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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business [+Data From 500 Marketers]

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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business [+Data From 500 Marketers]

More companies than ever are using Instagram for business. Back in 2017, the social platform celebrated having over 25 million businesses. Today, we can bet that number has likely doubled.

Instagram has proven a worthwhile investment for marketing purposes. When we surveyed over 1,000 marketers in 2022, they revealed that Instagram is the most effective social media platform, above Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.

But using Instagram for business purposes can seem daunting, particularly if you’ve only ever used it for personal use. Here, we’re going to explore how to promote your business on Instagram.

How to Use Instagram for Business

Let’s delve into the six strategies you’ll need to employ to get the most out of Instagram.

1. Add value with your content.

First and foremost, Instagram is a visual platform. To attract an audience, it’s critical you spend time delivering high-quality, thoughtful content.

To succeed on Instagram, it’s essential you create valuable content that attracts an audience and encourages them to engage with your business. Consider how you can delight your customers while staying true to your brand.

You don’t need to just post images of your product to spread brand awareness and increase sales. In fact, in some cases, it’s better if you don’t.

For instance, Hot Pockets sells microwaveable pocket sandwiches. Admittedly, I wasn’t much of a fan of Hot Pockets — until I began following their business’s Instagram account.

There are only so many times you can post a picture of a sandwich. Hot Pockets goes in a different direction. Instead, they appeal to their audience through humor, often posting relevant memes or funny quotes.

For instance, in response to @ShallowDivers’ claim that Hot Pockets aren’t sandwiches, Hot Pockets responded with this:

using instagram for business: hot pockets instagram posting "hot pockets are sandwiches" multiple times

Ultimately, it might take trial and error to find the content that works best for your business.

While Hot Pockets relies on humor, other brands like The North Face use impressive adventure images to appeal to their demographic.

The point is, brands need to add value to Instagram’s community rather than using the platform for advertisements alone. This is critical for your long-term success.

Looking for a few more tips on how to use Instagram to positively impact your business? Check out these Instagram hacks in the video below.

Put these tips to work, and update your marketing mantra from “content is king” to “valuable content is king.”

2. Maintain a consistent theme.

Imagine each Instagram post as an individual page of your website.

While each post should be good on its own, ideally you’ll need to create a cohesive theme to maintain an audience’s loyalty.

It’s important to note, I mean “theme” in the broad sense, as it relates to everything from hashtags and captions to pictures and videos. You’ll need to create a consistent tone of voice and a unified feed aesthetic.

Ultimately, the more specific and consistent you are with your posts, the more likely you are to attract your most authentic audience.

You might think it’s better to appeal to more people through various themes, but ultimately, staking your claim in a specific niche will help you create stronger, more genuine connections.

For instance, consider MVMT. Their feed is undoubtedly consistent, with similar filters and color palette, and an emphasis on darker, edgier images:

using instagram for business: mvmt instagram showing edgy theme

Their consistency is equally obvious in their captions, with phrases like “Create a life you can’t wait to wake up to,” and “Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered stories.” In every post, you’ll see the same hashtag: #jointhemvmt.

Undoubtedly, their followers both expect and prefer this type of content, or they wouldn’t have followed them in the first place. To continue delighting customers, it’s essential MVMT keeps true to their theme.

3. Engage with your audience.

Engaging with your audience helps your followers feel valued and, as a result, more connected to your business.

There are plenty of ways to engage with your audience. You might reply to comments on your posts, participate in comment threads, run contests or giveaways, use Instagram Stories polls feature, or give shout-outs to followers on your Stories, particularly if they post something relevant to your brand.

Halo Top Creamery does a fantastic job of engaging with their audience.

They frequently post cute ice cream pictures with the caption “Ice cream is better with friends. Tag a friend you’d like to eat this with.”

A simple “tag a friend” caption is an effective strategy for growing your audience since your followers will then tag friends who might not know about you yet.

Additionally, Halo Top often does contests and giveaways, like this one:

using instagram for business: Halo Top giveaway post on Instagram

By tagging winners in their posts, Halo Top incentivizes other followers to engage with their brand in the future. Additionally, Halo Top’s giveaways demonstrate their genuine commitment to connecting with their audience.

4. Consider influencer marketing.

As a consumer, you’ve likely seen the recent influx of influencer marketers on Instagram — and for good reason.

Marketers we surveyed in 2021 said it was the marketing trend that offered the highest ROI, above experiential marketing, SEO, and short-form content.

By leveraging the power of an influencer, who is already authentically connected with her audience and seen as a trusted source of information, you’re able to spread brand awareness and drive sales.

Micro-influencing in particular is a strong opportunity for brand endorsement.

You could use your budget and resources to invest in traditional advertising, but it’s often easier to create a more targeted, effective marketing campaign through influencer marketing.

Ultimately, influencers have already cultivated an engaged, loyal following — by identifying the right influencers for your niche, you’re much more likely to find followers who will truly enjoy and support your products or services.

5. Build an ad campaign.

There are two reasons you might use Instagram ads: to spread brand awareness or to increase sales.

It’s critical you focus on one goal when creating an effective ad campaign. An Instagram ad aiming to sell a product will look vastly different from one intending to attract followers.

For instance, consider this Greenchef ad that showed up on my Instagram feed.

With various images of delicious food and an enticing “$40 OFF” discount, it’s likely a high-converting ad. It’s very clear what Greenchef’s goal is: to get people to buy their product.

using instagram for business: greenchef in-feed ad

YouTube, on the other hand, invested in Instagram ads for an entirely different reason.

Their advertisements, featuring well-known singers like Camila Cabello, entice followers to simply follow YouTube Music’s Instagram channel (and, ideally, YouTube’s music channel itself).

using instagram for business: YouTube sponsored ad on Instagram

To implement an effective campaign, it’s essential you decide what you’re hoping to achieve before you begin creating it.

Once you’ve chosen a goal, you’ll want to create the ad creative. Similar to what we discussed in strategy one, you’ll need to create high-value visual content if you want your ad to be successful. Take a look at other ads on Instagram and consider how you might emulate them.

Additionally, A/B test multiple variations of the same ad (changing the copy, image, or targeted audience for each version), to figure out what works best for your business.

When you’re ready to create your ad, you’ll need to use Facebook Ads Manager. Among other things, Ads Manager lets you narrow in on your target audience (including location, age, and various interests of your ideal demographic), choose your ad objective, and analyze ad performance.

6. Utilize shoppable posts.

If you’re using Instagram for business, then, Shoppable Posts is one feature you’ll want to know well.

It allows you to create posts and tag your products and/services to create a seamless shopping experience directly on the platform. It creates less friction for your followers, increasing the odds of turning them into customers.

using instagram for business: shoppable post example

Before you begin executing these strategies, you’ll need one thing: an Instagram Business Profile.

A business profile legitimizes your Instagram account and enables you to add critical information like your company’s business hours, location, and phone number.

Pros and Cons of an Instagram Business Profile

Whoa, whoa, whoa,” you might be thinking. “I don’t know how I feel about committing to all that.”

Here are some helpful pros and cons so you can determine if a business profile is right for you before jumping in:

Pros

  • Access to metrics on how your posts and stories perform.
  • Ability to track how your followers engage with your content.
  • Access to features necessary to run ad campaigns.
  • Gain feature for adding URLs to Stories so you can send warm traffic to your site.

Cons

For most brands, the benefits of a business profile outweigh the cons due to the additional features and analytics. However, it’s important to consider your goals before taking action.

How to Create a Business Instagram Profile

In order to create a business profile on Instagram, you must first create a personal Instagram account and then switch it to a business profile. If you already have an Instagram account, skip to the next section for instructions on making the switch.

If you don’t already have an Instagram account, there are two ways to get one:

  • From the computer
  • From a mobile device (IOS and Android)

For detailed steps, check out our comprehensive article on how to create a business account on Instagram.

How to Switch to Your Business Profile

When you have an Instagram set up, follow these easy steps when you’re ready to make the switch:

1. Go to your profile on the mobile app.

instagram profile page example

2. Click the hamburger menu (three stacked horizontal bars) in the top right corner.

instagram hamburger menu

3. Click the “Settings” gear at the bottom of the menu.

instagram settings gear

4. Select Account.

instagram account menu

5. Choose Linked Accounts.

instagram linked accounts

6. Choose Facebook and follow the prompts to connect your business’s Facebook page.

instagram linked accounts

If you do not have a Facebook Business Page, you will need to create one before completing this step. If your Facebook page is already linked, move on to the next step.

7. Once complete, return to the Settings menu.

instagram settings menu

8. Select Account.

instagram account menu

9. Choose the new option “Switch to Professional Account.”

instagram switch to business account

10. Follow the prompts to add any additional details.

instagram additional details about business account

11. Select Done.

You’re now ready to begin implementing your social media strategy on Instagram. From here, you’ll want to determine the audience you want to target, the aesthetic and tone you want to convey, and the content you want to create.

Top Instagram Promotion Tactics of 2022 [Data]

Audience Interaction

On Instagram, the number one strategy marketers plan to leverage for the first time in 2022 is audience interaction.

One of the most effective ways to do this is through IG Live. According to marketers surveyed, it offers the highest return on investment, out of all of Instagram’s features and tools.

That’s why 22% of respondents are investing more in IG Live than any other format on the platform.

Interacting with your audience offers so much more than just engagement. It helps build a sense of community with your followers and allows you to get to know them better.

Content Engagement

While audience interaction takes the #1 spot as the newest strategy, content engagement wins for the overall strategy marketers will invest the most in.

On social media, engagement signals that your content is resonating with your audience. Whether it’s on an in-feed post, a Story, or a live stream, engagement can be a great indicator of your page’s health.

In fact, 17% plan to invest more in it than any other strategy while 43% plan to use it for the first time this year.

Wondering how to make your content more engaging? Try the funny route. Our research shows that funny content is most effective for audience growth, reach, and engagement.

This adds up because funny content tends to be relatable, and that’s usually what gets someone to stop scrolling and pay attention.

The format can also play a role in engagement, with most marketers posting more video than anything else on the platform. Eighty-two percent of marketers surveyed post video content on the platform and the content formats they use most are video-based.

Stories is another tool that can be highly effective for marketers. In fact, those who leverage it are 23% more likely to say their 2021 IG strategy was effective.

Product advertising

With Instagram constantly expanding its shopping tools, it’s no surprise that a top goal for marketers is advertising their products and/or services.

Our research suggests that the use of content centered around products and services will increase in 2022. For 39% of marketers, it will be their first time leveraging this type of content on the platform.

Those who did prioritize this content in 2021 say that it offered the second-highest ROI of any content type on the platform.

When it comes to IG shopping tools, 79% of marketers surveyed say they’ve used them, and 22% plan to invest in this feature the most.

Whatever your goal is, whether it’s increasing brand awareness or generating more revenue, using Instagram for business gets you one step closer to achieving it. While not all of Instagram’s tools will offer a high ROI, they are all worth trying to see what works best for your audience. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Instagram Hacks




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How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

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How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

You learn about a C-suite decision that will have a transformative impact on your content marketing team. Perhaps, the announcement included one or more of these directives:

  • “We must produce more content and manage multi-platform distribution with greater agility. We plan to add ChatGPT to our editorial capabilities and implement a headless CMS.”
  • “We’re updating our three-year business strategy and need all teams to align their operations around achieving a new set of goals.”
  • “We’ve been acquired. We will be merging many of our business units and will need to relaunch our website so we can tell a more unified story.”

Or maybe it’s another substantive shift in strategy or operations. As a content team leader, whether excited or terrified, you must get your team on board and ensure the initiative succeeds.

Transformational changes are nearly impossible to implement without a clear plan that communicates the desired destination, the motivation to pursue it, and the path to reach it.

Jenny Magic, marketing strategist and professional coach, shares how to do that in a Content Marketing World presentation she co-developed with Melissa Breker.

You can watch the conversation (beginning at 2:30-minute mark) or scroll down to read her recommendations to gather support, clear obstacles, and keep efforts moving in the right direction.

5 sabotages that disrupt transformational changes

Every organization has unique conditions and challenges, but Jenny points out five common barriers that prevent the successful adoption of new priorities and practices:

  • Forced change. When workers don’t understand or agree with the change, they won’t invest in the process, especially if it requires a lot of effort or a long-term investment.
  • Misaligned goals. You can’t sell a change that benefits the company if employees don’t see how it helps them reach their personal or professional goals.
  • Group-speak. Your team may nod in agreement when the CEO says, “We’re all going to do this together, right?” But that enthusiasm might not hold when the boss’ eyes are no longer on them.
  • Rushed process. Team members already overwhelmed with responsibilities don’t give new tasks top priority. Jenny says if you can’t take something off their plate, communicate they won’t be pressured to rush it through.
  • Lack of team alignment. Everyone must be on the same page regarding the direction, intention, and actions required. Without this alignment, tasks fall through the cracks, and all the hard work may not lead to achieving the goal.

Forced change, group-speak, rushed processes can all disrupt transformational changes, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For your change mission to succeed, your communications plan should account for how you’ll address (or avoid) these obstacles. These details will minimize the friction, lack of participation, and flagging enthusiasm you could have experienced during implementation.


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Plan for the transformation journey

Jenny shares a three-part approach she uses to help her consultancy clients get big ideas off the drawing board, onto team members’ priority lists, and into the marketplace.

1. Establish the destination: What’s changing, why, and what’s involved

To get your team to join the journey of change, they need to know where they’re going. Create a change summary to help with that. The simple map summarizes the relevant details about the change, the phases of implementation, and the benefits gained when the goal is reached.

First, identify the most critical details to communicate. Answer these questions:

  • What’s the nature of the change? What is being done differently, and what does that mean for the business and team? What isn’t changing that might be the stability anchor?
  • Why is it happening? Why does the organization think this change is critical? Why is now the right time to do this?
  • Who’s involved? Who will the change affect? What will they be expected to do? What about their roles, processes, and priorities? Why would they want to participate, and why might they be reluctant?
  • When will it happen? Will the change occur all at once or gradually? What happens at each stage, and which ones will require the content marketing team’s involvement?
  • What are the expected results? What is the organization looking to achieve? What benefits or advantages will it bring? What will the company and team see when the goal is reached?

With these answers, you can build a change summary to share in stakeholder and team member conversations. Any spreadsheet or presentation tool will do, though you can create a template based on the document Jenny uses for her client engagements (below).

The summary of what’s changing appears at the top of the page and details of the most critical elements appear below it. Bulleted notes detail what to expect with each element and the benefits for the business and your team. Lastly, a general timeline outlines each project phase.

2. Load up the crew: Gather support and communicate benefits

To achieve the change goal, all players must agree to travel together and move in the same direction. “If our team is not aligned on where the heck we’re going, there’s literally no chance we’re going to get there,” Jenny says.

Team members who immediately see the value in the initiative might follow your lead without question. But some key players may need a little more convincing. Jenny offers a few ideas to get them on board.

Enlist the support of an active, visible sponsor: Social media shows putting the right influencer behind your pitch can move minds. The same goes for pushing through a big change within an organization. Research from Prosci finds projects with an extremely effective sponsor met or exceeded objectives more than twice as often as those with a very ineffective sponsor.

If you have the support of senior team leaders and high-profile company personnel, ask for their help socializing the change to others. They might seed relevant information in their newsletters and other content they share internally or help shape your change activities and messaging to improve their appeal.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations: Some team members may reluctantly participate because they perceive an impact on their role. For example, workers may think the added work will strain their already demanding schedules. Others may be skeptical because of negative experiences with similar changes in the past or disbelief that the change might benefit them.

A series of stakeholder conversations can help identify the significant concerns and disconnects that might prevent them from engaging. They also can reveal specific challenges and motivations that you can address with more resonant and appealing messaging.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations so team members can see how they’ll benefit, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Some marketing tools you use to influence an audience can help you facilitate those conversations. For example, Jenny says, personas can surface critical insights about who may be impacted by the change and what it might take to nurture them onto the path.

Her personas checklist includes these questions:

  • Who’s leading the change? Do any key sponsors directly relate to the persona’s role?
  • Will this persona be impacted more or less than others?
  • Will they need information more frequently or in greater detail?
  • What reactions will they have?
  • How will you approach training for this persona? What support will be provided?
  • At what phase of the change will they be most affected?

Jenny also recommends using your marketing communication and engagement tools. For example, the simple tracking sheet she developed (below) can help visualize the audience, delivery formats and channels, optimal messages, and approval and final sign-off requirements to mention in your stakeholder discussions.

Choose the right messenger – and a customized message: Sometimes, a disconnect occurs not because of the message but because of the message’s deliverer. For example, employees expect to hear about significant corporate initiatives from executives and senior leaders. But for changes impacting their day-to-day responsibilities, they may prefer to hear from a manager or supervisor who understands their role.

Other times, preventing a disconnect could require tailoring the message to the team’s needs. Jenny suggests focusing on the direct benefits once the initiative is activated. “Consider how it might help them further their career, address something they’re struggling with, or offer an opportunity to explore an area they’re passionate about,” Jenny says.  

Surface hidden issues with confidential interviews: Valid concerns can remain hidden, especially for team members who are reluctant to voice their objections in team meetings. Working one-on-one with a neutral or external moderator – someone with no stake in the decision for change – might help them open up.

Ensure they know the confidential interview results will be aggregated so no individual responses will be identified. “It’s really helpful to get that confessional energy,” Jenny says. “It can help you surface individual reservations, causes of their reluctance, and personal motivations. “

A confidential one-on-one interview with an external moderator can help surface concerns from reluctant team members, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Jenny shares in her checklist (below) some preliminary questions for a moderator to assess during a confidential interview:

  • How does the individual feel about the change?
  • Is it the right change?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Is it supported enough to succeed?
  • What risks do they predict?
  • Do they have ideas about how we could reduce obstacles and challenges?
  • What lessons from past change efforts can they share with us?
  • Could they become a change champion?

The process can fuel opportunities to shift messaging, positioning, or delivery approach to help the outliers see how the change can benefit them and get them more excited about participating. Jenny says it can also reveal valid concerns that need to be solved so they don’t hinder progress.

3. Hit the road: Position and prepare your team for success

Big changes are always risky. They disrupt the status quo, and if they involve multiple teams and business functions, some changes may feel like a win for some at the expense of others.

Taking a few extra steps before executing your plans can keep those issues from diverting the goal or leaving any team members stranded along the way. “This is where we establish commitment and accountability and think about what could go wrong and how we’re going to deal with it,” Jenny says.

Own up to what you do and don’t know: Ultimately, you can’t plan for every contingency. “You’ll lose trust rapidly if you pretend you do,” Jenny says. She offers a few communication tips to set the right expectations from the start:

  • Be clear and candid: Directly address what you do know, don’t know, and what is and isn’t possible with this change. Outline how you will communicate status updates and new information as they arise.
  • Be receptive: Don’t take resistance personally. Listen to your team’s questions and respond to their feedback with an open mind.
  • Be visible: Socialize progress across your team’s preferred communication channels, and make sure everyone knows how to reach you if they encounter a problem. You can regularly host town hall meetings, road-show presentations, or open forums to ensure everyone stays informed and has a chance to share their thoughts.

Position project requirements as opportunities and advantages: Jenny suggests exercising creative thinking to help concerned team members see the new responsibilities as a chance to benefit personally.

For example, if they need to learn additional skills to accomplish their tasks, provide in-house training or access to third-party educational tools. Position the opportunity as a chance to expand their capabilities to help them be more prepared for this change and to advance their careers in the long run.

You can also use the big change to rethink your org chart and rebalance team member responsibilities. “Every single person has work that they hate on their to-do list. I’ve found folks become more open if they’re offered an opportunity to do a task trade-off,” Jenny says.

Incentivize the journey – not just the destination: A lengthy and gradual implementation process should include incentives at regular intervals to motivate team members to stay the course.

Rewards can be specific and tangible, such as bonuses or loyalty program points. Or they can be intangible, such as shoutouts during monthly meetings or in internal newsletters. Arrange team happy hours or give comp time for extra hours worked. These appreciation efforts can make the added burden feel worthwhile.

Overcome obstacles in predictive planning: An element of science exists in the journey of change. You can’t reach your destination if the forces of resistance are stronger than the forces propelling you forward.

Jenny shares an innovation tool from a company called Gamestorming that can help quantify the balance of those forces at each phase. By working through this force-field analysis, you can take steps to ensure the winds of change will be in your favor.

An example of how it works is shown below. In the center, an illustration represents the change you want to implement – transitioning from hierarchical to more transparent hubs.

On one side, the forces of change – all the elements of the vision that characterize the importance of the change and how it works in your favor – are listed. In this example, those forces are:

  • Improve long-term revenue
  • Help meet market demand
  • Satisfies customer expectations
  • Addresses current unsustainable costs
  • Give a competitive advantage in the marketplace

On the other side, the forces of resistance – conditions and constraints that may prevent realizing the vision – are listed. In the example, these forces include:

  • Company culture
  • Time constraints
  • Viability of new tech
  • Client adoption
  • Current costs

Rank each element’s impact on the project’s success on a scale of one to five.  Then add the rankings on each side and compare the scores to see whether you have a stronger chance of success than failure and identify where efforts should be made to overcome obstacles.

Plan the journey for a smoother arrival

Convincing your team to jump aboard the organizational-change train is rarely easy. But with a clear operational plan, aligned support, and open communication, you’ll help them see the benefits of participating and get them excited to reach their destination.

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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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.

While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.

In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?

Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.

As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.

Top alternative search engines by global market share

When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:

1) Bing

2) Yahoo

3) Yandex

4) DuckDuckGo

5) Baidu

These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.

Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.

Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.

Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Bing and Yahoo

Screenshot of bing.com, November 2022

Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.

Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.

Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.

Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.

If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.

This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.

Microsoft also pushes Bing further by offering easy rewards for searches and more advanced image search capabilities than Google.

Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.

To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:

Infographic by AS Marketing, December 2022


1. List your business on Bing Places

Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.

2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools

While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.

3. Match keywords in your content

Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.

5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content

Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.

Yandex

Screenshot of yandex.com, November 2022

Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.

While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.

Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.

While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:

1. Focus on tags over internal site structure

According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.

2. Consider search intent to rank

Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.

3. Eliminate toxic links

Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.

Baidu

Screenshot of baidu.com, November 2022

With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.

While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.

Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.

1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately

As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.

2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page

Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.

3. Obtain a verification level and get certified

By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.

Top alternative search engines by data privacy

While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.

On a macro scale, the European Union continues to protect data privacy with strict GDPR regulations and the California Consumer Privacy Act indicates similar trends for Americans.

From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.

If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.

Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.

DuckDuckGo

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.

Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.

Here’s how to optimize for it:

1. Sharpen Your User Experience

UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.

2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks

As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.

3. Rethink Local SEO

Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.

Startpage

Screenshot of startpage.com, November 2022

Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.

And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.

So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.

SwissCows

Screenshot of swisscows.com, November 2022

There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.

This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.

SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.

What do they all have in common?

In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.

But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.

Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.

And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.

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