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How to Start an E-commerce Business (9 Steps to Success)

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How to Start an E-commerce Business (9 Steps to Success)

All-in-one platforms (think Shopify) have made it all too easy for anyone and their grandmother to set up shop quickly.

Hear me out. There is a big difference between setting up an online store and launching a successful e-commerce business.

To be successful, you’ll need to research and develop a competitive product and create a professional website with fast shipping and helpful customer service—all while building a memorable brand.

I don’t want to discourage you with an extensive task list; that’s not what this is about.

We’re here to help you succeed. In this article, you’ll find nine steps to start your e-commerce business on the right foot.

1. Research the viability of your vision

Before you start building anything, you’ll want to research the viability of your vision.

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Do search query trends support that this product or store is something people want? What will your market position be, and can it be profitable?

Search query trends: Is this something people want?

You can get an idea of the level of interest using Google Trends and a good keyword research tool.

Google Trends is an online search tool that maps the popularity of broad queries in Google Search across various regions and languages over time.

For example, say I’m interested in starting a children’s gift shop. Google Trends shows that searches for kids’ board games have declined for a few years—especially around the holiday season.

Search trend for "board games for kids"

However, searches for wooden toys seem consistent.

Search trend for "wooden toys"

Based on this, wooden toys may be a better product niche than board games.

A keyword research tool is also helpful in the research phase. Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, for example, lets you see more details like related search queries and competitive metrics.

Continuing with the wooden toy shop example, Keywords Explorer tells me that a related search query, “wooden stacking toys,” has, on average, 500 monthly searches. And the trend line is increasing.

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Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer results for "wooden stacking toys"

I would also likely need very few to no backlinks to rank in the top 10 based on the low Keyword Difficulty (KD) score.

We can confirm that in the SERP overview where we see that smaller niche e-commerce sites are ranking in the top 10, along with the giants like Target and Amazon:

SERP overview for "wooden stacking toys"

Based on this, it seems wooden stacking toys are an emerging trend that is not too competitive yet.

Customer research: What will your market position be?

In addition to what people are interested in, you need to learn why they buy and what they want to see improved.

To understand why people buy, join industry forums, read reviews on similar products, and collect feedback directly from potential buyers with surveys and polls.

Collecting feedback from your audience will help inform and build your brand’s market position.

Continue listening as your product rolls out. Staying in touch with your customer base is essential to successful brands.

Pricing research: How much are they willing to pay?

Pricing touches everything from your business finances to your product’s positioning in the market.

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All pricing strategies have an underlying formula involving costs (the amount you spend), profit margin (money left after costs), and markup (what you add to the cost of production).

Try the cost-plus pricing method if you need a relatively quick and straightforward way to set a starting price.

This is easy. To set your first price, add up all the costs involved in bringing your product to market and then add your profit margin on top of those costs.

Cost-plus pricing method

Compare this selling price to what competitors are charging and explore historical price patterns. Or, to put it simply, get to know what your customer base is willing to spend.

2. Find the right source for the product(s)

Once you’ve figured out what products you want to sell, the next step is to find who will make them.

You may create handmade products, work with a manufacturer, or resell existing products.

Below is a brief overview of the pros and cons of different sourcing options.

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Creating handmade products

Handmade products are perceived as high quality, so this option allows sellers to charge a premium price.

You will have the most control over design and quality because you create the product in small batches.

The trouble with making everything by hand is that it’s hard to scale. There are only so many widgets one person can make in a day.

Working with a manufacturer to build products

Working with a manufacturer will solve the growth problem, but it’s time intensive and expensive.

You will look for a manufacturer, then work with them to build prototypes to your specifications and, finally, place your first order—in bulk.

Wix has a good guide on how to find a manufacturer that includes a few U.S. directories and overseas directories.

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Just be careful not to jump at the first manufacturing opportunity that matches your budget. Take your time to get to know their service quality (and legitimacy). Ask if you can review their license, whether there’s a minimum order quantity, and the average turnaround time.

Reselling existing products through a supplier

Many people choose to enter the e-commerce space by reselling existing products because it is easy to scale and does not require high upfront costs.

The process is fairly simple. You find vendors through online directories, order products, and ship them to your storage location or directly to customers (aka dropshipping).

Get started by browsing online directories, asking for wholesale referrals from within your network, or partnering with well-known sites like AliExpress or Faire.

While reselling has the least startup hurdles, keep in mind that you will not have a unique product or control over quality and may run into supply chain issues.

3. Coin a name and make the business legit

Once you have a strong plan for your e-commerce business, it’s time to choose a name and fill out all the legal forms to make it legit.

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When choosing a name for your company, you’ll want something that speaks to the product you sell and your target market. After all, you want your brand to be memorable so customers can easily find you when they’re ready to purchase.

Once you have a name in mind, check that another business hasn’t already taken it or the domain name. If the domain is registered, try a few variations before hitting the proverbial drawing board again.

Here is what the business name lookup in my state looks like:

Washington state business name lookup

Then on a national level, this is what the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) looks like.

TESS business name lookup

And finally, you can do a quick check for domain availability through your hosting provider of choice.

Domain name availability check

Last but certainly not least is ensuring you comply with local laws and regulations. This includes choosing your business’s legal structure and filing for necessary patents and trademarks.

Trying to decipher all the legal stuff can feel daunting. Thankfully, there are multiple online legal service providers to help make the legal process as easy as possible.

4. Choose an e-commerce platform to create a website

Now that you’ve legally started your e-commerce business, it’s time to create your website.

The actual building of your site will take place on an e-commerce platform, and there are many to choose from.

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Changing platforms down the road gets really complicated, so it is in your best interest to choose a platform that is easy for you to manage and accommodates most SEO requirements.

Organic traffic from search engines could potentially be your biggest traffic source, so you shouldn’t neglect this aspect.

To stay as neutral as possible, we’ve listed the most popular e-commerce platforms, according to market share:

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform, with a market share of 36.68% worldwide.

It is free to download (which likely has something to do with its widespread use), open-source, and has many useful plugins that give you complete control over your SEO settings.

If you already have a WordPress site and have the technical chops to use the advanced features, WooCommerce is the best option.

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Squarespace

Squarespace online stores ranked second, with a market share of 14.49% in 2022.

Years ago, trying to optimize a Squarespace site for search was really frustrating. I felt like my hands were tied. Yet, I was still able to hit that $1M in sales benchmark despite the minimal SEO capabilities.

A lot has changed since then, and I would recommend Squarespace to the non-techy crowd because of the drag-and-drop web builder and easy-to-use on-page SEO tab.

Shopify

Shopify was the third-largest e-commerce platform in 2022, with 10%.

The hosting, website builder, payment gateway, order tracking, and marketing tools are all included, with no complex installation process or wait time.

If you don’t already have a strong preference, go with Shopify. It isn’t perfect, but it’s the best out-of-the-box solution for most people in terms of its features and management.

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Wix

Wix was the fourth-largest e-commerce platform in 2022, at 6.44%.

Like Squarespace, Wix offers a user-friendly interface and templates to create a professional website with little tech experience.

While Wix has been adding a ton of SEO functionality, some important cons remain, like weird link structure and code bloat. That’s not ideal because speed matters in SEO and conversion rate optimization. Unfortunately, Wix’s server response time could be better.

5. Set up a payment gateway to authorize transactions

Your e-commerce website isn’t complete until you’ve set up a payment gateway so customers can pay for the products they want to purchase.

Payment gateways refer to the technology that helps sellers receive customer payments.

When choosing a payment processor for your online store, think about the volume and value of your transactions.

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For example, suppose you have a lot of high-value transactions. In that case, using a payment processor that charges a set monthly fee and a low transaction fee makes sense.

Below, we have listed the most common payment processors by market share:

PayPal

PayPal is the most popular payment gateway, holding 42.83% of the market. It supports Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Citibank, and more.

Data suggests that PayPal-enabled checkouts convert at 88.7%, and 52% of mobile customers will likely make additional online purchases if they see PayPal as a payment option.

Stripe

If you’re looking for a payment gateway that supports multiple currencies and integrates well with WooCommerce, Stripe is a great option. It’s available in more than 25 countries and has a market share of 18.65%.

Shopify Pay Installments

Shopify Pay Installments is the third-largest payment processor. It is unique because it allows customers to pay for orders in four interest-free installments. It’s available in 22 countries at the time of publication.

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Multiple payment options effectively increase sales because you extend your reach to every potential customer.

Amazon

Amazon Pay is the fourth-largest payment processor, at 5.04%.

Amazon Pay allows customers to use their Amazon account information to make online purchases on your e-commerce store.

The benefit of using Amazon Pay is that it increases customer trust, confidence, and conversion rates.

6. Choose a shipping method to send products to customers

Just as you need a payment processor to accept payments, you also need a shipping system to send products to your customers.

Will you maintain inventory, pack and ship orders “in-house,” or outsource shipping to a third-party provider?

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Amazon has changed customer expectations regarding shipping. Because of this, offering fast, affordable (even free) shipping options can help reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase conversions.

Free shipping may sound like it only benefits the customer, but it can be a win-win solution for both parties.

For example, you could offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. By doing so, you are meeting the customers’ expectations of free shipping and increasing the average order total.

And remember to consider free return shipping. Returns play a significant role in gaining new customers. Over 70% of surveyed consumers agree that the returns experience plays an important role in customer loyalty.

7. Hire customer service to answer questions and concerns

Launching your website is only the beginning. Once your online store is live, you’ll need excellent customer service to help your customers with questions and to ensure they are happy with their purchases.

In the beginning, have a key staff member, such as yourself or a marketing director, act as lead for all customer inquiries.

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This direct contact with your audiences provides valuable insights into areas of growth and product design.

Once it becomes too much for one person, this work can be delegated to a part-time or full-time customer service rep.

How to best serve your customer base is going to vary; below are a few customer service touchpoints to consider:

Live chat

Customers crave instant gratification. If they have a question, they want an answer ASAP.

If you can’t help them immediately, you risk losing them to a competitor that’s only one click away.

Since 83% of online shoppers need assistance completing an order, live chat (with real people, not bots) is a must-have.

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Social media

A study by Bain & Company found companies that responded to customer service requests on social media gained 20% to 40% more sales from those customers.

You can set up alerts to let you know when your business is being discussed, answer user questions, give updates on new products, and resolve any issues they may have.

Email

When an issue or question arises, the majority of people (62%) prefer to contact a company for customer service via email over any other channel, according to research.

That’s right. Email beats out live chat (23%) and social messaging sites (21%) regarding customer service preferences.

The lesson here is not to “deprioritize” email in favor of new technology, but to keep multiple communication channels in a unified system so customer inquiries can be quickly resolved.

8. Market your e-commerce business

Passion, a unique product, and a beautiful website aren’t enough to get customers to notice you (unfortunately).

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You’ll need to invest time and money into a combination of SEO, ads, social, video marketing, and more.

We spoke to the consultant of an eight-figure e-commerce business (ButcherBox) who shared six proven e-commerce marketing strategies just for you.

Below is a quick summary of ways to market your online shop:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO helps you rank higher in the search results for relevant search queries. It generally involves keyword research, content creation, link building, and technical improvements.

E-commerce SEO ups the ante, though. There are a lot of specifics you’ll have to deal with, but we have your back with our beginner’s guide to e-commerce SEO.

Online advertising

Online advertising is any time you place an ad on Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc., whether it’s pay-per-click, pay-per-impression, or something else.

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Ads are effective because brands can target the ad’s message to specific users, including how close the person is to buying the product.

Take Vuori (performance apparel brand), for example; the DTC brand grew to an unprecedented $4 billion valuation in just six years.

Founder Joe Kudla credits online advertising as the reason the brand made it from its humble beginnings.

And quite honestly, if we hadn’t leaned into that (direct marketing) so heavily, we probably wouldn’t have made it.

Vuori used a combination of Google Merchant Center and Facebook dynamic ads, Facebook-sponsored posts, and lookalike audiences built off its mailing list. It paid close attention to cost per acquisition to evaluate what was working.

Social media marketing

With a new business, you’ll be juggling a lot—so choose one social media platform to focus on. Ideally, one that balances where your audience hangs out with a medium you feel comfortable working with.

For example, if you love creating flat lays or product photography, Instagram or Pinterest will serve you well.

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If you are extroverted and love to be in front of the camera, you’ll shine on TikTok or YouTube.

The key is consistency. Refrain from spreading yourself too thin by trying to grow all your social media profiles. Focus on complementing your natural talents, so you’ll keep it up.

Learn more: Find Influencers: 6 Easy Steps to Choose the Right Ones

Video marketing

Video marketing works well for e-commerce because it shows how your products are used and how they can benefit the customer.

Many video marketing platforms let you sell directly through the app, like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories.

While resource-intensive, video is not a channel to sleep on. A recent study found that 73% of respondents preferred watching a short video to learn about a product or service.

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And Google knows it.

During an episode of the “Search Off the Record” podcast, Google Product Manager Danielle Marshak said, “We think this kind of content (video) could be useful for a lot of different types of search queries, and we’ve been experimenting with how to show it to users more often.”

Videos are already rising in prominence on Google, appearing in the main search results page, video search results, Google Images, and Discover.

Taking the Vuori example from above. Over 1,200 of the keywords it ranks for in Google also trigger video results in the SERP:

Filtering for organic keywords that trigger video results in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Considering Ahrefs’ YouTube channel has over 360,000 subscribers and 14 million views, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about video marketing. Read our beginner’s guide to video marketing to get started.

Email marketing

Promotional emails—love or hate them, they are a great way to grow your retail business.

This is because traffic from your email list isn’t the fleeting kind you often get from social media posts or paid ads. It brings people who have engaged with you already back to your site.

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It’s like the flyer in your mailbox at home vs. the billboard on the highway.

Get the inside scoop from a marketer that has grown multiple email lists in the tens of thousands in this guide to growing an email list.

9. Analyze your results to inform marketing strategy

As you receive orders, track which marketing tactics are working and which aren’t.

As time progresses, you’ll be able to adjust and change your marketing strategy to find what works best for your business.

A few metrics I keep an eye on for optimizing e-commerce marketing strategies are:

  • Buy-to-detail rates (purchases divided by the number of product views).
  • Average order value.
  • Customer lifetime value.
  • The number of returns or refunds (by marketing campaign).

Regularly analyzing your results can identify areas that need improvement, so you can make changes to grow your business.

Learn how to measure customer lifetime value and other essential marketing KPIs in our list of marketing KPIs worth tracking.

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Final thoughts

There you have it—a nine-step guide to starting an e-commerce business.

Don’t let the amount of work overwhelm or discourage you. The number #1 most important step is to get started.

Got any questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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On-Page SEO Checklist for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

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On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

On-Page SEO Checklist 2024

Want to make your pages rank high on Google? You won’t be able to do that if you don’t know where or how to start your on-page SEO — and with each Google update, this pillar of SEO gets more and more complicated. To keep you updated with the best and most relevant practices when it comes to this aspect of your website, I have prepared an on-page SEO checklist for 2024. 

On-Page SEO Factors

On-page SEO, in simple terms, is all the ways you can optimize your website take place on your website. Tweaking certain elements of your pages can enable them to climb very quickly up the ranks when done right. These elements include essentially everything you can see on your webpage, like its title tags, headers, and images.

Webmaster’s Note: This is part two of our SEO checklist series. Part one covers our technical SEO checklist, so go back if you haven’t seen that yet. I also do deep dives into other aspects of on-page SEO in other articles, like the best content strategy for SEO, how to hack on-page factors, and ways to dominate niche keywords in your industry.

1. Identify Your Target Keyword

This is where any SEO effort should start. Identify which basic keywords you would like each page to rank for. From there, you can expand into common phrases, questions, and related words people use to find pages like yours through keyword research. 

Key Aspects of Keyword Optimization:

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  • Keyword Research: Identifying the right keywords that your target audience is searching for.
  • Keyword Placement: Sensibly incorporating keywords in titles, headings, the first paragraph, and throughout the content.
  • Searcher Intent: Catering to why someone is performing a search, whether it’s to find information, make a purchase, etc.

Effective keyword optimization allows you to create pages that best meet user intent. This boosts your chances of ranking highly for your chosen keywords. 

Using a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEOUsing a Keyword Research Tool for On-Page SEO

I have longer guides on the types of keywords you should look at, and another on how to do keyword research you can follow for this step.

2. High-Quality Content Creation

Quality content is the keystone of on-page SEO. It is, after all, fundamental to the selling point of Google — which is that it is the go-to place to find answers to your questions. It’s why Google pushes Helpful Content Updates every so often.

So, your content must meet Google’s standards of quality in order to make it to the top. To do that, your content must be authoritative, valuable to the reader, and deliver on the promises made by your meta tags and headings.

What Constitutes Quality Content:

  • Originality: Your content must be unique and offer fresh insights.
  • Relevancy: It should align with your target user’s intent and be updated regularly.
  • Engagement: Content must encourage users to spend time on your site and interact with your offerings.

Creating content that exceeds user expectations can dramatically bolster your SEO as it can directly affect user engagement metrics and boost the credibility of your site. 

Webmaster’s Note: Beyond making sure all new content is high-quality, however, is ensuring all of your existing content is also up to par. I’ll be covering that in part four of this series, so keep an eye out for that. 

3. URL Structure

URLs are not only a ranking factor but also enhance the user experience when structured logically. 

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Features of an Effective URL Structure:

  • Concise and Descriptive: A URL should be concise and explain your page content. No stop words.
  • Keyword Inclusion: A relevant keyword can enhance a URL’s performance.
  • Use Hyphens instead of Underscores: Conventional use dictates using hyphens to separate words.

A clear URL helps users and search engines make sense of the page’s content before they even reach it.

Here’s an example of a bad URL slug. 

Example of Bad URL StructureExample of Bad URL Structure

And here’s an example of a good, optimized one.

Example of Good URL StructureExample of Good URL Structure

4. Title Tag and Headings

I find that certain practices for these two elements give the most benefit to a page’s SEO. 

Best Practices for Title Tag and Heading Optimization:

  • Use a Keyword-First Approach: Place keywords first in your title tag, as uninterrupted by stop-words as possible.
  • Keep it Simple: Title tags should be concise to ensure the entire tag is displayed on the SERPs.
  • Same Keyword, Different Phrasing: Use the same keyword in your title tag and heading 1. However, use different phrasing or wording for each. 
  • Insert Related Keywords: Do this for your heading 2, 3, and so on, where it makes sense.
  • Avoid Duplicates: Use different title tags and headings for every unique page.

4. Meta Tags Enhancement

Meta tags, such as the meta description, serve as a brief pitch to users on search engine results pages. Other meta tags, like your image alt text and links, provide important context to both the user and crawlbot.

Tips for Enhanced Meta Tags:

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  • Compelling Copy: Write title tags and meta descriptions that accurately summarize the page content and entice clicks.
  • Keyword Usage: Try to insert target keywords and/or related keywords effectively in your meta descriptions, and within the limit.
  • Uniqueness: Each page should have unique meta tags. 
  • Be Descriptive: Your image alt text should not only include a related keyword but should also adequately describe what is seen on the image. 
  • Add internal and external links: Semantic search means Google can use the links in your pages to gain a better understanding of its content. Always add relevant internal links, and only include external links from trusted websites. 
  • Use Noindex Robots Meta Tag: Add this to prevent any pages with thin content, or pages with little value and no intent from appearing in the SERPs.
  • Use rel=”canonical” Link Tag: Use this for any duplicate pages you have on your website. Doing this can help you control which version of the page gets indexed and ranks for your targeted keywords. 
  • Set your Open Graph Meta Tags: This will let you optimize how your pages look when they’re shared on social media.
  • Set your Viewport Meta Tag: This configures how your pages are scaled and displayed on different devices and platforms, which is important for user experience (more on that later). 

To get the most out of your SEO, don’t neglect this part of your on-page SEO checklist. The small tweaks here can add up to the big picture. 

Well-crafted meta tags have the potential to increase click-through rates, boost your visibility on organic search and image search, enhance user experience, and also distribute link equity throughout your pages. All these contribute to how well your page ranks. 

5. Internal Linking

Internal linking spreads link equity throughout your site and can help search engines discover new pages. Always link back to pillar content, or other high-value content on your website. 

Benefits of Strategic Internal Linking:

  • Navigation: They guide users through other relevant pages on your website.
  • Page Authority: Anchor text can help to convey what the linked-to page is about, which can aid in ranking for those terms.
  • User Time on Site: Providing relevant links can keep users engaged on your site for longer periods.

Good internal linking can significantly increase your engagement rates and contribute to building a robust site architecture. I have a separate post on how to build topical authority through internal linking you can check out.

6. User Experience (UX)

User experience affects on-page SEO because search engines favor websites that provide a positive user experience.

UX Factors to Consider in Your Website Design:

  • Mobile-Friendliness: The site must perform well across all devices — but especially on mobile-view, as most users use Google through their phones.
  • Ease of Use: The site should be navigable and logical in its layout. Navigation bars and other menus should be intuitive and prioritize the most important pages of your website.
  • Page Speed: Pages should load quickly to reduce bounce rates. Follow this guide to site speed optimization for this point.

As UX becomes an even more important ranking factor, I find it is necessary to add to this on-page SEO checklist. Sites that deliver a high-quality user experience will dominate search engine results pages.

Key Takeaway

Mastering this pillar of SEO is crucial for achieving high rankings on Google, and staying updated with evolving best practices is essential. But with every update, what works best changes. 

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My 2024 on-page SEO checklist provides basically the most up-to-date practices for the elements on your website. Follow it, and you should be able to boost your website’s authority, credibility, and long-term SEO performance.

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YouTube Challenges TikTok Duets With “Collab” For Shorts

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YouTube Challenges TikTok Duets With "Collab" For Shorts

YouTube has launched a new “Collab” feature for its short-form video product Shorts, allowing creators to remix and respond to existing YouTube videos and Shorts in a split-screen format.

The full rollout on Android and iOS marks an update that could change how content is made and distributed on the platform.

Collaborative Creativity Unleashed

With Collab, Shorts creators can now record their short videos alongside a video of their choosing from YouTube’s catalog up to 60 seconds long.

The new tool provides options for different side-by-side layouts, picture-in-picture, and green screen effects – opening up creative possibilities for reacting to, collaborating with, and repurposing content.

How Does ‘Collab’ Work?

To use the Collab feature, follow these steps:

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  1. Navigate to the video’s watch page they wish to remix.
  2. Click the ‘Remix’ icon and select ‘Collab.’
  3. Choose a segment up to 60 seconds from the video to sample.
  4. Select from various layout options that align with their creative vision.
  5. Record their Short alongside the original video, which will play simultaneously.

A New Avenue for Marketers

The new ‘Collab’ feature displays the original video and user-created content side-by-side, enabling users to craft responses, duets, and new interpretations of existing videos.

This functionality allows digital marketers to leverage user-generated content to reinforce brand messaging.

Additionally, ‘Collab’ has the potential to boost engagement with branded videos and inspire creative marketing campaigns that incorporate audience participation as a core element.

YouTube vs TikTok: The Remix Battle

The launch of Collab comes as YouTube aims to further compete with rivals like TikTok in the exploding short-form video space.

TikTok pioneered features like Duets, where users can split the screen with another video and film themselves reacting to it. Collab provides YouTube creators with similar reactive and collaborative options natively within YouTube’s ecosystem.

Both platforms now offer tools that enable users to build upon others’ content, fostering a culture of collaboration and iterative creativity. However, YouTube’s vast repository of long-form content combined with Shorts could provide a unique edge in the diversity of content available for remixing.

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Final Thoughts

For digital marketers and creators, Collab represents an engaging new format on YouTube for responding to trending content, viral sounds and moments, and participating in meme culture. The tool makes repurposing audio and video clips even easier. Marketers may find collaborative Shorts are a way to join larger conversations and engage desired audiences.

TikTok pioneered short-form video remixing online, but YouTube has the advantages of a vast video library and powerful search functionality. These provide opportunities for YouTube’s new Collab feature to enable derivative creativity. Like other Shorts tools, Collab seeks to match TikTok’s capabilities and give YouTube creators every option to achieve success on the platform.


FAQ

What is YouTube’s new “Collab” feature for Shorts, and how does it expand creative options for creators?

YouTube’s recently introduced “Collab” feature for Shorts is an innovative function that permits creators to engage with and remix existing YouTube videos and Shorts. This tool enhances interactive creativity by allowing for:

  • Recording short videos alongside a selected video from YouTube’s vast catalog for up to 60 seconds.
  • Employing various layout options such as side-by-side, picture-in-picture, and green screen effects.
  • Enabling creators to react to, collaborate with, or repurpose content fosters a dynamic content creation environment.

 

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How might digital marketers harness the “Collab” feature in their YouTube marketing strategies?

The “Collab” feature offers digital marketers a dynamic tool to amplify their YouTube marketing efforts by:

  • Creating opportunities to engage with user-generated content and incorporate it into brand messaging.
  • Encouraging community engagement through interactive and co-creative campaigns involving audience participation.
  • Using the feature to respond to trends may lead to higher engagement rates and foster a participatory brand culture.

 

What competitive edge does YouTube gain over TikTok with the launch of the “Collab” feature?

With the launch of “Collab,” YouTube has positioned itself to be more competitive with TikTok by:

  • Introducing a feature that parallels TikTok’s popular Duets, allowing users to create content in a collaborative split-screen format.
  • Leveraging its extensive library of long-form content to provide creators with a broader range of content to remix, surpassing the variety available on TikTok.
  • Combining its powerful search functionality and the new feature to attract creators looking to engage with and contribute to trending topics and cultural memes.
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Featured Image: Prathmesh T/Shutterstock

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10 Completely Free SEO Training Courses

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10 Completely Free SEO Training Courses

Learning SEO doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of quality free SEO courses teaching everything from the basics to keyword research to link building.

Here are ten that won’t cost a dime.

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 2 hours

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Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: SEO Course for Beginners

What you’ll learn

  • The fundamentals of what search engine optimization is and how it works
  • Why SEO is important
  • How to do keyword research
  • How to optimize web pages for search engines
  • Beginner-friendly link building strategies to get backlinks to your site
  • Technical SEO best practices for beginners

This comprehensive course is ours and covers the fundamentals of SEO, including keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, and link building.

SEO Certification Course by HubSpotSEO Certification Course by HubSpot

Course provider: HubSpot

Duration: 3 hours 51 minutes

Instructor(s): Rachel Sheldon, Matthew Howells-Barby

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Level: Beginner

Link: SEO Certification Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to evaluate and improve your website’s SEO
  • How to build backlinks to your website at scale to increase your website’s visibility in organic search
  • How to use insights from keyword research and reporting to improve your search performance

HubSpot’s SEO Training Course is tailored for marketers, content creators, and anyone looking to enhance their website’s visibility. Through practical lessons and real-world examples, the course participants will learn how to build a robust SEO strategy, analyze their website’s performance, and adapt to the changing algorithms of search engines.

Make sure customers find you online by Google SkillshopMake sure customers find you online by Google Skillshop

Course provider: Google

Duration: 3 hours

Instructor(s): Google

Level: Beginner

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Link: Make Sure Customers Find You Online

What you’ll learn

  • How to get started with search
  • How to make search work for you
  • How to get discovered with search
  • How to help people nearby find you online

This free course from Google Skillshop helps businesses discover ways to reach and connect with more customers online. It covers improving SEO and using online advertising (SEM) to boost sales and awareness.

Google SEO Fundamentals by UC Davis on CourseraGoogle SEO Fundamentals by UC Davis on Coursera

Course provider: University of California, Davis

Duration: 28 hours

Instructor(s): Rebekah May

Level: Beginner

Link: Google SEO Fundamentals

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What you’ll learn

  • How to complete a competitive analysis on a webpage
  • How to interpret brand recognition through social media
  • How to create sitemaps and robot.txt files, plan redirects, and manage site errors
  • How to use a variety of SEO tools to conduct an audience analysis and develop personas of your ideal buyer

Offered by the University of California, Davis, this course on Coursera delves into the fundamental aspects of SEO, including how search engines work and how to implement effective SEO strategies to attract more organic traffic.

However, due to its length (28 hours), it may not be the most suitable if you want to learn SEO fast.

SEO for Beginners Training by YoastSEO for Beginners Training by Yoast

Course provider: Yoast

Duration: 2 hours

Instructor(s): Joost de Valk

Level: Beginner

Link: SEO for Beginners Training

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What you’ll learn

  • What SEO is and what Google does
  • Tips for quick wins to improve your site
  • Insights into the content and technical side of SEO

This free course discusses what SEO is and how it works. Some of the important points from the course are how to use keywords to optimize your website, how to write content that Google likes, and how to make your website crawlable by search engines.

Keyword Research Course by AhrefsKeyword Research Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 2 hours

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: Keyword Research Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to do keyword research and drive targeted traffic to your website

This is our specialized course that focuses specifically on keyword research. It covers topics such as how to choose keywords, how to analyze search intent, and how to find low-competition keywords.

Technical SEO Course by AhrefsTechnical SEO Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes

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Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Link: Technical SEO Course

What you’ll learn

  • The fundamentals of technical SEO
  • How to run a technical SEO audit
  • How to optimize your website’s technical SEO

Another specialized course from us, this course is designed for those looking to dive deeper into the technical side of SEO. It covers advanced topics such as site audits, page speed optimization, and how to resolve common technical issues that can impact search rankings.

Technical SEO Certification by Blue ArrayTechnical SEO Certification by Blue Array

Course provider: Blue Array

Duration: 7 hours

Instructor(s): Damion Edwards

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Level: Beginner to intermediate

Link: Technical SEO Certification

What you’ll learn

Aimed at professionals seeking to certify their expertise, this course covers a wide range of technical SEO topics, including crawling, indexing, ranking, and on-page optimization. From site architecture to schema markup, it equips learners with the skills to tackle technical challenges and improve website performance.

Local SEO Course by AhrefsLocal SEO Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 44 minutes

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: Local SEO Course

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What you’ll learn

  • How to do local SEO
  • How to do local keyword research
  • How to do local link building

Ideal for businesses targeting local customers, this course teaches the basics of optimizing for local search. It covers essential tactics for improving local visibility, such as Google Business Profile optimization and local keyword targeting.

Advanced Link Building Course by AhrefsAdvanced Link Building Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 1 hour 48 minutes

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Link: Advanced Link Building Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to find prospects with the “seed and lookalike” approach
  • How to validate link building campaigns with a “blitz list”
  • How to craft personalized and benefit-rich outreach emails
  • How to create, structure and manage a link building team
  • How to scale your link building operations

Focusing on one of the most challenging aspects of SEO, Sam shares his years of experience creating campaigns, sending outreach emails, and building teams. This is a must-finish course if you need help building and scaling your link building operations.

Final thoughts

The best way to learn SEO is to do.

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So, don’t just go through the courses, take notes, and leave it aside. You need to actually execute to find out what works and what doesn’t. Create a website, implement the ideas you’re learning, and see if you can get more organic traffic to it.

That’s how you become an SEO pro.

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