Tag Archive | "Content"

How to Set Up GTM Cookie Tracking (and Better Understand Content Engagement)

Posted by Joel.Mesherghi

The more you understand the behaviour of your users, the better you can market your product or service — which is why Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a marketer’s best friend. With built-in tag templates, such as scroll depth and click tracking, GTM is a powerful tool to measure the engagement and success of your content. 

If you’re only relying on tag templates in GTM, or the occasionally limiting out-of-box Google Analytics, then you could be missing out on insights that go beyond normal engagement metrics. Which means you may be getting an incomplete story from your data.

This post will teach you how to get even more insight by setting up cookies in GTM. You’ll learn how to tag and track multiple page views in a single session, track a specific set number of pages, based on specific on-page content elements, and understand how users are engaging with your content so you can make data-based decisions to better drive conversions.

Example use case

I recently worked with a client that wanted to better understand the behavior of users that landed on their blog content. The main barrier they faced was their URL structure. Their content didn’t live on logical URL structures — they placed their target keyword straight after the root. So, instead of example.com/blog/some-content, their URL structure looked like example.com/some-content.

You can use advanced segments in Google Analytics (GA) to track any number of metrics, but if you don’t have a logically defined URL, then tracking and measuring those metrics becomes a manual and time-consuming practice — especially when there’s a large number of pages to track.

Fortunately, leveraging a custom cookie code, which I provide below, helps you to cut through that time, requires little implementation effort, and can surface powerful insights:

  1. It can indicate that users are engaged with your content and your brand.
  2. The stored data could be used for content scoring — if a page is included in the three pages of an event it may be more valuable than others. You may want to target these pages with more upsell or cross-sell opportunities, if so.
  3. The same scoring logic could apply to authors. If blogs written by certain authors have more page views in a session, then their writing style/topics could be more engaging and you may want to further leverage their content writing skills.
  4. You can build remarketing audience lists to target these seemingly engaged users to align with your business goals — people who are more engaged with your content could be more likely to convert.

So, let’s briefly discuss the anatomy of the custom code that you will need to add to set cookies before we walk through a step by step implementation guide.

Custom cookie code

Cookies, as we all know, are a small text file that is stored in your browser — it helps servers remember who you are and its code is comprised of three elements:

  • a name-value pair containing data
  • an expiry date after which it is no longer valid
  • the domain and path of the server it should be sent to.

You can create a custom code to add to cookies to help you track and store numerous page views in a session across a set of pages.

The code below forms the foundation in setting up your cookies. It defines specific rules, such as the events required to trigger the cookie and the expiration of the cookie. I’ll provide the code, then break it up into two parts to explain each segment.

The code

<script>
function createCookie(name,value,hours) {
    if (hours) {
        var date = new Date();
        date.setTime(date.getTime()+(hours*60*60*1000));
        var expires = "; expires="+date.toGMTString();
    }
    else var expires = "";
    document.cookie = name+"="+value+expires+"; path=/";
}
if (document.querySelectorAll("CSS SELECTOR GOES HERE"").length > 0) {
var y = {{NumberOfBlogPagesVisited}}
if (y == null) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',1,1);
}
  else if (y == 1) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',2,1);
  } 
  else if (y == 2) {
    var newCount = Number(y) + 1;
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',newCount,12);
  }
 if (newCount == 3) {
 dataLayer.push({
 'event': '3 Blog Pages'
 });
 }
}
</script>

Part 1

<script>
function createCookie(name,value,hours) {
    if (hours) {
        var date = new Date();
        date.setTime(date.getTime()+(hours*60*60*1000));
        var expires = "; expires="+date.toGMTString();
    }
    else var expires = "";
    document.cookie = name+"="+value+expires+"; path=/";
}

Explanation:

This function, as the name implies, will create a cookie if you specify a name, a value, and the time a cookie should be valid for. I’ve specified “hours,” but if you want to specify “days,” you’ll need to iterate variables of the code. Take a peek at this great resource on setting up cookies.

    Part 2

    if (document.querySelectorAll("CSS SELECTOR GOES HERE").length > 0) {
    var y = {{NumberOfBlogPagesVisited}}
    if (y == null) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',1,1);
    }
    else if (y == 1) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',2,1);
    }
    else if (y == 2) {
    var newCount = Number(y) + 1;
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',newCount,12);
    }
    if (newCount == 3) {
    dataLayer.push({
    'event': '3 Blog Pages'
    });
    }
    </script>

    Explanation:

    The second part of this script will count the number of page views:

    • The “CSS SELECTOR GOES HERE”, which I’ve left blank for now, will be where you add your CSS selector. This will instruct the cookie to fire if the CSS selector matches an element on a page. You can use DevTools to hover over an on-page element, like an author name, and copy the CSS selector.
    • “y” represents the cookie and “NumberOfBlogPagesVisited” is the name I’ve given to the variable. You’ll want to iterate the variable name as you see fit, but the variable name you set up in GTM should be consistent with the variable name in the code (we’ll go through this during the step-by-step guide).
    • “createCookie” is the actual name of your cookie. I’ve called my cookie “BlogPagesVisited.” You can call your cookie whatever you want, but again, it’s imperative that the name you give your cookie in the code is consistent with the cookie name field when you go on to create your variable in GTM. Without consistency, the tag won’t fire correctly.
    • You can also change the hours at which the cookie expires. If a user accumulates three page views in a single session, the code specifies a 12 hour expiration. The reasoning behind this is that if someone comes back after a day or two and views another blog, we won’t consider that to be part of the same “session,” giving us a clearer insight of the user behaviour of people that trigger three page views in a session.
    • This is rather arbitrary, so you can iterate the cookie expiration length to suit your business goals and customers.

    Note: if you want the event to fire after more than three page views (for example, four-page views) then the code would look like the following:

    var y = {{NumberOfBlogPagesVisited}}
    if (y == null) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',1,1);
    }
    else if (y == 1) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',2,1);
    }
    }
    else if (y == 2) {
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',3,1);
    }
    else if (y == 3) {
    var newCount = Number(y) + 1;
    createCookie('BlogPagesVisited',newCount,12);
    }
      
    if (newCount == 4) {
    dataLayer.push({
    'event': '4 Blog Pages'
    });

    Now that we have a basic understanding of the script, we can use GTM to implement everything.

    First, you’ll need the set up the following “Tags,” “Triggers”, and ”Variables”:

    Tags

    Custom HTML tag: contains the cookie script

    Event tag: fires the event and sends the data to GA after a third pageview is a session.

    Triggers

    Page View trigger: defines the conditions that will fire your Custom HTML Tag.

    Custom Event trigger: defines the conditions that will fire your event.

    Variable

    First Party Cookie variable: This will define a value that a trigger needs to evaluate whether or not your Custom HTML tag should fire.

    Now, let’s walk through the steps of setting this up in GTM.

    Step 1: Create a custom HTML tag

    First, we’ll need to create a Custom HTML Tag that will contain the cookie script. This time, I’ve added the CSS selector, below:

     #content > div.post.type-post.status-publish.format-standard.hentry > div.entry-meta > span > span.author.vcard > a

    This matches authors on Distilled’s blog pages, so you’ll want to add your own unique selector.

    Navigate to Tags > New > Custom HTML Tag > and paste the script into the custom HTML tag box.

    You’ll want to ensure your tag name is descriptive and intuitive. Google recommends the following tag naming convention: Tag Type – Detail – Location. This will allow you to easily identify and sort related tags from the overview tag interface. You can also create separate folders for different projects to keep things more organized.

    Following Google’s example, I’ve called my tag Custom HTML – 3 Page Views Cookie – Blog.

    Once you’ve created your tag, remember to click save.

    Step 2: Create a trigger

    Creating a trigger will define the conditions that will fire your custom HTML tag. If you want to learn more about triggers, you can read up on Simo Ahava’s trigger guide.

    Navigate to Triggers > New > PageView.

    Once you’ve clicked the trigger configuration box, you’ll want to select “Page View” as a trigger type. I’ve also named my trigger Page View – Cookie Trigger – Blog, as I’m going to set up the tag to fire when users land on blog content.

    Next, you’ll want to define the properties of your trigger.

    Since we’re relying on the CSS selector to trigger the cookie across the site, select “All Page Views”.

    Once you’ve defined your trigger, click save.

    Step 3: Create your variable

    Just like how a Custom HTML tag relies on a trigger to fire, a trigger relies on a variable. A variable defines a value that a trigger needs to evaluate whether or not a tag should fire. If you want to learn more about variables, I recommend reading up on Simo Ahava’s variable guide.

    Head over to Variables > User-Defined Variables > Select 1st Party Cookie. You’ll also notice that I’ve named this variable “NumberOfBlogPagesVisited” — you’ll want this variable name to match what is in your cookie code.

    Having selected “1st Party Cookie,” you’ll now need to input your cookie name. Remember: the cookie name needs to replicate the name you’ve given your cookie in the code. I named my cookie BlogPagesVisited, so I’ve replicated that in the Cookie Name field, as seen below.

    Step 4: Create your event tag

    When a user triggers a third-page view, we’ll want to have it recorded and sent to GA. To do this, we need to set up an “Event” tag.

    First, navigate to Tags > New > Select Google Analytics – Universal Analytics:

    Once you’ve made your tag type “Google Analytics – Universal Analytics”, make sure track type is an “Event” and you name your “Category” and “Action” accordingly. You can also fill in a label and value if you wish. I’ve also selected “True” in the “Non-interaction Hit” field, as I still want to track bounce rate metrics.

    Finally, you’ll want to select a GA Setting variable that will pass on stored cookie information to a GA property.

    Step 5: Create your trigger

    This trigger will reference your event.

    Navigate to Trigger > New > Custom Event

    Once you’ve selected Custom Event, you’ll want to ensure the “Event name” field matches the name you have given your event in the code. In my case, I called the event “3 Blog Pages”.

    Step 6: Audit your cookie in preview mode

    After you’ve selected the preview mode, you should conduct an audit of your cookie to ensure everything is firing properly. To do this, navigate to the site you where you’ve set up cookies.

    Within the debugging interface, head on over to Page View > Variables.

    Next, look to a URL that contains the CSS selector. In the case of the client, we used the CSS selector that referenced an on-page author. All their content pages used the same CSS selector for authors. Using the GTM preview tool you’ll see that “NumberOfBlogPagesVisited” variable has been executed.

    And the actual “BlogPagesVisited” cookie has fired at a value of “1” in Chrome DevTools. To see this, click Inspect > Application > Cookies.

    If we skip the second-page view and execute our third-page view on another blog page, you’ll see that both our GA event and our Custom HTML tag fired, as it’s our third-page view.

    You’ll also see the third-page view triggered our cookie value of “3” in Chrome DevTools.

    Step 7: Set up your advanced segment

    Now that you’ve set up your cookie, you’ll want to pull the stored cookie data into GA, which will allow you to manipulate the data as you see fit.

    In GA, go to Behaviour > Events > Overview > Add Segment > New Segment > Sequences > Event Action > and then add the event name you specified in your event tag. I specified “3 Blog Page Views.”

    And there you have it! 

    Conclusion

    Now that you know how to set up a cookie in GTM, you can get heaps of additional insight into the engagement of your content.

    You also know how also to play around with the code snippet and iterate the number of page views required to fire the cookie event as well as the expiration of the cookies at each stage to suit your needs.

    I’d be interested to hear what other use cases you can think of for this cookie, or what other types of cookies you set up in GTM and what data you get from them.

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    How Google Dishes Out Content by Search Intent

    Posted by TheMozTeam

    This post was originally published on the STAT blog.


    In the STAT whitepaper, Using search intent to connect with consumers, we looked at how SERP features change with a searcher’s intent — informational, commercial, transactional, or local. It was so chock-full of research that it sparked oodles of other content inspiration — from the basics of building an intent-based keyword list to setting up your own search intent project, to Scott Taft’s guide to building your own search intent dashboard.

    But while doing the research for the whitepaper, we found ourselves pondering another question: is there a similar relationship between search intent and the kind of page content that Google sources results from?

    We know from our study that as searchers head down the intent funnel, the SERP feature landscape shifts accordingly. For example, Google serves up progressively more shopping boxes, which help close the deal, as a searcher moves from awareness to purchase.

    So, as consumers hunt for that perfect product, does the content that Google serves up shift from, say, category pages to product pages? To get to the bottom of this mystery, we mounted a three-pronged attack.

    Prong 1: Uncover the top SERP players

    Since Google delivers the content they deem most helpful, figuring out who their SERP favs are ensured that we were analyzing the best performing content.

    To do this, we used the same 6,422 retail keywords from our original research, segmented them by search intent, and then gathered the top 12 results (give or take a few) that appeared on each SERP.

    This gave us:

    • 6,338 informational intent results,
    • 35,210 commercial intent results,
    • 24,633 transactional intent results,
    • and 10,573 local intent results

    …to analyze the stink out of. (That’s 76,754 results all told.)

    From there, we dug into root domains (e.g. eBay.com and Amazon.com) to uncover the four most frequently occurring businesses for each search intent category.

    We made an executive decision to exclude Google, who claimed top billing across the board, from our analysis for two reasons. One, because we attribute shopping boxes and images to them, which show up a lot for retail keywords, and two, because they aren’t exactly a competitor you can learn from.

    Prong 2: Identify content page managers

    After compiling the winningest sites to snoop on, it was time to see what kind of content they were offering up to the Google gods — which should’ve been easy, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, examining URL structures for frequently occurring page markers is a somewhat painful process.

    Some sites, like Homedepot.com (who we wish had made the list for this very reason), have clean, easy to decipher URL structures: all product and category pages are identified with a “/p/” and “/b/” that always show up in the same spot in the URL.

    And then you have the Amazon.coms of the world that use a mix of seemingly random markers, like “/s?rh=” and “/dp” that appear all over the place.

    In the end — thanks to Stack Overflow, SequelPro, and a lot of patience — we were able to classify our URLs, bringing us to our third and final prong.

    Prong 3: Mash everything together and analyze

    Once we got all of our ducks in a row, it was time to get our super-sleuth on.

    Informational intent (6,338 results)

    This is the very top of the intent funnel. The searcher has identified a need and is looking for information on the best solution — is a [laptop] or [desktop computer] the right choice for their home office; what’s the difference between a [blender] and a [food processor] when making smoothies?

    Thanks to the retail nature of our keywords, three product powerhouses — Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy — rose to the top, along with Wikipedia, whose sole purpose in life is to provide the kind of information that searchers usually want to see at this stage of intent.

    Although Wikipedia doesn’t have page markers, we chose to categorize their search results as product pages. This is because each Wikipedia entry typically focuses on a single person, place, or thing. Also, because they weren’t important to our analysis: while Wikipedia is a search competitor, they’re not a product competitor. (We still love you though, Wikipedia!)

    Diving into the type of content that Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy served up (the stuff we were really after), category pages surfaced as the preferred choice.

    Given the wide net that a searcher is casting with their informational query, it made sense to see more category pages at this stage — they help searchers narrow down their hunt by providing a wide range of options to choose from.

    What did have us raising our eyebrows a little was the number of product pages that appeared. Product pages showcase one specific item and are typically optimized for conversion, so we expected to see these in large quantities further down the funnel — when a searcher has a better idea of what they want.

    Commercial intent (35,210 results)

    When it comes to a commercial intent query, the searcher is starting to dig deeper into the product they’re after — they’re doing comparative research, reading reviews, and looking into specific functionality.

    Here, Amazon continued to rule the URL roost, Wikipedia dropped off, eBay judo-chopped Walmart out of second place, and Best Buy stayed put at the bottom.

    In terms of the content that these sites offered up, we saw the addition of review pages from Amazon, and buyer guides from Amazon, eBay, and Best Buy. We figured this would be the case, seeing as how we used modifiers like “best,” “compare,” and “reviews” to apply commercial intent to our keywords.

    But while these two types of content fit perfectly with the intent behind a commercial query, especially reviews, oddly enough they still paled in comparison to the number of category and product pages. Weird, right?

    Transactional intent (24,633 results)

    At the transactional intent stage of the game, the searcher has narrowed their hunt down to a few best options and is ready to throw their hard-earned shekels at the winner.

    As far as the most frequently appearing sites go, there was a little do-si-do between eBay and Walmart, but overall, these top four sites did an excellent job following searchers down the intent funnel.

    In terms of the kind of pages appearing, once again, we saw a huge number of category pages. Product pages made a respectable showing, but given the readiness to buy at the bottom of the funnel, we expected to see the scales tip in their favor.

    Alack and alas, no dice.

    Local intent (10,573 results)

    Technically, we categorize local intent as a subsection of transactional intent. It’s likely that the only reason a searcher would be considering an in-store visit is if the product is something they want to take home with them. But because local searches typically surface different results from our other transactional queries, we look at them separately.

    Here, Amazon’s reign was finally usurped by its biggest competitor, Walmart, and Yelp made a stunning first appearance to knock Best Buy down and eBay off the list.

    Given that local intent searchers are on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar store, it made sense that Walmart would win out over Amazon. That said, it’s an incredible feat that Amazon doesn’t let a lack of physical location derail its retail dominance, especially when local is the name of the game (a location is literally part of these queries).

    As for Yelp, they’re a trusted source for people trying to find a business IRL — so it wasn’t surprising to see them jump on our local intent SERPs. Like Wikipedia, Yelp doesn’t have product or category pages per se, but they do have markers that indicate pages with multiple business listings (we classified these as category pages), as well as markers that indicate single business listings (our product pages). We also found markers for reviews, which were a perfect fit for our analysis.

    Finally, when it came to content, category and product pages (again!) showed up the most on these SERPs. So what’s going on here?

    The (unexpected) takeaway

    When we set out to examine the type of content that appears for the different search intents, we expected to see far more variation from one level to the next. We thought we’d find lots of category pages for informational intent, more reviews and buyer guides for commercial intent, and mostly product pages for transactional intent.

    Instead, we found that category pages are Google’s top choice for retail keywords throughout all levels of search intent. Regardless of how specific a query is, category pages seem to be the first point of access when hunting for retail items. So why might this be?

    Looking to our winning sites for answers, it appears that intent-blended pages are the bomb dot com for Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Best Buy.

    Their category pages contain: an image of each type of product and short, descriptive copy to help searchers narrow down their options (informational intent); a review or rating system for quick comparisons (commercial intent); and pricing information and a clear way to make a purchase (transactional intent).

    Following any of the items to their designated product page — the second most returned type of content — you’ll find a similar intent-blended approach. In fact, by having alternative suggestions, like “people also bought” and “similar products,” appear on them, they almost resemble category pages.

    This product page approach is different from what we often see with smaller boutique-style shops. Take Stutterheim for example (they sell raincoats perfect for our Vancouver weather). Their product pages have a single focus: buy this one thing.

    Since smaller shops don’t have a never-ending supply of goods, their product pages have to push harder for the transaction — no distractions allowed. Large retailers like Amazon? They have enough stuff to keep searchers around until they stumble across something they like.

    To find out what type of content you should serve at each step of the intent funnel, segment your keywords by search intent and track which of your pages rank, as well as how well they convert. This will help reveal what your searchers find most useful.

    Ready to get your mitts on even more intent-based insights? Grab the full whitepaper: Using search intent to connect with consumers.

    What search-intent insights have you dug up? Let us know in the comments!

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    Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing

    Content that drives real business results often looks effortless, but we all know how much creative and strategic planning it…

    The post Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing appeared first on Copyblogger.


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    What a Two-Tiered SERP Means for Content Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

    Posted by willcritchlow

    If you’re a big site competing to rank for popular head terms, where’s the best place to focus your content strategy? According to a hypothesis by the good folks at Distilled, the answer may lie in perfectly satisfying searcher intent.

    Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

    If you haven’t heard the news, the Domain Authority metric discussed in this episode will be updated on March 5th, 2019 to better correlate with Google algorithm changes. Learn about what’s changing below:

    Learn more about the new DA


    Video Transcription

    Hi, Whiteboard Friday fans. I’m Will Critchlow, one of the founders at Distilled, and what I want to talk about today is joining the dots between some theoretical work that some of my colleagues have been doing and some of the client work that we’ve been doing recently and the results that we’ve been seeing from that in the wild and what I think it means for strategies for different-sized sites going on from here.

    Correlations and a hypothesis

    The beginning of this I credit to one of my colleagues, Tom Capper, THCapper on Twitter, who presented at our Search Love London conference a presentation entitled “The Two-Tiered SERP,” and I’m going to describe what that means in just a second. But what I’m going to do today is talk about what I think that the two-tiered SERP means for content strategy going forward and base that a little bit on some of what we’re seeing in the wild with some of our client projects.

    What Tom presented at Search Love London was he started by looking at the fact that the correlation between domain authority and rankings has decreased over time. So he pulled out some stats from February 2017 and looked at those same stats 18 months later and saw a significant drop in the correlation between domain authority and rankings. This ties into a bunch of work that he’s done and presented elsewhere around potentially less reliance on links going forward and some other data that Google might be using, some other metrics and ranking factors that they might be using in their place, particularly branded metrics and so forth.

    But Tom saw this drop and had a hypothesis that it wasn’t just an across-the-board drop. This wasn’t just Google not using links anymore or using links less. It was actually a more granular effect than that. This is the two-tiered SERP or what we mean by the two-tiered SERP. So a search engine result page, a SERP, you’ve got some results at the top and some results further down the page.

    What Tom found — he had this hypothesis that was born out in the data — was that the correlation between domain authority and rankings was much higher among the positions 6 through 10 than it was among the top half of the search results page and that this can be explained by essentially somewhat traditional ranking factors lower down the page and in lower competition niches and that at the top of the page, where there’s more usage data, greater search volume and so forth in these top positions, that traditional ranking factors played less of a part.

    They maybe get you into the consideration set. There are no domains ranking up here that are very, very weak. But once you’re in the consideration set, there’s much less of a correlation between these different positions. So it’s still true on average that these positions 1 through 5 are probably more authoritative than the sites that are appearing in lower positions. But within this set there’s less predictive value.

    The domain authority is less predictive of ranking within this set than it is of ranking within this set. So this is the two-tiered SERP, and this is consistent with a bunch of data that we’ve seen across the place and in particular with the outcomes that we’re seeing among content campaigns and content strategies for different kinds of sites.

    At Distilled, we get quite a lot of clients coming to us wanting either a content strategy put together or in some cases coming to us essentially with their content strategy and saying, “Can you execute this? Can you help us execute this plan?” It’s very common for that plan to be, “We want to create a bunch of big pieces of content that get a ton of links, and we’re going to use that link authority to make our site more authoritative and that is going to result in our whole site doing better and ranking better.”

    An anonymized case study

    We’ve seen that that is performing differently in different cases, and in particular it’s performing better on smaller sites than it is on big sites. So this is a little anonymized case study. This is a real example of a story that happened with one of our consulting clients where we put in place a content strategy for them that did include a plan to build the domain authority because this was a site that came to us with a domain authority significantly below that of their key competitors, also with all of these sites not having a ton of domain authority.

    This was working in a B2B space, relatively small domains. They came to us with that, and we figured that actually growing the authority was a key part of this content strategy and over the next 18 months put out a bunch of pieces that have done really well and generated a ton of press coverage and traction and things. Over that time, they’ve actually outstripped their key competitors in the domain authority metrics, and crucially we saw that tie directly to increases in traffic that went hand-in-hand with this increase in domain authority.

    But this contrasts to what we’ve seen with some much larger sites in much more competitive verticals where they’re already very, very high domain authority, maybe they’re already stronger than some of their competitors and adding to that. So adding big content pieces that get even more big authoritative links has not moved the needle in the way that it might have done a few years ago.

    That’s totally consistent with this kind of setup, where if you are currently trying to edge in the bottom or you’re competing for less competitive search terms, then this kind of approach might really work for you and it might, in fact, be necessary to get into the consideration set for the more competitive end. But if you’re operating on a much bigger site, you’ve already got the competitive domain authority, you and your competitors are all very powerful sites, then our kind of hypothesis is that you’re going to be needing to look more towards the user experience, the conversion rate, and intent research.

    Are you satisfying searcher intent for competitive head terms?

    What is somebody who performs this search actually looking to do? Can you satisfy that intent? Can you make sure that they don’t bounce back to the search results and click on a competitor? Can you make sure that in fact they stay on your site, they get done the thing they want to get done, and it all works out for them, because we think that these kinds of things are going to be much more powerful for moving up through the very top end of the most competitive head terms.

    So when we’re working on a content strategy or putting our creative team to work on these kinds of things on bigger sites, we’re more likely to be creating content directly designed to rank. We might be creating content based off a ton of this research, and we’re going to be incrementally improving those things to try and say, “Have we actually satisfied the perfect intent for this super competitive head term?”

    What we’re seeing is that’s more likely to move the needle up at this top end than growing the domain authority on a big site. So I hope you found that interesting. I’m looking forward to a vigorous discussion in the comments on this one. But thank you for joining me for this week’s Whiteboard Friday. I’ve been Will Critchlow from Distilled. Take care.

    Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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    A Minimalist’s Guide to Visual Content Marketing (Even If You’re Not a Designer)

    What if I told you there’s a passageway directly into the brains of your readers — and it doesn’t involve…

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    Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    In 2019, you need to think differently about your content marketing strategies. Google has so much content on the same topics that it’s difficult for average content to rank. You need to constantly create new fresh content that is unique. More importantly, according to Neil Patel, you need to aggressively promote your content. He says you should use the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the time writing, 80 percent promoting.

    Neil Patel, one of the original internet marketing influencers, released a new video (below) that offers tips on how to successfully do content marketing in 2019:

    Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    In 2019 content won’t rank as well as it used to. Yes, they say content is king, but we already know there are over a billion blogs. Google isn’t just picking from, hey what content do we want to rank because we lack content. They’re like, we have content on everything under the sun and the same thing a hundred other times. So now they’re just not picking what content do we want to rank. They’re looking at authority and user metrics and their even looking at when the content was created.

    Tip 1 – Create New Fresh Content

    Why would they want to rank content that’s two years old when they can rank something that’s less than one week old? When it comes to content marketing in 2019 you need to make sure that your content is also being up-to-date. If you don’t update your old content you’re not going to get as much love as people who are continuing to put out new fresh content.

    Tip 2 – Don’t Regurgitate the Same Information

    The second tip I have for you is don’t regurgitate the same information over and over again. People are tired of reading 12 SEO Tips That Will Double Your Traffic. You can Google it. There are probably different variations of that number but there are probably hundreds of articles on that subject. Write something new and fresh that hasn’t been seen before and you’re more likely to get traffic rankings and even social shares.

    Tip 3 – Create Video and Audio Content

    I know you’re not gonna like this third tip, but the third tip is to create video and audio based content. Text is overrated. It doesn’t help you connect with people as much as video. I still love text and I still crank out text, but the future is video. It’s much more personal and people get to know your personality and your company better. Create video-based content, upload it to YouTube, LinkedIn, and you can even do Twitter and Instagram if it’s short enough, and of course Facebook.

    Don’t share the same video over and over again like sharing your YouTube video on Facebook. You’ve got to take that video all over again and re-upload it into Facebook. With LinkedIn, for example, you have got to re-upload the video all over again versus sharing the link to that Facebook video or that YouTube video.

    With audio, you want to create a podcast. It’s easy. You can just bust out your phone, create an audio file, upload it to iTunes or Libsyn, and you’re off into the races. Same with video. You don’t actually have to go into a studio like I am and shoot all these fancy videos and pay money. You can just bust out your phone. I would even say most of the times from all the tests we’ve run that the videos that you end up running on your iPhone convert better if you’re selling a product or service. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Just look at Tai Lopez. He’s known for just busting out his phone and recording videos and it does very well for him.

    Tip 4 – Spend More Time Promoting than Creating

    The fourth tip I have for you is promoting your content. In 2019, you’ve got to spend more time promoting than writing. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough. There’s too much content on the web. It doesn’t matter how good of a content piece you write it’s not going to be seen unless you promote it. so spend more time promoting than writing. Use the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the time writing, 80 percent promoting.

    One way to promote content is to email all the people who link to your competitors content and ask them for a link. You can use tools like BuzzSumo. Just type in a keyword related to your space and see all the other popular articles within your space. You then take that and put that URL into Ahrefs. It shows you all the people who link to that URL. Then you hit up all those people who link to it contact them asking for a link also.

    Tip 5 – Get Social Shares

    You also need to get social shares. Getting backlinks isn’t enough. Facebook, Twitter, all these social sites drive a lot of traffic. You then want to go to BuzzSumo and click on the view shares button and it will show you every single person who shared those articles. That simple thing will help you get more social traffic.

    You Can’t Just Do the Old Stuff That Worked Before

    In 2019, if you don’t leverage these tactics you’re not going to do well. A lot of people have the old mentality of, hey, I’m just going to keep creating new content and just crank out ten posts a day. If you do that you’re probably going to regurgitate content and you’re not going to get rankings. Google already has more authoritative sites to choose from. You can’t just do the old stuff that worked in 2018 and 2017. You have to leverage these tactics.

    Even the video stuff I described, I know a lot of you’re like, I don’t want to create video it’s too much work. But you know what, with YouTube SEO I get over a hundred thousand visitors a month just from YouTube SEO. It’s amazing. It’s a channel you have to leverage. Best of all, unlike Google SEO, with YouTube SEO you can get results in less than a week. I kid you not. I created a video on SEO and I started ranking for the term SEO on YouTube in less than one week.

    Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    The post Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019 appeared first on WebProNews.


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    Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    In 2019, you need to think differently about your content marketing strategies. Google has so much content on the same topics that it’s difficult for average content to rank. You need to constantly create new fresh content that is unique. More importantly, according to Neil Patel, you need to aggressively promote your content. He says you should use the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the time writing, 80 percent promoting.

    Neil Patel, one of the original internet marketing influencers, released a new video (below) that offers tips on how to successfully do content marketing in 2019:

    Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    In 2019 content won’t rank as well as it used to. Yes, they say content is king, but we already know there are over a billion blogs. Google isn’t just picking from, hey what content do we want to rank because we lack content. They’re like, we have content on everything under the sun and the same thing a hundred other times. So now they’re just not picking what content do we want to rank. They’re looking at authority and user metrics and their even looking at when the content was created.

    Tip 1 – Create New Fresh Content

    Why would they want to rank content that’s two years old when they can rank something that’s less than one week old? When it comes to content marketing in 2019 you need to make sure that your content is also being up-to-date. If you don’t update your old content you’re not going to get as much love as people who are continuing to put out new fresh content.

    Tip 2 – Don’t Regurgitate the Same Information

    The second tip I have for you is don’t regurgitate the same information over and over again. People are tired of reading 12 SEO Tips That Will Double Your Traffic. You can Google it. There are probably different variations of that number but there are probably hundreds of articles on that subject. Write something new and fresh that hasn’t been seen before and you’re more likely to get traffic rankings and even social shares.

    Tip 3 – Create Video and Audio Content

    I know you’re not gonna like this third tip, but the third tip is to create video and audio based content. Text is overrated. It doesn’t help you connect with people as much as video. I still love text and I still crank out text, but the future is video. It’s much more personal and people get to know your personality and your company better. Create video-based content, upload it to YouTube, LinkedIn, and you can even do Twitter and Instagram if it’s short enough, and of course Facebook.

    Don’t share the same video over and over again like sharing your YouTube video on Facebook. You’ve got to take that video all over again and re-upload it into Facebook. With LinkedIn, for example, you have got to re-upload the video all over again versus sharing the link to that Facebook video or that YouTube video.

    With audio, you want to create a podcast. It’s easy. You can just bust out your phone, create an audio file, upload it to iTunes or Libsyn, and you’re off into the races. Same with video. You don’t actually have to go into a studio like I am and shoot all these fancy videos and pay money. You can just bust out your phone. I would even say most of the times from all the tests we’ve run that the videos that you end up running on your iPhone convert better if you’re selling a product or service. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Just look at Tai Lopez. He’s known for just busting out his phone and recording videos and it does very well for him.

    Tip 4 – Spend More Time Promoting than Creating

    The fourth tip I have for you is promoting your content. In 2019, you’ve got to spend more time promoting than writing. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough. There’s too much content on the web. It doesn’t matter how good of a content piece you write it’s not going to be seen unless you promote it. so spend more time promoting than writing. Use the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of the time writing, 80 percent promoting.

    One way to promote content is to email all the people who link to your competitors content and ask them for a link. You can use tools like BuzzSumo. Just type in a keyword related to your space and see all the other popular articles within your space. You then take that and put that URL into Ahrefs. It shows you all the people who link to that URL. Then you hit up all those people who link to it contact them asking for a link also.

    Tip 5 – Get Social Shares

    You also need to get social shares. Getting backlinks isn’t enough. Facebook, Twitter, all these social sites drive a lot of traffic. You then want to go to BuzzSumo and click on the view shares button and it will show you every single person who shared those articles. That simple thing will help you get more social traffic.

    You Can’t Just Do the Old Stuff That Worked Before

    In 2019, if you don’t leverage these tactics you’re not going to do well. A lot of people have the old mentality of, hey, I’m just going to keep creating new content and just crank out ten posts a day. If you do that you’re probably going to regurgitate content and you’re not going to get rankings. Google already has more authoritative sites to choose from. You can’t just do the old stuff that worked in 2018 and 2017. You have to leverage these tactics.

    Even the video stuff I described, I know a lot of you’re like, I don’t want to create video it’s too much work. But you know what, with YouTube SEO I get over a hundred thousand visitors a month just from YouTube SEO. It’s amazing. It’s a channel you have to leverage. Best of all, unlike Google SEO, with YouTube SEO you can get results in less than a week. I kid you not. I created a video on SEO and I started ranking for the term SEO on YouTube in less than one week.

    Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019

    The post Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Strategies for 2019 appeared first on WebProNews.

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    How to Use Content Marketing to Develop Your Audience’s Stages of Awareness

    Last week, Austin wrote a post for us that quoted every copywriting geek’s favorite writer, Eugene Schwartz, and his classic…

    The post How to Use Content Marketing to Develop Your Audience’s Stages of Awareness appeared first on Copyblogger.


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    The Sophisticated Content Marketer’s 3-Part Plan for Using Templates

    Some content marketers think about using templates like the herb cilantro. They either love it or hate it. But the…

    The post The Sophisticated Content Marketer’s 3-Part Plan for Using Templates appeared first on Copyblogger.


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    Using STAT for Content Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

    Posted by DiTomaso

    Search results are sophisticated enough to show searchers not only the content they want, but in the format they want it. Being able to identify searcher intent and interest based off of ranking results can be a powerful driver of content strategy. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, we warmly welcome Dana DiTomaso as she describes her preferred tools and methods for developing a modern and effective content strategy.

    Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

    Video Transcription

    Hi, everyone. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. My name is Dana DiTomaso. I’m President and partner of Kick Point, which is a digital marketing agency based way up in Edmonton, Alberta. Come visit sometime.

    What I’m going to be talking about today is using STAT for content strategy. STAT, if you’re not familiar with STAT Search Analytics, which is in my opinion the best ranking tool on the market and Moz is not paying me to say that, although they did pay for STAT, so now STAT is part of the Moz family of products. I really like STAT. I’ve been using it for quite some time. They are also Canadian. That may or may not influence my decision.

    But one of the things that STAT does really well is it doesn’t just show you where you’re ranking, but it breaks down what type of rankings and where you should be thinking about rankings. Typically I find, especially if you’ve been working in this field for a long time, you might think about rankings and you still have in your mind the 10 blue links that we used to have forever ago, and that’s so long gone. One of the things that’s useful about using STAT rankings is you can figure out stuff that you should be pursuing other than, say, the written word, and I think that that’s something really important again for marketers because a lot of us really enjoy reading stuff.

    Consider all the ways searchers like to consume content

    Maybe you’re watching this video. Maybe you’re reading the transcript. You might refer to the transcript later. A lot of us are readers. Not a lot of us are necessarily visual people, so sometimes we can forget stuff like video is really popular, or people really do prefer those places packs or whatever it might be. Thinking outside of yourself and thinking about how Google has decided to set up the search results can help you drive better content to your clients’ and your own websites.

    The biggest thing that I find that comes of this is you’re really thinking about your audience a lot more because you do have to trust that Google maybe knows what it’s doing when it presents certain types of results to people. It knows the intent of the keyword, and therefore it’s presenting results that make sense for that intent. We can argue all day about whether or not answer boxes are awesome or terrible.

    But from a visitor’s perspective and a searcher’s perspective, they like them. I think we need to just make sure that we’re understanding where they might be showing up, and if we’re playing by Google rules, people also ask is not necessarily going anywhere.

    All that being said, how can we use ranking results to figure out our content strategy? The first thing about STAT, if you haven’t used STAT before, again check it out, it’s awesome.

    Grouping keywords with Data Views

    But one of the things that’s really nice is you can do this thing called data views. In data views, you can group together parts of keywords. So you can do something called smart tags and say, “I want to tag everything that has a specific location name together.”

    Opportunities — where are you not showing up?

    Let’s say, for example, that you’re working with a moving company and they are across Canada. So what I want to see here for opportunities are things like where I’m not ranking, where are there places box showing up that I am not in, or where are the people also ask showing up that I am not involved in. This is a nice way to keep an eye on your competitors.

    Locations

    Then we’ll also do locations. So we’ll say everything in Vancouver, group this together. Everything in Winnipeg, group this together. Everything in Edmonton and Calgary and Toronto, group all that stuff together.

    Attributes (best, good, top, free, etc.)

    Then the third thing can be attributes. This is stuff like best, good, top, free, cheap, all those different things that people use to describe your product, because those are definitely intent keywords, and often they will drive very different types of results than things you might consider as your head phrases.

    So, for example, looking at “movers in Calgary” will drive a very different result than “top movers in Calgary.” In that case, you might get say a Yelp top 10 list. Or if you’re looking for “cheapest mover in Calgary,”again a different type of search result. So by grouping your keywords together by attributes, that can really help you as well determine how those types of keywords can be influenced by the type of search results that Google is putting out there.

    Products / services

    Then the last thing is products/services. So we’ll take each product and service and group it together. One of the nice things about STAT is you can do something called smart tags. So we can, say, figure out every keyword that has the word “best” in it and put it together. Then if we ever add more keywords later, that also have the word “best,”they automatically go into that keyword group. It’s really useful, especially if you are adding lots of keywords over time. I recommend starting by setting up some views that make sense.

    You can just import everything your client is ranking for, and you can just take a look at the view of all these different keywords. But the problem is that there’s so much data, when you’re looking at that big set of keywords, that a lot of the useful stuff can really get lost in the noise. By segmenting it down to a really small level, you can start to understand that search for that specific type of term and how you fit in versus your competition.

    A deep dive into SERP features

    So put that stuff into STAT, give it a little while, let it collect some data, and then you get into the good stuff, which is the SERP features. I’m covering just a tiny little bit of what STAT does. Again, they didn’t pay me for this. But there’s lots of other stuff that goes on in here. My personal favorite part is the SERP features.

    Which features are increasing/decreasing both overall and for you?

    So what I like here is that in SERP features it will tell you which features are increasing and decreasing overall and then what features are increasing and decreasing for you.

    This is actually from a real set for one of our clients. For them, what they’re seeing are big increases in places version 3, which is the three pack of places. Twitter box is increasing. I did not see that coming. Then AMP is increasing. So that says to me, okay, so I need to make sure that I’m thinking about places, and maybe this is a client who doesn’t necessarily have a lot of local offices.

    Maybe it’s not someone you would think of as a local client. So why are there a lot more local properties popping up? Then you can dive in and say, “Okay, only show me the keywords that have places boxes.” Then you can look at that and decide: Is it something where we haven’t thought about local SEO before, but it’s something where searchers are thinking about local SEO? So Google is giving them three pack local boxes, and maybe we should start thinking about can we rank in that box, or is that something we care about.

    Again, not necessarily content strategy, but certainly your SEO strategy. The next thing is Twitter box, and this is something where you think Twitter is dead. No one is using Twitter. It’s full of terrible people, and they tweet about politics all day. I never want to use it again, except maybe Google really wants to show more Twitter boxes. So again, looking at it and saying, “Is Twitter something where we need to start thinking about it from a content perspective? Do we need to start focusing our energies on Twitter?”

    Maybe you abandoned it and now it’s back. You have to start thinking, “Does this matter for the keywords?” Then AMP. So this is something where AMP is really tricky obviously. There have been studies where it said, “I implemented AMP, and I lost 70% of my traffic and everything was terrible.” But if that’s the case, why would we necessarily be seeing more AMP show up in search results if it isn’t actually something that people find useful, particularly on mobile search?

    Desktop vs mobile

    One of the things actually that I didn’t mention in the tagging is definitely look at desktop versus mobile, because you are going to see really different feature sets between desktop and mobile for these different types of keywords. Mobile may have a completely different intent for a type of search. If you’re a restaurant, for example, people looking for reservations on a desktop might have different intent from I want a restaurant right now on mobile, for example, and you’re standing next to it and maybe you’re lost.

    What kind of intent is behind the search results?

    You really have to think about what that intent means for the type of search results that Google is going to present. So for AMP, then you have to look at it and say, “Well, is this newsworthy? Why is more AMP being shown?” Should we consider moving our news or blog or whatever you happen call it into AMP so that we can start to show up for these search results in mobile? Is that a thing that Google is presenting now?

    We can get mad about AMP all day, but how about instead if we actually be there? I don’t want the comment section to turn into a whole AMP discussion, but I know there are obviously problems with AMP. But if it’s being shown in the search results that searchers who should be finding you are seeing and you’re not there, that’s definitely something you need to think about for your content strategy and thinking, “Is AMP something that we need to pursue? Do we have to have more newsy content versus evergreen content?”

    Build your content strategy around what searchers are looking for

    Maybe your content strategy is really focused on posts that could be relevant for years, when in reality your searchers are looking for stuff that’s relevant for them right now. So for example, things with movers, there’s some sort of mover scandal. There’s always a mover who ended up taking someone’s stuff and locking it up forever, and they never gave it back to them. There’s always a story like that in the news.

    Maybe that’s why it’s AMP. Definitely investigate before you start to say, “AMP everything.” Maybe it was just like a really bad day for movers, for example. Then you can see the decreases. So the decrease here is organic, which is that traditional 10 blue links. So obviously this new stuff that’s coming in, like AMP, like Twitter, like places is displacing a lot of the organic results that used to be there before.

    So instead you think, well, I can do organic all day, but if the results just aren’t there, then I could be limiting the amount of traffic I could be getting to my website. Videos, for example, now it was really interesting for this particular client that videos is a decreasing SERP for them, because videos is actually a big part of their content strategy. So if we see that videos are decreasing, then we can take a step back and say, “Is it decreasing in the keywords that we care about? Why is it decreasing? Do we think this is a test or a longer-term trend?”

    Historical data

    What’s nice about STAT is you can say “I want to see results for the last 7 days, 30 days, or 60 days.” Once you get a year of data in there, you can look at the whole year and look at that trend and see is it something where we have to maybe rethink our video strategy? Maybe people don’t like video for these phrases. Again, you could say, “But people do like video for these phrases.” But Google, again, has access to more data than you do.

    If Google has decided that for these search phrases video is not a thing they want to show anymore, then maybe people don’t care about video the way that you thought they did. Sorry. So that could be something where you’re thinking, well, maybe we need to change the type of content we create. Then the last one is carousel that showed up for this particular client. Carousel, there are ones where they show lots of different results.

    I’m glad that’s dropping because that actually kind of sucks. It’s really hard to show up well there. So I think that’s something to think about in the carousel as well. Maybe we’re pleased that that’s going away and then we don’t have to fight it as much anymore. Then what you can see in the bottom half are what we call share of voice.

    Share of voice

    Share of voice is calculated based on your ranking and all of your competitors’ ranking and the number of clicks that you’re expected to get based on your ranking position.

    So the number 1 position obviously gets more ranks than the number 100 position. So the share of voice is a percentage calculated based on how many of these types of items, types of SERP features that you own versus your competitors as well as your position in these SERP features. So what I’m looking at here is share of voice and looking at organic, places, answers, and people also ask, for example.

    So what STAT will show you is the percentage of organic, and it’s still, for this client — and obviously this is not an accurate chart, but this is vaguely accurate to what I saw in STAT — organic is still a big, beefy part of this client’s search results. So let’s not panic that it’s decreasing. This is really where this context can come in. But then you can think, all right, so we know that we are doing “eeh” on organic.

    Is it something where we think that we can gain more? So the green shows you your percentage that you own of this, and then the black is everyone else. Thinking realistically, you obviously cannot own 100% of all the search results all the time because Google wouldn’t allow that. So instead thinking, what’s a realistic thing? Are we topping out at the point now where we’re going to have diminishing returns if we keep pushing on this?

    Identify whether your content efforts support what you’re seeing in STAT

    Are we happy with how we’re doing here? Maybe we need to turn our attention to something else, like answers for example. This particular client does really well on places. They own a lot of it. So for places, it’s maintain, watch, don’t worry about it that much anymore. Then that can drop off when we’re thinking about content. We don’t necessarily need to keep writing blog post for things that are going to help us to rank in the places pack because it’s not something that’s going to influence that ranking any further.

    We’re already doing really well. But instead we can look at answers and people also ask, which for this particular client they’re not doing that well. It is something that’s there, and it is something that it may not be one of the top increases, but it’s certainly an increase for this particular client. So what we’re looking at is saying, “Well, you have all these great blog posts, but they’re not really written with people also ask or answers in mind. So how about we go back and rewrite the stuff so that we can get more of these answer boxes?”

    That can be the foundation of that content strategy. When you put your keywords into STAT and look at your specific keyword set, really look at the SERP features and determine what does this mean for me and the type of content I need to create, whether it’s more images for example. Some clients, when you’re looking at e-commerce sites, some of the results are really image heavy, or they can be product shopping or whatever it might be.

    There are really specific different features, and I’ve only shown a tiny subset. STAT captures all of the different types of SERP features. So you can definitely look at anything if it’s specific to your industry. If it’s a feature, they’ve got it in here. So definitely take a look and see where are these opportunities. Remember, you can’t have a 100% share of voice because other people are just going to show up there.

    You just want to make sure that you’re better than everybody else. Thanks.

    Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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