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Digital Marketing Tools We’re Thankful for This Year

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As we eagerly count down the last few days until Thanksgiving, the Industry Dive marketing team is practicing our own form of thanks-giving. 

Just like that one family member that forces you every year to go around the table and say what you’re all thankful for, I asked our team to go around and share their favorite marketing tools. “What digital marketing tools are you most thankful for this year?” 

And while we could make a long list of tools we use every day, I was more curious to know which tools the team could not live without. Here is a list of marketing tools we are most thankful for this year:

  1. Grammarly
  2. Moz
  3. Google Campaign Builder
  4. Google’s Data Studio
  5. LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail
  6. Slack
  7. Canva
  8. Unsplash
  9. Zest

I loved writing this post because you can pretty much find a tool for every job function. Every person on our marketing team plays a different role and serves a different purpose  each equally as important as the other. This collection of tools resembles just that. Keep reading to see how each of these tools plays a role in assisting our marketing team function at its best.

Grammarly

As far as I know, Grammarly is the best writer-checking tool in the game. Since I installed this app a few years ago, I cannot imagine how else I would get through a workday without this plug-in catching every spelling and grammar mistake I make.

Industry Dive’s VP of Marketing, Robin Re says, “I’m thankful for the Grammarly plug-in. Not only does it catch any typos in my marketing copy and external-facing emails, but now, thanks to the Tone Detector [beta], it gives me a sense of how my email might come across. Which as any marketer knows… the HOW you’re saying something is just as important as the WHAT. I can sometimes wander into ‘formal’ tone and sound robot-like, so this is a nice nudge to lighten it up.”

This tool will help improve your marketing copy, edit your emails and generally calm your anxiety about missing a small grammatical error in your writing. I highly recommend installing this app if your job requires you to write regularly.

Moz

Moz is another tool to be thankful for, especially if you manage SEO for your website.

Marketing Coordinator, Olivia Iurillo says, “I’m most thankful for Moz’s keyword explorer, which we use for SEO. When our editorial team asks for help with headlines or is curious about what our target audience may be searching for, I use the keyword explorer in tandem with SERP analysis to try and determine what keywords will boost organic search traffic.”

Google Campaign Builder

Savannah Smith, Marketing Campaign Specialist, is thankful for the time saved by this tool. 

“It sounds simple, but I’m thankful for the Google Campaign URL Builder. We manage 40+ campaigns in a given week, and being able to quickly create UTM codes to track performance across different sources and mediums is such a time saver.”

Building your campaign tracking links could not be easier with this tool. 

Google’s Data Studio

Google’s Data Studio has endless tracking capabilities. It’s great if you have someone on your team who knows the ins and outs of the system to help you customize reports to show you exactly what you need to measure. Our entire team uses these reports for various different reasons. 

As the Director of Lead Gen, Malinda Gather spends a lot of time working in Google’s Data Studio. 

I’m thankful for Google’s Data Studio. The number and types of reports you can create are endless, but I primarily use the tool to track landing page performance by campaign and placement. This allows my team to quickly pivot our promotional and copy strategy if the report indicates our current promotion isn’t resonating. It’s also an easy way to track our most successful promotions.”

I, on the other hand, use Google’s Data Studio to track contributor content performance. Luckily, I have Jackie (our data analyst) to help build reports like this for me. 

When it comes to marketing data analytics, I don’t know a better tool. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail

Wondering if you have the right person in your “to” line of your Gmail email? Or how you might be connected professionally? For those of you who email with people you don’t know regularly, you will love this plug-in. You can learn a lot more about the person on the other end of that email thread when their LinkedIn profile (including degree of connection and LinkedIn group membership) pops up on the side of your Gmail inbox.

Marketing Campaign Corodinator, Sammy Srinivasan, loves this tool. “I’m thankful for the LinkedIn email plug-in. It tells me more about the prospects/leads that I come across and it makes it far more efficient to see if that person is a fit for our campaign.”

Matching a recipient to their LinkedIn profile helps provide more context to the conversation, and of course helps humanize it a bit with a smiling face if they have a profile picture.

Slack

There are so many different chat tools to choose from these days. From one-on-one chats to larger group collaborations, Slack is the perfect tool to help improve company-wide communication.

This is a tool we are all thankful for. Our team has a private channel where we share ideas, ask questions and just chat throughout the workday. On the Slack website, they offer helpful tips for in-app collaborations and other various ways to utilize this tool to boost work-productivity (including polls, calendar reminders, and project management notifications).

Sr. Data Analyst, Jackie McCartney, thinks Slack makes work more fun.

Canva

The tool I am most thankful for is Canva. Although my go-to tool for designing social media graphics is Photoshop and InDesign by Adobe, I absolutely love having Canva around for creating quick, on-the-go graphics.

The Adobe apps are the most robust design tools you can find on the market and are perfect for people trained in graphic design; but for everyone else, Canva offers a large variety of templates for all your marketing needs. You don’t need to remember all the optimal social media graphic sizes because Canva has everything pre-set for you. They’ve also updated their system so you can share your work with others, offering another great resource for team-collaboration.

The real selling point for me is that you can use Canva on any computer by just opening up your web-browser, going to the site and signing in. Adobe apps work best on Apple computers, so I rely heavily on Canva for my graphics when I’m traveling or working from home.

Unsplash

Megan Gavin, Director of Audience Growth Marketing, manages the majority of our social media ads, so she knows everything that goes into creating the perfect ad.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says Meg. “It’s especially important when you’re limited to a few lines of text in your paid social posts. Unsplash has a vast gallery of free, high-quality images to help provide a cohesive product message and experience to prospective readers.”

Zest

The last digital marketing tool we want to give thanks for is Zest. Thank you, Zest, for offering us an easy plug-in to share and discover new social media and digital marketing content daily. 

Their website reads, “The content you need when you need it. Build your skills to stay ahead of the industry. Let Zest’s AI personally match you with community-curated marketing content.” Install the plug-in and you will be able to share your favorite industry insights with other marketers around the world, as well as discover favorite content that others are reading. 

As a trusted source for marketers to discover insights and learn from their peers, Zest reminds me a lot of what we do here at Social Media Today. For example, at Social Media Today, we find the smartest minds in the social media marketing world and work with them daily to create unique content that offers real advice and doesn’t add to the content-overload we experience on the internet today. The Zest team is also committed to sorting through content and making sure they only share the best of the best. 

You can select topics (such as “social,” “SEO,” “B2B,” etc.) that you want to read about and the system will show all the recent articles suggested for that topic. They also give you a nice profile page so that you can save content and follow other people to see their content suggestions.

Well, that’s it from us. Of course there are plenty of other amazing digital marketing tools on the market, but these nine tools improve my team’s daily work lives and we are so thankful for them. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.

While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.

In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?

Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.

As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.

Top alternative search engines by global market share

When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:

1) Bing

2) Yahoo

3) Yandex

4) DuckDuckGo

5) Baidu

These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.

Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.

Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.

Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Bing and Yahoo

Screenshot of bing.com, November 2022

Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.

Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.

Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.

Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.

If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.

This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.

Microsoft also pushes Bing further by offering easy rewards for searches and more advanced image search capabilities than Google.

Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.

To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:

Infographic by AS Marketing, December 2022


1. List your business on Bing Places

Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.

2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools

While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.

3. Match keywords in your content

Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.

5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content

Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.

Yandex

Screenshot of yandex.com, November 2022

Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.

While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.

Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.

While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:

1. Focus on tags over internal site structure

According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.

2. Consider search intent to rank

Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.

3. Eliminate toxic links

Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.

Baidu

Screenshot of baidu.com, November 2022

With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.

While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.

Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.

1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately

As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.

2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page

Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.

3. Obtain a verification level and get certified

By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.

Top alternative search engines by data privacy

While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.

On a macro scale, the European Union continues to protect data privacy with strict GDPR regulations and the California Consumer Privacy Act indicates similar trends for Americans.

From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.

If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.

Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.

DuckDuckGo

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.

Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.

Here’s how to optimize for it:

1. Sharpen Your User Experience

UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.

2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks

As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.

3. Rethink Local SEO

Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.

Startpage

Screenshot of startpage.com, November 2022

Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.

And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.

So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.

SwissCows

Screenshot of swisscows.com, November 2022

There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.

This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.

SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.

What do they all have in common?

In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.

But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.

Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.

And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.

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Master the CX trifecta: Data, content and tech

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Shutterstock 2227781509 800x450

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, businesses worldwide face lots of uncertainty.

One thing will remain constant throughout this period — customers expect excellent experiences when interacting with a brand. According to Acquia’s latest CX Report, businesses plan to prioritize customer retention over the next 12 months: 56% plan to improve customer experience, and 58% will focus more on customer service.

This should be a common goal. To weather a potential storm, businesses must keep customers by meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Register today for “Master the CX Trifecta in 2023: Data, Content & Tech,” presented by Acquia,  and create the foundation for CX success this year and beyond.


Click here to view more MarTech webinars.


About the author

Cynthia Ramsaran

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for CNBC.com and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.

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