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9 Steps To A Future-Proof Social Media Strategy In A Web3 World

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9 Steps To A Future-Proof Social Media Strategy In A Web3 World

May I see a copy of your social media strategy?

🦗(crickets) 🦗

More than a decade into the Web 2.0 era and entering into the Web 3.0 evolution, brands are still lagging regarding a documented social media strategy.

Looking back, it was the mid to late 2000s when Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the iPhone hit the palms of our hands.

Fast forward to today, we enter the next generation of the internet, called the metaverse, and even more digital ways to engage with audiences.

You aren’t alone if you don’t have a social media strategy.

While almost 60% of the world population are reported active social media users, more than 50% of B2C brands admit to not having documented content or social media strategy.

In addition, most brands consider themselves amateur when rating their expertise level, with more than half of brands surveyed rating their social media marketing levels as immature.

Uh oh?

It’s true! Without a strategy, you are gambling. With Web3, the metaverse, digital goods, and virtual worlds on the horizon, it is impossible to skip Web 2.0 and move on.

“I believe Web 2 and Web3 have a lot to learn from each other. There are frameworks and best practices in each which lend themselves very well to the other, so it’s a lot about bridge building. Leave behind the practices that slow us down but bring with us those which provide structure and support scaling in a sustainable way. We are moving too quickly to re-invent the wheel; better to grab the best and mold it to our future needs,” said Stefanie Hingley, COO of Mission Impact, an organization helping females elevate in Web3.

Forward-thinking, purposeful plus strategic will usually win the social media game.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating an effective social media strategy to level up your Web 2.0 and prepare for Web3.

1. Write An Executive Summary

Start your strategy with an executive summary.

This should be a one-pager, succinctly identifying your social media purpose and how it ties into your current business goals and objectives.

In addition, make a note of relevant testing or projections into Web3.

Establish the primary goal and specific objectives you are trying to achieve. Be sure to identify a channel focus and avoid trying to be all things to all social media platforms.

For example, if you are a B2B company, consider creating content for Linkedin and then repurposing it for other secondary channels.

Web3 Tip: Explore and research what other brands are doing with Web3. What is working? Start holding team meetings to discuss your social media strategy in the Horizons Workrooms environment.

“Horizons Workrooms works across both virtual reality and the web and is designed to improve your team’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and connect remotely through the power of VR— whether that’s getting together to brainstorm or whiteboard an idea, work on a document, hear updates from your team, hang out and socialize, or simply have better conversations that flow more naturally,” as noted in the Meta Newsroom.

Benchmark and include measurable outcomes to assure all players are defining success with the same expectations. Larger goals need granular objectives.

Example: Grow your Instagram audience by 20% by the end of the quarter.

2. Do A Social Media Audit

Keeping your friends close but your enemies closer is an intelligent way to stay ahead of the competition.

Start by conducting a social media audit of your brand’s social channels compared to two or three competitors. You can even pick a non-competing brand to use for inspiration and aspiration. Consider choosing a brand already involved in Web3 strategies.

For example, Wendys, Airbnb, Netflix, Buffer, Hubspot, and Cisco are known for their social media savviness. It’s helpful to go beyond your industry’s borders and see what’s working.

Compare types of content, engagement, frequency, audience size, visuals, video use, tone, and customer service messaging. How’s the response rate?

Other factors to compare and take note of include:

  • Live streaming.
  • Courses and webinars.
  • Influencer marketing.
  • User-generated content.
  • Features such as Reels, Stories, and Frequency.
  • Communities.
  • AR/VR.
  • 3D.
  • Virtual Worlds.
  • NFTs.
  • Creator Coins, Tokens, or Crypto.
  • Metaverse collaborations.
  • Audio experiences.
  • Emoji use.
  • Facebook Messenger, chatbots.
  • Keywords and hashtags.
  • Third-party content.
  • Online branded search results.
  • Reviews.

According to the 2022 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, brands and marketers see increased exposure and traffic as social media’s main benefits. On the flip side, the “struggle is real” for translating social media into quantitative ROI, such as improving sales and generating leads.

Recent reports indicate Facebook and Linkedin are the go-to channels if you are looking for leads out of social media channels.

3. Zero In On Social Media Objectives

Focus Pocus.

Let’s quickly review the difference between goals, strategy, objectives, and tasks, known as GSOT.

  • Goals: These are your broad social media outcomes.
  • Strategy: The approach you will take to accomplish your goal.
  • Objectives: These are measurable steps you will take to achieve the strategy.
  • Tactics: These are the tools or tasks used in pursuing an objective related to a strategy.

Examples:

  • Goal: Make our book the #1 best-seller in the Metaverse category.
  • Strategy: Increase the amount of content we publish on social channels supporting the book’s topics, ideas, and opinions.
  • Objective: Increase unique visitors from social channels to the book’s website or landing page by 50%.
  • Tactic: Using metaverse and Web3 influencers, leverage the exposure with branded hashtags and behind-the-scenes content using Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Twitter.
  • Advanced: Participate and host events in Web3-centric communities using Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, Discord communities, and virtual worlds such as Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Decentraland, Roblox, or Alt Space VR.

4. Develop Buyer Personas

Know your avatar. Develop a personal relationship with your personas. If 50% of brands lack a documented social media strategy, the number of brands having defined buyer personas must be significantly greater.

Brands need personas. This is a must if you want to survive and thrive in Web3.

Marketers preach the value of personas, but when it comes down to investing the time and effort into building and using personas? Zzzzzzzz. Sound asleep.

The good news: The lack of buyer personas makes for a huge opportunity if your competition is missing the persona step.

Buyer personas + social media = a winning formula.

The results mean big wins in increased:

  • Conversions.
  • Relevance scores.
  • Engagement.
  • Efficiencies across the board.

Getting your persona started is a must!

Start with these buyer persona hacks and get to know your buyers.

#SocialPRSecret: In his book “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” digital analyst Brian Solis had this to say:

“You want to create personas for the people who buy from you today as well as for those who don’t, whom you’re targeting. The research that goes into the accurate portrayal of current and potential customers and their behaviors should be a combination of demographic, psychographic, and ethnographic.”

When creating your buyer personas, don’t forget to include your media, stakeholders, community admins and moderators, podcasters, bloggers, and influencers as personas.

The media (journalists, podcast hosts, Twitter Spaces hosts, Clubhouse room hosts) is your target audience, too! Make them real people with real interests and real lives. You might relate to them more.

5. Find Your Brand Persona

Every brand needs a voice, personality, and sense of character.

Think about what adjectives describe your brand.

Are you positive, fun, playful, or coy?

Maybe your brand is serious, straight-laced, and emoji-free.

Do you dare to roast or poke fun at a competition like Wendy’s and Taco Bell?

Make a list of how you want to be perceived when interacting with a brand. Are you supporting and encouraging or sensational and bold?

In 2009, when social media was heating up, best-selling author and PR icon Aliza Licht played the persona behind the famous (and now defunct) @DKNYPRGirl.

Of the experience, Licht said:

“Before any other fashion brand had stepped into the social game, I created an anonymous Twitter personality called DKNY PR GIRL. DKNY PR GIRL pioneered authentic voices in social media and ultimately captivated the attention of 1.5 million people around the world across platforms. In 2011, I revealed myself as the person behind the handle, which resulted in over 230 million global impressions, including a full-page feature in The New York Times.”

Licht’s persona behind the DKNY PR GIRL netted some nice gains for her personal brand.

“Over six years, my DKNY PR GIRL persona resulted in many awards, a TED talk, and a book deal. “Leave Your Mark” was published in 2015 and has successfully mentored thousands of professionals around the world.”

7. Establish Strategies & Tools

This is where you figure out how to slice up the paid, earned, and owned categories.

Paid social is a must – and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Maybe the combo looks something like this:

Paid

Increase your results, and boost a featured Facebook post once a week.

According to Joe Youngblood, wait a few days before boosting a Facebook post, and let it publish organically and then boost.

Owned

Remember, anything you build on social media is basically “rented space.”

You do not own your social media community, following, or content. It can shut down tomorrow, as we saw with Vine, Blab, and other now defunct social media channels.

You can transition your social media community into an email list (this is what you own).

Think of creating some free download, cheat sheet, guide, or course to gain direct access to your audience.

Introduce a branded hashtag and start using it across social platforms. Publicize in bios and posts.

Encourage influencers to use the hashtag. Promote hashtags across social platforms, emails, ads, and social media covers and captions.

Earned

Monitor social media for branded keywords and targeted keyword phrases. Twitter is primed with journalists, bloggers, and real-time influencers. Find the conversations and engage.

Warning: This activity has been known to cause positive media coverage, shares, and engagement outcomes.

#SocialPRSecret: You can’t buy good public relations and social proof, and you can’t hide from negative PR.

Earn the positive first to own more and gain positive search and social results.

Tools

I like Canva. She likes Spark. They like Hootsuite. We like Buffer. The CEO’s son wants to know why you don’t have a Snapchat geo filter.

Having 50 million tools fragmented across your social media team is no fun and not efficient. That’s a slight exaggeration; the point is to have an approved list of tools and platforms.

Everyone needs to be using the same social media management tools and platforms.

Web3 Tip: Explore Web3-centric tools and platforms such as spacial.io, Discord, and Threedium to enhance your brand experience.

8. Make Your Mark: Timing & Dates

Timing is everything! One day late is a dollar lost.

You must show up to the party early on social media and never be late. This means researching industry dates for conferences and events. Look up tie-ins to seasons, days, or official months.

Make sure your reporting is efficient and on point for the proper analysis.

The CEO gets the one-pager, the CMO gets the two-pager, sales gets the sales connection report, and the analysts get the full 10-pager.

Match the report with the right persona and what they care about most.

Figure out internal dates, external dates, and reporting dates.

  • Internal: Check out conferences, workshops, team meetings, and marketing reports in your industry. Don’t forget the hashtags!
  • External: Look at seasons, themes, events, and trending news to tie into your social media content.

#SocialPRSecret: From Pineapple Day to World Productivity Day, never miss a day! Check out Days of the Year and keep your editorial calendar filled with the most interesting events, festivals, and weird holidays. And bookmark this SEJ article to help your editorial calendar further: You Need This Marketing Calendar & Free Template!

Web 3 Tip: Sign up for Crypto, Web3, and NFT-related events. Be on the lookout for virtual and in-person events and conferences to educate your team and possibly connect with Web3 partners to elevate your brand.

9. Measure What Matters

Measuring what matters is the key to social media strategy sanity and success.

Every network has its version of analytics. It’s easy to spend infinite time running reports. Make sure you are circling back to those measurable objectives.

Look at both quantitative for the hard numbers and qualitative for the sentiment and intent.

  • Quantitative examples include website sessions, number of email sign-ups, impressions, and social network data.
  • Qualitative examples include sentiment, such as favorable reviews or comments on social messaging. For example, did you raise prices on the menu and have complaints on your Facebook Page?

Quantitative tells what happened, and qualitative can usually tell the “why.” For instance, you have a positive feature story in Business Insider with a link to your company website, which caused a spike in website visits.

When influencers started turning on Daily Harvest, the vegan meal-delivery service that sells bowls, soups, and smoothies, with negative reviews after falling ill – this could be an example of quantitative and qualitative – sales fell, negative media publicity, and negative social media sentiment.

Conclusion

After following all of these steps, what’s next?

You might find yourself in a different direction due to your new social media strategy process.

You may venture your brand into the metaverse, start an NFT collection, continue your hashtag campaign, and even add more budget.

#SocialPRSecret: After accessing your reports and progress, create a proposed action plan, including the next steps. Provide analysis and recommendations interpreting your findings.

Web3 Tip: Make sure you are following the evolution of Web3 – the next generation of the world wide web, which includes the unfolding of the creator economy, decentralization; artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning; Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), the metaverse, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and connectivity and ubiquity, blockchain, digital wearables, and more.

While having a documented social media strategy is important, it’s more important to make sure the plan is fluid and flexible and to keep current on trends.

Meta offers Meta Blueprint, a selection of self-paced and self-guided courses, certifications, and educational materials designed to keep your business moving forward.

As a marketer, having these certifications can help you stand out from your competition.

Keep the social in social media by staying engaged and in the conversation. The strategy will follow, flow, and fill from Web 2.0 to Web3. Be sure you are proficient in Web 2.0 to maximize your returns in Web3.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock



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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

Content marketing has become one of the best (and most cost-effective) ways to get traffic to a website. When done right, the traffic keeps coming long after you stop actively promoting it.

If you own an e-commerce website and want to learn how to utilize blogging to grow your brand and increase your sales, this is the guide for you.

I’ve personally grown blogs to over 250,000 monthly visitors, and I’ve worked with dozens of clients in the e-commerce space to help them do the same. Here’s an overview of my seven-step process to starting and growing an e-commerce blog. 

But first…

Why start a blog on your e-commerce site?

Creating a blog has a whole host of benefits for e-commerce websites:

  • It can help you move visitors along your marketing funnel so they eventually buy.
  • You’re able to rank highly for keywords on Google that your product pages could never rank for but that are still important for building brand awareness and finding customers.
  • It can help you grow your email list.
  • You’re able to continue to get traffic without constantly spending money on ads.
  • It provides many opportunities to link to your product and category pages to help them rank better on the SERPs.

If you don’t know what some of these things mean, don’t worry—I’ll explain them along the way. But for now, let’s take a look at some e-commerce blogs that are working well right now so you can see the end goal.

Examples of successful e-commerce blogs

Three of my favorite examples of e-commerce websites using blogging are:

  1. Solo Stove
  2. Flatspot
  3. v-dog

Solo Stove comes in at the top of my list due to its excellent use of videos, photos, and helpful information on the blog. It also does search engine optimization (SEO) really well, bringing in an estimated 329,000 monthly visits from Google (data from Ahrefs’ Site Explorer).

Overview of Solo Stove, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

In fact, it’s grown its brand to such a level of popularity that it even created search demand for keywords that include its brand name in them, then created blog posts to rank for those keywords:

Ahrefs' keyword report for Solo Stove

But that’s not all it did. Its blog posts also rank for other keywords in its marketing funnel, such as how to have a mosquito-free backyard or how to change your fire pit’s colors.

E-commerce blogging keyword examples

Then on its blog posts, it uses pictures of its fire pit:

Solo Stove blog post example

Ranking for these keywords does two things:

  1. It introduces Solo Stove’s brand to people who may eventually purchase a fire pit from it.
  2. It gives the brand the opportunity to promote its products to an audience who may not have even known it existed, such as the “mosquito free backyard” keyword.

Moving on, skater brand Flatspot also does blogging well, with a cool ~80,000 monthly visitors to its blog just from search engines.

Overview of Flatspot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

One of its tactics is to piggie-back on the popularity of new shoe releases from major brands like Nike, then use that traffic to get readers to buy the shoes directly from it:

Flatspot promoting Nike SB shoes in blog post

Finally, let’s look at v-dog—a plant-powered kibble manufacturer that gets ~8,000 visits per month.

Overview of v-dog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

My favorite post it’s done is its guide to making wet dog food at home, which ranks for the featured snippet for “how to make wet dog food”:

Google search results for "how to make wet dog food"

This guide directly promotes v-dog’s product to make wet dog food. So people who search the query will be introduced to its brand and potentially buy its product to make their own wet dog food at home.

And there you have it—three examples of blogging for e-commerce that’s working right now. With that, let’s talk about how you can start your own blog.

Seven steps to start and grow an e-commerce blog

In my 10+ years as a professional SEO and freelance writer, I’ve worked with over a dozen e-commerce stores to help them grow their website traffic. I’ve also run several of my own e-commerce websites.

In that time, I’ve distilled what works into an easy-to-follow seven-step process:

1. Do some keyword research

I never start a blog without first doing keyword research. Not only does this make coming up with blog topic ideas much easier, but it also ensures that every blog post you write has a chance to show up in Google search results and bring you free, recurring traffic.

While we wrote a complete guide to keyword research, here’s a quick and dirty strategy for finding keywords fast:

First, find a competitor who has a blog. Let’s say you’re selling dog food just like v-dog—if I search for “dog food” on Google, I can see some of my competition:

Google search results for "dog food"

At this point, I look for relevant competitors. For example, Chewy and American Kennel Club are good competitors for research. But I’ll skip sites like Amazon and Walmart, as they are just too broad to get relevant data from.

Next, plug the competitor’s URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and click on the Organic keywords report to see the keywords its website ranks for on Google:

Organic keywords report for chewy.com

In this example, it has over 700,000 keywords. That’s way too many to sort through. Let’s add some filters to make things easier:

  • First, set the KD (Keyword Difficulty) score to a maximum of 30 to find easier-to-rank-for keywords.
  • Then we can exclude brand name keywords using the “Keywords” dropdown, set it to “Doesn’t contain,” and type in the brand name.
  • If the website has /blog/ in its blog post URLs, you can also set a filter in the “URL” dropdown to “Contains” and type “blog” in the text field. In Chewy’s case, it doesn’t do that, but it does use a subdomain for its blog, which we can search specifically.

When you’re done, it should look like this:

Ahrefs keyword filters

In the case of chewy.com, this only shaved it down to 619,000 keywords. That’s still a lot—let’s filter it down further. We can apply the following:

  • Minimum monthly search volume of 100
  • Only keywords in positions #1–10
  • Only show keywords containing “dog,” since my example website only sells dog food, not all animal food

Here’s what it looks like with these new filters applied:

Filtering down Ahrefs' Organic keywords report

Now I can find some more related keywords like “what to feed a dog with diarrhea” or “can dogs eat cheese.”

Data for keyword "what to feed a dog with diarrhea"

In addition to picking interesting keywords, you can also get an idea of how to become a topical authority on the topic of dog food by searching “dog food” in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Overview for "dog food," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This keyword is extremely difficult to rank on page #1 for. However, if we go to the Related terms report and set the KD to a max of 30, we can see keyword ideas that are still relevant but may be easier to rank high in the search results.

List of keywords related to dog food

Go through and click the gray + sign next to any keywords you may want to target to add them to your list of potential article ideas. 

2. Create templates for future blog posts

One of the first things I do when I create a new blog is to establish a repeatable template that I use for every post. Typically, it looks something like this:

Blog post template example

It has breadcrumb navigation to help with SEO and navigation, the article title and the date it was last updated, then a short intro with an image on the right to make the lines shorter (and easier to skim). Finally, I include a clickable table of contents to help with navigation, then get into the article.

Within the article itself, I will use headers (H2s) and subheaders (H3s) to make my content easier to skim and to help Google understand what each section is about.

You can make templates for every kind of post you plan on creating—such as list posts, ultimate guides, tutorials, etc.—and reuse them for every post you ever create. It’s a huge time-saver.

While you’re at it, you should also create a standard operating procedure (SOP) that you go through for every article. This could include writing guidelines, what to do with images, formatting, tone, etc.

3. Outline your article

I never dive into writing an article without outlining it first. An outline ensures the article is well structured and planned before you start writing, and it bakes SEO right into your writing process. It’s another big time-saver.

Typically, you want this outline to include:

  • Potential title or titles of the article
  • Target keyword
  • Brief description of the article angle
  • Links to competing articles on Google for research
  • Headers and subheaders, with brief descriptions of the section as needed

Here’s a look at part of an example outline I’ll either send to my writers or write myself:

Content outline example

I wrote a guide to outlining content, which you can follow here for the full step-by-step process.

4. Write, optimize, and publish your post

Next up, it’s time to write your article. As you write more articles, you’ll find what works for you—but you may find it easier to fill in the sections then go back and write the intro once the article is finished.

Here are a few writing tips to help you become a better writer:

  • Ditch the fluff – If a word isn’t needed to bring a point across, cut it.
  • Keep your paragraphs short – Two to three lines per paragraph is plenty, especially for mobile readers where the screen width is shorter.
  • Use active voice over passive voice – Here is a guide for that.
  • Make your content easy to skim – Include photos and videos and make use of headers and bulleted lists to share key points.

Once you’ve written your article, do some basic on-page SEO to help it rank higher in search results:

  • Ensure your article has one H1 tag – The title of the article.
  • Have an SEO-friendly URL – Include the keyword you’re targeting, but keep it short and easy to read.
  • Link to other pages on your site using proper anchor text – Here’s a guide for that.
  • Ensure your images have alt text – This is the text Google uses to read what the image is about, as well as what is shown to readers if the image can’t render.

Finally, publish your post and give yourself a pat on the back.

5. Add product promotions, email opt-ins, and internal links

Before you promote your content, there are a few things you can do to squeeze more ROI from it—namely, you should add a way for people to either push them through the funnel toward purchasing a product or subscribe to your email list. I’ll give an example of each.

First, Solo Stove wrote an article titled “Ambiance Is A Girl’s Best Friend,” where it promotes its tiny Solo Stove Mesa as a way of improving a space’s ambiance: 

How to promote your products in a blog post

Beyond directly promoting your products in the articles, you can also add email opt-ins that give people a percentage off their orders. You may lose a little money on the initial order. But once you get someone’s email address, you can promote to them again and get multiple orders from them.

For example, Primary sells kids’ clothing and uses this email pop-up to promote money off its products after you spend a certain amount of time on its website:

Email opt-in pop-up offering a discount on first order

Just make sure your discount code only works once per unique IP address. You can learn more about how to do that here if you use Shopify.

Finally, when you publish an article, you should make it a point to add internal links to your new article from older articles. 

This won’t be as important for your first few because you won’t have a ton of articles. But as your blog grows, it’s an important part of the process to ensure your readers (and Google) can still find your articles and that they aren’t buried deep on your site.

Refer to our guide to internal linking to learn more about this step.

6. Promote your content

At this point, your content is live and optimized for both conversions and search engines. Now it’s time to get some eyeballs on it.

We have an entire guide to content promotion you should read, but here are some highlights:

  • Share the article on all of your social media channels
  • Send the article to your email list if you have one
  • Share your content in relevant communities (such as relevant Reddit forums)
  • Consider running paid ads to your article

There’s a lot more you can do to promote a piece, including reaching out to other blog owners. But I won’t cover all of that here.

The other important piece of promoting your content is getting other website owners to link to your new articles. This is called link building, and it’s a crucial part of SEO.

There are many ways to build links. Some of the most popular include:

Link building is an entire subject on its own. If you’re serious about blogging and getting search traffic, it’s a crucial skill to learn.

7. Scale your efforts

The final step in blogging for e-commerce is scaling up your efforts by creating repeatable processes for each step and hiring people to do the tasks you yourself don’t need to be doing.

You can hire freelance writers, outreach specialists, editors, and more. You can put together a full SEO team for your business.

If you’re not in a place to start hiring, there are still things you can do to squeeze more output from your time, such as creating the SOPs I mentioned earlier.

Final thoughts

Blogging is one of the best ways to increase your e-commerce store’s traffic and sales. It costs less than traditional paid advertising and can continue to provide a return long after a post has been published.

This guide will hopefully help you start your e-commerce blog and publish your first post. But remember that success with blogging doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes three to six months on average to see any results from your SEO efforts. Keep learning and be patient.

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

Looking to launch a successful digital marketing campaign for your business?

How do you select the best SEO keywords to expand your brand’s reach?

What can you do to determine the most effective ways to allocate your marketing budget?

Facing these tough decisions can put you on your heels if you’re not equipped with the right information.

Luckily, there’s a new way to leverage your company’s data to estimate your ROI and take the guesswork out of your next campaign.

With a simple mathematical formula, you can predict the amount of traffic and revenue you’ll generate before even setting your strategy in motion – and you can do it all in just five steps.

Want to learn how?

Join our next webinar with Sabrina Hipps, VP of Partner Development, and Jeremy Rivera, Director of Content Analysis at CopyPress, to find out how to analyze specific keywords and forecast your SEO results.

Not too fond of math? Don’t worry – we’ll provide access to free tools and a downloadable calculator to help automate this process and save you time.

Key Takeaways From This Webinar: 

  • Learn how forecasting your SEO can help you build better campaigns and choose the right keywords.
  • Get step-by-step instructions to predict revenue and website traffic for your next SEO campaign.
  • Access a free handout, resources, and online tools that will save you time and supercharge your content strategy.

In this session, we’ll share real-life examples and provide guidance for the decision-makers within your organization to start getting the most out of your marketing efforts.

By better understanding the market potential of your product or service, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and effectively maximize your ROI.

Sign up for this webinar and discover how you can secure a sufficient marketing budget and use SEO keywords to forecast the results of your future content campaigns.



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Google SEO Tips For News Articles: Lastmod Tag, Separate Sitemaps

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Google SEO Tips For News Articles: Lastmod Tag, Separate Sitemaps

Google Search Advocate John Mueller and Analyst Gary Illyes share SEO tips for news publishers during a recent office-hours Q&A recording.

Taking turns answering questions, Mueller addresses the correct use of the lastmod tag, while Illyes discusses the benefits of separate sitemaps.

When To Use The Lastmod Tag?

In an XML sitemap file, lastmod is a tag that stores information about the last time a webpage was modified.

Its intended use is to help search engines track and index significant changes to webpages.

Google provides guidelines for using the lastmod tag, which could be used to alter search snippets.

The presence of the lastmod tag may prompt Googlebot to change the publication date in search results, making the content appear more recent and more attractive to click on.

As a result, there may be an inclination to use the lastmod tag even for minor changes to an article so that it appears as if it was recently published.

A news publisher asks whether they should use the lastmod tag to indicate the date of the latest article update or the date of the most recent comment.

Mueller says the date in the lastmod field should reflect the date when the page’s content has changed significantly enough to require re-crawling.

However, using the last comment date is acceptable if comments are a critical part of the page.

He also reminds the publisher to use structured data and ensure the page date is consistent with the lastmod tag.

“Since the site map file is all about finding the right moment to crawl a page based on its changes, the lastmod date should reflect the date when the content has significantly changed enough to merit being re-crawled.

If comments are a critical part of your page, then using that date is fine. Ultimately, this is a decision that you can make. For the date of the article itself, I’d recommend looking at our guidelines on using dates on a page.

In particular, make sure that you use the dates on a page consistently and that you structured data, including the time zone, within the markup.”

Separate Sitemap For News?

A publisher inquires about Google’s stance on having both a news sitemap and a general sitemap on the same website.

They also ask if it’s acceptable for both sitemaps to include duplicate URLs.

Illyes explained that it’s possible to have just one sitemap with the news extension added to the URLs that need it, but it’s simpler to have separate sitemaps for news and general content. URLs older than 30 days should be removed from the news sitemap.

Regarding sitemaps sharing the duplicate URLs, it’s not recommended, but it won’t cause any problems.

Illyes states:

“You can have just one site map, a traditional web sitemap as defined by sitemaps.org, and then add the news extension to the URLs that need it. Just keep in mind that, you’ll need to remove the news extension from URLs that are older than 30 days. For this reason it’s usually simpler to have separate site map for news and for web.

Just remove the URLs altogether from the news site map when they become too old for news. Including the URLs in both site maps, while not very nice, but it will not cause any issues for you.”

These tips from Mueller and Illyes can help news publishers optimize their websites for search engines and improve the visibility and engagement of their articles.


Source: Google Search Central

Featured Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock



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