Friday, 29 January 2016

Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week: Facebook super-takes over the whole digital world, Instagram gets crazy-prolific with its ads and we reveal the internet’s most used phrase. Shockingly it’s not adding “crazy” or “super” to the beginning of verbs and adjectives.

Facebook reveals Q4 and and full year 2015 results

Facebook basically crushed it in 2015. Facebook native videos are beginning to rival YouTube, with 8 million videos being watched each day. Facebook ended the year with 50 million small business pages (5 million of which were created in Q4) in its network and it’s daily active users topped 1.04 billion.

Here are the highlights:

  • Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 80% of advertising revenue for Q4 2015, up from 69% of advertising revenue in Q4 2014.
  • Revenue for the full year 2015 was $17.93 billion, an increase of 44% year-over-year.
  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 1.04 billion on average for December 2015, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • Mobile DAUs were 934 million on average for December 2015, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.59 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 1.44 billion as of December 31, 2015, an increase of 21% year-over-year.

Gmail’s Inbox now has improved search results

Google’s email app Inbox can now serve faster results from emails buried deep in your conversations. For example, when you’re searching for a frequent flyer number or shipping status, Inbox will show it at the top of search results so you don’t have to dig through individual emails to find it.

*drum roll* Introducing our first ever in-article gif…

gmail inbox

Underneath these quick answers you’ll now see a ‘top results’ section that orders emails by relevance, then below you’ll find all the email results, ordered by date.

Although Google is confident enough to suggest “you won’t have to look there often.” A bold statement.

Instagram increases the number of ads it shows

Brand Networks has revealed the reason why you’re seeing more ads in your Instagram feed than ever before. It’s because there’s more of them. Yep.

Brand Network saw 50 million ad impressions on Instagram in August, which then doubled 100 million ad impressions September, and then grew to a massive 670 million ad impressions in December.


Increasing demand caused a surge in pricing for the Instagram’s Ads API Partner Program. Video advertising is also rising to prominence quickly. According to Brand Networks, “Over the past six months, we’ve learned that users are willing to increase their time spent interacting with a brand when shown a short video clip.”

“Thank you” is the most popular phrase used online in the UK

New research from Feefo highlights that Britiah people are so terribly, terribly polite.

In the UK, 87% of people reviewing online are twice as likely to give praise than when face-to-face and “thank you” is the most popular phrase used online even when complaining, by 58% of us (oh no! I gave away my nationality!)

Feefo also revealed the UK’s biggest gripes when it comes to complaining about damaged goods:

A damaged order (74%)
An incorrect product delivery (68%)
Cold food in a restaurant (66%)
No arrival of delivery (61%)
Rude service from staff (59%)

Facebook introduces new Audience Optimization Targeting

As Contentive’s Head of Search and axe-wielding god of heavy metal Matt Owen wrote here on SEW earlier in the week, “Over the past few years, declining organic reach has become a major issue for publishers using Facebook, [but] it’s good to see the platform launching tools that are specifically designed to combat this.”

Check out Matt’s detailed guide how to use it by clicking on the link above.

The article Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week was first seen from

10 reasons why you should definitely come to Connect

Please excuse the rather self-serving article, but we are running a new search event called Connect on 4th & 5th February that we’re very proud of and we think you should come.

We’re aware that you have a choice of many different digital marketing events throughout the year, and you may be wondering what makes ours so special… well. I’ll tell you…

1) It’s in Miami. Look at at Miami, doesn’t it look nice. And it’s almost definitely much warmer than where you are right now…

Courtesy of @iamNigelMorrisImage courtesy of iamNigelMorris

2) More specifically, Connect is taking place at the Ritz-Carlton. Look at the Ritz-Carlton, doesn’t it look nice? And it’s almost definitely much swankier than where you are right now…

ritz carlton

3) Our focus this year is all about putting the user first. Arguably the most important thing you need to be doing as a marketer in 2016. Connect’s two-track educational agenda has been designed to lead the discussion in the very latest technology, strategy and thinking across paid & organic search, in order to acquire and delight customers.

4) There’ll be 500+ of your peers attending. Everyone from SEO specialists, digital marketers, webmasters, developers, business leaders and industry professionals, all of whom you can network with until you’re told to leave the building because the Ritz-Carlton carpets can’t withstand another spilled Pina Colada.

5) It’s difficult to know where to begin with our excellent line-up of speakers. It’s a who’s who of industry leaders and innovators, from brands as diverse as LEGO, Macy’s, MTV, Office Depot, OpenTable and Forrester.

Speakers Connect by Search Engine Watch

Speakers at connect sew

6) I was going to then name all 40+ speakers and call them reasons 8 – 48 but that would be cheating, and you should expect better from us than that.

7) The first ‘must see’ on your speaker list is Avinash Kaushik, Author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google.

avinash kaushik

Avinash will be presenting his highly acclaimed See, Think, Do, Care: Driving Innovation from Customer Intent framework during his keynote session on day two, Avinash will be looking beyond search to analyze how ‘Content + Marketing + Measurement’ can transform your campaigns.

8) It’s SEW’s 20th birthday! You should come help us celebrate. We promise not to get all maudlin like we did at our last birthday party.

9) Among many other networking opportunities, we’re most excited about our Thursday night beach party sponsored by Bing. This will take place on the Ocean Front Lawn and through a private entrance to the beach from 6pm – 8pm. Bring as many inflatables as you managed to fit in your travel bag.

Networking Events Connect

10) I’ll be there (yeah, whoop right?) I’ll be giving the introductory remarks and general house-keeping. In fact I could probably save us all some time and cover a few things here… “Hi, welcome to Connect, the fire-exits are towards the back of the room, use the hashtag #connectsew, please don’t forget to top-up your suncream, hecklers will be ejected, thanks for coming!” Nailed it.

Convinced? Great! You can register here.

The article 10 reasons why you should definitely come to Connect was first seen from

Thursday, 28 January 2016

18 expert quotes from ClickZ’s Digital Trends 2016 Report

Our sister site ClickZ has launched its first Intelligence report of 2016 and it’s a firecracker.

The Digital Trends 2016 report is a comprehensive guide to all the digital-related trends you need to know about in 2016.

Sure every digitally-focused publisher has its own trends report, but what makes ours stand out from the rest is the sheer weight of expert opinion throughout its 46 pages, with more than 40 specialist contributors giving their insight on the most pressing topics, including: ecommerce, content marketing, customer experience and, of course, search.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s completely free! You just need to fill in a quick registration form.

To whet your appetite further, I’ve compiled a few of the reports most insightful quotes covering all of the topics…


Paul Rouke, Founder and Director of Optimisation, PRWD:

“Data scientist will become one of the hottest and in-demand roles – although the vast majority of people relabelling themselves as one will be years away from having the experience and knowledge to warrant such a title.”

Jonathan Beeston, Managing Director, Croud UK:

“It could be a transformative year for brand advertising as YouTube and Facebook go up a gear with video. If Snapchat can find the right model, it could be explosive.”

Content Marketing

Andy Betts, chief marketer and consultant:

“Producing content for content’s sake is a 2015 tactic that will become more redundant in 2016. Last year’s comfort metrics, such as shares and likes, will be re- placed in 2016 with more meaningful measures such as engagement, reach and audience.”

Kevin Lee, Executive Chariman, Didit:

“The rise of ad blockers combined with the ‘banner blindness’ caused by 20 years of mind-numbingly off-target banners are forcing a doubling down on true native advertising.”

clickz content marketing on mobile

Customer Experience

Helen Colclough, Ecommerce Development Manager, River Island:

“It doesn’t have to be an ‘either/or’ situation. The mobile website has its purpose, but apps can help retailers to provide a great experience for the most engaged customers.”

Paul Rouke, Founder and Director of Optimisation, PRWD:

“[A key trend will be] the slow, quite painful move of brands starting to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to truly understanding their visitors and customers, and harnessing these in- sights to improve their customer experience through data-driven optimisation.”

Data and Analytics

Andrew Hood, Managing Director, Lynchpin:

“People will become increasingly philosophical about ‘big data’ as technologies mature, the hype starts to subside, and it becomes more a case of ‘cheaper and faster data’. Faster will quickly become the most important factor as demand for data feeds for (up-to-date) personalisation become the critical norm.”

Benjamin Spiegel, CEO, MMI Agency:

“The ingestion of streaming data will become a key requirement for digital leaders. With rising competition in the digital advertising space the ability to ingest, analyse and act on data within a minimal time window is a crucial requirement for digital leadership. I expect to see a lot of disruptive technology solutions emerge in the next months in both the open source as well as the VC space.”


James Gurd, Owner, Digital Juggler:

“Speed and flexibility are both important. The time to consumer is constantly reducing with the introduction of services like Amazon Prime Now. Multichannel retailers like House of Fraser and Argos have ramped up their Buy & Collect offer with later cut off times for next day delivery, and local collection services like Collect+, Amazon Lockers and Doddle have given consumers more choice.”

Tessa Wegert, Media Strategist and Content Developer:

“2015 was the experimentation stage, and a time for gathering insight into consumer preferences and behaviour. Now, social sites will get to the business of tweaking their tools, and brands will be better equipped to know what social commerce strategy is most likely to pay off.”

Email marketing

Parry Malm, CEO, Phrasee:

“Email in 2016 is going to be much like email was in 2015, and 2014, and 2013 – insofar as it’s still going to be the highest performing online channel out there. 2015 was the year of ‘email automation’ and most brands either have programmes in place, or are planning them.”

Tim Watson, Founder, Zettasphere:

“The idea in some circles that triggered emails replace broadcast is wrong… The future is integrating broadcast and triggered emails. We can expect to see the best email marketing programmes in 2016 use the same type of intelligence for sending triggered email in broadcast email marketing.”

clickz email marketing


Greg Stuart, CEO, Mobile Marketing Association:

“Brands will drastically shift to mobile video, realising that it is hugely underpriced by more than 50 per cent compared to its effectiveness. Mobile audio and ‘sound’ as a strategy is a huge opportunity and mobile brings this to life.”

Andy Favell, Digital and Mobile Consultant:

“The majority of mobile development today is still focused on consumer applications and services that are at best nice-to-have and at worst pointless. This is changing because such initiatives often don’t deliver return on investment for businesses – measured either in terms of financial rewards, customer loyalty or brand perception.”


Jon Earnshaw, CTO, Pi Datametrics:

“The kids out there are leading the way – asking questions and refining further questions based on the answers they receive as they engage in something best described as a dialogue that in the not too distant future will see Google exhibiting behaviour capable of passing the Turing test.”

Mags Sikora, Co-Founder, PeriodBox:

“Can your customer service affect SEO? Absolutely! A large number of negative complaints may lead to negative reviews and non-flattering mentions across blogs! We really have to delight the customer across the entire brand experience and that doesn’t finish with the moment of purchase. That delight should be the driver behind all our actives.”

Social Media

Bob Cargill, Director Of Social Media, Overdrive Communications:

“Scheduling a series of messages, posts and updates on a regular basis may put you in the game, but the only way to win is to show that you’re alive and kicking, not some robot. Real time is big time on social media.”

Maggie Malek, Head Of Social And PR, MMI Agency:

“Brands will only matter if consumers’ needs and desires are central to everything they do. Listening to the consumer— with our data brains as well as our hearts — can help us discover the stories worth telling.”

Download the full 46-page Digital Trends 2016 report now. 

The article 18 expert quotes from ClickZ’s Digital Trends 2016 Report was first seen from

5 Tips to Understanding Reciprocal Links for Small Businesses

When it comes time to build links, you’re likely going to be faced with a dilemma known as reciprocal linking. Whenever you try to earn a backlink on a website, whether it be through contributing a guest article or otherwise, there is often a chance that the Webmaster you’re speaking with is going to want to earn a backlink from your website in return. Sure they get your great content, but why not push the envelope and try to get even more from this new partnership? After all, you might be tempted to do this when someone approaches you for a link on your website, so you can’t blame someone for asking.

This will then put you in a position to make a decision about reciprocal linking. If you do not allow a featured piece of content and backlink on your website, that website might not give you the opportunity on their site. In other words, you lose the partnership and the backlink if you don’t reciprocate. However, is a link exchange just going to cancel out the link you wanted to earn in the first place? Is it worth it? This is the big question, and it’s actually a somewhat complicated answer.

When to Use Reciprocal Links for Success

We covered this topic back in 2012 here, but things have changed since then. In the past reciprocal linking was more widely used and accepted because link building was seen as a good practice. Today, it’s important to focus on readers and not SEO. In the end, reciprocal linking really can work for your visibility as well as for SEO purposes, so it’s not something you should immediately dismiss. However, there are a few different things that you must keep in mind if you want it to work:

  • Only link when it is natural and relevant.

These rules apply even when you’re not reciprocal linking, but it’s important to point out because it’s more tempting to ignore this rule. You might want to put a reciprocal link in the sidebar so that it doesn’t hold as much weight, but this isn’t going to look natural to Google. The same can be said if you’re linking to something that isn’t relevant to your industry or website. You have to follow the rules if you don’t want to get penalized.

  • Do not build your campaign around this system.

It’s not a good idea to build your entire link building campaign around reciprocal linking because then you’re canceling out all of your hard work (more or less). Things are going to move faster if you’re building links and not giving them right back. After all, the goal is to earn links naturally in the copy of the text without ever having to ask for them.

  • It’s usually not worth it to reciprocate with a competitor.

It’s best if you can engage in reciprocal linking with a company that compliments your company and does not compete directly. For example, if you’re a dentist, consider reciprocal linking with a toothbrush company as opposed to another dentist. This will help make sure that the links are not going to compete with each other.

  • Consider the authority of the other website.

It’s always a good idea to check the authority of the website you might exchange a link with. If your website has a PageRank 6 and a PageRank 3 wants a link on your website, it might not be worth it to give a link to that page. It’s true that PageRank isn’t everything so there will certainly be exceptions, but I find this is a good place to start. You can then evaluate the site in terms of quality and potential. If the site isn’t up to par, you would be getting a weaker link than your competitor would be getting, so be careful.

It’s important to understand that in the end when you monitor backlinks, your links will be devalued if you’re engaging in a lot of reciprocal linking. Nevertheless, you’re still earning that visibility and you still are giving a relevant audience the chance to click on your link.

A Quick Tip: Remember; don’t offer if you’re not asked!

When Reciprocal Links Are Best Left Untouched

You have to be very careful with reciprocal linking because too much can get you penalized by Google. Search Engine Watch actually labeled too much excessive linking as a gray hat SEO tactic. In the past, websites were exchanging links at a very fast pace, which was not helping readers at all. Google of course put a stop to this and labeled it “link farming.” To make a long story short, it is OK if you want to engage in reciprocal linking following some of the rules above, but do not do this all the time. A few reciprocal links here and there should be plenty to get you that link you wanted on that great site but not put you on trial for link farming.

What are your thoughts on reciprocal linking? Have you found this strategy to be successful, and if so, are there any rules that you tried to follow to make sure you were successful? Let us your thoughts in the comments below.

The post appeared first on

Are SEOs focusing on the wrong target?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life in the SEO world. But I’m here to say that our discipline is led by a false premise. We’re all chasing the wrong rabbit (or hog/unicorn/insert your favorite elusive animal here).

Take the term ‘SEO’, for instance. Search engine optimization is defined by Wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results”. But I propose that the ultimate objective for SEO is not to get engines to recognize our relevance to a searcher’s query but to actually get our audience to value what we’re publishing and become loyal brand advocates.

To do this, search marketers must continue maturing into integrated digital marketing strategists who understand, and can act on, the key business objectives of your company.

We spend countless hours examining keywords, traffic volumes, recommended bids, but really what it comes down to is value to the user. And this practically means content – while content components (links, meta tags, length, readability, Open Graph markup, etc.) are important for relevance, they aren’t measured for value to the searcher. What value, you say? The value that our content provides to our audience – and, yes, I realize that value is difficult to measure quantitatively.

One small way SEO value can be represented is by social sharing metrics. It’s like the old word-of-mouth advertising – if someone likes our brand, they’ll tell someone else. Over the past few years, social factors have become an important correlation for ranking. But to be truly effective at building social presence, hence effectively execute SEO, it’s our content that must do the work.

It’s about content

I realize you’ve heard the mantra for years: content is king! But why is it king? Good content doesn’t rule because Google thinks it’s relevant. Content is king because it’s how we appeal to consumers.

I’m reminded of an SEO joke:

  • Q: Why do SEO professionals date people based on personality instead of looks?
  • A: They know better than anyone that search engines are blind and that content matters most.

Our content represents our personality; our page rankings represent our looks. This is the true reason content is king. SEO is always changing, but what doesn’t change is our need to deliver helpful, delightful, and rewarding content.

Data paralysis

Of course, SEO starts with data. Although we need data analysis to sharpen our focus, sometimes we just have to go for it. We can’t expect to hit it right on every keyword, so why are we spending so much timed deliberating over keywords?

Today, far beyond being a mere distraction, data and information overload are cited as being negatively impactful on humans and businesses. Reuters conducted a study titled Dying for information, in which 43% of respondents thought that decisions were delayed and otherwise adversely affected by “analysis paralysis” or the existence of too much information, 66% of respondents associated information overload with tension among colleagues and loss of job satisfaction and 42% attributed ill-health to this stress.

We are immersed in ‘big data’ all the time. So when is the right time to make a decision about our SEO campaigns? Maybe never, if we continue with over-analysis.

Adobe’s Digital Roadblock survey found that more than half of marketing leaders trust their gut when it comes to directing budgets, including SEO team budgets. Instead of following the data, they choose to move on gut instinct. What? After all that analysis? Well, actually that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes you’ve just got to take some risks.

adobe roadblock graph

Taking risks

One of the key takeaways was that digital marketers believe they should take more risks. Well, I think this applies to SEO teams.

Even if we can calculate a winning formula (boy, I wish I could have done that in the recent Powerball lottery!) we can’t know for certain what our markets will respond to. So take a risk and move forward. When all the analysis is done, we’re still left with the risk that our campaigns will not prove successful. We’ve got to get past the data paralysis and chart a direction for our campaigns.

Charting a direction

So, we’ve spent exhaustive hours poring over spreadsheets filled with keywords, data, URLs, and projections and yet we find ourselves at a loss to explain to our brand leaders why our SEO campaigns aren’t scoring well, despite the SEO team’s commendable optimization efforts.

Poor results are likely not due to selecting the most appropriate keywords, they’re due to the fact that we aren’t clearly focused on the individuals interested in what we have to offer. Remember, we all act in more than one capacity. We are workers, lovers, friends, coaches, volunteers. Our multi-faceted existence represents us as a whole. It’s that whole person who represents our target, not Google.

Therefore, SEO leaders should spend more time focusing on the overall campaign strategy, getting alignment with business objectives, and thinking about what improving the customer’s experience really means to their organization.

The article Are SEOs focusing on the wrong target? was first seen from

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What you need to know about Yahoo Product Ads

Back in November 2015, Yahoo Product Ads officially launched, an umbrella name that encompassed a few different types of ad units within the Yahoo Gemini universe.

I’ve been working specifically with the Search Product Ads unit, which appears on search results properties with feed driven product ad units.

You might be saying, “Wait, those were there before!” and you would be right. What’s changed is now those ads can now be served by Yahoo from Yahoo submitted feeds through a Yahoo Gemini Merchant Center.

Previously, that inventory had primarily come from the Bing partnership that was renegotiated earlier in 2015. As a result, the amount of traffic being served from Bing Ads started to shift, especially as it pertained to mobile, of which most of the product ads are to come from Yahoo Product Ads or their partners, which does include the deal they also signed with Google in October 2015.

Things to beware of

Yahoo has begun to take advantage of this Google deal, serving Google Product Listing Ads and Bing Ads Product Ads on some desktop SERPs as a part of the search partner network, as well as testing text ads with extensions from Google in the sidebar results.

Which means that if you are advertising on Google and Bing currently there’s a good chance, particularly in desktop results, that your ads are showing on SERPs in a multitude of variations of product and text ads from all three engines.


  • If you don’t have a Yahoo account representative, you may not be able to get started yet, otherwise, you’ll need to email the support team and wait for enablement
  • You’ll want to make sure the category that you want to advertise in is ‘open’ first
  • To submit a feed, you need a Dropbox account set up by Yahoo or Fetch
  • The feed specs for Yahoo mimics Google very closely, you should be able to utilize almost the exact same feed
  • There is not an offline editor and you can create campaigns by hand through the bulk import process, or
  • You could utilize your existing Google AdWords account structure and import as is into the account
  • If you have a small to mid-size budget and pressed for time to manage, consider simplifying or collapsing a few of the product groups or campaigns (don’t send your entire Google account)
  • Not all third party tools support this feature yet, so if you have a bid management tool, check to make sure that they’re up and running
  • Billing is the same, if within an up and running Yahoo Gemini account

What we’ve seen so far

There’s definitely some ‘wait and see’ going on right now in terms of adoption rates of the program in the industry and I would expect that in your day to day, you’re already running up against a time constraint to launch and possibly budget issues as well.

I’ve also run into a couple of industry friends that have had trouble launching, due to account enablement or open categories. I would recommend that if you can’t do your entire catalog, choosing a few test campaigns where you have solid volume on Google or Bing in which to capture that traffic that lives between the two search engines.

I’ve also observed that it also matters what category or categories your catalog is in. Apparel was one of the earliest launched categories during the beta and has a lot of strength in terms of volume of impressions and clicks, where as other categories, like Food & Beverage aren’t really built out yet.

Other strong categories that may make Yahoo Product Ads worth it for you now are Electronics, Sporting Goods, Health & Beauty and Home & Garden. If you’re in a smaller niche like Pet Supplies or Luggage, don’t expect volume and performance that competes with Google or Bing.

During an early beta test for a large retailer for one vertical that contained at least a hundred thousand SKUs and a healthy sized budget that was in the apparel category, we saw return for the campaigns at a promising six times, but with an overall volume (impressions and clicks) that was smaller than Bing Ads Product Ads during the test period.

In total from beta launch to when the feature was opened up publically, the CPC has averaged out to .25 with some further tweaking planned, now that more optimization options are available than there were during the beta.

Most of the estimates I’ve been seeing for specific categories have had high impressions, low CTR, but also a low CPC (under .50 cents), very reminiscent of early content network stats.

What we need

I understand the low adoption rate right now for Yahoo Product Ads – it’s new, there’s a lot of cloudiness around Google and Bing’s involvement and whenever that happens, the wait and see attitude comes out. But I do have a wish list of features needed to really convince clients and other paid search industry folks to give this new ad unit a try:

  • Easily accessible estimates or ranges for categories, around impressions or clicks (anything to help determine what the potential opportunity might be)
  • Case studies on return, CPC or even engagement metrics like new to file visitors, lift in organic or assisted conversions
  • Easier account start up, no rep needed and feed submittal directly through the Merchant Center
  • Offline editor
  • Ad scheduling by hour of the day and day of the week capabilities

Clearly, Yahoo is just getting started in the product ads space and with their heavy investments in mobile and acquisitions like Polyvore and Brightroll, logically there is a lot of potential for advertisers needing to capture new eyeballs, especially with the depreciation of some of the comparison shopping channels for more niche discovery shopping markets.

However, the addition of both Google and Bing ad units to the SERPs makes it harder to justify the management and cost of a third platform, which means that the wait and see is going to continue for now.

The article What you need to know about Yahoo Product Ads was first seen from

25 Content, Mobile, and Video Stats to Help Spearhead Your 2016 Online Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re writing an article, trying to convince your boss about some of your ideas, want to learn more, or just need some motivation, there are so many staggering online marketing statistics out there that can help get you to that next level. It helps to continually read statistics each year because they’re always changing (big surprise there), so the beginning of the year is a great time to take a glance and see what is most meaningful to you and your company.

We gathered statistics from around the web covering content, mobile, and video, so consider some of the following statistics below from late 2014 to today to help guide your future efforts, and check out the full studies to learn more.

Content Marketing Statistics

  • Content marketing in 2015 generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. (HubSpot)
  • 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. (CMO Council)
  • The top five priorities content creators will focus on this year: Creating more engaging content (72%); Better understanding of what content is effective and what isn’t (65%); Finding more/better ways to repurpose content (57%); Creating visual content (51%); Becoming better storytellers (41%).  (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
  • In a survey of 745 marketers, a quarter of respondents are devoting more than 50% of their budgets to content. (Contently)
  • Inefficiency in content production results in an estimated $958 million each year in excessive spend for mid-to-large B2B companies. (Gleanster Research)
  • Seventy-two percent of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements: 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR. (Kapost)
  • By 2016 60% of companies will have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (e.g., Chief Content Officer, VP or director of content) (Curata)
  • The marketing software market is expected to grow to more than $32.3 billion in 2018. It will be one of the fastest-growing areas in high tech, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4%. (IDC)
  • Long-form blog posts generate 9x more leads than short-form blog posts. (Curata)

Mobile Marketing Statistics

  • 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. (Search Engine Watch)
  • Mobile ad spendis expected to increase from $42.63 million in 2014 to around $69 million in 2015, and is showing no sign of stopping. By 2016, the amount spent on mobile ads could be more than $100 billion. (eMarketer)
  • According to their own data in Q3 2014, smartphone traffic to ecommerce sites grew by more than 62 percent and revenue grew 141 percent. (MarketLive)
  • iAcquirestates that 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within one hour. (iAcquire)
  • According to comScore, 46% of shoppers say they are less likely to shop around for other options when they’re using a company’s mobile app. This data was compiled from a survey of more than 3,000 U.S. online shoppers that asked them questions about their shopping behavior. (comScore)
  • The two most popular ways companies are optimizing for mobile are 1. Using a simple template that works for all devices (52%) and 2. Creating a mobile responsive email template (39%). (Adestra, 2014)
  • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (CMS Report, 2015)
  • Extra: Check out our past article on Mobile Statistics from 2015 here.

Video Marketing Statistics

  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (LifeLearn)
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. (Syndacast)
  • By 2018,mobile video will represent 69% of all mobile traffic, which is an increase from 53% in 2013. Last year, users watched about two hours of video per month on their mobile phones. (Forbes)
  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.(Adobe)
  • 75% of B2B organizations optimize their video for SEO. (ReelSEO)
  • “How to” searches on YouTube are up 70% year over year. (Google)

Any statistics you’d like us to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below. We hope to keep growing this list throughout the year, so the more input we have from other companies and case studies the better.

The post appeared first on

14 most important SEO tasks in order of priority

SEO can be overwhelming for any number of reasons.

Between local considerations, seeding the right content in the right places, and various other on-page and off-page factors, it’s tough to know where to begin even when it comes to basic SEO essentials.

What makes things even more difficult is that you can’t just start anywhere and chip away at your work. If you want to see the most success, it’s important to prioritize the SEO tasks correctly.

Although it’s not always publicized, prioritizing SEO tasks is actually one of the things we see companies’ mess up most often. If you do certain SEO tasks out of order, you’re going to spend a lot of time and use up most of your resources to finally meet your goals.

In some worst-case scenarios you actually won’t be able to meet those goals because you started with something advanced and skipped the basics (without even knowing it!)

Although there isn’t an exact order to follow, it does help to split up the most common SEO tasks into categories, starting with the highest priority first…

#1 SEO priorities

Identify and remove duplicate content.

Nothing kills a website faster than duplicate content issues. It’s confusing for Google bots so you won’t get any good visibility, and even if readers did somehow make it to your website, duplicate content is seen as spammy. Get rid of this immediately so you can start with a clean slate.

Check navigation and UX factors.

You have to make sure your website is easy to navigate and everything is cohesive. This has to do with the architecture and design. If you send people to a website that is confusing, it’s far too easy to click-away.

Make sure you have a responsive design.

In the past this may not have been such a priority, but mobile compatibility is crucial. According to Google, more searches now take place on mobile than on desktop, so you have to make sure your site looks good on the small screen. The biggest and most basic way to do this is through a responsive design.

responsive design

As you may have noticed, all of your top priorities for SEO have to do with on-page tasks. Keep this is mind if more ideas pop-up in the future. You don’t want to be sending traffic to an unfinished or poorly optimized website because that traffic will immediately click away (and likely never return), so this is a crucial step to understand.

#2 SEO priorities

Setup Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

Although you may not use it right away, getting setup with these tools is crucial to being indexed quickly and accurately. It can help solidify your website as real.

Make sure you’re being indexed.

You have to double check that Google is indexing your site, meaning they’re crawling your website and you’re therefore showing up in SERPs. To check this, visit your Google Webmaster Tools account and click the ‘Google Index’ tab to see the total number of pages Google has indexed. Make sure it seems right!

Complete preliminary keyword research.

Understanding which keywords you want to target can help you learn a lot about SEO if you’re unfamiliar, but it also sets the stage for many of the other items in the next three sections (content creation and back linking, most notably).

Create local search accounts.

The sooner you can setup local search accounts the better. This is definitely more of a priority if you have a local business looking to attract local customers, but it’s so easy to do, that every type of company should get involved as soon as possible.

where's good for steak search

Start creating quality content frequently.

You want to be consistently putting out great content. This not only gives you more options for Google to index your website, but it helps show credibility and gives readers a way to engage. Start getting a good rhythm going with high quality articles. That’s all you need to do at first.

#3 SEO priorities

Create audience personas and get creative with your content.

Once you have a good content team and schedule in place, you can start to really bring your content to the next level. This involves creating personas to better understand your audience, writing on keywords/ topics that are trending, and getting more advanced with infographics, interviews, video, and more.

Create relationships with influencers.

You want to start getting your name out there in your niche community. This is how you will eventually earn natural links and hopefully get some great social shares out of the relationships.

Edit your title tags.

As you published content you likely wrote whatever headline you wanted, which is fine at first, but eventually you should go back and optimize your title tags. This will help you categorize your pages and make sure that you’re sending the right people to the right pages. Visit this article to learn more about title tags.

how to write title tags Google Search

#4 SEO priority

Start working to build backlinks.

It usually surprises people that this would be so far down on the list, but remember that SEO is not about backlinks—it’s about readers. Focus on creating relationships, quality content, and understanding your audience first.

Utilize SEO tools.

There are many different SEO tools out there that can help you with different aspects of your SEO (usually best used for data). This is a priority #4 because which tools you want to use and for what reasons can get tricky, so it’s best to focus on this after you have the basics down.

#5 SEO priority

Follow SEO industry news and blogs.

This is incredibly important, but following the latest news and SEO blogs can be a little bit overwhelming if you’re a beginner. That’s why hearing about the latest and greatest new tactics is probably better handled after you’ve been in the trenches with all of the items in the last four categories.

The takeaway

Of course this is not an extensive list. There are hundreds of little things you can do to improve the SEO of your website, but above are some of the biggest and most important tasks. What needs to be done will also depend on your company – industry, size, goals, etc. – but this is a great place to start. In the meantime, let us know what you would change or what you would add to the list in the comment section below.

The article 14 most important SEO tasks in order of priority was first seen from

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Announcing the winners of our Connect contest!

Last week we ran a contest on Twitter and Facebook in order to giveaway a bunch of free tickets to our new search event Connect, taking place in Miami next week on 4-5 February.

Connect will bring together all the best and brightest of the search marketing industry to discuss how to thrive in the new customer-centric landscape, as well as have a big party on the beach.

Will you be lucky enough to join 500+ SEO specialists, digital marketers, webmasters, developers, business leaders and industry professionals for two days of sun, sea and search in Miami?

Let’s find out…

Between Tuesday and Friday last week we asked you to fill in the blank for a number of search-related statements. Below are the winning recipents of one free ticket to Connect and their replies…

Jason Bauman:

Amanda Dodge:

Matt Certo:

Anna Nerezova:

Megan Beatty:

Stuart Lieberman:

And over on Facebook we had the following winning replies…

Biggest SEO trend of 2016 will be ______

David Josephson: “Conversational search from mobile devices.”

If Google could do one thing to make my life easier it would be ______

Scott Cramer: “PROVIDE the (not provided) data on all reports.”

The key to a successful search optimised site is ______

Sarah Triplett: “UX! Google is continually focusing on delivering a better user experience through search via organic and paid, so it makes sense that this same experience should flow on to a website once a user clicks through.”

The future of search marketing success will be dependent on ______

Carmen Norgaard: “Adaptability to change, since change is the most predictable constant in SEO.”

Congratulations to all of our winners, we’ll be seeing you in Miami next week!

If you weren’t chosen as one of our winners, then fear not. You can still attend! Just register for a ticket here.

The article Announcing the winners of our Connect contest! was first seen from

Step-by-Step Guide to Optimizing Your Lead Generation Form

When talking about optimization you can really break it down and focus on specific pages. In other words, how you’re going to optimize a piece of content may be slightly different than how you’re going to optimize a Thank You page, an unsubscribe landing page, a homepage, etc. Your lead forms are other webpages that has some specific optimization techniques that you’ll want to use to get the most conversions.

For those who are unfamiliar, a lead form is essentially the landing page where you gather more information about a potential customer, or your “lead.” This is the page where you get an email address. A page where someone actually makes a purchase can also be considered a type of lead form, so optimization tactics are pretty similar in these two circumstances. Once you know which optimization techniques to use, you can begin to optimize your forms and hopefully improve conversions.

How to Optimize a Lead Generation Form in 6 Steps

Most of the SEO tactics you already use won’t hurt, such as backlinking and sharing on social media, but as you might imagine a page like this doesn’t really cater to those types of SEO methods. Instead, it’s more about specific on-page changes you can make. Consider some of these approaches below to get you started on the right foot.

Step #1: It’s all about the content. Keep it short and sweet with a CTA.

A lead form page is one of the few pages of a website where you don’t want to have super long form content. Even a video or an infographic can be too overwhelming and take away from what you really want to happen on that page, which is to have the visitor fill out your lead form. This means that keeping your content and short and to the point is going to be your best bet. Consider the lead generation form below from Unbounce:


As you can see, the form has a call-to-action (CTA)—Build a High-Converting Landing Page Now—so that visitors know what to do. There isn’t much content on the page distracting from the form. After all, if someone navigates to this page they’ve hopefully already read your blog and done their research.

Step #2: Put important information above the fold.

“Above the fold” refers to what a visitor sees before he/she scrolls down the page. It’s what’s right in front of you when you land on the webpage. Naturally, information above the fold gets more views and captures a user’s attention faster. For this reason it’s important to put your lead form above the fold. Outbrain does this well in the example below. Notice how there is no need to scroll down to fill anything out. Their lead form with a button to get started is right there the minute to visit their website:


What Outbrain doesn’t do when you click that nice orange button, however, is tell you how many form fields there will be, which brings us to our next step.

Step #3: Use fewer form-fields and breadcrumbs for easy navigation.

You may be tempted to ask for as much information as you can about a person as soon as possible, usually out of excitement that someone is filling out your lead form, but this can actually turn people away. You want to keep your form fields between 2 and 4, and then after you get the important information you can start to dig deeper in a personal email or phone call. Below is an example from LA Fitness:


As you can see in the example above, the use of breadcrumbs helps keep things organized and give visitors a clear picture of what you’re asking for. There are four steps here, so it’s not too overwhelming for visitors who want to learn more.

Step #4: Make sure your privacy policy is easily accessible.

This is a credibility marker that shows you have nothing to hide and helps create a sense of trust. Because someone is about to hand over their email address, it’s important that they have quick access to your privacy policy if they want it. Consider the screenshot below from Salesforce:


As you can see, the example above shows two layers of privacy protection at the bottom of the form (still above the fold). Some companies also include a message saying they will not spam as well, such as in the example above. This adds an extra layer of trust between your company and visitor/ the lead.

Step #5: Design your page so that the form pops.

You want to make sure that your lead form jumps off of the page. Keeping it above the fold is part of this, but using bright colors and keeping the whitespace free of distractions is also a great way to draw attention to the right places. Below is one of my favorite designs for a lead form from It’s clean, uses an orange button with a CTA, and there isn’t a ton of whitespace, yet nothing is distracting from the form:


Step #6: Always A/B test your designs.

When all is said and done, you have to remember to A/B test your pages. A/B test different designs and colors, a different number of form fields, different words for your “Submit” button, and more. The more you can test, the more you can craft the perfect lead form page to bring you the most success. Below is an example from Crazy Egg that shows how you may test two variations of a landing page:


According to the study, the variation of the page helped them drive the number of qualified leads 142%. If you’re unfamiliar with A/B testing (and the software that goes with it), I highly recommend checking out this article to learn more, or feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below.

The post appeared first on

The 17 things Twitter should do to transform its fortunes

Twitter has been having a hard time of it in the past year or so, with various product missteps, plodding user growth and underwhelming results all negatively affecting its share price.

Shares are now hovering just above the $17 mark, valuing Twitter at around $12bn. For a company that should post revenue of at least $2.3bn for 2015, its market price will be whetting the appetites of prospective acquirers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.05.28

Where has it all gone wrong? That’s been well documented here, there and everywhere, but in short, the product and strategic vision seem to be unfocused. I thought it might be more interesting to think about how it can put things right.

I’m not a shareholder, but I want Twitter to win, to preserve and evolve a platform that I’ve grown to love. I am hugely invested in it as a user.

Do share your own thoughts in the comments section below…

Do much more with data

In the past eight years I have posted and shared 33,500 tweets, and have liked (or ‘favourited’) another 1,000. That’s a data goldmine to explore.

Twitter can fathom all kinds of things from the things we write about, and share. It should be able to figure out what makes users tick.

It should certainly be able to do some basic extraction and natural language processing to reveal user interests. It can then group people and content into segments.

That’s going to be great for ad targeting and will make content and who to follow recommendations a lot more relevant. Grouping content together by theme would allow it to create ‘topics’. Yum.

Make the most of topics

Kudos to Fred Soneya who pointed me at a great post by Austen Allred, titled ‘If I Ran Product at Twitter‘. Austen has tons of smart ideas and we share the same idea: allow users to follow topics, rather than just people.

Yes, you can tune into a hashtag, and save searches, and Twitter does allow the clustering of users – into Lists – but not so much the clustering of topics.

This is a big miss, especially for power users… so much so that I’ve done something about it.

I recently wrote about how to create a content marketing radar station in Slack, using Twitter Search and IFTTT. My co-founder and CTO, Nick Opris, subsequently built an online tool to do this. It curates and collates tweets and links based on specific keywords, and it’s super useful.

This ‘radar station’ is currently a browser-based tool for internal use only, but if you’d like to use it then email me. If there’s enough interest I’ll see if we can open it up.

Figure out user intentions

This is a big turn on for companies and people who want to provide things.

Intent is way more interesting than interests and sentiment. It is a leading indicator of action, and it often leads to $$$.

In the past year I have publicly tweeted that I needed to:

  • find a freelance designer
  • get a new mobile phone provider
  • open a business bank account

All of the above should have resulted in a string of replies from people and brands that want my money.

As well as explicit signals, there are lots of implicit signals that Twitter can look out for too. It’s worth chasing down. The prize is massive.

Google has made a business from user intent, and if it chooses to buy Twitter it will be very interested in mining and make sense of these softer signals (as well as the explicit ones).

Embrace and empower referral marketing

Let’s imagine you answered my three questions above. In each case, somebody is going to get paid. But possibly not you.

I think there’s a pot of gold here. No social platform has yet cracked the referral marketing nut. Might Twitter be able to do it?

Buy Medium

There was a tweetstorm in a teacup a few weeks ago after a rumour went around about Twitter increasing the character limits on tweets, from 140 to a rather gamechanging 10,000.

If it wants to encourage long-form writing, as opposed to bite-sized status updates, then why not just buy Medium and have done with it? Actually, if things keep going the way they are, perhaps Medium will buy Twitter.

Note that both of these platforms suffer from the same thing: discovery problems. Two birds, one stone?

Smarter discovery

From a user perspective, the big problem with Twitter is that it is noisy, and rapid fire, and as such things get lost.

Yes, it rolled out a ‘Things you may have missed’ feature, as well as pinned tweets. But this doesn’t really go far enough.

What it needs is something like Moments, but which unearths the most interesting content relative to your interests.

I started using Twitter in earnest when I realised the quality of links being shared around among my network, but the vast majority of these links – for me – do not point at news stories.

And that, for me, is the main problem with Moments…

Make sure moonshots reach orbit

Moments was described as “the most important feature ever” for Twitter, yet from where I’m sitting, it has unceremoniously exploded on lift-off.

Given the fanfare, I expected Moments to be a killer discovery tool, based on my personal interests and usage patterns. But no, it is really just a me-too news aggregator, launched a decade after news aggregators were fashionable.

Then again, maybe I’m not the target audience for Moments. If Twitter is aiming this at the casual – or anonymous users, who can access it – then maybe it’s working. Maybe millions of people use Twitter to find news and there’s going to be a brilliant revenue model unveiled. Maybe.

It’s just not very useful. It’s not relevant to my interests, or why I use Twitter. It’s just noise, really…


What Moments should be is a super-personalised version of Reddit. It’s that simple.

Deal with spam

Bots are clearly a problem for Twitter, as they are for many other platforms. It needs to tackle this problem head on.

What use are those 320m active users if a lot of them are actually spam accounts? Therein, I fear, lies the rub.

In 2014 Twitter estimated that 5% of its users were bots. A problem, for sure, but not a killer, if that number is accurate. A big if.

Last year a study looked at some of the biggest celebs on Twitter – Perry, Bieber, Swift, Gaga, Rihanna – and found that more than half of their followers were spam bots. In some cases bots accounted for two thirds of followers. Brutal.

Hashtag hijacking is a major issue nowadays (even niche hashtags get it). And frankly those bastards who repeatedly follow and unfollow you… they also need to be kicked into touch.

Twitter should tackle this issue algorithmically. It should automatically purge bots, and should roll out features that allow users to manually report spam.

You can see how many of your own followers are likely to be fake by using TwitterAudit.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.18.17

Be more user-centric

When enough people ask for a feature it’s generally a good idea to consider doing something about it. Even if that means you tell them that no such feature is going to be launched.

For example – and maybe there’s a really good reason for this – I can’t fathom why we still can’t edit tweets.

Based on the amount of noise with regards to this one feature request (hundreds of tweets per day), I should imagine tens of thousands of Twitter users have asked for an ‘edit’ button.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 06.38.27

Users shouldn’t fully determine product vision, but they can play a major role in product development, and determining priorities. Countless other features are continuously requested. Somebody really should spend a lot more time listening to users. Which brings me onto…

Hire a CXO

While we’re on the subject of user experience, it needs to hire a Customer Experience Officer, if it hasn’t already got one. In the interests of brevity I shan’t bang on about why it needs one…

Better follower suggestions

If you’ve ever tried signing up to Twitter recently you’ll have noticed how much focus there is on celebrities and brands.

As we have discovered, the blue tick could prove to be horribly overrated. The rich get richer, but what does the user get? The user that’s not interested in following celebs or big brands… gets very little.

There should be better onboarding for all kinds of new users, and I suspect that brings us back to data, and personalisation.

Twitter’s onboarding process seems to be rather too linear, with a few obvious pre-defined topic themes, and not much else going on. All roads lead to the blue tick brigade, and even these are not always well-matched suggestions (check out ‘Literature’ if you want some light amusement).

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.33.37

There needs to be more granularity here, at least for users like me.

Launch Twitter Pro

I can’t understand why Twitter hasn’t yet launched a pro service for brands, celebs and professional users. I’ve been waiting at least seven years for such a service.

I can only assume that it is so committed to being perceived as B2C company that it is happy to leave many millions of dollars of recurring subscription revenue on the table.

Who knows, but chasing its consumer dream hasn’t yet paid off. Why not take a little B2B revenue along the way? Diversifying its revenues is surely way healthier than relying on a fickle advertising market?

Pretty much everybody I follow works in the digital industry. I bet that a healthy chunk of them would pay $10 a month for a few pro features and no ads. I know I would.

Let’s do the maths. What would happen if just 1% of its active users upgraded to Twitter Pro at $10 a month?

That would add another 14% or so to its revenues, and highly profitable revenue at that.

Let’s look at it another way…

Twitter will have generated around $2.3bn in revenue during 2015, predominantly from ads (and 80% of that comes from mobile). It has 320m monthly active users. On average, that works out at $7.18 in ad revenue per user over a year, or 60¢ per user per month.

I’m willing to pay $10 a month, considerably offsetting any loss in ad revenue, and would become even more engaged with the platform as a result. Potentially a hugely profitable revenue stream.

I read earlier that Twitter has already got a Pro account of sorts, with some power users not seeing any ads. Maybe something is in the works…

Avoid peak optimisation

The big worry for Twitter is that it has already turned up the dial, with regards to optimising ad revenue.

When I browse Twitter via my mobile, I see something like one ad every eight or nine tweets. This begs the question: how many more ads can it show me?

When you consider that about 80% of Twitter’s revenue comes from the mobile channel, it has a problem. I’m not sure how much more juice it can squeeze out of its mobile users.

Analysts seem to want Twitter to attract more users, and the share price is regularly punished when it report low user growth.

As I’ve mentioned, I think diversifying revenue streams and improving the platform will be a better bet over the long term.

Dedicated executive focus

I suspect that CEO timesharing is not right for two businesses that are worth many billions of dollars each.

Achieve management stability

It also needs to steady the ship. There has been a huge executive shakeout at Twitter in the past year or so. This was compounded a couple of days ago after the news leaked about another four execs leaving the building.

Kiss and make out with developers

The rise and fall of Twitter’s once burgeoning ecosystem is a woeful tale, with the company changing many goalposts, making a lot of its data paid-for, and seemingly cutting off various developers and partners at the knees.

Adam Cranfield suggests, among other things, that Twitter creates an app platform to fix itself…

A good idea. I reckon it should go the extra mile and have the equivalent of full on make-up sex with the developer network.

Enable private networks

Here’s another great idea, from Philip Storey…

What do you think? Is Twitter destined to be acquired, or to fade out, or can it grab the bull by the horns and take control of its destiny?

The article The 17 things Twitter should do to transform its fortunes was first seen from

How hub pages and internal links are paying off for Mail Online

Combining hub pages for key topics and keywords with a well-planned internal linking can be a very effective SEO strategy.

It helps to ensure that, when you are creating content around a topic regularly, that you can rank consistently for the relevant keywords.

I’m going to use examples from Mail Online which, by some accounts, is the most visited English-language newspaper site on the web. That doesn’t mean it’s the best – far from it – but it does provide a useful subject for this post.

Mail Online recently started using hub pages on a consistent basis for many of its most popular topics, though not for all.

This gives us an opportunity to see what effect this has had. So here I’ll look at the strategy for two topics, and an example of what happens when you don’t do this.

Hub pages: what are they and why do you need them?

In this context, a hub page is a page themed around a certain topic or keyword. It could be a tag page, like this for SEO, or perhaps a category page.

Sites which produce a lot of content around the same topic often end up competing with themselves for search positions.

This is especially true with news articles, as in the New York Times example here. News articles are generally brief and will come and go in the search rankings. However, linking them to a hub page helps signal to Google that this is the page that should rank for a particular keyword or term.

To demonstrate how this works, here are some examples from Mail Online.

Search term ‘Chelsea News’

Mail Online had no hub page strategy of any kind until recently. Dan Barker (@danbarker on Twitter) pointed this out recently, and estimates that Mail started this strategy around October 25 last year.

This means we can get a before and after picture looking at the effects of this tactic.

Here, we have the search results for the entire Daily Mail domain for the search term ‘Chelsea News’. This is news related to Chelsea football club, a relatively popular search in the UK.

We can see that it started returning results for this hub page from November 7. It has also implemented pages for other English football teams.

Chelsea news search performance

This page has existed before, though its search performance was inconsistent until November 7 last year.

This chart shows the rankings for that page, and we can see a consistent (and higher) search ranking from November onwards.

Chelsea landing page Mail Online

The difference is the internal linking strategy.

The article screenshot below (article is from May 2015) shows the opportunities to link to the hub page which were missed.

Chelsea article no internal links

This next screenshot shows the new strategy. In this article from December 2015, links lead back to the Chelsea team page (the hub page).

article with internal linking

This is the Daily Mail team page. As well as internally linking from each article the site is now using the different elements on the page.

For example, team logos and live tables are now linking back to the individual team landing pages.

team pages
Search term: ‘David Cameron’

This is the Daily Mail view for the search term David Cameron:

1. Entire Daily Mail view for the search term David Cameron

Like the previous example, the rankings are inconsistent and many different pages are returned by Google for the term in the six month period shown.

That is until early November, when the hub page takes over. Since then, the performance of this David Cameron landing page has improved significantly.

There have been a couple of blips since November, perhaps due to inconsistent implementation of the linking strategy, but the page is performing much more effectively.

David Cameron landing page

Again, the difference is between using internal linking effectively, and missing the chance to link, as shown in this article from August 2015.

article with no hub page

Now, the Mail Online’s editors have learned to use internal links (perhaps there was some internal training back in October) and news articles and opinion pieces about Cameron all link back to the hub page.

4. New David Cameron article internal linking

The Telegraph: internal linking as it should be

Of course, Mail Online has been slow to realise the value of internal linking (I raised this back in 2014) compared to some other news sites.

For example, The Telegraph has used linking correctly for some time, and this is reflected in the performance for its David Cameron landing page.

telegraph hub page

Its hub page ranks consistently for the term because it has linked from all its Cameron articles for some time.

6. The Telegraph David Cameron article

This means that the Telegraph and The Guardian (which also knows what to do with links), are the only news sites to rank on page one of Google for the term with their landing pages.

Mail Online: inconsistent internal linking

Although the Daily Mail are now internally linking and using hub pages, the site isn’t doing it for every search term (or hasn’t rolled out the strategy across all of its sections yet).

This underlines the impact that effective internal linking can have, used along with dedicated hub pages.

For example, celebrity news brings in lots of traffic for Mail Online, and it writes about any vague ‘news’ linked to celebrities.

However, very few celebrities have landing pages as yet. For example, Jennifer Lopez.

As a result, the Mail’s rankings for this search term are up and down and return 55 different URLs in the six month period shown below.

Daily Mail performance Jennifer Lopez - No landing page

As the previous examples have demonstrated, with a J-Lo landing page and the right links, the site could rank consistently and bring in even more traffic.

In summary

Mail Online creates and publishes huge quantities of articles about celebrities and news. With each of these articles they gain thousands of  links and social shares from their readers.

While each new article performs relatively well in search, they do so for a limited time only. Ss the article becomes old, positions drop until the original article is usurped by a new article, and so on.

These examples show how effective the use of linking and hub pages can be, and demonstrate its value, especially for sites that produce a lot of content around the same themes.

They also demonstrate how quickly sites can achieve results with this strategy. In the Mail Online’s case, it seem to have taken Google just over a week to view the links and return the intended page for the search terms.

This strategy, implemented across a range of keywords, enables sites to rank more consistently for a broad range of search terms, with obvious beneficial effects on traffic.


The article How hub pages and internal links are paying off for Mail Online was first seen from