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7 Ad Copy Tests To Boost PPC Performance [With Examples]

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It’s safe to say that online advertising is a must for any business.

We’re living in a digital age and, if you’re going to stand any chance of selling your products or services, you’re going to need to make sure your ads are landing right in front of your target demographic.

But simply paying for ads in the right places isn’t going to cut it. Forbes has found that the average American is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day.

When you take these statistics into account, it’s not surprising that 27% of Americans are using ad blockers.

Those who don’t block ads have their own mental filters that help them to decide what they want to look at and what they’re going to ignore.

No matter what products or services you’re selling, one thing is growing increasingly clear: You’re going to need some pretty engaging copy to help yours stand out from this ever-growing crowd.

Of course, what’s engaging and what isn’t is a pretty subjective matter. You’re going to want to know what actually works and what doesn’t. This is where ad copy tests can come to the rescue.

To help you create the best ads possible and improve your PPC performance, here are some ground rules, tips, and tricks for your upcoming ad copy tests.

Don’t Test For Testing’s Sake

As a starting point, it is essential to have a hypothesis of what you think will enhance your conversion rate and why – at all times.

Here’s the testing methodology my company follows:

Screenshot by author, April 2022Adwords Testing Methodology

Aim For Producing Clear Results

Always have ample data when you’re running tests!

Statistical significance should be your goal (in addition to that increased performance).

According to Google, your test should run until it meets one of two conditions:

  1. At least one variant has a 95% probability to beat baseline (this free A/B calculator should help).
  2. Two weeks have passed, to account for cyclical variations in web traffic during the week.

This leads us to the last testing ground rule.

Set A Testing Timeframe

Remember that tests shouldn’t be left running forever. Define a specific time frame to gain valuable data and stick to it.

Not every test will result in significance one way or the other and that’s ok. Chalk that test up as inconclusive and move on.

Now, with those ground rules out of the way, onto the tests!

1. Numerical Abbreviations Vs. Full Numerical Values

It’s no secret that ads with numbers help quantify information, whether it’s your inventory, a discount, or the price of your products.

Using numbers makes your ads more attention-grabbing and helps them cut through all the noise that other PPC ads are creating (more about that here).

Numbers also show that you’re a brand worth taking seriously – after all, you have data to back up your claims, right?

So basically, numbers are good.

The question then becomes:

  • What do you think your targets will respond to?
  • Would it be numerical abbreviations, for example, 15M, or full numerical values, for example, 15,000,000?

When creating an ad copy, it turns out that manipulation of numerical values is a great method of grabbing attention and differentiating ads.

2. Add, Modify, And Remove Pricing

Prices can be a double-edged sword when it comes to PPC ads.

In fact, a recent analysis of top-performing ads shows just 40% of top-performing branded ads and 37% of non-branded ads included numbers.

What?

On one hand, being upfront with your pricing gives users the information they need to know and can subsequently help them make a faster purchase decision.

On the other hand, the price can turn people off by reminding them that they need to spend money. This is especially true if your product and/or service isn’t the cheapest that’s showing up in the search engine results.

So how do you know which approach works? Testing.

We worked with a homebuilder client to test variations of price inclusion. After setting up a few tests, it became clear that by generalizing the number, we could increase CTRs across these communities.

Number TestingScreenshot by author, August 2017Number Testing

You can also frame your price as a discount to make it more attractive to readers. And speaking of discounts…

3. Experiment When Quantifying Promotions

In PPC marketing, it’s a common practice to quantify promotions with numbers, usually in the form of discounts, conditional pricing, and other special offers.

For example, instead of writing you have “cheap car accessories on sale,” you can write something more compelling, like “50% off on car accessories.”

But you can maximize your CTRs even further by changing the language you use in your promotions, as well as testing ads that feature percentages, actual pricing, and fully written offers.

Better yet, try testing your ‘discount’ with the top numbers that drive engagement:

7 Ad Copy Tests To Boost PPC Performance [With Examples]Screenshot from Buzzsumo, August 20217 Ad Copy Tests To Boost PPC Performance [With Examples]

4. Punctuation?!.

One of the easiest places to start with testing is around punctuation, and yet, few focus on tests this “simple.”

An analysis of 612 top-performing branded paid ads revealed that 48% of ads used exclamation points while just 11% used a dollar sign and even fewer used a question mark.

Punctuation in best branded adsScreenshot from WordStream, December 2021Punctuation in best branded ads

According to that same survey, the following punctuations were most common in non-brand paid ads:

  • Exclamation: 42%
  • Commas: 25%
  • Question Mark: 11%
  • Percentile: 9%
  • Dollar Sign: 8%

Based on our own testing, the use of an exclamation point makes sense:

Exclamation TestingScreenshot by author, April 2022Exclamation Testing

That said, the opportunity to test the use of punctuation (question marks, percentages, etc.) are worth exploring and align well with the use of emotion to drive incremental performance.

5. Appeal To Emotion

Most ads are extremely similar. They’re boring. They’re all the same. See?

Big Data SolutionsScreenshot from search for [big data solutions], Google, August 2017Big Data Solutions

Ads that appeal to people on a more emotional level can result in big gains in click-through rate.

Determine what your customer’s emotions are.

  • What do they love/hate?
  • What’s the biggest problem they face?
  • How are you going to solve it?

Worst case, take a hint from headline categories that drive engagement on Twitter and Facebook.

7 Ad Copy Tests To Boost PPC Performance [With Examples]

7 Ad Copy Tests To Boost PPC Performance [With Examples]

While traditionally reserved for content ideation, using a headline analyzer like this one or this one can also help with the application of emotional headlines for ad copy.

6. Test Your CTA

Let’s face it, different people have different reactions to ads.

A key ingredient in shaping people’s reactions to your ads is presentation – basically, the way you ask them to trust your brand or try your product or service.

This is where language comes in, and it’s especially important when writing your CTAs.

As trivial as it may sound, the first word of your CTA has the potential to create a positive or negative impression of the ad itself.

The first word in your CTA could be the defining factor, so you need to test different first words (all of which should be verbs) in your CTA, and use the high converting copy.

For example, beginning with “Call us now,” instead of “Contact us today,” could lead to a noticeable difference in CTRs.

Likewise, “Shop now,” instead of “Order now” could lead to different levels of audience reaction.

Here’s a mashup of potential calls to action variations for you to test:

  • Get
  • Shop
  • Buy
  • Build
  • Discover
  • Book
  • Order
  • Purchase
  • Get Started
  • Call
  • Request
  • Reserve
  • Make Reservation
  • Join
  • Try
  • Take
  • Download
  • Sign up
  • Learn
  • Subscribe
  • See
  • Find Out
  • Estimate
  • Start

7. Play Around With Your Landing Pages

Naturally, landing pages are a great marketing tool, because they give your target market a chance to decide whether they should interact further with the business.

As a result, testing your landing pages is a fundamental part of doing business online.

Within Google Ads, there are a couple of landing page tests that you can easily do without making any changes to your website:

  • Link directly to the most popular product in a category you’re advertising.
  • Link directly to the category page.
  • Try out different sorting methods on your category pages:
    • Best selling first.
    • Cheapest first.
    • Newest first.
    • Best reviewed first.
    • Promotions first.
    • Manual placement.
  • Link to a search made for a particular brand, product or type of product.
  • Link to your homepage (yes, it might work for you).

Pro Tip: Google Optimize is a godsend for this type of A/B and multi-variant testing (for both paid media and SEO).

When it comes to campaign optimization, you need to constantly be split testing like this and then analyzing your results. Otherwise, you’re doing your company – and your campaign – a huge disservice.

What’s Next?

Anyone in marketing knows that well-placed ads don’t come cheap.

Thorough ad copy testing can give you confidence in your ads and boost your chances of making a return on those that you do decide to run.

Following the steps above can help you to test your ad copy as best as possible before investing money in their placement. But what’s next?

Whether you experience success or find that you need to make further changes or improvements, ad testing should stay at the forefront of your list of priorities.

It’s important that you track your ads’ performance and analyze the data you collect.

This will help you to alter and edit ads as needed and make even more informed decisions going forward, maximizing success and profit.

Remember A.B.T: Always. Be. Testing.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Minimallista/Shutterstock

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An In-Depth Guide For Beginners

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An In-Depth Guide For Beginners

Every month, 2.98 billion people around the globe open up their laptops or smart devices and navigate their way to Facebook.

That’s roughly a quarter of everyone in the world, visiting the same social media platform, every single day.

Mark Zuckerberg likely didn’t imagine such astounding reach in his wildest dreams when he launched the first iteration of what would become the world’s most popular social networking site in 2003.

These days, nearly everyone uses Facebook, and it’s become as much a part of daily life as watching television.

For marketers, this means a massive opportunity to reach and engage with new audiences.

But you can’t just set up a company page and hope to attract millions of followers. You need a plan to capitalize on these opportunities and make the maximum impact.

If you’re a Facebook marketing beginner, this may sound like a daunting task, but don’t worry – it’s easier than you think.

Continue reading for an in-depth guide to Facebook marketing that you can use to get started right away.

What Is Facebook Marketing?

Facebook marketing is the process of using the social media platform to promote your business to potential buyers.

There are a variety of ways to do this, both paid and organic.

Paid Facebook marketing means using advertising campaigns within the platform to target people on the site and ideally, convert them into customers.

Organic marketing on Facebook occurs when you post content that your targets will find valuable, with the goal of increasing your following and engaging with your audience.

Why You Should Be Marketing On Facebook

If nearly 2 billion potential customers using Facebook didn’t entice you to create your own business profile, maybe this will: There are currently more than 200 million businesses already using Facebook’s free tools and apps.

And, of those, more than 3 million are actively advertising on the platform.

That means there’s a good chance your competition is already using this social media site to grow their business.

And if they’re not, jumping on board now will give you a serious edge over them.

So, with no further ado, let’s get started.

How To Set Up Facebook For Business

The very first thing you need to do to launch your marketing efforts on Facebook is to create a page for your business.

It’s free to set up and gives you a place for people to like or follow you. It also gives you a chance to engage with your customers (and potential customers), and share content with them via posts.

In your web browser, go to facebook.com/pages/create and select the category that best describes your organization. For most people, that’s going to be “Business or Brand.”

You’ll then be directed to a page where you can enter your brand’s name, select the category your business falls under, and add bio information.

If you’re a bit stuck on what to include in your bio, don’t worry – you can always change it later.

You’ll also have an opportunity to add a logo and cover image – again, don’t worry, these can be changed.

Next, you’ll be able to claim your unique URL, which will likely be something along the lines of facebook.com/TheNameOfYourBusiness.

The next step is an important one: editing your page info.

Make sure you provide all relevant details including your address, service hours, and other details customers and prospects might be looking for.

Congratulations – you’ve just created your Facebook business page. Now, it’s time to figure out how to use it for marketing.

How To Build A Facebook Marketing Strategy

As you probably already know, Facebook makes its money via advertising revenue. As such, it has made it simple for even the most technologically inept person to use it for marketing.

And this includes offering free information on how to create your own social media strategy.

You can read that helpful guide at your leisure, but for now, let’s break it down into eight steps:

  • Set your goals – What do you hope to accomplish via Facebook marketing? Facebook has three marketing objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
  • Identify your audience – How old are they? Where do they live? What is their level of education? How can your offering solve their problem? Facebook lets your market with remarkable precision, so the more information you have on your targets, the better.
  • Plan your content – Decide what kind of things you’ll post. It could be industry news, behind-the-scenes pictures, or promotions – get as creative as you like. Just make sure you’re planning content your audience will like.
  • Create a content calendar – Decide when you will post specific pieces of content. Be as accurate as you can, right down to publishing time, because there will likely be times when your audience is more active.
  • Create your content – It’s time to put step three into action and create engaging pieces. Read this article for tips on keeping your content interesting and relevant.
  • Explore Facebook’s free tools – Facebook has several options for sharing content, including text, image, and video posts, as well as Stories and live streams.
  • Determine how you will use ads – You have multiple options for advertising on Facebook. We’ll go into them in more detail in the next section so you can choose what’s right for your needs.
  • Add the Facebook Pixel to your website – Don’t forget to add the tracking code to your website to collect data, enable retargeting, and track conversions.

Types Of Facebook Posts For Marketing

Facebook offers incredible flexibility when it comes to marketing, with numerous post and paid ad options.

Let’s first dive into the posts.

Facebook Marketing Post Types

The type of post you use when marketing on Facebook will depend on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Some of the more popular are:

  • Text posts or status updates – these are a great way to initiate conversations, share information, and educate your followers.
  • Photo posts – A great way to capture attention, images are useful for attracting new customers.
  • Video posts – Videos are a great way to engage with your audience and encourage interaction.
  • Facebook Live – Use the platform’s live streaming capabilities for product demonstrations, answering questions, or interacting with your followers.
  • Link posts – Use posts with direct links to your external website or blog. They include an automatic preview.
  • Stories – Just like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories are great for building engagement without disrupting your followers’ feeds.
  • Pinned posts – Stuck at the top of your page, these are great for maximizing the reach of top-performing posts or relaying critical information, promotions, or events.

Once you have your business page set up and you’ve begun sharing content, the next phase of Facebook marketing is to venture into paid ads.

Facebook Ad Types

At the moment, there are four main types of ads on the platform:

Image Ads

Screenshot from Facebook, January 2023

These are static ads in JPG or PNG format. They should include a headline of up to 40 characters and the main text of 125 characters.

You also have a link description area which should be used for a clear and succinct CTA.

Image ads are easy to set up and work well for driving traffic to your website.

For a list of best practices for this ad format, click here.

Video Ads

Facebook Marketing: An In-Depth Guide For BeginnersScreenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Facebook video ads are a great way to boost your brand and don’t require expensive recording equipment or software. You can record these spots using your phone and there are a number of free editing apps that can help you.

Video ads can be placed in-stream (the short commercials that are shown before a video your target wants to watch), in-feed, or in Stories.

As a general rule of thumb, they should be under two minutes long and have an attention grabber within the first three seconds.

For more video best practices, click here.

Carousel Ads

Facebook Marketing: An In-Depth Guide For BeginnersScreenshot from Facebook, January 2923

Carousel ads combine multiple videos and images into a single ad, which is a great way to improve your chances of conversion.

They tend to work best for ecommerce brands, as they allow you to showcase multiple products or angles of a single product in one ad.

Ideally, these should point to a purpose-built landing page.

Here are some other best practices offered by Meta.

Collection Ads

Facebook Marketing: An In-Depth Guide For BeginnersScreenshot from Facebook, January 2023

Collection ads are another way for e-commerce brands to showcase products but are more similar to image ads than carousels.

You are restricted to a 40-character headline and a 125-character primary text.

Read about collection ads best practices here.

Which Goal Should I Focus on For Facebook Marketing?

The type of marketing that will work best for your brand depends on your goals.

As was mentioned previously, Facebook has three objectives that correspond with the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel, respectively:

Awareness

Facebook has two awareness objectives to help you expand your reach and generate interest:

  • Brand awareness – Used to entice a new audience or keep your brand top of mind. This usually results in little audience action.
  • Reach – Designed to reach as many people as possible within your ad budget.

Consideration

Consideration lets you choose from six objectives:

  • Traffic – Choose this objective when you want to increase the number of visitors to your external website.
  • Engagement – This is used to encourage people to like and comment on your posts, or respond to event invitations.
  • App promotion – Used to drive downloads of your app in Google Play or the App Store.
  • Video views – If you’re showcasing your brand or highlighting a unique value proposition (UVP). It’s also a good way to lay the groundwork for future retargeting.
  • Lead generation – Collect information about your customers and add them to your sales funnel.
  • Messages – Use this when you’re seeking to start conversations around your brand.

Conversions

Conversions lets you choose from three objectives:

  • Conversions – This could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or taking any other action.
  • Catalog sales – By connecting your e-commerce store with Facebook Ads, you can promote products from your catalog.
  • Store traffic – Use this to drive traffic to your physical location by targeting nearby potential customers.

Once you have determined your objectives, you can determine which format will work best to help you accomplish your goals.

From here, you’ll need to determine your budget and schedule. You can opt for either a daily or monthly budget, with the option for an end date for time-sensitive promotions.

Next, you’ll choose your audience – a process we’ll dive into in the next section – and select your placements.

If you’ve never placed ads on Facebook before, you will probably be best served by selecting Automatic Placements, which will allow the social media platform to determine where you’re likely to get the best results.

If you know what you’re doing, you can customize your placement and select things like device type and operating system.

When Not To Use Facebook Ads

There’s no question that running Facebook ad campaigns can be extremely beneficial. But it’s not a magical sales multiplier.

In fact, in some situations, it can be a complete waste of money – and Facebook Ads can be quite costly.

Here are some situations when you should not use Facebook Ads:

  • You’re unclear on your targeting – Nothing will blow through your ad spend faster, and with less to show for it, than going after the wrong demographic.
  • You’re not using your metrics – As with every marketing campaign, your Facebook Ads should be subject to measurement and A/B testing to find the optimal placement and format.
  • You don’t have anything worth sharing – To get engagement, your ads need to be compelling. It could be a unique product, a special event, or a sale, but people need a reason to click your ads.
  • Your landing page and ad are disconnected – If you’re promising one thing in your Facebook Ad and then delivering something different on your website, people will not follow through with your CTA.

Using Facebook Analytics

Facebook’s biggest value to marketers lies in its analytics capabilities via Facebook Insights.

To access it, go to your Page Manager and click on Insights.

You’ll be presented with quite a lot of data, created using a default range of 28 days. You can change this as needed.

The first thing you’ll likely want to check is the Overview tab, which will tell you how your page is performing. This gives you key metrics about your page and your most recent posts, and compares you to similar pages.

Use the Likes tab to see the averages, growth, and source of your likes to help you understand how your page is performing.

The Reach tab tracks how many people have seen your posts, their reactions, comments, and shares, as well as how many have hidden them or reported them as spam.

Page views help you identify where your traffic is coming from and how many views your posts are receiving.

Under the Actions of Page tab, you’ll get a report of what actions visitors took on your Facebook page, as well as demographic information on the people who clicked your phone number or website or took another action.

There are also separate tabs to tell you how your posts, events, and videos are performing on the platform.

The People tab gives you information about who saw and engaged with your posts or page. It gives you data on your fans, as well as reach and engagement numbers.

The Messages tab tracks Messenger analytics, including response time, while Promotions gives you an overview of recent sales and promotions.

Branded Content lists your mentions from Verified Pages (those with a blue checkmark).

Finally, there’s the Local tab, which while not relevant for strictly online businesses, is extremely valuable for any company with a physical location.

It gives you information about the foot traffic in your area, as well as demographic information about these people and the number of people nearby who saw your ads.

How To Create Great Facebook Campaigns

There is no question that Facebook can be an excellent marketing tool for virtually any organization.

But if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing, it can also be an easy way to blow through your advertising budget in no time.

To ensure your Facebook marketing campaigns give you the biggest bang for your buck, here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Identify your audience and write to it – Keep your posts only as long as is required to persuade a target. Keep your ads within specified limits. Keep your CTAs short and to the point.
  • Don’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach – Facebook allows you incredible targeting options. Use them. Highly targeted ads are going to perform much better than those that take a scattergun approach.
  • Have a good offer – Even the best copy and image can’t overcome a bad offer. Make sure you’re providing something people want.
  • Connect your visuals with your copy – Copy should reinforce your images and videos and vice versa. Make sure yours does.
  • Refine your strategy – You’re not going to get everything perfect for your first, second, or even hundredth Facebook campaign. In fact, there are no perfect campaigns. That means you should always be working on your strategy and content, striving to find something better.

More resources:


Featured Image: Production Perig/Shutterstock



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7 Essential Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know

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7 Essential Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know

It may not look like one of the fancy, paid SEO tools you’re used to logging into, but Excel remains one of the most versatile and powerful tools in an SEO professional’s toolbox.

You can use Excel to track and analyze key metrics such as rankings, website traffic, and backlinks.

Use it to create and update meta tags, track and analyze competitors’ SEO strategies and performance, build automated reports, and take care of many of the data tasks you’ll encounter every day.

Combine your Excel knowledge with Python, Tableau, R, and other tools, and there is nothing you can’t do.

If you’ve never worked with data before, you’ll find Excel has a bit of a learning curve, but you can use it right from the start. And it’s flexible enough to scale and grow as your site grows.

Why Excel For SEO Tasks?

While many paid tools can help you do the same tasks, Excel is a fantastic option to enhance, combine, or replace those tools.

  • It’s affordable and comes with a range of tools you already use.
  • There are a ton of resources and courses to help you learn.
  • Easily handles large amounts of data.
  • Sorting and de-duplicating – a feature often missing when you need it.
  • Create and manage databases with simple formulas.
  • Data ports easily to other tools and is available for other tasks.
  • Pivot tables and smart charts.

1. Combine Multiple Data Sources

You will often find yourself having to merge data from multiple sources.

This is intuitive and quick in Tableau, Python, or R, but you can do the same in Excel using Power Query.

There are a few steps to this process, but it’s not as complicated as you might think – even if you are new to working with data or Excel.

Power Query has automated and simplified tasks that required a lot of time and skill.

And it is probably THE best Excel feature for business and SEO professionals.

Seem a bit daunting? Don’t worry. There are several courses and tutorials on YouTube to get you started.

What It’s Good For:

  • Building reports.
  • Analytics and sales data.
  • Combining data sources to identify opportunities and gain insights.

2. Data Cleaning

Much of your time is lost simply preparing data for analysis. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Large lists are often larger than they need to be. Finding and manually removing all the duplicates, however, can be a serious pain.

Excel can do this instantly for you. Simply go to the “Data” tab and click “Remove Duplicates.”

Screenshot from Excel, January 2023.

Unwanted spaces and blank lines tend to cause havoc with many tasks, formulas, and statistics.

Excel will remove them for you simply by going to Edit > Find > Go To. Select “Special,” “Blanks,” and tell Excel how it should handle them.

“Convert text to columns” can be a lifesaver, especially if you’ve received data where the addresses or names are all in the same cell or you need to extract domains from email addresses.

Go to Data > Text to Columns. Then, indicate what to use for Delimiters (comma or space) and preview the results. When you’re ready, click “Next,” choose a destination, and click “Finish.”

When To Use It:

  • Data analysis.
  • Data processing.
  • Processing and cleaning lead databases.
  • Working with any data.

 3. Power Excel With Add-On Tools

Some of the more complex tasks, such as crawling, require a bit of coding knowledge.

If you don’t have that in your skillset, however, there are tools you can download, integrate with other tools, and add on.

Power Excel With Add-On ToolsScreenshot from SEOTools, January 2023.

SEOTools offers off and on-page SEO tools, integrations, connectors, spiders, and several other tools that make it easy to customize your Excel and create custom projects.

SEOGadget brings the power of Moz, Grepwords, and Majestic to Excel.

Analysis ToolPak is for serious data analysis. This add-on improves and automates in-depth statistics, perfect for forecasting, trending, regression analysis, and more complex data analysis tasks you might otherwise perform in R or Python.

When To Use It:

  • Reporting.
  • Regular data analysis.
  • Presentations.
  • Integrating and coordinating with other teams.

4. Infographics And Charts

Data is useless if you can’t understand it.

In fact, data visualization and storytelling are likely some of the most important skills you can have. This is where tools like Power Query and PivotTables come in.

Built right into Excel, pivot tables are the other valuable tools you have for this purpose.

However, instead of just creating a straight pivot table and a related chart, save yourself some steps by creating a master “template” first that you can then replicate as needed and adjust to suit your needs.

Excel pivot tables for reportingScreenshot from Excel, January 2023.

In many instances, however, you will need to work with dates or segments of the data. For that, you’ll want to enter splicers and timelines.

  • To splice data into segments: Select the pivot table and go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Filter > Insert Slicer. Then, simply input how you would like to segment the content (e.g., by product or topic).
  • To utilize timelines: Click the pivot table’s tools option, go to Analyze > Filter > Insert Timeline. Once there, you can choose what you’d like to use, style it, add captions, and more.

If you’ve never used Excel’s PivotTables before, a short tutorial will have you on your way to analyzing data in no time.

Still want a little more? Make your reports, social media, and updates even better by upping your data visualization game with add-ons like People Graph.

When To Use It:

  • Reporting.
  • Daily updates.
  • Surface data analysis.
  • Team collaboration and integration.

5. Automate Common Tasks With Macros

SEO, particularly agency SEO, is full of repetitive tasks like weekly reporting that consume much of your time. Excel’s macros are the answer. And they’re really easy to use.

Under the “View” tab, click “Macros” and “Record Macro.”

Automate Common Tasks With MacrosScreenshot from Excel, January 2023.

Fill out the details.

The macro is now recording. So, simply walk through the steps that you’d like to automate. And when you’re done, go back to the ribbon and stop the recording.

When you’re ready to run the automation, go to the macro button in the ribbon, click “View Macros,” and select the desired macro from the list.

If you have some macros that you use more often than others, you can add them to the Quick Access Toolbar.

When To Use It:

  • Sorting.
  • Calculations.
  • Reformatting data.
  • Setting up new site documents or new pages for reports.

6. Easily Import Feeds And Data Into Excel

If you use Google Alerts or publish frequently, automatically importing feeds into Excel can be a huge time saver.

To start, simply grab the RSS feed address. (Or, create an alert for Google Alerts and have them delivered as an RSS feed.)

Importing rss feeds into google sheets for excelScreenshot from Google Sheets, January 2023.

Then, go to Google Sheets and use the IMPORTFEED function to bring the updates straight into a spreadsheet.

Alternatively, you can add the information to separate columns.

Importing rss feeds into excel through google sheetsScreenshot from Google Sheets, January 2023.

From here, you can regularly download and import the data into Excel, combine it with other related data, or integrate it into your custom dashboards.

If you need something a little more automatic, use Google Apps Script or one of the add-ons available to automate the process.

Want a little more data behind your reports? You can scrape and import Google Search Results into Excel, too.

7. Backlink Analysis

To analyze backlinks with Excel, collect backlink data with tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic, or Google Search Console.

Then, import it into Excel and use it to analyze your backlinks in a number of ways:

  • Who links to you: Use Excel’s sorting and filtering tools to filter the data and use the IF function: IF(logic, true_value,[false_value]) to sort and identify domains linking to you.
  • What do people link to: Sort and filter to see the anchor text used most often for your backlinks (using frequency/count).
  • When did people link to you: Organize the data by date to see how old your links are and when most of your backlinks were acquired.

Find trends or patterns in your backlink profiles with pivot tables, groups, charts, and graphs by combining your backlink and sales or conversion data.

Highlight specific data based on certain conditions with conditional formatting. This makes it easy to spot backlinks from high-authority websites or backlinks with specific anchor text.

Summary

Many people overlook Excel either because they think it’s too basic to be of much use. Or it looks too intimidating or daunting to learn.

But those of us who use it understand just how powerful it can be and the unlimited possibilities it provides.

Hopefully, these tips will help you craft better strategies, find new opportunities, and tell your story with better reports and dashboards.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential To Your Success

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12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential To Your Success

Link-building strategies, along with SEO tools, have certainly changed over the years.

Since the old automated link-building tools that automatically placed content like KontentMachine or GSA’s Search Engine Ranker, modern tools have moved to manual research and outreach platforms.

Tools that many of my link-building colleagues and I use today look more like ones used for public relations (PR) rather than link-building. However, there are still tools specific to link building that aren’t going anywhere.

These can be divided into four categories:

  • Link research.
  • Prospecting and outreach.
  • Reporting.
  • AI-powered tools.

Emerging technologies powered by AI can make the link-building process easier.

Link Research Prospecting And Outreach Reporting AI-Powered Tools
1. Majestic

Excellent for identifying the types of domains you should generate links from.

3. Pitchbox

Combines email outreach with SEO metrics.

8. Agency Analytics

Connects a variety of performance metrics.

10. Link Whisperer

Good for internal linking efforts.

2. Ahrefs

Provides useful reports to analyze trends.

4. BuzzSumo

Use to identify authors and sharers/backlinkers.

9. Cyfe

Customizable but automatic reporting.

11. Postaga

Find opportunities and initiate outreach.

5. Hunter.IO

A browser extension that helps you find contact information.

12. CTRify

WordPress plugin that generates content.

6. BrightLocal

Submit and manage citations.

7. HARO

Link Research Tools

Link research is vital to figuring out what type of sites you should be approaching. This includes establishing quality criteria, categories of sites, authority metrics, and others.

Majestic and Ahrefs are two research tools that provide large databases and robust reporting.

I’ve included both of these sites as I constantly see each having data that the other doesn’t.

You may find some links to your competitors’ sites in Majestic that aren’t listed in Ahrefs and vice versa.

These tools can be used together to build a comprehensive list of sites to analyze. As with many SEO tools, the pricing depends on how many features your team needs.

1. Majestic

  • Pricing: $49.99 per month with one user for the ‘Lite’ package. $99.99 per month for the “Pro” package, which they recommend for SEO agencies and consultants.
  • Payment options: Monthly or receive a discount for an annual subscription.
Screenshot from Majestic, January 2023

Here are some recommendations on using it and what reports should influence your link-building.

  • Topics: This data can be used to identify the types of sites you should be generating links from. Consider running this report on the link profiles for top-ranking sites, then finding sites that fit into similar categories.
  • Referring Domains: Use this to evaluate the number of unique domains you should focus on building for your site. This also offers a look into the trust/citation flow distribution (count of domains by trust/citation flow).

2. Ahrefs

  • Pricing: $99 per month with only one user for the ‘Lite’ plan. $199 per month for the “Standard” plan.
  • Payment options: Monthly or receive a discount for an annual subscription.
Ahrefs toolScreenshot from Ahrefs, January 2023

In contrast to Majestic, Ahrefs has some reports that are much easier to run inside the tool. It certainly costs more, but if you want more data, then Ahrefs is the right choice.

Here are reports to use in Ahrefs over Majestic:

  • Pages > Best by links: Two useful applications of this report are:
    • Identify competitors’ most linked content to influence your content strategies.
    • Identify the type of sites that link to the content you will produce.
  • Pages > Best by link growth: This is a “trend” report providing content that has been generating links over the last 30 days. Find content here that is receiving a rapid number of links and create more robust content.

Prospecting And Outreach Tools

Finding highly relevant sites that may link to your content is the most excruciating part of link building.

You can create a large list of sites and bulk outreach to save time, but when evaluating your link-building success on links gained per hour and the quality of those links, it’s best to handle prospecting manually or in a semi-automated approach.

I’ll go through five tools, Pitchbox, BuzzSumo, Hunter.io, BrightLocal, and HARO.

These tools can be used for the most popular link-building strategies.

3. Pitchbox

  • Pricing: Averages $500+ per month.
  • Payment options: Prices are dependent on an individual walkthrough with Pitchbox.

Pitchbox is one of the pricier tools on the market compared to email tools like MailChimp, but integrated prospecting helps reduce the time to qualify sites.

The prospecting sites list builder and SEO metrics integrated right into the opportunities report make the tool stand out.

PitchboxScreenshot from Pitchbox, January 2023

4. BuzzSumo

  • Pricing: $99 per month for the “Pro” package. $179 per month for the “Plus” package. There’s a pared-down free version with limited searches per month.
  • Payment options: There is also a free version with limited features.

This is an excellent tool for building lists of blogs, influencers, and authors. Out of all the prospecting tools on the list, BuzzSumo has the best filtering options.

You can use the tool for a lot of purposes, but for link building, these are two effective use cases:

  • Identifying authors: The content research and influencers sections provide lists of authors/influencers that are searchable by keywords in the content they shared or produced. One fantastic use for this is to search through the “most shared” report and find influencers that received more than 2,000 shares of their content, then outreach to them to share yours. This can yield a lot of natural links.
  • Identifying sharers/backlinks: The second use goes a layer deeper than the first, finding those that have shared the content. Pull a list of shares or backlinking websites by content, then create similar but better content.
Buzzsumo platformScreenshot from Buzzsumo, January 2023

5. Hunter.io

  • Pricing: Starts at free. The first two upgraded packages are $49 per month and $99 per month.
  • Payment options: Free for 25 monthly searches up to $399 per month for 30,000 searches.

This browser extension finds email addresses for easy contact options.

It helps cut down on time spent sifting through About pages. You can also take it a step further and use the tool for outreach.

Hunter.ioScreenshot from Hunter.io, January 2023

6. BrightLocal

  • Pricing: $29-$79 per month, depending on package size.
  • Payment options: You can also pay for the citation builder, reviews, or enterprise.

Citation building is important for local SEO and should be considered a link-building project.

One of the tools with the best value for submitting and managing citations is BrightLocal.

There are two components: citation monitoring and citation building. The tool also allows you to figure out how you’re ranking based on the local competition.

BrightLocalScreenshot from BightLocal, January 2023

7. HARO

  • Pricing: Starts at free. The first paid plan is $19 per month, which adds alerts and search functionality.
  • Payment options: The free options offer media options delivered to your email three times a day and up to $149/month for premium.

While this tool is traditionally used in the journalism world, it can also help link builders. It connects you with credible sources and allows you to build natural backlinks.

HAROScreenshot from HARO, January 2023

Reporting Tools

Although many of the tools in the previous section have reporting functionality built in, I’ve found them lacking in custom reporting or the ability to associate links to ranking performance.

These tools solve that issue; AgencyAnalytics and Cyfe.

8. Agency Analytics

  • Pricing: $12 per month, per campaign. $18 per month per campaign for custom reporting features.
  • Payment options: Pay annually to save money.

Agency Analytics automatically populates the dashboard with data from Moz and Majestic and connects that data to critical performance metrics, like ranking and organic traffic.

Qualified traffic that converts to leads or sales is the purpose of link-building and SEO efforts, so reporting needs to make a connection between them.

Agency AnalyticsScreenshot from Agency Analytics, January 2023

9. Cyfe

  • Pricing: $19 per month for one user, with higher tiers for more users.
  • Payment options: Unlimited users for $89/month.

This tool can be built out as a hybrid between Google Sheets and Agency Analytics, meaning it’s very customizable but can also automatically and easily aggregate data from multiple sources to create a meaningful report.

CyfeScreenshot from Cyfe, January 2023

AI-Powered Tools

AI-powered tools can significantly simplify otherwise complex and time-consuming tasks. Remember that some of your processes will require a human touch, so always evaluate how performance is impacted when integrating AI into your processes.

The following tools, Link Whisper, Postaga, and CTRify use AI to discover opportunities and automate processes.

10. Link Whisper

  • Pricing: $77 per month for one site, with additional plans for more sites.
  • Payment options: One to 50 site licenses.

Link Whisper is useful for internal link building.

AI technologies offer automatic link suggestions as content is produced. It can also help you recognize old content that needs more links directed to it.

The tools also automate links based on keywords and offer internal link reporting. It’s pretty all-inclusive and can help speed up internal link-building automatically.

Link WhispererScreenshot from Link Whisperer, January 2023

11. Postaga

  • Pricing: $84 per month for one account with five users. $250 per month for 30 accounts with unlimited users.
  • Payment options: Save by paying annually.

Postaga does everything from finding opportunities to initiating outreach.

AI comes into play with the outreach assistant, which finds relevant information from influencers to include in emails. You can also enter your domain into the tool to find relevant campaign ideas.

PostagaScreenshot from Postaga, January 2023

12. CTRify

  • Pricing: A free version. $197 or $497, depending on the plan.
  • Payment options: Single payment.

CTRify is a WordPress plugin that is great for content creation.

All it takes is a single keyword, and the AI creates the content you need for a specific campaign. You can then automatically publish the posts – it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

CTRifyScreenshot from CTRify, January 2023

Conclusion

I’ve curated this list with the intent to offer a tool for every reader, providing enterprise-level affordable solutions and highly technical tools.

There is diversity in the available tools, and you will need to select the right one for the job.

You don’t need to have a $1,000 monthly tool budget to be a link builder, but all of the tasks will take time. Allocating your time and budget in the right combination improves business outcomes.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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