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A Guide To Local SEO For Large Enterprises & Franchises

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A Guide To Local SEO For Large Enterprises & Franchises


Local SEO is a pretty complex beast. There are many moving parts that are just not part of an organic enterprise strategy.

And, when it comes to franchises and Local SEO, it can get even more complex as the “who is in charge of local SEO” answer is vague at best.

In this article, we will discuss the challenges enterprises/franchises have when it comes to local SEO.

First, let’s talk about this: Why do enterprises tend to view local SEO as a grocery checklist?

In short, local SEO fails when businesses lack a well-structured plan.

Common misconceptions include, “If I complete A, B, and C, then my local presence will improve,” or “If we’re doing traditional SEO, local will fall into place.”

Incorrect!

In order for local SEO to succeed, businesses must define what success looks like and develop an ongoing plan that is scalable.

While businesses of any size can fall susceptible to this mentality, it’s the large enterprise businesses and franchise systems that have the greatest risk of falling into this trap.

5 Challenges Enterprises/Franchises Face When Planning A Local SEO Strategy

Regardless of channel, large businesses have built-in advantages over small competitors including but not limited to:

  • Money.
  • People.
  • Access to industry tools.
  • Specialization.

While these built-in resources certainly help, if ignored, the cons of larger companies with over 100 locations will outweigh the pros – especially with respect to local SEO.

1. Budget

A common pain point I hear when in talks with an enterprise/franchise is how XYZ’s tactic is not in the budget.

So, let’s say for grins and giggles that you have a scalable, frictionless way of getting local managers/owners to upload pictures to a Google Business Profile.

Now, this is going to help solve a huge issue that enterprises/franchises have. And every time I talk to one, they agree they need something like this.

But when it comes to financing, they will not pay for it. The funds can be better spent on something like AdWords, they say.

Why this line of thinking? Simply because most SEO activities cannot be traced back to a hardline ROI where you spend $X and get $Y.

The CFO or other stakeholders would rather play it safe, keep with the status quo, not rock the boat, and let their numbers continue to look good. #politics

2. Ignorance Is Bliss

If there’s never been a defined strategy across the organization, it may be difficult to earn buy-in from others. I see this in many organizations.

If they have a loosely planned strategy and roles have not been defined, a stakeholder can easily say, “I am not sure what X or Y or Z is doing and I think they own local, or part of it and they really need to decide.”

So, the buck gets passed to another person who feels the same way.

And the cycle continues.

3. Slow Decision Making

Large enterprises are generally not as adaptive and flexible as small companies.

A simple decision gets caught up by including 10 people in the decision-making process, some of whom have nothing to do with the solution.

And then you have those #politics I mentioned.

In dealing with a large enterprise, I ran into a situation where the social media team made decisions on local… and the head of that team was related to the CEO.

Guess who called the shots but never came to meetings?

On top of that, the only person qualified to be in charge of local was dealing with other aspects of digital marketing.

Consequently, tasks that should be no-brainers – claiming local listings, hiring a new vendor, etc. – can drag on for months.

I’ve seen businesses regret not having urgency with regard to claiming listings.

Something as simple as changing phone numbers can result in local traffic falling off the map due to data inconsistencies.

In drastic cases, unclaimed and outdated listings have caused Google Business Profile traffic to plummet by more than 50%.

Then there is a simple conversation about how to be in compliance with Google Business Profiles, which if not addressed can result in account level suspensions.

Consider this real story:

A franchise had different naming conventions for each franchisee and was using home addresses for each location, so we’re not in compliance with Google’s guidelines at all.

I talked to them in January about helping them come into compliance.

The conversation went on for over eight months and included six departments. At the end of the day, the CFO squashed the idea.

The solution would not have cost that much. But in month 11, suddenly 75% of the units went dark. It was an account-level suspension. This lasted two months.

That is two months of lost revenue, a few franchises going out of business, and a huge headache.

And it didn’t need to happen.

4. ‘Bystander Effect’

A lack of defined roles coupled with the fact that the enterprise has many people on the marketing team can lead to the diffusion of responsibility and a lot of finger-pointing.

A common local task that falls victim to the “Bystander Effect” is review management.

Who should be responsible for responding? Customer service? Store managers? Regional managers?

The truth is, there is no right answer – pick one but make sure the job gets done. And make responsibilities clear.

One thing to point out here, franchisors have a unique issue when it comes to responsibility.

Enterprises can face this issue as well, but not as much as franchisors do as they usually working within one of a few types of franchise systems.

a. The franchisor controls marketing. 

This is rare but ideal because the responsibility lies with the franchisor. You may still have the above issues of moving slow, budget, and roles, but decisions are happening in one place.

b. The franchisor sets up the GBP and hands it off to the franchisee.

The franchisee takes over their marketing from there. This causes a whole host of issues such as inconsistencies.

It also often results in inaction on the part of franchisees simply because they’re in the business of their franchise – not the business of marketing or local SEO.

c. Franchisees share a marketing pool.

The best system I have seen is where there is a fund in place for franchisees to spend on marketing.

They can make a decision and the franchisor has a marketplace of preferred vendors, where the franchisee gets a percentage discount for using an approved vendor.

5. Scalability

Volume is arguably the biggest obstacle to overcome.

Let’s use the Google Q&A feature as an example: 100 locations x 3 questions/month x 5 minutes per response = 25 hours/month.

And that’s a conservative estimate that only accounts for one small component of local SEO.

The good news is that a well-defined plan not only overcomes the obstacles listed above but produces a successful and scalable local SEO strategy.

Before we expand on actionable local SEO plans, it’s important to point out often overlooked first steps:

Obligatory Digital Marketing Goals: Define what success means for local SEO.

Common objectives include increases in:

  • Foot traffic.
  • Views of store locator pages.
  • Clicks from Google Business Profiles.
  • Sales/Quotes/Form Fills.
  • Calls/Driving Directions.
  • Phone calls made to the store.
  • New link acquisitions/PR wins.

Establish Roles and Responsibilities: Just like any other team effort, local SEO requires a team.

  • Define who is responsible for what and when.
  • Grant and maintain documents, resources, and a way to keep the data updated.
  • Outline workflows with desired results.
  • Give your team flexibility and decision-making powers.
  • Give them a budget.

5 Local SEO Best Practices For Enterprises/Franchises

Below are five local SEO practices that will help you reach your business goals. Each section has been broken into:

Basic Practices 

(In most cases, these should be implemented but thought of as more of a baseline. In some sections, the baseline doesn’t exist, so I’ve listed what not to do, instead.)

Essentially, some enterprises do the basics, and either think they’re done or choose to stick their head in the sand.

(See Local Link Building, Review Management, and Citation Management in the steps outlined below for examples.)

Competitive Edge Practices 

These will separate your business from competition – if for no other reason than most stick with the basic approach!

1. On-Page Local SEO

Basic Practices

  • Include city and state in the title tag of all store locator pages.
  • Ensure store pages are indexed by search engines and display prominent clickable mobile elements like phone numbers.
  • Implement local Schema markup on all store locator pages.

Competitive Edge Practices That Require Ongoing Management & Planning

a. Create and implement a plan for local content opportunities. 

These can be incorporated on a blog or directly on store locator pages to help differentiate hundreds of similar store pages.

The content doesn’t necessarily even have to be about the products you sell.

In fact, focus most content around anything but selling your product.

Make it about something that’s useful and helpful to your customer/audience.

b. Take a disciplined and consistent approach to adding new content to your store pages. 

Content ideas include unique store photos, videos, store manager profiles, or other local city information that is related to your business.

c. Make a plan for ongoing content production. 

I am talking about blog posts, white papers, case studies, social media, GBP, and other forms of content. Make plans for local content that matches locality tones.

One simple way of creating unique store pages is by adding short localized paragraphs to each location.

2. Google Business Profiles

Basic Practices

  • Create and submit a Google Business Profile.
  • Update NAP (Name, Address, Phone) for all stores.
  • Upload a storefront image for all locations.
  • Select two to three relevant business categories within your profile.

Competitive Edge Practices That Require Ongoing Management & Planning

a. Invest in a tool like GatherUp or GradeUS.

These tools have enterprise-friendly features that enable managers to receive notifications whenever a user leaves a review, among many other local management features.

Next, create a few generalized templates that service reps can reference when responding to customer feedback.

b. Create a monthly calendar to use optional but helpful features like Google Posts, Product Posts, and Google Q&A.

Establish guidelines for how often Google Posts are used, what types of content to publish, and how to source non-stock imagery.

c. Upload images on a weekly basis, preferably from the location.

d. Change store hours to reflect store closings and special holiday hours.

Google Business Profiles allow managers the option to bulk upload store hour changes.

(This is usually controlled at the corporate level if they are managing listings, or via a listing provider like Yext).

e. Establish a culture that consistently analyzes the competitive landscape in the Local Pack.

Regularly check local rankings for important keywords using tools like Local Rank Tracker, MobileMoxie, or Local Falcon.

These tools are great because they allow you to check local rankings without searching a location modifier (e.g., sushi restaurants in Austin).

f. Report spam on Google Maps.

Be a tattletale on others that are spamming GBP. Common culprits are keyword stuffing or adding locations directly in the name of the business.

g. Append unique UTMs to your local directories and GBP.

Analyze traffic directly in Google Analytics. Although GBP provides data directly in the interface, I find it useful to have the data included in GA reports.

I use:

utm?source=local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=store-name

h. Enable GBP messaging and quotes/booking/ordering (if available).

Then decide who will be responsible for this feature.

Certain tools like Podium will help you scale this. (Sidenote: Enroll in Local Service Ads, if available.)

3. Local Link Building

Basic Practices

  • Don’t ignore local link building because of the sheer volume of locations or for fear of having limited impact. Many large enterprises make this mistake.
  • This is not a scalable activity but it is crucial to the success of any local campaign. As much as 15%!

Competitive Edge Practices That Require Ongoing Management & Planning

a. Large brands are involved in the community but fail to maximize their involvement from a linking perspective.

Take inventory of all PR events and set up an outreach process to make sure you receive a link back.

Get involved in your community. Sponsor events. Support other businesses. Host networking events.

Most beneficiaries will gladly link back to your local branch store page, some just need a reminder.

b. Brands tend to think too big whereas local SEO is… well, it’s local!

Don’t get bogged down thinking nationally and overwhelmed by the crazy number of locations you manage.

Start small and gradually build out a process for other locations.

Better yet, once you experience success in a local market, let that local manager become your internal advocate.

c. Develop a cohesive process for local managers/owners to follow.

Explore sponsorships, scholarships, workshops, conferences, and news opportunities.

4. Citation Management

Basic Practices

  • Create a Google Business Profile.
  • Many enterprises submit store citations using an automated tool but utilize the “set-it-and-forget-it plan.” (I recommend automated citation tools, but it’s not a “set and forget” checklist item.)

Competitive Edge Practices That Require Ongoing Management & Planning

a. Use Yext or Moz Local to create, verify, and optimize listings for multi-location brands.

These are scalable tools perfect for businesses with over 100 stores. They help push citations, clean up duplicate data, adjust incorrect data, and defend online presence.

b. Assign designated resources to actively monitor and update information.

Always look to improve the listings.

Problems will undoubtedly occur, and you want someone to be able to make the appropriate brand decisions when they come across questionable content.

c. Create citations for TripAdvisor, Yelp, or other industry-specific platforms.

Look for those that are not automatically generated with a tool like Moz Local as well as local citation opportunities like the Chamber of Commerce.

5. Reviews

Basic Practices (That too many do, don’t be one of them!)

  • Choose to ignore customer feedback.
  • Reactively and randomly respond to customer reviews.
  • Have no company-wide proactive review acquisition plan and just hope that customers will leave reviews.
  • Respond to only positive or negative reviews.

Competitive Edge Practices That Require Ongoing Management & Planning

a. Prioritize timely review management.

Fully 78% of customers focus on the most recent reviews and 69% they’re more likely to use a business that has responded to existing reviews.

b. Ask all customers to leave reviews (without incentives).

This can be managed through an internal CRM system or automated tools like GatherUp. Review acquisition is a simple numbers game. The more you ask, the more you receive.

c. Respond to all reviews, good and bad.

Consumers expect to see a bad review here and there, but the way you respond is key. Think about how another consumer will feel after reading your response.

Summary

When in doubt about local SEO, focus on tasks that provide value and solve problems for customers.

That’s it.

This is an obvious point, but the underlying principle is valuable, and too many don’t do this.

In general, consumers are lazy and selfish (like we all are).

It’s our job to make their life as easy as possible.

  • Ensure hours are correct.
  • Ensure the phone numbers are right.
  • Make sure you not only have citations but that they’re consistent.
  • Answer Google Q&As.
  • Respond to complaints and identify how you can improve your offering.

Customers are more likely to support, seek out, and refer brands that they truly care about.


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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WordPress Admin Interface Is “Simply Bad”

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WordPress Admin Interface Is "Simply Bad"

Yoast SEO plugin founder, Joost de Valk, published a critical appraisal of the WordPress user interface (UI), saying that it makes it  “harder to use” and may be a reason that contributes to WordPress losing market share to companies like Wix and Shopify.

The official WordPress design philosophy states that they want to make WordPress easier to use with every new version published.

They write that it’s their goal that the “non-technically minded” user is the one they design for so that they can be set up within five minutes with a fully functional website.

However the reality of how easy WordPress is to use falls far short of their philosophy statement.

Even the developer of WordPress itself, Matt Mullenweg, said that designing in Wix is faster than doing the same thing in WordPress.

WordPress User Interface Design

Joost points the finger at the current WordPress admin user interface as a contributing factor to why WordPress is confusing to use.

He called attention to the fact that WordPress has three different user interfaces, forcing users to learn how to use each interface and complicating the experience of using WordPress.

To make things worse, themes and plugins introduce their own user interface elements, which again forces users to learn an entirely different way to navigate and user the software.

An ideal user interface (UI) offers a consistent workspace so that a user doesn’t have to stop and rethink where all the buttons and links are.

Interacting with the interface should be similar across every screen, regardless of what they are trying to accomplish.

Joost wrote:

“The current state is simply bad: WordPress core basically has 3 designs now.

The edit post page I’m typing this in looks nothing like the Posts overview page, which looks nothing like the Site Health page.

And then you go into plugins and each has their own UI there too. This makes WordPress as a whole harder to use.”

WordPress is Old Fashioned and Losing Market Share

Aside from the UI being inconsistent, Joost also pointed out that competitors like Wix have a consistent UI throughout their content management systems.

So while the rest of the world is moving on with best practices WordPress is stuck with the same inconsistent interface it’s had for years.

Yoast insisted that the poor user interface is contributing to the exodus of users from WordPress to competitors.

“This is how we lose CMS market share to companies like Wix and Shopify (who each do have their own design system).”

Is WordPress Hard to Use?

A major feature that makes a closed source CMS like Wix attractive is that it’s easy to use. One of the reasons it’s easy to use is a consistent design system.

PC Magazine gave Wix an Editors Choice Best of the Year Award in 2022, writing:

“If you want to build a website online with minimal effort and maximum creative freedom, look no further than Wix.”

WordPress received no such award. However, in PC Magazine’s overview of WordPress, the authors remarked that it wasn’t “particularly difficult.”

But the authors of the PC Magazine overview also acknowledged the learning curve to using WordPress:

“…people who aren’t familiar with the process may need a guiding hand.”

WordPress theme website ThemeIsle writes:

“While WordPress does not require any coding knowledge, customizing your theme is often not that straightforward.

By default, you don’t get quite the same visual editing experience as you would with Squarespace or Wix, although the new Block Editor is evolving in that direction…Some poorly coded themes might also be a pain to adjust unless you’re an advanced user.”

One of the goals of WordPress is to be easy for users to build with.

So it’s puzzling that WordPress is acknowledged as difficult to use, particularly in comparison to closed source alternatives like Wix, Shopify and Duda.

Joost de Valk puts his finger on the outdated admin UI as one reason why WordPress is so hard to use.

He practically pleads for the leadership at WordPress to prioritize designing a consistent user interface.

“WordPress needs a design system and it needs it fast…”

Response from Twitter WordPress Community

The response to Joost’s article was overwhelmingly positive, with many from the WordPress community thanking Joost for calling attention to the topic.

@learnwithmattc tweeted:

“Excellent write-up, summary, recommendations, tips, resources. It’s not often you get this much valuable info in one blog post.

WP Product Devs, pay attention! Settings UIs matter, whether you like the route Yoast took or not, I think it’s worth paying attention to.”

@Shock9699 tweeted thanks for the article, calling attention to the mismatched menus within the WordPress admin interface.

“Totally agree. WordPress now looks like a 10/15 year old CMS. Especially with the advent of the new FSE where the internal menus are different from those of the normal dashboard.”

@mnowak_eth tweeted agreement with the opinions about the state of the WordPress admin UI:

“…Wordpress panel is starting to look like ancient enterprise software (you know the names). With the whole SaaS movement constantly educating the Internet society on good and bad UX and ergonomics, wp panel was overlooked.”

A standardized design that is shared by plugins and themes would create a seamless and coherent admin interface. @wpsecurityuser tweeted an appeal for a standardized design system.

“Please stop plugins implementing their UI systems, update the wordpress admin UI and standerdize everything, let’s get modern.”

@bitartem called attention to the value of having a design system in place so that the WordPress ecosystem can know ahead of time what to expect.

“Another problem is that WordPress is in a transitional phase, I mean Block Editor, and Full Site Editing, and new features are added almost every day, so if there’s a Design System, we need to know what WordPress will become in near future.”

WordPress Admin User Interface Needs Improvement

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that WordPress is in trouble when the person who created it says that it’s faster to get things done in a closed source competitor than it is with WordPress.

Joost’s article focuses on the outdated state of the WordPress admin interface and calls attention to the need for a coherent design statement that plugin and theme developers could adopt in order to create an easier to use end product.

Read Joost de Valk’s Blog Post

WordPress’ admin UI needs to be better



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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

Examining YouTube’s list of the top trending videos and top Shorts of 2022, as well as the YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2022 year-end-wrap-up can teach content marketers, content creators, and digital advertisers some important lessons that they can apply in 2023.

But, it helps if you have a secret decoder ring to decipher why there are three lists – and why each one uses a different methodology to come up with the rankings.

YouTube unveiled its first list of the 10 most-watched YouTube videos back in December 2010. Unfortunately, that list taught many marketers that “view count” was the only metric that mattered.

But, I got my secret decoder ring back in October 2012, when YouTube started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search results to reward engaging videos that kept viewers watching.

In other words, YouTube replaced “view count” with “watch time.”

This was a significant shift, because “watch time” gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch, as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon.

In December 2012, YouTube shifted from unveiling its 10 “most-watched” videos of the year to unveiling its “top trending videos,” based on time spent watching, sharing, commenting, liking, and other factors.

In other words, “watch time” and “engagements” were now the metrics that mattered.

Today, YouTube’s algorithm rewards “viewer satisfaction.”

In other words, YouTube doesn’t pay attention to videos; it pays attention to viewers.

So, rather than trying to make videos that’ll make an algorithm happy, focus on making videos that make your viewers happy.

This brings us to YouTube’s lists of “trending videos” and “top Shorts” for 2022.

To learn important lessons that can be applied in 2023, we need to realize that YouTube’s discovery system uses both absolute and relative watch time as signals when deciding audience engagement.

Ultimately, YouTube wants both short and long videos to succeed, so relative watch time is more important for short videos, and absolute watch time is more important for longer videos.

Top 7 Trending Videos Of 2022

1. “So Long Nerds“ By Technoblade (6:32 long, 88.3 million Views, 10.2 million engagements)

In this moving tribute, the father of beloved Minecraft creator Technoblade reads a farewell letter from his son.

The gamer lost his battle with cancer in June, but his legacy remains on YouTube.

2. “Watch The Uncensored Moment Will Smith Smacks Chris Rock On Stage At The Oscars, Drops F-bomb” By Guardian News (1:24 long, 104 million Views, and 1.8 million engagements)

It was the smack heard ‘round the world: Academy Award winner Will Smith went off-script and slapped Chris Rock, live on-stage, at the film industry’s most prestigious event.

3. “Hi, I’m Dream” By Dream (5:42 long, 48.5 million Views, and 4.7 million engagements)

Dream’s ingenuity within Minecraft has led him to become a top creator with a devoted fanbase.

But no one knew what he looked like IRL, until now.

4. “ Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar & 50 Cent Full Pepsi Sb Lvi Halftime Show” By NFL (14:41 long, 146 million Views, and 3.5 million engagements)

Lose yourself in this epic Super Bowl halftime show packed with some of the biggest artists in hip-hop history: Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lama, and 50 Cent.

5. “I Built Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!” By Mrbeast (17:01 long, 132 million Views, and 5.1 million engagements)

In a “Willy Wonka” inspired warehouse, MrBeast challenges contestants to traverse a chocolate river, climb a candy wall, compete in confection-themed games, and indulge in their sweetest fantasies.

6. “Pranks Destroy Scam Callers- Glitterbomb Payback” By Mark Rober (26:41 long, 55.9 million Views, and 2.2 million engagements).

Engineer Mark Rober exacts dazzling revenge on a scam call center in the latest version of his glitterbomb series.

7. “Being Not Straight” By Jaiden Animations (15:22 long, 17.8 million Views, and 1.7 million engagements)

In this coming-out video, Jaiden Animations depicts a personal journey from adolescence to adulthood, sharing how they discovered their sexual identity along the way.

Top 7 Shorts Of 2022

1. “Diver Cracks Egg At 45 Ft Deep #Shorts” By Shangerdanger (0:56 long, 251 million Views, and 12.3 million engagements)

The ocean floor is a mysterious place. It’s full of unknown sea creatures, strange plants, and…chicken eggs?!

Join Shangerdanger as he cracks up the internet and dives egg-first into the blue depths.

2. “Sarah Trust Challenges” By Hingaflips (0:31 long, 142 million Views, and 6.5 million engagements)

Better than parkour? This is Trampwall: an epic sport where acrobats defy gravity and leap off a wall, onto a trampoline, to pull off mind-blowing aerial stunts.

3. “Come With Me To Shave My Fluffy Dog! #Doggrooming #Grooming #Goldendoodle” By Brodie That Dood (0:52 long, 108 million Views, and 6.8 million engagements)

For years, his long fluffy fur has made Brodie one of the most iconic dogs on YouTube. So, the heartbreak was real when it was decided that he needed a close trim.

4. “Dave and Busters Bet Me 1000 Tickets I Couldn’t Do This…” By Chris Ivan (0:59 long, 83.6 million Views, and 6.3 million engagements).

No one does trick shots like creator Chris Ivan. In this Short, he attempts to land a plunger on a Dave & Buster’s sign.

The prize? 1,000 tickets … if he can pull it off.

5. “That Gap Between Your Car Seat and Center Console” By Jay & Sharon (0:58 long, 182 million Views, and 6.4 million engagements)

We’ve all lost something in the dreaded gap between the car seat and the center console.

In this comedic sketch, creators Jay & Sharon show us what’s really going on down there.

6. “Welcome To The Stomach #Shorts” By Adrian Bliss (0:34 long, 118 million Views, and 7.0 million engagements)

In this bite-sized skit, witty creator Adrian Bliss brings to life all the characters trying to gain entrance – and party in – his space-limited stomach.

7. “This Magic Trick Explained (America’s Got Talent)” By Zack D. Films (0:34 long, 97.4 million Views, and 5.6 million engagements).

How did he do it? The judges of “America’s Got Talent” were confounded by this magic trick.

But not internet-sleuth Zack D., who unveils its clever secret.

Top 7 YouTube Ads Of 2022

Meanwhile, YouTube uses an entirely different methodology to determine the top YouTube ad for its 2022 year-end wrap-up Leaderboard. This makes sense.

The top ads are generally the ones with the biggest budgets, which drive up view counts, but not always engagements.

1. “Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Mind Reader” By Amazon (1:31 long, 69.7 million Views, and 25,700 engagements)

The creative agency for this ad was Lucky Generals and the media agency was IPG – Rufus.

The ad’s description asks, “Is Alexa reading minds a good idea? No. No, it is not.”

2. “Welcome To Clan Capital! Clash Of Clans New Update!” By Clash Of Clans (1:20 long, 52.9 million Views, and 212,000 engagements)

The creative agency was Psyop, and the media agency was in-house.

The ad’s description says,

“Welcome to the ultimate clan destination! A place where you and your clan can BUILD and BATTLE together! A place called CLAN CAPITAL!”

3. “Goal Of The Century X BTS | Yet To Come (Hyundai Ver.) Official Music Video” By Hyundaiworldwide (4:08 long, 40.5 million Views, and 886,000 engagements)

The ad’s description says,

“Our ‘Goal of the Century’ can’t be achieved by one individual alone, but we can achieve it if we all join forces and unite.

Just like football players come together as a team to score goals, we aim to use the power of football to go forward together in pursuit of the greatest goal – ‘A united world for sustainability.’”

4. “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts | Official Trailer | HBO Max” By HBO Max (1:58 long, 27.3 million Views, and 739,000 engagements)

The creative agency was in-house, and the media agency was Hearts & Science.

The ad’s description says,

“Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts invites fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time as it reunites Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and other esteemed cast members and filmmakers across all eight Harry Potter films for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

5. “Introducing iPhone 14 Pro | Apple” by Apple (4:20 long, 23.8 million views, and 571,000 engagements)

The ad’s description asks, “What lies beyond a traditional smartphone? Let’s find out. This is iPhone 14 Pro.”

6. All of Us Are Dead | Official Trailer | Netflix” by Netflix (2:35 long, 22.6 million views, and 518,000 engagements)

The creative agency was The Refinery, and the media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“All of us will die. There is no hope.” The school turned into a bloody battleground and our friends into worst enemies. Who will make it out alive?”

7. Sally’s Seashells (Extended) | Big Game Commercial 2022“ by Squarespace (1:07 long, 21.6 million views, and 67,600 engagements)

The media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“See everything that Sally sells in this extended cut of our 2022 Big Game commercial. Starring Zendaya as Sally and narrated by andré 3000.”

Most Important Lesson That Marketers Can Apply In 2023

Looking back at YouTube’s lists of top trending videos, top Shorts, and top ads for 2022, there is a meta-lesson that marketers can learn: one size does not fit all.

Different metrics matter when measuring different types of video, and different types of ads are better for different marketing objectives.

Or, as the British say, “There are horses for courses.”

Now, that’s a lesson that all of us can apply in 2023, and beyond.

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