check: a) does it need improving, and b) is it still up-to-date? After all, you don’t want to start adding links to half-finished pages or really old articles. You can open your pages and posts directly from the workout to take a closer look. If you aren’t completely in love with the pages you want to keep yet, don’t worry! You have a chance to improve them in the second step of the workout.

Read on: Keep your content fresh and up to date »

Time to add internal links

Once you’ve got the orphaned posts or pages that you want to keep, and you’ve updated or improved the content as necessary, all that’s left is to add internal links pointing to those pages. Note that you’ll need to add your internal links on related pages or posts to get the best results. If you can find related words or phrases on the page, those are a great place to insert your link.

In the last step of the orphaned content workout, you’ll get suggestions of related posts and pages that you could add an internal link to. The links you need to copy and paste are provided right there in the workout, along with links to the suggested articles. And that means you can get your internal links set up in just a few minutes!

Now admire your hard work!

And there you have it! With our workout it’s really that easy to clean up your content. At the end, you’ll see a handy overview of all the pages you’ve finished working on and what you did with them. Take a look and be proud of what you’ve achieved. You rock!

Clean up your content the easy way

If you love your site but hate the mess, it’s time to give it a good spring cleaning! Use our orphaned content SEO workout and get the results you want with minimum hassle. It’ll be worth it: once your orphaned posts and pages are findable, users will appreciate the extra content, and Google could start ranking them too! You should do the orphaned content SEO workout regularly, starting now. With our help, you’ll find it easy to clean up your content and feel great about your site again.

Pro tip! Don’t miss our other internal linking SEO workout: the cornerstone content approach. We absolutely recommend doing both workouts. Together, they can help you easily improve your site structure and get you ranking with the content you want to rank with!

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How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel That Grows Your ROI

Posted by on Apr 20, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel That Grows Your ROI

How to Build a B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel That Grows Your ROI

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guide that showed you exactly how to get more sales?

Maybe it would provide insights into what your customers want and help highlight the actions you need to take at each point in their journey.

Sounds great, right?

Well, what I’m describing is a B2B marketing and sales funnel. If you don’t already have a funnel strategy in place, you’re behind; 87 percent of marketers create content tied to different stages of the customer journey.

Here’s what you need to know about building a funnel that helps increase your sales.

What Is a B2B Marketing Funnel?

A B2B marketing funnel is a blueprint that shows businesses how their customers interact with their brand from the first encounter. It details the journey the people take to become a customer and sets out marketing actions that should take place at each point in the funnel.

It is very similar to a sales funnel and the lines have become quite blurred. However, it’s easiest to picture them side by side:

Your marketing funnel creates touchpoints and gives the prospect reasons to purchase.Your sales funnel details the tangible actions you take to convince people to make a purchase.

Both B2B marketing funnels and B2B sales funnels are distinct from their B2C counterparts.

The reason is businesses make purchasing decisions in very different ways to individuals. Businesses tend to spend more money, take more time, and have more stakeholders (particularly if it’s a high-value purchase), which means the journey is longer and more complex.

In fact, 77 percent of B2B buyers say their last purchase was very complex. The B2B buying cycle is also longer, with 74.6 percent of B2B sales taking at least four months to close and nearly half taking 7 months or more.

This makes it increasingly important that B2B companies are investing in both their marketing and sales funnels to ensure they’re fully optimized.

Why Does My B2B Business Need a Marketing Funnel?

There are lots of different reasons you need a B2B marketing funnel. I’ve selected five of the most important benefits, but these are just the tip of the iceberg:

The B2B customer journey is more complicated, so it needs more oversight. Modern customers value experience, which is why customer experience is the number one priority for 45.9 percent of businesses.It allows you to coordinate the efforts of different team members. You can maximize the efficiency of marketing tools to automate large parts of the process. It helps you spot inefficiencies and optimize your marketing process.

These are incredibly important benefits, but perhaps the most crucial benefit of a B2B marketing funnel is it provides a plan. You’re not taking ad-hoc actions; you’re taking strategic steps to move the prospect towards purchase.

Prospects have to work through each prior stage to reach the consideration stage. They need specific information at specific points in the journey to do this.

When you do this well, it delivers real results. Simply by reducing friction in their funnel, GoCardless, a financial software company, increased conversions by 139 percent.

Sometimes all it takes is small tweaks, but the key is understanding your funnel.

B2B Marketing Funnel Stages

Someone interacting with your brand for the first time has different needs than someone who’s a regular site visitor. They’ll have different questions, and expect different things from you. How do you make sure you deliver the right content or experience at the right time?

By understanding your B2B marketing funnel, you’ll have a much better idea of what your audience wants at different stages in their journey.

1. Top of Funnel = Awareness + Attention

An SEJ survey found top of funnel content is created more often by marketers than middle or bottom of funnel content. 95 percent of marketers create top of funnel content.

Before prospects consider your products, they need to discover your brand—which happens in the Top of the Funnel, sometimes shortened to TOFU.

For many businesses today, the top of the funnel is characterized by:

brand building content marketingSEOpaid advertisingsocial media postsinfluencer marketingvideo marketing

At this point in the marketing funnel, your potential customers have a question or pain point they need to be solved, and by providing the answer, you initiate the relationship. Your customer has no affinity for your brand though, so you need to draw people’s attention and keep them engaged.

Not easy to do in crowded spaces like social media platforms.

This is why having a clear marketing funnel is so helpful, and it will build awareness for your brand, setting the platform to grow relationships.

2. Middle of Funnel = Interest + Consideration

According to the SEJ survey, 86 percent of marketers create middle of funnel content.

At the top of the marketing funnel, you’ve grabbed people’s attention, the middle of the funnel details what you do with it.

B2B sales are rarely made on the first touchpoint. On average, it takes eight touchpoints to make a sale, which shows you’ve got to do plenty of marketing.

You have to build the relationship and create trust before businesses sign on the dotted line.

The middle of the funnel is where you build interest and position yourself as a trustworthy partner that can help solve pain points. To do this, you’ve got to demonstrate that you:

understand what those problems are care about the prospects’ problemshave the answers to solve those pain points

This is where marketers rely on targeted, educational content to guide the prospect toward the answers to their problems.

You’ll give away lots of information for free here, but don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal: persuade prospects that the quickest/ easiest/ most effective way to solve the problem is with what you’re selling.

We’re not at the hard sell yet, but we’re planting the seed and building purchase intent.

3. Bottom of Funnel = Intent + Action

76 percent of marketers create bottom of funnel content, per the SEJ survey.

At the bottom of the marketing funnel, the goal is clear: get the conversion.

You’ve put a lot of work in to get people here, and now is the time to capitalize. To do this, you want to be direct, with strong calls to action that lead to purchase pages.

You’ll still use content to guide your prospects through the journey, but it’s shifted slightly now. Here’s a bottom of the funnel content example:

This case study provides specific actions and links directly to a page where prospects can reach out.

At this point, you’ve helped the prospect to understand their pain point and convinced them that they need help solving it. Now, you need to ensure you’re the company they turn to for help, not one of your competitors.

To do this, marketers rely on:

case studiescomparison guideswebinarsdemosfree trialsoptimized landing pagessocial proof

The top and middle of the funnel are designed to get people to the bottom of the funnel, but it’s here that you drive it home and complete the sale.

4. Post-Funnel

A B2B marketing funnel doesn’t finish once you’ve made the sale.

You’ve worked hard to build a relationship with these people, so you want to maximize its value. To do this, you need to have a firm understanding of your post-purchase marketing.

Repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert, so this is a crucial step in driving ROI.

This is where you continue to engage with the customer, ensuring they’re getting the most out of their product, and solving any issues they might have. It’s also a time where you will look to upsell and cross-sell by:

showing how your products work better togetherhighlighting features of upgraded packagescommunicating new improvements you’re making to your products and services

The goal is to keep the conversation going, so when the customer decides they need something more, you’re the first business that comes to mind.

What Is a B2B Sales Funnel?

A B2B sales funnel is a visual representation of how leads are captured and moved through the funnel.

The B2B marketing funnel is primarily concerned with creating the right touchpoints to guide the prospect through the customer journey.

The B2B sales funnel is more concerned with the actions that nudge the prospect closer to becoming a customer. For instance, rather than writing educational content, you have a sales rep guide the prospect through a demo of your software.

You should have a marketing funnel and sales funnel that work in unison to give the prospect everything they need for maximum efficiency.

Why Does My B2B Business Need a Sales Funnel?

Your business needs a sales funnel for the same reasons it needs a marketing funnel. Namely, the B2B customer journey is complicated.

Even the most straightforward decisions can become complicated when selling to a business. The typical B2B buying journey includes six to ten decision-makers, each with specific interests. You’ve got to bring them all together to make a positive decision about your product.

It’s hard to do this without a plan of action, even if that plan of action looks like this:

Your B2B marketing funnel helps guide the stakeholders through the process in the background, but your B2B sales funnel outlines the overt actions you take to convert prospects.

Again, this is broken down into different stages so your team knows what actions to take at each point.

B2B Sales Funnel Stages

Every business is unique, which means prospects will take a slightly different buyer journey. For that reason, you’ll find plenty of different B2B sales funnel examples.

In general, they’re based on the same principles, such as AIDA, Forrester’s Model, and the Conversion Funnel. This section will keep it simple and break the B2B sales funnel down into six stages.

1. Awareness

You’ll immediately notice the similarities with the B2B marketing funnel here. As I said, sales funnels and marketing funnels are intrinsically linked.

We talked a lot about content in the marketing funnel, specifically what type of content is needed at each point of the customer journey. The sales funnel is much more focused on the methods you use to create brand awareness and drive demand.

This is where you’ll test different marketing methods and keep a close eye on results to see what offers the best performance.

Strategies might include comparing click-through rates on social media ads with Google Ads, or working on cold emails for lead generation.

The key is to keep an eye on key performance indicators, such as:

site traffic growth of social media profilessign-ups to your email newsletterclick through rates on paid adsdownloads of gated assets

The B2B sales funnel might be more complicated than B2C, but they all start with awareness.

2. Interest

It takes time to build interest in your products—first, you need to build a relationship.

At this point, you aren’t calling them five times a day to push a sale. You need to let them establish an interest in your product or services so that they take the first action.

Keep track of the content your prospects engage with and offer them upgraded content to cement their interest.

For instance, if someone signs up for a live demo of your software, this is a strong indication of interest. This allows you to move to the next stage in your process and actively pursue the sale.

Make sure you’re creating high-quality content upgrades, and use them to determine how hot or cold a lead is.

Your lead scoring might look a little like this:

signed up for email newsletter: 2 pointsdownloaded a beginner’s guide: 3 pointsdownloaded a brochure: 5 pointsattended a webinar: 8 pointsstarted a free trial: 10 points

This helps you see exactly how motivated your prospect is so you can reach out at just the right time.

3. Consideration

The consideration stage of the B2B sales funnel is where it can get a bit more “salesy.” Your prospects have recognized their pain point and identified your products as a potential solution, but they’re still weighing up certain things:

How big is the problem they need to solve?How quickly does the problem need addressing?Can they address the problem internally?What alternative products can address the problem?What budget can they allocate to solving the problem?

Studies show this is the point in the customer journey where 60 percent of prospects want to speak to a sales manager.

At this point, you should have a good amount of information on the prospect, and guess what?

This information will help you to help the prospect solve their problem; with your product!

In the consideration stage, your prospects are looking at reviews and evaluating your product, but often the fastest way to do this is simply by speaking to someone.

4. Intent

The intent stage of the sales funnel is all about refining leads. People know who your brand is, they know they need a solution, and they’ve considered all their options. However, they still need that final push.

For example, maybe they add an item to their cart but don’t convert. You’re not alone—in fact, just under 70 percent of carts are abandoned.

That’s because adding an item to a cart or even filling out card details is a sign of intent. It’s the next stage of exploration, and as your abandon cart statistics probably show, many prospects don’t get past this stage.

Understanding the difference between intent and what’s needed to complete a purchase is an important part of the sales funnel because it allows you (or your sales team) to step in at the right time.

An abandoned cart, unused software trial, or demo sign up is a good sign because it means you’ve got a hot lead. It’s an opportunity to get them on the phone (or initiate your abandoned cart email series) and provide the push they need to convert.

Abandon cart email series have an open rate of 41.09 percent, which means you’re getting a second chance with a large chunk of potential customers. If you can reach them on the phone, your conversions are likely to rise even further.

5. Evaluation + Decision

Here’s where you drive the sale home: the evaluation and decision stage of the B2B sales funnel.

Your prospect signaled their intent, but they’re not quite ready to make a decision yet. How do you take them to the next level?

At this point, stakeholders complete their final research and come together to make a decision. The challenge is there can be so many people involved in the process.

You might have someone from marketing, someone from sales, someone from customer support, and someone from corporate, and they’re all considering slightly different details. You’ve already put in a lot of hard work to progress all these people through the sales funnel, now it’s conversion time.

In the evaluation and decision stage, your sales team should contact the prospect regularly to answer questions, highlight benefits, and work out a deal.

6. Purchase

Just because someone has decided they want to buy your product or service doesn’t mean it will happen. There’s still a lot that can happen before people enter their card details and you deliver the product or service.

Take site speed, for example. The average transaction conversion rate for a page that takes under two seconds to load is 6.32 percent. Once you drop below two seconds, that number decreases to below 3 percent and continues to fall as load time increases.

When people make a big investment, they expect it to be convenient, which means you need to improve the purchase process in any way possible.

The first hurdle they’ll face is your payment process, and if it’s not smooth, people won’t convert. Make sure it’s intuitive, easy to use, and pre-fill details when possible. User testing can help you spot issues in the process.

You’ll also want to keep a close eye on people who drop out of the funnel. They’re often well-qualified and may respond to retargeting ads or social selling.

How to Create a Cohesive B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel for Your Business

Your B2B marketing and sales funnel is unique to your specific business and your specific place in the market. Even your closest competitors don’t have the exact same model, team, or resources.

Since you can’t just copy a pre-made blueprint, how do you create a cohesive funnel?

1. Set Your Goals and Objectives

Before you look at any business process, you’ve got to understand your goals and objectives.

People who write out their goals are 20 percent more successful in accomplishing them, so it’s crucial to outline what you want to do.

You might choose to focus on:

total salesaverage sale valueconversion ratepercentage of repeat salescustomer satisfaction

The important thing to remember is you don’t have to have just one funnel. Your goals may differ depending on the audience you’re appealing to, so the customer journey will change as well.

Set clear key performance indicators to assess your progress.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is everything in digital marketing. If you get this wrong, then it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it, you won’t see maximum results.

It’s worth going the extra mile to understand your target audience because funnels focus on the customer journey. If you don’t understand their wants, needs, and pain points, then you can’t take the right actions at the right time.

Build out detailed customer profiles so you have a clear picture of what your ideal customers look like.

3. Organize Your Team

As you can see, comprehensive B2B marketing and sales funnels have a lot of different elements. To maximize effectiveness, you’ll draw on a range of talents and knowledge.

The important thing is to ensure that marketing and sales are working together. When those two teams become siloed and communication breaks down, your funnel becomes much more inefficient.

If you haven’t worked with a B2B sales funnel in the past, this can be a big change. Get buy-in from your team, and showcase how your new funnel will make life (and ROI!) better for everyone.

4. Choose the Right Channels

If you want to reach your target audience, you need to be in places where they hang out. This can change a lot depending on demographics.

Take a look at what percentage of U.S. adults use Instagram:

18-29: 71 percent30-49: 48 percent50-64: 29 percent65+: 13 percent

If you’re trying to reach an audience aged 50+, then Instagram might not be your best option. Your job is to find out where your audience hangs out and tailor your content to fit these platforms.

5. Create Your Assets

There’s one thing that should be consistent throughout the B2B marketing and sales funnel: high-quality content.

Whether you’re creating a beginner’s guide at the top of the funnel or a detailed comparison at the bottom of the funnel, you’ve got to have the right assets. As you’re planning your B2B marketing funnel, you need to think about what assets you need to create at each step in the journey.

Two-thirds of marketers are increasing their content budget for precisely this reason.

6. Track Your Progress

Your B2B marketing and sales funnel shouldn’t look the same two years from now. That’s because you should be constantly monitoring results and optimizing accordingly.

It’s not about setting up a funnel and sitting back and relaxing.

You’ve created a great framework, and now you start to work on the fine details that will take it to the next level. Make sure you’ve got a process to help you track results to keep improving.

B2B Marketing and Sales Funnel Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between a B2B sales funnel and B2B marketing funnel?

A B2B marketing funnel is about creating touchpoints and giving prospects a reason to buy. A B2B sales funnel is more action-oriented, highlighting the actions you need to take at each stage in the customer journey to convert a prospect into a customer.

Do I need to create both a sales and a marketing funnel for my B2B business?

Yes. To completely understand the customer journey and the actions you need to take at each point, it’s best to have both a sale and marketing funnel for B2B businesses.

How much does it cost to create a B2B marketing funnel?

You can create a B2B marketing funnel using your own resources, but if you pay someone to do it for you, expect it to cost between $5,000 and $10,000. As this serves as a blueprint for marketing and sales, it’s worth the investment.

How much does it cost to create a B2B sales funnel?

It’s possible to create a B2B sales funnel yourself. It takes time to build out the perfect funnel, but if you have the right skills, it can be very cost-effective.

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Conclusion: B2B Marketing and Sales Funnels

Ultimately, business is about making sales. B2B marketing and sales funnels are a complete guide to how your business builds a customer base and makes sales.

You’ll never convert every prospect, but making small improvements to your conversion rate can transform your business.

Your B2B marketing and sales funnels show you how to do this by providing your team with a clear picture of what action they need to take in any given situation. Once you map out the process, it becomes much easier to track results and improve your performance.

The B2B customer journey is complicated, but it’s much easier to navigate with a good B2B marketing and sales funnel.

How are you incorporating B2B marketing and sales funnels into your business plan?