Welcome to another Exposure Ninja Digital Marketing Roundup.
Over the past week, the Marketing Ninjas at the Exposure Ninja dojo have been working flat out on our End of Month Reports for our clients, but we’ve still left plenty of time for learning and reading more about how to be better Ninjas and about all of the changes in the digital marketing world, including:
✂ Cutting your content could result in more traffic (yes, we’re serious)
🔍 Google updates its Search Rater Guidelines again
🛒 Amazon is killing it — and now in the Ads space too
👄 Google Assistant has more to talk about
📈 Using emojis in your marketing can 💯 your click-through rate
Jump to your favourite marketing subject:
Sometimes LESS Content is MORE Content
At one point in time, it was quite normal to churn out five paragraphs of one hundred words each, slap a link into it, and then hit publish. Content wasn’t what was important, but links were.
Fast forward a few years and “content is king” (as the saying goes) — but should you be concerned about that old content you used to churn out? And if you have a farm of writers churning out content, how much of it is really worth keeping and how much of it should be heading to the bin?
Enter “content pruning”.
Content pruning is similar to rose pruning. You cut some parts of the flower so that the rose can reach its full and beautiful potential.
By identifying low-value content on your website, you can then choose to either improve that content or remove it, to make way for better content on the subject that you have either already published or will publish when you remove the older content.
Another method is to take multiple low-performing blog posts that are all related to a similar subject and compile them into one super post on the greater subject matter.
For example, you may have multiple blog posts about door locks, including:
- How To Choose a Reliable Door Lock
- Which Features Are Necessary for a Strong Door Lock?
- Does My Door Lock Need to Be “Smart” to Be Strong?
- Should You Choose a Powered Door Lock?
What if all of those titles and separate blog posts were all part of one long-form, unbeatable piece of content?
Each title could be a headline within it and, to make it even more helpful to your prospective customer, you could include imagery and videos in the piece to make it accessible in multiple ways.
Content pruning can be a tricky beast to tame successfully, especially when redirecting older posts comes into the equation (speak to your SEO Ninja if you’re not sure about redirects: they’re dangerous if done badly). What’s needed is guidance, which we have to share with you in the form of this content pruning guide by Jimmy Daly of Animalz.
In the post, Mr Daly discusses how the accounting SaaS company QuickBooks has successfully doubled its traffic by pruning half of its content — a very brave task indeed, but fruitful for its traffic KPIs.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
What’s Your Attention Ratio?
If you’ve been in the CRO game for a while, then this following tip may not be useful to you, but for everyone else, the following short video is worth the next three minutes of your life.
Now that you know what Attention Ratio is, review your most important landing page and find yours — if it’s bad, make it your top priority to fix next.
Pay-per Click (PPC)
Amazon Ads: Your New Best Friend
Amazon is no newcomer to the Ads market — it’s been operating an internal advertising platform since as far back as 2015. But in the past few years the eCommerce company (can you even call them an eCommerce company any more?! Hello, Pantry and Web Servers) has ramped up its promotion and the functionality of the platform to a point where it’s becoming a must for store owners and a large contributor of growth for Amazon (the AWS platform alone reported a 49% growth YoY in Q2 — thanks to Glenn Gabe for the heads up).
The ad network is clearly working. Revenue doesn’t increase unless someone is clicking, and the person paying for the ad is making enough from the eventual sale to support the spend, so there’s an opportunity for eCommerce business owners to take advantage too.
If further evidence is required, then you may find these statistics from brands that have successfully ran Amazon Ad campaigns highly convincing:
- Nespresso: “The coffee pioneer beat CPA goals by 70% and drove sales 3x higher on Amazon compared to its projected goals”
- Brita: “On average, users who were exposed to Brita ads were 4.8x more likely to purchase Brita Grand Pitchers versus those not exposed”
- Plato Pets Treats: “The campaign delivered a $1.21 ROI (return on ad spend)”
How To Start Using Amazon Ads for Your eCommerce Store
As with almost all other networks, there is a range of different ads and ad spaces in which a store can cross-advertise its stock on its competitor’s product pages and in search pages. Companies with enough money can also create branded landing pages dedicated to their products that can appear more like a sales landing page on their own website (which is great for brand establishment and customer trust).
As you can imagine, writing out all of the steps for creating a successful ads platform is out of the scope of this brief, yet informative (we hope) round-up post. So, we’d highly recommend reading WordStream’s “Complete Beginner’s Guide to Advertising on Amazon“, written by the talented Margot da Cunha.
In the guide you’ll find:
- What Amazon Ads are
- How Amazon Ads work
- How to get started
- Which Amazon Ads to choose
- How to optimise your Amazon Ads campaign
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Google’s ‘Search Quality Rater Guidelines’ Gets Another Significant Update
Google’s algorithm is a myriad of hundreds of different algorithms and calculations all working overtime and instantaneously to provide each user with the best quality search results possible, including the method in which they’re displayed (e.g, as links, Featured Snippets, Rich Results, etc.).
Google puts a lot of emphasis on the quality of the results it presents so that the user doesn’t think twice about which search engine they’ll use next time around — they’re so successful at doing this that when we do search for something, we “google” it, rather than “yahoo” it — but, there’s always the chance that a search engine results page (SERP) will make a miscalculation and display a site that doesn’t belong on the first page.
To ensure this happens as infrequently as possible, Google has a battalion of humans sitting at computers around the world double checking if a domain or page should rank or not.
Each of these Search Quality Raters is specifically trained to follow strict guidelines set out in Google’s official Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, which are publically visible for anyone to review (Ninjas included).
- A domain must convey Expertise
- A domain must convey Authority
- A domain must convey Trust
The above is a very simplified version of what the guidelines aim to achieve, but in the most recent update (released this month), there have been significant changes.
The most significant changes are in relation to a change from focusing solely on the E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) of the domain to focusing on the author too, further putting an emphasis on steering away from non-expert written content, such as ghostwritten content; content without a declared author name; or low-value user-generated content, as made clear from the following text from the guidelines:
Website Information/information about who is responsible for the MC [Main Content]: Find information about the website as well as the creator of the MC.
Website Reputation/reputation about who is responsible for the MC: Links to help with reputation research will be provided.
For a deep run through of the changes to the guidelines, both big and small, be sure to check out Jennifer Sleggs’ brilliant breakdown and summarisation.
How To Display E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) on Your Website
The most pressing question asked by website owners is: “How can I display E-A-T on my website?” and the answers are, unfortunately, often vague. So we put the question to the brilliant Bill Slawski, who replied and was retweeted with additional useful info by Marie Haynes.
Great tips for demonstrating E-A-T. Also, find ways to get mentions in places considered to be authorities in your verticle, cultivate great reviews and generally be an amazing business that people like. https://t.co/MqqfqIchfX
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) July 26, 2018
Google Assistant to Benefit from New “Speakable” Schema Markup
Schema.org, the collaborative organisation behind the data markup language, has introduced a new “speakable” markup extension that will enable publishers to markup sections of an article that will effectively turn text to speech and be useful for news summaries read aloud by voice search assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa and Cortana.
While it’s a pending extension, we don’t foresee any complications ahead that would prevent this becoming a standard markup extension.
This addition has been created in collaboration with Google, as the search engine giant is one of the founding creators of the Schema organisation.
Google has created developer documentation for developers to use. This schema will be available only to publishers to begin with, as they will have more opportunities to use and test this new system.
If you’re still unsure on how Schema works, which markup to use or how it can be deployed, then we suggest you read through this old (but still highly effective) post by the SchemaApp team: “How to Develop a Schema Markup Strategy for a Website“.
Track Google My Business URL Clicks with More Precision
Google My Business is getting a lot of time investment and platform improvements, with more features being added that improve customer service and increase brand trust with users — but one area in which the tool has not been entirely helpful is the tracking of users.
Are users clicking on your website link in Google Maps and coming through to your website? With the current Google Analytics setup, it’s hard to tell at times.
Using Google’s own Campaign URL Builder (or UTM Builder, as we call it), we can add a UTM parameter to the website URL for the Google My Business listing and then track that UTM within Analytics.
For our own tracking of Google My Business clicks, we prefer to use the following default:
Social Media / Influencer Marketing
12 Ways to Boost Brand Awareness on Social Media
Brand awareness is everything if your ambition is to have a successful business. Creating a brand that potential and current customers can trust is important, because it forms the basis for why people return to, and keep spending their money with, a brand. This makes building and improving brand awareness via social media a mandatory component of an effective and successful marketing campaign.
When a new business is starting off with brand building, it can be a little difficult to brainstorm and choose an effective campaign, but fortunately, other companies have already tested out a number of ideas to try — some of which are included in SproutSocial’s latest post, “12 Ways to Boost Brand Awareness on Social Media“.
Some of the suggestions included the post include:
- Give your social media profiles some personality
- Build a conversation with your community — be inclusive
- Repurpose your content across channels
- Stick to a schedule
We particularly love the idea of A/B testing your content. Updates that didn’t work yesterday may work perfectly today, if shared at the right time or shared with different taglines or imagery. It may just be that your audience doesn’t really browse Twitter on a Sunday — maybe they spend their time daydreaming on Instagram or gathering DIY tips on Pinterest at the weekend?
Test, test, and test again. You may find that your audience behaves far more differently than you thought at first.
Other Notable Mentions
Google Adds Cross-Device Reporting to Analytics
As reported by the intelligent team at SEER Interactive, Google has improved its cross-device tracking system and reporting so that businesses can see how effective their advertising campaigns have been across mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
The implications of this are huge for not only justifying individual campaigns and budgets for different devices, but also providing a more accurate representation of how interconnected campaigns are and that interactions per device all lead to the final completed sale.
How to Increase Your Click-Through Rate with Emojis
Click-through rate: the one metric we’re all trying to improve, whether it’s for our email open rate or for our metadata in Google’s results pages — we all want clicks, clicks and more clicks — but are we using all of the tools at our disposal? Garrett Mehrguth researches to find out.
In Mr Mehrguth’s article, he shares his research on how social media’s beloved emoji has been successfully utilised to improve the open rate of emails. If you’re an email marketer, you can probably attest to how useful these little graphics can be (if used well).
But are we all making the most of them?
Emojis work across many forms of media — including within the search results.
The results are really interesting to review, especially when its usage integrates with a specific marketing campaign or seasonal event, such as Valentine’s Day.
The potential for improving interaction between the user and your marketing is only restricted by your imagination, but do take care not to go overboard and replace ALL of your words with emojis 😂.
WordPress Set to Replace Its Standard Visual Editor
Goodbye Visual Editor, Hello Gutenburg.
The editor tool within WordPress is set for a big change in the months ahead, as WordPress releases WordPress 5.0, the next version of the Content Management System.
The visual editor will change to be easier-to-use, but also more focused on the content itself, instead of how the content is formatted (bold, italics, with added media, etc.).
While not everyone is happy about the change — there’s a demo plugin users can test which has a worrying 2.7 out of 5 stars — this new user interface should make it even easier to be creative, in the same way that Medium has made content creation both simple and accessible to new and experienced writers.
Want to see the new editor in action? Visit testgutenberg.com.
10 Productive Ways to Use Pinterest for Business
Some people can be very dismissive of the powerful potential of Pinterest — the social media platform built upon the personal curation of images — but Pinterest is a killer social network for businesses and it deserves full attention.
Pinterest is mostly used by bloggers to expand their reach, that much is true, but many successful businesses have harnessed the platform to enhance brand awareness and brand sentiment successfully.
The trouble is, most businesses don’t know where to start with the platform or how to use it successfully.
Brent Barnhart of SproutSocial has the entry point business owners need.
In “10 Productive Ways to Use Pinterest for Business“, Mr Barnhart highlights ten methods companies can use to improve their potential and see the high increases in referral traffic and brand awareness that businesses including L’Oréal Paris, Glamour Magazine, Ted Baker, and Topshop have successfully achieved.
The blog post provides a lot of useful tips, but the most important one for this writer is number four: “Optimise Your Pins”.
Throwing up any old pictures you have, whether of you, your products or services, or borrowed photos from “free” photo websites, isn’t enough. You must have a plan and strategy for how you are going to create images that will stand out visually and catch people’s attention — especially as your competitors may already be uploading well-designed images/pins of their own.
No strategy, no success. As with any marketing campaign, don’t start anything without a plan — if you’re not sure, just ask us for help. We’re more than happy to help you shape a successful Pinterest marketing campaign.
Blockchain Soon to Be Part of a Marketer’s Toolbox?
For the uneducated, Blockchain is the math behind what makes the cryptocurrency Bitcoin work. Using complicated math (which is beyond the brains of even our smartest Ninjas), blockchain randomises and categorises any item you give it, which started originally with Bitcoin, but has soon spread to other applications.
A recent Hubspot article by Ray Chander — This is How Blockchain Could Change Digital Marketing Forever summarises the potential applications in marketing where blockchain could be applied, with many influences coming from the experimentation and success in the FinTech sector.
The question posed by this article is, how can (or will) blockchain affect us as marketers?
The trouble is, it’s hard to say. Nobody can say for sure what’s going to change the marketing landscape. It might be fun to play with new toys and developments if you’re working for any one of the dozens of startups attempting to jump on the trend and be the first to “crack it” with some serious MarTech built upon Blockchain, but if you’re a regular marketer or business owner, there’s probably not going to be any immediate change in how you think or feel about the technology, as it’s unlikely there’ll be a tool at your disposal to use any time soon.
Still, it makes for fun daydreaming about what the future may bring.