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Why companies should consider Bing for SEO

Companies may forge stronger relationships with businesses because of Bing's social element.

Bing is gaining popularity as a search engine optimization channel. The search engine is steadily growing in the search realm. Of the 19.3 billion core searches in October 2013, Bing saw 3.5 billion hits, which is up by 4 percent from September 2013, according to comScore, a digital analysis company. Additionally, 27.1 percent of the 19.3 billion searches in October were powered by Bing.This is a 2 percent increase from 2012, Search Engine Watch reported. Bing also reached a new high of 18.1 percent market share in October 2013.

As Bing becomes more prominent in the SEO world, B2B companies may turn to this site to better connect with businesses, raise brand awareness and reach a broader audience. 

Social media channels personalize searches
Bing partnering with social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Companies may flock to Bing's social features because they would not only receive information about a topic, but they can find out what their industry colleagues think and like, Search Engine Watch indicated. This may strengthen businesses' connection to a service, product or opinion, among other online search results.

In fact, when people search on Bing, a Facebook "Thumbs Up" appears to the left of the result. Individuals can then see which friends like it. With this data, people may then reach out to other companies to follow up for specific information. People trust their close connections and they can find out why their co-workers and peers enjoyed the service or product.

Search Engine Watch conducted a survey of 150 individuals regarding Bing's social media. Assuming social results are paired with search results on Bing's layout, 36 percent of respondents strongly prefer Bing for social results and 27 percent somewhat preferred the search engine for its deep connection to social channels. Businesses should take advantage of Bing's social layout to forge and build stronger relationships with companies. 

Bing is expanding in the search engine market
Search Engine Watch reported that Bing's market reach is expansive because it has access to a large percentage of searchers. From Microsoft's reach with desktops to the Xbox console, Bing has an untapped demographic of searchers; however, many don't always turn to Bing for searches. However, as Bing gains social media popularity, the search engine could definitely attract more companies. 

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

Why B2B marketers should create a documented marketing plan

Marketing plans improve overall company satisfaction.

B2B marketing professionals with a documented marketing plan often experience overall satisfaction with a company's marketing team. According to a recent report from Marketo published by MarketingProfs​, 77 percent of respondents were extremely satisfied with their marketing departments—those teams had a documented plan. Additionally, MarketingProfs reported that those with documented plans and an automated software programs send emails more frequently.This data is based off a survey of 493 B2B marketing professionals. 

It is best to begin with a base plan, Ad Age suggests, but to adjust the strategy monthly or quarterly. Companies who reassess their plans are more agile and adapt better to the changing marketplace.

When constructing a plan, it's vital for B2B marketers to consider the opinions of employees in the sales, customer service and product development departments, as well as business partners, clients and other constituents. Ad Age recommends creating a plan that sparks conversations instead of one-way communications.

With the rise of digital marketing, a plan should incorporate SEO strategies, which include utilizing search terms related to your services. Adage suggests regularly assessing the marketing plan, so B2B professionals can address potential and current opportunities and threats.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

How Google’s algorithm supports mobile marketing strategies

Even with Hummingbird, it's vital for companies to produce quality content.

Google's new algorithm, Hummingbird, supports mobile marketing results. Many mobile users, especially those who to turn to voice recognition software or applications, conduct Google searches in a more conversational tone. This algorithm supports this growing trend by adopting a more human approach to understanding mobile users' intentions; it takes on a better understanding of conversational language by dissecting semantics, MarketingProfs reported. Hummingbird complements mobile users' behaviors.

Hummingbird is a timely update, since mobile Internet use is growing at an increasing rate. The mobile Web is expected to be bigger than desktop Internet consumption by 2015. Additionally, 5 billion people will utilize mobile phones by 2017. Mobile devices include Kindle, smartphones, tablets, GPS systems, video games and wireless applications. Since more customers are now searching for information on their phones, mobile marketing is vital in this digital era. Companies need to respond to this movement by reassessing marketing strategies.

Since the future is mobile, all websites need to be smartphone- and tablet-friendly to support mobile marketing efforts.To adapt to this growing trend, Search Engine Land recommends companies utilize responsive Web design. Responsive Web design allows a site to display on any phone, tablet or desktop Internet browsers. With responsive design, mobile users are more likely to spend more time on companies' website, which increases Web traffic. This may potentially lead to sales and increased rankings online. Without this technological advancement, firms would lose many existing and prospective customers.

Aside from companies adopting mobile-friendly websites, it's important to know the role Hummingbird plays in search engine optimization. Hummingbird increases companies' online presence if businesses comply with Google's rules. To fully take advantage of Google's new algorithm, companies should consistently produce high-quality, fresh content with a unique perspective. All of this content must be accessible on all devices to support mobile marketing strategies. With relevant, useful content, Google typically ranks companies' websites well. With Google's new algorithm, it's important for companies to know how to optimize their content. Here are a couple ways companies can meet marketing goals: 

  1. Longtail keywords increase traffic
    Companies don't necessarily need to focus solely on  search terms, but should prioritize longtail keywords. Since mobile users search for topics in a natural way, these longer phrases will respond better to conversational tones. Google's new algorithm assesses the whole search query, instead of just sections of the questions. This allows companies to produce content with more freedom, MarketingProfs indicated. Additionally, it's best to use long keywords or links that are relevant to the rest of the content.

    Companies should use keywords that summarize longer search terms. That way, Hummingbird will take conversational queries and produce shorter, intent-driven ones, including synonyms. Corporations can look into Google Webmaster Tools for other keyword ideas. Companies should do some searching as well to see which similar words appear. However, don't get carried away trying to incorporate longtail keywords that don't support the content because it may complicate the process.

  2. Shareable content helps meet marketing goals
    Hummingbird rewards sites that consistently answer users' questions sufficiently. To answer users' questions, companies' website content must be interesting, captivating and relevant. If it doesn't catch people's attention, they are less likely to share the content with others, which may result in less traffic.

    Aside from generating interesting content, it's crucial to come off as a thought leader. Hummingbird will direct mobile users to authoritative pages, which is why companies share their expertise. By doing so, these businesses can position themselves as legitimate, reliable sources and increase their search engine rankings. However, this doesn't happen overnight. It's important for firms to link content to reputable sources, according to MarketingProfs.

    Mobile users who can share content with others will drive traffic because family and friends will visit the site as well. With shareable content, companies can reach and even exceed their marketing goals quicker, a separate article for MarketingProfs reported.

  3. Hummingbird helps corporations stand out
    Companies should see which vertical search results come up when they input keywords. Vertical results include Google Maps, Videos, News, etc. With this knowledge, companies can find a way to produce content that appears in all types of communication platforms. MarketingProfs suggests focusing on authority. Authoritative content typically shows up in every Google site, from Maps to Video. When results appear in the multiresult type, content is spread throughout other platforms. It's important to note that mobile devices support different forms of content, from audio and photo to videos, maps and print. If a company's content is in an array of forms, mobile users are more likely to engage with it.

    Additionally, company websites must be as accessible as possible because mobile users face ongoing distractions, including texts and phone calls. Search Engine Land recommends using a single-column content breakdown to allow for easy scrolling, as well as keeping blocks of text short and concise. These techniques coupled with Hummingbird's algorithm will help companies increase visitor traffic and sales.

Posted in Lead Generation, Mobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimization |

3 tips to optimize video for B2B marketing

Videos for B2B marketing can help companies generate more leads.

Content marketing is a many-headed beast, but few of these appendages are as effective as video. According to a recent comScore study more than 188 million Americans watched roughly 35 billion online ads in December 2013 alone. The two main culprits for drawing in consumers to videos overall were Google Sites – largely derived from YouTube – and Facebook. As far as video ads go, Google still ranked No. 3, while sites such as AOL and Hulu were bigger players in the online video marketing game. Still, B2B marketers are increasingly looking to social networks like Facebook for lead generation, especially after the company changed the Ads API program that will conceivably make it easier for companies to target users based on their behavior, according to Business Insider.

Here are a few tips to make sure your online video marketing will strike the right chord:

1. On Facebook? Make sure visuals are powerful
Despite the fact that you can integrate online advertising videos pretty seamlessly on Facebook, one characteristic that might pose a problem for some is sound, wrote Mashable. Videos will play automatically when users scroll over them, but potential leads won't hear a single word unless they click on the content. For this reason, it's important to make sure the visuals are strong enough to attract a click.

2. Create a narrative, not just a product pitch
In keeping with delivering a strong visual message, you should also work to develop a coherent narrative within the 60-or-so seconds or 5 minutes that are devoted to your online video. Even in a B2B marketing context, your audience will still be a living, breathing human being who's interested in learning about the company as much as the product or service being advertised, ClickZ advised. Although it can be a challenge, weaving your brand message into the particular offering your video highlights is the most effective way to impact prospects and improve lead generation efforts.

3. YouTube user? Get analytical
As with any Internet marketing effort, measuring the outcomes of your strategies is crucial. Thankfully, Google and its video sharing behemoth YouTube give businesses plenty of opportunities to mine for valuable data. Search Engine Watch explained that marketers can do a quick search on YouTube using keywords relevant to your business. From the results, you can develop a list of optimal search terms that you should include in video titles and descriptions that will direct more viewers and leads to your online content. 

Posted in Social Media Marketing |

Social media helps convert leads

Cultivating an online community is vital in generating leads.

Forging connections through social media is crucial for a business, but nurturing those relationships is what matters most. Engaging with people will spark interest and lead to sales. Engagement requires knowing your audience, listening and contributing to the conversation.

MarketingProfs suggests identifying people with similar values, goals and perspectives. These may be individuals you already know such as colleagues, customers, vendor and suppliers. It's important to also consider reaching out to individuals who would show interest in your services. To get an idea of what people care about – listen. Observe people's interactions on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. 

Go ahead and chime in, contribute and start the conversation. Build awareness of your company and your brand. However, it's not just about you. It's important to remember you're engaging in a conversation. Be cognizant of your audience's interests and passions. 

Once you've cultivated this community, make it easy for connections to invest in your product. Forbes recommends placing your phone number on your Twitter profile and creating a Facebook tab that asks people to sign up for emails. All of these tactics will pique people's interests and generate sales.

Posted in Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing |

Which type of content marketing is most effective?

Content marketing efforts need regular refinement.

With all the different types of content marketing available today, it only makes sense that some tactics are more effective than others. Reporting on a Nielsen study, MarketingProfs examined different types of content across product categories and stages of the buying cycle. The results revealed that expert reviews carried the strongest influence, compared to branded content and user reviews. To arrive at this finding, Nielsen looked at the way content marketing efforts impacted brand awareness, perceptions and purchase decisions for several different types of product. Not only did expert reviews raise buying intentions, but they also increased familiarity with the brand. 

The reasons behind this result are likely because expert reviews are independent from brands. Buyers are less likely to trust B2B marketing initiatives that show a clear bias. This is why it can be difficult to inspire trust through your website alone. In addition, buyers found expert reviews to be more informative than branded content. This type of content was also considered more credible than basic user reviews.

These results may vary based on your industry, but the results illustrate the importance of offering a variety of content for the different stages of the sales cycle. 

How to improve content marketing efforts
B2B marketers may be getting bogged down with content because they are too focused on creation rather than strategy, Search Engine Watch suggested. Many marketers don't feel as though their strategies are successful at driving the desired results. The top goals of B2B content marketing efforts are boosting brand awareness and improving lead generation campaigns. However, many marketers are not devoting resources to the areas that would most benefit. For example, you may need to adjust your search engine optimization efforts to see the best possible results from both of these tactics. However, boosting organic search and increasing social media engagement aren't typically seen as high priorities in content marketing. Focusing on these areas can improve content results, especially in the early stages of the sales funnel.

While content creation certainly shouldn't be overlooked, it's important to focus on the marketing strategy behind this effort. You can see better results by employing multiple types of content, such as white papers, videos, infographics and blogs, but it may be worthwhile to take a step back to make adjustments to your strategy. In B2B marketing, it's especially important to have an accurate knowledge of your audience. Understanding their pain points and goals can help you better target prospective customers with content. 

Don't neglect SEO strategies in content marketing
Basic website metrics can help you identify which on-site content is functioning best and what isn't working. Website analytics can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content, according to Forbes. Without proper attention, content marketing campaigns can quickly run off the rails, and the longer this continues, the more difficult it is to get them back on track. Helpful areas to analyze include the following:

  • Most popular pages: This identifies your top content and how long users are staying on each page. Knowing the most popular pages can help you improve the low-performing ones. 
  • Landing pages: Many visitors will see landing pages before anything else on your website, and they play a significant role in converting visitors into leads. 
  • Exit pages: The content on the last pages visitors view before leaving the website may hold the most room for improvement. Are you utilizing a strong call to action to direct readers to a next step? Are these pages delivering value? Having the answers to these questions can help you make adjustments that will convert more visitors.
Posted in Analytics, Lead Generation |

Why local search marketers should stick with Google

Local search marketing works well  when optimized for Google.

When Google announced on April 1 that it would be bringing back the "search nearby" function to Google Maps, there was an audible sigh of relief from various corners of the Internet. Search Engine Land recently wrote the search engine behemoth received significant blowback earlier this year in February after it updated its Map tool, which saw the local search option apparently removed. According to SEL, users still had the ability to search for local businesses using the new map, but it was anything but intuitive for most people.

Businesses should look local
The backlash calls attention to the fact that local search marketing continues to be an important resource for many companies, regardless of their size. Not only is Google a popular resource for customers looking for restaurants, service providers, government offices and any number of businesses, but it's probably one of the best resources for enterprises looking to take advantage of local search marketing. Not all organizations understand how to get started, so Forbes suggested they begin by adding their information to online resources, such as Google Plus Local or Angie's List. This is often as simple as clicking on a link that prompts the user to input contact information and other general content.

Google keeps local companies in view
From this point, Myles Anderson, contributor to Search Engine Land conducted a study comparing keyword use in various locations searching on Google, Bing and Yahoo. The research showed generic search terms, such as dentist or builder, were given greatest prominence – more listings on the first page result – on Google. On the other hand, longtail keywords, or those with a narrower focus, were displayed with much less frequency on the first page result.

At the same time, Anderson suggested Google serves local companies' best interests better by integrating location-specific aspects, including the searcher's IP address, to display results. Yet, Search Engine Watch explained the keywords that companies use on their websites are useful for unlocking the local market. These can include neighborhoods, city and town names, area codes, ZIP codes and well-known landmarks that customers can refer to so that they can find the business.

While many business owners want to drive more attention to the products and services they provide, this approach may be end up being too narrow and will negatively impact their SEO. Anderson's study, however, concluded geographically-linked keywords are far more effective on search engines like Yahoo and Bing, but the tools Google uses to integrate location are more effective to drive traffic to local businesses.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

SEO and content marketing still need to work together

Google Authorship could be one way to maintain SEO results after Hummingbird.

Marketers have argued over the merits of content marketing compared to search engine optimization, but these strategies need to complement each other. Google's latest algorithm, Hummingbird, has created a significant update to the way content is ranked, according to ClickZ. The changes will ensure that SEO initiatives don't impact the value of content marketing. Instead of lessening the impact of traditional SEO, Hummingbird is tying it closer to content marketing. 

Keywords are still important, but B2B marketing teams need to change how they approach SEO strategies. You can't strictly adhere to guidelines set by the algorithm and hope for the best rankings. Though relevant keywords have a place in these initiatives, good content will lead the way. Context in your content plays a more significant role.

Looking for a clear way to stay ahead in SEO after Hummingbird? Google Authorship may improve your company's online visibility, a separate article for ClickZ stated. This links to writers' Google profiles, which can help build credibility. Because there is a snippet of the author's profile included through the search engine results page, viewers are more likely to click through. Connecting your website to Google Plus – the only social media site that influences rankings – can help you accomplish this.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

Real-time marketing needs to go beyond social media

Social media allows marketers to communicate with prospects in real time.

Social media can help B2B brands get more attention. These channels can jumpstart B2B marketing efforts because networks like Twitter allow companies to achieve the largest reach with the smallest investment, The Wall Street Journal reported. In particular, Twitter can help firms reach a specific audience through the use of relevant hashtags. 

For example, if your company is participating in an industry conference, the weeks leading up to it are a great time to take to social media. This can lead to higher engagement during the event. 

Although real-time marketing used to be a concept exclusive to social media, the shift in available tactics has changed this, according to data from eMarketer. Personalizing content was found to be the most important feature of real-time marketing, and increased customer engagement was viewed as one of the top benefits. Although social media was still considered the top choice for instant communication, other online marketing channels were seen as effective. Company websites and email rounded out the top three tactics. 

Social media allows marketers to join conversations with their target audience without bombarding this group with promotional messages, The WSJ stated. 

Posted in Social Media Marketing |

How are buyers interacting with content marketing?

Content marketing can improve your brand's reputation.

Content is an essential component in nearly every B2B marketing strategy. Reporting on research from CMO Council and Netline, MarketingProfs said vendor content is a factor in 88 percent of purchase decisions. More than half of buyers also feel that content marketing improves their knowledge of currently available business technologies. This marketing tactic also educates decision-makers on issues and challenges within their industries. 

Different buyer personas interact with content in varying ways. The majority of leads find vendor content through search engines and portals. Some go directly to company websites, and one-quarter ask colleagues for recommendations. When it comes to selecting a vendor, leads are most interested in research reports, case studies, technical spec sheets, white papers and articles on trade websites. 

The research process differs across many organizations. In some B2B firms, mid-level executives are responsible for nearly the entire process, from finding vendor content, making the decision and educating senior management about why the choice was made. Other companies task junior or mid-level employees with the research process, and then senior managers make the final selection. Additionally, senior employees in some businesses are responsible for finding content and sharing it with mid-level workers to assess the information and arrive at a decision. This highlights the importance of catering to separate buyer personas. It isn't a safe assumption that the same people at each organization will be interacting with your content.

How to create a mature content marketing strategy
While content has the promise to improve lead generation efforts, increase brand awareness and help build relationships, it can be a challenge to correctly implement this strategy. B2B marketers struggle to produce enough content and to provide truly relevant information to their target audience. It can be difficult to transition away from self-promotional forms of advertising. To create real engagement, you need to focus on brand storytelling to connect with your audience, Forbes stated. Even though B2B products may not seem to lend themselves to this approach, storytelling can lead to deeper engagement. 

Segmenting content for different buyer personas can also contribute to a more mature content strategy. Establishing thought leadership in your industry can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting prospects with your content. Creating lasting relationships with prospects can generate long-term success in your marketing initiatives.

Posted in Lead Generation |

 

 

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