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Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Most Underutilized Microsoft Advertising Features

July 31, 2020 No Comments

Get the best for your campaigns by testing these underutilized Microsoft Advertising features, as chosen by Microsoft themselves.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Podcasts and internet marketing: Are you missing the boat?

July 31, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The drive to be more productive, the thirst to learn something new – these are the primary reasons behind the rising popularity of podcasts.
  • One in every four Americans over the age of 12 listens to podcasts religiously. 
  • Podcasts’ share of the ear is projected to increase by 120% in the next few years, with the total number of listeners exceeding 100 million by 2021.
  • But how exactly can you use podcasts to boost your internet marketing campaign?
  • How can you ensure that creating audio content is a rewarding investment for your particular business? 
  • Internet marketing specialist, Nasirabadi Reza, decode the answers to a lot of these key questions. Hop on!

Not so long ago, commuting was my favorite part of the day. Driving and traffic jams aside, it was the time when I could relax my mind. With music blasting on the car’s audio system (which I had specially upgraded – just so you know), I would zone out and temporarily free myself from thinking about all the workload/household chores waiting for me at the end of the journey.

But then that wave of boosting productivity, managing time, and whatnot hit. And I found myself trading my playlist for podcasts.

Make no mistake, commuting is still my favorite part of the day, but not because the idleness is a welcome change.  

I now love the commute because it’s the most enriching part of my day. Every day is a new learning experience as I tune in to a marketing podcast and get deeper insights into my line of work. If I am not in the mood for that, I just switch to a radio drama or a talk show instead and get entertained on the go. 

People in innumerable quantities all around the world are showing a similar change in preferences.  

And for marketers, this presents the next growth opportunity as podcasting promises to open the door to the future. 

Podcasts paving the path to the future of internet marketing

The drive to be more productive, the thirst to learn something new – these are the primary reasons behind the rising popularity of podcasts. Of course, their convenience and accessibility, and the fact that podcasts present the info in easily digestible pieces, make them all the more crowd-pleasing.  

In the U.S. alone, there were reported to be around 75 million podcast listeners during the last year. One in every four Americans over the age of 12 listens to podcasts religiously. And the trend has only started to pick up pace.  

Based on statistical analysis, podcasts’ share of the ear is projected to increase by 120% in the next few years, with the total number of listeners exceeding 100 million by 2021.

But how exactly can you use podcasts to boost your marketing campaign? How can you leverage these findings in your favor? And how can you ensure that creating audio content is a rewarding investment for your particular business? 

These were the main questions that came up in a discussion with a few of my fellow workers when we sat down to reconsider our branding strategies. One of them held the staunch belief that podcasting works for media brands only.  

When a logical explanation couldn’t convince him, that’s when I had to pull out my phone and show him various non-media brands that have successfully integrated podcast marketing into their internet marketing campaigns. 

If you share a similar viewpoint or are still confused about how podcasting can benefit your brand, consider the following businesses that continue to gain popularity amongst the masses by jumping onto the podcasting bandwagon. 

Examples of brands using podcast marketing

1. General Electric

If you aren’t already aware of ‘The Message’ and ‘Life After’, you must be thinking, “wait, an electric company promoting machines and tech-solutions through podcasts?”

As absurd as it may sound, that’s still happening nonetheless.  

‘The Message’ and ‘Life After’ are two series of a science fiction podcast that follows a journalistic style. The first series follows the work of scientists trying to decode extraterrestrial messages using high-end technology developed by- yes you guessed it – General Electric.

Talk about marketers whose creativity knows no bounds.

The second podcast series has a different storyline, but the same method for bringing GE’s products into the public eye. 

This is an incredible technique to create brand awareness not just among the products’ direct buyers, but way beyond. 

The use of podcasting to promote your business is limited only by your imagination. And these audio dramas created by General Electric are the ultimate proof of this statement. 

2. McDonald’s

McDonald’s podcast marketing serves as a great example for companies that might fall prey to public relations (PR) problems.

Remember the saga of the Szechuan sauce? The special sauce was being sold at McDonald’s outlets for a limited time period when things went out of control. People started fighting with each other to get their share of the popular sauce eventually creating a bad image for the retail chain for poor management and not creating a sufficiently large batch in the first place. 

McDonald’s took an ingenious approach to address the issue and restoring the damage done to its brand image.  

The highly popular yet super-limited Szechuan sauce became the subject of an investigative podcast called ‘The Sauce.’ 

Consisting of just three parts, the series might have been short, but it effectively used the power of audio content to rebuild the brand image in no time. 

Keep in mind this brilliant marketing hack from McDonald’s for times when a seemingly minor customer complaint starts to wreak havoc for your business by going viral. 

3. Sephora collection

Sephora launched a podcast titled #LIPSTORIES in partnership with Girlboss Radio. The main aim was to celebrate the company’s line of lipsticks.  

Each episode of the series revolved around women who either served as an inspiration behind the product or other influential female workers who were inspired by the product itself.  

This is a powerful example for businesses trying to upsell their goods or services while establishing a positive image among their customers at the same time.  

Podcasts that you definitely need to listen

If you are unsure how to get started on podcast marketing, consider tuning in to the following channels to let the tricks of the trade:  

1. IdeaCast by HBR

Who wouldn’t be interested in reading Harvard Business Review? But it can be hard to find the time. If that’s the case, you can explore new ideas and actionable advice on innovation and market leadership by signing up at IdeaCast – HBR’s official podcasting channel. These informative podcasts are based on interviews with renowned entities such as Eric Schmidt and focus on bringing something new in every episode. 

2. Outside In

The Outside In podcast aims to reveal the secrets behind some of the world’s most renowned brands. It discusses their customer-centered approach and gives listeners deep insight into how they can implement those strategies on their own. 

Blogging might still be the favored technique for content marketing. But you cannot simply deny the fact that podcasting is climbing the charts incredibly fast. It is a viable marketing channel that you can easily leverage in your business’s favor.  

Nasirabadi Reza is an internet marketing specialist with a passion for writing and sharing valuable insights gained through years of experience in the industry. He manages the content delivery hub at Zigma and is dedicated to creating smart strategies for clients who want to take their business to the next level. Reza can be found at @MarketingZigma.

The post Podcasts and internet marketing: Are you missing the boat? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Twitter finally bans former KKK leader, David Duke

July 31, 2020 No Comments

Twitter has confirmed it has permanently banned the account of David Duke, former leader of white supremacist hate group the Ku Klux Klan.

Duke had operated freely on its platform for years — amassing a following of around 53k and recently tweeting his support for president Trump to be re-elected. Now his @DrDavidDuke account page leads to an ‘account suspension’ notification (screengrabbed below).

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the ban on Duke is permanent, emailing us this brief statement:

The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct. This enforcement action is in line with our recently-updated guidance on harmful links.

While the move has been welcomed by anti-nazis everywhere, no one is rejoicing at how long it took Twitter to kick the KKK figurehead. The company has long claimed a policy prohibiting hateful conduct on its platform, while simultaneously carrying on a multi-year journey toward actually enforcing its own rules.

Over the years, Twitter’s notorious passivity in acting on policy-defined ‘acceptable behavior’ limits allowed abuse and toxic hate speech to build and bloom essentially unchecked — eventually forcing the company to commit to cleaning up its act to try to stop users from fleeing in horror. (Not a great definition of leadership by anyone’s standards as we pointed out back in 2017.)

Roll on a few more years and Twitter has been slowly shifting up its enforcement gears, with a push in 2018 toward what CEO Jack Dorsey dubbed “conversational health“, and further expansions to its hateful conduct policy. Enforcement has still been patchy and/or chequered. But appears to have stepped up markedly this year — which kicked off with a ban on a notorious UK right-wing hate preacher.

Twitter’s 2020 enforcement mojo may have a fair bit to do with the pandemic. In March, with concern spiking over COVID-19 misinformation spreading online, Twitter tweaked its rules to zero in on harmful link spreading (aka “malicious URLs” as it calls them), as a step to combat coronavirus scammers.

So it looks like public health risks have finally helped concentrate minds at Twitter HQ around enforcement — and everyone (still) on its platform is better for it.

In recent weeks Twitter has cracked down on the right-wing conspiracy theory group, Qanon, banning 7,000 accounts earlier this month. It also finally found a way to respond to US president Trump’s abuse of its platform as a conduit for broadcasting violent threats and trying to stir up a race war (and spread political disinformation) by applying screens and fact-check labels to offending Trump tweets.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, has also had temporary restrictions applied to his account this month after he shared a video which makes false and potentially life-threatening claims about the coronavirus pandemic.

That looks like a deliberate warning shot across Trump’s bows — to say that while Twitter might not be willing to ban the president himself (given his public office), it sure as hell will kick his son into touch if he steps over the line.

Twitter’s policy on link-blocking states the company may take action to limit the spread of links which relate to a number of content categories, including terrorism, violence and hateful conduct, in addition to those pointing to other bad stuff such as malware and spam. The policy further notes: “Accounts dedicated to sharing content which we block, or which attempt to circumvent a block on the sharing a link, may be subject to additional enforcement action, including suspension.”

Twitter had previously said Duke hadn’t been banned because he’d left the KKK, per the Washington Times. So it looks as if he got the banhammer for essentially being a malicious URL node in slithering human form, by using his account to spread links to content that preached his gospel of hate.

Which makes for a nice silver lining on the pandemic storm cloud.

Much like similar right-wing hate spreaders, Duke also used his Twitter account to bully and harass critics — by being able to direct a nazi troll army of Twitter supporters to target individuals with abuse and try to get their accounts suspended via tricking Twitter’s systems through mass reporting their tweets.

Safe to say, Duke, like all nazis, won’t be missed.

Also doubtless concentrating minds at Twitter on standing up for its own community standards is the #StopHateForProfit ad boycott that’s been taking place this month, with multiple high profile advertisers withdrawing spend across major social media platforms as an objection to their failure to boot out hate speech. 


Social – TechCrunch


Entity Seeking Queries and Semantic Dependency Trees

July 31, 2020 No Comments

Entity Seeking Queries and Semantic Dependency Trees

Queries for some searches may be entity seeking queries.

Someone may ask something like, “What is the hotel that looks like a sail.” That query may be looking for an entity that is the building, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Those entities may be identified in Semantic Dependency Trees, that answer the question in the query (example below)

Other queries are not entity seeking queries, and don’t look for answers about specific entities, such as “What is the weather today?” The answer to that query might respond to “The weather will be between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, and sunny today.”

Actions May Accompany Queries that Seek Entities

Google was granted a patent about answering entity seeking queries.

The process under the patent may perform particular actions for queries that seek one or more entities.

One action the system may perform involves:

  • Identifying one or more types of entities that a query is seeking
  • Determining whether the query is seeking one specific entity or potentially multiple entities

For example, the process may determine that a query of “What is the hotel that looks like a sail” is looking for a single entity that is a hotel.

In another example, the system may determine that a query “What restaurants nearby serve omelets” seeks potentially multiple entities that are restaurants.

An additional or alternative action the system may perform may include finding a most relevant entity or entities of the identified one or more types, and presenting what is identified to the user if sufficiently relevant to the query. For example, the system may identify that the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is an entity that is a hotel and is sufficiently relevant to the terms “looks like a sail,” and, in response, audibly output synthesized speech of “Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.”

Additional Dialog about a Query to Concatenate an Entity Seeking Query

Yet another addition or alternative action may include initiating a dialog with the user for more details about the entities that are sought.

For example, the system may determine that a query is seeking a restaurant and there may be two entities that are restaurants are very relevant to the terms in the query and, in response, ask the searcher “Can you give me more details” and concatenate additional input from the user to the original query and re-execute the concatenated query.

Identifying SubQueries of Entity Seeking Queries

Another additional or alternative action may include identifying subqueries of a query which are entity-seeking, and using the above actions to answer the subquery, and then replacing the subqueries by their answers in the original query to obtain a partially resolved query which can be executed.

For example, the system may receive a query of “Call the hotel that looks like a sail,” determine that “the hotel that looks like a sail” is a subquery that seeks an entity, determine an answer to the subquery is “Burj Al Arab Jumeirah,” in response replace “the hotel that looks like a sail” in the query with “The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah” to obtain a partially resolved query of “Call the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah,” and then executes the partially resolved query.

Looking at Previous Queries

Another additional or alternative action may include identifying that a user is seeking entities and adapting how the system resolve queries accordingly.

For example, the system may determine that sixty percent of the previous five queries that a user searched for in the past two minutes sought entities and, in response, determine that a next query that a user provides is more likely an entity seeking query, and process the query accordingly.

An Advantage From Following this Process

An advantage may be more quickly resolving queries in a manner that satisfies a searcher.

For example, the system may be able to immediately provide an actual answer of “The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah” for the query “What hotel looks like a sail” where another system may instead provide a response of “no results found” or provide a response that is a search result listing for the query.

Entity Seeking Queries and Semantic Dependency Trees

Entity Seeking Queries
Another advantage may be that the process may be able to more efficiently identify an entity sought by a query. For example, it may determine an entity seeking query is looking for an entity of the type “hotel” and, in response, limit a search to only entities that are hotels instead of searching across multiple entities including entities that are not hotels.

Entities in Semantic Dependency Trees

Semantic Dependency Tree

This is an interesting approach to an entity seeking queries. Determining an entity type that may correspond to an entity sought by a query based on a term represented by a root of a dependency tree includes:

Determining the term represented by the root of the dependency tree represents a type of entity.

Determining an entity type that corresponds to an entity sought by the query based on a term represented by a root of the dependency tree includes:

Identifying a node in the tree that represents a term that represents a type of entity
Includes a direct child that represents a term that indicates an action to perform.
In response to determining that the root represents a term that represents and type of entity and includes a direct child that represents a term that indicates an action, identifying the root.

In some implementations, identifying a particular entity based on both the entity type and relevance of the entity to the terms in the query includes:

  • Determining a relevance threshold based on the entity type
  • Determining a relevance score of the particular entity based on the query satisfies the relevance threshold
  • In response to determining the relevance score of the particular entity based on the query satisfies the relevance threshold, identifying the particular entity

This patent on Entity Seeking Queries can be found at:

Answering Entity-Seeking Queries
Inventors: Mugurel Ionut Andreica, Tatsiana Sakhar, Behshad Behzadi, Marcin M. Nowak-Przygodzki, and Adrian-Marius Dumitran
US Patent Application: 20190370326
Published: December 5, 2019
Filed: May 29, 2018

Abstract

In some implementations, a query that includes a sequence of terms is obtained, the query is mapped, based on the sequence of the terms, to a dependency tree that represents dependencies among the terms in the query, an entity type that corresponds to an entity sought by the query is determined based on a term represented by a root of the dependency tree, a particular entity is identified based on both the entity type and relevance of the entity to the terms in the query, and a response to the query is provided based on the particular entity that is identified.

Mapping a Query to a Semantic Dependency Tree

A process that handles entity seeking queries

This process includes:

  • A query mapper that maps a query including a sequence of terms to a semantic dependency tree
  • An entity type identifier that may determine an entity type based on the semantic dependency tree
  • An entity identifier that may receive the query
  • The entity type that is determined
  • Data from various data stores and identify an entity
  • Subquery resolver that may partially resolve the query based on the entity that is identified
  • Query responder that may provide a response to the query

An Example Semantic Dependency Tree

This is how a Semantic Dependency Tree may be constructed:

  1. A semantic dependency tree for a query may be a graph that includes nodes
  2. Each node represents one or more terms in a query
  3. Directed edges originating from a first node and ending at a second node may indicate that the one or more terms represented by the first node are modified by the one or more terms represented by the second node
  4. A node at which an edge ends may be considered a child of a node from which the edge originates
  5. A root of a semantic dependency tree may be a node representing one or more terms that do not modify other terms in a query and are modified by other terms in the query
  6. A semantic dependency tree may only include a single root

An Entity Type Identifier

An entity type identifier may determine an entity type that corresponds to an entity sought by the query based on a term represented by a root of the semantic dependency tree.

For example, the entity type identifier may determine an entity type of “Chinese restaurant” that corresponds to an sought by the query “Call the Chinese restaurant on Piccadilly Street 15” based on the term “Chinese restaurant” represented by the root of the semantic dependency tree.

In another example, the entity type identifier may determine an entity type of “song” for the query “play the theme song from the Titanic” based on the term “play” represented by the root of the semantic dependency tree for the query not representing an entity type and determining that the root has a child that represents the terms “the theme song” which does represent an entity type of “song.”

Entities from a Location History of a Searcher

The entity identifier may extract all the entities from a mobile location history of a searcher which have a type identified by the entity type identifier, such as hotels, restaurants, universities, etc. along with extracting features associated to each such entity such as the time intervals when the user visited the entity or was near the entity, or how often each entity was visited or the user was near the entity.

Entities from a Past Interaction History of a Searcher

In addition to that location history, the entity identifier may extract all the entities that the user was interested in their past interactions that have a type identified by the entity type identifier, such as:

  • Movies that the user watched
  • Songs that the user listened to
  • Restaurants that the user looked up and showed interest in or booked
  • Hotels that the user booked
  • Etc.

Confidence in Relevance for Entity Seeing Queries

The patent also tells us that the entity identify may obtain a relevance score for each entity that reflects a confidence that the entity is sought to be the query.

The relevance score may be determined based on one or more of the features extracted from the data stores that led to the set of entities being identified, the additional features extracted for each entity in the set of entities, and the features extracted from the query.


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The Pandemic Put Amazon in a Prime Position

July 31, 2020 No Comments

This week, we list the Amazon Prime benefits you don’t know about, and tell you how to take advantage of them while you shelter in place.
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Early LinkedIn Conversation Ads Results

July 30, 2020 No Comments

This post discusses the new ad type for LinkedIn, Conversation Ads! It also includes a brief update on early test results from testing this new ad type.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Hearsay, maker of compliant tools for financial services, deepens ties with Salesforce

July 29, 2020 No Comments

Financial services companies like banks and insurance tend to be heavily regulated. As such, they require a special level of security and auditability. Hearsay, which makes compliant communications tools for these types of companies, announced a new partnership with Salesforce today, enabling smooth integration with Salesforce CRM and marketing automation tools.

The company also announced that Salesforce would be taking a minority stake in Hearsay, although company co-founder and CEO Clara Shih, did not provide any details on that part of the announcement.

Shih says the company created the social selling category when it launched 10 years ago. Today, it provides a set of tools like email, messaging and websites along with a governance layer to help financial services companies interact with customers in a compliant way. Their customers are primarily in banking, insurance, wealth management and mortgages.

She said that they realized if they could find a way to share the data they were collecting with the Hearsay tool set with CRM and marketing automation software in an automated way, it would make greater use of this information than it could on its own. To that end, they have created a set of APIs to enable that with some built-in connectors. The first one will be to connect Hearsay to Salesforce, with plans to add other vendors in the future.

“It’s about being able to connect [data from Hearsay] with the CRM system of record, and then analyzing it across thousands, if not tens of thousands of advisors or bankers in a single company, to uncover best practices. You could then use that information like GPS driving directions that help every advisor behave in the moment and reach out in the moment like the very best advisor would,” Shih explained.

In practice, this means sharing the information with the customer data platform (CDP), the CRM and marketing automation tooling to deliver more intelligent targeting based on a richer body of information. So the advisor can use information gleaned from everything he or she knows about the client across the set of tools to deliver a more meaningful personal message instead of a targeted ad or an email blast. As Shih points out, the ad might even make sense, but could be tone deaf depending on the circumstances.

“What we focus on is this human-client experience, and that can only be delivered in the last mile because it’s only with the advisor that many clients will confide in these very important life events and life decisions, and then conversely, it’s only in the last mile that the trusted advisor can deliver relationship advice,” she said.

She says what they are trying to do by combining streams of data about the customer is build loyalty in a way that pure technology solutions just aren’t capable of doing. As she says, nobody says they are switching banks because it has the best chat bot.

Hearsay was founded in 2009 and has raised $ 51 million, as well as whatever other money Salesforce will be adding to the mix with today’s investment. Other investors include Sequoia and NEA Associates. Its last raise was way back in 2013, a $ 30 million Series C.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


10 Reasons why marketers use data to make budgeting decisions

July 29, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Bear in mind that no marketing strategy has ever succeeded without the complex mix of data analysis and smart budgeting decisions.
  • Marketers face the tough challenge of data-driven decision-making to craft the most profitable and effective marketing plan possible.  
  • Budgeting is a crucial part of any marketing strategy.
  • Because of the growing benefits of using big data to bolster marketing strategies, expenses spent on analytics are expected to climb 200% over the next three years.
  • Here’s a quick look at 10 ways that enable you to use data for crafting profitable marketing plans. 

Creating a marketing strategy isn’t just about rolling out advertisements— marketing has evolved with the times. No longer are businesses confined to print and radio advertising, but they now also have a multitude of online options to choose from, like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, paid search, and paid social marketing. 

Bear in mind that no marketing strategy has ever succeeded without the complex mix of data analysis and smart budgeting decisionsMarketers can use data to identify problems or issues in campaigns and budgeting. Data are also a fundamental factor in understanding SEO, developing software, and interpreting customer feedback, among other aspects of online marketing.  

Data complexity is one of the biggest challenges for marketers right now. Marketers face the tough challenge of data-driven decision-making to craft the most profitable and effective marketing plan possible.  

Planning ahead: Budgeting in the context of marketing strategies 

What makes a successful marketing campaign lies in the money it reels in for the company. You can tell that your promotional strategies are working when traffic and direct sales are rising. This can be determined by your return on investment (ROI), that is, when the money you invested returns a profit. 

This is why budgeting is a key element of any marketing strategy. No successful business sets goals without first considering if they can afford to take them on. Whether you’re a start-up or a long-time business, your current budget influences your future financial goals and gains.  

Learning how to wisely allocate your resources can both save and earn you a lot of money. Businesses that don’t consider their budget when crafting a marketing plan may find themselves in over their heads, spending too much on unnecessary things without getting the necessary kickback. Businesses may also end up in debt and with lower customer satisfaction if they fail to plan their budget smartly.  

Using data to cash in on your investments 

One way to plan your marketing budget wisely is to base it on data. A data-driven approach to crafting marketing strategies can help you make smarter budgeting decisions 

Because of the growing benefits of using big data to bolster marketing strategies, expenses spent on analytics are expected to climb 200% over the next three years. Marketers can use a wide array of information to create suitable marketing and budgeting plans. This includes data analysis about their audience, competitors, and their own past business efforts. 

All these data-crunching can seem daunting at first, but there are simple ways to explain how using data can help you make better marketing and budgeting decisions. The 10 tips below will teach you how to use data to craft a profitable marketing plan: 

1. Identify your financial goals 

First, set your financial goals, both long-term and short-term. How much revenue do you want and how many sales would it take to reach it? How do these objectives tie in with your brand vision and values? Although a good measure of business success is profit, don’t forget to stay grounded in your company’s mission and your consumers’ needs. 

To identify your financial goals, look back at your previous short-term and long-term goals and how much of these you have achieved. Also, take into consideration your current financial standing before making any grand projections of your business in the future. 

2. Refer to your sales funnel 

Knowing where your consumers stand is a fundamental part of marketing strategies. This refers to a sales funnel, a series of steps someone has to make to purchase your product. An example of this would be asking yourself how much money you spend on acquiring new customers and if your efforts pay off. 

You can use analytics software to set up funnels that show the process that your audience goes through before deciding to buy your product. This can help you prioritize your budgeting decisions to focus on boosting conversion rates.

3. Review past campaigns 

Using analytics, you can also review past marketing or SEO campaigns to see where you succeeded and failed. An example of this is comparing data from your various modes of advertising. This can help you see what’s most effective, in terms of reach and conversion.  

4. Check out the competition 

You can also use data on your competitors to find out what marketing strategy is most profitable in your industry. Check out your competition’s advertising methods, and investigate how much they invest in certain areas. This can help influence your own budgeting planning process, in terms of focusing on what works for your industry. 

5. List down your projected costs 

When setting a marketing budget, you need to outline your projected operational costs. Data on previous expenditures and present prices of services like web hosting, professional fees, ad pricing are crucial to correctly calculating your projected costs.  

6. Set an achievable schedule 

One aspect of creating a marketing strategy is setting an achievable timeline. The amount of time you will spend developing a campaign can also influence the budget planning process. Generally, the less time you spend, the less money you’ll spend too; an overdue project is likely to go over the budget.  

Ensure that when scheduling, you’re giving enough leeway for your team to prioritize important aspects of the campaign and respond to unexpected situations. You can use information from past marketing plans (that is, resource availability vis-a-vis the time needed to complete planning), to determine how much time you usually spend. Then base your new timeline on this, considering new factors, if any. 

7. Use scenario-building tools

If you’re daunted by the amount of data you have to consolidate and interpret when budgeting, you can use scenario-building tools to run multiple budget scenarios. Scenario-building tools will show you various virtual spending situations that can assist you in your real-life budget planning process. 

Using this data-driven approach to budgeting, you’ll be sure to make better budgeting decisions with regard to choosing the best budget scenario that will drive maximum ROI. 

8. Focus on the right platforms

Speaking of what works in your industry, make sure you’re investing in the right platforms. The proper platform depends on the product you offer and the market you cater to. What marketing strategy reels in the most conversion or leads for your business? Is it e-mail marketing or is it social media and PPC? 

For example, collecting data regarding social media use, that is, who uses which platform, how much time they spend on a specific site, and other sorts of granular data can help you determine where to place your advertisements. Promoting on a website that your market regularly visits turns a bigger profit than on platforms irrelevant to your consumers. 

9. Consider predictive analytics

You can also utilize the power of predictive analytics which uses historical data and machine learning to foresee your brand’s future performance. It sounds complicated, but you can actually use analytics tools to help you make sense of the vast amounts of data.  

Based on your own historical data, predictive analytics can help you detect future business and security risks, optimize campaigns, and improve budgeting decisions 

10. Measure your performance regularly 

Aside from trying to predict your brand’s performance, you can also use analytics to tell how your users are currently responding to your campaign. Using social media analytics and social media listening, you’ll be able to see how your audience perceives your brand. This information can help you optimize your campaign to respond to user feedback and reach your target goals. 

A data-driven approach to budgeting decisions can help propel your business forward by utilizing the best mix of resource allocation to drive maximum ROI. Don’t let the complexity of data analysis and analytics scare you into thinking that they’re too hard to understand and analyze. In a world where data is considered as the next oil by business leaders, you’ll be glad to have analytics in your arsenal. 

The post 10 Reasons why marketers use data to make budgeting decisions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Nine mistakes to avoid when contacting websites for backlinks

July 29, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A backlink is a link that directs visitors from another website to yours.
  • Obtaining backlinks is fundamental to improving your sites search engine ranking, the best ranking sites have thousands of backlinks.
  • While backlinks are important, they are not easy to get and the outreach process can be timely and expensive.
  • There are a common set of guidelines to follow when looking to obtain backlinks. However, these guidelines are often breached, impacting a sites ability to get more backlinks.

Anyone who knows anything about boosting a website’s SEO and earning the praise of the Google Gods knows the importance of backlinks. Not only do backlinks send more traffic to your site, but they help you gain notoriety as an authority in your industry.  

Some backlinks are gained organically, which means one website stumbles upon the amazing content on your web page and links to it without you asking. Others are gained by paying, providing content, or begging and pleading.  

Backlinks are not an easy job 

Let’s be honest, earning backlinks as a newbie or start-up isn’t easy. It sometimes takes years to gain the type of authority and notoriety that makes other websites willingly backlink to you as a resource. So, while you’re gaining traction, building SEO, and working your way to the top, you may need to take a different approach. 

This is where soliciting other websites for backlinks comes into play. With millions of websites crowding the internet, there are plenty in desperate need of quality content. So, what does that mean for you?  

You offer to write a quality, content-driven article (more on this later) free of charge for a website to use on their blog. You might be thinking, “What? Why would I write an article for free?” Well, when you slip a backlink to your website into the article, you’re increasing the chances that you’ll see a boost in traffic and SEO.  

But, as the old saying goes, nothing worth having in life is truly free.  

This is why, in addition to the time it takes you to write the article, you may need to pay a publishing fee. Websites know how valuable backlinks are and they’re not afraid to charge you for them. 

Not sure that jumping through all of these hoops is worth it? Well, it is and we’re about to tell you why.  

What are backlinks? 

Simply put, a backlink is a link that directs visitors from another website to yours. Think of it as a reference. Backlinks are mostly found in informative blog posts. If you’ve ever clicked on blue, highlighted words in an article, and found yourself redirected to another website, you just clicked on a backlink. And chances are, that website owner paid for that link.  

You can get backlinks in a few different ways. The easiest way is to pay the publishing site to place a backlink in an existing article. This method is generally cheaper and requires less work on your part. But, you have less control over the anchor text or the article’s content. If you don’t care, great! But if you want more control over your backlinks, you’ll need to provide the content yourself.  

That means writing a blog post with a link to your website embedded naturally and contextually. Some websites post the content with your backlink on their page free of charge. These are usually websites with low domain authority in need of content to fill their pages.  

While these backlinks aren’t as valuable to your site, a backlink is a backlink and even ones from low ranking sites can help boost your SEO.  

If you’re shooting for more high-profile websites with high domain authority, you’ll need to provide both the content and pay a publishing fee.  

The fees are usually outlined in the publishing site’s guest post criteria and can range anywhere from $ 30 to hundreds, so be prepared to shell out some cold hard cash.   

Why are backlinks important?

So, why do website owners pay money (or provide free content) to receive a backlink? Backlinks are actually a much more cost-effective way to advertise your business or website. By making a single investment, you could gain thousands of visitors that convert to sales.  

Increased traffic on your website also helps boost your SEO and your ranking on the SERPs (search engine results page). But that’s not all. Backlinks are like a glowing recommendation from a well-known professional in your field. When a high-ranking website backlinks to yours it gives you more credibility. In time, this will increase your domain authority.  

The number of referring domains is one of the first things Google considers when ranking your site. The more you have, the higher your site will rank on the SERPs. 

Proof that backlinks work

Still not convinced that backlinks are worth your time or investment? 

Websites with more than 300 referring domains are much more likely to rank in the number one spot than, let’s say, a website with only 50 backlinks.  

The quality of your backlinks is just as important as the quantity. The higher the domain authority of the referring website, the better it is for your SEO and ranking. For example, if you’re someone designing a new sports beverage, you’re much more likely to gain traction with an endorsement from a professional athlete like Shaq than you would be from a high school basketball coach. 

Major mistakes to avoid when contacting websites for backlinks

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what backlinks are and why they’re so important, you’re probably ready to run out and start contacting publishing websites, right? Not so fast.

Publishing sites are inundated every day with websites looking for backlinks. Not only does your article need to stand out from the crowd, but you need to follow some basic guidelines. Some guidelines are common sense etiquette and professionalism while others are specifically outlined by the publisher.  

Do your research before pitching to a website. In addition, avoid these nine mistakes.  

1. Don’t haggle over the price

There’s nothing more insulting to a blogger than having someone try to beat down their posting price. Some blogs advertise a specific price for getting a backlink on their website. Others welcome free content and give you a link as a “thank you”. For those that charge a flat fee, be careful how much haggling you do. If the price is $ 100 to post, don’t offer them $ 50. You won’t get very far and you may burn some bridges along the way. 

That’s not to say that asking for a small discount is always out of line. If it feels appropriate, ask for 5 or 10% off the price – but don’t be surprised if they decline.  

Remember, you aren’t the only person willing to pay for backlinks and you won’t be the last. You’re a dime a dozen. Don’t blow your chances for getting a backlink on a reputable site with a high-domain over a few dollars. If your link successfully posts, the investment will pay for itself ten-fold. 

2. Don’t create over promotional content

There’s no denying that backlinks are a form of self-promotion, but when your content is over-promotional, both the blogger and the readers will pick up on it right away. No one likes to read an article riddled with countless links.  

They’re an eyesore and take away from the content’s value. When creating a post to pitch to a publishing site, focus on the customer experience, not your own agenda. 

What are the customer’s pain points and how does your content address them? Are you providing valuable, credible content that answers your reader’s burning questions? There are countless ways to include your backlink in the article without hitting the reader over the head with it. Publishers want content-driven submissions, not a sales pitch.  

3. Don’t ignore the blogger’s criteria

Rules were made for a reason – and the guidelines bloggers have for guest post submissions have a purpose. If the website you’re pitching to has specific criteria for submitting, follow it.

Similar to a job application, provide all the required information and follow the structured guidelines. It’s hard enough for bloggers to weed through countless emails and pitches – if yours breaks even one rule, it’ll get tossed aside without a second thought. 

The most common guidelines surround the length of the article, what to include in the initial email (bio, headshot, and other details), the format (Google Doc, PDF file), and the submission process.  

Read all of these guidelines before submitting your work. Not doing so will be a waste of time for both you and the blogger you’re pitching to. 

4. Adhere to the word count

Another important guideline that many publishing sites will give you is the word count of the articles. The average length of a blog post is about 2,000.  This isn’t just a number that the bloggers pulled out of thin air.  

Google prefers blog posts over 2,000 pages. New data suggests that 2,100 to 2,400 words is the ideal length for boosting SEO. They often provide the most value to readers. But that’s not to say that posts between 500 and 2,000 words have no place on the Internet. There are plenty of readers who prefer a short, concise, and to-the-point article that’s only 1,000 words or less. 

Trust that the blogger you’re pitching to have done their research and selected a specific length of all submissions for a reason. Don’t disregard their request. Avoid submitting articles that are way over or way under the word count. Also, avoid adding useless information (fluff) just to reach the word count. Publishing websites will see right through this and likely reject your article, costing you a backlink and much-needed exposure. 

5. Stuffing your content with backlinks

One per customer – that’s the theory behind including backlinks in an article. If you successfully pitch your idea or article to a publishing website, most allow one backlink to a page on your site. Not four, five, or ten. Don’t stuff your article with backlinks. Not only does it look sloppy and unprofessional, but it hurts your credibility and the legitimacy of the article. 

Remember, you should be creating content-driven articles that include helpful information. Backlinks should be included in a discrete and meaningful way. When an article is riddled with links, readers are much less likely to read the entire thing and it’s even more unlikely that they’ll click on any of the links. A few links scattered throughout an article are much more attractive and won’t overwhelm the reader (or annoy the blogger you’re pitching to). 

6. Pitching to irrelevant websites

Not staying in your lane is another major mistake to avoid when contacting bloggers for a backlink. When you approach a blogger in an industry that’s not relevant to yours, it shows carelessness. You clearly didn’t research the publishing site. It appears as if you’ve just mass-emailed a list of websites that accept guest posts. And you can guarantee that the publishing website will give you as much time and attention as you gave the research process. Zero. 

If you’re a property management company, you shouldn’t be contacting bloggers in the fashion or beauty industry. Stick with real estate websites or even companies that offer financial or loan advice. Make sure that the relationship makes sense before contacting the websites. 

7. Hounding the blogger

There’s something to be said about following up with a website after pitching your article idea. Follow-up emails show responsibility, eagerness, and a certain level of professionalism. Contacting the blogger more than two times or hounding them for a response, on the other hand, screams desperation.  

Once you initially make contact with the website, wait a few days before sending a follow-up email. When you do, indicate that you just want to confirm that they received your submission or ask if there’s any additional information they’d like. If they don’t answer after this second attempt, give it up and move on. It either means your article idea wasn’t a good fit at this time, the content wasn’t up to snuff, or perhaps they’re not interested in backlinking to your website. 

All of these reasons are legitimate. Don’t take it personally. Accept that it’s a dead-end and start pitching to other websites. 

8. Rambling in the initial email

We get it. You’re excited for the opportunity to post on a blogger’s site. You want that backlink. But it’s important to remain calm, cool, and collected – and that means avoiding overly long emails that ramble on about how honored you’d be if they’d publish your article and backlink. 

The blogger doesn’t need or want your life story. Keep it short, simple, and to the point. 

Not only do overly long emails annoy bloggers but your intended message will get lost in the shuffle. Check the blogger’s criteria once again. What specific details do they ask for? Be sure to include all of these, without going overboard. Most bloggers want a short synopsis of what your business is about, who you are, and what you want (aka a backlink).  

In some cases, you can briefly touch on your budget, but this isn’t always a good approach. If their criteria already outline a price, remember not to haggle too much. If they don’t mention a price, you don’t want to offer more than they normally charge and end up spending too much. When in doubt, avoid talking costs until you get a response.  

9. Submitting unoriginal content

This is SEO no-no number one. Never, ever, ever submit duplicate content to a website for publication. Not only does this teeter on breaking copyright rules and possibly plagiarism, but it hurts the host site’s SEO.  

The last thing you want to do is offend or negatively impact the business that you’re pitching to. Not only will it put a bad taste in their mouth about you and your website, but it’ll downright piss them off. It also shows that you know very little about how backlinking works.  

The content you submit should be unique and written specifically for the publishing site’s target audience. Even if you have the perfect article already written for your niche, avoid pitching it to multiple websites at once. Then, you’ll find yourself in a pickle if more than one blogger accepts it. Instead, try pitching blog post ideas or outlines where you can create original, unique content for each website.  

Backlinks are an important part of the SEO puzzle. As your website climbs the Google ranks to claim a spot at the top, you may need a little boost. Backlinks are one way to get this boost without spending a fortune.  

You won’t get a response from every blogger you pitch to. In fact, you may only hear from a handful out of hundreds. And of that handful, you may only succeed in posting one or two backlinks. So, while you’ll win some and lose some, the most important thing to remember is to always play by the rules.  

The post Nine mistakes to avoid when contacting websites for backlinks appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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