Best Agile Project Management Tools


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Running an agile team effectively is nearly impossible without the right software. 

But agile project management tools can make your life much easier. It’s the best way to collaborate with your team, manage changing tasks, and keep track of various projects at scale. 

In addition to the managerial perks of agile project management software, your entire team will benefit as well. These tools will make it easier for everyone to work efficiently, communicate, and meet deadlines. 

Recognizing you need to invest in agile project management software is only half of the battle. Finding the right software for your business and team is a different story entirely—which is why I created this guide.

After extensive research and testing, I narrowed down the top five agile project management tools available on the market today.  

The Top 5 Options For Agile Project Management Tools

  1. Forecast
  2. Monday
  3. Mavenlink
  4. Jira
  5. VivifyScrum

How to Choose the Best Agile Project Management Tools For You

There are certain factors that must be evaluated as you’re shopping around and assessing different tools. By following the buying guide I’ve outlined below, you’ll know exactly what to look for and what’s important in an agile project management solution. 

Agile Framework Preferences

The very first thing you need to consider is the agile framework you plan to use. For those of you who are already familiar with the concepts of agile management, you probably have a preferred methodology.

Do you want to use Scrum or Kanban? Lean? Crystal? Are you using agile framework variations such as Scrumban?

Depending on the answer, you’ll be able to find an agile tool that specializes in your preferred framework. It’s worth noting that not every agile project management software supports all agile management frameworks. So make sure the options you’re considering offer the methodology you need to implement. 

Collaboration Features

Team collaboration is a crucial component of agile management. You want to make sure the software you’re considering comes out-of-the-box with collaboration tools. 

Most solutions should come standard with features like team tagging, comments, file sharing, and other basic tools. Some software will have more advanced features, depending on your project type, industry, and team needs. 

Team Size

Just because an agile project management tool offers collaboration features, don’t assume that the tool will be robust enough for your specific team.

There are solutions on the market made for small teams with a handful of users. Those won’t be ideal for businesses that have multiple teams, hundreds of users, and multiple projects across several departments. 

It should be relatively easy to determine if the tool in question is built to scale. If not, you can always express those concerns with the sales team during a free trial or demo. 

Project Type

The complexity of your projects will also play a significant factor in choosing the best software for your team. 

For example, software development teams and internal IT departments typically have more advanced needs since these projects have a higher level of complexity. In these cases, you should avoid beginner tools and look for industry-specific solutions tailored toward your project needs. 

On the flip side, managers and teams who are just starting out with agile project management should be seeking basic solutions to manage simple projects. 

Reporting

The best agile project management software will provide you with detailed reports and advanced analytics about your projects. 

You can use these dashboards as a way to learn more about your team’s productivity, find out if the project will be completed on time, and if you’re staying on budget. As a project manager, this information is crucial to the big-picture operation of your business. 

Usability

The usability of an agile management tool is often overlooked during the evaluation process. But it’s definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration.

What is your technical experience? How tech-savvy is your team?

If you choose a rigid solution that’s tough to use, it can do more harm than good. So you need to find a balance between a tool that’s robust enough to handle your project complexity while still easy for your team to navigate. This is another reason why you should always take advantage of free trials and demos as you’re narrowing down different options. 

The Different Types of Agile Project Management Tools

Not every agile project management tool is the same. Before we dive into the reviews and recommendations, I want to quickly explain the different options. 

The easiest way to segment these tools is based on the agile frameworks that they offer. It’s also worth noting that some solutions will fall into more than one of these categories below.

Scrum

Scrum is one of the most popular agile frameworks because it can be used for such a wide range of projects. Over the years, Scrum has gained popularity because of its simplicity, easy implementation process, and proven productivity boost. 

With Scrum, the project manager will work closely with the team in terms of identifying and prioritizing functionality in the backlog. This backlog will contain whatever tasks must be accomplished to deliver the final product. 

Kanban

Kanban is the most popular visual workflow management methodology. Kanban boards make it easier for agile teams to manage various tasks in the project life cycle. 

Similar to Scrum, Kanban is built to help teams collaborate with high efficiency. 

The basic principles of Kanban include visual workflow automation, limited WIP (work in progress), and enhanced workflows. This process helps promote continuous collaboration and ongoing learning for agile teams. 

Lean

It’s common for software development teams to leverage the lean agile methodology. This iterative framework is highly flexible and doesn’t have rigid rules or guidelines. 

The main principles of lean management include team empowerment, enhanced learning, eliminating waste, delivering tasks as soon as possible, making decisions as late as possible, and seeing the big picture. 

Individuals and small teams will have more decision-making authority, as opposed to a hierarchical flow. Lean management also helps ensure that the entire team is productive for the longest amount of time. 

Crystal

The Crystal agile methodology is another popular software development framework. It’s lightweight and typically comprised of a family of agile processes. These include Crystal Orange, Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow, and others.

Each individual framework has its own unique rules and characteristics based on factors like project priority, team size, and more. 

Crystal puts emphasis on the interaction between the processes and people involved in a project. Some of the key principles of Crystal include simplicity, teamwork, collaboration, and the ability to improve processes. It promotes high user engagement while removing distractions and bureaucracies. 

Other Types of Agile Project Management

There are lots of other agile frameworks out there. When you consider the variations and combinations of some, this number is in the dozens. 

Other popular types include LeSS (large scale Scrum), SAFe (scaled agile framework), feature driven development (FDD), extreme programming (XP), dynamic systems development method (DSDM), Scrumban, adaptive software development (ASD), agile-agile hybrid, and FAST agile. The list goes on and on. 

#1 – Forecast Review — The Best Collaboration Features

Forecast is an all-in-one project management and resource management solution. It’s built for project-driven companies that want to empower teams, automate operations, and unite all projects into a single tool. 

With Forecast, you can automate tasks for project planning, resource allocation, and more. The software is powered by AI technology to help simplify monotonous tasks. 

Here are some of the top reasons and why Forecast ranks so high on my list:

  • Keep the big picture in mind with real-time operational visibility
  • Analyze decisions and financial health of projects
  • Admins can set different permission levels for each user (clients, collaborators, etc.)
  • Simple and organized backlog of project tasks
  • Easy to plan sprints and track progress
  • Automatically get notified about key updates in your workflow
  • Continuous and fast delivery of products and tasks

Overall, Forecast has everything agile teams need to improve communication. Create and assign task cards, file sharing, dependencies, subtasks, comments, and priority lists are just a handful of examples.

It’s a popular choice for agencies, consultants, and software teams. Forecast also has solutions for project accounting and business intelligence. The software seamlessly integrates with other popular tools that your team is using.

Forecast’s AI will learn from your previous projects and suggest the number of hours that should be allocated to similar tasks. 

Plans start at $29 per seat per month (with a minimum of 10 seats). Try it free for 14 days; no credit card required. 

#2 – Monday Review — The Best For Agile Beginners

Monday.com has quickly become one of the most popular agile project management tools on the market today. It’s trusted by 100,000+ organizations worldwide, including some big names like Coca-Cola, Adobe, Hulu, and the Discovery Channel.

This is a great choice if you’re new to agile management and need a solution for basic projects.

It’s one of the easiest ways to plan, track, and deliver team projects from a single workspace. Here are some of the other reasons why I like Monday so much:

  • Deploy in minutes with hundreds of customizable templates
  • Integrates with tools like Slack, HubSpot, G Suite, LinkedIn, Teams, and more
  • Automate repetitive tasks to save time and avoid human error
  • Visual data with Kanban boards, timelines, maps, calendars, and more
  • 24/7 customer support with a 10-minute average response time
  • Track the progress of your projects and make data-driven decisions
  • Set project goals and empower stakeholders

Monday.com makes it easy for teams to collaborate. You’ll benefit from features like file sharing, task assignments, task priorities, visual boards, and other ways to see what everyone is doing at a glance. 

It’s a popular choice for remote work, marketing, creative teams, HR, sales, and more. While Monday does have tools for software development, IT, and construction projects, it’s definitely better for simple projects.

Plans start at just $8 per seat per month (with a minimum of three seats). You can try Monday.com free for 14 days with an unlimited number of users; no credit card required. 

#3 – Mavenlink Review — Best For Agile Management at Scale

Mavenlink is another all-in-one solution for project management and resource management. It’s a modern way for teams to collaborate from anywhere, which is perfect for remote work.

In addition to improving your team’s productivity on the operational end, Mavenlink provides deep insights into the financial performance of your projects and business as well.

Some of the top features, benefits, and noteworthy highlights of Mavenlink include:

  • Rich insights for data-driven business decisions in real-time
  • Flexible way to manage resources and project tasks
  • Real-time automation tools
  • See all projects at a glance with complete project portfolio view
  • Easy to assess the health and status of specific projects or portfolio of projects
  • Reusable templates to replicate success
  • Consistently deliver projects on-time
  • Improve project performance
  • Extend workspace with popular integrations (Salesforce, Xero, Slack, HubSpot, etc.)

Mavenlink is great for larger teams that need to manage projects across multiple departments. This works fine if you’re just using it for a handful of projects. But it works just as well if you have a project portfolio of 500+.

For small teams and enterprises alike, Mavenlink has a plan for everyone. Rates aren’t available online, so you’ll need to contact their sales team for more information. 

Try Mavenlink free for ten days.

#4 – Jira Review — Best Agile Project Management Tool For Development Teams

Jira by Atlassian is a bit unique compared to some of the other tools on our list. This agile project management software is built specifically for software development projects.

With Jira, software teams of all sizes can plan, track, and release exceptional products.

Let’s take a closer look at Jira’s top highlights for agile management:

  • Plan sprints, create user stories, and distribute tasks for software teams
  • Prioritize complete team’s work in context with full visibility for everyone
  • Real-time visual data reporting
  • Choose a pre-built workflow or create your own custom solutions
  • Integrate with hundred of developer tools out of the box
  • Connect software team’s work to your product roadmap
  • Scrum boards, Kanban boards, roadmaps and agile reporting

Jira is arguably the safest project management tool on the market today in terms of data encryption and compliance. It integrates with 3,000+ apps in the Atlassian marketplace as well.

Software teams, look no further—Jira is the best option agile project management tool for you. 

The tool is free for up to ten users. Paid plans start at just $7 per user per month. Try it free for seven days.  

#5 – VivifyScrum Review — Best All-in-One Agile Management Tool

VivifyScrum is a versatile agile management solution. It’s trusted by small teams and large organizations alike.

Regardless of your team size and project complexity, this tool can help manage everything from a single platform. 

Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider VivifyScrum:

  • Unlimited Scrum boards, unlimited Kanban boards, and unlimited items
  • Custom boards with built-in team collaboration tools
  • Built-in features for invoicing clients and tracking payments
  • Time tracking and team management features
  • Create custom workflows with agile boards
  • Reporting and analytics with burndown charts, Scrum metrics, and more

The software comes with mobile apps, API access, file storage, unlimited integrations, unlimited active sprints, and so much more.

VivifyScrum starts at $10 per month for small teams. Contact the sales team for more information on Enterprise pricing. Regardless of your team size and project management needs, you can try VivifyScrum free for 14 days. 

Summary

The only way to effectively manage an agile team is with the right project management tool. Which agile project management software is the best?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Factors like project type, team size, and other considerations must be evaluated for you to make an informed decision.

Follow my methodology and recommendations described in this guide to find the best agile project management tools for your unique situation.

The post Best Agile Project Management Tools appeared first on Neil Patel.

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10 Tips For Writing a Winning LinkedIn Headline


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The following post was first provided by Neil Patel.

LinkedIn’s 690 million members include 180 million senior-level influencers, 63 million decision-makers and 10 million C-level executives. 

Hence, there are a lot of influential people on LinkedIn that have hiring power and purchase power. Whatever you hope to achieve from using the network, you’ll want to make a good impression.

Your headline is the first thing that people see aside from your profile picture. It’s how decision-makers will find you. It’s how you get people to notice you and what will make them want to visit your profile to learn more. Thus, it’s safe to say your headline is pretty important.

So, I thought I’d share my top tips for creating an effective headline with you. But, first, let’s look at the basics:

What is Your LinkedIn Headline?

Your headline is the tagline that appears under your name on LinkedIn and at the top of your profile page. The headline used to be limited to 120 characters. But, here’s some good news, LinkedIn extended the headline to 220 characters in 2020. So, you have a little more space to sell yourself, share your vision or whatever it is you’d like to express via your headline.

What Makes a Winning LinkedIn Headline

There are some important criteria for creating an impactful headline. The best LinkedIn headlines do the following:

Make Use of Keywords

Keywords aren’t the only thing your headline should include. But they are key to helping the right people find your profile. Keywords can include your job title, skills and areas you specialize in. Place keywords towards the beginning of your headline and then expand with further information.

Express Your Value

Expressing you or your company’s value means sharing more than the tasks you carry out. Your headline should be driven by the benefits of the services you provide and the kind of results you achieve. For example, rather than saying you do tax planning, you’d say you help businesses to save money.

Are Unique

A winning LinkedIn headline is one that stands out from the crowd. Think about how many people do the exact same job as you or offer similar services. You can give yourself a competitive edge and encourage more people to visit your profile by making your headline different.

Help You Meet Your Goals

You need to think carefully about why you’re on LinkedIn and what you hope to achieve. This should inform what you include in your headline (and the rest of your profile). If you’re not sure about what you can accomplish on LinkedIn or how to go about it, you may wish to speak with a social media consultant.

Now let’s look in more detail at exactly how you can create a winning headline:

1. Get Inspiration

By default, LinkedIn uses your job title and employer as your headline. What a snooze fest. If you want to do better, the first step is to get inspired.

Search for people in your field or who have similar roles to you. Take a look at how they’ve formulated their headlines. See what appeals to you and what doesn’t. Of course, you shouldn’t just nab somebody else’s headline. But, doing this will help you come up with ideas for how you want your headline to appear.

Also, pay attention to those who appear at the top of the search results for your industry. What keywords do they use? Note these keywords as they likely contribute to why these pros are doing so well in the search results.

2. Ask Yourself These Questions

When you decide to upgrade your LinkedIn headline to maximize its impact, it’s a good idea to have a little brainstorming sesh. Here are some questions that will guide you when you’re coming up with ideas:

  • How would you describe yourself to a new colleague if you only had five seconds?
  • What makes you different from others with the same job title?
  • Why should users click on your profile?
  • What are your most in-demand skills?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • What makes you unique?

3. Choose the Right Keywords

Include relevant keywords in your headline so that you appear in more search results. 

To do this, you’ll first need to think about who you want to find your profile on LinkedIn. A recruiter? A potential lead? Influencers you hope to connect with? And so on…

This will guide you in figuring out the right keywords to use. For example, you may include your specific skills or specialisms to get found by recruiters with the most relevant job opportunities. 

In this example, we don’t just have a “developer”, nor do we just have a “chatbot developer”, the user goes even more specific with the terms “Facebook Messenger Marketing” and “Automation Practitioner”:

Whereas, if you’re using LinkedIn to network and boost your authority, you may want to use broader terms. Your job role might be “Artworker” but in order to be found by more people, it’d be a very good idea to include the term “Graphic Design”.

4. Include Your Unique Selling Proposition

Keywords alone aren’t enticing enough to get users to visit your profile. State the value that you provide by doing what you do, in particular something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

There’s a simple formula you can use to express this: I help X do Y by doing Z. Here’s an example from an accounting consultant:

When she says “I help women build profitable businesses”, she outlines the beneficial results of her work, not just the tasks that she performs. You should do something similar.

You can also use data to drive your point home. Here an email marketer shares the average results he achieves:

There are tons of relevant data points you could include to prove your value, such as the number of customers you’ve helped achieve a particular outcome or the results of an impressive case study.

5. Share Your Achievements/Credentials

When you make self-aggrandizing claims on LinkedIn, people will either think you’re arrogant or full of it. Instead, you should go by the old adage, “Show don’t tell”. Show that you’re great at what you do via your achievements or credentials.

What’s your most impressive achievement? Have you won an award perhaps? Been featured on top media outlets? Sold a bunch of books? Grew a well-known company? Those are the kind of things you’ll want to share.

This professional shares the fact that he’s been a LinkedIn Top Voice honoree four times and sprinkles in some serious social proof by mentioning his work with Mark Cuban:

Furthermore, certain credentials that are recognized by people in your industry will give you clout. For example, in the marketing world it’s good to be Google-certified, like this pro:

Share credentials relevant to your position to show that you’re not just messing around, you really know what you’re doing.

6. Use Natural Language

Keep your headline free of jargon, particularly if you’re using LinkedIn for sales or lead generation. If a prospect doesn’t understand what you’re selling, you won’t have much luck.

Similarly, make your job title clear and simple unless you’re seeking a specific job role. Again, users you want to connect with may not understand what you do. Even if you think the term “Business Development Manager” is clear, trust me, simplifying it to “Sales Manager” is much more transparent.

Also, avoid buzzwords. After a time, every Tom, Dick and Harry will be using the same trendy terminology to describe their services. Thus, your words become meaningless.

And saying that you’re a “Guru”, “Ninja” or “Wizard” is a bit cheesy and old-fashioned. It won’t help you in the search results either. When was the last time you searched for a ninja on LinkedIn or anywhere for that matter?

Try to use simple, everyday language to explain your role or value proposition. Here’s an excellent example from a marketing professional:

Her target audience, small businesses, may not be familiar with or fully understand industry terms so she offers a straightforward, benefit-driven value proposition.

7. Don’t Put “Unemployed”

Even if you’re currently looking for a job, you shouldn’t put “Unemployed”, “Seeking New Opportunities” or similar in your headline. 

The thing is, recruiters or companies aren’t searching for the term “Unemployed” on LinkedIn. You only get a couple hundred characters for your headline, so it would be better to utilize that space for keywords that they are likely to search for, and your experience, specialisms, credentials etc.

You can show that you’re looking for work on your profile instead. At the top of your profile, you’ll see a section that says, “Show recruiters you’re open to work”. 

Simply, fill in details about the type of role you’re looking for and the location. You can even change the settings so that your current employers won’t see that you’re seeking work.

8. Share Your Mission

Maybe you’re not looking to promote yourself. Perhaps, you’re in the process of growing a startup or maybe you or your company are trying to achieve a wider goal that you want people to know about.

If this sounds like you, then you should definitely share your vision in your headline. In this example, the professional shares what he does “mass transit” but also why he does it “to reduce our carbon footprint and create a more connected community”:

You could use a similar formula. Start with the what and then go into the why. If you’re unsure about how to phrase your goals, you can always take inspiration from your company’s mission statement.

9. Show Your Personality

Like with any other social media platform, users skim through their LinkedIn feed, groups and even search results at speed. So, you need a headline that’s going to make somebody stop and take notice.

Get creative and use your headline to express your personality. Not only will it make you stand out but it’ll also make your profile memorable.

Here’s an example from an SEO manager with a quirky sense of humor:

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to be the Kevin Hart of LinkedIn. There are other ways to express your personality via your headline. Perhaps, you want to project positive vibes or enthusiasm. 

You could even share a little personal tidbit about yourself. Maybe you do PR during the day and rule at Settlers of Catan by night… This kind of thing will also help start conversations between you and new connections.

10. Keep Your Headline Updated

It’s easy to set and forget your headline. But to get the most from it you need to keep it up to date.

Firstly, be sure to add new skills, achievements, career developments and so on when they arise. Your skillset will develop over time and your headline should reflect this.

Moreover, you may wish to test the impact of your headline and update it accordingly. When you make an alteration, keep an eye on the number of people who have viewed your profile. 

With LinkedIn Premium, you can also see who has viewed your profile. Therefore, you can discover if your headline is attracting who you want to attract or your target audience.

Conclusion

You can use your LinkedIn headline to get noticed by influential professionals and encourage more people to visit your profile. A winning headline combines relevant keywords and your unique value proposition.

Don’t forget to think carefully about who you hope to attract with your headline. And don’t be afraid to sell yourself as long as it doesn’t come across as too boastful.

Take the first step towards creating a great LinkedIn headline. Do some research to see what works well in your industry and brainstorm ideas for your own headline.

The post 10 Tips For Writing a Winning LinkedIn Headline appeared first on Neil Patel.

I hope that you found the article above useful or of interest. Similar content can be found on our blog here: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

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The State of Local SEO: Experts Weigh in on Industry-Specific Tactics

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The post has been 1st published on this website: https://feedpress.me/link/9375/13984990/local-seo-expert-roundup.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way we engage with local businesses. We’re ordering more food for delivery, spending more money in online shops, and checking for safety measures on the web listings of businesses of all kinds. But what do these new trends mean for the ways businesses market themselves online?

We asked five local SEO experts to zero in on the trends and tactics businesses across five industries should focus on to get ahead — and stay ahead — during this time.

For more local insights, download our State of Local SEO Industry Report.

1. 70% of local marketers reported marketing budget cuts due to COVID-19, leading marketers to focus even more on the most impactful local SEO campaign elements. Which three local search marketing tactics are delivering the most value for businesses right now, and why?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

1. Detailed, recent reviews — especially on Google Maps, but preferably also on other sites.

2. Where applicable, a “telehealth”-type page that goes into great detail on what specific problem(s) the doctor or wellness profession can help with remotely.

3. A detailed page on every specific service, procedure, or condition the practice handles, each with a section that explicitly states whether a telehealth or similar “virtual” option is applicable to it.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

1. Link building. A lot of businesses have a hard time getting quality links on their own, so when you have link building tactics at an agency that work, it can be a huge value add.

2. Optimizing internal linking structure on the business website. Most websites for small businesses are not structured properly, and making a few adjustments to internal linking can make fairly impressive changes in the search results. It also impacts both the local and organic search results, just like link building.

3. Localizing content on the website. Taking existing pages on a business’ website and optimizing them for city, county, or state queries can have really great impacts on both local and organic results. We’ve also seen great results from optimizing for “near me” queries.

Tweet this!

Blake Denman: Home Services

For home services, identifying and reporting Google My Business spam/violations are the most impactful. Why? If you’re using accurate rank tracking and see that you rank #5 for a popular keyword in your target market BUT three of the listings above you are violating Google My Business guidelines, getting those listings updated or removed (depending on the violation) would move you up three spots. Knowing the Google My Business guidelines is crucial along with knowing how to spot violations.

The second most impactful marketing “tactic” is implementing and maintaining a review building strategy. You can’t outrank a sh*tty reputation.

The third most important marketing tactic is understanding who your customers are, where they live, how you can relate to them, and what they care about. From a strategic standpoint, the more information you have on your target customers, the more you’re able to get involved in the local community that they belong to. For local search, I’m of the opinion that Google wants to highlight popular companies from the offline world in the online world. Start focusing on building a better, LOCAL brand.

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

For restaurant and hotel listings in particular, there’s certainly a lot that can be done to stand out from other listings. With COVID, both categories have been impacted heavily. Many listings needed to either be marked as “Permanently Closed” or the newly created “Temporarily Closed”. Three tactics that are important to utilize right now include:

Effective attribute usage: There are now attributes in GMB for “Health & Safety” and “Service Options”. Both are extremely important right now, especially the mask-related attributes, which can give customers a lot of reassurance. The same goes for how hospitality businesses are operating with respect to whether there are in-store or pick-up options.Google Post notices: Google Posts are an effective way of communicating important changes to operations. The COVID-19 update post is a great one to use because it never expires. But there is the downside that other posts are buried (COVID-19 posts are given prominence).Proactive updates: For hotel listings, GMB can be a complicated space with how booking sites are deeply integrated into the UI. As COVID regulations change based on your location, details on these sites need to be kept updated quickly to reach customers and avoid negative experiences.Tweet this!

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

Make sure that your GMB listings use the COVID posts to share information about how you are keeping your clients safe. Our financial client created COVID landing pages for both personal and business accounts. This client saw a 95% increase in organic goal completions from February to March. There was also a 97% increase in organic goal completions YoY. Google posts that focused on coronavirus-related services and products have also performed well.

2. 75% of marketers agree that elements of Google My Business profiles (categories, reviews, photos, etc.) are local search ranking factors. Which three GMB elements do you recommend businesses focus on right now to influence their local pack rankings, and why?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

Number one: reviews.

Number two: categories — particularly the “primary” category.

Number three: getting your “practitioner” GMB pages right, by which I mean you’ve got a detailed “bio” page serving as the GMB landing page, a primary category that reflects the practitioner’s specialty, and Google reviews for each practitioner from their patients.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

There are only four elements inside Google My Business that really impact ranking. Since the first one is the business name, I’d suggest focusing on the other three: Reviews, the page on your website you link the listing to, and the categories you choose. For example, in this article, I detailed the difference between the family lawyer category and the divorce lawyer category, and which keywords they correlate to.

Blake Denman: Home Services

Specifically for the home services industry, adjusting your primary category in Google My Business when seasons change. HVAC company? Winter is fast approaching, your primary category should be changed to a relevant heating category instead of your summer category, AC. Your primary Google My Business category is going to have more of a ranking improvement than secondary categories.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but take a look at all of your competitor’s listings for Google My Business violations. And finally, reviews are going to make or break your listing. If you haven’t implemented a review building strategy by now, you really need to get one set up ASAP.

Tweet this!

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

As a starting point, opening hours and whether a listing is marked as permanently/temporarily closed are major influencers of local pack rankings. Each is key to showing up at all, but incremental increases can certainly be achieved with gaining a high volume of positive reviews and making sure both your primary and secondary categories are set effectively. With categories, a great place to start is completing a competitor analysis with GMBspy Chrome extension.

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

Reviews are one of the most important ranking factors, as well as being important for improving conversions.

Second is the proximity to searchers — are there ATMs or branches that currently do not have GMB listings? New listings can help increase visibility in Google Maps.

Build local links. Now is a great time to work on link building. Try to find directories and organizations specific to your geographic location to join.

3. 90% of our survey respondents agree that GMB reviews influence local pack rankings. What advice can you offer businesses looking to maximize the value of reviews?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

Stop going for easy, fast, drive-by email requests, and start trying to identify patients who might go into a little detail in their reviews. Lazy requests result in lazy reviews. At the very least, don’t send “Dear Valued Patient”-type requests by email, but ideally you also find a discreet way to ask in-person, with a follow-up email to come later. See my 2017 post on “Why Your Review-Encouragement Software Is a Meat Grinder”.

These days, more than ever, patients want to know things like what safety and hygiene procedures you follow, what wait times are like, whether the standard of care has changed, etc. Longtime patients are in the best position to write crunchy, detailed reviews, but you should encourage every patient to go into as much detail as they can. Try having a designated “review person” who knows a thing or two about any given patient, and will take a couple of minutes to make a personal and personalized request. Do it because you want “keywords” in your reviews, and because a five-star review that doesn’t impress anyone won’t help your practice much.

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Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

Make sure you ask every customer for a review and come up with a process that is streamlined and easy to keep organized. We normally suggest using a paid platform for review management (we use GatherUp) because it can automate the process and send reminders to people who haven’t responded yet.

Blake Denman: Home Services

Figure out the best method for earning reviews. Test email, texting, and in-person requests from your team, physical cards with a bit.ly link, etc. Test each one for a few months, then switch to a different method. Test until you find the method that works best for your customers.

The other thing that really needs to be considered is how to get customers to write about the specific services they used when working with your company. Little prompts or questions that they could answer when you reach out will help customers write better reviews.

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

Getting reviews on GMB has never been easy. You can always try to take the manual route, but that’s impossible to properly scale. I rely on and recommend using GatherUp for hospitality business with multiple listings that need an integrated strategy to gather reviews effectively. The upside of using GatherUp is that you can capture first party reviews to use on your website or as an internal feedback mechanism.

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

My number one tactic for reviews has always been to have an actual person ask for a review during key points in the customer journey. For example, an associate that helps someone open a checking account, a mortgage advisor who is helping a family refinance their home, etc.

4. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of local marketers agreed with Mike Blumenthal’s popularized concept that Google is the new homepage for local businesses. Do your observations and analytics data indicate that this concept is still correct? Has the role of websites for currently operational businesses grown or decreased as a result of the public health emergency, and what does that mean for those websites?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

I’ve never been too much of that school of thought, and have been even less so since roughly the start of the COVID era: See my March 26, 2020 post: “Is COVID-19 the End of “Google As Your New Homepage?”

For casual, drop-in businesses, where customers or clients don’t need to do much research or make a big decision, I could see how maybe Google has made the SERPs an almost-suitable substitute for the homepage. That may also be true of medical practices to the extent they have current or returning patients who just want or need quick information fast on a practice they’re already familiar with. But when people’s health is at stake, they tend to dig a little deeper. Often they want or need to find out what procedures a practice does or doesn’t offer, learn more about the doctors or other staff, learn more about insurance and billing, or confirm what they saw in the search results.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

I agree that Google My Business is becoming a more important factor, as there are a ton of options that Google is pushing out due to COVID-19 that you can take advantage of.

For example, you can use the online appointments attribute, which shows up prominently in the Knowledge Panel and the 3-pack. They also recently added online operating hours as an additional hours set.

I think it’s important, though, for people to realize that Google My Business is mainly there to provide the opportunity to share more about what your business does and provide ways for customers to contact you. Most of the fields inside Google My Business do not impact ranking. Traditional SEO factors are needed to make sure your business actually ranks on Google, and then Google My Business will help ensure those customers see the right information. Additionally, Google My Business has not replaced the need for a website — it’s simply another place that needs to be monitored and updated frequently.

Blake Denman: Home Services

Yes, Google My Business might be the first interaction people have with before (or needing) to go to your website. Websites are still really important — not just for traditional organic SEO, but for traditional SEO signals that influence Google My Business rankings, too.

Since the public health emergency emerged, we’re seeing an uptick in traffic to websites. Yes, you can add certain attributes to your GMB listing to address public health concerns, but people need more information. What kinds of protocols are you taking? How far out are you booked?

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

It really depends on the business type, but at the moment, many local businesses (especially in hospitality) are under a lot of pressure. This means they might not have the capacity to keep their websites updated or their GMB listings in check. So, they’re having to resort to food delivery services like UberEats — which has become far more mainstream in recent years, and I’m guessing there’s been an increase during 2020. And hotels, where I’m located in Melbourne, anyway, haven’t been able to operate for some time, but I probably wouldn’t be relying on their GMB listing to give the most up-to-date information.

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

The role of the website has definitely grown for our financial clients. Websites are hubs for useful information, especially in the case of a crisis or for products and services that play a large role in your life. For many business categories, the information found on GMB listings is enough to get conversions. Consumers do significant research when choosing a financial product, and they need all of the information they can get to make a well-informed decision based on rates, fees, and policies.

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5. Only 39% of marketers feel that Google’s emphasis on user-to-business proximity always delivers high-quality results. In the industry, does Google tend to prioritize proximity over quality for core search terms? Would you say they over-emphasize proximity in your experience?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

That’s truest in saturated industries, in my experience. But in more specialized fields, or for more specific (niche) terms, Google doesn’t seem to fixate on proximity as much. To some extent that’s because it can’t: Google needs to go a little farther afield to grab enough relevant results to fill up a page or a 3-pack.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

Absolutely. Proximity is one of the main reasons why spam is a problem in the legal services industry. Marketing companies will create lead-generating Google My Business listings and be able to get them to rank simply based on having keyword-rich business names. They create them in mass so they rank when people close to them are searching (due to the proximity factor).

Here is an example of some of the spam we see in the legal services industry.

Blake Denman: Home Services

Proximity for certain types of industries (restaurants, coffee shops, dry cleaners, etc.) are great, but for others, like home industries, they are not. Most home service businesses should not be displaying their address since they are a Service Area Business, but this doesn’t stop some from keeping their address up to rank in that city.

Google does tend to prioritize proximity in the home services industry, unfortunately.

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Brodie Clark: Hospitality

I think Google does a reasonable job at dialing up the proximity meter where necessary. If you were to pin keywords in a business listing name against proximity, keywords in the business name would win nine times out of 10. So in that instance, other signals should be dialled up further, but proximity may only be relevant in certain cases.

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

Absolutely. With digital banking and the amount of trust we put into financial organizations, proximity isn’t a major factor when considering a financial service provider, but Google results don’t reflect that.

Proximity is a much bigger factor when you’re choosing a place to order takeout from than it is when you’re choosing who to trust with your 30-year mortgage. Reviews should definitely play a bigger factor than proximity for financial institutions.

6. 91% of marketers tell us they have a strategy in place for capturing featured snippet visibility in the SERPs. Which featured snippets should businesses focus on most, and why?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

Focus on FAQs, particularly on your “service,” “treatment,” or “condition” pages. Focus on those sorts of pages rather than on blog posts or other purely informational resources, which generally are less likely to help bring you new patients.

Those FAQs and your answers, of course, should be specific to the service, treatment, procedure, or condition you describe on a given page. The questions should be phrased in the way your patients (or searchers) would phrase them, and your answers should be blurb-length and relatively simple.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

I have seen featured snippets for lots of really long-tail, commercial-intent keywords that probably shouldn’t have featured snippets. These can be really amazing sources of traffic if you get one of them (see photo below). Additionally, creating content around things like “can you sue for [insert information]” can be a great way to win featured snippets.

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Blake Denman: Home Services

With more and more personalization coming into the SERPs, I believe that featured snippets will become more and more regionally specific. If you do a search for “new water heater cost” you see a featured snippet for Home Advisor. If a company that is local to me published content around the cost and installation, why wouldn’t Google serve that snippet to me instead of what is shown nationally?

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

Featured snippets are a topic that I write about regularly. When it comes to hospitality businesses, featured snippets can be a lower-end priority. According to the MozCast, featured snippets appear on ~9% of all SERPs in the ~10K MozCast query set. I would expect it to be lower than that for most hospitality businesses. Focus on the featured snippets that provide the highest return for your time, and ensure you’ve got a tracking strategy in place. I wrote a post recently that described a method for using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to capture these insights.

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Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

We teach our financial clients to focus on educating their customers by making sure we research the right topics and provide the best possible answer. Paragraph, table, and carousel featured snippets are typically the types that we see financial websites achieving most often.

7. We saw an increase in the number of consultants advising clients about offline strategy, instead of keeping strictly to online SEO consulting. What can businesses be doing offline right now to strengthen their chances of success?

Phil Rozek: Health and Wellness Services

Don’t keep patients waiting anywhere close to how long they’d wait pre-COVID. Patients should think, “I wish it happened under better circumstances, but I do like that I don’t wait around as much as I used to.”

Make sure your patient-facing staff are always friendly, patient, and organized. Many practices get bad reviews online not because of the doctor(s), but because of complaints regarding staff. Yes, admins and other staff have a tough job, and no, patients aren’t always reasonable. Just the same, staff-patient issues can bring down a practice. Continually working with staff on soft skills is time well-spent.

Get to know more doctors or business owners outside of your field of practice. Occasionally they have great ideas that you can adapt to your situation, to your practice.

Joy Hawkins: Legal Services

I would focus on tactics offline that would increase branded searches on Google. Branded searches are one of the things we’ve found that correlate with your business getting a place label on Google Maps. Our study on this is releasing later this year.

Blake Denman: Home Services

Start focusing on building a BETTER. LOCAL. BRAND. I’ve come across websites that have a horrible backlink profile or haven’t updated their website since 2010, yet they rank prominently in their market — why? They have been involved in their local community for a long time.

If you know who your customers are and have dived into your affinity categories in Google Analytics, you will have a really good understanding of what your target audience cares about outside of your service.

Brodie Clark: Hospitality

Talk to your customers. Ask them questions and understand their concerns. Taking important conversations offline still plays an important role in your marketing strategy.

Amanda Jordan: Financial Services

Review strategies should include offline tactics. Community outreach and involvement are crucial. I would argue that anyone who is consulting about online reputation management should focus on the company’s reputation offline as well.

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Every business is different and no tactic is one-size-fits-all. As with all good things in SEO, the key is testing. Whether you’re releasing a new product or service, upleveling your review management process, or changing the way you use Google My Business, we encourage you to try out some of these expert tips to see what will stick for your business.

Have a local SEO strategy that’s working well for your business, or want us to feature your industry in our next post? Let us know in the comments below.

We trust you all found the post above useful.
You will discover similar content here on our main site: https://rankmysite1st.com/blog/

The Trade Offs of Buying Instagram Followers


Tutorials and tips on How To Rank My Website.

The following post was first provided by Neil Patel.

Like any shortcut, buying Instagram followers can be very tempting.

And why not? Just look at these ads:

“Get 100% real Instagram followers within 10 minutes!”

“Pay only $5 for 500 followers.”

“Increase your Instagram following by 25% at shockingly low rates!“

See? Tempting.

But let us warn you – don’t give in.

These shortcuts are never worth it. More so, because the Instagram algorithm is updated regularly to weed out low-quality and fake accounts and interactions.

Plus, the results are hollow, scammy, and… mortifyingly obvious.

In this guide, we’ll cover all points to give you a better idea about how buying Instagram followers works – or rather how it doesn’t work – along with actionable ways to increase your number of followers organically.

So, let’s get started!

How People “Think” Buying Instagram Followers Will Help Them?

Buying Instagram followers is usually done in two ways, each having different results:

More (Fake) Followers

You can indeed get more followers very easily and cost-effectively by spending money.

But Instagram can track down your fake followers who are actually shell accounts and can ban them. Moreover, you won’t get any revenue or engagement for your business.

Automatic Following and Unfollowing, With More Likes

This method is based off on the common Instagram etiquette – #FollowForFollow.

You follow an account, and that account follows you back. The catch here is that the other account gets automatically unfollowed after a few days

You have the option to choose how fast you want the bot to work where you’ll follow other Instagram users, who will then check out your account and give you a follow.

We know that this method sounds better than the first one, but it still isn’t an organic way to increase your true fans. Here’s why it doesn’t work:

  • People Can Tell You Bought Followers 

The bot can like several pictures in quick succession, tipping off Instagram users that you aren’t really engaging with them. Having a high-followers-to-following ratio is another indication.

  • Doesn’t Identify Accounts Who Will Follow You Back 

The bot cannot identify accounts who are bots, brand ambassadors, or inactive accounts. So even if you follow them, these accounts will not follow you back.

  • Inaccurate Customer Targeting 

It’s necessary to have an organic, loyal fan following if you want to boost your engagement in the long run. The bot often messes up targeting and adds accounts who have no genuine interest in your brand.

  • Unfollows Rather Quickly

Not everyone checks their Instagram regularly. So they can miss the bot following and unfollowing them, which again does nothing for your account. #MoneyWasted

Basically, you won’t have sustainable results in the long run.

How Buying Instagram Followers Affect Your Brand Negatively?

Before talking about why you shouldn’t buy Instagram accounts, let’s discuss why you choose to operate an Instagram account.

  • You want to connect with friends and family, giving them a glimpse into your daily lives. If this is you, why would you want to buy followers to have a bigger network? You don’t know them, and they definitely will have no interest in the posts you share.
  • You want to take advantage of the 1 billion Instagram users and sell your product or service. If you‘re a business or brand, fake followers have no use for you since they aren’t going to buy anything from you.
  • You want to influence your followers and potentially land lucrative deals from brands to showcase their offerings. If you’re an influencer, what’s the point of having fake followers when you cannot influence them? This will only make you look unreliable and fake.

In other words, buying Instagram followers is nothing but #Fail.

That said, let’s discuss the reasons why you shouldn’t buy Instagram followers in more detail:

Absolutely Zero Genuine Engagement

One of the main reasons why people buy followers is to boost their engagement. Well, right after increasing the number of followers.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth, though.

Since you’re merely paying for fake bot accounts, the best engagement you can hope for is a generic “nice post“ comment.

If you‘re an influencer, your main job is influencing your followers‘ behavior and possibly steering them to buy products from brands with whom you share affiliate partnerships. 

But if they don’t engage with you, you aren’t influencing them at all.

Precisely why brands check out the validity of an “influencer“ before taking the plunge and working with them.

Your Competitors And Instagram Know You Bought Followers

There are some dead giveaways that scream you purchased your Instagram followers and likes, making your folly embarrassingly obvious.

  • Your likes-to-follower or likes-to-comments ratios are unnaturally high.
  • You have like-buying services following your account.
  • The accounts that like your post or follow your account have little to no activity in the form of posts, few followers, missing profile photos, and so on.

Trust us, people will know.

You’ll Have Mismatched Engagement

Human behavior is predictable, which is why you‘re likely to have a typical pattern of engagement if you have a genuine following. 

Markerly analyzed the Instagram accounts of 2 million influencers and discovered the following patterns:

  • Less than 1000 followers average about 8% engagement
  • 1000-10,000 followers average 4% engagement
  • 10,000-100,000 followers average 2.4% engagement
  • 100,000 followers-1 million followers average 1.8% engagement
  • Greater than 1 million followers average 1.7% engagement

Now, this doesn’t mean your engagement rates should exactly match these numbers – after all, they are just averages. But a noticeable difference would mean there’s definitely something fishy going on.

Instagram Will Punish You or Even Suspend Your Account

Instagram is ruthless when it comes to penalizing accounts with fake followers.

The platform has recently updated its terms of use to identify and remove fake accounts and is also removing any likes, follows, or comments that come from third-party applications created to grow audiences artificially.

You‘ll also violate Instagram community guidelines if you buy followers, which can trigger a reaction from moderators.

Fake accounts are purged constantly, so your followers can disappear at any time. There is also the risk of Instagram outrightly suspending your account due to these unethical practices.

Higher Vulnerability to SPAM

The majority of your bought followers will be fake, but there might be a few accounts that bring SPAM with them.

When you provide your email address for purchasing followers, you‘re basically providing opportunities for spam posts. These spammers will have access to your followers and deliver SPAM there as well.

Some of your genuine followers may end up following these accounts just because they see you doing it, and when they discover the quality of these accounts, they might end up unfollowing you.

No Income for You

Your fake followers won’t spend any money on your products, and neither will they refer people to you.

So what’s the point of spending money to buy followers when there is no benefit?

As mentioned before, brands don’t select influencers based on the number of followers alone anymore. They use a host of tools to get an accurate picture to avoid working with unworthy accounts.

When they find you bought your followers, which they will, they obviously won’t work for you. 

Hence, you won’t earn any income despite spending some serious money on increasing your fake followers’ list.

You’ll End Up Being Blacklisted

Let alone income, brands will outright blacklist you if they find you lack credibility.

Influencer marketing is based on trust, which is why brands want to partner with genuine influencers who built their following organically. And when they find you’ve taken a dishonest shortcut, they‘ll start questioning your worth as a business.

Instead, you can consider buying Instagram ads. Not only will this help you increase your reach, but you might also be able to pull genuine followers. 

Plus, if you have the budget to “buy“ followers, why not spend it on paid advertising instead?

Actionable Ways to Increase Your Instagram Followers Authentically

We can now agree that buying fake followers isn’t going to get you Instagram success, and will only affect your potential adversely.

So the question here is how you can get more Instagram followers.

The following are some of the best practices to increase your Instagram followers:

Create Useful and Relevant Content

The best way to make people stop scrolling through their Instagram feed and like your post or follow your account is to create content that genuinely interests them.

Think about your target audience, and make the value of your post clear by tying it to a specific purpose.

What do you want to post to be? Informational, educational, or entertaining?

Here are a few suggestions to help you with content creation:

Informational Content That Informs Your Audience

  • Interesting articles, stories, and other relevant content from around the world.
  • Research and analysis that explore a specific subject or area.
  • Latest local, national, and international news in your niche.

Educational Content That Teaches Your Audience

  • Step-by-step how-to guides that show the user how to accomplish something.
  • Tutorials in the form of photos or instructional videos.
  • Video reviews of products or services to help users with purchase decisions.

Entertaining Content That Helps Your Audience Pass Their Time

  • Celebrity-focused gossip, stories, and photos.
  • Quizzes, brainteasers, trivia, and other mental tests.
  • Humorous content to break the daily monotony of life.

Inspirational Content That Uplifts Your Audience

  • Inspiring photos and videos related to fashion, home, food, garden, and travel.
  • Thought-provoking perspectives or strong opinions on critical topics.
  • Personal anecdotes or stories to create feelings of empathy.

You can choose any content type according to your target audience and personal preference – just make sure it’s purposeful. Your audience should feel they‘re getting something out of your posts. 

If you still face difficulty in understanding the kind of content to post, you can hire a social media marketing agency or consultant to do the job for you. 

Our team at Neil Patel Digital has a team of experts that are highly skilled in creating Instagram posts that drive traffic and boost engagement.

Using Growth Tools Strategically

Hashtags are an excellent way to grow your Instagram and earn authentic followers. 

Effective growth tools, such as HashtagsForLife, will allow you to see how a specific hashtag is performing in your content area and provide you insights and analytics. You can also see its reach, average likes, and unique posts made using that hashtag.

These are some of the top Instagram hashtags:

  • #love (1,271,692,015)
  • #instagood (742,795,562)
  • #photooftheday (507,358,504)
  • #fashion (487,010,088)
  • #beautiful (463,668,566)
  • #happy (427,528,663)
  • #cute (418,686,470)
  • #like4like (417,887,839)
  • #tbt (413,049,020)
  • #followme (392,011,012)

Promote Your Instagram on Other Social Media Platforms

It’s normal for people who are on Instagram to also be on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

So when you promote your Instagram on other networks, your followers will know that you have an account on Instagram as well, which, in turn, can drive traffic to the latter platform and simultaneously increase your followers.

Make sure your Instagram business account is linked to Facebook. This will enable you to share your Instagram post on your Facebook page, giving your Facebook friends and followers a sneak peek of what you have to offer on Instagram.

Try Instagram Ads

If you’re considering buying followers, you should give marketing with Instagram ads a try.

Choose an appropriate ad campaign objective like increasing your brand awareness or boosting your reach. 

Not only will this help you build your follower count, but will also get out there in front of people who’ve never heard about your brand and products, but want to.

Optimize your Instagram account

Optimizing your Instagram account can be an excellent way to get organic followers.

Your Instagram bio is like the homepage to your account, which is your brand. 

Think of a creative bio, add creative image captions, choose a good profile image and user name, and watch the magic unfold.

Doing this will help you build your brand identity as well as drive Instagram traffic to your site. You can also add links in your bio that direct your visitors to your site.

Top Tip: Make your Instagram as search-friendly as possible. If it’s too long, try to shorten it. Also, avoid adding numbers or special characters.

Follow a Consistent Content Calendar

Posting regularly on Instagram is a not-so-secret secret to lock in more followers. 

If you’re getting followers, you don’t want to make them forget they followed you in the first place, which is why maintaining a regular posting schedule is necessary.

You shouldn’t post more than two times a day to avoid spam – it’s the consistency that matters. 

Nearly 200 million Instagram users use their accounts daily, so even if you post a few times, it’s enough to get the followers rolling in. 

Just take a look at the above graph to know the best times to post to Instagram.

Follow the Follow + Like + Comment (FLC) Rule

You might have already heard about this rule, and it’s just as simple as it looks.

You should engage directly with your followers, follow different accounts, and like and comment on their photos. Try to do this repeatedly until you see a response.

In fact, when you FLC with a personal touch, you can have a third out of say, a hundred contacts that you engage with, follow you back.

Host Giveaways

Everybody likes free stuff, so why not get attention from other users by running a giveaway for your products, services, or merchandise?

You’ll find many businesses run a giveaway, where they ask the users to tag 3 to 5 friends and repost content. This can be a great way to boost your brand visibility and gain many followers quickly.

You Can’t Have Bots Carrying You Towards Instagram Success

Fake followers might boost engagement initially, but in the long run, there’s really no benefit – both in terms of credibility and financial gain.

Instead of trying to pay your way into Instagram popularity, follow our highly effective tips to slowly but legitimately grow your followers.

It may seem daunting to create a plan to increase your follower count, but with an effective strategic plan in place, you’ll have your followers growing faster than a bot ever could.

Wondering where to start? Contact us here and let us help disrupt your industry.

The post The Trade Offs of Buying Instagram Followers appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Let me have your feedback below in the comments section.

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10 Basic SEO Tips to Index + Rank New Content Faster — Best of Whiteboard Friday

SEO & Online Marketing tutorials.

This post has been 1st posted on this site: https://feedpress.me/link/9375/13979105/seo-tips-index-rank-content-faster.

When you publish new content, you want users to find it ranking in search results as fast as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks in the SEO toolbox to help you accomplish this goal. Sit back, turn up your volume, and let Cyrus Shepard show you exactly how in this popular and informative episode of Whiteboard Friday.

[Note: #3 isn’t covered in the video, but we’ve included in the post below. Enjoy!]

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard, back in front of the whiteboard. So excited to be here today. We’re talking about ten tips to index and rank new content faster.

You publish some new content on your blog, on your website, and you sit around and you wait. You wait for it to be in Google’s index. You wait for it to rank. It’s a frustrating process that can take weeks or months to see those rankings increase. There are a few simple things we can do to help nudge Google along, to help them index it and rank it faster. Some very basic things and some more advanced things too. We’re going to dive right in.

Indexing

1. URL Inspection / Fetch & Render

So basically, indexing content is not that hard in Google. Google provides us with a number of tools. The simplest and fastest is probably the URL Inspection tool. It’s in the new Search Console, previously Fetch and Render. As of this filming, both tools still exist. They are depreciating Fetch and Render. The new URL Inspection tool allows you to submit a URL and tell Google to crawl it. When you do that, they put it in their priority crawl queue. That just simply means Google has a list of URLs to crawl. It goes into the priority, and it’s going to get crawled faster and indexed faster.

2. Sitemaps!

Another common technique is simply using sitemaps. If you’re not using sitemaps, it’s one of the easiest, quickest ways to get your URLs indexed. When you have them in your sitemap, you want to let Google know that they’re actually there. There’s a number of different techniques that can actually optimize this process a little bit more.

The first and the most basic one that everybody talks about is simply putting it in your robots.txt file. In your robots.txt, you have a list of directives, and at the end of your robots.txt, you simply say sitemap and you tell Google where your sitemaps are. You can do that for sitemap index files. You can list multiple sitemaps. It’s really easy.

Sitemap in robots.txt

You can also do it using the Search Console Sitemap Report, another report in the new Search Console. You can go in there and you can submit sitemaps. You can remove sitemaps, validate. You can also do this via the Search Console API.

But a really cool way of informing Google of your sitemaps, that a lot of people don’t use, is simply pinging Google. You can do this in your browser URL. You simply type in google.com/ping, and you put in the sitemap with the URL. You can try this out right now with your current sitemaps. Type it into the browser bar and Google will instantly queue that sitemap for crawling, and all the URLs in there should get indexed quickly if they meet Google’s quality standard.

Example: https://www.google.com/ping?sitemap=https://example.com/sitemap.xml

3. Google Indexing API

(BONUS: This wasn’t in the video, but we wanted to include it because it’s pretty awesome)

Within the past few months, both Google and Bing have introduced new APIs to help speed up and automate the crawling and indexing of URLs.

Both of these solutions allow for the potential of massively speeding up indexing by submitting 100s or 1000s of URLs via an API.

While the Bing API is intended for any new/updated URL, Google states that their API is specifically for “either job posting or livestream structured data.” That said, many SEOs like David Sottimano have experimented with Google APIs and found it to work with a variety of content types.

If you want to use these indexing APIs yourself, you have a number of potential options:

Richard Baxter wrote an excellent post on using SEO Tools for Excel with Google’s APIGoogle’s Indexing API documentation

Yoast announced they will soon support live indexing across both Google and Bing within their SEO WordPress plugin.

Indexing & ranking

That’s talking about indexing. Now there are some other ways that you can get your content indexed faster and help it to rank a little higher at the same time.

4. Links from important pages

When you publish new content, the basic, if you do nothing else, you want to make sure that you are linking from important pages. Important pages may be your homepage, adding links to the new content, your blog, your resources page. This is a basic step that you want to do. You don’t want to orphan those pages on your site with no incoming links.

Adding the links tells Google two things. It says we need to crawl this link sometime in the future, and it gets put in the regular crawling queue. But it also makes the link more important. Google can say, “Well, we have important pages linking to this. We have some quality signals to help us determine how to rank it.” So linking from important pages.

5. Update old content

But a step that people oftentimes forget is not only link from your important pages, but you want to go back to your older content and find relevant places to put those links. A lot of people use a link on their homepage or link to older articles, but they forget that step of going back to the older articles on your site and adding links to the new content.

Now what pages should you add from? One of my favorite techniques is to use this search operator here, where you type in the keywords that your content is about and then you do a site:example.com. This allows you to find relevant pages on your site that are about your target keywords, and those make really good targets to add those links to from your older content.

6. Share socially

Really obvious step, sharing socially. When you have new content, sharing socially, there’s a high correlation between social shares and content ranking. But especially when you share on content aggregators, like Reddit, those create actual links for Google to crawl. Google can see those signals, see that social activity, sites like Reddit and Hacker News where they add actual links, and that does the same thing as adding links from your own content, except it’s even a little better because it’s external links. It’s external signals.

7. Generate traffic to the URL

This is kind of an advanced technique, which is a little controversial in terms of its effectiveness, but we see it anecdotally working time and time again. That’s simply generating traffic to the new content.

Now there is some debate whether traffic is a ranking signal. There are some old Google patents that talk about measuring traffic, and Google can certainly measure traffic using Chrome. They can see where those sites are coming from. But as an example, Facebook ads, you launch some new content and you drive a massive amount of traffic to it via Facebook ads. You’re paying for that traffic, but in theory Google can see that traffic because they’re measuring things using the Chrome browser.

When they see all that traffic going to a page, they can say, “Hey, maybe this is a page that we need to have in our index and maybe we need to rank it appropriately.”

Ranking

Once we get our content indexed, talk about a few ideas for maybe ranking your content faster.

8. Generate search clicks

Along with generating traffic to the URL, you can actually generate search clicks.

Now what do I mean by that? So imagine you share a URL on Twitter. Instead of sharing directly to the URL, you share to a Google search result. People click the link, and you take them to a Google search result that has the keywords you’re trying to rank for, and people will search and they click on your result.

You see television commercials do this, like in a Super Bowl commercial they’ll say, “Go to Google and search for Toyota cars 2019.” What this does is Google can see that searcher behavior. Instead of going directly to the page, they’re seeing people click on Google and choosing your result.

Instead of this: https://moz.com/link-explorerShare this: https://www.google.com/search?q=link+tool+moz

This does a couple of things. It helps increase your click-through rate, which may or may not be a ranking signal. But it also helps you rank for auto-suggest queries. So when Google sees people search for “best cars 2019 Toyota,” that might appear in the suggest bar, which also helps you to rank if you’re ranking for those terms. So generating search clicks instead of linking directly to your URL is one of those advanced techniques that some SEOs use.

9. Target query deserves freshness

When you’re creating the new content, you can help it to rank sooner if you pick terms that Google thinks deserve freshness. It’s best maybe if I just use a couple of examples here.

Consider a user searching for the term “cafes open Christmas 2019.” That’s a result that Google wants to deliver a very fresh result for. You want the freshest news about cafes and restaurants that are going to be open Christmas 2019. Google is going to preference pages that are created more recently. So when you target those queries, you can maybe rank a little faster.

Compare that to a query like “history of the Bible.” If you Google that right now, you’ll probably find a lot of very old pages, Wikipedia pages. Those results don’t update much, and that’s going to be harder for you to crack into those SERPs with newer content.

The way to tell this is simply type in the queries that you’re trying to rank for and see how old the most recent results are. That will give you an indication of what Google thinks how much freshness this query deserves. Choose queries that deserve a little more freshness and you might be able to get in a little sooner.

10. Leverage URL structure

Finally, last tip, this is something a lot of sites do and a lot of sites don’t do because they’re simply not aware of it. Leverage URL structure. When Google sees a new URL, a new page to index, they don’t have all the signals yet to rank it. They have a lot of algorithms that try to guess where they should rank it. They’ve indicated in the past that they leverage the URL structure to determine some of that.

Consider The New York Times puts all its book reviews under the same URL, newyorktimes.com/book-reviews. They have a lot of established ranking signals for all of these URLs. When a new URL is published using the same structure, they can assign it some temporary signals to rank it appropriately.

If you have URLs that are high authority, maybe it’s your blog, maybe it’s your resources on your site, and you’re leveraging an existing URL structure, new content published using the same structure might have a little bit of a ranking advantage, at least in the short run, until Google can figure these things out.

These are only a few of the ways to get your content indexed and ranking quicker. It is by no means a comprehensive list. There are a lot of other ways. We’d love to hear some of your ideas and tips. Please let us know in the comments below. If you like this video, please share it for me. Thanks, everybody.

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Why Are Keywords So Important for Your Website?


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Why Are Keywords So Important for Your Website?

You may have heard keywords are an essential part of any SEO strategy: they are. Without the right keywords on your site, people won’t find you while searching the web.

But there’s a lot more to keyword strategy than figuring out what people are searching for. It means choosing the right keywords for your business, determining which ones you’ll be able to rank for, and a whole lot more.

If you’re an SEO newbie, understanding keyword strategy can be overwhelming. But in this ultimate guide to keywords, I’ll give you all the info you need to get started.

What Are Keywords?

Keywords are what people type into a search engine when they’re looking for something online. The term “keyword” is kind of misleading because a keyword doesn’t have to be just one word. For example, if I’m looking for a new Chinese restaurant to try out, I might type in:

  • Chinese restaurants near me
  • best Chinese restaurants in Chicago
  • Chinese restaurant recommendations

Each of those phrases is a keyword. Of course, if you own a Chinese restaurant, you might want to figure out how to get your website to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when someone types those in. This is where a keyword strategy comes in.

Why Your Website Needs a Keyword Strategy

Why is keyword strategy important? Well, think about the last time you wanted to make a purchase. If you had questions, you probably went online to research them. If you did, you’re not alone. Over half of consumers search for reviews and recommendations online before making purchases. When your website ranks highly in search engine results, you can reach traffic that may be ready to buy. With a really good keyword strategy, you could also reach people who haven’t even thought about your product or service.

With individuals worldwide spending nearly seven hours online every day, advertising through organic search is too good an opportunity to pass up. But if you’re going to advertise through SERPS, it’s important to try to rank as highly as possible. Why? Because people click on the first few results way more often.

Sistrix reports the first organic result in Google search has an average click-through rate (CTR) of almost 30%. The second result has a CTR of just 15.7%, and the third one only has 11%.

By the time you get to the tenth result on Google, only 2.5% of people click through. An excellent SEO strategy can help you move up in these rankings, which may result in higher CTR. A big part of that strategy should be choosing the right keywords for your website

How To Select Keywords for a Website

When it comes to selecting the right keywords for a page, there are a few steps you should take. Below, you’ll find a plan to follow when optimizing your website:

Step One: Review the Pages on Your Website

Before doing any keyword research, you need to look at all the pages on your website. Put relevant keywords on most of the critical pages on the site. Later, I’ll talk about where you should insert the keywords on each page. Most websites have a similar structure: homepage, “About Us” page, contact page, etc.

If you have a large site, consider making a spreadsheet listing all the different pages so you can keep track of what you’ve improved. If your website has a blog, you shouldn’t write blog posts and optimize them for keywords later. Instead, do it the other way around: use keyword research tools to give you ideas for new blog post topics. But if you already have blog posts on your site that aren’t keyword optimized, you can and should go back to optimize them.

Step Two: Choose a Keyword Research Tool

The next step is to choose a keyword research tool. Keyword research tools give you useful data to help you choose the best keywords.

In the next section of this article, I’ll talk more about some of the keyword research tools out there. For now, I’ll give you some examples using my tool, Ubersuggest.

Step Three: Research Your Keywords

Brainstorm a few keywords that are relevant to your product or service. If you’re optimizing blog posts, think of some that are relevant to the topic of the post you’re looking at. Then, enter the keywords into your keyword tool, and choose the language and region you’re interested in.

Here’s what you’ll get after you hit the “Search” button:

Why Are Keywords So Important for Your Website? | keyword research example in ubersuggest

Step Four: Look at the Metrics

Next, you need to interpret the data your keyword tool gives you. The “search volume” is the average number of searches per month for your keyword:

“SEO difficulty” and “paid difficulty” scores range from 0-100. Lower scores mean the keyword is easier to rank for, while higher ones mean it’s more difficult:

SEO difficulty example keyword research

The average cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you need to pay Google for each click if you want to run an ad in Google search. Keywords with higher CPC are usually more valuable.

The next section on Ubersuggest gives you some information about the webpages currently ranking in the top 10. You can see the number of backlinks they have and their domain scores.

In the following section, there’s detailed information about the keyword. You can see the search volume over time, the number of people clicking on organic and paid search results, and the searchers’ age ranges.

keyword demographics

Next, you’ll find some ideas for other similar keywords.

similar related keywords example in Ubersuggest

In the last section, you can see some content pieces that are ranking for this keyword and being shared on social media. You can use this to get inspiration for your content.

article rankings for keywords in ubersuggest

Step Five: Choose Your Keywords

Now that you’ve seen the metrics, you can get an idea of whether a keyword is good to use or not. Ideally, you’ll want to go for keywords with a combination of the following:

  • High search volume
  • Low SEO difficulty/paid difficulty
  • Low competition (that is, your competition has few backlinks and low domain scores)

Think about your audience when looking for keywords, though. If a particular keyword doesn’t make sense (e.g., it’s misspelled, awkward, or irrelevant), you might not want to use it—even if the metrics look good.

You don’t want to lead people to your site if they aren’t interested in your product or service. This might lead to a higher bounce rate, meaning people clicking on your site and leaving right away. A high bounce rate is bad for business and may be bad for SEO as well.

What Are Some Tools You Can Use to Pick Keywords?

We’ve already talked about how to use Ubersuggest, but there are lots of other keyword research tools. Here are a few of the best ones:

Google AdWords: A Good Free Option

Google’s Keyword Planner gives you search volume and competition feedback for different keywords. It’s free to use, although you’ll have to jump through a few hoops to access it without creating a Google ad campaign, such as clicking “switch to expert.” Here’s what you get when you search for “SEO consulting:”

Why Are Keywords So Important for Your Website?

As you can see, you get some info about the search volume, the amount of competition, and what people are paying for the keyword on Google AdWords. Besides the Keyword Planner, you should also check out Google’s other free tools like Google Trends, Search Console, and Google Analytics when building your SEO strategy.

Moz and SEMrush: More Detailed Info and a “Freemium” Model

There are also paid keyword tools you can use, like Moz, SEMrush, and AHrefs. These tools are more expensive than Ubersuggest, but Moz offers a limited free version.

Both Moz and SEMRush have free trial periods. Here’s what Moz’s keyword tool, Keyword Explorer, looks like after you’ve typed in SEO tools:

moz keyword example

Like Ubersuggest, Moz’s tool gives you a list of suggested keywords and currently ranking content. You also have a range for the monthly search volume, a “difficulty” score from 0-100, information on the organic click-through rate (how many people are clicking on the non-advertising results), and a “priority” score from 0-100.

The priority score is a combination of all the other metrics and is the most crucial score. A high priority score means you’re likely to be able to rank on this keyword.

How to Optimize Your Website for Keywords

Remember when I said we’d talk about where to put keywords on your webpages? Of course, you’ll want to add keywords to your website’s copy and blog posts, but there are some other places you should be putting them, too.

Before I dive into this section, I want to say there’s a difference between keyword optimization for organic traffic vs. paid ads.

“Organic traffic” is traffic that comes from regular Google search results—not ads. By adding keywords to your website, you’re helping it rank higher in organic search.

Optimizing for Google AdWords and PPC

Choosing keywords for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a whole different ball game. For more information about using keywords in PPC campaigns, check out my posts “How to Launch a Successful PPC Campaign for the First Time” and “An Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Search Marketing.”

Best Practices for Keyword Density

Of course, keywords should be throughout your content, including website copy and blog posts. But how often should you be using keywords in your content? When planning your blog content, you should choose one focus keyword for each blog post, along with a few complementary keywords.

Consider using a long-tail keyword—a longer, highly-specific keyword, like “what is SEO”—as your focus keyword. Long-tail keywords are often easier to rank on than single words are.

Use your focus keyword and complementary keywords in your content as often as possible—as long as the content makes sense and sounds good.

Long ago, “keyword stuffing” was the norm, with content creators shoving keywords into content repeatedly, making it sound spammy. That’s an outdated SEO tactic and may turn readers off—and upset Google to boot.

Best Practices for Image Optimization

In addition to content, an important place to use keywords is in your image tags. By optimizing your images, you can drive traffic through image search as well as text search. Optimizing your images means adding keywords into the filename, image title, and ALT text (a tag people use to optimize their images for search engines and screen readers).

If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can update the image title and ALT text directly in your website’s media editor. Make sure both your ALT text and title (title isn’t as important as the ALT) are descriptive and explain what the image is about:

Why Are Keywords So Important for Your Website? | alt text example

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

A final place you should be using keywords is in your website’s title tags and meta descriptions.

The title tag and meta description show up in search results when people look for your website. They can also usually be edited in your website’s CMS.

Here’s what a title tag and meta description looks like. The blue link is the title tag, while the text is the meta description:

SERP keywords example

How to Track Your Website’s Keyword Success

Once you’ve added keywords to your website, how can you tell if your SEO efforts are paying off?

You’ll want to track your performance on each of your target keywords to see how you’re doing and if you need to change anything.

SEO tools can help you do this. Ubersuggest gives you a lot of information about your website’s performance in the search engine results:

domain performance keywords

Here, you can see NeilPatel.com’s best-performing pages:

article keywords data list in Ubersuggest

And here are some of the keywords I’m ranking on right now:

ranking keywords list

Conclusion

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to keywords. It’s not enough just to find the right keywords—you also have to know how to use them to rank. To succeed with a keyword strategy, you need to have an organized plan.

Part of this is having the right keyword research tools and knowing how to use them. But you also have to know your audience well and think strategically.

Using the tips in this article, you can get started with keyword research and hopefully boost your place in the search engine results. Good luck!

Did I miss any info about keywords? If you have some tips you’d like to share, let us know in the comments.

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How to Use Promoted Videos to Generate More E-commerce Sales


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How to Use Promoted Videos for More E-commerce Sales

Organic and promoted videos serve multiple purposes for consumers in their increasingly multi-channel B2C journey.

More than half of the participants said they switched between search and video channels (Google and YouTube) to make an informed decision about a purchase in a YouTube study.

But it’s not just YouTube—Instagram’s video content consumption has shot up by 80%, and Facebook users consume one million hours of video content every day.

All these platforms—along with most other social media sites—are ones consumers go to regularly. So as online sellers, these should become your go-to places for running promoted video content. In one study, US online shoppers said they expect to see at least three videos connected to each product when making an online purchase.

But how do you use promoted videos from paid campaigns that translate to tangible results for your e-commerce store?

Create Your Promoted Video E-Commerce Goals

Goals of promoted videos for e-commerce businesses mostly come down to these three:

  1. Increasing brand awareness: -This essentially means if you make and sell, say, scarves, people looking to buy scarves know about you. Promoted videos are a great tool for building brand awareness as people are increasingly discovering new products through videos. In a YouTube survey, more than 90% of shoppers said they’d found new products and brands on the platform.
  2. Boosting consideration: You want to know if people looking for scarves and checking you out are actually considering buying from you. When done right, promoted videos can push your “aware” audience base to the consideration stage. More than 50% of shoppers say online videos have “helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy.”
  3. Generating more sales: YouTube’s “which product to buy” video watch time doubles each year.  Promoted videos can give shoppers the push they need to choose your product.

Translate Your Promoted Video Goals Into KPIs

Take your goals for promoted videos and choose KPIs that reflect them.

Bigger e-commerce brands often use KPIs like ad recall, message association, and purchase intent, among others.

However, if you’re just starting out or are in your early stages of growth, these KPIs won’t make so much sense for you. Instead, you should map your goals to the more “real” KPIs, like upper funnel metrics like views and impressions, middle funnel metrics like watch time and view-throughs, and bottom-funnel metrics like click-throughs, signups, and sales. (Here’s a primer on e-commerce attribution modeling that can help you with this.)

Analytics in most video platforms will report on the general performance of your promoted videos, including:

  • Views
  • Watch time
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Engagements
  • Unique viewers
  • Viewership

Different video platforms have different ways of calculating these metrics. For instance, watch time of three-seconds counts as a view on Instagram (where video content maxes out at 60 seconds), whereas for YouTube,  a view happens when someone watches the video content for at least 30 seconds.

Tap Into Your Users’ Moments of Need

Now that you’ve taken care of the “business side” of using promoted videos for your e-commerce business, it’s time to look into the “people side.”

One way to go about this is to tap into the idea of “moments of need” that drive video search and consumption. These are the things consumers want at this exact second.

The four key micro-moments of needs you must factor in when planning video content for paid promotions are:

  • I-want-to-watch
  • I-want-to-do
  • I-want-to-know
  • I-want-to-buy

These micro-moments represent opportunities for engagement, and videos fit seamlessly into them.

For example, if you sell skincare products, you could run a sponsored video on YouTube that targets users in your target market who also Googled “skincare products,” capitalizing on an I-want-to-buy moment. Google’s research has found advertisers who use YouTube video ads and Google search ads report 3% higher conversion rates and a 4% lower search cost/acquisition.

Or you could target broader audience segments and educate them about their top relevant concerns (ingredients, benefits, etc.). This is geared toward the I-want-to-know moments.

When you brainstorm ideas for videos using moments of need, don’t only think in terms of pitching your products. Some of these moments aren’t moments of buying but opportunities to connect with your users via meaningful video content.

The idea is to meet your users with relevant video content wherever they are in their buying journey with you—unaware, considering, or ready-to-buy.

Identify What Drives Your Users to Different Video Platforms

Each video platform has a unique video consumption pattern driven by the viewers’ intents.

For example, Pinterest users appear to have an appetite for “inspirational” video content, with searches for this content increasing 31 percent. “Inspirational,” in this context, means things like how-to guides and backstories of companies and products, making this platform great for “I-want-to-know” and “I-want-to-do” moments.

For YouTube, on the other hand, the top four content categories are comedy, music, entertainment/pop culture, and “how to.” And, 68% of their users take this information and make purchase decisions—so, you can find all sorts of opportunities to use “moments” on this site to make your sales.

It’s also worth exploring how a user engages with the platform you’re using to promote your videos. Pinterest, for instance, serves as a wishlist for many users, as people save images and videos from all over to their personal pages. Meanwhile, a customer who uses YouTube may watch videos to learn how to use a product they want.

Instagrammers’ “moments” can fall into any category, but they want to use the information right now. When you create videos for Instagram, they need to be fast, informative, and provide easy purchasing information.

Before you pick a platform, dig into its demographics and research data. This information can help you set expectations for your promoted videos.

Optimize Your Video Content For Paid Campaigns

When it comes to creating video content you’ll pay to promote, the only rules are the ones mandated by the video platforms. These rules are about the formats supported and the approval policies, plus a few best practices.

Content-wise, there’s no one right way to do video. You need to know your company, your audience, and what works for similar brands.

For one brand, simply using stock photos, text, and music could do the trick.

Another brand might do better if they use video showing a product in action.

While there’s no one single way to create videos that work, some video types more consistently deliver results when promoted:

  • Product explainer videos: Sometimes simple product explainer videos—videos showing products in action—work as excellent content for promoting.
  • Storytelling/Sneak peeks/Behind-the-scenes videos: For some platforms, like Instagram, video content that tells a story, gives viewers a preview of new products, or shows them how things were created or who the workers are can generate great ROI.
  • How-tos: How-to videos directly address the “i-want-to-do” moments and often offer opportunities for showing products in action.
  • Unboxing and haul videos: Depending on your product(s), unboxing, or haul videos, too, can work well in paid campaigns. These are videos showing customers opening their new purchases and talking about their initial responses to the items.
  • Shop with me: In a two-year period, the watch time for “shop with me” videos increased tenfold on mobile alone, making this yet another video content type that can work well when promoted. These are videos where influencers literally share their shopping experiences with viewers.
  • Videos answering the “W” questions: Video consumers often have “W” questions— “what to buy?” “where to buy,” and “when to buy?” This may also include, “who should I buy this for?” Depending on your paid video campaigns’ goals, these questions can make good jumping-off points for promoted videos.

The above ideas for promoted video content may often overlap with the video content you’d produce for typical partnerships—but not always. It’s common for brands to create content specifically for partnerships and use it in addition to their other ads.

Alongside these promoted ads and partnerships, UGC (user-generated content) and testimonials can act as good ideas for promoted video content.

No matter what video type you choose, you need a video creative brief to prepare for your campaign. Below, Nic Burrows from Google shares a simple yet effective creative brief you can use to create compelling videos.

His template forces you to think about and research every aspect involved with creating useful, action-inspiring videos:

Promoted video optimize your video content

You can download your copy here (no opt-in needed).

To learn how to make your video content pop, Ben Jones and his team from Google review 1,000 video ad creatives each month and share how brands can improve. Check it out here:

Experiment With Your Promoted Videos

Like your other marketing assets, experiment with your promoted videos to know which ones drive the most revenue.

You can test pretty much everything, from your video’s length and opening sequence to the background music and interactive elements.

You’ll be surprised to realize significant savings with even simple experiments, so don’t shy away from trying all sorts of different things.

For example, when the coffee and bakery brand Dunkin’ experimented by creating an Instagram video ad with poll stickers and another version without them. By comparing these two concepts, they discovered a 20% lower cost per video view for those with stickers.

pasted image 0 21

Avoid testing too many ideas in a single experiment because you likely won’t be able to tell why the winning version succeeded.

Document your findings to save on the next campaign. Additionally, your discoveries can fuel your follow-up experiments.

Analyze and Improve Your Promoted Videos

As with any other marketing channel, you may improve your ROI with your store’s promoted videos if you analyze their performance.

Just remember to look a little deeper than the top-of-the-funnel metrics like views and shares to uncover the “real” performance. No matter how impressive those numbers may be, they don’t necessarily translate to sales and profits.

So keep an eye on your sales volumes and value.

Also, when you use promoted videos on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, you can get instant feedback from your users via their comments, likes, dislikes, and shares.

Listen to the feedback they give and use any insights to optimize your videos.

Conclusion

When trying promoted videos for generating more sales, you should try a variety of platforms one by one.

That way, you’ll be able to identify which platforms produce the best ROI for your promoted video campaigns without needing to invest in complex attribution modeling.

Also, don’t think you need the most high-definition production equipment or the best creative agencies to produce the video content for promoting your products. Audiences crave for authentic content the most—so focus on that.

Remember, you’re competing against your own benchmarks, as there are no industry standards here.

Dive in, try different things, listen to your viewers, and—perhaps—have a little fun along the way.  

Have you tried promoting videos on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other platforms? Share your experience in the comments!

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