Google Podcasts gets a redesign and iOS rollout

The new design features an Explore tab with recommendations based on the listener’s interests.

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The Google Podcast app is now available for iOS devices, and the web version of the app now supports subscriptions, the company announced Wednesday.

Google has also reorganized the app with a tabbed user interface that includes an Explore section where users are shown new show and episode recommendations related to their interests.

Google Podcasts’ new tabbed user interface. Source: Google.

Why we care

Podcast discovery has been a challenge for content creators with most podcast apps showing only what’s available through that particular service. Google’s aim is to provide a comprehensive resource for podcast discovery, including paid content, and library management.

The addition of subscriptions to its web app lets users more easily switch between listening on their desktops and their mobile devices, something that iTunes and Spotify users have been able to do for a long time.

As Google’s podcast platform continues to expand, it’ll become even more important for publishers to manage their presence on search.

More on the news

  • Google began introducing podcasts in search results in May 2019.
  • The company made podcasts playable directly from the results page in August 2019.
  • When users select an episode, they’ll also be presented with topics or people covered in that episode and can jump to associated Google search results.
  • The “For you” section of the Explore tab recommends shows based on the listener’s interests and what is currently popular. Users can personalize these recommendations.

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Pro Tip: How to develop a content calendar that’s relevant with creative leeway

Using this three-step process to identify your audience and topics, you can quickly and effectively publish content that is relevant to each target audience.

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Creating an annual blog editorial calendar can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Using this three-step process, you can quickly and effectively produce enough blog topics to fill the calendar with four ideas per month, resulting in 48 topics for the year. Not only is this something you can do in an afternoon, but it also ensures each topic is both relevant to overarching content strategy yet broad enough to give content writers some creative leeway.

1. Identify four key audiences

Challenge yourself to think of four existing customers that can serve as examples of the types of customers you’d like to land for your company moving forward. Pinpoint each customer’s unique challenges, emotions and values, as you’ll want the content to speak to those needs.

2. Identify three solutions

Think of three solutions your company offers to each of the four customers. Perhaps it’s three different services, different products or different value propositions. Match up each of your three solutions with each of your four audiences.

  • Solution A for Audience 1
  • Solution B for Audience 1
  • Solution C for Audience 1
  • Solution A for Audience 2
  • And so on until you have twelve broad topics to explore

3. Identify four content categories

Finally, come up with a list of four content categories that will allow you to approach each solution/customer pairing from a variety of perspectives.

Some ideas include:

  • Expert Q&As
  • Step-by-step Guides
  • Industry News
  • Listicles
  • Case Studies

Combine this list of categories with your 12 solution pairings to generate 48 unique topics. For example:

  • Expert Q&A that addresses Audience 1’s challenges from the perspective of what Solution A offers

Keep in mind that a blog is not an advertisement, so while your company and its services and differentiators are being mentioned or alluded to in every blog, it won’t be strictly promotional in nature. Instead, focus on providing value to your readers.

As for a publishing timeline, try to address each unique audience in one blog post per month. That way, each month, a blog will be published that is relevant to each target audience.

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

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What’s a DAM and why should you care?

What should a digital asset management (DAM) platform do and what are the ways that vendors differ from one another?

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Digital Asset Management platforms, often called DAMs, are software programs that store, organize and enable the more efficient use of an organization’s entire library of digital assets. A DAM is the “single source of truth” where marketers can find every relevant version of the media assets that have been created for the brand — images, PDFs, photographs, audio, video and even virtual reality or other cutting-edge formats.

The further benefit of a DAM is that these assets are appended with metadata that can provide information on anything the marketer might want to know before using the asset, such as whether the company owns the perpetual rights to use a photograph (and in what markets), whether the legal team has approved a video, and that an infographic or whitepaper has been checked to ensure it complies with the brand’s design standards.

MarTech Today’s publication of the “Enterprise Digital Asset Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the market for enterprise DAM platforms and includes the latest industry statistics and developing market trends. Also included are profiles of 18 leading vendors, capabilities comparisons, pricing information, and recommended steps for evaluating.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to get your copy.

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Building top-funnel content to influence bottom-funnel pages (with real example)

Each page on your site should have a purpose, and if you are strategic, your pages can support one another and your overarching business goals.

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Wouldn’t it be great if every page on your site led directly to a sale or conversion? Or if all it took to convince someone to purchase from you was to have them land on your website? Or if money grew on trees?

We all know these scenarios are ridiculous…but I still see site owners and marketers focusing solely on converting pages.

Every page has a unique purpose and not all pages should be converting pages. Some examples of other goals your pages might serve include:

  • Presenting key employees and leaders
  • Defining your brand, culture and beliefs
  • Explaining your company’s unique systems and processes
  • Attracting large, top-funnel audiences through organic search
  • Informing and educating your audience about an important topic in your niche
  • Etc.

For the most part, pages that serve these goals won’t be the pages where your audience converts. However, these pages all support the overarching goal of increasing conversions.

Similarly, not all pages are equally link-worthy…and they don’t all need to be.

Link-worthiness or linkability is generally related to the size of the audience a given page serves. Your product pages have limited link-worthiness because they serve a smaller audience of people who are ready to purchase. For example, more websites would link to a page that explores the rich history of soccer and the World Cup than a page that sells soccer jerseys.

Of course, you still want your product pages ranking for the terms that describe them and that means you need backlinks. However, because the link opportunities for bottom-funnel pages are inherently limited, you’ll need to get a bit more creative in how you cultivate link equity for these pages — enter linkable resources and internal links.

In this post I’ll walk you through the process of finding linkable topics, creating link-worthy pages and optimizing internal links, and promoting those pages to influence visibility for your bottom-funnel pages. I’ll even share a recent project where we executed this exact strategy and saw great results.

Let’s get started!

Finding linkable, top-funnel topics

The first — and most important — step to influencing bottom-funnel pages with top-funnel content is identifying the right topic. The reason this step is so critical is that you will be investing a lot of time and energy into building and promoting this page, and you want to make sure the topic has legs before you start down that path.

The first place to start this process is with competitors — which pages are their top linked pages? What types of topics are they covering? Are they speaking to an audience you’re ignoring on your site?

There is much to be gleaned from competitor content and how they’re earning links. If a competitor has a guide about [X Topic] that has over 100 links, and you don’t address that topic on your site, this is likely a topic you should cover as it has proven linkability. You should also keep a list of these linking sites, as they will likely be open to linking to the page you eventually create.

In fact, even the pages that don’t have a ton of backlinks could be potentially linkable topics, but your competitor might have failed to promote their page properly. Explore the SERPs for these pages and their associated keywords to see if the ranking guides have a substantial amount of referring domains — just because your competitor missed on this opportunity doesn’t make it any less of an opportunity. 

If you still can’t find any promising ideas after researching competitors, broaden your search to analyze websites that may not be direct competitors, but are still creating content within your space and ranking in relevant SERPs. The “Related Pages” tab in Majestic can be a great way to find these sites or you can use the “Organic Competitors” section in SEMrush to find sites that share similar keywords.

Government agencies and websites, believe it or not, can provide linkable topic ideas as well. These sites can provide a solid jumping-off point as they won’t cover a topic unless there is a legitimate need for that topic to be covered. For example, this article exists on the FEMA blog:

A screenshot of a social media post

Description automatically generated

If you have a website that sells pet supplies, you now have a potentially linkable topic — “How to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Disaster: A Comprehensive Guide.” While the FEMA article only covers creating a hurricane emergency kit, it provides a starting point and demonstrates that people care about protecting their pets during a natural disaster (and would link to a quality guide on the subject). 

The key is to keep an eye out for topics or audiences that have a proven record of being link-worthy, and then brainstorming ways to adapt that topic to mesh naturally with your products or services. It’s important that you find topics that align with your brand’s expertise as well — would an audience trust your advice on this topic? 

Using our pet example again, you could reasonably expect PetSmart to know which products would be essential during a disaster situation, but you probably wouldn’t want their advice on how to protect your home during a disaster. 

Believability is a big part of link-worthiness and you want to cover topics that you can reasonably be considered an expert for. 

Execution and promotion

Once you have a proven idea, you need to create the page.

If you’ve done your research upfront, this process should be straightforward as you already have the blueprint for a successful page (either from competitors or other authoritative guides). Build your guide in sections to address each sub-topic as its own header and section, making it easy for readers to find the information that is most important to them quickly.

Furthermore, if you include anchor links, this opens the door to even more link opportunities as you can pitch a specific section of the guide that is hyper-relevant to potential link partners.

The most critical part of this step is naturally linking to your converting, bottom-funnel pages within your guide via internal links. The emphasis should be on “naturally linking,” you want your internal links to make sense contextually and seamlessly fit within the overarching topic.

Building these internal links is a vital step as these links will direct both visitors and link equity to your converting pages, helping them rank better in organic search.

Promotion should be straightforward as well, as you should already have a list of link prospects from your ideation phase (the sites that linked to the page you drew inspiration from). Link building is much easier when you identify potential linking audience before content creation and then design that content to serve those linking audiences — all that’s left to do is reach out to the appropriate websites.

Improving keyword rankings for converting pages with top-funnel, linkable content

Now that we’ve walked through the process of ideation, creation, and promotion of link-worthy pages, let’s look at a real example of how this strategy can influence visibility for your converting pages.

This project was for an e-commerce client who wanted to improve US-based keyword rankings for the head terms associated with their primary services.

Since the client’s target pages were bottom-funnel pages (not highly linkable), we created a guide for safe online shopping that would appeal to a broad but relevant audience, and internally link to their goal pages. The strategy paid off as the resource quickly earned relevant links (over 10 in the first two months) and began influencing rankings for the client’s converting pages.

In just three months, the client saw the following movement for their head terms:

  • Primary Keyword (most competitive): Up one position (on page one)
  • Secondary Keyword: Up 24 positions (from page four to page two)
  • Tertiary Keyword: Up 11 positions (from page two to page one)

These are conversion-oriented keywords that lead directly to increased revenue, and these types of gains would not have been possible without the link equity earned through the resource we created.

Again, it’s not impossible to secure links to bottom-funnel pages, but it’s very difficult to scale link acquisition for these pages to a level that moves the needle. However, top-funnel resources can sustainably earn links and through internal linking, you can leverage these resources for the betterment of your bottom-funnel pages.

Each page on your site should have a purpose, and if you’re strategic, your pages can support one another and your overarching business goals.

This story first appeared on Search Engine Land. For more on search marketing and SEO, click here.

https://searchengineland.com/building-top-funnel-content-to-influence-bottom-funnel-pages-with-real-example-330389

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B2B buyers consume an average of 13 content pieces before deciding on a vendor

A mix of first and third party content is required to seal the deal.

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The average B2B buyer’s journey involves consumption of 13 pieces of content. That’s the principal finding of a new survey from market research firm FocusVision. The company polled marketing executives at companies with at least 500 employees and $50 million in annual revenue who had purchased a martech solution in the past year.

A mix of 1st and 3rd party content. The 13 content pieces breaks down into an average of eight vendor-created pieces and five from third parties. This content ranges from video to blog posts, white papers and customer testimonials to software reviews and analyst reports.

According to the report, the B2B buying process takes on average two to six weeks and involves 3 – 4 internal decision makers. The top source of content was the vendor’s website, followed by search and social media. Asked “how did you find content,” these survey respondents said:

  • Directly through vendor website — 70%
  • Internet search — 67%
  • Social media  — 53%
  • Sent to me via email — 41%
  • Word of mouth — 33%

FocusVision identified four buying stages (and the content reviewed at each stage in the process): 1) understanding the problem, 2) looking for vendors, 3) short-listing and 4) final decision.

Content reviewed at each stage of the B2B buyer’s journey

Source: FocusVision (2020)

Websites and peer reviews. The consumption of content is not entirely liner. Vendor websites, for example, are visited throughout the buyer’s journey. Peer reviews were consulted at the top and bottom of the funnel as well.

The most useful types of content to aid purchase decision-making were those that addressed: product specifications and functionality (67%), product comparisons (65%), product success stories (60%), content to specifically show value to internal stakeholders (54%), product tutorials (49%) and guidance on my problem/how to solve it (48%).

Larger companies, with revenues above $250 and $500 million, displayed some differences from the average according to FocusVision. Larger companies tended to rely more heavily on third party sources — third party websites, analyst reports and third party articles — probably because of their perceived independence.

Why we care. We know that content is incredibly important for ranking in search. It’s also critical for sales support. But this report makes clear there are a broad range of first and third party content types that are highly influential to B2B buyers. It also shows how critical the vendor website is in the buying process. Indeed, the report basically outlines a content strategy for the entire B2B buyer’s journey.

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How to create amazing infographics

Writing for an infographic requires a delicate balance between telling a story and
providing hard-hitting points to drive your message.

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CopyPress has a defined process on how to create amazing infographics for their clients. With a little effort, you can follow their breadcrumbs and create amazing infographics of your own!

To start, they segment the process into three groups: the business team, the graphic design team, and of course the audience who consumes the infographic. None of these people approach infographics in the same way, which can lead to miscommunication and potentially a bad customer experience.

This white paper will demystify these three roles to help you and your team create something your audience will love. By following these steps, all teams should be able to work together to turn your infographics from tolerable to top-sharers.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download“How to Create Amazing Infographics,” from CopyPress.

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Pro Tip: Here’s why content audits are so important

Content management is never a one-and-done process so a revitalization plan is simply good SEO strategy.

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One common mistake when it comes to developing and publishing content on a site is never touching it again. Having a content revitalization strategy to ensure content is relevant is just as (if not more) important than adding new content to drive organic traffic.

If it’s been a while since older posts on your site have been updated, it may be time to conduct a content audit.

I’ve followed this process with several SEO clients and it yielded impressive results. One client in the employment industry saw a 40% lift in organic traffic and a 131% increase in goal completions in nine months. A client in the education space saw a 42% lift in overall organic traffic and 40% increase in goal completions over three-and-a-half months after following the steps below and implementing changes based on the findings.

Here’s how you need to review your content:

1. Create a list of all URLs into a spreadsheet (you can pull this from the sitemap).

2. Use Google Analytics to determine how many sessions each page had over the past six months (or longer depending on how much traffic comes to your site). Also, check how many backlinks each post has. This process will take quite a bit of time depending on the amount of content on your site, but posts that have no backlinks and aren’t generating traffic likely need to be revised to provide SEO value.

3. Identify pages with “thin content” that don’t satisfy a user’s search intent. Build these posts out to provide more information on the topic.

4. Identify posts with duplicate or similar topics, then determine if they should be combined into one longer authoritative post or if one should be removed completely.

5. Identify posts with outdated content or older statistics and update to include more recent information. It also helps to keep a running list of posts that need to be updated regularly. For example, if it’s a post about mileage tax rates that might change every year.

6. Don’t forget to redirect posts removed from the site to avoid 404 errors.

7. Repeat this process on a regular basis (annual or bi-annual) to keep your content relevant.

Remember: Content revitalization should never be a one-and-done process.

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

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GoDaddy buys content creation app Over, plans to integrate features into its product suite

Small businesses use Over to easily create digital content.

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GoDaddy announced on Wednesday it had acquired Over, a mobile app designed for SMBs and entrepreneurs that allows them to quickly create content for social media platforms, email and websites. The app’s capabilities will be integrated into GoDaddy’s Website + Marketing platform in the near future, according to a company spokesperson.

The app will also continue to offered as a standalone app, available via Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and the team will continue to develop new features for it.

Why we care

The Over app has gained popularity as an easy-to-use content creation tool — it has more than a million monthly active users with 220,000 projects created daily by SMBs. GoDaddy’s move to integrate the app’s features into the Website + Marketing product suite will expand GoDaddy’s capabilities. Depending on how GoDaddy integrates Over’s tech into its platform, “non-designers” most likely will be able to create content that can be used on their GoDaddy-built website, as well as their company’s social pages and in their email marketing efforts.

More on the news

  • The Over app includes a library of professionally designed, customizable templates, hand-curated videos, graphics and font collections and collaboration tools.
  • The entire Over team will join GoDaddy while remaining in their Cape Town offices. No financial details for the acquisition were disclosed.
  • Squarespace made a similar acquisition last October with its purchase of Unfold.

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Develop the content your target audience actually wants

Focus on making better content. Not less, not more—just better.

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Happy people reading online content

In the ebb and flow of content marketing trend analyses comes the return of the “content fatigue” narrative. We’re told content marketing doesn’t work as well as it used to, that it’s redundant and that there’s too much of it.

But as long as we have the Internet, content is going to be the playing field for our sport. So the question isn’t whether or not we should be doing content marketing, but rather how we can make our content marketing better. What tools, strategies and tactics can we deploy? How do we create compelling content that will provide real value for our audiences?

We need to focus on making better content. Not less, not more—just better.

In this issue of Agency Perspectives from SharpSpring, you’ll learn how to develop content your target audience actually wants and get tips on sharing and distributing content across relevant channels.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Mission Possible: Quality Content Marketing.”

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Systematically upgrade your existing content: Here’s how (and when) to do it

Leverage your current SEO after an analytics review to see what types of search queries generate impressions and clicks.

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The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to build a new content strategy for your business. One of the easiest tactics to generate new traffic is also one of the most overlooked: Updating and expanding your old content.

The benefits of content upgrades

Unlike fine wine, the content on your site doesn’t necessarily age well, with some pieces degrading as time goes on. Creating new content is not always needed when you have a body of good content that can be made to work harder and deliver quick results with some refreshing.

Upgrading existing content provides the following benefits:

  1. Provides a better user experience: Users read your content for information, but if yours is out of date, it’s not useful anymore. Ensuring your content is current and accurate is the single best thing you can do for your readers’ experience.
  2. Maintains URL authority: Every time you create a new page on your site, the new URL has zero authority. The URLs of older content have existing authority from any links they’ve acquired, and just from being aged.
  3. Can be optimized for new or more keywords: As you’ll see below, one of the biggest benefits of checking your data is to see what types of search queries are resulting in impressions and clicks. Sometimes you’ll see a good keyword with a very low click-through rate. Simply editing content to include that keyword or its variations helps the content rank better and gain higher click-through rates.

How to decide what content to upgrade

Step 1: First, go to Google Analytics and select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Make sure that you first segment the data by Organic Traffic so you’re viewing only the most-visited pages by organic users. Make a note of the top 10 to 15 pages driving the most organic traffic to your website. You can either use the export feature in GA or simply copy and paste the list into a google sheet.

Note: Google doesn’t show the root URL, which is fine for the next steps.

Step 2: Next, you can use Google Search Console data to provide insights into how to upgrade the new content.

In Search Console, go to Performance report in the left navigation, select your date range, and click the  + NEW button to segment the data by page URL. I normally select the filter “URLs is exactly” and then copy and paste the top URL from our list.

Once you have added your URL, you will see all of the search terms that people used to find your page.

We wrote this particular article to cover the issue of the “Chrome not secure notice” if your website wasn’t secure, but saw that we had a lot of searches related to “how to make a website secure.” You will want to find similar search patterns that your initial article didn’t cover or didn’t delve into and upgrade that section of your article to better align with the search patterns.

Make sure you choose search patterns that are relevant for your business and the original article. In this case, you can see a nice increase in traffic until the November Google core update that targeted relevance. The intent of the original article was about the “Chrome not secure warning” rather than how to make a website secure.

We are following these same tactics to try to recapture the lost traffic in a more relevant way.

Other content upgrade tactics to use

  • Fix any broken links: This tactic goes to both user experience and SEO. If you have content with a lot of links, or links related to seasonal/dated content, regularly check to make sure the link is still live and current to avoid negative effects on SEO. When you make edits or changes, republish your content.
  • Add more images or video: Images and video can become outdated as well. Always check to make sure any media on your posts are still relevant. Another way to upgrade is simply adding new media, especially videos. We’re seeing more interest in videos as time progresses—if it’s feasible, create and add a relevant YouTube video to your posts.
  • Add or change a call to action to increase conversions: Your content is probably meant to push a reader from a tire-kicker into some sort of customer. Experiment with your calls to action and headings that can lead to increased conversions.

How often should you update your content?

There is no set standard for updating frequency and realistically this varies by website and industry.

If you are just starting out, you won’t need to focus on updating content for at least 12 months. If you have an existing blog that gets traffic, every six months is a good timeframe to review data and determine which content is doing well or could benefit from updating. If your industry is often in flux, you may find that content needs to be updated much more often to stay current. If, however, you have more than 10,000 visitors a month, you might want to update your content quarterly.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to boost your rankings, improve your SEO and provide better information to your readers, consider updating your existing content. This is a good option to leverage your current SEO and avoid creating new content that will likely take time to start working. Don’t forget: Once you’ve updated your content, it’s time to share and promote it as well.

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