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Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4 Questions

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Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4 Questions

Driving organic traffic from search often requires attaining high Google rankings. Often, I see marketers creating content with that goal but without keeping keyword research in mind. They expend valuable time and effort creating a piece that ultimately falls flat.

Marketers often mistakenly create #content to draw organic traffic without keeping keyword research in mind, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

However, when you target the right keywords for your business, SEO can be one of the most valuable and highest ROI channels. But how do you identify and prioritize the right keywords? A consistent keyword research process can make your job easier.

Answer these four questions to qualify and find keywords that will deliver for your brand.

Is your site deep enough?

Just because a keyword has low competition doesn’t mean your site will easily rank for it. If you have not written much publicly about the subject, you do not have the necessary topical depth authority. In Google’s eyes, your site – even if your business has decades of experience on this topic – still falls into the newbie category.

To break out of newbie status, make sure you have published at least six articles on that same general topic in the last three months.

Gain topical depth authority by publishing at least six articles in the last three months on the general subject, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Is the keyword really valuable?

Possessing topical authority for a keyword doesn’t necessarily mean you should pursue it. Targeted keywords should relate in some way to your business revenue.

For example, a calendar platform site might rank well for the keyword “time management.” But people who search for that phrase are likely looking for information about the topic. They will read the article on the site, but they won’t convert into customers. (I use this example from my knowledge as an investor in Calendar.com.)

However, if the calendar platform site ranks for the keyword phrase “alternatives to Calendly” on a listicle or internal page, the readers of this content would be 100% interested in the platform’s business offering and convert much better since they are looking for a solution in the space.

A successful SEO strategy should tie to your company’s offerings for maximum ROI. Otherwise, the content won’t really benefit the business in the long term. Choose keywords that have both your topical depth authority and relevance to revenue.

A targeted keyword for which your business can rank but isn’t likely to convert into revenue is not a smart choice, says @JohnHall via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

How authoritative is your site?

While topical depth authority grows in importance to Google rankings, general site popularity remains a factor. Your website’s domain authority (DA) indicates how well your pages are likely to rank for the targeted keywords. Use a tool like Moz domain authority checker, Domain Rating from Ahrefs, or Authority Score from Semrush. Compare your site’s score to the sites already ranking for your target keywords. If your score isn’t close to their scores, you won’t find it easy to rank for that keyword.

In general, companies with high domain authority scores or ratings will have an easier time ranking for competitive keywords. If you’re a smaller company with a low domain authority, spend your time focusing on lower-volume search terms.

How do you spot content competitors’ weaknesses?

The secret sauce to a winning SEO strategy is capitalizing on the weaknesses and problems you find on the search engine results page. Among the weak signals that could indicate positive opportunities to pursue:

  • Page title misses terms in your target keyword
  • Page word count is less than 1,000 words
  • Page takes more than three seconds to load
  • Page was published over six months ago
  • Page is a forum site such as Quora, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn
  • Page’s Moz spam score is above 10%
  • Page reading level is at least ninth grade
  • Page mobile user experience is poor

Find a keyword with a few of these weakness indicators in the results for which your company already has the topical depth and domain authority. Then, you can capitalize on them to create content that delivers better for the audience and the search engine results page.

Putting it all together

It can be helpful to start your keyword search using a tool like Ahrefs to get insights into monthly keyword search volumes and competitor domain authority to get a baseline understanding of ranking difficulty. But you still must evaluate the search results to find weaknesses to capitalize on.

A variety of tools can help in that process. TopicRanker shows how to use the data to make better decisions around keyword research. Enter your website’s URL and a topic relevant to your business expertise. (Avoid using generic keywords.)

In this example, I input www.salesmessage.com/ as the URL with the keyword “sms for marketing.” The results indicate it has a medium keyword difficulty with a search volume of 18,100. It includes the Moz domain authority for the site along with the missing number of words in the meta title, word count, readability score, load time, and spam score.

1679368005 495 Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4The TopicRanker tool can:

  • Analyze your website and inputted keyword
  • Crawl search results for thousands of keywords related to that topic to find specific weaknesses and problems in the SERP
  • Uncover all the search results where the content does a poor job of helping the reader
  • Suggest keywords your company should be able to rank for (usually between five and 10).
  • Break down the SERP results for each suggested keyword, showing competitor weaknesses on which you can capitalize and create a better piece of content

1679368005 766 Find Keywords You Can Actually Rank for With These 4

Making SEO progress

With so much competition for attention, you can’t simply create content based on gut feelings. It requires knowing which questions to ask and, more importantly, which answers will lead to the creation of an effective SEO strategy. Failure to do that means you’ll exhaust resources creating content that doesn’t impact your company’s bottom line. But by following this process, you can create winning content that ranks high and brings customers organically.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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