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The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

Posted by on Apr 18, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

30-second summary:

In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or its network sites
Even though they will be removing the third-party cookie from 2022, the search giant still has a wealth of first-party data from its 270+ products, services, and platforms
The Trade Desk’s 20 percent stock price drop is proof of Google’s monopoly and why it shouldn’t enjoy it anymore
Google expert, Susan Dolan draws from her rich experience and details the current search scape, insights and predicts future key themes that will arise out of the 3p cookie death

Imagine search as a jungle gym, you automatically imagine Google as the kingpin player on this ground. This has been a reality for decades now and we all know the downside of autonomy which is why the industry now acknowledges a need for regulation. Google announced that it would remove the third-party cookie from 2022. But a lot can happen in a year, 2020 is proof of that! Does this mean that cookies will completely bite the dust? Think again. I dive deep into years of my experience with the web to share some thoughts, observations, and insights on what this really means.

For once, Google is a laggard

Given the monopoly that Google has enjoyed and the list of lawsuits (like the anti-trust one and more) this move is a regulatory step to create a “net-vironment” that feels less like a net and is driven towards transparency and search scape equality.

But Firefox and Safari had already beaten Google to the punch in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Safari had launched the Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) update on March 23, 2020. Firefox had launched its Enhanced Tracking Protection feature in September 2019 to empower and protect users from third-party tracking cookies and crypto miners.

Google’s solution to respect user privacy

Google recently announced that it won’t be using identifiers. Google is developing a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ to ensure that publishers, advertisers, and consumers find a fair middle ground in terms of data control, access, and tracking. The idea is to protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. The Privacy Sandbox will don the FLoC API that can help with interest-based advertising. Google will not be using fingerprints, PII graphs based on people’s email addresses that other browsers use. Google will move towards a Facebook-like “Lookalike audience” model that will group users for profiling.

Did that raise eyebrows? There’s more.

Don’t be fooled – They still have a lavish spread of first-party data

Google is already rich with clusters of historical, individual unique data that they’ve stored, analyzed, predicted, and mastered over the years and across their platforms and services. These statistics give you a clear sense of the gravity of the situation:

Google has 270+ products and services (Source)
Among the leading search engines, the worldwide market share of Google in January 2021 was almost 86 percent (Source)
In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or Google Network Sites (Source)
There are 246 million unique Google users in the US (Source)
Google Photos has over one billion active users (Source)
YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month (Source)
According to Google statistics, Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users (Source)
A less-known fact, there are more than two million accounts on Google Ads (Source)
There are more than 2.9 million companies that use one or more of Google’s marketing services (Source)
As of Jan 2021, Google’s branch out into the Android system has won it a whopping 72 percent of the global smartphone operating system market (Source)
Google sees 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (Source)

Google has an almost-never ending spectrum of products, services, and platforms –

Here’s the complete, exhaustive list of Google’s gigantic umbrella.

Source: Matrics360

Google already has access to your:

Location
Search history
Credit/debit card details shared on Google Pay
Data from businesses (more than 2.9 million!) that use Google services
Your device microphone
Mobile keyboard (G-board)
Apps you download from the Google Playstore and grant access to
Device camera, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg

Google’s decision to eliminate the third-party cookie dropped The Trade Desk’s stock by 20 percent

Nobody should have monopoly and this incident serves as noteworthy proof. Google’s decision to drop 3p cookies shocked The Trade Desk’s stock prices causing a 20 percent slump in their stock value. The Trade Desk is the largest demand-side platform (DSP) and Google’s decision kills the demand for The Trade Desk’s proprietary Unified ID 1.0 (UID 1.0) – a unique asset that chopped out the need for cookie-syncing process and delivered match rate accuracy up to 99 percent.

Google’s statement on not using PII also jeopardizes the fate of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0. which already has more than 50 million users.

Here’s what Dave Pickles, The Trade Desk’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer had to say,

“Unified ID 2.0 is a broad industry collaboration that includes publishers, advertisers and all players in the ad tech ecosystem.”

“UID provides an opportunity to have conversations with consumers and provide them with the sort of transparency we as an industry have been trying to provide for a really long time.”

Adweek’s March town hall saw advertisers and publishers haunted by the mystery that surrounds Google as Google denied to participate in the event. The industry is growing precarious that Google will use this as a new way to establish market dominance that feeds its own interests.

We love cookies (only when they’re on a plate)

Cookies are annoying because they leave crumbs everywhere… on the internet! Did you know, this is how people feel about being tracked on the web:

72 percent of people feel that almost everything they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies
81 percent say that the potential risks of data collection outweigh the benefits for them

These stats were originally sourced from Pew Research Center, but the irony, I found these stats on one of Google’s blogs.

On a hunt to escape these cookies or to understand the world’s largest “cookie jar” I checked out YouTube which seemed like a good place to start since it has over 1.9 billion monthly active users. You could visit this link to see how ads are personalized for you – the list is long!

My YouTube curiosity further landed me on this page to see how my cookies are shared (you can opt out of these). Even my least used account had 129 websites on this list, imagine how many sites are accessing your data right now.

Back in 2011 when I was the first to crack the Page rank algorithm, I could already sense the power Google held and where this giant was headed – the playground just wasn’t big enough.

Key themes that will emerge

Bottom line is, the cookie death is opening up conversations for advertising transparency and a web-verse that is user-first, and privacy compliant. Here’s what I foresee happening in search and the digital sphere:

Ethical consumer targeting
Adtech companies collaborating to find ways that respect their audience’s privacy
A more private, personalized web
More conversations around how much and what data collection is ethical
More user-led choices
Rise in the usage of alternative browsers
Incentivizing users to voluntarily share their data
Better use of technology for good

What do you think about the current climate on the internet? Join the conversation with me on @GoogleExpertUK.

Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant first to crack the Google PageRank algorithm as confirmed by Eric Schmidt’s office in 2014. Susan is also the CEO of The Peoples Hub which has been built to help people and to love the planet.

The post The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Press Release: Bounteous Again Recognized as a Best Workplace in Canada

Posted by on Apr 16, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Press Release: Bounteous Again Recognized as a Best Workplace in Canada

Excellence in culture and employee experience puts Bounteous in prestigious group.

Hey Google My Business, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!

Posted by on Apr 14, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Hey Google My Business, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!

Hey Google My Business, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!

In fact, we never have been in Kansas, but Google seems to disagree.

In November 2020, Google suddenly decided that Local SEO Guide, Inc, a business located in Pleasanton, CA, was actually located in Fawn Creek Township, KS.

Not only that, we had also apparently opened a hotel (in the midst of COVID no less – we are in fact optimists at heart):

Pretty dumb of us though to open the hotel in California when Google thinks we are in Kansas. Not a lot of operating efficiencies with that set-up.

Jason Brown notes in “Breaking Free of Your GMB Independence Issue” that this Kansas stuff may have started in September 2020.

We don’t really rely on on our GMB page for leads so I shot off a note to Google My Business support and figured they would fix it at some point. Meanwhile it might give us some insight into how their Rube Goldbergian system works. Then I kind of forgot about it.

In February, while in a 20-person Zoom meeting on how much we should freak out about Core Web Vitals, I logged into LSG’s GMB dashboard to see if maybe we had been moved to Colorado (hopefully near Aspen). While in there, for some reason, I decided to add “SEO agency” as a Business Category. “SEO Agency” must be on the double-secret do-not-use list because as soon as I added it, our listing got suspended.

I get it. A lot of SEO Agencies are how shall we say “sketch” businesses. It’s a red flag. But surely GMB would realize that LSG is an established sketch business? And it’s certainly no less sketch than Psychic or Cat Hostel.

All I had to do was delete SEO Agency as a category, plead my case via Google My Business’ Reinstatement Form, and it would be cleared up in a few days/weeks as GMB support worked through its queue.

Did I mention that we are in fact optimists at heart?

As of last week I had heard nothing back. Of course this page on fixing suspended business listings has been updated, but at the time it said something like “If you have already submitted a request, do not re-submit it. It will really annoy us.”

Just for kicks I asked Steven Saldana, LSG’s GMB problem-solver extraordinaire, to give it a try. My initial request went something like this, “Hey GMB, I added a new service category and got suspended. I deleted the category so please un-suspend us. Thanks!” Steven’s request was a bit more forceful. It basically said the same thing but he also added “This is our corporate listing and it must be reinstated ASAP!” It worked.

Of course, we’re still in Kansas, but that’s certainly better than being in GMB purgatory.

I guess the point of this story is thus:

If you are relying on GMB for a large part of your business, you have my thoughts and prayers
The fact that shouting in ALL CAPS seemed to make the difference is kind of crazy.
If you are a business in Montgomery County, Kansas, you may want to double-down on your SEO. The Local Pack results are pretty much littered with out of state businesses so I’ve got to believe the locals don’t really trust them and are clicking on the Local Organic results.

And if you are looking for a great restaurant in Fawn Creek Township, KS, Google recommends Vegos Food Truck. Don’t worry that it’s actually located in Albuquerque, NM. It’s a truck, so you never know when it might show up in your hood.

The post Hey Google My Business, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore! appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

What is IaaS? How Does it Affect Your e-Commerce Site?

Posted by on Apr 9, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What is IaaS? How Does it Affect Your e-Commerce Site?

What is IaaS? How Does it Affect Your e-Commerce Site?

Cloud computing has taken over in recent years, and it offers many opportunities for businesses and users. The terminology can be a little complex though, and like with many IT-related things, there are lots of acronyms that get thrown around. 

IaaS is one acronym you might have seen, but what does it mean, and how can it affect your e-commerce store? 

Along with PaaS and SaaS, these acronyms describe the different ways businesses can use cloud technology, and choosing the right one for your e-commerce store can make a big difference.

What IaaS Means for Your Website

If you’re creating a website today, there’s a good chance it’s going to be hosted in the cloud. Very few companies maintain their own servers; instead, they rely on third-party companies to take care of many elements of their online presence. 

The distinction between IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service) is crucial because it dictates what level of control you have over your website. 

For some businesses, particularly those with large, complex e-commerce sites, infrastructure as a service will likely be the best option because it allows for greater flexibility and control. 

Every day, more and more businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud, and it’s important they understand how best to use it to get the best results. IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are simply ways of describing how you use the cloud—and each business will do this slightly differently. 

Today, 90% of businesses use the cloud. According to some estimates, cloud data centers will soon process 94% of workloads.

This means it’s vitally crucial for businesses to understand what they’re investing in and how they can make the most of cloud computing. 

Cloud Computing: IaaS Vs. SaaS Vs. PaaS Vs. Serverless Computing

When it comes to cloud computing, it can seem like you’re constantly being bombarded by acronyms. Actually, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are useful distinctions that can help you run your e-commerce store more efficiently

Cloud computing is all about allowing you to take care of the bits you’re good at and leaving the rest to professionals. Each business has different skill sets, so they’re going to use the cloud in different ways

For example, in a bootstrapped business, the owner might be building the entire website with limited funds. In this case, they might only want to focus on the basics of creating a functional, appealing store and leave aspects such as runtime, servers, and storage to an external company. 

On the other hand, a big multinational business may have a host of developers and IT professionals capable of handling more complex functions. 

IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and Serverless Computing give businesses the flexibility to control different parts of the cloud. 

IaaS

IaaS is the cloud-based alternative to maintaining on-site infrastructure. Whereas in the past, businesses would have had their own data centers. Today, it can be much more efficient to utilize the cloud.

Maintaining your own IT infrastructure can be costly, and most businesses don’t have the skills to do this without an external company’s help. With IaaS, businesses don’t need to maintain their infrastructure. Instead, they pay to use a third-party’s servers, networking technology, storage, and data center space.

For businesses running e-commerce sites, this means they don’t have to worry about the highly technical aspects of running a web application and they don’t have to invest in expensive infrastructure. Instead, they pay for access to infrastructure through the cloud through companies like AWS, IBM, and Rackspace.

While things like storage and networking are taken care of by the third party, this option still leaves you in charge of the following aspects:

applications dataruntimemiddleware O/S

This is important for larger businesses because it gives them much more control over how they run their site, while still offering a scalable, cost-effective solution. 

PaaS

Like IaaS, PaaS leaves key components such as physical compute, network, storage, and virtualization to the provider. However, with PaaS, you also outsource runtime, middleware, and O/S. 

As the name suggests, PaaS gives you the platform to develop, run, and manage applications without having to take care of the infrastructure behind it. 

While this means you have less to worry about, and need fewer technical skills, it also means you have less control over how you run your e-commerce site than with IaaS.

Whichever service you choose, there is a tradeoff between convenience and control. With PaaS, you’re getting something of a middle ground between IaaS and SaaS. While much of the service is managed, you’re still in control of applications and data, which can be valuable for certain businesses. 

This makes PaaS providers such as Magento Commerce Cloud and Bluehost particularly popular with developers, as it provides everything they need to create new applications without having to invest in expensive infrastructure and operating platforms. 

Instead, they pay for what they need, allowing them to focus more on building the applications. 

Serverless Computing

Businesses are constantly searching for the most efficient ways to use the cloud, and another option is serverless computing. 

Serverless computing is very similar to PaaS, but has a few slight differences. 

One of the main differences between serverless computing and PaaS is that serverless is event-driven. You pay only for what you use, whereas with PaaS, you pay a monthly fee and have a limit to what you can use. 

Serverless computing automatically scales with your business, but you’ll give up some control. It does allow you to be extremely flexible though, saving on costs while still getting excellent performance. 

This is an ideal option for fast-growing e-commerce sites or those creating viral content that may cause a massive traffic spike. 

SaaS

For many people, SaaS is the quickest and easiest way to set up an e-commerce store. Using providers like Shopify, you use third-party platforms and apps to quickly create a functional store. 

Everything is taken care of for you, and all you need to do is upload your own products and create your marketing content

The obvious benefit of this is convenience. Not everybody who wants to create an e-commerce store has IT expertise and SaaS means they don’t have to. Rather than focusing on networking and hosting, they simply have to focus on building out their website and creating the content that’s going to help them sell

SaaS applications are very common across the internet. Not only are there lots of SaaS applications that help people run their e-commerce stores but software such as Microsoft 365, Google Cloud, and HubSpot are all examples of SaaS.

The downside for e-commerce stores that run on SaaS is that they’re limited in what they can do. If you have a Shopify store, then you have to work within the limitations set by that third party. When you run your store through IaaS or PaaS, there are fewer limitations, giving you greater control over your store. 

How Can IaaS Affect Your E-commerce Site?

Cloud computing has made it much more accessible to create an e-commerce site. No longer do you have to invest in expensive hardware and instead, you can pay for access to infrastructure as and when you need it. 

This has opened up e-commerce to a wide variety of people. With SaaS, it’s not necessary to have IT skills to create a competitive store. However, with the ease of creating and managing a store through SaaS comes limitations. 

Many businesses possess the skills to handle the more technical aspects of running an e-commerce site, and they want to be able to make the most of those skills without building their infrastructure. IaaS is the perfect option for these businesses as it allows them to strike a profitable balance. 

These businesses can use infrastructure as and when they need it, scaling as their business grows and shrinks. 

With IaaS, you have maximum control over your e-commerce store, allowing you to make the most of your creative and IT skills without building the infrastructure yourself. 

How to Use IaaS for Your E-commerce Company 

One of the most important things when choosing between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS is understanding the skills and resources available to you. If you don’t have people with experience in building and developing web applications, then IaaS isn’t going to be the best option for you, and it might be better to look at a SaaS option. 

If you’re confident you can create and maintain a high-level store through IaaS, then the next step is understanding your needs. There are lots of different IaaS providers out there, and many different packages to choose from. 

Each business is different, and will have different requirements. When choosing a provider, consider the following questions: 

What level of access and customization do you need?How flexible can the provider be?How will the provider deal with changing regulations?How much is it going to cost you?What level of security is offered?

The whole idea of “as a service” is that you pay for the parts you need, freeing you up to take care of the bits you can handle. To get the most out of this concept, you need to have a clear picture of where your skills lie, and how your provider can take care of the rest.

IaaS Tools

When choosing an IaaS package, you must take the time to get the one that best fits your business needs. There are lots of different options out there, and choosing the right tools can make all the difference to your business:

Amazon EC2Google Compute EngineDigital Ocean DropletsHostwindsAlibaba Elastic Compute ServiceIBM Cloud PrivateIONOS CloudAzure Linux Virtual MachinesRackspace TechnologyOpenstack

As you can see, there are lots of different options out there, and this is just a small sample. The important thing is making sure you get the services your business needs without paying for resources you don’t. 

It might take a little extra research to unlock the true power of IaaS for your business, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to run an e-commerce store, and how you use the cloud is a key consideration when setting up or expanding your store. 

Maintaining onsite infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming, and with modern cloud products, there isn’t much need for it. 

The bigger question is: what do you need from the cloud? 

For large-scale e-commerce sites, with tons of resources at their disposal, infrastructure as a service is often the best way to go. This provides greater control over your site than PaaS or SaaS options and is a cost-effective way to scale your business.

When you utilize the cloud well, it can help you maximize your store’s profitability, so it’s essential to make the right choice. 

How does your e-commerce store use the cloud?

SEMrush IPO (SEMR)

Posted by on Apr 7, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEMrush IPO (SEMR)

SEMrush IPO (SEMR)

On Wednesday SEMrush priced their IPO at $14 a share & listed Thursday.

There have been many marketing and online advertising companies which are publicly traded, but few that were so focused specifically on SEO while having a sizeable market cap. According to this SeekingAlpha post at the IPO price SEMrush had a valuation of about $1.95 to $1.99 billion. For comparison sake, here are some other companies & valuations.

Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion.
Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion.
Yelp trades at around a $2.9 billion market cap.
Yahoo! was acquired by Verizon for $4.48 billion.
Hubspot has a market cap of around $20.4 billion.

A couple years ago Gannett bought AdWords reseller WordStream. A few years before that they bought ReachLocal. The Hearst publishing empire also bought iCrossing long ago. Marin Software remains publicly traded, but they are only valued at about $20 million.

Newspapers reselling Google AdWords ads isn’t really SEO though. Beyond those sorts of deals, many of the publicly traded SEO stuff has been only tangentially relevant to SEO, or crap.

There are some quality category-leading publishers which use SEO as a means of distribution but are not necessarily an SEO service provider like TripAdvisor, BankRate, and WebMD. Over time many of these sorts of companies have been gobbled up by Red Ventures or various private equity firms. Zillow, Yelp and TripAdvisor are some of the few examples which still exist as independent companies.

So that puts most of the publicly traded SEO stuff in one of the following categories…

small scale – does anyone other than Andy Beal & Mike Grehan still remember KeywordRanking / WebSourced / Think Interactive / MarketSmart Interactive?
hope and nope – sites like Business.com were repeatedly acquired but never really gained lasting relevance.
affiliate networks – which reliant on partners with SEO traffic like Quinstreet & Commission Junction. many affiliate networks were hit hard as the barrier to entry in SEO increased over the years. Quinstreet is doing well in some verticals but sold their education division to Education Dynamics for $20 million. CJ was part of the Publicis Groupe acquisition of Epsilon.
pump and dump scams – Demand Media, owner of eHow, which later rebranded as Leaf Group & still trades at a small fraction of their IPO price.

[Editorial note: 8 days after writing this post LEAF announced a $304.3 million all cash buyout offer from Graham Holdings at 21% above current market prices and was trading at $8.63 a share. If you bought shares at $40 or $30 or $20 and hoped it would at some point come back – nope – the losses are crystalized on a take out. Graham Holdings formerly owned the Washington Post but sold it to Jeff Bezos 8 years ago for $250 million.]

The one lasting counter-example to the above is Barry Diller’s IAC. His innovation ecosystem is surreal. Across time & across markets he is the best creator of vertical leading properties later spun off as their own companies. He’s owned Expedia, TripAdvisor, LendingTree, HomeAdvisor, Match.com, TicketMaster and so many other category leaders. His buying of Ask.com did not pan out as well as hoped as web browsers turned the address bar into a search box, his ability to differentiate the service went away after they shut down the engine in 2008, he was locked out of mobile search marketshare by default placement contracts & Google pushes back against extension bundling, but just about everything else he touched turned to gold. A lot of their current market cap is their ownership of Vimeo, which by itself is valued at $6 billion.

What is the most recent big bet for Barry Diller? MGM. Last August he bet $1 billion on the growth of online gambling. And he was willing to bet another billion to help them acquire Entain:

IAC has to date invested approximately US$1 billion in MGM with an initial investment thesis of accelerating MGM’s penetration of the $450 billion global gaming market. IAC notes in its letter of intent that IAC continues to strongly support this objective for MGM whether or not a transaction with Entain is consummated.

Barry Diller not accurately projects future trends, but he also has the ability to rehab broken companies past their due dates.

The New York Times bought About.com for $410 million in 2005 & did little with it as its relevance declined over time as its content got stale, Wikipedia grew and search engines kept putting more scraped content in the search results. The relentless growth of Wikipedia and Google launching “universal search” in 2007 diminished the value of About.com even as web usage was exploding.

IAC bought About.com from the New York Times for $300 million in August of 2012. They tried to grow it through improving usability, content depth and content quality but ultimately decided to blow it up.

They were bold enough to break it into vertical category branded sites. They’ve done amazingly well with it and in many cases they rank 2, 3, 4 times in the SERPs with different properties like TheSpruce, TheBalance, Investopedia, etc. As newspapers chains keep consolidating or going under, IAC is one of the few constant “always wins” online publishers.

At its peak TheBalance was getting roughly 2/3 the traffic About.com generated.

Part of the decline in the chart there was perhaps a Panda hit, but the reason traffic never fully recovered is they broke some of these category sites into niche sites using sub-brands.

All the above search traffic estimate trend charts are from SEMrush. 🙂

I could do a blog post titled 1001 ways to use SEMrush if you would like me to, though I haven’t yet as I already have affiliate ads for them here and don’t want to come across as a shill by overpromoting a tool I love & use regularly.

I tend to sort of “not get” a lot of SaaS stocks in terms of prices and multiples, though they seem to go to infinity and beyond more often than not. I actually like SEMrush more than most though & think they’ll do well for years to come. I get the sense with both them and Ahrefs that they were started by programmers who learned marketing rather than started by marketers who cobbled together offerings which they though would sell. If you ever have feedback on ways to improve SEMrush they are fast at integrating it, or at least were in the past whenever I had feedback.

When SEMrush released their S-1 Dan Barker did a quick analysis on Twitter.

Some stats from the S-1: $144 million in annual recurring revenues @ 50% compound annual growth rate, 76% gross margins, nearly 1,000 employees and over 67,000 paying customers.

SEMrush, the SEO tool, has filed to go public. Here’s the S-1: https://t.co/i1meSHts4Y

They spent $54 million on marketing last year, for revenue of $125 million.

(gross profit $95m, net loss $7m) pic.twitter.com/iz5nybcwfA— dan barker (@danbarker) March 1, 2021

At some point a lot of tool suits tend to overlap because much of their data either comes from scraping Google or crawling the open web. If something is strong enough of a point of differentiation to where it is widely talked about or marketed then competitors will try to clone it. Thus spending a bit extra on marketing to ensure you have the brand awareness to be the first tool people try is wise. Years ago when I ran a membership site here I paid to license the ability to syndicate some SEMrush data for our members & I have promoted them as an affiliate for what seems like a decade now.

When Dan Baker did his analysis of the S-1 it made me think SEMrush likely has brighter prospects than many would consider. A few of the reasons I could think of off the top of my head:

each day their archive of historical data is larger, especially when you consider they crawl many foreign markets which some other competitive research tools ignore
increasing ad prices promote SEO by making it relatively cheaper
keyword not provided on organic search means third party competitive analysis tools are valuable not only for measuring competitors but also measuring your own site
Google Ads has recently started broadening ad targeting further and hiding some keyword data so advertisers are paying for clicks where they are not even aware what the keyword was

That last point speaks to Google’s dominance over the search ecosystem. But it is also so absurd that even people who ran AdWords training workshops point out the absurdity.

Yesterday’s announcement on match type changes had me crawling through query data this morning. I’m staring at many 2-3 word exact match keywords that are matching to 8-word queries. G thinks ‘deck paint’ and ‘how do i put paint on my deck’ mean the exact same thing. CPA is 10x.— Brad Geddes (@bgtheory) February 5, 2021

In Google maximizing their income some nuance is lost for the advertiser who must dig into N-Gram analysis or look at historical data to find patterns to adjust:

The account overall has a CPA in the $450 range. If the word ‘how’ is in the query, our CPA is over double. If someone searches for ‘quote,’ our CPA is under $300. If they ask a question about cost, the CPA is over $1000. Obviously, looking for quotes versus cost data is very different in the eyes of a user, but not in the matching search terms of Google.

Every ad network has incentive to overstate its contribution to awareness and conversions so that more ad budget is allocated to them.

Facebook kept having to restate their ad stats around video impressions, user reach, etc.
Facebook gave themselves a 28 day window for credit for some app installs.
Google AMP accidentally double counted unique users on Google Analytics (drives adoption = good).
Google Analytics came with last click attribution, which over-credits the search channel you use near the end of a conversion journey.

There are a lot of Google water carriers who suggest any and all of their actions are at worst benevolent, but when I hear about hiding keyword data I am reminded of the following quote from the Texas AG Google lawsuit.

“Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.”

That lawsuit details the great lengths Google went to in order to leverage their search monopoly to keep monopoly profit margins on their display ad serving business.

AMP was created with the explicit intent to kill header bidding as header bidding shifted power and profit margins to publishers. Some publishers saw a 50% rise in ad revenues from header bidding.

Remember how Google made companywide bonuses depend on the performance of the Google Facebook clone named Google+? Google later literally partnered with Facebook on a secret ad deal to prevent Facebook from launching a header bidding solution. The partnership agreement with Facebook explicitly mentioned antitrust repeatedly.

Bid-rigging?! Is this bid-rigging? As in, one of the “supreme evils of antitrust”? As in, the thing that if RE investors do it at foreclosure auctions they go to prison? pic.twitter.com/w7ez6gwfZd— John Newman (@johnmarknewman) December 16, 2020

When a company partners with its biggest direct competitor on a bid rigging scheme you can count on it that the intent is to screw others.

So when you see Google talk about benevolence, remember that they promise to no longer lie in the future & only deceive others into working against themselves via other coercive measures.

We went from the observation that you can’t copyright facts to promoting opinion instead:

The Internet commoditized the distribution of facts. The “news” media responded by pivoting wholesale into opinions and entertainment.— Naval (@naval) May 26, 2016

to where after many thousands of journalists have been laid off now the “newspaper of record” is promoting ponzi scheme garbage as a performance art piece:

The NYT made a NFT!

My new column is about NFTs, and I also turned the column into a NFT and put it up for auction on @withFND, with proceeds going to charity.

Bid away, and you could own the first NFT in the paper’s 170-year history. https://t.co/9ItGZvID8B— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) March 24, 2021

Is it any wonder people have lost trust in institutions?

A one-hour @CBCNews special that examines the media’s role in the polarization of America and the unmaking of a citizen — Big News is now streaming. pic.twitter.com/tm5QB2P4Ro— CBC Gem (@cbcgem) March 26, 2021

The decline of About.com was literally going to be terminal without the work of Barry Diller to revive it. That slide reflected how over time a greater share of searches never actually leave Google:

Of those 5.1T searches, 33.59% resulted in clicks on organic search results. 1.59% resulted in clicks on paid search results. The remaining 64.82% completed a search without a direct, follow-up click to another web property. Searches resulting in a click are much higher on desktop devices (50.75% organic CTR, 2.78% paid CTR). Zero-click searches are much higher on mobile devices (77.22%)

The data from the above study came from SimilarWeb, which is another online marketing competitive research tool planning on going public soon.

Google “debunked” Rand’s take by focusing on absolute numbers instead of relative numbers. But if you keep buying default placements in a monopoly ecosystem where everyday more people have access to a computer in their pocket you would expect your marketshare and absolute numbers to increase even if the section of pie other publishers becomes a smaller slice of a bigger pie.

Google’s take there is disingenuous at the core. It reminds me of the time when they put out a study claiming brand bidding was beneficial and that it was too complex and expensive for advertisers to set up a scientific study, without any mention of the fact the reason that would be complex and expensive is because Google chooses not to provide those features in their ad offering. That parallels the way they now decide to hide keyword data even from paying advertisers in much the same way they hide ad fees and lie to publishers to protect their ad income.

Google suggests they don’t make money from news searches, but if they control most of the display ads technology stack & used search to ram AMP down publishers throats as a technological forced sunk cost while screwing third party ad networks and news publishers, Google can both be technically true in their statement and lying in spirit.

“Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.”

There are many more treats in store for publishers.

Google will stop supporting third party cookies in Chrome next year. They are also going to stop selling ads where targeting is based on tracking user data across websites:

“Google plans to stop selling ads based on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites, a change that could hasten upheaval in the digital advertising industry. The Alphabet Inc. company said Wednesday that it plans next year to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from site to site across the internet. … Google had already announced last year that it would remove the most widely used such tracking technology, called third-party cookies, in 2022. But now the company is saying it won’t build alternative tracking technologies, or use those being developed by other entities, to replace third-party cookies for its own ad-buying tools. … Google says its announcement on Wednesday doesn’t cover its ad tools and unique identifiers for mobile apps, just for websites.”

Google stated they would make no replacement for the equivalent of the third party cookie tracking of individual users:

“we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products. We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment.”

On the above announcement, other ad networks tanked, with TheTradeDesk falling 20% in two days.

These are all Google’s competitors in advertising technology, collapsing after Google announced that it won’t let them do targeted advertising anymore, but that Google itself will continue to do it. https://t.co/S6Axcrw5a0— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 5, 2021

Competing ad networks wonder if Google will play by their own rules:

“One clarification I’d like to hear from them is whether or not it means there’ll be no login for DBM [a historic name for Google’s DSP], no login for YouTube and no login for Google properties. I’m looking for them to play by the same rules that they so generously foisted upon the rest of the industry,” Magnite CTO Tom Kershaw said.

Regulators are looking into antitrust implications:

“Google’s plan to block a popular web tracking tool called “cookies” is a source of concern for U.S. Justice Department investigators who have been asking advertising industry executives whether the move by the search giant will hobble its smaller rivals, people familiar with the situation said.”

The web will continue to grow more complicated, but it isn’t going to get any more transparent anytime soon.

“Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.”

As the Attention Merchants blur the ecosystem while shifting free clicks over to paid and charging higher ad rates on their owned and operated properties it increases the value of neutral third party measurement services.

The trend is not too hard to notice if you are remotely awake.

While I was writing this post Google announced the launch of a “best things” scraper website featuring their scraped re-representations of hot selling items. And they are cross-promoting competitors in “knowledge” panels to dilute brand values & force the brand ad buy.

Oh man. Check out this bullshit on our GMB Knowledge Panel. Are they going to list competitors on everyone’s listings now? pic.twitter.com/ITwiZGyRxs— Darren Shaw (@DarrenShaw_) March 26, 2021

If I could give you one key takeaway here, it would be this:

“Google employees agreed that, in the future, they should not directly lie to publishers, but instead find ways to convince publishers to act against their interest and remove header bidding on their own.”

Categories: seo tools

Top 12 WordPress Themes For Recruiting Agencies

Posted by on Apr 6, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Top 12 WordPress Themes For Recruiting Agencies

Top 12 WordPress Themes For Recruiting Agencies

Websites play an important role in today’s digitally updated world. With the growth of online services, the importance of websites has increased tremendously. The more attractive the webpage is, the more people will consider it. A similar concept is valuable for recruitment agencies. To drive their work smoothly, they have to make attempts to make their websites the finest, retaining professionalism. With the increase in online marketing, people will first go for a website review before physically meeting their place. In such a case, the website will work as an impression-determining tool for the recruiting agencies.

Well-planning and designing of the website include the factor of accessibility too. Everyone uses various devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The website must remain accessible from all systems and must perform similarly in all of them. Designing the whole website becomes a time-consuming task, and it needs coding skills too. WordPress is a platform that assists in making a website minimizing the efforts and time of the organization.

WordPress is software that provides numerous themes that is helpful to improve the presentation of your site. You can select the free or paid one, depending on your choice. It helps in giving a job bulletin an attractive look.

Plenty of themes are accessible, and finding one is a challenging task. Worrying about it, read this article to help eliminate the confusion as it presents the top 12 WordPress themes.

What Are WordPress Themes

WordPress theme is a tool that designs the outline of the website. Basically, these themes are a set of files that work collaboratively to create the site. It includes images, templates, and style sheets.

These themes modify the front-end styling of the website and retain the content in its original format. The layout includes color selection, widget locations, font style, and other menu alignment options. Various types of themes are accessible that you can use based on your requirement. It includes WordPress blog themes, new website themes, and many more.

It only decides the website’s presentation for the visitors and keeps the rest of the things in their original format. Thousands of themes are available for customizing the website’s look as per the need of the industry. Varieties of paid and free themes are available that give you a vast list of alternatives to opt for the one that suits you the best.

List of WordPress Themes Helpful To The Recruiting Agencies

Following are the top WordPress themes specifically useful for recruiting agencies. The most beneficial element for using these themes is that you can get a prepared design structure that saves your time and effort for constructing the whole website. It reduces the effort to form the website from scratch.

Further, as per your need, you are unrestrained to make alterations in the site’s look. It is a customized and cost-effective solution.

Jobify

It is a trendy theme that gives personalize and receptive design to the website. Any new beginner can approach this theme by learning through the demos. It is one of the prominent themes for developing a professional setup of the site. As per your brand, you are free to change the color, typeface, and overall website representation.

This theme is easy to use for the applicants to search and find the relevant job vacancies. Shortcodes are accessible to perform the function of enrollment, login, and summary of employment applications.

Job Board

This theme usability is simple. Following only the simple steps, you can speedily set-up the theme, which gives an easy accessibility experience.

For making the experience better, contact forms are available. It provides separate fields as per the job categories. The theme also has built-in widgets, background changing options, and banners. It comes with the capability of suggesting relevant job openings to the candidates. Also, it provides review and rating features.

Jobera

Jobera is one of the popular and appropriate platforms for promoting job openings. It comes with many advanced characteristics, options, and functionalities that add up to the user experience.

It is supporting multiple languages that become the premier feature of this theme. Also, it is thoroughly customizable that enhances the flavor of your organization. To make it more user-friendly, it includes the ‘Apply’ tab, an integral component of the theme that supports the applicants to perform instant actions.

Jobera is completely responsive and provides many features that are supportive on mobile devices too. Managers can get direct notification of the list of applicants and their resumes via emails.

JobEngine

JobEngine differs from other WordPress themes in many ways. It also gives the functionality of a responsive and customized look. It provides complete freedom of changing the color, widget, and image size.

Also, you can alter the dimensions of the menu as per different pages on the site. For recruitment agencies, this theme is one of the best options for a much more personalized interface. Every visitor can change the view and features depending on their convenience.

JobMonster

Job Monster theme is developed keeping in mind both the recruitment agency and the applicants. The dashboard is fully accessible to the candidates to apply for the job and submit and edit their resumes. On the other hand, managers can also view their resumes and respond to them using the dashboard. For job discussion, the respective manager and applicant can connect via messaging, a private conversation where no one will interfere.

Jobseek

Jobseek is a perfect platform for the applicant, managers, and human resource department. It also shows the details of new projects for the freelancers. Each of them can view, post, and edit a resume and their job profile. It gives the feature of a bookmark so that no applicant can lose their job application.

Along with these awesome operationalities, this theme also reduces the admin’s maintenance effort by providing an easy accessibility feature for handing the UI.

Recruitment Agency

It is a wonderful job posting theme where recruiters can post the vacancy details, and candidates can apply for it using a simple tool. Recruitment Agency has a vital account section for the candidates. They can create their account and upload their resumes, view their application history, and get notifications of new jobs.

WorkScout

This theme is modern and well-suitable for hiring agencies as it provides ease in usage and gives facilities for bookmarking, notification of jobs, and resume handling abilities. The applicant can find the job as per their requirements. It also provides an option for improving their online profiles.

This theme is loaded with premium options that enhance the presentation and usability of the website. Lots of tools are obtainable in this theme that are helpful to make the interface more customized. It provides the option of dividing the job post into various groups, and also you can highlight specific positions to catch the applicants’ attention.

Also, managers can distinguish the applications based on the job positions. It provides past application details too.

Divi

It is an amazing theme with an inbuilt virtual facility. You can develop the look of the website as per your wish. It comes with user-friendly functionality where there is a lot of design and features available. It works well for posting job vacancies. Live text functionality is an advanced feature of this theme. Also, it gives you a realistic view of the alteration you perform on the site to decide whether it is looking good or not.

Freelance Engine

For companies that are looking to hire a freelancer for them, this theme will work truly. Many candidates prefer to work as a freelancer. For them, this theme will work more effectively. It allows flexibility to the freelancers to search for the job as per their skills and expertise. By entering the necessary keywords, they can get the list of projects that suits them.

As per their expertise and salary rate, they can choose from the offered vacancies. It works perfectly with all systems. Depending on the user’s convenience, they can make necessary changes like color variation and the site’s format with mouse-driven functionality.

NeoJB

NeoJB comes with varieties of layouts and background effects. It also works with those who are beginners with WordPress. The simplified mouse-driven function helps the user to develop an excellent site even without coding knowledge. It is the right choice for connecting the recruiters and the applicants.

It highly reflects professionalism by providing many advanced features. It includes a text editor, maps, videos, and image formatting. It is easy to use for job seekers and employers.

Job Portal

It is an excellent theme for those who want to create their online website for employment opportunities. It works well with all the systems. You, as an employer, can add charts to make the theme more captivated. It comes with varieties of widgets that make the home page even more appealing. It is entirely SEO optimized. Aspirants can explore the desired job within very little time.

The feature of parallax scrolling will add up to improve the user experience. For making the recruiting process more effective, these themes allow online chat functionality. It helps the applicants to clear their doubts. Along with this, WPML permits this theme to become multilingual supported.

Conclusion

Recruitment plays a significant role for employers and job-seekers. With the increase in the use of the online platform, it becomes important to work for the visual appearance of the company. WordPress is the right platform that designs the website as per the requirement of the organization. The more attractive and customized the site’s layout, the more the audience will get attracted to it. Make use of the fantastic WordPress themes mentioned above to make the process more attractive and systematic.

The post Top 12 WordPress Themes For Recruiting Agencies appeared first on WP Fix It.

10 Free Purple Subscribe Buttons for YouTube

Posted by on Apr 1, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Free Purple Subscribe Buttons for YouTube

Download All Purple Subscribe Buttons *Includes .ai, transparent .png, and .svg versions of each button We also have sets of yellow, white, red, pink, green, blue, and black YouTube subscribe buttons.

The post 10 Free Purple Subscribe Buttons for YouTube first appeared on Gotch SEO.

Google expands its core web vitals and page experience update FAQs

Posted by on Mar 30, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google expands its core web vitals and page experience update FAQs

Google updated its FAQs around the Core Web Vitals and the page experience update. This page is accessible in the Google support forums and was initially posted in December 2020 but was updated today with a lot more details.

What is new. Quite a bit has been updated compared to the original version. You can compare the old to the new by scanning both documents. Malte Ubl, Technically a Software Engineer at Google, said on Twitter, “We published an FAQ on Google’s page experience ranking answering questions like: Where does the Core Web Vitals data come from? How is a score calculated for a URL that was recently published & hasn’t yet generated 28 days of data? …and many more.”

“In December last year, we published a set of Core Web Vitals & Page Experience FAQs based on the questions you wanted us to answer. We received a lot of positive feedback, and many wrote to us saying they found the answers helpful. We are back with more answers to the questions we received meanwhile.  We’ve organized the questions in this post into three sections: Metrics & Tooling, Page Experience & Search, and AMP.  We hope you find these useful,” said Google.

What stands out. The one big item that stands out to me is the one on how Google will still rank the most relevant content despite how poorly it might do with its core web vitals scores. “Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content,” Google wrote.

Google also said that those pages are still “eligible for Top Stories carousel if my webpage is not clearing Core Web Vitals.”

Why we care. With the Google Page Experience Update coming in May, we are all getting ready to ensure our sites fair green with this update. We are not sure how big of a ranking factor this will be, but even if this is a small ranking factor, making these user experience changes to your site can help make for happier users and potentially increase site conversion rates and performance.

The FAQs: Here are some of the top FAQs we think search marketers should focus on today:

Q: Where does the Core Web Vitals data that Search considers come from?

A: The data comes from the Chrome User Experience Report, which is based on actual user visits and interactions with web pages. To be clear, the data is not computed based on lab simulations of loading pages or based on the visits of a non-human visitor like Googlebot.

Q: A 3rd Party service I utilize (such as client-side A/B Testing, Social Embed, Personalization Engines, Comment Systems etc.) is slowing down my site.

A: Sites may choose to utilize a variety of third-party code and services. Core Web Vitals metrics don’t make a distinction in these choices but only look at the total observed experience of the page as seen by the end-user. Like all other features on a page, it may help to regularly assess the impact of third-party components of the experience on the Core Web Vitals. There may be an improved form of integration or configuration that improves the user experience and will be reflected with improved Core Web Vitals metrics. Check out these resources from web.dev on how to optimize third-party JavaScript on your pages.

Q: Why does Google’s guidance use the same thresholds for CWV for all types of pages? For example, a home page for a newspaper is not the same as an article and not the same as a comments page.

A: Core Web Vitals are meant to be foundational metrics that apply to all types of pages. To determine the threshold ranges, we analyzed a wide variety of pages and drew upon research that focused on core user experience requirements agnostic of the page type.

Q: What is the page experience update and how important is it compared to other ranking signals?

A: The page experience update introduces a new signal that our search algorithms will use alongside hundreds of other signals to determine the best content to show in response to a query. Our systems will continue to prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. 

This is similar to changes we’ve had in the past, such as our mobile-friendly update or our speed update. As with those signals, page experience will be more important in “tie-breaker” types of situations. If there are multiple pages of similar quality and content, those with better page experience might perform better than those without.

In short, publishers shouldn’t worry that when we begin using page experience, that they may suffer some immediate significant drop, if they’re still working on making improvements. But publishers should be focused on making those improvements a relative priority over time. This is because as more and more sites continue to improve their page experience, it will be the norm that publishers will want to match.

Q: Are Core Web Vitals a ranking factor when using Google Search on non-Chrome browsers?

A: Yes. Page experience ranking signals, based on Core Web Vitals, are applied globally on all browsers on mobile devices.

The post Google expands its core web vitals and page experience update FAQs appeared first on Search Engine Land.

6 Ways to Bring Empathy Into Your Marketing Strategy (in 2021 and Beyond)

Posted by on Mar 30, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 6 Ways to Bring Empathy Into Your Marketing Strategy (in 2021 and Beyond)

6 Ways to Bring Empathy Into Your Marketing Strategy (in 2021 and Beyond)

Posted by Nadya_Khoja

The events of 2020 have shown us just how important empathetic marketing is for businesses both large and small. The world has changed and businesses need to adapt to the new needs of their customers if they want to grow. The best way to do that is through empathy.

What is empathetic marketing?

Empathy is the ability to see events and situations from another’s perspective — to put yourself in their shoes. For brands, empathetic marketing is about seeing the world through the user’s point of view. It helps you place the customer at the center of your marketing strategy and work outwards.

But it’s important to remember that being empathetic also means being genuine — you can’t create emotional marketing campaigns for the sole purpose of manipulating customers.

Empathy is believable when it creates authentic connections between brands and users. You have to build trust and organic relationships throughout the customer journey.

Source: Venngage

Yes, increasing conversion rates is the ultimate goal of every marketing campaign, but brands need to change their mindset about how to achieve those conversions.

If your marketing strategy is focused on the hard-sell approach, it’s time to rethink your campaigns for 2021.

Why is empathy important in marketing?

We’ve outlined how empathy works in marketing, but there are numerous reasons why it’s important, especially in 2021 and beyond.

Emotion and connection are more necessary now than ever before. The way we live and work has changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined. “Business as usual” is a thing of the past, because a lot of emotion is being generated about the future — and these emotions impact how consumers react to marketing campaigns.

The range of human emotion is massive, from positive emotions like joy, interest, and amazement, to the more negative, such as fear, anger, or sadness (anger, especially, can be a powerful motivator for sharing content). Campaigns need to be geared towards evoking and connecting with these real emotions.

While brands still want to sell products and services and bring in revenue, the way they move users through the funnel has to change. And this approach needs to be from the ground up.

Adapt your content marketing, re-examine the customer journey, and educate your employees about the benefits of evoking emotion across marketing channels.

How to use empathy in marketing (+examples)

Brand marketing has been on one trajectory for a long time: sell products and amplify your brand image by emphasizing the characteristics of your company.

This mindset is ingrained in us, which makes it difficult to understand how to use empathy in marketing. But the world of marketing has had to adapt before, and we can do it again. Here are the best ways to switch to an empathetic marketing mindset.

1. Understand your audience’s pain points

We’ve mentioned the importance of walking in your audience’s shoes to get a feel for what they need right now. This is the time to update your buyer personas to reflect the new realities your customers are experiencing.

Source: Venngage

How can you do this? By understanding that customer empathy works in two ways:

What are the customer pain points in the real world?What are the customer pain points regarding your business?

The real world, at the moment, is still reeling from the pandemic. That means your audience is missing out on traveling and meeting people, and is dealing with loneliness and uncertainty.

If your brand can step in to help with these feelings — such as offering virtual classes or providing entertainment — you’ll be able to make a powerful connection with your audience.

JetBlue has done a good job of understanding customers’ current pain points — how to travel safely in the pandemic in an emergency — and created videos addressing those issues:

When it comes to customers’ pain points with regards to your brand, you need to do a bit more digging.

Analyze your traffic and conversions each week and note the biggest movers, up and down. This is a great way to find out what aspects of your brand are attracting customers.

Use social listening to understand the sentiment around your brand. But don’t engage in every conversation, even if you’re feeling defensive. If customers aren’t happy with your brand, you should be learning why that is and how you can fix it.

Of course, nothing beats talking to your customers directly. Schedule a call or send out a short survey and ask them a few questions:

Are they happy with your brand?What product/service has benefited them the most?What would they like to see improved?

Don’t make any promises, but use this as a learning exercise to improve your customer interactions.

Once you’ve collated this information, you can design a customer traffic report that will help you adapt the direction of your marketing.

Source: Venngage

Another important component that brands need to keep in mind: avoiding confusion.

This goes hand-in-hand with marketing strategies, but clarity often goes out the door when you’re trying out a new mindset. If you’re selling a complex service that will eventually help customers, you don’t want to lose them in jargon or multi-step process.

Share comprehensive guides that they can follow during the user onboarding process. Make it as visual as possible by sharing screenshots, video walkthroughs, or use a timeline template.

Onboarding guides are a good way to show customers that you care about them and are willing to take them through every step of the process. This will help to build trust and strengthen connections between customers and brands.

2. Adapt to audience needs

Now that you know what your audience needs from the world and from your brand, you need to adapt your business model.

eBay’s Up & Running program is a good example of this adaptation:

With so many small businesses struggling during the pandemic, eBay scaled back fees, made some services free, and offered more support to sellers.

There are lessons here that brands can take into their own campaigns. You may not be able to offer discounts, but how about opening up your premium tier to all audiences?

Take smaller steps, like adapting how front-facing employees handle customers. Design job aids, like this example, to remind teams how to display empathetic behavior towards customers.

Source: Venngage

It’s also worth looking into your current customer service process to ensure your wording and tone are more empathetic.

3. Capture everyday life

A key component of using empathy in marketing is capturing the wonders of everyday life. Major life moments are on hold for the foreseeable future, so why aren’t more businesses incorporating the little moments into their content strategies?

Brands can showcase their empathy by creating content around simple scenarios: the joy of a video call with a loved one, baking a great pie, or replicating an outdoor experience inside. For example, people aren’t going to movie theaters right now, so a video about recreating the theater experience at home would successfully tap into customer empathy.

That’s exactly what Verizon did with their short video on responsive lighting:

The video is instructional and fun, and it features a real person from the company who loves the movie theater experience enough to want to recreate it at home. Human connection, right there.

Brands sometimes believe that content marketing means high-definition video quality and expansive stories. But you have to take the world as it currently is into account. Consumers aren’t living high-end lives, so the brand message needs to reflect that. Customers are home, and will be working remotely for a while longer. Choose the home as a setting when sharing your brand story to create that real-world connection.

4. Take a visually engaging, educational approach

Your content needs to be valuable to customers if it’s going to enhance their brand experience, so an educational approach might be necessary.

Audit your existing content to find pieces that are relevant to your audience. You can also update older pieces that may have outdated information, but can evoke the right emotions.

Over the past year, we’ve seen a lot of data-focused content being shared. Marketers can design content around key data to educate audiences. In fact, according to Venngage’s study into data marketing, most marketers are comfortable with data design.

This is the time to tap into data visualization skills and create data-related content to educate audiences. Customers want content that isn’t just attractive, but that also increases their understanding of the world around them.

Another way to educate audiences is to find the sweet spot between your business’ expertise and what your customers are interested in learning. That’s what Lush is doing with their “How It’s Made” YouTube series. It takes an educational and empathetic approach to showcasing their products:

This series works because customers want to know what’s going into the products they use. Lush has their experts explain the ingredients, and the overlap makes for great content.

When sharing educational content, create visuals that help tell your story. As a design solution, we’ve seen that visual storytelling can increase connections and conversions.

5. Add interactivity

Interactive marketing has been taking off over the past few years, since rapidly advancing technology (especially within social media) has made it more attainable for brands.

In the current global climate, adding interactivity in marketing content can be a great way to generate empathy in business models. As we have mentioned, consumers have had to give up on going out, meeting people, and traveling the world. If your brand can offer them solutions to these problems, then showcasing those solutions in your marketing should be a top priority.

And if you can make it interactive, like this BBC Scotland video, so much the better: 

The video works because of how simple the interactivity is. Users just need to use their touchpad to click through for more information and to change the direction of the video. Since people can’t travel right now and take in these sights in person, it has a great chance of engaging consumers.

According to recent video marketing research, YouTube not only draws in billions of monthly users, but it’s also the top purchase-driver among social media channels. So, if you have the resources to create interactive YouTube videos, you can showcase more brand empathy in your marketing efforts.

6. Utilize user-generated content

User-generated content has been a mainstay of social media marketing for a while now. But it’s also a strong tool for building brand connections with consumers.

What makes UGC stand out from other marketing strategies is how it bridges the gap between brands and customers. Users create content, either for their channels or for a brand contest, and that content is amplified on a company’s social media platform, website, or newsletters.

There are numerous benefits to UGC, the primary one being that your brand doesn’t need to create this content (though you will need to sort through entries to choose brand-appropriate content). Additionally, by showcasing users’ content, you can tap into their networks. People will feel happy about appearing on your brand’s platform and share the post or page with their circles.

Marketers should spend some time looking at the kind of content users are generating, as this will help them create a contest strategy that will appeal to their demographic, like Petco did.

Petco collected content from their customers about the little moments they share with their pets to create this video collage:

And there’s another benefit of UGC that is exemplified by Petco’s video: this kind of content acts as testimonials for the company. UGC shows that customers believe in a brand enough to send them their content. This proves to prospective customers that this brand is worth engaging with and purchasing from.

Conclusion: Use empathetic marketing to connect with customers in 2021 and beyond

The global situation has made empathetic marketing a top priority for businesses. It isn’t enough to talk about your product or the benefits of buying from your brand anymore. Brands now need to connect with customers on a deeper, more empathetic level. Show your audience that you understand their needs and are ready to adapt to them.

Including empathy in marketing campaigns is more of a mindset than a technique. And to instill that way of thinking in marketing teams, you need to follow these steps:

Understand your audience’s current pain pointsAdapt to their needsTake an educational approach in your marketingCapture everyday life in campaignsAdd interactive elementsUtilize user-generated content

Each step is vital because the changes we’re seeing now will have long-lasting effects. Taking an empathetic approach can take a bit of time to get used to, but it isn’t impossible.

Have other tips for incorporating empathy in marketing? Let me know in the comments.

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10 Free Red Subscribe Buttons for YouTube

Posted by on Mar 26, 2021 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Free Red Subscribe Buttons for YouTube

Download All Red Subscribe Buttons *Includes .ai, transparent .png, and .svg versions of each button We also have sets of yellow, white, purple, pink, green, blue, and black YouTube subscribe buttons.

The post 10 Free Red Subscribe Buttons for YouTube first appeared on Gotch SEO.