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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Facebook and Twitter Upheaval: How Social Media Marketing Changed in 2018

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. Join us for this special “year in review” episode of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, where we explore the major Facebook and Twitter marketing news of […]

The post Facebook and Twitter Upheaval: How Social Media Marketing Changed in 2018 appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Master the art of social media reporting (with our editable template)

If you’re responsible for your business’ social presence, you might feel a bit under pressure. Totally understandable. Perhaps your boss wants to know that Read more...

This post Master the art of social media reporting (with our editable template) originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s Sponsored Results, Google+ Shutdown, Consumer Brand Trust, Instagram’s Ad Spend Up

The post Digital Marketing News: Facebook’s Sponsored Results, Google+ Shutdown, Consumer Brand Trust, Instagram’s Ad Spend Up appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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YouTube Ads: What Marketers Need to Know

Do you want to diversify your social media advertising? Wondering how to make YouTube ads work for your business? To explore how to reach more customers with YouTube ads, I interview Tom Breeze. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to […]

The post YouTube Ads: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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7 Membership Sites that Make $100K+ Per Year (Real Examples)

Chances are, you’ve heard about people starting membership sites and making buckets of money. Maybe you’re a little skeptical, and rightfully so. We all know better than to believe everything we read on the Internet. But here’s the real question: Should YOU start a membership site? Could YOU realistically expect to make any money? And(...)

The post 7 Membership Sites that Make $100K+ Per Year (Real Examples) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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Measuring Content Marketing Success: Analytics Advice & Insight from the Experts

Blue tunnel of numbers image.

Blue tunnel of numbers image.

Welcome to the seventh installment in our “Collective Wisdom” series of content marketing strategy and tactics articles.

Previously we’ve covered planning ahead for content marketing success, the art of crafting powerful content, and an array of strong promotion tactics.

So, what’s up next? Measurement and analytics. Measuring and analyzing your content’s performance is critical so you can uncover new opportunities, make improvements, and determine whether you’re meeting your goals.

Here we share some tidbits of analytics wisdom and insights from some famous figures inside and outside the digital marketing realm.

Having the Right Data is Crucial for Measuring Success

How do you gauge success in content marketing?

At the most basic level, you want to learn how much online traffic is coming to see your content. But what should you count and what can be ignored?

Albert Einstein offered insight that I think applies to marketing analytics, and on a greater scale to life itself.

[bctt tweet="“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” — Albert Einstein" username="toprank"]


Measuring this traffic has always been rather tricky, and nearly as long as the Web has been around there have been tools dedicated to helping track and understand just how successful a piece of content is.

Even as we've seen the growth of big data, extracting the right information is still a challenge, as Tamara McCleary, CEO at Thulium.co, points out.

[bctt tweet="“Everyone likes to talk about Big Data. The truth is, what we really need is Smart Data.” @TamaraMcCleary " username="toprank"]

Regardless of your industry, there's no sure-fire substitute for common sense, as digital transformation speaker and Forbes contributor Daniel Newman has noted.

[bctt tweet="“While I do love big data, I know there is no substitute for good old-fashioned common sense. If the data really doesn’t fit, question it. Ask deeper questions.” — Daniel Newman @danielnewmanUV" username="toprank"]

Besides server-based software, hundreds of companies also offer specialized Web analytics tools that operate using remote access to your content, the most popular of these being Google Analytics.

Here's an image of Google Analytics from "How to Prove the Value of Content Marketing to Your CMO in 3 Easy Steps," by our own Content Strategist Anne Leuman.

Snapshot of TopRank Marketing Google Analytics

No matter which software, online tool, or service you use, the pursuit is by its very nature a complex one. It requires a good deal of dedication and learning to deeply understand which bits of data you really care about, so you can find the best ways to accurately gather and analyze them.

Choosing The Right Analytics KPIs

No matter which tools you choose, a primary decision you’ll have to make is what to measure to gauge success of failure, and these will be your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — those signals that matter the most to you and your business.

KPIs vary widely, so it’s important to find the ones that will provide you with the data that’s the most relevant to your own content measurement situation.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals — those that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based — are especially pertinent in the realm of data analytics, as Danica Benson, Global Product Marketing Manager SMB at SAP Concur and former Marketing Communications Manager at Rival IQ, has pointed out.

[bctt tweet="“Digital marketing analytics software can aggregate and report on a wide array of metrics, many of which are fun to know, but without context don’t tell you much about how to move forward.” — Danica Benson" username="toprank"]

The dangers of relying too heavily on statistics, however, have been espoused for over 100 years, including the famous quote popularized by Mark Twain in 1906, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Knowing how to wisely interpret statistical data — especially what information to set aside — is a bit of a combination of art and science that takes dedication and research.


Jay Acunzo, founder, host and writer at Unthinkable Media, explores two methods of finding this data measurement wisdom in “There Are 2 Ways to Approach Data. Which Helps vs. Hurts Creativity?,” offering both an Aristotelian and a Galilean take on the art and science.

[bctt tweet="“When we’re data informed, we isolate variables, test, and learn. We insert our own sense of taste and our intuition into the process.” @jayacunzo" username="toprank"]

Taking the time to learn and choose the right KPIs for extracting actionable insight from your analytics data is well worth the effort, as Kyle Harper, Marketing Analyst at Harvard University points out in his recent "Comprehensive Guide to Connecting Content Marketing KPIs to Business Goals."

[bctt tweet="“Well-chosen content marketing KPIs are more essential than ever. Knowing the right KPIs to track can help sort out the most important performance information from the noise.” — Kyle Harper @TheyWereFlying" username="toprank"]

Analytics Can't Simply Be an Afterthought

Deciding how to measure success is critical to any content marketing strategy, so measurement and analytics need to be included from the very beginning of your planning process.

Large numbers of technical professionals worldwide make a career from trying to gauge the success of online content. And while it isn’t our intent to teach you the detailed and ever-changing intricacies of analytics, we would like to share some fundamental truths with you.

Longtime technology consultant Joel Snyder, Ph.D. points out in a recent article that analytics is far from new, and that even the smallest firms now gather heaps of statistical data.

[bctt tweet="“Data analytics isn’t some new magic bullet. It’s a way of leveraging the data that most every business has been quietly accumulating for years to deliver insights that lead to better decisions.” — Joel Snyder, Ph.D. @joelsnyder" username="toprank"]

In some ways, some aspects of analytics have gotten easier. With the massive growth of the internet at-large, social media, and other platforms, methods for tracking that have become nearly universal—such as the ubiquitous Facebook "like" or Twitter "heart."


Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, a considerable challenge is wading through the vast number of analytics tools and finding the ones that mesh well with your needs, including how you prefer to visually see your analytics data.

Some tools offer only simple text-based lists, while most make a point to present analytics information in ways that are visually easier to understand.

Using just one analytics utility was commonplace in the Web’s early year. But today, it’s not unusual for savvy digital marketers to use five, 10, or even more tools, all from different firms — some free, some commercial, and others custom-made.

Accurate and relevant measurement can also help with influencer marketing campaigns, as our CEO Lee Odden looks at in “B2B Marketers: Is Your Influencer Marketing Mechanical or Meaningful?

[bctt tweet="“Platforms like Traackr, Onalytica, GroupHigh and BuzzSumo (to name a few) can be instrumental for the most effective (vs. subjective) influencer identification, engagement, measurement and program management.” @LeeOdden" username="toprank"]

Analytics Tools Can Be Your Best Friend

Old-world measurement and mapping tools image.

The scope and complexity of analytics tools varies greatly, but where can you start when looking to begin a new campaign, or when you just want to keep up on the new players that are entering the market in greater numbers than ever?

To help you learn more about some of the analytics tools available, we've put together a list of 11 helpful resources exploring several of the more popular analytics tools and services.

Four Takes On Google Analytics


Trust Insights

2018 #MPB2B Influencers Network






There are hundreds of other excellent data analytics tools and services available, including those from Sprout Social, RivalIQ, Traackr. Internet Marketing Ninjas, Screaming Frog, SpyFu, Moz, and so many more.

Additional Resources to Put You on the Path to Informed Measurement

Smiling girl measuring her height against a chalkboard image.

As a final parting bonus list, here’s a collection of recent helpful additional resources to boost your analytics knowledge.

7 Recent Data Analytics Trends

[bctt tweet="“Only 30% of B2B marketers use data to inform decision-making. That’s because harnessing data is hard. Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484" username="toprank"]

Next Up: More Measurement Tactics For Your Campaigns

By learning the fundamentals of data analytics, choosing the tools that best fit your own particular needs, and keeping up on the latest industry news, your content marketing will be set to have measurable advantages over those who skip or only pay lip service to the art of metrics.

Next up in our “Collective Wisdom” series we’ll take a look at additional measurement and analytics tools and how to use the data you gather.

If you haven’t yet caught our previous episodes in this series, hop back and study up:

The post Measuring Content Marketing Success: Analytics Advice & Insight from the Experts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Reduce Your Facebook Ad Spend With Smart Targeting

Want to lower your Facebook ad costs? Looking to improve your Facebook ad targeting? In this article, you’ll discover three ways to build highly targeted Facebook audiences based on niche interests. How Researching Audiences Improves Ad Conversions Facebook is one of the biggest drivers of consumer spending/purchases online. In fact, the power of Facebook for eCommerce […]

The post How to Reduce Your Facebook Ad Spend With Smart Targeting appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Email Marketing Nightmares: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 13

Are your email marketing messages working as well they used to? Then watch the Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business. Watch The Journey This episode of the Journey explores what happened when the Social Media Examiner team was faced with a dilemma. Delete 150,000 […]

The post Email Marketing Nightmares: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 13 appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Quick Ways to Make Your Google Ads Stand Out from the Competition

Standing out in the competitive landscape of Google Ads can be a huge challenge for advertisers. Here are the features that the pros use to add a little more oomph to their ads.

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TopRank Marketing’s Top 6 SEO Predictions & Trends for 2019

SEO Trends & Predictions 2019

SEO Trends & Predictions 2019

The year-end hustle and bustle is on, marketers. We’re all finalizing next year’s tactical mix and strategy, refining targets, and setting goals—all with the intention of driving bigger, badder, and better results in the new year.

When it comes to setting your SEO strategy for 2019, here’s an important stat to keep in mind: 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.

For more than two decades, SEO has been a foundational digital marketing tactic. And as algorithms have been refined, content has proliferated, and innovation and technology have changed how we search—competition in the organic search landscape has hit an all-time high.

What does 2019 have in store for us in the SEO realm? Here are our top SEO predictions and trends marketers should know now and keep an eye on into the new year.

#1 - The Mobile-Friendly Flag Will Fly Higher Than Ever

After more than a year of experimenting, Google released its mobile-first indexing in March 2018. With over half of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, this move reflects Google’s continued commitment to serving the best quality content to searchers when and where they’re searching.

Mobile-first indexing simply means that Google is now using the mobile version of a given page for crawling, indexing, and ranking systems—rather than the desktop version, which had previously been the default. According to Google, mobile-indexing doesn’t provide a ranking advantage in and of itself, and is separate from the mobile-friendly assessment.

However, as mobile web traffic has begun to dominate the search landscape, sites need to be mobile-friendly to remain competitive and consistently show up in mobile search results. A poor mobile experience can lead to a decrease in other ranking factors, like bounce rate—as illustrated below.

Page Load Times and Bounce Rate

Source: Think with Google

While many search marketers have seen this shift coming, Google’s research showed that “for 70% of the mobile landing pages we analyzed, it took more than five seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than seven seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.” The mobile benchmark they’re setting for load time is under three seconds.

All this means that 2019 is absolutely the time to firmly plant your flag strongly in the mobile-friendly camp. This will mean evaluating your web presence, SEO strategy, and content to ensure you’re able to provide the best possible mobile experience. If you’re unsure where you stand, you can start with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to test how easy it is for your audience to visit pages on your website.

#2 - Voice Search Will Continue to Raise the Content Stakes

The metaphorical cat is out of the bag when it comes to the ease of voice search. One in six Americans now owns a smart speaker, according to TechCrunch. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Finally, there were over one billion voice searches per month as of January 2018. And with voice search platforms recording an error rate of under 5% with natural language processing (in English, at least) it stands to reason this trend will continue to grow as users find more reliable results.

However, the switch to voice search will come with a new set of challenges for marketers—and that’s natural language. As of May 2017, almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language versus typical keyword-based searches like those typed into a search bar.

As a result, in 2019 and beyond it will be increasingly important for marketers to optimize and create content that lends itself to voice search. From a technical perspective, the usual suspects of page speed, site security, and domain authority will play an important role here. But at the end of the day, it’s all about ensuring your site content can be easily found via voice search.

What will that content need to look like? Backlinko found that the average word count of a voice search result page is a whopping 2,312 words—and those words are written at a ninth grade level.

In addition, considering and striving to match search intent will be more important than ever. Marketers will need to focus on what we like to call “being the best answer.” This means focusing on answering those question your ideal audience is and will be asking—whether they’re speaking to a smart speaker, smartphone, or web browser.

“Google is essentially an answer engine,” TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden said not long ago. “If companies want to be the ‘best answer’ for what their potential customers are looking for, they’ll want to invest in content that is comprehensive and engaging on the topic.”

[bctt tweet="If companies want to be the “best answer,” they’ll want to invest in #content that is comprehensive and engaging on the topic. - @leeodden #SEO #SearchMarketing" username="toprank"]

#3 - Increasing Privacy Demands Will Tip the Search Scales

From the two recent Google Plus data leaks affecting over 50 million users to massive data breaches at some of the world’s largest companies, we’re all increasingly aware of the amount of personal data floating about the digital realm.

This coupled with an innate distrust in marketing messages—not to mention the “creep factor” of being followed around by ads—consumers and B2B buyers alike are looking for more privacy and protection on the web.

For several years, HTTPS has been considered a ranking signal. And Google made their stance on HTTPS encryption well known this year. Ahead of the release of Chrome 68, Google strongly advocated websites make the HTTPS switch by July 2018—or risk their site being stamped “not secure” in the browser.

In 2019 and beyond, marketers can expect Google and perhaps other browsers to double down on this. In addition, with new data protection laws like GDPR in the European Union, marketers can expect new privacy and security to take shape. This will certainly continue to impact paid search efforts, as new rules and restrictions will cause platform target changes. And that means that smart organic SEO will see a revival.

Of course, GDPR doesn’t technically affect US-based customers, following data protection guidelines can only help your cause in building trust and keeping Google happy.

#4 - Expanding Market of Alternative Search Platforms

Google is still the king of search. But its market share is being challenged by more traditional search engines with a twist, as well as “non-traditional” search platforms. Case in point: Amazon.

A recent eMarketer report shows that Amazon is now the third-largest digital advertising platform, behind Google and Facebook. In addition, according to Kenshoo, a whopping 72% of shoppers now use Amazon to find products, and 56% shared that they typically look on Amazon before any other sites. So, as Amazon search continues to find its legs in the digital advertising market, it’s worth considering their audience size and growth as your finalize your 2019 budget.

As for those engines that resemble Google, Bing will continue to be a key player in SEO and paid search marketing in 2019. It accounts for about 22% of the desktop search market in the US and 4.1% of the mobile search market. With their recent rollout of LinkedIn profile targeting, their offerings are becoming increasingly attractive to the B2B market.

Finally, alternative search platforms such as DuckDuckGo, StartPage, and Mojeek are growing in adoption—and you can bet that trend will continue in 2019. In fact, DuckDuckGo is will hit record traffic by the end of 2018, according to AdWeek. At the time of this post’s publishing, the “internet privacy company” had recorded more than 8.5 billion direct queries in 2018.

DuckDuckGo Example

While Google still reigns supreme, boasting well over half of the search market, marketers need to take note and consider additional platforms when designing their SEO and search marketing (and content) strategies—and no just because usage is rising. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your paid search buck, competition on alternative platforms is much lower right now—making it ripe with opportunity.

#5 - Raise The Bar on Content—Or Your Competitors Will E-A-T Your Lunch

While it makes a delightful pun, E-A-T is a serious concept in the SEO game. Google has told us many, many, many times that quality content will help shield from algorithmic changes and updates. Your content simply needs to follow three basic principles: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.

In 2019, this means that it’s time to double-down on quality content creation. As we mentioned earlier, that quality content needs to meet relevant search intent and strive to provide the best answer for the searcher. But it shouldn’t simply be a concern for brands that are creating content, E-A-T also applies to individual authors.

Creating quality content isn’t just a question of long-form or short-form. It’s content that’s created with the end-user in mind. High quality content should inform, entertain, or otherwise provide value to those reading it. That’s what ultimately ends up being shared socially, which is another factor in how Google views your content’s trustworthiness.

#6 - ‘Internetization’ Offers New Opportunities, But Requires Smart SEO Strategies

Our world is more connected than ever, thanks to what Constantine Passaris, Professor of Economics at University of New Brunswick, calls “internetization.”

“Globalization is not an accurate descriptor of the 21st century and the internet-driven transformational change sweeping the international economic landscape,” he wrote in a World Economic Forum article. “Internetization is the contemporary face of globalization. It includes the modern tools of electronic globalization and embraces the digital connectivity and empowerment of the internet and the World Wide Web.”

And as internetization continues to proliferate, B2B brands of all sizes have the opportunity to broaden their global footprint. But when it comes to reaching new audiences whenever and wherever their searching, you’ll need a smart global SEO strategy in 2019 and beyond.

“Serving a global audience begins with understanding them,” Eli Schwartz, Director of SEO & Organic Product at SurveyMonkey, told us in an interview earlier this year. “By gaining insights on your audience through People Powered Data, you can create an SEO strategy that matters to them and reaches them in the vernacular in which they speak.”

He added: “Depending on the potential value of these global users, it may not be prudent to translate the full site or offer free global shipping, but translating that one page that targets the most important international keywords is not that complicated. Additionally, companies can take the very first step towards global SEO by just having a look at where and how their website ranks on Google internationally. They may very well find some low hanging fruit worth building a strategy around.”

[bctt tweet="By gaining insights on your audience through People Powered Data, you can create an #SEOStrategy that matters to them and reaches them in the vernacular in which they speak. - @5le" username="toprank"]

A Little Reminder to Take the SEO “Basics” into 2019

There are plenty of new and flashy trends to keep us all busy in the coming year, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget about the foundational elements of SEO. The Ranking Factors SEMRush Study 2.0 provides an excellent reminder of what truly matters to Google: Domain authority, direct traffic, content quality and website security.

The SEMRush study shows one clear winner in the ranking factors category—direct traffic. This metric is typically a measure of brand awareness, and thus domain authority. Focusing on direct traffic as a KPI for your overall marketing awareness isn’t likely to go out of style any time soon.

Another key factor along the lines of domain authority is the amount of backlinks to your site.

“Every domain that ranks for a high-volume keyword has on average three times more backlinks than the domains from the three lower-volume groups on the same position,” says SEMRush in the same study.

Along with having an authoritative domain, it’s also important to provide quality content. Time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate remain in the top 5 ranking factors this year. Content length is also a factor, as the same study shows that there’s a 45% difference in content length between the top 3 and the 20th SERP position. If you want your content to rank, make it worth reading and engaging with.

“The data is there,” Lee said not too long ago. “Customers are telling you what they want. The question is, how to connect those dots of data to understand and optimize customer experiences?”

Using data to understand customer preferences for search discovery and intent will help you optimize content to become the best answer buyers are looking for.

Ready. Set. Let’s Go, 2019

As you gear up for 2019, keep these trends—and the basics of SEO and search marketing—in mind. Providing the right information, quickly and in a way that is easy will always be in style. The ways we get there may change with time (or algo updates), but the focus remains the same.

Content is SEO’s beautiful stepsister. What’s on tap for 2019 in the content marketing realm? Check out our picks top content marketing trends and predictions to watch in 2019.

The post TopRank Marketing’s Top 6 SEO Predictions & Trends for 2019 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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