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10 Actionable Marketing Blog Posts You Missed in 2015

Marketing trends are always changing. Some take flight, some evolve and some die.

But, with each new marketing trend comes new important insights and tips.

If you love self-improvement (like we do), and enjoy keeping on top of trends, it’s likely that you’ve bookmarked hundreds of blog post and articles in the past year. Maybe you’ve opened up multiple tabs on your computer in hopes that one day you’ll get some time to read them — posts that you’ve maybe completely forgotten about. Let’s be honest, you may never read these marketing blog posts.

Image of team working
These actionable and information-heavy blog posts will get you get you ready for next year’s big projects. Via Startupstockphotos.com.

The Unbounce marketing team has both written and read tons of actionable, thought-provoking marketing blog posts this year. We’ve selected the crème de la crème — posts that are the exact remedy to get your brain stimulated and on track to produce smart marketing ideas for 2016.

Here are 10 of our favorites posts that will help you step up your marketing game in the new year.


Handpicked: not-to-be-missed blog posts from 2015 that’ll prepare you for 2016.
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1.Quality vs. Quantity: A 6-Month Analysis of the Age-Old Blogging Debate by Ginny Soskey for Hubspot

quality vs quantity graph

This post by HubSpot’s blog editor, Ginny Soskey, discusses the age-old debate: quality versus quantity of content. If you’ve been thinking about revamping your editorial strategy or even running some experiments with your content, this post delivery all the nitty-gritty details you could have ever wanted.

“But that’s not how blogging works in real life. To grow a blog, you need to consistently publish content that your readers enjoy reading. Yet exactly how often to publish and what those posts should look like can vary tremendously […].”

Why did we love this post? Ginny’s post takes no prisoners. No details are left behind in Hubspot’s ambitious blog publishing experiment. Every detail is laid out and provides a roadmap for how other marketing teams can plan and execute a full-funnel, data-driven content strategy.

2. Are Podcasts the Next Big Thing for Sponsored Content? by Celine Roque for Contently

bar graph of podcast listeners in America

In this post, Celine Roque lays out how marketers can leverage this medium in order to produce sponsored content. As it turns out, podcast listeners are among the most highly engaged of any medium.

As Celine puts it:

“Podcast listeners are actually “super listeners,” consuming more than one hour and 45 minutes of audio per day than the average American, and they spend more than 25 percent of their total audio time listening to podcasts.”

With shows like Serial and This American Life gaining mainstream popularity, podcasting has moved beyond the niche and hobbyist world into something we should be taking notice of and experimenting with.

3. Growth Is Not A Hack by Phin Barnes for First Round Capital

image of child next to meter stick measuring height

The struggle (for growth) is real.

Sometimes, growth hacking is considered a “throw spaghetti on the wall” solution for attracting users, yet growth is a strategy based on observation of markets and understanding the consumer — it’s anything but a hack.

Phil Barnes has insider insight from First Round Capital’s portfolio of companies — companies that they fund at the seed level and that are dependent on growth to survive. Phil shares his expert advice and gives us an in-depth understanding into what growth actually means for a company.

Quote: “As you scale, you need to think about quality of users, not just quantity. Critically, growth is not just about adding net new users, but about developing a deep understanding of how to make your business grow.”

His advice is valuable, but his insights on how to shape your growth efforts into a full-blown strategy are essential for any startup, marketing team or entrepreneur looking to move beyond top-of-the-funnel acquisition.

4. 3 Google Analytics Reports to Help You Find Blog Post Ideas Your Readers Will Love by Andy Crestodina for Unbounce

Image of Data Plastic figures from Startrek

Content marketers often rely on their creativity and writing chops to create content that resonates with their audience. In other cases, content marketers may have a love of data and strategy. Andy Crestodina is the whole package.

His post runs through how to use Google Analytics to find blog post ideas when your creative well may have run dry. He also highlights that it’s important to use data alongside empathy to guide us:

“As a content marketer, you can take the guesswork out of the process by using data-driven empathy: using analytics to get into the heads of your visitors and find topics they care about most (and the topics that will convert).”

If you’re a content marketer working for yourself, a company or an agency, this post breaks down each step you’ll need to make data part of your content creation process. Take a walk on the wild side and make room for some Google Analytics data that will help your marketing ideas in 2016.

5. 7 Strategies to Make Your Lifecycle Emails Work Smarter For You by Janet Choi for Customer.io

Image of hello my name is tag

Chances are that you’re currently using email marketing in one way or another. But if you’re sending out lifecycle emails and are considering revamping them to better suit your goals in 2016 — this post is for you.

Janet Choi’s post is a tactical yet fun approach to email marketing:

“Welcome emails are your chance to create a positive first impression and secure the trust that will fuel a long-term customer relationship. All you have to do is follow the lead of that fictionally famous swashbuckling swordsman Inigo Montoya.”

She breaks down what a healthy lifecycle email marketing strategy should look like and gives helpful tips on customer retention, conversion and engagement. If you’re in the market to improve your current lifecycle email strategy, this post has your name all over it.

6. The Superhuman Guide to Twitter Advanced Search by Ash Read For Buffer

image of advanced search Twitter infographic

If you’re past the “just trying this Twitter thing out” phase and you happen to be a marketer, this post is going to knock your socks off. Social platforms like Twitter have a ton of useful information, but it’s all in how you mine for it.

This is where Ash Read’s post comes to the rescue. Ash dives deep deep into Twitter’s Advanced Search and gives detailed, step-by-step instructions that will show you technical know-hows as well as how to leverage Advanced Search for marketing hacks and experiments.

The post reads almost like a manual and it’s sure to take your social media sleuth skills to a new level by arming you with all the necessary data you need to monitor tweets more in-depthly, come up with content ideas or even find new sales leads.

If you’re currently using Twitter every day, then taking advantage of the Advanced Search function should be a no brainer  in 2016.

7. We Analyzed 37,259 Facebook Ads and Here’s What We Learned by Andrew Tate for AdEspresso

Image of AdEspresso blog

What elements make a Facebook Ad convert? Does the text really matter? Is choosing eye-catching images really all you need?

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions then this post by post by Andrew Tate has the answers. Andrew and the AdEspresso team have likely created the most comprehensive roundup of Facebook ads out there.

Whether you’re a performance marketer or interested in social ads and A/B testing, this post is full of information that gives you insight into what the big players are doing, what trends or words are most effective or even what tone works best.

This post goes beyond common best practices and dissects currents ads. The result is a post that is full of actionable information from top to bottom. Don’t make any more ads without reading this post.

8.Our 8 Biggest Conversion Optimization Wins of 2015 (So Far) by Alex Turnbull for Groove

image of conversion experiment

Sometimes it’s hard to think of creative ways to increase conversions, places where some tweaking could lead to magical things. If you aren’t lucky enough to work with a CRO expert, there are many experiments you can run to help increase and optimize conversions in your business.

“No matter how high your conversion rates are, or your customer base, or your revenue… there’s room to grow. And holding steady is not an option. If you’re not doing more every single day to grow faster and stronger than the day before, then the hungrier company right behind you will. Conversion optimization is no different.”

Alex Turnbull’s post breaks down eight conversion experiments that Groove attempted this past year. Alex gives a step-by-step for each of these conversions experiments so that you, too, can run these experiments with your campaigns. From giveaways to autoresponders, this post will inspire you and your team to get testing in 2016.

9.The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching a Top-Ranking Podcast in iTunes by Stephanie Saretsky for Unbounce

image of headset and computer

If you’ve caught the podcasting bug, this post by Stephanie Saretsky is one of the few comprehensive how-to podcast blog posts out there. In fact, we dare you to find another one like it.

“No one is teaching how to actually podcast effectively – in a way that engages prospects and actually gets them to convert.

With many marketing brands jumping on the podcasting bandwagon, why not take a stab at reaching customers or potential leads in a more direct way by using Unbounce’s personal experience as a starting point?

This post goes beyond just editing your podcast and uploading it to iTunes. Stephanie guides you from the ideation phase all the way to dissemination via social platforms to even setting up possible partnerships.

With such a detailed step-by-step guide, it’s hard to miss a beat.

10.Why an Instagram Tweak Spells the Beginning of a Multibillion-Dollar Industry by Ryan Holmes for Recode

instagram image of two ice cream cones

Instagram’s previous ad offerings used to set you back a whopping $200,000! Luckily, Instagram’s API has now opened up a new world for marketers in the mobile advertising space. With this new access comes endless possibilities for advertisers like us to experiment. Let the race begin!

Ryan Holmes rounds out the importance of Instagram’s API offering and encourages digital marketers to jump to it. Like Ryan says:

“With Instagram’s new API offering, ads can now be purchased by just about anyone, using online ad-buying tools offered by official Instagram partners. The move has been called “one of the most anticipated moments in the evolution of advertising.”

Gaining access to a new ad platform is great news for performance marketers and content marketers, and surely something fun to test drive and generate new marketing ideas in 2016.

Make 2016 a year full of testing and experimentation and growth

We’ve specifically chosen blog posts with actionable marketing tips, interesting case studies and important trends. Each post touches on different aspects of digital marketing, including conversion optimization, growth marketing and even social media strategy in order to give the best tips out there.

With these posts covering the full spectrum of marketing, we hope you’ve got some new tools in your toolbox to help you become a better marketer in 2016.


Become a better marketer in 2016 by catching up on the posts you missed in 2015.
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Did we miss any key posts from 2015? Share some of the posts that inspired you this past year in the comments below.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each

Common SEO Mistakes

Common SEO Mistakes

Even the most seasoned content marketers make mistakes. In the world of SEO-driven content, with constant algorithm tweaks and changing search patterns, it’s nearly unavoidable. However, those same mistakes can often lead to discoveries that enable even better content performance.

The key is being able to recognize those easy-to-fix SEO mistakes and address them. As a result, your content will become an optimized, integrated network of metaphorical highways, leading searchers to best-answer content in a strategic and purposeful way.

So, what are the most common SEO mistakes, and how can they be addressed? Below, I’ve singled out the ‘usual suspects’ along with guidance on how to fix them while setting yourself up for long-term SEO success.

SEO Mistake #1 - Choosing Target Keywords Based on Volume vs. Relevance

How Keywords Affect Content Marketers: Great content isn't great unless people see it. But when content marketers overemphasize high-volume keywords, they miss out on meaningful engagement.

It’s tempting to plug into your keyword research tool of choice and select keywords with the highest search volume as your focuses for new content. But if the content you’re creating doesn’t match the search intent for that high-volume keyword, it’s unlikely to perform to your expectations.

The Fix: Google it! All jokes aside, evaluating the first ten search results for your target keywords can help you understand what searchers are trying to find, and what supporting content you should provide to truly be the best answer for that query.

While you’re analyzing those top results, pay attention to key factors that will shape your content creation and promotion strategy:

  1. What type of information is NOT included in top content, but is topically related? This can help you inform how you differentiate your content.
  2. What’s the content demand for that keyword? For example, are mostly top of funnel blog posts ranking, or are you seeing mostly product or service pages?
  3. How many backlinks and referring domains are pointing to the top search results? This can help you understand how competitive the first page of results is, and whether or not ongoing link building should be part of your content promotion strategy.
  4. How long is the top-ranking content for that keyword? This will help you determine ideal content length for your own post.

SEO Mistake #2 - Targeting the Same Keyword with Multiple Pages or Posts

How Same-Topic Targeting Affects Content Marketers: Pressure to create comprehensive content on a topic can actually result in dilution within search.

The conventional wisdom that more is better doesn’t apply universally — especially when it comes to SEO-driven content. Creating multiple pieces of content that target the exact same keyword is a surefire way to stand in your own way of success. There’s enough competition out there for B2B marketers without having to compete with your own content.

For example, a B2B technology company that wants to rank for B2B software consulting should optimize their service page for that term based on what is currently being served in search results. But, if they also create a series of blogs or resources that are targeting that specific term, search engine bots will be confused about which page is the best answer for that query. This could result in none of the content appearing in the top 10 results, in favor of competing sites with a more clear ‘answer’ to that query.

The Fix: Determine which of your pages or posts is the best answer for that particular query by analyzing ranking and analytics data. Which post or page sees the greatest amount of engaged organic traffic for your target keyword, and most closely matches the associated search intent?

Once you’ve determined your target page, it’s time to evaluate the remaining content targeting that keyword. Look for opportunities to:

  1. Remove or prune low-value or outdated content. Is there a blog post full of stats from 2009 that’s hindering your priority page’s chances of ranking? It might be time to consider removing that post and implementing the proper redirects.
  2. Optimize existing content for related, but different, keyword targets. For example, if you have a priority post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, and another post that more closely relates to ‘Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies’, consider optimizing that post for the latter and implementing internal links back to your priority cookies post.
  3. Combine closely related content. For example, if you have several blog posts around your targeted keyword(s), consider combining those posts into a longer, more robust piece of content.

SEO Mistake #3 - Ignoring Internal Link Structure

How Internal Linking Affects Content Marketers: Links are like electricity on the web, lighting up content for people and search engines alike.

Content is discovered by links. Your site’s internal linking structure tells bots (and users) which pages are most important, and which pages are most relevant to specific keywords. If you link to several pages from the same anchor text, for example, there will be some confusion about which page is truly ‘about’ that topic. Other times, you could have pages or posts on your site that are orphaned, with no internal links directing users or bots their way. This can confuse your site users, search engine bots, and even your own team. Confusion is not a ranking factor!

The Fix: Make sure you develop and continue to update your site’s keyword map. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists your page’s URL and associated target keyword(s). This keyword map will help you determine what anchor text should be used to link to your target pages.

Next, conduct a site audit to determine:

  1. If there are orphaned pages that need internal links
  2. If you are linking to multiple pages with the same keyword-rich anchor text
  3. Where there are opportunities to create additional supporting content
  4. Where you might have opportunities to reduce and prune existing supporting content

Next, you’re going to want to crawl your site to find any orphaned pages. Then, map those into your overall keyword strategy and implement internal links.

SEO Mistake #4 - Ignoring Data from Other Digital Tactics

How Marketing Data Affects Content Marketers: Inspiration often drives ideation for many content marketers, but data drives optimization for ideal content performance. Marketing performance data can provide both.

Any data you can collect about how your audience engages with your content has the potential to be an SEO gold mine. For example, analyzing the keywords from your paid search campaigns can give you insight into which keywords are your best converters, and what content best suits searchers for those terms. Social posts that get the greatest amount of engagement can tell you which topics your audience is most interested in. Ignoring data from your other marketing and sales channels means missing out on an opportunity to better engage your prospects.

The Fix: Meet with different teams or departments to find out what kind of content performs best on their channels. Look at the data each platform or channel provides and compare that with your site analytics data for a full picture. And, be sure to share your channel performance data with the rest of your marketing team. The more information available related to content and marketing performance, the better equipped you are to optimize.

SEO Mistake #5 - Giving Up

How Persistence Affects Content Marketers: Content performance in search is a long game and persistence is essential for success.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes a lack of results can feel demoralizing, but giving up is simply not an option. You wouldn’t stop building your house just because the nearest lumber yard ran out of wood, right? You’d find another lumber yard and keep plugging along.

The Fix: Take a step back. Re-evaluate the search landscape, your competitor’s organic presence, and your site’s overall health. Being able to remove yourself from the frustration can help you find opportunities you may have missed and additional whitespace to tackle.

Next, seek out advice from other SEOs. Ask questions on social media, in specific groups or forums, or send a question to your favorite SEO blog. If budget permits, enlist the help of a consultant or SEO agency that can help you break through your roadblocks.

Finally, we have two big SEO bummers that are tougher to fix, but absolutely necessary to address.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Migrating Your Site with No SEO Plan

How Migrating Without a Plan Affects Content Marketers: A bad migration can effectively undo your hard work, reducing content visibility and creating more user friction.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of SEOs cringing around the globe. A botched site migration can wreak havoc on your organic positioning and torpedo your results. It can take months, even years to recuperate organic visibility to pre-migration levels.

The Fix: Always, always consult your in-house SEO team or SEO agency when you’re considering a website migration. Before you move forward, it’s imperative you have a plan for technical, on-page, and off-page factors.

If you’ve already migrated your site and have experienced a loss of organic traffic and rankings, start with a site audit. Check for the basics, like whether or not your site is being indexed, first. Then start to evaluate technical factors like broken links, crawl errors, and duplicate content.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Recovering from a site migration is a challenge for even the best of SEOs, and sometimes those big challenges call for a little teamwork.

Bonus SEO Mistake: Not Optimizing for Mobile

How Not Optimizing for Mobile Affects Content Marketers: Even the greatest content can’t stand up to a bad mobile experience. Users will bounce, reducing engagement and sending negative signals to search engines.

Mobile accounts for about half of web traffic worldwide. Knowing this, in March 2018 Google started migrating sites to mobile-first indexing. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer optional, especially when you’re living in the wild world of search.

Sites that didn’t properly prepare for this can and will likely see some declines in organic search traffic and rankings as a result. And, as more sites follow mobile best practices, more users will notice and become frustrated by poor mobile experiences. This leads to declines in other pivotal ranking factors like on-page engagement. In short, if not properly addressed, a poor mobile experience can wreak havoc on your search visibility.

The Fix: The first thing to do is to conduct a mobile audit on your site. Understanding your site’s mobile performance is step one toward making improvements. Look for things like:

  1. Mobile site speed. A couple great tools for this are Google Page Speed Insights and Pingdom. These tools can tell you where to look for issues like slow-loading code, images that aren’t optimized, and other technical issues.
  2. Mobile experience. Visit your site on your phone. Ask someone who doesn’t use your site regularly to do the same. Record your experience, take notes on where you get stuck and why. Click on everything. Turn your phone into horizontal mode. Try to think of every single way a user could browse your site. And, don’t forget to try a site search on mobile.
  3. Look at mobile analytics. This will tell you key metrics like mobile bounce rate, mobile time on page and pages per session.

These steps will help you build a hypothesis to test against. Is your mobile bounce rate crazy high? Does your site take a long time to load? Is your time on page way out of line with desktop traffic? Then, use A/B testing to root out the discrepancy. Use these same metrics to test if the fix is working. Then, repeat with another element.

So, What Does This All Mean for You?

Ultimately, following SEO best practices as a content marketer can reduce performance-related headaches and set you up for long-term success.

For example, when Innovatech Labs decided it was time to make major changes to their website, they worked with our team at TopRank Marketing to implement a safe website transition strategy, minimizing their risk of reduced content visibility on Google. This assessment involved avoiding many of the big risks mentioned above, including linking, use of data and keyword research which allowed us to act quickly post-migration to combat organic traffic declines. The result? Double- and triple-digit increases in organic traffic (and increased conversions, too!).

A best-answer content strategy focused on creating content with the most relevance to their audience was the ticket to better marketing performance for a martech SaaS company. Working with the team at TopRank Marketing, long-tail and hyper-relevant keywords were researched for a comprehensive content strategy to help the brand content become the best answer for those queries. The “best answer” approach and topics were applied across organic and paid efforts. As a result, the volume of both paid and organic MQLs increased, leading to better content performance and spontaneous proclamations of love from the client’s sales team.

Fixing these big SEO mistakes aren’t only for short-term wins. Our longtime partner Antea Group USA has achieved amazing triple-digit growth over three years by avoiding these big mistakes and implementing an ongoing commitment to SEO-driven, best answer content.

As I mentioned earlier, even the most experienced content marketers can make these common SEO mistakes. But, with the right SEO strategy driven by diligent execution and monitoring of results, you can get back on track. The key is to be intentional about your site’s architecture, as well as the content you create, and to never, ever give up.

Still feeling stuck? Or maybe your team doesn’t have the resources to take on this battle alone? Check out our SEO services, tweet us your thoughts @toprank, or drop me a line in the comments. We are here to help!

The post 5 SEO Mistakes Killing Your Content Performance and a Fix for Each appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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