Are Hashtags Important? Why?

Today, a hashtag is a label used on different social media platforms to make it easier to find posts or information about a certain theme or which contains specific content. It is created by including the symbol “#” in front of a word or word combination, without spaces.

The pound symbol —also called an octothorpe— was initially used to mark numbers. The first use of hashtags in the form it is used today dates back in 2007, when web marketer Chris Messina walked into Twitter’s offices with an idea. He suggested the company start using the pound symbol to group related Tweets together.

This was the first-ever use of the hashtag:

 

From Twitter, hashtags extended to other social media platforms too. Today, hashtags are used to aggregate content on the same theme, topic, event or conversation.  

Hashtags on Twitter

Twitter Hashtags are important for helping users organize their tweets around a certain topic, being a great indicator of the relevance of your tweets in front of a certain audience.

If they are used correctly, Hashtags can help your small business get discovered and grow organically. If you are planning to launch a marketing campaign centred around a hashtag, to avoid confusing your audience, first you need to search for that hashtag to make sure it hasn’t been used in a while or in a way it could confuse your audience. Use short and distinct hashtags which can be easily added to Tweets.

Hashtags on Instagram 

Instagram hashtags can be used to increase brand awareness, offering your audience a way to discover your content. If you don’t have a community of followers yet, using hashtags is a good idea for expanding your reach, especially if you don’t spend money on advertising and you don’t tag other accounts into your posts. 

Finding influencers who use certain hashtags to get traction on social media and collaborating with them may increase your chances of reaching your audience and creating a beneficial buzz around your business. 

Hashtags on Facebook

Most people don’t use hashtags on Facebook, because it is believed to be detrimental to your reach and engagement. However, experts advise you to include hashtags in your marketing strategy, especially if you are also using them on other platforms as well. 

“Use hashtags (1 or 2 only) when they make sense and when you use something relevant that people can filter or to find more relevant conversation” – Ian Cleary

“As a business, cross social platform branding is important” – Collin Cottrell

Obviously, hashtags will increase your chances of being found by your targeted audience. Whenever you include a hashtag into a post, you are creating an opportunity for potential customers, clients, or followers to find that post.

 

Hashtags on LinkedIn

Hashtags on LinkedIn are used as a way to engage and network with other users. As with the other platforms, you can either create your own hashtags and hope other users will pick up on your trend, or you can use popular hashtags to help you appear higher up in search results.

Since 2019, when hashtags started being used in LikedIn, we’ve seen some hashtags that reached more than a million followers.

Top LinkedIn 5 hashtags in 2019

#innovation – 37,683,010 followers

#management – 35,270,217 followers 

#digitalmarketing – 27,286,973 followers

#technology – 25,231,754 followers

#entrepreneurship – 22,221,557 followers

Hashtag Best Practices

  • Hashtags start with # and only work if you don’t include spaces, punctuation or symbols 
  • If the account is not public, the hashtagged content won’t be seen by followers
  • Best hashtags are short, so don’t try to use a long string of words which can be hard to remember
  • A large number of hashtags would look spammy, so it’s better to use a limited amount of hashtags per post
  • People won’t start using your brand slogan in their Tweets unless it fits naturally or you offer them some incentive to do so.
  • Check what hashtags people are already using to talk about your brand, and capitalize on those. Also, make sure to check if your desired hashtag is already being used. Ask yourself if it’s still relevant to your brand.
  • Partner with influencers which can help gain exposure and visibility for your hashtag.

Are hashtags really useful for my small business in Surry Hills?

 

 

Often, people on social media use hashtags just to look cool. But hashtags can actually be used to help brands become more visible within a certain professional community, to encourage people to discuss specific topics and to create engagement organically. 

People are actively searching through hashtags on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. So, using the right hashtags may result in a larger number of followers, likes, comments and shares, boosting your brand’s social media engagement. 

The use of hashtags may have an important role for promoting small business in Surry Hills, as it creates awareness and drives social media engagement which can turn into a powerful branding tool.  

hashtags4

Names Every Graphic Designer Should Know

Whether you’re a well-versed internet designer or merely a beginner, I’m positive you have already got your list of favourite graphic designers. And if you are determined to pursue a career in web design, here are some names you simply got to know. These pioneers of modern design have modified the old web design approach and opened new roads for you.


Chip Kidd

The creator of the Jurassic Park book cover,  Rich Kidd lives in New York and is best known for his fantastic book jacket designs. He started creating cover designs for Knopf (an imprint of Random House) in 1986, where he still works today as an art director. His passion for graphic novels, comic books and pop culture had a significant influence on his work.   

The recognisable, simple style matches his approach of speaking, his appearance and his lifestyle. If you don’t know much about Kidd’s work, you’ll be able to have a better look at Kidd’s portfolio here.

Paula Scher

Paula Scher could be a true example of today’s web designers. She managed to forge a great career in design in the 70s, making her original approach to style.  A winner of the National Design Award, AIGA Medal, Type Directors Club Medal, and a member of the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, she went from CBS Records to Atlantic Records, where she worked for the advertising division. She created the visual identity for public institutions and companies like Philips Van Heusen, the New York Theater, The New York Times Magazine, and The American Museum of Natural History. If you want to find out more about the fantastic designer, here’s a Ted Talk you will love.

 

Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli’s designs are timeless and visually compelling. Born and raised in Milan, Massimo Vignelli studied at the Università di Architettura from Venice. Driven by a shared passion for art, he opened a small design and architecture office in Milan where he and his wife worked with companies like Rank Xerox or Olivetti. 

In 1966 they decided to move to America, to start the Unimark International company which soon became the most significant design company in the world. After the failure of their company, they were not discouraged and founded Vignelli Associates focusing on architectural graphics, graphic and corporate identity programs, publication design and furniture. The main legacy left by Vignelli is his significant contribution professionalisation. Vignelli put his mark on design theory and principles (design methodology, syntax and appropriateness), which he redefined. You can admire his creations here.

 

Paul Rand

Paul Rand is considered the best and most famous graphic designer in historyBorn in Brooklyn, New York, Paul Rand went to the Art Students League, starting to create stock images for a syndicate that supplied graphics to newspapers and magazines. He studied and then taught the art of graphic design at Yale University in Connecticut. 

In 1972, he was included in the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. He became famous for designing some of the most iconic logos for ABC, NeXT Computers, UPS, Yale University Press and many others. Rand’s outstanding achievements and his original design approach made Steve Jobs claim that Paul is “the greatest living graphic designer”.

 

 

Jonathan Ive

I am sure you have already heard about Jonathan Ive, the Chief Design Officer at Apple, who also leads Apple’s Human Interface software teams. The creator of Lindy MessagePad for Apple became a full-time Apple employee after having worked for a design agency called Roberts Weaver group and Tangerine, a design agency startup based in London. Ive’s work greatly influenced Apple company as a whole: he started the minimalism trend with the Apple products, that he perfectly designed without losing the software’s quality.

 


April Greigman

Greiman was among the first designers who embraced computer technology: she and Jayme Odgers established the ‘New Wave’ design style in the US during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Greiman’s art is a constant reminder about the infinity of imaginative art and design, and it’s an endless source of inspiration, helping us open up our imagination to new possibilities. 

Greiman held lectures, generated public artworks and participated in important juries. Her work was featured in articles, reviews as well as broadcasts in the media. She appeared in The New York Times and USA Today, CNN, PBS and ESPN. You can admire her work here

 

Jon Burgerman

Born in the UK and based in New York, Jon Burgerman is the graphic designer and artist with recognisable drawings, art style characters, toys, apparel, designs and murals. His work, which can be placed somewhere between urban art and pop culture has been featured in many newspapers, magazines, books and blogs around the world: BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper, Coolhunting, Huffington Post, New York Daily, Metro UK, News.com.au, PSFK, The Telegraph Australia and many others. 

The artist collaborated with big brands like Virgin Atlantic, and his fantastic work is displayed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum. 

Jessica Hische

First of all a lettering artist, but also a great illustrator and designer, Jessica lives and works in Brooklyn, being well known for her projects, such as Daily Drop Cap, as well as her work for big brands such as AIGA, Victoria’s Secret, Wired, American Express, and Penguin. She’s also the producer of numerous commercial and proprietary typefaces. Discover Jessica’s art here.

There is a lot to learn from these amazing, talented artists, but the most important lesson you could start with is to trust your instincts, always be consistent, hard-working, and dedicated. And don’t be afraid to look for inspiration when you feel at a loss. 

 

digital marketing channels infographic

How to choose the best digital channel for your small business

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Channel for Your Small Business

Making the right choice when it comes to digital marketing strategies can be crucial for your company, especially when you are a small business with a limited budget. Selecting the most appropriate channels to reach the right audience requires lots of research time, as well as in-depth marketing, digital communication and business management expertise.

Considering the multitude of choices available, even the most experienced business person may have difficulties finding the path towards business success. Every small business owner has probably dealt with these dilemmas: is it worth investing in SEO? Should I opt for Google or Bing Ads campaigns? Which social media channel delivers the most significant impact on ROI?

This is why we have gathered a few ideas and some preliminary steps for small business owners and marketers to take to choose the digital marketing channel that truly matters for their business.

Define your Audiencelocal SEO

To present your products or services to the right audience, first, you need to define your buying persona (the profile of your potential/ideal client). Luckily, Facebook offers us some useful tools for that.  Using Audience Insights, we can start building the profile of the type of person that may be interested in our products/services. To be able to use Facebook Audience Insights, you don’t need an advertising account — all you need is a Facebook profile. We can start with broad options and then narrow down the audiences based on the following information: age, gender, lifestyle, career, relationship status, education level, household, estimated income, interests, online activity, device usage, spending habits.

After creating a relevant portrait of the buyer, this person should be kept in mind whenever you create any content or carry out any type of marketing activities. The data offered by Facebook Audience Insights is just one of many research methods you should be looking to use to build audience personas. There are many other sources to use, such as Twitter profiles, Google Analytics demographic insights, or published research that has been previously carried out in your industry or niche.


Define Your Business Goals

After clearly defining your buying persona, it’s time to set your own business goals. Ask yourself questions like: How many leads or actual clients would I like to acquire every month? What’s the value of a lead? What sort of budget am I prepared to spend over a specific timeframe? Then, go on defining your business and marketing assets and your goals. After having a complete picture of your business and your targeted audience, it should be easier for you to define the best marketing/advertising channels to use.

Now that everything is much clearer, it’s time to consider your options:

digital marketing channels infographic


SEO & Content Marketing

The process of optimising your website’s technical and editorial aspects so that it can be organically discovered by users when searching for specific keywords is called SEO. Unlike paid advertising, SEO takes time to work. Depending on various aspects, like domain authority (versus the competition), available assets such as a quality mobile website, link building opportunities and others, the results may vary, but they rarely happen before 6-12 months especially if the site is new, significant and has errors, or has been penalized by Panda or Penguin or any other algorithmic penalty or filter.

As SEO and content marketing are tightly connected, you may also need to hire professional copywriters to continuously create fresh content that can help your website rank for a wider variety of keywords. Whether it’s blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, or e-books, content must be created according to a well-thought strategy. If you’re prepared to make this effort, invest in quality content and wait until results appear, content marketing is the right choice for your business. But, if you need fast results, you should better look into PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising) and display ads options.

One of the easiest ways to determine whether it’s worth investing in an SEO campaign or not is by checking your website’s ranking with tools like SEM, Ahrefs or Google Search Console. If the website is already ranking for some appropriate keywords, then it probably has the potential for further SEO development.

Do it if your website is already ranking for useful keywords and you are willing to invest time and effort into an SEO and content management campaign.

Don’t it if You want fast results without putting in much time and effort.


Email Marketing
Also called eDM.

If you have a pool of customers or an opted-in email subscription list for newsletters, promotions or offers, this can become a real gold mine. Some studies claim that email marketing can provide a 4,300% ROI. E-commerce companies heavily rely on e-mail marketing strategies, but SMEs may also use email marketing to sell more to existing clients.

Do it if you have a decent opted-in email database.

Don’t it if you don’t have a pool of existing customers allowing you to send them your information, promotions, and offers.

  

Pay Per Click advertising

Whether it’s Google or Bing ads, paid advertising should provide highly targeted traffic very quickly. Both B2B and B2C companies rely on Google and Bing ads to get new clients within a short time frame. PPC campaigns are ideal for businesses which did not take time to create awareness through social media or email marketing campaigns and want to promote their new products/services with paid ads quickly.


Do it if
the costs per clicks are affordable, and your product service is searched in Google/Bing.

Don’t it if you don’t have sufficient budget or your audience is not using Google/Bing to search for your products/services.


Social Media
Organic Campaigns and Social Ads

Social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use to achieve your marketing and branding goals. SMM includes posting regular text, image, or video updates on social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc.), as well as creating social media ads.

To improve your business’s social media presence and increase audience engagement, organic posting and paid ads should go hand in hand. A good social media marketing plan includes both a consistent posting schedule and running social ads for remarketing purposes. The choice of the social media channel also depends on the type of business you have: a highly visual business can rely on Instagram and Pinterest, while a B2B company might find Twitter and LinkedIn more useful for its marketing goals.

Do it if you get a lot of value from a strong social media presence.

Don’t it if your audience uses other channels to search for your products/services (Google, Bing)

 

Consider the Long Run

The purpose of a business person is to grow their business. But this might mean different things for different companies, and it is finally up to every person to decide which channel serves their business purpose best; for example, if you are focused on getting sales fast, PPC campaigns are probably the best choice. If your business is new and you need brand awareness, think about investing in content marketing or social media. You may also need to educate your audience through web PR.

Last but not least, always go with the channel where your audience spends more time. And, no matter what channel you choose for promotion, always think in the long run. People may click on your ads right now, but what if they want to know more about the business and they get to social media or your website to search for some information that isn’t there yet? After all, your online presence should be treated as a whole and should continuously be improving in all areas to provide good ROI.

Old Type Writter

Creating a winning content strategy for both customers and search engines

Content marketing is at the heart of most efficient digital marketing campaigns, offering businesses an excellent opportunity to boost their results. A well-documented content marketing strategy can improve online visibility, create brand awareness and build communities. But, if you want to stand a chance of showing up on the SERPs and boost organic traffic, it is essential to write content that satisfies both users and search engines. One can’t exist without the other.

You can write excellent content that is highly useful for the readers, but if you don’t appear in Google SERPS, no one will ever read it. Also, you may rank number one in Google with a specific piece of content, but if it’s not useful to users, they will leave the website immediately and bounce rates will increase.

Critical Elements of a Content Strategy

So, what are the key elements to take into consideration when creating a content strategy?


Knowing your audience

To make sure you get to your audience, you must understand their lifestyle, concerns, problems, and needs. Looking at the analytics and demographic data to define your buyer persona and their buying journey will help you determine what they are interested in and how they could be persuaded to take action.

Maybe your audience has not even entered the buying journey. But if potential customers have interacted with your brand one way or another, good quality content will draw them into your brand’s universe and will soon turn them into customers.

To create valuable content for a target audience, a talented content marketer would try to find the most important questions people are asking and build content around those questions.

For example, if you want to target women interested in “anti-wrinkle serum”, you should find questions women ask regarding this type of product (benefits,  efficiency, comparisons with similar products etc.), and create specific content answering these questions. Make sure you are using relevant words and phrases that are likely to persuade your public to take action.

Buyer persona template: Moz Academy.

 

 


Performing a full content audit

Performing a full content audit will help you understand which of your pages are already ranking, what can be done to improve existing content and what are the gaps to fill to bring added value to your potential customers and become an established voice in your area of expertise. To become more convincing, you can quote well-known specialists, include engaging video content, add reviews and links to authoritative content.


Identifying the most appropriate type of content

Identifying the best content type to produce is the next step in the creation of a content strategy. Most common content formats are:

If you have decided to create a podcast, you could make the most of your podcast type of content by transcribing the audio into a written piece of content.

Creating in-depth content might increase your chances of getting the Answer Box (ranking zero). The answer box can boost traffic to your website/blog, so earning it would be a big win.


Content Formatting

To make sure you grab users’ attention, you may use different content formatting techniques, such as:

 

Content Planning

Many factors can influence the success of your content strategy. But the critical factor is Consistency. To keep your (potential) customers’ interest alive, you must regularly produce good quality content.

Therefore, creating a content calendar and promotional activities on various social platforms would be the next steps of your content strategy. Details to be included in your content calendar are:

  • Names of the Team members responsible for content
  • Sales funnel stage
  • Content format
  • Due date
  • Publishing date
  • Promotion channel

To create an easy to use content planning, you can try Google Sheets, CoSchedule or the Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin.

To make sure your content is correctly crawled, indexed and well ranked by Google bots, you should also consider SEO best practices, such as:

 

Performing Keyword Research

Some specialists might argue that keywords are no longer essential for SEO, but the truth is keyword are still crucial for understanding the intent behind the queries. The importance of keyword research has not changed. What has indeed changed is the way we conduct keyword research, and the way create content using groups of related keywords (topics, or themes) to satisfy the overall intent of your potential users.

Analyze your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts to identify content which drives more traffic. Also, identify what your competitors are ranking for and search for ways of optimizing your website for the same terms.

Focus on themes rather than keywords and try to produce compelling articles satisfying the intent behind all keywords around a specific theme. Ideally, content is organized in hubs, which could be described as sets of content (usually web pages) organized around a particular topic (usually a central page). It could be a category on a blog or a section of pages on a website. Content hubs are relevant to both web design and ongoing content marketing. As Neil Patel puts it, “a value-packed content hub is your best bet for creating a digital media magnet”.[….] “Your hub centralizes all that you publish to provide its visitors a more interactive and valuable experience”.


Using Meta Tags

Even if meta descriptions won’t always show up as the snippet on the SERPs, it is recommended to optimize them as if they will show up. A well-written meta description is a must as it may improve the click-through rate. To convince people to click, make sure you include the most important keyword at the beginning of the sentence and also add a compelling call to action.

Meta titles are also a major signal for search engines as to what the page is about. When writing the title tag, you should include the main keyword in the beginning and limit it to 60 characters.


Deciding Upon Content-Length

When deciding upon content length, the truth is there is no general rule. If you want to determine how long a piece of content should be, check out the pages that already rank for your target keyword and use them as a guide.

 

Optimizing Website speed for Desktop/Mobile

Another detail to be taken into consideration when optimizing for users and bots is website speed. If you are a marketer, you already know that speed became a direct ranking factor, since Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. But speed can also affect rankings indirectly, as it increases the bounce rate and reduces the time spent by the users on-page.  Statistics show that 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes too long to load. A delay by just one second in page load time can reduce conversions by up to 7%, according to a report on Fast Company.

Many tools monitor site speed and offer optimization instructions. Marketers and developers primarily use GTMetrics, Google Page Speed Insights, and Pingdom.

Prioritizing content above the fold, minimizing server response times and redirects, considering AMP and decreasing your website’s weight could be some winning speed optimization strategies in 2020.

For more ideas on website speed optimization, check out the video below in which John Mueller and Martin Splitt (Webmasters Trend Analyst at Google):

Conclusion

We all know that fresh, good quality content is more rapidly indexed and better ranked by Google than older, lower-quality content. When your content ranks well organically, this has a positive impact on brand awareness, increasing engagement with your business and turning users into customers. Therefore, SEO should be considered an essential part of the overall marketing process, and a correct content strategy should try to satisfy both user intent and search engine bots’ requirements.

Cloud

 

Marketing in the Age of Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic is reshaping society as we speak. The major world crisis we are facing has already changed the way we used to travel, buy, work or interact with the others. And, with no clear time-frame for getting back to “normal”, the only thing we can do is adapt to a “new normal“. 

After more than one-quarter of the world’s population has been confined at home as an unprecedented measure to stop the spread of the disease, many economies are facing the biggest economic contraction on record.

 


The Australian Market 

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, the Australian economy has been through the most significant changes in the last 100 years. The economic environment had never changed so rapidly before, which brought a lot of pressure on business owners and marketing specialists. 

We are now forced to proactively review marketing campaigns and make constant adjustments to stay afloat. No-one knows where we will be in three months, so we have to be mentally prepared to respond to the changes in a continually fluctuating market quickly.  

 


Carefully Analyze Data and Adapt to the New Situation

In these challenging times, business owners and marketing professionals need to understand how people’s needs, wants, expectations and buying habits have changed, to find the best marketing solutions that enable brands to survive and make the most of the crisis. New marketing and advertising strategies need to be taken into consideration to align with the current climate.


Communicate with your audience  

If you have been thinking about new ways of communicating with your targeted audience, now is the perfect time to act. Start that podcast, use that social media channel, start blogging, send those email newsletters; do whatever it takes to connect with your customers. You may also contact existing (or potential) customers on the phone, on Zoom, on FaceTime, Skype, or any other form of digital communication. 

 

 

Video is no longer optional

If you have delayed using videos in your marketing campaigns, now you must do it. The amazing growth of Zoom marks a definite shift in people’s desire to consume video content. 

 

 

 

Update Your Messages 

However, in times like these, when promoting products and services, you want to be extremely careful to the tone of voice and your choice of words, as the public has become very sensitive to the way businesses are promoted. People are in a different mindset than a couple of months ago. This means marketing specialists need to show more empathy and offer clients useful content that helps them solve their issues, without shamelessly exploiting the crisis.

 


Reinvent Yourself

You can continue to make sales if you reinvent your marketing strategy, offering people solutions to their current situation, without inducing fear and without looking opportunistic.  

Use Google trends to understand what people are searching for, what they are mainly interested in, what they are worried about and what you can do to help them. If you look around, you will notice that most businesses have already adapted to the situation. Companies with a robust online presence changed their promotional messages, and analog businesses became digitized overnight to avoid bankruptcy.

 

 


Offer Your Products/Services in a Safer/Contactless Way 

If you haven’t done this already, it is time to get creative and find a way to offer your products/services to your public in a safer way. Many psychologists started to provide online consultations, most retail companies are delivering their offerings at home, restaurants are making home deliveries, and attorneys offer legal advice via Skype/Zoom meetings. Of course, this doesn’t work for all businesses, but if there is a way for you to get to your customers, you need to find it. 

 

 


Analyze your content and further develop it

Your website is the backbone of your business, as it gives consumers a clear idea about your brand, its values, its story, actions and behaviours. All the services and products you sell are presented through your website. Now it is the best time to look at your company’s website, to detect its strength and its weaknesses, and see what improvements can be done to make sure it reflects who you are and what you offer to the public.

It’s time to create new content, to provide better quality images and double-check all internal links. Your online presence is essential for your business’ success; therefore, your website must look sharper than ever. You can publish new content more often. Right now, there’s a vast demand for informative, entertaining content that connects people and promotes wellness.

Blogging is one of the best ways to create search engine friendly content and keep your readers engaged and informed with your recent activity. Focus on educating your consumer to position your brand when people are searching for products/services within your industry.  

 


Delay Product Launches 

If you have been working on a new product/service that would have been well received before the crisis, you should most probably postpone the launch for a later date. Focusing on your clients’ new needs looks like a much better idea at this point. 


Sales and Marketing Should Be Aligned 

Always keep in mind that sales and marketing work together. This is even more important in times of crisis when your marketing decisions should be based on a thorough understanding of people’s needs, desires and interests. 

 


Professional Development is a Must 

A savvy marketer uses this time to achieve new skills which might help them get in front of the competition after the crisis. There are lots of training resources out there, depending on the guidance you are looking for. 


Build Relationships 

What if you could try to meet like-minded business people who share the same type of clients. Maybe you have always wanted to do this, but you have all been busy. This is the right time to meet, exchange ideas and nurture relationships that might prove very helpful later on. 


Think in the Long Term

Most businesses have lost a percentage of their customers. To make up for the loss, you could develop a few strategies to find new customers, also offering the remaining clients some benefits, such as gifts, flexible payment terms, putting contracts on hold etc. Lost clients can also be nurtured, engaging and informing them about your new offers. To find inspiration, check your direct competitors’ websites, social media accounts and campaigns to see how they cope with the current situation. 

 


SEO is the key

You have probably noticed that the money invested in paid ads are no longer generating a good ROI. So, it is high time you switched to SEO for gaining new leads. Focus on all those technical changes that could bring positive results and get your SEO video strategy sorted out. Updating local business listings can also bring valuable traffic and leads, so make sure you optimize your GMB account. Also, it’s never been more critical to create new quality content. So, create a content calendar and stick to it.

 

What is SEO?


Big Changes, Big Opportunities

As scary as the current situation may seem, there are always ways to improve so that you can come out of it more resilient and wiser. Let’s not forget those big businesses such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Slack, Uber or Stripe were founded during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. These companies are living proof that major crisis also offers big opportunities for innovation.  


What About Marketing Budgets?

Fearing the recession that will likely follow the global health crisis, some business owners are tempted to cut down on the marketing and advertising budgets. But that’s probably the worst thing you can do right now.

Marketing budget cuts should be done after a careful analysis of each channel to avoid cutting those ROI-positive channels that could ensure the success of the business. Analyze your Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter accounts, and if you have some ROI-positive channels, it is time to invest in them to make even bigger profits.

When markets resume, companies who have known how to handle the situation and have smartly invested in marketing and sales will outperform their competition. If you have not gained your public’s attention now, it will be much harder to do this once the crisis is over.

So, don’t wait for your competitors to get stronger. Look for new opportunities, adjust to the current situation, show empathy and professionalism and help your consumers get past this tough situation easier by offering them valid solutions. Don’t give up. Your efforts will pay off.

 

Here is an excellent video of Seth Godin explaining How To Reach Your Audience:

 

 

From Rankbrain to BERT, or the evolution in Search.

Reading time: 8 minutes

Article Summary: Google search has undergone substantial changes since the rollout of Bert, the latest technology developed by Google’s AI team. For digital marketers, BERT is a real challenge because, even though we reached some conclusions upon certain important factors to pay attention when optimising websites, there is still a lot to discover and test.

From RankBrain to BERT: All You Need to Know About the Update
If you are a digital marketer, I am sure you are aware of the important changes brought to Google Search by the introduction of BERT, Google search’s biggest change since the introduction of RankBrain. BERT update started rolling out on October 24th 2019 and has shown an important impact on rankings for many English language queries.

For SEO specialists, BERT is a real challenge because, even though we reached some conclusions upon certain important factors to pay attention when optimising websites, there is still a lot to discover and test.

We know that, for a busy marketer, staying in touch with all the news in the field may be difficult. This is why, since we have already read a ton of material on Bert and NLP, we would like to share our most interesting findings with you.

What Is Bert Update and what is it used for?
We start by explaining what BERT stands for and how it functions. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. The AI-powered Google update was created and published in 2018 by Jacob Devlin and his colleagues from Google and is used to help machines better understand the nuance and context of words in search queries and better match the queries with useful results. In short, if Google used to process words one-by-one in order, thanks to the new technology, Google processes texts as a whole, understanding context and the searcher’s intent behind search queries.

 

How Does BERT function?

According to Search algorithm patent expert Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski of @GoFishDigital), this is how BERT functions:
“Bert is a natural language processing pre-training approach that can be used on a large body of the text. It handles tasks such as named entity recognition, part of speech tagging, and question-answering among other natural language processes. Bert helps Google understand natural language text from the Web.”

Bert vs Rank Brain.

When RankBrain was introduced by Google in 2015, it had the same purpose as Bert: to improve users’ search intent and deliver them more useful results. What RankBrain did is analyze both web content and users’ queries in order to understand the relationship between words and the context of the query. Actually, the Bert update is complementary to the RankBrain algorithm and it doesn’t replace it completely. Google may decide how to interpret a specific query and it may apply one technique or the other, or sometimes even a combination of the two.
Here are some examples of queries’ results before and after the algorithm change offered by Neil Patel:

bert vs rankbrain example

 

 

We can clearly notice that the second result better matches the searcher’s intent. The result offered by Bert is more relevant in every example.

Why Is Bert Useful?

Applying BERT models to both rankings and featured snippets in search, Google is able to offer its users more useful information. When it comes to ranking results, BERT will help machines better understand one in 10 English language searches in the U.S. The algorithm will be extended to more languages and locales over time.
What is NLP (natural language processing)?

Natural language processing (NLP) is an AI-powered technology which helps computers understand human natural communication. The objective of NLP is to read, understand, and make sense of the human languages in a valuable way. Most NLP techniques rely on machine learning to derive meaning from human languages. NLP is not a new feature offered by search engines, but Bert represents a breakthrough in NLP due to the bidirectional training (instead of analyzing and training ordered sequence of words, Bert analyses and trains language models based on an entire set of words in a sentence or query).

To sum up, NLP is the process of analyzing a text, understanding the meaning of the words and establishing relationships between them, in order to interpret them more naturally.

Major components of NLP

The key to well-optimized content for NLP is a simple, clear sentence structure. To do a good SEO & content marketing job, you need to have a basic understanding of NLP’s core components:
Sentiment can be defined as the score of the sentiment (view or attitude) about entities in an article.

Named Entity Extraction: entities are generally people, places, and things (nouns). Entities can also include product names – generally, the words that trigger a Knowledge Graph.

Tokenization is the process of breaking a sentence in separate terms, while Parts-of-Speech Tagging classifies words by parts of speech.

Through lemmatization, Google can determine if words have different forms, and word dependency creates relationships between the words based on rules of grammar.

With the help of Subject Categorization, NLP classifies text into subject categories, like Arts & Entertainment, Adult, beauty, Law& Government etc.

How We Optimize Content After Bert
In October 2019, the famous Google search engine liaison Danny Sullivan claimed in a Tweet post that there is nothing to be done to better optimize content for Bert.

 

According to Neil Patel, Bert is “mainly impacting top-of-the-funnel keywords, which are informational keywords”. Many other SEOs noticed that long-tail expressions and conversational queries are mostly impacted by the update.

Therefore, if you want to maintain good rankings and also beat the competition, you should try to get very specific with your content. And, while many SEOs may advise clients to write super long content, the truth is algorithms mainly focus on content quality, and not quantity. Also, keyword density is not important anymore, because Google takes into consideration the context the keywords are used in, rather than the number of repetitions.

Using different tools like Buzzfeed, Buzzsumo, Quora or Reddit to find new topics for website/blog content is a great idea, but content should be super specific to be able to rank. For example, if you write an article on “The best way to lose weight without diet or exercise”, you should really focus on many alternative weight loss methods, without writing about any type of diet or exercise type.

Actually, the best way to optimize for Bert is to write good quality content for your targeted audience. By increasing your website’s relevance you also increase its chances of getting better rankings. In its press release from October 24th 2019, Google claimed this big change is “representing the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.”

To rank better than the competition for a specific keyword, you don’t have to create a 5000-word blog post dealing with 100 different topics. It’s more useful to create a unique, detailed piece of content answering a searcher’s question and providing more value compared to the competition.

Another good search engine optimisation idea is trying to deal with secondary topics in your blog articles. If the initial target keyword is a broad, head term, you can treat many secondary topics. This way, you’ll naturally use additional expressions that improve salience. But if you optimize for a specific longtail keyphrase, you should stick to the main topic only.
The structure and formatting of the content are very important for ranking. To help the algorithm understand your content and consider it clear and useful to the users, make sure you use the following: headings, subtopics, HTML tags, ordered lists, inverted pyramid structure.

Targeting featured snippets, paying attention to content readability, focusing on thorough topic research, using checklists and Q&As may prove successful content marketing techniques in the Bert era.

Even if you lost some traffic due to the latest update, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe the content you produced attracted fewer visits, but if the bounce rate decreased and the time on page has increased, this probably means that the users who checked your piece of content found exactly what they were looking for.

To sum up, in order to consider the new algorithm a threat, we should all focus on the opportunities that Bert offers us to create better, more complete, super-specific content to answer our targeted public’s questions.

In the next video, Search Engine Journal specialists thoroughly explain how Bert functions and what are the implications for marketers :

 

 

Also, find below an infographic explaining and summarising all BERT’s main characteristics.

from bert to rankbrain infographic.

 

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