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Worried About Your SEO Future? Yes, You Will Survive the Google Helpful Content Update



Worried About Your SEO Future? Yes, You Will Survive the Google Helpful Content Update

On any given day, your best SEO efforts may fall short. You don’t experience the search engine rankings you expected. Your top spots suddenly drop or disappear.

Forced to be vigilant, you pay close attention to the latest news about what Google expects. You ponder the search engine’s helpful content update rolled out Sept. 9 that certainly created a considerable buzz. Although many algorithm adjustments are narrow and often unannounced, the publicized helpful content update may have a widespread impact.

Among the questions posed on the Google Search Central Blog that SEO-focused content marketers should ask:

  • Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
  • Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
  • Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, Google indicates it won’t be as pleased with your content as it has been.

Personally, I have my doubts about the toll of Google’s helpful content update. It’s hardly poised to be the Big Bad Wolf that will blow a house down. I’m sure some website marketers will take a hit if they didn’t see this update coming, but they will be the exception. Here’s why:

@Google’s helpful content update isn’t the Big Bad Wolf ready to blow down your #SEO house, says @mikeonlinecoach via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Google isn’t surprising anyone

Quality is at the heart of this change. It should merely weed out websites that simply failed to play Google’s game. For years, Google has emphasized that websites should provide a good experience — relevant, user-friendly content that loads quickly. Google put the spotlight on quality with its major Panda update in 2011 that targeted websites filled with thin content.

Technology is sophisticated

I can’t begin to know what it takes to launch, feed, and support AI and machine-learning models like BERT, which Google introduced in 2018 to better understand the context of search queries. But the search engine operates in a complex environment, even if it’s not quite like the world in The Matrix movies. The elaborate technology now leads to websites routinely ranking for keywords that aren’t even in their content. All these advances have developed slowly. Google quietly adjusts its search engine with little fanfare, implementing more than 4,000 changes in 2021 alone.

@Google’s elaborate tech now leads websites to rank for keywords that aren’t in their #content, says @mikeonlinecoach via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Google is kind of two-faced

Google touts quality 24/7 (just look at its quality rater guidelines), but I’m a little skeptical about the company’s ability to remain faithful to what it claims to value. It’s too easy to come across content that’s self-focused, trite, and unclear. Google’s detection system is extremely limited or full of errors.

Google won’t bury organic rankings for major brands and authoritative websites

About 10 years ago, I told a business its search rankings were doomed because of its widespread use of duplicate content over multiple websites. I was wrong (thanks, Google, for feeding me a line). Maybe some rankings aren’t as high as they could be, but their digital properties ranked well for massive numbers of highly competitive keyword phrases. How did they pull it off? They’re a major leader in their space.

It’s worth noting this same company has experienced other Google ranking changes that just can’t be explained. One day an old website page that ranked well lost its high position. A year later, the rankings came back without a single change to the page.

Rankings can shift for many reasons – and organic traffic can suffer too. Maybe you have many top 10 rankings, but over time you get fewer of them. Or maybe a No. 3 ranking fell to No. 6. Competitors with fresh content on the same topic may surpass what you created long ago. Sometimes websites experience significant changes simply because search engine results pages (SERPs) have design revisions and adjustments to featured elements, pushing down traditional results.

In this example, a search for “precast concrete” results includes a map, local results, people also ask, a knowledge graph on the right, and a few normal results. Below this top-of-SERP view is a series of videos before websites are highlighted again.

Rather than remind you in detail about SEO best practices – like simple SEO page titles, descriptive headers, and internal linking – I’ll focus on what to watch if the helpful content update has sharp teeth.


1. Aim for quality

Will Google catch you for using a cliché or a sentence fragment? Hardly. Is your content clear and well organized? Is it original? Think along those lines.

Northern Tool + Equipment has nothing to worry about despite how it sometimes frowns on short paragraphs to improve readability. Google ranks it No. 2 with an average of 110 monthly searches for “automotive parts washers.” On this page for automotive parts washers, the description runs almost 250 words without a single paragraph break. Clearly, Google is fine with this text presentation.

2. Answer questions – lots of them

Google rewards websites that have the right answers – no matter whether it’s a well-known brand or blog that sticks to a niche. Your brand websites should explain themselves – we-do-this or we-have-these-capabilities pages. But focus on filling pages with content detailing explanations about how something works, what can go wrong, problems to anticipate, etc., and in other words, share your wisdom or insights.

Fill pages with #content explaining how something works, what can go wrong, etc., and @Google will be pleased, says @mikeonlinecoach via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

3. Open the gates

Gated white papers, studies, e-books, how-to guides, and more are ideal for generating leads. But don’t hide too much information. At the least, review what you keep behind closed doors that requires a completed form to access. Can you excerpt a helpful portion of it for all to consume and use it to call attention to the full resource?

Orbit Media Studios doesn’t gate any of its annual blogging study:

With a little bit of extra SEO work (text and SEO page title), some of these eighth through 26th place rankings could improve. At least the content is indexed.

4. Create case studies

Too many companies won’t produce case studies because they don’t want competitors to know what they do, can’t show their customers’ products, or reveal a customer by name. So many excuses. How about using your wordsmiths to create case studies that work for both a search audience and your business needs? You could use phrasing such as:

  • Businesses routinely need to get the word out about why they’re the most experienced/notable/trustworthy in their office furniture/home building/automotive parts industry.
  • One company turned to us to design/engineer the best solution for them.
  • Last year, we shaped a branding campaign, designed four prototypes, created 3D models, etc.
  • In less than two weeks, we had a plan that they approved. It was possible because of our deep bench of experts – engineers, designers, project managers, and more.
  • Using our XYZ machine that we installed in 2021, the client …

Case studies can be loaded with all sorts of details about approaches, equipment, time savings, productivity efficiencies, and more without divulging proprietary information or client information.

5. Add transcripts to videos

I hear a few objections to publishing video transcripts. Even if website visitors won’t read all that text, a search engine will feast on every word, just like when people binge a 10-part streaming series on Hulu.

Concerned about the text interfering with the user experience or a call to action? Put pressure on a website designer to make the page work. At a minimum, place the critical call to action above or at least near the top of the transcript text.

No site is perfect

I think Google recognizes any website can have shortcomings. Quality content doesn’t always ensure top rankings. High domain authority doesn’t either. It’s not always the amount of content on a page or how many pages a website publishes.

If it’s clear that you’re an expert in your space, expect to achieve some presence among the top positions. If you have the right answer for a search query, you’ll more likely have the opportunity to appear high on the page – right after those ads, videos, people also ask, and any other quick fact Google packs in there.

But you’ll get your shot from time to time. Just keep sharing your content as much as you can.


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

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer



Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions



Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.


What are Instacart Promotions?


Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”


– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart


Source: Instacart


How Do Instacart Promotions Work?


Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  


Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart


Instacart Promotions Benefits


Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.


Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  


Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives


With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 


Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 


Access Real-Time Performance Insights 


The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.


Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.


“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti


Interested in Instacart Promotions?


With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.


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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 



Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 


Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 


Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 


Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 


Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 


Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 


Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 


So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 


Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | 


Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  

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