When Your Business Email Gets Hacked

The email account you use for your business is one of the most valuable digital assets you control. It is the hub of most of your online accounts, likely your main method of communication and one of the pillars of your online presence. Due to the efforts of cybercriminals and other hackers online, it is all too easy to fall into a trap or scam and lose your business email. Should this happen, your online accounts will be compromised, and you won’t be able to maintain the integrity of any confidential information or accounts associated with the address. It is…

The post What To Do When Your Business Email Gets Hacked appeared first on The Daily Egg.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Reader Personas

reader personas

There’s only one key behind producing great content, day after day…

You don’t need to be the best writer.

You don’t need to be a top expert (although it can help).

You don’t need any fancy tools (although they can also help).

What you do need to do is understand your reader.

Most marketers would rather spend time learning about a new traffic tactic than spend time learning about their readers, and it’s the reason why they struggle.

Let me illustrate the importance of this with a simple example:

Imagine: You’re writing for an audience that consists of one person – yourself.

Do you think you could come up with something that you’d love to read?

I’d be worried if you said no.

You know not only what you want to learn about but also how you want to consume that information.

If you can’t write something great for yourself, there’s no way you can write something great for any other audience.

There’s no tactic or strategy that will make up for a fundamental lack of understanding of your reader.

Hopefully, you’re nodding your head at this point.

The question you should be asking is:

How can you understand your readers better if you don’t happen to fall into that audience?

And that is a great question.

The answer is that through research, you can create reader personasavatars of your typical readers.

The more fleshed out these are, the more effective they will be.

Personas aren’t created out of thin air.

Although your experience may help you create them, you need to follow a system, which is what I’m going to detail for you today.

Download this quick step by step guide to learn how to create reader personas.

Step #1 – Start with stats—demographics

Certain characteristics of a persona are easier to research than others.

We’re going to start with the easiest one: demographics.

The reason why demographics are the easiest to research is because they are statistics. A demographic is any statistic or value that can describe a group of people.

Here’s a list of common demographics, but there are more:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • educational level
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • marital status
  • number of children

If you already have a blog and some readership, it’s much easier to determine demographics.

However, you can nail down some important attributes of any audience with a few free tools.

Always start with Alexa.

You can enter you site, or a close competitor’s site (which has the audience you want), into the search bar. It works best on high traffic sites.

When you do, you’ll get information on gender, education, and browsing locations.

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Write down these rough percentages somewhere.

Next, go to the Google AdWords Display Planner. It gives you more than just search volume data.

Put in a keyword into the first text box that fits your niche well, target whichever countries you’d like, and then submit the form:

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Front and center of the next page will be a graphic that looks like this:

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Most people ignore it because they’re only looking for search volumes.

However, this is some of the most accurate data you can get for gender and age.

Repeat this process for a bunch of keywords, and then average out your results.

Next, we’re going to use Google Analytics (GA), but only if you already have a decent-size audience.

Go to “Audience > Demographics > Overview” in GA, and enable data collection if you haven’t yet.

Then, come back a day or two later, and you will see a bunch of data collected from your actual visitors, including age and gender.

image02

This is the most accurate data, so use this as a primary source and the others as supplementary.

Still in GA, go to the “Audience” menu option. Browse through the tabs such as “geo,” which will give you language and location results.

By now, you should have 4-5 core demographics about your readers. Write them down in point form in a file somewhere. For example:

  • Gender – about an even 50/50 split, might be skewed toward more females
  • Education – slightly less educated than the average Internet user
  • Location – most likely readers are from the US, the UK, and India
  • Age – average age is about 30, very few senior readers
  • Income – likely low to medium due to a relatively young age

Some demographics, such as income, are tough to research. However, you can take educated guesses about them based on other demographic stats.

That’s a very good start, but if you want to get even more detailed demographics, you can use some of the tools I compiled here.

Step #2 – What is your reader thinking?—Psychographics

Next up are psychographics, which inform you about the values, attitudes, preferences, and thoughts of a group. In this case, it’s your readers.

Here’s a basic list of questions you’ll eventually need to answer:

  • Why do they want to learn about (your niche)?
  • How important is (your niche) to them, i.e., is it a hobby or part of their job?
  • What common questions do they have about (your niche)?
  • How knowledgeable are they about (your niche)?

Unfortunately, we can’t just look these up on Alexa or GA.

You need to spend time observing your readers and learning about them before you can answer these questions.

To do this, first you need to find your audience.

Option #1 – Start with Reddit: You’re looking for any specific forum or group where your potential audience is active. You need to be able to see discussion among the people whom you’re trying to understand.

I suggest starting with Reddit unless you already have a specific group in mind.

You can find most audiences on Reddit. All you need to do is use the subreddit search function and type in your niche.

For a nutrition site, I’d search for “nutrition”:

image04

Subreddits are essentially small forums within the site.

In this case, “r/nutrition” is the subreddit where people discuss nutrition, while “r/bodybuilding” is where people discuss bodybuilding.

Pick the most relevant subreddit that has at least a few thousand subscribers.

If you’ve never used Reddit before, check out my guide to marketing on Reddit, which will walk you through the basics of how the site works.

Start by clicking the “top” filter, and set it to show links from “all time”:

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This will show you the most popular (upvoted) posts in the subreddit of all time.

It tells you what the readers of the subreddit care about the most.

In this case, nutrition enthusiasts care about:

  • busting myths (i.e., cholesterol in eggs is unhealthy)
  • the current nutritional guidelines (and why they are wrong)
  • learning about nutrition (good courses and tutorials)
  • creating practical, healthy, and enjoyable diets

Look through at least 50-100 threads.

Then, go back to the default subreddit filters, and go through another few hundred threads.

Look for things they don’t like (get zero votes) or don’t care much about (get a few votes).

From doing this, you can start answering the questions we identified earlier, understand what your audience’s big problems are, and what helps them the most.

Option #2 – There’s always a forum: Any audience that uses the Internet participates in at least one forum.

Google “(your niche) forum,” and you’ll find at least 2-3, if not several.

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Employ the same process as you did with Reddit. Go through at least a few hundred threads, observe, and note down what the readers like and dislike.

Now, go back to your sheet with your demographics, and jot down the answers to those questions I asked at the start of this section.

Step #3 – Base your decisions on behavior

People don’t always act how they should.

People on a diet shouldn’t eat that piece of cake, but sometimes they do.

That’s because behavior doesn’t always follow intent, which means that psychographics alone are not enough.

When it comes to content, there are a few main questions about your audience that you should be able to answer.

Question #1 – How do they like to consume content? Every audience likes to consume content differently.

There are 3 main aspects of content that you need to determine:

  • What format do they prefer (e.g., video, text, audio)?
  • How often? (an hour a week? an hour a day?)
  • What length of content do they prefer?

There are many ways in which the answers to these questions can be combined to produce different optimal types of content.

You find these answers by going back to those forums.

Note down the three aspects for all the content that gets voted up or gets a lot of replies.

You might find that your potential audience likes to consume long, in-depth (>2,000 words) written articles once every few days.

Or you might find that they prefer to watch quick videos multiple times per week.

Regardless, this will tell you how they connect their problems to their behavior.

Questions #2 – What are they most convinced by? The first question is the most important, but it’s also important to understand what your readers trust.

If someone has a problem they want to solve, they need to trust you and your content before your content can help them.

Again, go back to a forum or two, and read through the most popular threads.

Take note of the credibility of each post.

For example, here’s a post from “r/nutrition” that was highly upvoted. It links to official sources and studies:

image03

After browsing more threads, I saw that this was common.

The readers in that nutrition audience trust only research, so all posts written for them should be well-cited and data-driven.

Alternatively, you might find that your audience prefers quotes and advice from experts in the field.

Or you might find that people are open to learning from hobbyists.

Once you find out this information, add it to your sheet, which should be getting pretty detailed by now.

Step 4: Put your reader persona together, and use it

The goal here is to take all that information and apply it to a specific avatar. Give him or her a name.

Then, turn all those bullet points into sentences that describe your avatar. Essentially, you’re describing his or her life situation (as it pertains to your content).

Here’s an example:

Reader name: Sneil Patel

image00

Sneil is a 30-year-old man living in New York, USA. After going to community college, he was able to find a job as a data entry clerk, making approximately $60,000 a year.

Sneil has developed an interest in getting healthier through nutrition, and he spends time actively learning about this subject online.

He particularly likes to read about nutrition myths and ways to create a diet that works for him and his professional lifestyle, which sometimes requires him to work long hours. In addition to reading, he tries to take at least one in-depth course or tutorial a month.

Since Sneil likes to investigate the truth behind claims, he appreciates content that cites credible research studies. He prefers medium-long content (1,000-2,000 words) that is mostly text. He has time to read a few of these articles a day.

Do you see how that story brings all the data we’ve collected together?

Paragraph 1 is all about demographics.

Paragraphs 2 and 3 both contain psychographic information.

Finally, paragraph 4 addresses your avatar’s behavior.

Using your reader persona: At this point, you should have a persona that you can use. I recommend printing it out and putting it close to where you write.

Every piece of content should be written with this person in mind.

Now that you understand your persona almost as well as you understand yourself, if you keep asking yourself what would Sneil want to read here?, you’ll be able to create content that resonates with a large part of your audience.

One final note: an avatar can evolve. This first version is your best guess at what your readers are like, but as you get feedback from them through comments and emails, you can revise it.

Conclusion

There is nothing more important than understanding your reader if you want to create content that truly makes an impact.

Simply put, a reader persona is the best way to understand your reader.

That’s why I’ve given you this simple 4-step process to creating your own reader persona.

I encourage you to use it as soon as possible and start integrating your reader persona into your content creation processes.

Finally, I’d love it if you shared the reader persona(s) you’ve created in a comment below.

4 Ways Google’s Keyword Planner Might Be Tricking You

google

Keyword research isn’t always fun.

But it is necessary whenever you’re starting most digital marketing campaigns.

It’s mandatory for some channels such as SEO and PPC.

Even for things like content marketing, I still highly recommend doing keyword research to understand your target audience better.

So, where do you start?

If you’re like most marketers and business owners, you go to Google’s very own keyword planner.

It’s the only way you’ll get any real data from Google itself.

There are many keyword research tools out there, but for the most part, they just pull data from Google’s keyword planner anyway.

They may do it in a more effective way than you could on your own, but it’s important to understand that they still have limitations.

Why?

Because Google will never tell you everything it knows, just bits and pieces.

So, while the keyword planner is a fine starting point for keyword research, it is not enough.

If you only use the keyword planner, you will end up missing out on many opportunities and spending your time and resources on keywords that aren’t as good as they appear.

That’s where this post comes in. I’m going to show you 4 different ways that Google’s keyword planner can mislead you. 

1. Averages don’t always tell the whole story

How does the keyword planner come up with a single monthly search volume for each keyword suggestion?

It averages the previous 12-month period.

You may have known that, but do you know how this can affect your keyword research?

It can have a big impact.

Most niches do not have a consistent search volume year round as a whole.

And neither do keywords. If you hover over the little graph icon in a set of keyword results, you’ll see a little graph pop-up showing you the search volumes for that keyword over time:

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In the above picture, the peak search volume is about 8,000, while the minimum is around 3,000. The peak is more than double the minimum.

This isn’t always a big deal, but there are two main reasons why you should be checking the monthly search volumes for individual keywords.

You miss out on emerging keywords: If you’re the first one to write about a topic, you’ll automatically rank #1 for its keywords most of the time.

Being at #1 gets you more links when people search for the keyword and then link to your results.

But if you do keyword research based only on the averages, you’ll never be #1.

Do you see why?

New popular keywords come along every once in awhile in just about every niche.

Search volume slowly picks up steam, and often, it starts growing exponentially at some point.

It’ll look something like this:

image01

The average search volume that the keyword planner shows for that keyword is 18,100.

To me, that’s not an 18,100 keyword—it’s likely over 100,000 from here on out (maybe much more).

You’ll probably notice an 18,100 search volume, but imagine if it was a keyword with a 900 search volume. You might skip over that, not noticing the emerging trend.

In reality, if it’s just picking up speed, it could be an over 10,000 searches per month keyword.

By the time Google shows you the number big enough to grab your attention, you will have already missed your chance to be among the first by a long shot.

If you’re going to skip over a keyword, check its recent search volume first.

Consistent is better: If two keywords have the same average search volume, would you prefer the search volume to be consistent or highly variable?

You’ll find that some keywords in your niche are evergreen (popular all year round), while others are highly seasonal.

Here’s an obvious example: snow shoveling:

image02

Of course, searches like this one spike in the winter months and almost disappear in the summer months.

If you don’t rank in the top 3 by the main winter months, you’ll derive just about zero benefit from all your work until the next year.

Considering that getting to rank highly for a keyword can take weeks or months, you never know.

SEO has a long enough wait time to produce rankings, so you probably don’t want to wait too long to start getting traffic (if you still have your rankings at that time).

Additionally, when you have a spike of traffic, it’s much harder to split test to improve conversion rates. It’s better to have consistent traffic so you can consistently test new variations.

You may not have a choice and have to target seasonal keywords, but sometimes you do.

So, check the variation in the monthly searches when you’re considering which keywords to target. Invest your efforts into the most consistent ones.

2. Beware of rounding

One more thing about those averages: they’re not “true averages.”

Ever noticed how all the keyword suggestions from the planner have search volumes that end in zeros?

That’s because there’s rounding going on behind the scenes.

But Google is not always rounding up or down to the nearest 10; instead, it groups keywords into “buckets.”

Picture a bunch of buckets in a line with a value assigned to each of them.

Google throws keywords with similar search volumes into each bucket, likely because it makes handling all the data simpler on its end.

As you get to the higher numbers, there are fewer keywords to go in the buckets, and that’s when Google removes a bunch of buckets.

At low numbers of searches, most keywords are rounded to the nearest 10.

However, keywords with even a few thousand searches can be off by hundreds in either direction because the next closest bucket is far away.

At really high search volumes, the differences can be even bigger.

image03

The keyword.io team did a great analysis of 57 billion different search terms in the keyword planner.

image07

The x-axis represents the different buckets that Google shows.

The y-axis is the number of keywords that come back for each bucket.

As you’d expect, there are many more low search volume terms than those with huge search volumes.

More importantly, you can see the differences in bucket sizes.

At first, the difference is small (10 > 20 > 30 > 40 > 50 > 70).

However, that difference quickly increases (720 > 880 > 1,000 > 1,300 > 1,600).

Why is this a big deal? The obvious reason is because you want accurate search volumes.

A more common reason is because it makes comparing similar keywords incredibly difficult.

Say you have two keywords in your results:

  • “Keyword 1” – 1,000 searches per month
  • “Keyword 2” – 1,300 searches per month

The second keyword is obviously way better, right?

In reality, the first keyword might have 1,149 searches per month while the second 1,151.

Essentially, they’re identical.

Or if the two keywords were both showing 1,000 searches per month, it’s possible that one actually has 1,149 while the other 941 (about a 20% difference).

The higher the search volumes are, the less certain you can be about the actual number of searches.

Which means that when you’re trying to decide which keyword to go after based on such data, it’s likely that you’ll make wrong decisions.

What can you do about this? The unfortunate part is that there’s nothing you can really do to fix the problem.

The best thing you can do is mitigate the issue by not putting all your eggs in one basket.

Focus on long-tail keywords when possible, and only once you start getting some real data in Google Analytics and webmaster tools should you heavily invest in any particular keywords.

3. Misspellings and variations affect search volume a lot

This particular quirk of the keyword planner doesn’t lie to you, but you need to be aware of it, or your keyword analysis will be incorrect.

When you search for a keyword, Google will show you different results based on the specific variation you enter.

For example, if you search for the TV show “brooklyn nine nine,” you’ll see these numbers as the top results:

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I chose this example because there are multiple variations that mean the exact same thing from the searcher’s perspective.

  • Brooklyn 99
  • Brooklyn ninenine
  • Brooklyn nine-nine

When you enter these other variations, you get different sets of results:

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This is strange because if you type them into Google itself, it knows what you mean when you type any variation.

Why this is important: If you’re comparing the search volumes for different keywords, you need to make sure that you’re considering all variations.

Try out different misspellings and see if they have any search volumes (they won’t show up unless you type in the exact misspelling).

Then, add all the search volumes of the variations together to get a more accurate representation of the overall search volume for your main term.

Keep in mind that you’re adding rounded search volumes together (point #2 in this post). This means that with each term you add, your figure becomes less accurate (but still more accurate than if you ignore the variations).

4. Did you know that Google hides keywords?

It’s understandable that Google doesn’t want to hand over all its data to SEOs.

But not all limitations of the keyword planner are designed on purpose; some just exist due to the way the tool works.

The most important one is that Google won’t show you all the keywords you want to see.

It’s not malicious in any way, but it really impacts your keyword research.

For example, let’s say you typed in “wooden decks”:

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I’ve filtered down the results to only closely related ones (that have “wooden” and “decks” in them).

That’s all of the results I got.

But when I searched for “how to build a wooden deck,” I got a search volume of 210:

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Even in the full original results, that keyword was not there.

In addition, “how to build wooden decks” has another 10 searches per month.

No, these aren’t big keywords, but they illustrate the point that there are obviously related keywords that won’t show up when you search for terms.

The solution? Again, there’s no concrete solution. The best you can do is enter as many seed terms as you can and include several variations.

Additionally, use a tool such as Keywordtool.io to get keywords from other sources, and then run those through the keyword planner to get exact search volumes.

The data is there; it’s just hidden until you find the keyword from other sources.

Should you abandon the keyword planner?

These are some pretty big limitations, which begs the question in this heading.

I don’t think you should abandon the keyword planner. Why? Because the data, while not perfectly accurate, is still the only real data you can get from Google.

However, I think as a way to discover keywords in the first place, it has extreme limitations.

There are many great alternative keyword research tools out there that are worth the few dollars they cost to use.

What they typically do is extract a bunch of seed keywords from different sources and then run those through the keyword tool for you. Then, they return to you a more complete set of keyword results than you’d get if you used the planner yourself.

You could do all of this yourself, but it will take you a ton of extra time, which is just not worth it in most cases.

Conclusion

Google’s keyword planner is a great tool, which should be used by all marketers and business owners for keyword research.

However, it has limitations.

I’ve shown you the 4 main limitations of the tool and what you should do to mitigate their negative effects.

Go forward with your keyword research in the future, but keep this post in mind. Don’t use the keyword planner as your sole tool for keyword research, or you’ll miss out on a lot of great opportunities.

If you have any questions about any of these concepts, just leave me a comment below. Also, if you love a particular keyword research tool, share it with everyone.

Spotlight on Optimize 360, part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite

analytics 360

Because better web experiences start with integrated marketing tools

A recent survey of marketers found that only 26% believe their marketing tools are well-integrated and work seamlessly together.1

And with all the channels and screens that customers are using – plus all the data that results – poor integration makes it hard to understand and respond to all the journeys that customers take to interact with your brand.

When your marketing tools are integrated, you can use all the rich behavioral insights you’ve learned about your customers to make their experience on your site better. You can quickly identify areas of your site that can be improved upon and more easily tailor your site for specific audiences so your business can provide the optimal site experience to each customer.

That’s why we created Google Optimize 360 (beta). This new testing and personalization solution is built with full native integration for all the data that matters to your business.

Get a clearer view and faster action

The Google Analytics 360 Suite was built to make sense of all this data. Optimize 360 helps you take that integrated data and build better web experiences, not just for the “average user” but for individual users with all their different needs and goals. It offers you:

  • One data source. Work with confidence as your web analytics data and experiment data can now work together in one tool. 
  • Experiment and business objectives are the same. Many businesses already use Analytics 360 to measure key activity on their site as they make critical business decisions. Now their experiments can easily test against those same activities. 
  • Simple, powerful personalization. It’s easy to use the Analytics 360 segments you’ve already discovered to deliver more personal web experiences. 

 Enterprise-level testing and personalization made simple

Refresh your site messaging or re-imagine the entire customer journey — just about anything is possible with the easy-to-use visual editor in Optimize 360.

Once you’ve created a new variation of your site to test, you can select your Analytics 360 goals as experiment objectives and target your Analytics 360 audiences. After you’ve launched your experiment, you can review experiment reporting that matches your web analytics reporting. It’s both easy and powerful ― because testing and personalization are seamlessly integrated with Analytics 360 from start to finish.

The Motley Fool increases order page conversion rate by 26% with Optimize 360

Many Optimize 360 customers have seen first-hand the benefits of an integrated and simple-to-use testing solution. The Motley Fool is one such customer.

The Motley Fool is dedicated to helping the world invest — better. The company was begun by brothers Tom and David Gardner in 1993 as a simple investing newsletter for family and friends. The Motley Fool is a global financial company now, but newsletters remain a key product.

During regular reviews of their Analytics 360 data, The Motley Fool team began to see a weak link in the sales chain — email campaigns were driving visitors to the newsletter order page, but a high percentage of those sessions weren’t leading to an order.

The Motley Fool team began experimenting with ways they could make the newsletter order process as simple and easy as possible for their users. They used Optimize 360 to put their ideas to the test and measured their results against an already created Analytics 360 goal that was measuring newsletter orders.

“The ability to use our existing Analytics 360 data in a testing platform was huge for our team,” says Laura Cavanaugh, Data Analytics Manager for The Motley Fool. “Our server-side event tracking for key metrics like leads and orders is 99% accurate — far better than with other sources.”

Even before results came in, Optimize 360 made a big impact on The Motley Fool team by saving valuable time and resources. “One of our marketing managers can set up a test from start to finish in less than 10 minutes,” says Cavanaugh.

When the experiment results did come in, they were clear and powerful. The redesigned order page resulted in an improvement in conversion rate over the original order page.

And The Motley Fool isn’t stopping there. Now they plan on testing new elements for many different audience segments, like better landing pages for new prospects and custom experiences for loyal customers.

And having the combination of Analytics 360 and Optimize 360 gives them a more complete view of the greater business impact each of their changes have.

Read the full case study with The Motley Fool for more details.

More to come 

This is only the beginning. In the coming months we’ll share even more product features and integrations that we’re now building into Optimize 360, so you can take seamless action on your Google data wherever it exists.

Want to learn more? Visit our website to read more about Optimize 360.

1Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Discover How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Results

How to Get Extra Organic Search Traffic with Google’s “Related Questions”

Google Related questions for SEO

seo

Most SEOs go after the most competitive traffic from Google.

Years ago, that’s all there was, but Google has created many new features—many of which can be used to get extra search traffic.

The best part about these features is that most SEOs never even try to take advantage of them.

If you’re smart, you’ll want to take advantage of them.

Want to get extra organic search traffic? This handy little guide will teach you how to use Google’s “Related Questions” to get more traffic.

I want to single out one of these features in particular—the one that’s relatively new:

Related Questions. 

You might have seen these when searching for various terms. They appear as small boxes within the search results themselves (usually around the 4-5th spot).

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When a searcher clicks one of the questions, it expands to show a brief potential answer as well as a link that the searcher can click for more information:

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These links will get high click-through rates.

For the rest of this post, I’ll further explain how related links work and then show you how you can increase the chances of your site showing up in these searches.

Why you should care about “related questions”: It’s a neat feature, but is it worth spending time and effort trying to show up in related questions?

The fact I’m writing this article means I think the answer is yes.

While it’s a fairly new feature, it’s grown incredibly fast.

Moz started tracking “related questions” in early 2015 when they were first rolled out. They showed up on just over 1% of queries.

But since then, there have been massive spikes in the number of queries with related questions, and that upward trend could continue:

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At the end of 2015, related questions were showing up for just over 8% of all queries that Moz tracks (that’s a very significant portion).

When do “related questions” show up?

The tough part is finding out which searches related questions actually show up for.

From the name, related questions, you might think that they would show up only for searches that are phrased as questions.

In fact, it’s the opposite.

Related questions rarely show up in the search results of queries that are specific (like other questions).

Instead, they show up often when the search query is a broad term.

For example, if you search for “US food pyramid,” you’ll probably see this:

image16

From Google’s perspective, the searcher is looking for general information when they enter a broad term.

In order to help them find a more specific path to learn about, Google provides common questions (and answers) with the “related questions” box.

Take a few minutes to search for a few general terms in your niche, and see if you can get the “related questions” box to come up.

Even if you can’t find many, that doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t use “related questions” in your niche. Unfortunately, there’s just no easy way to find them at the moment.

That being said, you can still implement things that should let you take advantage of this extra traffic source, so keep reading on.

Where related questions and answers come from

It’s time for us to do a little investigating.

Let’s say someone searches for “gyro sauce.”

They’ll see a “related questions” panel like this one:

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Let’s expand one of the answers and take a closer look at the answer and link:

image12

It’s clearly a relevant answer to that question (a tzatziki sauce recipe).

It makes sense that Google pulls this answer from the data it has for the related question query: “How do you make tzatziki sauce?”

In fact, that Allrecipes article does rank #1 for that query.

So, that’s it, right?

Not quite. In fact, many of the answers that Google links to are not in the #1 spot for their own query.

However, almost all are on the front page.

Take the query “search engine optimization backlinks” as an example. There are a few related questions within the results:

image05

When we click on Search for: What is a backlink?, that webopedia page shows up as the 4th result.

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Clearly, you don’t need to rank #1 for a related query to still get chosen to be featured in a related question. However, ranking high will help.

How to get your answer to show up in related questions

There hasn’t been very much in-depth analysis done on “related questions.”

That being said, it’s clear from just looking at enough of these related questions that there are a few main factors that lead to answers being selected:

  • Authority for the related question query – Just as we have seen above, if you rank better for the results of the question, you have a better chance to appear in the “related questions” section.
  • Schema (rich text markup) – “Related questions” are part of Google’s knowledge graph, which we know uses schema to understand content better. It’s not necessary to be chosen as an answer source, but it’s probably not a coincidence that most answer pages use schema.
  • Clarity and relevance of content – For Google to provide an answer to a question like “what is a backlink?”, you need something like “a backlink is…” as a heading (or even just as bolded text) somewhere on the page. For example, the answer to that gyro sauce question was taken from a section called “directions”:

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So, where does that leave us?

You get page authority mostly from the backlinks to your page and site. Start with my advanced guide to link building if you need help.

I also won’t go into the clarity of your content much because it’s pretty self-explanatory. Have clear headlines, and emphasize the important parts of your content naturally.

You don’t need to force in certain keywords, just maintain a simple and clear format. If you’re writing naturally, you’ll do this automatically.

The most interesting factor for you here should be the schema markup because a lot of the sites that rank ahead of you on these related questions won’t use it. It’s an extra opportunity to increase your traffic from these related questions.

Understanding schema

If you’re already familiar with schema, you can skip this section. But you still might want to read it for a quick refresher.

Schema refers to a specific type of rich text markup, which is essentially an HTML code that doesn’t show up to readers.

The markup was designed to help content creators explain their content better.

It’s not very widely used, which is probably why it is not a ranking factor. However, Google definitely draws upon it for features such as rich snippets and for understanding pages better in general:

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Those pictures, ratings, reviews, etc., can all improve your click-through rates, which could improve your search rankings indirectly.

But we’re not concerned with that here. Instead, we want to use schema to help Google understand our content better so that it is used for “related questions.”

Implementing schema to get shown in “related questions”

The reasons why most websites don’t implement schema is because it does take some extra work, but mainly because it’s scary.

If you’ve never used it before and you go to the Schema site, you’ll be overwhelmed.

I don’t want that to happen to you, so let me break things down and simplify them. I promise it’s not that bad.

If you go to the Schema.org library, you’ll see that there are hundreds of different properties that you could apply:

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Now, do me a favor: ignore them. Why?

Because 99% of them will never be useful to you, especially not for the purpose we have in this post.

There are, however, three important schema tags you do need to understand.

1. “itemscope”: This is a top level tag. You can put it inside any HTML tag to tell search crawlers that everything inside that HTML division (or span, body, etc.) refers to one specific topic.

You do not have to specify a value.

Here’s an example:

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The arrow points to the “itemscope” tag. That tells Google that everything within that div tag (in the rectangle) is related.

2. “itemtype”: One level down is the “itemtype” tag. For this one, you do have to specify a value.

When you add this tag to an HTML element, it tells the crawler that everything in that tag is one specific type of content.

Because of this, it’s often paired with the “itemscope” tag.

There are tons of different types in the Schema.org library:

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Again, I don’t want you to worry about them because for our purpose, we are focusing on getting our written content included in Google’s “related questions.”

The types we care about are:

You can see in the following picture that an “itemtype” of “WebPage” was applied to the body tag:

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3. “itemprop”: This is the last tag that you’ll need to understand and use.

The first two basically marked broad things about your content, but the “itemprop” tag lets you get a lot more specific.

Go ahead, and click one of those “itemtype” links I just gave you above in the bullet points.

You’ll get a list of different properties (guess what “prop” in “itemprop” stands for?):

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You can include as many or as few of them as you’d like. Just include enough to accurately describe your content.

Before we get into specific properties you’ll want to use in this situation, let’s take a look at the “itemprop” tag in action:

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Just like the other tags, you can add it do any HTML element. You simply include the property name in quotation marks.

There is one other variation you might see:

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You can add “meta” tags that have no other purpose than to describe your content.

In the case above, these meta tags each describe one aspect of the content in the div (that is marked with the “itemscope” markup).

Both the width and the height of the image are specified as 800 (pixels), and even the URL is explicitly labelled.

This is what I mean when I say that you can get as detailed as you want to.

Now, let’s get back to those three types of content that we’ll be using here. Each of them has many properties, but again, we won’t need most of them.

Instead, we’ll focus on a select few.

For “webpage”:

  • mainContentOfPage – Put this tag right around the actual body of your content.
  • about – This is a general tag that describes your content. You’ll need to describe your content in a few words (do it in a “content” tag in the same HTML element).
  • description – describes a particular section of content. Using the “content” tag again, you could say something like “lists the ingredients of tzatziki.”

For “article” or “blogposting”:

  • articleBody – Put in the tag that wraps around the text of your content.
  • about – This is a general tag that describes your content. You’ll need to describe your content in a few words (do it in a “content” tag in the same HTML element)
  • description – describes a particular section of content. Using the “content” tag again, you could say something like “lists the ingredients of tzatziki.”

Does it matter which one you should use? In my opinion, not really.

You can see that they are all almost identical. As long as you’re using them when possible, you’ll do fine.

Do you need to use schema for every piece of content? You don’t have to always use schema.

Here, we’re focusing on content that answers a few questions and that might get referenced by Google.

If your post doesn’t really answer many common questions, you don’t have to include markup (although it’s still a good idea).

Conclusion

SEO today is a lot tougher than it used to be.

But there are some opportunities to get extra search traffic that are much easier to implement than your typical SEO.

The related questions that show up in search results are one of those opportunities.

If you want your content to show up in those questions, implement the tactics we went over in this post, and you’ll have a good chance at achieving that. Focus on your typical on-page and off-page SEO, and start implementing the specific schema markup, as I showed you above, in your content.

If you have any questions about Google’s “related questions” feature, leave me a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Why Integrated Marketing Analytics Are Critical to Success

Marketers have an increasingly complicated job, with access to an unprecedented amount of customer insights and analytics tools. A new study from Forrester Consulting uncovers how successful organizations use marketing analytics tools to develop relevant customer experiences.

Consumers expect to find what they want anytime, anywhere from their smartphones, tablets, and laptop. These micro-moments offer marketers more opportunities than ever before to connect and engage. They also enable marketers to learn valuable insights about consumer behavior. With so much customer data to consider, effective marketing measurement is more important than ever before. 

To understand the challenges marketers face in measuring performance and creating a well-integrated tool set, Google commissioned Forrester Consulting to perform an in-depth survey of 150 marketing, analytics, and information technology executives. The research revealed how successful marketers are able to leverage analytics tools effectively so they make the most of consumer interactions.

Key findings:

 • Marketers must be able to tie performance to business results. Among the survey respondents identified as “sophisticated marketers,” 53% stated they adhere to well-established metrics that tie directly to business objectives. These marketers support organizations that are at least 3X more likely to hit their goals than other marketing organizations.


 • The right tools are critical to success. Only 26% of marketers surveyed believed that their marketing analytics tools are well-integrated and work seamlessly together. But, marketers with well-integrated tools were more likely to outperform revenue goals.


 • Marketers that implement complete marketing analytics platforms see an increase in performance. Sophisticated marketers who deploy a complete marketing analytics stack of five or more tools are 39% more likely to see improvement in the overall performance of their marketing programs.


 To learn more about improving marketing performance with analytics, check out the full study, “Discover How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Performance.

 Post By, Suzanne Mumford, Head of Marketing, Google Analytics 360 Suite

4 Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Link Building

Google Related questions for SEO

lift off

Link building is still as important as ever to business owners even though it’s a bit different today than it was in the recent past.

You used to be able to build any type of link and get an SEO benefit from them.

But now, with all the changes over the years, only the very best links have any real benefit to them.

These links are given a lot of weight by Google, and they also usually send traffic directly to your site.

The problem is that these links are much harder to get than the junk links that used to pass as “good link building.”

Because of that, conversion rates are much lower.

You might try to get 100 links and only end up getting a few of these high quality links.

At first, this seems like a bad thing, but I believe it is good for marketers (well, the smart ones anyway…).

Marketers who just want to spam junk links usually try this type of link building but give up when they see that they only get a few links from the same effort that used to bring them dozens.

Additionally, because it’s more difficult, the best marketers who optimize their promotional strategies are able to double or triple their conversion rates compared to average marketers.

In this post, I want to show you a few ways in which you can start optimizing your link building for better conversion rates.

Check out this PDF to learn how to boost the conversion rates of your link building.

I’m confident that you’ll walk away with at least one tactic that will significantly increase the number of links you get from your link building campaigns. 

The 2 main parts of a link building campaign

Before we can dive into the different ways you can boost your conversion rates, it’s important that you understand the different aspects of a campaign.

While every campaign is different, it generally has two main parts: your content and your promotion.

Improving either of these can lead to higher conversion rates even though most of the ways in this article focus on the promotional side.

Part #1 – Your content: Any type of content can be used in a link building campaign. Blog posts, tools, image galleries—you name it…

Basically, if it has some value and you want to get links to it, you can use it.

The reason why most conversion rate optimization tactics don’t focus on the content side of things is because the answer is usually to just “make it better.”

The more impressive your content is, the easier it is to convince people to link to it.

Part #2 – Promotion (email outreach): The other part of link building is your offsite work.

There are two types of links.

The links that anyone can build (think blog comments and web 2.0 sites). These links are okay at best.

The really great links are the ones you get from contacting people.

And while you can contact people through many channels, most of the tactics I’m going to touch upon involve email outreach, which is by far the most common.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Way #1 – Save the link for later

Can you write a good outreach email?

Let’s say you just wrote an absolutely epic blog post and you’re trying to get links to it by emailing other bloggers in your niche.

Can you:

  • Be polite?
  • Not come on too strong?
  • At least try to make it seem like you don’t just want a link?

These are three important parts of a good outreach email.

A few years ago, this was enough. If you politely and with good grammar asked for a link, you could get upwards of 10-20 links per 100 emails you sent out.

But now? It’s much lower. If you got 10 today with the same type of email, you’d be thrilled.

What happened?

Well, marketers started sharing the templates they used for their email outreach campaigns. Here’s an example from Backlinko:

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The intent of sharing those emails is good because it helps marketers learn what good emails look like.

The problem is that too many marketers are lazy, and those lazy ones hurt the rest of us.

All of those marketers started copying, almost word for word, those different templates.

The end result is that bloggers and journalists today receive several (popular ones get hundreds) of similar emails a day asking for a link.

Most of these go straight into the recycle bin.

The signs of a bad outreach email: The bloggers or staff manning those busy inboxes look for a few telltale signs of templated fluff that make it obvious that it’s just a link request.

For example, they will look to see if there is any personalization.

If the first line of the email is:

I love reading your blog

That seems really fishy. Compare that to something like:

I loved your blog post on Facebook advertising. I finally got my first profitable campaign thanks to it!

It’s obvious that the email was written for that specific blogger.

The other main sign of a bad link request email is…a link:

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If someone includes a link in an email to you (or a blogger), they usually want something from you.

People don’t like feeling used, rightfully, and will often delete any emails with a link in them if they have any suspicion at all.

The solution? Be different: If most marketers are sending their emails with links like that, do the opposite: don’t include any links in your first email.

The one reason you might be hesitant is that now you need to get a response first before you can even ask for a link.

Trust me, though, if you have something worth linking to, you’re going to get a reply.

Additionally, if someone won’t even reply to an email, do you think they’re going to go through the trouble of giving you a link? Rarely.

If you test this, you’ll find that your reply and overall link rate goes up significantly.

How do you actually do this?

It’s simple. If your normal outreach emails include a line like:

I just published a great guide on washing cats, here’s the link: (link)

Replace it with something like:

I know that you’re always writing about cats, and I did a little research on washing cats properly (I actually found a lesser-known technique that’s amazing).

Would you mind if I sent you a link to it and got your thoughts on it?

One big thing is that this forces you to frame it in terms of the benefits to the person you’re emailing.

And since your emails aren’t automatically being thrown in the trash, you’ll get a lot of responses that say “sure, send it over.”

That doesn’t guarantee a link, but if your content is great, you’ll get a very good conversion rate.

One final note is that you don’t even have to mention your content in the first email as long as you open a dialogue. Building a long-term relationship should be your goal here, not just getting one link.

Way #2 – Make it shorter

I told you about the marketers who basically copy templates.

Now I want to talk about the marketers who despise that and do everything they can to go the extra mile. You might be one of them.

I love this type of marketer, but they make a few common mistakes.

One is that they make their emails way too long.

If you’re emailing someone who gets hundreds of emails a day, they do not have time to spend 10 minutes reading a 2,000-word email. After all that work, your email will end up in the trash.

If you’re trying to cram in personal stories in order to “make a connection,” stop.

Instead, include only the most important point. If it’s really interesting, you’ll get a reply with an invitation to expand on it.

A good email should be under 200 words long. You’re looking for 4-6 sentences in most cases.

Way #3 – Stop asking for too much work

If someone comes up to you on the street and asks you to take a picture of them, most of the time you’ll probably agree to.

But if they asked you to do a full photoshoot for them for an hour, of course you’d never say yes.

The point here is that the more you ask for, the less likely you are to get it.

At some point in your conversation, you’ll have to ask for a link. But there are many different ways to do that.

Unfortunately, many link requests go like this:

Here’s the link to my content: (link).

I’d really appreciate it if you linked to it from anywhere on your site.

Do you see why this is really bad?

It’s asking for a lot of work.

First, the blogger needs to look at your content. There’s no way around that.

Next, they need to look up their old posts and find one that’s relevant to your topic.

Then, they need to find an appropriate space for your link in that post.

Unless you’re a really good friend, why would anyone say yes to this? That’s one reason why your conversion rate stinks.

Make it easy: You can instantly make your conversion rate go up by making it easier to link to you.

Here are a few ways you can do that:

  1. Provide a specific page on the blogger’s website, where a link to your content fits really well. Write any text that is needed so that their content still makes sense.
  2. If you’re promoting an infographic, offer to send them an embed code.
  3. Give them future post ideas that they can use (make them great) that would naturally include a link to your content.
  4. Offer to edit and improve an old post they wrote if they’ll allow you to include a link. Send them the finished HTML code so that they can just copy and paste it into the post.

These are just a few ways. If you think of any other ways to make their lives easier, do it.

Way #4 – Targeting is crucial for conversion rates

There’s one easy way to ensure that your conversion rate is 0%…

Send emails to the wrong people.

If you wrote about cat washing but tried to get links from home improvement bloggers, you’d, of course, get no links. But that’s obvious.

Most marketers make subtle mistakes with their targeting.

For example, common advice is to find bloggers to contact using tools such as BuzzSumo.

It’s not bad advice, but you need to keep your targeting in mind.

Let’s say you wrote a guide on social media marketing.

If you just type in “marketing,” you’ll get SEO bloggers, paid advertising bloggers, sales bloggers, and many more that aren’t social media marketing bloggers.

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If you sent emails to 500 of these, you’d definitely get some responses and links.

However, most of them will simply delete your email because it’s clear that you don’t even know what they write about.

There are some exceptions where you might want to ask for a link from a blogger from a non-directly related niche, but you’ll need to be very clear explaining your reasoning to them.

If you want high conversion rates, you need a highly targeted list of people who can actually link to you.

Filter out the irrelevant contacts in your list—it’ll save you time and won’t make an impact on the number of links you get.

Conclusion

Unless you already have a site with tons of traffic, you’ll need to conduct ongoing link building campaigns.

Quite obviously, the better your conversion rate, the more traffic you’ll get as a result and the less time you’ll need to spend on your campaigns.

That’s why I shared these four ways of boosting your link building conversion rates.

If you implement all of them, it’s possible to achieve a conversion rate that is double or triple what the average marketer gets. That’s a huge difference in the short and long term.

I’d love to hear whether you’ve put any of these tactics into action and how they’ve worked for you. If you’ve had any problems, leave me a comment about those too, and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

14 Signs You Aren’t Cut Out To Be A Content Marketing Writer

Have you ever wondered, “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer?” Well, you might be right. I never want to discourage anyone from becoming a writer. I do, however, want to discourage people from thinking they need to be a writer while having absolutely no desire to do so. I wrote this article because content marketing is king. There are, therefore, tribes of great marketers who think that they must be screwed up because they don’t want to write or can’t write. If you’re not a writer, don’t beat yourself up. Here are the telltale signs. 1. You…

The post 14 Signs You Aren’t Cut Out To Be A Content Marketing Writer appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Introducing Google Tag Manager for Real World Tags

Google Tag Manager is great for easily deploying and organizing all your site and app tags. But what about the complex problem of tags in the real world? Libraries, dentist offices, and college universities are a big mess of file folders with complex tagging systems. (The Dewey Decimal System for example dates all the way back to 1876!) Street artists have to manually spray paint their tags, and retailers have to keep track of tags on their wares. Conservationists and marine biologists tag animals such as sharks in order to fully understand their behaviors. But how to wrangle your universe of real-world items is the question.

The Tag Manager team thought deeply about this issue and decided there had to be a better way to manage the broad spectrum of real world tags. Finding things like folders by numerical sorting in stacks of thousands is simply too difficult. What if one is out of place? That’s why today we’re excited to announce Google Tag Manager for real world tags!

Simply place the patented Google Tag Manager RFID tag on what you want to manage, such as the above LP, and we’ll do the rest.

Feature Overview 
Google Tag Manager for real world tags seeks to automagically inventory, categorize and help manage your real world tags no matter what variety they are. And by using the power of the cloud, the hard work will get done for you!

Inventory
Once placed on the desired item, Google Tag Manager for real world tags will create a record of that item in your Tag Manager dashboard. Now you have a record of this item from your mobile device or workstation, so you can manage it from anywhere in the world.

Automatic Categorization 
We’ll automatically determine what’s going on with your items and scan their contents in real-time. So whether you’re tagging a shark, or just tagging your lunch in the break room refrigerator, our tag management technology will discern what’s being tagged appropriately, and help you easily turn on the set of functions specific to your use case (for example, tracking down your missing leftovers). 

Edit & Create Rules 
You can create rules for your tags without having to even go back to your physical item. For example, are you a street artist? Simply stick one of our RFID stickers on the wall next to your tags, and change the color or style from anywhere in the world through our easy to use interface.

Speaking of sharks, are you a marine biologist? We’ve got you covered. No longer do you have to manually tag each animal you’re tracking one by one. With our new fleet of Google Tag Manager Real World Drones, simply setup a trigger for the animals you’re working to protect, and the drones will gently and humanely deploy the necessary tags to all relevant animals:

How to get started … 
We’ll be releasing Google Tag Manager for real world tags in the coming weeks, and shipping 10,000 physical tags to each registered user of Google Tag Manager to get started. The first release will require you to manually update your tags, but of course you only need to re-tag your items once – after that, it’s smooth sailing.

Happy Tagging!

Posted by the Google Tag Manager Team .
…and yes, April Fools.