As Geddy Lee of Rush sang in the band’s 1981 hit Tom Sawyer, “changes aren’t permanent. But change is.”
While he wasn’t referring to SEO (which wouldn’t really exist for another 16 years), the lyrics certainly apply.
Search engine algorithms are constantly being updated. SEO practices which may be very effective one day are useless the next, and then actually invite penalties, before being once again ignored.
So what’s an SEO professional to do? Which tactics are most likely to stand the test of time–and which should be avoided? What needs to be done to recover from search engine penalties? What’s most important–on-page optimization, link building, or technical SEO? What are the current best practices (and which aren’t worth spending time on) in each area?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in four dozen phenomenal SEO guides, tips and tricks from the past year.
Guides to SEO for Beginners
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Buffer
***** 5 STARS
Before you turn up your nose at yet another beginner’s guide to SEO, check this one out. The practice of SEO has (of course) changed considerably over the past few years, and Courtney Seiter recognizes those changes in this noteworthy guide explaining what exactly SEO is today, how search engines rank content, and what SEO professionals do now to optimize websites for search.
SEO for Dummies: Learn SEO in 10 Simple Steps by Social Media Today
SEO isn’t easy, but according to Brian Hughes, it is simple. He walks through 10 basic steps for site optimization here, from getting the foundation right and doing keyword research through on-page content, meta tags, and link building (“Focus on link building through content marketing, blog writing, guest blogging, infographics, site directories (CAREFULLY), and other tools that allow you to leave online footprints leading back to your site”).
Infographic: Search Ranking Made Simple by Sword and the Script
Frank Strong showcases an infographic from Neil Patel that provides a simple, widely accepted explanation of how Google’s search algorithm (probably) works, including the importance of keyword domains, image optimization, domain age, social shares, title tags, keyword repetition, content length, and other factors.
15 Step SEO Checklist for 2015 by Social Media Today
Jason Parks serves up solid advice “to ensure that you are well prepared for 2015″ in SEO terms. Among his 15 steps are title tags, on-page content (keywords used naturally, not stuffed), video, site audits, and otpimized photos (“use alt tags to help describe your image. Google image search only gets a half a percent of Google’s overall traffic. But due to blended search results, images actually get a lot more traffic than that half a percent”).
Expert SEO Guides, Tips and Tricks
Alex Schultz, the VP of Growth at Facebook (and formerly marketing manager at eBay) “has no educational background in marketing, instead opting to get his masters in physics at University of Cambridge.” In this fascinating post, he shares strategies for growing website traffic, the importance of customer retention, finding your “north star metrics,” and SEO (“the single most important thing is to get valuable links from authoritative sites. Then you need to internally link effectively”) among other topics.
How Long Does SEO Take To Start Working? by Forbes
Joshua Steimle writes that the answer to the tragically common question “How long will it take me to get ranked #1 for my keywords?” is not simple, “because the question itself is misguided.” SEO has changed, with searchers now making much greater use of longer phrase and natural language search (driven in part by the use of Siri and other voice-based tools). He goes on to state that it takes roughly four to six months for SEO efforts to start showing results, but to “bear in mind this is when you start seeing results, and SEO results grow over time.”
Lauren Polinsky summarizes “the most important and interesting issues” which may face SEO professionals in 2015 and beyond, from multichannel reporting, local search, and mobile optimization, through monitoring brand citations (“brands will want to work on building more citations, linked or unlinked, from authoritative websites”).
The SEO “Food” Pyramid by The Elumynt of William Harris
Creatively using the traditional “food pyramid” as a metaphor for SEO, William Harris places architecture (proper coding, optimized page titles, correct use of headers, an XML sitemap, etc.) at the base, with a healthy SEo program layering on smaller portions of content creation, promotion, UX, and social signals–topped off with (careful) link building.
Content Quality Score: Google’s Best Kept Secret For Rankings by Mace Dynamics
**** 4 STARS (would be five if not for the popups)
Contending that “Every page indexed by Google has a content quality score assigned to it. This score directly influences how well a page ranks in Google. This however is not promoted by Google and few webmasters or SEOs are even aware of it,” Terence Mace supplies an in-depth post covering quality signals, page purpose, “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages…(which) are pages that can impact a person’s future happiness, health or wealth,” quality factors, EAT (expertise-authority-trust), and much more.
How To Use SEO To Boost Your Brand’s YouTube Channel by MediaPost
Writing that “YouTube, the second most-searched site with one billion monthly unique users, delivers a massive potential impact for SEO to drive visitors to a brand’s video channel,” Jeremy Walker shows how to optimize your YouTube channel to maximize your brand exposure on the site, from video element optimization (title, description, locations, etc.) through integrating your YouTube channel with your Google+ account.
5 Keys to Improving Search Rankings with Duane Forrester of Bing by Stone Temple Consulting
Eric Enge talks to Bing’s Duane Forrester about the keys to improving SEO rank on Bing. Link building is somewhat surprisingly at #4 of Forrester’s five top areas. Content remains number one, though he warns, “The reality is that it’s not up to you to decide if (your site has) quality content. The quality is determined by the interaction of the visitor to your website. If they’re interacting with it, if they’re finding value in it, then there’s quality to it.”
7 Things That Will Improve Your SEO More Than SSL by Search Engine Watch
Erin Everhart deconstructs Google’s announcement late last summer than SSL may impact organic search rankings. She concludes that while SSL may indeed play a small role in SEO success, many other factors carry far more weight; she details seven of those here, including consistent URLs (“the link you use in your internal linking strategy, and the links you use in your XML Sitemap need to match”), relevant content, and CTA-friendly title tags (include “action words — Shop, Buy, Apply, etc — in…title tags”).
Laurie Sullivan reports that enterprise marketers generally view SEO as critical to achieving their ojectives, but also challenging to be successful with. Among the specific research findings here are the top SEO challenges businesses face: “41% find link building one of the more difficult strategies, and 39% call out keyword research management as a close second. Some 33% admit that quality content creation proves challenging, followed by 30% for social media integration; 28%, frequent blogging; 26%, frequent Web site updates; 22%, mobile search optimization; and 13%, local search optimization.”
SEO Tutorial. The ultimate SEO 2.0 guide by Seolution
***** 5 STARS
Albert Mora compiles one of the most valuable and comprehensive guides available for SEO in 2015. One warning though – at nearly 6,000 words (plus a lot of pictures), this is no quick read, not a post to skim. It’s one to bookmark as a vital reference. Not every resource or tactic cited is appropriate in all situations. It’s also a lot of work–but then, successful SEO always is.
Cyrus Shepard presents “a simple framework for on-page topic targeting in a way that makes optimizing easy and scalable while producing richer content for your audience” in this graphical guide covering keyword research, keyword relationships (position, frequency, distance), internal links, semantic markup, page titles and more.
The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise SEO by SERPs
Enterprise-level SEO–optimizing thousands of pages, often across multiple subdomains and interlinked microsites as well as a mothership site–is different from working on smaller sites. Activities have to scale, there are more people involved, more politics, more planning, etc. This comprehensive guide details the elements of enterprise SEO, the environment, and the unique challenges, as well as providing additional useful references.
Dealing With Onsite Duplicate Content Issues by Search Engine Watch
Navneet Kaushal clarifies the causes of on-site (common in ecommerce) and off-site (caused by content syndication, as one example) duplicate content issues, and how to deal with them using tactics like 301 redirects, the “rel=canonical” tag, meta tags, and a consistent internal linking strategy.
Asking “Does SEO boil down to making a site easily crawlable and consistently creating good, relevant content?,” Rand Fishkin answers–no. He lists some of the variety of inputs and tactics that go into successful site optimization, noting these are “why SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations.” And more.
The Truth about Video SEO by acSellerant Studios
Bob Leonard transcribes his interview with video SEO expert Daniel Loeschen of LT Creative Media on how to search-optimize video content. Among Daniel’s advice: “Videos that are meant to drive traffic to your site should ONLY be hosted on your site. If you want to create a video that is specifically for branding and getting your name in front of people, then YouTube, Vimeo, etc. are great for that…(for on-site video) add the video to the most recent site map of your website and update Google webmaster tools with it.”
10 Clever Strategies Content Marketers Use To Earn Links by Shareaholic
Danny Wong forwards tips from the Young Entrepreneur Council on how to get high-quality links through content (other than guest blogging), such as by creating highly sharable content like infographics; developing quizzes and contests; writing controversial content (certainly a strategy to use with caution); and developing blog-based courses using expert interview videos.
7 Hot SEO Tips and Tricks for Blogs by RazorSocial
Ian Cleary passes along seven helpful tips for improving blog rank in search, among them internal link building (“When you write content on your website, find relevant articles that you have already published on your site to link to. As the value of the new post goes up, the value of the link goes up too”); revisiting older posts that aren’t ranking quite as well as they could; and strategic (not spammy) guest posting.
The Complete Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by Positionly
***** 5 STARS
Kristi Hines delves into “why you need to be using Google Webmaster Tools to monitor the health of your website in Google search and to learn more about your search engine optimization efforts” and how to make the best use of all the site’s capabilities in this highly bookmark-worthy post. The Search Queries section is popular with SEO pros, but not everyone knows that “If you click on a keyword, you’ll be shown which pages rank for that keyword, along with details about those pages.”
Rae Hoffman collects her live tweets from the “Meet the Search Engines” session at SMX last year, reporting among other interesting tidbits of SEO news a kindler, gentler Panda release from Google; the impending scale-tipping of mobile over desktop searches; Google’s premeditated attack on MyBlogGuest; and that ranking well on Bing is a matter of “content, usability, social signals and link building”–in that order.
How Top Ranking Brands Like Moz and HubSpot REALLY Do SEO by Social Media Today
Noting how crucial earned links are to SEO success today, Chad Pollitt explains how some high-ranking brands have achieved their search visibility, and outlines a four-step process companies can use to emulate them–essentially a combination of research-driven content creation coupled with social and traditional media promotion, in line with a web presence optimization (WPO) approach.
18 Social Media SEO Resources to Improve Your Search Ranking by Social Media Examiner
Patricia Redsicker explores how social media impacts search and then shares resources that support “best practices for social media SEO,” such as How to Customize Your Social Share Buttons for Increased Traffic, which “walks you through the process of pre-populating social media share buttons for Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook with links to your own website.”
Though content marketing is unquestionably valuable for SEO, it’s not by any means the only tool in the box. Here, Rand Fishkin (again) explains “six out of probably 600 ways that you can earn higher rankings without investing in content creation or content marketing,” from using rich snippets and compelling page meta titles to fixing or deleting low SEO-value pages across a website.
Chris Lake provides an outstanding and comprehensive summary of user experience signals that help with search rankings. Most of these are just good UX practice, so the SEO benefit is a bonus. What’s surprising is the sheer number of signals that can affect search rank, from site speed and mobile-friendliness to button size, navigation, broken links, readability, and other factors.
21 Industry Experts Share Their SEO Tips For 2014 by Reginald Chan
Reginald Chan compiles the responses of 21 SEO pros to questions about how SEO is evolving and their favorite techniques. Adam Connell, Brent Carnduff, Eric T Tung, Kristi Hines, Neal Schaffer, and Tad Chef offer observations and tips like “SEO will…become more professional…content has always been at the center of…efforts (but) being an SEO who also masters UX and CRO can be a competitive advantage now.”
How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings by QuickSprout
Writing that “Just because Facebook and Twitter aren’t driving you a ton of sales doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage them…both Google and Bing use data from social sites in order to determine how high to rank your website,” Neil Patel presents an infographic showing real-world examples of how social shares impact search results, along with a few tips on how to get more social shares.
How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions by Proven Rankings
Matt G provides a detailed guide to assessing the content and technical optimization of a website, asking questions like: Is your website optimized for maximum usability? Is it optimized for lead generation and conversions? Does it use responsive design? And are your website URLs optimized?
Brian Dean shares clever techniques for improving search rank by finding broken-link building opportunities on Wikipedia, discovering untapped keywords on Reddit, finding link prospects on Delicious, and 18 other tactics, including using “best of” lists to “find awesome link targets.” Hmm, “best of” lists…wonder where to find those?
11 reasons SEO is a science; 15 reasons it’s an art by BarnRaisers
Rob Petersen lists more than two dozen reasons SEO is both a science (e.g., “Value of the [back]links, whether they are high or low value authority, can be determined by SEO Majestic and Marketing Grader”) and an art (e.g., “Titles that convince people [to click] have clarity, creativity and imagination. The right keywords and key phrases just happen to be in them”).
The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO by Matt Cutts
If you somehow missed this—or perhaps blocked it from your mind due to intense mental anguish—here’s the post where Matt Cutts declared that guest-blogging is dead. Except that he really didn’t; he only said that spammy guest-blogging purely for the purpose of generating backlinks is dead. Note this post generated nearly 700 comments. That’s enormous power—whether used for good or evil.
Guest Blogging and SEO: Still a Match Made in Heaven by QuickSprout
Here is Neil Patel (again), this time reacting to Matt’s post above, essentially clarifying what type of behavior he believes Google will actually punish, and how bloggers can still get value from guest-posting (e.g., “Focus on writing high quality content that actually educates the reader”). Fortunately for Neil, Google still doesn’t punish blogs for pop-ups.
The Ultimate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide by Firepole Marketing
Observing that (as noted above) achieving higher search rank is “simple, but it isn’t easy,” Ahmed Safwan walks through a dozen SEO “sins” to avoid (including lack of proper keyword research, poor site speed, and creating URLs without keywords) along with a nine-step guide to optimizing a blog (or website) for search, from conducting keyword research the right way through ongoing measurement and adjustments.
SEO Checklist: 60 essential checks before launching a website by Web SEO Analytics
***** 5 STARS
Vasilis Vryniotis provides a detailed pre-launch SEO checklist for new websites, with 60 questions to ask in categories ranging from keyword optimization (“Did I choose the targeted keywords wisely? Have I made sure that I can compete for the selected terms?”) to technical website development, link structure, URL optimization and more.
Expert Guides to Google Algorithm Updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon)
5 SEO Trends From 2014: What We Learned by NewsCred
Jayson DeMers looks back at five key developments in Google search from 2014 (including the “diminished impact of Google+…Social media marketers are still using Google+, to some degree, but search engine marketers are no longer viewing it as the significant platform they once projected” and the Pigeon update) as well as forward, with predictions regarding key optimization factors in 2015 and beyond.
An Introduction To Google’s Algorithm Updates by MediaPost
For those who aren’t immersed in SEO on a daily basis but still need a general understanding of how the field is continually evolving, Jeremy Walker provides “a quick primer on the most notable algorithm updates of the past five years and why they’re significant to marketers,” from Panda (first launched in February 2011) through Pigeon in July 2014 (which primarily affected local search results).
Marie Haynes provides a comprehensive summary of Google’s three most recent major algorithm updates, explaining the focus of each as well as how to recover from related penalties. Panda, for example, focused on thin, duplicate, and low-quality content; recovering from a Panda hit requires “removing thin and duplicate content” and then waiting “sometimes take several months for Google to revisit all of your pages and recognize the changes that you have made.”
5 Reasons a Site Hit by Google Penguin Won’t Recover by Search Engine Watch
Writing that “When Google launched the Penguin algorithm April 24, 2012, many sites who had relied strongly on low-quality link building were severely affected” and had difficulty recovering their former levels of search traffic, Marie Haynes (again) digs into a handful of common reasons for slow-or-no recovery, such as improper disavowing: “In almost every case, if you’re going to disavow a link, disavow it on the domain level.”
The Story of Google – a #DigitalHistory Infographic by Tamar
***** 5 STARS
From the launch of Google in 1998 through the beginning of AdWords and the first named updates in 2002 through Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, this outstanding infographic illustrates all the major (and many of the minor) milestones in Google’s journey from startup to the world’s largest search engine.
No longer news, but helpful as a reference, this post from Pratik Dholakiya “takes readers through 11 of the most important Google search engine algorithm updates/changes of 2013,” from link devaluation and Panda (content quality) updates through increased emphasis on long-form, “evergreen” content and Hummingbird.
Expert Guides to Semantic Markup, Schema.org and the Google Knowledge Graph
6 Ways to Make Your Search Results Shine by Search Engine Watch
P.J. Fusco says “your content can leap off page-one results – if you are willing to invest a little time learning how to understand” the Google Knowledge Graph and how to use Schema.org structured markup. Fortunately, she writes, “adding structured markup is particularly easy” using Google Structured Data Markup Helper or WordPress plugins.
5 options for semantic markup to improve SEO by Smart Insights
For those on the technical side of SEO, Yusuf Bhana details “useful semantic HTML elements for SEO” including authorship, local business schema, product details (“Ecommerce businesses should consider product mark-up to incorporate product data such as colour, manufacturer, weight, height and price”), and breadcrumbs, with examples of each.
How Rich Snippets Add Spice to Your Online Content’s Search Results by Content Marketing Institute
Amanda DiSilvestro demonstrates how rich snippets can enhance a site’s appearance in search results, and how to get started with the most popular types of rich snippets including authorship and video: “When I want to use a video rich snippet, I use this link and enter in the URL or YouTube ID of my video. It automatically generates a source code for me to use, so I don’t need to know much about coding.”
Updates to SEO by MediaPost
Lauren Kade discusses how the Google Knowledge Graph works, what rich snippets are and how to use them, and “how to add (rich snippet) markup yourself using the data highlighter feature in Google Webmaster Tools” to make your site’s organic search listings look better.
How To Rank Above 25 In Search Queries by MediaPost
Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “The Schema.org markup code aims to help Web sites rank better in search results, but only 36.6% of Google’s search results contain at least one Schema.org rich snippet and just 0.3% of the 50 million domains analyzed by Searchmetrics make use of Google’s Schema tools.” Consumer-oriented sites in particular can increase their probability of ranking higher by incorporating Schema markup language.
Google Sends Manual Penalty for “Spammy Structured Markup” by TrueLogic Online Solutions
Elrica Gosiengfiao reports that Google is “cracking down on rich snippet spam more actively,” exactly what this means, and how web developers can avoid problems of this type with Google; for example, follow Google’s rich snippet guidelines and “make sure the markups used are correct and use Google’s structured data testing tool to preview your snippets.”
You’ve likely at some point come across the contention that humans only use 10% of our brains’ capacity (which is a myth, though a popular one). The science fiction thriller Lucy delves into one writer’s imagining of what human beings may be capable of if we were somehow able to use 20%, or 50%, or more of that capability.
It’s almost certainly less of a myth that most companies use 10% (or less) of the website visitor data available to them. Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular tool for tracking web visits, used by more than half of all companies, including two-thirds of the Fortune 500.
But, as with (perhaps) our brains, most businesses don’t utilize all of the capabilities of GA. What if they did use 20%, or 50%, or more of what the tool can provide?
It wouldn’t be as exciting as a Scarlett Johansson action movie, but it may help a lot of firms get more out of their web marketing efforts. To help you use more than 10% of your website analytics, here are seven expert guides to GA.
Why you can’t ignore Google’s new Universal Analytics by iMedia Connection
While Universal Analytics is no longer quite “new,” this article from Brandt Dainow is still a worthwhile read. He reviews what Universal Analytics is, how it works with existing GA accounts, and astutely details the strengths (“Universal Analytics can track anything, in pretty much any fashion you want. All you need do is get a signal to an internet-connected device. Hence Universal Analytics could, for example, track RFID tag movement around a trade show or light switches being turned on or off”) and weaknesses of Universal Analytics.
Writing that “Out of the box, Google Analytics handles being deployed across multiple domains or subdomains extremely poorly. This is easily the most common critical problem in Google Analytics, despite its being relatively easy to fix,” Tom Capper provides a helpful table showing how to set up Google Analytics for different situations (e.g., multiple subdomains on a single domain which are treated as a single site) as well detailed instructions for properly setting up separate tracking IDs, ignoring self-referrals, prepending hostname to request URIs and more.
How to Setup Google Analytics: 5 Quick Videos That Make it Easy by Orbit Media Studios
Don’t let the title fool you–while some of what’s here is Google Analytics 101, there are also more advanced tips (i.e., how to create dashboards and alerts) because, as Andy Crestodina points out, “Even expert marketers and big blogs often haven’t finished setting up Analytics. It’s very common.”
4 shortcomings of Google’s attribution modeling tool by iMedia Connection
While acknowledging it’s “great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend,” Phil Gross exposes several shortcomings of the tool, such as that it only looks at search (it “It’s great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend”) and doesn’t even look at all search activity.
How to Use UTM Tracking Codes in Google Analytics by SEMrush Blog
Marvin Russell explains that “UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitoring) tracking helps you not only identify the website your clicks and conversions are coming from, they also identify the specific ads or links that are responsible getting you those clicks and conversions. If used properly, UTM tracking codes will double, triple or even quadruple your clicks and conversions without spending another dollar,” then shows step-by-step how to implement and use these.
To make the case that “much of the value of search marketing – and search clicks – isn’t acknowledged at all by most marketers,” Kevin Lee details half a dozen examples of how search clicks can be undervalued, including under-reporting of phone and chat contact: “Even pure-play online businesses (retailers, B2B, lead gen, etc.) have phone numbers on their sites. Highly interested visitors may prefer to engage via phone or chat. Each marketer must decide whether or not to use unique numbers (or extensions) to track phone behavior at a granular level, or simply apply a ratio of phone to online conversions.”
3 Ways Merging Google AdWords & Analytics Can Improve PPC Results by Search Engine Watch
Lisa Raehsler steps through three techniques for combining Google AdWords and Analytics to improve the performance of paid search campaigns, such as using matched search queries: “combine query data with behavior, conversions, social, and more…Using Visitors data in the secondary dimension opens to the door to in-depth information including demographic like age, gender, and location. Advertisers can use this information, for example, to build personas or optimize targeting in AdWords.”
Guest post by Tom Whatley.
Getting in front of senior decision makers is a common struggle among marketers. When it comes to C-Suite marketing, cutting through the noise and creating content that senior executives will find valuable is hard.
There is a methodology that can make this process easier. It’s a methodology that’s helped companies such as NetSuite, SAS and Ixonos to build trust with the senior decision makers in their target market and, eventually, secure seven figures in sales pipeline.
Before we dive in, there are some foundational elements you should be aware of. There are some things you need to understand about the C-Suite when marketing and selling to them.
C-Suite marketing foundations
A recent Harvard study discovered that the C-Suite spends only 2% of their time with vendors like you and I. That’s around an hour a week, so no wonder it’s so difficult to get their attention.
There are two elements to C-Suite marketing that make up this entire methodology: value and trust. By value we don’t mean how-to articles and other traditional forms of content, though they do have their place in the process.
To the C-Suite, valuable content means insight, statistics and hard facts that provide a logical argument for change. It’s okay to compliment this form of content with how-to guides, but you need to give them a reason to get involved in a discussion with you.
To do this, find out what your market is saying about a topic closely related to your value proposition. Leave all assumptions at the door and really listen to what’s already being discussed. Find a unique angle that aligns this message with your own value proposition.
Once you have their attention, you need to build trust. It gets pretty lonely at the top, and the C-Suite rarely get challenged on their decisions. Everyone reports to them, so it’s not often that their opinions are tested.
This is a huge frustration for senior decision makers, but a great advantage for the C-Suite marketer. By challenging their views, you cut through the noise and put yourself into a trusted space.
You can do this by bringing the opinions of several executives together and seeking out differences of opinion. Turn your content into a discussion and have them leaving feeling like their opinion has been challenged or confirmed with confidence.
Turning content into independence
These two principles of value and trust need to be communicated in a way that positions you away from the stance of a “seller.” Even if your content ticks the boxes above and provides incredible value, when you come from the position of the vendor the C-Suite will still have their guard up.
To get through this, and build trust quickly, try creating an independent brand to position you a trustworthy entity.
One way to do this is by creating a club platform. The club brings together C-Suite executives and decision makers from our clients’ target market and focuses on the elements above.
How NetSuite used a club platform to secure a seven-figure sales pipeline
NetSuite is a cloud business management suite. Their most challenging sales & marketing goal is targeting and getting in front of senior decision makers in their target markets.
In order to do this, The Ortus Club was created. The club platform was built in order to explore and debate upon how to increase visibility and growth within the organisations of the senior decision makers who engaged with it.
The club took on a digital format, utilising content and LinkedIn as platforms to nurture their target audience, as well as a face-to-face element – which was crucial in developing solid relationships based on trust and value – in the form of a dinner.
One of the most recent dinner and discussion events had attendees from fast growing software and online companies. These were executives that they would not have had access to previously.
It’s easy to dismiss this form of C-Suite and content marketing due to its face-to-face element, but when marketing to senior decision makers it’s an important piece of the system to include.
If you’re only creating content online, then you’re ending the journey there. Marketing to (and securing sales from) the C-Suite means getting out there and bringing them together.
This methodology I’ve just shared with you should speed that process up, as long as you remember to separate the message from your core brand and create an independent entity. This is the key to cutting through the clutter and getting their attention.
As Wallis Simpson, Dutchess of Windsor, famously said, “You can never be too rich or too thin. Or have too many social media marketing statistics.”
Well, she actually only said the first part (which is debatable), but certainly would have said the second part (which isn’t) had social media been around in the 1930s.
How effective is social media in comparison to other digital marketing channels? Do consumers actually listen to brands? Do brands actually listen to consumers? How does B2B social media marketing differ in effectiveness from B2C use? Which network drives half of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs?
What type of posts generate the most engagement on Facebook? What do 91% of consumers check daily? What do more than half of marketers identify as their most critical areas of focus over the next 12 months?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in 106 digital marketing facts (well, mostly) and statistics from two dozen sources.
21 Social Media Statistics
1. 54% of B2B marketers said they have generated leads from social media. (CMO)
2. Among the largest social media sites, YouTube drives the most highly engaged website traffic (with visitors overall spending on average nearly four minutes and visiting three pages on target sites), followed in order by Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Reddit and StumbleUpon drive the least engaged visitors. (VentureBeat)
3. Is the value of social media marketing for b2c brand overrated? 68% of U.S. consumers say they “mostly” or “always” ignore brand posts on every social network. And 83% of consumers say they have had a “bad experience with social media marketing.” (Experience: The Blog)
4. Brand ads on social networks were among the least trusted form of advertising, significantly lower than trust in ads viewed in traditional media. (Experience: The Blog)
5. Among “prestige” consumer brands, over the past four years, less than 0.25% of new customers were acquired through Facebook and less than .01% from Twitter; this compares to almost 10% for paid search and 7% for email marketing. (Experience: The Blog)
6. And yet – 80% of brands advertised on social media sites in 2014. (DashBurst)
7. But – social media can be effective for selling things to marketers. Marketing professionals are 50% more likely than consumers in general to like a brand on Facebook, 400% more likely to follow brands on Twitter, 100% more likely to make a purchase as a result of seeing something on Facebook, and 150% more likely to have completed a purchase as a result of a tweet. (Experience: The Blog)
8. Only 20% of CMOs use social networks to engage and collaborate with customers. (MarketingLand)
9. But 24% of brand say they do “social listening.” (DashBurst)
10. Just 18% of consumers trust posts by brands or companies on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. (MediaPost)
11. While 78% of companies now have a dedicated social media team, only 26% integrate social media fully into their business strategies. (DashBurst)
12. Yet 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media- because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements. (#Socialnomics 2014)
13. 82% of hyper growth SMBs say social media is effective for generating new leads. (Business 2 Community)
14. 58% of marketers indicate that their social media efforts have generated leads. (Believable.) Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC. (Not as believable.) (Business 2 Community)
15. You’ve likely seen the statistic that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third-most populous on earth. What you may not know is that WhatsApp would be #5 (followed by the U.S.), Google+ #7, LinkedIn #9, and Twitter the 10th largest country. (#Socialnomics 2014)
16. For online merchants, the average order value influenced by social media last year was $143.46. (AddShoppers)
17. Though 60% of people say they get their news from TV and 29% from newspapers, social media comes in third as a news source at 28%. It’s followed by radio at 19% and other print media at 6%. (Digital Information World)
18. Though most customer service requests (40%) still come through call centers, 18% now originate via email and 13% through “eService” (web, social and chat). Customer service requests through that eService channel are expected to grow 53% in the coming year. (Bluewolf)
19. 90% of enterprises say they use social media to respond to customer service inquiries–yet 58% of consumers who have tweeted about a bad experience never received a response from the offending company. (Bluewolf)
20. When they do respond, the average response time of brands on Twitter to user comments or complaints is nine hours. (Social Media Slant)
21. 75 of the top 100 brands have a presence on Google+. (Social Media Slant)
5 Digital Marketing Statistics
22. For the first time, marketers spent more to advertise on the Internet (a total of $42.8 billion) than they did for broadcast television in 2013. (MediaPost)
23. U.S. marketers spent $12.8 billion on online display (banner) advertising in 2013–30% of the total online advertising spend. Retailers are the biggest spenders on display ads, accounting for 21% of total spending. (MediaPost)
24. However–just 32% of consumers say they trust online advertising of any type. Consumers trusted the messages in text message ads the least at 12%. (MediaPost)
25. 81% of marketing professionals believe that digital marketing technologies will cause their role to change within the next three years, but just 14% know how to “reinvent” themselves. (FierceCMO)
26. 76% of marketers say they need to be more data-focused to succeed, and 74% agree that “capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.” Yet only 39% report using customer data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past year. (FierceCMO)
8 Content Marketing Statistics
27. Marketers identified content marketing and social media engagement (each at 36%) among their top three digital marketing priorities for 2014. 31% included conversion rate optimization. Just 9% placed video marketing, and 2% connected TV, in their top priorities. (B2B Marketing Insider)
28. Consumer marketing is about mobile, B2B is about content. Asked what their organization’s “single most exciting opportunity” was for 2014, 22% of consumer marketers cited mobile, while just 10% of B2B marketers concurred. However, 24% of B2B marketers identified content marketing as their most exciting opportunity, compared to just 11% of B2C counterparts. (B2B Marketing Insider)
29. B2B purchasing decisions in general are taking longer and involving more people on the buying team. 58% of buyers say they spend more time researching than in the past; 53% rely more on peer recommendations; and 65% said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact. (Marketing Interactions)
30. 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection, yet just 9% of respondents think of vendors as trusted sources of content (ouch!); the most influential types of content across both the awareness and evaluation phases of the buying journey are third-party validated research reports and studies. (MediaPost)
31. 68% of business buyers start their content sourcing at search engines and portals, 40% go to vendor websites (why, if only 9% trust them? Hmm…), and 25% are activated by an email from a trusted source or peer. (MediaPost)
32. The three most sought-after types of content by business buyers are comprehensive industry/category surveys and studies (52%); technical details about products and solutions (44%); and analyst reviews or recommendations (43%). (MediaPost)
33. Content plays a pivotal role in add-on buying decisions or supplemental purchases following an initial contract; 86% of B2B buyers frequently or sometimes use digital content to identify complementary or add-on products. (MediaPost)
34. B2B marketers spent an estimated $16.6 billion in 2014 on digital content publishing to acquire business leads, influence customer specifications, and educate and engage prospects. (MediaPost)
22 B2B Marketing Statistics
35. LinkedIn is the only platform the majority (62%) of B2B marketers consider to be effective; in second place is Twitter, with 50% of saying it is effective. (CMO)
36. Only 16 percent of B2B consumers prefer live webinars. (CMO)
37. The average B2B marketing budget is about 2% of revenue. (CMO)
38. Metrics matter. 88% of B2B CMOs say their C-suite peers turn to them for data and insight needed to strategize and plan, and 78% agree that marketing’s influence on corporate strategy is greater today than it was just two years ago. (CMO)
39. The highest paying marketing jobs are in B2B. (CMO)
40. 60% of all social media traffic to business to business websites come from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (SteamFeed)
41. 34% of tech companies have reduced their traditional advertising budget to fund digital marketing activities. (Only 34%?) (SteamFeed)
42. Just 6% of b2b buyers say that a prospective vendor’s social media activity has “a lot” of impact on their purchase decisions. 30% say it is “important but not a deal breaker.” (Content Marketing Institute)
43. On the other hand, 55% of buyers will eliminate a vendor from consideration if contact information and a phone number are not easy to find on the vendor’s website. (Content Marketing Institute)
44. The vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent). Just 17% want to use live chat and 9% social media. (Content Marketing Institute)
45. After visiting the home page and products/services pages, the most important next stop for b2b buyer’s is a prospective vendor’s “About Us” page. (Content Marketing Institute)
46. U.S. B2B marketers are projected to spend more than $100 billion on social media advertising by 2017. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
47. The top social networks and social media tactics used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn and Facebook (each used by 86% of marketers), followed by Twitter (81%), blogging (64%), annd YouTube (53%). At the other end of the spectrum, less than 10% use Foursquare, podcasting, or Quora. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
48. More than 80% of B2B marketers say their top goal in social media is increased brand awareness. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
49. 53% of B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation. (Marketing Interactions)
50. 63% of industrial supplies buyers say they purchase online, making it the most popular purchasing channel. Paper catalogs are least important. (Internet Retailer)
51. 54% of B2B buyers say they spend half or more of the industrial supply budgets online, and 39% say they plan to increase the amount they spend online in the coming year. (Internet Retailer)
52. 67% of industrial buyers say it is “very” or “extremely” important for suppliers to offer the ability to purchase on their websites. Just 7% say this is “not important.” (Internet Retailer)
53. Emotion plays a surprisingly large role in B2B purchases. Even when buyers see the value to the business, only 14% perceive a real difference in supplier offerings. (Business 2 Community)
54. But 71% of B2B buyers who see a personal value will buy a product. (Business 2 Community)
55. And 68% of buyers who see a personal value will pay a higher price for business product or service–but just 8% of buyers who see no personal value will pay the higher price. (Business 2 Community)
56. More than two-thirds of tech B2B searches occur outside of North America. (Social Media Slant)
6 Twitter Statistics
57. “Twitter users who see tweets from B2B tech brands are more likely to visit the sites of these brands. A recent study found that Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate (59%) compared to average Internet users (40%), illustrating the strong presence of a B2B audience on Twitter. (CMO)
58. There is 50% crossover of members on Instagram and Twitter. (SteamFeed)
59. Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21% higher average engagement than those with none; but tweets with more than 3 hashtags get 17% less engagement. (SteamFeed)
60. Grandparents are the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter. (#Socialnomics 2014)
61. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users. (Social Media Slant)
62. 53% of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some time. (Social Media Slant)
7 LinkedIn Statistics
63. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for distributing content. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
64. For B2B websites and blogs, 90% of social traffic is driven by the big three networks–with half of it coming from LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)
65. 83% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing. (Business 2 Community)
66. 93% of B2B marketers find LinkedIn the most effective social network for B2B lead generation, and 77% say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)
67. Each second, two new members join LinkedIn – the equivalent of the entire enrollment of the Ivy League joining every day. (#Socialnomics 2014)
68. There are, on average, eight new LinkedIn groups created each week, and 200 group conversations per minute. (Social Media Slant)
69. LinkedIn (74%) and Tumblr (54%) are the only social networks that U.S. users access predominantly via desktop. (Social Media Slant)
5 Facebook Statistics
70. Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement. (SteamFeed)
71. Nearly half (45%) of B2B marketers say their company has gained at least one new customer through LinkedIn. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)
72. 52% of digital news consumers say they get at least some of their news from Facebook and Twitter. (Digital Information World)
73. Facebook has 802 million daily active users–609 million on mobile devices. (Social Media Slant)
74. Posting to Facebook on Fridays is likely to result in better engagement: 17% of weekly comments, 16% of weekly likes and shares, and 25% of videos played occur on that day. Updates posted on Sundays generate the fewest comments. (Social Media Slant)
2 YouTube Statistics
75. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults 18-24 years old than any cable network. (SteamFeed)
76. U.S. marketers spent $2.8 billion on online video advertising in 2013. (MediaPost)
6 Pinterest Statistics
77. Pinterest outperforms Twitter and LinkedIn in the time spent on each network. (SteamFeed)
78. Almost half of all Pinterest activity is on tablets. (SteamFeed)
79. For online retailers, Pinterest (24.3%) and Facebook (24.2%) drive the highest share of social revenue. (AddShoppers)
80. Pinterest now hosts roughly 30 billion pins on 750 million boards. (Social Media Slant)
81. 100,000 of Pinterest’s members are retailers. (Social Media Slant)
82. 92% of all pins are posted by women, and as of April 2014, there were 15 times more pins by women than by men. (Social Media Slant)
5 SEO and SEM Statistics
83. One-third of all organic search clicks on Google are on the first result. (SteamFeed)
84. 43% of all online advertising dollars are spent on search ads. U.S. marketers spent $18.4 billion on paid search ads in 2013. (MediaPost)
85. 72% of PR agencies are now offering SEO services. (MarketingProfs)
86. Each day, 20% of the terms typed into Google have never been searched before. (#Socialnomics 2014)
87. By 2018, one of every $10 spent on digital marketing services will be spent on SEO. (MediaPost)
7 Email Marketing Statistics
88. By industry, the highest average email click-through rates are in media/publishing (20%), software/SaaS (19%), and technology equipment/hardware (14%). The lowest are in real estate (8%) along with education/healthcare and nonprofits (both at 7%). (MarketingSherpa)
89. As of 2013, there were 3.6 billion email accounts (roughly one for every two people on earth). (HubSpot)
90. 91% of consumers check their email daily. (HubSpot)
91. 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email. (HubSpot)
92. Suppressing anyone in your list who hasn’t engaged with your emails in over a year increases your deliverability rate by 3-5% immediately. (HubSpot)
93. For ecommerce merchants, the average value of Twitter share is 85 cents and the average value of a Facebook “like” is $1.41. But the average value of an email share is $12.10. (AddShoppers)
94. Also for ecommerce merchants, email subscribers convert at more than twice the rate of those reached through Google+ or Facebook shares. (AddShoppers)
12 Mobile Marketing Statistics
95. Half of all clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (SteamFeed)
96. CMOs say their top two areas for digital technology investments over the next 3-5 years are mobile applications and advanced (predictive) analytics, each at 94%. (MarketingLand)
97. U.S. marketers spent $7.1 billion on mobile ads in 2013–more than double the amount spent in 2012. (MediaPost)
98. 61% of marketers specify social media as the most critical area of focus over the next 12 months, followed closely by mobile at 51%. (FierceCMO)
99. 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices. But only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile. And 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile. (HubSpot)
100. 25% of emails are opened on iPhones. (HubSpot)
101. As of January 2014, 58% of American adults owned smartphones and 42% owned tablets. (Pew Research Center)
102. By the end of 2015, 81% of all U.S. cell phone users will have a smartphone. (Social Media Slant)
103. 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online; 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones. (Pew Research Center)
104. 81% of cell phone owners use their phones for text messaging; 74% use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location; and 52% use it to send or receive email. (Pew Research Center)
105. Many mobile marketers still don’t get it though. Nearly 70% of cell phone owners say they receive unwanted sales/marketing calls, spam or text messages on their phones. 25% say they receive these unwanted calls and texts at least weekly. (Pew Research Center)
106. Mobile sharing grew 2.6 times faster than desktop sharing through the first part of 2014, and now accounts for the majority of social actions. (Social Media Slant)
Guest post by Dave Landry.
Nothing promotes event marketing as well as social media. Many marketers use social media regularly, whether for networking or business purposes. As a result, social platforms are a great way to publicize events in real time.
In order to generate social media buzz on your business’s upcoming event, create and share content in the weeks leading up to it. Connect with other event attendees on social media. Find event pages on Facebook or Google Plus and join in conversations.
During the event, post updates with photography or prepared graphics. Let those not present at the event know what your business is doing and generate additional interest for those who are.
Content is extremely important for social event marketing. When appealing to other businesses, it’s necessary to choose your presentation and share it optimally.
Blog posts covering events either before or after the actual event date are a great way to keep your audience informed. They give an overall picture of your business’s activities as well as the important details. Event wrap-ups also serve to close the loop with new or existing clients or partners who weren’t able to attend the event.
Marketing your events with LinkedIn reaches out to the right people including peers, partners, and current as well as prospective clients. It’s important to post company updates of upcoming events, and include updates from important trade shows or industry summits.
In order to reach users who don’t follow your company, join groups on LinkedIn related to industries and even specific events themselves. In the first case, join the MJSA LinkedIn group and post about your company’s attendance. For the latter, it may be very helpful to join a jewelry designer group and post information about tradeshows like MJSA.
If there isn’t an event page, create one. Whatever your company’s level of involvement in an event, groups facilitate connecting with those from other participating organizations.
Twitter is perhaps the most important tool for communicating about events in real time. Your business presence on Twitter is crucial not only for presenting a specific side of your company through microblogging and thought leadership, it also serves as a platform for real-time events. Be sure to post new content regularly ramping up to the event date, and mention your partners and other influencers who may be attending the show.
Certainly, hashtagging is a fast and convenient way of cataloging information. Twitter’s instant and continual format has aided in breaking news, from uprisings to elections; this quality also lends itself to the purposes of planners and organizers who instate a Twitter hashtag for events. Take advantage of event hashtags by informing everyone at an event—such as, say, the recent Consumer Electronics Show—of where to find your company and why. Simply using #CES2015 grabs the attention of other marketers and representatives scrolling a trending hashtag for the latest pertinent news.
Using social networks for events is one application for which such platforms are ideally suited. See the infographic below on how to round out your event marketing strategy with strong social media activity.
About the author: Dave LJ is a financial expert who also studies and writes about social media’s use in business and marketing efforts. He is very excited to contribute to Webbiquity.