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August 2015 archive

Web Seminar Recap: All About Ad Extensions

Paid search ads have changed a lot over the years, and with the inclusion of extensions, marketers are able to make their ads not only more personal, but allow consumers to find exactly what they are looking for.

On Tuesday, August 25th, Diane Pease presented the one hour web seminar, All About Ad Extensions. In this webinar, Diane covered the various types of ad extensions, examples of each, and how to use it effectively. She also covered mobile extensions and how they work differently.

Diane is an Inbound Marketing Manager for Cisco, and has been in online and traditional marketing for over twenty-five years. She has expertise in SEO, social and traditional marketing, but her primary specialty and passion is paid search and analytics. Diane is also a monthly contributor to Search Engine Watch and SEMRush. She is also speaker at the SES conference series, ClickZLive , SMX and Internet Summit.

Missed this web seminar? Find the presentation slides and audio recording here.

How to Develop Your Content Marketing Plan

content-marketing-ss-1920-800x450Assigning one person in your office to post content on Twitter and another to measure performance in your Google Analytics account is not a content marketing plan. Although those are important tactics, there are other steps that come first in order to develop a complete plan.


Defining Purpose

What is the purpose for your content?  What do you hope to achieve with content marketing? “Because our competitors create content” or “Because ___ is a really popular channel right now” are not enough.  The purpose has to be more than that and should start with a focus on your company and its message.  What is the differentiator for your business?  Understanding that first is crucial to creating content that is uniquely yours.

Understanding the Audience

Who is your audience? In a perfect world, your pieces of content will appeal to very targeted audiences as defined by your customer personas, as well as where they are in the purchasing funnel.  Serious buyers have different needs from those who are considering a purchase.  Think about where your content fits in each stage of the funnel.  Those who are considering a purchase may want to see a comparison table of benefits and features for your service or product.  People who already made a purchase might appreciate a YouTube video demonstrated how the product is used.  Think about the questions your audience has along each step of the buying funnel.

Telling your Story

A generic piece about your corporate history will not engage most readers.  Instead think about what’s interesting about your business and how it addresses their needs. You may want to incorporate testimonials from satisfied customers into your story.  Although you may look at what competitors are doing for some ideas about presenting your story, the goal is never to copy.  Tell your story in a different way about things only you can provide.  Include an emotional component so it is not just corporate lingo (because that is rarely interesting!).

Choosing Channels

Now you can start thinking about channels.  Think through these other pieces first so you don’t get caught in the mindset of “We need to be on Instagram” – or whatever channel may be a hit at that moment.  Maybe you do need to be on there, but be sure that channel fits with what you decided regarding the type of content and audience.  How do people absorb content on each channel? What are the demographics of users on each channel?  When you have excellent content to distribute, you want to repurpose on multiple platforms as long as you speak the language of each channel you use.

Including the Whole Team

Often times marketing and sales staff don’t know what the other one is doing.  Even in marketing, there may be a disconnect between different roles, such as social media managers and blog writers. Stay connected so you have a consistent message regardless of the platform. This is where an editorial calendar can be useful.  It helps you plan the content so you have messaging lined up throughout the month.  With a plan that’s followed, it also makes it easier to check the performance of each channel and content types at the end of the month. And more importantly, it ensures everyone understands the appropriate tone to use when representing the brand online.

Measuring Performance

Each channel has its own tool to measure activity, such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.  Performance can also be measured through “listening”.  Do people respond to your content on social media?  Do they re-tweet/like/share?  Do they love it or hate it?  Did they like your company before the purchase and not like you now?  That’s important to know so don’t forget about speaking to, and taking care of, existing customers online.  The words people use on social media help you understand how they feel about your brand.  You still want to go beyond the channel statistics and see if those channels drove people to your website where sales are made.  For that, you can use Google Analytics.  It lets you view all of the channels in your toolkit and how site performance varied based on how people arrived at the site.

Choosing channels, measuring performance, and having the whole team involved are must haves with your content marketing plan.  But don’t overlook the basic step in planning, which is defining your purpose.  Keep asking and answering “Why?” and you’ll be in great shape with your content marketing plan.

What is the Point of a Website Audit?

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SEO Site Audit – Why Do Website Audits

What is a website audit and why do I need one?

If you already have a website and are ready to improve its search engine visibility, then a website audit (or “site audit”) is a good starting point.

If you already employ SEO (or think you may be) but are not seeing the results you want, then a site audit can also provide answers to why you are experiencing decreased sales, low conversions, and high bounce rates.

But, what is a site audit?

A website audit is a complete analysis of all the factors that determine your site’s visibility in search engines. This can include, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Indexed pages
  • Page errors
  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Optimized, updated content
  • Meta data
  • Responsiveness to devices
  • Backlinks
  • Social signals

To conduct a site audit, SEO firms generally run various tests and generate detailed reports, which are then analyzed for insight on any existing website issues.

Based on the results of the audit, the firm should then make recommendations to improve the visibility of your website in search engines.

If you have never implemented SEO best practices, then the site audit reveals where you may want to begin your work. For example, if the results of your audit conclude that your pages are missing meta data, then you may want to consider adding that information to your site.

But, if you already do SEO and you are not getting favorable results, then you should consider the site audit because it can pinpoint where and why your issues exist. Perhaps, for example, you need to make more of your pages mobile-friendly or you have bad backlinks, both of which could be penalizing your site.

The Race for Millennials’ Eyeballs

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The millennial generation – young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 – is an increasingly important audience for digital brands, and those who ignore this group’s behaviors and trends going forward may need to count themselves out of the race.

What race, you ask? The race for millennials’ eyeballs (i.e. their attention).

Why You Should Care about Millennials

According to comScore’s 2015 Global Mobile Report, digital media users in the U.S. are spending 61 percent of their digital time on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) compared to 39 percent on desktops.

Of those users, U.S. millennials spend 88.6 digital hours each month on mobile devices and 39.1 hours on desktops.

Comparatively, users who are 35 years and older spend 60.7 digital hours each month on mobile compared to 44.4 hours on desktops.

Millennial Digital Media Hours by Device

That means a typical millennial user is spending nearly 3 hours a day on digital media. Clearly, this is a large window of time to capture the attention of millennials on the devices they most frequently utilize.

This brings up another important piece of data from the same comScore report: Smartphones are driving 61 percent of the time that millennials spend on digital media.

Smartphones account for 50 percent of digital time spent amongst users ages 35-54, and 30 percent of digital time spent amongst users ages 55 and older. This signals to digital brands that millennials are the most on-the-go segment of all audiences, with most of their digital time spent on mobile devices – particularly smartphones.

Where are Millennials Spending their Digital Time?

If millennials are spending nearly three hours a day on smartphone-based digital media, then what exactly are they doing? Where are these eyeballs that we are chasing?

The comScore 2015 Global Mobile Report found that most mobile usage occurs on smartphone apps, which shows engagement levels have already surpassed that of desktop apps (in the U.S.).

Of those apps, entertainment and social media lead the way for digital consumption with 23 and 21 percent (respectively) of digital time spent in the U.S.

Digital Time Spent on Mobile Media

While these specific figures include the millennial, 35-54, and 55+ audiences, we know that millennials make up the highest portion of smartphone users. We can assume that smartphone apps make up a large portion of the digital time that millennials spend on their smartphone devices.

What Does this Mean for Digital Brands?

For digital brands with a U.S. presence, marketing may need to be built around not only mobile considerations but also millennial influence. With the most digital time spent on smartphone apps – specifically social media and entertainment – brands may need to drive more marketing resources where the greatest shift is happening right now. Addressing these shifts can give digital brands a competitive edge on the most widely used devices and the most engaging types of media.

Web Seminar Recap: Content Marketing Basics

On August 18th, Chris West presented the free webinar, Content Marketing Basics. In this 1-hour presentation Chris discussed how the wording you use on your site or articles is very important when trying to gain and retain customers. This information will set you on the right track to getting results through content marketing. Your content should be engaging and more importantly it should be targeted to a specific audience. Even ranking high on search engines requires a site to have good consistent content.

Attendees learned about a variety of methods including:

• Content Marketing Overview
• Writing Effective Headlines
• Choosing the right Keywords
• Converting Visitors into customers
• Tactics to avoid

Missed this seminar?  Catch up by downloading the presentation slides  and the full audio visual recording here.

Web Seminar Recap: Analytics for your Website and Social Media

Many marketers use analytics to track their data about visitors that come to their site. Practicing this for social media is becoming more and more important. If you manage social media along with other duties during the day you may be too busy to get the best results. A solution to this is to make sure you are maximizing your time to make sure viewers are taking the desired action on your post.

On August 12th, Chris West presented the free webinar, Analytics for Your Website and Social Media. In this 1-hour presentation Chris discussed how to optimize your analytics  on your social media sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Attendees learned about a variety of methods including:

  • Facebook Insights
  • Pinterest Analytics
  • LinkedIn Reporting
  • Google Analytics
  • Social Media Dashboards

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the presentation slides and the full audio visual recordinghere.

Using Schema Markup for SEO is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet.”


Popular types of schema, or data types, include events, reviews, and people, but there are many more available to identify the type of data on your webpages.  Although it is still not frequently utilized, it may result in an improvement with your SEO when it’s done correctly.  There are some questions about whether or not using schema will really move your site up in the search results, but rich snippets that display in the results could increase your click-through rate.  When users see this additional data about your content, such as the number of starred reviews, date, or author information, it helps your result stand out from the others in organic search.

Schema markup is code placed on a website to help the search engines return results to users. It goes beyond what your data is to what your data is about and what it means.  If you are familiar with HTML, you know that tells browser how to display information about a website.  For example, the all-important title tag is presented in HTML markup as <title></title>.  That’s the code that tells the browser you are referencing the title of a particular page, but does not offer insight about what that title means.