Daily Archive: May 8, 2018

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6 Daily SEO Tactics You Aren’t Doing But Should Be

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/daily-seo-tactics/

We all know that SEO is important for online marketing and organic traffic.

After all, people conduct more than 3.5 billion searches every day just on Google.

Not only that, but over 70% of clicks go to organic searches that rank on the first page of Google.

Ranking on the first page of Google can be the deciding factor to making your business thrive online.

You probably already know that, right?

According to estimates, businesses will spend over $72 billion this year on SEO services.

If you’re one of them, you’re definitely already aware of the importance of SEO.

The problem is that we sometimes learn SEO tactics that work and then we rely on them to always work.

You find something that’s making a difference, so you keep doing it. It makes sense.

But in reality, algorithms are always evolving. Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm every year.

We need to adapt as the algorithms adapt if we want to keep up.

To help you do this, I’m going to show you six daily SEO tactics that you should be doing to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes.

But first, let’s talk a little more about why you need to adapt.

Change is vital for survival

People often fear change. Trust me — I get it.

It’s hard for us to move outside of our comfort zones.

The good news is that we usually don’t fear the actual change. We fear the loss of something.

Maybe you’re afraid to leave behind something that you know is working to try something that might work better.

Unfortunately, the worst thing you can do is refuse to change out of fear.

Change is a requirement for sustainable business no matter what industry, field, or market you’re operating in.

For the fast-moving digital marketplace, change is even more important.

Marketers are spending more on SEO every year.

Projections show that they’ll spend a total of $79 billion on SEO in two years — seven billion more than the enormous amount they’re already spending!

This means that the competition is constantly increasing. More companies are joining the race, and they’re investing more money on digital marketing.

If you fear change, your first reaction might be to throw more money at SEO to solve the problem.

But it won’t yield the results you want.

Plus, who has bottomless pockets to continually fork out money?

If we were to just increase our SEO budgets every year without changing anything else, we’d all go out of business.

Paying for more of the same won’t account for changes in the marketplace. People change and adapt, and your business needs to change with them.

You need to be aware of search engine algorithm changes and adapt to them.

Like I said earlier, Google makes thousands of algorithm changes every year.

In 2017 alone, they made ten significant updates, including Fred (which some SEOs later called Maccabees).

Internet use, and particularly mobile use, are also continuing to grow each year. In comparison to last year, mobile phone usage is up by 4% this year.

4% might seem like a small number, but it’s not when we’re talking about billions of people.

4% of five billion is 200 million. That’s 200 million extra people using mobile devices in just the last year.

This creates more changes we need to adjust for like mobile-first indexing.

Let’s look at the six new SEO tactics you should be adding to your toolkit so you can keep seeing growth in your traffic.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmB_TC92I8w?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

1. Optimize content for voice search

Voice search is a significant trend right now, and it’s a rapidly-growing market.

Google released this infographic way back in 2014.

Not surprisingly, voice search has only grown since then. At the start of this year, there were approximately one billion voice searches every month.

If you don’t adapt your SEO for voice optimization, you could miss out on a whole lot of traffic and sales. It’s time to jump on this bandwagon if you haven’t already.

Voice search calls for a whole new keyword research strategy.

Voice searchers use natural, long-form, conversational queries. If you’ve been focusing on short queries, this is going to be a shift.

What can you do about it?

Google Analytics doesn’t yet separate voice search in their search console, but they may do so soon.

In the meantime, use tools like Answer the Public to build an editorial content strategy for voice search.

Answer the Public provides you with a list of questions directly from the minds of your customers.

Within minutes, it can give you hundreds of questions that people are searching for.

You need to choose the country that you want to target. Then, click the “Get Questions” button.

At first, your results will look something like this:

This organization isn’t the easiest to navigate, but you can fix that.

Select “Questions” then “Data” to convert your results into grouped lists.  

The first lists are all of the question-based results.

This a great way to find questions that users are asking.

Now, how do you take this knowledge and build it into your daily routine?

Make it a daily practice to write and plan content based on your keyword research for voice search. To start, you could aim for search results that appear as featured snippets.

After all, when you conduct a voice search, the featured snippet is the result that your device will read back to you out loud.

Featured snippets are search results that Google features before their organic results.

Featured snippets most commonly appear for questions since they aim to provide quick and simple answers.

For this reason, some also refer to them as answer boxes.

Google created them so that searchers can find the information they want without ever having to leave Google.

How do you target a featured snippet?

A great way to start is by focusing on content that is already on page one or page two of search results. Then, optimize those pieces of content for length and structure.

Here’s the optimal word count of different featured snippets:

Your whole article obviously won’t be that short. So how do you build in the snippet?

Make sure you ask the right long-tail question query. Use it in your article title and headers and reference it throughout the content.

Also, determine whether you can best answer the question by formatting your answer as a paragraph, table, or a list of bullet points. Be sure to answer the question in that format so that Google can easily display it as a featured snippet.

After you answer the question concisely in the ideal format, you can go into further explanation and deepen your answer in your article.

2. Understand what users are doing on mobile

Over half of all Google searches are coming from mobile devices.

Not only that, but Google announced that they have begun rolling out mobile-first indexing this year.

If you haven’t yet optimized your site for mobile, you need to make the change right now.

Start by making sure that all of your web pages are mobile-friendly.

Google has made this easy for you.

First, in Google Search Console, scroll down under “Search Traffic” and click on “Mobile Usability.”

This will show your site-wide results:

Google has also provided a free mobile-friendly test that you can use if you want to check single pages, such as your landing pages.

Enter the URL of the page you want to test and click “Run Test.”

It will immediately let you know if your page has any issues and offer you some additional resources.

One thing you can do daily for mobile optimization is heat test your mobile site.

This can help you quickly identify where people are clicking on your mobile site.

You may notice that the pattern is different than your desktop heat maps.

Crazy Egg offers a heat map tool with mobile snapshots to see how users are scanning your pages. This can help you pinpoint areas that need work.

3. Engage your local community

Local SEO has proven to be a huge opportunity for local businesses to grow.

Ryan Stewart helped Dr. Smood increase local keyword rankings and organic traffic by over 320% in only nine months.

And, Eric Enge got kimkim to rank in the top five results for “Nepal travel expert” and “Manaslu trek” with help from local experts.

However, local SEO is not a one-trick pony. There are multiple ranking factors that play a role in how well your site ranks for local SEO.

If you want to compete in the local SERPs, you have to focus on local engagement tactics.

First, ensure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across the top-ranked directories.

Then, claim your business on Google My Business.

Make sure that you build credibility for your business by using link building and getting reviews on local review sites.

Google introduced the Local Guide program to help local businesses improve the quality of their listings.

With reviews and local link building, you can help demonstrate the quality of your business.

If you’ve already set up your Google My Business page, then perform a daily health check of your local SEO. Here’s how:

First, audit your Knowledge Panel to make sure all of the information is accurate.

Next, check to see if there are any Q&A questions on your Google My Business timeline.

Google released this Q&A feature in 2017, but many business owners are not using it to their advantage.

Finally, use a review management tool to ask for reviews like BirdEye or Yotpo.

As Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner at Kick Point Inc., said during PeepCon 3.0, “The strongest signal is when someone picks you.”

It’s crucial that local businesses begin engaging with their local community if they want to survive in this competitive landscape.

4. Boost your website speed by compressing images

Site speed is incredibly important for the health of your business.

It’s not only a ranking factor of the Google algorithm, but it’s also a measure of user experience.

In addition to that, Google announced in January of 2018 that page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile searches as of July.

And as we already saw, mobile optimization is critical.

So how fast is fast enough?

The average page speed varies by location and industry, but it’s floating around nine seconds right now.

However, that doesn’t mean that nine seconds is fast enough. Actually, Google considers that to be poor.

Google recommends that you aim for a page load time of three seconds.

If your pages are taking nine seconds to load, your bounce rate is nearly 123% higher than if it were loading in under three seconds.

So, how can you speed up your pages and reduce your load time?

A way to start is by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify your problems.

You should also try Google’s Test Your Site for mobile speed checks.

Both of these tools will score your web pages from 0 to 100%.

They will also provide you with recommendations for improvements.

To boost your page speeds, you should compress all of your images.

Large images can have a huge impact on site speed.

The good news is that you can easily fix this with a simple compression tool.

If you have a WordPress site, you can choose a plugin like WP Smush Image Compression and Optimization.

This is a free tool that will allow you to “smush” images automatically.

If you’re not a WordPress user, there are plenty of other options for other site types.

Crush.pics is a great choice for Shopify websites.

5. Focus your content on topics and intent, not keywords

Google’s algorithm is constantly becoming more sophisticated.

With advancements like RankBrain, you no longer have to rely on simple keywords to signal what your content is about.

If you want to rank high on SERPs in 2018, you’re going to need to start targeting your customers rather than just keywords.

After all, keywords are not even in the top-ten ranking factors for SEO.

Of course, keywords are still important for telling searchers what your content is about and getting them to click.

But your emphasis needs to be more on engagement and quality content and less on picking the perfect keyword.

One way to do this is by focusing on broad topics rather than specific keywords when crafting your content.

You want to build content that provides value to your target audience and engages them.

First, you need to understand and target the intent of searchers.

You need to understand the difference and the overlap between what keywords people are using and what they’re actually meaning to search for.

Then, you have to take this knowledge and line it up with your content marketing strategy.

For example, you can classify many keywords as navigation, research, or conversion keywords. Then, you can align these classifications with each stage of the conversion funnel.

This will provide you with a better picture of the intent that searchers have, helping you to craft your content for improved target marketing.

Here are some tools that can help you better understand the intent of your current customers.

Google Analytics behavior flow

The behavior flow report shows you how your current and past customers have been interacting with your website.

For example, people who are spending more time on your landing pages or sales pages are probably near the bottom of the conversion funnel and ready to buy.

On the other hand, people who are primarily hanging around your blog content may still be in the beginning stages of your funnel.

Site search

The Site Search function on Google Analytics can also help you understand exactly what people have been looking for on your website.

You can see what keywords your audience has been searching, which internal results they clicked on for them, and if there was a high engagement or high bounce rate.

This can help you determine if your content is matching the intent of your searchers or if there are gaps.

LSIGraph

One great way to find relevant keywords is by using an LSI generator like LSIGraph.

LSI Graph is a free tool that will provide you with related keywords for whatever term you search.

Google search

Simple Google searches also offer help for building out keyword and content plans.

After all, Google wants to provide searchers with the best results.

Therefore, it’s to their benefit to help you create the best content for people.

There are three different ways to find relevant topic clusters using Google.

First, you can use auto-suggest. As you’ve surely seen, Google starts automatically populating suggestions as soon as you start typing something in the search bar.

For example, this is what I see when I start typing “search engine” into Google.

Second, you can take advantage of Google’s related searches.

After you put your keywords in the search bar and hit enter, you can scroll down to the bottom of the search results page to see related searches.

Third, you can use the “People also ask” feature. For some searches, Google will offer additional queries that users are likely to search for.

If you utilize some of these tools, you’ll have tons of keywords that target the intent of your customers. You can use these keywords to build a content outline.

6. Personalize your PPC  

Personalization is another hot topic right now in digital marketing.

When it comes to online marketing, personalization means dynamically changing your marketing message, advertisement, or landing page based on your customers’ information.

The idea is that it will help increase your probability of connecting with each individual customer.

For example, you could build your landing page so that the words you use on your call-to-action buttons change based on the assumed persona of the individual who lands there.

For example, you can change your PPC offer based on the device someone is using.

You can choose to personalize for plenty of factors such as demographics, device usage, returning customers, and even cart abandonment.

Using dynamic text replacement is a great way to personalize ads, landing pages, and call-to-action buttons on your website.

It allows you to change certain words using “IF” functions and tools like Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement to match your wording with someone’s original search query.

For example, someone who searches for “Luxury Beach Estate” may see this:

However, if someone else searches for “Caribbean Beach Estate,” you can design the same landing page to automatically display the words “Caribbean Beach Estate.”

This increases relevancy, which makes it more likely that visitors will click and convert.

Conclusion

We’ve now covered why you need to keep your SEO strategy fresh and current, and I’ve shown you some of the key tactics you should be using this year.

When creating new content, be sure to optimize it for voice search.

Use tools like Answer the Public to understand what questions your customers might be using voice search to ask.

You also need to make sure that you’ve optimized your content for mobile.

Follow the best practices I shared above to help your content rank with Google’s mobile-first indexing.

Don’t forget to adapt your website and content for Google’s latest SERP features.

To compete for featured snippets, be sure to format your content in a way that helps Google find the information that’s relevant to searchers’ questions.

If you have a physical business, focus on local optimization to rank in on the first page of Google.

Speed is increasingly important, and we all need to continually work on making our pages faster. Checking your page speed for every new post and use the tips I shared to speed up your pages.

You should be crafting your content around searcher topics and intent instead of just keywords. Use tools such as Google Analytics, Site Search, and heat maps to better understand your searcher intent.

Then, improve your content targeting with LSIGraph or keyword groupings that Google suggests.

Finally, personalize your content for different customers.

You can use dynamic text replacement to better align all of your ads, landing pages, and calls-to-action for each individual searcher.

What other SEO strategies are you adding to your toolkit for 2018?

The post 6 Daily SEO Tactics You Aren’t Doing But Should Be appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How to Get Extra Traffic from Google Through Voice Search

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/voice-search-seo/

OK Google, tell me where I can go to lunch today.”

And just so I don’t offend the Apple aficionados:

‘Hey Siri, is it going to rain today?”

What do these have in common?

They’re classic examples of the rising tide of voice search, and they signal a change in the SEO landscape that you can’t afford to ignore.

And if you take a moment to look, you’ll find that the voices telling you how to optimize for voice search are many and varied.

But what actually works?

Is there actually a way you can take steps in the right direction to help optimize people who rely on voice searches?

I believe there are, and I want to share them with you.

Before we get started improving your SEO though, I want to show you some overwhelming evidence that voice search is taking over.

What is voice search, and why bother?

The practical applications of voice search are still relatively new, but the feature itself has taken the world by storm.

These days, all you have to do is tell your device what you’re looking for, and it will do the searching for you.

Anyone with a smartphone or smart home device no longer has the Internet at their fingertips.

They have it at the tip of their tongue.

And let’s be honest, that’s just plain cool.

We’ve reached the “final frontier” of search technology unless telekinesis is discovered (which is highly unlikely).

But more to the point, in a rather illuminating study, Stanford University recently discovered that speech recognition technologies are now three times faster than typing.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOw4kVrymFs?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

So for businesses, this is a matter of user experience and delivering convenience to your customers in a rather innovative way.

And it’s already sending waves through the SEO world.

This is partly because these technologies just keep getting better and better with time.

Recent reports by Microsoft tout that their speech recognition has only a 5.1% error rate and works with a vast variety of languages.

If you use Microsoft’s Cortana software, that’s good news.

But they’re not the only ones seeing success.

Google is on par with Microsoft, if not barely edging them out:

That means not only is voice search helpful, but it’s also competitive.

And when Google, Microsoft, and other major tech companies start competing, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to see some amazing changes in the coming years.

The inner workings of voice search are both surprisingly human and technical at the same time.

For the first time, computers can hear our voices and guess our true intentions with a staggering amount of accuracy.

Algorithms like RankBrain, which was confirmed in 2015, are already blowing our expectations out of the water with its ability to predict intent.

But speech recognition isn’t the only aspect that’s been improving.

Voice search systems are now able to do much more than just give you the top-ranked answer:

So the evolution of speech recognition is just one aspect to consider.

Amazon’s Echo devices can now perform over 12,000 different skills, which means they’re becoming a much more integral part in how we use the Internet.

And the sales numbers of these smart home systems only serve to drive that point even further.

In 2017 alone, more than 25 million smart home devices were sold and 11 million of those came in the final quarter.

For a technology that’s still in its infancy, that’s an impressive adoption rate.

Voice search is in our homes, on our phones, and even in our browsers now.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQnZe_Iggx0?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

And that means people must be using these features on a regular basis for both work and leisure.

But this also means that if you’re not at the top of a search engine’s rankings, you probably won’t ever see results from voice search.

In fact, even being on the front page might not be good enough anymore.

In essence, this means that the number one spot on Google, Bing, and any other search engine is now more important than ever.

And since almost 40% of voice search users have looked up something online with voice search, you can rest assured that this trend will continue.

2017 saw a staggering growth of 178% in the utilization of voice search, and I’m confident that the coming years will see that figure grow even more.

So what does this mean for your SEO?

Besides needing to rank as the number one page, it means you have a lot of work ahead of you.

And to start things off, it means the basics of SEO are more important now than ever before.

Start with solid SEO

It may surprise you that I start off with the basics, but honestly, it shouldn’t.

The honest and hard truth about SEO is that it takes forever.

It took me years to start seeing large amounts of organic traffic for my brand, and I’m just one example.

Many fledgling companies that are leading innovation in their industries are fighting the giant, established corporations whose budgets dwarf theirs.

And because they’re newcomers on the playing field, they have to play the long game if they want to win.

This is especially true when it comes to voice search because the climb just got that much steeper.

In an enlightening study, Backlinko did some extensive tests on Google Home’s search results.

What they found won’t surprise any SEO enthusiast, but they prove the necessity of SEO basics quite emphatically.

For example, one of their findings was that load time affected performance significantly:

The top results of their voice search experiments had an average load time almost half of the top-ranked website on a traditional search.

And that means the already vital aspect of load times just upped the ante on-site owners.

Now, you’re not only trying to keep your visitor’s attention.

You’re also trying to grab the attention of a coveted voice search algorithm.

But that’s not all.

Much like with traditional search engine searches, voice search results preferred long-form content by a longshot.

This validates the message that many other marketers and I have been preaching for years.

The longer and more thorough your content is, the more likely you are to start ranking higher.

It may take you more effort, but it’s clearly worth it in the case of optimizing for voice search.

What’s more, it was also shown that how well your content performs on social media does play a role in your ranking on voice search.

The average for voice search results may seem rather high, but if you’re creating and sharing the best content, it’s just a matter of time before you see numbers like this.

And the more consistent your efforts, the sooner they can start paying off.

So, we’ve seen that these three basic elements of SEO do indeed affect your ability to rank for voice search.

Those are just three examples.

The Backlinko study I’m citing goes on to show a dozen more ways that basic SEO features affect your chances of becoming the result of a voice search.

And perhaps more importantly, numerous sources have shown that your overall page rank seems to be the top factor that affects your chances of hitting this coveted spot.

An impressive yet daunting 99.58% of voice results are from the top ten pages in a traditional search.

Which means not ranking in the top ten gives your page a mere 0.42% chance spread out with millions of other search results.

If you win with those odds, you could probably just buy a lottery ticket and retire instead of fight for SEO rankings.

You see my point here.

The basic SEO practices are where you should start, simply because without them you’ll have a minuscule chance of being the top voice search result.

So the first and most important step for anyone interesting in cracking the voice search code is to learn and implement the basics of SEO

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmB_TC92I8w?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

By starting here, you’ll have solid foundations for your brand to grow on.

And once you start to see results, you can implement some of the more specific practices when it comes to optimizing for voice search.

Focus on conversational keywords

Once you’ve settled in on your basic SEO, you’ll want to take a closer look at your keywords to make sure that a voice search can pick them up.

This is because search engines like Google have started the practice of looking for natural language when providing the top results.

While this is a rather technical representation of that process, really what it boils down to is how conversational your content is.

If you can keep your content easy to approach and read, Google will pay more attention to you.

Finding a way to be conversational, even for more serious brands, is a challenge that’s unique to voice search.

And this trend is only increasing because as of 2017, the majority of phrases used in voice search were considered “natural or conversational.”

Seven out of ten voice searches are made with the type of speech we use today.

That includes contractions, slang, and colloquialisms that may not come naturally to your writing style.

But if they get put into a search engine, that means they have the potential to be a keyword.

So how do you implement these keywords without ending up on r/FellowKids?

Start by conducting some thorough keyword research.

Then, dig into some of the keyword usage and trends of voice search.

For example, look at how most voice searches are actually being phrased as questions.

People using voice search are asking search engines for advice on different elements of their lives.

Questions like “how do you cook a turkey?” or “where is the best burger in town?” are being asked to devices that use voice search.

And as you can see, companies are lagging behind in their effort to create keyword-optimized snippets that seek to answer these questions.

Which means there’s plenty of room for your brand to start making up the difference.

And one of the easiest ways to start with this trend is to use trigger words, as more than 20% of voice search results begin with these words.

That might not sound like a lot but think of the vast areas of application even the top trigger word could have for your business.

Let’s say you sell shoes.

Here are some examples of posts you could create that might lead to a hit from voice search using just the word “how:”

How to size for shoes without the right tools
How to quickly replace your shoestrings
How to tie your shoes as quickly as possible

Do you see how all of these might come up in a voice search?

All it takes is someone to say “OK Google, teach me how to tie my shoes as quickly as possible” and you have a potential hit.

You get more exposure simply because you emphasized a trigger word in your post.

And these are just a few examples.

There are more studies that provide lists of the popular words used in voice searches, like this one from Ahrefs:

While many of these suggestions are still young, they’re a great place to start when considering your keyword usage.

And as voice search continues to evolve, so should your keywords.

SEO is a process that will never end and you have to treat it as such.

As long as you stay vigilant in your efforts to continually optimize for conversational keywords, you’ll increase your chances of popping up in a voice search result.

Create content optimized for featured snippets

Once you’ve mastered your SEO basics and fine-tuned your keywords, it’s time to look into the final big element of optimizing for voice search.

Aside from a strong domain and content, you need to create a way for search engines to digest and regurgitate your content easily.

That goal is accomplished by optimizing your content for the featured snippets that often appear in the “rank zero” position above the normal search results.

This is an element that you’d be unwise to ignore because Google has explicitly stated that featured snippets help with mobile and voice search rankings.

In practice, these featured snippets are often used to help users find quick answers to questions, like in this example:

In a regular search, this result would let you quickly skim for your answer and be on your way.

With a voice search, however, the search engine has to give an audible response to the query.

That means these snippets are often the result that’s read aloud to the user.

If your content isn’t set up to easily fit into a featured snippet, then even a highly-ranked page could be passed up for the next result.

It’s also worth noting that these featured snippets have started to display video too, which means your written content isn’t the only option.

To put it simply, your goal should be to provide easily digestible and repeatable information that can be evaluated and shared quickly.

This bears up under the microscope of various marketing experiments.

Many SEO blogs have started recommending that content creators start considering length more closely when it comes to optimizing for these featured snippets.

If you’re used to writing three to four sentence paragraphs, it’s recommended that you change that practice immediately.

Even lists are feeling the burn, with a maximum of only eight items and potentially only 64 words.

If you’re used to creating step-by-step guides in a list format, you’ll need to change your approach for voice searches.

What’s more, the Speech Guidelines that have been published by search engines like Google seem to indicate less than 30 words is best for any piece of content you think could be a snippet.

I count 44 words in that snippet, and Google says that’s too long.

Whereas in this example, Google prefers the shorter snippet even though the answer is incorrect:

This result is only ten words, so it’s clear why it would be optimized.

It’s shorter, more to the point, and thus deemed a better answer by the search engine’s algorithms.

And while other factors like authority will factor into the actual answer given by Google, this clearly illustrates the point that succinct is always better.

Now, this trend toward shorter replies might seem odd to some.

After all, the replies are being read aloud.

Why can’t they be longer?

You have to remember that usage of voice search is already quite varied.

Most of the searches performed by users are in public or with others present, which means that a short-and-sweet result will provide the smallest amount of interruption.

This is where brands that have stiffer, more professional voices start to suffer.

If you’re unable to quickly and clearly address a concern or answer a question, you’ll have a harder time ranking in a voice search.

This may mean that you need to reevaluate some of the more foundational elements of your voice in the future.

If you think this trend won’t affect your industry, I invite you to think again.

More and more sites are adopting the practice of creating featured snippets that help bolster their ability to reach “rank zero” and provide useful information from a voice search.

In just a few years, interest in featured snippets has tripled.

With its growing popularity, it’s quite possible that your competitors are already optimizing for this feature and you should be too.

And aside from simply shortening your content, there’s actually one other element you can focus on to try and edge out the other results on a search engine.

That method is to go back and brush up your site’s FAQs.

You may not have heard much advice about your FAQs lately, but the importance of this content is making a comeback.

Since they’re already designed to be custom-built phrases meant to answer common questions about your products, industry, or brand, it’s natural that they would take the limelight when it comes to featured snippets.

It’s the best place for your visitor or a search engine to find answers, which means you need ways to anticipate what questions they will ask.

One way to accomplish that is by using a service like Answer the Public.

All you have to do is enter your keyword, and then their system will give you the most searched for questions that center around that word.

While it’s marketed as a tool for PR firms, it also has a great application for marketers when it comes to voice search SEO efforts.

Once you get a list of questions to answer from Answer the Public, I also recommend checking out a service like StoryBase to double check for any missed opportunities.

Much like Answer the Public, StoryBase will let you find the sweet spot between your message and what users are actually searching for.

If you optimize your content and FAQs according to these questions, you’ll be more likely to land in a featured snippet down the line.

And that means your SEO will be that much better for a voice search.

Conclusion

Voice search may be newer, but it’s already playing an important role in the way SEO is accomplished.

With yearly improvements and an astounding adoption rate, this trend is one that you simply can’t ignore.

If you want your brand to act as an authoritative source for voice search results, you have to start by implementing basic SEO practices.

Optimize your on-site elements like word count, time to load, and image use to start building your SEO efforts from scratch.

And don’t neglect off-site elements like backlinking or social media sharing.

All of these efforts will lay the foundation for a search engine to start ranking you higher.

Then once you get the basics covered, start optimizing your content with conversational keywords.

Since voice search queries are typically conversational in nature, this helps set you up for success as more questions are asked.

Finally, make sure you create content that will fit neatly into a featured snippet.

These “rank zero” results are often the top choice of voice search results, which means they’re exactly where you want to be.

Just remember that all SEO takes time.

You won’t be a success overnight.

But in a few years, you can dominate your space with ease.

What tips or tricks have helped you rank for voice search?

The post How to Get Extra Traffic from Google Through Voice Search appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

Hack Your Way to 10,000 Twitter Followers with These 7 Tips

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/gain-twitter-followers/

What if I told you that you could get 10,000 followers by optimizing your Twitter strategy?

What if I also told you that it would be pretty easy to do?

Well, I’ve got nine simple, straightforward, and super effective tips to hack your way into having a huge Twitter presence.

But isn’t Facebook the biggest social network?

Shouldn’t Facebook be where you’re concentrating your efforts and growth-hacking endeavors?

Absolutely not.

Twitter is still among the top social networks today for users with over 330 million active users.

Yes, Twitter could be the secret ingredient to connecting with the biggest possible audience.

And I’m going to help you do it.

But first…

Why do Twitter followers matter?

Sure, Facebook is the biggest of the conventional social networks with the most monthly active users.

But you shouldn’t underestimate Twitter’s importance or utility just yet.

It’s a global powerhouse.

Even though nearly a quarter of Americans use Twitter regularly, much of Twitter’s user base — an impressive 79% of the user base to be specific — consists of international users.

This means that Twitter allows you to connect easily with a global audience.

And it’s a global audience that continues to grow quarter to quarter, year over year.

There are other factors to consider, too.

Such as how Twitter’s millennial audience is a coveted one from a marketing perspective.

The data shows that about 40% of all American millennials are on Twitter — a larger percentage than any other generation.

It also shows that most Twitter users are college-educated with annual salaries of $75,000 or more per year.

Not only are there tons of millennials on Twitter, millennials more frequently use social media as a tool for discovering new brands.

Statistically speaking, millennials are an ideal target demographic for many companies because they’re stronger consumers.

So why not reach out to them where they live?

Millennials eat out more, love trying new products, and they’re always looking for unique experiences with brands and companies.

In fact, the rise of the millennial generation has forever changed the world of marketing, from the strong focus on video to the rise of influencer marketing, and the emphasis on emotional connection.

There’s another reason Twitter is so attractive to marketers, and that’s because it gives you 100% reach.

But there’s a caveat.

When you post to Twitter, your tweets are only seen by your followers or when your tweets are shared with others’ followers.

You have 100% reach only with your followers and their followers.

This means 100% reach on Twitter doesn’t matter if there aren’t people seeing your content.

And according to recent research, 74% of the people who follow small and medium businesses on Twitter are following these businesses because they want updates on future products.

Additionally, nearly half of those who follow brands and businesses are more likely to visit those companies’ websites.

So your Twitter followers will often become people who visit your website and invest in your brand through purchases.

Fortunately, I can help you get followers quickly and effectively.

Nine ways to get Twitter followers fast
1. Optimize your Twitter profile

The first thing you need to do is complete and optimize your Twitter profile.

Due to the platform’s redesign, you’ll approach certain aspects of your Twitter profile a little differently than you might’ve before.

For example, profile photos are now round instead of square, which helps to distinguish user profiles from the square images that appear in tweets.

Many of the changes are cosmetic and served as a simple update, helping Twitter be more 2018 and less 2000-and-late.

For all the power you stand to gain by using Twitter for your business, not having a professional, up-to-date profile can be a major turn-off to prospective followers.

So one of the first steps on the road to amassing tons of followers is to make sure your Twitter profile rocks.

Your profile picture is the centerpiece of your Twitter profile.

It’s the part of your Twitter profile people probably notice and look at first.

Aside from your username, it’s the one profile element that doesn’t just appear on your profile. It’ll show next to your tweet in the other users’ feeds when you post.

So you should choose a photo that’s appropriate for your business or brand.

Whether you’re using a professional photo of yourself or your brand’s logo, you want to make sure that the most important elements appear toward the center of the image.

Due to the circular format, anything that appears toward the edges of your profile photo won’t show on your profile.

It’s even a good idea to resize your image. Although you can upload higher-res files, your profile image doesn’t need to be any bigger than a 400px by 400px square.

Here are some examples of how these profile image best practices can be implemented:

Bitfinex — a cryptocurrency exchange company — uses their logo for their profile image.

Similarly, you can see New York Magazine’s iconic logo as the profile pic used for their Twitter account.

However, Virgin Group founder and colorful businessperson Richard Branson uses a photo of himself. The photo looks professional yet casual and relatable.

Not only is this smart for promotional purposes, but it also helps people make stronger associations between your brand and logo.

Your profile photo should draw attention because it will be the identity that your followers will come to see behind all the content you post on Twitter.

Using a branded logo as a profile image, like Louis Vuitton, is an easy and quick way to get followers to recognize your posts instantly.

But beyond the profile photo, there’s the ‘Bio.’

This is the area of your Twitter profile where you provide a little — just 160 characters in total — information about your brand or business.

Here’s an example from the Washington Post’s Twitter profile:

As you can see, the goal of your profile is to give a prospective follower an idea of (a) what your business is and (b) what they can expect by becoming a follower.

But there’s another reason why your bio is important: it’s searchable.

Of course, you’ll want to include all the essential info, such as your website, location, and possibly a phone number.

You’ll want to include keywords that are relevant to your brand or company in your bio.

A great example of the use of keywords in a Twitter bio is PlayStation.

PlayStation’s bio includes common variants of the company’s name as well as their products’ names, such as “PS4” for “PlayStation 4.”

A consumer tech outlet called Gadgets Now uses keywords in the bio, too.

Another element you can include in your Twitter bio is hashtags.

News network CNN incorporates a single hashtag in the bio.

CNN’s hashtag is a great example because “Go There” happens to be a slogan for the network, emphasizing ingenuity and tenacity in journalism.

So the hashtag reinforces the network’s desired brand image.

Additionally, your bio can be an opportunity to show some personality, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.

Content marketer and author Ann Handley’s profile is an excellent example.

Ann’s use of the phrase “waging a war on mediocrity in content marketing” is accurate and effective while also showcasing her personality.

Once you’ve chosen your profile photo and written your bio, the next step in a great Twitter profile is to find (or even create) your header image.

Though it changes from time to time, the current dimensions that your Twitter header image should be are 1500px by 500px.

This can be a great opportunity to reinforce your brand or to promote your latest product or service.

If you have trouble finding the right image with the appropriate dimensions, you can use a tool like Canva to create your own header image for free online.

The great thing about Canva — besides it being free I mean — is that there are tons of existing templates you can use as a starting point.

By either searching for a specific type of template or browsing by category, Canva makes it extremely easy to create a great-looking header image for your Twitter profile.

Using the diagram I’ve provided here, you can make sure all the essential elements of your header photo don’t cross into any of the grey areas.

The blue part is the “safe zone” where all your important and branded information should be.

Creating a strong profile with a great picture, header photo, and bio is the first step toward conveying credibility and trustworthiness.

Now that you’ve spent some time ironing it out, your profile will leave a strong impression on visitors who view your profile, making them much more likely to follow you.

2. Engage with your followers

Although your follower count is a convenient metric, many social media marketers have begun putting more stock into engagement than followers.

In fact, Socialbakers account manager Jeraldine Tan actually considers follower growth an outdated metric.

“It is extremely important for brands to stop looking at outdated metrics like fan growth,” Jeraldine said in a recent article posted on LinkedIn.

“The overall fans number doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming your content.”

So if you have a million Twitter followers but your posts get zero engagement, what are those followers really worth?

Jeraldine’s perspective is reinforced by Incite Group’s State of Corporate Social Media Survey, conducted in 2017.

According to Incite’s data, there’s no correlation between the number of followers and engagement, meaning that more followers doesn’t mean more engagement.

But when followers interact with and share your content on Twitter, their followers see that engagement and often become curious. The engagement serves almost as an endorsement.

So engagement does lead to increased reach and visibility, which, in turn, yields more followers.

In his recent Forbes article, Joe Escobedo says, “Shares build customer confidence in your brand.”

We even see engagement “given a higher weightage than likes” on social media such as with some of Facebook’s recent algorithm changes.

But interactions your followers are having with your Twitter content isn’t the only type of engagement you should care about.

If you really want to grow your Twitter audience, you should be actively engaging back with them.

Responding to the comments and mentions of your followers reinforces their engagement and makes them more inclined to engage with you in the future.

Engaging with your audience yields more tangible results, too.

According to data from Sprout Social, 48% of social media users cite responsiveness as the top characteristic that prompts audiences to purchase from a brand or company.

Fortunately, engaging with your Twitter audience is easy to do and something you can start doing right away.

There are three main strategies for actively engaging with your audience:

Responding to comments and mentions

Direct messages

Live chats” on Twitter

Responding is certainly the simplest and easiest of these strategies, but it’s also effective.

It’s as simple as this:

When a user tweets to you or comments on one of your tweets, respond.

The acknowledgment will give them a sense of validation.

If you can make the exchange memorable in some way, they may actively seek out your content in the future. So don’t be afraid to show a little personality.

In a similar vein, you can take this concept to the next level with Twitter’s DMs, or direct messages.

A lot of big brands and companies are finding success with DMs, including 1-800-FLOWERS and T-Mobile.

Finally, you have live Twitter chats.

Public relations professional Janet Murray considers live chats an incredibly effective marketing strategy for Twitter.

According to Janet Murray, one way to get even more out of your live chat is to like and retweet other participants’ replies.

“Retweeting the posts of [other users] is a great way to build relationships,” Janet says.

She offers another useful tip: When you’re responding to other participants’ tweets, “don’t forget to use the hashtag so people can follow along.”

Or if you want to tweet someone privately, simply “don’t include the hashtag.”

Buffer — a well-known social media management app — hosts weekly Twitter chat sessions using their own hashtag, “#BufferChat.”

As far as actually hosting the chat, tools like Tweetchat, tchat.io, and Twchat can turn your hashtag into a more chat-like live stream.

You can access the live Twitter chat directory on Twubs without even needing to register for a free account.

Additionally, you can put your own live chat on Twubs so that others can find it more easily.

Another tip is to either post your questions or ask your followers for some questions ahead of time.

When it comes down to it, actively engaging your audience reinforces the decision to follow you.

Plus, their own followers can see how interactive you are with your audience, which makes a strong impression at large.

3. Stay active by creating daily/weekly/monthly Twitter routines

If your goal is to gain followers, I can’t stress enough the importance of staying active.

It’s not enough to post a few times a week or even once per day like you probably do on Facebook.

You could even lose followers if you’re not tweeting regularly.

According to CoSchedule, you should post curated content — quotes and retweets — three to seven times per day. Including your own original content, it should be about 15 tweets daily.

But do you have time to sit on Twitter 24 hours per day to make sure you’ve got awesome tweets going out at all the right times?

That’s where your routine can be a life-saver.

The best way to create your Twitter routine is to create separate daily, weekly, and monthly routines.

Automate and schedule out your posts in advance with a tool like IFTTT.

Your daily Twitter routine should consist of things like following and unfollowing other users, replying to DMs and mentions, and responding to comments on your tweets.

On a weekly basis, you should focus on broader and more long-term aspects of your marketing strategy.

Your monthly routine should include things that could result in big payoffs down the road.

As such, it largely includes networking with industry influencers, which tends to increase your Twitter reach and visibility.

4. Plan and schedule your Tweets

Compared to a non-chronological network like Facebook, the time of day you post on Twitter matters.

Because if your tweets are posted when your followers aren’t on the platform, those tweets won’t be seen.

And less visibility means less engagement, less traffic, fewer followers.

So the logical solution to this problem is to post when the most users are on the platform.

Recently, Sprout Social compiled data and found that average global engagement on Twitter is highest on Fridays from 9 to 10 AM.

During that time, there are as many as 350,000 tweets sound out per minute.

The problem is that during that time, you’ve simply got more tweets to compete with, too.

That’s where knowing your audience comes in handy.

Different demographic groups have different usage habits when it comes to Twitter.

For instance, there are differences between businesses and consumers.

Twitter content that targets businesses — or B2B content — performs best during business hours.

Content that’s consumer-oriented — or B2C content — performs better on the weekend, according to CoSchedule.

The same study also found that branded content does better overall on Wednesdays.

Branded content like this tweet from Coca-Cola:

So optimal performance on Twitter means knowing your audience and knowing when you can reach them.

Twitter gives you an audience overview right inside the Twitter platform. With this information, you can tailor your content to your audience’s demographics and interests.

Just go to analytics.twitter.com for information about your audience, including what topics they’re into, what type of consumers they are, and even the wireless carriers they’re using.

Additionally, you can use Tweriod to find out which times of day your followers are most active.

Once it has the chance to pull your data from Twitter, you’ll see something like this:

The graph provides a different-colored line for different days, showing you the times and days when you’ll have the most exposure.

In fact, Tweriod leaves no room for error as it will clearly tell you when you should be posting on Twitter.

With this information, you can choose the best times to tweet to your audience for optimal engagement and reach.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXF6OV5s7wk?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

From this point, you can proceed in one of two ways:

You can make sure your daily Twitter routine coincides with your audience’s most active time of day, or you can schedule your tweets to post during that time.

Just know that you need a constant flow of content posting to Twitter, and the best resources to make that happen are readily-available data and possibly a tweet-scheduling app.

5. Make sure there’s value in your tweets

Twitter marketing is like any other type of marketing in that you’ll experience the greatest success with high-quality content.

With so much competition in most industries, great content helps you stand out from the crowd.

Great content is even more important when you’re trying to build your audience on Twitter.

It’s as simple as this:

Good tweets get likes, comments, shares, and followers. Bad tweets don’t.

So what separates a good tweet from a bad tweet?

Value.

Every time you tweet, you must provide value to your audience.

Because when your content is deemed valuable and relevant, your audience is more likely to connect with your brand.

But isn’t value subjective?

Yes, but only to the extent that what’s considered the most ‘valuable’ can vary from one person and demographic to the next.

It’s no lie that people tend to prefer content that’s informative or educational.

This can include an infographic, how-to article, or even current events coverage.

Others put more value on entertainment.

This can include things like memes, gifs, funny videos, or even the actual entertainment industry.

Then there are those who want to be inspired.

Inspirational content largely equates to popular quotes as well as inspirational true stories (weight loss, rescued animals, etc.).

But let’s not forget interactive content.

Interactive content refers to things like polls, quizzes, web browser-based games, etc.

Interactional social media content posted by Buzzfeed brings in more than 75% of all total traffic.

Another common type of content on Twitter is promotional.

Typically, promotional content consists of advertisements, coupons, customer testimonials, etc.

Each of these types of content represents a particular perspective in regards to value.

And when people find value in your tweet, it gets more engagement. That’s just the way it works.

Of course, this is another reason why knowing your audience is important.

You gain a better sense of what they find valuable and can personalize your content accordingly.

6. Pick the right tweet to pin to your profile

Pinning a tweet is like putting a spotlight on that tweet, calling the attention of anyone who visits your Twitter profile.

There are a couple of ways you can approach choosing the right tweet to pin to your profile.

The first strategy is to pin a tweet that has performed particularly well.

If it gained lots of attention from your followers when you initially posted it, the tweet will probably appeal to others who are visiting your profile.

It will certainly get more views and is likely to get more likes, comments, and shares as well.

Since new tweets push older tweets further down in your timeline, your newer followers are unlikely to ever see your best ones.

That would be a real shame.

But pinning a tweet that was well-received by your followers will ensure that profile visitors and potential followers get to see it, too.

It’s also common to pin a tweet that highlights a temporary promotion or an upcoming event that your business is involved with.

When the promotion or event is over, you simply unpin the tweet and pin a new tweet for your next one.

Another strategy for choosing the right tweet to pin is to pick a tweet that promotes your business or brand.

For example, if you tweeted a link to an interview you participated in.

In effect, it’s actually someone else’s promotion of your brand or business, but you’re pinning it to highlight the value that others have placed on what your brand offers.

Another strategy for tweet-pinning is to pick a tweet that contains some sort of call-to-action at the end.

Calls to action are just as great a strategy for tweets as they are for blog posts and long-form content.

You want to make sure the tweet provides real value.

Much like a job interview or a business pitch, a pinned tweet gives you a small opening to make a big impression.

7. Link to your Twitter account on your website and other social media profiles

It may seem counterproductive to be diverting traffic from your website to your Twitter profile.

After all, don’t you want traffic going to your website so they can make a purchase?

But recent surveys have shown that your social media profiles are just as effective for content marketing as your own website.

This makes a lot of sense.

So to a large degree, sending traffic to your website actually gives you more opportunities for conversion.

Of course, you don’t want to simply drop a raw link into the body of your website.

Instead, you should link to your Twitter profile in a way that’s a bit more professional.

It could be as simple as attaching the link to an icon.

If you want something a little fancier, you could even link to your Twitter profile by embedding a tweet into your website or blog:

Simply go to publish.twitter.com where you’ll find options to embed a grid, tweet, timeline, or a button.

All you need to do is copy the link you want to use and paste it into the prompt at the top of the page.

Similarly, you should link to your Twitter profile on other social media.

For example, Facebook gives you the option to include your Twitter username in a specific section of the ‘About’ section on your Page.

It gives any of your Facebook followers who also happen to use Twitter the ability to access your Twitter profile easily.

Because if you have people following you on other social networks, there’s a good chance that any of them using Twitter would want to follow you on that platform, too.

Conclusion

You might think that Facebook is where you should be focusing all of your efforts to build an engaged audience.

But Twitter is an international platform with millions of users. It’s just as valuable (if not more valuable) for racking up an audience.

Getting as many as 10,000 Twitter followers doesn’t have to be hard.

First, you need to optimize your profile. Add a high-quality profile picture, since it’s the first thing people will see when they come across your brand on Twitter.

Complete your bio and don’t forget a header image, too.

Start engaging with your followers by responding to comments, mentions, direct messages, and live chats.

Create a Twitter routine you can stick to. If you aren’t active, your engagement will dip. Make a daily, weekly, or monthly Twitter schedule.

Make sure that what you’re sharing is valuable. Share interactive content, like a poll, quiz, or infographic for best results.

Pin a relevant tweet to your profile. If you have an ongoing promotion or upcoming event, tweet about it and pin it to the top of your page.

Finally, be sure to link your Twitter account to your website and on your other social profiles for maximum exposure.

Each of these pieces of advice would yield substantial growth to your Twitter following.

But when they’re all employed, you stand to see some pretty phenomenal gains and an overall boost in your brand’s performance.

What are your favorite Twitter growth hacks?

The post Hack Your Way to 10,000 Twitter Followers with These 7 Tips appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/bounce-rate-analytics/

Your bounce rate can be such a scary number, right?

It’s common knowledge that a high bounce rate is bad and a low rate is good.

Every time you log into your Google Analytics account, it’s right there waiting for you.

I understand the feeling when you see that number creeping up.

But the problem is that numbers can be misleading.

After all, how high is really too high?

In this post, I’m going to show you how you can fully measure and assess your bounce rate. That way, you’ll know if it’s actually too high for your industry or if it’s perfectly normal.

I’ll share tips and tricks on how to audit your bounce rate and understand what’s driving it up.

I’ll also tell you some of my secrets for lowering your bounce rate.

But first, let’s talk about exactly what a bounce rate is and why you should care.

What is a bounce rate and why does it matter?

A “bounce” occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further with your site. Your bounce rate shows you the percentage of your visitors who bounce off of your site.

By default, Google Analytics considers a visitor to have interacted with your site if they visited at least one additional page.

The bounce rate you see in your overview report on Google Analytics is your site-wide bounce rate.

It’s the average number of bounces across all of your pages divided by the total number of visits across all of those pages within the same period.

You can also track the bounce rate of a single page or a segment or section of your site.

I’ll show you how once we start looking at the different segment reports.

The bounce rate of a single page is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the total number of bounces divided by the total number of visits on a page.

If you run an e-commerce site that also has a blog, you may want to implement a segmented bounce rate.

Why?

Your blog posts may have a very different average bounce rate than your product pages.

We’ll get into the exact details later, but segmenting the two can make your numbers more meaningful when you’re looking at the data.

So, why is bounce rate important?

According to SEMrush, bounce rate is the 4th most important ranking factor on SERPs.

However, according to Search Engine Journal, Google does not use bounce rate in its algorithm metrics.

Can they both be right?

Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Google’s algorithm may not directly take bounce rate into account, but what it signifies is very important to it.

As of 2016, RankBrain was the third-most important ranking factor of Google’s algorithm.

If you’re not familiar with RankBrain, its main purpose is to improve search results for users by better understanding their search intent.

If a user clicks on your page and leaves without any interaction, that could signal to RankBrain that your site isn’t what they’re looking for.

It makes it look like your result doesn’t match the searcher intent well. As a result, RankBrain says, “Maybe this page shouldn’t be so high in the results.”

Can you see how these connect?

If you understand bounce rate properly, it can tell you if your marketing strategy is effective and if your visitors are engaging with your content.

The key is to understand what your “target” is and break down your bounce rate in a way that provides meaning.

What bounce rate is good?

Many different variables determine what a “good” bounce rate is.

Things like your business type, industry, country, and the types of devices your visitors are using all influence what a good average would be for your site.

For instance, Brafton found that the average bounce rate is 58.18%. However, their research shows that bounce rates are higher for B2B businesses than B2C businesses.

These 2017 benchmarks show a wide range of average bounce rates across industries:

If you’re still unsure about the bounce rate you should be targeting, Google Analytics can help you figure it out.

Google Analytics gives you a quick visualization of the average bounce rate for what it believes is your industry. It does this by benchmarking.

First, you need to set up benchmarking in Google Analytics.

Under the admin section, click on “Account Settings” and then check the “Benchmarking” box.

Now you can compare industry averages.

Just navigate to your behavior reports. Click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

You’ll immediately see the average, site-wide bounce rate.

Of course, a site-wide average can be too broad to be a valuable benchmark.

You can drill down further to view section-specific bounce rates.

With either the Content Drilldown Report or the advanced filter feature, you can see the average bounce rates for sections of your site.

For example, now you can compare the industry average for just your blog or product pages.

In the “Audience” section of Google Analytics, go under “Behavior” then “Benchmarking.” Then, select “Channels.”

Now you can choose your vertical and compare whichever time period you want to review.

This should give you a better idea of your website’s bounce rate performance compared to the average by channel.

The chart above compares your channel bounce rate against other Google Analytics accounts or properties in your industry.

If you want to look deeper, you can do so by going into “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Channels.”

Then click the “Comparison” button on the right and filter by “Bounce Rate” to see which channels are above or below average.

You can then dig even deeper into each one for further analysis.

Ultimately, a “good” bounce rate will be different for every site. It may even be different for every page on your site.

I suggest that you simply focus on your bounce rate trends over time and how you can improve the highest ones to boost conversions.

The focus should be on using this metric to find weaknesses in your site. Don’t worry about hitting a magic number.

Now, let’s look at how you can improve your bounce rates.

Modifying bounce rates

Your site-wide bounce rate is too broad to be anything but a vanity metric.

It’s too shallow to provide meaning.

To measure and assess your bounce rate, you need to narrow it down and group it by different variables.

You won’t be able to start lowering your bounce rate until you really understand what’s causing it to be high.

There are a couple of ways that you can modify the bounce rate metric you see in Google Analytics.

As I already mentioned above, the first way is by segmenting your bounce rate.

You can create all sorts of different segments in Google Analytics to better analyze your bounce rate. You can even create custom variables.

We’ll look at nine different segment options that will help you assess and improve your bounce rate.

Segment by age

There are plenty of different demographics that Google Analytics tracks, which allows you to better segment and analyze your site traffic.

One of these is the age range of your visitors.

To look at bounce rate by age range, look under “Audience” and then “Demographics” on the left-hand sidebar. Then, click the “Age” option.

.

The resulting report should look something like this.

Now you can easily see if your bounce rate is higher with a certain age range.

You can see in the example above that seniors (65+) have a much higher rate than the rest of this site’s visitors.

If seniors are part of your ideal target market, make sure that you structure your web pages properly for marketing to them.

For example, avoid using jargon, trendy language, and slang.

Segment by gender

The “Gender” option is just below “Age” on that left-hand menu.

This report tells you your bounce rate for males and females.

You can now easily see if your site is better at retaining one gender over the other.

Gender targeting with tactics such as different language and colors can impact viewing and purchasing behavior.

If you have a higher bounce rate with one gender, make sure you’re not accidentally creating the perception that you’re only targeting the other sex.

Segment by affinity

The next option in the “Audience” section is under “Interests” and then “Affinity Categories.”

This groups bounce rate based on visitor interests.

Check out which affinity categories have the highest bounce rates to see if you’re losing out on key marketing groups.

You can see in the example above that this site is engaging best with business professionals and shutterbugs.

Engagement with music lovers, movie lovers, and green living enthusiasts is the poorest.

This knowledge can now help you better target those groups with your imagery and content.

Segment by location

Still in “Audience,” just under “Interests,” you’ll find the “Geo” section. Within that, you can click on “Location” for another segment report.

First, you’ll see a color-coded map that shows you where most of your visitors come from.

Below that, you’ll see the table version breaking down your visitors by geographic region.

This gives you your bounce rate by country.

In the example above, you can see that Australia and the UK have much higher bounce rates than the other countries.

You can drill further into it to see if there are certain provinces that are engaging worse than others. Then, you can adapt your marketing strategy to target areas where you want to see improvement.

Segment for new visitors

A good segment to check out is the “New Vs. Returning” breakdown. It’s also in the “Audience” section under “Behavior.”

Now you can see if your new visitors are bouncing at a higher rate than your returning visitors.

I would expect your new visitors to have a higher rate.

So, to get more value out of this segment, you can view the acquisition source as a secondary dimension.

Just click on the “Secondary Dimension” drop-down list at the top of the table and select “Source” from the list that appears below.

We’ll talk more about acquisition in a minute.

Segment by browser

The browser breakdown report is a good way to see if you have any technical issues that are causing your visitors to bounce.

In the “Audience” section under “Technology,” select “Browser & OS.”

The report should look like this:

If one browser has a higher bounce rate than the others, that might indicate that you haven’t configured your site well for that browser.

You also need to consider versions of browsers. For example, don’t just check Internet Explorer. Check across versions 8.0, 9.0, and 11.0.

If one has a noticeably higher bounce rate, your site might have bugs or UX issues with that browser.

Even if it’s an outdated browser, you will want to fix the issue if the browser is still bringing you traffic.

Segment by device

Underneath the “Technology” section, you can find the “Mobile” section. Select “Overview” to see your bounce rate across devices.

This will give you a bounce rate comparison between desktop, mobile, and tablet.

If you find out that your bounce rate is significantly higher on mobile or tablet, it may indicate that you haven’t properly optimized your site for those devices.

You can also view the “Devices” report. This further breaks it down by mobile brand and operating system.

If you find, for example, that Apple users are bouncing at a higher rate than Android users, you might have some design issues.

Pay attention to individual device models as well.

Focus on trends and device release dates. For example, you might discover that your bounce rate is fine for Apple devices in general, but it’s too high for the latest models.

This may indicate that your website isn’t compatible with the newest Apple OS.

Segment by acquisition

Now, let’s look at segmentation by acquisition rather than by audience.

Go to “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” and then “Source/Medium” in the left-hand menu.

The table at the bottom of your screen should look like this.

It will show you a breakdown of where all of your traffic is coming from and the associated bounce rates.

Take a look at the sources that have the highest bounce rates to see if there’s a trend.

Here’s an example where you can see that the paid advertising campaigns have a much higher bounce rate:

Either your advertising targeting is too broad, or your landing pages are not lining up very well with your ads, resulting in a higher bounce rate.

Segment by landing page

The final option we’ll discuss is segmentation by landing pages.

In the left-hand menu under “Behavior,” click on “Site Content” and then “Landing Pages.”

The resulting table shows you a breakdown of your landing pages and their average bounce rates.

You might find that one page has a much higher bounce rate than the others.

Visit that page and look for any design problems or issues that might be making it less effective than the others.

Make sure you haven’t forgotten any key steps to optimize your landing pages for conversions.

Now that you know the different ways that you can segment your site traffic, I’ll show you how you can create adjusted bounce rates.

You can adjust what Google Analytics considers an interaction. This will directly impact your bounce rate.

For example, you might feel that a visitor has interacted on your site if they watched a video.

In Google Analytics, you have the option to set an event like playing a video, clicking a button, or completing a download as an interaction.

Then, users who complete these “events” will no longer count toward your bounce rate.

However, you need to careful with this. Make sure that automated events don’t skew your results.

If you’ve set up your videos to play automatically, you need don’t want to count video views as interactions.

The simple way to modify how Google records interactions is by sending events into your Google Analytics that tell you when a user spends a certain amount of time on a page, scrolls through a certain percentage of a page, or sees a specific element a the page.

You can send events from Google Tag Manager:

1. Adjust your bounce rate through scroll percentage events

The “Scroll Depth” trigger allows you to create custom events based on how far a visitor scrolls down a page.

First, you need to create a new tag.

Then, name your tag, select “Universal Analytics” for tag type and choose “Event” for the track type.

Next, you need to type in the event category and event action.

To get the action, simply click the small plus sign beside the field and select “Page Path.”

For the event label, pick “Scroll Depth Threshold.”

If you don’t see this option available, go to your “Built-In Variables” screen and enable the scrolling variables:

Now, select “Non-interaction Event” as “False,” and add in your UA tracking ID .

If you’ve completed all of those fields, it should look like this:

For this tag, I recommend setting the scroll to 75% of the page. That means that Google will consider a visitor to have interacted on your site if they scroll 75% of the way through the page.

Make sure you’ve selected “Scroll Depth” as the trigger type. Then, in percentages, put down “75 percent”.

Once done, you can save, preview, debug, and then publish.

2. Adjust your bounce rate through the timer function

You can also decide that Google should consider a visitor to have interacted on a page if they spend a minimum amount of time on it.

Create a new tag and give it a name, such as “UA — Adjusted Bounce Rate — Timer.”

You can choose the length of time that you want to start with. I suggest trying 30 seconds.

To do this, add a new trigger and name it “Timer — 30 seconds”.

The interval is in milliseconds. So, for 30 seconds, you need to put enter “30000.”

Select a limit of one. Then, in the conditions section, set it for “Page URL matches RegEx*.”

This will make it so that Google Analytics includes all of your pages in the tracking.

Make sure you save, preview, and debug before publishing.

Other methods for decreasing bounce rate

Here are some more ways to see where visitors are bouncing and how you can use that information to boost conversions.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shbhQfbfFgA?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Review top exit pages

Another report you should check out is your top exit page report.

You can find it right below the landing pages report in the left-hand menu.

This report will show you which pages people most often abandon your website from.

Take a look at your top traffic pages and compare your bounce rate and your exit rate.

This will show you who’s landing directly on that page and bouncing versus who’s arriving there from an internal link and exiting.

It can help you narrow down where you should spend your time testing and making improvements on your site.

Review in-page analytics

Another great report within Google Analytics is the in-page analytics report.

This is only available now via a Chrome plugin, but it is still very useful.

As you can see below, the report allows you to see the click-through rate for every link on a web page.

This is a great way to evaluate a landing page, but it can be useful for any content on your site, including your homepage.

It will allow you to see which links in your content people are clicking on and which ones they skip right over.

This will help you determine which anchor texts you should reword or which calls-to-action you need to improve.

View Page Timings

Your pages may have high abandonment because they’re too slow.

You can check this with the Page Timings report.

In the “Behavior” section of the left-hand menu, click “Site Speed” and then “Page Timings.”

The report will tell you how fast each page on your site is loading.

You can sort by number of page views and average page speed. That way, you can start improving your pages with the highest traffic yet slowest load times first.

It also shows you your overall site average speed.

In light of Google’s Speed Update that’s coming in July, site speed is becoming increasingly important. But even apart from that, it’s critical for improving bounce rates.

For example, the average page speed above means that our bounce rate is 123% higher than it could be.

Google Analytics Site Speed reports

You can check out the other Site Speed reports for further analysis and options for improving your site speed.

The Speed Suggestions report will not only indicate potential issues but also give you useful advice on how to resolve them, such as prioritizing visible content.

Utilize A/B testing

Throughout all of these report checks, you are hopefully pinpointing some specific areas you need to target for improvements.

It’s difficult to guarantee which changes will improve your bounce rate the most.

For instance, you may have identified a weak landing page. But what do you need to do to improve it?

Do you need to make it longer? Do you need a different call-to-action? What will increase your conversion rate?

A/B testing is a great way to test your improvement strategies.

It allows you to test things like different call-to-action wording, different landing page designs, and different target audiences.

A/B testing will make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t since it allows you to show one version of your website to half of your visitors and another version to the other half.

Just make sure you set a clear goal for your testing and follow the correct steps.

To better understand your A/B test results, you can also use a significance calculator.

Make your pages easy to read

It’s easy to forget such a simple aspect of your pages, but readability is important.

There are lots of free tools that allow you to check the readability of your content and your website like the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Be mindful of your font size and type, your sentence and paragraph length, and the amount of white space on the page.

Use subheadings and break your content up into chunks.

Also, consider other elements on your page that might be distracting like your color choices and ad placements.

Include clear CTAs and consider their placements

A great way to get people to engage and convert is by using compelling calls-to-action.

A call-to-action should compel someone to do something such as sign up for a newsletter or purchase a product.

There are many ways to improve your call-to-action buttons. Consider your copy, color, button size, placement on the page, and so much more.

Apple suggests making sure that all CTA buttons are at least 44 pixels tall.

 

Use videos and images to engage your audience

Humans are visual creatures.

We love imagery. We also retain it better.

If you hear something or read something, the chances are good that you’ll only remember 10% of it three days later. However, if you see a picture, you’re likely to remember 65% of it.

Adding images and videos is a great way to get your audience engaged with your content.

Short, catchy videos are increasing in popularity, and they can boost engagement.

Infographics are also effective at drawing your visitors in.

In fact, over 41% of marketers said that infographics were their most engaging form of visual content.

If you find that your audience isn’t engaging with a certain page, you may simply need to add more images, videos, and infographics.

Offer live chat support

Live chat is the fastest method for offering customer service support.

If people come to your page and don’t immediately find exactly what they want, live chat can help engage them before they give up and try the next site.

There are lots platforms out there today that can help you set up live chat services, such as Intercom.

Live chat is one of the best tools you can implement on your website this year to decrease bounce and boost conversions.

Conclusion

Analyzing and improving your bounce rate can be intimidating.

But improving your bounce rate means a more engaged audience and more conversions.

If you follow the steps I’ve outlined in this post, you should see your bounce rate decrease in no time.

First, understand what a “good” bounce rate really is and narrow down your analysis to pinpoint exactly what your bounce rate metrics are telling you.

Remember that a site-wide bounce rate is simply a vanity metric. It’s too broad to provide actionable information.

Focus on the different segment reports and your other analytics tools to dive into the data.

Check out your top exit pages, page timings, and speed reports to understand what might be causing your bounce rates to be high.

To help people engage with your content, be sure to improve your site’s readability, add imagery, optimize your CTAs, and use live chat.

Do some A/B testing to see what works best for you and your audience.

Monitor your reports with each change to see where and how you’re improving

Remember: There is no magic number that you’re trying to hit.

The goal is to simply keep improving and offering your customers a better, more engaging experience.

What tools and tricks do you use to monitor and improve your bounce rate?

The post Bounce Rate Analytics: How to Measure, Assess, and Audit to Increase Conversions appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

9 Expert Insights to Increase Your Organic Reach on Facebook

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/facebook-organic-reach/

You’re probably already using Facebook to engage with your audience.

The platform has established itself as indispensable within the social media marketing industry with 62% of marketers naming it as the most important one in their strategies.

But while 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly, 40% say they’re unsure whether their efforts are working.

And that’s becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer.

Because Facebook’s recent algorithm update prioritizes posts from friends and family, less content from business pages is showing up in users’ News Feeds.

In fact, Facebook Ads expert Jon Loomer warns that measuring only actual, viewable impressions, as opposed to News Feed ticks, could see reach decline by up to 20%.

And as organic reach drops, ad rates continue to skyrocket — increasing by 35% in the last quarter of 2017 alone.

So with organic reach on the decline and advertising becoming more expensive than ever, reaching your audience on the platform isn’t as easy as it used to be.

But it also isn’t impossible.

Fortunately, Facebook offers a comprehensive set of analytics reports for business page owners.

And in this post, you’ll learn nine ways to gather actionable data from these reports, then use that insight to increase your organic reach.

Why organic reach matters

There’s been a continual decline in average organic Facebook page reach over the past few years.

And while that may not be news if you’ve been following the social media marketing industry, there was a more drastic drop from 2016 to 2017.

This means that marketers across the board are reaching fewer of their followers with the content they post.

But why does this matter?

Can’t you just spend some money and boost your posts so that they reach more users?

That would be the obvious solution — but personally, I don’t recommend it as an alternative to working on your organic reach.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj3VF2bx2s4?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Boosting posts, even with a well-executed strategy, is a temporary approach. Once you stop paying, you stop getting results.

Plus, the posts you boost will typically involve directing users to informational content on your site.

And while that can help you earn traffic, that traffic doesn’t generally convert at a high rate — meaning that the ROI you see will likely be low.

So while boosting posts is an effective way to generate a spike in traffic to a page on your site, it ultimately won’t lead to long-term results.

Achieving and maintaining strong organic reach, on the other hand, can boost your lead generation efforts.

And, having a strong organic reach, can contribute to your sales funnel — making it a much better goal for your Facebook marketing strategy.

How to access Facebook Insights

To access the data that Facebook provides on your business’s results, you’ll first need to navigate to your page and select “Insights” from the menu bar.

The main dashboard shows a summary of the previous seven days.

This summary includes data for your total actions on page, pageviews, page previews, page likes, page reach, and page recommendations.

It essentially gives a general overview of your weekly performance, as well as how that performance compares to the previous week.

From here, you can click any of these summaries to access more detailed information or scroll down to see data for your five most recent posts.

This section will show the date and time of each post, the post’s type and caption, as well as the reach and engagement achieved.

The reach metric will also display both organic and boosted numbers if you paid to promote any of your posts listed over the previous seven days.

Finally, your dashboard will also display weekly performance summaries of up to five pages that you’ve designated as “Pages to Watch.”

This feature is designed to help you easily compare your page’s performance with your competitors’ pages.

You can add up to five pages to track. Then this report will display each one’s total page likes as well as their increase in page likes, total posts, and total engagements.

How to use Facebook Insights to increase your reach

So, reaching your audience with organic content is essential for achieving significant results with Facebook.

But if your current approach is just to share links to new content whenever you publish it on your site, it’s unlikely you’ll see the kind of organic reach you want.

Success on the platform requires careful strategy and planning.

And when you use Facebook’s built-in reporting feature, Insights, you can learn valuable data about your audience.

This data will help you create a strategy tailored to their interests and browsing habits.

So if you’re looking to improve your results on the platform, here are nine ways to use Facebook Insights to measure your performance and improve it moving forward.

1. Use the Likes, Comments, and Shares report to identify high-performing content

One of the most popular metrics amongst Facebook marketers is reach.

You can access this data by selecting the “Reach” tab from the column on the left of the page.

Here you’ll see a report showing how many people saw content from your page on any given day.

This is a helpful report for getting a general idea of how many people read or saw your posts over a given time period.

But it doesn’t show which content they saw or whether any of those people engaged with it.

Of course, you can use this graph to identify any spikes in reach, then use those spikes as a starting point for digging deeper into your reports.

In that regard, it makes sense to glance at this report whenever you check in on your page’s results.

But you can’t draw definitive or actionable conclusions from it.

After all, your goal isn’t just to know what your organic reach is — it’s to increase that number.

And one of the best ways to do that is to focus on creating more engaging content.

When a post does well in terms of engagement, this signals to Facebook that users find it interesting. As a result, they’ll distribute that post to even more users.

This means that to achieve high organic reach, you need to create content that generates engagement from your audience.

And you can access this data in the Reactions, Comments, Shares, and More report.

Instead of focusing on reach, this report will help you identify the days on which your content sparked the most reactions among your audience.

Again, this report doesn’t show individual posts — so looking at this data alone won’t tell you which content generated a high number of likes, comments, or shares.

But once you’ve identified days on which your page saw high engagement numbers, you can use that insight to narrow in on specific posts.

This can serve as a starting point for identifying high-performing content.

Plus, you can use it to gauge your overall engagement levels over time.

And while many Facebook marketers mistakenly focus on reach, making engagement-related metrics a priority will give you a much more accurate idea of what you’re doing well.

2. Use the Posts report to compare individual posts

After you’ve used page-wide metrics to get a general idea of your Facebook results, you can use the Posts report to learn more about the performance of individual posts.

Under the Posts tab, scroll down to “All Posts Published.”

This report will list each of your recently-published posts individually, as well as the post’s type, targeting, reach, and engagement.

With this data, you can easily identify the top-performing posts on your page for any given time period.

Here again, though, you’ll want to focus on engagement instead of reach alone.

This is especially important when you consider what this metric really indicates. Every time one of your posts appears in a user’s News Feed, it adds to your reach count.

And when you think about your own browsing habits, the problem becomes apparent.

Many of us tend to scroll mindlessly through our feeds, only stopping when something catches our attention.

And if this is the kind of “reach” you’re generating, it means very little for your business.

If users don’t stop to read your content, their view is essentially useless.

When a user likes, comments on, or shares one of your posts, however, you can be confident that they spent at least a few seconds with your content.

This makes these metrics more reliable indicators of a post’s success. Plus, they can give you a better understanding of which types of content are most interesting to your audience.

Then, you can use this insight to create more of the content they like — leading to more engagement for your page and improving your overall organic reach.

3. Use the Post Types report to learn what your audience wants

Another helpful data set within the Posts section of Insights is the “Post Types” report.

This will show the performance of your most recent posts. But instead of displaying them individually, it shows data based on different types of posts.

When you publish content to your page, you can either post it in the form of a photo, status, link, offer, or video.

This report will show which of those types tend to resonate best with your audience.

After all, every audience is different.

And while visual content performs best on social media, you won’t know for sure if that’s because of your followers or other types of content they prefer until you dig into your own data.

Of course, as a caveat, it’s important to note that the actual content in these posts can have an impact on your followers’ responses.

So if you’ve only published one or two posts within the reporting period, your data may be skewed based on their content.

As a result, this report is most helpful when you’ve been publishing new posts on a regular basis.

But once it’s had enough time to collect significant data, you can use it to shape your content calendar and overall strategy.

The more you post the type of content your audience likes to see, the more effective you’ll be at generating engagement and reaching your goals on the platform.

4. Identify what’s working for your competitors

Looking at post performance is a great way to gauge what your audience wants to see more of. But it’s important to remember that you aren’t limited to monitoring your own content.

Much like with virtually every other form of digital marketing, doing a bit of competitor research is a great way to improve your own strategy.

And Facebook makes that process easy, as long as you know who your competitors are.

From the Posts tab, select “Top Posts from Pages You Watch.”

This report shows data from pages you’ve identified as competitors. And if you haven’t done so yet, you can add to it by selecting the “Add Pages” button at the top of the report.

Then, you’ll see the top content from each of the pages you’ve chosen to monitor in terms of engagement.

The report also includes direct links to each post, making it easy to see the exact content that’s working for your competitors.

Assuming that your audience shares similarities with the audiences of the pages you’ve chosen to monitor, this can be an extremely valuable insight for your business.

Spend some time investigating which post types are working for other businesses in your industry, what kinds of topics they’re posting about, and the tone and style that they use.

Of course, you should never attempt to replicate another company’s strategy directly.

But this is a great way to learn how to most effectively connect with your audience — so that you can create a clearer plan for your own approach.

5. Learn when your fans are online

Many Facebook page admins struggle to identify the best times to post on social media.

If you spend time creating content, you want to make sure that your audience actually sees it — and timing can play a big role in that.

Fortunately, determining when your audience is online doesn’t need to be a game of guesswork.

Facebook provides all of this data under the Posts tab. Simply select “When Your Fans Are Online” from the menu at the top of the report.

Here, you’ll see data from the previous week, showing your total number of fans active on each day of the week.

Then, once you select a day, you can see how many users were active during each hourly interval based on your local time zone.

With this report, there’s no need to guess when you should be posting to reach your audience.

Create a schedule based on when you know they’re most active online, and you can be confident that you aren’t missing any opportunities simply because of timing issues.

6. Use the Net Followers report to track your audience’s growth

Your organic reach depends on many different factors, the most notable of which is Facebook’s algorithm.

But your posts will only ever show up in the feeds of users who’ve chosen to follow you — meaning that your potential organic reach is limited to that number of users.

That means that it’s important to keep an eye on your audience’s growth.

Fortunately, this is an easy metric to monitor using the “Net Followers” report, which you can find under the Followers tab.

While many page managers focus solely on their total number of followers, that metric doesn’t tell the whole story.

When it comes to growing a page, retaining your current followers is just as important as earning new ones.

And this report can show you how you’re doing in that regard.

Plus, if you’re losing followers, this can help you learn why.

If you notice a significant number of unfollowers on a specific day, you’ll want to take a look at what you posted that day.

This can give some insight as to what kinds of content your audience doesn’t like.

This way, you can avoid publishing the kinds of content that cost your page followers — and continue to grow your audience.

7. Use the Actions on Page report to see how Facebook drives important business goals

As with any marketing channel, your goal with Facebook marketing isn’t simply to generate attention on the platform itself.

Ultimately, you want your efforts to translate into meaningful results for your business.

And fortunately, some businesses have seen these types of results remain consistent — or even increase — despite the overall decrease in average page reach.

For example, in one Scribewise study, the company saw a 67% increase in site traffic due to Facebook from December 2017 to January 2018.

So while many social media marketers were panicking about drops in reach, their results actually improved for a more meaningful metric than how often they appear in users’ News Feeds.

And the data in the Actions on Page tab can help you gauge whether your Facebook marketing campaigns are making an impact.

This report shows whether users are taking actions that translate into off-page results.

Actions like asking for directions to your business, clicking your phone number, visiting your website, or clicking the action button on your header.

Depending on your business and social media marketing strategy, not all of these actions will be relevant.

For example, if you’re running an e-commerce store, you wouldn’t expect your followers to ask for directions.

But you would want them to visit your website or click an action button that directs them to shop — and this report is where you can see whether they’re taking those steps.

So to make the most of this report, you’ll first need to determine what kind of action you’re hoping to drive with your page.

And if you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to create a custom action button. This will show up in your page’s header and direct visitors to take a step that’s important to your business.

Click “Add Button,” and you’ll be prompted to select from a pre-set list of button types.

You can opt to direct users to book an appointment, contact you, visit a specific page on your site, shop or make a donation, or download an app or game.

Once you’ve added your button, you’ll be able to track how many users click it in the Actions on Page report.

This will give you a clearer idea of how your Facebook strategy is contributing to your overall marketing goals.

8. Use Video Insights to monitor performance

Today, video is one of the best ways to engage Facebook users. In fact, 12 of the 14 most viral Facebook posts in 2017 were videos.

Facebook has even explicitly stated that video generates more engagement.

It’s clearly a compelling medium — so it should come as no surprise that 81% of marketers are using it as part of their strategies.

And videos don’t have to be complicated or involve high production values to generate results, either.

Just take a look at how Inspiralized uses videos created with Instagram’s Boomerang feature to attract their audience’s attention:

So if you’re not using video yet as part of your strategy, there’s no reason not to try publishing a few simple posts and see how your audience responds.

Then, once you do, Facebook’s Video Insights are a great way to monitor your performance.

Click the Video tab, and you’ll first see an overview of your page’s Video Views.

This report counts each time a user watches three seconds or more of one of your videos as a view.

But if you scroll a little farther down the page, you’ll also see a report showing only views of ten or more seconds.

If your video is less than ten seconds, Facebook will instead use this report to show users who watch 97% of it.

Either way, this report is an excellent way to see which of your videos are effective in engaging your audience.

If a user spends ten or more seconds watching your content, they’re clearly interested — and that means a lot more than the type of view included in the standard reach metric.

From here, you can also click any video to access more data about that individual post.

This data includes peak live viewers, average watch time, and total minutes viewed.

9. Learn who your followers are

The more you know about your followers, the more effective you’ll be in creating content that’s relevant to their needs and interests.

You can access Facebook’s data about who follows your page by navigating to the People tab, then selecting “Your Followers.”

It’s important to note that by default, Facebook will show data on your fans, not your followers.

And while you’ll often see these terms used interchangeably, there’s an important distinction to make.

Fans “like” your page, but may have opted not to see your posts in their feeds. Followers, on the other hand, have indicated that they want to see your content.

That means that while these audiences may be extremely similar, followers are a better indicator of who’s seeing and interacting with your posts.

Conclusion

Engaging your audience on Facebook is no longer as simple as remembering to publish a new post once or twice a week.

But using the reports above, you can gain valuable insight into your audience’s interests and browsing habits.

Focus on engagement rather than reach because someone who is engaging with your content is more likely to buy than someone who just scrolled past it on their News Feed.

Compare post types and individual posts to see what’s working for you. Then check out what’s working for your competitors.

Once you know what types of content your audience likes, find out when they’re online and post at peak times so they actually see it.

And don’t forget video. It’s one of the best ways to engage your audience.

Try a few video posts and see how your audience responds.

Finally, track your audience growth and business goals to make sure your content is connecting.

When you shape your strategy around what they want to see, you’ll be much more successful in achieving the reach and engagement you want.

Which metrics do you find most helpful when monitoring your Facebook marketing success?

The post 9 Expert Insights to Increase Your Organic Reach on Facebook appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

How to Measure Individual Link and CTA Clicks On Each of Your Blog Posts

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/blog-call-to-action/

Everyone wants to build a high-converting CTA for their website that makes them tons of money.

But the reality is that while a single element of your site may be the focal point, it’s not the only part that leads visitors to make a purchase.

Often, a visitor will come to your site multiple times before they decide to buy or initiate any meaningful interaction with your brand.

So the real question is, how do you track those people and optimize your content so that you can still capture them in your sales funnel?

That means you shouldn’t just focus on the big CTAs. You should also focus on how elements like links and “smaller” CTAs perform on your blog posts.

But that requires a lot more effort on your part and will likely require some solid justification.

Is tracking individual links and CTA clicks worth it?

And how do you even accomplish that?

I want to help answer those questions for you in a way that will help you grow in the long run.

So let’s start by tackling that first question – is all of this worth it?

Do individual clicks really matter?

Think of all of the different elements on a blog post.

Just to name a few, you have internal links, external links, images, CTAs, social sharing buttons, and comments.

When you consider how all of these elements work together to create a cohesive blog post, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by how many moving pieces there are.

And then you have to answer one very important question:

Which of these elements is actually being clicked and contributing to the overall “macro” click-through rates and revenue?

When it comes to optimizing your website, click-through rates are the metric that marketers look toward to help evaluate the overall profitability of a page.

And depending on what you’re selling, your click-through rates will vary drastically.

But knowing click-through rates for a page as a whole is a very dense metric.

It shows end behavior, but it doesn’t tell you anything helpful about how each element of the page contributes to the final click-through metric.

That means you’re getting a very limited picture of your customer’s actual experience on your blog.

So when it comes to getting valuable data about your click-throughs, you have to start with an understanding that links and CTAs contribute to the overall customer experience.

Customer experience focuses on how users interact with your website.

If they have a good experience, they’re more likely to turn into happy customers.

Happy customers are easier to retain, promote your brand more, and ultimately buy more from your business.

But if you don’t know which elements of your content are contributing or detracting from your customer experience, you’ll never be able to create the kind of blog posts that truly bring conversions.

And content is a vital part of every phase of proving ROI when it comes to customer experience:

So individual links and CTAs on your blog post are a matter of your customer’s lifetime value.

And knowing the rate at which each individual element of a blog post is clicked can help in a variety of cases.

For one, it will directly benefit your CTAs and links that are goal-oriented.

If you have a CTA for a product or service in a blog post that isn’t getting clicks, it may be because your visitors are getting distracted by other links or elements on the page.

Not knowing what’s actually getting clicked will leave you in the dark though.

And if your brand relies on affiliate links to help share content and increase your brands reach, then not knowing how many clicks you get will make it impossible to divvy up revenue appropriately.

So there are layers to individual link and CTA tracking that are certainly worth your time, attention, and investment.

Your goal is to find a way to track these clicks and actions on your blog posts so that your content, links, and CTAs all work together to help elevate your sales.

And that means starting with copy that converts.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2L6eRObBqw?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Then, you need to start building an understanding of which actions drive your marketing efforts.

This will help you track ROI and improve in the future.

But as with everything else in business, budget, time, and your own expertise play a role.

It can be daunting to know where to start.

But thankfully, there’s a one-stop-shop answer on where to start, and I want to share it with you in this post.

The answer you’re looking for is to find a solid reporting system that will let you track and attribute clicks appropriately.

Finding a reporting system

When it comes to finding a reporting system that will allow you to track individual link and CTA clicks, you’re really looking at two options:

An overlay report system
A direct link-tracking system

Overlay report systems are typically more robust, collect deeper analytics, and provide you with more actionable data based on overall user behavior.

A link-tracking system will be more lightweight but will still able to give you useful insight on your link and CTA clicks.

I want to show you a couple of options for both of these systems.

Whichever one you pick, you can start using it to collect insightful data and optimize your customer experience on your blog.

First up is a very robust overlay system that can start providing value immediately.

Option #1: Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a premium service that allows business owners to create helpful overlay reports on their website.

These overlay reports show a variety of helpful data points that allow you to assess quickly where your blog post is getting clicks.

For example, one of the most popular overlay reports they offer is a simple heatmap of user behavior on your site.

This gives you a visual representation of where users are actually interacting with your blog post.

Every time a user clicks, it creates a spot on your heat map that gives you insight into their intent.

And if that’s not enough information for you, you can also switch over to a confetti overlay to find out where your visitors are coming from.

This lets you not only see where users are clicking, but it gives you insight into which geographical location tends to use different elements of your site.

For example, you can break down your users into visitors from the United States versus the United Kingdom.

If they behave differently, you can use this tool to optimize your posts for a wider variety of audiences in the future.

And then if you want to take it even deeper, you can record user sessions on your site to see their scrolling behavior, clicks, and much more.

That means you’ll never be in the dark about how people are actually using your site.

You can track clicks and optimize your site from the data you gather.

And if you doubt whether this could work for you, you should know that plenty of brands have used this successfully,

For example, Nurse.com made good use of Crazy Egg’s platform according to one case study they’ve shared.

They were able to analyze the elements of their blog posts where users were attempting to click.

In the end, they found some competing CTAs and a non-clickable area that was getting lots of clicks.

More importantly, they discovered that no one was actually going through and clicking on the links in their copy.

Using the data they gathered from Crazy Egg, they revitalized their blog and saw an impressive 15.7% increase in sales.

If they hadn’t taken the time to see where users were actually clicking, they would never have been able to optimize the user experience accurately.

I’ve even used Crazy Egg on my own website with impressive results.

I started by analyzing the different clicks on my site and seeing what people were actually interested in.

Using this data, I was able to revitalize my CTA and strategically place links so that users would be more likely to click on them.

The result is that I saw an almost 24% increase in form submissions when I used this tool on my own website.

So using Crazy Egg as a tool to help you track the clicks on your CTAs and individual links is a great option that will allow you to optimize and grow your blog’s engagement.

It’s not the only overlay tool around, though.

So I want to show you another option that will help you just the same.

Option #2: Visual Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer, or VWO, is another overlay report tool that lets you analyze the individual performance of your links and CTAs visually.

Much like Crazy Egg, VWO allows you to create recordings of individual sessions on your site.

This lets you see exactly where users are scrolling and clicking and even provides a traceable line to show you your user’s progression over time.

This helps you know if your user is really reading your content or just skimming to see what you have to offer.

VWO also offers dynamic heatmaps to help you dive further into user behavior and track individual clicks.

Again, these are very similar in functionality and application to the heatmaps used by Crazy Egg.

But in addition to the insightful heat mapping, VWO also tracks and reports on the various clicks your users make on both your links and your page as a whole:

This includes some helpful element list breakdowns that show which parts of your blog post are getting what percentage of the clicks:

So all things considered, there’s a lot going on with VWO that you can track, analyze, and optimize for.

By utilizing the tools it has to offer, you can quickly and effectively discover any pain points in your blog content that are pushing users away.

And since VWO offers a free month to let you try out the platform, you can start using it without a commitment to see if it works for you.

Once you’ve set up an account, simply input a blog post’s URL and start using their system to see what it has to offer.

You’ll find that the process is fairly intuitive, and you won’t have to look far to find the different heatmaps and settings that VWO uses.

But again, don’t just take my word when it comes to these overlay systems.

There are plenty of examples of brands using a platform like VWO to help track link clicks and grow their content in the long run.

Take CORGI Homeplan, for example.

The UK-based insurance company felt their site wasn’t performing as it should.

They used the scroll maps, recordings, and heatmaps VWO offers to create experiments on their site that drastically changed the look and feel of it.

Here’s the original site:

And, after much testing, here’s the site design that they ended up settling on:

On the surface, these look like minor changes.

They swapped out a few colors and changed their header a bit but otherwise left most elements unchanged.

But these changes saw a 30.9% increase in conversions.

And all of them were based on changes that VWO gave the insight for.

Without a doubt, overlay reports can be valuable to a brand that wants to shake up their content and track which links and CTAs are actually performing.

But as previously mentioned, overlay reports aren’t the only option.

So next, let’s look at a couple of link tracking options that are much more lightweight but still practical.

Option #3: Google Analytics

It may surprise you to learn that Google Analytics actually allows you to track link clicks on your site in a way that lets you fine-tune your copy and increase your overall click-through rates.

You can find file downloads, video engagement, external and internal link clicks, and even email link clicks all under the Behavior tab in your Analytics.

Start by clicking on your Behavior tab, then select the events and overview options.

Under the Event Category section, you can see how often links are being clicked in relation to other events that you’ve set your Analytics to track.

And when you look a little further, you’ll find a more detailed breakdown of which links received clicks on your blog post.

Compared to the overlay reports we’ve been looking at, this information is pretty basic.

You get a breakdown of which links get clicks, but it’s not quite the same level of in-depth user behavior analysis that overlays offer.

But for a marketer on a tighter budget, this information can still be used to your benefit.

When links or CTAs aren’t receiving clicks according to Google, you can still conduct experiments on your site to see if they improve your results.

Even conducting A/B tests over time with this data can yield good results.

Another way you could potentially use Google Analytics to track links and CTA clicks was recently shared by Amanda Gant from Orbit Media.

She tracked a campaign using Google’s URL Builder and saw some pretty impressive results.

Using these links, she created campaigns around her content that Google Analytics was able to track.

If she emailed a link in a newsletter, or if a visitor to her site clicked on a link tracked by this campaign, Analytics would be able to give her direct feedback.

At the end of her campaign, Analytics also broke down the performance of each link:

Once again, this is surface-level information about which links are getting clicked, but it’s still helpful.

Analytics allows you to know whether or not your links and CTAs are actually getting clicks, which helps you determine where you need to focus your optimization efforts.

But Google Analytics isn’t the only option available if you just want basic link tracking.

And that brings us to our final link-tracking option.

Option #4: Bitly

There’s a good chance that you may have seen Bitly before and it’s just flown under your radar.

But if you’ve ever clicked on a URL through social media that starts with a bit.ly address, you’ve used Bitly before.

Or at least, you’ve experienced a brand that uses them.

Bitly is a URL-shortening service that tends to target social media marketers who want to save character space on their posts.

Before Twitter transitioned over from 140 characters to 280, many brands used Bitly to create shorter links to include in their posts.

All you had to do was input your URL and Bitly would give you a URL that contained fewer characters.

Bitly now offers tracking capabilities so you know how often your links are getting clicked, which makes them much more useful to a general marketing audience.

And since it works well on both browsers and mobile devices, it’s the perfect tool to help you track link and CTA clicks on any page of your website.

[vimeo 170191890 w=700 h=394]

Using Bitly is fairly simple.

Start by signing up for a free account.

Once you get to your dashboard, you’ll notice in the top-right corner there’s a drop-down menu that says “Create.”

If you’re using the free service, you’ll only be able to select the Create Bitlink option.

That’s OK because a Bitlink is really all you need to get started tracking your URLs.

In the menu that appears, input the URL of the link or CTA that you want to track.

Bitly will give you a customized link using their bit.ly format that you can then copy and paste into your blog post or CTA.

Once you’ve inserted the new URL, Bitly will track the clicks on that individual link for you and provide some basic analytics that let you assess your overall performance.

To show you what that looks like, I went ahead and gave myself a click on my Bitly URL.

You’ll get a breakdown of the day, time, and number of clicks that your link or CTA is getting without having to wade through any additional data.

So again, while this isn’t as in-depth as an overlay report, you can still use this as a method of checking your individual link and CTA performance on your blog.

And it’s been successfully used by many popular brands, like Beats by Dre.

They started using Bitly to help them share branded shortened URLs and track their link clicks.

By using these shortened URLs to track performance, they were able to change up their content and achieve a 34% increase in click-through rates on their site.

It may require a bit more manual inputting of these Bitly links, but the results can certainly be worth it if you want to maintain a low budget for your link-tracking efforts.

Conclusion

Clicks matter.

If you can’t correctly determine which links and CTAs are getting clicks in your content, there’s no way to accurately know if your content is doing what it’s supposed to.

And more importantly, there’s no way to actually create insightful experiments that lead to growth.

And with internal links and CTAs contributing to your overall customer experience, this could mean the difference between a successful website and one that simply doesn’t perform.

To help you track links, you can either use an overlay reporting system or a link tracker.

Both have their pros and cons, but will ultimately provide you with actionable information.

Overlay reports from sites like Crazy Egg and Visual Website Optimizer can help you discover and analyze actual user behavior on your site.

Link-tracking systems like Bitly or those native to Google Analytics will give you less specific data, but can still empower you to create experiments that lead to growth.

Whichever option you use, the ability to track links can help your brand grow and your content thrive.

What methods do you use to track clicks on links and CTAs for your site?

The post How to Measure Individual Link and CTA Clicks On Each of Your Blog Posts appeared first on Neil Patel.

0

Redefining Facebook Marketing: It’s All About Relationships

sourced from: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/facebook-marketing-new-policy/

Earlier this year, Facebook rocked the world with an announcement by CEO Mark Zuckerberg

This year, the social media platform is refocusing on its core purpose, “to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.”

Facebook is putting their customers above their own profit agenda.

He even changed his assignment to product teams “from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Sounds great. Until you put it together with another announcement that Facebook “will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.”

What do they mean by engagement bait?

Here, Facebook is talking about any post that asks people to like, share, or leave a comment in order get something in return. Keep in mind, that “something” doesn’t have to be a free download. It may also be the chance to log your vote, finding your true love, or entry in a contest…

Source: Facebook

Why is this a big deal? And why are these announcements so important to Facebook marketers?

These announcements reflect a significant change at Facebook.

Read between the lines of Zuckerberg’s announcement, and you’ll see that Facebook is putting their customers above their own profit agenda.

But here’s the rub. By default, this impacts the profit agenda of every business that uses Facebook for distribution and promotion.

So, what’s a marketer to do?

Let’s take a closer look at how Facebook’s new policy and refocus impacts marketers and what you need to do to benefit from Facebook’s new mindset.

Remember, It’s Just Business

While we all understand Zuckerberg’s changes are meant to give users a better experience, Facebook’s policy updates rarely give businesses the best experience.

That said, these changes aren’t as big or as bad as you might think.

Facebook has always had a strict Terms of Service. There have always been policies that implicitly or explicitly prohibited certain behaviors. Some of them may have seemed clear when they were first created, but over time, they realized they weren’t easy to enforce or even to explain.

These new policies fill in the gaps, replacing vague terms with more explicit ones, and clarifying others.

Why does Facebook care? Why continually make these types of changes?

Basically, Facebook is a business. They only want us, marketers, using their platform to help them provide a good user experience.

It’s the reason for every algorithm and policy change they’ve ever made.

You see, their success depends on people coming back to the platform every day. So Facebook has created features (the “Like” button, for instance) that give them data about…

What users like
Don’t like
Who their friends are
And the topics they collectively talk about

As they collect more data, as they see how people use different features, and as they figure out why they’re using them that way, Facebook tweaks not only the front-end experience but also the back-end, so the whole platform is a better place for everyone.

Again, it’s about giving people a great experience so they’ll keep coming back.

That’s business as usual for Facebook, and it’s the reason for every algorithm and policy change they’ve ever made. So, let’s remember, these charges aren’t anything new. They’re just Facebook doubling down and fixing things that weren’t working very well.

A good example is the restriction on engagement bait…

Removing Rewards for Engagement

Facebook’s slap down on engagement bait may seem restrictive, but it isn’t.

Source: Facebook

As we’ve already discussed, Facebook is a data-driven company. The Like button is there to give them data, not to give you bloated engagement numbers.

Which is why there’s no reason to be upset by the Facebook policy changes. In reality, these changes clarify the way things have always been.

It’s also important to understand that the Like button, which we tend to think of as a public-facing endorsement tool, is a proprietary mechanism that belongs to Facebook. Outwardly, it’s there to enrich users’ experience. But internally, it helps Facebook collect the data they need to serve relevant ads.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these seven proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Work with Facebook, Not Against Them

To navigate Facebook’s new policies, we need to get on the same page as them, realizing that Facebook isn’t ours.

Always remember, when you use Facebook marketing to grow your business, you’re sharecropping on someone else’s property.

It’s an integral part of our lives. It’s where most of our customers and audiences hang out. So it’s the perfect space to connect with people. But it’s unrealistic to assume it will be free forever.

Always remember, when you use Facebook marketing to grow your business, you’re sharecropping on someone else’s property.

(RELATED: How to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Local Business)

Facebook’s changes were made to give their customers (Facebook users) a great experience when they’re there. That’s always been their focus. Which is why you’ll continue to see changes that limit “hacks.”

As marketers, we can reach more people by building relationships than by hacking the system. And if we’ll join Facebook in their mission, working with them instead of against them, we’ve got nothing to worry about. Facebook can change its algorithm every other day, and it still won’t affect us.

So, our only challenge is how we can create a system for building solid relationships with people. Period.

(RELATED: Your Digital Marketing Strategy Template (AKA The Customer Value Journey))

Don’t Push the Limits

The lesson to be learned here is that Facebook is serious about maintaining the integrity of its platform.

It was created to help people build relationships and engage with one another. They’re staying true to that mission, and they’re cracking down on anyone who might disrupt it.

So, here’s what you need to remember when you use Facebook marketing for business…

All it takes is 2 or 3 people flagging you as spam, and your case goes to a human compliance person. They’ll shut your page messenger down for a day as a warning. You’ll be informed by Facebook that [insert whatever you did] is a misuse of platform policy.

You’ll then need to send Facebook an apology promising you’ll abide by their terms and, in most cases, you’ll have your account restored.

But if you’re running ads, you risk wasting all that ad spend. They’ll continue to run your ad, but it’ll go NOWHERE.

So, be careful about trying to push the limits.

The changes to Facebook’s policy are good for everyone. But if you break the Facebook Terms of Service, your account will likely be banned. So, follow the terms to the letter.

The Bottom Line

Facebook’s re-emphasis on relationship may change the game for Facebook marketers, but it isn’t the end of the world.

In fact, for businesses that put their customers first, this change puts them in sync with the social media giant.

We simply need to be as customer-focused as Facebook is…

Taking the time to figure out what people want
How we can engage with them better
And how we can creatively tap into the things they care about

Do that, and you’ll get high-quality leads. You’ll also help Facebook get the data they need to serve their users—which is exactly the win-win they’re looking for.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these seven proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

The post Redefining Facebook Marketing: It’s All About Relationships appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

0

Could a WordPress Ping Really Get You Instant Traffic?

sourced from: https://trafficgenerationcafe.com/wordpress-ping-list-2012/

I bet you’ve landed on this page searching for answers about WordPress pings, possibly (secretly?) hoping it just might be the golden ticket to your blog being discovered and loved by the world…

Well, maybe not quite so dramatic, but nonetheless…

Let me ask you this: have you noticed yet how hard it is to find any current information about WordPress pings?

And the information that IS out there… might actually put all kinds of wrong ideas into that pretty head of yours!

It might even tell you that if you use a lengthy list of  ping services, your blog will get TRAFFIC. Tons of it, no doubt.

<a moment of silence>

Really? Traffic falling from Heavens like manna?…

<I bet you already know where I am going with this>

If getting website traffic was as easy as a ping, Traffic Generation Café wouldn’t be here. Yet here I am, still blogging about traffic since 2011…

So let’s cut through the hogwash and find out:

what is a ping?
what does it do?
how many services do you really need to ping?
how does it affect your SEO (if at all)?

NOTE (and a disclosure of sorts)

I really believe that pinging is NOT anything you should concern yourself with. It’s just non-essential to your online presence.

There are better, more productive, AND traffic-driving ways to let the search engines know you’ve got fresh content.

So forgive me for treating the subject with a bit of impatience.

However, since you, my dear Reader, are searching for answers, I’ll do my best to give them to you.  😉

What is a ping?

A “ping” is actually a term that relates to a test to find out how fast a data signal can travel from one place to another.

A ping sends a “packet” of electronic data to a specific IP address and “waits” for an electronic signal/tone that’s known as a “pong.” (source)

And no, no relationship to ping pong…

By the way, the word ‘ping’ came from the sound that a submarine’s sonar makes when it bounces off physical objects underwater.

What Is a WordPress Ping?

In WordPress terms:

A ping is a “this site has new content” notification that invites search engine bots to visit your blog.

Within the WordPress interface, “ping” could also be used to refer to Pingbacks and Trackbacks.

When you ‘ping’ a blog post, what you are really hoping for is:

to notify sites that display blogrolls that you’ve got new content to be displayed in those blogrolls for the world to see and bring you traffic. (A-HA!… that’s where the whole ‘traffic’ part comes from!)
to notify blog indexing sites (like Technorati) that you’ve got new content so that they could list it… somewhere… on their site and bring you traffic. (more traffic!)
to notify search engines (let’s face it, you mean ‘Google’) that you have new content to crawl, index, and list in their search engine page results (SERPs).

Let’s take that apart for a moment…

Blogrolls drive traffic?

Here’s an excerpt from the WordPress Codex page about pings:

Blogrolling scripts like blogrolling.com and WordPress check update services to see if you’ve updated and then shows it on everyone’s site — usually by moving you to the top of people’s blogrolling list or putting a recently updated indicator by your link.

Problem is… blogrolling.com no longer exists and… when was the last time you saw a blogroll displayed on anyone’s site?

(By the way, if you HAVE recently seen one of those, send them the link to this post and tell them to get rid of the dang thing!)

So, blogrolls as a reason to ping your blog is out and, sadly, website traffic from blogrolls is out too.

Sites that index other sites drive traffic?

The biggest and most famous one of those would be Technorati.

Everyone knows Technorati, right?

Even that official WordPress Codex page mentions Technorati as one of the services they ping… (just goes to show how outdated that page is!)

Trouble is… Technorati is not longer the Technorati it used to be. It’s now Technorati the advertising platform.

After a half-decade of helping blogs and self-published websites gain exposure, Technorati took the natural step of helping those same types of websites earn revenue through an advertising platform launched in 2008.

Are there any other blog indexing sites that still exist?

Yes. Alltop comes to mind.

Alltop is a good example of a blog indexing site: a bunch of links from various blogs on various topics.

Out of curiosity (and nerdiness, of course!), let’s take a look at Alltop traffic sources using SEMrush.com, my hands-down favorite SEO and marketing intelligence tool.

You can see the page for yourself here.

Wow, look at how sharply Alltop traffic has dropped since last month; they’ve managed to lose nearly half of it! Hit by Google Penguin? It’s a possibility…

On the other hand, always seems like Alltop promotion lays squarely on the shoulders of ONE person – Guy Kawasaki, Alltop co-founder, as well as the creator of Canva.

Looks like Guy is running out of steam…

Anyhoo… I digress.

Just trust me on this one – you won’t be getting any traffic from blog indexing websites.

That boat has sailed like a decade ago.

What to do to ACTUALLY drive traffic to your site?

…besides reading Traffic Generation Café, that is? 😉

Reading and DOING what you read about at Traffic Generation Café.

Like Kurt Frankenberg did and, as a result, increased his traffic 89% in 28 days.

Here are some good reads to start (or continue) mastering your traffic generation:

How to Increase Website Traffic One Perfect Bite at a Time
Social Media Traffic 101: How to REALLY Get Traffic from Social Media
Increase Website Traffic: The Ultimate Blueprint to More Profitable Web Traffic
Promote Your Blog: 10 Steps to Ultimate Blog Promotion [My Personal Cheat Sheet]

And some shorter, more bite-sized Traffic Hacks:

How to Turn a Blog Post into a Video in 5 Minutes [Traffic Hack]
Be Everywhere: How to Convert a Blog Post into PDF in Under 60 Seconds
How to Get Links and Traffic from Flickr [#TrafficHack]

Could pinging possibly help with search engine rankings?

Um… NO.

Could pinging help the search engine bots discover your content? A-ha… now we are on the right track.

What we are really talking about here is crawling and indexing.

You can learn more about how Google works here, but let me briefly tell you what Googlebot is and the difference between indexing and crawling.

Googlebot is Google’s web crawling bot (sometimes called a “spider”).

Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index.

Indexing is the processing of the information gathered by Googlebot during crawling. The pages are then added to Google’s searchable index.

Thus pinging you new or freshly updated content could, in fact, invite Googlebot to crawl it.

However, pinging is far not the most effective way to get Google to crawl and index your site.

Here’s what I’d rather see you do.

1. Add a sitemap

A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content.

Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.

Do you have to have a sitemap?

According to Google, not really.

However:

If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap can improve the crawling of your site.

Can’t help but mention Casey Henry’s experiment in which he set to find out whether a sitemap can boost search rankings.

The results blew him away.

When he installed the Google XML sitemaps generator (a free WP plugin) on a client’s website, it took an average of 14 minutes for Google to index new pages.

That was way, way, waaaaaay down from 1,375 minutes it took before he installed the sitemaps generator!

Creating a sitemap is easy. You just let a plugin do all the creating.

Use either Google XML sitemaps generator or, if you have Yoast SEO already installed on your site (or thinking of installing it), use its built in sitemap functionality.

2. Share your post on social media

It’s simple: Googlebot discovers sites by following links from page to page.

When you share your content on bot-infested social media, the bots will follow your link from that page (your social media share) to your blog post page.

Needless to say, unlike traffic from blogrolls or blog index sites, social media traffic does exist!

3. May or may not help, but good to do anyway

Make sure you install Google Analytics tracking code on your site, as well as claim it in Google Search Console.

Also, contrary to many blog posts I’ve read, I don’t believe that using Fetch as Google function in Google Search Console will get Googlebot to crawl/index your site faster.

It’s meant to test if Google can crawl your web page, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources (such as images or scripts) are blocked to Googlebot, and is useful for debugging crawl issues on your site.

My WordPress Ping Services List

Back to the world of ‘to ping or not to ping.’

By default, WordPress pings one service called Ping-o-matic; that service will in turn ping others.

Why Ping-o-matic?

Because it’s owned and run by the WordPress Foundation, a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress and current CEO of Automattic.

I’d say Matt knows what he’s doing when it comes down to WordPress… wouldn’t you?

Boom! There you go. Done.

I officially declare that Ping-O-Matic is the only update service your blog needs.

All you need to do is to go to Settings > Writing > Update Services to make sure http://rpc.pingomatic.com is the only update service listed there.

And just in case you still insist on holding onto that huge list of update services of yours (or more like another blogger’s list you’ve copied, trusting them to know what they are doing… really?), read on.

Too Much Pinging Could Cost Google Rankings?

Back in the day when a crappy backlink seem to be better than no backlink at all, we had mile-long lists of update services we just had to ping.

These days, that (let’s face it) shady tactic could be outright damaging to your site.

Take a look at what Glen Allsopp wrote in one of his ViperChill.com posts, after he had sent out a tweet concerning his lower than expected search engine rankings:

“I received a personal reply from Google’s head of web-spam, Matt (Cutts), who asked me if, when a blog post goes live, I ping certain services…

Though I wasn’t pinging the services Matt asked me about, I was pinging a few with a foreign domain extension that he had mentioned and a lot of others, so I decided to remove all but a couple of them from my list.

A few days later and my rankings were back where they should be.

How crazy is it that some behind the scenes WordPress setting was costing me search rankings for my own brand name?”

So… while I wouldn’t worry too much about pinging too little, pinging too much could potentially be a problem.

Could You Be Pinged as a Spammer?

There’s one more thing about pinging too much.

By default, WordPress.org pings update services like Ping-O-Matic EVERY time a post is edited.

Do you like to edit your posts ruthlessly like I do – even way after they’ve been published?

Our relentless editing could result in excessive pinging. Could we be ‘pinged’ as spammers as a result?

There are plenty of disagreements on the issue.

However, let’s be reasonable here.

Have you ever heard of any site penalized by Google or any other search engine for excessive pinging? Neither have I.

But if you are a “better safe than sorry” kind of person, installing a ping-controlling plugin like WordPress Ping Optimizer will give you peace of mind.

(DISCLOSURE: I don’t personally use any pinging plugins, so can’t vouch for any of them. I prefer to use as few plugins as possible – I think there’s more danger in a hacker finding a door to your site through a plugin than an imaginary penalty from excessive pinging.)

Marketing Takeaway

You’ve got 30 seconds to update your ping list.

Go to Settings > Writing > Update Services.

Time starts now…

From Ana with

 

The post Could a WordPress Ping Really Get You Instant Traffic? appeared first on TrafficGenerationCafe.com.

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SlideShare Traffic Case Study • From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days

sourced from: https://trafficgenerationcafe.com/slideshare-traffic/

QUICK LINKS

What is SlideShare?
5 Steps to Creating a Killer SlideShare Presentation
More SlideShare “Good-to-Knows”
4 Ways to Get Traffic from SlideShare
Why You Shouldn’t Use SlideShare

First of all…

What is SlideShare?

SlideShare is the YouTube of slide presentations.

Founded in 2006 and acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, SlideShare is one of the top 150 most-visited websites in the world with over 18 million uploads in 40 content categories.

And the best part? That matters to YOU?

Over 80% of SlideShare’s 70 million visitors come through organic search.

…And THAT adds up to a LOT of eyeballs for your content.

Why SlideShare?

Some 4 years ago, I knew nothing about SlideShare… yet kept hearing about its incredible traffic generation potential… again and again.

It wasn’t until Mauro D’Andrea published a guest post at Traffic Generation Café that I gave SlideShare a try… sort of.

Instead of learning it on my own, I asked Mauro to create a SlideShare presentation for me.

…what was he going to do?… say no? 😂 👍

Two weeks later, I had “my” first SlideShare deck published.

 

Mauro did a fabulous job… and I reaped the benefits.

3,500 views? Impressive!

I was IN.

The SlideShare muse graced me the very next weekend: the Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick, my husband’s keen sense of humor, and his love for the San Francisco 49ers…

…and my first SlideShare presentation was born.

Not too shabby for my first try, if I may say so myself.

What did it take?

PowerPoint – my FIRST TIME EVER using it
every last tip I learned from Mauro D’Andrea
a night in front of the TV

I’d tasted the victory and it was good.

I was hooked.

Next thing I knew…

Then, 9 months after I published my first SlideShare presentation:

Why am I telling you all this?

To brag?

Sure, to a certain degree. 😜🤩

But, more importantly, to show you that I, too, had to start from zero, zilch, nada on SlideShare. (Just about where you, most likely, are at the moment!)

Here’s the bulk of my SlideShare experience – wrapped up in a SlideShare deck.

How to Use SlideShare [SlideShare Deck]

5 Steps to Making a Killer SlideShare Presentation

You are brand new to creating a SlideShare presentation.

Where do you start?

1.   Get the right [= any!] presentation software

If you have PowerPoint for PC or Keynote for Mac, you are all set.

If you don’t, you can download OpenOffice.org – the free alternative to Microsoft Office.

Or use Google Slides.

That’s it.

You are ready to make your very first SlideShare presentation.

2.   Use your existing blog post

This is called content repurposing or RECONTENT.

Pick one of your existing blog posts.

[you know… all those painstakingly crafted blog posts rotting in your blog archives?..]

Transform it into a SlideShare presentation.

Reach your target audience right where they are (70 million of them on SlideShare.)

Drive traffic back to your site.

3.   Condense your blog post into an outline

How do you turn a sizable blog post into a bite-sized presentation?

Edit ruthlessly. Down to the bones.

Leave nothing but

title
headings
context-essential information (essential to solving your prospect’s problem)

…as well as

catchphrases (those ‘brilliantly clever’ one-liners you so proudly came up with)
Bucket Brigades (the cliffhanger words, phrases, sentences that create anticipation and keep the viewer flipping through the slides)
any elements of a possible presentation theme.

It’s sort of like speaking in bullet points… but without putting anyone to 😴.

Keep it simple.

Keep it short.

Keep it punchy.

I know, I know… A slew of ??? are popping in your head…

You see the power of content repurposing and you want to know HOW TO use it to get traffic for your business.

I do teach all this in-depth in my brand new content repurposing course, Content Boomerang, but it’s closed to the new students at the moment. ?

Don’t be sad – get on the waiting list here and I’ll let you know when Content Boomerang re-launches in March.

(PLUS, you’ll get a detailed PDF of my content repurposing process – my 🎁 to you)

 4. Optimize your presentation outline for keywords

Keywords = Discoverability

Want to be found on SlideShare? Or Google?

Include your target keyword(s) in:

Original PDF file (before you upload it to SlideShare)
Slides
Title
Description
Tags

Why your original PDF file?

SlideShare creates your presentation slug (the URL part that comes after ‘slideshare.net/…’) using your original file name.

It happens in the background while SlideShare uploads/converts your presentation.

You want your slug to contain your main keywords.

Thus, use your keywords when saving your presentation as a PDF file on your computer.

Why your slides?

SlideShare automatically transcribes the text in your slides and adds the transcript to the bottom of your presentation page.

You can choose to remove the transcript, but why would you?

So… stay on topic and use your keywords.

While I never obsess over keywords, I do use SEMrush to find the best keywords my target audience might be using to find my content.

Keywords = Discoverability

5.   Find the right images

This is the most time-consuming, but also the best part of putting together a SlideShare presentation… if you allow it to be.

Of course, you have to pay attention to copyright infringement – that’s something you don’t want to mess with.

To learn more about finding free images for your SlideShare presentations, take a look at this post:

Free Blog Post Images: Where to Find Them, How to Use Them – at TrafficGenerationCafe.com

And here’s a tutorial on turning those dull generic stock images into original masterpieces:

How To Create a Blog Post Image That Gets Noticed And Drives Traffic – at TrafficGenerationCafe.com

Here’s the thing: even when you use Creative Commons images, you don’t really know the origins of an image.

What if someone finds a cool image somewhere online, uploads it to their Flickr account, and lo and behold, the image shows up under Creative Commons, yet it was copyrighted by the original creator?

My philosophy on this: don’t overanalyze it.

If you can’t create your own images from scratch, do your best to find Creative Commons images and always give credit to image sources in your SlideShare description.

Or you can attach a disclaimer to your presentation, like the guys from SlidesThatRock.com did it here:

By the way, SlidesThatRock on SlideShare is another great place to learn more about creating killer SlideShare presentations. Browse through their portfolio to see how they do it and do it like that, just better. 😉👍

If someone does end up complaining about you using their image, C’est la vie; you’ll fix it and move on.

6. Add a Call to Action

A SlideShare presentation is no different from any other piece of content you create.

It needs to move your viewers to take an action as a result of watching it.

What is it that you want your viewers to do after they are done with your presentation?

Come to your blog?
Subscribe to your email list?
Like your Facebook page?
Follow you on SlideShare?
Share it with their social media followers?

Whatever it is, rule #1 is to HAVE ONE.

Take a look at the closing slide of this presentation.

Where’s the call to action?!!

Sure the blog link is clickable, but without a clear call to actually click on it, most viewers never would.

It’s a missed opportunity.

Let’s take a look at other examples.

Pay with a Tweet

This call to action is from Mauro’s presentation 12 Essential Steps of a Phenomenal Story.

It actually has 3 calls to action (CTAs), which is 2 too many, but the one that matters – Pay with a Tweet to download the presentation – is a great one.

Social Media Sharing

Here’s another one from Mauro’s 9 Steps to Make Great Presentations Faster.

List Building

A call to action leading to my Bite-Sized Traffic Hacks newsletter optin page from Goodbye Google Reader, Hello 10 Google Reader Alternatives:

Facebook Fan Page Likes

From How to Write Awesome Facebook Status Updates:

Read a Blog Post

With some presentations, you simply want your readers to come back to your blog to finish reading your post on the topic, like I did in How Google Search Works: Why Crappy Sites Rank Higher Than Mine? presentation.

By the way…

Did you know you can embed live links into SlideShare presentations?

And not just naked URLs, mind you (like http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com/), but URLs with anchor text, clickable images, etc.

So keep that in mind when creating your SlideShare presentations.

It’s good for link building (since Google can crawl PDF files and follow links within them), but even more importantly, it’s great for traffic from SlideShare.

Good Samaritan reminder: don’t spam. Just because you can include live links in your SlideShare presentations, doesn’t mean you should stuff them with links.

If you do, your account could be suspended or even deleted without warning. It’s happened.

What exactly does SlideShare deem to be a “spam link”? I am not sure. I’ve read SlideShare (LinkedIn) Terms of Service, as well as their Community Guidelines, yet found nothing on the topic.

How many outgoing links are you allowed? Once again, it’s not defined anywhere, so be safe than sorry.

SLIDESHARE PRO TIP

SlideShare doesn’t allow live links in the first three slides of your presentation, so create your presentation accordingly.

Put it all together

It’s not rocket science, I promise.

I’d NEVER used PowerPoint or Keynote before I created my first SlideShare.

I played around with it, figured out how it worked, and now creating a SlideShare presentation has become a piece of cake.

Let me share some very specific tips on how to make the most of your SlideShare exposure.

More SlideShare “Good-to-Knows”
Presentation size

Your SlideShare presentation will look its best if created in 4:3 ratio.

However, if you are planning on turning your SlideShare presentation into a video, which I highly recommend you do, I suggest you create your presentation in 16:9 aspect ratio.

SIDE NOTE: I am a strong proponent of content repurposing – taking one piece of content and turning it into several formats to reach your audience on various platforms.

I call it ‘Content Boomerang‘.

You’ll hear me talk about it ALL the time, because it’s THAT good – one of the best ways to drive traffic, bar none.

You can watch me repurpose a SlideShare presentation into a video in this YouTube mini-series:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLU1ussxZ1LAc9VLlNRzxcyMcYB2O_dTOK&controls=0&showinfo=0]
4 Ways to Get Traffic from SlideShare

It’s all nice, Ana, but who’s got the time to make SlideShare presentations?

Is SlideShare really worth it?

YES.

If I haven’t convinced you by now, here’s my last shot: how to get traffic from SlideShare.

1. Get on SlideShare Homepage

This is something Mauro discussed in his guest post at TGC as well, but he and I learned a few things since then.

There are three ways to get on the SlideShare homepage.

The first one takes the least effort, but won’t yield as much traffic.

The last one is unpredictable, but results in killer traffic.

1.   Get Featured in “Trending in Social Media” Section

This is the bottom third section of SlideShare homepage.

It features presentations that are currently hot on either Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or all four.

I do not know the exact number of shares required to be featured in this section.

From my experience, if I get a lot of shares on any one of these platforms (I find Google+ to be the easiest one for me, since I’ve established a good presence there), the other three will catch up.

So share away!

By the way, why LinkedIn?

SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn.

2.   Get Featured in “Featured SlideShares”

“Featured SlideShares” is the middle section on SlideShare homepage.

How do you get featured there?

Read the section below.

3.   Get Featured in the “Today’s Top SlideShares”

“Today’s Top SlideShares” is the top above-fold section of SlideShare homepage.

This is PRIME web real-estate.

This is where you want your SlideShare presentation to end up.

How do you do that?

Mauro and I have been watching the homepage like hawks for days and weeks, trying to figure out how SlideShare algorithm works.

Our initial assumption was that the amount of views was what did the trick.

Yet, we saw plenty of presentations with a lot fewer views than others make it to the “Today’s Top SlideShares” section.

So what was the secret?

The secret is that there’s no algorithm to become a “Today’s Top SlideShares“.

From a post on SlideShare blog:

We’d like to correct an assumption made in another recent blog post (Mauro’s guest post at Traffic Generation Café) and referenced by Mauro.

The “Trending in Social Media” sections reflect the traffic and activity of presentations on the various social platforms.

But the “Featured” and “Today’s Top SlideShares” presentations are hand-curated every day by the SlideShare editorial team.

In order to be featured on the SlideShare home page, keep creating well-designed, useful, relevant presentations.

Your content and design will catch the team’s attention.

That’s it.

Those sections are hand-curated.

That’s the good news and the bad news.

The good news: it’s a level playing field. Whether you are a blogging superstar or a newcomer, you are equal (in theory anyway) in SlideShare teams’ eyes.

The only thing that matters is how great your presentation is.

And that’s the bad news.

It HAS to be great.

But then again, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Right?… 😉

2. Get embedded on other blogs

Another way to bring SlideShare traffic back to your blog is by getting your presentation embedded on other sites.

Embeds bring traffic. You saw it from the screenshots above.

How do you get your SlideShare presentation embedded on other blogs?

Two ways:

Either by getting featured on the home page and catching attention from other SlideShare users or
by embedding the SlideShare presentation on your blog and encouraging your readers to do the same.

Making it easy goes a long way.

3. Get ranked on Google

We’ve talked about adding on-page SEO elements to your presentations above – that’s the gist of your SlideShare SEO.

The other piece of the puzzle would external links pointing to either your SlideShare profile (builds overall authority) or specific presentations (through embeds or traditional links) – just like any piece of content you’d publish on your own website.

To learn more about SEO for non-SEOs (same principles will work for ANY page you want to rank – whether it’s a post on your blog or a presentation on SlideShare.net), take a look at this guide:

Once again, it’s much easier to create a powerful SlideShare presentation around competitive keywords and rank it on Google than wait for your own site to gain enough authority to compete with 800-pound gorillas.

Your call to action should do the rest.

By the way, am I concerned that my SlideShare presentations will outrank my blog posts on Google?

That’s the kind of question that deserves an in-depth answer in a post of its own.

When “They” Steal Your Search Engine Ranking and Traffic…

FUN FACT 😀 👍

(as of December 2016)

4. Make your blog content more viral

SlideShare presentations embedded in your posts make your content more interesting.

Interesting content is much more likely to get shared and linked to.

Popular content drives traffic and Google rankings.

You see where I am going with this?

You might not even know that it’s the SlideShare presentation that’s making the impact on your rising traffic numbers, but trust me: if your presentations are good, your website traffic WILL increase.

More SlideShare Features

With a site as extensive as SlideShare, there bound to be more features than can be covered in one post, right?

Here are the ones that I recommend you check out:

Add YouTube video

When in “Edit” mode of an already uploaded video, one of the options you’ll see is “Add YouTube Video“.

Add Audio

The “Add Audio” tab is right next to the video feature.

You can upload an mp3 audio file from your computer to go with your SlideShare presentation.

It can’t be a music file; only recordings of a presenter talking are allowed.

Here’s an example of a SlideShare presentation with an audio added:

Browse

Another way to get in front of SlideShare users, as well as see what kind of content works best on SlideShare, I highly recommend you use the “Browse” feature.

Learn more about SlideShare

The best way to learn more about SlideShare and how to use it best for your business is SlideShare blog.

See some of the best-performing SlideShare presentations in action; follow us on SlideShare:

Ana Hoffman on SlideShare

More helpful resources about Slideshare:

SlideWealth.com – Get MORE Traffic, Sales and Clients with SlideShare – Mauro D’Andrea
How to Use SlideShare to Generate Leads – Jason Miller, SocialMediaExaminer.com
The Marketer’s Guide To SlideShare – Mauro D’Andrea, KISSMetrics.com
SlideShare Cheat Sheet – Marketo.com

Why You Shouldn’t Use Slideshare

It might sound like I am blowing my own trumpet here, but it’s true: when it comes down to sharing my best traffic generating information, I am generous to a fault.

I don’t know how to hold back or charge money for holding back.

Thus, you get the best, most timely and in-depth advice on how to increase website traffic – either here at Traffic Generation Cafe or in your inbox through my Bite-Size Traffic Hacks newsletter.

If you were to actually use these tips, you would be unstoppable.

Then I’d have to compete with you for traffic, which is really too much of a headache.

So I am sharing these superb Slideshare traffic generation tips quietly hoping that you won’t do much about them and let me continue dominating Slideshare.

Like this (this screenshot was taken a couple of weeks after the one at the top of the post – 2 weeks +77K views):

Of course, in the end the choice is yours.

Are you going to let me have all the fun and Slideshare traffic?

From Ana with

The post SlideShare Traffic Case Study • From 0 to 243,000 Views in 30 Days appeared first on TrafficGenerationCafe.com.

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9 Ways to Beat Instagram’s Algorithm For Better Reach and More Likes

sourced from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/instagrams-algorithm/

Social media platforms change with alarming frequency these days.

For years, Instagram was a haven of chronological posts that almost guaranteed engagement as long as you timed your post correctly and shared something interesting.

But that reality is no more.

Recent changes offer users more control over their feeds, which means it may be getting more difficult to engage with your audience.

Instagram’s users may be able to see fresher posts, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever see your content.

That means you’ll need to change your approach if you want to stay at the top of the Instagram pile.

And to do that, you have to know what actually works for other brands who have cracked the code.

This post will give you nine ways to do just that.

But first, you have to understand Instagram’s current landscape and how it affects your brand.

Breaking down the Instagram landscape

In 2016, Instagram announced their efforts to favor the moments you “care about the most” in your feed.

Since then, marketers have been looking for ways to optimize their content and stay ahead of the Instagram algorithm to keep engagement levels high.

As you’re no longer guaranteed to show up in a chronological feed, you have to find a creative way to stay in front of your online audience.

And as the press release indicates, Instagram’s current algorithm filters content based on your user’s previous behavior.

So in theory, the more your audience interacts with your brand, the more they’ll see your posts.

That isn’t exactly great news for most marketers though.

The overwhelming tendency is to treat engagement as the number one metric on Instagram, and all of these changes have caused engagement to go down.

So success on Instagram requires brands to find new ways to continue building engagement and follower count.

But to start engaging with Instagram users in the first place, you have to know who they are and what they’re like.

First and foremost, Instagram users are predominately young.

Your audience is primarily millennials for now, and they have different shopping patterns than previous generations.

And perhaps even worse, the average user misses over 70% of their feed.

That means even your best content isn’t guaranteed to be in front of your audience no matter what you do.

So if it’s so hard to get views and engagement, why focus on Instagram at all?

To understand that, you have to understand the raw marketing power of visual engagement.

According to research, visuals are a more retainable form of sharing information and news.

We retain vastly more information from things we see, which means visuals are important.

That makes Instagram, which is a primarily visual channel, an essential part of many brands’ digital presence.

Brands that create visually-appealing or artisan items often rely on Instagram to engage with their audience when blogging.

They use Instagram as an essential piece of their social media sales funnel, so success on this platform is life or death.

And studies have shown that people buy items they see on social media all the time.

More than 42% of social media users have made a purchase simply because they saw it in their feed.

So finding a way to break the algorithm in your favor and increase your engagement can help your brand push sales through Instagram.

And to do that, you have to create content that resonates with your audience and fosters interaction between your followers and your brand.

Thankfully, there are plenty of proven methods that will let you accomplish that on a regular basis.

The nine solutions in this post are data-backed and brand-approved methods for boosting engagement.

And the first one you can start using right now.

Solution #1: Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is the Snapchat-esque element of Instagram that allows users to create and share content that disappears after 24 hours.

Launched in late 2016, it’s quickly become a favorite of brands and users alike to share their days with their followers.

By October 2017, more than 300 million users were creating Stories on a daily basis.

Plus, more and more marketers are using Stories to help drive engagement with their brand.

But are Stories actually an effective way for brands to engage with their audience?

According to this case study, the answer is yes.

The designer brand Revolve has used Instagram Stories to create and share powerful campaigns on their profile.

In the case study linked above, they launched their #Revolveme campaign.

The point of this effort was to find and share user-generated content that centered around their brand.

Customers could purchase clothes and then upload their own photos with the hashtag #revolveme in hopes of being featured in the brand’s Stories.

While you might think that most of the Stories they share look like professional models, the reality is that they’re all user submitted.

That means they’re not only sharing their audience’s content, but they’re also getting free, high-quality content at the same time.

And the results speak for themselves.

According to the study, the brand started having an average of more than 66,000 impressions on each Story.

With an exit rate of only 6.27%, it’s clear that their efforts were successful.

And since the brand is still sharing the #revolveme Stories, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll drop the campaign anytime soon.

So if you’re struggling to boost your engagement, start sharing your own Stories.

Solution #2: Hire a professional

Not everyone is destined to be a photographer, and that’s okay.

But Instagram is a visual platform.

Therefore, visuals are the heart of your work.

So if you’re not the best photographer, you may actually be hurting your brand’s performance in the long run.

And to make matters worse, you may not even have a camera that shoots a good picture according to today’s standards.

Just look at the quality difference in these two images from an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 8.

This iPhone 6s image might look good at first glance.

But when you post it next to its successor from the iPhone 8, the differences really stand out.

The newer phone offers brighter colors and much better focus.

But if you’re stuck with an older model phone, chances are your audience will notice in your image quality.

So you have a few options when it comes to hiring a professional photographer.

You can certainly find someone local or even see if someone already in your organization has a talent for photography.

Or, you can turn to the online gig economy using a site like Upwork.

These freelance Instagram marketers can help guide the imagery that your brand uses to help you engage with your followers.

And since they all offer something a little different, you can probably find someone who matches both your needs and your budget.

But does a professional photographer actually make a difference?

According to Vulpine Interactive, it certainly seems so.

Vulpine Interactive was working on the digital presence of one of their clients called Sixthreezero Bicycle Company.

When they first started working with them, they noticed that the photography on their Instagram wasn’t quite on-brand.

One of the first recommendations they made was to change the photography and optimize their Instagram, which involved hiring a professional.

By combining their new Instagram approach with some other website initiatives, Sixthreezero saw a 300% growth in website traffic over seven months.

So if it helped this brand to hire a photographer, it’s worth looking into for your own business.

Solution #3: Stay true to trends

If you’re in an industry that changes a lot, you know how hard it is to stay current with just those trends.

So when you start exploring new trends in an unknown arena, it can get overwhelming very quickly.

And every year sees plenty of visual trends change and evolve as they go.

Just check out some of these images that are considered a part of this year’s trends.

This image is meant to be a powerful visual that attempts to make a statement.

It’s dramatic, tells a story, and makes the viewer wonder what’s actually happening here.

But just look at that picture in comparison to this one:

They couldn’t be more different.

The second photo is deadpan and almost static compared to the first, yet both are considered trendy.

While it may not suit your personal style, learning and adhering to these visual trends can help you engage with your Instagram audience and stand out from the crowd.

What’s more, you can also look at established trends on Instagram that other brands have seen success with.

60% of the top brands use the same filter and lighting for all their Instagram photos. It’s about creating a photo strategy.

Just look at Gucci.

Or, Oreo.

There’s consistency and strategy behind both.

Two of Condé’s publications, Vanity Fair and GQ, were able to drive traffic and see a return on investment after partnering with Dash Hudson by harnessing visual storytelling.

Condé Nast’s Director of Digital and Social Strategy, Rochelle Stewart, says, “Instagram is a natural fit for us as it allows our brands to tap into what they do best — visual storytelling, beautiful photography, imagery that is both inspirational and aspirational.”

EXCLUSIVE: Virgil Abloh and Nike unveil "The Ten" sneaker collection. See the complete collection at the link in bio 🔥🔥 (📸@alexreside)

A post shared by GQ (@gq) on Aug 21, 2017 at 5:52am PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

A little b-day boogie. Happy 27th birthday to Jennifer Lawrence! Photograph by @therealpeterlindbergh.

A post shared by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on Aug 15, 2017 at 1:16pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

It’s clear that creating a visual strategy for Instagram is crucial.

Posting with a consistent filter, images with faces, and tagging your location can help you engage more and stay in your audience’s feed.

You can even base your Instagram filter on your location if you want to get specific.

The point here is that other brands have noticed trends through trial and error that you can take advantage of.

If you focus on following these established trends with your own Instagram, you’re more likely to see the results you want.

Solution #4: Fire up live video

Live streaming is quickly becoming one of the most important things your brand can do.

According to a recent study, video streaming currently accounts for more than two-thirds of Internet traffic.

That means it’s not only being created in vast quantities, but it’s also being consumed as well.

And since 2016, Instagram has allowed brands to launch their own Live videos natively on their app.

The results have been more than most could ever imagine, including the people behind the Old House Vintage Market profile.

In just one event, they gained 1,151 followers.

That’s almost 80% of their current following, and they got it in less than one day.

They even went back and re-recorded the video on a phone to make sure they could keep it.

If a small brand like this can use Live video so effectively, imagine what it could do for a brand that already has thousands of followers.

By engaging with a larger audience on Instagram, you encourage interaction and push yourself to the top of the news feed.

It doesn’t even have to be planned either.

Just fire it up and share what you’re doing right now or look for ideas that you can share.

As long as you can engage with your followers, you can grow your brand and crack the Instagram algorithm.

Solution #5: Post at the right time

If you’ve been around social media for a while, you’ve likely seen study after study that seeks to find the perfect time to post.

Instagram has plenty of those studies, and they’re definitely worth your time and attention.

According to this post from Sprout Social, Instagram sees the most traffic during the midday periods in the middle of the week.

That may mean that plenty of people are sitting at their desks browsing Instagram, but it also means you should be looking to highlight your posts at those times too.

But don’t take the above image as the final word on when you should actually post.

The above graph looks at engagement, not necessarily posting times.

To find that out, you have to take a look at what CoSchedule has cooked up.

This points you in the direction of posting early in the morning and just before rush hour traffic hits.

If you post in times where there’s too much congestion (or not enough), you could potentially miss out on engagement due to heavier filtering.

Posting for off-work hours seems to be the solution favored by brands that use Instagram, which means you may be sharing your content at the wrong time.

Instead, follow the advice above and try to find the times that give your brand the greatest amounts of engagement.

Solution #6: Reach more people with hashtags

If you’re like me, you’ve probably scratched your head a bit when it comes to hashtags.

While it seems like everyone is using them, they’re not always beneficial when it comes to social media.

But Instagram is an altogether different matter.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Iov5WB-1F0?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

The uniqueness of Instagram’s visual platform makes it the perfect platform to utilize hashtags.

When a user clicks on a hashtag from a post they’re viewing, they’re taken to a page that shows more custom hashtags.

For example, check out this recent post from actor Chris Pratt:

In it, he uses #farmlife.

When you click the hashtag, you’re taken to a list of every post that’s used that same hashtag.

This invites the user to scroll through, find more images they like, and engage with more profiles.

So using popular hashtags appropriately can help you extend the reach of your brand and find new audience members.

And to do that, I highly recommend using a Chrome extension like Hashtest to help you find high-volume hashtags.

All you have to do is input the hashtags you’re thinking about and it will give you instant feedback on how useful it is.

When you find the right hashtags, include them in your posts on a regular basis.

Your images will have greater reach, and you can appear more often in more feeds over time.

Solution #7: Use an influencer

When it comes to influencer marketing, no other platform comes close to Instagram.

By far, influencers love to create and share brand collaborations on Instagram.

The visual, product-driven nature of the platform makes it the perfect place to create and share content that followers want to engage with.

That means you can use this trend to your advantage by finding influencers who are interested in your brand.

And influencers are seeing some major growth in just the past few years alone.

With new influencers and creators continually coming on the scene, the opportunities for your business are plentiful.

Take a look at how the ASOS Insiders campaign utilized influencers to help them sell their product.

This campaign focused on an exclusive group of young adult influencers who were hand-picked to show off the ASOS brand clothes.

By tapping into the audiences that these influencers already had, ASOS created a global phenomenon that’s still very much alive today.

As of right now, ASOS has more than seven million followers on their Instagram account.

That means with every post they share, millions of viewers have opted in to see their content.

But you don’t have to have a huge budget to pull this feat off.

You can find influencers with thousands of followers who would be willing to help share your brand.

It’s one of the fastest growing Instagram marketing areas, and you would be wise to start using it for your own efforts.

Solution #8: Share user-generated content

We looked earlier at how a brand used user-generated content in their Stories, but the application for user-generated content is much larger than you may have previously imagined.

Studies have shown that sharing user-generated content makes your brand more authentic and humanizes your company.

That means that the more you share the content your users provide, the more they’ll feel that you’re actually relatable and worthy of their attention.

What’s more, it’s seen as “helpful” or “invaluable” to 99% of marketers.

So sharing more user-generated content is the perfect way to help bring your brand back down to earth.

If your audience sees the opportunity to feature on your page, there’s a much better chance they’ll want to interact with you and create content for you.

Rent the Runway saw a huge amount of success when they started focusing on sharing user-generated content.

Over the course of their study, they discovered that they were also saving five to ten hours per week on creating content.

And more importantly, their engagement went up by 21% over their original content.

Simply by sharing more of their user-generated content, they were able to see measurable improvements in their Instagram page’s activity.

So save time and boost your own engagement by utilizing your own audience’s content.

You’ll likely find that this strategy can help you see the same type of success in your own efforts.

Solution #9: Host a contest

Instagram contests are the final tactic that can help your brand beat the algorithm and increase your overall engagement.

And according to the State of Instagram report, 39% of businesses plan to do more contests in the coming years.

And when you look into the success that some brands have experienced, there’s no wonder why more businesses want to try this approach.

Take for example the MyNeoShoot contest hosted by Adidas.

In this contest, Adidas asked its followers to create images that were inspired by their brand.

The best photos were then invited to model in a professional photoshoot, and they even got Selena Gomez to help them spread the word about the contest.

As a result of the contest, Adidas generated 71,000 mentions of the #MyNeoShoot hashtag and gained 41,000 new followers.

So using a creative contest for your own brand can lead to similar results.

Just make sure you establish clear rules, or the whole process could backfire.

Even if you don’t gain thousands of new followers, you’re almost guaranteed to get engagement from your current audience.

And that means you’ll be one step closer to breaking the Instagram algorithm, which means more reach and more engagement.

Conclusion

Instagram is a highly versatile platform that allows brands to engage with and sell to their online audience.

But changes to the algorithm in the last few years have raised a lot of questions about what actually works.

And with engagement being the number one goal of most Instagram brands, finding innovative ways to engage is more important than ever before.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that your brand can consistently engage on Instagram.

Utilizing Stories can help you create a brand that’s always on and sharing.

If you’re lacking in photography skills, consider hiring a professional to help you bridge the gap.

Staying in tune with recent trends will also help you know what type of imagery seems to work best for your audience, which will be more appealing in the long run.

And creating live video can help you stay in the limelight and boost your brand in ways you never imagined.

Then, by focusing on posting at the right time, you can increase your overall engagement and always be present when your audience will see you.

Don’t forget to utilize hashtags, and make sure that you’re looking for influencers who can help promote your brand.

If possible, share user-generated content to humanize your brand and be more relatable to your followers.

And finally, don’t hesitate to create a contest that promotes sharing and engagement even further.

You have plenty of options to choose from if you want to see success on Instagram.

All that’s left is for you to create your plan and execute it.

What are your favorite Instagram engagement strategies?

The post 9 Ways to Beat Instagram’s Algorithm For Better Reach and More Likes appeared first on Neil Patel.