Social Selling Blog

 

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When you are trying to run a social media campaign, Facebook is the default option due to its reach. There are now more than two billion users worldwide who are active on the platform, and they could potentially be your target reach. Facebook is also replete with features designed to optimize your ad campaign. But you need to be aware of them to maximize their full potential.

 

When you are running a Facebook ad campaign, remember the following strategies:

 

  1. Create a backup of backup - Produce different versions of your ad content to make it easier to shift your campaign mid-stream. Even if your team thinks that your ad copy is already perfect, you never know how your target audience will react. Think of it as a shotgun approach. As the pellets scatter, there is an increased likelihood that you will hit something. For example, when you create a text ad with a catchy headline, write different versions of that headline in various tones and styles. Try to write longer paragraphs or shorter paragraphs, and experiment with your sentences as well. You can take advantage of the Dynamic Creative feature of Facebook, where you can input a maximum of five headlines, including images. As they say, the more entries, the more chances of winning.
     
  2. Utilize Facebook Canvas for more immersive content - The Canvas ad allows users to click on the mobile ad without being directed to a third-party app. Canvas is designed for mobile, which is significant since more than 7 in 10 people in the United States are using mobile phones to access the Internet in 2021. Using this Facebook feature, you can tell powerful stories to leverage your brand and products. The best part is that Canvas does not need a steep learning curve to create interactive content copies hosted on Facebook.
     
  3. Invest in video ads - As if you do not know by now, videos perform miles better than a text ad or a static image in terms of engagement. One drawback of the video is how costly it is. For example, you can expect to spend at least $1,500 for a semi-professional outcome. The cost does not include the script and the talent.  Fortunately, technology makes it easier for small organizations to produce their content using smartphones and proprietary editing software. Do not be discouraged if your first attempts do not get too many engagements. Think of it as intelligence gathering. Your succeeding videos will target those users who braved through more than 10 seconds of your ad.
     
  4. Use Lead Ads - The Lead Ads feature enables prospects to connect directly with the advertiser by simplifying the mobile signup procedure. Your target audience does not need to jump through hoops to sign up for an offer, email subscription, newsletter, coupons, or event. You can also collect business intelligence without a landing page or without logging out of Facebook. The social media platform claims that Lead Ads will cut the cost-per-like by as much as four times.
     
  5. Post Engagement Ad - Post engagement refers to the number of actions your followers take on your ads. The actions include liking your post, clicking on the link, reading the content, sharing your ad, and commenting on the post. The problem with some businesses is the lack of follow-through. They do not know what to do during post-engagement. As a result, they fail to exploit an already engaged audience and convert them into paying customers.
     
  6. Facebook Targeting - Ad targeting enables you to find people interested in what you have to say. Facebook is already doing an excellent job of showing your ad to people who might be interested in your business. But you can narrow it down further to target potential leads and design a Facebook ad that is specific to them. For example, if your ad targets a broad audience range, your reach may be more expansive, but it does not necessarily translate to sales.  However, if you design your ad for American women, you narrow down the target to 150 million users.
     
  7. Exploit Lookalike Audience - Facebook has this handy feature that will allow you to reach new targets who are doppelgangers of your existing customer base. The only reason they are not patronizing your business is that they might be unaware of your existence. Facebook will then identify the common traits and other qualities of the potential customers and then redirect your ad toward them.
     
  8. Ensure relevance is high and frequency is low - The frequency refers to the number of times the potential target audience will see an ad similar to yours. Ideally, the frequency should not exceed three times to prevent saturation. Baseball has a three-strike rule. In the same vein, if the target audience has not taken action after three times, then the likelihood they will do so after the fourth or fifth time is slim. Meanwhile, Facebook has a scale of 1-10 to determine the relevance of your ad.
     
  9. Campaign objectives should match your business goals - When you set up your Facebook Ads, you will have to input your marketing objective. Do you want to expand brand awareness or generate leads? Would you be more interested in getting more engagements or traffic or boost your sales?
     
  10. Audience Insights - The feature will provide you with a snapshot of your audience and get to know them better than before. There are two types of users on Facebook--the general population who use social media for one reason or the other, and the users connected to your page. Using Insights, you can chart their online behavior, follow the links they clicked, the videos they watched, or the pages they liked. You will have a glimpse of their lifestyles and even their location. The amount of intelligence you can gather using this tool is invaluable to creating a targeted ad with a high conversion rate.

 

Those are some of the things you can do when running your social media marketing campaign on Facebook. But if you have no time to learn all these things, you can always hire a pro to do it for you.

 

SEO. Button on Modern Computer Keyboard. Internet Concept. 3D Render.

 

At the start of each year, advertisers ask the same question: “Is SEO still relevant for me?”

 

This year, the question takes a more significant meaning after having just come from that catastrophic 2019 when a pandemic ravaged the world. Business owners took a hit as 6 in 10 companies permanently closed shop due to lockdowns and plunging sales.

 

So, you might be asking the next question, is it still worth investing in SEO when all my resources are already tight?

 

The short answer is yes.

 

As the 2008 financial crunch had shown us, businesses that ramped up their marketing spend in the middle of the crisis recovered quicker. Meanwhile, more conservative companies had a rockier restart. 

 

However, it does not mean that you should hastily spend your money. It is why you should be on the lookout for SEO trends, which should help shape your decision.

 

Here are the SEO trends you can anticipate for 2021:

 

 

1. Remember the acronyms

 

You should be familiar with these two terms, which impact your SEO campaign. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations Transformers, while NLP stands for Natural Language Processing. While they are not a new technology, you need to know that their machine-learning capability would drastically change the way Google will appreciate the search query.  

 

With NLP, for instance, Google can better understand the context and nuance of the language used in the query. For now, nearly 4 in 10 organizations are already utilizing artificial intelligence to target their audience and analyze their data sets. AI will continue to change the SEO landscape as the industry will reach an estimated $120 billion by 2025. With machine learning, you can ensure more accurate results in your analytics, which will enable you to boost the success of your SEO campaign.

 

2. Corporate Identity becomes more relevant

 

Now, more than ever, you need to know who you are because Google would be asking the same question when indexing websites. You need to tick all the right boxes on the panels on Google’s Knowledge Graph, so you show up when people search for people, organizations, places, etc.

 

With the Knowledge Panel, you essentially have a billboard that lists the vital information regarding your company. More importantly, it also boosts your credentials, as far as Google is concerned.

 

Blue-chip companies automatically have their distinct billboards because they are aware of its significance. You cannot reason out that you are a one-person organization or a small business to justify your lack of a Knowledge Panel.

 

What this means is that you should start thinking of your brand as an entity. Any marketing effort you employ going forward should be to persuade Google and your customers about who you are.

 

3. The continued dominance of mobile

 

The trend is not new since, for many years now, people have been accessing the Internet using their mobile devices. For example, as of October last year, 9 in 10 of the nearly five billion Internet users in the world use mobile to access the Web.  Meanwhile, mobile e-commerce has shown no signs of slowing down from 2020 through 2024, as shown by the data below. 

 

What this means is that your SEO campaign should take into account mobile Internet. You start with your website and make sure that it is optimized for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

 

Since 9 in 10 of your target audience are using their mobile gadgets to access your website, you must enhance the customer experience rather than make it difficult for them.

 

Hire web developers familiar with white-hat SEO tactics to optimize your page for search engines and target customers.

 

4. Lifetime value vs. short-term gains

 

There used to be a time when SEO was used purely to drive traffic and create leads for your business. Now, your SEO should be a tool to meet your objective. But your job has just started once you funneled traffic to your company and created leads. Your ultimate goal should be to enhance the client experience to create a customer lifetime value. Analytics will play a larger role in getting a profile of your target customers--who they are, what they do when they are online or offline, what they like, the links they click, the purchases they make, and the way they interact with your website. The profile will be material to create a unique experience tailored to each need. When you customize the experience, you make the customer feel important, and they are more likely to reward you with loyalty.

 

5. Search intent

 

Search engines have automated almost all aspects of PPC, and, along with machine learning, they managed to unpack user intent. Again, search intent is not a new concept. Every year, marketers are trying to find the magic formula to determine the nature of user queries. It is challenging because behavior and intent are in constant flux.

 

People go to Google when they want to ask something, buy a product, retrieve information. But user intent is more nuanced than that. The advertisers who can unlock the true nature of search will have a higher chance of maximizing their marketing campaign. Search engines continue to tweak their algorithms to match user intent.

 

Fortunately, Google is already trying to show you the way. For example, if the searcher is looking for scholarly articles on marketing, the SERP will list research and academic studies relevant to the search.

 

Its machine-learning technology will recommend results. But you need to leverage best practices to gain an edge over your competition. One method to do this is to analyze your search engine results pages and parse data so that your keywords best address user intent.

 

Those are some of the trends to look out for this 2021. But make sure that you have a strong foundation, which means that your website is optimized for mobile and SEO, and you produce only high-quality content. These tactics are evergreen, regardless of the future changes in the digital marketing landscape.

 

 

More than three in seven people in the world are Facebook users. In real terms, the figure translates to more than 2.7 billion active users.

 

What makes Facebook an effective channel for advertising is not only its massive reach. More importantly, it allows any mom-and-pop shop to scale its business using the social media platform.

 

While Facebook is not a great equalizer, it narrows the gap between the haves and have-nots.

 

A small business can run a cost-efficient ad campaign that will help drive sales. But they need to employ the right strategy to maximize returns for their investment. It is not as simple as putting in money and expecting profits in return.

 

Helpful Strategies for Your Facebook Ad Campaign

 

  1. Strive for authenticity - Who are you, and more importantly, how would you like people to see you? Those are tricky questions since they do not necessarily demand a straightforward answer. But people gravitate toward the company because they know they are not being lied to or manipulated. Who you are will influence the tone of your voice.
     
  2. Charting your customer journey - The next step is to know who your customers are. The customer journey is different from a customer profile. The journey starts from the time they signified the problem to the point where they identified a solution. Facebook Insights is still the handiest tool to map out how your customers are interacting with your page. It will tell you what type of ad content to produce. Using a blog post to target your customers is a waste of money when a click ad would have been the better choice. It all depends on the analytics since they will give you an accurate glimpse into your buyer's persona.
     
  3. Use Messenger to your advantage - Adding Messenger to your ad content will drastically shorten their customer journey. Clicking on Messenger will enable them to connect to a customer representative right away who can answer all their questions. You can also use bots to make your company more responsive 24/7.
     
  4. Test your ad - The pandemic brought the marketing in flux, making it harder to predict customer behavior.  It is why you should always test the waters, so to speak, using A/B testing. The A/B testing allows you to revise your ad's different elements, including placement and content, to optimize its performance. You can compare your various ads and see which one is more effective in reaching out to the audience and directing them to your sales funnel. You can even test your previous ads and see how they perform under the new landscape.
     
  5. Exploit AI - Do you know that you can automate your ad placements so that you can reach your audience when they are most likely to spend? Facebook calls this liquidity, which means that you direct your money toward the channel, leading to the strongest impression. Facebook has found out that automating bidding and placement will allow the advertiser to save on the incremental costs. Machine learning also enables you to be more prudent about how you are distributing your ad spending.
     
  6. Employ omnichannel approach - As you may know, people use their smartphones to shop online. For instance, this year, 54% of e-commerce sales will come from mobile. But it does not mean that you stack all your investments to run ads targeting mobile consumers. You need to combine your approach to reach your target audience across multiple channels. It could mean digital, mobile, analog, desktop, or a brick-and-mortar store.

 

How Much Is My Budget?

 

The bigger question is, how much budget should you set aside for your Facebook ad campaign?

 

Facebook ad revenues continue to rise. For instance, in 2019, the ad revenue was nearly $68 billion, projected to hit $81 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic. Meanwhile, the social media platform is expected to hit $95 billion this year.

 

More than ever, it is the ideal time to invest in Facebook ads since the prices are down across the board. For example, in March 2020, the cost-per-click on the platform dropped to just nine cents per click from the 11 cents in January 2020.

 

The beauty of Facebook is you can run your campaign on a small budget. You can set a budget of 70 centavos per CPC, for instance. You can start at $5 per day for your Facebook ads, which is equivalent to $150 per month.

 

Multiple elements come into play when strategizing your budget, and it is best if you solicit the help of a social media strategist to get the most of your investment.

 

Key Trends to Watch Out For

 

As a bonus, here are some of the trends in 2021 that may impact your Facebook ad strategy.

 

  1. The new normal - The coronavirus changed the landscape like no other. Even with the vaccine rollouts, experts anticipate 2021 to be the same as 2020 in terms of its effects on nations' economies. Business owners are penny-pinching as they see their resources shrink. You have to decide whether to ramp up your Facebook ad spending or be more conservative with your marketing budget. However, you must know that fortune rewards the brave. Those who put out money during the global financial crunch in the late 2000s were better positioned to enjoy the windfall.
     
  2. The platform continues to diversify - Video is still the benchmark for Facebook ads as it elicits the most positive reaction. But lately, users are already seeing ads using augmented reality for a more significant impact.
     
  3. E-commerce is growing quicker than ever - One offshoot of the pandemic is that consumers who have never tried online shopping were purchasing on e-commerce sites out of necessity. According to Statistica, e-commerce sites logged 22 billion visits in June 2020 compared to a little more than 16 billion in January 2020.
     

But it should be pointed out that businesses that are more willing to meet the new challenges are reaping their efforts' success. The growth of e-commerce is particularly relevant for brick-and-mortar stores, greatly affected by the pandemic. 

 

 

Social Media Concept. The Word of Red Color Located over Text of White Color.

The year 2020 was unprecedented for social media as the pandemic forced people inside their homes. Social media platforms have not only become one of the primary sources of information and connection, but they also served as a distraction.

The stronger your foundations are, the likelier your social media strategy would succeed. For starters, do not long for unattainable goals because you will only end up frustrated. Start small and build from there after getting your confidence going.

Here are some useful tips that will help enhance your social media content strategy:

1. Audit your channels

Before crafting your strategy, you need to know what you are planning for in the first place. Below are some of the questions that will guide you:

  • Which platforms are you most active--Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter?
  • What is your peak activity on the particular channel?
  • Where do you attribute the peak metric?
  • Have you replicated its success since?
  • Which channel did you abandon, and what was your reason for doing so?
  • What is the reason for the poor performance, and what is your plan of action?
  • Where are your competitors most active?
  • Do I have the resources to devote to the particular channel or multiple channels?

Poor performance does not necessarily mean that you delete the channel. But you have to answer some hard questions going forward. But do not be pressured to have a presence on all platforms as you may spread yourself too thin.

2. Recognize new truths

Being cooped up inside your home has its distinct advantages. For one, you do not have to worry about how you look. Social media puts a lot of pressure on users to portray themselves as more successful than they are. However, research also showed that people were also less worried about their self-image on their Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. It showed that 4 in 10 users no longer feel that pressure. The pandemic made people open up on their struggles and share them with the world. Finally, since the lockdowns have caused widespread cabin fever, it is understandable that people tend to share funny posts, videos, and ads.

3. Know yourself

Gone are the days where commerce was very straightforward--vendors sold a product based on consumer demand. Today, it is all about branding, cultivating relationships, and enhancing the customer’s experience. Knowing yourself will help build your corporate identity, which, in turn, will establish the culture or voice of the company. Your identity must support your business goals. This is crucial because it will help you choose which social media channel to focus your resources on.

  • Facebook -- Excellent for referral traffic, brand awareness, user engagement.
  • Twitter -- Geared toward delivery of news and information; can quickly share or curate website content.
  • LinkedIn -- Designed for professional networking, hiring new talent, or soliciting solutions to internal problems.
  • Instagram -- Brand-building and storytelling; a breeding ground for influence marketing.

4. Content should support goals

Each organization has a distinct goal, and your strategy should be anchored on your objectives. For example, e-commerce websites want to increase sales and provide solutions to customer problems. Advocacy groups seek to advance an agenda, while a social goal aims to increase community outreach. How do you know if your content is driving your goals? You need to measure and analyze the metrics. With the data, you have no way to benchmark your success. For example, you count the number of unique visits funneled by your ad to determine your traffic. Auditing sales is more straightforward as you only need to measure the ROI of each social media post.

5. Learn from the big boys

Be hyperaware of lessons you can adopt for your social media strategy. The good news is that you can find roadmaps for success everywhere, particularly from big brands. They are much more capable of absorbing the blows, so they have more room for trial and error. For instance, one crucial lesson you need to learn is authenticity. Big brands learned the hard way that no amount of money can buy authenticity. People have a natural aversion to the message of “evil corporations” and “corporate overlords.” Small businesses and mom-and-pop stores have no such problem as customers tend to trust them more. If you play your cards right, you can make your customers your brand ambassadors, and they will promote your products by word-of-mouth or on their social media for free. Another lesson you need to learn is accessibility. When customers feel isolated, they will turn to social media to air their complaints. Suddenly, you have a potential PR nightmare on your hands. Make sure to be active in the community you belong in, find out their nagging questions, and provide solutions to them. 

6. Do not be afraid of video content

Small businesses are immediately intimidated when they hear the word video. Videos tell a story in a way that a text could not, and it is not even close. People also demand more video content from the business they support. Indeed, the cost can be daunting for small businesses. For instance, a professional video may cost you upwards of $1,000, although you can cycle the content multiple times before moving on to another project. You will also likely reap the rewards because people will share your video 12x morethan text and static images. Fortunately, today’s technology provides a lot of flexibility for small organizations to create their own social media videos. The video software has available templates to make your content professional-looking. Also, unlike before, where you need to purchase expensive cameras, most modern smartphones are equipped with powerful lenses to do the job.

Success is not guaranteed by having the right platform and your strategy aligning with your goals. One overlooked aspect of any social media strategy is activity. At the very least, you should post once a day on your Facebook page or three times a day on your Twitter account. But this is just an estimate. You should still measure your metrics to determine the correct number of posts for your business.

The online instant HTML converter tools make a great resource that will help you a lot in your work.

 

10 important PPC trends to look out for in 2021:

  1. Customer experience more crucial than ever -- Google handcuffed marketers by restricting access to data late last year. Expect to lose more control on some aspects of marketing this year due to automation. But do not cry over spilled milk. Instead, work on ensuring that your PPC efforts will enhance the customer journey. By focusing on the lifetime value rather than short-term single sales, you can craft a comprehensive strategy that aligns with your business goals.
  2. PPC automation -- Expect Google and other search engines to force-feed you into using automation technology for intelligence-gathering. The sooner you take this into your marketing equation, the better equipped you would be to adjust to the new environment. Automation is designed to simplify your life so you can focus on the core areas of your business. But make sure that you will not end up being over-reliant on the machines.
  3. Mobile-friendly -- It is not exactly a new trend since marketers have been harping on the importance of a mobile-friendly website since time immemorial. More than half of US e-commerce sales come from mobile. But you would be surprised to know that many websites are still not optimized for mobile. It means they are losing out on the potential sales since the customer experience leaves something to be desired. Use your smartphone to visit your website once in a while and gauge the user experience for yourself.
  4. Audience targeting -- You can customize your ads to show your target audience based on their interests, buying behavior, profiles, and how they engaged your business. With audience targeting, you increase your conversion rate by reaching the customers at the precise moment when they are ready to buy. Another tool is lookalike audience targeting. Using automation, Google will identify customers who share similar characteristics with your existing audience and show your ads to them.
     
  5. AI -- Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be more relevant than ever. Automation will take care of your daily monotonous and administrative tasks. But AI will anticipate the click-through-rate of your future campaigns using historical data and trends. However, one of the limitations of AI is to mimic human intelligence, particularly in language processing, nuance identification, and reasoning. But human thought is eons behind AI's ability to parse and make sense of big data is unparalleled. In simple terms, both methods should not be mutually exclusive.
     
  6. Do not overlook Social media -- Even if Facebook has been around in just 2004, it seems like the social media platform has been there forever. Now more than ever, you need to build on your relationship marketing approach. But social media is not limited to Facebook. 2020 was the year of TikTok, which peaked at the end of the first quarter last year when 76 million people downloaded the app. Instagram followed suit when it launched Reels, allowing users to make 15-second clips. As people continue to be stuck at home, expect their social media usage to increase exponentially in 2021.
     
  7. Bumper Ads -- Bumper ads refer to short clips that enable you to expand brand awareness and reach out to more customers than ever. You can go to the "Video" campaign on your Google Ad to create bumper videos. You might have seen those five-second YouTube video ads that you cannot skip. Those are examples of a bumper ad. The payment term is CPM-based, which means you only pay if your ad shows up 1,000 times. According to Google, bumper ads are incredibly useful in producing brand recall.
  8. Smart Bidding -- Smart bidding utilizes machine learning to help maximize the conversion value of each auction. Among the strategies under this automated bidding subset include Enhanced Cost-Per-Click, Target Cost-per-Action, or Target ROAS (Return-on-Ad-Spend). With machine learning, you can increase the accuracy of your market predictions and online customer behavior by parsing large amounts of data. The algorithm will improve your PPC performance without necessarily blowing up your digital marketing budget. You can also customize your parameters to include a wide range of signals (defined as customer attributes + time-bound context) for improved results accuracy. Meanwhile, the results' transparency will allow you to spot gaps immediately and address the issues before they exacerbate.
     
  9. Amazon will continue to affect paid ads -- Amazon's foray into paid advertising will continue to impact your ad campaign. Similar to Google, advertisers can buy a prominent position on top of Amazon's SERP. Amazon is exerting its influence beyond its walls, as this study has proven. One thing that differentiates Amazon from Google and other search engines is buyer intent. People go to Amazon intending to spend their money, which affected other retailers' websites that cannot compete with a behemoth. You need to consider the evolution of Amazon in search so that you can exploit this to your advantage. For one, start thinking of Amazon as a marketplace rather than only an online store.
  10. More competition -- If you think that the pandemic in 2020 has dampened the spirits of advertisers, think again. Sure, the sweeping impact of the coronavirus shocked businesses to the core. Some companies, unfortunately, did not survive the onslaught. But those who did quickly got over the initial shell-shock and found some opportunities underneath the rubble. For instance, experts do not see any changes in the digital ad spend for 2021. Advertisers will likely ramp up their spending as they see the market rebounding this year. It means you need to rethink twice if you plan on scaling down your marketing budget for 2021. If you are not careful, you will be swallowed by the competition.

Knowing the Google Ad trends for 2021 will help form your marketing strategy. After surviving a catastrophic 2019, there is a lot of room for optimism among advertisers. Admittedly, there is a lot to unpack based on the top ten trends outlined in this article. However, 2021 may yet prove to be a banner year for PPC.

 

Despite the rise of video content, 8 in 10 digital marketers still have blogging as a strategy in their back pocket. The simple answer is that it works. For example, more than 5 in 10 marketers claim that they gained new traffic from blogging.

Here are some of the statistics about blogging you should know about:

  • More than 400 people read at least 20 billion blogs monthly
  • Readers comment on blogs 70 million times each month
  • The average blog has more than 1,000 words
  • Bloggers on average finish the blog in three hours and fifty-seven minutes
  • 3 in 10 readers prefer a list post to a long narrative
  • Websites featuring blogs have more than 400% indexed pages
  • More than 7 in 10 users read and skim through blogs

But you need to understand one thing about blogging--it is challenging. For one, blogging is time-consuming, especially for a new business that needs to build its audience.

It is one thing to speak to a captured audience (your loyal customers), but it is quite another to use it as a tool to funnel traffic into your website. So, why do you need to include blogging in your content strategy for 2021? We list down the reasons for doing so.

  1. Blogging is still the king of content -- More marketers are using video to reach out to their target audience, but the strategy still has not replaced blogging on top of the totem pole. More than any other form, blogging can establish your authority as an expert in your field. As an added benefit, blogs are still the cheapest form of SEO, compared to video, infographics, and images. They are perfect for small businesses with limited budgets. You can outsource the assignment to professionals, and it will cost you between $20 and $250 per blog post. But you can drastically cut costs if you are doing it on your own. In comparison, professional videos will cost you upwards of $1,500.
  2. Boost your rankings -- Last year was a surreal one as the pandemic upended the world. This year does not bode well for bringing things back to normal as the coronavirus continues to lay waste to economies. However, despite the pandemonium, you know what has remained consistent? Blogging continues to drive traffic to websites at exponential rates. Some businesses may take a more conservative tack in terms of marketing spend. But you do not have to erase your previous gains by abandoning your strategy altogether. Blogging is the perfect way to reach out to your audience and assure them that you are still fighting along with them. You also rank higher when you manage to position your website as the primary authority in answering the user’s relevant queries. Another way to boost your rankings is if other websites link to your blog post as a primary source of information.
  3. Demonstrate your credibility -- blogging helps establish your credentials. There is nothing like putting thoughts to paper while inviting scrutiny. It is like putting a challenge out there to question your authority on the matter at hand. But you can build your credibility further by adding stats and studies to back your claims. You can also invite industry experts to write their perspectives on the topic. Finally, you can include videos, infographics, or images to prove a point. Again, it is not easy for most businesses to produce high-quality posts regularly. You can outsource most of the writing jobs to competent SEO professionals out there. But make time to write a blog at least once a week so that you can continue to connect with your audience. If anything else, you blog because you offer a unique perspective to add to the ocean of opinions out there.
  4. Promote your products -- E-commerce websites do not put too much stock on blogging, which is a shame since they can increase sales this way. Most businesses do not understand that the amount of quality content on your website is crucial in search engine indexing. You can post special events, discount offers, flash sales, and other announcements. Another reason to blog is to engage your customers, especially if you open your post to comments. You can ask satisfied customers to include their testimonies and highlight these success stories on your website. The trick in promoting your products is to be truthful. You should also list down the cons, along with the pros, and let your customers decide. But you should do it in such a way that you do not sabotage your product. You can still pitch a product without peppering your post with too much sales talk.
  5. Reach out to new markets -- blogging can drive new traffic to your website as Google tends to recommend websites with updated and high-quality content. The important thing is to be patient. Your blog should work to funnels sales to your website. You would only be wasting space otherwise. Finding new markets will guarantee a steady stream of revenues. You have zero chance of expanding your business if you are always relying on your existing customer base. More importantly, you can use blogging to make your loyal customers feel rewarded while reaching out to prospects. However, it takes blogs at least three months to gain traction, especially for new businesses. You cannot demand results immediately just because you are producing premium content.

But one thing to remember about your blogs is ownership. Make sure that you do not use free blogging platforms to host your thoughts. You will be at the mercy of these platforms, and they can delete your content anytime.

Conclusion

One of the most significant challenges of blogging is finding the right person with the talent to put their thoughts on paper with their business goals in mind. It is intimidating for most people to stare at a blank screen as the pressure to churn out a product increases. Fortunately, in today’s age, you do not have to do it on your own. Social Media Marketing agencies can cost-effectively handle your content strategy. We already demonstrated that blogging establishes authority and generates traffic. Now, the easy part is for you to decide to place that call.

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Before Google, there was Ask Jeeves - the well-dressed, always smiling gentleman who was always ready to answer your most pressing questions. Back then, the knowledge about search engines was still in its infancy stage. People treated it as a party trick, and they would ask the most random questions to stump the website.

But regardless of the name, both Ask Jeeves (which many don’t know still exists today under the brand Ask.com) and Google have the same function. They connect users to the closest answer or solution for their most nagging concerns.

Today, search engines are synonymous with Google. And for good reason. According to this study's data, 9 in 10 people use Google when they search online. Bing is a far second with 2.44%, followed by Yahoo!, Baidu, and Yandex.

https://www.webfx.com/blog/seo/2019-search-market-share/

This means for you, that if you are crafting your digital marketing plan, you always have to design with Google’s algorithms in mind.

The search engine’s dominance is almost unbelievable. Google used to release data on the number of pages it indexed. But it suddenly stopped without any explanation. To give you an idea of the sheer magnitude of its task, Google indexed 130 trillion individual pages on the Internet as of 2016.

Why Is It Important to Know How Search Engines Work?

A user’s online journey typically starts with a search. You need to understand the nature of the search to create an effective digital marketing campaign. This understanding is essential to search engine optimization (SEO), which is a tool to boost your Internet traffic, capture leads, and convert customers.

Here are some of the benefits of familiarizing yourself with how Google functions:

  • You can increase your rankings on the search engine results page (SERP)
  • You can develop optimized websites that search engines can crawl and index
  • You can benchmark your digital marketing campaign with your competitors
  • You can measure your SEO performance and tweak it for optimum results

The question is, why do you need to rank high?

A 2013 research by Chitika Insights showed how important it is to rank high on the SERP.

Users do not usually go beyond Google’s first page when they input a query. The top three websites on the SERP alone already corners 61% of web traffic. The top five websites make up three-quarters of the total traffic.

CRAWLING

All search engines utilize a complex algorithm to generate the most relevant search results. To do this, they must first inspect all elements of the website - such as the webpage, headline, navigation, relevant keywords, authority links, and the content.

Crawling in SEO parlance means to prowl or follow the links around your website. Google uses spiders or bots to handle the task. That the reason for web developers familiar with SEO to always include a site map on the pages, to make it easier for the spiders to navigate across multiple paths.

The links serve as invisible neural pathways for these bots to crawl through the World Wide Web. Their job is clearly defined: find the most relevant result to match the user’s query. As you might expect, if you put up roadblocks along the way, you might be sending Google’s bots in the direction of your competitor’s website.

To prevent this, you need to audit your website at least every month to spot crawl errors. Among these errors are:

  • Server error
  • 404
  • txt error
  • DNS error

The solution can be straightforward or complex, especially if the error is a symptom of a much deeper technical issue.

INDEXING

 

Once the bots have crawled through your website, they will add you to Google’s database. The database is an anthology of indexed pages crawled by the bots.

Here are some of the crucial elements in indexing a website:

  • The XML sitemap
  • The nature of the content and how it relates to the search
  • Anchor text of the links
  • Detailed information about the links (e.g., located within the page, ads, authoritative websites, backlinks, etc.)
  • Duplicate content
  • SEO-friendly URLs and canonical tags
  • Meta tags

You need to make sure that your website is optimized for SEO so that Google will find and properly index you. Even if you have the most amazing product, your target customers would have a hard time finding your business, if you are not on Google’s database.

RANKING

 

Once the spiders crawled and indexed your site, the next step is ranking. Search engines will consider multiple elements to determine your website’s ranking on the SERP.

Here are some of the factors that will impact ranking:

  • Load speed -- Google recommends that your page load should be two seconds or less to keep your bounce rate low. For instance, 8 in 10 users will abandon your page when it takes 4-5 seconds to load.
  • Off-page and on-page -- On-page refers to the technical elements of your website and content quality. Off-page typically refers to the backlinks--the more authoritative they are, the better.
  • Mobile-friendly -- American adults are glued to their phones for almost four hours each day. Nowadays, the phone is not only a tool to make calls. It is the main tool that connects them to the Internet.

 

According to this study's data, nearly 7 in 10 shoppers use their phones to read reviews first before deciding to buy. Meanwhile, 66.7% use a shopping app on their phones. The figure is significant since global e-commerce sales will hit more than $600 billion in 2021.

  • Relevant keywords -- How your keywords match the user search is crucial to your rank. But depending on your industry, the keywords can be extremely competitive. You need to have a better understanding of what your customers are doing when online. You also need to test your keywords and benchmark them with your most successful campaigns. Even Google will tell you that you produce content to address a user’s need rather than please the algorithm.

Being added to Google’s database is totally free. You do not have to fill up a form to be indexed. But you do have to know the parameters for crawling, indexing, and ranking to avoid the pitfalls that can penalize you, as well as mimic the best practices to gain an edge over the competition.

 

It does not take rocket science to conclude that the global pandemic changed the marketing landscape, particularly consumers' online behavior.

For one, the pandemic drove home the point that everything is fragile. Resilience and flexibility have become the marketing buzzwords. Organizations that failed to adapt are left behind as others have ambled on, limping perhaps, but not crippled.

Over the past year, the competition for keyword search has intensified. As consumers stayed inside their homes, online activity ramped up. More importantly, a new market opened up--consumers who were new e-commerce but were forced by the lockdowns to do their shopping online.

However, even a behemoth like Google is not immune from its devastating effects. For instance, experts project a five-percent dip in Google revenues. The search engine giant loosened its grip on the US digital market from 31.6% in 2019 to 29.4% in 2020.

But what is the pay-per-click landscape for 2021? How will advertisers navigate this "new normal?"

Here are some of the trends to watch out for:

  1. COVID-19 remains a force majeure -- As the world races to produce a viable vaccine against the coronavirus, marketers do not foresee sweeping changes in digital advertising this year. Advertisers will continue to tighten their belts and adopt a wait-and-see attitude. According to Agility Solutions, millennials are the most affected by economic restrictions. They are cutting their spending, staying indoors, stocking up on their supplies, and using public transportation rather than waste money on gas. As such, you need to craft a marketing strategy to account for the change in their online buying behavior. In the same vein, the buying behavior of men tends to be more affected by COVID. For instance, they are likely to stay away from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores compared to women.
     
  2. Lockdowns formed new habits -- COVID changed the average consumer's perception of the world as they realized that nothing is permanent. But consumers have adapted to the new normal and, thereby, formed new habits that would likely sustain even post-COVID. As already mentioned, those who were hesitant about online shopping before have now embraced the latest technology. And they realized that their initial fears were unfounded. Organizations are also more pressured now to improve their systems with the rising consumer demand. While people were more forgiving before the lockdown, they want better communication, particularly when it comes to shipping and delivery.
     
  3. The continued evolvement of voice search --According to data, over half of the population in China and India use voice AI for search. Teenagers (55%) tend to use voice search compared to adults (44%). You need to review your existing blueprint to make sure you would not be left behind. For example, you need to adopt the conversational language and long-tail keywords in your online search. Google has done a remarkable job of tracking omnichannel conversion. Using Google Analytics, advertisers can also monitor offline conversions across different devices. But you need baseline data on what your customers are searching for using voice tech. Generally, people use voice assistants to call someone, search for a store or information, find directions, or play a song. But you can customize the data to profile your customers. 
     
  4. Google search data continues to be limited -- Toward the end of last year, Google announced that it is restricting access to search data when there is no meaningful information. The problem is that the search engine did not elaborate on what "significant" means. But marketers immediately felt the impact of this decision as they saw fewer details on their analytics reports. As Google pushes advertisers to be more heavily dependent on machine learning, expect this obfuscation of data to continue in 2021. On the one hand, automation will benefit the small and medium companies, but the big spenders will have to adapt because Google shows no signs of budging from its position. For instance, they must find a way to cook a complete meal with little ingredients. For savvy marketers, getting access to 85% of the information would still be enough to launch a successful campaign.
     
  5. Automation to accelerate further -- Marketers must face the truth: automation is here to stay. Rather than continue to resist, they should make more effort to learn how automation works. It is not to say that you should nix your existing manual PPC strategy, but expect to cede more control to the platforms since they will demand more from you. Track the areas where you lost control due to automation, and decide whether to adapt or move forward. It is false to assume that human intelligence will become obsolete. You still need PPC pros to parse the data, especially when the machine generate contrasting feedback. You need to be quick to deviate or move forward when you find yourself at a crossroads.
     
  6. Take your hand from the cookie jar -- Advertisers must put a plan in place as nations continue to impose new restrictive policies on data privacy. For many years, marketers have relied on cookies to develop leads and target customers. But the terrain is shifting, so your search marketing team must craft a data strategy to comply with the new policies. More importantly, you also have to wean from a cookie-reliant strategy and develop new solutions using first-party data. By customizing your website, you can exploit first-party data to customize your search strategy that aligns with your business goals. Improving your first-party data will also be crucial in generating more accurate metrics on your leads. 

 

Those are just some of the trends for Google Ads and PPC for 2021. As the global pandemic has shown, organizations who showed a propensity to adjust quickly are more likely to survive. Marketers have the advantage of experience and hindsight to craft their search strategy amid the specter of COVID-19. The good news is that this year would not be as unpredictable compared to 2020. As long as you have good foundations, you can build on them to maintain or speed up your momentum.

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