Google’s John Mueller Discusses June 2019 Update Recovery via @martinibuster

Google’s John Mueller was asked in a Webmaster Hangout what to do if a site is suffering a traffic loss due to Google’s June 2019 broad core algorithm update. John Mueller’s answer provided insights into understanding what is happening.

Then Mueller provided hope that Google may offer further guidance on what to do.

Webmaster Asks If It’s a Content Issue?

The person making the question states they’re a news publisher. They ask that because they deal in content, that it may be that the core update issue for them is content related.

Here is the question:

“We’re a news publisher website, primarily focusing on the business finance vertical. we probably have been impacted by the June Core Update as we’ve seen a drastic traffic drop from the June 1st week.

Agreed that the update specifies that there are no fixes and no major changes that need to be made to lower the impact.

But for a publisher whose core area is content news, doesn’t it signal that it’s probably the content, the quality or the quantity which triggered Google’s algorithm to lower down the quality signal of the content being put up on the website which could have led to a drop of traffic? “

The questioner states that webmasters need more guidance:

“…it would really help if Google could come out and share some advice to webmasters and websites.

Not site specific, but category or vertical specific at least on how to take corrective measures and actions to mitigate the impact of core updates.

It would go a long way in helping websites who are now clueless as to what impacted them.”

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller in a Webmaster Hangout

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller in a Webmaster HangoutGoogle’s John Mueller was asked how to recover from a Google broad core algorithm update.

Why Nothing to Fix

John Mueller did not suggest fixing anything specific. He explained that the reason there’s nothing specific to fix is because a core update encompasses a broader range of factors.

Google’s John Mueller explains:

“I think it’s a bit tricky because we’re not focusing on something very specific where we’d say like for example when we rolled out the speed update.

That was something where we could talk about specifically, this is how we’re using mobile speed and this is how it affects your website, therefore you should focus on speed as well.”

Core Update, Relevance and Quality

John Mueller then discussed the core updates within the context of relevance and quality updates. He did not say that core algo updates were specifically just about relevance or just about quality. He seemed to mention those to aspects as a way to show how these kinds of updates do not have specific fixes.

Here is how John Mueller explained it:

“With a lot of the relevance updates, a lot of the kind of quality updates, the core updates that we make, there is no specific thing where we’d be able to say you did this and you should have done that and therefore we’re showing things differently.”

John Mueller then explained, as an example, of how changes that are external to a website could impact how Google ranks websites.

This is what he said:

“Sometimes the web just evolved. Sometimes what users expect evolves and similarly, sometimes our algorithms are, the way that we try to determine relevance, they evolve as well.”

That may be the most a Googler has said so far to explain about core algorithm updates.

It follows along with what I’ve been saying, that factors like how Google determines what it means for a page to be relevant to a user can change. Some continue to focus on “quality” issues, fixing things like missing biographies, too much advertising on a page, but that kind of advice ignores relevance issues.

John mentions quality, but he also mentioned how users and the web evolve. That’s not a quality issue. Those are factors that are external to a website that need to be considered.

Nothing to Fix

John Mueller related that there aren’t specific things to fix. But he suggested that it may be useful to understand how users see your site, how useful your site is to users.

Here’s what John Mueller said:

“And with that, like you mentioned, you’ve probably seen the tweets from Search Liaison, there’s often nothing explicit that you can do to kind of change that.

What we do have is an older blog post from Amit Singhal which covers a lot of questions that you can ask yourself, about the quality of your website. That’s something I always recommend going through. , That’s something that I would also go through with people who are not associated with your website.”

John Mueller may have been citing a Webmaster Central blog post from 2011 titled, More Guidance on Building High-quality Sites

In it, the author provides a large number of questions a site owner should ask themselves about their content.

Here is a sample of the kinds of questions Google suggests you should ask yourself:

  • “Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?”

Ask a Third Party For a Critique

John Mueller then suggested that a third party that is unfamiliar with your site may be able to see issues that are not apparent to you.

What John Mueller said:

“So, often you as a site owner you have an intimate relationship with your website you know exactly that it’s perfect. But someone who is not associated with your website might look at your website and compare it to other websites and say, well, I don’t know if I could really trust your website because it looks outdated or because I don’t know who these people are who are writing about things.

All of these things play a small role and it’s not so much that there’s any technical thing that you can change in your line of HTML or server setting.

It’s more about the overall picture where users nowadays would look at it and say, well I don’t know if this is as relevant as it used to be because these vague things that I might be thinking about.

So that’s where I’d really try to get people who are un-associated with your website to give you feedback on that.”

John Mueller suggested asking in web communities, including the Webmaster Help Forums, to see how others see your site, if they could spot problems.

One issue with that is that every community have specific points of views that sometimes don’t allow them to get past their biases to see what the real problem is. That’s not a criticism but an observation on the nature of opinions is that they tend to vary.

Here’s what he said:

“…you can talk with other people who’ve seen a lot of websites and who can look at your websites and say well, I don’t know the layout looks outdated or the authors are people that nobody knows or you have stock photos images of instead of author photos. It’s like, why do you have that?

All of these things are not explicit elements that our algorithms would be trying to pinpoint but rather things that kind of combine to create a bigger picture.”

That’s good advice. Familiarity does make a person unable to identify what the problems are in a website.

I know from experience that it’s not uncommon for a site owner who comes to me for help with their site is sometimes surprised that their site contains problems with their content, is outdated in some way or has room for improvement in the way the content is written.

Sometimes they intuit that something is wrong but they can’t see it. I once had a site owner come to me with a negative SEO problem but the feedback I received directly from Google was that they were suffering from content issues related to Google’s Panda algorithm.

It was a shock for them to hear that their content was bad. But having it confirmed by Google made them better able to see that yes, there were problems with the content.

Google May Provide Additional Official Guidance

John Mueller appeared to be moved by the situation experienced by the web publisher. He offered more advice and insight into core algorithm updates than has previously offered and it went beyond the “nothing to fix” advice that, while true, is still felt to be unsatisfactory by many in the web community.

Mueller then offered hope by suggesting he would inquire about providing additional guidance for web publishers.

“I know a lot people have been asking for more advice, more specific advice so maybe there’s something that we can put together. We’ll see what we can do internally to put out a newer version of a blog post or kind of provide some more general information about some of the changes we’ve been thinking about there.”

Takeaway: See the Big Picture

The important takeaways are to be able to step back and see the big picture, which means:

Some issues are external to the website. For example, many fashion brands no longer publish blogs. An SEO recently attributed that to a failure in the content strategy. But that’s missing the big picture. The reason many fashion brands no longer publish blog posts is because users don’t consume that kind of content. They consume content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.

That’s an example of how users evolve and how it’s not a problem with your site, but rather a change in user habits that may be reflected in the kinds of pages that Google shows in the search results.

Takeaway: Algorithms Evolve

Google’s algorithm does not really match keywords to web pages. It’s about solving problems for users. Google’s increasingly updating how it understands what users want when they type a query. Google is also updating how it understands the problems that a web page solves.

A website that focuses too much on keywords and not enough on providing quick information to users who need it quickly and deep information to users who need depth, may find that Google’s algorithms no longer favor them. Not because your site is broken and needs fixing. But because it does not solve the problem for the user in the way Google has determined users want them solved.

Takeaway: Have a Third Party Review Your Site

Lastly, it may be helpful to have a fresh set of eyes review your website. If that doesn’t provide insights, then someone with experience diagnosing relevance issues may be useful.

Read: June 2019 Broad Core Algo Update: It’s More than E-A-T

Read: What is a Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Watch: Webmaster Hangout

Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author 

Google’s John Mueller Predicts Dynamic Rendering Won’t Be Needed in a Few Years via @MattGSouthern

Google’s John Mueller predicts that dynamic rendering will only be a temporary workaround for helping web crawlers process JavaScript.

Eventually, all web crawlers will be able to process JavaScript, Mueller believes. So in a few years’ time relying on dynamic rendering may not be necessary.

Mueller made this prediction during a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout when a site owner asked if there’s any reason why they shouldn’t use dynamic rendering.

Here is the question that was submitted:

“We’re thinking of the option to start only serving server-side rendering for bots on some of our pages. Is this an accepted behavior by Google & friends nowadays? Or do you see any objections on why not to do this?”

In response, Mueller said dynamic rendering is definitely something that Google considers to be an acceptable solution. In the near future, however, sites won’t need to rely on it as much.

Googlebot can already process every type of JavaScript page, and Mueller suspects all other crawlers will follow suit.

Mueller says dynamic rendering is a temporary workaround until other crawlers catch up. Although “temporary” might mean a couple of years, he clarifies.

What makes this prediction particularly interesting is that dynamic rendering was only introduced last year at Google I/O 2018.

Now, a little over a year later, Mueller predicts this innovative solution for serving JavaScript to bots will only be needed for a few years.

It will be interesting to look back on this and see how Mueller’s prediction pans out.

Hear Mueller’s full response below, starting at the 18:38 mark:

[embedded content]

“So you can definitely do this, from our point of view. This is what we call, I believe, dynamic rendering, which is basically when you’re pre-rendering the pages for a specific set of users. Usually, that includes crawlers, social media user agents, all of those things that are basically not normal users that wouldn’t be able to process JavaScript.

That’s certainly something you could do. Sometimes it also makes sense to use server-side rendering for users as well. Sometimes you can significantly speed up the delivery of HTML pages to them. So it’s not something that I’d consider that you only need to do for bots, it’s probably worthwhile to check to see if there are ways you can leverage that same setup for users as well. Maybe you can, maybe that doesn’t make sense in this specific case.

In any case, from our side specifically, it’s something that you can do. I suspect over time, over the long run, it will be something that you’ll have to do less and less. Googlebot is able to crawl pretty much every JavaScript-type page nowadays. I suspect other user agents will follow up with that over time as well.

So I would see this as something kind of as a temporary workaround – where temporary might mean a couple of years – but it’s more of a time-limited workaround. At some point pretty much every irrelevant user agent will be able to process JavaScript.”

Google Rolls Out a New Look for Desktop Search Results via @MattGSouthern

Google has widely rolled out a new design for desktop search results which features colorful icons in the top navigation bar.

Google was initially spotted testing the new look back in March. As of today, it appears that everyone has access to the new design.

Previously, the top navigation menu was just text, so this adds a little more character to the search results pages.

You can see in the examples below how the new icons light up with color when they’re selected.

Google Rolls Out a New Look for Desktop Search Results

Google Rolls Out a New Look for Desktop Search Results

Google Rolls Out a New Look for Desktop Search Results

Google Rolls Out a New Look for Desktop Search Results

Today’s changes to desktop search results are purely cosmetic, as everything still functions the same way.

There are no noticeable changes to how search results are presented underneath the top navigation bar.

Google: Self-Referencing Canonicals Are Not Critical via @MattGSouthern

Google’s John Mueller recently stated that self-referencing canonical tags are not absolutely necessary, but they do help.

In Mueller’s words: “It’s a great practice to have a self-referencing canonical but it’s not critical.”

This topic came up during a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout when a site owner asked about the importance of using self-referencing canonicals.

Canonicals are typically used to link a non-canonical page to the canonical version, but they can also be used to link a page to itself.

Self-referencing canonicals are beneficial because URLs may get linked to with parameters and UTM tags.

When that happens, Google may pick up the URL with parameters as the canonical version. So a self-referencing canonical lets you specify which URL you want to have recognized as the canonical URL.

Google recommends using self-referencing canonicals as a best practice, but they’re not required in order for Google to pick up on the correct version of a URL.

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below, starting at the 28:53 mark:

[embedded content]

“It’s not critical to have a self-referencing canonical tag on a page, but it does make it easier for us to pick exactly the URL that you want to have chosen as canonical.

We use a number of factors to pick a canonical URL, and the rel-canonical does play a role in that.

So, in particular, things like URL parameters, or if the URL is tagged in any particular way – maybe you have links going to that page that are tagged for analytics, for example – then it might happen that we pick that tagged URL as a canonical.

And with the rel-canonical you’re telling us that you really, really want this URL that you’re specifying as the canonical…

So it’s a great practice to have a self-referencing canonical but it’s not critical. It’s not something that you must do, it’s just something that helps to make sure this markup is picked up properly.”

What Can You Do If Your Dream Marketing Job Turns Out to Be a Nightmare? via @Carolyn_Lyden

ADVERTISEMENT

Last fall, I accepted what I thought would be a dream job.

I thought I’d have a lot of freedom to build a program from the ground up, influence a growing business in a completely blue-ocean market, and make a big impact. Truly a dream come true…

Until it wasn’t.

There were many reasons why it was a bad fit – but ultimately, it just wasn’t right for me.

I would walk my dog on a nearby nature trail before work and have anxiety attacks on the trail. I’d try to breathe through it and think rational thoughts. But what came to my head was more like, “If I had a heart attack from this, at least I wouldn’t have to go to work today.”

I quit less than 5 months later.

Burnout Is Real

The World Health Organization recognizes burnout as an official diagnosis. It’s defined as chronic stress specifically around work activities.

The three main characteristics, according to the WHO, are:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout accelerates when our jobs don’t meet our expectations and become more stressful than a typical 9 to 5 should be.

When you’re feeling that heightened sense of panic or dread before work, here are some ways to proactively improve your situation – or at least manage until you can move on.

1. Adjust Your Perspective

Sometimes a nightmare job is made worse by your perspective on it.

If you come to every meeting with your manager thinking it’s an attack – it always feels like an attack.

If every time you have a conversation with your coworker, you approach it like she thinks you’re an idiot – it always feels like she thinks you’re an idiot.

When you freak out about everything, then everything always seems like an emergency.

When I was trying to stay at my nightmare job as long as I could, my husband would tell me that, while it sucked, this was the perfect time to finish that major project, publish that article, build that website, etc. so I could say I had the experience under my belt and use it for future clients.

“Every opportunity is exactly that: an opportunity. Even if you find that the grass wasn’t as green or the dream job was actually just a cardboard cutout front for a nightmare, there was at least one lesson learned or an experience you gained,” says Lawson Picasso a Social & Digital Channels Manager at Broadway Bank in San Antonio.

Look inward and see if the narrative you’re telling yourself about your job and your performance are dictating your mindset about work.

When you go into situations that make you feel like your job is a nightmare, reframe them or try to focus on the end goal. Repeat positive mantras. Do calming breathing exercises. Power pose.

You can’t always change your situation, but you can change how you approach it.

2. Keep Your Job-Hate on the DL

If you’ve decided that it’s not you, it’s them, don’t go broadcasting how much you hate your job across social media.

Have a go-to venting buddy or friend group, but try to make sure you’re not making your distaste for the company, your manager, or your job duties a public affair.

According to a survey, 70% of companies research their job candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process:

“Because we tend to view our personal social media accounts as being ‘personal,’ there’s a good chance that by viewing someone’s profile, you’ll get a glimpse into their personality beyond the resume,” said DeeAnn Sims, founder of SPBX.

Putting your current employer on blast or ranting about why your boss sucks won’t do you any favors in helping you find your next gig.

3. Have the Tough Conversations & Find Solutions Where You Can

Assess why your job isn’t working for you and, where you can, have the tough conversations that may make it more bearable.

One way to ease into this is to ask the person you may be having trouble with, “What is the best way and time for me to offer you feedback?” Ask during a neutral or happy time (or, heck, ask on your first day of any job – you may need it later).

When they say, “I’d prefer you offer feedback to me in a private area first thing in the morning,” or “I’d want you to tell me right before I leave in the afternoon so I can process it away from work,” then make sure you write it down and follow their desires.

Approach all uncomfortable conversations from an “I feel” perspective instead of an accusatory tone and offer a solution.

For example, “When we have team progress meetings, I feel like you talk over me when I present. It feels like I don’t get heard when it’s my turn. Would it make sense for us to connect for 10 minutes before the meeting so I can brief you and you can ask questions ahead of time?”

Ask to circle back to the conversation in a few weeks and maybe even be prepared for counter-feedback. Make sure to thank them for listening to your point of view. If it’s an uncomfortable conversation for you, it probably is for them too.

Caveat: If there is a person causing you strife in your job and he/she flat out abusive, do not subject yourself to a conversation. Do your best to protect your mental health and avoid any unnecessary contact with that person, if you can. If it’s possible, go above that person to his/her superior to discuss your concerns.

4. Keep Doing Your Best Work

Or the best work you can under the circumstances. When you hate your job, it’s easy to want to just give up completely. But don’t let your attitude be, “Who cares? I hate this job anyway.”

Keep showing up on time, working your full shift, participating, and helping others.

“Be ethical: you owe your company the minimum you need to earn your salary,” says Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.

Getting your work done well isn’t just the honest thing to do, but your reputation can follow you to new jobs. Some communities or industries have leaders who all talk to each other, went to the same college, or hang out at the same industry events.

Don’t quit your job before you’ve actually turned in your notice.

5. Find a Way to Celebrate Getting Through Every Day

When you don’t feel like going in or doing the work each day, find ways to reward yourself for muddling through. Here are some ideas:

  • Get out of the office and go for a lunch walk every day to breathe some fresh air.
  • Get your favorite cup of coffee or scone on the way in so you’re in a good mood when you arrive.
  • Listen to a comedy audiobook on your commute home.
  • Get a Friday ice cream for making it through the week.
  • Toot your own horn on social media. That’s right. Brag to your friends about your accomplishments and watch the likes and positive comments roll in.
  • Get a hype-group who will text you stuff like, “You’re a bada**” every time you feel crappy at work.
  • Create a pump-up playlist to listen to on your way to work.
  • Add tchotchkes to your desk that always make you smile (or feel awesome).
  • Compliment your coworkers. Sometimes making someone else smile can make you feel great, too.
  • Go to yoga or meditation after work to calm down.
  • Try a 30-day challenge to make work more interesting.
  • Take breaks every 2-3 hours and play a fun phone game for 5 mins. (My current fave is one called Two Dots.)

When you have something to look forward to or set yourself up for a positive day, work often goes by quicker or doesn’t seem as bad.

6. Start Looking Somewhere Else

Sometimes, though, we get to a point where the nightmare is all-encompassing and the only solution is to get out.

While it may be tempting to just take whatever job comes your way next, be strategic. Think about what you really love and hate about your current job and make sure you’re not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

If you see a potential dream job, read reviews online. See what other past and current employees say are the best and worst parts of working for that company.

Be wary of company reviews that are all amazing, too. Some things really are too good to be true.

And while those glaringly negative reviews happen every so often for some companies, don’t write each one off as a bad employee. Read what the negative review said and ask yourself if it were 100% true, could you live with it.

If you don’t want to make a big leap, try looking for a new position within the same company:

“If you can find like-minded allies across all levels – you may be in a strong position to move laterally to a different department, try out a new role, or switch up teams,” advises Betsy Appleton, Digital Marketing Director in Louisville.

Whichever you decide – make sure you’re smart about it.

7. Leverage Your External Network

If you do begin looking for jobs externally, leverage your network.

You may think, “Well, I don’t have a network.” But you likely do. Here are some examples:

  • Professional groups
  • Hobby meetups
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Twitter chats/friends
  • Slack Channels
  • Contacts from previous jobs

One way to approach these groups is to ask if they know any companies looking for an XYZ (insert your desired title here). By asking them to leverage their networks, it often puts people off guard and is less assertive than asking someone directly to get you a job at their company.

Plus, people love helping their friends and fellow professionals, especially when they know you’re willing to return the favor one day.

8. Don’t Burn Bridges

When it is finally time to turn in your notice, quit with class.

Sure, we all dream of a dramatic exit, but it’s best practice to give adequate notice, work through your notice period, and be an overall decent human upon your departure.

By going for theatrics over professionalism, you could be burning bridges that you could use later in your career (see “external networks” above).

You never know when you’ll need a reference, want to apply for a different position at your old company, or even just need advice from an old boss.

To Sum Up

Whether your nightmare job is just a bad dream you can wake up from or an ongoing terror, these tips will steer you in the right direction to find the career solution that works best for you.

More Resources:

10 Profit-Driving Chatbot Campaigns You Can Copy Today via @virginianussey

ADVERTISEMENT

Marketing channels or strategies with unknown ROI can be a hard sell internally with resources and budgets reserved for proven channels.

This is exceptionally true for any SMB owner, marketer or agency with SMB clients.

“Get back to me when Facebook Messenger marketing case studies have some real teeth,” you say.

Yes, Facebook Messenger is a marketing channel that was born 3 years ago when Facebook released a developer API that allows for automated customer communication on the chat app.

But don’t mistake Facebook Messenger marketing’s youth for a passing fad.

Facebook Messenger marketing is responsible for these drool-worthy results:

  • 1.9X average order value of website purchases for LEGO.
  • 329% revenue increase for Leiftech.
  • 11% higher appointment booking rate for Sephora.
  • 20% increase in sales for DBS.
  • 36% higher installations for N3TWORK.

The list goes on…

“Where’s this list?!” you ask. “And how can I leverage these Facebook Messenger marketing formulas for my own business?”

This article has 10 recipes for results-driving Facebook bots you can clone for your own business or clients today.

You’ll learn:

Let’s jump in!

What Is Facebook Messenger Marketing?

Before we dig into the nitty-gritty, it doesn’t hurt to go over the basics.

If you find yourself asking, “What is Facebook Messenger marketing anyway?” then you’ll be happy to know that it isn’t as complex as it may sound.

Facebook Messenger marketing involves using one of the most engaging tools available (Facebook Messenger, in case that wasn’t clear) to engage with customers.

With over a billion users, Messenger is like a digital home for 1.4 billion users; it’s comfortable, familiar, and used nearly every day.

What makes Messenger a special communication platform is that it allows businesses to speak with customers automatically and at scale.

When you create a Facebook Messenger chatbot, you have the ability to automate 24/7 engagement with customers, ensuring critical information is only just a few taps away.

It’s a customer service paradigm that embraces a platform that current and potential customers already use.

And, since engagement is critical for marketing, Facebook Messenger chatbots are tools that should be part of every company’s arsenal.

But, what is a Facebook Messenger bot, you ask?

It’s a small program that communicates with Messenger users who reach out, providing them with answers to basic questions or information about your company.

Read this article as the primer to learn:

  • What is a Facebook Messenger bot.
  • What can an SMB use Facebook bots for.
  • Who on your staff is suited to build your chatbots.
  • The tools you need to launch your bot.
  • Tips on maintenance, campaign sends and engagement.
  • How to grow your Facebook Messenger contact list.

Then come back here to see some of the effective campaigns business are actually using bots to boost business value.

How Ecommerce & Retail Businesses Are Using Facebook Messenger Chatbots

The ecommerce and retail space is shockingly competitive. Bots are driving big results in increasing online sales.

What LEGO has done with its product recommendation chatbot Ralph is one of my personal favorite ecommerce chatbots in action.

1.9X higher order values is not a coincidence. Nor is 3.4X higher return on ad spend for click-to-Messenger ads compared to ads that linked to the LEGO website.

ralph the lego facebook chatbot

ralph the lego facebook chatbot

Another product recommendation bot in my SMB swipe file is Leiftech, a unique electric skateboard that rides like a snowboard.

No surprise, shoppers would often face unknowns when buying online, like what’s the right board size and design for me?

Thanks to find-the-right-board-for-you Facebook Messenger bot, Leiftech saw revenues soar by 329%.

Advertising was delivered to abandoned cart shoppers with ease, and the chatbots supported users as they advanced in the sales funnel, leading to higher conversion rates.

Companies Using Facebook Messenger for Appointment Setting & the Stellar Results

Booking appointments can pose hang-ups both for users and businesses. Having to discuss dates and times with clients takes up a surprising about of time, time that could be better spent focusing on other areas of your business.

But, with Facebook Messenger, appointment setting can be one of your simplest processes.

Once Sephora – one of the biggest names in beauty – created Sephora Assistant, a Messenger-based bot, the company’s booking rates went up by 11%.

Plus, they eliminated five steps usually required to book an appointment, improving the customer experience as well.

Any company that uses appointments to serve customers can take advantage of the technology, so you don’t have to be in the beauty sector to make the most of a scheduling chatbot.

Enviable Facebook Messenger Marketing Campaigns for Restaurants & Food/Beverage Companies

Chatbots are making waves in the restaurant industry. Being able to incentivize customers by providing information about new offerings, coupons, and more at the right times can make a massive difference.

Plus, setting up a chatbot is much cheaper than creating a unique app and personalizing the customer experience is substantially simpler.

Busy locations can even use Facebook Messenger chatbots for reservations, making that process easier as well.

Food and beverage companies are also seeing excellent returns with Messenger advertising. Fanta, working to promote its new drink – Fanta Guarana – invited a young audience to head to a nearby McDonald’s and try the flavor for themselves.

Using Messenger, millions of coupons were sent out, and more than 33% were redeemed, a 46% higher rate than the company was targeting.

Messenger is also becoming more capable. Pilot case studies using Messenger as an ordering and payment mechanism are underway.

DBS piloted a bot called Foodster with a local coffee and tea business, letting customers order and pay through Messenger, and sales went up by over 20%.

Plus, wait times for drinks went down 30% during peak hours, creating a win-win scenario for the business and customers alike.

Streamlining Event Registration with Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Events are engagement dynamos. However, the registration process is usually pretty clunky, even with some of the most capable web forms.

But, if you create a Facebook Messenger chatbot to manage the event registration process, you can streamline everything.

Contact details are captured with ease, and you can create a custom audience based on sign-ups. Plus, you can automate follow-up reminders to make sure everyone remains up-to-date.

B2B Lead Generation Made Simple with Facebook Messenger Marketing

Facebook Messenger ads can be a cost-effective, traffic-driving alternative to other approaches.

When MobileMonkey allocated just $130 to its Facebook Messenger ad campaign, it secured 26 new messaging conversations.

That’s just $2.59 per result (much less than the $5 to $6 per click the same ad would yield if there was a traffic objective instead). (Disclosure: I work for MobileMonkey.)

Plus, the contact information for every person who engaged with the ad was automatically captured with the lead generation chatbot. It eliminated the anonymous traffic factor you get with regular ads, creating substantially more value.

Improving B2C Lead Generation with Facebook Messenger Marketing

If you sell products or services to the general public, B2C lead generation is a critical part of your operation.

Facebook Messenger chatbots are an amazing tool for increasing sales and assisting current and prospective customers. Plus, they are incredibly easy to implement.

In one travel industry case study of chatbot marketing, New York helicopter tour company embraced Facebook Messenger, placing ads to sell travel packages.

Within just a $900 daily ad spend, the company generated an average of $5,000 to $7,000 in bookings each and every day thanks to ad targeting and chatbot auto-reply features.

The chatbot ensured that customers could get answers to their questions 24/7. And sent qualified leads to the travel company’s sales team while they slept.

App Downloads Increase Thanks to Facebook Messenger Marketing

When it comes to crowded spaces, apps is one of them. Getting people to actually download your app can be excoriating challenging, especially as more and more apps enter the landscape every day.

N3twork decided to try something different, using Facebook ads and Messenger ads together to increase downloads.

Once the campaign launched, app installs of one of their games went up by 36%. Plus, the purchase conversion also shot up, reaching 57% higher than average.

Publishers Making the Most of Facebook Messenger Marketing

If you’re a publisher, your goal is to get your content seen. While being on social media used to be enough, today, getting a prominent place on a user’s feed isn’t as easy as it once was.

But, if you use Facebook Messenger to broadcast your content using a bot, you can increase delivery, enhance engagement, and grow your audience.

Plus, it can drive traffic back to your site and help you expand your email list.

For your swipe file, check out TechCrunch’s publisher chatbot case study.

Simplifying Contests and Grow Contact Lists with Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Contests are a great way to grow your contact lists. After all, it’s a known fact that people like free stuff and they are often willing to provide their details in exchange for a chance to win.

But contests can be incredibly cumbersome to run. That is, unless you use a Facebook Messenger bot.

The chatbot does all of the heavy lifting – capturing the lead, creating a low-friction experience, and allowing you to automate follow-up.

Streamlining Surveys & Upping Participation with Facebook Messenger

Most companies ask customers to complete surveys through email. But, since email open rates are a mere 20.81%, the results aren’t that great.

With a Facebook Messenger survey, the engagement rate is significantly higher.

Plus, the survey is inherently mobile friendly, something that isn’t always the case with web-based forms, and the conversational interface keeps the person hooked from beginning to end.

You can even save the responses to the customer profile, something that might not be possible with web forms.

Check out the quick-start Facebook Messenger chatbot templates that you can clone for an SMB or start-up in these industries:

When you’re ready to fire up your own Facebook Messenger chatbot, study the successes of other businesses like yours.

More Resources:


Image Credits

In-Post Image: Facebook

How to Slow Down While Getting It All Done via @ashleymadhatter

ADVERTISEMENT

I have a checklist that never ends.

Each time I remove one task at least 2-3 others get added.

Occasionally, I’ll find myself checking them all of entirely, without any new task being added, and I feel a “yay” moment.

And then a new day comes, a semi-empty inbox becomes full, and the checklist is refilled. The cycle starts all over again.

This has been my everyday for over a decade and I’ve learned to thrive in it – heck, I love it! I don’t know how to operate in any other environment anymore.

Being an agency owner these days is all about thriving in the chaos. I’ve learned to embrace it.

At least that was the case until recently.

The Most Stressful Time of My Life

It was three months and three days until our wedding day when my now-husband’s mother passed away unexpectedly.

Our whole world was turned upside down. Everything went dark.

All checklists were put on pause. Yet, the tasks kept growing regardless of the darkness.

Neither of us had ever dealt with the loss of a parent before, let alone so unexpectedly.

We were trying to figure out how to grieve while simultaneously figure out the post-life to-dos that get immediately thrown on a family.

The tasks piled on.

To add to the pressure, two weeks later we impulsively decided to leave our house and move into a motorhome, that we were still renovating, while we “figure everything out.”

Neither of us had ever lived in a motorhome before, let alone remodeled one.

And, of course, everything that could go wrong during a remodel went wrong.

Another checklist was created. The tasks piled on.

Two months until wedding day and our lives were still completely upside down. What was supposed to be one of the happiest periods of our lives was becoming filled with grief, stress, and more checklists.

The dream wedding that we were planning, ourselves, was becoming more and more time-consuming.

Another checklist added.

All of this happened behind the scenes, in my “personal life”, while the ongoing checklist of owning and operating a digital marketing agency was multiplying as fast as gremlins do when you spill water on them.

Stressed out was the understatement of the century.

I barely had a moment to process everything happening, let alone focus on what needed to be done for my agency, clients, and team.

But each day came and went. Slowly but surely I would check a task off, from each checklist, until I got to where I am today. Back into the chaos that is comfortable, familiar, and no longer drowning.

I don’t think there has ever been a more chaotic, emotion-filled time of my life as there was at the beginning of 2019. Times when I didn’t think we could get through it all, and somehow here we are and it’s June.

We got through it. And both myself and my agency survived.

Here’s how and a few big life lessons I learned as an agency owner along the way.

I Can’t Accomplish it All… At the Same Time

One of the biggest lessons I learned from The Battle of Q1 was that I simply couldn’t get it all done yesterday. And if anyone could have accomplished it all and ahead of schedule, it darn well would have been me.

But, the odds were just too heavily against me and I had to learn to accept that.

Dealing with the happiest and saddest moments life can throw at the same time meant everything had to be put on pause. Even my agency. That was a hard pill to swallow.

When we see a list of tasks that just keeps growing and growing, it’s near impossible to not feel overwhelmed and want to get everything done right away. But, it’s not always possible.

The moment I accepted that I am only human and can only handle so many things in one day was the moment I was able to re-focus on my agency, check off more than just a few things a day, and get back to working at a steady pace.

That meant I had to learn how to truly prioritize what was important and what should be moved to the next day.

Prioritization Is More Than Just Labeling Items Urgent

The more time you spend overwhelming yourself with an unrealistic deadline and overpiled to-do list the more time you’re literally wasting. It’s best to prioritize tasks based on what you can accomplish right now.

For me, that meant taking out a notepad every morning and writing out everything that I needed to get done that day. Not typing, but writing with pen and paper, and by category.

I would categorize the tasks by:

  • Agency
  • Clients
  • Wedding
  • Personal

Inside each category, I would add a to-do list of 3-5 core things that must be accomplished and then a separate list of “If I Have Time”.

I use several project management tools for my team, like Teamwork and Google Calendar, but found the above to be the most effective method and least overwhelming for managing so many different tasks.

Theme Your Tasks for More Efficient Productivity

One of my favorite things I learned during The Battle of Q1 was how to organize my day by themes, when possible. This isn’t always possible, but the days it was were my favorite days.

One day could be focused on all content creation tasks, the other editing-specific tasks, another social media calendar creation, and a separate day for data and strategy analysis.

When I was able to open up my calendar to push all related category tasks into one-day I found myself flying through the to-do list and really “getting in the zone”.

Of course, each day had plenty of time for emails and random urgent tasks, but organizing days by themes allowed me to really focus and dive deep into those tasks without feeling like I’m jumping from one cliff to the next.

You Can Ask For Help

This was a big one for me. I much rather try and figure it out for myself than be vulnerable and reach out for help.

Asking for help shows weakness, right?

Wrong. So, wrong.

During The Battle of Q1, I had no choice but to recruit more soldiers. I simply couldn’t do it all myself anymore and needed to add to my team.

That meant not getting as big of a paycheck and putting those funds towards other talented digital marketers. It was the best decision I’ve made.

Adding to my team allowed me to refocus on the structure of the agency and add on clientele like never before. I approached this decision with desperation from being spread too thin and came out of it with more resources than ever.

Slow the Heck Down

All of my life, I’ve been told to slow down.

I go too fast on everything (except running).

I’m a fixer who wants to fix things fast, learn fast, succeed fast, and fail fast.

Do you realize how difficult it was to go through an entire quarter feeling constantly behind on everything and not being able to rush and get it all done?

I literally had to reprogram my mind to slow the heck down so I could process (and prioritize) what to do from day-to-day.

This is something I’m still working on, and honestly will probably be an ongoing task for my entire life, but the moment I began to slow down I found myself accomplishing again and not running on overdrive.

We can’t always speed up life to satisfy our to-do lists. We can slow down and properly analyze what’s important and what can wait.

How to Handle Future Situations

I’m thankful for all of those lessons I learned during The Battle of Q1.

They each have shaped me and prepared me for even bigger things to come.

We all know, this certainly won’t be The Last Battle.

Next time, I’ll be able to:

See the Bigger Picture

The close-up view looks like pure chaos, and not the chaos I usually love, but chaos that makes my thoughts spin out of control like a spindle thrown down a staircase.

We have to step back and see the bigger picture to be able to evaluate the best path to take, whether that’s hiring, asking for help, updating deadlines, or shifting priorities.

Know What to Drop

Tasks I used to have on repeat and thought were so incredibly important turned out to not have an impact when I was too busy and couldn’t get to them.

It’s funny how we can go through months, even years, on repeat and forget to measure if what we’re spending so much time doing is still as effective as it once was.

Every task should be measured based on its effectiveness. Do you know what came from crossing off your last to-do?

Be Transparent

Whether it’s to my team or my clients, it’s so important to be honest and transparent of current situations.

If a deadline needs to move, there better be a reason to move it and the reason and new expectation should be clear to all parties.

As an owner of a digital marketing agency, over communication can be harmful in certain circumstances.

But when it comes to getting it all done and dealing with life’s stresses, communicate what can and can’t be completed.

Know My Limits

In a digital world where pressure is stacked on our shoulders like sardines, it’s so important to understand what our limitations are and that those limitations will change based on circumstances.

Sure, we have our super-human days, but at the end of the week, we’re still just humans all running the same race.

Slow Down

Before I start to drown under the checklists I’ll take a moment, heck lots of moments, and collect myself before delegating items.

Deep breaths are made for more than just namaste moments. They give our minds a second to gather themselves before addressing a situation, especially removing emotion out of a situation.

As an agency owner, a speaker, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and all of the other titles, I know there will be moments again when I’m spread too thin. Life crisis will happen again, and dark moments will be there.

But, it’s how and when I chose to let the checklists take over that makes a difference.

It’s remembering to slow down, breathe deep, and tackle each task one-by-one.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

Google: We Don’t Evaluate a Site’s Authority via @MattGSouthern

Google doesn’t specifically measure the authority of a website, according to webmaster trends analyst John Mueller.

This was stated in the most recent Google Webmaster Central hangout when Mueller was asked how a site can increase its authority.

The webmaster who asked the question says their site lost a significant amount of organic traffic following the June core algorithm update.

Somehow, the webmaster came to the conclusion that their site’s authority dropped by 50 percent as a result of the core update.

However, that would be impossible to determine, as Mueller says Google doesn’t have any kind of ‘authority’ metric.

“In general, Google doesn’t evaluate a site’s authority. So it’s not something where we would give you a score on authority and say this is the general score for authority on your website. That’s not something we would be applying here.”

Google’s quality rater guidelines have a section on evaluating authority, but earlier in the hangout Mueller mentioned quality raters do not evaluate sites on an individual basis.

In other words, quality raters are not looking at sites and assigning scores based on how authoritative the sites appear to be.

The people who site owners should get to evaluate their sites are actual users, Mueller says. He recommends seeking feedback from current or potential users with regards to their perception of a site’s authority.

Find out if real users feel like they can trust the content on a website. From there, you should be able to gather feedback on how to appear more authoritative.

Here is the full quote from Mueller:

“If you’re thinking about authority, if you’re thinking about the search quality raters, then that sounds like you’re kind of on the right track there. One of the other questions was also on expertise, authority, trustworthiness – that kind of goes in the same direction.

It’s something, from my point of view, where I would try to get more input from users and potential users. Really try to get the more hard feedback that’s sometimes hard to take where people can really tell you where they think – like comparing different sites in the same niche – where they see issues that you could be doing. Or where they look at your page and think I can’t really trust the content that’s on here.

It’s probably the case that you’ve already been doing a lot of these things really well, but maybe there are things you could be doing even better in that regard.”

Hear Mueller’s full response below, starting at the 23:47 mark:

[embedded content]

How to Build a Multimillion-Dollar Company with SEO Content Audits via @bsmarketer

Multimillion-dollar companies don’t guess.

Timing and luck can often explain a lot in the early days.

But when companies pass a certain threshold, and the people inside them repeat their success at multiple different places, it shows there are proven roadmaps to follow.

Not cheesy checklists or ‘guru’ charlatan soundbites.

But legitimate strategies, principles, and decision-making criteria that more often than not move the needle.

Here’s how several multimillion-dollar companies use SEO content audits to lay that foundation and consistently grow month over month, year over year.

1. Start by Auditing Your Historical Performance to Uncover the Biggest Opportunities

Sales is a lagging indicator.

First, comes content. Keywords and links drive traffic. Some of that turns into leads. And then you’ve got revenue.

In other words, it’s impossible to address the bottom line – the output – until you first start fiddling with the inputs.

Gaetano DiNardi’s first task after joining Nextiva a few months ago was a competitive audit.

competitive analysis

competitive analysis

And it’s been the first task he’s used at every company before that, too.

In early 2016, DiNardi joined the Pipedrive team as the new SEO manager.

While leading Pipedrive’s SEO strategy and operations, he was tasked with improving everything from rankings to traffic, sales, and their overall bottom line.

“My entire job was based around inbound marketing. SEO, content marketing, inbound lead generation. The goal was simple: grow.”

The first step was figuring out what was already working, what wasn’t, and where the biggest opportunities were buried.

That takes into account:

  • Landing pages: Length, content, CTAs, value proposition, user flow.
  • Content rankings: Looking at SERP positions, competitors, links needed, and content updates required.
  • Keyword research: Analyzing which keywords they were targeting and finding new long-tail variations.
  • Ignoring vanity metrics: With SEO data analysis, he focused all of his efforts on improving the cost of acquisition and lifetime value.
  • Site structure: How users flow on site and where major drop-offs were occurring.
  • Content audit: Looking at content, cutting and deleting content that isn’t valuable, and finding what he could improve based on best practices.
  • Brand building campaigns: Getting mentioned in major publications like Fortune, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc., VentureBeat, and LinkedIn Business to help build Sales Hacker and his personal branding.

He started by focusing on landing pages, improving their calls-to-action and value proposition along with CRO elements to encourage conversions. Doing so increased overall conversions by 12%.

While looking at site structure, DiNardi used Google Analytics reports to analyze and optimize user flow throughout the site:

Google Analytics user flow

Google Analytics user flow

With these reports, he determined the typical path of unique visitors and how they developed brand awareness, including which posts they viewed and how many steps it took them to convert.

A traffic channel or source, for instance, gives you clues into what each visitor wants and how to help them find it.

Plus, he could then see major drop-off points and which pages were leaking visitors, giving him an easy win to eliminate those content pages or better match search intent to make them stickier.

Diving into the content audit, Gaetano focused on ensuring that each post met the best practices for content length, topic, structure, and quality.

Running skyscraper-style campaigns for content improved the length. Then, DiNardi also honed-in on quality, updating content at scale with semantic keywords and relying on automated grammar tools to reduce redundant points.

content analysis

content analysis

This tactic resulted in a 4-5% increase in conversions from organic search, a 20% increase in traffic, and a doubled organic keyword growth.

“Account audits are a must. You can’t know what to attack first if you don’t audit existing strategies and see what type of content you are working with.”

Uncovering these issues and opportunities is only the first step, though. The next one is to figure out when, exactly, to address each.

2. Consistently Re-Prioritize Your Content Audit Opportunities to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time

Advertising used to be cost-prohibitive. So, too, was PR.

Today, however, there are low barriers to entry for almost any channel or medium. Anyone, anywhere, can spin up an ad campaign or fire off a few hundred emails to bloggers.

The problem isn’t having options, then. In fact, it’s the opposite. There are literally too many things you could be doing at any given time.

Content success, then, is dictated by what you choose to do and in what order.

Kevin Jones leads SEO at BigCommerce today. But he learned this lesson firsthand overseeing dozens of sites at a time at an agency called Apogee Results in Austin, Texas.

Client-agency dynamics also played into this issue.

Typically, the most profitable strategies and tactics take a long time to develop. However, clients don’t have time. They want results ASAP.

So you’re constantly dealing with the conflict of delivering instant results to make the client happy, while at the same time building the foundation so that you’ll be able to continue delivering results long into the future.

Kevin’s approach, unsurprisingly, started with an SEO content audit at the beginning. It was in-depth, analyzing the technical set-up first, before the on-site content and optimization, then progressing to link building.

This initial audit was also used to identify potential low-hanging fruit. A simple crawl error preventing indexation, for example, could instantly deliver ROI to the client. If, that is, you knew where to look.

SEO audit crawl error

SEO audit crawl error

“Sometimes people neglect digging into that data and adjusting existing content a little bit. It’s simple, but it often has a pretty big impact. They should do this before ever starting brand new content creation.”

Jones prioritizes technical SEO, first, because “in a lot of cases it’s going to help the most.” Especially with larger websites that have changed or evolved over the years.

“It’s a slow and steady race for technical improvements. And it’s a pain in the ass to clean an entire house.”

From there, Jones moves to on-site changes, like keyword research and content opportunities.

This approach made clients happy because “they could see quicker traffic increases, but still benefit from a long-term balance for technical SEO.”

Every new website is different, so the order might be unique. But generally, Kevin would divide his time into spending around 40% on link building, 40% on content, and 20% on the technical side after the initial fix-it stage.

The mechanics are actually pretty easy. The tough part is to constantly reassess the leverage points based on where you’re already weak or strong.

For example, let’s say you want to evaluate a keyword opportunity. That decision ultimately comes down to:

  • Demand: The number of people searching for this term.
  • Competition: The number and strength of people competing for this term.

Yes, there’s more at play in reality. Yes, funnel stage and search intent and lots of other criteria are involved.

But at the end of the day, it can and should be that simple. Take “content marketing”:

keyword analysis

keyword analysis

Now, compare that site authority and referring domains with your own.

This example is extremely competitive. So unless your site’s been around for a while, your odds of success are slim to none. That means you either need to:

  • Identify a new, less competitive search query to go after.
  • Work to improve your off-site metrics to mirror the competition.

Either way, you probably want to deprioritize this for now. Topping out at the fifth position might as well be the 50th.

So maybe creating new content isn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe doubling down on your existing stuff will produce a better ROI over the next six months.

It’s a simple cost/benefit analysis of resource allocation at the end of the day.

Which option will provide the best, quickest return on your time and money?

It might take you anywhere from half to a full day to create a single blog post from scratch. Then, it might take another few weeks (or months) to get that page to rank.

Or, you could pick an existing page on your site that shows promise and spend the same three to six hours improving it.

Chances are, you’ll see much better results moving from the 11th position on Google to the 5th. And it’ll usually take less time, too.

SEO today is incredibly complex and nuanced. Search engines use machine learning algorithms to teach themselves new tricks.

Unfortunately, many of the get-rich-quick SEO schemes of the past work less and less with each passing day. Which means success over the long haul requires a constant reprioritization of what to do, when, and why.

Today that means one thing. Six months from now it will probably mean another.

3. Reverse-Engineer Content Distribution Tactics – But Don’t Copy

First edition Pokemon cards can run into the thousands on eBay.

Seriously. Check it out:

first edition Pokemon cards

first edition Pokemon cards

Back in high school, David Zheng discovered this lucrative niche market. And it changed everything.

He came up with different ways to collect or barter for the most valuable first editions. Then he’d create the listing, promote it, and dutifully follow through on each order with every buyer.

Despite all the painstaking labor, Zheng started clearing five-figures as a 14-year-old kid.

The only problem?

He was supposed to attend classes during daylight hours. Which meant that packaging and mailing out products had to occur late each night.

Zheng recalls that it wasn’t just the money. Sure, it was nice. But more importantly, it was about “figuring it all out.”

Getting all of the pieces together (so to speak), in the right order, at the exact right time.

The key here is context. Like banner ads. The first one debuted in 1994. Feast your eyes on this beauty:

first banner ad

first banner ad

Probably the worst one you’ve seen, right? Except for one teeny, tiny, detail.

That bad boy pulled in a 78% click-through rate (CTR). 78%!

Take a wild guess at the CTR for the best banner ads today? On Facebook, you’re looking at 0.05%. That’s a 1,500x decrease for you math nerds out there.

Design has little to do with it. Instead, timing does.

Banner ad effectiveness has dropped like a rock for a variety of reasons, including “banner blindness,” ad blocking technology, and an over-saturation of completely irrelevant ads.

But the point is the same.

Like-gating” used to be one of the best ways to get new Facebook fans. Now, that functionality no longer exists (and goes against their policies).

Borderline spamming your fans used to be one of the best ways to increase Facebook fan engagement. Now, organic reach (or your ability to reach your own fans without spending money on advertising) is nearing zero.

Some principles will always remain relevant. But when it comes to content growth, you can’t rely on blindly copying a tactic or sticking with the tried-and-true. It can only work so long online.

Instead, you have to learn, test, measure, iterate, and come up with your own unique formula.

Content marketing is a system, not a tactic.

Content tactics commonly fail. Systems adapt and evolve.

One of Zheng’s first big wins included working with WaitButWhy.com, a viral blog that hit 31 million unique visitors, while also racking up fans like Elon Musk and Sam Harris.

Sam Harris tweet

Sam Harris tweet

This experience also helped Zheng discover the formula for growing sites with content which he took and repeatedly used to grow other big sites for people like Noah Kagan, taking OkDork’s (Kagan’s personal site) organic traffic over 200% within six months.

Like most good formulas, there’s no single variable. There are lots that all work together.

For example, it could start with detailed keyword research that considers not just search volume, but also relevancy and intent. It extends to the nitty-gritty details like rich snippets that can significantly increase CTR you see from SERPs and social streams.

Then, collecting all the emails you can possibly get your hands on and building relationships with people who talk to the people you want to buy from you.

Why?

Because the stuff that you’re doing over there will affect the results you’re getting over here.

That’s why the fastest growing companies look at the entire distribution system. They’re focused on building their social following through outstanding content and funneling the results into email so they can amplify their message across multiple touchpoints. Layer in retargeting and you’ve got the beginnings of a growth machine.

These content + paid + social + email + SEO strategies that David used proved so effective for Noah that it helped inspire a decent idea, too.

You may have heard of it.

Sumo is now part of an eight-figure business.

Conclusion

Content marketing success doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

And it can’t be learned by following a checklist or blindly following an influencer.

Instead, it comes with the realization that changes on one end create a rippling effect on the other.

Consistently reevaluating your top priorities with SEO content audits is critical. Not annually, but quarterly.

So the best thing you can do is get a front-row seat observing the companies already doing it. And speak with the people behind the scenes who actually perform the work.

Because you’ll quickly realize that marketing success is driven more by the sum of its parts than any one activity, tactic, or campaign.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Featured Image: Pixabay.com
All screenshots taken by author, June 2019

How to Use SEO Traffic to Make the World a Better Place via @s_watts_seo

There are many fine blog posts about how to improve the SEO or marketing for charity and nonprofit websites. This is not one of those posts.

In this blog post, I will explore how high-traffic websites with strong SEO programs can use their ranking success to help improve the world (if just the tiniest bit) by bringing awareness and clicks to important on-brand social issues.

While socially responsible, for-profit businesses have become a major trend over the past decade or two, the practice of simply donating resources to a good cause (and receiving tax benefits in the process) is accepted as a normal part of doing business.

According to Charity Navigator, U.S. corporations gave more than $20 billion to charities in 2017.

Of that, I’m guessing little to no contribution was accounted for in the Non-Branded SEO Awareness Impressions column.

On my company’s blog, BMC Blogs, I like to think about our search rankings as real estate, and our non-branded SEO awareness traffic as a valuable corporate asset.

Just like owning and maintaining the value of a house, maintaining search rankings requires improvements over time in order to not only keep the property at the good condition it hopefully started at but to also improve the property over time.

Normally, we use the traffic that results from our search ranking real estate to promote ebooks, whitepapers, analyst reports, free trials, demos, webinars, survey results, and other helpful B2B content.

Recently, we came up with a crazy new idea: what if we donated some of our content’s existing ad placements – normally devoted to our own content and messages – to good causes?

Could we generate awareness and traffic for important social issues while not damaging our existing conversion and traffic volumes?

The answer so far is a resounding yes, with minimal additional work required on top of the work we’re already doing to maintain our search rankings and resultant traffic.

How the SEO for Issue Awareness Program Works

In 2019, we’ve launched an initiative to give away some of our users’ valuable attention to support good causes.

One day per month, we’re now swapping out our right-rail skyscraper banners across our blogs website to generate awareness for good causes.

To keep it simple, we’ve selected a unique global cause for every month out of the year, such as World Health Day in April and International Museum Day in May.

For ease of management, we’re using our A/B testing tool to deploy the content change to 100% of traffic on the defined monthly days.

Additionally, we’ve made efforts to loosely coordinate which causes to support with our other corporate charitable initiatives.

This is what it looks like to our users:

International Museum Day Example from May 18, 2019

International Museum Day Example from May 18, 2019International Museum Day Example from May 18.

The Results of our Program

After two months with this program in place, we’ve shown a Good Cause CTA to ~16,000 pageviews, and we’re on track to show a Good Cause CTA to ~100,000 pageviews in this pilot 12-month period.

We haven’t generated much in the way of clicks and traffic for these causes yet. However, as we improve the program and find best-fit causes we hope to move in that direction.

I like to think of this as our own little version of Google Ad Grants, in which Google gives away free search result ad space to non-profits.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Use your SEO traffic to support existing corporate initiatives first. Afterward, expand to fill in the gaps until you have what you feel is a sufficient plan.
  • Consider starting small, with just a couple of days or causes per year that are hyper-relevant to your audience.
  • Don’t give away your user’s attention if you can’t afford to. As airline attendants say, put the mask on yourself first, before helping others.
  • Try to streamline your CTA process as much as possible so the program runs smoothly with practically no effort by using existing testing tools, scheduling, and standardized CTA formats.
  • Gain leadership’s approval before starting the program. You wouldn’t want your manager to learn about a program like this in the wrong way. Many leaders would applaud and support this type of initiative.
  • Create a blog post or a short webpage explaining the program. This way your visitors can understand exactly why they’re seeing a message supporting a good cause.

A Call to Action

Are you a website owner, manager or SEO wanting to do something good with the hard work you’ve put in generating traffic from search engines?

I encourage you to find good causes and nonprofits that would be of interest to your website’s audience and simply get started.

In addition to generating goodwill and improving the world, this is an easy way to:

  • Support your company’s other charitable programs.
  • Lead the way toward starting to become a more socially-responsible business.

If you work for a good cause or nonprofit in need of awareness and traffic, there are a few things you can take away from this post.

  • Check out Google Ad Grants to see if you can receive donated SEM visibility from Google Ads.
  • Check out what content websites might be a good synergy with your cause – sites that already have banner ads or similar. Get in contact with the owners of those sites and see if they might be interested in donating some of their traffic’s attention.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, May 2019