3 Strategies to Make Your Facebook Custom Audiences 3X More Effective

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/Q8Laqj-WGDc/facebook-custom-audience-strategy

Custom audience targeting is the crown jewel of Facebook Ads. Nothing else in our arsenal of ad targeting weapons comes remotely close to custom audiences in terms of raw ad-targeting power.

strategy for facebook custom audiences

Sadly, though, most of the Facebook advertiser accounts I audit fail to realize the full power that Customer Audiences have to offer.

Today, I want to quickly illustrate my top three hacks to get 200-300% more value out of your custom audience targeting methods.

Facebook Custom Audience Hack #1: Find & Eliminate Donkey Audiences

When I analyze your Facebook custom audiences, I usually see a mixed bag of donkeys and unicorns.

If you haven’t been following me for a while, you might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Here’s what I mean by donkeys and unicorns. A marketing unicorn is one of those magical campaigns that’s so effective it performs in the top 1-3% of all marketing campaigns. The donkeys, on the other hand, are the average to below-average performers that aren’t doing anything to move the needle.

To boost our Facebook ad performance, we’ll need to eliminate some of the donkeys. They’re dragging your overall average down!

How do we do it?

Using the various ad and audience insight tools provided by Facebook. They’re basically a laser-guided donkey detector for your Facebook Custom Audiences!

facebook audience strategies

Take, for example, the following audience insights from a real-life advertiser of productivity software:

facebook custom audience tips

Note that:

Women ages 35-44 and women 45-54 are substantially more likely to engage with this business’s ads than any other age/gender cohort. These are their unicorn-audiences, the very best performing demographic. Men, across the board, accrue 57.94% of impressions but account for only 46.6% of the engagement (note: Facebook is a pay-per-engagement ad platform, so spend = engagement). Men 25-34 are their donkey audience, as they are the least likely to engage.

What do we do with this fantastic audience insight?

Eliminate the men from your ad targeting!

It might sound a bit drastic, but the problem with Facebook ads is that they’re not free. We want to make sure that every dollar spent yields the most bang for your buck, so you’re going to need to be a bit picky as to who you serve your ads to.

Heck, if budget is tight, eliminate the women between 13-24, 55-64, and 65+, too.

9 times out of 10, advertiser budgets are smaller than the massive audiences Facebook allows you to target, therefore when it comes to audience definitions, focus on your unicorns (the most engaged, best performing audiences) and eliminate your donkeys (the low-engagement duds).

(Note: If you have enormous use-it-or-lose-it ad budgets, or are under pressure to yield more conversions regardless of cost-per-conversion, feel free to ignore this advice.)

Facebook Custom Audience Hack #2: Unicorn-ification

An alternative to donkey elimination is to try to convert a donkey audience into a unicorn audience by changing the ad.

analyzing facebook audience performance

The following is a Facebook audience insight for a real-world advertiser of high-end electronics equipment. The grey bars in the background represent the relative abundance of the selected cohort on Facebook overall. The blue bars represent the distribution of the advertiser’s customers (via their custom audience).

facebook audience insights reports

Notice how:

89% of the purchases are from men. Of those purchases, most (85%) come from ages 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64. The remaining 12% of purchases made by women are far more evenly spread out across the various age groups.

In this case I would:

Eliminate men age 18-24, 25-34, 65+, as well as women 18-24. Segment your ad set to run a different ad for the rest of the women.

Most customers of this particular high-end electronic gadget were men, so we just changed the ads that were shown to women to instead highlight how this is the best gift idea for your husband or dad this year (rather than highlighting a bunch of technical features).

That one change alone doubled the ROI!

Facebook Custom Audience Hack #3: Unicorn Cloning

A third and final Facebook custom audience hack is to take the valuable audience insights gleaned from Facebook analytics and apply them elsewhere to other marketing efforts.

I call this “unicorn cloning” as it’s generally the case that your Facebook unicorn and donkey audiences will perform similarly great, or terrible, if targeted via different platforms.

how to clone your best facebook audiences

Take for example this custom audience insight for a B2C advertiser whose customers appear to be somewhat liberal in terms of their political leanings:

analyzing facebook custom audiences

What could we do with these insights?

A lot!

You could:

Target your Google Display Network remarketing ads to appear only on liberal-leaning websites. Exclude conservative news and opinion sites from your list of GDN managed placements. Target travel and comedy sites. Overlay “outdoor” interests like camping, or hiking, using “Topic targeting” in the Google Display Network. Draw from these unrelated interests to inform content or ad copy creation efforts using my inverted unicorn technique. Etc. The possibilities are nearly endless! Closing thoughts

Businesses sell to people. Not keywords, not pixels … PEOPLE!

The better you know your customer audience profile, the better your Facebook ads (and all marketing campaigns for that matter) will perform.

The good news is that using insights provided by Facebook, creating a data-driven customer persona for your business has never been easer!

Now get to work analyzing the heck out of your customer audiences – know their demographics, interests and behaviors, and start leveraging that information throughout ALL your marketing campaigns today.

220: What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/NRUVjIofmvo/

What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters (and Answers to 4 FAQs About Email)

Do you email your blog readers regularly?

Maybe you put ‘set up email newsletter’ on your ‘someday’ list ages ago, but still haven’t done it.

Or maybe you have a newsletter list, but you haven’t sent one in months.

You might think it’s optional – something you can do once you’ve finished everything else on your to-do list.

You might even think email is dead (or at least old-fashioned), and that you’re better off building connections through social media. (Which is nothing new, by the way. I was talking about bloggers having similar concerns nine years ago.)

The truth is, email is still one of the best ways (if not the best way) to connect with your blog’s readers.

Email is a big part of my strategy on both of my blogs. It drives traffic, and helps us build our community, understand who’s reading our blog, and monetize both directly and indirectly.

If you’re not using it, you really are missing out. But what do you email? What is the content you include in your communications?

Email can be used in many ways, and you can sent a variety of email types. But today I want to talk about creating a regular email newsletter, which for me is the foundation of my email strategy.

A few of the most common questions I get about newsletters and email strategy: What tool should I use? What content should I put in my emails? What format should they be in – plain text, rich text, HTML? How frequently should I send emails? What other types of emails should I consider sending? How do I get more subscribers? (I’m not going to cover this today, but recommend you listen to episodes 68 and 69) Links and Resources on What to Include in Your Email Newsletters: How I Use Email Newsletters to Drive Traffic and Make Money Comparing Email Service Providers for Bloggers 6 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs an Email Newsletter 3 Examples of Content You Can Include in Your Email Newsletter Other Podcasts On Similar Topics: PB117: Case Study – How One Blogger Used a Blog Post, SlideShare Deck, Lead Magnet, Email Sequence and a Webinar to Earn Over $28,000 PB107: Affiliate Marketing Tips – What Links to Use in Your Emails PB069: Create an Opt-In to Increase Your Email Subscriber Numbers PB068: How to Increase Your Email List Subscribers By 100% Or More Today 161: 3 Things Most Bloggers Don’t Pay Enough Attention To Tools We’re Using: (These are affiliates and we get a small commission on purchases.) Drip – the current email service provider for ProBlogger ConvertKit – a tool we’re just starting to experiment with that looks very promising. Built from the ground up for bloggers.

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Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hey there and welcome to Episode 220 of the Problogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, and soon to come some courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about Problogger at problogger.com.

And while I’m mentioning it, sign up for our newsletter, Problogger PLUS. You’ll see calls to action to do that wherever you go on problogger.com. That will keep you in the loop in terms of our new content, but also some of the new things we’ve got coming for 2018.

In today’s episode, I wanna talk about email. It’s a fairly introductory… I guess the frequently asked questions that I get about email, particularly what should you include in the emails that you send. I think most bloggers know that they should be sending some emails and collecting email addresses, but I regularly get asked the question, “What should I put in my emails?”

I wanna talk today about what we do with our newsletters, talk about some of the questions we get around whether you should use plain text or rich text or HTML, how frequently you should send, and other types of emails that you might wanna build into your sequence as well.

We’re talking all things email today. If you haven’t yet got a newsletter or an email list, today is gonna be good for you because we’ll also mention some tools that you might wanna use. And if you have got one but you haven’t been sending, this would be the perfect podcast for you, I hope.

Let’s get into it. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/220.

Do you email your blog readers regularly? Maybe you have had this on your ‘to do’ list, your ‘someday’ list, for a long time now. It’s amazing how many blogger I meet have got ‘Set up an email list’ or ‘Start sending emails’ as one of the items on their ‘one day’ list.

I wanna encourage you today, as we approach the end of 2017, move into a new year, to put this on your today list. I really wanna encourage you to make this an essential item, a big part of what you do in 2018, because as I look back over the years in my blogging, this is one of the most important things that I ever took action on, starting to send emails.

You might think email is dead or an old-fashioned medium and that you’d be better off building your connections through social media, which is certainly one way that you can build relationships with your readers and drive traffic to your blogs. The truth is, email is still one of the best, if not the best, way to connect with your blog readers.

Things are changing all the time in the space that we’re operating in. But email is not going away. It hasn’t gone away. It one day may go away but I can’t see it going away in 2018, 2019, 2020. Whilst all of these other options of communicating with your readers do come and go in terms of their effectiveness, email is still a very effective way to reach your readers.

And it’s a big part of the strategy on both of my blogs. It drives a lot of traffic every week. It helps us to build community. We use our email to direct people to some of the social media accounts that we’re building community on, to drive engagement. It helps us understand who is reading our blog because we can get feedback from those who subscribe. And it helps us to monetize the business as well, both in terms of selling our product but also directly monetizing the emails.

We actually sell advertising in some of the emails that we do, particularly on Digital Photography School. So it’s paying for itself, and is a profitable part of our business.

If you’re not doing email, please consider it, and make it a priority for 2018 in terms of starting that email list or making your email list more effective for you.

I do get a lot of questions about email. And I wanna cover some of the more common ones today because it can be used in a variety of ways. There’s no blueprint for how you should do it but I wanna explore some of the different methods that you can use to use in email.

Particularly, there are six questions that I wanna talk about today. In fact there’s five and I wanna give you some further listening for the sixth one.

The first question is, “What tool should I use?” I get it all the time. I wanna suggest to you a few tools that you might wanna consider.

Number two question is, “What content should I put in my emails? What are my options in terms of sending a newsletter?” particularly.

Number three, “What format should they be in?” Should you be sending plain text emails, rich text, HTML, pretty, designed emails.

Question number four, “How frequently should I send emails?”

Number five is what other types of emails should you send in addition to that newsletter that you do.

The sixth question, I’ve got some further listening for you, is how to get more subscribers for your list. I’m not gonna cover that specifically, but I do have some further listening which I’ll mention at the end of today’s show.

That’s where we’re headed today.

The first question, let’s get into it, what tool should you use. There are an amazing array of tools on the market today. When I started doing email, I think it was back in 2004, 2005, there weren’t really that many tools. But today there are so many. Every time I ask in our Facebook group what tools do you use, it’s amazing how many different tools are mentioned there. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of features and different price points.

What I really encourage you to do is to pay for an email service. Don’t use a free one. Don’t send your newsletter from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into trouble in terms of spammy practices, and it’s gonna hurt your deliverability. You do want to invest in an email service provider. It does cost, but if you use email right it should pay for itself through selling products, through selling affiliate products, through potentially even having advertisers in your email.

It’s not that expensive to start out. Most of the tools that are out there have free entry points, or they’ll give you trial for certain amount of subscribers and then they increase the price as you get more subscribers. You shouldn’t have to pay too much to get started.

This isn’t a time or place to compare all the different options out there. But what I will say is over the last 12 months we’ve looked at quite a few of the options at Problogger for our own use. For many years, I’ve been using AWeber as a tool. It is a solid option that I know many Problogger readers use. It’s been around for years, it’s reliable, it’s relatively affordable.

But over the last few years, we’ve increasingly come up against challenges that are starting to hold us back in terms of what we are trying to do with our email list. Some of the features aren’t quite there in comparison to some of the other tools out there. You can do a lot, but you kind of have to hack it together. It’s a little bit clumsy in terms of the way that it’s arranged. But it is a good solid tool if you just wanna send a newsletter every week and you don’t wanna get much more sophisticated than that.

We’ve decided to start looking around at some of the other options. It’s been years that I’ve been using AWeber. We’ve started to also notice a little bit of deliverability issues. That could be partly because of the size of our list, and because our list is quite old as well. We have a lot of people who signed up for that list in 2005, 2006 and so deliverability is kind of… there’s some issues there for us as well.

So when it came to looking at what we should switch our business to in terms of email, we considered a lot of different tools and we came down to two. There are two that I would recommend for you.

The two that I would encourage you to consider, and we’ve got links to these on our show notes, are Drip and ConvertKit. We’ll do an episode in 2018 with more detail on these tools and talk a little bit about the actual features of them, but we came down on Drip. We’ve decided to move to Drip. We’ve actually switched Problogger over to Drip in the last six months and it’s been amazing. We’ve loved using it. It’s very powerful. It enables us to do a lot more segmentation of our list and deliver different types of emails to different people to create different sorts of sequences of emails. It’s very powerful and it’s incredibly intuitive to use.

It is more expensive for us than AWeber but we’re already seeing, as a result of high deliverability and more powerful tools, that we’re going to be able to make our money back on that. And we will be moving Digital Photography School over to Drip next year. That’s a big task for us because we’ve got so many lists and so many subscribers there.

So Drip has been very good for us but ConvertKit, I would highly recommend that as well. It is a newer tool, perhaps it hasn’t matured as a platform quite as much as Drip, and not quite as advanced in some of the tools.

When we looked at the size of our list and some of the things we wanted to do, it wasn’t quite there, ConvertKit for us particularly when we made that decision ConvertKit, you couldn’t do HTML emails. That may be coming or it may have already come. You had to do plain text. I know for a lot of bloggers plain text is totally fine. We’ll actually talk about why plain text might be the best option for you anyway. But we came down on Drip.

If you are perhaps not wanting to do something quite as sophisticated as Drip and you want a tool that has been specifically designed for bloggers, ConvertKit is amazing. I would highly commend that company to you as well. Both of the companies are brilliant in terms of their customer service. Do have a look at both of them. If you wanna signup for them, I’d appreciate it if you’d do it through our links on the show notes because they are affiliate links and we do get a small commission on those things, help us to keep Problogger running. But even if you don’t, check them out. I do highly commend them to you. Both have a really good customer service as well, they’ve been very helpful for us.

They’re the two tools that I would use. I know others of you are using other tools. Most of the tools out there do have the same types of features. Again, if you haven’t set up a list yet, do pay for one. Don’t send your emails from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into a lot of trouble.

Question number one was tools. Number two is “What content should I put in my emails?” And “How should I format them?”, I guess, is the third question as well. That’s where I wanna turn our attention to.

There are no rules for what you should send in a newsletter. There is one thing I would strongly encourage you to consider and that is to be consistent and to be regular, be consistent. Email subscribers are like blog readers, they like consistency. They quickly form expectations of what they’re gonna get from your list. They will signup and they’ll see your first email and they’ll see your second email. If they are similar to each other, they’ll expect your third email is gonna be like that.

If you are storytelling in your emails and then you suddenly switched to an opinion piece and then you suddenly switched to tips and then you suddenly switched to promotional stuff and you’re mixing things up constantly, some of your readers are gonna get frustrated with that. If you’re using different voices in your newsletter, they’ll begin to get a bit frustrated with that. We’ve actually found that our subscribers really like it when we do the same thing every week. I’ll tell you what we do in ours as well.

There’s a variety of things you can do in your newsletter but try to keep some consistency there in terms of how it looks, how it reads and I guess the benefits of it as well. They’re much more likely to stay subscribed and just stay engaged with your list, keep opening your list, keep looking for your emails if you have some consistency there in terms of what they get and also when they get it. Don’t stray too far from the normal, you can mix things up a little bit. Always try to keep some consistency there particularly in the way it looks, I think, is really important.

There’s a variety of things you can do with that newsletter. What I wanna do is just give you three different options, you could also probably do a combination of these things or something else as well, again consistency is the key. These are the three most common things that I see in newsletters doing. Each has their own strength. The first thing you could do is to write exclusive content especially for the newsletter list.

I see some bloggers doing this very effectively, they send a weekly or maybe every second week or even a monthly type of email. You open the email and it’s an article in the email. There’s actually a tip or there are some news or there’s a story in the email itself. You don’t have to click on it and anything to go and read the content, they actually put the content in the email. It’s something exclusive and valuable just for the subscribers. It’s almost like they’ve written an extra blog post that week just for the email.

There are lots of bloggers who do this. I’ve used the example of Nicole Avery who is one of our subject matter experts on Problogger, she has written a lot of articles for us. She’s got a blog called Planning with Kids and she does this in her newsletter. If you subscribed to it you’ll see that she’s essentially writing an extra article or blog post every week just for subscribers, you can’t get it anywhere else.

This approach works really well because it helps your subscribers to feel a little bit special, you’re giving them a reason to stay subscribed because they can’t get this valuable content anywhere else. Your emails have the value inside them. They actually begin to look for them and begin to expect them and they open them. They don’t say, “This is all just stuff in the blog.” This is something I can’t get anywhere else. They get into the habit of opening those emails. That’s a really powerful thing.

The downside of this approach is you have to write something extra every week. It is going to go to a smaller audience than potentially your blog. You write a blog article and it’s there for all time and it gets indexed by Google and it gets shared by social media for all time. It can get a lot more eyeballs on it. It feels like you’re doing a lot of work for less effort but the work that it’s doing with your subscribers can be very powerful because it can build a deep connection with them, it can make them very thankful for it and it gets them in the habit of looking for your emails because they know they cannot get it anywhere else.

That’s option number one, you create something exclusive for your newsletter list. The type two of what you could send in terms of a newsletter is where you send out your blog post by email. Essentially every time you publish a blog post, you send an email sending people to that blog post or you actually email the blog post itself. There’s a couple of different options within this one. This is something that’s possibly a little bit easier to do because you’re not writing extra content for your newsletter, you’re just promoting that content or you’re repurposing that content for your newsletter as well.

If you’re short on time, this is a good way to go. An example of this is Jon Morrow, Jon has a blog called Smart Blogger. He argues really strongly for this type of newsletter. If you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get an email anytime he publishes a new blog post. The email generally has two or three paragraphs that introduce the topic and then links to where you can read it. Sometimes he might have the first paragraph or two of the blog post and then says further reading or read the rest here. Sometimes he will rewrite that introduction and give you a good reason to go and read that article.

He’s sending out these emails every time he does a new blog post. This works for Jon because he’s not publishing everyday. Sometimes, I think, he publishes two or three times a month. It’s less regular. He’s not interrupting his subscribers constantly. It’s probably not recommended if you publish everyday or several times a day. I think on Digital Photography School, our readers will get highly annoyed if we email them every time we did a blog post because we publish 14 a week.

This approach is good for those of you who are short on time. It’s all about delivering traffic to your blog. The emails themselves don’t deliver a lot of value in the email. It’s not as good in terms of getting people used to the idea of opening the emails because there’s that little voice in the back of their heads saying, “I could read this on the blog, I don’t need to read this email.” You’re giving them perhaps a little less reason to do it. If the content is valuable on your blog and you’re only doing one a month or one a week, it’s possibly something that will work for you.

Another approach that I have seen on this is where the blogger has actually put the whole blog post in the email. They might publish the blog post on their blog but then they’ll also send that whole blog post in an article format in the email itself. This is where you do build some value in the emails themselves. This means your subscriber doesn’t visit your blogs often but for some of us, that doesn’t matter.

If you’re monetizing your blog with advertises, you do wanna get them over to your blog. Teasing them with that first paragraph or two and then saying read the rest here, that’s definitely a good way to go. If you are just about trying to build credibility, authority, you’re trying to make your readers connected to you, then it probably doesn’t matter where they read your content. This is an option, if that is your goal, if you wanna monetize your blog less directly by selling a product to them, then you maybe just wanna deliver that content in the email itself. There’s a couple options there.

The last type of email that you might wanna send is what I do, that is where you do a digest type email. You might send a weekly or a monthly digest of what you’ve published in that last period on your blog, you might wanna send links to all of the new content you’ve published or just the highlights of what you published in that period of time. Generally, people are doing this weekly or monthly but you could do it any period as well, you could do it every second week.

If you’re publishing several posts a week like we do, you don’t wanna be emailing your readers every time a new post goes up or as people unsubscribe. This is really where you digest it all. Digital Photography School is a good example of this. Every Thursday, I sit down and I look at the 14 posts that were published over the last week and I arrange them into categories and then I plug them into a template that we have had designed for us, it’s an HTML template. It’s basically a digest of the week.

Basically if you open that email, I can put a screenshot in today’s show notes, sometimes we’ll put a little introduction of something that happened during the week or highlighting a promotion that we’ve got on. The email is essentially a list of our new posts. They’ll be 14 new posts there, we also have some messaging from advertises there if we’re promoting something of our own or have a promotion going, we will highlight that as well but it’s generally a digest of all the stuff that’s going on in the blog. Occasionally we’ll also link to our Facebook page or our Facebook group and promote the community that’s going on as well.

Problogger PLUS newsletter is similar although simpler, we only publish three posts a week usually on Problogger, one blog post, one podcast, and one Facebook live or video on Facebook. Our Problogger PLUS newsletter only got the three links. Occasionally, I’ll also highlight a post in our archives that I think is relevant still today. I usually would include an introduction in the Problogger one because I’m trying to build a connection with readers as well, I wanna give people an insight into what’s going on at Problogger headquarters or something that has been going on on the blog over the last week.

These digest type emails are good for those of you who do have a lot of content. They’re also really good if you are trying to drive traffic to your site, you wanna get people across to your site, you’re highlighting all the blog posts but you’re not annoying your readers if you’re publishing a lot of content.

Use an introduction, I would encourage you to do that as well because that’s where you can build a more personal connection with your readers as well.

Three different types of newsletters that you can do. The third question I wanna briefly cover is what format should they be in, I get this question all the time. Should you be sending your emails in plain text, rich text which I’ll explain in a moment, or HTML. On our blogs and if you get the Problogger PLUS newsletter, you’ll know it’s branded with Problogger, you’ll see the logo in it, it’s a fairly simple design but it is HTML. There’s a picture of me in it, there’s color, there’s the Problogger color, there’s the Problogger logo. This, hopefully, makes it a little bit more visually appealing but it also reinforces the brand and it personalizes it as well because it got my face in it.

We do the same thing with Digital Photography School as well, we have the DPS colors, we’ve arranged it into categories. Particular on DPS, it’s useful to go HTML because we got a lot of content in there, there’s 14 links, there are messages from our advertises as well. We wanna draw the eye to different paths of it as well. HTML is really good if you’ve got a lot going on in your emails as well.

That costs us, we actually had to pay to get those designs done, our developers did it so we pay them to do that. It does take a little bit of time to get our emails together each week, it’s not just a matter of sitting down and writing a few paragraphs. I actually have to sit there and plug it into the template to test all the design to make sure it’s all working. It’s a little bit more involved in terms of putting it together but I do think it reinforces our brand.

Plain text is another option. I see a lot of bloggers doing it. I think there are some really good reasons for just doing plain text emails as well. Firstly it’s cheaper, you don’t have to get anyone to design it, it’s quicker and easy to put together. Generally it takes me 45 minutes or so to put out newsletters together each week, a little less for Problogger. A plain text email would be a lot quicker than that, at least half that time not including whatever you’re writing. Sometimes the writing itself could take more. The plain text email would be a lot quicker.

Also, the deliverability of a plain text email could be better than an HTML one. We’ve certainly seen that when we do our promotional emails, when we promote with an HTML email, our deliverability suffers. We generally do our sales type emails in plain text. You might wanna test that, plain text versus HTML. Every time we’ve done a split test on that in terms of our sales emails, we see plain text winning.

The other option is what’s called rich text. This is where you use some formatting. You might use bold or italics or you make any links, you link a word rather than putting the full link. This makes your emails look a little bit neater, it means you can draw the eye, you’d bold to create headings. It can be more useful if you’ve got slightly longer emails as well to draw the eye down the page. They are your three main options.

I would encourage if you’re just starting out and you’re feeling challenged to buy it all and you’re tethering on the edge of should I get into email or not, start with plain text, it’s so much simpler to do. At least you’ll be sending something every week, you wanna get into the rhythm of sending that. You can always progress to HTML later. Start simple.

Fourth question, a really brief answer to this one is how frequent should I be sending the emails. Again there’s no right answer here except to say regularity is so important, your readers will get used to the rhythm that you choose so stick to it. Personally, I really like weekly emails because it becomes a part of people’s week, it also leaves enough space between the emails that you can also send them extra emails. I’ll talk about some of those in a moment. Also, they forget who you are. That’s the danger of going monthly, is that if you go monthly, some will not signup for your newsletter today.

They may not hear from you for 29 days if they sign up on the first of the month then you send your emails on the last of the month. That distance between emails, there’s a danger there that they don’t feel connected to you, that they forget they even subscribed to you. I like weekly because it is a little bit more regular than that and it keeps you in front of people at the top of their mind.

Ultimately, the frequency you choose really needs to depend upon one, how much time do you have. If you don’t have much time, less frequent is okay. The format that you’re trying to send emails in, if you’re doing HTML, it could take a little longer so it may be less frequent. If you’re doing plain text, it’s a little bit easy to do so it may be more frequent. What are you putting in your emails, are they long, are you writing exclusive content for them, then less frequent might be okay because one, it’s gonna take you longer to create those emails but two, it’s gonna take longer to read.

You don’t wanna be sending really long articles everyday to your readers because again they can’t consume that much content so less frequent might be okay if the content is a really deep content. I guess ultimately, what are your readers’ expectations and what’s their ability to consume the content as well. They’re some of the questions I would be asking. Again, I think weekly is probably a good starting point. You can always decrease or increase it slowly over time but don’t jump and change too much.

Fifth question, it’s really the last question, is what other types of emails should you consider sending as well? We send out our weekly newsletters but in between the weekly newsletters, some weeks, there’s another email. Sometimes there’s even two. There’s different types of emails that we add into the sequence of emails that we send.

Let’s go through the three types. Promotional emails, this is where we launch a new product or run a sale on an existing product or doing an affiliate promotion of some kind or a sponsored type of campaign as well. If you’ve got a sponsor, sometimes you might send an email out about that campaign or about that offer as well.

Emails, for us, result in most of our sales. This is a really important type of email for us but we don’t wanna go overboard with the promotional emails as well. If we promote something new every three days, our readers are gonna push back and they’re gonna get mad. We really try to be as careful as possible, we wanna be promoting enough that we are profitable but we don’t wanna promote so much that we lose subscribers. You’re gonna play this a little bit by ear.

One key for us is that we map out at the start of the year what promotions we’re gonna run over the next year. We are, at present, mapping out 2018, what ebooks and courses are we going to launch, which ones that we’ve already launched will we do relaunches of or promotions on, what seasonal promotions are we gonna do in 2018, are we gonna do Black Friday, are we gonna do a Christmas sale and what affiliate promotions are we gonna do. The beauty of mapping it out ahead of time is that you can space things out.

We typically run a promotion for a week or even two weeks. We know that during those times, we’re gonna be sending out multiple emails in addition to our newsletter. We wanna space those out, we don’t wanna run a promotion this week and then another promotion next week and then another promotion the week after. We wanna space them out, give our readers a bit of a break in between. That’s another type of email that you could build in.

An autoresponder sequence would be another option. This can be a really great way to bring your new subscribers up to speed with some of the other stuff that you’ve got in your archives. If someone subscribes to Digital Photography School today, they’ve missed out on over 7000 articles in our archives. What we’ve created is a sequence of emails that goes out automatically to anyone who subscribes to our newsletter. Every 30 or so days, they get an extra email. It’s time to go out on a Sunday, our newsletters always go out on Thursday, our promotional emails usually go out on a Tuesday.

We got this rhythm that you always will get a Thursday email newsletter. You’ll sometimes get a Tuesday promotional email, this is maybe one in three weeks and then one in four weeks you’ll get a Sunday email that is highlighting something in our archives. An autoresponder is where you setup that sequence of emails ahead of time. You just let it run to anyone new who subscribes up.

There is a whole episode of this podcast dedicated to autoresponders that I’ve done in Episode 70, I’ll link to that in the show notes but you might wanna also go back and listen to that. It’s a very powerful strategy to use because it’s a set and forget type of thing. You do it once, you setup that email once and then for all eternity or until you stop, I choose to stop sending that particular email, that email automatically go out to all new subscribers at the set intervals, a very powerful strategy.

The third type of email that you might wanna send as well is more of an interaction type of email. This is where you send out a question to your readers and encourage them to reply. This might seem a little bit crazy, you don’t want all your subscribers sending you emails but it’s a very powerful thing to do. For example you might send out a welcome email and then at the end of that welcome email say, “Please tell us about your experience with…” That is a very powerful thing because it signals to your subscribers that you’re interested in hearing from them.

That adds work to you because you’re gonna start getting more emails but it’s gonna give you incredible insight into your subscribers and it’s gonna make it realize that you are not just wanting to send them emails, you’re wanting to have a conversation with them.

Another option that may be a little less work is where you setup an email and it might be part of that autoresponder sequence that we just talked about where you send out an invitation to complete a survey. This is something that we do on Digital Photography School after you’ve been subscribed to our newsletter.

I think that’s three months, we have an email that goes out automatically on the autoresponder sequence. It says, “Could you take five minutes to do this survey?” The survey has questions about their demographics but also asks them questions about their photography and it gives them an opportunity to ask questions as well about photography that they’ve got which gives us ideas for content. These types of emails are not so much about driving traffic to your archives and are not designed to get sales. They’re designed to help you understand who your readers are and also to make them feel a little bit more connected to you.

Another option that you might wanna do is adding the occasional email that promotes your Facebook group, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, these type of places as well. Again, this is about engagement, trying to get a second point of connection with your subscribers. These are the three types of extra emails that you might wanna send, there would be others as well. If you’ve got any others that you send out, that you’ve built into your rhythm of sending emails, I’d love to hear about them over in the Facebook group.

The last question that I get asked all the time from people is how do I get more subscribers to my newsletter. I’m not gonna cover this today in this episode but I do recommend you go and listen to two episodes, Episode 68 and Episode 69. These are two different strategies for building your subscriber numbers of your newsletter. I think both of those would be well worth listening to once you finish this one in a couple of minutes.

The last thing I wanna say is to make it a priority, make email a priority for 2018. I’ve seen something, the two big problems I see amongst so many blogger are bloggers who don’t have email lists, that’s the number one problem, or they’ve signed up for a service and they aren’t collecting email addresses. The second big problem is bloggers who don’t send emails. I see this all the time, people who are collecting emails everyday, they’re getting new subscribers but they’re not sending emails.

If you fall into either of those categories, one, know that you’re not alone but two, know that I’m not satisfied until you get that thing fixed. I want you to make it a priority in 2018. I really have seen the way that email has transformed my business, it has really brought a lot of traffic and a lot of income and a lot of connection with our readers as well over the years. It is a central part of what we do. Put some priorities into that. Even if you’ve got an email list and you’re still listening, make it a priority to take a critical look at what you’re doing with your email.

Do you need to change up your newsletter? Do you need to start an autoresponder sequence? Do you need to think about the design of your email? Do you need to test the format, plain text versus HTML? Do you need to do some testing in terms of the subject lines that you use? Do you need to consider upgrading your email service provider? I highly encourage you to take a critical look on some of that type of stuff.

The last thing I’ll say is if you haven’t started, start simple even if you just send a monthly plain text email once a month, a plain text email with three paragraphs that simply links to a recent post that did well for you. That is better than nothing. Don’t let the tools, don’t let the formatting, don’t let the link, don’t let the content itself hold you back, send something. Make it valuable, it doesn’t need to be long, it doesn’t need to be profound, just make it deliver a little bit of value to your subscribers and they will keep looking for your emails and it will begin to build some momentum for you.

I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of this. Remember to start simple and then let it evolve from there. You can always get more complicated with your emails but you really need to make a start on it.

Today’s show notes where there are links to Drip and ConvertKit and there’s a bit of a summary through a transcript of all the things that I’ve said and some further reading for you as well, further listening. You can find that all over at problogger.com/podcast/220. It’s the end of the year and I do wanna add my season’s greetings to those of who are celebrating at the moment and those of you who are listening in the New Year. I hope it’s been a good year for you.

We are moving now into a bit of a series of podcasts where you’re going to hear some other voices. I’m gonna introduce them but as I said in last week’s podcast, we wanted to hear some of your stories and we’ve had some amazing stories submitted. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to you in the coming weeks over at the end of the year and as we move into next year where we’re gonna start a series of content on starting a blog. I really am looking forward to that.

Those of you who haven’t started a blog yet, this is gonna be a great time for you. Those of you who wanna start a second blog, this is a great time for you to do that as well because we’re gonna give you some great content that’s gonna help you to do that, it’s free. We’re also going to help to celebrate some of those new blogs that have started. Make January a time of starting a new blog. I look forward to introducing that whole concept to you more next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

If you are looking for something else to listen to, I do recommend you go back and listen to Episode 68, 69, and 70. 68 and 69 are about how to get more subscribers for that email list that we’ve just been talking about and Episode 70 was all about auto responders. You should be able to find them all over in iTunes where I hope you’re all subscribed and have left some nice reviews for us or over on the show notes areas at problogger.com/podcast and then you just put the number, 68 or 69 or 70. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 220: What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters appeared first on ProBlogger.

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What Do Google’s New, Longer Snippets Mean for SEO? – Whiteboard Friday

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/CnzBtuconkk/googles-longer-snippets

Posted by randfish

Snippets and meta descriptions have brand-new character limits, and it’s a big change for Google and SEOs alike. Learn about what’s new, when it changed, and what it all means for SEO in this edition of Whiteboard Friday.

What do Google's now, longer snippets mean for SEO?

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

<span id=”selection-marker-1″ class=”redactor-selection-marker”></span>Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about Google’s big change to the snippet length.

This is the display length of the snippet for any given result in the search results that Google provides. This is on both mobile and desktop. It sort of impacts the meta description, which is how many snippets are written. They’re taken from the meta description tag of the web page. Google essentially said just last week, “Hey, we have officially increased the length, the recommended length, and the display length of what we will show in the text snippet of standard organic results.”

So I’m illustrating that for you here. I did a search for “net neutrality bill,” something that’s on the minds of a lot of Americans right now. You can see here that this article from The Hill, which is a recent article — it was two days ago — has a much longer text snippet than what we would normally expect to find. In fact, I went ahead and counted this one and then showed it here.

So basically, at the old 165-character limit, which is what you would have seen prior to the middle of December on most every search result, occasionally Google would have a longer one for very specific kinds of search results, but more than 90%, according to data from SISTRIX, which put out a great report and I’ll link to it here, more than 90% of search snippets were 165 characters or less prior to the middle of November. Then Google added basically a few more lines.

So now, on mobile and desktop, instead of an average of two or three lines, we’re talking three, four, five, sometimes even six lines of text. So this snippet here is 266 characters that Google is displaying. The next result, from Save the Internet, is 273 characters. Again, this might be because Google sort of realized, “Hey, we almost got all of this in here. Let’s just carry it through to the end rather than showing the ellipsis.” But you can see that 165 characters would cut off right here. This one actually does a good job of displaying things.

So imagine a searcher is querying for something in your field and they’re just looking for a basic understanding of what it is. So they’ve never heard of net neutrality. They’re not sure what it is. So they can read here, “Net neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any . . .” And that’s where it would cut off. Or that’s where it would have cut off in November.

Now, if I got a snippet like that, I need to visit the site. I’ve got to click through in order to learn more. That doesn’t tell me enough to give me the data to go through. Now, Google has tackled this before with things, like a featured snippet, that sit at the top of the search results, that are a more expansive short answer. But in this case, I can get the rest of it because now, as of mid-November, Google has lengthened this. So now I can get, “Any content, applications, or websites you want to use. Net neutrality is the way that the Internet has always worked.”

Now, you might quibble and say this is not a full, thorough understanding of what net neutrality is, and I agree. But for a lot of searchers, this is good enough. They don’t need to click any more. This extension from 165 to 275 or 273, in this case, has really done the trick.

What changed?

So this can have a bunch of changes to SEO too. So the change that happened here is that Google updated basically two things. One, they updated the snippet length, and two, they updated their guidelines around it.

So Google’s had historic guidelines that said, well, you want to keep your meta description tag between about 160 and 180 characters. I think that was the number. They’ve updated that to where they say there’s no official meta description recommended length. But on Twitter, Danny Sullivan said that he would probably not make that greater than 320 characters. In fact, we and other data providers, that collect a lot of search results, didn’t find many that extended beyond 300. So I think that’s a reasonable thing.


When did this happen? It was starting at about mid-November. November 22nd is when SISTRIX’s dataset starts to notice the increase, and it was over 50%. Now it’s sitting at about 51% of search results that have these longer snippets in at least 1 of the top 10 as of December 2nd.

Here’s the amazing thing, though — 51% of search results have at least one. Many of those, because they’re still pulling old meta descriptions or meta descriptions that SEO has optimized for the 165-character limit, are still very short. So if you’re the person in your search results, especially it’s holiday time right now, lots of ecommerce action, if you’re the person to go update your important pages right now, you might be able to get more real estate in the search results than any of your competitors in the SERPs because they’re not updating theirs.

How will this affect SEO?

So how is this going to really change SEO? Well, three things:

A. It changes how marketers should write and optimize the meta description.

We’re going to be writing a little bit differently because we have more space. We’re going to be trying to entice people to click, but we’re going to be very conscientious that we want to try and answer a lot of this in the search result itself, because if we can, there’s a good chance that Google will rank us higher, even if we’re actually sort of sacrificing clicks by helping the searcher get the answer they need in the search result.

B. It may impact click-through rate.

We’ll be looking at Jumpshot data over the next few months and year ahead. We think that there are two likely ways they could do it. Probably negatively, meaning fewer clicks on less complex queries. But conversely, possible it will get more clicks on some more complex queries, because people are more enticed by the longer description. Fingers crossed, that’s kind of what you want to do as a marketer.

C. It may lead to lower click-through rate further down in the search results.

If you think about the fact that this is taking up the real estate that was taken up by three results with two, as of a month ago, well, maybe people won’t scroll as far down. Maybe the ones that are higher up will in fact draw more of the clicks, and thus being further down on page one will have less value than it used to.

What should SEOs do?

What are things that you should do right now? Number one, make a priority list — you should probably already have this — of your most important landing pages by search traffic, the ones that receive the most search traffic on your website, organic search. Then I would go and reoptimize those meta descriptions for the longer limits.

Now, you can judge as you will. My advice would be go to the SERPs that are sending you the most traffic, that you’re ranking for the most. Go check out the limits. They’re probably between about 250 and 300, and you can optimize somewhere in there.

The second thing I would do is if you have internal processes or your CMS has rules around how long you can make a meta description tag, you’re going to have to update those probably from the old limit of somewhere in the 160 to 180 range to the new 230 to 320 range. It doesn’t look like many are smaller than 230 now, at least limit-wise, and it doesn’t look like anything is particularly longer than 320. So somewhere in there is where you’re going to want to stay.

Good luck with your new meta descriptions and with your new snippet optimization. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Every Important Google Algorithm Update Since 2003

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/–piF6eRV_Y/google-algorithm-update

To the everyday user, Google’s search engine might seem pretty unremarkable. Type in “corgi,” and you’re going to get a bunch of corgi-related results. You’ll see a page called, “10 Facts about Corgis You Paw-bibly Didn’t Know.” You’ll see a Knowledge Panel featuring the life span and temperament of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You’ll get a dropdown suggestion for the query, “corgi butt.” These aren’t tremendous cognitive leaps. The goal of Google Search is to provide you with results from which you’ll derive value. Most reasonable people value corgi butts.

Fact is, however, that Google’s search algorithm didn’t always have such a keen understanding of what most people find valuable. It’s evolved quite a bit over the years. Our goal today is to paint a more in depth picture of that evolution.

Below is a to-date list of the most impactful Google algorithm updates since 2003. We’ll keep adding to this list as time rolls along.

Let’s hop in!

Google Fred Update – March 2017

Google Algorithm Update Fred

Image via Search Engine Roundtable

Google’s “Fred” Update (unofficially named) occurs in March of 2017. Its purpose is to crack down on sites that prioritize monetization over user experience. The name “Fred” is arbitrary, and is jokingly assigned by Google analytics expert Gary Illyes. The results of the update are not arbitrary.

Google Algorithm Update Visibility

Image via GSQi

Sites with low quality user engagement—thin content, content heavily geared toward conversions, UX barriers (popups, navigational obstacles) and aggressive on-page advertising tactics—lose organic search traffic overnight. Some sites report up to 90% traffic loss.   

Google Intrusive Interstitial Penalty – January 2017

Google Algorithm Update Interstitial

Image via Google Webmaster Central Blog

Google announces the Intrusive Interstitial Penalty in August of 2016, writing, ”Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” The update itself rolls out in January 2017, and cracks down on sites with intrusive mobile interstitials. Google gives the following examples of techniques that will negatively impact a page’s organic search ranking:

1. Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.

2. Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user must dismiss before accessing the main content.

3. Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Glenn Gabe tracks the ramifications of the Intrusive Interstitial Penalty, and records some interesting insights in this blog post.

Google Penguin 4.0 – September 2016

Google Algorithm Update Penguin

Penguin 4.0: the Penguin we deserve. Image via Pew Trusts.

Google announces Penguin 4.0 in September of 2016. The two main revisions to the original Penguin update are:

1. Penguin goes real time, and becomes a part of Google’s core algorithm.

2. Penguin now devalues “spammy” links at a granular level, reversing earlier-enforced site-wide penalties. 

Sites that see search visibility reductions after Penguin updates 1.0-3.0 now see improved rankings—so long as they’ve taken the necessary steps to clean up their spammy links.

Google “Possum” Update – September 2016

Google Algorithm Update Possum

Image via Tech Critic

Unannounced and unconfirmed by Google, Possum gets its name from the impact it has on Google My Business listings. Google’s newly refined location filter filters out businesses based on certain criteria. Thus, the listings themselves “play possum.” Possum impacts local search rankings in the following ways:

1. Businesses outside of a city’s limits experience higher rankings for local search keywords. Prior to Possum, businesses not technically within a city’s limits have a difficult time ranking well for those keywords.

2. A new location filter filters out locations that share the same address.

3. The physical location of the person typing the query has a larger impact on results.

Google RankBrain – October 2015

Google Algorithm Update Rankbrain

Image via The Next Web

Bloomberg breaks the news that RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence system, has been incorporated into Google’s core algorithm. Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google, tells Bloomberg that RankBrain has been live for months, and has quickly become Google’s third most important ranking signal. The new system gives Google’s search algorithm the ability to understand relationships between words, and deduce results for never-before-seen queries.

“Mobilegeddon” – April 2015

Google Algorithm Update Mobilegeddon

In February of 2015, Google announces the expansion of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” the new algorithm goes live in April, and provides more mobile-friendly websites and relevant app content in search results. Sites given the tag “mobile-friendly” experience improved search visibility.

Google Pigeon Update – July 2014

Google Algorithm Update Pigeon

Image via Search Engine Land

In July of 2014, Google releases a significant local search algorithm update. Search Engine Land dubs it “Pigeon,” because “pigeons tend to fly back home.” The new local algorithm ties deeper into Google’s web search capabilities—including hundreds of core algorithm ranking signals, as well as features like the Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms, etc.

Google Hummingbird – August 2013

Google Algorithm Update Hummingbird

Google notices that queries are becoming more and more conversational. People have begun to treat their desktops and devices like humans. To keep up with the growing need to understand user intent, Google releases Hummingbird in the Summer of 2013.

Hummingbird is less a change to Google’s core algorithm than a total revamp—it has the ability to discern both context and intent when returning results for a query. Matt Cutts of Google estimates that 90% of all search results are affected.

Google Knowledge Graph – May 2012

Google Algorithm Update Fred KG

Google introduces the Knowledge Graph in May of 2012. The goal, according to Google, is to help users discover information more quickly and easily. The Knowledge Graph appears in the form of panels to the right of a user’s results. Google says the Knowledge Graph has the ability to understand real-world entities and their relationships to one another—to understand the world a bit more like people do. When it’s launched, the Knowledge Graph contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about relationships between those objects.

Google Penguin – April 2012

Google Algorithm Update Penguin

Google announces Penguin in April of 2012 with a blog post entitled, “Another step to reward high-quality sites.” In fact, the primary goal of Penguin is to decrease rankings for sites that violate Google’s quality guidelines. Sites partaking in webspam techniques like keyword stuffing and link schemes see reduced organic search traffic. The update levies penalties at a site-wide level, rather than on specific pages. Google makes a point of distinguishing “white hat SEO” from “black hat webspam,” and encourages webmasters to continue creating high quality sites that create positive user experiences.

Google Panda – February 2011

 Google Algorithm Update Panda

Image via Search Engine Land

Initially dubbed “Farmer” for its crack down on content farms, Panda gets its name from one of engineers who helps develop the algorithm—an engineer named Panda. The Panda update is a response to the growing number of complaints in the search community that low-quality “content sites” rank higher than high-quality sites with positive user experiences. Panda goes primarily after sites with thin content, sites that have outsourced content to third-party “farms,” and sites with high ad-to-content ratios.

Google Caffeine – June 2010

Google Algorithm Update Caffeine

Image via Google’s Official Blog

Announced in 2009, Caffeine goes live in June of 2010. It provides 50 percent fresher search results, and is the largest collection of web content Google has ever offered. It’s less an algorithm update than an entirely new system of web indexing. Prior to Caffeine, Google’s index consists of layers, some of which are refreshed faster than others. Caffeine analyzes the web on a continuous, global basis, allowing users to find fresher information than ever before. “If this were a pile of paper,” Google’s Carrie Crimes writes, “it would grow three miles taller every second.”

Google Suggest – August 2008

Google Algorithm Update Suggest

After nearly four years of testing, Google Suggest drops in August of 2008. Suggest looks in aggregate at searches related to a given query, then lists popular searches containing that query in a dropdown panel. It’s a precursor to Google Instant (2010), which returns results as users type their queries. Google drops Google Instant in 2017 because of complications it poses mobile users. Suggest remains a mainstay.

Google Universal Search – May 2007

Google Algorithm Update US

Danny Sullivan writes a post for Search Engine Watch in 2003 describing what he calls “tab blindness”—the tendency on behalf of Google users to ignore tabs like News, Images, Video, etc. when making queries. With the release of Universal Search in May of 2007, Google provides a solution to tab blindness. Universal Search integrates results from all Google verticals to provide a more accurate and diverse SERP. The traditional 10-link results page becomes a thing of the past.

Google Personalized Search – June 2005

Google Algorithm Update Personalized Search

Introduced in 2005, Personalized Search draws on a user’s search history to deliver more personalized results to him or her. Previous attempts at personalization drew on customer settings and profiles; Personalized Search marks the first time Google has tapped directly into its users’ search histories.

Google Florida Update – November 2003

Google Algorithm Update Florida

Thanks to Roberto Sotelo for this gem of an image.

To get an idea of just how seminal the Florida update is, you need look no further than Danny Sullivan’s article, “What Happened to My Site on Google?”—a Q&A style blog that includes the question, “How can Google be allowed to hurt my business in this way?” The Florida algorithm update occurs before algorithm updates are really “a thing.” The notion that Google’s algorithm is a kind of “dance” that webmasters have to keep pace with in order to retain their organic rankings—and that that in itself could be a job (SEO)—is entirely new. Florida cracks down on late 90s tactics like keyword stuffing. Webmasters everywhere are befuddled. SEO becomes a necessity.

Google Boston Update – February 2003

Google Algorithm Update Boston

Google’s first official update, Boston is announced in 2013 at SES Boston, an engineering science conference put on by Northeastern. Google’s initial goal is to change its algorithm every month or so. It soon abandons that goal in favor of day-to-day changes. SEOs and webmasters everywhere begin an indefinite head-shake.

That’s all, folks.

For an in-depth look at the development of search engines in general, please don’t hesitate to check out our History of Search Engines! And if you’re interested in a list of every Google algorithm update since 2000, big or small, Moz has put together a useful list here.

Have an algorithm update you think should be added to the list? Let us know in comments below!

About the Author

Gordon Donnelly is a college hockey washout, failed poet, and all-around oxford comma enthusiast. He’s a sucker for: fly fishing, mudslides, and the dwindling half-light of Clery’s basement. Tweet him @gord_donnelly. 

Our Readership: Results of the 2017 Moz Blog Reader Survey

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/nYj7I0pIvrc/2017-moz-blog-reader-survey-results

Posted by Trevor-Klein

This blog is for all of you. In a notoriously opaque and confusing industry that’s prone to frequent changes, we see immense benefit in helping all of you stay on top of the game. To that end, every couple of years we ask for a report card of sorts, hoping not only to get a sense for how your jobs have changed, but also to get a sense for how we can improve.

About a month ago, we asked you all to take a reader survey, and nearly 600 of you generously gave your time. The results, summarized in this post, were immensely helpful, and were a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a thoughtful community of readers.

I’ve offered as much data as I can, and when possible, I’ve also trended responses against the same questions from our 2015 and 2013 surveys, so you can get a sense for how things have changed. There’s a lot here, so buckle up. =)

Who our readers are

To put all of this great feedback into context, it helps to know a bit about who the people in our audience actually are. Sure, we can glean a bit of information from our site analytics, and can make some educated guesses, but neither of those can answer the questions we’re most curious about. What’s your day-to-day work like, and how much SEO does it really involve? Would you consider yourself more of an SEO beginner, or more of an SEO wizard? And, most importantly, what challenges are you facing in your work these days? The answers give us a fuller understanding of where the rest of your feedback comes from.

What is your job title?

Readers of the Moz Blog have a multitude of backgrounds, from CEOs of agencies to in-the-weeds SEOs of all skill levels. One of the most common themes we see, though, is a skew toward the more general marketing industry. I know that word clouds have their faults, but it’s still a relatively interesting way to gauge how often things appear in a list like this, so here’s what we’ve got this year:

Of note, similar to our results in 2015, the word “marketing” is the most common result, followed by the word “SEO” and the word “manager.”

Here’s a look at the top 20 terms used in this year’s results, along with the percentage of responses containing each term. You’ll also see those same percentages from the 2015 and 2013 surveys to give you an idea of what’s changed — the darker the bar, the more recent the survey:

The thing that surprises me the most about this list is how little it’s changed in the four-plus years since we first asked the question (a theme you’ll see recur in the rest of these results). In fact, the top 20 terms this year are nearly identical to the top 20 terms four years ago, with only a few things sliding up or down a few spots.

What percentage of your day-to-day work involves SEO?

We hear a lot about people wearing multiple hats for their companies. One person who took this survey noted that even at a 9,000-person company, they were the only one who worked on SEO, and it was only about 80% of their job. That idea is backed up by this data, which shows an incredibly broad range of responses. More than 10% of respondents barely touch SEO, and not even 14% say they’re full-time:

One interesting thing to note is the sharp decline in the number of people who say that SEO isn’t a part of their day-to-day at all. That shift is likely a result of our shift back toward SEO, away from related areas like social media and content marketing. I think we had attracted a significant number of community managers and content specialists who didn’t work in SEO, and we’re now seeing the pendulum swing the other direction.

On a scale of 1-5, how advanced would you say your SEO knowledge is?

The similarity between this year’s graph for this question and those from 2015 and 2013 is simply astonishing:

There’s been a slight drop in folks who say they’re at an expert level, and a slight increase in folks who have some background, but are relative beginners. But only slight. The interesting thing is, our blog traffic has increased significantly over these four years, so the newer members of our audience bear a striking resemblance to those of you who’ve been around for quite some time. In a sense, that’s reassuring — it paints a clear picture for us as we continue refining our content.

Do you work in-house, or at an agency/consultancy?

Here’s another window into just how little our audience has changed in the last couple of years:

A slight majority of our readers still work in-house for their own companies, and about a third still work on SEO for their company’s clients.

Interestingly, though, respondents who work for clients deal with many of the same issues as those who work in-house — especially in trying to convey the value of their work in SEO. They’re just trying to send that message to external clients instead of internal stakeholders. More details on that come from our next question:

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work today?

I’m consistently amazed by the time and thought that so many of you put into answering this question, and rest assured, your feedback will be presented to several teams around Moz, both on the marketing and the product sides. For this question, I organized each and every response into recurring themes, tallying each time those themes were mentioned. Here are all the themes that were mentioned 10 or more times:

Challenge # of mentions My clients / colleagues / bosses don’t understand the value of SEO 59 The industry and tactics are constantly changing; algo updates 45 Time constraints 44 Link building 35 My clients / colleagues / bosses don’t understand how SEO works 29 Content (strategy / creation / marketing) 25 Resource constraints 23 It’s difficult to prove ROI 18 Budget constraints 17 It’s a difficult industry in which to learn tools and techniques 16 I regularly need to educate my colleagues / employees 16 It’s difficult to prioritize my work 16 My clients either don’t have or won’t offer sufficient budget / effort 15 Effective reporting 15 Bureaucracy, red tape, other company problems 11 It’s difficult to compete with other companies 11 I’m required to wear multiple hats 11

More than anything else, it’s patently obvious that one of the greatest difficulties faced by any SEO is explaining it to other people in a way that demonstrates its value while setting appropriate expectations for results. Whether it’s your clients, your boss, or your peers that you’re trying to convince, it isn’t an easy case to make, especially when it’s so difficult to show what kind of return a company can see from an investment in SEO.

We also saw tons of frustrated responses about how the industry is constantly changing, and it takes too much of your already-constrained time just to stay on top of those changes.

In terms of tactics, link building easily tops the list of challenges. That makes sense, as it’s the piece of SEO that relies most heavily on the cooperation of other human beings (and humans are often tricky beings to figure out). =)

Content marketing — both the creation/copywriting side as well as the strategy side — is still a challenge for many folks in the industry, though fewer people mentioned it this year as mentioned it in 2015, so I think we’re all starting to get used to how those skills overlap with the more traditional aspects of SEO.

How our readers read

With all that context in mind, we started to dig into your preferences in terms of formats, frequency, and subject matter on the blog.

How often do you read posts on the Moz Blog?

This is the one set of responses that caused a bit of concern. We’ve seen a steady decrease in the number of people who say they read every day, a slight decrease in the number of people who say they read multiple times each week, and a dramatic increase in the number of people who say they read once a week.

The 2015 decrease came after an expansion in the scope of subjects we covered on the blog — as we branched away from just SEO, we published more posts about social media, email, and other aspects of digital marketing. We knew that not all of those subjects were relevant for everyone, so we expected a dip in frequency of readership.

This year, though, we’ve attempted to refocus on SEO, and might have expected a bit of a rebound. That didn’t happen:

There are two other factors at play, here. For one thing, we no longer publish a post every single weekday. After our publishing volume experiment in 2015, we realized it was safe (even beneficial) to emphasize quality over quantity, so if we don’t feel like a post turned out the way we hoped, we don’t publish it until we’ve had a chance to improve it. That means we’re down to about four posts per week. We’ve also made a concerted effort to publish more posts about local SEO, as that’s relevant to our software and an increasingly important part of the work of folks in our industry.

It could also be a question of time — we’ve already covered how little time everyone in our industry has, and with that problem continuing, there may just be less time to read blog posts.

If anyone has any additional insight into why they read less often than they once did, please let us know in the comments below!

On which types of devices do you prefer to read blog posts?

We were surprised by the responses to this answer in 2013, and they’ve only gotten more extreme:

Nearly everyone prefers to read blog posts on a full computer. Only about 15% of folks add their phones into the equation, and the number of people in all the other buckets is extremely small. In 2013, our blog didn’t have a responsive design, and was quite difficult to read on mobile devices. We thought that might have had something to do with people’s responses — maybe they were just used to reading our blog on larger screens. The trend in 2015 and this year, though, proves that’s not the case. People just prefer reading posts on their computers, plain and simple.

Which other site(s), if any, do you regularly visit for information or education on SEO?

This was a new question for this year. We have our own favorite sites, of course, but we had no idea how the majority of folks would respond to this question. As it turns out, there was quite a broad range of responses listing sites that take very different approaches:

Site # responses Search Engine Land 184 Search Engine Journal 89 Search Engine Roundtable 74 SEMrush 51 Ahrefs 50 Search Engine Watch 41 Quick Sprout / Neil Patel 35 HubSpot 33 Backlinko 31 Google Blogs 29 The SEM Post 21 Kissmetrics 17 Yoast 16 Distilled 13 SEO by the Sea 13

I suppose it’s no surprise that the most prolific sites sit at the top. They’ve always got something new, even if the stories don’t often go into much depth. We’ve tended to steer our own posts toward longer-form, in-depth pieces, and I think it’s safe to say (based on these responses and some to questions below) that it’d be beneficial for us to include some shorter stories, too. In other words, depth shouldn’t necessarily be a requisite for a post to be published on the Moz Blog. We may start experimenting with a more “short and sweet” approach to some posts.

What our readers think of the blog

Here’s where we get into more specific feedback about the Moz Blog, including whether it’s relevant, how easy it is for you to consume, and more.

What percentage of the posts on the Moz Blog would you say are relevant to you and your work?

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results here, as SEO is a broad enough industry (and we’ve got a broad enough audience) that there’s simply no way we’re going to hit the sweet spot for everyone with every post. But those numbers toward the bottom of the chart are low enough that I feel confident we’re doing pretty well in terms of topic relevance.

Do you feel the Moz Blog posts are generally too basic, too advanced, or about right?

Responses to this question have made me smile every time I see them. This is clearly one thing we’re getting about as right as we could expect to. We’re even seeing a slight balancing of the “too basic” and “too advanced” columns over time, which is great:

We also asked the people who told us that posts were “too basic” or “too advanced” to what extent they felt that way, using a scale from 1-5 (1 being “just a little bit too basic/advanced” and 5 being “way too basic/advanced.” The responses tell us that the people who feel posts are too advanced feel more strongly about that opinion than the people who feel posts are too basic:

This makes some sense, I think. If you’re just starting out in SEO, which many of our readers are, some of the posts on this blog are likely to go straight over your head. That could be frustrating. If you’re an SEO expert, though, you probably aren’t frustrated by posts you see as too basic for you — you just skip past them and move on with your day.

This does make me think, though, that we might benefit from offering a dedicated section of the site for folks who are just starting out — more than just the Beginner’s Guide. That’s actually something that was specifically requested by one respondent this year.

In general, what do you think about the length of Moz Blog posts?

While it definitely seems like we’re doing pretty well in this regard, I’d also say we’ve got some room to tighten things up a bit, especially in light of the lack of time so many of you mentioned:

There were quite a few comments specifically asking for “short and sweet” posts from time to time — offering up useful tips or news in a format that didn’t expound on details because it didn’t have to. I think sprinkling some of those types of posts in with the longer-form posts we have so often would be beneficial.

Do you ever comment on Moz Blog posts?

This was another new question this year. Despite so many sites are removing comment sections from their blogs, we’ve always believed in their value. Sometimes the discussions we see in comments end up being the most helpful part of the posts, and we value our community too much to keep that from happening. So, we were happy to see a full quarter of respondents have participated in comments:

We also asked for a bit of info about why you either do or don’t comment on posts. The top reasons why you do were pretty predictable — to ask a clarifying question related to the post, or to offer up your own perspective on the topic at hand. The #3 reason was interesting — 18 people mentioned that they like to comment in order to thank the author for their hard work. This is a great sentiment, and as someone who’s published several posts on this blog, I can say for a fact that it does feel pretty great. At the same time, those comments are really only written for one person — the author — and are a bit problematic from our perspective, because they add noise around the more substantial conversations, which are what we like to see most.

I think the solution is going to lie in a new UI element that allows readers to note their appreciation to the authors without leaving one of the oft-maligned “Great post!” comments. There’s got to be a happy medium there, and I think it’s worth our finding it.

The reasons people gave for not commenting were even more interesting. A bunch of people mentioned the need to log in (sorry, folks — if we didn’t require that, we’d spend half our day removing spam!). The most common response, though, involved a lack of confidence. Whether it was worded along the lines of “I’m an introvert” or along the lines of “I just don’t have a lot of expertise,” there were quite a few people who worried about how their comments would be received.

I want to take this chance to encourage those of you who feel that way to take the step, and ask questions about points you find confusing. At the very least, I can guarantee you aren’t the only ones, and others like you will appreciate your initiative. One of the best ways to develop your expertise is to get comfortable asking questions. We all work in a really confusing industry, and the Moz Blog is all about providing a place to help each other out.

What, if anything, would you like to see different about the Moz Blog?

As usual, the responses to this question were chock full of great suggestions, and again, we so appreciate the amount of time you all spent providing really thoughtful feedback.

One pattern I saw was requests for more empirical data — hard evidence that things should be done a certain way, whether through case studies or other formats. Another pattern was requests for step-by-step walkthroughs. That makes a lot of sense for an industry of folks who are strapped for time: Make things as clear-cut as possible, and where we can, offer a linear path you can walk down instead of asking you to holistically understand the subject matter, then figure that out on your own. (That’s actually something we’re hoping to do with our entire Learning Center: Make it easier to figure out where to start, and where to continue after that, instead of putting everything into buckets and asking you all to figure it out.)

Whiteboard Friday remains a perennial favorite, and we were surprised to see more requests for more posts about our own tools than we had requests for fewer posts about our own tools. (We’ve been wary of that in the past, as we wanted to make sure we never crossed from “helpful” into “salesy,” something we’ll still focus on even if we do add another tool-based post here and there.)

We expected a bit of feedback about the format of the emails — we’re absolutely working on that! — but didn’t expect to see so many folks requesting that we bring back YouMoz. That’s something that’s been on the backs of our minds, and while it may not take the same form it did before, we do plan on finding new ways to encourage the community to contribute content, and hope to have something up and running early in 2018.

Request #responses More case studies 26 More Whiteboard Friday (or other videos) 25 More long-form step-by-step training/guides 18 Clearer steps to follow in posts; how-tos 11 Bring back UGC / YouMoz 9 More from Rand 9 Improve formatting of the emails 9 Higher-level, less-technical posts 8 More authors 7 More news (algorithm updates, e.g.) 7 Shorter posts, “quick wins” 7 Quizzes, polls, or other engagement opportunities 6 Broader range of topics (engagement, CRO, etc.) 6 More about Moz tools 5 More data-driven, less opinion-based 5 What our readers want to see

This section is a bit more future-facing, where some of what we asked before had to do with how things have been in the past.

Which of the following topics would you like to learn more about?

There were very, very few surprises in this list. Lots of interest in on-page SEO and link building, as well as other core tactical areas of SEO. Content, branding, and social media all took dips — that makes sense, given the fact that we don’t usually post about those things anymore, and we’ve no doubt lost some audience members who were more interested in them as a result. Interestingly, mobile took a sizable dip, too. I’d be really curious to know what people think about why that is. My best guess is that with the mobile-first indexing from Google and with responsive designs having become so commonplace, there isn’t as much of a need as there once was to think of mobile much differently than there was a couple of years ago. Also of note: When we did this survey in 2015, Google had recently rolled out its “Mobile-Friendly Update,” not-so-affectionately referred to by many in the industry as Mobilegeddon. So… it was on our minds. =)

Which of the following types of posts would you most like to see on the Moz Blog?

This is a great echo and validation of what we took away from the more general question about what you’d like to see different about the Blog: More tactical posts and step-by-step walkthroughs. Posts that cut to the chase and offer a clear direction forward, as opposed to some of the types at the bottom of this list, which offer more opinions and cerebral explorations:

What happens next?

Now we go to work. =)

We’ll spend some time fully digesting this info, and coming up with new goals for 2018 aimed at making improvements inspired by your feedback. We’ll keep you all apprised as we start moving forward.

If you have any additional insight that strikes you in taking a look at these results, please do share it in the comments below — we’d love to have those discussions.

For now, we’ve got some initial takeaways that we’re already planning to take action on.

Primary takeaways

There are some relatively obvious things we can take away from these results that we’re already working on:

People in all businesses are finding it quite difficult to communicate the value of SEO to their clients, bosses, and colleagues. That’s something we can help with, and we’ll be developing materials in the near future to try and alleviate some of that particular frustration.There’s a real desire for more succinct, actionable, step-by-step walkthroughs on the Blog. We can pretty easily explore formats for posts that are off our “beaten path,” and will attempt to make things easier to consume through improvements to both the content itself and its delivery. I think there’s some room for more “short and sweet” mixed in with our longer norm.The bulk of our audience does more than just SEO, despite a full 25% of them having it in their job titles, and the challenges you mentioned include a bunch of areas that are related to, but outside the traditional world of SEO. Since you all are clearly working on those sorts of things, we should work to highlight and facilitate the relationship between the SEO work and the non-SEO marketing work you do.In looking through some of the other sites you all visit for information on SEO, and knowing the kinds of posts they typically publish, it’s clear we’ve got an opportunity to publish more news. We’ve always dreamed of being more of a one-stop shop for SEO content, and that’s good validation that we may want to head down that path.

Again, thank you all so much for the time and effort you spent filling out this survey. Hopefully you’ll notice some changes in the near (and not-so-near) future that make it clear we’re really listening.

If you’ve got anything to add to these results — insights, further explanations, questions for clarification, rebuttals of points, etc. — please leave them in the comments below. We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation. =)

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

3 Powerful Graphic Design Tools for Busy Marketers

Originally published on: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/3-graphic-design-tools-busy-marketers/

Need a new way to create quality social media images? Looking for tools that offer easily customizable templates? In this article, you’ll discover three graphic design tools to create professional images and visuals. #1: Snappa Snappa is the first graphic design tool on this list, thanks to its sheer ease of use. The interface is […]

This post 3 Powerful Graphic Design Tools for Busy Marketers first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

9 Quality Sources for Beautiful Landing Page Templates

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/D1NLA9-1a8o/landing-page-templates

Do you wake up from nightmares about ugly landing pages tied to your brand? Or perhaps, even worse: no landing pages at all! How in the world will you manage to grow your business without a place to generate new leads or convert existing ones?

Landing pages can be a marketer’s worst nightmare, especially if you are strapped on design resources and budget. Even if you do have a solid budget, finding the right designer, and working with them to get everything looking the way you want it, can easily eat away at your bandwidth. Modern day marketers are busy people, after all! And with the holidays in full swing you are likely looking to get some landing pages created quickly.

Luckily, you don’t necessarily need to turn to outside resources to get beautiful landing pages up and running quickly. There are plenty of landing page templates (paid and FREE!) online at your disposal to customize and set free to the world in no time. Check out the nine resources below to find the right landing page design for your lead gen efforts.

#1. Free Landing Page Templates from Leadpages

Leadpages is a company that specializes in tools to help you sell (like landing pages!) so if anyone knows about how to create a page that converts, it is them. They were generous enough to share some of their beautiful designs with us, and you don’t even have to be a Leadpages customer to use these templates.

Whether you’re looking for an SEO landing page template to help you rank higher on the SERP’s, a page focused around converting blog subscribers, or even a more compelling 404 page that also happens to capture leads, this list of landing page templates comes with plenty to choose from. And the better news it that these resources are free!

Free landing page templates LeadPages

One thing to note is that some coding skills are likely needed to customize these pages, so if you have those skills, great! If not, you may need to loop in your web developer to make some minor tweaks.

#2. 125+ Landing Page and Overlay Templates from Unbounce

Here we have another company the specializes in landing pages, Unbounce! Unbounce has a team of extremely talented employees working on their products, and they definitely stand out as a top leader in the landing page space. They know what people want, and how to design a page that is compelling and conversion-worthy.

With over 125+ landing page templates to choose from, you’re likely to find a winner among these compelling designs.

Landing page templates free Unbounce

This resource of landing page templates also allows you to sort by tool, campaign type, etc., so you can find the exact flavor you’re looking for. For instance, if you are in the health vertical looking to sell an e-course, you can find templates for that precise purpose.

Landing page templates free Unbounce

You do need to sign up for Unbounce in order to access and utilize their template builder. Luckily, they offer a free 30-day trial so you have time to play around and decide.

#3. Sunny Landing Page Templates

Next up we have Sunny Landing Pages. This is one company that I was not initially familiar with, but after browsing through some of the templates in the link above I was impressed by the variety, look, and feel of these modern templates. Sunny Landing Pages also allow you to sort by campaign or industry to find a template in-line with your goal and business model. Many of these templates are mobile-responsive and completely FREE to download.

Free landing page templates Sunny Landing Pages

While there are some limitations to the free account (like 300 page visits/month!) it is worth checking out their plans. Also if you need a landing page for a short period of time (let’s say an event or seasonal promotion) this could be a great place to go!

#4. WIX Landing Page Templates

If you are into the sleek, simplistic, modern look, WIX is the place for you. In fact, these may just be some of my favorite landing page designs to choose from. Many of them incorporate autoplay videos on loop, which yes, can involve some technical resources to configure (and may slow down your page), but what could be more engaging?

Landing page templates free Wix

Check out the many categories and sub-categories you can sort through to find the right template for you.

Free landing page templates Wix

These landing pages take beautiful design to a whole new level. Not to mention that all of their landing page templates are mobile-responsive and FREE! WIX is a website builder so you will need a WIX account, and there will be certain limitations in place if you are not paying to play.

#5. Free Bootstrap Landing Page Templates

I know you all love the word “FREE” so why not keep the party going? Bootstrap provides some nice landing page templates that are completely free and easily downloadable. These landing page templates are designed for use with the Bootstrap front-end component library, an increasingly popular open-source toolkit that allows people to rapidly iterate on prototype web apps. A little more niche than some of the more typical resources, but Bootstrap is remarkably flexible and lightweight.

Free landing page templates Bootstrap landing pages

Their designs also tend to be minimal and modern. You will also notice that once you start to dig deeper there are several helpful comments around each page, and even tips provided directly from Bootstrap to get you off on the right foot.

Landing page templates free Bootstrap customer support comments

#6. 20+ Free HTML Landing Page Templates from Themewagon

These templates are similar to the Bootstrap templates above, except some of them do not rely on the Bootstrap framework to run. In fact, many of these are just combinations of HTML5 and CSS3 code, which makes them universal regardless of platform. Each template has a neat visual checklist of what that template offers, such as image grids with mouse-over actions etc. Not to mention, they’re free!

Free landing page templates Themewagon

#7. 25+ Best Marketing Unbounce Landing Page Templates

I couldn’t mention Unbounce just once in this post, that would be rude! Designsmaz.com put together this lovely resource of 25+ of the very best marketing Unbounce landing page templates. If hunting through Unbounce’s army of templates is stressing you out, check out this thorough list. This list was also made with converting in mind, so if that is your goal (and why wouldn’t it be?), these templates are a great place to start.

;Landing page templates free Unbounce Reisen bundle

#8. Styleshout Free Landing Page Website Templates

This is another really great little source for templates; the main differentiator being that these are all available under the Creative Commons license. Not only are these landing page templates free, but they are unique in that they require no legal attribution, use royalty-free imagery, and are not subject to the same copyright restrictions that some templates may be.

Landing page templates free Styleshout

Did I mention that they look really great, too?

#9. Over 200 Conversion Tested Templates from Instapage

And last, but not least, we have some more mobile-responsive, conversion-tested templates from Instapage – over 200 of them to be exact! If you know exactly where and how you want to display your video, form, and any additional information, you’ll likely be able to find a compelling design on this long list of templates.

Free landing page templates Instapage

Again there are categories to help you sort and find templates in line with your goals (ranging from lead gen pages to e-book or event pages). These Instapage templates are definitely worth exploring.

Do not let landing page creation stress you out! With this sea of options, you are destined to find a template that matches up with your goals, vertical, and budget. Have fun exploring, and share your creations with us; we’d love to see them!

About the Author

Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on:

Twitter: @margotshealthub

Instagram: @margotshealthhub

Blog: http://www.margotshealthhub.com/

219: I’d like to Feature YOU on the ProBlogger Podcast

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/gerYqwazA3g/

An Invitation for YOU to Be Featured on the ProBlogger Podcast

Today’s podcast is a little different. It’s an invitation for YOU to be featured in an upcoming episode of the ProBlogger podcast.

Early next year we’ll be releasing a brand new free course for bloggers to help them launch their blogs.

And in the lead up we want to feature stories and tips from ProBlogger listeners and readers who’ve already started their own blogs.

So if you’ve started a blog, whether it was recently or a long time ago, we’d love to include you in the series.

Links and Resources on I’d like to Feature YOU on the ProBlogger Podcast Blogging What’s Your Story? Facebook Group

Join the video challenge in our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Hi there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 219 of the ProBlogger podcast. Today I’ve got something a little bit different. Normally I teach something to you. I share an idea or a tip on how to improve your blog. But today I want to invite you to teach the rest of our audience. I want to try something a little different and give you an invitation to be featured in an upcoming episode of the ProBlogger podcast.

Early next year we’re going to be releasing a brand new course for bloggers to help them to launch their first blog, pre-bloggers really. In the lead up to that, we would love to feature stories and tips from ProBlogger listeners and readers who’ve already started their blog. If you’ve started a blog, whether it be in the last few months, the last year, or a long time ago, I would to love to include you in this upcoming series.

Today’s episode is all about how you can be involved in this little project we’re running. Listen on to find out how. But let me share the show notes for today where you can find all the details of what I’m going to mention, it’s at problogger.com/podcast/219.

Every year in January we notice a really big swing, upswing, in traffic to ProBlogger’s articles on the topic of how to start a blog. It seems that many people make this their New Year’s resolution. “I’m going to start a blog in 2018.” And we’re expecting that in the beginning of next year, many people will begin to do that.

This next January, we want to really help as many of those bloggers as possible in a way that we’ve never done it before. We want to really see in 2018 be the year that thousands of new blogs get started. And to do this we’ve been working on a brand new free course on that very topic that’s going to walk pre-bloggers through the process of not only setting up a blog, the technicalities of that, but setting up the foundations for a profitable blog.

We’re going to be talking about choosing a topic, and a niche, and really refining what it is that you want to do on that blog. It’s not just about getting a domain and a server, that’s certainly part of what we want to help people with that. But we want to really get the right foundations for starting a blog.

If you are one of our listeners, and there are quite a few of you who are yet to start, yet to do your first blog, or you’re thinking about starting a second blog, I want to encourage you to just be on the lookout for that because it’ll happen early next year. You can sign up to be notified of that in today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/219.

But if you are someone who’s already started blogging, we would also love to involve you in the process as much as possible. We want to ask you to share your story and a few tips on the topic of starting a blog.

My team and I are really excited about this course we’ve already put together. I’s very comprehensive. It’s the kind of thing I wish I had when I was starting out. However, we know that in the wider ProBlogger community, there’s such amazing knowledge and some really inspirational stories that come from a variety of different backgrounds that would be invaluable to bloggers just starting out. We know that there are people in our audience who are fashion bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers, business blogger, technology bloggers, sports bloggers, the list could go on and on and on. To be honest, I don’t have experience at all of those different niches and all the different styles of blogging. We want to include as many of your stories and tips as possible so that new bloggers have different things to draw and different experiences to draw on.

We want you to be involved. And want to give you an opportunity to share some of your stories and advice here on the ProBlogger podcast and potentially over on the ProBlogger blog as well.

We would love to hear from you and we’d love to hear from you whether you are an old-time blogger, you’ve been maybe at it as long as I have, from 2002, or maybe you’re a newer blogger. We actually want to feature blogs of all stages and in all niches and of all styles, we want to encourage video bloggers and those who are doing audio blogs, and those who are doing more visual blogs, we really don’t mind. As long as you classify what you’re doing as a blog, we would love to hear your story, no matter what the niche, the style, where your background is, whether you’re from America, Australia, Zimbabwe, it really doesn’t matter. We would like you to keep it in English because that’s where the bulk of our audience is from. But apart from that, whatever background, whatever accent you have, we would love to try and feature as many of you as possible.

This is really going to help a lot of new bloggers, but hopefully, it’s also going to be good for you as it’s going to get your story, your blog, your URL, in front of thousands of listeners of this podcast and tens of thousands of subscribers of the email list that we send out every day. Our readers are a friendly bunch, so don’t worry about that.

Here’s what we need you to do. If you want to participate in this, and again, blogs of all sizes, it doesn’t matter, we would love you to submit a short audio file. We want to keep it under ten minutes. You can go five minutes if you want, but anything up to ten minutes and we want you to share your story of starting a blog and share some tips for those starting out. You can do it in your style, but there are few things that we do want you to include. Before you go run off and do your recording, we want to have some consistency between the storytelling. There are six questions we would like you to answer. As long as you cover these six things in some way in your story, that would be great. You don’t have to read the question and then answer it (if you want to do it that way, you can), but as long as you include these things we’d love to include you as much as possible.

Here are the six things.

We want you to tell you us your name, your blog’s name and the topic, its URL, that’s the first thing. Just keep that really short.

The second thing is for you to tell us the story of starting a blog. Include things like why did you start, when did you start, what were your objectives, hopes and goals, what were your dreams when you started out. It’s the expectations that you had, I guess, and anything interesting happening in that starting process.

The third thing we want you to include is in hindsight, what did you do in starting your blog that you’re most grateful that you did? We want you to identify something that you did right, something that you’re grateful that you did, something that maybe helped you to grow faster or made the process easier. Keep in mind here that these are new pre-bloggers who will be listening to this. Anything that’s going to help them to make their process easier would be great.

The fourth thing, what mistake or mistakes did you make that you would advise other people watch out for. Did you choose the wrong domain, the wrong server, the wrong theme, did you not have a tight enough niche, whatever it is, mistake or mistakes.

Number five, what good things have happened to you since you’ve started blogging. We would love to hear the upside, what has happened since you started blogging. For some of you, there’ll be a lot that you can choose from. Don’t go into great depth in all of it, just choose one thing. Something specific as possible. Maybe it’s traffic, maybe it’s an opportunity that came, maybe it’s a lesson you learned, maybe it’s you got some self-confidence, maybe you’ve got a new income. Feel free to be specific about that if you’d like. Really, I guess what we’re trying here to do is to share with pre-bloggers some of the upside, some of the good things that can come. We want to inspire people to start blogging.

The sixth thing is what is your number one tip for a new blogger. Something practical that new bloggers can do or decide that will have a big impact on their blog. Again, we want them to come away from this with some practical things to do, to try. Keep in mind with that last one that we don’t want to really feature ten of the same tips. You can choose something that might be common. But if you’ve got something interesting, something a little bit unique that you haven’t heard other people talk about, feel free to include that as well.

There are the six things we want you to include. Keep it under ten minutes, it’s going to have to be fairly tight. My team has set up a page for you at problogger.com/blogstory where you’ll find all of that information, and it will point you to a Google Form where you can log in with your Google account and submit your audio file and a headshot.

We’d love a headshot. If you are blogging anonymously, for your freedom, maybe include your logo or something that symbolizes who you are if you want to keep that anonymous. But we’d love to see who are if you’re happy and comfortable to do that.

Before you record anything, please do read through the guidelines that we’ve included on that page just so you do it in the right way to increase your chance of being featured. One other thing: we really need you to act in the next week or so, if possible, to be considered in the first batch of episodes that we’d like to do. We may do more episodes down the track but if you would like to be considered for this first batch, we really do need your audio file by the 11th of December. As this podcast goes live, you got about a week to do that. You can submit after that time for potential lighter episodes but we’d love as many as possible by the 11th of December.

It’s also worth saying that I’m very excited about this but I’m also slightly nervous about doing it because we really don’t know how many are going to be submitted. It may be that we get ten, those ten, we’ll probably be able to feature a lot them. But we may get a hundred or we may get a thousand. I really don’t know. We will try and include as many as we possibly can. But it’s really going to come down to trying to choose ones that we think are going to be most practical and inspiring for new bloggers. And maybe something that’s a little bit unique as well. If you’ve got sort of a unique story, or if you’re blogging a unique way or a unique niche, that would be great as well.

Your recording certainly doesn’t have to be perfect but do try and make your audio quality decent and clear and think about how you can stand out from everyone else that does submit.

I hope that’s clear. If you got any questions, feel free to ask them over at the ProBlogger Facebook group. We’ll be watching out for those over the next week or so. Again, head over to problogger.com/blogstory to participate and I’ll link to that over on the show notes as well.

I’m really excited about this. I love this type of thing. We actually, a few years ago now, invited readers to submit video tips. We had 20 or so people record a tip on video and that was a fantastic post, I really love seeing and hearing the voices of our readers. Particularly the breadth of people that came from around the world, all those different accents. I know there are a lot of you who listen from America, or in Australia, or in the UK, Canada. We’ve also got a lot of listeners in India, Singapore, Manila. We’ve got listeners throughout Africa. I’d love to get as many different accents and experiences as possible. It’s fascinating to see that. Please feel confident to do it, please submit something and I really look forward to seeing what comes in as a result of this. Again, problogger.com/blogstory.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 219: I’d like to Feature YOU on the ProBlogger Podcast appeared first on ProBlogger.


Google Customer Match Expands to Include Targeting by Phone Number & Address

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/WordStreamBlog/~3/BXxj7AOWIPc/customer-match-phone-number-address

When Google first introduced Customer Match in 2015, it allowed search advertisers to create and target custom audiences based on a list of user email addresses in their Search, Gmail, and YouTube campaigns within AdWords. As advertisers discovered powerful best practices for using Customer Match, it became a sensation and Customer Match was expanded to Shopping Campaigns in 2016.

As great as customer match is though, not all advertisers have a large list of emails for their customers or prospects to target their ads. Even when they did, Google wasn’t able to match every email to a user on their network.

email match rate in google adwords

Introducing the New & Improved Customer Match

Just in time for the holidays, Google has expanded the way advertisers can target users with Customer Match – by matching them to their phone number or their address!

phone number matching in adwords

How to Use the New Expanded Customer Match Feature

Advertisers can now create a customer match audience that includes any combination of email addresses, physical addresses, and phone numbers and upload them into AdWords to target in their Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube campaigns. You can upload these audiences through the audience manager in the New AdWords UI (which is now universally available) using either hashed or unhashed data. Google provides a complete guide to formatting and uploading this customer data here.

The expanded phone number and address targeting options for Customer Match in AdWords should allow more businesses to use their first-party customer data to reach more searchers. In addition to using their email marketing lists to improve their campaigns, they can now leverage their direct mail lists, their SMS campaigns, or even their message extensions to expand their customer match audiences! The more data you can provide on your users, the higher the likelihood that Google will be able to match your data to its users.

That additional targeting should excite advertisers, especially all of those who have already discovered the power of Google’s Customer Match. Today, advertisers already see that Customer Match Audiences outperform nearly every other type of audience on the Google SERP – so this expanded reach is more than welcome!

adwords customer match conversion rates

About the author:

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, focused on research and training for the everchanging world of PPC. He was named the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2017 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and SkillShare.