We Surveyed 1,400 Searchers About Google - Here's What We Learned
Posted by LilyRayNYCGoogle’s search results have seen a whirlwind of major changes in the past two years. Nearly every type of modern-day search queries produce a combination of rich results beyond the standard blue links — Featured Snippets, People Also Ask boxes, Knowledge Panels, maps, images, or other enhancements. It is now even possible to browse flights, hotels, jobs, events, and other searches that were previously only available via external websites, directly on Google.
As search marketers, we are keenly aware that both Google’s evolving landscape and the rise in new, rich results impact our bottom-line — more SERP enhancements and growth in “position 0” means less organic traffic for everyone else. Last year, Rand Fishkin posted a remarkable Whiteboard Friday pointing out the unsettling trend that has emerged from the updates to Google’s interface: there are fewer organic links to external websites as traffic flows to Google-owned assets within the SERP.
We often hear about how the digital marketing community feels about changes to Google’s interface, but it is less common to hear the opinions of the average searcher who is less technically-savvy. At Path Interactive, we conducted a survey of 1,400 respondents to better understand how they search, how they feel about Google’s search results, and the quality of information the search engine provides.
A note about our respondents
72 percent of respondents were based in the U.S., 8 percent in India, and 10 percent in Europe or the U.K. 67.8 percent considered themselves somewhat technically-savvy or not technically-savvy at all. 71.3 percent were under the age of 40.
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How Often Do Searchers Use Google to Find Things?
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the vast majority of respondents — 77 percent — use Google 3+ times a day to search for things online. The frequency of Google usage is also inversely correlated with age; 80 percent of 13–21-year-olds use Google more than three times per day, while only 60 percent of respondents over 60 searches with the same frequency.
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How often do searchers click ads vs. organic results?
As many previous studies have shown, the vast majority of searchers prefer clicking on organic results to clicking on advertisements. 72 percent of respondents...
The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building - Whiteboard Friday
Posted by randfishThe final episode in our six-part One-Hour Guide to SEO series deals with a topic that's a perennial favorite among SEOs: link building. Today, learn why links are important to both SEO and to Google, how Google likely measures the value of links, and a few key ways to begin earning your own.
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Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. We are back with our final part in the One-Hour Guide to SEO, and this week talking about why links matter to search engines, how you can earn links, and things to consider when doing link building.
Why are links important to SEO?
So we've discussed sort of how search engines rank pages based on the value they provide to users. We've talked about how they consider keyword use and relevant topics and content on the page. But search engines also have this tool of being able to look at all of the links across the web and how they link to other pages, how they point between pages.
So it turns out that Google had this insight early on that what other people say about you is more important, at least to them, than what you say about yourself. So you may say, "I am the best resource on the web for learning about web marketing." But it turns out Google is not going to believe you unless many other sources, that they also trust, say the same thing. Google's big innovation, back in 1997 and 1998, when Sergey Brin and Larry Page came out with their search engine, Google, was PageRank, this idea that by looking at all the links that point to all the pages on the internet and then sort of doing this recursive process of seeing which are the most important and most linked to pages, they could give each page on the web a weight, an amount of PageRank.
Then those pages that had a lot of PageRank, because many people linked to them or many powerful people linked to them, would then pass more weight on when they linked. That understanding of the web is still in place today. It's still a way that Google thinks about links. They've almost certainly moved on from the very simplistic PageRank formula that came out in the late '90s, but that thinking underlies everything they're doing.
How does Google measure the value of links?
Today, Google measures the value of links in many very...
Goodbye Keyword Tracking, Hello Semantic Indexing
If you work with an SEO strategist and want to have some fun with them, ask them to report on keyword metrics. It’s a question that’s likely to raise their blood pressure, because it provides a stilted view of the organic data on their end. On your end, it can create an obsession with individual keywords that can tie your campaign to the time-absorbing process of “boosting” a fallen keyword instead of to high-level SEO strategies.
Given that keyword research and selection is still an underpinning of almost every well-executed SEO strategy, it can be difficult to explain why individual keywords are hugely important from a process standpoint, but not from a measurement standpoint. I’m going to attempt it in this blog post. Here we go!
On-Page Optimization: Where Your Keyword Strategy Begins
Whether you work with a strategist or perform SEO yourself, your on-page optimization strategy likely begins with keyword mapping. This is the process of performing keyword research to find the 3-5 keywords per page that are an optimal combination of search volume (high), competition/difficulty (low), and relevance (high). Once the keyword research is performed for your priority pages, you should have a “map” of keywords that will provide you with insight into the architecture of your site and the way your content is (or will be) structured. This will help you fill in content gaps, reduce duplications, and decide if you need to split certain landing pages into distinct topics.
We’re not expecting a page to rank for 3-5 keywords alone.
We use keyword research to set healthy targets and give us a framework for optimization that has the highest possible likelihood of paying off, but here’s the fun part: we’re not expecting the page to rank for those 3-5 keywords alone. Instead, you can think of each keyword as a bucket that holds up to thousands of related keywords, questions and long-tail search queries. Aside from the obvious (paid vs unpaid), this “bucket” phenomenon, called Latent Semantic Indexing, is perhaps the biggest difference between SEO and PPC, and it’s why PPC is more well-suited to measuring keyword performance - for now. So if you’re used to tracking PPC campaigns, you’re going to have to throw a lot of your logic out the window to understand organic performance.
What is Latent Semantic Indexing?
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a document retrieval...
4 Unconventional Ways to Become a Better SEO
Posted by meagar8Let’s get real for a moment: As much as we hear about positive team cultures and healthy work environments in the digital marketing space, many of us encounter workplace scenarios that are far from the ideal. Some of us might even be part of a team where we feel discouraged to share new ideas or alternative solutions because we know it will be shot down without discussion. Even worse, there are some who feel afraid to ask questions or seek help because their workplace culture doesn’t provide a safe place for learning.
These types of situations, and many others like it, are present in far too many work environments. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way?
Over the last ten years as a team manager at various agencies, I’ve been working hard to foster a work environment where my employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and can safely learn from their mistakes. Through my experiences, I have found a few strategies to combat negative culture and replace it with a culture of vulnerability and creativity.
Below, I offer four simple steps you can follow that will transform your work environment into one that encourages new ideas, allows for feedback and positive change, and ultimately makes you and your team better digital marketers.
Vulnerability leads to creativity
I first learned about the impact of vulnerability after watching a viral TED talk by Dr. Brene Brown. She defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also described vulnerability as “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” From this, I learned that to create a culture of vulnerability is to create a culture of creativity. And isn’t creativity at the heart of what we SEOs do?
A culture of vulnerability encourages us to take risks, learn from mistakes, share insights, and deliver top results to our clients. In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, we simply cannot achieve top results with the tactics of yesterday. We also can’t sit around and wait for the next Moz Blog or marketing conference, either. Our best course of action is to take risks, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and share insights with others. We have to learn from those with more experience than us and share what we know to those with less experience. In other words, we have to be vulnerable.
Below is a list of four...
We Analyzed 12 Million Outreach Emails. Here’s What We Learned
We analyzed 12 million outreach emails to answer the question:
What’s working in the world of email outreach right now?
We looked at subject lines. We looked at personalization. We even looked at follow-up sequences.
Along with our data partner for this study, Pitchbox, we uncovered a number of interesting findings.
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
1. The vast majority of outreach messages are ignored. Only 8.5% of outreach emails receive a response.
2. Outreach emails with long subject lines have a 24.6% higher average response rate compared to those with short subject lines.
3. Follow-ups appear to significantly improve response rates. Emailing the same contact multiple times leads to 2x more responses.
4. Reaching out to multiple contacts can also lead to more success. The response rate of messages sent to several contacts is 93% higher than messages sent to a single person.
5. Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on outreach campaign results.
6. Personalizing outreach email body content also seems to be an effective way to increase response rates. Emails with personalized message bodies have a 32.7% better response rate than those that don’t personalize their messages.
7. Wednesday is the “best” day to send outreach emails. Saturday is the worst. However, we didn’t find an especially large difference in response rates between different days that messages were sent.
8. Linking to social profiles in email signatures may result in better response rates. Twitter was correlated with an 8.2% increase, LinkedIn an 11.5% increase, and Instagram a 23.4% increase.
9. The most successful outreach campaigns reach out to multiple contacts multiple times. Email sequences with multiple attempts and multiple contacts boost response rates by 160%.
10. Certain types of outreach get higher response rates than others. Outreach messages related to guest posting, roundups and links have an especially high response rate.
We have details and additional data from our study below.
Most Outreach Emails Are Ignored or Deleted
You may have heard that it’s challenging to get people to reply to cold outreach emails. According to our data, poor response rates do appear to be the norm.
In fact, we found that only 8.5% of all outreach emails receive a response.
This response rate is...
Copywriting: The Definitive Guide
This is the ultimate guide to writing AWESOME copy.
So if you want:
Then you’ll love the actionable copywriting tips in this guide.
Let’s dive right in.
The post Copywriting: The Definitive Guide appeared first on Backlinko.
We Analyzed 912 Million Blog Posts. Here’s What We Learned About Content Marketing
We analyzed 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing right now.
Specifically, we looked at how factors like content format, word count and headlines correlate with social media shares and backlinks.
With the help of our data partner BuzzSumo, we uncovered some very interesting findings.
And now it’s time to share what we discovered.
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
1. Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition.
2. When it comes to social shares, longer content outperforms short blog posts. However, we found diminishing returns for articles that exceed 2,000 words.
3. The vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks. In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.
4. A small percentage of “Power Posts” get a disproportionate amount of social shares. Specifically, 1.3% of articles generate 75% of all social shares.
5. We found virtually no correlation between backlinks and social shares. This suggests that there’s little crossover between highly-shareable content and content that people link to.
6. Longer headlines are correlated with more social shares. Headlines that are 14-17 words in length generate 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.
7. Question headlines (titles that end with a “?”) get 23.3% more social shares than headlines that don’t end with a question mark.
8. There’s no “best day” to publish a new piece of content. Social shares are distributed evenly among posts published on different days of the week.
9. Lists posts are heavily shared on social media. In fact, list posts get an average of 218% more shares than “how to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.
10. Certain content formats appear to work best for acquiring backlinks. We found that “Why Posts”, “What Posts” and infographics received 25.8% more links compared to videos and “How-to” posts.
11. The average blog post gets 9.7x more shares than a post published on a B2B site. However, the distribution of shares and links for B2B and B2C publishers appears to be similar.
We have detailed data and information of our findings below.
Long-Form Content Generates More Backlinks Than Short Blog Posts
When it comes to acquiring backlinks, long-form content significantly outperforms short blog posts and...
Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide 
This is the most comprehensive guide to Ecommerce SEO online.
In this expert-written guide you’ll learn everything you need to know about optimizing your ecommerce site, from keyword research to technical SEO to link building.
So if you’re looking to get more targeted traffic (and customers) from search, you’ll love this guide.
Let’s dive right in.
The post Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide  appeared first on Backlinko.