Digital marketing news
Exploding Topics by Brian Dean analyzed Google search volume growth for the most well-known SEO tools between 2014 and 2019.
Here’s the ranking of SEO Tools based on Google search volume growth over the last 5 years:
- KWFinder (Score: 6.12) – Keyword finder
- Google Search Console (Score: 5.75) – Checkup of index status
- Keywords Everywhere (Score: 5.56) – Browser add-on for Chrome or Firefox
- Answer The Public (Score: 4.45)
- Ubersuggest (Score: 4.24) – Keyword suggetsion
- SEMrush (Score: 4.08) – Full-Stack SEO Platform
- Seobility (Score: 4.02) – Full-stack SEO Platform
- Serpstat (Score: 3.69) – Full-stack SEO Platform
- Ahrefs (Score: 3.66) – Website and competitor audit
- GTmetrix (Score: 3.14) – Check site-speed and optimise performance
- Screaming Frog (Score: 2.33) – Map web pages
- SEOquake (Score: 1.02)
- Yoast SEO (Score: 0.87) – WordPress plugin
- Can I Rank (Score: 0.6)
- Google Keyword Planner (Score: 0.33) – Available with a Google Ads account
- Seed Keywords (Score: 0.24)
- Siteliner (Score: 0.09)
- Moz (Score: -0.08)
- Long Tail Pro (Score: -3.62) – Long-tail keyword suggestion
- Majestic SEO (Score: -3.63) – Ranking of many authority factors
- WooRank (Score: -4.22)
The above ranking is not based on their market share or usefulness, but it’s rather an indicator of their popularity among users.
Some of them are free (like Google Search Console or UberSuggest integrated in Neil Patel’s website), others are freemium, others are paid.
Among them, few are full platforms with many features including also non-SEO functionalities, others are only providing niche insights or services (like YoastSEO that is a very popular WordPress plug-in), but are still valuable.
Personally, I still believe that it’s better to test and improve search ranking of a website using a range of tools (and anyone has its own recipe or preferences), but still, focus on one that can provide many aspects. The most valuable platform, including everything you need to do SEO, is SEMRush, that has increased its features in recent years.
Disclaimer: this post contains some affiliate links
The importance of customer service, which is fundamental for a successful company. Something that unfortunately many companies never learn.
Video extracted from an interview with Ferruccio Elio Arturo Lamborghini (1916–1993), the Italian entrepreneur, founder of the Lamborghini car manufacturer.
The paywall is a tool to restrict access to users who have paid to subscribe to a website.
In recent years it has been incresing among some news sources, despite a massive use of advertising and cookies that can already cover costs.
Ok, quality news has a cost, but users can’t pay for them all. Waiting for an overall solution that allows choising single articles rather than subscribe for the entire source – Google is working on that, will editors agree? – let’s see how to remove some annoying paywall news sources from Google News that are just wasting our time.
Users are free to pay for good quality information but they should also be able to opt for free information. Free does not always mean bad quality. Not at all.
Besides, many sources with paywall are quite biased, mostly posting political propaganda. Others are just bad quality, nothing original. Others are full of annoying ads and popups. All these can be sufficient reasons why some users want to hide specific sources (it doesn’t matter if free or paid).
You can bypass the problem by deleting cookies but if you’re tired of some specific sources it’s time to hide them forever, on your Google account.
If you want to filter out some sources from your Google News feed, the world’s most popular news aggregator, there’s a simple way, shown below:
Hide (nascondi, in the Italian screenshot) the specific source and you won’t see it anymore. You can still see subdomains though (for example blogs associated to it). They have to be hidden separately.
HTTPS is a secure protocol that helps defend your visitors’ info by encrypting knowledge traveling between the internet browser and the server.
Google AdWords already recommends (and in some cases, requires) that every one URLs use the HTTPS protocol rather than HTTP to shield customers’ personal and money info.
As of April 2018, more than 57% of the Internet’s 137,971 most popular websites have a secure implementation of HTTPS (source: Alexa).
Starting from Chrome 68, expected to be released in July 2018, all HTTP pages will be market as “not secure”. This might cause a significant drop in traffic.
In terms of SEO, HTTPS is among the top Search Engine ranking factors.
If your website supports HTTPS and you run AdWords campaigns, make sure that the final URLs and mobile final URLs start with HTTPS – you can bulk edit this step wither on the platform, through Adwords editor or API.
If your website doesn’t support HTTPS speak with your webmaster or the CMS administrator and make sure that HTTPS is enabled on your server (double check with your hosting provider), then make sure that all internal links are HTTPS (on WordPress you can force them with specific plugins).
A free SSL service is LetsEncrypt, trusted and supported by the major hosting providers.
Any help? Get in touch!
The epic Klout score, acquired by the digital marketing company Lithium for 200 million, has been killed.
What was Klout
“Klout was a website and mobile app, launched in 2008, that used social media analytics to rate all social media users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measured the size of a user’s social media network and correlated the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.” (Wikipedia, 25-05-2018).
Klout changed from a pure scoring tool to a publishing tool. Not everyone was confident about the reliability of its scores though.
Lithium Technologies, who acquired the site in March 2014, announced in May 2018 that they would end the service on May 25, 2018. The service was shut down on May 25, 2018, the same day GDPR came into force – my latest score was 66/100.
On May 25th 2018 the following note has been published on klout.com:
“The Klout acquisition provided Lithium with valuable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities, but Klout as a standalone service is not aligned with our long-term business strategy. We appreciate the loyal Klouters out there who stuck with us all these years – keep influencing!”
According to the blogger Paul Colmer, Klout could have been shut down also because it wasn’t fully compliant with GDPR, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation that is resulting very painful for many businesses. Lithium, after all, was only interested in its technology and know-how for its business, whilst Klout itself didn’t seem to be profitable.
The alternatives to Klout score
There are two alternatives. One is Kred, on the market for a few years, that will be relaunched the 11th June.
The other, launched very recently and less known, is called Skorr. It doesn’t seem reliable like Klout but it might improve in the future. You can check out my social skorr, download the app and check yours.
Facebook Professional Services is a new feature – still unannounced – that can be the next big thing for local search in 2016.
Update: it’s 2018 and the feature hasn’t been announced or promoted yet, but it’s still there, quite useful.
With this move Facebook is entering as a direct competitor of platforms such as Google Places (recently re-shaped as My Business), Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor and others in the #local search market.
All Facebook Pages with a physical location will be listed in their respective primary business category and cannot avoid users rating/reviews – in fact, to remove the possibility that users leave reviews the page does not have to be associated with any physical location (e.g. brand pages).
All pages can be linked to up to three categories, but only the main one will be relevant for indexation in Professional Services – mind that if you do not see your Page listed yet.
Ranking high and with a good rating is crucial to business success. Many prospective customers look for confirmations about their possible choice right before they are going to buy – what Google calls micro-moments. This fact applies in particular in mobile local search, but at the moment, Facebook Professional Services are only available on the desktop. Maybe a dedicated app will be released at some point?
In Facebook Professional Services, ranking level is determined by a combination that takes into account number of reviews and rating (and possibly other variables such as engagement, page authority, reviewers authority, etc.). Therefore, having many reviews is the first step to being sure that a local service ranks in the top ten – there are ten results per page/category/city. Besides, rating from relevant users is also important: generally a page with 70 reviews and an average rating of 4.4 ranks better than a page with 20 reviews with 4.9 average rating.
Are you looking to improve your local search ranking? Have a look at this Local SEO Guide for Businesses by Brad Richardson (Caseo, Canada).
I’m a proud user of both Aviate (Android launcher, the most useful amont dozens I tried, IMHO) and Flickr (image hosting, my account dates back to 2005 with over 7 million photo views).
Yahoo!, now owned by Verizon, acquired Flickr in 2005. Now it has sold it to the independent image-hosting company SmugHug for a price not known, probably it’s been a bargain.
Flickr has more than 75 million users and is well-known for being a free-service with unlimited storage. SmugHug instead is a small paid service, quite expensive considering alternatives. For example, you can opt for Google Photos that offer much more than just image-hosting.
Many users are asking if Flickr will remain free after the SmugHug aquisition and the aquiring company, already in charge of Flickr social network channels, is replying that free accounts won’t change “at this time”. At this time?!
Yahoo!, one of the oldes internet companies, launched in January 1994, today has only 2.1% of global search market share (source: statcounter.com) vs Google that reaches more than 91%.
The company has a long list of failures and recently is getting quite slim. Clearly, it’s dying, and the Verizon acquisition is probably speeding up this process.
The Google algorithm keeps on changing regularly, making life harder and harder for SEO experts. Some people assume that SEO is dead, but in fact SEO is alive more than ever. Simply, the old way of doing SEO is dead, or at least it’s not bringing the desired results anymore, whilst a new set of SEO strategies and techniques is rising due to search engine algorithms that become intelligent more than ever.
Here is an interesting infographic, created and designed by Harris Myers, that lists the 8 top factors to keep in mind to rank high on Google SERP in 2017.
In his work, Jomer summarizes predictions about the evolution of the following 8 aspects that characterize contemporary content marketing.
- Increase in documented content marketing strategy
- Rise of visual content
- Content getting more niche-specific
- More user-generated content
- Promotion to become a priority
- More video
- Influencer marketing
- VR (virtual reality)
Facebook keeps on packaging user-generated content to offer new product and create new potential advertising spaces. This time the news is called Facebook Livemap. No big announcements before revealing a collection of user-generated live broadcasts from all over the world. The fact that it is endless and unpredictable makes it addictive.
This format is something different than on-demand TV (think of Netflix), a concept that caused a lot of suffer to specialised traditional channels, not to mention the old generic traditional channels.
Traditional channels might get a space over there, maybe in the future they can also have the option to pay in order to gain prominent visibility, but they will always face competition of a potential army constituted by more than a billion users that can broadcast whatever they feel (or need), anytime, (almost) anywhere. Advertising is not interrupting the show, but is just “sustaining” it, or in the future it might be just the show. A different model, much less invasive and able to target users with unprecedented precision in the television industry.
Users can choose what and when the big brother can watch, but there is always a small brother hidden inside algorithms that knows what’s in the shadow, often more relevant for marketing than what’s publicly shown.
Geography is the channel and content is random. There could be a leak from a Bilderberg meeting, a pre-recorded footage, a real-time suicide, sex, cheating, violence, a baby that is just born, one who is dying, a natural disaster, a revolution, in involution, the biggest lie ever that will cause a revolution or just bullshit, most of the time – useful material for contemporary anthropologists. What’s the next show?
Facebook pixel is a better solution for both building Custom Audiences (e.g. remarketing) and tracking any conversion (see image).
Custom Audience pixel will remain. However, it is advised to move to the new Pixel that enables to build everything.
The FB pixel can be implemented through Google Tag Manager or other tag management services, covering all pages of the website(s) along the customer journey.
There is no need to create and implement multiple Pixels as one can be shared among different Facebook Ad Accounts. Consequently, Custom Audiences and Custom Conversions can be created directly into each Ad Account according to specific needs.
* the Conversion tracking pixel will be disabled by the second half of 2016 as announced by #Facebook.
Ok, this method might break some rule, but it can be an effective solution for specific goals, like a very focused lead generation campaign. Let’s imagine that your goal is to reach outside LinkedIn, some workers of a few competitors based in country x or y, or anyone that studied at university z.
Just follow these steps:
- (alternative/1: choose this at your risk) Create a fake user profile on LinkedIn, possibly a high profile consultant;
- (alternative/2) use your real profile;
- If you go for alternative 1, you need to get new friends: define your target audience and add LinkedIn users through the most appropriate search fields (industry, company, country, etc.);
Dig into LinkedIn Groups
(extra/1) you can extend your contact list by joining the most relevant and popular LinkedIn groups that are related to your audience(s) industry and adding people that actively engage in conversation over there;
Chase people suggested
(extra/2) you might further extend the list by adding people suggested by LinkedIn, if having profiles matching your target audience;
Export your contact list from LinkedIn
Once you reach a certain amount of contacts (let’s say at least 300), export the contact list from #LinkedIn to a CSV format file, format it through a spreadsheet software using the function “text-to-column”, choosing comma as delimiter and save a new CSV file with just a column of emails;
Split the contact list to create different targets
(extra/3) Let’s suppose that you want to target all HR people of company X but you want to advertise in French and German, depending on where are they based. In this case, you can split the list into many by selecting specific job titles, country and/or company, the only fields relevant for such purpose, to create multiple remarketing lists (see next steps) but only if the sub-lists contains enough contacts;
Create a remarketing list on Adwords
On Google Adwords go to Shared Library, then Audiences, then select Customer Email and upload the CSV (one or many). Choose the duration up to 6 months, the time that your LinkedIn contacts will be able to be targeted with your textual and visual ads through the Google Display Network (that includes sites like Gmail and Youtube).
Create a Customer List on Facebook Ads
On Facebook Ads, select Audiences, then Custom Audience and import the CSV file(s) – you will be able to target LinkedIn users also through Instagram (if they have an account).
- if the list is too small you cannot do any remarketing: the list should contain at least 100 contacts;
- this operation implies serious privacy issues (therefore, take at your risk) in fact, target contacts should be previously and adequately informed about this (either if you choose option 1=fake profile or 2=real profile).
- you can extend the list by using Lookalike audience on Facebook (with a similarity percentage from 0% to 10%) and Similar users on Adwords: this is an excellent opportunity in particular if your target audience is the right one;
- if you want to target LinkedIn users on Gmail, just add mail.google.com as Placement and the domain of companies that might send them an email as Display Keyword.
Twitter is going to broaden its ads audience. One of the reasons why Twitter has often been rejected as an advertising channel (sometimes also in our organisation) is that reach
is was limited to users who are logged in into the platform.
However, the number of tweets’ readers are way more than Twitter users (it’s estimated around 700m), so this move is expected to bring new business to #Twitter and new opportunities for advertisers/business eager to reach a qualified audience.
There’s no mention about targeting options yet but probably, being impossible to segment anonymous un-logged readers, targeting should be similar to Youtube, based on tweets topic (or maybe even keywords and hashtags to narrow down the target).
Find out more about Testing Promoted Tweets on our logged-out experience.
You will get a better idea about questions should be answered by the proposal, an ideal structure to adopt and some details that you might want to outline.
New powerful targeting opportunity available in Google Adwords.
Customer Emails List (aka digital stalking) allows digital marketers to show ads on Google Search, Display Network, Gmail (new format available through the GDN options) or YouTube (now fully integrated into Adwords) to users who have provided their email addresses matching a Google account.
For example, you can retarget current or past customers or particular event attendees that agreed to receive commercial information – mind always privacy issues.
This way, it is possible to create a Custom Audience (as done with Remarketing lists) available for all accounts under a particular MCC.
It’s an interesting option for cross-country campaigns. The Customer Email list can be further narrowed at campaign-level with usual variables (geographic, demographic, placements, keywords, etc.) Email addresses have to match the ones of signed-in Google users.
Difference between emails lists and remarketing lists
This opportunity is more “powerful” than cookies-based lists (e.g. remarketing). With this offer, Google is getting closer to Facebook (where this option is already available), matching social with search. If you plan to pilot such campaign, it is fundamental to provide an opt-out service through which users can ask to be deleted. I think that the best option is to use a Solas form, sending possible requests to a campaign manager responsible for a prompt action whenever needed. Once uploaded, email addresses cannot be visualised by Adwords users (including admins) therefore to delete them it is necessary to re-upload a simple CSV list with the email address(es) that do not have to be targeted anymore.
An interesting option is to create different emails lists depending on segmentation (for example geographic, demographic, buying habits, etc.). In fact, this tool works very well with CRM tools.
If your budget is limited and your goal is to extend your reach among people that know your brand but don’t know some of your most recent products, its best use is to target emails list(s) excluding past visitors (remarketing list).
Importing click and cost data for non-Google search engines and campaigns into Google Analytics allows to compare performance data for Google and non-Google campaigns.
OWOX, a #Google Analytics Partner, has created a free add-on that helps you quickly and easily import data from Google Sheets into Google Analytics. It is not the first tool for this scope, but it’s worth mentioning because it is free and easy-to-use.
Here are few simple steps to take to see your non-Google campaign cost data (for example Facebook Ads, Twitter, Linkedin or Bing Ads) into GA Views.
Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Create a Cost data schema on GA
- Download the schema (Excel template) as guidance. A typical format is:
ga:date ga:medium ga:source ga:impressions ga:adClicks ga:adCost ga:campaign ga:adGroup ga:adContent
- Export cost data from Facebook Ads
- Install the Google Chrome Add-On, it will be available on Google Sheet (you need to access with a Google account that has been granted GA editing rights)
- Copy and past FB cost data into Google Sheet making sure that it matches columns of the GA schema (point 2)
- Start the Add-On from the menu and upload
Once done, cost data will be visible under GA / Acquisition / Cost Data enabling interesting business metrics.
Two final notes:
If something goes wrong data can be re-uploaded, they will be overwritten.
The cost data has to be daily, and the format of its first column (date) needs to be yyyymmdd.
Last but not least, a perfect correspondence between Facebook Ads URL parameters (medium, source, campaign and content) and the cost data spreadsheet is needed to match data on Google Analytics. Differently, you will find a mismatch between uploaded metrics and Sessions. Ideally, you can add two columns for medium and source while for the others, it’s advised to use the same name both in the URL parameters and in the FB Ads level (for example Adgroup matching Ad set).
If you have an AdWords for #video TrueView ad, you can now create overlays for video plays across #YouTube (whether the video play is triggered by a video ad or not). The overlay will appear as soon as the video begins to play and can be closed by the user. You can use the overlay to share more information about the content of your video or to raise interest in your channel, other videos, or additional websites. When users click on the overlay, they are directed to your external website as specified in the overlay’s destination URL.
There is no additional charge for this feature.
CTAs currently remain on the video for as long as the video owner chooses, even if the video is no longer being promoted.
(Source: Google, March 2015)
Here I’m not talking of the recently launched Youtube Cards, six different type of overlays that can appear on the right area of your video. In fact, you can run both CTA-overlays and Cards, tracking them differently (e.g. using a different “medium” parameter like youtube-cta and youtube-card) to find out which link is generating more visits to your website.
CTA appear in the bottom-left, clicks are not charged, can be tracked and work even when you do not run any campaign. Here is an example:
- Link Youtube and Google Adwords (from its Video advertising section)
- On Google Adwords, create a video ad using one of your Youtube videos (even with a very small Cost-per-view and daily budget and you can even pause the campaign immediately after)
- Go to Youtube Video Manager and you will find an extra-tab called “Call-to-Action overlay”.
You are allowed to add a small logo 70×70 (ideally with an arrow pointing right!) that can also be transparent and the link does not have to be contextual, in fact, it’s a small free advertising space – despite the more contextual it is, the higher your CTR will be.
Some negative aspects:
- links are not auto-tagged therefore, you need to add URL parameters;
- a Youtube account can be linked to one Adwords account per time – it is a problem when having many Adwords account (e.g. one per country or SBU) and only one Youtube account (e.g. a global repository for all corporate videos);
- there is no automation available therefore to add/edit/remove any CTA-overlay you have to create a video campaign for each video where you want to add the CTA overlay, then edit every single video – if a Youtube account has too many videos, it’s worth adding a CTA-overlay only to the most popular, whilst the others are not expected to generate many visits .
About URL parameters that will allow to identify (on #Google Analytics) which channels/videos/campaigns are bringing more (qualified) visits to your site(s), the structure could be as follow:
- source: youtube-channel (you can have many Youtube accounts linked to an Adwords account);
- medium: video-cta-overlay;
- content (optional): your-video (name or id);
- campaign: here express something related to your cta that can be different than the video.
#Facebook Page Insights, among other things, help to identify what is the most engaging content for your audience. Some content gets viral, while other doesn’t get noticed at all.
Every content is a meme: some memes survive, going viral or being the source of new memes, while other doesn’t get noticed at all and disappear.
In this sense, #social media are not only a memetic machine, with their constant production or reproduction of memes, but also a memetic cemetery (despite some memes of the past can always come back to life, under any circumstance).
This analysis is neither exhaustive nor definitive but tries to offer an overview over factors that affect the viral reach of Facebook posts, either on pages or profiles.
Results are summarised in the above scheme that is the outcome of frequent observations through different Facebook pages.
Why do we post?
The scheme starts from publisher’s intentions, either posting as an individual or for an organisation/brand.
Drivers of our publishing activity could be divided into three main, groups:
- Individualism – it tells how we feel or how we want to represent ourselves to the world (or, at least, our audience)
- Altruism – it is probably the most valuable content because it is aimed at creating/sharing value with the audience
- Opinion – this can be the outcome of either an individual attitude or a wish to start/join a conversation and affect the public opinion
Most of what we post contains elements of any of the above factors.
Content focus: individual vs. general
While Individualism can be categorised as material embedding a personal element and focusing on the poster (e.g. a selfie), the other two categories (Altruism and Opinion) relate to the external environment (e.g. tech, politics, sport, arts, science, culture in general, etc.).
Unless talking about VIP’s (including social stars, even in very narrow fields) or well-known brands that despite talking about themselves have a strong influence on the external environment, general content has more chances to get viral than the individual.
The expected consequent actions (reactions) made by our audience, will increase the reach of our content: this is the viral effect, an enormous benefit because it does not cost anything, differently than promoted posts. Quality has value.
To get a high viral reach, it is important to engage people that are social stars, since their actions on your posts usually are more effective regarding reach, but, in general, every little helps.
- Individualist content might be shared because of Empathy
- Altruist content can be multiplied when it is perceived as Useful
- Opinions tend to encourage Participation (either with a positive or negative feedback)
The actions that we expect from this #engagement are likes for an individualist content, share for a useful altruist content and comment for an opinion that drives participation.
How to categorise Facebook posts: some examples
We can try to attribute each content we see on Facebook to one of the following three categories and imagine what can be the expected reaction.
- Individualism: selfies, feelings, travel, self-made content, etc.
- Altruism: pets, recipes, reviews, guides, invitations, etc.
- Opinion: politics, violence, VIPs, activism, etc.
Some content stays in between two or even all three categories. For example, a video clip of a song can be posted to represent a personal feeling (individualism) and at the same time to help other people discover that particular content (altruism) and express an opinion that reflects the lyrics (opinion).
Support for a political leader/movement or complaints towards a brand/company’s customer services can be categorised as opinions and can have a follow up made of supporting (or detracting) comments – and relative comment-likes and comment-tags.
Affinity to your average audience increases engagement
Everyone has a different personality and Facebook knows that. Thinking of Lookalike audiences, we have to post with our audience in mind, more than content.
Knowing our audience enables to build an ideal average that should be our main content driver. The affinity of our content to our audience’s expectations is a core virality factor.
A Facebook Page with a very generic audience tends to have fewer occasions to gets its content viral due to high engagement-rate, while as opposite, content posted on a Page whose audience is very narrow and specialised can get viral with a high engagement-rate.
All factors count
Often many pages publish great content too generic and informative: its engagement-rate (and consequently its organic reach) will be very low.
Some content is too cold (for example a link to a technical guide) or too personal (for example a personal status about facts of little interest for the audience) or too introvert (something that nobody or very few people can understand or care of).
To get viral on Facebook, content need to be a mix of all factors proposed in the scheme [ individualism + altruism + opinion ] paying attention to audience’s closeness (including language and jargon) and possibly enriching text with hashtags if the content is about places, brands or trending topics.
Write your content (make it original), try to disseminate value – a strong factor, usually appreciated by your audience – and don’t forget to express your point of view because Facebook is a conversational platform after all.
Something missing: the dark side of analytics
Not all content is shared publicly. Therefore, its virality cannot be adequately measured. Often, good content is also multiplied by private messages (e.g. Facebook, Whatsapp, etc.), channels that cannot be tracked but still can increase reach, engagement, leads, conversions.
In fact, many of us are not willing to publicly share or comment anything, but it doesn’t mean that we are not interested in debating about with our best friend through private messages. We are not aware of what happen behind the wall unless we don’t start to track and read everyone’s private messages, but such amazing advanced tools apparently are available only to very few organisations/governments..
So don’t stick to what’s measurable, ignoring the dark side of analytics. What’s behind a “direct” source can be the outcome of your #social media marketing efforts.
The infographic is made mainly for Facebook, but can be useful also for content marketing in general and other social media platforms, in particular, Google+ and Twitter.
Feel free to download and share Facebook Engagement Factors (PDF)