Subject Matter Experts: Why You Should Use Them and How to Find Them

Subject Matter Experts: Why You Should Use Them and How to Find Them

In a world of information overload, subject matter experts (SMEs) are more important than ever.

SMEs can help give important insights and context for your blog or marketing content and help keep readers engaged with the subject.

Their specific knowledge and expertise can be of value to your readers, but subject matter experts can also help with search engine optimization (SEO) by providing the keywords and keyword phrases that will get you found in web searches.

The good news is identifying subject matter experts isn’t brain surgery; it just takes some basic research on who’s out there sharing relevant information on the subjects you want to cover.

With more than 600 million active blogs on the market, the competition online has never been fiercer.

To stay competitive, you need subject matter experts.

We’ve put together this blog post to help you find SMEs for your business that can help improve your content strategy now and into the future.

Benefits of Using Subject Matter Experts for Website Content

Subject matter experts can contribute to your website in many different ways.

They can be instrumental in the ideation phases of your content strategy, lending their expertise to brainstorming sessions and subject ideas. Once you get to the writing phase, subject matter experts offer the most valuable service of all: subject-specific content that is truly accurate and relatable.

They can also help with promotion once the content is published, sharing it on their social media accounts or writing a post of their own about your article’s subject matter.

By collaborating with subject matter experts, you can ensure the final product is engaging, accurate, and high-performing.

1. Improve your EAT Score

One of the biggest benefits of using a subject matter expert is improving your EAT score, which measures a site’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. 

The subject matter expert can help you turn a keyword with low search volume into something that has higher commercial intent. They also add relevance to the subject of the post, which is crucial for improving SEO rankings.

Including an SME in one of your blog posts also increases their exposure. They’re likely already connected to other experts in their field who will see and read your content once it’s published online.

They get the benefit of leveraging your audience and online authority, and you get the benefit of leveraging theirs.

2. Earn Audience Trust

An SME can provide insight into your customers’ thoughts and questions, improving reliability and authority more than if they were written by an outside source with limited knowledge.

This can go a long way in improving audience trust, as they will know they are getting expert information from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

When you use subject matter experts, your blog can become an invaluable source of information for people interested in the same things they are—which makes them likely to share your content with their audiences, further improving your digital reach.

3. Publish Higher Quality Content

Using a subject matter expert in your content inevitably creates higher-quality content. This is because subject matter experts are experts for a reason, meaning they make sure the content you create is of the highest caliber.

Nearly a quarter of readers say bad content quality destroys a blog’s credibility. By using an SME, you’ll be creating content that is trustworthy and reliable. You can also use subject matter expert quotes or references throughout your blog post to reinforce the information and ideas being presented.

This makes it more likely that readers will continue reading what you have to say—and even share it with more people.

4. Use Correct Terminology and Lingo

One of the easiest ways to tell if a blog is credible or not is by checking for correct terms and lingo. 

Unqualified writers may miss important nuances of language that are likely to confuse readers. Your subject matter expert will understand and use all industry jargon, helping you ensure that your content is accurate and relatable for the audience reading it.

As well, if industry terms change or a new term is introduced, a subject matter expert should be aware of these changes and update your content accordingly.

5. Streamline Content Creation

Subject matter experts can go a long way in improving efficiencies in your content marketing strategy.

The more qualified subject matter experts you have to help you write blog posts, the better the chance those topics are written correctly from the beginning—meaning less time editing before it’s published online.

As well, their in-depth knowledge of the subject will lessen the time needed to research, allowing you to spend more time on other content marketing initiatives.

Tips to Recruit Subject Matter Experts

Now that you understand the benefits of using subject matter experts in your content marketing, it’s time to learn how to find them.

Subject matter experts exist in all types of businesses and vary greatly in expertise and quality. While reading this blog, you may have thought of a few SMEs you’d like to collaborate with already.

That’s great!

If you can’t think of anyone off the top of your head, don’t worry. We can help. All you need is a bit of time, research, and patience to find the best subject matter expert for your brand.

1. Know What You’re Looking For

Subject matter experts vary greatly in their online presence and availability, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for from the start.

Some SMEs may be influencers in their space with large online followings. Others may be less visible but still provide subject matter expertise.

Before approaching a subject matter expert, consider the following needs:

  • Are you looking for someone who has done extensive research in your space?
  • Do you want someone with a large following?
  • How important is celebrity to you?
  • Does it matter where in the world they live?
  • Do you want someone to consult, or write the content themselves?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your timeline?

Once you know what you need, it’s time to start searching.

2. Browse Social Media

Social media is an excellent place to start your search for subject matter experts.

When using a platform like Instagram, you can search hashtags related to the topic of your choice and follow subject matter experts while engaging with their content. This can help build a relationship before you ever ask for their help.

When using Google, you can include subject matter experts and your subject/keyword in the search. For example: “subject matter experts business blogging.”

You can also check Twitter by using a similar formula. Search for people tweeting about topics relevant to what you’re promoting with a subject matter expert or SME in the search.

LinkedIn is another great space to find subject matter experts.

Tips to Recruit Subject Matter Experts - Browse Social Media

In the search bar, you can include “subject matter expert” and your industry or topic to help find people who are active in LinkedIn groups related to those topics. For example: “subject matter experts marketing.”

You should also look at their existing posts for ideas on how they describe certain subject matters to ensure their content matches your needs.

Tips to Recruit Subject Matter Experts - Brene Brown posts social media infographic

3. Research Professional Associations

Professional associations and subject matter experts’ groups can help you find subject matter experts for your content.

For example, the American Marketing Association (AMA) has local chapters that include subject matter expert members active in their communities.

You could join a few of these organizations to meet subject matter experts or ask other people if they know subject matter experts in their communities.

Other organizations to search can include:

When reaching out to these organizations, be sure to mention you are looking for a subject matter expert post for your blog or that you need help finding subject matter experts in a specific field. If they don’t have someone that matches your needs, they may still be able to connect you with another organization that can.

4. Review Competitor Sites

Another way to find subject matter experts is to look at other companies’ websites. Many will have subject matter expert pages or author bylines that can help you find relevant experts in your field.

You can also browse competitor blogs and see who they reference in their posts. This can give you a great list of subject matter experts to reach out to, who may be willing and happy to share their experiences with your company.

Don’t know who your competitors are? Tools like Ubersuggest can help you see who’s ranking against you and why.

5. Ask Your Network

Leveraging your own network is a great way to find trusted subject matter experts. 

If you’re looking for someone proficient in Google advertising, maybe you know someone who works at Google or has worked with them in the past. Similarly, if you want to write about SEO, find someone that has been working in this space for many years.

You can also ask your existing subject matter experts to recommend other subject matter experts they know or have worked with.

This approach is a great way to find subject matter experts who already trust you and are willing to share their experiences as part of helping you out. With this tactic, you stand to form longstanding relationships with SMEs in your field.

Ways to Use Subject Matter Experts

Subject matter experts can be used to provide valuable insight to your audience on a subject they are passionate about. This can come in the form of blogs, webinars, lead magnets, live events, website copy, testimonials, and more!

Here are a few more ways to leverage their expertise:

  • interview them on a podcast
  • ask them to write a guest post (you’ll likley have to pay)
  • get help with your content strategy
  • get help reviewing content ideas, such as blog post or white paper topics
  • use quotes in your content to lend crediblity
  • have them work with ghostwriters to produce content
  • ask them to guest host a webinar (then create blog posts from the transcripts)

You can also use subject matter experts as industry influencers, building credibility and trust with the people you’re trying to reach. Remember, subject matter experts aren’t just limited to bloggers or traditional media types. Anyone who knows something special is fair game!

Just make sure to clearly define the role the SME will play in your content strategy and communicate regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The most important thing to remember when choosing subject matter experts for your brand is to find people who are passionate about the subject and eager to share what they know.

This also makes it much easier for them to produce high-quality content, so you can be sure your business is getting a good return on investment (ROI).

Frequently Asked Questions About Subject Matter Experts

How much does it typically cost to use a subject matter expert?

Subject matter expert pricing depends on factors like subject matter expertise and the number of pieces created. Each individual will price their work in different ways, so it’s important to discuss your budget limits beforehand to minimize any potential issues.

Should my blog use subject matter experts?

All blogs can benefit from subject matter experts, but they are especially useful for larger companies with smaller in-house subject matter expertise.

How do you become a subject matter expert?

Becoming a subject matter expert starts with subject matter expertise; the only way to become a subject matter expert is through learning on your own and becoming educated in your field.

Should your subject matter experts be influencers?

Subject matter experts do not need to be influencers, though some are. For subject matter experts with many followers, their brand can help your blog posts gain more views and shares. That said, the quality of their expertise should always be your focus, as that is what will keep your audience coming back for more.

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Subject Matter Experts for Website Content Conclusion

Subject matter experts are invaluable resources that can improve your existing content strategy and create trust. By including them throughout your content creation cycle, you can create high-quality content your audience loves to read.

When looking for subject matter experts, be sure to cast a wide net and leverage your existing networks to find the most qualified experts. While many subject matter experts are influencers, you should always focus on the quality of their expertise rather than how many followers they have.

When it comes to subject matter, expertise is what matters.

What have you learned from working with subject matter experts?

Source: New feed 2

How to Attract and Keep Employees at Digital Marketing Agencies After the “Great Resignation”

How to Attract and Keep Employees at Digital Marketing Agencies After the "Great Resignation"

Employee turnover is a huge cost to any business. These costs have the potential to be incredibly damaging to marketing agencies. It hurts their productivity, increases costs, and can even compromise client relationships. 

Unfortunately, it’s a problem likely to get worse. 

You may have heard about the great resignation, but what is it, and what can you do to stop your digital marketing agency staff from leaving?

What Is the “Great Resignation” and What Is Causing It?

They’re calling it the “great resignation.” Workers are quitting jobs in the millions. In July alone, 4.4 million employees walked away from their workplace, while layoffs and discharges remained the same.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are two distinct trends with mid-career employees resigning in large volumes. Employees working in the tech and health fields are the next biggest group to join the great resignation.

Why are staff leaving? Well, one reason is the shift towards remote working and burnout in high-stress industries. Burnout is a factor for Generation Z age groups too and this group also wants greater flexibility and control over their schedules, and they’re dissatisfied with their work/life balance.

The Great Resignation - Gen Z

Tips to Find and Keep Employees

Every company wants to attract happy, loyal employees, but if the great resignation is anything to go by, workers are feeling unfilled and unhappy. However, you can introduce procedures to limit the possibility of staff living, like:

  • making a point of understanding your employees
  • offering greater flexibility where you can
  • recognizing early stages of burnout and acting before it becomes a crisis or resignation issue
  • introducing a talent retention program
  • optimizing the employee experience

As Brain Kropp, group vice president of Gartner’s HR practice, says:

“Ultimately, employees want their 9-to-5 to look like their 5-to-9, and the organizations that deliver on that idea will gain a competitive advantage.”

Here are ten more tips to help attract and keep employees at your digital marketing agency during the great resignation.

1. Offer Remote or Hybrid Work for Eligible Employees

It’s official. The move towards remote working is gaining ground, and there seems to be no stopping it as more workers and companies realize the benefits of working from home.

A 2021 Upwork study shows 40.7 million Americans expect to be working remotely by 2026. 

The Great Resignation - Upwork survey

That’s a considerable increase from the previous survey when only 22.9 percent of those questioned could imagine themselves working remotely.

If your agency is considering more remote working or a hybrid model, here are some tips to consider:

  • Provide support: Do employees have the technological and managerial support they need to thrive when they’re working remotely?
  • Maximize collaboration: Just because workers are in different locations, don’t let collaboration go out of the window!
  • Introduce team building: Use team-building sessions, so employees get the opportunity to connect and catch up.

Finally, talk to staff and find out which way of working they prefer, and if this is workable for your agency.

2. Offer Unlimited PTO

Under an unlimited paid time off (PTO) approach, employers don’t give staff a preassigned number of paid days off. Instead, they have the opportunity to take time out as they choose, provided it doesn’t impact the business.

Netflix and Github are just two companies using PTO, and research shows that workers only take marginally more time off.

If this sounds like an approach that might work for you, here are some tips:

  • Set a minimum amount of days for the year and individual stretches: Remote.com has a minimum of 20 days a year for its staff.
  • Encourage employee feedback: Is PTO something they want to see? See how PTO fits in with your overall company policies, values, and the way it works. Could this be a good model for your agency?
  • Have goals in place: Are employees still reaching their aims and responsibilities regardless of their time away?

3. Promote a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Work-life balance has become a more significant issue as the pace of life changes. For some, work has become more demanding as the needs of employers and clients intensify. This increased demand puts stress on workers to meet those goals, which leads to less time at home and less satisfaction with their jobs.

However, when there’s a better work-life balance, things get better, and it helps in all areas, including:

  • employee satisfaction 
  • happiness
  • productivity
  • motivation
  • efficiency 

It’s a win-win for everyone.

How do you ensure a better work-life balance for staff? 

Again, it’s understanding what works for them, and it’s about being realistic as an employer. No manager should be expecting their team to be “always-on” and ever available. Appreciate that staff value their downtime just as much as you do.

Additionally, if the workload is getting too much for staff and you need an extra pair of hands, consider outsourcing to an agency.

4. Increase Compensation

As digital marketing becomes more competitive, so does the need to offer employees higher salaries.

If an employee has an excellent track record and consistently delivers results, it makes sense to offer them a pay increase. If you don’t value them, then they are going to look for more rewarding positions.

When looking at pay increases, consider your employee’s contributions and how you can reflect this in their salary.

Indeed suggests providing some context to the pay increase. For example, is it because of their contributions or just rising in line with inflation and cost of living? Indeed also recommends presenting the increase as a dollar amount rather than a percentage.

5. Provide Excellent Healthcare

Providing excellent healthcare for employees can help companies to:

  • attract better talent
  • reduce employee turnover rates
  • cut down on the cost of hiring new people through employee retention
  • make your company a more attractive employer for job seekers

Ultimately, when you offer quality, affordable healthcare for employees, you’re more likely to attract and retain talented staff.

In addition, a good healthcare program positively impacts the business and can potentially decrease the risk of absenteeism and lost productivity.

However, don’t forget the importance of having great health and mental health policies by setting up health programs. 

For instance, Citibank offers rewards for staff taking part in health assessments and activities. Have an open-door policy for staff who may feel they need mental or emotional support, too.

6. Ensure Your Managers Motivate

Effective managers aren’t just great leaders and communicators. They are awesome motivators too.

Employees want to do their best work for motivational managers because they feel inspired to. Additionally, motivated employees are easier to engage and perhaps have an improved chance of staying in their roles.

Remember, though, management isn’t just about rallying staff on. 

It’s about providing positive, constructive feedback, being empathic, and accepting that sometimes a manager just needs to step back and let employees do their work.

As Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That in New York City, says, “Top performers want space to be their best.”

Keep that thought in mind.

7. Facilitate a Fun Working Environment, But Don’t Force It!

A fun working environment can make people feel connected to the company and their work, leading to higher morale and better productivity.

One way to improve the fun factor at work is through creating an enjoyable office space with areas for socializing. Hosting team-building events or fun quizzes can work well. Office days out are another option or try some virtual team-building exercises.

However, remember everyone is different, and not all employees enjoy the same kind of fun. Make your chosen activities optional and find opportunities for less outgoing employees where you can.

8. Give Your Employees Space to Grow

One of the most important and undervalued aspects of a work environment is the opportunity for growth and development. All employees need to feel empowered enough to take on new challenges and to learn new skills.

There are several ways you can encourage employee growth, like:

  • Training courses and letting employees choose areas they want to learn more about.
  • Encouraging volunteering. Perhaps get the company involved in a community project, allowing employees to see the difference they’re making and how it benefits others.
  • Give employees the tools they need to develop their career and take it to the next level.
  • Talk to each employee so you know how they see their job going and how you can help them.

9. Consider Your Company’s Values

Company values are the foundation of an organization. Values provide meaning to a company’s work, guide its decisions, and generate momentum for its continuing growth.

A company’s values are far more than just words on a page or a mission statement. They reflect how the company lives its mission day-to-day by how it treats others and operates in the world, and they’re crucial to employees

Company values ensure staff work toward common goals, aid decision-making, and communication while motivating and engaging employees.

If your company values need some work, there are some great examples online to guide your way.

10. Engage and Reward Your Employees

Employee engagement is crucial to retention and job satisfaction. Unfortunately, a Gallup survey shows workplace engagement is falling.

What can you do to improve engagement? Well, according to Gallup, one of the top reasons is unclear communication. Ensuring clarity in all your conversations with staff at all times is a good starting point.

Additionally, you can:

  • Invite feedback.
  • Give staff training when they need it.
  • Ensure staff knows what you expect of them.
  • Allow employees to shine and assign them tasks most suited to their talents.
  • Ensure your team has the resources to do their jobs effectively.

Another way to keep staff motivated is to reward them for doing well. Incentives can improve morale and productivity and help to retain talent.

Here’s how you can use incentives:

  • Reward your staff for reaching sales goals and best sales performance, but don’t make it uber-competitive.
  • Offer incentives at the end of project completion.
  • Provide rewards for consistent hard work, so staff knows you appreciate their efforts.

Great Resignation Frequently Asked Questions

How many people have left the workforce during the "Great Resignation?"

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20.2 million employees left their jobs during May-September.

In November, millions of employees left their jobs. It’s a figure that just keeps growing.

Why are people leaving their jobs during the “Great Resignation?”

Why are people leaving their jobs during the "Great Resignation?"

The reasons are different for everyone, but there are some specific factors, like a lack of work-life balance, burnout, and lack of flexibility in the workplace. Global and personal events can also cause people to look at their careers and reassess what they want.

What is meant by "The Great Resignation"?

It refers to the millions of people quitting their jobs. Although it’s a global phenomenon, the figures in the United States are exceptionally high, with millions of people leaving their workplaces every month.

Who coined the phrase "The Great Resignation"?

Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, was the first to use the phrase, announcing “The great resignation is coming”. Now the psychologist is also quitting his job for new pastures. 

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The Great Resignation Conclusion

The proof is there in the stats. Employees are leaving companies in their droves. 

It’s not apparent yet if the great resignation is something that continues in future years. However, it’s happening here and now, and you ought to consider introducing steps if you want to keep staff at your digital marketing agency.

That includes introducing flexible, remote working if it’s suitable, having excellent healthcare, and paying staff what they’re worth.

Is the great resignation impacting your digital marketing agency? Tell us how below.

Source: New feed 2

9 Digital Marketing Tips for the Holidays

9 Digital Marketing Tips for the Holidays

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday—the holiday season doesn’t lack shopping days. Add those to the traditional boost in consumer spending that occurs in the run-up to the holidays, and you have a recipe for a record sales quarter.

However, a bumper festive season doesn’t happen by accident. A comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted digital marketing strategy is necessary to make those sales rack up. 

That’s why today, I will run through my top digital marketing tips for the holidays. By the end of this article, you’ll have an arsenal of strategies you can execute to make your physical or metaphorical cash register sing. 

Why the Holidays Are the Best Time for Digital Marketing Success

Online shopping will be just as pivotal for consumers this festive season as last year. In 2020, online retail sales during the holiday period totaled $186 billion, and Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history. This year, the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday are projected to increase by 14 percent compared to 2020. 

The sheer demand for online shopping makes the holiday period one of the best times to launch a new digital marketing strategy, but competition between brands also makes an effective strategy necessary. 

It’s important to present a strong digital campaign given the potential propensity for consumers to seek out the kind of in-store events they missed out on in 2020. Research shows that while 70 percent of consumers report their shopping journey involves online touchpoints, only 14 percent of U.S. shoppers say they won’t shop in-store at all this season. 

9 Digital Marketing Holiday Tips

OK, enough background information. Use these nine digital marketing holiday tips to guarantee a holly-jolly holiday season.

1. Start Early and Have a Plan

The best holiday digital marketing plans start months before the festive season. To put it another way: If you haven’t already started planning your strategy, start now.

By the time you’re reading this, most consumers will already have started shopping. It’s estimated that 31 percent of U.S. consumers will start their shopping in October or earlier, and 55 percent will start before Thanksgiving. 

Digital Marketing Holiday Tips - Start Early and Have a Plan

Whenever you start, making a plan is crucial. Try to wing it during the holiday season, and you’ll be outperformed by competitors who have had their campaigns set up and scheduled months in advance.

Planning your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.

Start by outlining the goals you want to achieve and the tactics you plan on using. Next, list all the assets you need to design and the marketing funnels you need to build. Finally, create a realistic timeline backward from the day you want to launch. 

Breaking your holiday digital marketing campaign up in this way will help show you exactly how much work needs to be done and how to make the best use of your time.

Most important of all, don’t freak out if you haven’t started planning yet. There’s still plenty of time to create a killer digital marketing plan. Focus on the shopping days that are still ahead of you and identify one or two effective strategies to put all of your efforts into.

2. Host a Contest

The holidays are a time for gift-giving, so what better way to get into the spirit of the season than by hosting a giveaway contest.

Not only is a contest a great way to give back to your consumers, but it’s also a fantastic way to drum up brand awareness, grow your social following, and build your email list. You can even use your contest to tease the holiday shopping deals and events you have coming up.

The great thing about hosting a contest online is that it’s quick, easy, and cheap to set up. You don’t even need to give away something extravagant to get people excited. A free product is all it takes to get your campaign going. 

3. Use Paid Campaigns to Increase Awareness

While I’ll always believe SEO should have a prominent place in any marketing campaign, the time-sensitive nature of the holiday season makes PPC ads essential.

Run awareness-based campaigns on every major paid ad channel. I’d recommend Google, Facebook, and Instagram at a minimum, but feel free to advertise on any channel you think is appropriate for your audience.

Be thoughtful with your budget. Specifically, you’ll want to make sure you spread your budget across the entire holiday season. While it’s tempting to front-load your budget and catch shoppers as early as possible, consumers may not be ready to purchase at the start of November.

There are a couple of strategies you’ll need to implement to be sure of this.

First, account for higher costs the closer you get to Christmas. Since retailers know that consumers are much more likely to make purchases the later it gets in the season, CPCs become more expensive, too.

Second, get rid of any campaigns that aren’t performing by the end of November. That way, you can save your budget for campaigns that convert.  

4. Use Promotions but Use Them Carefully

Promotions and discounts are something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they are a great way to drive traffic and increase conversion rates. At the same time, they have the potential to devalue your brand—especially at a time when rampant consumerism is so closely linked to environmental damage. 

In response, many brands have been distancing themselves from heavy discounts and Black Friday deals. Outdoor retail brand REI is closing its doors for the sixth year in a row and paying staff to take the day off and spend time with their family. Clothing brand Allbirds is raising prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then donating the additional money to Mother Nature and matching it with their contribution.

Digital Marketing Holiday Tips - Use Promotions But Use Them Carefully

You don’t have to go that far, but you should use offers and discounts with caution.

Rather than trying to compete on price when consumers are looking for as much value as possible, why not deliver value in another way? Free shipping, gifts, and other rewards are a great way to retain brand value while offering the discounts holiday shoppers are eager for.

Another way to make discounts more meaningful is to limit them to existing customers. With this strategy, there’s no risk of devaluing your brand in the eyes of new customers, while rewarding existing customers for being loyal. What’s more, it’s much cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one, and a generous promotion may be enough to stop them from shopping with competitors over the holiday.

5. Create Holiday Gift Sets

If you’re looking for a way to increase conversions and boost your average order value (AOV), try bundling your products into holiday gift sets and selling them at a discount. Product bundles are particularly popular in the run-up to Christmas when shoppers are searching for the perfect gift.

Digital Marketing Holiday Tips - Create Holiday Gift Sets

Bundling is particularly common with health and beauty products, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work in other sectors, too. For example, a yoga e-commerce store could bundle a yoga mat, block, carrier bag, and pair of leggings. A pet store could bundle dog food, a bed, and a collar. Whatever you sell, there’s almost certainly potential to bundle several products together. 

Don’t just guess which products will work well together. Harness the power of data and dive into your inventory analytics to see which products have been most popular and which are most frequently purchased together.

Of course, you don’t have to only include your best sellers. Bundling is a great way to sell less popular products that may not do so well on their own.

6. Create Laser-Targeted Email Campaigns

Email marketing generates on average $36 for every $1 spent, making it the highest returning marketing channel. It’s a no-brainer to include email in your digital marketing strategy.

??Unfortunately, nearly every other brand includes it in their strategy, too.

That’s right; it’s not just you who gets bombarded with offers during the holidays. From November onwards, everyone’s inboxes start overflowing with Black Friday deals, special offers, and holiday greetings.

Not sending emails isn’t an option. If you don’t catch your audience’s attention, your competitors will. Your job is to make your emails stand out in a sea of sales messages.

Your secret weapons? Segmentation and personalization.

That’s not to say your subject line and email copy aren’t. You’ll have to nail those, too. You’ll also want to make sure emails are optimized for mobile.

There’s only so much you can optimize, however. When you send your email shouldn’t be one of them. There’s no shortage of statistics telling you the best time to send an email. The trouble is your competitors are reading the same articles, too, so forget best practices for a moment and stagger emails as much as possible throughout the day.

7. Be Socially Responsible

Customers are prioritizing corporate social responsibility more than ever. More than three-quarters of them are motivated to purchase from companies that work to make the world better, according to research by AFLAC. 

That means practicing social responsibility—whether that’s donating a portion of your profits to charity, creating environmentally-friendly products, or something else entirely—isn’t just the ethical thing to do. It makes business sense, too.

If you’re new to corporate social responsibility, start by supporting causes that align with your brand. For instance, it makes sense for a pet store to support a dog shelter, or a gardening brand to support an environmental nonprofit.

In both cases, customers will want to support the charity and may go out of their way to shop with your brand over a competitor. It’s also just nice to give back to something you care about. Tis the season for giving, after all.

Whatever causes you support, remember to be genuine. Your customers aren’t fools, and they’ll quickly be able to tell the difference between a company that is committed to being responsible and one that is greenwashing.

8. Try New Platforms

Ever been tempted to run a campaign on TikTok or Instagram Live? Don’t wait for the New Year to make a change; try a new marketing channel this holiday season.

While it can be reassuring to stick to the channels you know, there’s no guarantee they’ll be as effective as they always have been. The move away from Facebook’s suite of apps towards newer platforms, in particular, is well documented. 

Launching a campaign on a new platform may seem daunting, but if you treat it like an experiment, then it doesn’t matter if you fail. Better still, there’s every possibility you’ll hit it out of the park and uncover a profitable platform you can advertise on for years to come.

9. Make a Plan for Long-Term Success

My last holiday marketing tip doesn’t technically involve the holidays at all. It’s about how to squeeze as much return as possible from all the money you invest into holiday marketing throughout the rest of the year.

If your brand awareness ads are successful, you’re going to have a lot of people visiting your site. Hopefully, most of them will make a purchase. If they don’t, you’ll want to find ways of targeting them throughout the rest of the year to make sure that initial ad spend wasn’t wasted.

One of the best ways to do this without getting visitors to sign up for a mailing list is through retargeting ads. 

With retargeting ads on Google and Facebook’s ad network, you only serve ads to people who have previously visited your site. This is an incredibly cost-effective ad strategy and one of the best ways to keep your brand top of mind well into the New Year. 

Digital Marketing Holiday Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is holiday marketing important?

Consumer spending is high during the holidays, but so is competition between brands. A holiday marketing strategy can help your business boost sales and increase market share. 

What makes a great holiday marketing strategy?

A great holiday marketing strategy is well-targeted, highly personalized, and focused on driving as many conversions as possible.

How can I increase sales during holidays?

A digital marketing strategy is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to increase sales during the holiday season.

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Digital Marketing Holiday Tips Conclusion

The holiday season is rife with opportunity, and there’s no shortage of digital marketing strategies you can use to make 2021 your best season ever. It’s all about putting together a campaign that works for your brand.

Start by implementing one or two of the strategies I’ve listed above, then make sure you’re doing everything you can to improve your conversions. Finally, learn how you can keep your sales high after the holiday spike

Which digital marketing tip are you going to use first?

Source: New feed 2

An In-Depth Guide to Google Analytics 4

An In-Depth Guide to Google Analytics 4

When it comes to website analytics, Google Analytics is second to none.

With the rollout of the latest release, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the same can now be said of applications analytics, too. 

Google Analytics 4 was designed to be the latest generation of web analytics platforms—providing a base for marketers around the world to effectively analyze important customer usage metrics.

New report functions, enhanced features, and predictive insights make it an essential addition to any current Google Analytics setup.

What Is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 (formerly known as App+Web), is a new property available on Google Analytics. It replaces the former property type “Universal Analytics.”

The latest generation of Google Analytics sells itself as focused on customer privacy. This comes in the face of some of the latest privacy laws, such as GDPR and CCPA. With privacy-first tracking, cross-channel data measurement, and AI-driven predictive analytics, GA4 is certainly an advanced property that many websites and apps will benefit from.

Google Analytics 4 Vs. Google Analytics (Universal Analytics)

The most obvious difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is that GA4 is a property that enables you to report on websites and applications. Universal Analytics only supports website analytics.

The measurement model itself is also different between the two.

Google Analytics 4 uses a new model that measures events and parameters. Universal Analytics uses a model based on sessions and pageviews.

That’s not all, however. GA4 has an array of new metrics. These include engagement metrics such as:

  • engaged sessions
  • engagement rate
  • engagement time

What Are the Benefits of Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 offers numerous benefits to users. Here are a few that stand out against the older generation of the property.

Cross-Platform Tracking 

What happens when users are active on more than one platform? With the old Google Analytics, it was a manual process that took time and effort. The new Google Analytics 4 tracks both web and app data in one property (hence the beta name of Google Analytics App+Web).

Cross-platform tracking enables you to see the complete customer journey, including acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention. You can use GA4 to track the user experience from start to finish—and from platform to platform.

This is done through unique user IDs assigned during app or website login. 

With the appropriate gtag.js script, the user ID for each logged-in session will be sent from either the website or the application to Google Analytics. The ID will be reported to the GA4 property and any user metrics will be logged. When the user logs in again on an alternative platform, the reports will connect the user’s data to their unique ID and pick up where it left off.

This is incredibly useful information for any marketer, as it allows you to better understand the cross-platform experience of your users. The data can also be used to extrapolate information for a generalized demographic and build more accurate customer models.

All Measurements Are Events

With Universal Analytics, page views were the most important metric. This, and other hit metrics such as screen time, events, and transactions, were tracked extensively. The problem is that this gives a myopic view of customer interactions. 

With Google Analytics 4, all measurements are events. What does this mean for you?

Instead of measuring at just the session level, GA4 collects and stores all user interactions as separate events. You can still view session-level reporting, but the ability to break it down by interaction means more in-depth reports and insights. 

Instead of seeing generalized data, you can now gain a fuller understanding of your individual users when it suits your needs.

AI Insights for Predictive Metrics

While looking at past behaviors is helpful in understanding your audience, it doesn’t enable you to always make proactive decisions. With GA4’s powered predictive metrics, you can make data-driven decisions on a large scale.

What does this look like? For most businesses, predictive analytics can significantly impact retargeting campaigns. The metrics included in GA4 as of this writing are:

  • purchase probability
  • churn probability
  • revenue prediction

With the above metrics, you can create audiences based on their predicted behaviors. For example, users who are likely to purchase in the next 7 days or users that are likely to spend more than $500 in one shop. 

These audiences can then be targeted using active Google Ads campaigns or even on social media.

These metrics cannot only help to improve retargeting campaign success, but also improve website performance. You can create custom funnels for different audiences based on their behaviors and needs. The suggestions will continue to improve as more data is collected.

More Control

The greater the control you have over the data, the more you can do with it. While the Universal Analytics property has no shortage of data, it does have a lack of user control. You can create custom reports to a certain extent, but in many cases the customization possibilities are limited.

Google Analytics 4 offers more flexibility than the old Google Analytics. With GA4, you can create your own dashboard, enabling you to see the reports that matter most to your business. It even works well in conjunction with Google Data Studio so you can create custom visualizations of the data collected.

Even more than greater control over specific reporting, GA4 offers expanded segmentation capabilities. 

With GA4, you can create segments based on events which are essentially a subset of events that occurred on your website or application. This enables you to more accurately track customer interactions. For example, you can create segments on all conversion events that occurred in a particular location. These capabilities make it possible to take a more granular view of your users and their behaviors.

Should I Make the Switch to Google Analytics 4?

While the switch to Google Analytics 4 may seem overwhelming, it’s important to start gathering data for future use as soon as possible. The thing to remember is that Google Analytics 4 can only collect data from the date it is set up and enabled. It cannot collect historical data prior to that time. 

There has been no word from Google whether Universal Analytics will become obsolete in the future. However, it’s best to get used to the new property while you still have the time. The good news is you can have both a Universal Analytics property and a Google Analytics 4 property for your account. They will run side-by-side collecting data so you can begin to accustom yourself to the new property without losing your current reporting capabilities.

How to Set Up Google Analytics 4

Since Google Analytics 4 can be used for your website or application (or both), there are two separate setup processes. They are outlined below.

Alongside an Existing Property

If you currently have a Universal Analytics property for your website, then setup of a Google Analytics 4 property can be completed with the GA4 Setup Assistant.

  1. In Google Analytics, click “Admin” on the lower left of the screen.
  2. In the Account column, select the desired account:
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 - Account Column
  1. In the Property column, select the Universal Analytics property that currently collects data for your website:
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 - Property Column
  1. In the Property column, select GA4 Setup Assistant:
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 - Setup Assistant
  1. Click “Get started” under “I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property:” 
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 - Create New GA4 Property
  1. If your site uses the gtag.js tag, you can select “Enable data collection using your existing tags.”
  2. Click “Create Property.”
How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 - Create a new Google Analytics 4 Property

If you are unable to “Enable data collection using your existing tags,” it’s for one of three reasons:

  1. Your website builder/CMS doesn’t yet support the gtag.js tag.
  2. You use Google Tag Manager.
  3. Your website is tagged with analytics.js.

In all three cases, you’ll need to add the tag yourself.

Google Analytics for Firebase

To upgrade your Firebase account to Google Analytics 4, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Firebase console.
  2. Go to Analytics > Dashboard on the left panel.
  3. Click “Begin upgrade” in the banner at the top of the page.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the upgrade.

Once upgraded, you can find app analytics in both the Firebase console and Google Analytics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Google Analytics 4

What is Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 is a new analytics property offered by Google. It enables users to analyze data from websites, apps, or both websites and apps.

What is the difference between Google Analytics 4 and the old GA?

The main difference between Google Analytics 4 and the old GA is in what the two different property types track. Google Analytics 4 can track the analytics of both websites and applications, while the old GA can track only website analytics.

Is Google Analytics 4 free?

Similar to Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 is a free property type. There are no costs associated with using one (or more) GA4 properties on your account.

Are they getting rid of the old Google Analytics?

As of this writing, the “old” Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) is still available. This is unlikely to change in the near future. However, Google will likely discontinue Universal Analytics sometime in the future so as to focus on the continued development of GA4.

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An In-Depth Guide to Google Analytics 4: Conclusion

When used to its fullest potential, Google Analytics is a powerful analytics tool that can provide invaluable insights. This is why it’s important to upgrade your account when possible. The latest upgrade available to users is the new property, Google Analytics 4.

There are numerous benefits to GA4, including cross-platform tracking, more control over data, and AI-driven insights. When you create a new GA4 property, it works alongside your current Universal Analytics property while also allowing you to gain additional data for future use. While UA is available indefinitely, the transition to GA4 isn’t mandatory but it’s highly recommended.

Fortunately, setting up a GA4 property on your website or app is easy. The steps as outlined above should take you less than 10 minutes to complete so there’s no excuse to put off the transition.

Which of Google Analytics 4’s features are you most excited about?

Source: New feed 2

How to Do Healthcare and Medical SEO

How to Do Healthcare and Medical SEO

All SEO is not created equal.

The average cosmetic brand or fitness brand can take the usual approach with SEO. Optimize some images, start ranking for keywords.

Medical SEO, on the other hand, is an entirely different animal. Search engines use different techniques to rank medical sites. There are serious limitations on both what you can and cannot say, with serious consequences if you make a mistake.

If you’re new to medical SEO, it can be a lot to manage. Fortunately, I’ve put together a list of tips that should make your medical SEO journey significantly easier.

Why Do Healthcare, Medical Professionals and Businesses Need to Understand SEO?

Don’t the jargon fool you, the concept of SEO is actually pretty simple. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your site easier to find on Google. 

Essentially, Google has a series of factors it uses to calculate how relevant a site is to a particular search. The more relevant you are, the higher you rank. Simple, right?

There are plenty of reasons healthcare professionals should focus on medical SEO, but the biggest selling point is usually the influx of new patients via website traffic. The better your SEO is, the more likely you are to get new patients.

10 Tips for Healthcare and Medical SEO

SEO is generally viewed as one of the building blocks of most successful digital marketing strategies. If you’re serious about making an impact online, SEO provides a relatively straightforward path to marketing success, as long as you know what to focus on.

1. Think of Your Patients and the Search Terms They Use to Find Medical Professionals

If you want to elevate your SEO, it’s important that you start considering the search terms people are using to find medical professionals. Keywords are one of the most vital elements in the SEO landscape, and medical SEO is no exception.

Search engines use keywords to connect users and their searches with relevant information. If you want search engines to find your brand online, you need to choose the right keywords. Of course, that still leaves us with an important question. How on earth do you identify high-quality keywords?

Keyword research is crucial but can be a challenge to wrap your head around at first. If you’re just getting started, you can use my free keyword search tool to get some clarity. 

ubersuggest seo tool

Fortunately, identifying the best keywords for your brand is less about stumbling onto a magic search term and more about understanding user intent. Eventually, you’ll want to start isolating pain points and cross-referencing your potential search terms with your competitor’s highest ranking keywords.

2. Focus on Earning a High EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) Ranking

Keywords might be important, but they’re just the tip of the SEO iceberg. Search engines like Google have systems like EAT that can seriously impact your page rankings.

Search engines have a singular real commodity. When they help you get the answers you need fast, that’s a successful session. Search engines live and die by their ability to find users the right answer. In other words, if you want to rank highly and eventually end up on their first page, you need to provide genuine value. That’s where EAT comes in.

EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and it’s considered one of the most important factors for Google when determining overall Page Quality Rating. This is one of the ways Google separates the average amateur from the knowledgeable authority

Understanding this system is particularly important for those in the medical field because of the unique approach to improving it. If you want to achieve a high EAT score, your content should be created by those with expert medical knowledge. Beyond that, that content should be regularly updated and reviewed.

3. Understand Language Limitations Specific to Healthcare and Pharma Fields

When it comes to medical SEO, there are some rather serious limitations to what you can do. For starters, the AKS or Anti-Kickback Statute establishes both criminal and civil prohibitions against knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving any remuneration directly or indirectly to induce or reward.

Plus, we can’t forget about the Stark Law. If a physician has a financial relationship with an entity, then they may not make a referral to the entity for the furnishing of designated health services.

Make no mistake, these aren’t suggestions. These limitations come with hefty price tags, with as much as $100,000 for trying to get around them. That’s why as you develop your medical SEO strategy, it’s important you constantly ensure you aren’t violating any of your industry limitations. Competitor analysis is a great way to identify safe copy and content options if you’re ever unsure.

4. Make Your Site Navigation Easy and Intuitive for Users

When users can easily navigate your site, something interesting starts to happen. Simply put, the user actually sticks around. A site that’s confusing, poorly designed, structured, or optimized tests the user’s patience and creates friction. Sites that are easy to navigate improve your chances of keeping the user’s attention.

Beyond that, intuitive sites make exploring the site a more natural process. Your user should be able to quickly access the information they need and be presented with data that addresses their other pain points within your industry. The longer the user spends on your site, the more meaningful engagement you’ll receive.

Listen, there’s no denying that improving your user experience can improve your SEO. That being said, you shouldn’t just improve your site navigation because you’re developing a medical SEO strategy. Beyond the binary improvements to page ranking, your users will genuinely enjoy their time on your site, and I’d argue that’s just as important.

5. Adhere to Google’s YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) Rules

Medical SEO might have its own series of unique contributing factors to success, but easily one of the most important is what Google calls YMYL which stands for Your Money or Your Life. As far as Google is concerned, medical web pages are YMYL pages. Categorized as pages that could impact the future health, happiness, and financial stability of the users, Google holds medical pages to a high standard.

Why? Well, the answer is simple. The standards are higher because low-quality pages can be both dangerous and present serious medical consequences for users. One of the easiest strategies for improving your YMYL SEO ranks? Create high-quality content that’s both medically relevant and engaging. Speaking of creating content, let’s talk about content marketing.

6. Do Content Marketing

The term “content marketing” gets thrown around quite a bit in the digital marketing landscape, and with good reason. Creating valuable content is one of the easiest ways to both engage with and assist your audience.

If you’re not sure where to start, creating a regularly updated blog is typically a strong choice. Think of it this way. Your keywords and search terms are the bait, attracting users to your site. Your expertise and capacity are what users eventually agree to, once they see your value. One factor impacts the beginning of your user relationship, the other impacts the end.

Developing a content calendar and consistently making valuable content is the connective tissue between these two. When you have free content that people enjoy, you’re able to bring in traffic with your content. That traffic will then make it easier to improve your SEO through data and improve your visibility. 

To be clear, you shouldn’t focus only on blog posts and white papers. Social media can indirectly impact your medical SEO ranking because you can get referral traffic. Don’t be afraid to branch out in other forms of media. With changing consumer behavior, video is maintaining its popularity. 

Primary forms of media used within content strategy in 2021

7. Use Short, Logical URLs

It may not seem like a massive issue to you, but short URLs can have a massive impact on the way users interact with your brand.

URLs typically go unnoticed, because there are so many other exciting options to focus on for medical SEO.

Of course, this goes back to the issue of user experience. When users have negative experiences with your brand, they’re less likely to make that crucial first conversion. Likewise, when you reduce friction throughout your brand experience, users take notice.

Short, logical URLs are just one of many signs that you care about your audience’s time and experience. Attention to detail matters and your site should be optimized for medical SEO at every angle.

8. Include Images of Staff, Your Office, and Your Equipment

You might think that just because we’ve been talking about blog posts and white paper, that there’s no room for other kinds of content on your site.

Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Visual content can be a powerful tool, and visuals of your staff, office, and equipment are some of the most useful styles of content you can share.

Right off the bat, adding these images increases the chances that your users will trust your brand. Beyond that, they’re a great way to increase conversions. Here’s a little trick you may not know about. You can add keywords to your own images. By placing your keywords in the image file manually, you can further optimize your medical SEO. 

9. Identify Healthy SEO Practices

There are some guiding principles that you should be aware of, whenever you’re trying to identify healthy medical SEO practices.

As a general rule, you should be making copy, content, and pages primarily for users. There’s a temptation to create pages with SEO primarily in mind, but this is a common trap that businesses fall into.

Does it matter if Google thinks you’re interesting? Absolutely.

Is the user experience infinitely more important than some keyword optimization? Without a doubt.

Never try to trick your users into doing anything, it always backfires. Identify what makes your website unique, and what expertise you can bring to the site today to elevate the user experience.

10. Complete Your Google My Business Page

When it comes to SEO, there are certain contributing factors beyond your own site. One of the easiest ways to improve your SEO without touching your site is by completing your Google My Business page.

It might seem simple but make no mistake. This page can drastically change the way users experience your business online. Not only will this make local SEO more efficient, but it also puts you in Google’s local pack.

Google My Business Page

A local pack is a group of 4-5 business listings, appearing above organic search results. The logic here is that Google believes local results are more valuable than generic page results for a specific search term. In other words, you get a free boost in page ranking because you’re closer and more likely to be valuable.

Healthcare and Medical SEO Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for medical SEO to work?

Like any other form of SEO, medical SEO is not a quick fix. The idea is that gradually, over time, you’re creating an online presence that will outshine your competitors.

Are there healthcare SEO experts I can hire?

Absolutely! There are plenty of digital agencies that specialize in healthcare SEO, and some even offer free evaluations before getting started.

Is it better to use broad or specific targeted search terms in medical and healthcare SEO?

Generally, I like to experiment with both and use my results to inform future decision-making. That being said, focusing on specific terms makes content creation much easier.

Is it better to target diagnoses or symptoms when choosing keywords for healthcare and medical SEO?

It depends on your strategy. If you’re creating educational content, diagnoses can be pretty straightforward. If you’re trying to cast a wide net, and you have a good idea of what a symptom typically indicates, focusing on symptoms can be useful too.

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Healthcare and Medical SEO Conclusion

The world of medical SEO might seem identical to your average SEO strategy at first, but looks can be deceiving. Medical SEO has plenty of unique challenges that businesses have to overcome, and quite a few limitations complicating things.

Still, the foundational elements of SEO are there. Focus on improving the user experience at every turn. Be thorough and reduce friction wherever you can. Establish online authority through content creation and create opportunities for meaningful engagement. If you’re able to do all that, your medical SEO strategy will blow your competition out of the water.

What’s your favorite SEO tactic that most people don’t know? Let me know in the comments below.

Source: New feed 2

A Deep Dive Into Google Data Studio for Marketers

A Deep Dive Into Google Data Studio for Marketers

Data and analytics play considerable roles in marketing. From showing you trends to giving you insights into your target audience to helping you create effective campaigns, data is critical.

This is why Google Data Studio is a program every marketer should try out.

What Is Google Data Studio?

Google Data Studio is a free business intelligence (BI) tool from Google. You can use it to create centralized reports from different data sources from across the web—or even your platform. 

This BI program makes creating visually appealing and interactive reports and dashboards easy. In addition, the dashboards are fully customizable and easy to share, making Google Data Studio an invaluable tool for marketers.

By transforming raw data into strategic information, Google Data Studio helps marketers make decisions to help achieve their goals. Because the decisions are data-driven, the risks of failure are reduced.

Why Should You Use Google Data Studio?

With Google Data Studio, you can present your data in a meaningful way. 

You’re bombarded with vast amounts of data from your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, social media analytics, Google Analytics, and everywhere else. Knowing which data is useful and which isn’t can be invaluable, but separating the types can take forever if you do it manually. 

Data alone isn’t a panacea to your marketing woes. To run data-driven marketing campaigns, the data must clearly show what actions need to be taken.

This is where Google Data Studio shines.

While your inbuilt analytics reports give you raw data, your Google Data Studio dashboard allows you to only access essential data. With Google Data Studio, you can create dashboards answering specific questions about your business, marketing campaigns, or audience.

As a result, it becomes easier to know what actions to take.

What Are the Features of Google Data Studio?

Let’s look at some of the primary features of Google Data Studio and how you can use them as a marketer.

Easy-to-use Dashboard

Google Data Studio’s dashboard’s user interface (UI) is designed to resemble Google Drive. If you’ve used Drive in the past, this should look relatively familiar.

What Are the Features of Google Data Studio - Easy to Use Dashboard

Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll find on the dashboard:

  • Search Data Studio Box: It enables you to search for reports, templates, data sources, and anything else in Data Studio.
  • “Create” Tab: Use this to create new Reports, add new data sources, and Explorers.
  • “Recent” Section: This gives you the option to quickly get to the most recent Reports, Data sources, and Explorer.
  • Templates: Find pre-made templates created from different data sources. You can easily customize these to suit your needs.

Connect Multiple Data Sources

Google Data Studio allows you to connect multiple data sources. You can access your data via 510 connectors, with 18 from Google’s suite of platforms and the rest from third parties. 

What Are the Features of Google Data Studio - Connect Multiple Data Sources

Integrating your data on one platform helps you get a holistic view of what’s happening in your business. It also enables you to get an overview of what’s happening in your market.

Easy Data Transformation

Data transformation plays a critical role in helping to understand your next steps. This is one of the features you get with Google Data Studio. 

Google Data Studio transforms raw data into meaningful business intelligence, no matter how many data sources you pull from. This is made possible by the “Explorer” feature. The Explorer function allows you to work with your data and:

  • add dimensions
  • apply mathematical functions
  • apply arithmetic operators and custom formulas

These allow you to transform your data into actionable information. 

Powerful Data Visualization

Data transformation is an excellent way of turning data into easy-to-understand information. However, data visualization takes that to a whole new level. 

Simply put, human beings are visual creatures and generally process images faster than words or numbers.

Google Data Studio helps you visualize your data through reports and dashboards. You can turn your numbers into graphs, tables, maps, and any other visual aid. Data visualization makes data more accessible. The interactive nature of the visuals also makes for engaging presentations.

Easy Collaboration and Data sharing

The real-time collaboration feature that comes with Google Data Studio allows you to invite others to view or edit your dashboards at your discretion. Just as with other Google platforms, changes are saved automatically, and version history is kept.

Besides collaboration, you can also easily share your reports with clients or team members. The recipient will receive an email notification and a link to access the data.

Customizable Templates

Creating reports from scratch can be time-consuming and laborious. To speed up the process, Google Data Studio offers pre-built report templates. 

Because they’re fully customizable, all you need to do is add your data and tweak the images to your liking. This will save you hours, if not days, of work.

Ways for Marketers to Use Google Data Studio

How relevant is Google Data Studio for marketers?

Let’s look at a few ways you can use Google Data Studio in marketing efforts to answer that question.

1. Get a Clear Picture of Your Target Audience

Marketers need to understand their audience. This involves gathering a lot of data and connecting the dots to build a picture of who your ideal customer is.

Using Google Data Studio, you can polish up tons of data from different sources and turn them into meaningful information. 

This information, however, still needs some refining to make business sense. Google Data Studio helps you do this in a visually attractive way—a way in which all the dots start telling a story.

Google Data Studio is an excellent tool for turning data into stories that give you insight into audience demographic and psychographic data such as:

  • behavior
  • preferences
  • goals
  • pain points

With all this data expertly painted onto a canvas, it becomes easy to build your buyer personas. As a result, you can run more targeted and personalized campaigns, potentially leading to higher conversion rates. 

2. Measure Your Content Marketing Performance

Content marketing is a powerful way to reach your target audience and convert them into customers. However, measuring campaign success can be challenging.

That’s where Google Data Studios comes to the rescue.

You can use the platform to create reports using data pulled from Google Analytics. The reports can be designed to clearly show all the essential metrics you need to gauge the performance of your content marketing campaigns.

Ways for Marketers to Use Google Data Studio - Measure Your Content Marketing Performance

You can tailor reports zeroing in on everything from brand visibility to engagement to lead generation.

3. Share Your Wins and Expertise on Social Media

Another clever way to use Google Data Studio is to showcase your wins and expertise on social media. Embedding your reports via the platform only takes a few clicks.

People love seeing products in action, but more than that, they like seeing results. 

Pulling data into Google Data Studio and creating a beautiful report is one way of doing just that. You can embed the link to your report on your favorite social media platforms.

Social media is a powerful platform to shine the spotlight on your achievements. When you add beautiful reports to the equation, you can outshine your competitors and woo new customers.

How to Create a Google Data Studio Report

Now that you know what Google Data Studio is, let’s quickly look at how you can create your reports.

1. Choose Your Template

Data Studio comes with various pre-built templates, making your data visualization process speedy—assuming you can pick your favorite one quickly!

How to Create a Google Data Studio Report - Choose Your Template

Once you’ve picked a template, you can customize it to align with your brand style guide and ensure consistency across your reports. 

What if you have too much data to fit on one page? 

No problem, you can add multiple pages to your report templates.

2. Connect Your Data Sources

The next step to creating your report is connecting the data source you want to use to Google Data Studio.

How to Create a Google Data Studio Report - Connect Your Data Sources

Clicking “Add data” opens the page where you can select the connector to pull from.

Pulling data into Google Data Studio with connector

Using the connectors automates what would otherwise be a tedious manual task.

3. Choose Your Metrics Well

For data to be relevant and valuable, choose the metrics you want to be included in your report. The metrics you use depend on the purpose of the report and who you’re presenting it to. 

For example, if your report focuses your return on ad spend (ROAS), include metrics like cost-per-click, overall ad spend, and revenue generated by ads.

4. Choose the Right Visuals to Represent Your Data

Another essential step to creating impactful reports is to choose the right visuals to represent your data. To do this, navigate to the toolbar and click on “Insert.” Then, choose from the selection of visuals presented. Examples include:

  • bar chart
  • pie chart
  • tables
  • scorecards
  • scatter chart

The right visuals help ensure your report is more meaningful and engaging to you and your audience.

5. Edit Your Report

Once you have populated your report with relevant data and selected the right metrics and visuals, you can now start editing your report. 

A few elements to consider as you edit your report include:

  • Controls: These enable the viewer to dynamically interact with the report data.
  • Theme and Layout: You can customize your report’s style and color combinations by changing or customizing your theme. 
Ways for Marketers to Use Google Data Studio - Edit Your Report

Once everything looks perfect, it’s time to present or share your report. Simply click the “Share” button at the top right corner of the window to invite other users directly or via your favorite communication channel.

Google Data Studio Conclusion

With Google Data Studio, creating personalized reports doesn’t need to be a time-consuming chore. It can also help you create personalized marketing campaigns thanks to the rich data you’ll be able to analyze and interpret more efficiently.

With data being an integral part of building effective marketing strategies, you need a way to analyze it in a meaningful manner. Google Data Studio is here to help.

Have you ever used Google Data Studio for marketing purposes? 

Source: New feed 2

The Impact of Continuous Scrolling on SEO

The Impact of Continuous Scrolling on SEO

Google recently made a change to mobile search results. It’s called continuous scrolling, and while it’s a minor tweak to the SERPs, it might have an impact on your SEO.

Here’s everything you need to know about continuous scrolling.

What Is Continuous Scrolling?

You always hear marketers talking about the distinction between page one and page two in SEO.

However, if you’ve performed any mobile Google searches in the U.S. lately, you might have noticed the results keep going as you scroll.

That’s because rather than breaking the results down into pages, Google now shows four pages worth of results through continuous scrolling. This is currently limited to mobile searches in the U.S. but set to expand in 2022.

Plus, continuous scrolling isn’t limited to Google.

Traditionally, we’ve used pagination to break up information on the web. However, this requires people to keep clicking. Particularly on mobile, this isn’t ideal for user experience.

Some websites, apps, and, of course, Google are turning to continuous scrolling.

The big question is, what does this mean for your SEO?

Effects of Continuous Scrolling in Mobile Search on SEO, Impressions, and CTR

What does continuous scrolling mean for SERP performance? Will you get more or fewer impressions and clicks?

The answer is…it remains to be seen. Continuous scrolling will undoubtedly change how we interact with the SERPs. Still, without pagination, your actual location on the scroll—your search engine results position rather than page—-will matter more than ever.  

Here are five predictions you might see come true as a result of continuous scrolling.

Page One Click-Through Rate (CTR) Will Go Down

When page two results are more accessible, the CTR for page one results is likely to drop. Continuous scrolling has the feel of a newsfeed from social media, so people are more likely to explore their options. 

continuous scrolling on mobile search will make the ctr go down

The results at the top of the rankings are there for a reason: They’re generally the best pages to answer the search query. As consumers, we’ve all been socialized to accept this point, as evidenced by the top result getting 43.32 percent of the clicks

With time, people might get more accustomed to scrolling through the results, which will likely impact CTRs for page one results. However, it’s still not time to start celebrating if you’re stuck on page two.

There May Be More Impressions for Page Two Results

If you make it easier for people to access page two results, they will get more impressions. The difficulty is, you’re also training people to scroll through the results and explore their options further, so they won’t necessarily stop on page two.

Pages on page two of the results might get some more impressions. At present, 0.78 percent of searchers click on something from the second page. However, those page two results have to compete with page one more immediately.

More Rich Results

When you imagine a news feed on social media, you see lots of images and videos. Google’s equivalent is rich results that contain features like shopping, video, featured snippets, commonly asked questions, and much more. 

"Bugs Bunny" search on Google's continuous scrolling

The more users feel comfortable scrolling the SERPs, the easier it is for Google to include rich results. With static pages, it’s challenging to have too many rich elements because it would be overkill. With continuous scrolling, this becomes easier from a user experience standpoint.

More Zero-Click Searches

Zero-click searches have been increasing rapidly over the years. Nearly 65 percent of searches result in the user not clicking a link, which is likely to increase with continuous scrolling. 

There are many reasons people might not click on results, but perhaps the biggest one is they got all the information they need from rich results or meta descriptions

If continuous scrolling results in more rich features, it may well mean more zero-click searches.

Desktop Will Follow

One of the reasons continuous scrolling has been rolled out on mobile is because it fits better with the user experience. On desktop, it’s easy to click the “see more” button.

That doesn’t mean desktop is going to stay the same, though.

If Google sees promising results from continuous scrolling, like increased ad revenue and improved UX, it’s likely continuous scrolling will also roll out on desktop.

What Continuous Scrolling Means for Marketers

While it’s difficult to make any significant recommendations until we see how continuous scrolling plays out, there are some essential things you should be thinking about.

Keep a Closer Eye on Your Data

Data is important no matter what’s happening in the world of SEO.

While marketers often focus on the information we can glean from Google Analytics, such as visitors, bounce rates, and time on page, the information in Google Search Console (GSC) can be equally important.

For this particular update, all the information you need will be in GSC.

This is where you can see how your page ranks for a search term and the click-through rate it gets. If you start seeing significant fluctuations in your CTR on mobile, it could be partly due to continuous scrolling.

Don’t just watch this happen; brainstorm how to get your CTR back up and keep bringing those clicks to your site.

Optimize to Feature in Rich Results

One of the ways to optimize for continuous scrolling is to make sure you’re doing schema markup well. Schema is like a language that allows you to communicate with the search engines and tell them what pages are about and which bits are most important. 

By using Schema markup correctly, you’re more likely to perform well in featured snippets, local results, and commonly asked questions. 

Focus on Your Titles and Metas

The more competition there is for clicks, the more you’ve got to use the limited real estate you have to stand out. For standard results, this means optimizing your titles and meta descriptions

It’s easy to get drawn to the rich results, but people are still looking for the same thing they always have—quick access to information. The right title and meta description can assure people they’re going to get this.

You’ve got to grab people’s attention, match user intent, and give people confidence that you’re going to answer their questions.

Look Out for the Continuous Scrolling Trend

Continuous scrolling has been around for a long time, especially on social media. You tend to see it more often on apps because they’re specifically designed for mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become standard on websites. 

continuous scrolling on website

While continuous scrolling can offer a slightly improved UX (particularly on mobile), it comes with limitations. To get the maximum benefit, it has to be implemented exceptionally well, and even so, it doesn’t offer a big SEO boost. 

For now, continuous scrolling isn’t the norm on websites, but we can’t say this won’t change.

Frequently Asked Questions About Continuous Scrolling

Why should I care about continuous scrolling on search?

Continuous scrolling is going to affect a lot of searches. If you’re not ready for the changes, it could have a significant impact on your traffic.

Is there going to be continuous search scrolling on desktop?

For now, Google has only announced plans for continuous scrolling on mobile. However, this could change.

How are users affected by continuous scrolling on mobile search?

Continuous scrolling makes the results on pages two, three, and four more accessible.

When did Google roll out continuous scrolling on mobile search?

Google announced continuous scrolling for US mobile searches in October 2021.

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Continuous Scrolling on Mobile Search Conclusion

Continuous scrolling certainly doesn’t mean you need to rip up the SEO rulebook.

It’s a SERP change designed to improve user experience. With additional pages’ results being more accessible, it might mean a drop in CTR for the top results. However, those results may still stay on top if they provide the most credible and immediate information.

We’re also likely to see more rich results on mobile, which could result in increased zero-click searches.

To keep up with these changes, marketers have to ensure they’re focused on getting their schema markup right, and optimizing titles and meta descriptions. Of course, these are all important for SEO anyway. As long as you’re doing the basics well, you shouldn’t have a problem. 

How do you feel about continuous scrolling?

Source: New feed 2

Keyword Cannibalization: What It Is and How to Avoid It

Keyword Cannibalization: What It Is and How to Avoid It

Most digital marketing teams rely on keyword optimization to rank their content higher in search results. The idea is more keywords = better optimization. 

Because of this, it can be tempting to use the same keywords on multiple pages to increase your chances of ranking

However, this strategy can backfire if your posts compete for the same keyword.

Think about it: If you’re looking for “the best running shoes” and see two articles from the same company with these keywords in the title, you’ll be pretty confused about what to click on.

Not only is this confusing for readers, but it’s also bad for SEO.

Keep reading to learn what keyword cannibalism is, why it’s bad for SEO, how to find keyword cannibalization, and how to fix the issue.

What Is Keyword Cannibalization?

If multiple pages on your website are optimized for the same search query, you’re essentially competing with yourself—which can result in all pages rankly poorly. When this happens, we call it keyword cannibalization.

Never heard of it before? Here are some examples below.

What Are Examples of Keyword Cannibalization?

Say, I’m new to digital marketing and want to learn more about link building. So, I search “link building” on Google, and here are the results:

Examples of Keyword Cannibalization

At the top of the search results, I come across two posts from the same website, covering almost the same subject matter. Which one should I click?

And, I won’t say I’m perfect, either. Here’s an example from my blog

Keyword Cannibalization on neilpatel.com

My two posts compete for the same search query, “SEO writing” and creating a keyword cannibalization situation.

This confuses the readers and search engine algorithms, making it difficult for your content to rank and get the audience’s attention.

How Do I Find Cannibalized Keywords?

If you believe your website may have some keyword cannibalization, don’t worry. You can easily find and fix them by following a few simple steps.

Here are some techniques you can try to find keyword cannibalization.

Search Through Your Website

A straightforward way to search for keyword cannibalization is to look up search queries relevant to your industry.

For example, if you’re a company offering digital marketing services and frequently upload content on marketing and SEO topics, do a Google search with some of the keywords you use often. 

These could look like “SEO strategies” or “marketing tips for beginners.”

Such a search pulls up all web pages ranked for this query. Check to see if two or more of your posts are competing for a spot.

Google-specific Site Search

To make finding keyword cannibalization easier, type the name of your site before entering the search query. Here’s what it looks like in Google search engine:

keyword cannibalization on Google

Using External Tools

You can also use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest to simplify things and get comprehensive data for better keyword planning. This can help you find keyword cannibalization faster and reduce the time, money, and effort required to weed out competing pages from your site. 

Tips to Prevent Keyword Cannibalization

Finding and fixing keyword cannibalization is possible, but sometimes it’s better to prevent the issue than spend time and money fixing it.

How?

Here are some expert-recommended strategies to prevent keyword cannibalization and improve your digital marketing plan

1. Create a Targeted Keyword Strategy

If you’ve been working in digital marketing for a while, you know keyword strategy matters.

The good news? One of the best ways to prevent keyword cannibalization is to hone your targeted keyword strategy, so there’s no competition and problematic overlap.

In a nutshell, this means optimizing different pages to target different keywords and search queries.

So instead of having five pages competing for the search query “SEO tips,” you can optimize each page for a similar but separate query like “digital marketing strategy,” “marketing techniques,” “SEO for beginners,” and so on.

This way, you can stay on topic while offering different content for various search queries relevant to your industry.

Here are some free and paid tools you can use for keyword research and planning:

2. Track Keyword Rankings and Performance

Having a keyword strategy isn’t enough. Once you have identified the keywords you want to work with, you also need to track their performance over time

Consistently tracking keyword analytics will help you understand which keywords are ranking, which ones have too much competition, which may be caught up in cannibalization, and which ones need a boost.

You can track keyword rankings, performance, and other analytics directly through your website analytics tool, or you can use external tools like Google Analytics, Ubersuggest, SErush, Ahrefs, Moz, SEO monitor, and others.

Keep track of this data and use it to tweak your keyword strategy to avoid keyword cannibalism or fix it when it happens (more on that below).

3. Focus on Topics First, Keywords Come Second

Sometimes keyword cannibalization happens because marketing teams become more focused on optimizing keywords than creating content around relevant topics.

If you’re running behind keywords, there’s a chance you’ll neglect the topics and content quality, which will eventually slow your progress towards meeting your marketing goals.

So instead of pouring all your resources into keyword research, make it a part of your marketing strategy to focus on topics as well.

Find what topics your audience is interested in and direct your resources toward serving those interests. Let the keywords come second.

This will help increase audience loyalty, pull in new readers and establish brand authority in the industry.

How do you find what topics your readers are interested in?

Here are some ways to find what your audience wants:

You can also use tools like Quora, Google’s “people also ask” feature, and Reddit to find what people in your target demographic are talking about and what their pain points are.

When you start incorporating these ideas, the quality of your content will likely improve, and your organic reach will increase without relying strictly on keywords. 

4. Do Regular Content Audits

Okay, so you’ve outlined a solid keyword strategy, set up tools to track performance and put more effort into audience interest topics. Now what? 

Now you need to perform regular content audits to see if what you’re publishing is still in line with your readers’ interests and marketing goals.

Your content audits should ask the following:

  • Are your topics still relevant?
  • Is the information you’re posting outdated?
  • Are the statistics correct?
  • Are you prioritizing the right keywords?
  • Which topics and keywords best meet your marketing goals?

5. Create Comprehensive Pages

Some topics can seem too complex to cover in a single blog post, so content teams decide to break it down into several sub-posts.

For instance, “how to make money blogging” is a complex topic, so you often find multiple posts addressing different parts of the subject.

A quick Google search with the query “how to make money blogging” immediately pulls up three different results. One talks about blogging for beginners, the second talks about monetizing your blog in 2021, and the third addresses the time concerns of monetizing a blog.

Keyword cannibalization "Best way to make money blogging" on Google search

Now, imagine if these were all from your site rather than three separate sites.

As most of these are addressing overlapping concepts, it creates a lot of unnecessary competition. In addition, since most rank for a similar search query, it creates keyword cannibalization.

You can avoid this by creating one single comprehensive page addressing all the relevant subtopics instead of posting a separate blog post for every question the audience could potentially have.

This is better for SEO as it lets you target long-tail keywords, add relevant headers, include multiple search queries on a single page, and avoid competition with yourself.

This could make for a very long blog post, so consider a clickable table of contents so people can easily find the sections they need.

How to Fix Keyword Cannibalization

There are various ways to fix keyword cannibalization. Follow the steps below to find which strategy works best for you.

  1. Change Content Optimization

    If multiple pages are ranking for the same keyword and search query, change the optimization settings. This could mean reducing the keywords, changing the keywords, or restructuring the content.

  2. Consider Deleting Some Posts

    Sometimes merely re-optimizing posts may not be enough to fix keyword cannibalization. In this case, consider deleting some of the overlapping content. 
    Note: Don’t do this if both posts generate decent organic traffic and bring in business leads.

  3. Merge Content

    If two or more posts of yours are ranking for the same keyword but you don’t want to delete them, consider merging them.
    Going with our previous example, this could mean clubbing the “blogging for beginners” and “how long it takes to monetize a blog” posts together to form a single comprehensive guide for monetizing a blog aimed at new writers.

Keyword Cannibalization Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about keyword cannibalization:

Why is keyword cannibalization bad?

Keyword cannibalization is bad for SEO as it forces two or more of your pages to compete with each other for a higher rank. It can reduce the ranking of both pages, eventually wasting your marketing efforts and resources. 

How can I target longtail keywords without cannibalizing keywords?

You can target longtail keywords without cannibalizing keywords by using separate longtail keywords to optimize each post rather than creating multiple content pieces ranking for the same search query.

You can also consider creating one comprehensive guide to act as a landing page instead of many small subtopic pages that compete with each other.

What's the difference between keyword stuffing and keyword cannibalization?

The first step to avoiding keyword cannibalization is to see where it happens. Then, decide what your personal best path is. For example, we recommend creating one comprehensive post rather than publishing multiple posts competing for the same search query. Another option is to work with separate keywords for different posts. 

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Keyword Cannibalization Conclusion

A few years ago, people believed keyword stuffing and using the same keyword for multiple pages would help rank their content higher. However, this is no longer true

Now, ranking multiple pages for the same keywords and search queries forces you to compete with yourself and drive down your success.

Instead, it’s much better to focus on targeted keywords for specific posts, prioritize topics over keyword stuffing, and create comprehensive landing pages in place of mini blog posts. 

This can potentially help increase your rank on the search engine results page and eventually help increase your organic reach.

Even if you’ve already experienced keyword cannibalizing, fixing it is relatively easy. Rework your optimization options, delete posts that increase competition but aren’t helping you meet your marketing goals, and focus on merging competing content whenever possible.

Which keyword cannibalization management strategy will you try today?

Source: New feed 2

Best Merchant Services

Stax by Fattmerchant splash page for Best Merchant Services

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Merchant services exist to help businesses process credit card payments. You might know them by the name “credit card processors.” 

Regardless of what you call them, it’s important to choose the right merchant service for your specific business if you want to take payments from customers.

I’ve reviewed the top six merchant services available today. These are all proven, popular products with reasonable fees.

They all do things a little differently, however, and serve particular types of businesses better than others.

Keep reading to find the one that’s going to fit with your situation. I’ll take an in-depth look at each of the six best merchant services, and conclude by walking you through the major criteria you need to consider as you evaluate your options.

#1. Stax by Fattmerchant Review — The Best for Accepting Any Type of Payment

Stax by Fattmerchant splash page for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • Allows you to accept any type of payment, including ACH
  • No markup on direct-cost interchange
  • Deep analytics and reporting

Cons:

  • Invoicing features only on higher plans
  • No transparency in pricing for large business package

Stax by Fattmerchant offers a versatile solution with individual packages for SMBs and businesses processing over $5 million annually.

On either track, you can accept any form of payment your customers and clients prefer. In-person, mobile, ecommerce, and ACH payments are all easily handled by Stax on every pricing plan.

And their packages remove any markup on interchange, so you’re not getting gouged there by unforeseen processing fees.

Small businesses can opt for one of three plans. The Growth plan comes with all the payment processing capability, some reporting dashboards and analytics, and a free terminal or mobile reader for in-person payments.

Stax pricing page for Best Merchant Services

As you scale up in plans, you unlock really useful features. The mid-tier Pro plan includes the ability to send custom invoices (and include a payment link when you send it), payment information storing, enhanced analytics, and the ability to use the Stax API to customize your ecommerce experience.

The Ultimate plan boosts your reporting, insights, and client management. Get deeper analytics, more capability to handle recurring or scheduled payments, and more. Plus, you’ll get a Stax rep dedicated to your account for any assistance you’ll need.

Businesses that process over $5 million annually get their own bespoke plan. That custom-priced offering soups up all the tools and features that small and midsized businesses get from Stax and adds more integrative capability.

So, no matter your entity size or how many payments you process, Stax delivers a robust solution that can offer you much more than payment processing flexibility. Plus, with its scaling packages and dedicated track for large business, you can grow without outgrowing your merchant services provider.

Get started with Stax by Fattmerchant and request your quote today.

#2. Square Review — The Best for Transparent Pricing/Fees

Square splash page for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • No monthly fee
  • Transparent processing
  • Free card reader
  • Great added features

Cons:

  • No ACH payment processing
  • Higher fees than desired

Square is popular for its credit card processing and POS systems, but it offers much more. It hosts features such as the “Card on File” feature, allowing users to store customer card information that works great for repeat customers trying to accumulate loyalty points and rewards of that nature. 

The processor also doesn’t have a monthly fee, and while Square’s features might not be as advanced as some of the other payment processors we’re talking about, for a POS without a monthly fee, you can’t beat the value. 

You can accept payments online and in-person, though the transaction costs vary. For in-person sales, expect to pay 2.6% and $0.10 per transaction. For online transactions, it’ll cost you 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction. There are other instances, such as:

  • Virtual terminal transactions
  • Card-on-file transactions
  • And card-not-present transactions

These will cost 3.5% and $0.15 per transaction. 

If you have thousands of transactions every month, you can definitely find something cheaper than square.

But for a small business, the lack of monthly fees and price transparency makes it easier to budget than some of the other merchant services. Learn more.

#3. Payment Depot Review — The Best for Established Businesses

Payment Depot cost comparison chart for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • No contract processing
  • Competitive rates
  • Easy to integrate online

Cons:

  • Best for high-volume business
  • Application process

Payment Depot uses a membership pricing model, which can save established businesses a lot of money.

New businesses that aren’t doing so much volume won’t see the benefit (and may actually wind up with higher charges than they would with other services), but if you are already handling a lot of transactions, Payment Depot can be a good choice.

Unlike other companies, the processing fees with Payment Depot’s membership pricing remain consistent and predictable no matter how much business you do.

Because Payment Depot isn’t of passing off credit card fees to the customer at an increased markup, you can wind up saving a ton of money. The more transactions you process, the more you save with the membership pricing.

Payment Depot accepts all major cards and contactless Apple Pay and Google Pay as well. You get next-day funding and integration with top POS systems as well as ecommerce platforms such as: 

  • Shopify
  • Revel
  • QuickBooks
  • PrestaShop
  • BigComemrce
  • WooCommerce

I don’t think this is one of the best merchant services for small businesses because of how they structure their pricing. The transaction fees go down as you pay a higher monthly fee, and they seemingly force you to increase your plan because of strict processing limits. 

Here’s a breakdown of their pricing: 

Basic Plan

  • Fee: $49
  • Transaction Fee: $0.15
  • Monthly Limit: $25,000

Popular Plan

  • Fee: $79
  • Transaction Fee: $0.10
  • Monthly Limit: $75,000

Premier

  • Fee: $99
  • Transaction Fee: $0.07
  • Monthly Limit: $150,000

Unlimited

  • Fee: $199
  • Transaction Fee: $0.05
  • Monthly Limit: Unlimited 

So, as you can see – if you’re doing high volume, it would make the most sense to upgrade to the most expensive plan for the lowest transaction fees. 

#4. Helcim Review — The Best for Small Business 

Helcim splash page for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • Limited fees
  • Fees based on volume
  • Free online store software

Cons:

  • Limited integrations
  • $199 for the card reader

If you’re a small business owner, Helcim might appeal to you. With this service, you’re able to process credit and debit cards online and in person. You can also do some of the following: Set up recurring payments and send invoices.

With a Helcim card reader, you can accept all major cards, including Amex plus Google Pay, Apple Pay, and JCB. 

Helcim does not have any contracts or cancellation fees, and they charge $0 in monthly fees. 

Overall, Helcim is affordable but much more for in-person payments than they are online. Here’s a quick breakdown of their pricing structure, which is based on how much business you do each month: 

Monthly Volume: $0 – $25,000

  • In-Person: 0.3% + 8 cents (+ interchange)
  • Online: 0.5% + 25 cents (+ interchange)

Monthly Volume: $25,001 – $50,000

  • In-Person: 0.25% + 7 cents (+ interchange)
  • Online: 0.45% + 20 cents (+ interchange)

Monthly Volume: $50,001 – $100,000

  • In-Person: 0.2% + 7 cents (+ interchange)
  • Online: 0.4% + 20 cents (+ interchange)

Monthly Volume: $100,001 – $250,000

  • In-Person: 0.18% + 6 cents (+ interchange)
  • Online: 0.35% + 15 cents (+ interchange) 

Helcim offers nice features for those of you looking to integrate this payment gateway into your online store. You can add a checkout to your site for invoicing and customer registration while also accepting recurring subscriptions. 

#5. Flagship Merchant Services Review — The Best for Great Customer Service

Flagship Merchant Services splash page for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • Dedicated account manager
  • Free account setup
  • Free card terminal (with fees)

Cons:

  • Confusing ownership
  • Little information regarding price

Flagship Merchant Services cut the tape in 2001 and was acquired by iPayment in 2012. Now, they primarily resell iPayment, so keep that in mind. 

This company was one of the first to offer free account setup without any application or fees and real month-to-month contracts. They operate tens of thousands of merchants, and they have a strong reputation. 

Since they’re not a direct processor, most of their merchant accounts are set up through iPayment. iPayment uses First Data as their processor, and it can get confusing trying to figure out who is processing what through what service.

For retailers, Flagship does offer a free credit card terminal, but you’re responsible for paying account fees and insurance on that terminal to keep it up and running. 

For ecommerce, they offer either Authorize.net for processing and integration of an online cart onto your site. 

One thing that was a little frustrating about Flagship is trying to find information on their rates. If you go to their website, you’ll see that you need to fill out a form to get any info about what they charge. 

I’d like to see more transparency, but you may end up with a more catered package deal with this strategy. 

My favorite feature is that you get a single line of contact with the company when you purchase a gateway; they act as account managers. If you ever have a problem, you contact that specific person, and this isn’t a feature I’ve ever seen with any other merchant service.

#6. Stripe Review — The Best for Online Payment Processing 

Stripe splash page for Best Merchant Services

Pros:

  • Extremely customizable
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Great solution for online businesses

Cons:

  • Complicated setup
  • May require developers

If your business runs entirely online, Stripe is your best choice. It’s made specifically for ecommerce and internet business, and tons of startups and Fortune 500 companies trust Stripe.

The company offers sophisticated software and APIs that allow online store owners to customize their checkout experience. You can use the pre-built integrations to connect a Stripe checkout right away and then customize it as you go along. 

That’s one of the main reasons why I love Stripe; it’s a payment processor that grows with you and allows you to change it as your business needs change. 

With all of these features and moving parts comes complications. It’s not the easiest to set up, and if you plan on utilizing the many benefits of Stripe, you’ll likely need a developer to handle it for you. 

Stripe offers a “pay as you go” strategy–there’s no monthly fee and transaction fees are transparent across the board. 

  • Online: 2.9% and $0.30
  • In-Person: 2.7% and $0.05
  • International: Add 1% per transaction
  • ACH Direct: 0.8% maxed at $5.00 per transaction
  • ACH Credit: $1.00 per transaction

You can use all major credit and debit cards plus ACH, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and much more. Expect to wait two business days for deposits or pay a one percent fee to get instant deposits. 

Stripe integrates with WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, 3DCart, Zoho, Big Cartel, and more.

How to Choose The Best Merchant Services For You 

Before we get into the reviews, let’s talk about how to determine what makes a good merchant service.

I’ve broken this down into three major areas:

  1. Processing rates/monthly fees
  2. Services
  3. Type of merchant services account

Let’s go through each of these criteria, one by one.

Processing Rates/Monthly Fees

It’s all about the money, and credit card processing is not as simple as you think. You have to weigh the pros and cons with each service; otherwise, you can end up paying way more than you planned. 

We need to look at the processing rates first. With every merchant service, you pay a small fee each time a transaction is processed. It’s usually between 1 to 3%.

You’ll also pay monthly fees, which vary depending on the service you choose.

To get a lower processing rate, you usually have to pay a higher monthly fee.

So, if you’re processing a ton of payments, a merchant service with a high monthly fee and low processing rates can be a good option.

On the other side, if you’re not processing a lot of payments, having higher process rates won’t hurt you as much as a high monthly fee would. 

There are also the rates that different credit cards like Visa and Mastercard charge. Merchant services like Toast let you choose between flat-rate and interchange processing rates.

With flat-rate, you pay a fixed amount for processing each month. With interchange, you pay whatever Visa or Mastercard charges plus a small fee to Toast.

Flat-rate processing is a predictable solution that works well for businesses that want to avoid big changes in their rates. That said, interchange pricing is generally more affordable. 

Services 

You want to look at what the payment processor offers in addition to credit card processing. Do they offer free POS systems, hardware, mobile payments, integrations, etc?

Some merchant services even offer consulting, customer loyalty features, and invoicing tools. 

Sometimes the “extra benefits” you get from a merchant service provider can outweigh some of the negatives. 

The Type of Merchant Service Account 

There are two primary types of accounts, one is an aggregator (or middleman), and one is an ISO (or independent sales organization). Let’s compare the two and see why it’s important to understand the difference.

Aggregators 

These are middlemen working in between the business and the bank, offering an easy payment processing solution for businesses. Square is an example of this, and while they make it easier, they usually have higher fees and transaction costs. 

ISOs 

Payment Depot is an example of an ISO, and while they usually have a more strict acceptance policy, they offer lower rates and user-friendly software compared to a direct processor. 

Integration

How well will your current systems integrate with your new merchant service?

Whether your are selling online or in person, the product you choose should complement your current process or even enhance it.

Stripe offers a wide range of integrations for popular ecommerce platforms, which makes it a great choice for online stores. It also integrates with the best email autoresponders like MailChimp and GetResponse.

If you are already using these tools, Stripe integrations will make it easier to get set up and stay organized.

You shouldn’t have to redesign your daily workflow to accommodate a new merchant service, so find one that has the integrations to plug right into your business.

Summary

By this point, you should know which of these merchant services is right for you. They all have their pros and cons, and you should choose according to the type of business you own.

Let’s take a quick look back at my top picks:

  1. Stax by Fattmerchant — Best for taking any type of payment
  2. Square — Best for transparent pricing/fees
  3. Payment Depot — Best for established businesses
  4. Helcim — Best for small business
  5. Flagship Merchant ServicesBest for great customer service
  6. Stripe — Best for online payment processing

My favorite option for any case is Stax. That platform can handle anything, whether you’re large or small.

If your business is already doing a lot of volume, I recommend exploring Payment Depot.

Square is an overall solid solution for all businesses, but the transaction fees are a bit high, and scalability is lacking. 

I’m also a big fan of Helcim because they allow you to grow with your processor by increasing the monthly payment as your volume needs increase. 

Regardless of which choice you make, keep the important factors in mind and choose carefully, so you don’t regret your decision down the road. 

Source: New feed 2

How to Get Your E-Commerce Website to Rank in the SERPs

How to Get Your E-Commerce Website to Rank in the SERPs

It’s probably fair to say that all e-commerce website owners want the same thing: higher visibility on search engines and more sales.

After all, heightened visibility means getting seen on search engine results pages, or SERPs. You’re likely familiar with these as you see them on Google in the form of ads, featured snippets, and video links. You see them on other search engines too.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to get your e-commerce website to rank higher.

The following article details proven methods to optimize your website and get more online attention.

Why Does Ranking in the SERPs Matter for E-Commerce Businesses?

Ranking in the SERPs matters for e-commerce businesses because it brings organic traffic to their website. These organic visitors are more likely to convert into customers and potential leads.

Further, the more organic inbound leads you’re attracting, the less you spend on advertising, and if you claim the top spot, you’re going to gain even more traffic. Backlinks increase considerably, too, giving you additional credibility in Google’s eyes.

E-commerce website - backlinks stats

You also want to rank higher than competitors as it makes it more likely shoppers will find your e-commerce website and buy from your store.

Even with the challenges facing e-commerce like limited or duplicate content, high competition, and common SEO errors, there’s plenty of ways to get noticed by the search engines.

Your site might not be at the top of the SERPs right now, and you may not even be on the front page. 

That doesn’t matter because SERPs aren’t static: They’re dynamic, and you can take action to give them a boost. 

Let’s explore how.

8 Ways to Get Your E-Commerce Website to Rank in the SERPs 

Although it might take time and effort, getting your e-commerce website ranking in the SERPs isn’t too tricky.

1. Optimize Your Product Pages

Your core product page is the landing page for any potential customer. Some of the most critical factors for designing an effective product page are:

  • creating a visually appealing yet clear presentation of your product features and benefits
  • ensuring your target audience can quickly find the information they need to decide on your products
  • having a clear call to action (CTA)
  • including reviews and testimonials
  • optimizing meta titles and descriptions
  • including long-tail keywords
  • using psychology and color psychology

Then there’s your overall design.

The product page’s layout plays a crucial role in influencing how customers perceive it, so make sure the site is easy to navigate. You should also use white space so customers don’t feel overwhelmed with information.

2. Modify Your Site’s Hierarchy

Hierarchy means your e-commerce website’s structure. 

You need to get this part right because the way you organize content makes or breaks your conversion rates as your hierarchy defines how easy it is for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

There’s another reason to get your site’s hierarchy sorted, though.

Getting your structure organized means ease of use for customers, and that’s something Google considers for your site’s ranking.

Now you know why it’s vital, here are some tips for better site structure

  • Take time to plan the structure.
  • Add product tags and scatter breadcrumbs.
  • Keep content evergreen.
  • Review permalinks
  • Incorporate an inward linking structure.
  • Ensure you organize all subcategories.

Finally, divide your site into distinct categories.

Below is an image of what the ideal structure for an e-commerce website might look like:

Ways to Get Your E-Commerce Website to Rank in the SERPs  - Modify Your Sites Hierarchy

3. Focus on the Right Keywords

You all know the importance of keywords. You also understand long-tail keywords are vital, but are you focusing on the right ones?

You’re looking for keywords:

  • with a good number of monthly searches
  • that are profitable
  • with have low competition

Fortunately, there’s plenty of free and paid tools to identify these. Try:

  • Ubersuggest
  • Google’s search engine
  • The “People also ask” feature on Google
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz
  • WordStream
  • SEMush

4. Reduce Site Loading Time

There is no getting away from it. The longer a user has to wait for a site to load, the more likely they are to click away. 

Loading times can also have a significant impact on your bottom line. Research shows every millisecond counts, especially with an e-commerce website.

However, that’s not all. 

Slow loading times can impact conversion and bounce rates and result in a poor user experience. How quickly your e-commerce website loads is also a ranking factor for Google. 

You can test out your site’s loading time for yourself. Many tools are available for speed testing, like Google’s Page Speed Insights

Then, if you find your site is slower than average, consider taking the following steps to accelerate speed.

  • Use fewer images per page (reduce the number of thumbnail images).
  • Optimize your photos with compression tools like Photoshop, or use free tools like PhotoPea.
  • Create a site map.
  • Establish an effective navigation system.
  • Consider changing your web host.
  • Optimize video content and reduce the size.
  • Avoid unneeded tools, like excessive plug-ins or redirects.
  • Limit coding or compress it. Here’s a tool to minify several coding types.

If your website loads on desktops within 2.3 seconds, you’re in the top ten percent. For mobile, 1-2 seconds is ideal. 

5. Increase Your Incoming Links

Inbound links are a vital component of SEO and can increase your website’s ranking on search engines.

Every e-commerce site needs incoming links to rank well. While it’s challenging to get organic links these days, there are several ways to get them, like:

  • Social media: Create engaging social media posts that link back to your website and ask followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to do the same. 
  • Use Quora: Adding content on Quora within your niche is an effective way of increasing links to your site.
  • Create internal links: Backlinking is a simple strategy. Implement it by including individual product links or linking to other pages on your site like the contact page, shipping information, and returns policy, etc.
  • Get repeat buyers to promote: Ask returning customers to share photos of their purchases or product reviews with their friends or encourage user-generated content.
  • Join online communities: Sign up to forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and any industry-related communities.
  • Write guest posts for your niche: Businesses and publications are always looking for content for their sites. Search for guest posts + your niche to uncover ample opportunities.
  • Create FAQ pages: Use your FAQ page to answer the most common questions your prospects have and redirect back to other related content.
  • Issue press releases: Is something newsworthy happening? Then write a press release and publish it for free online to build backlinks fast. 

6. Research Your Competitors

Researching your competitors is one of the best ways to understand what is likely to work for your business.

How do your competitors optimize their e-commerce websites? More importantly, how do you find the keywords they’re using?

It’s simple: Use one of the many competitor analysis tools

These can enable you to uncover all sorts of information, like:

  • backlinking opportunities
  • gaps in the market 
  • keywords
  • differentiation points.

While we’re still on competitive analysis, don’t forget to check Google. You should see the keywords in the SERPs snippets.

7. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing measures the conversion rates for different variations of a landing page to identify which variations perform better. There are three different types of A/B testing that you can use:

  1. Split testing: The most common type, where you randomly show half your users the original version and the other half see the variation.
  2. Multivariate testing: With this method, you test multiple versions at once instead of just one at a time.
  3. Clickthrough rate testing: This is where you change only the design or copy on your website without changing how it works. 

Common areas of your e-commerce to test are:

  • product descriptions/pages
  • headlines
  • CTA placement/color
  • headlines
  • font
  • free shipping/special offers
  • overall color scheme

The best approach is to A/B test over time to see what works. Experts recommend 7 to 14 days at a minimum. However, you may want to test findings for a month to get a clearer picture.

8. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile device use is far more than a passing trend. 

According to Statista, half of internet traffic now comes from mobile, and stats show an upward surge in mobile use in recent years.

Ways to Get Your E-Commerce Website to Rank in the SERPs  - Optimize for Mobile

It’s without a doubt. For better visibility in the rankings, you must cater to mobile users.

Google implements mobile-first indexing, meaning it “predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.”

In other words, a mobile-optimized website is essential for enhancing your SERPs and product sales.

It’s about customer experience too. A responsive design ensures the layout of your website adjusts to fit different screen sizes like tablets, smartphones, etc. 

To make your e-commerce website mobile responsive:

  • Keep your text size readable at all times.
  • Change the background color of the webpage to black or white.
  • Add high-contrast colors to help readability on mobile devices, like black and white.
  • Test your website on a variety of different browsers and devices.
  • Provide a mobile-friendly checkout process.
  • Use smartphone-specific features such as QR codes and barcodes.
  • Optimize your site’s URLs for search engines and smartphone users.
  • Compress images to reduce loading time on low bandwidth connections.
  • Include local content in your mobile strategy. Promote any special discounts or promotions that might be happening on the site.

Frequently Asked Questions About E-Commerce Websites

How can I improve the SERP ranking for my e-commerce site?

Make navigation easy. Don’t have too many links on a single page and place them in a logical order. Next, ensure your website loads quickly, and each page contains only the necessary content. Fast loading times help with both SEO and conversions. Lastly, seek links from reputable sites with high authority.

How can I do SEO for an e-commerce website?

SEO for an e-commerce website means optimizing your website in core areas, for example, creating appropriate metadata and selecting the right keywords. Next, review the products pages on your e-commerce website. Could you use fresh content with unique product descriptions? Or small images and videos?

Also, update the home page and include a clear CTA button for any featured products. Finally, update your blog to generate organic traffic and lead interested buyers to product pages.

What are the top 3 SEO strategies for e-commerce sites?

The top 3 SEO strategies for an e-commerce website are:

  1. Keyword research analysis: Do this to identify the top keywords relevant to your products or services. You can use tools like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, or Moz.
  2. On-page SEO: Ensure you build your site with a focus on sales by keeping the content relevant to what customers are looking for and optimizing for conversion.
  3. Off-page SEO: Create an engaging user experience on social media by providing high-quality, shareworthy content that points back to your site.

How do I increase organic traffic on my e-commerce website?

  • Hone your descriptions: Use search intent and understand what customers are looking for.   
  • Optimize your website content: You can do this by using keyword research tools to find the search terms your prospects use. 
  • Optimize your website design: Visitors should discover your website through images, headlines, titles, descriptions, etc. 

You can also increase organic traffic by using social media to amplify your content and expand your reach. 

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  2. On-page SEO: Ensure you build your site with a focus on sales by keeping the content relevant to what customers are looking for and optimizing for conversion.
  3. Off-page SEO: Create an engaging user experience on social media by providing high-quality, shareworthy content that points back to your site.


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  • Optimize your website design: Visitors should discover your website through images, headlines, titles, descriptions, etc. 

You can also increase organic traffic by using social media to amplify your content and expand your reach. 


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Conclusion of E-Commerce Website Guide

Understanding how to rank in the SERPs is key for any e-commerce website. If your site doesn’t show up in the SERPs, you won’t reach your audience.

There are several stages to enhance your e-commerce website. The first step is to optimize your website for search engines through keyword research, on-page optimization, and backlink building.

It’s also imperative to focus on site hierarchy, page loading times, and mobile optimization.

Are you an e-commerce website owner? Which tactics do you use to increase SERPs?

Source: New feed 2