Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Linkedin trends you need to know and use

You’re on the top social media networks. You’ve got spots eked out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

That’s enough. Right?

No – you’re forgetting something.

You need to be posting and sharing on LinkedIn, too. Here’s why:

  • LinkedIn has more than half a billion users, according to Fortune – and it’s steadily growing.
  • Hundreds of millions of users are active every month.
  • It’s the ultimate social network to grab B2B leads. About 50 percent of B2B buyers use the platform before making final purchasing decisions, according to HootSuite.

To get the most out of this unique platform, though, you have to stay on top of trends. You have to know how to post, what to post, and when to do it.

Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry – we’ve combed through the trends for you and laid it all out.

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6 LinkedIn Trends and How to Use Them in Content Marketing Right Now

Here are some of the top LinkedIn trends (according to data BuzzSumo collected and Content Marketing Institute [CMI] analyzed). We’ll show you how to post to take advantage of them with content marketing.

1. There’s No Posting Over-Saturation (Yet)

So far, there are no signs that the amount of content posted on LinkedIn is more than users can handle or keep up with.

When this does happen, CMI calls it “content shock.” Posts suffer because there’s less interaction due to content overload.

With content shock nowhere in sight, you can take advantage and post more content on the network. You’ll still have a good chance your followers will both see and notice your posts, which can shoot it to the top for engagement.

No content fatigue, to see, here.

2. B2B Link-Sharing Is Going Strong

When it comes to B2B content, LinkedIn is where you should share it.

Recently, users have been sharing these types of posts far more than they have on Twitter or Facebook. In particular, BuzzSumo noted that shares for topics like SEO marketing and leadership were higher on LinkedIn.

Follow suit for good results.

3. Long-Form, Original Content Is Shared More

If you do publish original content on LinkedIn, make it long-form.

Most users don’t publish articles of more than 1,000 words. But, the content that’s shared most often is always at least 1,000 words long, and can be as long as 3,000 words.

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This is a big opportunity for you to stand out with your posts and get the engagement you need. Just make sure to hit the sweet spot of 1,000 – 3,000 words.

4. You Don’t Need Images

When you post content on LinkedIn, don’t feel pressured to litter your articles with images and graphics.

CMI did a review of long-form posts on the platform that were successful. None of them included images besides a post banner at the top.

This frees you up to go with text-heavy posts, but make sure they’re structured and organized well. Use headlines, sub-headers, bullet-points, and lists so they’re readable.

5. Professional, Practical Topics Are Tops

If you want your LinkedIn content to perform well, stick to proven topics for the network.

According to BuzzSumo, the most popular posts have been how-to guides. Other topics that enticed: practical advice about professional issues, experience-driven learning experiences, and personal posts centered on the world of work.

For your content, there are lots of different ways to take advantage of popular topics. You could post about challenges you overcame on the job, key takeaways from an important conference, or your experience climbing the corporate ladder.

These are just a few ideas. Anything under the umbrella of what CMI calls “the five P’s” will work. For reference, they steer you toward these types of posts:

  • Professional – They’re all about the working life.
  • Practical – They’re helpful and useful.
  • Personal – They’re framed as stories, not lists of facts.
  • Portray a path to change – They’re illuminating and show how you can achieve positive change or improve in some way.
  • Point toward peak experiences – They tell readers how you reached a career-oriented pinnacle, no matter the scale of the endeavor.

6. You Don’t Have to Be a LinkedIn Influencer to Win Engagement

LinkedIn regularly designates many of its top users and posters as “LinkedIn Influencers.” These elite people get an official stamp next to their name and lots of exposure on main pages of the site.

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For scope, the people at the very top of this group include names like Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

However, those of us on the lower rungs of influence don’t have to worry. The stuff you post can win plenty of engagement without any fancy status attached to your name.

In fact, according to CMI, influencers only wrote six percent of the 10,000 top posts in the last five years.

This means you have as good a chance as anybody to do well on LinkedIn, which can spell great gains for your content marketing.

Use LinkedIn Trends to Your Advantage for Content Marketing Success

LinkedIn has steadily climbed the ranks to become one of the most powerful social networks for content marketing. The content you post there has the potential to soar, but only if you understand how to do it to best advantage.

Take note of the trends listed here and post accordingly. This social network is ripe for your content marketing efforts and could help you take root in your industry.

4 powerful new Adwords interface features

In a recent roundup of how 2017 has changed PPC, we dipped our toes into the waters of the new AdWords interface. Today, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into this revamped UI.

The new interface – which has been slowly getting released over the past year – is in use by millions of advertisers, yet there are still hoards who have yet to get their hands on it. According to Google, “the new AdWords experience” will be available to everyone by the end of the year.

The new interface, while challenging to adjust to, hosts a slew of new features that are well worth the temporary discomfort.

Let’s go ahead and get familiarized with some of the new components now so that you will have some decent footing come December.

Here are the four best features of the new AdWords interface.

1. The Overview Dashboard

This update is impossible to miss; and it’s fantastic.

Here, users can gain a quick, readable synopsis of your account and campaign’s health metrics. Additionally, the dashboard provides a variety of insights, all displayed in a visually compelling and digestible manner.

The top of the dashboard supply’s users with a sizable graph displaying clicks, impressions, average CPC and cost over a given timeframe; although, metrics can be swapped out for others.

Below this, users will find four additional widgets:

  • Biggest Changes: Displays campaigns that saw the highest degree of change for a chosen time frame and metric.
  • Campaigns: Shows a list of your top performing campaigns, along with vital metrics like cost and clicks.
  • Devices: An appealing breakdown of clicks, cost, and conversion for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
  • Day & Hour: A heatmap showing how ads perform across different days of the week and hours of a day.

If the visual appeal and streamlined nature of the dashboard wasn’t enough, it also dynamically changes to display more relevant information based on the areas of your account that you visit.

2. Promotion Extensions

Extensions are a powerful piece of the AdWords puzzle. These enable advertisers to pack extra information into their adverts that can be quite effective at driving conversions.

While the new promotion extensions are still in beta, users who have access to the new interface can access this element via the “Ads & Extensions” tab.

Promotion extensions provide advertisers with the means to showcase a sale on their website, saving precious character space.

Additionally, this extension adds a tag icon next to the sale information, amplifying its ability to draw attention and traffic.

3. Extension Previews and Filters

While we’re on the topic of extensions, another useful addon from the new interface is the extension preview. This feature gives advertisers the ability to see a rough version of what their ads will look like with different extensions enabled.

In addition to this awesomeness, Google also employed an extension filter that allows AdWords users to curate the extensions they want to see in the drop-down menu. It is also possible to sort them by account, ad group, or campaign as well.

The combination of these two features makes the ad creation process much more effective and streamlined than the past iteration of the AdWords interface.

4. Additional Demographic Options

Part of how Facebook’s ad platform became a serious threat to Google’s revenue stream was due to its powerful targeting options.

It took the search engine longer than most are cool with to wise up, but back in 2016, Google did finally add demographic targeting features for gender and age.

With the new AdWords interface, the big G doubles its demographic targeting options by adding the ability to refine campaigns by household income and parental status; the latter used to only be available to display advertisers.

Parental status is a game-changer for many industries including baby and children’s brands. This also opens avenues for all sorts of companies during the holiday and back to school shopping seasons.

Household income enables advertisers to drive additional sales by serving up relevant adverts based on pricing. In many cases, this can significantly impact the number of conversions a brand is able to attain.

Under Construction

While these changes certainly are welcomed, it’s not all peaches and cream with the new interface.

As it stands, the new AdWords experience isn’t complete yet. Many of the components from the old interface have yet to be integrated with the new version. This means that advertisers might have to temporarily switch back to the old interface to manage price extensions or display remarketing audiences.

Outside of these examples, there is still a sizable list of features that Google needs to integrate into the new UI for the experience to be complete. But suffice to say, they’re working on it, and this new feature set is extremely valuable. Hang in there until the end of the year at most, and these UIs will merge for all.

The new AdWords interface breathes new life into a decrepit platform that severely needed the update. Even in its unfinished state, the new experience shows promise far beyond what the old version could produce.

When the completed version has reached the totality of AdWords users, rest assured that all the new features and streamlined workflows will bring about an AdWords renaissance.

Do you already have access to the new AdWords interface? What feature(s) do you find most promising/exciting?

Meta Tags in 2018: Why they are important in SEO

If you are interested in knowing more about SEO, there is no better way to start than with Meta tags. According to Wordstream: Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code.

In short, Meta tags are key components for all search engines that appear in the HTML code of a website page and tell search engines what your page is about.

Meta tags are added in the <head> section of an HTML web page and they are the “Legally” Hide Words on Your Pages for Search Engines.

Every platform has a different solution for adding Meta tags. WordPress, for example, has FREE plugins  to choose from. I personally recommend All in One SEO Packand Yoast SEO. Both are popular and the most used WordPress plugins of all time and you can choose either according to your needs.

Do Meta Tags matter for SEO in 2018?

Yes, they do, but not all  Meta tags can help you in 2018. In my experience, if you want to rank high in Google in 2018, then you also need to focus on high-quality content and user satisfaction. The main goal of this post is to explain which Meta tags are useful and which are unimportant. (See below: There are a few tags which we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored).

“Meta Tags can affect the way that users see your site in the search results and whether or not they actually click through to your site.” John Mueller 2017

How to check meta tags on a site?

If you want to check the Meta tags for any page, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.” You can also use tools like SEMRush (specifically the SEMRush Audit Tool), and Screaming Frog to check the Meta tags on any site.

The Most Important Meta Tags For SEO in 2018

For any startup business or running website, I personally focus on the 8 major Meta tags which can improve the optimization of your site.

 I am sharing my opinions about them all below:

  1. Title tag
  2. Meta description
  3. Canonical Tag
  4. Alternative text (Alt) Tag
  5. Robots meta tag
  6. Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)
  7. Header tags  
  8. Responsive Design Meta Tag

Title tag

A title tag is the very first HTML element that specifies your web page for search engines and to visitors. The Title element is supported all browsers including Chrome, Firefox Safari etc. 

Add your title tag in the <head> section of your site.

<head>

<title>This is a Title Sample</title>

</head>

Optimal length for the Title tag: Google typically shows 55-64 characters (Keep it under 60 characters) in the Title tag.

Title tags are important for SEO and visitors and it shows up in the SERPs and in Browser Tabs.

Browser Tab Title Tag shown below for SEMrush post:

E.g. SERP Title Tag shown below:

According to MOZ: Title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content

You cannot add more than one <title> element in your web page. w3schools

Key Points for writing a good title tag: 

  • Add “modifiers” to your title tag –
    How to |The current year | Review |Best | Tips | Top |Find | Buy | Easy
  • Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags
  • Add numbers to your title –
    9 Important HTML tags for your website to improve your SEO
  • Start your title tag with your main targeted keyword
  • Don’t stuff your keywords
  • Every page should have a unique title tag.

Meta description 

A Meta Description is an HTML element that summarizes your webpage. Search engines typically show the Meta description in search results below your Title tag. 

Code sample

<head>

  <meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description Sample. You can add up to 300 characters.”>

</head>

Google does not use the Meta description as a ranking signal but it still it has a massive effect on your page CTR, or clickthrough rate because it shows up in search results.

Optimal length for the Description tag: in December 2017, Google officially increases length of snippets in search results. Your Meta descriptions should be between 50–300 characters.

Google generated Description in Search Result

Key Points to writing a good Description tag:

  • Don’t overly focus on the number of characters because Google might pull description text from your content based on a user’s query.
  • Do not add duplicate Meta Descriptions
  • Add a clear Call-to-action (CTA) in your descriptions like Apply today, Check out, Contact us today etc. Check out  100 Call to Action Keywords for Marketing Campaigns.
  • Add targeted keywords in your descriptions
  • Strategically provide a solution to a problem 
  • Write for your users and encourage them to click with specific and relevant content 
  • Add any discounts or offers you have going on
  • Show empathy while writing your Meta Descriptions

 

Canonical Tag

The Canonical tag is an HTML link tag with the attribute “rel=canonical” and is used if you have a single page URL that has the same content as other multiple page URLS.

By implementing the Canonical tag in the code, we are telling search engines that this URL is the main page and to avoid indexing other duplicate page URLS.

A canonical tag Syntax:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/" />

Where should the canonical tag be used?

Multiple URLs: 

http://www.example.com 

https://www.example.com 

http://example.com 

http://example.com/index.php


To a search engine crawler the above URLs are considered to be 4 copies of the Home page. The canonical tag was created to fix this problem.

Session ID URLs

These are the automatic system generated URLS and commonly generated due to the tracking URLs, breadcrumb links and permalinks in CMS

http://example.com/properties/villa-331-luxury-rental?partnerID=18 

http://example.com/target.php?session_id=rj3ids98dhpa0mcf3jc89mq1t0 

Mobile URL – when using a special URL (m. example.com) for the mobile version of your website. 

SEMrush itself has 2 versions – one is a mobile version and the other a desktop version.
For the mobile and desktop versions SEMrush  is using the following canonical tag
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.semrush.com/” />

Alternative text (Alt) Tag  

Alt text is important for any images because search engines cannot read images, and you need to add proper Alt text to the images so that search engines can consider your images.

Syntax for Alt Text:

<img src=” http://example.com/xyz.jpg” alt=”xyz” />

In addition, the key points to consider while creating alt-tags for images:

  • Always use a proper description; never stuff your keywords in this tag.
  • All images should have informative filenames.
  • Alt text needs to be short, clear and to the point.
  • Always use the Original, Right type of image, as this is an essential step towards success.
  • Create an image sitemap
  • Use 50-55 characters (upto 16 words) in the alt text
  • Use an Optimal File Size without losing its quality for faster page loading speed

“Adding an alt tag is very easy to do and you should pretty much do it on all of your images. It helps your accessibility and it can help us understand what’s going on in your image.” Source

Robots Meta tag

The Robots Meta tag is an HTML tag that provides instructions to web crawlers either to index or not index web pages.

Meta robots tags have four main values for search engine crawlers:

FOLLOW –The search engine crawler will follow all the links in that webpage

INDEX –The search engine crawler will index the whole webpage

NOFOLLOW – The search engine crawler will NOT follow the page or any links on that webpage

NOINDEX – The search engine crawler will NOT index that webpage

Syntax

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>  Means not to index or not to follow this webpage.

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”> Means index and follow this webpage.


Note: The robots Meta tag should be placed in the <head> section of your webpage.

Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)

Open Graph Tags:
Open Graph Meta tags are designed to promote integration between Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and your website URLS that you shared on these platforms. 

Here is a sample of how Open Graph tags look like in standard HTML:

<meta property="og:type" content="article" /> 

<meta property=”og:title” content=”TITLE OF YOUR POST OR PAGE” />

<meta property=”og:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT” />

<meta property=”og:image” content=”LINK TO THE IMAGE FILE” />

<meta property=”og:url” content=”PERMALINK” />

<meta property="og:site_name" content="SITE NAME" />

Twitter Cards: 

Twitter cards work in a similar way to Open Graph except you add these special Meta tags only for Twitter. Twitter will use these tags to enhance the display of your page when shared on their platform. 

Here is a sample of How Twitter card look like in standard HTML:

<meta name="twitter:title" content="TITLE OF POST OR PAGE">

<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT”>

<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”LINK TO IMAGE”>

<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@USERNAME”>

<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@USERNAME">


Both these Social Media Meta Tags look like:

Head over to this post if you want to know everything about these tags

Header tags


Header tags are used for headings creation i.e. by using these we can apply font changes.

The heading elements are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 with H1 being the highest (or most important) level and H6 the least.

Here is an example of how we can use header tags taken from https://www.semrush.com/blog/9-tips-for-boosting-the-speed-of-your-shopify-website/ 

<h1> 9 Tips for Boosting the Speed of your Shopify Website </h1>

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<p>another paragraph of content</p>

<h2>Performance Analysis</h2> 

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<h3>Analyzes the Mobile and Desktop Performance with PageSpeed Insights</h3> 

Important Point to consider: Use as Many H1 Tags as You Want source

Responsive Design Meta Tag

The final important Meta tag is the responsive design Meta tag, which we call “Viewport Meta Element”. By using the viewport meta tag you can turn your web pages into responsive web pages on mobile browsers.

This viewport element is included in the head section of your web page.

Syntax

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">

If you want to learn more about responsive design Meta tags, head over to this nicely written post here

Note: Do not use this responsive Meta tag if your website pages are not designed to be responsive, as it will make the user experience worse.

There are few tags that we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored:

  • Keywords tag- Google does not use the keywords Meta tag in web ranking Source
  • Revisit after – This HTML tag is a command to the robots to return to a page after a specific period. This tag is not followed by any major search engine and has no value in SEO. It isbetter to avoid this tag and leave it to the search engines to decide how to crawl your website. Syntax: <meta name=”revisit-after” content=”7 days” />
  • Expiration/date – This tag defines the expiration date of your page. Personally I would not recommend this. Just remove it.  Syntax: <meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”Fri, 28 April 2018 23:59:59 GMT”>
  • Site verification- Just Ignore this. You can verify your site using Google search console and the Bing webmaster tool.
  • Copyright- Every site puts the copyright in their web page footer so why would you need a separate tag. A big No for this tag.
  • Distribution – The “distribution” value is supposedly used to control who can access the document, typically set to “global.” It’s inherently implied that if the page is open (not password-protected, like on an intranet) that it’s meant for the world. Go with it, and leave the tag off the page. Source
  • Generator – useless tag.
  • Cache control –This Tag allows web publishers to define how often a page is cached. Generally, these are not required; we can simply use the HTTP header instead of this HTML tag.
  • The ODP Robots Meta Tag – Google no longer follows this Meta tag. 


Google Stops Support for NOODP Robots Directive & Taking DMOZ Description –Source

  • Geo Meta Tags- Google does not use Geo Meta Tags to Rank Pages.


We don’t use geo meta tags at all for search, probably never have. Use hreflang + normal geotargeting – Source

So, these are the few HTML tags which we should consider or simply ignore. Now you can easily use the relevant HTML Meta tags intelligently. Don’t forget to comment below and share your views on HTML Tags. Thanks for reading.

How to choose keywords that really matter

Unlike PPC ads, organic traffic is the gift that keeps on giving. When you diminish your PPC budget, your traffic goes away. When it comes to SEO and content marketing, though, things are much better.

Sure, a website that’s updated infrequently won’t get you too far. But once you’ve gained a solid domain authority and created an editorial calendar that you stick to, the traffic is yours to have and to hold.

Evergreen content has, of course, the biggest ROI in terms of traffic, says this study. It turn out that only one-third of all the views a good blog post will get are generated in the first day (the publish date). The rest of them will come gradually, even over the course of more than one year.

So yes, we can get traffic with content marketing and SEO. But the most important question is not “how much traffic can we get?” It’s “what does this traffic bring us?”

If you’ve read my previous posts here, on Site Pro News, you already know that I advocate against vanity metrics. Who cares about having millions of page views if none of those visitors converts into a client?

For my agency, as well as for every client we work with on copywriting or strategy, we ignore such metrics and focus on what matters: revenue.

And, in SEO, there is no revenue without proper keyword research.

Let me explain:

One of the examples I’m most fond of is that of a client who contacted me after reading one of my articles here. The client needed SEO copywriting for a local business in a small town and wanted to optimize both content and blog posts for generic keywords (like ‘wedding dresses,’ for instance).

We quickly realized the client had little chance of competing with the big names in the industry (which is, obviously, not related to wedding dresses). So we proposed a locally-oriented strategy instead. We were to optimize for keywords like “ivory wedding dress Tampa,” “wedding dress boutique Tampa,” “custom-made wedding dresses Tampa” and so on.

The results appeared in a few short months. And by results I mean revenue, not just traffic.

Here are a few key lessons we can learn from this example:

User intent should be at the core of your keyword research

Before writing even a single word, you need to know to whom your copy should appeal. What type of customers are your targeting and in which phase of their buying cycle do you want to target them?

For instance, optimizing your content for ‘wedding dresses’ targets clients who still don’t know what they want. They might not even have a date set. But who doesn’t like looking at pretty dresses?

This strategy is excellent if you’re a big company in your field and you want to boost your brand awareness. If you already have enough sales and don’t need customers right now, then by all means, optimize for generic keywords.

On the other hand, a query like “ivory wedding dress Tampa” shows that the customers know what they want. They are very close to making a purchase; they are past the window shopping phase.

This type of keyword strategy is ideal if you want clients faster. You appeal to people that you no longer have to educate – they are savvy shoppers. All you have to do is convince them to choose you over your competitors.

Of course, highly targeted keywords won’t bring you as much traffic as generic ones. But they will bring you the right type of traffic.

This is why I always advise our clients to forget about search volume when choosing keywords. Our SEO writers are trained to look for business opportunities whenever they do keyword research for our clients. Fifty queries per month that you can easily direct to your website and convert into customers or (at least) leads are better than 1,000 queries that have no tangible ROI.

Know your competitors

Before you start writing copy for a certain keyword, you should consider more than the Yoast green light. Yes, your WordPress plugin may say your on-page SEO is done correctly, but this doesn’t really matter if you’re up against Internet giants.

At my agency, we rely heavily on tools like BuzzSumo and Moz Explorer to find out what it takes to rank for certain keywords. Your research can start on BuzzSumo to find out which pages rank highest for the keywords you have in mind. Repeat the search in Moz Explorer to double-check your findings. Moz Explorer will also tell you how hard it is to rank for any given keyword.

However, please note that the ranking difficulty is a generic metric. It’s not specific to your website.

This is where another Moz tool comes into place – the Open Site Explorer. Type your website address to check your domain and page authority. Then do the same for the websites you want to outrank.

Do they have higher authority than you?

Then you will have to work harder to outrank them. This means more content, long form blog posts, impeccable technical SEO and a lot of content promotion.

The best part about this is, once again, that it is an investment that will keep on giving. The more long form, well-optimized content you add, the better your page and domain authority will get in time. And, consequently, you will rank higher in SERPs.

Make revenue-oriented calculations

Login to your Google Search Console, navigate to ‘Search Analytics’ (you’ll find it under ‘Search Traffic’) and select the 90 days time frame. Filter your branded results. If your company name is ‘Executive Puppies,’ filter all those that contain it.

Next, export your search terms. You will have a complete overview of the terms you rank for, your CTR and your ranking for each of them.

And now, for the hard part: take a look at those who could rank better. How much effort would it be involved in adding more content to certain articles or pages to help them rank higher?

Most importantly, what ROI will this effort have? Sure, you’ll get more clicks, but will you actually get sales if you rank higher for certain terms?

Make sure to not spread yourself too thin and only invest in those terms that are congruent with the user intent you need, the one that supports your business goals i.e. boost brand awareness or generate sales or leads.

Conclusions

No one doubts that content marketing and SEO yield results. But we should always avoid falling for vanity metrics. Organic traffic is great, but it should be your end goal only if your blog runs AdSense (and you get paid for views, not clicks).

Otherwise, keep in mind that your SEO and content marketing strategies should always be designed to support your business goals. Always go back to your buyer persona template and ask yourself how can you match the type of query they would enter in the search bar.

3 powerfull ways to drive traffic from Reddit

If you have an Internet connection, you probably know what Reddit is.

For those who don’t know much about this edgy community, Reddit is a multilingual social news and entertainment platform that calls itself “the front page of the Internet.”

Reddit is the eighth most popular website in the world, according to Alexa, drives roughly 1.5 billion unique visits a month, and houses more than 250 million active members.

When leveraged correctly, Reddit can be an incredibly powerful source for driving massive amounts of traffic to your website. For instance, Eddy Arza was able to increase his site’s daily visitors from 41 to 4,266 literally overnight. Similarly, Ryan Stewart was able to grow his traffic by 33 percent  by learning the ins and outs of the platform.

It is extremely necessary to become familiar with how Reddit works before you start trying to plug your brand because the community’s members (called Redditors) are sometimes known for ruthless behavior; particularly toward outsiders.

Part of why Reddit is such an effective tool for increasing blog readership, sales, and overall traffic, however, is that the site is essentially one massive aggregator.

For the most part, Redditors submit outbound links to various niche communities called subreddits. There are a seemingly infinite number of subreddits, so I’ll cover this more in a bit.

Before we dive into how to drive traffic from Reddit to your site, a quick public service announcement:

You Must Participate Before Plugging!

The first step to leveraging Reddit is the most vital and the most time-consuming: You must participate within communities – a lot – before posting anything about your brand or website.

Truthfully, Reddit hates marketing.

If you just create a new account and try to promote your site, prepare to be eaten alive. Redditors are notoriously suspicious of new accounts and they can sniff out an advertisement like digital bloodhounds.

To gain the trust of Redditors, you need to start off by posting relevant (non-promotional) materials and engaging in various discussions.

Here are three ways to leverage Reddit to drive tons of traffic to your website.

1. Engage the Right Subreddits

As stated earlier, Reddit has tons of niche communities called subreddits.

While not all will be relevant to your cause, you are likely to find dozens that are. Before you start targeting specific communities, however, ask yourself:

  • What is my target audience interested in?
  • What is my expertise?
  • What value can I provide potential followers?

The answers to these questions will help you develop a blueprint in selecting which communities to join. If you fail to conduct this short exercise, you’re more likely to join subreddits that don’t provide you much value to you, and vice versa.

While this may seem to conflict with the above paragraph, you may also want to consider some smaller, more overlooked communities as these folks tend to be highly engaged. This is the exact strategy that Gfycat used to build its audience and become the largest user-generated GIF platform in the world in a mere two years.

To find subreddits that will be valuable for your brand, search relevant keywords that your audience would use to find information about product or service like yours. For instance, if you run a gaming blog, you might join the r/Games subreddit whose goal is to, “. . . provide a place for informative and interesting gaming content and discussions.”

Depending on what your brand does, you might want to join subreddits that are a little more marketing-friendly such as r/dealswhere you can post discounts, coupon codes, and all sorts of other offerings for savvy consumers.

2. Use Reddit As a Source for Content Creation

Content is one of the top Google ranking factors. While creating a wealth of great content is necessary, it certainly isn’t easy.

Reddit provides content marketers with an endless pool of inspiration for great content. By engaging in conversations and mining comment threads for hot topics, pain points, curiosities, etc., business owners can gain an abundance of quality topics to write about and then post back to those same communities, effectively driving traffic to their site.

Additionally, there are often individuals within subreddits who share interesting insights or perspectives on certain topics. Depending on how informative the individual seems, you might want to consider reaching out to them for a podcast or interview that you later craft into a blog post.

Alternately, businesses can uncover some common themes of what users desire and run content within a subreddit, driving traffic to a dedicated landing page on their site. Prizes should be relevant to the community’s wants and needs. You could offer products or services from your business, Reddit Gold, or various other payoffs.

Before utilizing this tactic, however, be sure to reach out to the subreddit’s moderators and gain their approval. Otherwise, you could be banned from the community.

3. Host an AMA Session

This strategy should be saved for after you have developed something of a name for yourself within the subreddits you subscribe to so that users know who you are and that you have value to offer.

AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. AMA’s are essentially interviews where the whole of the reddit community can ask you, well, anything.

These are often a prime opportunity to share information about your business without coming off too promotional.

The key to these group conversations is to provide the community with lots of in-depth, valuable knowledge. Think about things like behind-the-scenes stories, struggles and solutions that most would never consider and other intimate details that only an industry insider would know.

For an Ask Me Anything session, you can target the dedicated AMA subreddit, or you can simply conduct it within one of the subreddits you subscribe to — most will allow for these types of conversations.

Holding the talk within a subreddit that is relevant to your audience might be the best option. This increases the likelihood that you’ll have an interested and engaged audience.

Reddit is a goldmine for generating awareness and traffic for your website. Familiarize yourself with the platform, its lingo, and interact with the right groups before promoting your brand. If you do this prior to leveraging the tactics listed above, you stand a far greater chance of achieving the outcome you desire.

What is your favorite method for driving traffic from Reddit? What subreddits have you found most engaging for your business?

Facebook organic reach is Dying:How to prepare

Facebook’s organic reach is basically on life-support.

In short, get ready to visit the grave very soon. RIP, non-paid Facebook Page posts.

Here’s the eye-opening state of things:

In the last five years, organic reach on Facebook has fallen nearly 14 percent, as HubSpot estimates. That doesn’t seem like a big number, but that dive took us from 16 percent organic reach down to a minuscule two percent.

Two percent. TwoPercent.

This means those Facebook posts you don’t pay for, the ones you create to share your content, aren’t getting seen. Instead, they’re getting buried.

And, from 2016 – 2017, organic reach continued to fall… and fall… and fall.

BuzzSumo looked at more than 880 million Facebook posts from businesses and brands and analyzed their engagement. Here’s what happened as the months rolled by:

Yikes.

So, what the heck happened? How did we get here?

There are a number of factors involved. We can’t pinpoint one sole cause, but we can look at all the evidence together to reach a conclusion.

Put on your deerstalker hat a la Sherlock Holmes. Let’s dig into this hot mess.

What’s Killing Off Organic Reach on Facebook?

Facebook has offered an explanation for the steep decline of organic reach. (For reference, they specifically define organic reach as “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your page.”)

Facebook blames the die-off on three things:

1. Too much content.

2. Bigger competition in News Feed because of the amount of content posted daily.

3. Changes they made to News Feed to help users see relevant content in the midst of the content storm.

Let’s get into each factor individually.

1. Content… SO MUCH Content

Facebook says there’s too much content being posted on the platform these days. It’s in line with the climate elsewhere on the web: Content overload.

To get a good idea of what that looks like, take a gander at this chart from Smart Insights. It shows what’s posted online within an average 60 seconds:

Facebook alone gets 3.3 million new posts per minute. (Imagine, if you will, a game of Tetris on hyper-speed. The blocks keep falling and falling and falling. You can’t keep up. Cue anxiety.)

2. Too Much Content = Too Much Competition

Facebook says, because there’s so much content posted daily, the competition is fierce, which affects your organic reach.

Everybody’s jostling for attention, and there are lots of heavy-hitters in the mix (think big brands and popular companies). It’s harder to get noticed in such a crowded room.

This is definitely true, but it’s not limited to Facebook. This is a problem all over the Internet, but marketers still manage to get non-paid exposure with great content, good promotion, excellent SEO, and a little legwork.

You can score organic reach on Google, for instance. So, what’s the deal with Facebook, besides the cop-out answers the social network already gave?

3. The Algorithm: The Smoking Gun

Along with the content explosion and the competition hurting organic reach, there’s also the algorithm.

The News Feed algorithm decides what shows up when you load Facebook. It determines which posts you see first, which posts are an extra scroll away, and which ones you don’t see at all.

Recent changes to the way it works are intended to work better for you, the user. Depending on a variety of factors, you should see more posts at the top of your feed that are more relevant to you. This change was enacted so you’re not deluged with thousands of posts while the ones that really matter to you are hidden in the overflow.

This all would be well and good, but in the process, Facebook has essentially demoted Page posts in terms of relevance. Instead, posts from family and friends are prioritized…

As well as paid posts.

Goodbye, organic reach. It was nice knowing you.

Can It Get Worse? Yes

To add insult to injury, The Guardian recently reported on additional changes Facebook is testing. These changes would sock it to businesses – small businesses in particular. Here’s the deal:

They’re trying out moving non-paid posts to a second newsfeed (called the “Explore Feed”). Only businesses who pay would get a coveted spot in the primary news feed.

Via Inc.

I think you’ll agree that it seems really, really obvious that the network flat-out wants you to pay to get visibility on their platform, even if your content rocks and is totally non-promotional.

And yet, Facebook has continually claimedall these changes aren’t about increasing their ad revenue. They even say users who see more relevant content are more engaged, and are therefore more likely to engage with posts from businesses.

Whether or not this is true is negotiable, because Facebook is raking in profits from moving toward becoming a paid advertising platform for companies (and industry experts generally agree that this is what’s happening).

Convince and Convert put together this graph that compares organic reach with Facebook’s stock price based on a popular 2014 study. This is how each rate changed over the same time period:

The stock price rose while organic page reach dropped. Hmm…

Facebook, you’re not fooling anyone.

As for us, the businesses trying to survive out here, what’s the answer? Should we scramble to pay for visibility on Facebook? Should we pour our resources into creating and posting video, the top content that Facebook prioritizes?

Well, no. I mean, you can, but there’s another option, thank goodness.

There’s a Better Way Than Facebook Page Posts

It’s crystal-clear: Relying on your Facebook page alone for reaching your audience is not a good idea. (Unless you’re okay with paying for it.)

Instead, if you’d like to continue to enjoy organic reach, blogging as a core part of your content strategy could net you a higher ROI.

An Inbound Content Marketing Strategy Could Net Higher ROI + Better Organic Reach

For content marketing, most experts say it’s better to own your own content platform. This means you control the means for posting content – not some huge corporate entity that only wants your money.

John Battelle of Search Blog put it this way:

This way also protects your content investment.

It’s not likely that Facebook is going to dissolve anytime soon. But, if it’s all you rely on for reaching potential customers, if something did happen, you would lose everything. And, if organic reach continues to plummet, pretty soon it will get too expensive for a lot of small businesses to pay to reach their audiences on the network.

Bottom line: the ROI potential of your Facebook Page posts is going to be questionable going forward.

Where does the huge ROI potential really lie for organic reach?

With your domain and your blog.

In fact, you are 13 times more likely to earn positive ROI if you put blogging first for your content strategy.

Plus, the trust the average consumer puts in good content is overwhelming:

Via Neil Patel

Keep this high ROI investment secure. Focus first on blogging on your own domain. Own your content, own your platform, and relegate Facebook Page posts to a complementary strategy.

7 Social Media Marketing tools to up your game

Today’s marketers (especially the social media kind) have to be data geeks.

With the amount of information we have to filter, categorize and organize every day, there’s no way to have any kind of success without tools that turn big data into relevant bits of knowledge. So we rely on automation, analytics, listening tools and more.

At the digital marketing agency I run, we use at least three research and SEO tools for every blog post we write and at least five tools to help us create, implement and monitor social media strategies.

I have personally tested dozens if not hundreds of said tools and I keep on doing that. I know that every day new tools are being developed and new features appear in older tools. So I need to make sure that we use the best tools available in order to generate the best results for our clients.

This is what our social media marketing tool deck looks like. In other words, these are the tools that help us make sure we keep our clients ahead of their competitors:

7 social media marketing tools we use on a daily basis

You’ll notice that some of these tools are completely free. Others have free trials or limited options in their free mode.

I’ll be honest: some are definitely worth paying for. For others, the free version is enough if you have a single brand to manage or if you’re up against moderate competition.

Since we offer professional social media marketing and management services, we use (and pay for) the vast majority of these tools.

1. Sendible 

Along with Buffer, Agora Pulse, HootSuite and others, Sendible is one of the top social media management platforms out there. It may be less known than its competitors, but I personally believe that’s not fair.

We’ve been using Sendible for more than two years in house. For some of our clients, we use other tools, so I have done my fair share of comparing between them.

What I like about Sendible is its user-friendliness, the in-depth reports you can generate with it and the stellar customer service. I chose it and passed on others because at that time it was the only one to support Pinterest. Now, there are, of course, other tools that do that, but Sendible is still among the first to introduce new features and new platforms.

Pro tip: If you have a single set of social media channels to manage (for a single brand), Buffer is a free option, while Sendible is not.

2. SEMrush

SEMrush is our go-to competitor analyzer. We use it for both social media (for instance, to check our growth compared to that of our competitors) and for copywriting (mainly for keyword research).

You can get quite a lot from SEMrush’s free version, but if you’re serious about in-depth analytics, I strongly recommend the paid version.

3. Social Quant

I have used Social Quant on more than a dozen Twitter accounts to boost their growth. Here’s how it works: you link your Twitter account to Social Quant, add a few hashtags that are relevant to you and SQ will follow those accounts on your behalf. Briefly put, it’s a great way to automate Twitter growth.

What you can expect: the free trial lasts 14 days. Depending on your industry, you can get 100-700 new followers during that time. For the paid version, you can expect 1,000+ followers every month.

4. BuzzSumo

This is a great tool for both copywriting and social media. Search for a topic on BuzzSumo and you’ll learn which articles covering it were the most shared on social media. You can also search for social mentions and monitor your profiles.

For us, it’s a good place to start our research and get a sense of what we’re up against. The paid version gives you access to more in-depth reports and more results on a query.

5. TweetReach

This is one of the tools that can give you a lot of insight even in its free version. Simply search for a hashtag, a username or a keyword and you’ll get a thorough report on it.

We use this to see how well our Twitter accounts perform over a given period of time. Along with other similar tools and reports, it helps us make more sense of data and transform vanity metrics into actionable items.

6. Google Alerts

This one is pretty simple and completely free to use. Add a brand or a name and receive e-mail alerts whenever it’s mentioned anywhere on the Web.

You can use it to monitor your own brand, your competitors, certain keywords or even yourself.

7. Canva

This is a tool that will turn even the most graphics-challenged person (I do believe I am reigning queen here) into a superb designer. It’s easy to use, mostly free and perfect for social media images, especially the motivational ones.

What about you? What are your favorite social media tools? What have I left out?

4 ways SEO has changed fir the better

Ever since the birth of Google in 1997, surfing the web has never been the same. Easily the world’s most notable search engine, its name even earning a spot in the English Oxford dictionary to describe making a search on the internet, Google has also dictated the direction of SEO significantly. By introducing PageRank, Google could rank websites in a more meaningful and accurate way, making SEO an essential part of running an online business.

Yet, more accurate ranking did come with a cost. Over the years, there have been plenty of bad practices, like keyword stuffing and disingenuous link exchanges which led to an abundance of poor content being generated online. Luckily, Google revamped their protocol and now penalizes businesses for engaging in cheap and easy SEO practices. As a result, search engine optimization has become somewhat of an art and it’s getting better every day.

Whether you run a business, or are just enthusiastic about SEO, here are 4 ways that SEO has changed for the better that might inspire your future content.

1. Original is the new black

While this one might seem like a no brainer, there are a surprising number of businesses that have yet to harness the power of original content. To make the most of content creation, it’s wise to invest in someone who knows their way around SEO and also has a good writing style. Many companies initially struggle to find a topic, but it’s a welcome opportunity to get to know yourself as a brand and then transfer that into a blog post. You could consider writing about your personal development as a company, or provide useful tools and tips that readers can benefit from. Content that is original should aim to activate the reader’s imagination and encourage them to engage, which is a great way to gain loyal customers.

2. Guest posting

Remember, guest posting is not link building. Rather than having a guest write a post with the intention of simply sharing a link to your landing page, look for someone who can help make a contribution to your brand in the long run. That means carefully considering experts that are relevant to your industry and also who could make beneficial long term partners. Also, discuss ways that their expertise could be translated into content that will help boost your readership, and if applicable, theirs as well.

3. Looking good is essential

Content isn’t just about the quality of the writing, although that is very important, it’s also important to pay attention to aesthetics. By investing in a designer who can help you create a beautiful landing page that complements your content, you will be able to catch readers’ attention. One important thing to note is that while you want to catch the eye of consumers, you don’t want to go overboard. Much like defining your original content plan, think of design as a way to deliver a message to your audience about who you are as a brand.

4. Making the most of the available tools

Thanks to changes in content creation, for example people demanding more meaningful and personalized messages, there are now a wealth of tools to help you optimize your content creating plan. While there are an abundance of free tools, like Google Webmaster tools, there are many that are worth investing in, like IdeaFlip, which helps you navigate the brainstorming process and is ideal for those who are new to content marketing.

No matter what direction you take in your content creation journey, it’s important that you reflect your brand through your content voice. Understanding the ways in which content has changed will greatly benefit your ability to attract consumers in the long run and also increase your chances of remaining relevant in a competitive business world.

5 tips for positive, large-scale SEO changes

Search engine optimization, at its core, is the process of optimizing webpages and content offerings to make it easily accessible for search engines and its users, in accordance with predetermined ranking factors. To implement successful alterations, webmasters enact specific changes to individual pages or to content management systems.

These alterations target areas of the site like URL structures, headings, various tags, and keyword density. The goal is to improve the relevance of each page for a set of words or phrases.

The process of achieving successful, large-scale SEO changes for a sizable website isn’t that much different than working with smaller destinations. The idea is the same: Update the backend to reflect current best practices, create unique and relevant content, and engender a better overall user experience.

If you aren’t sure how to make large-scale SEO changes successfully, use these five tips as your guidelines.

1. Create More Value

Adding more value to your site may sound simple, but in practice it may prove a bit more challenging.

Creating more value does not simply mean pumping out more content. To add more worth to your site, it is imperative that you intimately understand your audience.

Through the greater understanding of your audience’s likes, wants and needs, additional, optimized content can be developed.

Here are some simple ways to establish how to add more value to your site:

  • Analyze your content using tools like Buzzsumo to find the most popular topics.
  • Survey your fans and followers to uncover questions they need answered.
  • Expand your content offerings into peripheral categories that are still relevant to your audience’s needs.

2. Invest More Time in Your Content

As we have learned from algorithm changes like Penguin and Hummingbird, Google cares more about the effectiveness of your content and less about its optimization.

This means that you can do all the optimizing you want, but if your content is not appealing or doesn’t contain relevant answers to searched queries, your efforts will be in vain.

SEO has changed from targeting keywords to addressing user intent. Through this lens, webmasters must ensure their content is centered on what search engine users seek to uncover when searching your brand, or the terms that might be associated with it.

3. Optimize Your Site’s Visuals

Visual content, particularly video, is more popular than ever; which also means that it’s more important for brands to create or host than ever. Visual content is much more engaging for consumers and can serve to supplement or replace text in various places.

Visual content also can affect SEO in significant ways, assuming it is optimized properly. Many marketers and site owners forget or outright neglect optimizing visual content for search engines. Fortunately, however, the process is rather simple and only takes a few minutes.

The first thing you’ll want to do is add a relevant title that leverages an applicable keyword targeted for that page. Moreover, add applicable alt text, metadata, and other keywords.

It is important to pay attention to the file’s size as well because this can slow down your site’s load times and have an adverse impact on your rankings. If you are hosting videos on your website, add a transcript — it will likely be packed with keywords that can boost your site’s SEO.

4. Create a Stellar User Experience

Google is pretty much obsessed with creating the best user experience possible for its users and expects webmasters to do the same.

User experience (UX) is a critical component to SEO, thus continually testing various elements of your site’s experience should be a priority for your business; especially on large-scale sites where many things can go wrong.

When optimizing your website’s user experience be sure to:

  • Test all of your site’s links and fix any that appear to be broken. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is excellent for such tasks.
  • Consider your content’s visual appeal and readability for users and search engine spiders.
  • Verify that all navigational elements work properly and are intuitive.
  • Test your site’s load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  • Consider experimenting with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to possibly receive a boost in speed and rankings. This is likely to become more important with the mobile-first indexunderway.

5. Ensure the Entirety of Your Web Presence is Current

Many marketers and business owners tend to overlook how far beyond a dedicated website a brand’s online existence goes. For instance, many businesses will opt to try out a new social platform, only to realize that it isn’t fruitful for its goals and abandon its profile.

While not sticking with social media sites that don’t work for your brand is fine, you do need to keep them up-to-date with your business’ current information.

This means making sure your brand’s website, address, phone number, and other pertinent details are all current so that users don’t have any trouble interacting with your brand or finding your site.

Even after you have implemented all of the above advice, your job is not done. The truth is, it will never be. SEO is an ever-changing process that is constantly in flux. Outside of its fickle nature, you can always find further improvements to make on your site.

Commit to continually learning and evolving alongside SEO best practices, and your rankings will reflect your efforts in the long-term.

What are your biggest hurdles with large-scale SEO changes?

4 ways Google is changing search engine results

There is no company in the world more obsessed with innovation than Google.

This is evident in the myriad of changes coming to the lifeblood of their business, the illustrious SERPs.

Outside of major transitions like mobile-first indexing, the company is altering a variety of functions and features related to desktop and mobile search pages. In recent months, the search giant has announced or begun testing a variety of SERP alterations that seek to expand, enhance, and otherwise reshape search results.

Let’s look at what’s transpiring within Google’s search engine results pages.

1. Search Snippet Shifts

Search snippets (the bit of text that lives below the links for various results) have recently been confirmed to be increasing in length and will soon be more dynamic.

As a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:

“We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.”

The user-friendly blocks of text that describe how a page relates to a given query are currently restricted to 160 characters. Under the altered state, however, these snippets have grown to roughly 230 characters, on average.

In most cases, the snippets will dynamically change, depending on the nature of the query; these are designed to answer the user’s question without forcing them to click on the linked page. If the answer is too complex to flesh out and will ultimately require a click to address, the snippet is likely to remain at 160 characters.

2. Featured Snippet and Knowledge Panel Additions

Alongside amplifying the search snippets, Google has also opted to expand select Featured Snippets, with more likely on the horizon.

Featured Snippets, for those who are unfamiliar, is the block at the top of the SERPs that provides an extracted answer from a given webpage.

Originally announced in Google’s Keyword blog, the company stated:

“Today, we’ve added more images and related searches inside select Featured Snippets to help you learn even more about your topic, or to discover new things related to your interest.”

In addition to expanding certain Featured Snippets, Google will also be augmenting its Knowledge Panel to incorporate related content or searches:

“For example, while looking at the Knowledge Panel about skiing, you’ll see related searches for sports such as snowboarding directly inside the result.”

While these are newsworthy changes on their own, Google still has a lot more up its proverbial sleeve.

3. Announcing the Answer Carousel

While currently in beta testing, rumors are swirling as Google has been spotted testing out a new feature that employs a carousel structure for various answer snippets to a given query.

This content seems to be picked from forum threads or similar answer pages where multiple answers are likely to be given. In addition to this new feature, Google is also stamping specific results with a “Best Answer” badge, which is likely the answer that receives the most positive votes within the thread it was pulled from.

While this feature is still in beta, it is easy to foresee potential problems relating to offensive and dangerously incorrect information infiltrating the SERPs once again.

4. Celebrities in the SERPs

In early December, Google started spicing up the mobile SERPs in a fun, new way: Celebrities answering commonly searched questions about themselves via video content.

These selfie videos will show up at the top of mobile search pages for questions like, “Can Will Ferrell really play the drums?” or “How many languages does Priyanka Chopra speak?”

Googling these terms on a mobile device will bring up pre-recorded videos of the celebs within a dedicated application.

As of now, Google is working with a small group of stars such as Nick Jonas, Kenan Thompson, and the aforementioned celebs with plans to expand outside of the traditional celebrity realm in the near future.

Now comes the real question: How do these changes impact SMBs?

How Recent Changes to the SERPs Can Impact SMBs

You’ve likely already postulated this for yourself, but these search alterations hold the potential to have a sizable impact on the organic search traffic earned by a myriad of brands across an assortment of verticals; and not necessarily in a positive way.

Google, however, has opted to remain largely silent in face of these concerns from webmasters, only echoing that, “. . . Search is not just about answering your questions — it’s also about discovery.”

While these transitions are clearly aimed at enhancing the consumer experience of Google search, it is equally as crystalline that the search engine is seeking to boost the time that users spend interacting with the SERPs, with little to no regard for how this impacts the traffic businesses receive.

More than just providing additional information in-engine, many of these changes also consume more real estate onscreen, driving organic results further down the page.

Over time, this means that what may become more important than ranking highly in the SERPs is to develop and deliver informative content that gets used in Google’s featured snippets or Knowledge Panel. Doing this will not only give your page prominent placement within the SERPs, but the organic traffic you stand to gain from this positioning is likely to be a significant driver of site rankings.

The lesson to take from this is to craft the absolute best, most user-friendly, and deeply informative content that you can possibly muster. Keep your answers within these long-form pieces succinct so that Google can feature your answer as a snippet.

As Google continues its very clear evolution, website owners and marketers will need to bend and unfold right alongside the search engine if they wish to survive. Take these changes into account when formulating your content and SEO strategies as they can be useful guides in your site’s maturation process.

How do you think these changes will impact high-rankings sites? What other mobile-focused changes do you foresee coming down Google’s pipeline?