BrightEdge sent out over a brand-new record called “Breaking the Web content Code” and also considering that I’m about content, I needed to share it with you.

To find up with the numbers, < a href="http://www.brightedge.com/" > BrightEdge touched into their gigantic Information Cube database which contains info regarding billions of pieces of content from around the internet. Appears like a machine that might take over the globe. Fortunately it gets on our side … for now.

The Information Dice sliced as well as diced to discover which was the most efficient chauffeur of traffic; organic search, paid, display/ email or social. Wish to presume which one triumphed? If you took notice of the title of this blog post then you currently know but I’ll make a dramatic expose anyhow.

Brightedge Content Traffic< img class ="aligncenter size-full wp-image-59616" src ="http://smyrnathemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Brightedge-Content-Traffic.jpg"alt= "Brightedge Content Website traffic"width= "571"height="273"srcset=" http://smyrnathemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Brightedge-Content-Traffic.jpg 571w, http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Brightedge-Content-Traffic-300x143.jpg 300w"sizes= "( max-width: 571px) 100vw, 571px "/ > Organic Look takes it! When you incorporate all of the industries, Organic Look is accountable for sending out 51%of the website traffic to firm sites.

The following finest wager was Present, Email and also Referred. Paid Look just accounted for 10% of the overall website traffic which is unexpected provided the amount of money individuals invest in search marketing. The only 2 industries that seem to benefit at all from Paid Browse are Retail and Friendliness.

What’s worse than the traffic from paid search? The web traffic from social media. We might not be spending a whole lot of money on social yet we sure invest a great deal of time and also that green bar is hardly noticeable on this graph. Modern technology gets a little boost, very same with Company Solutions yet that’s it.

This record does not claim you should quit using social media but it may be time for an equilibrium check. If majority of your web traffic is coming in by means of organic search you should invest more time uploading posts on your website than posting enjoyable pictures on Facebook. As opposed to pouring even more cash into Paid Browse, possibly that cash must go toward SEO or website fixes.

What fears me most about social media sites is how we have actually come to depend on it as a repository for details. It’s simple to post photos from the brand-new product launch on Facebook but those exact same images should get on your website. Facebook could not be around forever, not in the type it is now, anyway. If you find that tough to believe, think about all the people that lost photos and messages when MySpace did a pivot.

Uploading images as well as video by yourself blog will likewise boost search ranking and also enhance your click-through price. BrightEdge states that abundant media blog posts generate 13% even more clicks than simple message messages.

The takeaway here is merely this: do not keep doing just what you’re doing simply since it’s exactly what you’ve constantly done. Consider the numbers. Truly take a look at what’s functioning for you. If Facebook isn’t really driving web traffic to your website, stop spending so much time upgrading your page. Invest that time producing useful and also entertaining material that your customers will certainly desire to see, read as well as share.


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Welcome_Email_Sequence.jpg

How successful are your ‘welcome’ emails? 

On average, ‘welcome’ emails receive an unusually high open rate of 50% — making them 86% more effective than newsletters

These emails are responsible for setting the tone and creating expectations with your newest subscribers and customers. This is where you educate your prospective customers about the products or services you sell, as well as how frequently you’ll be sending email.

However, just like in person, it takes conscious work to create a great first impression. If you stop for a second and think about your email marketing campaign, it’s possible that a significant amount of your success relies on your subscribers liking what they see in those initial emails.

To help you better understand what goes into an effective ‘welcome’ email sequence, we’ll walk you through the motions below — and include some helpful examples along the way.

Let’s get started …

How to Plan & Execute Effective ‘Welcome’ Emails

The top-of-funnel strategy for virtually every company with a digital presence includes an exchange of value: The subscriber provides their email address in exchange for something of value. And your ‘welcome’ emails should be designed with this idea in mind. 

To ensure that you’re producing valuable ‘welcome’ emails, be sure to do the following:

Devise a strategy.

‘Welcome’ emails are vital to any email marketing program. Welcome emails also have extremely high inbox placement rates, an advantage that should be utilized by every single company.

If you currently have no ‘welcome’ emails in place, never fear: A new welcome strategy is not rocket science. For starters, have a look at what the companies around you are doing and mold their successful practices to suit your needs.

At MailCharts, we recommend looking at ‘welcome’ emails from competitors or brands who target a similar audience to yours. Once you have solid benchmarks from your initial sequence and understand the metrics (e.g., opens, clicks, conversions), you can build upon those results and optimize your strategy to further suit your exact needs.

Deliver on the promise.

Remember: The very first email sent must include the promised ebook, trial period, discount, or otherwise.

Eve Mattresses shows us a great example of this exchange, where they have provided new subscribers with a very tempting “100-day sleepover.”

Eve_Mattresses.png

Determine a timeline and frequency.

According to one email marketing company, retailers who sent more than one ‘welcome’ email experienced a 13% increase in revenue. Pretty impressive, right? 

Further, MailCharts email data shows that many online retailers still send ‘welcome’ emails two weeks after sign-up, with some brands sending ‘welcome’ mailers up to two months after the initial sign-up date.

Here’s a rough timeline we put together to help you see how email frequency begins to slow down over the two month welcome period:

  • Email 1: Immediately after receiving a subscriber’s email address
  • Email 2: 3 days after receiving email address
  • Email 3: 8 days after receiving email address
  • Email 4: 15 days after receiving email address
  • Email 5: 30 days after receiving email address
  • Email 6: 45 days after receiving email address
  • Email 7: 60 days after receiving email address

Pro Tip: If your ‘welcome’ series is promotional, add segmentation criteria to cease sending emails if a subscriber becomes a customer within the 60-day welcome window.

Choose your words wisely. 

We’ll dive into some more specific email inspiration in the section below, however, when it comes to planning the content for your emails, you’ll want to keep these two things in mind:

Personalization

Welcoming subscribers and creating a personalized subject line is crucial. The read rates of welcome emails are highly predictive of how engaged subscribers will be with subsequent messaging and how much they’ll spend.

In exchange for just a few lines of code to personalize your email, your subscribers are more likely to open, interact, and engage in a lasting relationship with your company. Take the additional time needed to personalize your emails. And, if you can go beyond simply adding their name, that’s even better.

Expectations

Aside from personalized emails, we recommend setting clear expectations at the beginning. If you plan on email subscribers weekly, let them know. The same applies for daily, monthly, or any other interval.

Also, make sure it’s really easy to unsubscribe from your emails. The last thing you want is someone marking you as spam because they couldn’t opt-out of your communications. 

Need Inspiration? 

Let’s take a look at some examples of companies — both B2B and B2C — that are nailing their ‘welcome’ emails. (And check out this post for even more ‘welcome’ email inspiration.)

B2B Example: Wistia

After an initial activation email, Wistia sends out a simple, bright, and effective ‘welcome’ email.

From the beginning, Wistia’s ‘welcome’ email strategy is focused on bringing the subscriber value, rather than simply promoting their product. They ask the question, “Have you checked out the learning center?”

Wistia_Welcome_Email.png

This is a resource where customers are able to easily access tips and tricks regarding a variety of different video education topics. The Learning Center is provided to highlight the strengths of the Wistia service and also show how it can help the subscriber personally. (Great job educating, Wistia.)

If you’re in the software business, here are some ideas for your ‘welcome’ series:

  • Talk about the benefits of using your product.
  • Provide free resources and tips on how to get the most out of your product.
  • Establish credibility, focusing on ease of use, reliability, and convenience.

Click here to view the full Wistia ‘welcome’ journey map.

B2C Example: Coach

If you are an online retailer, your ‘welcome’ emails will be slightly different. For starters, subscribers are not searching for information regarding a specific topic, rather they are interested in certain products and receiving up-to-date information about new releases and discounted offers.

Coach is a great example of how to make a good first impression and doesn’t forget to welcome new subscribers with an upbeat subject line, “Welcome to Coach Emails!”

Coach_Welcome_Email.png

As we discussed earlier, it is important to set email expectations so the subscriber fully understands what content will be included in future emails, which is something that Coach has managed well. 

If you’re in the ecommerce industry, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Create a product narrative around your products: talk about why they’re great, high-quality, useful, affordable, etc.
  • Feature your best-selling products to pique consumers’ interest.
  • If applicable, appeal to things that consumers value — include mentions of fair trade, locally grown, and use of organic materials.
  • Include a discount or welcome incentive.

Get Started Now

If you don’t have a ‘welcome’ campaign, don’t wait another minute. You can get started by subscribing to your competitors’ email lists to keep a close eye on their strategy, take note of what they’re doing and what you like (and don’t like). From there, you can borrow the good things and improve on the not-so-good ones.

Remember: In the beginning, you don’t need to be perfect. What’s most important is that you are welcoming subscribers and building a strong and lasting relationship.

What’s the best ‘welcome’ email you’ve ever received? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

free email planning and tracking template
HubSpot Marketing Blog

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google Penguin recoveries, voice enabled maps & Landy Awards appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

feature_emaillist.jpg

If you’re new to the world of email marketing, you might be unfamiliar with the importance of segmenting your email lists. But it’s a big deal: According to DMA, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. 

The best part about email segmentation? There are a ton of creative ways you can segment your email list to run innovative and effective campaigns that leads and customers will enjoy, from geography and industry to content format and topic. The more information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails to resonate just right. Download our complete guide to email marketing here for even more email  segmentation and optimization tips.

To get your brainstorm started, check out the comprehensive list of email list segmentation ideas below. (Then, download this email marketing planning template to keep all of your email efforts organized.)

30 Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Targeted Email Marketing

The whole point of segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients. To do that, you’ll have to take the time to craft targeted campaigns that take into account not just list segments, but also lead data, and trigger events that help customize your email campaigns further. (Our marketing team uses the Email App and the Lists App in the HubSpot Marketing Platform in combination with HubSpot CRM to accomplish this.)

Bear in mind that while some of these recommendations will work wonderfully on their own, many of them are at their absolute best when crossed with other segments, triggers, and lead intelligence data. 

1) Geography

Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you wouldn’t want to send in-store offers to out-of-towners, right? Or let’s say you’re a national franchise — you better be segmenting by zip code to ensure you’re not infringing on someone else’s territory, or worse, marketing to a location that your organization doesn’t even service yet.

Here’s a geographically-segmented email I received from Vamoose, a bus service I’ve used frequently to travel between New York and the Washington, D.C. area. (I can’t believe it’s already time to start planning travel for Thanksgiving.)

vamoose.png

2) Age

People of all ages have access to the internet these days, which means you could be emailing a college student, a retiree, or even a little kid. You may find knowing the general age range of the people on your list helpful to remove those not in your target audience, or to adjust the messaging of your email communications.

3) Gender

Just as you’d speak to a retiree and a college student differently, you might adjust your messaging and offers based on gender, too. If you have a wide product offering that extends across genders, consider segmenting your list in this manner — and beefing up the segmentation with other demographic and psychographic details as well.

4) Persona

Speaking of demographics and psychographics, you should have buyer personas that include information of this nature, as well as more detailed explanations of what makes these folks tick and why your solution provides value for them. If you don’t have buyer personas created already, use these free templates to create your own — and then segment your list based on them. Because each persona has different needs and value propositions, they’re all going to require different email content for the best clickthrough and conversion rates.

5) Organization Type

Do you sell to other businesses? Are they franchises? Non-profit organizations? Ecommerce companies? Enterprise organizations? Small businesses? They all have different needs, and as such, their email content should be different — so segment your list accordingly.

6) Industry

If you’re selling to other businesses, you may encounter leads and contacts across many different industries. Knowing your lead’s industry will allow you to add another level of personalization to your email marketing.

7) Job Function

As a B2B marketer, your email list could contain a whole melee of different job functions — office personnel, salespeople, marketers, consultants, developers, customer service, accountants … the list goes on. Considering the breadth of job roles within any given organization, doesn’t it make sense to segment your list accordingly?

8) Education Level

You could segment your list based on how many degrees they hold, or how educated a lead or contact is regarding your brand and the subject matter you discuss. If you segment your list based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you write about, you can tailor your lead nurturing content to speak at the right level.

Here’s an email I received from Idealist, which they sent to me based on my previous indication that I had already earned a Bachelor’s degree:

idealist.png

9) Seniority Level

There are different job roles, and there are different levels of seniority. Perhaps your contact said they work in marketing, but is she the VP of marketing, or a marketing coordinator? Those two contacts will differ in years of experience, salary level, pain points, decision-making potential, and a whole host of other differences that make segmentation critical for effective email marketing campaigns.

10) Past Purchases

If a segment of your list has purchased from you before, use that information to send them emails catered to that which interests them. Then make your bottom line bigger by identifying upsell opportunities with additional services or complementary products they’d enjoy based on their past purchases.

Here’s Casper, the maker of my bed made of clouds, shooting me an email about the other products they offer:

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11) Purchase Interests

You can infer someone’s purchase proclivities from past buying behavior, or you can just ask. My colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, highlighted companies who do this in creative ways — such as with surveys — in a recent blog post about awesome email marketing campaigns to help them create better targeted emails.

12) Buying Frequency

Segment your email list based on how often someone purchases. Not only can you try to increase shopping frequency for some, but you can also reward frequent shoppers with an invitation to your loyalty program to make your brand even stickier. (Download this free guide to learn how to more effectively use and measure customer loyalty programs for your business.)

Here’s a customer loyalty email I received from my mobile provider, AT&T, about early ticket access to a concert they’re hosting. (Do you think they somehow know I attended a Panic! At the Disco concert when I was in middle school? This is embarrassing, readers.)

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13) Purchase Cycle

Do certain customers come to you on a weekly, monthly, yearly, or quarterly basis? Or perhaps they only need you at a certain time of year — a pool cleaner might see upticks in spring and fall, for example. Segment your list based on customers’ purchase cycle so you can be there right at their point of need.

14) Content Topic

Here at HubSpot, we’ve noticed that some of our leads and contacts are far more interested in certain content topics than others. There’s one segment that’s extremely interested in sales and marketing alignment, while another is far more interested in Snapchat for business. So it only makes sense that we segment our list based on the topics our contacts have showed interest in. Take a look at what content gets people clicking, and segment your list based on that.

Here an example of an email I received from Twitter featuring suggestions for who to follow next (and it worked):

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15) Content Format

You may find that specific content formats are more appealing to certain segments of your database — some like blogs, others prefer ebooks, and some may only show up when you put on a webinar. For example, in a recent HubSpot Research survey, 43% of respondents wanted to see more video content in the future. If you know how certain segments of your list prefer to consume content, you can deliver the offer content in your emails via their preferred format.

16) Interest Level

Just because someone converts on a content offer, doesn’t mean they actually liked it. Segment your list based on how interested leads are in your content. For example, we might email a segment of webinar attendees that stayed engaged for 45 minutes or more with a middle-of-the-funnel offer to help move them along in the sales cycle, while those that dropped off before 10 minutes might receive another top-of-the-funnel offer — or even a feedback survey to gauge what specifically lost their interest.

17) Change in Content Engagement Level

Have you noticed an increase or decrease in the amount of time leads are spending with your content? This is an indication of their interest in your company, and should be used to either reawaken waning interest, or move leads along through the sales cycle while they’re at their height of engagement with your content.

Here’s an example from Udemy, who segmented their email list to try to re-engage inactive users (I still highly recommend Udemy’s online classes):

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18) Change in Buying Behavior

Similar to a change in content engagement, a change in buying behavior can indicate a lead is becoming more or less interested in your company. Leads that decrease purchasing frequency, for example, might need a little extra love — and thus, a dedicated lead nurturing campaign.

I typically buy glasses and contact lenses at Lenscrafters once yearly with my vision insurance benefit, but I haven’t yet this year, so they wisely sent me this nurturing email with a gentle reminder to purchase from them:

lenscrafters.png

19) Stage in the Sales Cycle

I’ve mentioned it a little bit here and there, but the stage a lead is at in the sales cycle should determine which email segment they fall in. At the very least, set up separate lead nurturing tracks for those at the top of your sales funnel, in the middle of your sales funnel, and at the bottom of the sales funnel.

20) Email Type

There’s a lot you can tell by someone’s email address. You design your emails for different email clients if you’re really into sophisticated email design, or if they’re Gmail clients, responsive email design.

21) Satisfaction Index

Many businesses use satisfaction indexes to determine how happy their customer base is — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a very popular one. If you’re measuring satisfaction numerically, consider sending an email segmented based on your customers’ level of happiness with your organization. Those with a high NPS score, for example, might provide opportunities to gather reviews, referrals, or even upsells. Those with lower scores, however, may get emails that give them access to educational materials that will make them happier and more successful customers.

Here’s Wayfair‘s email asking me to review how a recent purchasing and delivery experience went:

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22) Customers Who Refer

Consider creating a list segment full of those customers who repeatedly refer new business your way. These are your biggest brand advocates, and should receive emails targeted towards loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts, even possibly trials for new products or services you’re releasing to get honest feedback before widespread rollouts.

23) Customers Who Haven’t Reviewed

You should always be trying to get more positive reviews of your business, so why not create a list segment that targets those customers who haven’t written a review yet? You could combine this list segment with, say, those that are also social media fans and have a high NPS score. Think about it … you know they follow you on Twitter and their NPS score indicates they love you. That’s just begging for an online review email campaign. (Check out this case study guide + template to help you successfully reach out to potential participants and engage them in the process.)

Here’s LinkedIn‘s email asking me to participate in a feedback survey:

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24) In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you have both a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website, segment your list based on where your customers like to shop. You can give invites to in-store events to those customers that give you foot traffic, while those that only visit your webstore might receive offers that should only be redeemed online.

25) Shopping Cart Abandonment

After analyzing 34 online studies of ecommerce shopping cart abandonment, Bamyard Institute determined that, on average, 68% of shopping carts were abandoned prior to purchase. Yikes. If you run an ecommerce webstore, you absolutely must have an abandoned shopping cart email program, and you should be segmenting your contacts based on this behavior.

26) Form Abandonment

Not an ecommerce company? You still have abandoners on your site — form abandoners. If someone starts filling out some forms on your website and then loses interest, gets busy, has a lousy internet connection, gets eaten by a zombie … you know, whatever … segment out those leads for nurturing aimed at bringing them back to your website to complete the form. The offer was interesting enough at one point in time to pique their interest, so why not try to recover some of those form abandoners?

27) Usage

Whatever it is you offer, there are some customers who you could consider “power users.” These are the ones that totally get how to navigate your website, use every feature in your software, and make the most of their relationships with your service providers. Then there are the rest of us. Segment out the power users and the strugglers, frequent users, and infrequent users; then send email content that teaches them how to be more successful with your product or service. The more customers use your product, the more likely they are to stick around: Bluenose found that lack of use was the number one driver of software customer churn.

Here’s a use-segmented email I received from MapMyRun. I feel misleading including it because I truly can’t remember the last time I went running, but it’s still a good example of list segmentation:

mapmyrun.png

28) Event Attendance

Does your organization host book signings, conferences, or social events? Don’t miss the opportunity to reach out to leads and potential customers you’ve already made a positive connection with. Segment your email list depending on the type of event, the topic or theme of your events, or even to RSVPs who didn’t make it out. You’ll be able to keep inviting them to events while sharing relevant content offers based on what you learned about them from past events. (P.S. – Have you registered for INBOUND 2016 yet?)

29) Page Views

You can tell a lot about your contacts from their behaviors, and the web pages they’re browsing are no exception. Are there certain blogs they’re reading or questions they’re asking when they come to your website? Experiment with lead nurturing campaigns dedicated to different topics your website covers to appeal to your site visitors’ patterns.

30) Call-to-Action Clicks

A clickable call-to-action is what takes your website content to the next level because it helps you generate leads and contacts. (Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.) You can tell which types of language work on your contacts based on what makes them click, or not click, on your CTAs. Are they more inclined toward time sensitive offers to “act now” or “try this month,” or do they prefer more explicit offers of “free” or “discounted” products? Use their clicking habits to determine how you segment your email list, and what language you use when reaching out. 

I hope this list has given you ideas for ways to segment your own lists, and most importantly, sparked some creative email campaigns you can run as a result of this new segmentation.

So what about you — what other ways can you think of to segment your email lists? Which of these segmentation ideas could you combine with others for really epic results?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to optimizing and segmenting email

  free guide: how to segment your email marketing


HubSpot Marketing Blog

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Internet search engine Land and from various other places throughout the internet. The blog post SearchCap: Google Penguin & & disavows, search ad information & Amazon search appeared first on Internet search engine Land.

Please go to Internet search engine Land for the complete write-up.


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ThinkstockPhotos-475294810-936402-edited.jpgWhat do B2B buyers actually want from your website? What causes them to leave your website and not return? How many times do typical buyers return to your website before taking the next or final step in the buyer’s cycle? What kind of content is important to them? 

We looked at the results of the 2015 B2B Web Usability Survey and discovered what it would take for you as a B2B vendor to create credibility and trust. Spoiler alert: it’s not rocket science.

1) Buyers won’t give you a chance until they’ve seen legitimate identification

Vendors beware: Buyers judge your company’s credibility from their first impressions of your website. Before you panic, a winning introduction simply requires making the ABC’s available, right away. This includes: Complete contact information, an updated About section or company information, and a summary of the products and services your business offers. Interesting to note: They usually don’t want to see the pricing first.

Improve your credibility

  • Design your website page templates with a built-in header and footer to feature your company’s physical address, contact information, quick links to your products and services page, and a summary of your About section.
  • Stock images ring alarm bells for B2B buyers! Even if you and your employees can’t measure up to those stock photography models in the looks department, you’ll definitely trump them when it comes to trust and credibility. Hire a professional photographer for a day, but don’t stop at head shots for your about page. Employing banner images that picture your employees going about their daily tasks go a long way towards proving your company’s legitimacy. Also, this simple visual introduction can smooth over the awkwardness of that first personal consultation.

2) Buyers want to see the basics before getting in touch

Making a good first impression, however, is not enough motivation for your buyers to introduce themselves. While video tutorials, visual depictions, and audio descriptions are valuable tools for strengthening the relationship with buyers of different learning styles, respondents indicated that these wouldn’t dazzle them into submitting a contact request either.

In reality, for buyers who are leaning towards contacting you for a quote, the deciding factor is whether or not you have supplied them with the following basic content essentials: Product pricing, product reviews, lead/ship times, and details about technical support.

Improve your credibility

  • Prioritise your content calendar! While not every buyer that visits your website will be ready to speak to a Sales representative right away, some inevitably will be. Make sure that you don’t miss out on these low-hanging fruit by fast-tracking content assets that buyers require before taking the step of reaching out to your sales team.
  • Is your failure to display pricing information on your website losing you sales opportunities? A simple experiment can settle the issue: Add pricing information to your website for a trial period to compare the number of leads generated in both scenarios.
  • Are you a software reseller or IT services company? Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your prospects and customers are as technically fluent and self-sufficient as you are! Data shows that providing your customers with direct access to technical support from your website will help you to build credibility and trust with prospects as well.

3) Blogging and Social Media alone won’t win you more than casual followers

B2B buyers have spoken, and the word is that they are seriously underwhelmed by vendors who don’t offer them educational content beyond the weekly blog and social posts. 

While both of these marketing channels are valuable for generating traffic and nurturing leads along their buyer’s journey, an effective content marketing strategy relies on a much wider range of assets.

Improve your Credibility

How are you supposed to know which content assets you need to establish yourself as a reputable vendor? Look no further than Science!

Here’s how you can apply the scientific method to your content creation process: Research, Test, Improve, Test, Repeat.

  • Research your users’ content preferences. You can do this by interviewing your existing customers, sending them a survey, and evaluating your website’s user analytics to identify high and poor performing content assets.
  • Test your assumptions! Create a content asset according to your research findings, put it out there and measure the results. How did you do?
  • Improve. Are you getting closer or further away from your goal of engaging and educating your buyers? Unsure? Conduct an A/B test! Focus on one element at a time, (e.g. content format, title, marketing channel) and create multiple versions of the same offer to test the impact of the variable.

How do your buyers feel about your website’s credibility? Book a free website assessment now to find out.

4) Buyers don’t trust websites filled with distractions 

When it comes to establishing trust and credibility, clarity trumps the bells and whistles. B2B buyers have little patience for features that waste their time and obstruct them from getting down to business.

Website elements that annoy your users enough to make them leave right away include lack of contact information, intrusive live chat features, animated ads, popups, poor design or navigation, and video or audio that plays automatically. Almost half of respondents declared that they would ditch a vendor’s website simply because it fails to clearly communicate what the company does!

Improve your Credibility

Let’s talk about Growth-driven Design (GDD)! As opposed to traditional web design that is driven by your agency or company’s fancies, the GDD process is user-focussed from start to end.

The GDD design cycle entails user research (identifying the drivers, barriers, and hooks at work on your website), implementation of research, and measurement of results to deliver continuous improvement of user experience and conversion rates.

5) Buyers will fill out a form if it passes the cost vs. value test.

Your buyers’ personal contact information is a valuable commodity, and if you want it, you will have to earn it. Excessive form fields, invasive questions, and automatic email subscription are all factors that make your buyers flee from your forms.

Improve your credibility

Fear not, getting on first name basis with buyers is not an impossible feat, as they are more than willing to complete your forms when they meet the following criteria:

  • Your forms pass the credibility test. Buyers indicate that the slightest oddity in design or copy could deter them from completing a form. Make sure your forms are sleek and professional by following conversion optimisation best practices on your landing pages, then user testing to identify any red flags.
  • Clear and accurate expectations. Are you offering your prospect a free demo or a quote? Buyers’ past experiences of waiting in vain for a response has made them hesitant to submit your contact forms. Here too, clarity trumps persuasion; write your landing page copy to clearly state what buyers can expect once they’ve clicked that submit button. Should they expect to be contacted by a member of your technical support team, sales, or the business owner themselves? When can they expect to hear from you?
  • A worthy trade. If you are form-gating your content, the asset on offer better be a value-add for your buyers! While an in-depth eBook would pass this test, spec sheets and product descriptions that blow your own horn should always be offered un-gated!

6) Buyers leave and return to your website multiple times

A prolonged and well-considered decision-making journey is typical of the B2B buyer cycle. In fact, buyers will visit your website up to 5 times before gathering up the courage to get in touch. 

During this period, prospects will be evaluating your competitors’ products and solutions, researching your ratings, and looking into feedback from your previous customers. What they find out about your company will determine if they return to your website at all and if you are trustworthy enough to approach for a quote.

Improve your Credibility

Build out a C & C portfolio (Credibility and Comparison) to distribute to your buyers in a marketing automation workflow that gets triggered the moment a buyer transitions to lifecycle stage: Sales Qualified Lead.

Content assets to distribute in this workflow could include:

  • Charts and checklists that help your buyers to compare apples with apples as their weigh you up with competitors.
  • Case studies of how you have helped other B2B buyers, just like them, to overcome various obstacles to achieve success.
  • Credibility by association. Have any of your customers reviewed your business on an external site? Craft an email that shares links to existing reviews with your buyers, and set up a Google Alert to pick up on any new mentions of your company online.

7) A Mobile-friendly website matters 

struto-wp-hs-graph-7.png

When it comes to devices, 41% of buyers who own a smartphone or tablet are using it to search for B2B products. While most respondents indicated that lack of a mobile-friendly website would not put them off a vendor, a vast majority stated that they do expect your website to enable dialling your number automatically at a tap.

Improve your Credibility

While the look of a mobile unfriendly website might not put off your buyers, poor mobile functionality will result in conversion opportunities slipping through your fingers as well as a poor ranking in search engine results

While basic mobile-responsiveness ensures accessibility of digital assets (website, blog, CTA’s, forms, landing pages, content offers, emails), optimisation of your entire conversion path for mobile users is a worthwhile investment. 

Generating credibility and trust? Elementary, my dear B2B business owner!

Nobody said B2B marketing wasn’t hard work, and yet generating trust and credibility does not require you to produce ads that can compete in the Cannes Lions or video material worthy of a BAFTA.

Get to grips with the basics of inbound marketing, power it up with growth-driven design, and you can expect to see your website cranking up the traffic volumes, conversion rates, and new and recurring business.

 

Struto Free Website Assessment
HubSpot Marketing Blog

Published by KelseyLibert The Fractl team has actually dealt with numerous material advertising jobs. Along the means, we have actually tracked a great deal of information, including almost everywhere our customer campaigns have actually been featured, what types of web links each campaign drew in, and the number of times each positioning was shared.

While we regularly reflect on our data to review efficiency per campaign and also customer, till currently we would certainly never ever assessed all of these information in accumulation. After combing through 31,000 media points out as well as 26,000 links, right here’s what we found.

What-Building-26000-Links-Taught-Us-About-Content-Marketing.jpg

The majority of high-authority links don’t get a whole lot

of social shares. Most marketing professionals presume that if they build links on high-authority sites, the shares will certainly come. In a White boards Friday from last year, Rand speaks about this pattern. BuzzSumo and Moz assessed 1 million short articles and found that over 75 percent obtained no social shares at all. When they considered all web links– not just short articles– this number climbed to around 90 percent.

We (wrongfully) assumed this wouldn’t hold true with high-grade links we have actually made. It ends up, also the bulk of our links on sites with a high Domain name Authority (DA) really did not obtain any social shares:

  • 52 percent of relate to a DA over 89 got zero shares.
  • 50 percent of links with a DA over 79 obtained zero shares.
  • 54 percent of links with a DA over 59 obtained no shares.

On standard, our campaigns get 110 placements and also 11,000 social shares, yet a solitary web link make up concerning 63 percent of complete shares. This means that if you exclude the top-performing web link from every project, our average task would just get 4,100 social shares.

Considering that most web links do not produce social shares, marketing professionals with objectives of both web link structure and also social interaction ought to think about a method for acquiring social traction in enhancement to a strategy for constructing a diverse web link profile.

The social strategy can be as basic as targeting a couple of key web sites that regularly generate high social shares. It’s also valuable to look at target websites’ social media accounts. When they upload their very own posts, what type of interaction do they get?

Of all the websites that covered our campaigns, the adhering to five sites had the greatest ordinary social shares for our content. We realize we could depend upon these websites in the future for high social engagement.

sites-with-social-shares.jpg

Exceptions to the policy Some material could definitely complete both high involvement as well as social shares. The BuzzSumo and Moz research discovered that the very best kinds of web content for drawing in links and social shares are research-backed material or point of view pieces. Long-form content (greater than 1,000 words) likewise often tends to draw in even more links and shares than much shorter content. At Fractl, we’ve located the very same factors– an emotional hook, a ranking or comparison, and a popular culture recommendation— often tend to urge both social sharing and also connecting.

Couple of sites will certainly constantly url to you the very same method.

To ensure you’re developing an all-natural web link profile, it is very important to maintain track of exactly how sites connect to your content. You’ll discover if you’re earning a mix of dofollow web links, nofollow links, cocitation links, and also brand name states for every campaign. We pay close focus to which sorts of links our projects gain. Recalling at these data, we observed that publishers do not consistently connect the very same way.

The graph listed below programs an example of how 15 high-authority information websites have connected to our campaigns. As you can see, few websites have given dofollow links 100 percent of the moment. Based on this, we could think that a great deal of leading websites do not have a set editorial requirement for link types (although plenty of sites will only offer nofollow web links). While getting a site to cover your content is something to be celebrated, not every positioning will result in a dofollow web link. As well as even if you obtain a dofollow web link from a website as soon as does not imply you need to always anticipate that sort of linkfrom that publisher. Creating a great deal of visual assets is a waste of time in certain verticals. There’s a recurring argument within Fractl’s walls over whether or

not creating a great deal of visual possessions positively impacts a campaign’s reach sufficient to warrant the extra manufacturing time. To resolve this discussion, we checked out our 1,300 leading positionings to a better option recognize just how publishers covered our projects ‘visual properties(consisting of both static image and video). This example was restricted to short articles on web sites with a DA of 70 or higher that covered our work at least four times. We found that publishers in various verticals had different propensities regarding aesthetic possession insurance coverage. One of the most image-heavy vertical was enjoyment, as well as the least was education

.< img src ="http://smyrnathemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/57e40ef7d78d65.14432343.jpg"alt ="assets-per-vertical. jpg"> A few of the variation in asset counts is

assets-per-vertical.jpg

based upon the amount of assets were consisted of in the campaign. Although this does alter our information, we do obtain beneficial information from this analysis. The reality that leading home entertainment authors made use of an average of 9 properties when they cover our projects suggests a high tolerance for visual web content from outdoors sources. Verticals with lower possession standards might watch out for external web content or simply prefer to utilize a couple of key visuals to expand a short article. Keeping these author upright preferences in mind when cultivating content could help your group much better designate sources. Instead of investing a great deal of initiative making a big set of visual assets for a campaign you intend to be positioned on a financing site, your time may be better spent creating a couple of outstanding visualizations. In a similar way, it’s worthwhile to invest in creating a variety of aesthetic properties if you’re pitching amusement and wellness websites. Analyzing our entire web link portfolio instructed us a couple of brand-new things that tested our previous assumptions: High DA websites don’t necessarily attract a great deal of social interaction. Just since a site that connected to you has a significant audience doesn’t indicate that audience will share your material. A lot of sites do not consistently utilize the same types of links. Got a dofollow link from a website one time? Don’t expect it to be the norm. Certain author verticals are most likely to feature a great deal of aesthetic possessions. Relying on which verticals you’re targeting, you could be throwing away time on creating great deals of visuals.

  • While I hope you have actually learned something from Fractl’s inner research, I desire you to percieve the more comprehensive lesson: the value of determining as well as examining your very own material campaign information as a means to boost your procedure
  • . If you’ve done a similar evaluation of web links made from material marketing, I ‘d enjoy to speak with you in the remarks. Enroll in The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer upgrading you on the top 10 most popular items of SEO information, tips, as well as rad links revealed by the Moz group. Consider it as your special digest of

    things you don’t have time to hound but want to read! The Moz Blog site

    How to Build a Social Media Army

    ThinkstockPhotos-518414242-782417-edited.jpgThe superheroes in Marvel Comics’ Avengers series often join forces, commonly in some sort of shiny form-fitting clothing, to defend the weak and powerless. Whether it was Thor’s bulging biceps, Ironman’s impressive armour or the Hulk’s super strength – at some point or another, I’m sure that something about this bunch has probably caught your attention.

    Typically, the road to beating the baddies is generally an uphill one. Even superheroes need to hone their super powers, overcome a few hurdles, plot their defence and ultimately work together to save the world.

    While your social media strategy may not call for the same techniques required to defeat a super villain, marketers can learn a thing or two from the Avengers. Here are a few ways that social media marketers can embrace their inner superhero and build their own social media army.

    Training your team

    It takes a lot of hard work to be the best. Ensuring that your staff understand the value of digital/inbound marketing and social media is all about training. If they don’t understand what social media and inbound marketing can do for the business, chances are that they won’t do it very effectively.

    Conducting workshops and teaching your team about the importance of this content is a social media management essential. Part of this training should focus on teaching staff about your business model, all the ins and outs of the product, your content strategy and how best to engage with customers.

    Working together

    While each of the Avengers is a superhero in their own right, the real magic happens when they come together. Harnessing the power of collaboration is all about encouraging your staff to work together to complete tasks themselves, rather than outsourcing work to others.

    Content is a great way to do so. Before paying other writers to author blogs, why not motivate your staff to try their hand at writing content. Not only will this add to their digital/inbound knowledge, but it also allows them to put all of the knowledge they gained during their training to good use.

    The best offense is a good defense

    Defending the free world is a prerequisite on any superhero’s day planner. As a marketer, your aim should be to defend yourself against employee fatigue. By creating a solid content plan, an organised social media planning calendar, spreading the responsibilities for creating content and posting that content, you will eliminate irregularity and ensure consistency across all social accounts.

    And why is consistency so important? Not only does it give your business a distinct identity, it also differentiates your business from your competitors, ensures your message stands out in customer’s minds and increases customer loyalty.

    Changing your strategy

    It’s generally around the middle of the movie that the good guys hit a stumbling block. At this point they usually do a little soul searching and realise that defeating their foes may require them to rethink their game plan.

    Where the marketers of old were focused on hard selling, they now need to be thinking about hard content. From blogs and emails to white papers and eBooks, providing useful content is one of the best ways to target customers at any stage of their buying journey.

    The key with this content is to provide customers with a compelling enough value proposition so that they are willing to give you their contact information. The idea behind premium content is to market the information as “exclusive” and to convince them that the content has a higher value.

    Social media provides a great platform to promote this content and to focus your strategy on getting visitors back to your own website to begin their journey with your business. Get this strategy right and you will have a solid lead generation system that’s future proof.

    Making the most of tech

    Speaking of content, and sharing this content, technology provides marketers with a great opportunity to promote their content to the masses. Would Thor have the same oomph without his hammer? And what would Iron Man really be able to achieve without his armour? Sure, they’d all still be superheroes but their gadgets make their jobs a whole bunch easier. Marketers should think about social media in the same way.

    Using marketing software can enable you to post content on behalf of your whole team. This helps to avoid a big issue for marketers and sales teams alike. Internal email asking everyone to help and share can often be hard to make stick and often only 5% support without more follow ups and aggressive KPIs.

    All of this costs time, leads and sales.  Software can help you remove this and if you’ve got a team of 40 for example sharing instantly straight from your marketing department, you’ve just built a social media army and a force to be reckoned with.

    At the end of the day, it’s through the efforts of a great team that success is achieved. Whether you’re a social media marketer or a superhero, the principles are the same – if your team know what they need to do, if your attack is well organised and if you’re using the resources you have at your disposal, it’s only a matter of time before you overcome your adversaries.  

    Are you keen to build a social army and take your social media management to superhero heights, download our Ultimate Guide to Social Media.

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    HubSpot Marketing Blog

    Posted by Joe.Robison

    A lot has changed in the five years since I first wrote about what was Google Webmaster Tools, now named Google Search Console. Google has unleashed significantly more data that promises to be extremely useful for SEOs. Since we’ve long since lost sufficient keyword data in Google Analytics, we’ve come to rely on Search Console more than ever. The “Search Analytics” and “Links to Your Site” sections are two of the top features that did not exist in the old Webmaster Tools.

    While we may never be completely satisfied with Google’s tools and may occasionally call their bluffs, they do release some helpful information (from time to time). To their credit, Google has developed more help docs and support resources to aid Search Console users in locating and fixing errors.

    Despite the fact that some of this isn’t as fun as creating 10x content or watching which of your keywords have jumped in the rankings, this category of SEO is still extremely important.

    Looking at it through Portent’s epic visualization of how Internet marketing pieces fit together, fixing crawl errors in Search Console fits squarely into the “infrastructure” piece:

    If you can develop good habits and practice preventative maintenance, weekly spot checks on crawl errors will be perfectly adequate to keep them under control. However, if you fully ignore these (pesky) errors, things can quickly go from bad to worse.

    Crawl Errors layout

    One change that has evolved over the last few years is the layout of the Crawl Errors view within Search Console. Search Console is divided into two main sections: Site Errors and URL Errors.

    Categorizing errors in this way is pretty helpful because there’s a distinct difference between errors at the site level and errors at the page level. Site-level issues can be more catastrophic, with the potential to damage your site’s overall usability. URL errors, on the other hand, are specific to individual pages, and are therefore less urgent.

    The quickest way to access Crawl Errors is from the dashboard. The main dashboard gives you a quick preview of your site, showing you three of the most important management tools: Crawl Errors, Search Analytics, and Sitemaps.

    You can get a quick look at your crawl errors from here. Even if you just glance at it daily, you’ll be much further ahead than most site managers.

    1. Site Errors

    The Site Errors section shows you errors from your website as a whole. These are the high-level errors that affect your site in its entirety, so don’t skip these.

    In the Crawl Errors dashboard, Google will show you these errors for the last 90 days.

    If you have some type of activity from the last 90 days, your snippet will look like this:

    If you’ve been 100% error-free for the last 90 days with nothing to show, it will look like this:

    That’s the goal — to get a “Nice!” from Google. As SEOs we don’t often get any validation from Google, so relish this rare moment of love.

    How often should you check for site errors?

    In an ideal world you would log in daily to make sure there are no problems here. It may get monotonous since most days everything is fine, but wouldn’t you kick yourself if you missed some critical site errors?

    At the extreme minimum, you should check at least every 90 days to look for previous errors so you can keep an eye out for them in the future — but frequent, regular checks are best.

    We’ll talk about setting up alerts and automating this part later, but just know that this section is critical and you should be 100% error-free in this section every day. There’s no gray area here.

    A) DNS Errors

    What they mean

    DNS errors are important — and the implications for your website if you have severe versions of these errors is huge.

    DNS (Domain Name System) errors are the first and most prominent error because if the Googlebot is having DNS issues, it means it can’t connect with your domain via a DNS timeout issue or DNS lookup issue.

    Your domain is likely hosted with a common domain company, like Namecheap or GoDaddy, or with your web hosting company. Sometimes your domain is hosted separately from your website hosting company, but other times the same company handles both.

    Are they important?

    While Google states that many DNS issues still allow Google to connect to your site, if you’re getting a severe DNS issue you should act immediately.

    There may be high latency issues that do allow Google to crawl the site, but provide a poor user experience.

    A DNS issue is extremely important, as it’s the first step in accessing your website. You should take swift and violent action if you’re running into DNS issues that prevent Google from connecting to your site in the first place.

    How to fix

    1. First and foremost, Google recommends using their Fetch as Google tool to view how Googlebot crawls your page. Fetch as Google lives right in Search Console.

      If you’re only looking for the DNS connection status and are trying to act quickly, you can fetch without rendering. The slower process of Fetch and Render is useful, however, to get a side-by-side comparison of how Google sees your site compared to a user.

    2. Check with your DNS provider. If Google can’t fetch and render your page properly, you’ll want to take further action. Check with your DNS provider to see where the issue is. There could be issues on the DNS provider’s end, or it could be worse.
    3. Ensure your server displays a 404 or 500 error code. Instead of having a failed connection, your server should display a 404 (not found) code or a 500 (server error) code. These codes are more accurate than having a DNS error.

    Other tools

    • ISUP.me – Lets you know instantly if your site is down for everyone, or just on your end.
    • Web-Sniffer.net – shows you the current HTTP(s) request and response header. Useful for point #3 above.

    B) Server Errors

    What they mean

    A server error most often means that your server is taking too long to respond, and the request times out. The Googlebot that’s trying to crawl your site can only wait a certain amount of time to load your website before it gives up. If it takes too long, the Googlebot will stop trying.

    Server errors are different than DNS errors. A DNS error means the Googlebot can’t even lookup your URL because of DNS issues, while server errors mean that although the Googlebot can connect to your site, it can’t load the page because of server errors.

    Server errors may happen if your website gets overloaded with too much traffic for the server to handle. To avoid this, make sure your hosting provider can scale up to accommodate sudden bursts of website traffic. Everybody wants their website to go viral, but not everybody is ready!

    Are they important?

    Like DNS errors, a server error is extremely urgent. It’s a fundamental error, and harms your site overall. You should take immediate action if you see server errors in Search Console for your site.

    Making sure the Googlebot can connect to the DNS is an important first step, but you won’t get much further if your website doesn’t actually show up. If you’re running into server errors, the Googlebot won’t be able to find anything to crawl and it will give up after a certain amount of time.

    How to fix

    In the event that your website is running fine at the time you encounter this error, that may mean there were server errors in the past Though this error may have been resolved for now, you should still make some changes to prevent it from happening again.

    This is Google’s official direction for fixing server errors:

    “Use Fetch as Google to check if Googlebot can currently crawl your site. If Fetch as Google returns the content of your homepage without problems, you can assume that Google is generally able to access your site properly.”

    Before you can fix your server errors issue, you need to diagnose specifically which type of server error you’re getting, since there are many types:

    • Timeout
    • Truncated headers
    • Connection reset
    • Truncated response
    • Connection refused
    • Connect failed
    • Connect timeout
    • No response

    Addressing how to fix each of these is beyond the scope of this article, but you should reference Google Search Console help to diagnose specific errors.

    C) Robots failure

    A Robots failure means that the Googlebot cannot retrieve your robots.txt file, located at [yourdomain.com]/robots.txt.

    What they mean

    One of the most surprising things about a robots.txt file is that it’s only necessary if you don’t want Google to crawl certain pages.

    From Search Console help, Google states:

    “You need a robots.txt file only if your site includes content that you don’t want search engines to index. If you want search engines to index everything in your site, you don’t need a robots.txt file — not even an empty one. If you don’t have a robots.txt file, your server will return a 404 when Googlebot requests it, and we will continue to crawl your site. No problem.”

    Are they important?

    This is a fairly important issue. For smaller, more static websites without many recent changes or new pages, it’s not particularly urgent. But the issue should still be fixed.

    If your site is publishing or changing new content daily, however, this is an urgent issue. If the Googlebot cannot load your robots.txt, it’s not crawling your website, and it’s not indexing your new pages and changes.

    How to fix

    Ensure that your robots.txt file is properly configured. Double-check which pages you’re instructing the Googlebot to not crawl, as all others will be crawled by default. Triple-check the all-powerful line of “Disallow: /” and ensure that line DOES NOT exist unless for some reason you do not want your website to appear in Google search results.

    If your file seems to be in order and you’re still receiving errors, use a server header checker tool to see if your file is returning a 200 or 404 error.

    What’s interesting about this issue is that it’s better to have no robots.txt at all than to have one that’s improperly configured. If you have none at all, Google will crawl your site as usual. If you have one returning errors, Google will stop crawling until you fix this file.

    For being only a few lines of text, the robots.txt file can have catastrophic consequences for your website. Make sure you’re checking it early and often.

    2. URL Errors

    URL errors are different from site errors because they only affect specific pages on your site, not your website as a whole.

    Google Search Console will show you the top URL errors per category — desktop, smartphone, and feature phone. For large sites, this may not be enough data to show all the errors, but for the majority of sites this will capture all known problems.

    Tip: Going crazy with the amount of errors? Mark all as fixed.

    Many site owners have run into the issue of seeing a large number of URL errors and getting freaked out. The important thing to remember is a) Google ranks the most important errors first and b) some of these errors may already be resolved.

    If you’ve made some drastic changes to your site to fix errors, or believe a lot of the URL errors are no longer happening, one tactic to employ is marking all errors as fixed and checking back up on them in a few days.

    When you do this, your errors will be cleared out of the dashboard for now, but Google will bring the errors back the next time it crawls your site over the next few days. If you had truly fixed these errors in the past, they won’t show up again. If the errors still exist, you’ll know that these are still affecting your site.

    A) Soft 404

    A soft 404 error is when a page displays as 200 (found) when it should display as 404 (not found).

    What they mean

    Just because your 404 page looks like a 404 page doesn’t mean it actually is one. The user-visible aspect of a 404 page is the content of the page. The visible message should let users know the page they requested is gone. Often, site owners will have a helpful list of related links the users should visit or a funny 404 response.

    The flipside of a 404 page is the crawler-visible response. The header HTTP response code should be 404 (not found) or 410 (gone).

    A quick refresher on how HTTP requests and responses look:

    Image source: Tuts Plus

    If you’re returning a 404 page and it’s listed as a Soft 404, it means that the header HTTP response code does not return the 404 (not found) response code. Google recommends “that you always return a 404 (not found) or a 410 (gone) response code in response to a request for a non-existing page.”

    Another situation in which soft 404 errors may show up is if you have pages that are 301 redirecting to non-related pages, such as the home page. Google doesn’t seem to explicitly state where the line is drawn on this, only making mention of it in vague terms.

    Officially, Google says this about soft 404s:

    “Returning a code other than 404 or 410 for a non-existent page (or redirecting users to another page, such as the homepage, instead of returning a 404) can be problematic.”

    Although this gives us some direction, it’s unclear when it’s appropriate to redirect an expired page to the home page and when it’s not.

    In practice, from my own experience, if you’re redirecting large amounts of pages to the home page, Google can interpret those redirected URLs as soft 404s rather than true 301 redirects.

    Conversely, if you were to redirect an old page to a closely related page instead, it’s unlikely that you’d trigger the soft 404 warning in the same way.

    Are they important?

    If the pages listed as soft 404 errors aren’t critical pages and you’re not eating up your crawl budget by having some soft 404 errors, these aren’t an urgent item to fix.

    If you have crucial pages on your site listed as soft 404s, you’ll want to take action to fix those. Important product, category, or lead gen pages shouldn’t be listed as soft 404s if they’re live pages. Pay special attention to pages critical to your site’s moneymaking ability.

    If you have a large amount of soft 404 errors relative to the total number of pages on your site, you should take swift action. You can be eating up your (precious?) Googlebot crawl budget by allowing these soft 404 errors to exist.

    How to fix

    For pages that no longer exist:

    • Allow to 404 or 410 if the page is gone and receives no significant traffic or links. Ensure that the server header response is 404 or 410, not 200.
    • 301 redirect each old page to a relevant, related page on your site.
    • Do not redirect broad amounts of dead pages to your home page. They should 404 or be redirected to appropriate similar pages.

    For pages that are live pages, and are not supposed to be a soft 404:

    • Ensure there is an appropriate amount of content on the page, as thin content may trigger a soft 404 error.
    • Ensure the content on your page doesn’t appear to represent a 404 page while serving a 200 response code.

    Soft 404s are strange errors. They lead to a lot of confusion because they tend to be a strange hybrid of 404 and normal pages, and what is causing them isn’t always clear. Ensure the most critical pages on your site aren’t throwing soft 404 errors, and you’re off to a good start!

    B) 404

    A 404 error means that the Googlebot tried to crawl a page that doesn’t exist on your site. Googlebot finds 404 pages when other sites or pages link to that non-existent page.

    What they mean

    404 errors are probably the most misunderstood crawl error. Whether it’s an intermediate SEO or the company CEO, the most common reaction is fear and loathing of 404 errors.

    Google clearly states in their guidelines:

    “Generally, 404 errors don’t affect your site’s ranking in Google, so you can safely ignore them.”

    I’ll be the first to admit that “you can safely ignore them” is a pretty misleading statement for beginners. No — you cannot ignore them if they are 404 errors for crucial pages on your site.

    (Google does practice what it preaches, in this regard — going to google.com/searchconsole returns a 404 instead of a helpful redirect to google.com/webmasters)

    Distinguishing between times when you can ignore an error and when you’ll need to stay late at the office to fix something comes from deep review and experience, but Rand offered some timeless advice on 404s back in 2009:

    “When faced with 404s, my thinking is that unless the page:

    A) Receives important links to it from external sources (Google Webmaster Tools is great for this),
    B) Is receiving a substantive quantity of visitor traffic, and/or
    C) Has an obvious URL that visitors/links intended to reach

    It’s OK to let it 404.”

    The hard work comes in deciding what qualifies as important external links and substantive quantity of traffic for your particular URL on your particular site.

    Annie Cushing also prefers Rand’s method, and recommends:

    “Two of the most important metrics to look at are backlinks to make sure you don’t lose the most valuable links and total landing page visits in your analytics software. You may have others, like looking at social metrics. Whatever you decide those metrics to be, you want to export them all from your tools du jour and wed them in Excel.”

    One other thing to consider not mentioned above is offline marketing campaigns, podcasts, and other media that use memorable tracking URLs. It could be that your new magazine ad doesn’t come out until next month, and the marketing department forgot to tell you about an unimportant-looking URL (example.com/offer-20) that’s about to be plastered in tens thousands of magazines. Another reason for cross-department synergy.

    Are they important?

    This is probably one of the trickiest and simplest problems of all errors. The vast quantity of 404s that many medium to large sites accumulate is enough to deter action.

    404 errors are very urgent if important pages on your site are showing up as 404s. Conversely, like Google says, if a page is long gone and doesn’t meet our quality criteria above, let it be.

    As painful as it might be to see hundreds of errors in your Search Console, you just have to ignore them. Unless you get to the root of the problem, they’ll continue showing up.

    How to fix 404 errors

    If your important page is showing up as a 404 and you don’t want it to be, take these steps:

    1. Ensure the page is published from your content management system and not in draft mode or deleted.
    2. Ensure the 404 error URL is the correct page and not another variation.
    3. Check whether this error shows up on the www vs non-www version of your site and the http vs https version of your site. See Moz canonicalization for more details.
    4. If you don’t want to revive the page, but want to redirect it to another page, make sure you 301 redirect it to the most appropriate related page.

    In short, if your page is dead, make the page live again. If you don’t want that page live, 301 redirect it to the correct page.

    How to stop old 404s from showing up in your crawl errors report

    If your 404 error URL is meant to be long gone, let it die. Just ignore it, as Google recommends. But to prevent it from showing up in your crawl errors report, you’ll need to do a few more things.

    As yet another indication of the power of links, Google will only show the 404 errors in the first place if your site or an external website is linking to the 404 page.

    In other words, if I type in your-website-name.com/unicorn-boogers, it won’t show up in your crawl errors dashboard unless I also link to it from my website.

    To find the links to your 404 page, go to your Crawl Errors > URL Errors section:

    Then click on the URL you want to fix:

    Search your page for the link. It’s often faster to view the source code of your page and find the link in question there:

    It’s painstaking work, but if you really want to stop old 404s from showing up in your dashboard, you’ll have to remove the links to that page from every page linking to it. Even other websites.

    What’s really fun (not) is if you’re getting links pointed to your URL from old sitemaps. You’ll have to let those old sitemaps 404 in order to totally remove them. Don’t redirect them to your live sitemap.

    C) Access denied

    Access denied means Googlebot can’t crawl the page. Unlike a 404, Googlebot is prevented from crawling the page in the first place.

    What they mean

    Access denied errors commonly block the Googlebot through these methods:

    • You require users to log in to see a URL on your site, therefore the Googlebot is blocked
    • Your robots.txt file blocks the Googlebot from individual URLs, whole folders, or your entire site
    • Your hosting provider is blocking the Googlebot from your site, or the server requires users to authenticate by proxy

    Are they important?

    Similar to soft 404s and 404 errors, if the pages being blocked are important for Google to crawl and index, you should take immediate action.

    If you don’t want this page to be crawled and indexed, you can safely ignore the access denied errors.

    How to fix

    To fix access denied errors, you’ll need to remove the element that’s blocking the Googlebot’s access:

    • Remove the login from pages that you want Google to crawl, whether it’s an in-page or popup login prompt
    • Check your robots.txt file to ensure the pages listed on there are meant to be blocked from crawling and indexing
    • Use the robots.txt tester to see warnings on your robots.txt file and to test individual URLs against your file
    • Use a user-agent switcher plugin for your browser, or the Fetch as Google tool to see how your site appears to Googlebot
    • Scan your website with Screaming Frog, which will prompt you to log in to pages if the page requires it

    While not as common as 404 errors, access denied issues can still harm your site’s ranking ability if the wrong pages are blocked. Be sure to keep an eye on these errors and rapidly fix any urgent issues.

    D) Not followed

    What they mean

    Not to be confused with a “nofollow” link directive, a “not followed” error means that Google couldn’t follow that particular URL.

    Most often these errors come about from Google running into issues with Flash, Javascript, or redirects.

    Are they important?

    If you’re dealing with not followed issues on a high-priority URL, then yes, these are important.

    If your issues are stemming from old URLs that are no longer active, or from parameters that aren’t indexed and just an extra feature, the priority level on these is lower — but you should still analyze them.

    How to fix

    Google identifies the following as features that the Googlebot and other search engines may have trouble crawling:

    • JavaScript
    • Cookies
    • Session IDs
    • Frames
    • DHTML
    • Flash

    Use either the Lynx text browser or the Fetch as Google tool, using Fetch and Render, to view the site as Google would. You can also use a Chrome add-on such as User-Agent Switcher to mimic Googlebot as you browse pages.

    If, as the Googlebot, you’re not seeing the pages load or not seeing important content on the page because of some of the above technologies, then you’ve found your issue. Without visible content and links to crawl on the page, some URLs can’t be followed. Be sure to dig in further and diagnose the issue to fix.

    For parameter crawling issues, be sure to review how Google is currently handling your parameters. Specify changes in the URL Parameters tool if you want Google to treat your parameters differently.

    For not followed issues related to redirects, be sure to fix any of the following that apply:

    • Check for redirect chains. If there are too many “hops,” Google will stop following the redirect chain
    • When possible, update your site architecture to allow every page on your site to be reached from static links, rather than relying on redirects implemented in the past
    • Don’t include redirected URLs in your sitemap, include the destination URL

    Google used to include more detail on the Not Followed section, but as Vanessa Fox detailed in this post, a lot of extra data may be available in the Search Console API.

    Other tools

    E) Server errors & DNS errors

    Under URL errors, Google again lists server errors and DNS errors, the same sections in the Site Errors report. Google’s direction is to handle these in the same way you would handle the site errors level of the server and DNS errors, so refer to those two sections above.

    They would differ in the URL errors section if the errors were only affecting individual URLs and not the site as a whole. If you have isolated configurations for individual URLs, such as minisites or a different configuration for certain URLs on your domain, they could show up here.


    Now that you’re the expert on these URL errors, I’ve created this handy URL error table that you can print out and tape to your desktop or bathroom mirror.

    Conclusion

    I get it — some of this technical SEO stuff can bore you to tears. Nobody wants to individually inspect seemingly unimportant URL errors, or conversely, have a panic attack seeing thousands of errors on your site.

    With experience and repetition, however, you will gain the mental muscle memory of knowing how to react to the errors: which are important and which can be safely ignored. It’ll be second nature pretty soon.

    If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read up on Google’s official documentation for Search Console, and keep these URLs handy for future questions:

    We’re simply covering the Crawl Errors section of Search Console. Search Console is a data beast on its own, so for further reading on how to make best use of this tool in its entirety, check out these other guides:

    Google has generously given us one of the most powerful (and free!) tools for diagnosing website errors. Not only will fixing these errors help you improve your rankings in Google, they help provide a better user experience to your visitors, and help meet your business goals faster.

    Your turn: What crawl errors issues and wins have you experienced using Google Search Console?

    Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


    The Moz Blog

    ListeningToMusic.png

    By now, you may have heard of a musical called Hamilton.

    In you haven’t, here’s a rundown: Since its Broadway debut in August 2015, people can’t get enough of it. They’re paying upwards of $ 500 for crappy seats, and close to $ 3,000 for good ones. It won a Pulitzer, a Grammy and 11 Tony Awards. Its composer and original star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is now a celebrity.

    In other words: People are listening to this stuff.

    Seeing the way Hamilton captivated such massive audiences — in less than a year — fascinates me. How the heck did this thing blow up?

    (Psst. If you’re eager for some Hamilton action, Leslie Odom Jr. — a star from the original cast — is performing at INBOUND this year.)

    Watching the progress and near-instant success of Hamilton is really a lesson in why people listen — not just to a hit musical, but to a person, a podcast, or anything, really. A lot can be learned by looking into those reasons, especially for marketers. To what and whom do people listen? Why? And how can we get them to listen to us? 

    To answer those questions, we did some research on the listening process, our motivations for listening, and more.

    The Listening Process

    To listen, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true.”

    Listening helps us to satisfy different physiological goalsWe listen to alter our moods, stay alert, and figure stuff out. In humans, that’s been the case for pretty much as long as we’ve been in existence.

    The listening process starts when we receive auditory stimuli. Then, our brains have to interpret that stimulus. That’s enhanced by other senses — like sight — which help us better interpret what we’re hearing.

    Then, once we receive and interpret auditory signals, we follow a series of steps that consist of recalling, evaluating, and responding to the information we consume: 

    Hurier_Listening_Process.png

    Source: Matthew Edward Dyson

    It’s that third step in the entire process — recalling — that might be the most important one for marketers. Numerous studies have discovered how listening triggers a widespread network of activity throughout the entire brain. That activity is what so strongly links auditory stimuli to memory.

    That’s particularly true of music: Research has revealed a partial restoration of memory in Alzheimer’s patients upon hearing their favorite music. In other words, we know that listening heavily correlates with memory, which helps explain the mjor success of something like Hamilton — it’s a musical theatre production, which really epitomizes the intersection of auditory and visual stimuli.

    15-Studied-Effects-of-Classical-Music-on-Your-Brain_zpsd5b63a4e.png-original.png

    Source: Carina Zimmerman

    When people talk it up, they’re actually sharing a story about their memories of seeing it. And no matter what happens to our attention spans, we still seem to love a good story.

    That comes back around to what we do as marketers, really. We share the stories of and about our brands in a way that will get people to — you guessed it — listen.

    The Art of Getting People to Listen

    Earlier this year, my colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, put together a post on how to make a speech memorable. The infographic touched on a few guidelines that can be applied to, well, pretty much anything that you want someone to listen to:

    • Start strong
    • Make it informative and interesting
    • Think of your audience

    Aha! Your audience — remember them? Knowing your audience is going to help you create the content they want to listen to, but that also requires an understanding of their motivations for listening. 

    And in a modern context, our motivation to listen runs a bit deeper, especially when it’s something we don’t have to hear. We’re not listening in survival mode as much as we did in infancy or ancient times — we now have the luxury of electing to listen to most things.

    So let’s explore some generally understood, non-survival motivations for listening these days. I’ll use our old friend Hamilton to put those things in context — it shows how people’s reasons for listening have been successfully put into practice.

    4 Motivations for Listening (and How to Tap Into Them)

    1) They’re familiar with the person or the work.

    Hamilton’s earliest audiences may have tuned in because they knew about Miranda’s previous work. Perhaps they were fans of In the Heights, or had seen one of his smaller performances. Either way, it got them to come back and listen to him again.

    Some people think of that as the mere-exposure effect: A psychological principle that states we prefer the things that are familiar to us.

    Key takeaway: When you’re trying to figure out how to get someone to listen to you, start by tapping the folks who already know you — the ones whose attention you already have. At HubSpot, we call those folks evangelists: The people who advocate for your brand. If you want to expand your reach, it’s important to know who your evangelists are, and how to keep them motivated (which you can learn more about here).

    2) They share values with what or whom they’re listening to.

    Even if someone wasn’t familiar with Miranda’s work, if they had the basic context of Hamilton — a hip-hop musical about a historical figure — that might have been enough to get them to listen. Maybe that person just likes hip-hop. Or musicals. Or history.

    When you isolate the different components of what you’re trying to market, that gives you more options to pique people’s interests. I’ll use myself as an example — while I’m the type of person for whom The History Channel quickly cures insomnia, I will jump at the chance to listen to some great rap music. Therefore: A rap about history? Okay, I’ll bite.

    Key takeaway: Break your message or story down into different elements that people might actually want to listen to. That can help to draw in a diversified audience, by pitching these different pieces to the people who like them the most. 

    3) Someone told them to.

    I have to wonder how many people bought tickets to see Hamilton, or even first listened to its soundtrack, because so many people recommended it. We call that social proof: the theory that people will adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people they like or trust.

    In his book Contagious, Author Jonah Berger found that the content receiving the most word-of-mouth contained six essential qualities: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.  

    See that? “Stories.” “Emotion.” “Social.” Those are the qualities that get people to keep listening, and get the people who they share it with to listen, too.

    Key takeaway: Give your current audience the right incentive to listen and share. illustrate your message through an emotional story. Teach people something they’ll want to pass on to their coworkers or friends. In short: Position your message in a way that makes it hard not to end up telling someone else about it. 

    4) They think that what they’re listening to will be good.

    And while you can’t please everyone, you can do your best to make sure that you’re giving them something of quality. Remember — make it informative and interesting, but also make it true to yourself and your brand.

    After all, that worked for Lin-Manuel Miranda. He took the things that fascinated him — musical composition, hip hop, and the life of Alexander Hamilton — and turned it into a phenomenon that actually got and held people’s attention.

    Key takeaway: Find out what matters to you, and use what we’ve covered here today to make it matter to others.  

    Amazing things happen when people listen. Now, you have the tools to get them there.

    What are your best tips for catching the attention of an audience? Share them with us in the comments below. 

    regist


    HubSpot Marketing Blog