13 tips for sustainable forum link building

Forum links are the “cheapest” type of link building. You don’t have to spend money to buy backlinks or produce content that is worth linking. The only thing you need is a little bit of time and a good strategy. I would like to give you tips for a good plan in this article.

Sit down and think about all the topics that fit your website or product.

  • Who is interested in it?
  • What interests potential doubters?
  • Where is my product still used?

Tools such as answerthepublic.com are available for this.

If you have considered several questions, look for all forums that deal with these topics. Then it is time to select and create the user.

You can safely leave out forums that have not received a new post for several weeks. The effort here is not worth it, as these forums will “die” shortly. On the other hand, you should be aware that very active forums often have more meticulous admins and pay close attention to the links set. So: more effort, but more traffic/quality!

Also, you should pay attention to whether links are removed regularly or maybe only visible in logged-in mode. Here too: let it be, the effort is enormous, and the yield is much lower.

1. Choose the right forum.

The alpha and omega of a forum link in the topic of relevance. There is little point in putting a backlink to a nail salon in a forum about drills. Even if traffic should come through this backlink, the search intensity is undoubtedly not suitable.

And as we know, harmful user data has an impact on our rankings.

Therefore: Pay attention to the topic relevance! Only build links in forums that fit your product!

2. Complete your profile completely

Forum link building is a duel against the admins. If the admins think your link makes sense, if it offers added value to the thread and thus to the forum and the readers, they allow it. However, if your relationship looks unnatural and therefore stands out, the admins will take a closer look at your profile.

If the admins see a completely completed and well-kept profile, the doubts will be cancelled in many cases. However, if the profile picture is missing in your profile, for example, this does not appear dangerous.

If you say now: “No, so I’m not uploading pictures of myself in any forum”, this is of course completely understandable. If necessary, just take a picture of a cartoon or something that appeals to you. The main thing is that it is filled in?

  • Fill out your created profile completely. You want to act like a “real” and trustworthy user. In the absence of seriousness and conspicuous link building, your profile and the links you have set will most likely be removed.

3. Don’t post a link too soon.

You mustn’t place a link immediately after creating a profile. The admins are prepared for “bad” link builders. As already mentioned above, it is essential that you only link URLs that offer added value, otherwise the whole principle makes no sense.

How early you should post your first link also depends on the quality and activity. If you want to post a link in a forum in which over 200 posts are written every day, it is, of course, essential to write more posts before the connection is created than in a forum in which something is only posted every 3rd day.

A recommendation on my part is that you should set a link at the earliest two weeks after registering your profile. Also, depending on the activity of the forum, so many posts (questions AND answers) should be written before the link is set. Your account must be active and, as already mentioned several times, offer the forum real added value.

  • Don’t post your link too soon. Only write articles for the first 2-3 weeks and THEN put your link first.

4. High-quality posts

If you post in a forum (even without an integrated link), pay particular attention to the quality. Don’t just answer “yes” or “no”, but make an effort to write detailed answers. Again, it is essential to pay attention to the quality and activity of the forum. If you have a complicated question that requires background knowledge to be answered well, you shouldn’t respond with just one sentence. In general, you should vary here between detailed answers, which may answer more than just the question, and short, precise answers, which explain the issue directly.

You can also ask questions where you think there will be many answers and possibly a discussion in which you can interact a lot. Perhaps even with admins who also reply here?

If you want to show off here, you can also have your contributions checked in a WDF * IDF tool.

  • Pay attention to the quality of your posts. Do not write too high in “simple” forums. Likewise, you should not incorporate spelling mistakes into a linguistically high-quality forum. Adapt to the jargon of the forum. Also, a proper contribution should contain at least 100 words.

5. No duplicate content

Don’t ask the same questions everywhere and don’t answer the same on all forums. The forum operators also only want unique content and quickly notice if someone is doing clumsy link building here. Rethink your topic in every forum and use different issues.

6. Set the link correctly!

Simply writing a post and then posting the link is, in most cases too easy. The admins deal daily with link builders who just want to have a backlink, whether it brings traffic or not. Use only soft anchor texts (e.g. here ) or the URL. However, never use keyword anchor texts.

Also, pack the indecent link content (see the previous point).

Posts such as: “Hello guys, what do you say: http://www.swacash.com” Are anything but severe and are very likely to be removed.

  • Put your links only on soft anchor texts or the appropriate URL. But never on keyword anchors. Also, show that the link is related to the post, and it is essential to answer the question.

7. Time between links

If you would like to place several links in a forum, it is advisable to leave enough time between the links. If you initially only wrote posts for 2-3 weeks and then set 4 backlinks in a short time, this can quickly become apparent. Also, it will be very noticeable in the long term if you place a backlink to your page every two weeks, that is 26 backlinks a year. It is better to leave 2-3 months between setting the links (when setting links for a website).

Of course, this also applies if you have several users in one forum. If you want to do link building for your website and have found a suitable forum, it is, of course, useful to set up several backlinks here. If you now follow the previous rules, you should also take care to approach the whole thing with a time lag. For example, if you create four accounts in KW 20 and then post four backlinks for your website in KW 22, this is of course just as striking. So take care!?

  • Leave enough time between the links (min. 2-3 months) so that they don’t act too conspicuously. Even when using different accounts, you should take care not to post all links in a week.

8. Discuss on your contributions

Once you’ve posted your link, you should keep those threads going. Don’t just post a question, but also get the answers. Animate the discussion. Because: More answers mean more content, more content means better rankings and better rankings means more traffic?

There is also the trust factor of your user. Users who simply ask a question and then no longer respond to the answers appear unnatural. Stay in the discussion until the end.

  • Keep your threads up to date. Current threads are read and discussed more often. More readers will probably also get more clicks on your link.

9. Quote your old posts

In the course of your work on the forums, there will be lengthy discussions among your questions or posts. If so, it is not uncommon for your link to slip to the second page of the forum. It is advisable to quote your contribution (which contains the link) and bring it back to the first page. The advantage here is that the link may be displayed again and is therefore on two pages. Also, your contribution will be “updated” yet, and new readers will be made aware of your link directly.

  • Quote your posts to repost the link on the page and keep the post containing the link up to date.

10. Use multiple users in one forum

With niche products, in particular, it is difficult to find suitable and still active forums. It is therefore advisable to create several users in one forum. Another advantage is that “dialogues” can also be held here, which stimulates a discussion.

But what do you have to pay attention to:

11. Different email addresses

This is no longer possible in new forums, but especially in older forums, it was possible to register multiple users with the same email address. However, if you are noticed negatively with an email address, all will be blocked immediately. Annoying!

12. Use the TOR browser.

Many forums also pay attention to your IP addresses. The TOR browser is, therefore, an important “tool”. This is essential for very active forums and an essential prerequisite for not being noticed.

13. Different usernames

Actually, of course, but in some cases, it is still done wrong. Never use the same username, not even in different forums! Also, the usernames should not be similar either. If a “PascalP1985” is noticeable, then it is evident that “Pascal1985” should also be checked.

  • Be creative and don’t use 0815 usernames. The user names should also be different across forums.

Conclusion

Although link building is still widely discussed and has many followers, forum links are rarely talked about. But there is still a lot of potential right here to get honest and very high-quality traffic to your site. Only users who may be interested in your product write in forums that fit your topic. Use this collection of potential customers and get active. But be careful, because if you notice, all your work has been wasted.

I am aware that my article is intended to help precisely those people who are not in the mood for all forum operators.

In the end, I always advise one thing: only move in the forums of your branch in which you are a real expert. Because finally the backlinks don’t have to be the most important, but with a practical and active profile in the forums you also strengthen your expert status!

The fine art of content marketing

In the meantime, everyone should have noticed that content marketing has become extremely important in online marketing! For several years now, the term has been buzzing around the online marketing scene.

But why is content marketing so important?

With good content, the brand/product brand/product…

…Life!

… be explained visually!

… generate specific emotions for the customer of your choice!

… Generate customers/leads!

In theory, very quickly said, but how do I implement this in practice?

A hip product certainly has a lot of starting points here to supply the in-house blog with content for several months or years. But how does the operator of boring products do that? Products that are about as exciting as waiting in a traffic jam you understand.

Examples?

It doesn’t need one. Just read this blog article and think about the extent to which the content can be adapted to your brand/products. If good ideas come up, we have achieved what is intended with this blog article.

I have these content formats available for content marketing.

Content means more than text. Good content marketing is a combination of different content formats:

  • Texts

This means the typical blog article, a product description, interviews or guest articles. In principle, everything that the written word represents.

  • pictures

Pictures are the ideal way to trigger emotions in the viewer.

Attention: The human brain demonstrably works best / preferably with pictures, and especially women react to visual stimuli.

Images are also ideal keywords.

  • presentations

Use presentations! With Slideshare or a PDF reader, you can expand your content in a precious way.

  • Videos

Sometimes moving images are much better at explaining a product or issue than any written text.

  • Tables

Tables, in particular, can be used to prepare and illustrate data and facts very well.

  • counsellor

Do you have a product or service that requires explanation? Write a guide for more comfortable use or better example.

  • Infographics

Relatively complex, but a first-class way to present explanatory routes visually, interestingly and appealingly.

  • software

Any tool that makes your dream customer’s job easier? Maybe even a free (slimmed down) version of the device you want to sell.

  • Competitions

Competitions attract a lot of attention but often attract the famous “cherry hunters”. It is not always the audience that finally buys my product.

  • Survey

Pick up the customers you want and ask them about their needs. Surveys help to get to know the desired customers better and to align the products optimally. Customers feel flattered when asked for their opinion.

  • Podcasts

Podcasting is currently experiencing a kind of renaissance. It is ideally suited for users or target groups who are less read-friendly.

  • Webinars

One of our favourite content formats, which creates an extended stay and has a positive impact on perception and status.

  • eBooks

The perfect solution to build up an extensive mailing list in your target group.

  • miscellaneous

Theses, white papers, statistics … there are so many types of content.

For some readers, there was probably already an idea that broadened the horizon of possibilities. Most people understand content primarily as text, text and again text. Material or content marketing means much more. And if you want to have “awesome content”, the best thing is to create a blog article that contains several (or many) of the content above formats.

Content marketing needs goals.

Before you deal with the content, set goals! The best thing to do is to develop a good content strategy to achieve these goals.

However, please note that the pursuit of several or competing goals can often prove to be an obstacle, and this must be avoided. True to the motto: less is more! In this area, inexperienced marketers should concentrate on their current content in the best case on only one objective and pursue it consistently.

Possible objectives are divided into three areas as an example:

Engagement goals

  • Call to action
  • Downloads
  • Orders
  • Leads

Corporate goals

  • Brand building
  • acquisition
  • New customers
  • Market research
  • Feedback reputation
  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer satisfaction
  • inspiration
  • Community building

Communication goals

  • Social buzz / social signal
  • Notoriety
  • Visibility/rankings
  • Fan assembly
  • Link building

You can try to combine goals from all three areas, but this is not always possible. It is relatively easy to produce content that is written as a brand-building measure (strategic corporate goal) and thus leads to greater awareness (operational communication goal) and thus leads (leads goal).

But there is also the possibility to provide inspiration with a webinar and thus to do link building via a targeted influencer marketing. However, there may only be existing customers among the webinar participants so that no new leads can be generated. However, since the webinar promotes customer loyalty and customer satisfaction, it can make a lot of sense even without new leads.

Basically:

You should always ask yourself what you want to achieve with your content and only then start to align the content with the goals and produce accordingly.

These points are primarily assigned to the area of ​​”strategic content marketing”. Before you start thinking about targeted content, you should understand the essential characteristics of your content marketing:

  • What needs do your dream customers have, and can I divide them into need groups?
  • What exactly is staged? Brand, product, service or person?
  • What tonality do I base my measures on?
  • Which channels should be used? Which content do I need for which channel or which type is suitable?
  • Are only your channels used, or should you also access third-party resources (seeding via social networks, native advertising, etc.)?

The part of strategic content marketing deserves a lot of attention, but should not be expanded here because this article has a different focus. 

Essential rules in content marketing

There are a few fundamental rules in content marketing that you should follow if you want your content marketing to work.

Just write what you know

You are in a shop talking to a seller. The seller tries to recommend a product to you (or put it negatively, it could also be called “gossiping”), but you immediately notice that he is not familiar with the product. In the worst case, he even contradicts himself with his statements.

A negative feeling develops – would you still buy?

The same applies to your content. Why should someone use your service when they realize that you are not competent?

Conclusion: Only write about things that you are knowledgeable about.

Do not do anything halfway – only deliver top quality.

But it is not enough just to know your way around. You have to show it too. Don’t do things by halves and don’t put “half” or “unfinished” items online. If you have something to say in a blog article, plan it meticulously and extensively.

At SwaCash, we proceed by first creating an outline for an article. Then we look (if available) at other items on the same or similar content and add further ideas to our structure.

If it has already been determined in advance which keyword the article should rank on, you should deal with as many items as possible that appear under this keyword on Google and try to write a better (more extensive and more in-depth content) article.

Only then will the article have the right to appear on a better ranking. A lot more ranking factors play a role in achieving a top ranking on Google with its content, but if you don’t have a high-quality article, the essential prerequisite for a sustainable top ranking is not there from the start.

Create added value

Think about who you want to help with your article. Do not try to help everyone, but focus on the people you want to target with this article. This can be all of your potential customers or any other predefined target group.

Think about the problems or needs your desired customers have. Answer their questions because the moment you can answer questions to your target group or meet their needs, you also have the chance to win them over as customers.

It is essential at the point that you mention relatively early in your content which problem should be solved with this article. The reader must quickly recognize the added value the report gives him, only then will he read it to the end.

However, you should be careful not to make empty promises. If you promise someone a problem-solving at the beginning of your content (e.g. blog article), this problem solving should also come. If you have made empty promises, you are not only losing a potential customer, but you may also be running around a disappointed reader or negative multiplier who expresses yourself accordingly negatively and whom you cannot use at all. Evidence shows that bad news spreads much faster than positive news.

Only produce the amount of content that you can manage.

Attention: Your content on the website should always be up to date. I would like to refer to our blog here.

The topic of online marketing is very fast-moving. Things that we describe today may already be out of date in a few months or may no longer apply.

However, online it is easily possible that a potential customer will only come across our article in about three months and then read it. However, if a reader notices that an item is no longer up to date, or even worse, its content is now incorrect, and out of date, he will stop reading it. Also, he will not like him, share it or recommends it in any other way. Nobody wants to consume content that is out of date or simply wrong.

So make sure that your content is always up to date. Please continually update an old article before creating a new one.

An example from real life:

“Do not have a third child if you are unable to take care of the first two children.” The same applies to texts on your blog. Better keep 20 blog articles up to date than always creating new things. Your rankings will thank you.

And by the way: An updated blog article is an excellent reason to share it again via Facebook, Twitter or a newsletter.

Content has to live

This point is based in part on the previous one. Of course, content must always be up to date, but you can also update or expand your content before it becomes obsolete.

Earlier in this blog article, I told you about various content formats. Think about whether you can add a decisive extension to an already written essay. That would be a significant update.

Examples:

  • Offer a checklist as a PDF download
  • Create a ppt that summarizes the whole article on the main points
  • Speak the item as a podcast to give the lazy visitor a chance to consume the item.

An article extension is also an excellent reason to redistribute the article over the entire range. By the way, returning visitors are also a superb ranking signal. In this respect, article extensions can also be very beneficial for the respective rankings.

Write for the customer and not for the search engine.

Do you know these texts that are so loaded with keywords that they are no longer pleasant to read? At least not legible?

These are mostly texts that were only written for a specific keyword, in which someone tries to rank easily, stupidly.

And unfortunately, this still works in part, which is why such texts can always be found. With every Google update, however, the likelihood of good rankings of such texts continues to decrease, whereas excellent content is increasingly upgraded.

Thanks to the increasingly better evaluation of user data, Google is getting better and better at identifying good (user-friendly) and bad (user-unfriendly) texts. Positive user data play an increasingly important role for good rankings.

Illegible articles are often not finished reading and leaving, which means an increase in the bounce rate. The time spent on these texts is usually concise. Both are essential user signals that flow more and more into the search result when evaluating the content or its rankings.

These examples quickly show how important it is to offer real visitors (and not the search engine) added value or an authentic experience. Create content that captivates the real reader or encourages interaction, and you get such a useful user data that possibly not an optimal use of keywords is more than compensated.

Another little tip: Write the content of the article as entertaining and professionally as you can. For further optimization, you are of course free to “readjust” the article to one or the other keyword using a good WDF * IDF tool. But please, without making the article appear less readable.

You can even find content for boring products!

Of course, knowledge is, above all! But in the second step, the reader also wants to perceive a specific authentic connection between the writer and the content (e.g. the product).

“Do we know our product, do we live our product or would we buy our product ourselves?”

The easiest way to get a blog article is to identify ourselves with the product, use it or know it from the inside out.

Do you know your product? Then you will surely think of enough topics to write about.

What does the competition write about?

Of course, you should always keep an eye on your competition. What content are your competitors producing and what problems are they trying to solve?

But be careful, because you have two types of competition: firstly, the competition that represents your competition offline in the real world and secondly, all those who compete against you online on the desired keywords.

There are essential differences to differentiate here so that both sides have to be taken into account.

Tip: Please do not copy any existing content, just let yourself be inspired. Take up topics and try to answer these topics even better, more comprehensively and more in-depth.

Ask your customers

How close are you to your customers? Ask about their needs and open questions; then you know precisely what graphic content you need to produce.

In consultation with your customers, write detailed advice and guidelines on how to use your products and services.

Collect the FAQs of your customers and think about processing these FAQs in detailed blog articles.

Also, a customer often feels flattered when asked about his needs. Even better if the requirement is also satisfied at a later point in time.

Ask your employees

If you do not want to confront your customers with these questions directly, it can be a sensible alternative to get your employees on board. What questions are your employees constantly facing? The customer service staff in particular should consider the topics that are important for your content.

It is your employees who often have a completely different view of things than you do. Do not limit yourself to your perception, but open yourself to the views and opinions of others. After a long time with the same product or service, a certain degree of blindness sets in. Your view of things changes over time, and you often lose sight of the essentials. If you accept that and successfully control it, you will become even more successful in the long term.

Use tools for better topic development

There are a lot of tools on the market that simplify topic research and topic development.

a. W-question tools

Which questions are asked most frequently on Google? Just enter a question word (where who, how, what, …) in connection with a keyword on Google. You will immediately be given various suggestions (Google Suggest) as to what the question could be.

These Google Suggest questions refer, among other things, to the frequency with which a problem is searched on Google.

With the use of a W question tool, it is straightforward to determine which questions should be dealt with in the planned content.

b. WDF * IDF

The abbreviation stands for Within-Document-Frequency * Inverse Document Frequency. Explained in one sentence, this means: “How does an article relate to a certain keyword compared to other articles (documents) that rank on the keyword?”

The context keywords are also decisive for relevance. If you have chosen the keyword “content marketing”, then keywords such as inbound, online marketing, marketers, AdWords, visibility and seeding should also appear in the respective content. These context keywords are simply highly relevant to the selected main keyword, and the more often these context keywords are called, the more certain Google can be that an article is related to the corresponding main keyword.

You can also get a lot of ideas about the direction in which the content should develop using the keywords mentioned here.

c. statistics

Statistics have a lot of potentials to describe certain things. Statistics are often very informative and answer many readers’ questions.

We are delighted to use Statista.com, which has an extensive list of statistics. However, the use and integration of the statistics are chargeable.

Another good source is the Federal Statistical Office. Many statistics are available here free of charge and are therefore, an excellent content provider.

At that point, I looked for statistics on the topic of “content marketing” and found a lot. There is certainly a lot of good content to expand or decorate my content.

Pay attention to trends.

Trends can be a perfect way to do proper content marketing. However, this content production is very current and therefore, time-critical. The content will often lose its topicality over time, which prevents long-term use.

What have been typical trends lately?

Some examples of trends come up spontaneously:

  • pepper spray

Following the shocking New Year’s Eve incidents in Cologne, the number of hits on the keyword pepper spray has increased massively. An outstanding possibility was to generate massive traffic with a fast article and possibly even sell products.

  • Pokemon

This is also a trend. When Pokemon Go was launched, it was (felt) ubiquitous. My Facebook newsfeed has exploded, and all the young people have just walked across the streets with their noses sticking to their cell phones.

In the meantime, the situation has calmed down somewhat, but the trend is still going flat.

In this context, Google Trends is a perfect and free tool that can be used to research such trends.

Think about the future

Are there future events in your industry that are predictable?

If so, you should produce the content for these events today so that you can rank on these keywords at the right time.

Football is a perfect example. We know precisely that there is a world championship every four years. An online shop that sells jerseys should already be producing content for upcoming major events such as the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Do a keyword analysis and determine what the users were looking for at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Now produce content that covers the same search queries for the 2018 World Cup.

In other industries, this can also be upcoming trade fairs or special events. These events are often only briefly in the focus of the general search behaviour, and yet they offer an excellent opportunity to draw attention to your website. The same applies to other types of recurring seasonal factors.

What else you should pay attention to with your content!

In addition to the technical content, there are a lot of other things that you should consider with your content.

No spelling errors/commas

Yes, misspellings make an article look human. That’s right, but the material seems so unprofessional. It is effortless to avoid spelling mistakes.

Simply copy your content (insofar as the material consists of text) into a simple Word document, and Microsoft’s spell checker will help you to eliminate simple mistakes.

It becomes a little more problematic when setting commas!

Up to the time of researching this article, I did not know of any tool that could also be used to correct the comma.

Grammarly has a spell check online that also checks the comma. I tried it right away, and although it is a beta version, it seems to work quite well.

However, using it is a bit tedious because the free version only allows 800 characters. With a holistic article that contains more than 3,000 words, it becomes a very nerve-wracking process. But at least it is possible.

Test reader – You are blind; let the target audience read the text.

Before you put a text online, you should have it read by your target audience. Look for test readers and discuss the text with the readers. It’s not about the readers patting you on the back, it’s about getting real feedback.

What content is missing, what is not written well enough so that the layperson (or potential customer) understands the article?

Under no circumstances, feel personally attacked when someone criticizes your content, but use it as an opportunity to improve your article.

A headline that arouses interest

Create the content and then give it a headline that arouses interest.

Choosing the right heading is undoubtedly a science in itself, but it’s one of the most critical points in content creation.

You can create the best and most exciting content, but if the headline doesn’t pop, nobody will look at the article.

Since the headings also have a very high SEO relevance, I will dedicate my blog article to this topic at a later date. Until I have written this article.

Cool pictures

Images immediately catch the eye in the positive as well as on the contrary case. You should assign very high importance to the cover picture in particular.

Poorly chosen pictures are often a reason why many readers jump off again. An image should attract attention or go very well with the article.

A tip: Hire someone who knows about it. A graphic artist, for example, or take suitable, creative screenshots.

But please do completely without stock photos. Stock photos from well-known image platforms are accessible to everyone and frequently used images quickly become apparent.

Who of you knows this picture?

How do you feel?

The picture is undoubtedly impressive, but you have seen it too often for it to be something unusual.

Create unique content, this also applies to the images used.

Work meticulously on a structure.

An article without structure is often not read to the end. It is about the typical common thread that guides the reader through the material. Create content that builds on each other and goes in-depth at the right place.

Always keep in mind that a person scans an article first.

Just as you scan a newspaper for your headlines before buying, so does other content. And not only you, but Google also scans content based on its headings, so that subtitles should also be used from an SEO perspective.

As already mentioned in the point above, I will dedicate my blog article to the headings and go into detail about the importance of the headline here.

You should also make sure to look at a situation from different perspectives. Different perspectives help a reader to understand better.

The essential content of the structure is a good summary. Many readers are already familiar with the facts described and may just want to find out a few small things. With a table of contents (and associated anchor texts), we simply bring them to the right places in the content and create a high level of satisfaction among users.

Just stay

Remember that many of your readers are nowhere near as knowledgeable about the subject as they are. Keep it simple, especially at the beginning of the content. Here, too, you can use a good structure (standard thread) to go from a simple explanation to a very detailed and technically in-depth (perhaps complicated) description. In this way, each user is picked up, and everyone can decide how deeply they want to get involved in the topic.

Schedule updates

I have pointed out the importance of timeliness and regular updates in this article a few times. That can also be planned. Write self-contained content. At a later point in time, you can further deepen individual parts and thus write updates.

In this context, it is recommended that you should always use share buttons instead of like buttons when using social plugins. Why is it easy to explain, each content can only be “like” t once, but “shared” several times.

Thus, every user who has shared the article in the first version can share the article again with an update. The people who shared the article the first time are potentially vulnerable to finding the article even better after the update.

In this way, you can provide your content with permanent traffic and thus also strengthen user data. They show the search engine that your article is engaging over a more extended period and that it would make a lot of sense to show your article as far ahead as possible among the relevant keywords.

Outdated texts are a conversion killer.

I do not want to go into the text updates again here but would highly recommend not assigning content to date. Blog articles in particular often have time, in the worst case even in the URL.

With us, in online marketing, it is merely the massive conversion killer to have an article from the blog over three years ago. Even if the article is still up-to-date, quite a few will not click on the blog article because the date suggests that it is not up-to-date.

A well-run blog only has articles that are up to date. There is no need for a date!

Gain distance

Write your article and save it. After a few days, you should reread the article and revise it. You will notice that just a few days apart changes your own opinion on various passages in the article. The same goes for any other content you produce, of course.

I have noticed very often that this way the quality of our articles is massively improved.

Choose metadata cleverly

The metadata is undoubtedly worth its blog article, but I have to cut it short, at least in this blog article. We have already spoken extensively about the headline, i.e. the meta title, but the meta description is also essential to guide readers to your article at all. Especially if these readers should come through the search engine.

The meta description is (felt) 90% of the time shown in the Google snippets, and is therefore massively decisive whether a ranked content is clicked or not!

It is therefore crucial for Google’s CTR on the respective article and is therefore highly relevant for your search engine ranking.

The right seeding

The best content is worth nothing if no one can find it. This is where well-thought-out content seeding comes into play.

Yes, excellent content will always have particular relevance in search. Depending on how secure your website is, this may be the case earlier or later. Since Google is now placing a strong focus on the user data of a website, detailed articles with a long duration of stay should rank better and better over time due to the user data and thus consistently get more readers.

What if I don’t want to wait for readers to come to us by searching? How can I support this?

There are many ways in which the content can reach the desired target audience.

Owned media

In principle, everything that you have built yourself in your reach or which channels you can control yourself is included here. Even if making your channels/range is of course, very time-consuming and cost-intensive, distributing the content via your structures is the quickest and easiest way to get attention for the intended content or article.

Above all, the company’s website should be mentioned, on which the respective content should, of course, be placed. Depending on the level of awareness, your website will already ensure a regular flow of visitors by addressing visitors who are interested in new articles.

Also, your email marketing is a fantastic opportunity to bring new content to the interested target audience. If you regularly publish fresh content on your website, you should set up a newsletter. Having your newsletter distributor is a strategically important decision, especially to build up a very sound, alternative traffic source.

Finally, seeding via your own social media channels is, of course, critical. The choice of social media channel depends on where the target audience is for the corresponding content.

Earned Media

The expert defines earned media as the distribution of one’s content via third parties without paying for it. So media performance that you “deserve”.

At this point, we can, of course, take advantage of our existing traffic on our website and, by integrating social sharing buttons, use the readers to receive more traffic. Since readers will only share if you like the content, this is called “earned media”.

Earned media also includes the activation of your network. Do you know influencers who can spread the article? Influencers often have a broad social reach, so their shares can have a significant impact on visitor numbers. With a little luck, these influencers will also link to your content on their website or even publish it in their newsletter.

Scour your network and think about who could be an influencer (regardless of whether you are large or small) for the respective content and enter into a dialogue. Depending on the content or type of content, these can, of course, also be different people. The influencer of a past content need not be an influencer for the current content.

Paid media

There are now many ways to get paid content to people. We now see the best targeting options on Facebook. The target group can be narrowed down to the last detail on Facebook, thus minimizing wastage. But Twitter also offers excellent opportunities here. The targeting options on Facebook are certainly worth their blog article. This should not be discussed at this point. But take it as a hint to deal with Facebook Ads. The possibilities are nearly unlimited.

Another perfect way of mass-disseminating content that many do not yet have on their radar is providers such as plista or Ligatus, which bring enormous reach into the game through their cooperation with the major newspapers. Here, too, there are already excellent targeting options based on the user behaviour of the potential readers.

As part of a seeding strategy, you can also think about purchasing in relevant newsletters. Google Adwords and Bing Ads are certainly noteworthy alternatives.

Highjacked media

By highjacked media, we mean the positioning of our content on other websites that fit thematically very well. However, this is a point that caution should be exercised from a search engine optimization (SEO) point of view. In the end, this is nothing more than building a link, at well-fitting places.

A typical case is the blog comment of a reader, who links to his article under an article. This can work and go well, but if it is too pronounced, it can also hurt your rankings in the search engine.

The same applies to the distribution of content in topic-related threads in various forums.

Used correctly and carefully, this can lead to good traffic increases. Misused, a search penalty would also be possible.

Conclusion:

I hope I was able to give you a good overview and broaden your senses about your content production.

The most critical finding is certainly that content is not created on the side, but requires targeted planning. Unfortunately, content becomes very expensive in this way, but it’s worth it. Professional content allows right conclusions to be drawn about the person or company behind the content and ultimately strengthens yourself and your reputation. Who wants to look unprofessional?

The 4 micro-moments of Google search queries. And their impact on SEO

Since the advent of smartphones, more and more users have been using search engines on the spur of the moment and are making a search query ( micro-moment ) in the middle of everyday life. According to Google, most searches fall into one of four main categories (search intentions).

The four main types of micro-moments:

  • You want to know something (e.g., from Wikipedia)
  • You want to go somewhere (Google Maps, route planner)
  • You want to do something (How-to YouTube guide)
  • You want to buy something (e-commerce shopping)

Depending on the search intent, the hit list shows explanatory information or a map, instructions, or online shops.

If your website content is to appear high up on search engines, the individual user need must be known and how Google responds to it.

“Micro-Moments” summary

Consumer behavior has changed . Especially since the spread of smartphones. These are available to us at any time and are ideally suited to answer any questions of everyday life. Whether from a discussion, when looking for an address, a guide, or when comparing prices, we always pull out our mobile device and spontaneously look for a solution ( intent-driven micro-moments).

The search query is communicated to Google by voice control or text, and the answer appears as the appropriate result.

To appear at the top of the hit list in these crucial moments, suitable content must satisfy the search intent of the user. If all questions of the searcher are answered, his user behavior will signal this (eg, put away the smartphone, do not return to the hit list after visiting a website), and Google will rate the result shown as right.

For subsequent searches by other users with a similar search profile, Google will again consider the result that satisfied the corresponding search intent in previous searches.

Decisions in the micro-moments determine the success or failure of web offers.

How Google sorts the hit list by relevance

Using various dimensions such as the location of the user, the end device used, the search history, and the useful search content (topics, keywords, and their semantic context), Google tries to identify in milliseconds what the search intent of the user is.

The information about the search intent makes it easier to sort the possible hits by relevance. Olaf Kopp has clearly described this connection in a  blog post with our software partner Searchmetrics.

So if you want to optimize your content for high visibility in search enginesyou have to identify the search intent of potential prospects.

Then you can publish appropriate content: If you are looking for information about a purchase, you may be interested in the price comparison. Anyone who has already made the purchase decision is looking for an e-commerce shop. That is diametrically different content. On a single page, you will probably not be able to satisfy both search needs in a targeted manner.

Does your information offer answer the most burning questions of users?

The perfect search engine understands precisely what you want to know and delivers the exact result you want.

Larry Page, Google Co-Founder, 2002 (!)

How Google judges the quality of content

But how does Google find out what the relevant answers are to users’ questions?

RankBrain is Google’s filtering algorithm, which brings together the intent of searchers and the context of content in the search results list (to put it very simply).

The Google Quality Rating Guidelines are an excellent source for understanding Google’s demands for good content. One hundred eighty pages define what a good search result is.

The manual testers not only assess the actual websites but also whether they meet the user’s search needs. The inspectors are not only presented with search result lists for assessment, but also with the identified user intent!

Does the content meet Google’s “Quality Rating Guidelines”?

Accordingly, you should put yourself in the position of readers when writing content :

  • What is your search intent?
  • Which of the four micro-moments does your search belong to?
  • Does the published content meet the user’s need at the critical moment?

If the search intent is not met, the readers will leave the found website and switch back to the hit list (referred to as “pogo-sticking”). Google sees this as a negative signal, since the user has probably not found what he was looking for.

The four micro-moments of Google search queries

Google developed the concept of micro-moments to explain the differences between search queries on mobile and desktop: Because the device is always at hand and everywhere and logged in, searches on smartphones often have a secure context, for example, where and when.

Real-time, intent-driven micro-moments are the new battlegrounds.

Joseph Corral, Head of Marketing for Micro-Moments, Google

Joseph has confirmed BlueGlass CEO Raphael Bienz that users click less and less on the 2nd or 3rd page of the Google hit list: They prefer to modify their search if the desired result does not appear on the first page!

According to Google, the average search intention can be divided into four main types:

  • I want to know (curiosity, need for information)
  • I-Want-to-Do (trigger action, seek advice, find support)
  • I-Want-to-buy (something to buy)
  • I-Want-to-Go (physically go anywhere)

If you search for “BVB,” for example, information about the Borussia Dortmund football club is displayed (I-Want-to-Know Moment). On the other hand, if you are looking for “BVB jersey,” transactional information from e-commerce shops (I-Want-to-Buy Moment) appears.

Google search for “BVB jersey” with an overlay of e-commerce shops

Google search for “BVB jersey” with overlay of e-commerce shops

If you search for “BVB” again, in contrast to the first search, new advertisements appear that try to skim off a possible purchase intention. For this, Google refers to the search history with the previous search “BVB jersey.”

Micro-Moments Examples “Travel” and “E-Bike”

Every website operator has to break down the micro-moment principle individually to his serviceGoogle offers comprehensive examples and statistics for the travel environment.

Micro moments for booking trips

The identified user needs serve as guidelines for the creation of web content (content marketing): Typically, you should offer a content-relevant page for each topic or question, if possible with explanations, photos, illustrations and, for example, video interviews with product managers or suppliers and producers ( Rich content).

It merely has to be the best website on the internet for a specific question. Then Google will consider the content prominently: If the page answers the topic or question comprehensively and conclusively, the user will be satisfied with it (e.g., long-form content, relevant listicles, good video).

Google registers the excellent usability and then shows the page for the same question from other searchers above in the hit list.

The SEO visibility rises so. If the search snippet is also well written in the hit list (title and description tag), the click rate will increase (CTR) and thus the number of organic visitors to the website.

How do you find the relevant questions for the micro-moments?

The possible decision-making processes of prospective customers and customers (user journeys) can be derived intuitively, or various tools can be used to support them. Google Autosuggest offers practical and free help by supplementing search queries with similar searches.

Also, at the bottom of the search hit list is a list of other searches related to the search term. These are based on statistical data and allow conclusions to be drawn about possible user needs.

Answer The Public also offers keyword evaluations free of charge. Theme trees and other possible questions can be derived from this.

Podcast

Excel: A comprehensive guide (not only) for marketers

Is Excel old fashioned? Not at all. The program is one of the most used planning tools in everyday office life. The fact that a community has built up around Excel shows that the program is still highly relevant – but also that it is not always understandable at first glance. 

We will show you the basics, tips, and tricks you should know about Excel in the following article.

What is Excel?

Microsoft Excel is the best known and most widely used spreadsheet program. Calculations with formulas and functions can be created in Excel, whereby the commercial, statistical, and date functions are particularly versatile for companies.

The program is part of the Microsoft Office 365 package and is available for both Windows and macOS.

What do I need: Excel Online or the Office Package?

Due to the different packages and similar names of Microsoft products – Office 365, Office 2016, Office Online – it is not always easy for users to directly understand precisely what the differences are. If you don’t already have the Office 365 package, you will probably want to find out which version of the program suits you best. The price question at this point: is the free Office Online enough?

There is no clear answer to this question. Just because Office Online is free, it still has its justification. You can efficiently perform less complex Excel tasks such as the visualization of functions and diagrams.

In addition to Excel, the online world of Office also includes other Microsoft products such as Word Online or PowerPoint Online. But it is also clear that the version is limited: 

So only 5 gigabytes (GB) can be stored. And in terms of design, users have to work with a template so that the online version reaches its limits when it comes to more complicated and individual presentations.

Who Excel would, therefore, like to use regular or establish it in his company is well-advised to afford the Office 365 package – for private users or beginners, the online version can once be a good start.

How does Excel work?

Excel is still one of the most widely used software in the world because it offers so many uses. Everything can be calculated and planned in one central location.

With the large scope of services of the basic equipment and the formulas that each user can also create themselves, a program is a beneficial tool for companies, especially in project management, controlling, and other commercial areas.

The highlight of Excel: formulas and functions

Before we move on to the most important of the hundreds of functions that Excel already has without your intervention, let’s take a look at how to create your own formula in Excel .

A simple and common example of creating a formula is to calculate percentages :

Let’s say we have a product price of 90 euros and would like to add sales tax to it. It ‘sIt’s straightforward because you just multiply the amount you want to calculate by a percentage and then add that result to the original amount. This can be used to practice the principle of Excel, which, once understood, can be used for all possible functions.

The formula for calculating a price including VAT is as follows:

VAT =

Net product price * (1 + VAT rate)

Now enter in Excel:

In the A1 field: 90 euros

In the field B1: 19%

Now click on the empty field C1 and then on the function symbol – fx  (directly above the table). At this point, you need to create a formula.

The entry of the formula always begins with an is-equal sign. Then create the rule according to which the calculation should work. In our example, we base this on the formula for VAT above:

fx = A1 * (1 + B1)

Click Enter  – and you’re done! If the displayed gross price is 107.10 euros, you have done everything correctly.

Of course, Excel can do more than just calculate sales tax – that would also be easy with a calculator. However, you now have the option of linking any formula for individual fields using the same principle.

You go one step further by using add-ins. We will now explain what this is all about.

Excel: add-ins and macros

First of all, we need a definition: What are add-ins? And what are macros? Let’s bridle the horse from behind:

Macro is a term from software development. It describes a summarized sequence of instructions so that they can be carried out with a simple call.

Add-ins, in turn, are ready-made functions or macros that are integrated into software applications and can be fully integrated into the main program. Add-ins are external services that can be integrated into Excel so that you can do even more with the program.

Accordingly, these optional commands and features for Excel are not immediately available but must be installed and activated. Some are free, for some you have to pay. The good thing about it: You will find add-ins for all possible purposes, which are provided by different providers.

Add-ins: example of search engine marketing

Let us move on to marketing: In the area of ​​search engine marketing, for example, add-ins are often used to evaluate SEO projects efficiently and in a time-saving manner.

Such add-ons are available from various providers. The best known is called  SEO Tools for Excel. With the add-in, you can create great SEO analyzes in Excel. All you have to do is install the add-in in Excel and import your data from Google Analytics into Excel using the add-in.

You can easily do this by:

1) unzip the zip file after downloading,

2) then open Excel and

3) Drag the SeoTools.XML file onto the Excel datasheet.

SeoTools” now appears in the menu bar, and you can work directly with the add-in. Even if you want to work with add-ins from other providers – the principle remains the same, and you are usually guided through the process with explanations.

Not only search engine marketing is an excellent example of how marketers can use Excel in everyday life. In the following, we will introduce you to other areas and uses for which Excel is a helpful and widely used tool.

How does Excel help me in my everyday work?

Excel is mainly used in project management, purchasing, or controlling. One of the uses for which the software is undoubtedly used the most is the income-expenditure overview.

Income-expenditure overview: Excel bundles it

In controlling or the accounting of larger companies, the income-expenditure summary reaches its limits when it comes to the fact that the presentation is also sufficient for a tax audit later on. Still, the overview is particularly helpful for small businesses.

For individual projects, the income-expenditure overview with Excel has a great advantage that it clearly shows personal budget items.

This includes:

  • recording income and expenses ;
  • the automatic addition of expenditure and income, with which you form a surplus or deficit ;
  • Deduct input tax and sales tax paid ;
  • Determining an expected sales tax burden ;
  • Creation of the annual, monthly or project evaluation and
  • the visualization of income and expenditure in a diagram.

What sounds complicated is based on the most straightforward functions of Excel, such as the percentage calculation or the sum function. The table can then look different depending on the area of ​​application.

Use for project management & Co.

In project management, in particular, Excel is a widely used tool to support everyday tasks and plan campaigns.

A particular Excel chart is famous for monitoring lead and traffic numbers: the waterfall chart. This allows you to determine interim results and present them. Based on these numbers, you can find out at a glance whether you have made progress and whether you are on track to achieve your goals.

Another table is interesting for marketers – and anyone else who works with data – the pivot table. This is a special kind of meal: Not only can it summarize data, but also highlight and research trends. This is particularly useful if you have long rows or columns whose values ​​you want to add up or compare.

The trick is not to add data, numbers, or information to the table, but above all, to reorganize it so that you get valuable new perspectives. Hence the name “Pivot”, which means “pivot point” or “turn”.

Determine values: Typical questions / FAQ

Although each user and each area of ​​responsibility uses Excel in their way, some functions and tricks are used very frequently, are always useful, and are part of the multiplication table of Excel.

1) standard deviation

The standard deviation measures the spread of data – or, to put it more simply, it indicates the extent to which the measured values ​​deviate from the average cost.

Assume that you have determined the click-through rate of ten ads: The standard deviation gives you an idea of ​​the difference in success between the ten ads.

small standard deviation shows that all ads have approximately the same success. A high standard deviation, on the other hand, should make you pay attention because it means that some ads are more successful than others.

2) VLOOKUP function

The Excel link helps you to combine two data records in different worksheets into a single table. When could that be useful? We give an example:

For example, in a situation in which you have the names and email addresses of contacts available in one table and the same email addresses in a second table, but only the name of the respective company in addition to these. You now want to create a chart that shows all three components, i.e., names, email addresses, and the individual company.

With the VLOOKUP formula (= VLOOKUP), you can now merge the two worksheets without having to copy individual columns or fields laboriously.

3) Sum function

As the name suggests, add values ​​with the sum function. You can add individual costs, the reference to select cells or ranges, as well as a combination of all three. What sounds complicated is very simple, and certainly one of the most used functions in Excel.

We give two examples: 

1) The formula:

= Sum (A2: A10) 

adds up the values ​​in the cells from A2 to A10.

2) The formula:

= Sum (A2: A10; C2: C10)

adds up the values ​​in the cells from A2 to A10

and in cells C2 to C10.

4) Create “IF” conditions

The IF formula can be used to create conditions: is the queried value identical to the expected value or not? If this query is true, a specific case is to occur. If the query is incorrect, another case should occur. So the formula follows logic:

If A, then B, otherwise C.

We will explain it to you using an example.

The basic formula in Excel is as follows:

= IF (check; then value; otherwise value)

Check: There must be a condition here.

Let’s say you want to measure the success of a campaign; your goal is achieved when there are 100 conversions. So your test could be:

Higher than or equal to 100 (> =).

Then value: Here, you enter what should happen if the queried condition is true. You can enter values, words, or other functions here.

But let’s make it easy for this example: When 100 conversions have been achieved, the words “Campaign successful” should appear in the next column. The then value is “campaign successful”. It is important to put the value in  quotation marks (“value”) .

Otherwise value: This third value is optional. Let’s say the next column should say “Campaign unsuccessful” when 100 conversions are not achieved. The otherwise value is then “Campaign not successful”. Don’t forget the quotes here, too!

Your if the formula could then look like this:

= If (A1> = 100; “campaign successful”; “campaign unsuccessful”)

So there are reasons why Excel is still one of the most used applications in everyday office life despite many alternatives, such as special planning tools:

The diverse application options for different business areas from project management to accounting make Excel a valuable tool for companies – regardless of whether their area of ​​activity is in marketing or completely different industries.

And yes, we know it too: Sometimes users are just annoyed when one or the other function doesn’t work right away. But the reasons for this are usually found quickly. And with this article, you already have an overview of the most important functions and formulas at hand.

8 strategies for the future in content marketing

93% of B2B companies use content marketing.

However, only 5% believe that their measures are also particularly useful.

And an estimated 50% of all content is not used at all.

What went wrong here?

Just a few years ago, you could put 1, 2, 3, or 300 blog articles on your website, direct a lot of traffic to this content via all social media platforms and generate masses of inbound links for this content. Also, you could simply choose a few keywords and quickly achieve a good ranking on Google.

Reaching your target audience and winning new customers was (almost) a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, those days are over.

But these unclouded years are unfortunately over: As Gartner correctly predicted in his hype cycle, we are now at the low point of the disillusionment phase.

Like all the other waves of enthusiasm for specific marketing channels (billboards, TV spots, e-mail, etc.), content marketing first reached its peak, only to then quickly slide towards a new low point.

After massive success for a few early adopters, content marketing was used by more and more companies, and the “new” quickly lost its appeal.

The resistance has increased, but the expectations – at least in marketing – have not entirely evaporated. But the more the marketers cling to it, the more ineffective content marketing becomes.

So how should it go on?

In any case, giving up is not an option. One cannot simply dispose of content marketing in the trash of marketing history thanks to its blurred boundaries, as some other more clearly defined strategies.

If you define content marketing as the strategic distribution of valuable content, it is an integral part of almost all marketing strategies in today’s world.

Content marketing can again become as powerful a tool as it was a few years ago.

But first, we need to understand what has changed since the hype peaked, what obstacles are in our way, and how we can overcome them.

We don’t have to throw away the guide – we just have to revise it thoroughly.

Very easily:

Less is more

One thing is clear: we are drowning in too much content.

Businesses generate more content than ever before; according to a Beckon study, annual growth is 300%.

The problem with that? The need for content among our target group remains the same.

We cannot read, process, and share more and more.

We still appreciate excellent content, but as our needs become more saturated, fewer and fewer content elements still achieve outstanding results.

But that’s not all.

As the study mentioned above shows, only 5% of corporate marketing content generates 90% of customer interactions.

If you do a bit of research on content marketing yourself, you will find many results that point in the same direction, e.g., For example, an average of 19 out of 20 content items get little or no attention, or a team that produces 90% less content would continue to get the same results.

The solution is simple: publish less. Publish correctly. Only publish useful content.

Then you can use the time gained to optimize your evergreen content.

Evergreen content

  • Evergreen content is characterized by the fact that it does not lose its usefulness over time.
  • Temporary content, on the other hand, is only relevant in the short term.

Of course, both types of content have their justification. Brief content provides a breath of fresh air and allows you to react to short-term trends. But it is your evergreen content that helps you achieve the long-term accumulated results that originally made content marketing so valuable.

Of course, it is tempting to continue with our fast-paced online life and continue to produce a flood of temporary content. But relying on these short-term outbreaks of interest is a) expensive, b) time-consuming, and c) unsustainable  – because the results will continue to deteriorate.

Even if a post gets a lot of attention initially, studies show that many shares do not necessarily lead to many links.

Evergreen content, on the other hand, is characterized by the fact that it has been proven to generate the greatest possible amount of organic traffic over time with the least possible effort.

It’s not about focusing 100% on one type of content, but when in doubt, you should invest more in your evergreen content and less in the temporary content.

However, evergreen content must of course also be regularly updated so that it remains current and relevant.

Historical optimization

The process of updating and revising older content to generate more leads and traffic is called “historical optimization “.

This is particularly worthwhile for:

  • Content with a high conversion rate but little traffic
  • Content with a lot of traffic but a low conversion rate
  • Content with poor performance that was generated with a lot of effort

With historical optimization you get the best out of already tried articles.

As you revise content, you should improve: accuracy , timeliness, and scope .

These areas are particularly suitable for revision: headings , text quality , internal and external links , images , meta descriptions and calls-to-action .

On GrowthBot you can find out which keywords you are already ranking for and compare them with the keywords of similar companies.

Your revised content should then be published as brand new (with a new publication date , because Google favors new content).

Dissemination and reprocessing

How you distribute your content is almost as important as the actual content.

If you focus on redistributing existing content, you can achieve the same (or even greater) reach with little effort. At the same time, you can reduce the pressure on your team to create more and more new content.

With this strategy, online magazines such as The Atlantic , whose traffic comes from 50% of content that was not produced this month, have significantly increased their readership .

When it comes to content reprocessing, there are various options: popular evergreen content , newly edited articles , older content that suddenly becomes relevant again, or simply information or studies that continue to be useful.

Everything comes down to the much-quoted definition of content marketing: to support the right target group with the right content at the right time.

If you keep an eye on the current trends, you can judge whether it is worth repeating (or rewriting) a post and how best to disseminate it.

But you shouldn’t just rely on reasonable assumptions. Automated research, for example with GrowthBot, can help you find out what is interesting for your target group. On GrowthBot you can find out, among other things, which articles are currently trending on a certain topic or which posts are viewed the most on a relevant page.

Another useful tool to identify popular content is Ahrefs’ Content Explorer .

Smarter search engine optimization

Nowadays, the main channels for distribution are in the hands of a few large companies, especially Alphabet and Facebook (and their subsidiaries, such as Google or YouTube).

Therefore, we are at the mercy of their algorithms, which are also constantly changing.

  • For example, the Google algorithm has been changed so that “real experts” are rated better for a certain topic than content machines or students who publish a few articles to pay their rent.
  • Search engines (and new technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa) are generally becoming more sophisticated and complex – in the meantime, they can even identify semantically related concepts .
  • Due to personalized search algorithms , it is becoming increasingly difficult to calculate or predict keyword rankings.
  • Google displays highlighted snippets on its search engine results page.
  • Facebook has updated the algorithm for weighting the organic content in the news feed for the same reason, namely to avoid that users go to other websites.

These changes represent a paradigm shift in search engine optimization.

The first step is of course that your content is interesting and relevant, not only to appear as high as possible in the search results, but also to motivate your readers to go from the search engine results page to your page .

But that alone is no longer enough these days.

Use topic clusters

To position yourself as a “real expert,” you have to focus consistently on a certain topic and not just produce one-time articles that are aimed at certain keywords.

Topic clusters have already been hailed as the future of search engine optimization and content strategy, but the data situation is still fairly uncertain. (So ​​now is the right time to get started!) Topic clusters are groups of related website content that cover a core area. Each cluster has a Pillar page that broadly outlines the topic and more specific supporting content that points back to the Pillar page.

The core content links to the subordinate content and this in turn links back to the core content, whereby the same keyword is always used as anchor text .

If one of the pages performs well, this has a positive effect on the ranking of the entire topic, which in turn leads to more visitors, a positive feedback loop and even more traffic and conversions.

This in turn has a positive effect on the ranking of similar content on your website, which can even lead to your company occupying several positions on the search engine results page for a certain keyword.

The organization and architecture of a website is made clear through the introduction of topic clusters. It also encourages a more conscious approach to posting content.

In the past, content was usually posted because it was interesting or current. With the introduction of topic clusters, however, organic gaps in the cluster can now be used as a strategic starting point.

Highlighted snippets

highlighted snippet is the search result with the best ranking, which is displayed in a field below the advertisements on Google. It is intended to answer a user’s question immediately.

It is of course no surprise that highlighted snippets get a lot of attention: Ben Goodsell from RKG Merkle , for example, saw a 677% increase in sales among organic visitors and a 400% higher click rate .

Ahrefs reports in a study that 99.58% of the highlighted snippets are already in the top 10 on Google. So if you already have a good ranking, your chances are good.

As detailed in this excellent Moz guide , there are tons of ways you can optimize your content and increase your chances of appearing as a highlighted snippet on Google, for example: keyword research , on-page SEO , Twitter observation , structure , format and images .

It is also important that you answer as many similar questions as possible .

You can also search for relevant snippets from other companies and try to be mentioned in them.

Also very useful is the “Asked also” function, which you can use to find out what Google links. This enables you to discover untapped content potential and develop strategies for the future.

Facebook

Facebook has completely changed the value chain in digital advertising by combining pay-per-click with recommendation algorithms.

According to a study by Buffer , the new Facebook algorithm is based on three active interactions: commenting , sharing and reacting .

Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, explains : “Posts that lead to conversations between people move up in the news feed.”

On the other hand, companies should avoid posting content in which they lure their customers so that you can comment on, share or otherwise react to the post, as this will cause their content to slide further down the news feed.

The interactions must arise out of genuine interest and not just in response to a tempting offer.

Incidentally, the algorithm makes no distinction between privately and publicly shared content.

For most companies, reach and referral traffic will continue to decline. So maybe it’s time to think about the budget and resources you’re investing in Facebook.

There is no secret recipe – to be successful, your content simply has to be authentic, relevant (and usually appealing).

Brian Peters from Buffer sums it up : “Instead of developing content for a company with which people should then interact, we have to generate content for people who trigger enough emotion in them to comment on or share the post.”

We have to break out of our rut

The final hurdle is our dependence on the same worn methods. This strategy may have worked in the past, but it no longer does today.

It is therefore extremely important to continuously test different channels and strategies for customer acquisition.

In doing so, you build up a wealth of experience that you can always fall back on when your current strategy needs to be revised or exchanged.

This experience also benefits you if you want to open up new target groups or find out more about the interests of your target group.

Here are some suggestions you can try.

Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing means that you have a personal conversation with a customer or prospect.

According to a recent study by Twilio  , 90% of customers would like to communicate with companies via messenger apps. Platforms such as drift or intercom enable this communication to be scaled.

This also clearly shows how the distribution of content has changed. The idea that the customer receives the right content at the right time, d. H. when he just asked about it , it has become a reality.

Alex De Simone, CEO of Avochato, said: “We are seeing increasing machine learning technologies that help marketers deliver customized content for each customer. This paradigm shift from traditional content marketing to AI-supported conversational marketing will radically change the work in marketing and enable marketers to provide better content in a scalable manner.

Video marketing

Video is already the fastest growing and most sought after channel today. Many experts are convinced that video will be the most important content marketing platform of the future.

In a world where everything is becoming more and more automated, the video also appears to be one of the last communication channels in which nothing can be faked.

Not convinced yet? The numbers speak for themselves:

  • In 2019, the video will account for more than 80% of web traffic.
  • 96%  of consumers say that videos are helpful when making a purchase decision.
  • Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is worth 1.8 million words.

Websites such as Simpleshow and GoAnimate are a good place to start.

Video marketing is so effective because it appeals to two senses – seeing and hearing – at the same time, so users can remember it better than plain text. And when customers remember your video, they remember your brand.

Emerging technologies

Emerging technologies will be mainstream over the next two years, opening up entirely new opportunities for content optimization.

By 2021, early adopters who redesign their websites to support both visual and voice searches will increase their digital commerce sales by 30%.

Also, experts say augmented/virtual reality will generate $ 150 million by 2020, which is just further evidence that visual content will evolve from an optional to an indispensable element in marketing.

Although virtual reality is still completely unknown territory for most, its unstoppable advance should serve as a warning to us to continuously experiment with visual content, such as interactive graphicsimagesvideos, and apps.

As Ginny Mineo puts it nicely, you should: “Adjust the weighting in your strategy between organic, regular, and experimental content channels.”

If you want to be successful as a content marketer in the future, you have to be able to learn from the past and quickly adapt to the present.

Content marketing will go through a fundamental transformation process and will use AI and new technologies to provide selective content of even higher quality.