Archives August 2019

Improving Cross-Functional Relationships to Boost SEO Endeavors – Ryan Purtill // Healthline Media

Episode Overview: Excellent SEO strategies depend on strong cross-functional relationships to effectively succeed. Building sturdy cross-functional relationships require meticulous cultivation much like building a strong SEO strategy requires. Join Ben as he catches up with returning guest Ryan Purtill from Healthline Media on how to build a culture of collaboration to boost department-wide success within a company and how to navigate common difficult relationships between PPC and organic search focused teams.


  • Strong cross-functional relationship building with SEO begins with establishing a connection with editorial groups as their goals align frequently such as analyzing search intent, discussing cannibalization of certain webpages, etc.
  • Building a culture of collaboration requires listening, routine check-ins with departments on their goals and progress toward them and offering solutions to achieve small wins that build trust in teammates.
  • Don’t compete for resources with departments you’re aligned with as every department’s goals should be pointed toward achieving a core goal. Misaligned goals are a common cause of friction in collaborative efforts


Ben:                 Welcome to planning month on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and this month we’re taking a minute to evaluate 2019 and help you set your SEO plans for 2020. Joining us is a friend of the pod, Ryan Purtill, who is now the Vice President of SEO at Healthline Media, which is now the largest and fastest growing consumer health publisher in the world with domains including,, and reaching over 250 million people a month. Today, Ryan and I are going to talk about how to manage your cross functional relationships to get the resources you need for 2020.

But before we hear from Ryan, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a free trial of the Searchmetrics software. That’s right. You can now test the Searchmetrics suite and content experience tools with no commitment or upfront payment. To start your free trial, go to trial. Okay. On with the show, here’s my conversation with the newly minted VP of SEO at Healthline Media, Ryan Purtill. Ryan, welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast.

Ryan:               Hey, thanks so much, Ben. Excited to be a repeat guest.

Ben:                 Dude, since the last time we talked, you had a lot going on. You got promoted. You’re now the biggest health media consumer, and the company got acquired.

Ryan:               Yeah.

Ben:                 We’ve got a lot to catch up on. Let’s start and talk about you. You’re the VP of SEO. Congratulations. You’ve made it to the mountain top.

Ryan:               Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s been a wild couple months. I mean really starting in July is almost when all that happened. We got acquired by Red Ventures, big group out of North Carolina, and yeah, at the same time I got my promotion. And the day we got acquired is when the press release went out that we were the largest health publisher in the world, so it was kind of a very big week to set a high bar.

Ben:                 And I’m sure everything has just been back to normal ever since then.

Ryan:               Yeah, of course. Right after an acquisition, it’s always a smooth sail.

Ben:                 Yeah. Were you guys drastically impacted by the series of Google updates? Or how have things been in the SEO world lately for you?

Ryan:               Yeah. So for the four kind of ones, like March, and I think we talked about this a little bit. March was the one that hurt Healthline most where we saw about a 20% hit. So that was really the first real algorithm that’s negatively effected the site. So it was a little bit of like a new kind of place for us, new place for our board at the time, because we hadn’t been acquired. And you can imagine it’s during due diligence to get acquired. So it’s a-

Ben:                 Perfect timing.

Ryan:               Kind of a stressful time, but we really looked at it as a way to learn something new. And it was like, all right, we developed about 30 different tests within two weeks to start diagnosing what that algorithm was all about. Come the June core algorithm, we saw a full recovery and some. So we’re seeing record kind of days. Yesterday was a record the most we’ve ever gotten in a single day, 9.3 million sessions. So we continued to learn these things, so that after each kind of algorithm, September was good for Healthline.

We saw a little bit of a drop off on Medical News Today, which is our kind of second sites, but also learned a whole bunch of things about that algorithm by doing that. I mean I think one of the advantages that I have as an SEO is I had three pretty big sites that are different from one another that are all on the same space, and I can kind of use them against each other to diagnose what Google is assessing as quality in the new algorithm. So it’s been kind of a fun challenge in a way. And yeah, it’s interesting. It seems like almost every quarter now there’s some significant movement either up or down, which makes forecasting for 2020 kind of difficult. And I know that’s a lot of what this week’s about.

Ben:                 That’s what we’re here to talk about. But before we do get into talking about cross functional relationships and your SEO planning, you mentioned that you learned a lot about the algorithm. Anything that’s not proprietary that you could share with the audience that you guys figured out?

Ryan:               Yeah, I’ll say September, because that’s kind of the most recent one for other people. I think if you looked at the rise in dictionary traffic in September, and if you look at where we saw it at least, and I’d imagine it’s repeatable for a lot of other sites, what we saw were pages didn’t lose ranking for their head terms at all. Large comprehensive pages saw lost in rankings or kind of long tasks.

I think it got very easy to see that it was Google was really just refining intents. So if you’re trying to rank for the more obscure query, and something that’s very directional as far as this intent is what the user’s trying to do. A head term overview page is not going to cut it anymore. So this does change some things in terms of what you can do in your content strategy. Meaning before where I might say I’m not going to write specifically on let’s say complications of breast cancer, because I can write a breast cancer article that just covers that, and I can have one article that ranks for 20, 50 terms. It might be smart to understand how that SERP, if you start looking at that SERP and noticing actually all the ones that are ranking now tend to be ones that are specifically written around that intent, you can start fracturing some of those pages.

Now there’s always a risk in that, because you’re kind of diluting your link equity and some other things to think about your content strategy. But that was kind of a clear takeaway for September, at least for us.

Ben:                 Yeah, fascinating. We had a perfect lead in that I totally blew apart by not saying, “Great. Let’s talk about SEO 2020 planning,” but you mentioned that you can learn a lot about the algorithm by going through these process that makes predictions hard and makes getting ready for the next year a little challenging. Today we’re here to talk about working with your cross functional partners. So as we start this part of the conversation, I just want to get a sense of who you consider to be the highest priority or most influential cross channel partners that you work with. What teams are the ones that you’re collaborating with the most?

Ryan:               Yeah, absolutely. So I mean I always say SEO for me anyway, my job is to be a consultant for all these groups. So in a way I don’t think of them as very siloed, right? Like a website’s an ecosystem, like everything else. If I start changing certain things with product, that has editorial implications, which could have traffic implications, which could have needle implications. So I try not to pull apart individual things as much, but certainly when I first started here, the first place, because you can’t build that relationship evenly with every group right off the bat. The first place was editorial, because one, we’re a publisher. That’s really where you’re going to reach the most of your kind of audience. And two, it was our sharpest arrow in our quiver certainly already. The content quality was already there. The more I can embed myself with that group, the faster I can move the needle.

So editorials, always. And at this point I almost think part of our success at Healthline has been turning editors into SEOs, and turning SEOs into editors. So when we’re in meetings with our editorial group, I have editors who have totally just lit backgrounds, never in actual digital performance in any way, talking about certain search intent, talking about cannibalization, and nothing makes me happier. I think one of the ways we’ve been super successful has been building that culture of how do you kind of integrate SEO into that group? And then the other way around. We have SEOs say, “Hey, from an editorial integrity standpoint, maybe us tackling a certain topic might not be worth it, or we should rethink our sources for this particular one.” And that’s really been a huge part of it, but editorial certainly one of the first places my mind goes in terms of that relationship is key for success.

Ben:                 Sure. And as a publisher, it makes sense that your editorial team is very important. I think that for eCommerce businesses or some of the companies that are not specifically focused on their content as the product. You still have an important relationship with your content production team, and if you don’t have a specific team dedicated to that, whatever external resources you have managing those relationships is really important. I’ll tell you content production. You sort of mentioned briefly product. What are the other teams, product engineering, your leadership team, that you spend a lot of time working on managing those relationships?

Ryan:               Sure. So certainly our digital performance marketing team, working with our paid team essentially to figure out, okay how much will organic contribute to a certain program, versus paid? What will our margins look like next year. That integration is certainly something that’s very tight.

Our product team. Absolutely. It’s very interesting. Sometimes you’re just looking over. We’ll review each other’s road maps, right? So I looked at product’s roadmap the other day trying to understand where can SEO actually influence their roadmap? And then where are there spots where I need their resources? I have a thing I want to do AMP for example, next year in a certain place on my site. Well I’m going to need product resources, so I better make sure I’m baked into their roadmap early enough on, so this is not what I would recommend to anyone listening. This is not something to do in November and go, “Hey, by the way, I have six things I’m hoping to accomplish next year. Dah, dah, dah,” and blindside any particular group. Right?

Everyone has their own things. These need to be conversations that are going on throughout the year, and you need to be able to be present in the early ideation of these projects so that you can have your influence and say, “Hey, well there’s an SEO component to that, so when we bake that in, let’s think about that.” Or, “That’s not going to match up with something that I was thinking about,” and actually comparing and making decisions from that point of view. But I’ve seen that kind of folly of waiting till November and December to when we should plan, and then ten different groups say, “We don’t have the resources to support your plan.” And then you’re in a lot of trouble.

Ben:                 So, talk to me about the cadence of communication. When you’re regularly talking to these teams, you’re understanding what everyone is working on throughout the year. Is that a monthly check in? Are you doing it quarterly? Are you sitting in daily meetings? What’s the right cadence for you to stay in touch with your products, and your editorial, and your engineering teams?

Ryan:               Yeah, and it’s not the same cadence for each group. Again, I kind of prioritize it a little bit and say, “Hey product, I probably need to check in with quarterly.” Certainly we have projects that are ongoing and we’re always talking to each other, but really understanding what their plans are moving forward. It’s more of a quarterly check in around quarterly business reviews to kind of feel, “Okay, where are you guys going?” And for this and that. And then there’s a lot of just ad hoc kind of meetings in between those quarters of like, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about this. Let me throw this by you.” And then they’ll say, “Actually, that’s on our potential roadmap for next year. Okay then, let’s talk about it.” So there’s kind of more structured ones and then there’s ones where you just need to be pinging in with those groups. Luckily I’m blessed that I’m in a culture where SEO is, I say SEO is the amalgamation of all these different groups doing a really good job.

So you’re a little bit of a consultant. So they are actively pulling me into meetings too saying, “Hey, we want to change our navigation in certain parts of the sites to accomplish this goal. What do you see as the potential problems in that? How can we accelerate it? What’s the win there?” And I get to get pulled into different groups, but building that culture was the harder part. Building that culture where I feel like every company is on its own spectrum of how willing they are to adopt SEO as a consultant for whatever group, whatever their goals are. But we’ve been lucky enough here to kind of build a culture where they’re actively inviting me to those groups.

Ben:                 So, talk to me a little bit about how you developed that culture. You’ve been working at Healthline for roughly five years. Was it an SEO-centric organization when you arrived, or is this a culture that you helped build?

Ryan:               Yeah, a little bit of both. They weren’t in bad shape. Certainly leadership was bought in to SEO. My boss, Tracy Rosencrans, is a world class SEO and had already been getting some of those wins in the company. But certainly had to accelerate that, certainly had to build that with different groups. And then within five years, you have leadership turnover, people change. So when new people come into a group, you have to do it again. You have to kind of reset the tone. I don’t know. One thing that I was thinking about was there tends to be a notion that, especially in the higher levels of leadership and C level, that when you join an organization you should make an impact quickly. So you see people join a company, and they lay off people. Or say, “Hey, we’re changing our total, our new mission, and our new charter,” and all these kinds of things.

And I actually think it’s kind of a myopic move and not that smart. One thing that I think we did well when I first came onto this team was listening. You should spend your first couple months of joining any organization meeting these different groups and just listening on what their pain points are, what their goals are, and starting to figure out how you can contribute to their goals. Win them over with kind of the small wins. We’re talking about guitar right before we started. I play too, not as good.

Ben:                 No one ever said I was good at the guitar, but go on.

Ryan:               It’d be like joining into a song, mid song, and just ripping a solo. And you don’t know what key you’re in. You don’t know the tempo. You don’t have an understanding of, “Hey, the bass player is amazing, and the drummer’s kind of weak.” You have no sense of the dynamics of what people are trying to accomplish. So you should sit in and listen, and just be like I said, a consultant to these groups. What’s your number one problem? Let me try to solve that. No one will say no to that. If you’re working off your own budget and you’re trying to get wins there, no one will say no to that.

So depending on where you are in the spectrum of how willing your company is to adopt different SEO tactics, you might have to be more or less like a lamb in those situations. But I found that worked super well. And secondly, adopt the group’s shared language. This goes back to my psychology, cultural anthropology kind of love and things. The fastest way you can signal culture to ingroup and align with them is use their language. And sometimes it’s as simple as figuring out, “Oh, they don’t like the word ranking, and they want page visibility.” Or going to editors and saying, “We need traffic,” never, never really fits well. But if you say to them, “Hey, I want to get as many people seeing your concept as possible.”

Ben:                 Distribution.

Ryan:               Yeah. And it’s just like messaging, and it’s super simple. But you’d be surprised and someone will be like, “Oh, it’s just semantics.” Yeah, it’s just semantics. But the end result is you’re aligning yourself with their goal and their mindset. And when I say this, I don’t mean this in a manipulative way. It’s just understanding what their goals are and kind of aligning yourself to them. That’s helped us build a group where editorial cares as much about SEO as product does, as much as the SEO team does, which is awesome. And when you do that, compounding wins, because you have everyone doing SEO. I don’t have to catch something.

I had someone recently, he was not even part of any of the SEO group, mention to me, Authority Nutrition was an acquisition we did a couple of years ago. Turned out the redirects from, they broke. They weren’t going to Healthline anymore, and there’s tons of equity in those links. And we were like, “Oh, good catch.” People are educated enough to make those kinds of things, and it makes it a lot easier when you have a company doing SEO, than a department doing it.

Ben:                 The culture really matters when you’re talking about building and managing cross functional relationships, and I think you mentioned the roadmap to creating a good culture, the cadence for talking about and staying up to date with what your teams are happening. When you get to the end of the year, and you’re in the hardcore planning phase. You’re getting ready for 2020, and the teams are starting to horse trade resources. Talk to me a little bit about how you manage the process of gaining all the resources that you want and need without being grabby. What’s the right way to play nice in the sandbox, but without giving away all the things that you need to be successful for next year?

Ryan:               Yeah. No, that is a great question. I think one tactic is take whatever area that you’re hoping to develop and whatever you’re trying to do for the next year, and really hold it up to the flame as far as what’s the overall business objectives? And if you can easily answer, “Oh, this links into this, and we actually have company alignment,” might be not a hill worth dying on. And starting to separate kind of what are the projects that are really going to move the business versus what’s not. Then secondly, when you’re asking for resources, and I am thinking of that from a budget perspective within SEO. But let’s say it’s a time thing like, “Hey, I need product’s time on this given thing,” and they’re like, “Hey, we got this amount of time to give you and nothing more.”

So one way to kind of test that and get a feel for it, and maybe get what you need, is aligning with product’s goal. They’re more willing to give you resources if you can say, “This not only solves what I’m trying to do, it solves this other group’s problem, and solves this other problem.” If you can start getting buy in from other groups and say, “Actually that initiative would help us a lot out in yields or would help us out a lot in brand differentiation, and that’s something that we’re pushing for.” If you can get allies, it’s a faster way to make sure you’re going to get the resources you need for it. And then lastly, there’s always that stuff in the gray where you’re like, “Hey, we don’t know how this will do. Why would we put money towards this? Why would we put time against it?”

And for that, it’s really great to have a data scientist on your team, and have a team that knows how to test. So in the middle of this year, I was testing things that I wanted to do in 2020, so that when this time comes along or even months before this to be able to say, “Here’s the case study. This is what I think I can do. And here’s the data.” It’s very hard for someone to say, “We won’t get you those resources,” when I say, “Hey, for every $5 in this group, I’m going to give you 10 per year.” They’ll find money for that, I mean, depending on your organization. That’s, I think, another place where I’m blessed is Healthline’s been willing to back resources like that. But in my situation, in my experience, having a strong case study, and having some test results, and some data to put behind something makes your argument go over a lot easier.

Ben:                 I’m hearing three things. First off, the relationships matter when you’re talking about building relationships with cross functional teams. You need to speak the same language, understand what somebody’s roadmap is looking at, understand what their objectives are. The second thing you need to do is to be able to integrate what you’re doing and what you’re trying to accomplish with the overall company’s goals, right? If you’re trying to drive increased visibility in organic growth, and the company overall is trying to raise their awareness, there’s obviously some overlap. And being able to communicate that is really, really effective. And the third thing to do is come armed with data. This is not a fight. It’s not a competition, but the more you’re able to run small tests and provide the background for why a project is important, and what the return is going to be, the more likely you’re going to be able to be successful in getting the resources you need to actually execute.

Ryan:               Yes, absolutely, better said than I said it. Much more succinct, and I would add just a little caveat to that last thing is don’t compete. These are people that you should be aligned, you should all be going in the same direction. I’ve seen way too many times where someone’s like, “I have this idea. I think this is a bad idea.” And they spend the meeting competing instead of saying, “Hey, we don’t see eye to eye on this. Let’s see where the data takes us. How do you feel about a test?” Because they both want the test approved. “Hey I was right, or you were right.” So like don’t get in a competitive place. Especially for SEOs, because this isn’t my experience at Healthline, but certainly in other places, of when you walk into a product group, product goes, “This is SEO. They kind of know product, but they don’t really.”

There can be that kind of feeling of they’re not really subject matter expert in my world, and your programmers and engineers will say the same thing. And your marketers sometimes say the same thing, and your sales team. So you’re a little bit of knowing the whole ecosystem. So if you get in a slug match of like, “Hey, I actually know your job better than you,” you’re going to ruin the relationship and the culture. You’re going to have an uphill battle to get anything done with that group. The easier place to always go, “Totally respect your point. That makes a lot of sense. Would you mind if I test it? Just want to see where the user goes.” And it makes a lot of sense.

Ben:                 Where I’ve seen the competition come in is the fight between organic and paid growth channels. Right? The PPC channels always want the budget, and the head counts, and the resources, because they can spend a dollar and get a return immediately. And the SEOs are always saying, “I can invest that dollar, and I can get a larger return, but it takes a longer period of time.” Last question I have for you. As you’re thinking about managing the relationships specifically with your performance marketing team, you’re responsible for driving organic growth. How do you avoid not getting any each other’s hair?

Ryan:               Yeah, it’s a great question. I think that’s been the fundamental battle between so many SEOs, particularly because it’s easier for CPC to show ROI on a quicker-

Ben:                 In the near term.

Ryan:               Yeah. And then they get all the resources, and then organic kind of gets the leftover. I think one way, and luckily I had walked into a situation where that wasn’t the case. Paid was mainly used to supplement organic programs. One of the ways that you can kind of do that is, depending on what your company’s KPIs are, your performance team probably cares about margin. Talk to them about how organic can totally help their margin. If you can bring more organic free traffic into any campaign, it’s going to lower your CPCs. You’re going to have to do less of it over time to actually reach your goals. So that’s a place where you could align with your kind of CPC seeing that, “We’re not fighting. Let me contribute some of my expertise into your worlds, and I’ll show you returns.”

That’s one way to do it. Another way to do it is to focus on the funnel, and you can separate it a little bit. And that’s what we did a little bit at Healthline is hey, really top of the funnel, organic’s been a more proven strategy, a less expensive strategy over time if we can rank. And then lower in the funnel when we need a more qualified audience, we can hand off to our performance marketing teams to really deliver there. So you can kind of align and separate. Both of those tactics can kind of help you make sure you’re at profit.

Ben:                 I think that there’s a world where SEOs and PPC marketers can live in harmony, and the way that that happens is data sharing, right? There is an understanding of, “Hey, there is an opportunity for us to rank highly in this keyword, but we’re struggling, but we see that there’s value there. We should buy that traffic.”

“Oops, you’re running a campaign to try to address this type of users. It’s really expensive. We’re spending a lot of money. Let’s try to build content to supplement that.” And you can work together to accomplish shared goals, but again, it goes back to you have to have the relationships. You have to be able to communicate and talk to each other.

Ryan:               Absolutely.

Ben:                 Ryan, I know that obviously it’s been a very busy year for you. I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to talk to us about how you’re building the relationships. Any last words? Any last bits of advice for the teams that are going through and thinking about how to work closely with their cross functional partners?

Ryan:               Yeah. I would say, just to kind of wrap it up, and this might be the San Francisco psychologist side of me a little bit, but don’t forget that you’re just humans. You’re all just people working together, right? You’re in the business of people, whether you like it or not. So maintaining and nurturing relationships are vital. It might mean going to lunch. It might mean sitting in, but every interaction you have with someone in your group is a place to build trust. And if you start approaching your work like that, it’ll be a lot easier to build the relationships, which builds the culture, which means you’re going to have the wind at your back when you’re trying to get things accomplished.

And when there’s push backs, you can trust it a lot more. When someone says, “That’s not a good idea,” you can see it from a place of respect and say, “Okay, well what’s their lens here? Why isn’t it a good idea to them? How can I rethink this?” It’ll make you a better SEO. It’ll make you a better professional, and certainly it will make your company stronger. So people are people. Be cool.

Ben:                 I think that’s great advice. It turns out the secret to building cross functional relationships is focusing on building real relationships. And that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Ryan Purtill, VP of SEO at Healthline Media. We’d love to continue this conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Ryan, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can send him a tweet. His handle is @RyanPurtill2, R-Y-A-N-P-U-R-T-I-L-L, the number two, or you can visit his company’s website, which is

If you have general marketing questions, if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, or if you’re interested in being a guest on the Voices of Search podcast, you can find a link to my contact information in the show notes. Or you can contact me on Twitter. My handle is benjshap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. And if you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to trial for your complimentary trial of their software. And if you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed sooner. All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.

Black Friday: Biggest discount ever!

We’re not kidding. It’s time for Black Friday, the one time a year we clean up the attic at Yoast. With our whopping 30% discount on everything, we top every sale we ever had.

Get your SEO package TODAY

Yes, when we say everything, we mean everything. Our subscriptions are cheaper than ever. With 30% extra on our already low prices we live up to our mission SEO for everyone. This is your chance to get all Yoast products, plugins and courses, for under $35 (first month, annual plan). That’s basically below cost price. Period. So get your package now, because this just isn’t sustainable.

Don’t miss out: Yoast SEO Premium for just over $60 a year

You can get a year of our premium flagship product Yoast SEO Premium for only 89 US dollars $62… That means you get all the great extra features:

  • Word forms, synonyms and related keywords
  • Redirect manager
  • Internal link optimization
  • Social previews and more

For less than you’d typically pay for a Shawn Mendes ticket, our plugin can help you rank better & get more traffic so you can go to as many concerts you’d like. A no-brainer? We think so.

Raise your SEO game

Cover your own SEO bases today with our Yoast SEO academy courses. Don’t just use our plugin and write your content, but get a deeper understanding of why you should write that text for your audience and why & how you should use that feature in our plugin. Our recommendation: Don’t just focus on the content side of things, or frustrate over technical SEO, but get a better understanding of everything:

So yes, if you ever wondered if you should buy our products, or have been postponing real optimization and better rankings for your website, now would be the time to fire things up with our Black Friday deals!

Happy Black Friday.

The post Black Friday: Biggest discount ever! appeared first on Yoast.

13 SEO Myths That Will Probably Kill Your Ranks in 2020

Faster, easier, higher. That’s what we’re all up to when it comes to ranks and traffic, right? Well, easy wins with little effort are rare in SEO. There are most likely SEO myths that will wipe out your business instead of boosting it.

As we are often being asked about many misconceptions from the SEO world, we’ve decided to gather and share with you the most important SEO myths that tend to keep you from improving your ranks and traffic. And of course, clarify them once and for all.

13 SEO Myths That Are Probably Killing Your Ranks

13 SEO Myths That Are Probably Killing Your Ranks

SEO can make you or break you, depending on how you’re using it. Here’s an idea of what you should stay away off, the SEO myths. Read them, breath them and live without them:

  1. Using Tabbed Content Can Penalize Your Site
  2. Syndicate Content Does Hurt Your SEO
  3. It’s Better to Have More Links Than More Content
  4. The Disavow Tool Is Useless After Penguin 4.0
  5. Links in Comments and Forums Will Attract Google Penalties
  6. Social Signals Don’t Impact SEO
  7. All Backlinks Are Created Equally
  8. Keyword Optimization Matters Most in SEO
  9. Artificial Social Shares Will Boost Your Rankings
  10. Keyword Density Should Be at Least 2% to Increase Your Rankings
  11. A High Number of Links Is All You Need to Rank on the Top
  12. You Don’t Need an SEO Specialist, Anyone Can Do It
  13. SEO Is All About Rankings

The evolution of SEO is faster than our ability to perceive it. Over the years, it appeared so many speculations regarding SEO that you would think you were at a stock market.

The long list of SEO myths continues to be more and more voluminous. Some of these myths appeared from the need of the so-called experts who wanted to find out Google’s next move. It is sad to see these people living and dying by Google’s quotes and PR statements.

Let’s move past the “SEO is dead” phrase and start focusing on certain facts pertaining more to bad documentation rather than to real myths. SEO is not dead and we’ll be long gone when and IF that will really happen. It is very much alive and, we might add, omnipresent.

SEO is not about shenanigans. SEO is not something you can easily use to bring your newly created website on top of results like some magic fairy dust. Rather, it is a continuously evolving industry. There is no one-time recipe for SEO algorithms that change every day. You have to adjust your strategies accordingly and act naturally. Otherwise, you might look suspicious.

We’ve seen a lot of stressed and frustrated people blaming it on tools and agencies when they don’t see the SEO efforts equating to payoffs instantaneously. Even the creation of the world took more than one day. Good results don’t come easily.

Digital marketers understand that SEO is not a magic pill that will skyrocket your rankings in one day.
Vishal Ray Malik Vishal Ray Malik
Founder of ConversionLink / @vishalraymalik

1. Using Tabbed Content Can Penalize Your Site

Tabbed content started as a solution for keeping your site clean and to the point, without overcrowding the reader. They could show or hide the content by a click. What started as a good thing for the user ended badly for the search engine crawlers.

The hidden text using expandable sections was bad for SEO because bots could not read the text and therefore the website couldn’t get indexed or ranked.

Google discarded the websites that used the “click-to-expand” type of content because it thought they were hiding it from the user, exactly the opposite of its intention. But as you all know, there might have been a grain of truth in Google’s position towards tabbed content because there are all sorts of people trying to trick Google.

John Mueller stated that Google may not rank the page for the tabbed content because it knows users do not see the content by default.

From our point of view, it’s always a tricky problem when we send a user to a page where we know this content is actually hidden. Because the user will see perhaps the content in the snippet, they’ll click through the page, and say, well, I don’t see where this information is on this page. I feel kind of almost misled to click on this to actually get in there.
John Mueller SEO John Mueller
Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google /  @JohnMu

You can listen to his answer in the next video:

Nonetheless, we must understand that Google penalizes those websites that deceptively use hidden text.

Matt Cutts explained in the video below that using JavaScript for collapsing content is an accepted and a common practice by lots of ecommerce websites that want to make their site more welcoming.

Using JavaScript for tabbed content that includes hidden text is an accepted example within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Not all hidden text is considered deceptive. For example, if your site includes technologies that search engines have difficulty accessing, like JavaScript, images, or Flash files, using descriptive text for these items can improve the accessibility of your site.
Google logo Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

Let’s take Wikipedia, for example, the online encyclopedia that uses on-click expandable content on the mobile version.

Wikipedia expandable content

Wikipedia expandable content

If you look at the picture above you can see that the collapse sections complement the content. There is a lot of information on the page and you can easily go and read only what you’re interested in, and not the whole article.

Using tabbed content is not bad for SEO and Google won’t penalize your site if it is implemented in a non-spammy way. The hidden text or links is considered spammy if it there solely for search engines rather than visitors.

2. Syndicate Content Does Hurt Your SEO

First, let’s start by saying duplicate content is neither syndicate content nor article spinning.

We all know about duplicate content and the long talk over the year, when it has been said that duplicate content will penalize your website. Things have changed and we learnt that the duplicate content penalty was a myth. Matt Cutts and Andrey Lipattsev said repeatedly that duplicate content doesn’t get you penalized, while copied content does.

As for article spinning, the penalization is applied. It is a technique used in SEO by rewriting articles and replacing specific words, phrases, sentences trying to provide a different version by each spin.

However, syndicated content refers to a situation when a third party publishes an article taken from a source while mentioning it and doesn’t take credit for the article. Syndicated content doesn’t violate Private Label Rights (PLR) either because the original author keeps the ownership of the article and offers a Creative Commons license for reposting.  

If all these steps are followed, then syndicate content won’t damage your site or your SEO; it won’t be deemed copied content and get you penalized. So the myth of syndicate content must be broken. Syndication is not a form of plagiarism as long as there is a source cited.

The truth is that only copied content and article spinning will penalize your website.

Here’s what John Mueller says in Search Console Help, regarding content that is automatically generated, doesn’t comply with the copyright infringement and the Webmaster Guidelines.

Our algorithms prefer unique, compelling and high-quality content. Content that is rewritten, “spun,” automatically translated or otherwise modified in an attempt to make it appear unique would go against our Webmaster Guidelines and can result in action being taken against sites that rely on such content.
John Mueller SEO John mueller
Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google /  @JohnMu

Syndication can really help you if done correctly. If you use it as an amplification technique, you get the chance to rich a broader audience.

There are a lot of trustworthy websites that publish syndicate content and have a large number of people that are subscribed to the newsletter and RSS feed through a dedicated service like Feedly.



3. It’s Better to Have More Links Than More Content

There was a time when it was better to have more links than content to rank higher in Google. Back then, links had more value. Building links on specific anchor texts was essential for SEO industries and to boost your search rankings. And since it began to have such a huge effect on rankings, all kinds of webmasters and SEO pros started to do link building just to create chunks of links, thinking only about quantity and not at all about quality. Google realized that people abused this technique and flooded the SERP with irrelevant and bad sites getting triggered there only by having bad inbound links with no value for the user.

The solution Google found was the Webspam Update, named Penguin afterward. This big change happened on April 24, 2012, when Penguin was released for the first time. Back then, it addressed problems such as keyword stuffing and link schemes. Later on, they took the problem into their own hands and penalized sites with unnatural, manipulative inbound link profiles.

Both Matt Cutts and Andrey Lipattsev confirmed that content, links and RankBrain are the first 3 rankings factors. All of them are equally important. None of them is more important than the other (according to Google). 

But here is just one of the myths you should leave behind: links value more than content. Put your ideas into action and start creating an abundance of new pieces of content or improve the ones you already have. Information is in your pocket.  

A natural link profile and good content can bring you high rankings. And the best way to do it comes from the SEO masters and people that went through all Google dances and managed to dance all the way up to the present.

Bill Sebald, from Greenlane, managed to improve the rank from #5 to #2 for the period of time they optimized the content with the help of Content Assistant. And he’s not the only one. The knowledge and tools are here; you just have to create the strategy and take some time to do it.

Within 24 hours, we saw our rank improve from #5 for the term we were optimizing for to #2. This fluctuated over the next few days but then we settled into the #2 spot and have remained there since. Read the full case study.
Founder Greenlane / @billsebald

4. The Disavow Tool Is Useless After Penguin 4.0

To disavow or not to disavow? That is the question.

We get tons of emails and questions from people saying they know disavow tools are useless and Google knows which links they built and which they didn’t.

Let’s take the example above that can prove our point:

I saw that I have some links marked as unnatural, but I have never built those links. Google says if you never built the link then don’t worry about it. I only built the link to a single post which is 100 photoshop tutorials post so that is why I am shocked to see that all of my links are marked unnatural by your tool.

The 100 photoshop tutorials post is unnatural itself. Google might ignore it, but it might not. Google doesn’t know if you built those links. They are pointing to your site and that’s it. Maybe someone did a negative SEO attack on your website. Google could see that as something you did and penalize you. What Matt Cutts and John Mueller say is different from what the algorithm does.

When Google Penguin 4.0 went live, Gary Illyes said:

Traditionally, webspam algorithms demoted whole sites. With this one, we managed to devalue spam instead of demoting AND it’s also more granular AND it’s real time. Once the rollout is complete, I strongly believe many people will be happier, and that makes me happy.
Gary Illyes Gary Illyes
Google spokesperson / @methode

People still asked if the disavow tool was still necessary, along with this update:

Gary Illyes disavow tool

Gary Illyes disavow tool

John Mueller disavow tool

John Mueller disavow tool

5. Links in Comments and Forums Will Attract Google Penalties

SEO myth busting again; here’s the urban legend that has been brought to life: all community engagement is toxic, such as links in comments and forums.

Don’t confuse blog commenting and forums with directories. The latter are more suspicious, but for sure in that case, also, there are white-hat directories. One of the clearest differences to emerge is that a forum is a discussion panel and a directory is an online list or catalog of websites.

The mirror has two faces. If we’re to take forums in general and links in comments (even nofollow links) we would say that they have low-quality, because there are a lot of spammers. Along the years, lots of forums were bombarded by constant spam messages from marketers trying to cash in on a captive audience and build lots and lots of spammy links. It was a time when forums were popular, that’s why the bad guys focused their attention on them.

Forums have some advantages:

  • Have niched users;
  • They bring topical relevancy;
  • Have loyal users, that help increase website traffic through repeated visits;
  • Easily create a connection and build a relationship because you no longer have to search them and capture their attention;
  • Easier to gain trust.

So you can understand why spammers were attracted by building links there through comments. But with time, just like Google, proper forums that delivered relevant information started to have more restrictions on user-generated content (UGC).

The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.
John Doerr John Doerr
General partner KPCB / @johndoerr

You can find lots of trustworthy forums and social communities built on user-generated content that provide valuable information from experts and pros. Reddit, WebmasterWorld, Moz Forum, Quora, Campus Society, Stumble Upon, Tumblr are just a few examples of communities built on user-generated content, each of them focusing on a specific audience.  

Did you know that millennials spend 30% of their media consumption time with content that is created by their peers (UGC) and consider it to be more memorable than other media? But that’s not all, user-generated content is trusted more than traditional media (59%) according to a research made by Ipsos MediaCT/Crowdtap.

media trusworthiness

media trusworthiness

Millennials are also committed to engaging with social media on a daily basis above all other media types.

Let’s debunk this myth together. Community engagement is not toxic if it observes Google’s quality guidelines and comment links from forums and user-generated communities are naturally placed there.

6. Social Signals Don’t Impact SEO

Come into the mythical place named Narnia, where everything is possible and social activity has no value for SEO. Well, let’s see why it is a myth and which is the truth behind it.

I hear lots of people saying things like:

“Is it true that likes on Facebook, Twitter, and so on, do not count towards Google rankings? Well, why bother improving my social activity?”

Or even asking:

What would be the SEO benefit of linking to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter posts?

But the real question should be “Is your site providing added-value for your users?” rather than thinking of the “SEO benefits”.

Let’s get one thing straight: it is true that a “like” on a social account doesn’t influence Google rankings, but they have a positive influence among shares, engagement. John Mueller states that there is no direct ranking signal in Google’s ranking algorithm. Google treats Facebook and Twitter posts like any other web pages for search, but NOT as a ranking factor. But this doesn’t mean social signal has no value for SEO. It indirectly influences website rankings.  

Social signals have a lot of value in this manner. You build your brand and drive traffic to your website, therefore influencing your rank on Google.  

Social Signals and SEO

We conducted a study on this topic and the numbers were clear: a strong presence on social networks is correlated with better rankings. This means that, in general, the higher the ranking of the website, the higher the chances that the average presence on social network is larger.

Another interesting discovery was the fact that Facebook post engagement has a strong connection with organic search CTR. Larry Kim saw that Facebook posts with extraordinarily high engagement rates tended to have above expected organic search CTR.

relationship between organic rankings & social shares

In the end, it is about how engaging your content is.



If you have a successful activity on your social accounts and create engagement, you have the possibility to attract a larger audience and send it to your site. On top of that, that audience can share the information and amplify it, organically. Influencers come to your site and in no time you can increase the number of links, which boosts your SEO efforts.

Links are the confound in the correlation between social shares and rankings.
AJ Kohn AJ Kohn
Owner, Blind Five Year Old / @ajkohn

Remember that social engagement sends positive signals to Google. Long story short, social signals have an indirect impact on SEO and a powerful impact on search rankings. The result of the social activity is more valuable than the action per se. That’s the one that counts.

7. All Backlinks Are Created Equally

Oh boy! Oh boy! They never stop coming. I’ll boil this down to the bare facts.

You know and I know that there are bad and good links. Getting at this point, we can see that backlinks are not created equal. But let’s not stop here.

Let’s go on with the good links and say that they are created equally. At this point, I have to ask you: is a link on Forbes equal with bananaroots.wordpress. com? The first domain is an American business magazine and the second one is a blog about bananas. Firstly, the two domains are different by the industry, secondly by the domain influence/authority and page influence/authority.

There are so many aspects to take into consideration when we talk about backlinks that this could take an entire post and lots of coffee to bare all the SEO myths that are out there and debunk them. But, I’ll save your energy and go with the one that interests us today, at this moment.

To figure out this backlink equality issue, let me present you two situations. If you search for “brown recluse” you’ll see search engine results from EmedicineHealth and LiveScience. The first page  has a well-covered topic with lots of on-topic content as you can see in the next screenshot:



The second page was a short article, poorly-covered with a lot of general information about a lot of things.



And then we checked the number of links. If we were to compare the two sites, the LiveScience has lots of links, it is a big site.

links for 2 different domains 1

links for 2 different domains 1

If I had to choose, a link on EmedicineHealth would be more valuable than LiveScience.

Equality is not always the answer. Equity is.

Backlinks equality and equity

Link equity (formerly named link juice) is an important part of off-page SEO since it passes value and authority from one page to another.

Let’s accept and embrace the fact that backlinks are not created equal and focus on those which are more “juicy” or equitable.

Some links are more equal than others.

8. Keyword Optimization Matters Most in SEO

Targeted keywords optimization is one step in all the SEO process that happens on-site. The first would have to be keyword research. You can do that through multiple alternatives. Keyword Planner from Google Adwords has been one of the most popular options for a long period of time, but since SEO evolved, lots of agencies have proposed lots of other tools.

Some other opportunities that we can find in Google are the autocomplete suggestions we can see when we start typing in the search bar for a specific query (as represented in the next screenshot). Or, review the list of searches related to autocomplete suggestions that we can find at the bottom of the first page.

funny google searches autocomplete

funny google searches autocomplete

There is also the Keyword tool and Content Assistant which is a complete option that includes the keyword research, competitor spying for that keyword, keyword and content optimization.

All the keyword phrases we use in a content create a vocabulary and therefore give a context to the topic we’ve written about. Due to that, Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to understand if your content is related to a search query. In case you need guidance using keywords suggestions that take this algorithm into consideration, Content Assistance can give it to you in seconds. The tool uses the same algorithm for extracting keyword recommendation you could use in your content.

But keywords do not represent everything, context does. It just started to have a major impact on search results. And let’s not forget RankBrain, which helps Google process its search results through artificial intelligence. So Google will start to offer more personalized results based on each individual behavior. It goes through billions of pages and selects only the most relevant for particular queries.

Nowadays, as we mentioned several times, Google’s trying to optimize the page for the user. So if you’re trying to use specific words over and over again just to optimize for the search engines, it will only weaken your website. In the end, you might get penalized and suffer a great loss.  

Taking into consideration the SEO process we talked about, keyword optimization is not the crucial SEO element or the most important one, but it is the first one. It is a dwarf among giants. There are arguably even more relevant aspects. At the moment, we can not point to a specific SEO element that is the most important one, but rather there is a handful of steps and aspects that create a synergy.

9. Artificial Social Shares Will Boost Your Rankings

We’ll start by saying that artificial or fake social shares are considered to be black hat social media techniques.

We talked before about social signals and you know by now that they are emerging as ranking factors as search engines try to understand our social interaction and behavior. In this manner, a page with lots of shares and links has the advantage to rank higher. But just like any abuse of guidelines, these tricks that fool the system are penalized.

That being the case, Facebook says that buying fake likes, shares will only hurt you; it might get harder for those who want to advertise, too. Not once did it happen for Facebook to suspend advertising accounts. And it’s not so easy to reactivate such an account.

Pages with artificially inflated like counts are harming themselves, making it harder and more expensive to reach the people they care about most.
facebook Facebook

Facebook adds that they value real connection and support strong relationships created through the platform.

We have a strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results.
facebook Facebook

Experts value the power of social signals but only used for the right reasons, not for inflating with artificial shares and likes that pollute the social platform.  

Social media is a set of modern communications channels that can be used to transmit “content” and communications to an audience. As such, it can be used, in this context, to publicize “content” and news so that more people hear about you and then link to you. And those links can help your rankings.
Samuel Scott Samuel Scott
Marketing speaker and tech contrarian / @samueljscott

The bottom line is artificial social shares don’t help in keyword ranking. In the best case scenario, you should call yourself lucky if your account isn’t suspended. Facebook is using AI to penalize spammy websites in its News Feed.

10. Keyword Density Should Be at Least 2% to Increase Your Rankings

Keywords, in all its forms for SEO, seems to be a hotly contested topic.

At this point, I barely have strength left to argue. It starts to get funnier or is it rather me feeling nervous-funny.

Nervous laugh

Nervous laugh

The never-ending talk about keyword density that should be 10%, 4,5% or 7 %. We’re starting to ask ourselves if is so hard to be natural these days?!

unnatural vs natural

unnatural vs natural

It’s ironic, you’re asking “What would the algorithm think about this?” and the algorithm is asking, “What would a real human think about this?”

During a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, last year, John Mueller said that the focus should be on the readability and not on the keyword density.

We expect content to be written naturally, so focusing on keyword density is not a good use of your time. Focusing too much on keyword density makes it look like your content is unnatural.
John Mueller SEO John Mueller
Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google /  @JohnMu

Keyword density might lead to keyword stuffing if you try and program everything like it is a machine.

A lot of people think there’s one recipe and you can follow it like baking cookies. And if you follow it to the letter, you’ll rank number one. That’s not the way it works.
Matt Cutts about nofollow links Matt Cutts
Former head of the webspam team at Google / @mattcutts

That’s not how the search engines work. Google will recognize the pattern.

The sad part is that we are in 2018 and we’re still hearing questions such as “what is the ideal keyword density percentage to improve rankings in Google in 2018?” (*facepalm* and *heavy breathing*).

Then you go back to quality, the naturalness of things. So no, you should not focus on maintaining your keyword density a specific percentage to rank higher. There is no IDEAL % for keyword density. Rather have a vocabulary, semantics, a long copy to avoid keyword stuffing. In the end, be very careful not to have too much of one keyword.

11. A High Number of Links Is All You Need to Rank on the Top

The myth goes something like this: once you have so many links, you don’t really need anymore. And it should be enough for helping you rank higher. No numbers are thrown out (apparently it might differ from one industry to another), but it is really such a thing of having too many links that it doesn’t matter in terms of ranking if you get more? 

In the ante-Penguin Era, a high number of links might be enough for ranking on top if you wanted to believe that.

Obviously, there is no such thing as too many links. Maybe for unnatural links, though. Because if you have too many unnatural links you might get penalized. But here we are talking about good links as ranking signals. Smart marketers and webmasters wouldn’t pursue this, because they know (spoiler alert: debunking a myth right now) links is not the only ranking factor and neither is the number of those links. The focus should be on content marketing, social activities, natural links, since we talked so much about them.

12. You Don’t Need an SEO Specialist; Anyone Can Do It

Whoever said SEO is something any IT guy can do, fooled you.

There is, indeed, technical SEO, which as the name says, requires some technical expertise. It is an SEO component, entirely something else. If you hear technical it doesn’t necessarily have to be IT. The job of an SEO expert is different from an IT expert; it requires wider knowledge on content, user behaviour, equity, semantics and context, and a lot more.  

Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich, but on its own, it’s not very appetizing.
Lee Odden Lee Odden
CEO at TopRank Marketing / @leeodden

Of course, you need the knowledge of an IT person that can handle some things better than an SEO pro. You can not give or expect from somebody experienced in IT to do the SEO duties and expect best practices and great results. Some things go hand in hand.

An IT professional can help you with issues such as website crawling (errors, XML sitemap, URL parameters, indexing errors), redirects, website audit (for internal links), loading page speed, some local SEO issues, and many more.

In the end, SEO isn’t something you can handle to an IT person, in case you want to rank and have a site and visitors.

13. SEO Is All About Rankings

Search engine optimization is the process for naturally placing the website in search results by the search engines. If we think from the on-site perspective, then the keywords used in context, the meta descriptions, the images selected for the content, the title are significant among all the on-site SEO elements.

Getting this straight, we need to understand that SEO, at this level, must answer to the user need and intent. That is the future: the user-intent-based content. Google’s moving the attention on user intent for more accurate and personalized results.

Relevant and well-optimized (not over-optimized) content remains a top ranking factor. Think of that this way: you are on the first page of Google and rank for a keyword you optimized your content for. You want the users to enter your website or not? If the answer is yes and they will do so it means you optimized correctly your content, you have relevant meta description, title, URL. If on the contrary, the user doesn’t enter your website it means it’s not relevant, you optimized the content for the search engines, and that won’t last for long.

My rule of thumb is: build a site for a user, not a spider.
Dave Naylor Dave Naylor
Head of Search Marketing and Speaker at Bronco / @DaveNaylor

Lost are the days when over-optimization was doing all the job for ranking your content higher and higher ‘till it reached the sky, because sky is the limit. But no more!

Over-optimization for the sole purpose of ranking isn’t a technique approved by Google according to the Quality Guidelines.

Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.
Wendy Piersall Wendy Piersall
Blogger & author at / @emom

But for some other reason, if you have over-optimized content, you have a chance to clear your past and deoptimize it. At this stage, you have to evaluate your content and see if there is anything you can adjust, redirect or rewrite and re-optimize to fulfill the actual requirements for quality.

If you got it until here, I must congratulate you and ask you to debunk another SEO myth, and tell the truth, that SEO is not all about rankings, but rather quality, natural language, context and earning links (named just a few, because we could keep it like this all night).


13 is an unlucky number, not to mention when it is placed near SEO myths. The internet is full of them, and people follow them blindfoldedly. You decide what is best for your business and what SEO strategies to apply or not. Yet, we wanted to share and debunk with you the most common SEO myths, the ones that we are constantly asked about.   

In the online marketing world, there will always be tons of detours, easy fixes, or “a complete guide to SEO and conversion rate optimization” that will increase your search engine rankings on the spot. We’ve tried to cover some of the biggest SEO myths; yet, we know that there other highly debatable topics in the industry worth tackled, like voice search or guest blogging. Whenever we’ll feel the need, we’ll update this list and we hope we’ll get updates from your side as well. 

We are always trying to provide you with valuable content and information in the SEO world, with facts that can be applied and aspects you should stay away from and never challenge Google or other search engines. These SEO myths are in the last category and we hope that this article was a helping hand. If you have some other SEO myths you want to share or discuss with us, feel free to write about them at the comments section below. 

Start Your Free 7-Day Trial

New Time-Saver: Compare Related Sites

Speed up your competitor research and have confidence that you’re comparing against the correct sites, with the Compare Suite’s new Related Sites import.

Our compare tools are among the best in the business.  From a single panel, you can check side-by-side high-level metrics, backlink and referring domain acquisition, flow metrics history, and topical categories for up to ten websites or URLs of your choice.  You can even look for link opportunities by seeing who links to your competitors, but not to you.  

But up until now, YOU have had to supply the list of websites that you’d like to check – and sometimes you don’t know who your client’s competitors are. In fact, some clients won’t even know who their online competitors are.

Find Similar Websites

You may have noticed that we’ve had a busy year at Majestic, and one of the new tools we’re most blown away with is Related Sites.  If you’re not familiar with it, that’s the brand new tool where we take all of the other websites that appear near links to your website, and aggregate them into a “Sites That Are Linked To Most Often Near Your Site” list.  It’s really incredible, and a great way to find similar websites.

Here is a list of sites that appear most often near links to Majestic.

A list of the top 13 sites that are linked to near ''

Since launching, we’ve received the same piece of feedback from a few customers, “Can we get this list in Compare?” And we’re delighted to release that today.

Compare Similar Sites

Image of a new input button in the Compare Suite.

We have added a brand new button to all of the Compare Suite tools. When you press it, magic happens.

To try it out, just add the site you want to compare, then press the orange Import Related Sites button.  We will fetch and bring back the top twenty sites that we think are related to your search.

Here is an example where we type in the website of an American Football team, and click to see competitors.

How to click the new button and see the list of related sites

As you can see, we fetch the top Related Sites for the search, then give you the option to choose to compare up to nine other sites.  For this example, we’ll select this team’s three divisional rivals.

Clicking the new button and choosing your related sites for comparison

Note: when we say that Related Sites has blown us away, we really mean it… of 32 NFL teams, those top three rivals were in the first six returned results. This is not hard wired – it’s all done algorithmically, Related Sites worked it out without any help.

It’s as easy as that. You have now chosen relevant websites to compare – without having to type.

Reuse Your List

Related Sites Import works for all of our Compare Tools.  You can work your way across the tabs, and take in all of the information about your chosen sites, exporting and saving anything that looks interesting.  Then, when you’re done, you can press the button again, choose another set of domains and refresh your view with all the new data.

Changing your mind - choosing different domains.

An unintended side-effect is that you no longer have overwhelm your screen with the data for the full compliment of ten domains. With your new button, you can break your data gathering into manageable chunks, then use the popup to mix and match websites as you zoom in on what’s important to you.

Backwards Compatible

Your new time-saver is fully backwards-compatible.  If you like things the old way, you can ignore the new button and keep entering your domains manually.

If you would rather mix and match some related sites with your own suggestions, you can use the existing input boxes to add your own sites, or perhaps to overwrite one you no longer need. 

To make sure you don’t accidentally overwrite one of your own domains, the Related Sites popup will always save and highlight any of your manually inputted sites.

Manually overwriting our suggestions

Get the most out of Compare Suite with a Pro account

The Compare Suite is one of the core parts of our Pro plan. Customers with Pro and API plans can start importing related sites right now, and compare up to ten websites in each of the compare tools.

Imagine being able to use this when you start to work for a brand new client. You can find out where they position beside their peers, even when you don’t really know who their competitors are.

Lite customers can try the new button by checking out two different URLs or domains. Once you can see the ease and convenience of Related Sites in Compare, then it’s very easy to move to a more powerful plan.

We hope that you have fun comparing related sites.  As always, leave a comment, or get in touch with our support team if you have any feedback.

Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020

Lead generation via SEO is one of the best ways to improve the overall conversion rate of your website. There are several go-to SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner that most marketers use for keyword research, competitor tracking, and SERP movements. However, this is only one side of the equation.

Once people’s organic searches have pointed them to your web pages, what’s the best way to ensure they take the next step and opt into your email list? 

Let’s take a look at the top five SEO lead generation tools and how you can use them to convert more of your site’s visitors in 2020 and ahead.

1. Hello Bar

With Hello Bar, you can convert your existing visitors into customers. You can design custom messages for your visitors and display them just at the right time.

Hello Bar sits at the top of your site, and it can be used to display irresistible offers to your visitors. You can even collect email addresses from your visitors to increase your subscriber database. Here is an example of Hello Bar in action:


Besides, you can use Hello Bar to create pop-ups that collect the name and email id of your visitors. 

Pop-ups help to drive 1375% more subscribers.

An example of a Hello Bar pop-up is provided below:

SEO tool for lead generation - Hello Bar


You can easily customize your headline, CTA and the overall design of the bar and the pop-up. The platform automatically chooses the best color combination for the CTAs so you don’t need to spend hours testing that. 

With Hello Bar, you can customize your message targeting by:

  • Sending holiday-related messages to visitors during the holidays. 
  • Customize your pop-up for the mobile audience as the screen size is less.
  • Customize your message based on the location of your customer. 
  • Display the pop-up during the exit-intent, just when the visitors are planning to leave your website.

2. ClickMeeting

Webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads. 

Webinars offer a dual advantage. Firstly, you can generate leads right when you run a webinar, and secondly, you can repurpose your webinar into a blog post. 

Generate leads directly via webinars

With ClickMeeting, you can run custom webinars to share product demos, conduct training sessions or run online courses. You can customize your webinar with a few clicks, and run them without worrying about the type of device and operating system. You can even stream your webinar live to Facebook or YouTube, allowing you to acquire even more leads.

But the true SEO-based lead capture power of webinars is to be found in evergreen topics that will continue to attract relevant audience members over time.

A screenshot of a social media post Description automatically generated


On-demand webinars are one of the fastest and easiest ways to expand your lead base. 

Repurpose your webinar

Repurposing your webinar into a lengthy blog post, consisting of more than 2000 words, helps it to rank for new search queries. When your site achieves higher rankings for new keywords, it automatically maximizes your organic traffic, leading to more conversions. 

Here are some great ways to repurpose webinars to generate leads:

  • You can divide your webinar recordings into short videos of three to five minutes each and post the video on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Add a compelling call to action, and people who watch the video are likely to reach out.
  • Turn the entire webinar into a blog post and promote it on your social networks for added visibility. Try to present the blog post in a series of steps. This helps your site to get ranked as a featured snippet.
  • Turn your webinar Q&A into a support resource page. FAQ pages offer an excellent opportunity to rank as a featured snippet. When people find answers to questions related to your business niche, they will be all the more likely to connect with your business.
  • Create a transcript of your webinar and include long-tail (especially question keywords) in it. 

3. VideoBoost

It is difficult to succeed in your lead generation efforts in 2020 without videos. 

VideoBoost is an app that lets you create trendy videos easily. It has an impressive collection of ready to use video templates and marketing copy. You can easily brand it and start generating leads for your business.

Next time when you are planning to optimize your website for the festive occasion, head over to VideoBoost and create a video for your audience using video templates for Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

SEO tool for lead generation - VideoBoost


4. vCita

vCita offers a dynamic widget that you can add to your site to convert your visitors into leads or customers. 

With vCita’s lead generation widget, you can capture leads from all the pages on your website with a floating CTA that follows the users from page to page.

The tool also lets your audience to book appointments without leaving the site. All the contact details of the visitors get stored in a built-in CRM that can be used later to trigger follow-up nurture messages via email or SMS.

The best place to start with this kind of strategy might be to identify the pages on your site with the most traffic from high-intent organic search terms rates and add the vCita widget to them. I am sure you’ll be able to notice the difference in the number of conversions happening on your site.

5. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is the most powerful conversion optimization tool in the world. It easily integrates with all the major email marketing and CRM platforms. 

One of the tricks that OptinMonster uses to generate leads is via content upgrades. With the help of content upgrade, you offer users bonus content for performing an action on your site. This action can be – joining your email list or filling out a form. 

SnackNation was able to generate 1200 new leads each month by using OptinMonster for content upgrades. 


With features like MonsterLinks, you can convert any image or link into a two-step opt-in process. It works on the Zeigarnik effect which states that people are more likely to complete a task if they start it. 


Final thoughts

SEO is all about generating relevant, and quality leads for a business. Moreover, your SEO strategy should also focus on converting the acquired leads. Both lead generation and CRO forms an integral part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. 

Start making the most with the power of the above five SEO tools to generate quality leads in 2020 and ahead. Happy marketing! 

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO Sandwitch blog.

The post Top five SEO tools to generate more leads in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

6 Characteristics of Ideas that Stick

The Curse of Knowledge 1f4da 1

In 1990, psychologist Elizabeth Newton played a game with students at Stanford University. Two students sat at a desk. One student tapped the rhythm to the song “Happy Birthday To You” on the desk between them. The other student was tasked with the song.

Put yourself in this situation. What would you imagine the success rate of the students who had to guess the song would be? 1 out of 10? 5 out of 10?

The results were startling.

💡 Only 1 in 40 students guessed the song correctly.💡 

Here’s the bigger problem – half of the students who were the ones doing the tapping thought the other students would guess correctly. 1f633

Because the tappers knew the song, and they had the song playing in their head, they expected much more people to understand what they were trying to communicate.

Psychologists call this “the curse of knowledge.” This is one of many cognitive biases that occurs where one individual, when communicating with others, unknowingly assumes that the others have the required background to understand them.

Most of the time we communicate our ideas as if we are the audience. It’s easy to forget that our audience doesn’t always share our knowledge. This puts communication at risk of being either confusing or boring.

Examples of The Curse of Knowledge

  • 1f4c3 Ever read a scientific paper? Almost no one can understand them, because hardly anyone outside of that scientists discipline shares their level of knowledge or the language they use to convey their ideas. They are loaded with scientific jargon, bone dry, and punishingly boring.
  • 1f4cb Perhaps more relatable: ever provide what you felt was a precise set of instructions for someone to follow, and yet they didn’t? Or maybe you spent hours working on a presentation you felt was compelling and interesting, yet everyone you presented it to appeared bored and disengaged?
  • 1f4bb Now what about your website? What about the copy you’re producing and your content strategy? Are you speaking to your audience? Or are you making the content about what you know and you understand? A little audience research can go a long way in understanding what your market is truly interested in, the language they use to communicate, and how you can position your strategy to provide them the most relevant information.


Author’s Dan Heath and Chip Heath developed a list of techniques to overcome the curse of knowledge and make our ideas stick. The world is flooded with ideas, this method helps ensure some of them stand out in the minds of your audience.

Sticky ideas are:

  • Interesting
  • Actionable
  • Measurable

Furthermore, they are:

  • Understandable
  • Memorable
  • Effective in changing thoughts or behavior

Screen Shot 2019 10 15 at 2.25.10 PM

Let’s look at the anatomy of this acronym and define what makes up each component:

Simplicity 2611

  • Breaking down each idea into it’s essential core.
  • It’s the headline of your slide and summary of what you want the audience to understand.
  • Use concepts your audience can understand and relate to.

Unexpected 1f92f

Concrete 1f3af

  • Allow your audience to relate to your ideas with their senses. Show, don’t tell.
  • Don’t keep ideas or statistics as an abstraction. Convey them in a way that compels connection.
  • Concreteness enables coordination by making targets clear. Even experts need clarity.
    • Consider these two mission statements:
      • “We will provide the best customer service in the industry.”
      • “We will answer every customer service phone call within 3-rings. We will resolve all support calls within 7-minutes. We will improve our service scores from 60% satisfaction to 75% satisfaction over the next 12-months.”
        • Which one sounds more concrete?

Credible 1f4ca

  • Speak to the trustworthiness of your idea.
  • Data, research, statistics – these are tools to support your ideas and opinions.
  • A person’s credentials do not determine credibility, only evidence does.
    • This is incredibly important. Perceived credibility based solely on an individual’s credentials is also referred to as the Appeal to Authority Fallacy.
    • The Appeal to Authority argument states that someone’s job title, experience, or credentials in general are used as evidence for an argument’s conclusion.
    • It is a fallacy due to the fact that just because someone is an expert in their field, it does not mean the things they say are true or backed up with evidence. For example, if a medical doctor advises you drink gasoline, it does not make the consumption of gasoline advisable simply because they are a medical doctor.

Emotional 1f914

  • No one takes action unless they truly care.
  • Therefore, your job is to make them care. Appeal to the self-interest of those you’re presenting to. What do they care about? Why do they care about that? Understanding the answers to these questions will provide emotional context to ensure your message makes its intended impact.
  • Telling college students not to drink and drive is one thing. Putting a twisted wreck of a car on campus that proves the dangers of it is another thing. It’s the same message (“drinking and driving is dangerous”) conveyed in entirely different ways.

Stories 1f4da

  • Stories are as old as language itself.
  • They’re used to convey meaning and, regardless of how numerate your audience is, can color in the context of your data and present it in a meaningful way.
  • Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story.
  • Or consider that our brains are more active DURING SLEEP than they are during a lecture 1f634

Brain Activity 1

Now it’s time to make your ideas stick.

As you’re preparing for your next presentation, strategy deck, or important discussion, consider utilizing some of the principles of SUCCES to increase the odds your message sticks. Would you like to work with Seer Interactive to help with this effort? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us to learn more about what an engagement with our team would be like.

Attitude of Gratitude: 15 Things We’re Grateful for This Year

Here at Seer, we send “Know-Your-Company” emails to learn more about our team members. Some are business-oriented, where we share what we’ve accomplished, thought leadership, or a difficult situation or experience that may help another team member. Some of these emails are on the lighter side, where we ask for opinions, fun facts, or recommendations.

With the holidays just around the corner and 2019 coming to a close, we thought it was the perfect time to ask our team members what they’re grateful for this year. Turns out, gratitude manifests in many different shapes and forms and we got responses from the sentimental, family, friends, loves ones, and pets, to the professional, gratitude for co-workers, the company, and our leadership team, and even to websites, apps, brands, and companies. Read on to see who and what topped our Seer-wide gratitude list this year!

On the Sentimental Side 

Our team members shared their gratitude for family, friends, partners, and human and furry friends.

“My family, man. They go so hard!”

– Geneile C. Accounting Manager

“My newly-named wife.”

 James C. Newlywed and Analytics Team Lead

“So incredibly grateful for my family. They are what motivates me, what keeps me sane, (also what drives me up the damn wall), and I would be completely lost without them. My husband, my babies, my parents, siblings… and of course, Gnurkles (my dog).”

Molly N. PPC Account Manager

“Really grateful for a hyper-supportive group of friends in SD.”

Emily G. SEO Account Manager & San Diego transplant

“My mom, she raised me on her own and everything I do is to make her proud!”

Claire D. Analytics Associate

Love Where You Work 

Out of 27 email respondents, 100% shared why they’re grateful to work at Seer. Here are some of our team’s favorite things about working at Seer.

“A job where I can try new cool things every day. If I think of a new approach to a current problem, there’s no ‘there no time in your schedule for that,’ or ‘we don’t have the budget for that,’ or ‘but that’s the way we’ve always done it.’ So many new opportunities to innovate.”

Tracy M. Data Strategy Manager

“I’m grateful to be at Seer every day! I’m 99% sure I’ve learned something new every single day I’ve been here. (You all are amazing).”

Zaine C. SEO Account Manager

“Having an office full of cool people that I’m excited to visit every day, with Winston (my dog).”

Aoife L. Sr. SEO Associate & Dog Mom

“I’m in a position where I get asked by candidates daily ‘Why’d you choose Seer’ or ‘What’s your favorite thing about Seer’. I’m so grateful to be able to answer honestly that I love working for a values-based company where the values aren’t just written on the wall, they’re used as a North Star to make decisions, big and small.”

Jacqueline W. Sr. People Associate

Sound like a cool place to work? Join our team!

On the Lighter Side 

We also asked our team to share some of the outside-of-work things they’re grateful for this year, anything that helps to make their day-to-day lives a little easier or brighter. Here are some of the highlights!

WhatsApp – it’s how I stay connected with my family and friends internationally. Honestly can’t imagine life without it.”

Geniele C. Accounting Manager

“My bootcamp instructor at Yoga Six, because stress no longer exists after 50 burpees.”

– Bailey C. Sr. SEO Associate

The Eagles.”

With a headquarters in Philly, this is a common sentiment.

Stop and Shop Peapod grocery pick up. Sorry not sorry, but this was a GAME CHANGER for this mama.”

Molly N. PPC Account Manager

“Grove Collaborative. It sounds strange but it’s nice to have a company with an app that’ll introduce me to natural and eco-friendly brands. Also, they write a thank you letter on each package which just warms my heart.”

Jenny S. Paid Social Manager because they are SAVAGE on Twitter in all the best ways.”
Molly Q. PPC Associate

Of course, we’re also grateful for all of our blog readers! We want to hear from you, let us know what you’re grateful for in the comments below.

While our team usually churns out blog posts on SEO, PPC, and Analytics, we think it’s important to take time to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our regularly-scheduled programming which includes tutorials, thought leadership, and expert tips on all things digital marketing!

Why Are Title Tags Still Important for SEO?

A title tag is an HTML element expressing the title of a web page. Title tags appear within the search results for each result and helps users and search engines understand the content of the page.

pasted image 0 115

pasted image 0 117

Are Title Tags Important for SEO?

To answer the question, yes. Title tags are important for various reasons. Title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what the page is about. Even more importantly, they help searchers understand the content on your page, which helps them choose the most appropriate result for whatever their query is. Title tags also appear in the browser tabs (see image above),  and in social shares.

How To Write A Title Tag

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Because title tags are so important to search engines, you should complete your keyword research before crafting one. Once you complete keyword research, you should have a clear understanding of the content and be able to craft a keyword-rich title (without overusing keywords) that describes the content and entices searchers to choose your result.

2. Don’t Write A Title That Is Too Long

Title tags often get truncated in search results at around 550-600 pixel width, which is typically around 65 – 75 characters. So it is recommended to keep your title tag within that character limit to make your results more appealing to searchers.

pasted image 0 114pasted image 0 1163. Keyword Placement

Because you don’t have a large amount of space for your title, it’s important to get your higher-priority keywords closer to the beginning.  Charles Taylor, SEO Manager at Verizon Fios, wrote a small case study on the PAGES SEO Magazine that explains this really well.

4. Make Sure Every Page Has A Unique Title

Again, a title is a signal to searchers and search engines what a page is about. By creating unique content with unique titles you can help search engines avoid confusion and showing the wrong page.

Looking for More Digital Marketing Tips & Tricks?

Sign up for our newsletter for more posts like this – delivered straight to your inbox!

An introduction to Google Ads Video Ad Sequencing (VAS)

Video Ad Sequencing (VAS) is a recent addition to the Google Ads video campaign types that allows advertisers to, “…tell your product or brand story by showing people a series of videos in the order that you define.” But it is really a lot more.

Video Ad Sequencing can be used to take your target audience on a video journey based upon, to a limited extent, their behavior. By telling a story VAS lets you drive deeper awareness, engagement, and consideration.

Examples of Video Sequencing usage

Let’s say you want to let people know about “Five key elements of your product” and why it makes you better than the competition. With VAS, you can effectively ensure that potential customers see each video, in a set sequence.

We used VAS with one of our clients which had one long-form video that was just too long to capture the short attention span of users on YouTube. So, instead, we split the ad into five short vignettes, each with a quick intro and value-prop within the first five seconds (which is the non-skippable length of a video ad) to ensure our message got out before a user could skip the full 30-second video. We then set up a VAS campaign that would show these ads, in sequence, so that users would see the full story and all of the value that the product could offer.

What’s great about VAS is that you can go beyond a flat sequence and actually vary the content a user sees, depending on how they interact with each video in the sequence. For example, let’s say a user skips your first ad, rather than having them continue through your sequence, you can say, show them an alternate video outside of your sequence. If they skip that too, then you drop them entirely out of the sequence.

Another potential usage of Video Ad Sequencing

Another potential usage of Video Ad Sequencing is rewarding users for watching your content or calling out when they skip your videos. You can show videos to users that skipped your prior videos in sequence, meaning you can show them alternate content such as alternate value propositions, drop them out of the sequence, or even directly address with the audience that they skipped your prior video but you still really think your product is right for them. Alternatively, if a user views your first video, you can put them into a sequence with longer-form content for the second video, effectively creating exclusive content that only those viewers get to see.

Things you must know

The settings allow for you to dictate what content a user sees after they see an ad (impression) without watching, viewed an ad (watch the full video if shorter than 30-seconds or at least 30-seconds if the video is longer), or skipped an ad.

What you end up with is a flow like this

Video Ad Sequencing example on YouTube


If you are looking to try out video ad sequencing keep this in mind – you are limited to target CPM or Maximum CPV bidding and you cannot target by content.

This means no specific placements, topics, or keywords (you can exclude them though). You can really only target them by demographics and target audiences. YouTube does not currently allow custom affinity or custom intent audiences so you are stuck with life events or In-Market Audiences. Google recommends testing sequencing alongside brand lift studies, which basically means: “This campaign can spend a lot if you let it.”

Available bid strategies

  • Target CPM (Recommended by Google)
    • With Target CPM, we optimize bids to show your entire sequence campaign to your audience, which can help you get a higher sequence completion rate.
  • Maximum CPV

Ad formats include the following

  •  Skippable in-stream ads
  •  Non-skippable in-stream ads
  •  Bumper ads
  •  A combination of the above

The bid strategy you select also dictates the ad formats you can use

Bidding type                                             Available formats

Target CPM (tCPM)                                  Skippable in-stream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads

Bumper ads

A combination of the above

Maximum CPV (CPV)                              Skippable in-stream ads

Source: Google

I would also strongly recommend mapping out your sequence before-hand. Every step of a sequence is set as a new ad group in the campaign, so it can get big and messy quite quickly.

It’s also good to know how you want to deal with the different interactions at different steps in the sequence. Just because a user skips one video, doesn’t mean they won’t watch another and get back into sequence. But similarly, if a user skips your video(s), do you really want to keep showing them ads in the sequence they care nothing about? Maybe at that point, you show them a totally unrelated tried-and-true video and then drop them out of the sequence.

My testing with Video Ad Sequencing so far has been limited, but I am very excited about the opportunity to keep working with several of our larger clients on sequencing. It is a really powerful tool that Google has shown can grow brand awareness and consideration.

Next, I’ll have a guide for setting up your first video ad sequence should you still need help.

The post An introduction to Google Ads Video Ad Sequencing (VAS) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Types of LinkedIn Ads & How to Use Them

LinkedIn… home to a social network of over 500 million active professionals. That’s a LOT of users, and more importantly, a lot of potential professionals that you can directly target!

If you are a B2B company, it’s really a no brainer that you should be advertising on LinkedIn. 80% of B2B leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn. You can get extremely granular with your audience targeting through the various types of LinkedIn ads available, enabling you to reach the people and companies that matter to you. But which of the various types of LinkedIn ads formats offered are best for your business?

Keep reading below to learn about how to run LinkedIn ads and the different LinkedIn ad formats.

Determine if you have the budget for LinkedIn Ads

Like other ad platforms, there isn’t a set cost for a LinkedIn campaign. However, LinkedIn typically has higher CPCs (cost-per-click) than other advertising platforms.

While CPCs are typically higher on LinkedIn when comparing to other platforms, conversion rate is generally a lot higher on LinkedIn. Below is a graph from one of Seer’s clients showing the difference between the two platforms:

Determine Your End Goal for Using LinkedIn Ads

Before starting any ad campaign, it’s important to set goals. Are you looking to expand your thought leadership, bring in leads, or build brand awareness?

No matter what type of goal you choose, you want to measure the outcomes that will have the biggest impact for your client or your business. In order to do so, it’s important to ensure what key metrics will have the biggest impact.

<H3> Understand if Your Audiences Are on LinkedIn

As digital marketers, we are constantly focused on how we can best serve our audiences. Consider who you want to target before setting up your ads. You are able to target your audience by location, company, industry, title, skill level, degree of study and more.

For more information on targeting, check out LinkedIn’s Targeting Capabilities guide.

LinkedIn Ads Types & Ad Formats 

There are a number of different LinkedIn ad formats that you can leverage through the platform. The most popular ad formats include:

  • Sponsored Content
  • Direct Sponsored Content
  • Sponsored InMail
  • Text Ads
  • Dynamic Ads
  • Lead Gen Forms (can be used with Sponsored Content & Sponsored InMail).

Now that you’ve got an idea on what to ask yourself before setting up a LinkedIn campaign, it’s important to pick the ad format that best fits your goals.

Sponsored Content and Direct Sponsored Content

Through Sponsored/Direct Sponsored Content, you are able to promote your company updates, share pieces of content, drive users to a landing page, and more to targeted audiences on desktop, mobile, and tablet. You can either use a cost per click model or a cost per thousand impressions model.

Sponsored content promotes a piece of content that you already have on your LinkedIn company page.

You can use Direct Sponsored Content to personalize and test content in the news feed without creating posts on your LinkedIn company page.

When Should I Use Sponsored/Direct Sponsored Content?

These types of ads naturally lead to more engagement because they are placed directly in a user’s news feed. You are able to use more text and larger images in order to entice users to click through to your landing page or to bring in more brand awareness.

If you have a piece of content or are looking to drive people to a blog post, utilizing Sponsored/Direct Sponsored Content is an effective way to do so. Within Sponsored Content ads, you can advertise using an image, a video, or a carousel of images.

Sponsored InMail

Users view Sponsored InMail messages across all devices. This allows you to drive more leads and engage your target audience by delivering personalized, private messages right to their LinkedIn inboxes. Sponsored InMail messages consist of a custom greeting, call-to-action button, body text, and ability to add a link to the message body. These messages are purchased on a “cost per send” basis. That means you will pay per unit for each message delivered. This ad format appears in the message center the same way as regular InMail.

When Should I Use Sponsored InMail?

This ad format is highly personalized due to the fact that you are sending a direct message to a LinkedIn user who is in your target audience. This can help your lead generation immensely. There is also 100% deliverability. LinkedIn sends out a sponsored InMail to a user only when that user is online. Therefore, it will be placed right at the top of their inbox.

linkedin sponsored inmaillinkedin sponsored inmail

Text Ads

These types of ads are very similar to Google/Bing search ads. You are able to create multiple ad variations per campaign, which makes it easy to test out the best-performing images and copy. It’s important to note that these ads only run on desktop and are shown on the right rail of the news feed. You can either use a cost per click model or a cost per thousand impressions model.

Why use Text ads over Sponsored Content??

There are a few main differences between text ads vs. sponsored content. If you are looking to run a quick campaign that is easy to setup and manage, Text Ads are the right ad format for you. These ads are also great for Brand Awareness. That’s because text ads typically have a lower CPM compared to other LinkedIn ad formats.

Dynamic Ads

Engage users with dynamically generated, personalized ads. Drive users to like your company page or apply for a job. You can also instantly generate leads and enable content downloads, such as the download of an ebook or whitepaper, directly from the ad itself. You will find Dynamic ads appearing on the right rail on Desktop only.

When Should I Use Dynamic Ads?

Dynamic ads are highly engaging and very effective at driving traffic to a landing page/company page. This is due to the dynamically generated ad format that leverages information from LinkedIn member profiles. These types of ads are great for advertising job openings or getting users to follow your LinkedIn company page.

Members can also send you their full name and email address directly in the dynamic ad, without ever having to type their info by hand. Once someone submits their information through the ad unit, your content will automatically start downloading to their desktop. A big advantage with using Dynamic ads is that LinkedIn only serves two visual ads on a page at one given time.

Lead Gen Forms

58% of marketers say increasing lead generation is the most important goal in marketing. Collect even more quality leads from your ads on LinkedIn with pre-filled forms with user’s LinkedIn profile information. Lead Gen forms look very similar to Sponsored Content when viewing them on the news feed.  Lead gen forms are available in Sponsored Content & Sponsored InMail. These are also only currently available on mobile.

Why Should I Use Lead Gen Forms?

The advantage of utilizing Lead Gen Forms is that a user does not have to leave LinkedIn in order to fill out a form. Choose the fields used in the form and create up to three custom fields.

Stay tuned for other blog posts on a basics of LinkedIn Advertising and a step-by-step guide on setting up LinkedIn Ads!