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Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

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Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

Competing for popular keywords to win search engine rankings and attract clicks from searchers is a difficult, time-intensive process.

Too often, that type of SEO is a losing proposition.

But you don’t need to give up. Instead, develop a keyword strategy that gives your brand a better chance of ranking on search engine result pages that attract your target audience. Explore keyword search volume, competition level, relevancy, etc., to find the right balance of elements, so your content earns higher rankings.

Don’t compete for popular keywords to win rankings. Play an #SEO game that gives you a better chance to rank big, says #DanBrunell via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Here are five actions to develop a keyword research process that delivers better results:

1. Prioritize potential keywords based on preferred factors

Many factors come into consideration when you contemplate whether to target a keyword. Some might weigh more heavily than others based on your site’s current conditions.

First, create a spreadsheet to list all potential keywords you want to rank for. Then, add columns for evaluation factors, including search volume, difficulty, and intent to understand the competitive landscape.

Several SEO tools can help you assess difficulty. This example comes from Ahrefs. It estimates how many backlinks your site would need to rank for your proposed keyword. It ranges from easy (fewer than 10 domains publishing a backlink) to super hard (over 200 domains backlinking to your site).

Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

TIP: If geography is important to your brand, consider evaluating keywords based on country-specific data.

A spreadsheet gives you the flexibility to sort the data to weigh one factor over another. For example, you might sort the keywords by difficulty score rather than search volume. From there, you can prioritize your targeted keywords.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

2. Consider the potential of long-tail keywords

Many content marketers ignore long-tail keywords because searchers don’t use them frequently. Ahrefs illustrates this conundrum in its Search Demand Curve chart, going from The Fat Head (small number of insanely popular search queries) to The Chunky Middle (millions of searches with decent monthly volumes) to Long Tail (billions of search queries with a small number of searchers).

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That lack of interest in competing for long-tail keywords is just one of the benefits. These words also better indicate search intent, making those who click more likely to convert. You also can spend less time creating content because you’re targeting a narrower topic rather than attempting to be a comprehensive source.

Long-tail keywords are great for #SEO. There is less competition and searchers are more likely to be your target audience, says #DanBrunell via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

3. Listen to the searchers

The People Also Ask and related search sections in search engines indicate topics related to the query. Use those results to identify alternative keywords that your search target audience might use.

In this tasty example, you can see the broad query – how to make a fettuccine sauce – becomes more specific in the People Also Ask section:

  • How do you make a fettuccine sauce thicker?
  • How do you make a creamy sauce for pasta?
  • What is the real alfredo sauce made of?
  • What is fettuccine sauce called?

1649758014 188 Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

In looking at these results, each searcher’s intent becomes clearer. The first topic – make fettuccine sauce thicker – likely would be an inquiry of someone who is cooking the dish. But the last – what is fettuccine sauce called – is more likely the search of someone who couldn’t remember the name Alfredo. The first listing’s keywords would be better targeted by a brand looking to help people cook.

Listen to what searchers are saying. Look at the People Also Ask and related search sections on search engine ranking pages, says #DanBrunell via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The same process works for the related searches section. In this case, you can see searchers who are looking for cooking-related tips (how to make alfredo sauce without cream) vs. those looking for products (best alfredo sauce in a jar).

1649758014 941 Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

While these sections can be helpful in understanding similar alternative keywords, they also can assist when developing your content. You can use some of those related search topics as subheadings in your content.

4. Examine your competitors’ place on SERPs

Do a search for your proposed keyword and see which sites own the top rankings. If you find popular websites ranking at the top, you might think the keyword competition is too high and cross it off your list.

However, before you do, check if the content really answers the targeted keyword. If the high-ranking content answers only part of the keyword phrase, you may have an opportunity to rank by creating quality content that tackles all or almost all of it.

For example, let’s say you want to target the “best 14-inch gaming laptop” keyword. Analyzing its competition on the SERP, you see popular websites (The Verge and PC Mag) are the top rankings.

1649758014 229 Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

You take a closer look at their content and realize they don’t satisfyingly answer the keyword search intent. Their content is about the best gaming laptops in general, not just about the 14-inch size. It might present an opportunity for your site to rank high by publishing content narrowly focused on the 14-inch aspect of the keyword phrase intent.

5. Take note of ‘out-of-reach’ keywords

A website’s authority likely influences search ranking results in some capacity. If your site doesn’t have a high authority now, it will be difficult to compete for some keywords.

Backlinko’s research, which uses Ahrefs authority ranking, illustrates this. Ranking positions closely correlate to the site’s domain rating. At least 75% of the top 10 ranking positions came from sites with domain ratings of 50 or higher.

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At least 75% of the top 10 ranking positions came from sites with domain ratings of 50 or higher, according to @banklinko #research via #DanBrunell @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

While your site likely can’t compete now, you might be able to in the future. If you continuously implement an SEO strategy for your website, its authority should grow and become more prominent.

Thus, take note of the keywords for which you want to rank but would find too difficult now. As your domain authority grows, revisit this list of out-of-reach keywords to assess whether they’re within reach given your higher domain authority.

Look outside the box for SEO potential

Keyword research is essential for SEO. But you don’t always have to use the most popular or most often used keywords.

By looking outside the search box for related but less-tapped potential keywords, your site will be more likely to inch itself up in the rankings and be tops for your target audience.

All tools noted in this article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to share, please add in the comments.

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit (May 31-June 2) in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

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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