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6 Reasons Why Blogging Is Still Important For Marketing

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Is blogging still relevant? The numbers certainly say so.

There are 70 million new posts each month, and 42% of the web is built on WordPress alone. As a result, blogging is still a prominent part of an online marketing strategy.

In fact, in a recent survey, out of all the content marketing modes out there, such as videos, infographics, ebooks, and online events, 90% of businesses used blogs to help market their brands within the last 12 months.

But, how are they accomplishing this with the overload of content on the internet?

Well, they can achieve this with the right strategy and by focusing on the priorities surrounding blogging, such as SEO, and taking time to understand their customers, which we’ll discuss in a bit.

But if you’re getting into SEO or have been a content marketer, you may wonder if it’s still worth building out blog strategies or spending time outsourcing blogs. Well, it is.

Even though social media has become an essential part of content strategy, that doesn’t mean blogs have been left in the dust.

Blogging brings in more traffic and can help build brand awareness and authority. And those leads and traffic turn into customers and help create an audience.

But making influential blogs that meet your company’s objectives is another topic.

So, while they are important, it’s crucial you take time to create an effective strategy that engages and grows your audience and entices people back to your brand’s website.

Why Is Blogging Still Relevant?

Now, let’s learn why blogging is essential for brands and the strategies top brands use to ensure their blogs are influential in the ever-evolving age of online marketing.

1. Blogging Builds Loyalty And Trust

As mentioned, blogs help build loyalty and trust. But how?

Providing advice and reliable information that consumers can use will establish authority on the topics you discuss.

Blogs are a great way to slowly nurture your audience and prove your expertise when it comes to your industry and product line.

An essential part of improving content is the E-A-T concept, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

While it’s not a ranking factor, Google shares that E-A-T is essential to its algorithm and how it analyzes and recognizes content.

This means your content needs accurate, informative, and helpful information throughout the content and site.

2. Blogging Increases Visibility

The next part of building great content is making sure it is search engine optimized. Blogs that answer the questions consumers are asking about in your industry are helpful for SEO.

Additionally, incorporating keywords throughout your captivating and unique headings and subheadings, as well as your well-researched unique content, is a sure-fire way to help increase visibility.

Internal linking is another way to increase visibility. Link building throughout other pages, blogs, and product pages on your site can help build brand visibility, awareness, and authority.

It’s also important to look at the length of the blogs that are comparable to the topic you are discussing to ensure you’re fully covering the topic and meeting the length that will help you rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Images are another great way to enhance your content and visibility, which we’ll talk more about later. Now, let’s get into brand awareness.

3. Blogging Creates Brand Awareness

New and original content can make your brand more prominent amongst the rest of your competitors.

When they are searching for answers to their questions or want to learn something more, your brand is at the top of SERPs, giving them the information they need.

The more you invest in blog strategy, the more potential you have to grow brand awareness not only for SERPs but through shares across social media.

4. Blogging Generates New Leads

If consumers like your content, they will likely want more.

It’s an excellent way to get new leads by having them subscribe to your email listing.

This way, it’s less intrusive than having them like an ad that prompts them to sign up for an email listing to get a coupon.

While this can be a great tactic for leads, blogs help build a connection before asking for their information.

If they choose to read through your content on your site, they already like your content and want to learn more. There’s more of a relationship with your brand through the unique, helpful content.

You can then incorporate the subscription opt-in pop-up at the end of the blog or when they scroll, so they can quickly enter their information and keep reading.

5. Blogging Drives Engagement

One of the goals for most content marketers is to continue building relationships with new and existing customers.

Blogs provide more shareable content than just your products or service posts for consumers to share with others across social media.

It’s a great way to educate customers, provide tips or how-tos, and create more connections with your brand.

Over time, slowly reminding consumers of your brand through your content can help convert readers to long-term customers.

In addition, blogs can add interesting points to the customer journey and offer different opportunities to share your content.

Finally, it engages consumers with topics they are already interested in or want to learn about, creating more excitement for engagement.

6. Blogging Allows You To Understand Customer’s Needs

Generally, consumers don’t have ample amount of time to read blogs, so it’s important to find what will resonate with them to keep them on the page.

Trying to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and answer their queries is what blogs are made for and can benefit both you and the customer.

This way, you have taken the time to further research and understand your target market, and they get the information they need.

Blogs also offer an inviting space to leave reviews and feedback. You can find great areas for improvement and new ideas for blog engagement.

For example, maybe someone left a question, and that question creates a great topic for another blog post.

It is excellent for future inspiration, connecting with customers, and understanding their needs.

What Is The Future Of Blogging?

Blogging has undergone quite a transformation over the years in the strategies to optimize it and the best practices to engage with readers.

Google Trends shows that content marketing and blogging merge at some point, although the focus is now shifting to content as a whole.

Simply inputting keywords and what you think Google wants to hear isn’t enough.

All content needs to be expertly crafted and well thought out.

So now, let’s dive into how you can reinvigorate your blog content to ensure it’s hitting the mark.

How Can You Adapt To The Changing Times?

When it comes to blogs, the baseline to focus on is quality over quantity.

Don’t produce blogs just to produce them because you think it might help with your brand’s visibility.

Search engines have evolved just like blogs have and are better at evaluating content.

Also, people don’t have time to read long, never-ending content either, where it’s difficult to find the key points.

Content needs descriptive and engaging headings and subheadings, as well as clear, concise content with effective keywords.

It’s valuable to fully discuss a topic so someone can understand it but also get to the point – no additional fluff.

Additionally, it’s crucial to create a long-term content strategy to make sure you’re not just meeting general business objectives but truly reaching and understanding your target market.

Multi-Channel Storytelling Is The Way To Go

Content is still king, but the channel is now queen. Multi-channel storytelling is about how you spread content across different platforms. There are numerous social media sites and business listings where you can tailor and share your content.

See where your target market engages.

Maybe it’s Facebook or Instagram, and you can create copy that promotes the blog and brings them back to your site.

You can also check out business listings or directories where you can share content, such as your Google Business Profile, where you can share Google Posts.

Visual Content Attracts More Readers

Entwining pictures, infographics, short videos, and other visual content can help break up your topics.

It can also help you better highlight topics, describe difficult concepts, and keep readers engaged.

Be Visible In Search

To create visibility, it’s crucial to produce unique content and focus on keeping the readers engaged.

In addition, it’s vital to keep the customer in mind when creating content, so the content doesn’t fall on SERPs or get lost among other similar content.

Researching what your competitors are doing and what’s ranking well on SERPs is a start to growing your brand’s visibility.

Then finding a unique angle or building on what they are talking about while still answering what consumers are searching for, is the perfect balance for creating engaging ranking blog content.

Are Blogs Still Relevant In 2022?

Yes, but as with SEO, it is evolving. At the center of an effective blog strategy is SEO best practices.

It’s important to evaluate your strategy as SEO develops to make sure your content and overall website have the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that search engines require.

Even with all the changes in online marketing strategy, blogs remain a pillar.

Blogs can not only bring in leads but also grow brand awareness for your target market. If you take the time to understand simple SEO tactics and how to reach your audience, you will surely have a thriving foundation of blog posts.

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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

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Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

Have a question you’d like us to address? Fill out the form!

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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