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How to Use Data-Driven to Create Better Digital PR Campaign

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How to Use Data-Driven to Create Better Digital PR Campaign

People talk about what they want to read and a good digital PR professional must know what to share.

Link building is one of the most difficult strategies in an SEO project. With some innovation and creativity, you can transform it into a tough, but rewarding journey.

So, I’m going to teach you how to improve your link building strategy by achieving important links using data-driven journalism, marketing research, and Google Forms.

Original research makes great linkbait!

First of all: nothing here is doctrine. This is just one of many available strategies that you can apply to your daily link building job.

As a specialist, one of my daily activities is to read and study a lot of articles.

We live in the “content age”, but you must keep in mind what really matters for your project. Simplifying and being objective about what you want for your clients will help you to find value in the journey, and find good content to inspire your strategies – like this article.

Hopefully, this material will open your mind to a lot of good ideas.

To be as helpful as possible, I’m going to teach you how to create a digital PR data-based campaign and pull the perfect headlines.

And don’t worry about the niche; This kind of strategy can be used by anyone.

Here’s how to merge data-driven with search intent and extract more information to share with people.

A good journalist knows that data is the backbone of any perfect campaign! I mean, we can’t argue with facts, right?

A good digital PR strategy must be driven by data.

Before Data, Some Questions To Improve Your Digital PR Strategy

To guide your digital PR strategy, ask yourself these key questions:

  • What specific problem are you trying to solve with a campaign?
  • Did your client do any PR or content marketing before?
  • Who is your client’s direct competitor?
  • Who is your client’s aspirational competitor?
  • How much SEO knowledge does your client have?
  • What is your client’s dream site on which to see their brand?

The answers will help you devise a holistic campaign to ladder up to all your goals.

Now it’s important to present some definitions of data-driven journalism.

What Is Data-Driven Journalism?

I could write some known definitions here, but I won’t.

I’ll talk to you as my teammates.

The basics: data-driven journalism is when your content is data-based.

By rooting your content in data, you are guaranteeing truth and reliability throughout your work.

Besides, with good data, it is possible to better understand user behavior trends and what your audience wants to read.

Data-driven journalism is the perfect mix between numbers and communication – it’s one of the most important ways to understand search intent.

Data protects us from failure.

The First Journalism Rule

A good journalist must cite their sources. This is the kind of lesson you learn in your first college journalism class.

Without sources, there is no valid information, no internet, or even link building.

Do you know anchor text? How about thinking like a source reference? That’s it!

Linkbuilding is a web source reference.

Data-Driven And Journalism: Partners Forever!

When you merged data-driven content and journalism, you can create digital PR campaigns that bring a lot of good links (that matter), with value and relevance.

Take note: relevance.

Without relevance, we have no deal.

The Beginning: Market Research

The first step to a perfect digital PR campaign is to do market research on the internet.

This helps you understand the market necessities, examine the most important news about your specific topic or theme, and devise ideas to create a good campaign.

Google News, Google Trends, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok… you must study all of these deeply to find gaps and opportunities!

As an example, I recently had a specific challenge:  to talk about soy and its culture.

I soon discovered there was already plenty of content talking about this topic – so, what’s new? I couldn’t just regurgitate existing content; I needed to find a point of difference to set my work apart.

You must find the icing on the cake of your content.

After conducting plenty of research on the soy market, I found a good way in. While Google had a lot of content talking about soy, there was no content specifically exploring the opinions of soy farmers.

So, I decided to give voice to the soy farmers!

I put together a Google Form survey for soy farmers that focused on technology, problems on plantations, governmental help, and other things.

Structuring The Research

First of all, I structured the survey using Google Forms.

Simple. Just a quick few questions to understand what the farmers have to say!

But where did I find the questions? Through researching soy on Google, and by talking with an agronomist. I held an interview with him to structure my questions in the right way.

It’s important for you to have the validation of an area specialist; this will make your content more effective.

Remember E.A.T., your content should be strong and represent the issues and resolutions of a niche.

After my questions were ready, I created my Google Form survey and sent it to my client’s email.

The wonderful thing about this survey is that the answers could open up a universe of story possibilities.

With Google Forms And No Money, I Had A Good Survey

As with any survey or interview, it’s important to show gratitude to the participants. This helps them to feel part of the survey and the results.

To make a good survey you must first know some demographic information.

It’s essential to help you understand where the people are, who they are, and how they like to share communication and personal information.

So, make sure to include the questions below at the top of your survey:

To generate good data, don’t forget to ask:

  • Age.
  • Local area (state, city, neighborhood, etc.).
  • Gender.
  • Education.
  • Occupation.
  • Marital status.

After these questions, you can ask about your research theme.

These questions are important because they enable you to find more compelling headlines.

For example, in my case: Climate Fieldview Change Is The Challenge To 74.4% Of Soy Producers In Brazil.

Tabulating Data

I kept the forms open for answers for 15 to 20 days, which I believe is a decent period for a survey.

In this instance particularly, we had more than 1,000 answers. A good sample.

But for a digital PR campaign in a journalistic way, more than 300 answers is a good number to start.

Now, it’s time to tabulate.

You can export the answers from Google Forms into a spreadsheet like so:

Screenshot by author, December 2022

You must read the numbers – and don’t forget to use your journalist’s nose to find good headlines.

To make it easier, you can use a dynamic table, which allows you to play with numbers.

After examining the answers and making your analysis, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the best way to create the content.

And good content and link baiting spots are necessary to validate your link building job.

Topical Authority Content – Link Bait

After exploring the survey and synthesizing its insights, it’s time to plan the content for release and distribution.

In this case, I used my customer’s blog to make the research into a linkable asset.

I wrote topical authority content. I explained the survey details and what data was pulled.

It was a huge piece of content about the culture of soy, including information about the history of soy up until the present.

Topical authority, done! I went for the link achievement by creating strong releases and good pitches.

sample of infographic with the farmer's answerImage from author, December 2022

For the launch, I conducted different outreach to each site where I wanted to get the link.

This is a good strategy in order to make sure that journalists understand the exclusive material in their email inboxes.

For each headline, a release.

For each journalist, a unique outreach.

How To Create Good Topical Authority Content

Every linkable asset must be a really good one to be “clickable.”

Topical authority (TA) is extraordinary for making this happen.

This is the result of embracing the entirety of a subject or topic, touching all its parts, and communicating everything possible about it on your topical authority material.

To build topical authority, look for themes on Google and use tools such as Semrush, Keytrends, Ahrefs, and others.

If you want to write topical authority content, you must do a Google search on the topic and study the well-positioned sites on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Look at how they were produced, written, and the data used – go deep on each material there.

Check out the People Also Asked and the related searches, to understand the breadth of how people are thinking about the topic.

sample on google serp to people also asked Screenshot from search for [digital pr], Google, December 2022

Create a spreadsheet with all this content data and use it to map what you want to create.

Once it’s complete, it’s time to write the TA material.

To find good queries, you can use related search.

Devote some time to building the best content online about the subject. This will help attract relevant links and also help your site, as Google will understand that you are the authority on this topic.

First, because of the links that the content will receive, and second, because of the richness of the content itself.

Remember I told you about the journey of link building? It is essential to respect the link building journey; it is the process. Without it, there is no prize “in the end.”

The challenge is keeping the end results in place, as well as not forgetting all the steps that we took in order to reach a successful outcome.

You need to map the campaign steps and record everything. Absolutely everything.

Create a campaign checklist so you can get an idea of ​​how much time you are spending doing each thing. The checklist will also make sure you haven’t missed anything along the way.

What I call a “wishlist” is a spreadsheet with the name of the portal, the contact, and the approach to “sell” the content.

examples of colums to a wishlist spreadsheetImage created by author, December 2022

Each portal must be mapped with care.

Analyze portal traffic and see if it is in your customer’s segment.

You can put some KPIs to find good sites: domain rating, traffic, search intent of the site, acting niche, external and internal links, and others.

But these KPIs must be taken together; Don’t make your choice based on just one KPI.

Here’s the wishlist template you can use to organize your processes:

Site Why* Pitch Subject Outreach Contact link
  • Why* – The reasons and searches that justify a link opportunity. Traffic, tier (01, 02, 03), domain rating, etc.

Tip: Do not release on Monday or Friday. On Mondays, journalists have a lot of emails in their inbox. On Fridays, journalists want to rest and think about the weekend,

To Infinity And Beyond

I have generated more than 23 links within 10 days of releasing the campaign with important players.

Ahrefs sample results Image created by author, December 2022

Besides these results, we got more than 30 links to our research in one month!

What is important besides links? E.A.T! With this kind of research you can improve authority.

And the TA post is already receiving traffic with a first-page keyword, “plantio de soja” within just three months of the campaign:

performance on search resultsImage created by author, December 2022

Google SERP with a keyword on the first page:

Print of Google Serp First Page Screenshot from search for [plantio de soja], Google, December 2022

In Conclusion

It’s worth noting that soy culture is a small niche.

But if you use this strategy in more popular markets like tourism, fashion, food, or others, the results could be bigger.

And now, a step-by-step you can’t forget:

  • Make a survey (15-20 days).
  • Tabulate the answers.
  • Create good headlines.
  • Create a wishlist.
  • Release the content.

Here are some of the links to my headlines, all of them in good sites:

Now at 42 links… and counting!

More resources: 


Featured Image: Suteren/Shutterstock



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Gen Z Ditches Google, Turns To Reddit For Product Searches

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In this photo illustration, the Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.

A new report from Reddit, in collaboration with GWI and AmbassCo, sheds light on the evolving search behaviors of Generation Z consumers.

The study surveyed over 3,000 internet users across the UK, US, and Germany, highlighting significant changes in how young people discover and research products online.

Here’s an overview of key findings and the implications for marketers.

Decline In Traditional Search

The study found that Gen Z uses search engines to find new brands and products less often.

That’s because they shop online differently. They’re less interested in looking for expert reviews or spending much time searching for products.

There are also frustrations with mobile-friendliness and complex interfaces on traditional search platforms.

Because of this, traditional SEO strategies might not work well for reaching younger customers.

Takeaway

Companies trying to reach Gen Z might need to try new methods instead of just focusing on being visible on Google and other search engines.

Rise Of Social Media Discovery

Screenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Gen Z is increasingly using social media to find new brands and products.

The study shows that Gen Z has used social media for product discovery 36% more frequently since 2018.

This change is affecting how young people shop online. Instead of searching for products, they expect brands to appear in their social media feeds.

1719123963 547 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Because of this, companies trying to reach young customers need to pay more attention to how they present themselves on social media.

Takeaway

To succeed at marketing to Gen Z, businesses will likely need to focus on two main things:

  1. Ensure that your content appears more often in social media feeds.
  2. Create posts people want to share and interact with.

Trust Issues With Influencer Marketing

Even though more people are finding products through social media, the report shows that Gen Z is less likely to trust what social media influencers recommend.

These young shoppers often don’t believe in posts that influencers are paid to make or products they promote.

Instead, they prefer to get information from sources that feel more real and are driven by regular people in online communities.

Takeaway

Because of this lack of trust, companies must focus on being genuine and building trust when they try to get their websites to appear in search results or create ads.

Some good ways to connect with these young consumers might be to use content created by regular users, encourage honest product reviews, and create authentic conversations within online communities.

Challenges With Current Search Experiences

The research shows that many people are unhappy with how search engines work right now.

More than 60% of those surveyed want search results to be more trustworthy. Almost half of users don’t like looking through many search result pages.

Gen Z is particularly bothered by inaccurate information and unreliable reviews.

1719123963 785 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Takeaway

Given the frustration with search quality, marketers should prioritize creating accurate, trustworthy content.

This can help build brand credibility, leading to more direct visits.

Reddit: A Trusted Alternative

The report suggests that Gen Z trusts Reddit when looking up products—it’s their third most trusted source, after friends and family and review websites.

1719123963 403 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Young users like Reddit because it’s community-based and provides specific answers to users’ questions, making it feel more real.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Reddit itself, which probably influenced why it’s suggesting its own platform.

Takeaway

Companies should focus more on being part of smaller, specific online groups frequented by Gen Z.

That could include Reddit or any other forum.

Why SEJ Cares

As young people change how they look for information online, this study gives businesses important clues about connecting with future customers.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Traditional search engine use is declining among Gen Z.
  • Social media is increasingly vital for product discovery.
  • There’s growing skepticism towards influencer marketing.
  • Current search experiences often fail to meet user expectations.
  • Community-based platforms like Reddit are gaining trust.

Featured Image: rafapress/Shutterstock

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

Featured Image by Shutterstock/sutlafk

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What Is It & How To Write It

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What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report
”google
”seo
”seo

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.

FAQ

What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

More resources: 


Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

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