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Search Engine Optimization Content Search Engine Marketing

How-To Content Isn’t Going Anywhere (and What That Means for Your Strategy)

Let’s discuss How-to Content and is working?

Recently, Amanda Milligan posted an interesting article about the how to content, what it means and how it helps.  What caught my eye was the tie from witch burning 500 years ago to CDC how to wash your hands ( now come on, do we really need instructions on how to wash hands? )

Extracting content ideas from circumstances is what exactly illustrates the problem and the opportunity; when you have lemons, make lemonade !

Content is still king.  Good content still goes miles.

So, I am reproducing the article below by Amanda

Posted by Amanda Milligan

I’m a big fan of the Lore podcast, and in a recent episode, the host discussed a book called the Malleus Maleficarum.

Two words starting with the “mal” prefix doesn’t sound super friendly, right?

Well, the book is essentially a guide on how to identify witches and conduct witch trials. It turned out to have quite the horrible impact on society — as we’ve learned in history classes — but the host notes that it’s also one of the first how-tos ever written.

And it was published in 1486, more than 500 years ago.
How-to content isn’t new, and from what I can tell, it isn’t going anywhere. Look at how many search results come back when you narrow content down to titles including “how to.”

It’s not just that there’s a ton of this type of content, either. People want to read it.

The prominence of “how-to” content

My team at Fractl did a study about how different generations search online. We gave nearly 1,000 people this prompt:
You just got engaged! It’s time to start thinking about the wedding, but you’re not sure where to start. What is the first word or phrase you would search using Google or another search engine?
Thirteen percent of all the respondents’ hypothetical searches had “how to” in them, and the youngest respondents — millennials and Gen Zers — used it the most.

It serves as additional proof for what we already suspected: how-to content remains a staple in the content world.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? How-tos not only lend themselves to the thrill of learning new information online (and the seemingly endless number of things that are available to learn); they also serve as a tool of empowerment. Even if you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out just by going online and reading/watching/listening to content someone else put together for you.

If people continue to desire this type of content, how can you make sure you’re incorporating it into your content plans accordingly?

Finding how-to opportunities

In some cases, it’s obvious how more how-to content can help your brand. Perhaps you’re a B2B SaaS company with a product designed to help teams collaborate online. You could write how-to articles about improving communication, transitioning to a new chat client, and plenty of other topics.

It’s important to have these articles, because not only do they speak to a direct need of a certain audience, but they’re also directly related to your brand offering. They’re rife with more natural call-to-action opportunities, and they demonstrate your willingness to help solve a problem.

This article by Brembo is a perfect illustration of this.
After the helpful guide, they have a CTA to:
“Just go to the configurator (www.moto.brembo.com) and enter some simple information about your motorcycle such as brand, engine displacement, model and year. The configurator will search through the entire Brembo line and quickly indicate which Brembo products are available for the selected bike, even including the pad compounds.”
And voilà! You have a useful guide that ties directly into your product.
However, the trick is making sure you’re seizing every opportunity and not settling on just the obvious how-tos.

Here are some ways you can find creative new opportunities:
Ask your audience. Run a poll on social media. Survey your email list. Call your customers. Whatever your preferred method, ask what they want to see! Get to know their challenges better so you can create content that will address them.

Research what’s being asked online.

You can start by going to Answer the Public or using BuzzSumo’s Questions tool. Both allow you to see what people are asking across the web regarding topics. But you can also look at similar content that exists and see what people are saying in the comments. Is there any confusion? Any points that still need to be covered?

Talk to your sales team. They’re the ones “on the ground” discussing potential worries and concerns from your clients and customers. If you haven’t already, set up a regular check in with the sales department so you can stay updated on what questions are popping up that the marketing team can answer in its content.

Additionally, for brands that might not have clear ideas for how-to content, it’s important to explore top-of-the-funnel opportunities, which you can do using the same tactics above.

Top-of-the-funnel means that, while the how-to guides might not be directly related to your service offering, they’re still good for introducing your brand to people who are interested in your general industry.

For example, like many other food brands, King Arthur’s Flour has recipes involving flour on their site. However, unlike many other food brands, their article, “How to make high-rising biscuits” has more than 94,000 engagements on Facebook, according to BuzzSumo.

Now, this is arguably middle-of-the-funnel because you need flour to make the biscuits and it’s a flour company creating the content. But people looking this up probably already have flour in their homes. The benefit of creating this content is that now they’re familiar with this brand of flour, and if the recipe goes well, they have more trust in this particular brand.

So, the article doesn’t have to be “how to choose the right type of flour.” It can be something your audience wants to know related to what you offer.

Getting creative with how-to content

Sometimes you want to create a guide that technically might already exist, but you want to do a better job in one way or another.

That’s great! But it means going the extra mile, thinking outside the box, and every other cliche you can think of. And that doesn’t always mean doing something costly or extravagant.

For example, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC released a piece about how to wash your hands correctly. Rather than sticking to the diagrams you see in restaurant bathrooms, they created a clean list of steps followed by a video showing exactly how to execute each step.

Just the addition of the videos made the content much more valuable to readers.

I also love this article from Taste of Home. I’ve read a million recipes on how to make chocolate chip cookies (what? I have a sweet tooth!), but this is the first time I’ve seen one that helps you adapt a basic recipe to make the best cookie for you.

The simple addition of this graphic adds an entirely new value to the piece that so many other variations lack by offering visual representations of textures for each recipe option.

So how can you achieve the same result?

When you’ve decided on a topic to write about, do the following:
Sum up in one sentence exactly what you want to teach people. Be as specific as possible. This will keep you focused when you’re creatively brainstorming how to execute.

Explore what other how-to content already exists and what they’re lacking. Does the type of content work well for the topic? Is it too long, too confusing, too boring? How can you make yours easier to understand and more interesting?Constantly bookmark inspiration you come across. All kinds of content out there can provide you with creative ideas on how to execute a how-to guide. Put all of the links or images in a Google doc to create a sort of virtual vision board, or make it a habit to go to sites like https://www.reddit.com/r/InternetIsBeautiful/.

Conclusion
Knowing that how-to content is always going to be desired is a great prompt for examining its role in your strategy. Which of your previous how-to pieces have performed the best, which have performed the worst, and what can you learn from both?

Twitter @millanda!

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Search Engine Marketing Reputation Management Search Engine Optimization

How Do You Measure the Success of a Local SEO Campaign?

How do you know whether what you’ve done has actually worked?

We track rankings internally, but we never share these with clients. Rankings don’t mean squat to a business’s bottom line. Everything we do is focused on ROI, which means the only way to truly judge success is that the client’s site gets more organic visitors and more organic leads. Typically, we see an increase in leads from other sources, since the content and optimization work tends to make it more likely that visitors will convert, regardless of how they got to the site. But ultimately, we look at an increase in organic traffic and organic leads.

Greg Gifford (VP of Search, SearchLab)

Start with simple end ideas

Yes, you can have multiple goals (both macro and micro), but establishing one simple primary end goal is essential.

To understand what a website’s primary end goal should be is to have a clear understanding of the website’s objectives and/or client goals.

Goal setting tips

  • Measurable: If you can’t identify it, you can not improve it
  • Be specific: Keep it simple
  • Share your goals: Studies have shown that writing down and sharing your goals with others boosts your chances of achieving them.

Some simple yardsticks

  • Organic Traffic
  • Referrals
  • Reviews
  • Backlinks
  • Domain Authority
  • Leads
  • Phone Clicks
  • Top Keywords

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Search Engine Optimization Google My Business Search Engine Marketing

What Is Google My Business & Why Do I Need It?

In an effort to gain more visibility on Google, many businesses create a Google business listing (known officially as a Business Profile).

If you’re one such business owner, something you might not realize is that creating a Business Profile does not give you management over it, and you need those management and editing capabilities if you want your Business Profile to work for you as an effective SEO and lead generation tool.

So how do you gain management over your Google Business Profile? The answer is that, in addition to creating a free Business Profile, you must also separately create a free Google My Business account for that profile.

You need a separate Google My Business account to manage your Business Profile.

A Google My Business account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile, attain management rights to it, and unlock additional free features to increase your visibility on Google. In this post, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about Google My Business, including:

What Google My Business is
How to use Google My Business effectively
How to use Google My Business for SEO
How to create a Google My Business account
Read on so you can incorporate this free and powerful tool to your marketing toolkit!

What is Google My Business?

As mentioned, Google My Business is a tool that enables you to manage and optimize your Business Profile on Google. So to explain what Google My Business is and how it works, let’s first make sure we’re clear on what a Business Profile is.

Your Business Profile is Google’s term for your Google business listing. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google Search.

Business Profiles on Google Search look like this:

Business Profiles on Google Maps look like this:

 

And Business Profiles on mobile look like this:

Creating a Business Profile is the same thing as adding a place to Google Maps—which is something that anyone (including a random stranger or an automated listing generator) can do. All that Google requires is the business name, location, and category. Once Google confirms it is not a duplicate, they will create the Business Profile for that location. The Business Profile is then open to consumers to leave reviews, add photos, ask questions, and even answer questions. The Business Profile may also get populated with information that Google pulls in from across the web.

What this means is, a Business Profile can exist on its own, apart from a Google My Business account. And whether you created your own Business Profile or not, you don’t have the ability to manage the information it displays or the reviews it collects.

That is where Google My Business comes in. By creating a Google My Business account, you can access, customize, manage, and enhance your Business Profile on Google, all still for free, which we’ll get into next.

How to use Google My Business for local marketing

So we’ve established that Google My Business is not your Business Profile, but rather a tool by which you enhance your Business Profile to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Let’s cover the four core ways you can use this Google My Business to make your profile on Google listing a better local marketing tool.

1. Engage with consumers

There are a lot of ways consumers can interact with your Business Profile, and you use your Google My Business account to engage back with them. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, enable direct messaging, and set up associated alerts. You can even use Google My Business to publish posts to your Business Profile, much like you would with Facebook and other social media platforms.

Your Google My Business dashboard is where you can respond to reviews, publish posts, and answer questions asked on your Business Profile.

2. Highlight your business

A Business Profile alone contains limited information about your business. But through your Google My Business account dashboard, you can provide hours, a link to your website, products and pricing, attributes, and other details that make your business unique. You will also use your Google My Business to make edits and updates as needed.

A complete Business Profile offers a complete snapshot of your business, including its best features, right in the SERP.

3. Gain insights

You can use the Google My Business dashboard to gain key insights on your audience and local search performance. In the analytics tab of the platform, you can see the queries customers are using to find your Business Profile, whether they found you on Google Maps or Google Search, a breakdown of actions taken on your listing, and how your photos are performing compared to other profiles in your category.

4. Perform local SEO

Just as Google has algorithms for ranking its ads and websites, it also has one for ranking Business Profiles. Through your Google My Business dashboard, you can incorporate keywords into your Business Profile and perform other optimizations to help it rank in local results, which we’re going to cover next.

Google My Business can help you optimize your Business Profile to show up in the coveted 3-Pack.

How to use Google My Business for SEO

Google Business Profiles are dynamic. Not only do they change form based on platform, but Google will also prioritize sections of your profile according to the term that was searched as well as the type of information most important to consumers in your category. Even better, Google will embolden keywords in the content of your profile that it thinks are relevant.

But there needs to be information to prioritize and keywords to embolden in your profile in the first place. Just as you (or your agency) would use a content management system like WordPress to optimize your website for search engines, Google My Business is used to optimize your profile and expand your reach. How do you use Google My Business for local SEO? Well, since optimizing for Google is essentially optimizing for searchers, it all comes down to the same three things: targeting, quality of information, and trust.

Target your information

To use Google My Business for SEO, make sure to incorporate relevant keywords into your Business Profile so you can tell Google what you’re trying to rank for. Use them in your “from the business” description, your responses to reviews, your answers to questions, and in the posts you publish. Make sure to incorporate them naturally just as you would with any other SEO strategy.

Include keywords in your description, editable through your Google My Business dashboard.

Maintain quality of information

The completeness and accuracy of your Business Profile impacts its rank, so make sure to provide the requested information in every section of your Google My Business dashboard. Especially important here is your contact information, special hours, and attributes.

Build trust

The final approach to using Google My Business for SEO appeals to the trust component of Google’s algorithm. Keep your information updated and accurate as your business evolves. Keep a steady stream of reviews coming in and respond to them. Also, signal to Google that you are active by regularly uploading photos and publishing posts to your Business Profile through Google My Business.

Reviews and responses appear on your Business Profile. Be sure to manage them through your Google My Business dashboard.

SEO is important for any business, but particularly for small businesses that can use local targeting to compete against large competitors on the SERP. Google is making local SEO even easier with its robust Business Profiles, so a Google My Business account is essential for any business trying to maximize visibility in their local market.

How to sign up for Google My Business

A free tool that turns my Business Profile into a power marketer for my business? Where do I sign up?

To get a Google My Business account, go to google.com/business and click “Manage now,” which will take you through the steps of creating an account. Remember, a Google My Business Account does not automatically create a Business Profile—it gives you access to it and the ability to add more to it. So you’ll want to make sure you have an existing Business Profile to access.

Also remember that creating Google My Business account does not give you automatic access to your Business Profile. Once you create and are logged into your Google My Business account, you will then need to locate your separate Business Profile on Google Maps and then select the “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” link seen right on the profile. Once you complete that process, your Google My Business account will then be connected with your Business Profile and under your management.

Get started with Google My Business today

With a clear understanding of exactly what Google My Business is, how it works, and how to use it, you can now see that using this free tool isn’t just a good idea for local marketing but a must. Get your Google My Business account up and running now so your Business Profile can outshine your competitors and attract more customers on the world’s most popular search engine.

Source: WordStream

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Google My Business Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

10 Local Marketing Ideas to Support Your Business

Ten things you can do to boost awareness of your business within your locale and get more customers through your doors.

Your audience doesn’t want more content. They want a more personalized experience.

Your personalized creativity in providing it is the name of the game. Get your game together, here are some ideas:

  1. Create a Google My Business Profile
  2. Create Bing Business Page Profile
  3. Create Targeted Local Ad Campaigns
  4. Offer Referral Incentives on your Website
  5. Create Local Partnerships with businesses
  6. Promote Your Latest Customer Reviews
  7. Promote Your Content on Social Media to Your Local Audience
  8. Create a “Get Directions” Page
  9. Create Educational Videos and Podcasts
  10. Sponsor Local Events To Amplify Your Reach

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Google Adwords Search Engine Optimization

What is Google SERP Query Matching? (How does it work?)

Google‘s SERP query matching process – when deciding which websites best match each user query, is complicated.  For each Search Engine Result Page (), Google assesses hundreds of factors in order to determine the most likely match and best answer. Two of the strongest and controllable signals are backlinks and page content.

How to Get On Top of the Google SERP

SERPs look different for each query, sometimes by change in order of words, but they are all made up of the same three components:

  • Paid ads
  • Organic results
  • SERP features
  1. Create Your Own Internal Backlinks
  2. Optimize Everything for the Right Keywords
  3. Optimize and Tweak Your Website

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Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization Social Media & Marketing YouTube Marketing

What is a Good Ad Copy? (Why Strong Content Matters)

Every effective content marketing starts with good copy.  If you are writing an Ad, you should be able to describe in fewest possible words what you are doing or selling?   Why it is important and most importantly, whey should they bring their business to you?

Effective ad copy is easy to spot. A Good ad copy will have a compelling headline. It will appeal to a desire or curiosity. The objective of the headline is to make readers focus and make them to read the rest of the copy.

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Search Engine Optimization Social Media & Marketing

Visual Content Does Better SEO (videos and photos )

Visual content always perform better than any other type of content in terms of shares

To get best results:

  • Create custom-graphics
  • Create or share video and audio content.
  • Create Infographics
  • Presentations
  • Screen Captures
  • Gifs and Memes
  • Photo Essay
  • Image Quotes

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Google Analytics Search Engine Optimization Social Media & Marketing

Transforming The Way You Promote Content in 6 Steps

  • Article title (Make it Smart)
  • Article URL (Make it relevant)
  • The keywords we are targeting (Exploit Creative Options)
  • Current rankings for those keywords (Check and recheck)
  • Suggestions for supporting article topics (Link within your website)
  • Search suggestions for finding sites that may link to us (Do your homework)

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Content Search Engine Optimization Website

Why Style Matters in SEO?

A that is chrisp, cogent and consistet appreciates the reader’s intelligence by showing that you respect and want to earn trust of the visitor to the website.  Trust is vital in search engine result pages (SERP) for all your local seo results.

Google’s algorithms have become sophisticated enough that the quality of content has more importance than use of any particular keyword or phrase or string. Thus, the first SERP might not contain an exact match keyword anywhere in the body of the page.

When it comes to marketing your business / website, your writing style matters a lot. Sadly, it gets ignored enough time.

What is important is that your writing be clear, concise and consistent.

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Google Analytics Reputation Management Search Engine Optimization Social Media & Marketing

Social Media Traffic

Social Media

  • How much traffic do you get from social sites?
  • What do they do?
  • Does social sharing drive additional traffic and conversions?
  • How important are the social reports in Google Analytics?

Importance of Social Media Traffic

Social media allows you to have a regular and ongoing engagement with your auidence and it stabilizes your interaction because you have control over how to message to a targeted market yourself.

How important are the social reports in Google Analytics?

The Google Analytics Social Sources Report gives you complete detail of which social media networks are generating traffic for your website. It helps you define and further target your traffic and engage your audience.

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