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How To Find SEO and Keyword Ranking Success on Google in 2022

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How To Find SEO and Keyword Ranking Success on Google in 2022


Heading into the new year, I’m usually full of cautionary notes about SEO, keywords, rankings, and organic traffic, all tied to search engines like Google.

These days, I’m optimistic because technological advances could be a real win for companies that keep up with SEO best practices.

The work will be more time-consuming than difficult. You (and your team) will need to focus on multiple types of content, from blog posts to podcasts. Yes, you need to work on page load speed and secure featured snippets. But expect your content – website pages, videos, images, and audio – to work for you to a greater degree as long as you’re creating it to meet strategic goals.

Google seems relentless in unearthing the best results for searchers. Enter the Google Multitask Unified Model (MUM) update, an AI-based algorithm designed to streamline searching.

MUM compares complex queries to give people what they want the first time they search. For content marketers, MUM will increase the odds that your content (not necessarily a text-heavy page) will be selected for a search result.

Keep these quick tips and reminders at the ready as you make your SEO plans for 2022. (As always, make sure to test any changes with your own data.)

The MUM update from @Google aims to give searchers what they want on the first try. That’s good news for search-optimized #ContentMarketing, says @mikeonlinecoach via @CMIcontent. Click To Tweet

Understand searcher intent

With MUM, Google advanced its ability to understand what someone wants from a search query. You should do the same. It’s easy to attract the wrong kinds of visitors and prospects to your content. That often leads to low click-through rates, few conversions – and complaints about low-quality leads from sales (and marketing) colleagues.

Think about creating content with an understanding of your ideal searcher’s intent. Is it informational, transactional, or navigational content?

You’ll probably need to create content for all three types, with most visitors arriving in research mode.

Of course, you can’t anticipate every content scenario. For example, a search for “heat exchanger” could lead to a visit from someone ready to place a sizeable industrial order. But sometimes, the searcher is someone who has a question about a heat exchanger in their home. It happens. But your goal is to minimize worthless, time-consuming leads from the “wrong” kind of visitor.

In many cases, keyword phrases are a dead giveaway about the types of websites someone hopes to visit.

Enjoy traffic you never expected

In 2022 and beyond, you may find your content ranks for keyword phrases you’re not targeting. In some cases, the words won’t even be in your content. You may get some top rankings and learn some phrases to focus on in future content.

In some search results, you may rank for keyword phrases that aren’t even in your content, says @mikeonlinecoach.

CMI, for example, ranks well for 3 Stunning Visual Storytelling Examples. The word “web” doesn’t appear on the page, but the article ranks No. 11 for “visual storytelling for the web.” I expect that kind of ranking to occur more often as Google refines its algorithm.

Spreadsheet showing Content Marketing Institute article ranking No. 11 for search term "visual storytelling for the web."

Click to enlarge

Make your passages count – Google can look at them all

Sometimes a passage in your content will be the driving force for a search engine result since Google can now index passages as well as pages. Here’s how I described this indexing capability in an article last year:

Picture a website page with 15 paragraphs. Before this change, the 14th paragraph likely had little value in the eyes of Google. After all, it’s a small part of the content and is near the bottom of the page. Maybe, at most, it helped define the overall point of the content on the page. And yet, that paragraph may be the answer to an often-searched question … Now Google says it can pinpoint that useful passage, which drives the page up in the rankings.

Neil Patel goes into depth about passage indexing for anyone who’d like to read more about it.


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Be the authority

If you’re the established expert for a topic, you have a better chance of ranking well.

Don’t expect to rank well for every page on your website – competition may be fierce from phrase to phrase.

But you may get rewarded if Google detects overall themes over multiple pages. You can also build authority by seeking and attracting backlinks from relevant and high-quality websites.

Page titles and headers still matter

You can ill afford to make content that you never change, though scores of websites do exactly that. Why not at least revise something like a content header?

When you’re close to ranking well (maybe No. 15), why not rework some words to attempt a higher ranking?

When your #Content is close to ranking well, tweak your #SEO. Try reworking the headline or other words to attempt a higher ranking, says @mikeonlinecoach via @CMIcontent. Click To Tweet

The words in page titles still matter. I watch them closely because Google increasingly seems to display content headers with search results instead of the page titles. However, that doesn’t mean Google ignores page titles as a ranking factor.

I used straightforward page titles to land top rankings for a wholesale company, as shown in the table below. You can see that site pages have all improved their rankings in each of the past three years.

Google prefers to use longer content headlines instead of my page title phrases (which are often just two words). I’ve adjusted these simple page titles several times to get the appropriate visibility for the client. With those top rankings, I don’t see a need to make them longer.

If you don’t try different scenarios, you won’t know what works best. More than one person has said no one would click on a two-word, general SEO page title. But they do.

Would more people click if it were catchy or a play on words? Maybe. Load up that page title with extra words and see whether your ranking drops.

Here’s how I would approach testing page titles – I’ll use data about Pillsbury.com to demonstrate. Pillsbury has some decent page rankings – and quite a few that miss the mark. They rank No. 6 for “pumpkin pie recipe,” for example, a search phrase that attracts 3 million searches a year.

I suspect modifications to the page title alone would help that page rank higher (and grab a bigger slice of the search volume for the term). Here’s what I’d try:

Current:
<title>Easiest-Ever Pumpkin Pie Recipe – Pillsbury.com</title>

Option A:
<title>Pumpkin Pie Recipe Easiest-Ever – Pillsbury.com</title>

Option B:
<title>Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Best, Easiest Ever)</title>

I removed “Pillsbury.com” in option B. Why not test a page title without the company name? Even if you omit it, Google often adds it to search results anyway. As long as Google looks to page titles to help determine rankings, try several scenarios on key pages.

See what’s missing

Pillsbury also makes the classic mistake of not looking closely enough at its data. A search of thousands of keyword phrases shows “recipe” is important to searchers. Isn’t it odd that the recipe section doesn’t say “recipe” in a prominent place?

In this screenshot, I show how Pillsbury could add the word “recipe” to its pumpkin-pie (recipe) page:

You can do the same thing with your website. Look for what’s missing in your design.

Quality content isn’t a sure bet with SEO

In the SEO world, quality surfaces in countless conversations. Everyone is a fan of quality, including Google, which offers search quality rater guidelines.

But remember one thing: Quality doesn’t ensure SEO success. Just ask Malwarebytes, which was honored by Content Marketing World in 2020 for Best Blog Post: Parental Monitoring Apps: How Do They Differ from Stalkerware?

The Content Marketing Awards program isn’t an SEO competition. Judges looked at relevance, quality, and performance based on goals and pass-along potential.

However, Malwarebytes could optimize the page to perform better in search. The piece doesn’t rank in the top 10 search results for any of these relevant non-branded phrases (data from Semrush):

Click to enlarge

The more SEO challenges change, the more they stay the same

In 2022, just like in many previous years, your content marketing faces many SEO challenges. The ever-changing search engine results page (SERPs) will keep pushing down traditional results. Images, videos, Quick Answers, People Also Ask, and more SERP features appear at any time.

Zero-click searches also threaten organic traffic. It’s almost like the “10 blue links” formula doesn’t exist anymore. Of course, it still does – just with some interruptions.

Despite the SERP changes and constant updates to Google’s algorithm, natural traffic continues to be a significant source of website visits. Build your authority with revised and new content. Don’t take your eyes off SEO – you can refine your efforts on pages multiple times a year.

What steps do you typically take to make the most of your SEO efforts? Take a fresh at your overall strategy, tactics, and KPIs this month and throughout the year.

To stay up to date on the latest in SEO, content marketing, and related trends in 2022, subscribe to CMI’s free weekday or weekly email.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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