Build Facebook Ads with Confidence Using the Revamped Creative Hub

At Seer, we are here for a good interface “facelift,” and it looks like Facebook’s Creative Hub is the latest and greatest with a new look and all-new features. Present mockups of ads quicker, easier, and more efficiently with all the latest updates.

Facebook implores you to “create ads with confidence using its fully-updated Creative Hub.”

In this new hub, you’re able to:

Experience a better integration with Ads Manager

Hate having to build mockups for approval then rebuild them as ads? We do, too. This latest update to the Facebook creative hub will eliminate the second ad creation by allowing you to import mockups from the creative hub. According to Facebook, “it’s easier than ever to use mockups in your campaigns – find them directly within the ad level,” and we can’t help but agree with that.

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See all placements in one view

We love this update because, with just a glance, you can see all your mockups side by side, which enables you to find areas to improve that much more quickly.

You can also customize the ad in each of the placements (image, ad copy, etc) so that the ad is channel-friendly for each of the placements!

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Switch back to the old Creative Hub at any time

Something to keep in mind is that any mockups you create in the new Creative Hub will not be accessible in the old Creative Hub, and the opposite. You’re able to easily switch back to the previous version if you’d like!

Switch to Old Version

Already tried out the new Creative Hub? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Interested in working with Seer on Paid Social? Reach out here.


Improving personalization with machine learning

One thing that is usually uppermost in your mind as a marketer is how to ensure that you not only survive the competition but also become one of the market leaders.

And in order to become a market leader you are expected to work seriously on personalization but doing this at scale because you must focus on the global market, must require automation and that is where machine learning comes in.

You must create a digital presence that will help in better customer engagement, raise brand awareness, and reinforce business objectives. It’s expected that you must have been working on your web content and building out your CRM capabilities, you must also have it behind your mind that there is the absolute need to have various efforts underway to automate key marketing activities.

With the global market as your target, getting personal maybe a little difficult task to achieve but you can enhance this with a personalization engine. Your ultimate aim will be to target the content you deliver to your customers and prospects based on what you know about them and what you believe they might need.

Personalization or customization

Before embarking on machine learning integration, it’s essential that you refrain from mixing up personalization with customization. While personalization is carried out for the customer’s benefit, customization, on the other hand, is initiated by the customer in an effort to drill down to the desired content.

In the research by PWC titled ‘Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption’ it was observed that customer intelligence will be the most important predictor of revenue growth and profitability. Personalization is the amazing outcome of your customer intelligence that will ensure you’re able to control over-messaging customers with blanket promotions, this will also translate into a huge reduction in media buys.

Personalization is a critical mission your startup cannot afford to toy with in order to embark on effective marketing. Once you are able to personalize the journey of your potential customers you are on to increased customer engagement and long-term loyalty.

You can take a cue from the way Netflix does movie recommendations, music suggestions from Spotify and special promotions on Amazon to really comprehend the effect personalized content is having and that it is not only becoming the norm but a consumer expectation. All these big tech companies are able to accomplish this onerous task by integrating machine learning, which is quickly turning out to becoming an essential and must-have tool in content personalization.

Interestingly, there are quite a number of personalization engine vendors. Evergage, Monetate, Certona, and Dynamic Yield, are some of the vendors out there in the market that offer this service. Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines” 2019 report shows that personalization engine adoption is up 28% since 2016.

You must locate the essential points in your customer journey that are optimal for adding a personal touch. Context has always been the source of the differences between customers that usually trigger a need for specific content.

As personalization is predictive, machine learning has started playing a central role.

The following are three ways you can utilize machine learning to improve personalization.

1. Making use of secured demographic data

The basis of demographic data is to have access to your customers’ distinctive behaviors and preferences and this you can effect with machine learning. While it may be easy for you to lay your hands on this information, there is a cliche to it.

Your competitors, especially those who have access to large search engines can use these search engines to find out highly personal information about your customers, such as medical issues, employment status, financial information, political beliefs, and other private details. This data, of course, will be collected, stored, and linked to your data profile.

The only way to effectively “opt-out” of this, is to keep your data safe and out of the hands of data collectors. Cybercriminals also know that this information is a gold mine and are eager to lay their hands on it.

A comprehensive demographic data can often reveal an entire socioeconomic profile for customers — their distance from retail locations, average income, average age, ethnic ratios, youth or college student populations and sometimes even married versus single statistics.

While your competitors will make use of this data to train and improve their predictive model as well as simplifying the ultimate personalization data crunch just the same way you will, cybercriminals will use the information to launch attacks at your customers or even cripple your business.

It’s true that as a new startup founder, you may be considering the financial implications of having to secure your data but this will go a long way to save you from very bad experiences. Where you don’t have the funds for a paid VPN, nothing stops you from subscribing to the services of a free VPN.

What you end up achieving is the ability to mask your I.P. address and encrypt all traffic which will help with geo-blocks and contribute to your secured demographic data and ultimate online privacy.

2. Who makes up your social media audience?

Cross-channel personalization is a very beneficial source of information because a customer’s social media channel of choice is an avenue to discovering how friendly the customer is to mobile contact. It’s also a channel to accumulating demographic data for the mere fact that different age and social groups prefer different social media platforms.

For instance, Gen Z is known to have a preference for Instagram and Snapchat, while Gen X and millennials cling more to Facebook.

3. Catching in on your consumer’s online behaviors

Besides demographic data and who belongs to your social media audience, another source of information that enables your workable insight into the individual consumer in personalization is applying machine learning for a comprehensive knowledge of your consumer’s online behavior. The navigation path of your potential consumer can reveal a great deal about the person.

You will have very useful insight into your consumer’s preferences, the amount of time a consumer spends browsing pages on your site is a revealing clue to the degree of priority and a source of valuable data. While you may not be able to garner all this valuable information manually, machine learning can easily make sense of this somehow “erratic” behavior.

Machine learning is able to articulate the repeated site visits and come up with an in-depth and knowledgeable profile of the customer and what they care for.

It’s very important for you to know that in order for you to succeed in integrating machine learning into your effort at improving personalization, you must endeavor to personalize content across all channels. This will ensure that your customers feel personally engaged in real-time and wherever they are.

Product pages on your startup websites should be full of zest and tailored to each individual’s preferences. Deploy predictive advertising on the consumer’s social media platform of choice.

You just don’t stop at your efforts on your website, exploit the opportunity email offers as a dependable personalized content repository, the reason is that it’s easier to come up with optimized content in an email than it is to spiritedly work such wonders on a webpage. However, the integration of machine learning as an application of AI affords you the opportunity of improved personalization at scale.

John Ejiofor is the founder and editor in chief at Nature Torch. He can be found on Twitter @John02Ejiofor.

The post Improving personalization with machine learning appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Measuring and Analyzing the Impact of Holiday SEO Efforts – Tyson Stockton // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview: Reviewing performance analytics data after a busy holiday season is like opening presents on Christmas morning for SEOs. Join Ben and Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson as they conclude Holiday Triage week with a final discussion on how to best measure your holiday triage efforts and how to utilize performance analytics to inform your 2020 holiday season SEO strategies.

Summary:

  • Thorough data collection throughout the holiday rush is crucial for a complete analysis of holiday performance.
  • Key data to analyze includes analytics conversion rate revenue combined with third party and ranking data.
  • Incomplete data can still be useful and can help inform better holiday season strategies next year and used in year-end reviews to reset priorities.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome back to the last episode of Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’ve been publishing episodes every day covering the topics you need to think about to get ready for the holiday season.

Ben:                 But before we get started, 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. And to support you, our loyal podcast listeners, for the holiday season, we have put together a complimentary holiday triage checklist to understand how you can assess, prioritize, optimize, build, and measure for the holidays. Go to searchmetrics.com/holiday.

Ben:                 Joining us for the last time for Holiday Triage week is Tyson Stockton who is Searchmetrics’ director of services, and outside of shepherding Searchmetrics’ largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, Tyson’s going to join us one more time to talk about how you can measure the impact of your holiday triage efforts. Okay. Here’s the last installment of Holiday Triage week with Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson Stockton.

Ben:                 Tyson, welcome to Holiday Triage week. Are you ready for it? It’s the last time.

Tyson:              Final stretch.

Ben:                 Ho, ho, ho, SEOs! Let’s go!

Tyson:              Of course, of course.

Ben:                 Alright, Tyson. We’ve covered a lot of ground this week. For everybody that’s getting a late jump figuring out how to optimize their holiday SEO efforts, if you’re running late, we talked about how to assess the lay of the land, how to prioritize what you should be doing, how to optimize your existing content, how to build out a linking strategy. Now it’s time to think about figuring out what is actually working, evaluating what came down the SEO chimney. Talk to me about how you measure your holiday SEO optimization efforts.

Tyson:              Yeah, and I think this is an important step, and it’s something that can often get lost in the mad rush in the shuffle, but this is going to be something that’s going to be really important that you don’t glaze over, just kind of pass, blow by this one. And really, it’s not something that’s going to be that time-consuming. The most important thing to be thinking of when you’re looking at measuring it is gathering the data. You can analyze it and dissect and do all these things later on, but the most important thing is make sure that you’re capturing the data so then you have that ability to do it later. So I think especially in the rush and the last kind of leg of everything, this is going to be where you don’t want to cut any corners, and you want to make sure you gather it. Just save yourself the time by doing all of the actual analysis and stuff when you get a little more time on your hands.

Ben:                 I think one of the things that’s important to hear is … We talked about assessing as the first step and understanding what your historical performance was. You want to try to compare what you’re doing against previous years, and so you’re setting benchmarks not only for what your previous holidays looked like, but you’re also comparing yourselves to your competitors. What are some of the ways that you’re benchmarking your success, and how should you think about evaluating your performance relative to what happened last year and relative to your competitors?

Tyson:              Yeah, and I think this is where it helps looking at both your internal data, so your analytics conversion rate revenue, and also combine that with third party and ranking data. So, obviously you’re not going to know the revenue of your competitors, but you can look at your competitors in the same lens that you look at your own keyword rankings, rescope visibility. You can use that to monitor and measure who won in this season. And then you can also look at, what do their pages look like? You can crawl their site. What kind of linking did they point to those pages? And these not only are going to help inform you for next year, other upcoming events, because your strategy on these type of events are relatively similar.

Tyson:              So going after a Labor Day sale versus a Black Friday sale, what you’re doing doesn’t really change, but it’s just the where and kind of all the details within is what’s going to really evolve and change. So I think that’s going to be one of the most important pieces.

Tyson:              And again, like I said earlier, since you’ve already gone through the keyword research, it’s really just a matter of dropping that into the project section of your tools there in Searchmetrics that then is going to allow you to have that baseline. And then you also already did a lot of the work that you’re going to start on next year when you go into this.

Ben:                 I think one of the biggest things to think about is if you’re listening to Holiday Triage week, and you’re like, “Hmm, I actually haven’t started thinking about the holidays,” nothing personal, you’re going to have a lump of coal in your stocking. And I think one of the things to think about is how can you evaluate this year’s performance and how can you think about what happened to not get in this position for next year. Tyson, talk to me about what you can learn from having to triage the holidays and how it can impact your next year moving forward.

Tyson:              Yeah, and I think it is important to do your post-mortem or analysis not too far out. So you don’t have to do it immediately but you want it still to be somewhat fresh in your mind. Because you want to also look at all of the things that you outlined, what did you actually accomplish, and what didn’t you accomplish.

Tyson:              And before Searchmetrics, I was on the in-house side, and this is something that … It comes every year, and there are some differences that might emerge over years. But overall, it’s … The game isn’t changing that much. And a lot of times, at least in my own experience, maybe I’d have 10 items that I was trying to execute on, and maybe only six or seven of them got done. So then next year, I’m going to use my past year’s performance and the percentage of actual tasks completed, and I’m going to use that in the arguments or the justifications for the resources to do more in the next year.

Tyson:              So rather than just being like, “Okay, I’m going to go through it the same way that I went through it again,” use that analysis and use … Maybe if you only got 6% of the stuff done, use a competitor’s performance to your advantage, and kind of point to that as far as this is what’s possible, this is how we only achieved maybe a partial portion of what needed to be done.

Ben:                 You’re going to use that lump of coal in your stocking to start a fire to keep you warm through the holiday season. And I’m obviously speaking in metaphors here, but it’s important to be able to figure out how you’re going to message what worked and what didn’t in the holiday season. And if you found yourself behind the eight ball, if you’re just starting to think about the holidays now, if you’re really only able to do a light content optimization … Maybe you’re calling in some favors for your linking strategy to try to drive some extra attention to some of the pages that are holiday-related, and that’s all you can pull off … Look at what the lift was on those pages.

Ben:                 And you could say, “What would happen if we had more resources and more time to execute against the holidays?” Right? “We were able to be somewhat successful with a small budget. We didn’t get all the toys and tricks and tools. Our stocking wasn’t full.” Imagine what would happen if Santa had really dropped off the full haul next year, so that you can use this to your advantage as you’re doing your resource planning and getting into thinking about what’s going to happen in 2020.

Ben:                 Tyson, any last words on holiday triage and how SEOs can make sure they’re making the most out of this holiday season?

Tyson:              No, I think that covers everything. And like you said and as you referenced earlier in the week, if you didn’t get what you wanted from Santa, you got the Easter Bunny and the other cartoon characters to look forward to.

Ben:                 Yeah, that’s a good one. I like that you’re in the holiday spirit. Let me give you one more ho, ho, ho, SEOs! I appreciate you. I’m going to put a gift in your stocking. And everybody, thanks for joining us for Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast.

Ben:                 And that wraps up Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversations with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ director of services. We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Tyson, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can always contact him on Twitter. His handle is Tyson underscore Stockton. And if you have general marketing questions, if you’re interested in being a guest on our show, or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you could shoot me a tweet at Ben J. Shap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

Ben:                 If you’re interested in learning about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic online visibility or to gain competitive insights specifically around the holiday season, we’ve put together a holiday triage checklist for you. Go to searchmetrics.com/holiday to download the document.

Ben:                 And if you like 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 next week.

Ben:                 Alright, that’s it for today. That’s it for Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. And until next time, remember the answers are always in the data.


Five steps to generate tons of backlinks using infographics

Your website needs backlinks the same way plants need water. Getting sufficient backlinks consistently will allow you to flourish your website, while the lack of backlinks will slowly make it wither. 

Backlinks are still one of the most important factors that Google uses to determine website rankings. When tons of other websites link to you, Google’s algorithm will see that as a sign that you provide valuable and relevant content.

When talking about generating tons of backlinks, there’s no other tool quite as effective as infographics. 

Why infographics are so effective?

1. Humans are visual creatures

We are naturally visual learners, as we’re attracted more to visuals than text. As a result, infographics have a much higher chance of attracting readers than articles. Indeed, a study found that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text-only content. 

2. Easy to digest

Still connected to the previous point, people understand a text 323% better if it’s accompanied by an illustration. This applies to infographics too, which is the combination of beautiful visuals and short-written copy. Thanks to the simple and easy to read format, people can read and understand infographics faster and better. 

3. Highly shareable

Thanks to its bite-sized nature, infographics are extremely shareable because they can fit on almost any platformㅡ websites, emails, social media platforms, and even on printed advertising material such as brochures and pamphlets. Thanks to this trait, infographics are three times more likely to be shared than any other kind of content.   

Five steps to backlink generation using infographics

Now that you know what makes infographics so effective, let’s learn how to use it properly to attract tons of backlinks to grow your website. Here’s the step by step process of using infographics for link building:

1. Content creation

The first step is to obviously create the infographic. Not just an infographic, but a valuable and useful one. For starters, don’t waste your money on creating fancy and expensive infographics. Using free and affordable infographic tools and platforms are fine, as long as you can provide valuable content. 

The more valuable your infographic content is, the more likely people are going to link back. Here are a few tips on creating content that’s valuable:

  • Content that attracts the most backlinks is usually the one that contains data statistics because every marketer needs them to back up their arguments. Conduct your own research, study, or survey and then present the findings via infographic.
  • If you don’t have the time or resources to conduct your own research, you can always make a compilation of data statistics from various sources and present them as one.
  • Creating an ultimate guide about a certain topic also attracts backlinks, because when writers don’t have enough space to explain about something, they can refer to your content for a deeper take on the subject. 

2. Infographic publication and submission

After creating the infographic, publish it on your site and infographic directory sites like Pinterest or Infographic Journal. When posting on your own site, remember that page speed is an actual ranking factor. So, make sure to optimize your page speed with these free tools. 

Moreover, submitting your work on infographic directories will give you free backlinks with relatively minimum effort, though some sites will charge you a certain amount of money to publish your infographic. Here’s the complete list of infographic sharing websites compiled by SEOblog, containing over 150 sites. 

3. Potential websites search

Besides infographic directories, you also have to aim to get your infographic published on other websites that have a similar niche to you. How? Well, you need to reach out to them. First, you need to search for the websites to reach out to. We recommend you to use tools like Ahrefs to compile tons of websites in an instant. 

It’s simple to use, just sign up, go to the “content explorer” section, type in your keyword, and then the tool will give you every web page on the internet that contains that particular keyword. For instance, if your infographic is about summer vacation, the result of the content explorer will show over 30 thousand web pages with that keyword:

Next, export those web page data and move it to Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet to manage and curate it in an easier manner.

4. Email addresses collection

After curating the websites to see which fits to publish your infographic and which doesn’t, the next step is to collect the email addresses of people working on those websites. It could be a writer, content manager, editor or any person that’s responsible for the content of that website. 

Using tools like FindThatLead can help you collect the email because the tool has the ability to find email addresses based only on domain name and social media link (LinkedIn and Twitter only). It also allows users to verify an address to see whether it’s valid or not.

5. Email outreach campaign

With all the verified email addresses, now it’s time to do email outreach to promote your infographic. There are two ways to do it, the first one is by using automated email tools like Mailshake and the second one is by manually sending the emails one by one.

Each of the methods has its own benefits and weaknesses. Sending emails manually takes a longer time, but you’ll be able to personalize the email more. On the other hand, using automated email tools will allow you to send tons of emails in a short time, but the content of the email will be the same and generic.

Whatever your method of choice is, remember these tips to increase your email engagement and open rate:

  • Optimize it for mobile, because 46% of people open their email from mobile devices. 
  • Keep your subject line short, because shorter subject lines get much higher open rates
  • Include an emoji in your subject line if you can, because it helps you to stand out from other emails on the recipients’ inbox.
  • Personalize the email beyond just including the recipients’ names on the subject line, although it still helps to increase clickthrough rate.
  • Include a clear CTA at the end of the email, so that the audience knows what to do next.

One important thing to remember is that no one wants to publish your work for free, so you have to be prepared to give them something in return that benefits both of you. One of the widely used and most effective ways is to offer them a guest post. This way, the recipients get free content for their blogs and you gain a valuable backlink.

Conclusion

Backlinks are one of the deciding factors to determine whether you can rank first on the SERP or not. To gain backlinks only by creating valuable infographics is not enough, you also need to promote it. Manual email outreach is the way to go if you don’t want to spend a penny in generating backlinks. All you have to do is to look for potential websites, collect their email addresses, write interesting email copy and offer, and then send them one by one. If you’re still not sure how to make a proper infographic, these infographic templates could certainly help. 

Brian is a content writer of Milkwhale. He likes to write about infographic and video marketing, as well as other topics in the field of business and marketing.  

The post Five steps to generate tons of backlinks using infographics appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Expand Your Holiday Strategy to Build Authority and Awareness – Tyson Stockton // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview: Like an ornately adorned Christmas tree, your content needs all the decorative fixings to build awareness and truly stand out amidst your competitors this holiday season. Join Ben and Searchmetrics’ Director of Services Tyson as they continue Holiday Triage week. They discuss the various ways to build holiday content awareness, and the added value cross-functional gift giving presents in awareness-building efforts to give your content the capstone shining star to top off your content tree.

Summary

  • Showing appreciation or gift giving to cross-functional teams during a busy holiday season can help them feel valued and motivated to assist with last minute awareness building initiatives.
  • Presenting helpful gifts that fulfill cross-functional goals such as robust data sets to an analytics team make for excellent, useful gifts.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome to Holiday Triage week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host, Benjamin Shapiro. This week we’re going to publish an episode every day covering the topic of how you can get ready for the holiday season as it quickly approaches, but before we get started, 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, for the holiday season, we have put together a complimentary holiday triage checklist to understand how you can assess, prioritize, optimize, build and measure for the holidays. Go to Searchmetrics.com/holiday. Okay, joining us for Holiday Triage week is Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ director of services. Outside of shepherding Searchmetrics’ largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, Tyson is here today to talk to us about how we can build out our holiday triage strategies to gain authority and drive awareness.

Ben:                 Here’s the fourth installment of Holiday Triage week with Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, Tyson Stockton. Tyson, welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast. Happy Holiday Triage week.

Tyson:              Final stretch, final two days.

Ben:                 We’ve covered a lot of ground. I think I hear Santa standing on our SEO roof. He’s ready to come down our SEO chimney. What our chimney has to do with SEO, I have no idea, but it sounds holiday-ish, doesn’t it?

Tyson:              Absolutely.

Ben:                 All right. So far this week we’ve covered how you can assess your site to understand where you stand for the holiday battle, prioritize the topics that are going to give you the greatest opportunity for holiday success. You’re going to optimize your site. Mostly you’re going to be focusing on your content and linking. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about how you can build out your holiday strategies to gain authority and drive holiday awareness. Talk to me about what you can do so late in the game. What can you build and what can you implement that’s actually going to have a business impact?

Tyson:              Yeah, and this one, we kind of alluded to it in the last episode where you have, especially when you’re starting late, you have this reliance on other team members and the relationships that you have with them. That’s not unique to this time of year. It’s something that I think all SEOs are familiar with, but at this time it’s like this is where it’s really critical and you’re really calling in those favors. Also in the last episode on linking where this building and driving awareness is in some ways also like a linking play. The reason why we kind of have it separated as a different one is in the past one we were focused just within our own four walls, our own website. We were saying like, okay, do we have these links to us in our general sale page? Do we have links during the events on the home page? Do we have the links from whatever category pages? That’s like kind of just the basic elements.

Tyson:              This like increasing or driving awareness is now where you’re going to be working with others on the marketing side of the business, and whether it’s getting them to use the same ads in their paid ads, using them with their affiliates, using the same URLs in getting as many marketing channels as you can pointing back to the same pages that in the last episode we were talking about with pointing towards internally, like this is going to be the one where you want to be drafting off the other efforts that your company or organization’s making, but you’re also, at the same way, you’re getting some more back links to, again, send more signals to search engines of the value of the page. Also kind of potential crawl pass that you can get Google and other search bots coming through last minute to discover your content.

Ben:                 Tyson, what’s your favorite part of the holidays?

Tyson:              Favorite part of the holidays? Probably the food, not going to lie.

Ben:                 I like gifts. I think the holidays are very much about gifts. It’s always great to receive and honestly it’s a lot of fun to give. Talk to me about how gifting fits into your holiday strategy.

Tyson:              Ben, I see where you’re going with this and you’re absolutely right. This is the time of giving, not just receiving those gifts. When you’re expecting to get those favors, those links, those additional kind of pushes to your pages, you can grease the wheel or kind of make it a little easier on yourself by giving those chocolates, the wine, maybe a little whiskey if you really like the team member. That’s where you’re really going to see these kind of things start to move a little bit more.

Ben:                 We bring this up every year, the power of alcohol. As much as we joke about it, it’s like, “Hey, go bribe people with booze,” a strategically placed bottle of wine or some chocolates or a card or a thank you note or whatever it is that you feel is appropriate for the team members, this is a busy time of year. It is the busiest time of year in e-commerce. It’s not just busy on the work front, it’s busy for people personally as well. Showing your appreciation for your cross functional team, for the engineering team that you’re asking to stay for an extra hour to make sure that your new linking strategy is QA’d and is implemented correctly, or that the content that you want to push goes live and whatever changes you’re going to make, you need to say thank you to those people. You need to show support to them for all the work that they’ve done throughout the year, but specifically at the end of the year, this is really a time to show your appreciation.

Ben:                 If you’re behind the eight ball with your holiday optimization efforts, maybe you should double down and buy a nice bottle of wine or a bigger box of chocolates to try to get somebody to not necessarily just bribe them to do you a favor, but show your appreciation for the work that they’re doing and how much support they’re giving you to help you be successful.

Tyson:              Ben, just kind of adding to that too, like the gifts don’t just have to be the traditional type of gifts. If you’re needing to call in favors from the paid team …

Ben:                 Tequila makes a great gift.

Tyson:              You can bring gifts in as far as data as well. You could come to them and be like-

Ben:                 Oh, that too.

Tyson:              Here also are all the unique ranking keywords that our competitor is not bidding on or vice versa. You can also bring data sets or bring things that’s going to make their lives easier as well. It is a two way street. I think definitely hitting a checklist on the traditionals, but then also think out of the box a little bit. Think, if you were in their shoes, what would help them?

Ben:                 Outside of trying to drive as much awareness, making sure that the pages that you have are being shared, working with your social team, your engineering team to push out the links and make sure the content optimization that you’re doing gets noticed, what are some of the last minute things you could do to build out your strategy to gain authority and drive awareness?

Tyson:              Yeah, and I’d say like, one, you can get more aggressive on the links that you ask for the closer to the event. You’re not going to get a link on the home page a week prior to the sale, and you wouldn’t really want to be there from the user experience, but when you’re getting closer you can get away with a little bit more. You can get a little more aggressive in what you’re asking for. I think those are two areas that’s like kind of in the 12th hour, like at the very kind of last rush. You want to make sure that you don’t let up and you kind of continue straight through with it.

Tyson:              Then I’d also say like just this time of year in general, it’s not one event. You have the overall holiday season, and then you have your kind of events within that. You don’t want to just target something like Black Friday. You also want to make sure that Cyber Monday’s good, and when you’re at Christmas time, you’re not letting up just on the 25th. You’re going to carry that into the beginning of January where you still see high search volumes and you’re drafting into kind of the beginning of the year to give yourself a good start.

Ben:                 Okay. I think that’s great advice. That wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’s Director of Services. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. If you’re interested in contacting Tyson, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact him on Twitter where his handle is Tyson_Stockton, or if you have general questions about the show, if you’re interested in being a guest on the Voices of Search podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you can send me a tweet @BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. If you’re interested in learning about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic online visibility or to gain competitive insights specifically around the holiday season, we’ve put together a holiday triage checklist for you. Go to Searchmetrics.com/holiday to download the document.

Ben:                 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 tomorrow to wrap up Holiday Triage week by talking about how you can measure your holiday success. All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.


The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Pitching a Publisher

Success in link building and digital PR comes from personalization. 

When pitching a top publication, it’s important to remember that there’s a person on the other side of the screen. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing pitches that sound robotic and falling into the same bin as the other 200 pitches a writer receives: the trash.  

So, it’s important to stay vigilant. The research that goes into appealing to a journalist is meticulous, and you have to remember that each section of a pitch can be customized; in fact, it’s a crucial part of the outreach process. 

The key is finding the perfect fit: the ideal connection between a journalist and the content you’re pitching. This combination ultimately leads to coverage for our clients and a solid professional connection with a writer. 

In order to create those long-term connections and secure coverage, make sure to ask yourself the following questions.

Question #1: What am I pitching?

When pitching content, start by analyzing the information. Make sure your outreach strategy aligns with several potential publishers in different verticals. 

For example, say you’re pitching content about FDA recalls in cosmetics. It’s important to identify the umbrella of topics writers can relate to. In this case, you should identify writers that cover topics such as beauty, health, and wellness from a wide range of publications. 

Now that you’ve established a few verticals to target, you can research if the specific topic is trending or if it’s been widely covered in the news recently. 

If the topic seems to be trending, it’s important to understand how it’s being covered. Journalists get tired of overly used angles and story ideas that have been exhausted, so you need to keep angles unique. 

For example, say there’s a recent trending story about FDA recalls in skin care due to lead; ask yourself: How does my research fit in here? What did the writer not mention in their article? And could the writer potentially fit my research into their coverage?

Say your content is about FDA recalls in cosmetics and its negative reactions. Because the writer mentioned “skincare” specifically, you could pitch the writer a list of other products that might also be in danger of being recalled. 

In these examples, we connected to the journalist by pitching them a topic they were already writing about, improving our chances the writer will be interested in the research we’re promoting. Make sure to provide a fresh, new take on a topic if it’s already trending. 

Question #2: How does my content align with a publisher’s beat?

When continuing to structure outreach strategies, noting a publisher’s beat or (their specific coverage) can help with pitch personalization. Reading through writers’ older articles, bios, and personal websites can paint a full picture of what a writer covers.

To continue the example about FDA recalls on cosmetics, key terms that stick out from the umbrella of topics should include beauty, wellness, women’s interest, cosmetics, makeup, and recalls. 

A potentially interested writer’s bio might go as follows: I’m an editor at Elle magazine covering everything beauty and FDA tested. 

Next, ensure the writer frequently covers studies or third-party data. Keep an eye for headlines like “… [study]” or “new data reveals…” when reading past articles.

Another key step when scanning a journalist’s archives is to correctly identify their beat. While a writer may say they cover a certain beat, like technology, for example, you may notice some variation when digging into their past articles.

For example, a writer’s bio might go as follows: I’m a freelancer who covers tech and finance. 

The writer above has left their bio broad and might cover a wide range of other subtopics such as loans, bankruptcy, etc. This is why it’s important to read a writer’s past work. 

Note: Some writer’s beats can be overly specific. Be on the lookout for words like “the intersection” of two topics or when one vertical “meets” another.

A writer’s bio might go as follows: I’m a contributing writer for Shape that covers the intersection of beauty and wellness. 

The writer above covers how beauty aligns with wellness, not just one or the other. When a writer takes the time to explain their beat, it’s crucial to ensure your pitch aligns with their coverage. 

Question #3: Have I analyzed my potential publisher’s social media?

Another way to ensure your content aligns with a publication’s coverage is by analyzing their social media. 

Most publications update their writers’ information on social outlets and continuously post about changes to their site. By doing some investigating, personalization can become much more natural and ultimately show a publication that you did your research. 

For example, if we’re pitching FDA recalls content and see a potential publisher recently tweeting about a change in their “health” department, you can be sure to direct your pitch toward the appropriate writer just by staying updated with social media. 

Most writers also consistently post on their personal social media. Writers appreciate content promoters who take the time to read, analyze, and understand their interests online.

Note: A great way to get publishers to notice you is by giving them a like or share on their social profiles. Engaging with publishers is an important part of content marketing, and it could mean the beginning of a new publisher relationship.

Question #4: Have I considered the publisher’s engagement?

After considering a publisher’s beat and social media, you can then move on to their engagement. Not all top-tier publishers excel in every aspect, so explore how much traffic a publication gets and if their content is being shared on social media.

Some publications might be very authoritative and trusted but get very little engagement. Others might thrive on social but don’t syndicate to any other publishers.

So you need to consider your goals for your outreach. Is it to increase your brand awareness? Build backlinks? Something else?

There will be overlap in your goals, of course, but identifying your primary goal will help you identify the best publishers to pitch.

You can learn about publisher authority by checking metrics like domain authority, and you can check on the backlinks and social engagement of articles by using tools like BuzzSumo.

Question #5: Have I used all my resources to personalize this pitch?

As outreach strategies begin to come together, it’s time to ensure everything is customized.

For example, if you’re targeting an editor who writes about “all things sunny in Florida,” I cater my pitch using buzzwords in both a subject line and email like, “sunshine state” or “native Floridian.” Optimizing personalization sets great pitches apart from the bulk.

Notice in the example, the pitch also follows a light-hearted tone, which is the same style expressed by the writer. Aside from strategically crafting your pitch, fact-checking, ensuring grammatical perfection, and paying attention to the small details like the ones listed above can place a pitch above all the rest.

Achieving long-term connections and securing top-tier coverage is what all content promoters hope to accomplish. Reviewing each step and taking the time to research, craft, and personalize pitches can dramatically impact your results.

Although the process is meticulous, answering these questions will lead to meaningful publisher relationships and constitute successful results in content marketing. 

The post The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Before Pitching a Publisher appeared first on BuzzStream.


Are SPAM Nofollow Links Harmful?

During the recent Majestic Workshop on backlinks held in Milan at SMXL, I presented a case where a website suddenly lost a significant amount of organic traffic, following a massive and impulsive surge in backlink spam.

In this post I’m going to describe:

  • what happened;
  • which recovery actions were implemented;
  • the results obtained.

By no means is this case history to be viewed as “hard evidence” that spam nofollow backlinks are a certain threat to your performance. I am a firm believer there is no general rule or set of guidelines when it comes to SEO and organic traffic. As the complexity of the algorithm(s) increases, there is more opportunity for complexity to get the upper hand and act in an unforeseen way.

Now to the case study…

The Facts

We are dealing with a very small website with content, mostly in Italian, on “Lega Serie A” – Italian Football.

The website:

  • is almost 6 years old;
  • has been constantly updated over the past 2 years;
  • has a focus on data and statistics on referees;
  • did not have any backlinks.

At the beginning of the season, the website was enjoying organic traffic for a select number of keywords when suddenly it “tanked”: that handful of referee-related keywords had lost traction in the SERPs.

In examining the situation the first thing that came to mind was a change of heart by Google… after all the algorithmic updates are on the agenda every other day… but I decided to take a closer look.

For this website, there had been no previous backlink checking with Majestic so I setup an account and to my surprise, I found this:

Majestic Backlink Checker - an impulsive build of SPAM NOFOLLOW backlinksImpulsive surge in a backlink profile – Majestic Backlink Checker

Over night, the website had been at the centre of an automated backlink building activity. Links were in blogpost comments and therefore nofollowed. I studied the Topical Trust Flow of these backlinks:

Majestic Topical Trust Flow for a website hit by nofollow backlink spam Majestic Topical Trust Flow

A vast array of subjects, from science to business to computers – all of topic.

I setup a Majestic campaign to follow the evolution of the spam, hoping build-up of spam backlinks would stop sooner than later.

In theory, these links were not supposed to have had any impact whatsoever on organic traffic and rankings – Google has made this public statement many times – for example here:

“…having links (even a large number of them) with rel=nofollow pointing to your site does not negatively affect your site. We take these links out of our PageRank calculations, and out of our algorithms when they use links.”

John Muller – Search Engine Journal, June 14, 2018, No Follow Links and Search Ranking

  • Was the drop in organic traffic algorithmic?
  • Did rankings for those keywords drop because of the backlink SPAM?

I didn’t know and I don’t know today. What I DID KNOW is those links felt like unwanted graffiti. The way I saw this: Let’s take a stand on these links and tell the search engines we have nothing to do with them and see what happens.

What I did next

I prepared for a disavow procedure.

Starting from the complete backlink profile, I downloaded all the links. With the new Link Context, I was able to analyse the links and establish their nature in a matter of minutes.

The backlink profile analysis identified hundreds of domains. My approach to disavowing is to disavow at domain level. I prepared and uploaded the disavow file. Instead of waiting for Google to make a move I try to “encourage” spidering of the source pages where the spam links are placed.

Google Search Console screenshotGoogle Search Console Screenshot – Date of first disavow file upload

Majestic Campaigns delivered reports on new backlinks which were processed and new spam domains were added to the disavow file. The spam backlink building continued a few more weeks on a much lower level.

The performance began to pick up with average positions on the rise, especially for the clique of referee keywords and today still have a positive trend with better rankings but they haven’t recovered completely.

Some Considerations

Well let’s start from the facts:

  • Website was ranking
  • Website suddenly had more than 10.000 backlinks
  • Website lost rankings
  • Spam links (all nofollow) were identified
  • Disavow file was created, uploaded and constantly updated until backlink spam ceased to manifest itself
  • Rankings began to improve and are still on the rise towards recovery

Is there a direct correlation between the nofollow spam links and loss in rankings?

Who knows… too much going on out there. I trust my judgement, after all, I have been in the business for 25 years!

But this doesn’t mean I know it all – not in the least. In fact, I did some research and came across a post that says something very similar to what I witnessed and experienced, from a different point of view. Adam, the author of the post, tells us how a nofollow backlink significantly improved rankings for a specific keyword. So if we can assume this is true, then the contrary could also true:

If a nofollow backlink can help rankings it can also hurt them

Sante J. Achille – my 2 cents on nofollow backlinks

If we go down this rabbit hole, and look at the bigger picture, maybe what happened is something like this:

Website A (the subject of this post) was living a healthy and very low profile digital existence and Google decided that, although a microscopic, insignificant website, it deserved to be featured for some queries where Website A sat in the Google sunshine amongst the big players. But suddenly Website A, from one day to another, features a backlink profile that is clearly artificial and spam-related. Google then (algorithmically) thinks: “why did you do this? There was no need for this – it’s totally uncalled for” and frowns upon Website A.

Website A becomes aware of what’s happening and goes back to Google and says (with a disavow file):

“Hey Google I didn’t do this – I have nothing to do with this mess, please disregard these spam backlinks and give me that Google sunshine I was enjoying up until last August”

Conclusions?

The only general consideration I can see is: there is no general rule. In principle, I don’t think it’s worth any effort to fuss over funky links, however, every situation is different and requires a dedicated analysis.

Have you experienced a falloff in rankings following blog spam? Feedback from those with similar experiences is welcomed as are opinions and debate.

Sante Achille
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Sante Achille

Sante Lives and works in Italy out of L’Aquila, a small medieval town close to Rome.
He has an engineering degree, has worked for major aerospace organizations including the European Space Agency (Noordwijk – Netherlands), and has been working on the web since the very beginning of the commercial World Wide Web in 1994.
With 25 years of hands on experience, Sante has reviewed and optimized hundreds of websites and successfully cooperated with small local companies and large multi-national corporations, offering a wide spectrum of expertise essential to the success of a project.
Sante is a seasoned bi-lingual SEO & web marketing consultant offering services in organic placement, paid search, and content creation, in both English and Italian.
Sante regularly attends and speaks at search marketing conferences and teaches, and offers SEO related courses. Sante is the Majestic Brand Ambassador to Italy.
More information on Sante:
Twitter: @sjachille
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sjachille/
Sante Achille
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7 Tips to Write More Effective SEO Reports

As an agency that delivers monthly SEO reports to each and every one of our clients, we’ve produced a lot of monthly reports in our 17 years in business. I review roughly 15 reports each month, and real talk, I’ve seen things that have kept me up at night. The challenge with reporting is that the data doesn’t always speak for itself, and as consultants, we need to back up our strategies with context and explanation in order to align on where we’re headed, and sometimes make a case for why we may need to pivot. All that takes words on paper; it takes savvy writing and the ability to convey a message on paper effectively.

In this post, I’m going to outline seven tips for writing better SEO reports, most of which have one thing in common: say less stuff.

How To Eliminate Text & Write Better SEO Reports

1) Kill the Fillers!  

Unnecessary fillers are your enemy when writing SEO reports. “Fillers” are words or phrases that don’t add value in the report. They give the reader no additional information and do nothing to tell your story or drive home a point. They are words that if said aloud, keep you going while you “come up” with the rest of your sentence and fill the silence.

Here are a few filler examples that you should watch out for and eliminate at first glance:

  • “In the data we reviewed…”
  • “We will monitor performance…”
  • “After looking at last month’s report…”
  • “When looking at…”
  • “Once our recommendations are implemented…”
  • “Given that…”

The next time you write a report, look out for words that if said aloud, would sound like fillers.

2) Watch your use of dates: “month over month”, “year over year”, etc.

What’s wrong with the sentence below?

“Organic sessions decreased month over month for the second month in a row (-19,110 sessions). In June, we observed numerous fluctuations in keyword rankings that caused month-over-month decreases in sessions…”

There’s no need to start the second sentence with “In June…” if we’ve already established that the analyst is reviewing Month-over-Month data within the report. There’s also no need for the first “month over month” if we’re offering that sessions decreased for the second month in a row. The sentence should be rephrased to:

“Organic sessions decreased month over month for the second month in a row (-19,110 sessions). In June, We observed numerous fluctuations in keyword rankings that caused month over month decreases in sessions…”

While this may seem trivial, being repetitive distracts from the narrative and can leave your audience confused. Be careful with how you explain dates and time horizons that give context to your data.

3) Be Assertive

Remember that you are the expert, and whoever is reading your report is counting on you to understand exactly what’s going on. It’s also on you to not only explain what’s happening but recommend a cogent way forward.

To be assertive, look for phrases like “we would like to” and change them to “we will.” Take a firm, black-and-white stance on what is or is not happening, and what you should or should not do. Remember what Yoda said – “Do, or do not. There is no try!”

4) Be Consultative

Similar to being assertive, double down on being consultative. To do that, I recommend:

  • That you look for the root cause, or the underlying “thing” that is producing whatever leading or lagging indicator that you’re reporting on (like keyword rankings or site sessions), and then highlight that root cause. For example, “our traffic declined 4% month over month due to seasonality, which we observed in June of last year and anticipated seeing this June, given the seasonality of our industry. We are not concerned with the 4% decrease, and expect traffic to rebound next month as we move into our busy period. ”
  • Once you’ve outlined a root cause, explain exactly what you should or should not do given the new reality
  • Eliminate words like “likely”, and “we think”, and instead take an assertive stance

5) Watch Your Tense

It pains me to say this, but I see so many folks mix up past, present, and future tense. Tenses convey things that happened in time, and when we mess them up in reports, we sound silly. For example:

  • Past tense: Keyword rankings decreased
  • Present tense: Keyword rankings are decreasing
  • Future tense: Keyword rankings will decrease

I recommend that you proofread your SEO report multiple times, and in one of those reviews, look for tense errors only. For example “is providing a content audit” vs. “plans to provide a content audit” could be easily missed if you’re not reviewing specifically for tense.

6) Use Bullet Points vs. Paragraphs

Both of the below examples contain the same words, but one is much easier to digest:

Example 1: Month over Month

Organic sessions decreased for the second month in a row. (-19,110 sessions). Paid search contributed a +25% increase in sessions which could be a factor for fewer organic branded clicks in Q2 (-185,878). Seer expects efforts from paid search & organic to positively affect each other – these early efforts are likely due to the PPC restructure driving more paid clicks for branded terms.

The Homepage (-6%) was the largest contributor to the decrease in organic sessions. This further indicates seasonality as the Homepage’s organic rank improved an average of +5 spots from Q1 to Q2 2019, however, this growth occurred past page 1. Seer plans to audit this page in July to offset seasonal declines.

Example 2: Month over Month

  • Organic sessions decreased for the second month in a row. (-19,110 sessions)
  • Paid search contributed a +25% increase in sessions which could be a factor for fewer organic branded clicks in Q2 (-185,878)
  • Seer expects efforts from paid search & organic to positively affect each other – these early efforts are likely due to the PPC restructure driving more paid clicks for branded terms
  • The Homepage (-6%) was the largest contributor to the decrease in organic sessions
  • This further indicates seasonality as the Homepage’s organic rank improved an average of +5 spots from Q1 to Q2 2019, however, this growth occurred past page 1
  • Seer plans to audit this page in July to offset seasonal declines

Bulleting key bits of information makes reports easier to understand because bulleted lists reduce the cognitive load of the reader. Also note the use of color in the text above, red indicates a decrease and green indicates an increase. Leverage color to drive your point home and further reduce the cognitive load of your readers!

6) Be Careful with Numbers

Use numbers for goodness sake, but explain what they represent and position them in a way that helps your audience understand why they are important. For example, mentioning that “traffic to the site is up” is great, but not specifying by how much and failing to mention what caused the increase in traffic leaves your audience guessing. Be more specific, for example:

“Traffic to the site is up by 8% this month, mostly due to the 7 content audits that were implemented in May of 2019.”

And remember that it always helps to understand exactly what your audience cares about, and report on your wins through the lens of their KPIs.

7) Review Your Report Three Separate Times

As I alluded to earlier, I recommend that you review your report three separate times. The first time, only look for grammar mistakes. The second time, give your report the “smell test,” i.e. ask the question “does what I’m saying here actually make sense?”

Lastly, you should review only for tense and punctuation issues. Reviewing for grammar, the “smell test”, and tense/punctuation all at once is really hard, which is why batching your reviews can be super helpful. Proofreading is extremely important, so don’t skimp out on it!

Learn more about SEO best practices and SEO reporting!

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The Importance of Internal Linking to Boost Site Performance and UX

I recently found myself in an odd situation. My client had launched an eCommerce site that is less than a year old. As I was digging through Google Analytics I noticed that about 56% of organic visitors were NOT viewing product pages! Obviously, this is an issue since the whole goal of the site is to sell products.

Meanwhile, I was also working with an established client, a leader in their space (also eCommerce, but not a traditional “Amazon-style” eCommerce site). Their target search terms are extremely competitive and FULL of SERP features that are making the first page of results increasingly smaller in terms of traditional organic listings. So, being in position 6 or 7 is typically a first-page result, but for the queries we were targeting, those positions usually fall to the top of page 2.

So I was faced with two completely different problems:

  1. How can I get more people to view more product pages?
  2. How can I help my client rank higher for such competitive queries?

Idea/Possible Solution:

  • Internal linking

What Are Internal Links?

Internal links are links that go from one page on a domain to another page on the same domain. There are various types of internal links such as navigation links, footer links, call-to-action buttons, etc. There are also in-line links (or links within page copy), much like this link to our SEO page.

In the images below I have added a box around all of the internal links to help you visualize what they can look like.

value of internal linkspasted image 0 41

Can Internal Linking Help With Keyword Rankings?

For increasing the percentage of visitors to product pages, this hypothesis made perfect sense and I don’t think anyone would argue with it. However, dealing with the competitive queries issue was slightly different. I had seen success in keyword movements with internal linking before, but nothing like what I needed to do here. I needed to find opportunities at scale and make sure my client would allow me to test my hypothesis. Also, how was I going to do this in a way that wouldn’t waste all of my time?

I hated science as a kid, but I love research. One of the only things I remember from my science classes is the Scientific Method (probably because it applies to all types of science and research and not only Chemistry and Geology). So I approached this problem using the Scientific Method.

The Internal Linking Test

Observation:

Internal links can have a positive impact on keyword rankings.

I have seen it on a much smaller scale before with other clients. I typically viewed internal linking as a tactic and not a strategy.

Research:

I found some information from doing a few searches, but nothing that made me feel completely confident that this MIGHT work.

Hypothesis:

Hypothesis #1:

By adding internal links from various pages to key pages (product pages in this case) we can improve conversion rates, increase transactions and revenue, and lower the percentage of visitors not visiting a product page.

Hypothesis #2:

If I can find 3 to 5 opportunities to internally link to a page with the exact same anchor text, rankings would improve by 1 to 3 positions (which would be a big win for the queries I was targeting and the difference between page 1 and page 2 of SERPS).

Experiment:

Working very closely with my colleague on our Technical SEO team, Allison Hanh, we built a tool using Power BI that allowed us to find opportunities for internal linking at scale.

Quick version – we built a dashboard by crawling the domains with Screaming Frog, extracting all page copy, applying a custom metric that we used to score pages, joining everything in Power BI and getting to work!

Client 1 (Hypothesis 1 test): 

After the dashboard/tool was built, I was able to find over 80 internal linking opportunities targeting to increasing internal links to product pages/product category pages within two hours. This didn’t require anything from our client except for the action of logging into their CMS and applying the link we provided to their existing content (no content changes were made).

Client 2 (Hypothesis 2 test): 

After the dashboard/tool was built, I was able to find over 30 internal linking opportunities to increase internal links to 10 different pages with 10 different anchor texts. This didn’t require anything from our client except for the action of logging into their CMS and applying the link we provided to their existing content (no content changes were made).

I sent the recommendations to my clients to implement and no other edits were made to the pages to ensure that the results we measured were because of the added internal links. My clients were easily able to add in the internal links and we started tracking progress.

Results:

Hypothesis 1 Results:

This one is probably not surprising, but my hypothesis was correct. By adding 80+ internal links from various pages (FAQs, blogs, etc) and comparing two weeks pre- implementations vs. two weeks post-implementation we saw:

  • +192% increase in CVR
  • +76% increase in transactions
  • +116% increase in revenue
  • +23% increase in page views to Product pages
  • Lowered percentage of visitors not viewing product pages by 58%

All stats above are Organic-channel specific

Hypothesis 2 Results:

Somewhat to my surprise, this hypothesis was also correct! By adding internal links with the same anchor text and comparing two weeks pre- implementations vs, two weeks post-implementation we saw:

  • Keyword rankings improve by an average of 2.5 positions (anchor text are the keywords that were tracked)
  • CVR of pages that were being linked to improved by +7.5%
  • Transactions on pages that were being linked to improved by +13%

All stats above are Organic-channel specific

Conclusion:

While internal links are often thought of as a tactic and don’t typically have a very strategic approach, they should be thought of as a strategy for certain types of problems. I think everyone knew that internal links were important, but how important? It’s traditionally pretty time-consuming to find a large number of internal linking opportunities, we were able to find internal linking opportunities at scale so that we can focus more on the strategy behind them and not get lost in the weeds. In doing so, we proved our hypothesis to be correct and we now possibly have a solution to a large set of potential issues.

If you’re internally linking for no reason, stop. If you’re internally linking with purpose, great! Either way, I recommend working with Power BI or Tableau to find more opportunities quicker and really make an impact without stacking a ton of hours. Finally, if you’re looking for time in your day to run tests like this (or anything Digital Marketing related), check out the open positions at Seer!

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