his post is an excerpt from the free guide, How to Optimize Your Marketing Channels: Tips & Tricks for Taking Your Marketing to the Next Level. If you want to learn more about optimizing your marketing, download the full guide here.
The way I see it, there are two big hurdles that beginner inbound marketers face when it comes to running a blog.
First, there’s the “finding your rhythm” hurdle. When you’re just starting out, publishing posts with any type of consistency can be a struggle. You might start off overly ambitious, writing and publishing a new post every day, only to find that you’re completely burnt out by the end of the week.
By tinkering with your blog post frequency and keeping an eye on your key metrics (unique visits, leads generated, etc.), you will eventually land on a publishing schedule that maximizes results without driving you bonkers. From that point on, running your blog gets considerably more formulaic. Every week (or month), you know that you’ll be producing X posts, and coming up with content to fill those slots becomes another part of the routine.
And then, my friends, comes the second hurdle: Once you’ve got a nice little blogging routine set up, how do you make sure that you’re continually improving? Or to put it more plainly, once your blog is up and running, how do you optimize it?
The short answer is that there’s a lot you can do to optimize your blog. Below, I’ve compiled just nine of those tried and true tips, broken up into three sections: calls-to-action, headlines, and links and anchor text.
Section 1: Calls-to-Action
Tip #1: A/B test blog CTA location, color, copy, and design.
True story: By A/B testing different CTA variations on your blog, you can increase clickthrough rates by 200% … or higher! The key here is to pick one element at a time to test, e.g. location, color, copy, or design. Then, you need to run your test long enough to get statistically significant results. Sound a bit complicated? These resources can help:
Tip #2: Use a secondary CTA to convert visitors into subscribers.
If your site’s visitors aren’t interested in what you’re offering in your primary, lead generation CTA, make sure you give them a second opportunity to engage: Include a secondary CTA that prompts visitors to subscribe to your blog.
At HubSpot, we put this secondary “subscribe” CTA directly beneath our primary CTA (unless you’re already a subscriber, in which case you see something different. More on that next!).
Tip #3: Use Smart CTAs to provide more personalized experiences.
Smart CTAs are an example of dynamic content: content that is specifically tailored to readers according to how they’re segmented in your contacts database. For example, using Smart CTAs, you could display an “Email this to a friend” CTA for subscribers of your blog, and a “Subscribe to our blog” CTA for non-subscribers.
At HubSpot, we recently analyzed the data for 93,000 different smart CTAs — with hundreds of millions of views — over a 12-month period, and found that they had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than their static counterparts.
Section 2: Blog Post Headlines
Tip #4: Put target keywords near the front of your headlines.
Keeping a target keyword or phrase closer to the front of your headline can be beneficial for SEO and discoverability. For example, if your target keyword is “Zebras,” the headline, “Zebras: An A to Z Guide” should perform better than “An A to Z Guide to Zebras.”
I say should because, ultimately, search engines want to deliver the most relevant and high-quality content possible. So, you still need to actually create that content (i.e., your blog post). This little headline tip is just icing on the cake.
Tip #5: Keep your headlines short: 65 characters or less.
Search engines truncate headlines if they’re too long, adding the dreaded “ … “ to the ends of headlines in search results. By delivering a concise headline, you can make sure your full message gets across to searchers.
As a rule of thumb, most search engines will typically “max out” at around 65 characters, so ideally your headline’s character count won’t exceed that number.
Tip #6: Use brackets to call out content formats.
Have an infographic, video, SlideShare, or other cool piece of content embedded in your blog post? Make sure everyone knows about it! Use brackets [ ] in your headline to highlight content. Here are a few examples from the HubSpot blog:
Section 3: Links & Anchor Text
Tip #7: Link to pages that are already ranking highly in search.
Pointing your blog’s internal links to your highest-ranking pages may sound counterintuitive. After all, if those pages are already doing well in search, shouldn’t you give any extra “SEO juice” you have to your lower-performing pages?
Here’s the thing though: Boosting a page from a rank of, let’s say, 100 to a rank of 99 isn’t going to help you much (since the majority of clicks on search engine results pages go to the top few spots). However, if you can boost a page from the 3rd spot to the 2nd spot, or from the 2nd spot to the coveted 1st spot, the impact of that change is going to be much more substantial.
Tip #8: If you link to the same page multiple times in a post, make sure the first link is keyword-optimized.
It’s not uncommon to link to the same internal page multiple times in a single blog post. (At HubSpot, we frequently do this when we’re writing about a new piece of content we’ve launched and want to drive traffic to its landing page.) However, search engines care much more about the first link (i.e. they rely more heavily on the first instance of anchor text for a given link than they do for subsequent instances).
The takeaway here: make sure your anchor text for that first link includes the keywords you’re trying to target. This is the anchor text search engines care about most.
Tip #9: Link to your new posts from your old posts.
Writing about a topic that you’ve written about before? Help give your new post a little extra SEO authority by linking to it from a relevant older post. The process couldn’t be any simpler: Once you’ve published your new post, just update your old post with an appropriate internal link (and relevant anchor text) pointing to that new post. No time travel required!
Have any blog optimization tips you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments section below!
Curated By ShareNova
Article from Searchenginejournal by Rocco Baldassarre
Optimizing an account can be quite a challenging task, but the process can be streamlined with a few often overlooked optimization techniques. This article will focus on unveiling them and ensuring you are able optimize faster and more efficiently.
Bounce Rate & Average Time on Site
How many times have you mused the fate of a keyword that performs okay but might or might not generate relevant traffic even if it has lower conversions? This can be quite a tricky matter, and you need find a way to optimize keywords that is not only based on conversions.
The best way to do that is to add the Google Analytics columns in your AdWords interface. In order to do that you need to make sure to link Google AdWords and Analytics from both platforms.
How to link via analytics:
- Log in your account and click on the admin tab
- Click on AdWords Linking in the central column and then complete the linking process
How to link via AdWords:
- Click on your settings tab and then on account settings
- Once in this new page, click on Linked Account and make sure to connect your Analytics and AdWords accounts via AdWords
By doing that, you will now be able to add 4 new columns to your AdWords Interface: bounce rate, average time on site, average pages viewed per visitor, and % of new visits.
These stats are extremely useful to analyze the performance of a given keyword or adgroup and take more conscious decisions when optimizing.
Your Competitive Position
Have you ever wondered on how competitors are performing with the same keywords? This could be a very important to determine how to move forward in terms of budgeting and bidding.
In order to get this information you need to look at least a seven day range. Once you select your date range, go to the campaign view of your account and select the campaigns you want to analyze. You then need to click on Details and on Selected from within the Auction Insights Menu:
You will now gain access to a ton of valuable information:
- The impression share you currently hold for the keywords in a given campaign
- The impression share other companies hold for the keywords you are targeting in your campaigns
- The average position you currently have for the keywords in the campaign you selected
- The average position of competitors while appearing for your same keywords
- The overlap rate, which indicates how often a competitor shows up together with you on a search query for one of your keywords
- Position above rate, which indicates how often a competitor shows up above you in auctions for the keywords you target
- Top of page rate, which indicates how often you and your competitors appear on top of the page above the search results
You cannot run this sort of analysis for display campaigns but you can for individual or a group of keywords in a search campaign. Use this information to alter your optimization approach.
Check What Your Competitors Are Doing for Top Performing Keywords
Your top performing keywords in terms of ROI are the pillars of your account. Whenever something goes well for your account it is easy to overlook threats, but it is important to stay vigilant. There are some best practices that you can follow in order to ensure everything keeps running smoothly.
First, run a keyword diagnosis for your campaigns. A keyword diagnosis tells you if your ads are showing up for your keywords and if not, it tells you why. In order to run a keyword diagnosis, open the keyword tab (at the campaign or keyword level), click on details and then keyword diagnosis:
Google will now run a test in the target market you indicate and show up results in the status column. You will most likely get messages such as “ad showing now” or “low bid or quality score”
A second test you should always be running involves your top 10 keywords. You should run these keywords in the preview tool and find out:
- What competitors are bidding on the keywords
- What type of advertising messages they are using (are they more appealing?)
- Are your extensions (site links and call extension) appearing together with your ad?
Make sure to run this sort of analysis periodically and test new ads if you believe that the competition is catching up with you.
Finally, run an auction insights for the top 10 most profitable keywords in your account. This process, which we explained in the previous point, can be very useful in order to quickly assess your competitiveness level and intervene on it if necessary
Analyzing The Search Query Report
This is probably the most important point of all. You need to make sure what you are appearing for is relevant to your business. This process can help you spot issues with your account.
In order to get started with the search query report analysis, first select a date range with enough clicks for Google to be able to generate an accurate report. Play a bit around with a couple of ranges to find your sweet spot.
You need to go to the keywords tab and click on Details and then Search Terms and All (you can also decide to analyze the search query report of a custom number of keywords as long as they have enough clicks):
The report is a list of search terms retrieved by your keywords based on your settings. Download this list in excel and be ready to analyze the search query report with three goals in mind:
- Identify long tail keywords to add to your account as exact match
- Identify long tail exact match negative keywords
- Identify broad match negative keywords
To see an immediate boost in the quality of your traffic, this process should be carried out regularly.
Segment Your Geo-Targeting and Custom Bid
Many PPC managers prefer to target a whole country and then later on segment based on performance. Others tend to be proactive and set up campaigns with location targeting that is ready to be optimized with custom bids.
This approach might be the best since it allows to increase or decrease the spending in an area based on its ROI immediately.
Set it up by targeting a country by all of regions or states other than by selecting the whole country in the campaign settings. Once you do that, you will be able to go in the settings tab of the campaign and click on location to increase or decrease bids for each of the target areas by a custom percentage.
All you have got to do now is to analyze the geographic reports both on Google Analytics and AdWords and find out whether you can optimize any of the location for a better ROI. You can locate the reports in AdWords in the dimension tab and looking at the view Geographic or User Location.
Optimizing Google AdWords accounts the right way can make a huge difference in terms of ROI. Make sure to look at each piece of data and use the five techniques above to optimize things even further.
Do you have additional tips to share? We are all ears!