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SEO techniques are in a constant state of flux. What worked last year may not yield the same results this year, and that’s especially true when it comes to local SEO. If you’re wondering how to promote your business locally in 2020, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains the top 7 most effective local SEO techniques you need to implement in order to outrank your competitors in 2020.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the process of optimizing websites for searchers seeking local information.

Think of an exchange student who is looking for a bookstore in a city he or she doesn’t know well. Such a student doesn’t care about bookstores that are 50 miles away regardless of how large their inventory is or how low their prices are. They are interested only in local bookstores, creating a huge opportunity for small business owners to outrank even the largest players on the market and attract new customers.

According to statistics shared by Go Gulf, 46% of the 3.5 billion searches that happen on Google every day are seeking local information, and 97% of search engine users searched online to find a local business. The growth of such searches has been fueled largely by smartphones and mobile internet, which have made it possible to use search engines anywhere and at any time.

Google, whose search engine market share both worldwide and in the US is around 90%, displays local search results above organic search results, in a dedicated section known as the Snack Pack, Local 3 Pack, and Map Pack. Local search results are also prominently displayed in Google Maps, and our tips on how to promote your business locally will help you rank highly there as well.

Top 7 Best Local SEO Techniques

Local SEO can be an exhausting topic, and it’s possible to write an entire book about it and still have plenty left to discuss. We selected the top 7 best local SEO techniques described below based on their importance for promoting a business online in 2020.

If you would like to take your local SEO to the next level, we recommend you partner with a provider of local SEO solutions like ComboApp, a full-cycle local SEO company that provides a full range of on-page and off-page SEO services.

1. Create or Claim Your Google My Business Listing

As explained by this local SEO case study by Moz, Google My Business signals (such as proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.) are the number one local ranking factor, so that’s where you need to start.

local SEO with Google My Business listing

If you haven’t done so already, list your business on Google My Business. The process is very simple, and it’s likely that one of your customers has already listed your business. In such a case, all you need to do is claim the listing. Google will send a postcard to your business address with a PIN that allows you to verify the ownership of your business.

Having your business listed on Google My Business is arguably the most important item on any local SEO checklist, but you can do a lot more to increase your chance of being discovered by potential customers.

To optimize your Google My Business listing, provide accurate information about your services, hours of operation, accepted payment methods, parking, and other things your customers might want to know before they pay you a visit. It’s always a good idea to include at least a couple of images that show your business both from outside and inside.

When you’re done with your Google My Business listing, you should also put your business on Bing Places for Business so that Bing users can discover your business just as easily as Google users. In the US, the search engine market share of Bing is a little over 6%, which is not an insignificant number.

local SEO tactic with Bing for business

2. Sign Up for Local Directories

Local directories that list businesses within a particular niche represent a great opportunity to score valuable backlinks and improve your local SEO. To find directories that are relevant to your business, search for keywords like “[your city] business directory” or “[your niche] directory.”

how to promote your business locally

Most local directories won’t charge you any money to list your business because they make money from advertising. When listing your business on local directories, make sure that all information about it is accurate and consistent.

At the very least, your listings should include your business name, address, phone number, and website. It’s also a good idea to briefly describe your business (it’s okay to use the same description over and over again) and add a few photos.

Some directories charge money for featuring your business more prominently, but they’re hardly ever worth it because roughly four out of five consumers use search engines for local searches anyway. If you stumble upon a local directory that refuses to feature your business unless you pay a membership fee, feel free to avoid it.

3. Get Reviews from Customers

Customer reviews are an important local SEO ranking factor, and they also make your business appear to be more trustworthy, making it more likely for local customers to buy from you. BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and, out of those who read them, 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations.

Google advises business owners to remind their customers to leave online reviews and let them know that it’s quick and easy to do so both on mobile devices and desktop computers. The search giant also recommends business owners to reply to reviews, arguing that customers who feel valued are more likely to come back.

Confusingly, Yelp actively discourages businesses from asking for reviews, warning that those who ask may hurt their Yelp rating. The business directory service explained this policy in a blog post that links to a study claiming that solicitation leads to bias.

“Instead of asking for or incentivizing reviews, businesses should let reviews accrue organically. The best way for businesses to earn good reviews is to focus on providing excellent products and customer service and encouraging all customers to check out their Yelp reviews,” explains Yelp.

If Yelp is the biggest driver of new customers to your business, you may want to play by its rules as much as you can. If not, don’t hesitate to follow Google’s advice and ask your customers to leave online reviews. Just make sure you ask them in a neutral way and don’t encourage them to write positive reviews or, even worse, offer rewards for positive reviews.

4. Perfect Your Local Keyword Targeting

Since the rollout of the Google Pigeon ranking algorithm in July 2014, Google has been using distance and geographical location as important ranking factors. By targeting the right local keywords, you can rank above all your competition and drive more customers to your business.

To perform local keyword research, all you need is Google’s own Keyword Planner. This free keyword research tool lets you filter keyword searches based on location, making it easy to discover popular search terms in your area. Another great tool to research keywords for a specific geographical location you want to target is KWFinder. For example, when looking up search queries for the keyword “barbershop” in the Chicago area, KWFinder will get you not only the most popular searches related to this keyword but also provide an average cost per click for a paid SEO campaign in that region.

KWFinder local SEO keyword research tool

In case you want to compare how CPC and keywords search volume in the selected region differ from other locations, just change the region in KWFinder and you’ll get updated numbers. Below you can see search queries containing keyword “barbershop” in New York area and their respective costs for paid search campaigns.

search for local keywords with KWFinder SEO tool

Once you have researched and compiled a list of popular local search queries, you need to target them by including specific keywords in your website’s title and meta description tags, section headings, and, of course, the content itself. Make sure your meta description tags fit Google’s meta description length limits. You can use the Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool from SEOmofo to simulate Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool

5. Have a Mobile-Friendly Website

Online searches, in general, are shifting from desktop computers to mobile devices, but this shift is especially pronounced when it comes to local searches.

A 2017 study from Acquisio revealed that 75% of all mobile searches that exhibit local intent actually produce in-store, offline visits within 24 hours, which confirms what many practitioners of whitehat SEO techniques have known for a long time: local searches can be highly lucrative.

In general, a mobile-friendly website is any website that displays well on desktop computers and mobile devices alike (dual websites are a big no-no in 2020), is optimized for readability on smaller screens, and loads quickly even with a slower mobile internet connection.

You can check if Google considers your website to be mobile-friendly using Google Mobile-Friendly Test. All you need to do is enter the full URL of the website that you want to test, and the tool will list any mobile usability problems that it finds.

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

If you don’t know how to fix mobile-usability errors, you can contact ComboApp, leading experts in digital marketing solutions, product management, app marketing, SEO and content strategy, user acquisition, and analytics.

6. Invest in Local Content Marketing

Content should be an integral part of your local SEO strategy because it can increase traffic to your website by hundreds of percent.

The main thing that separates local content marketing from traditional content marketing is the target audience. You should always strive to create content that people in your area are likely to be interested in the most. If you run a small brewery, for example, you can talk about the history of beer in your city, your brewing process, community events you’re participating in, and so on.

Make sure to include relevant keywords in title tags, meta description, body copy, anchor text, section headings, and alt text in images. If you keep producing high-quality local content—either by yourself or with the help of a company that provides local SEO services, such as ComboApp—it will be only a matter of time before people start sharing your content on social media and linking to it from other websites, earning you valuable backlinks.

Instead of waiting for potential customers to find your content via search engines, you can also target potential customers directly by publishing guest posts on other blogs or in your city newspaper.

7. Optimize for Voice Search

Voice search, the use of speech recognition to search the web, is one of the biggest local SEO trends in 2020. Around 60% of smartphone users have already tried it at least once in the past 12 months, and it’s estimated that the number of voice search users will increase to 122.7 million by 2021.

Compared with regular search, voice search users tend to use more long-tail keywords, and they also show a strong preference for conversational language. Whereas “best barber Central London” would be a good example of a regular search query, most voice search users would say, “What’s the best barbershop in Central London?”

As a business owner, you can optimize your website for voice search by including long-tail keywords in your content and adjusting its tone to fit the more conversational tone of speaking. It’s also a good idea to look beyond Google and optimize your website for Bing, which provides search results for Alexa and Cortana.

Because 40.7% of answers to voice search queries come from featured snippets, you should target them by answering specific questions in a concise manner. A recent study from Backlinko found that voice search results are typically 29 words long, so that’s a good number to target. To incorporate concise answers to specific questions in a natural manner, you can create a dedicated FAQ page or add a short FAQ section to each article you publish on your website.

Conclusion

No business in 2020 can afford to ignore local SEO. By implementing the 7 local SEO strategies described in this article, you can get a head start on your competition and secure a top spot for your business in search results. If you’re new to SEO, not sure how to promote your business locally or simply prefer to maintain focus on your core business, we recommend you partner with a full-cycle local SEO company like ComboApp and let experts in local SEO solutions come up with the right strategy for your business.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. Whether you need help with promoting a new website or an existing business, we look forward to putting our SEO experience and expertise at your service.

FAQs

1. What is local SEO?

Local search engine optimization is a process of optimizing your website for searchers seeking local information, thus attracting more business from relevant searches.

2. How to promote your business with Google My Business listing?

List your company on Google My Business, provide info about your services and business hours, upload images and videos, respond to customer reviews.

3. How customer reviews can improve local SEO rankings?

Google has confirmed that customer reviews improve your rankings for targeted keywords, as they send a signal to search engines that your business is trustworthy. Moreover, if there is a tight competition in your area, positive reviews will help potential clients make a decision in your favor.

4. How to promote your business locally using keyword targeting?

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to discover and filter popular search terms in your area. By targeting the most effective keywords and choosing the right whitehat SEO techniques, you can rank higher than your direct competitors and, thus, drive more customers to your business.

5. Why is a mobile-friendly website a crucial local SEO checklist point?

In September 2020 Google will be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites. This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, it will take a significant penalty in search results listings regardless of how good the rest of your SEO is.

6. What are the best local SEO strategies to promote your business?

Create your “Google My Business Page”, develop engaging website content targeting the right keywords, make sure your website is mobile-friendly, optimize your content for voice search and sign up for local directories, improve your social media presence and get positive reviews from your customers.

7. When may you need the help of a local SEO company?

Proper SEO can be complicated and time consuming, reach out to a marketing agency with experience in local SEO services if you don’t have time or necessary skills, want guaranteed results, or simply prefer to maintain focus on your core business operations.

According to Mill For Business’s research, 547,000 new websites were launched every 24 hours in 2019. The number is staggering, isn’t it? Given how many new sites are added every day, it’s understandable that many website owners wonder how to promote a new website when established competitors have more authoritative domains that naturally rank better in search engines.

What are the chances of getting your new site to rank on the first page in Google search? How long does it take for Google to index a new website? What are the SEO steps for a new website launch? Is it even worth marketing a website if it is less than six months old?

Continue reading to get answers to these and other questions on how to SEO your website. We have put together a new website SEO checklist that will tell you how to get your website on Google and achieve high rankings.

SEO Checklist #1: Semantic SEO. Keyword Research For New Website Launch

Semantic SEO is a marketing technique aimed to improve website traffic by using metadata and semantically relevant content that clearly answers specific search queries.

The first step in semantic SEO is researching the semantic core—a list of phrases and words, describing the type of goods and/or services offered on the website, and, at the same time, matching the search intents of your target audience.

The purpose of this is to identify the low-volume and high-volume search queries, and use them to achieve a higher search engine ranking.

However, never forget that more important than any item on our SEO checklist for new websites is writing content for actual readers—not search engines.

Make sure that your copy sticks to the topic and all the keyword phrases are relevant and used naturally as part of the content. Maintain a keyword “density” between 1% and 3% to prevent your content from looking spammy. There are a number of SEO tools to help you find the best keywords, including Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and SEMRush.

Let’s take a closer look at the search for “digital marketing” topic in one of the best semantic SEO tools, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, and explain how to SEO your website with it.

how to SEO your website with Ahrefs tool

Search volume represents the average monthly number of searches for the keyword in the selected country. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer shows that, on average, people search for the term “digital marketing” 65,000 times per month in the US. Therefore, we can consider this keyword to be a high-volume one. At the same time, global volume for the term “digital marketing” accounts for 546,000 monthly searches worldwide, so ranking on the first page in Google search for this keyword is likely to result in a substantial traffic from various countries.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer also provides an option to explore multiple keyword ideas relevant to the term “digital marketing”. For example, the “Having same terms” section shows you all possible keyword combinations that contain the term “digital marketing”. Suggested phrases in this section include “digital marketing agency” with 10,000 monthly searches in the US, “what is digital marketing” with 9,300 searches, etc.

The “Also rank for” section shows all the keywords that the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for. This section is very useful for getting new ideas on the other keywords and phrases relevant to your target search. For example, if your content is dedicated to “digital marketing”, you may also consider using terms such as “online marketing” and “internet marketing”.

semantic SEO with Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Once you have compiled a list of relevant keywords, you can start developing content for every page of your site. It’s important to keep in mind that your text copy should be unique, useful, and up to date. It’s also recommended to mix text with other types of content, such as custom images and videos. If the site copy has already been written, you will need to update it by including semantic keywords and phrases as a part of your new website SEO.

SEO Checklist #2: Technical SEO. Conduct a Technical Audit of Your Website

Technical SEO refers to the task of optimizing a website for crawling and indexing. However, it can also include any technical process aimed to improve search visibility, such as mobile optimization, structured data markup, page speed optimization, etc. A technical SEO audit is the very foundation of all SEO efforts.

You can check your site for having “technical errors” using such SEO tools as Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Site Audit tool by Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Majestic, and others.

Technical SEO checklist:

  • All web pages should respond with 200 OK success status. Make sure you don’t have pages that result in 4xx (page not found) and 5xx (server error) response codes. Below is an example of how to find web pages with such errors in the Screaming Frog SEO tool.

technical SEO audit with Screaming Frog SEO Spider

  • All web pages should have SEO meta tags, including page title, meta description, H1/H2/H3, etc. Meta tags are invisible tags providing information about your page to website visitors and search engines, and they should be included in every basic SEO checklist. Meta tags should comply with the search engines’ recommendations, be unique, and contain the target keywords. Don’t underestimate the importance of filling out the required meta tags for every page of your site even if it contains more than 100 pages.
  • Check out the loading speed of your website. We recommend using PageSpeed Insights tool to analyze your site speed performance. This web tool was specifically created by Google to help you identify ways to make your site perform better and be more mobile-friendly.

website SEO checklist includes PageSpeed optimization

PageSpeed Insights tool will define exactly what issues are slowing your website down and provide recommendations on how to fix them. Keep in mind that fixing all issues and hitting the “yellow” or “green” page speed zone is just as important part of search engine optimization as having a good content strategy and checking all marks on your new website launch checklist.

  • Check if your web pages are mobile-friendly. Since July 1, 2019, all new websites are indexed using Google’s mobile-first indexing. You can check if your site’s pages are mobile-friendly using Google Mobile-Friendly Test. During this test, Googlebot analyzes how your mobile users see your web page. If the page passes the test, you will see a green message saying, “Page is mobile-friendly”.

Google mobile-friendly test for SEO audit

In case your website does not pass the test, the tool will give you the reasons why it failed and what it recommends you to do to fix the problem.

  • Make sure you don’t have duplicate content. In other words, this refers to content that might be replicated within your website or on other web domains. If your website structure presumes duplicate content, it can be addressed with canonical link elements or redirects, depending on the cause.
  • Make sure your website has a correct sitemap.xml file. A Sitemap is an XML file providing search engines with an efficient list of all live URLs on a site. You will need to make sure that this file doesn’t contain non-existing pages or pages with redirects and duplicate content. Another important file is robots.txt, and you need to make sure that it’s configured correctly.

Robots.txt is a text file used to instruct web robots (search engine robots) how to crawl pages on the website. These directives specify which parts of the site should be hidden from search engines. In case there are no applicable directives, search engines will crawl the entire website.

We also recommend indicating the location of any sitemaps associated with your domain at the bottom of this file. You may check Robots.txt specifications from Google for more details on how to create this file correctly and how to SEO your website with it.

  • Build an SEO-friendly website architecture with internal links. Internal links connect pages on your website with each other. Overall it gives Google an idea of your site’s structure and gives more link value to its most useful and valuable pages. Check out the best practices of internal linking from Yoast.

To make sure that your site is fully technically SEO optimized and all items on your new website launch checklist are completed, you may need a review from an SEO agency such as ComboApp. ComboApp SEO Strategy team has extensive experience in running technical SEO audits, managing new website launches and new website promotions, as well as optimizing sites of varying complexity for search engines. Experts at ComboApp know how to market a new website in any industry and deliver guaranteed results.

SEO Checklist #3: SEO Link Building. Develop an External Link Building Strategy

When your brand-new website is ready to go live, you may be asking, “How long does it take for Google to index a new website?” On average it takes from 4 days to 4 weeks for Google to fully index a website. However, if the site contains more than 1000 pages, it may take from 2 to 4 months to crawl and index all pages.

To check if your web pages have already been indexed by Google search engine or not, you need to sign in to Google Search Console. Select the URL Inspection section from the left menu. Then, enter the web page URL you want to check in the search bar at the top. If this page has already been indexed by Google, you will see a message saying, “URL is on Google”.

how long does it take for Google to index a new website

Once you have completed semantic and technical SEO and made sure that the site pages are indexed by major search engines, it’s a good time to develop and implement a link building strategy to boost your new website SEO.

Link building for the purposes of new website SEO doesn’t have to be aggressive. In fact, you need to create links to your content as naturally as possible. It is recommended to gather links from web resources of various types, such as forums, social media platforms, questions and answers sites, catalogs and web directories, etc.

Another great tip is to avoid the overuse of “anchor” links. Anchor text refers to the clickable words used to link one web page to another (Ahrefs). For a new website SEO, it is recommended to create a small number of keyword anchor links while increasing the number of links without anchor text (so called “naked” URLs), when the URL is entirely visible to the content readers.

The HTML code for a naked link should be like this <a href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com”></a>. To make it look more natural for search engines, it’s also recommended to create brand anchor links such as “your website name”, “your product name” and generic anchor links such as “click here”, “view more”, etc.

Let’s dive deeper into the main types of websites that you can use to collect links for your site in the early stages to help you better understand how to get your website on Google.

3.1. Sign Up for Catalogs and Web Directories

For a new website SEO, we recommend you start with manual submission to the most relevant and useful web directories. Create a thorough description of your business, include a link to your home page, add images, and include other information that potential customers and clients might find useful. There are a number of lists of the best web directories and catalogs in 2020, such as this one.

As we have mentioned before, if you are wondering how to promote a new website and how to get your website on Google, you need to remember that you need to carefully choose the most relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy domains to get links from during the early stages of your website’s presence on the internet.

For example, it is highly recommended to add your company to Google My Business and Bing Places. This will help you get trust from search engines and potential clients, increase visibility on local search results, attract new clients, and drive sales. Here is a great guide for getting the most out of your Google My Business listing.

3.2. Create Member Profiles on Relevant Forums

Many forums let you add a link to your website when you fill in your member profile. As a result, you will get a dofollow or nofollow link in the profile itself, and, in most cases, you will also be able to add a website link to your forum signature. This way, each time you create a community post, your website link will appear in your signature after the post message.

It is a good practice to participate in the conversations which are relevant to your business or product. You will be able to recommend other forum members to test your product or service and encourage them to share their experience with other members. You will not only get real user feedback but also create quality backlinks to your domain. Just like with web directories, make sure to choose the most relevant forums during the first months after your new website launch to make it look more natural.

3.3. Get “Profile Backlinks”

Many websites allow members to add a website/blog link on their profiles. All you need to do is to spend some time creating profiles and linking to your domain. Some websites to consider are About.me, Crunchbase, Foursquare, etc. You can easily find many more similar sites on the internet. We recommend you check this comprehensive list from LateNightBirds and add the most relevant ones to your SEO checklist for new websites.

3.4. Get Quality Backlinks from Guest Posts for Your New Website SEO

“Guest posting” refers to the practice of writing a blog post for a site other than your own to build links and gain exposure for your brand. One of the link building tactics is reaching out to websites and blogs relevant to your niche (healthcare, finance, technology, education, lifestyle, etc.) and asking for an opportunity to submit your guest post. In case this option is available, you will be provided with the requirements to the text such as its length, preferable topic, uniqueness, number of links allowed and others.

During the first months of your new website SEO, it is not recommended to order a lot of sponsored guest posts (on a paid basis) even if you have a sufficient marketing budget. Instead, build your young website backlinks profile slowly and continuously while choosing websites for guest posting that are relevant to your niche.

3.5. Reach Out to Journalists

Reach out to journalists and bloggers who write in your niche and may be interested in testing your product/service or mentioning your business in an article. You may google relevant keyword phrases and check the “News” section to see the most recent articles featuring the selected keyword.

Another simple method of how to advertise new websites with the help of journalists is to analyze your competitors’ backlinks. For example, in Ahrefs SEO tool you will be able to review all domains referring to your competitor and choose posts covering their business or product. After that, you will need to find contacts of the authors of those posts and reach out to them with your pitch.

how to get your website on Google with Ahrefs SEO tool

This link building method will be worth the effort and could bring you quality backlinks from authoritative and trustworthy domains if you find the right journalist or blogger who covers your niche, making it an absolute staple of any basic SEO checklist.

Another option on how to get news about the recent articles on your topic is to set up Google Alerts. You will need to choose keywords and keyword phrases to track in Google Alerts and set how often you want to receive a selection of new articles. For example, you can track your competitors’ names and get a notification when someone writes about your competitor. There will be a good opportunity to reach out to this journalist and ask about the possibility of adding your business/product as an alternative solution.

SEO Checklist #4: Social Media SEO. Be Active on Social Media

This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how to get your website on Google by leveraging social media for search engine optimization. There are several reasons why you need to actively manage the social media pages of your business or product, and we would like to highlight the most important of them:

  • Social Media Builds Authority and Brand Trust. These are the platforms where you can engage your target audience, interact with your potential customers, and provide expertise. You can also gain new ideas from communicating with people who use your product or service.
  • Social Media Content Gets Indexed. Of course, it doesn’t mean all your tweets or posts on social media will be indexed by Google. It should be relevant enough so that your content can be found by people searching for this topic. The more comments and other types of engagement your blog or post gets, the faster search engines will find such content because of the social factor.
  • Scale Your Social Media Exposure to Boost Traffic. Participate in relevant groups and tell people about your business and how it can satisfy their needs. Remember that people spent an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media in 2019. So, there’s a great opportunity to find your potential customers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Aside from traditional social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, it is highly recommended to create profiles at Quora and Reddit and promote them as well. These question-and-answer and discussion platforms are sources of enormous traffic. Imagine that Quora has 300 million monthly active users while 1.2 billion comments were added in Reddit in 2018.

You will need to search for relevant topics or questions and share your expertise while recommending your business or product where appropriate. This marketing strategy will not only bring your new website quality backlinks, but it will also drive potential leads and clients to you, making it one of the most important SEO steps for a new website promotion.

SEO Checklist #5: Content Development For New Website SEO. Write Blog Posts Regularly

Building links becomes much easier when you have content worth linking to, and blogging stats confirm this statement: companies who blog receive 97% more links to their sites while the best length for a blog post is 1,600 words, which takes around seven minutes to read (SEO Tribunal).

You don’t have to write a certain number of blog posts each month. However, there is a clear positive correlation—the more blog posts you publish per month, the more traffic you’ll get to your website. According to HubSpot research, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that published between 0 and 4 monthly posts. Let’s take a closer look at how to do SEO for website step-by-step with SEO content development.

Choose the topics for your blog posts based on the list of keywords that you’ve already created during the semantic SEO for a new website. Try to include only one keyword group in your blog post. There is no need to use the same or very similar keywords in multiple posts. Google search engine understands which words are synonyms and expects all posts to be unique, useful, and SEO optimized.

For instance, if you want to write about project management tools, you don’t need to create separate posts about the “best project management software” and “best project management tools” as these keyword phrases are synonyms. It is a much better idea to write one blog post about the “best project management software for Mac” and another one for the “best project management tools for Windows”.

Developing site content featuring insightful and interesting information will increase your chances of getting organic backlinks from independent journalists. If they find your content useful enough, they will likely quote your article and link to it. Therefore, conduct research, share your expertise, and create content that others will want to link to.

Do not forget to share your posts on social media accounts and other professional content sharing platforms.

SEO Checklist #6: Off-page SEO Strategy. Analyze your competitors’ backlinks profiles

One of the tips on how to promote a new website launch is to analyze the backlinks of your main competitors. You can use the Ahrefs SEO tool to get information about which domains link to your competitor’s website. You will need to add this website to the search field and click “Referring domains” in the menu bar on the left. By changing the “Link type”, you will be able to choose domains only with dofollow links which are more useful for search engine optimization as they transfer so-called “link juice” (share the authority of the referring domain). Getting backlinks from such domains would be your priority goal in order to build your own strong backlinks profile.

off-page SEO strategy for new website SEO

When analyzing your competitor’s backlinks profile, you may group referring domains in the following way:

  1. Dedicated reviews and mentions in posts. Here you can see all the articles featuring your competitor and try to send your pitch to their authors. You may ask them to test your product/service and add it to the old article as an alternative solution. The other option is to feature your product or service in a dedicated review. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sponsored post. Try to find the journalist who will really want to try your product and share comments and honest opinion about it for free.
  2. Catalogs and other web directories. Look for the catalogs and directories your competitor has a profile on and create your business or product listing there as well.
  3. Forums. Find out if there were any discussions about your competitor on relevant forums. Explore forums threads and messages containing the backlinks to your competitor website and try to post a reply recommending your product or service as an alternative solution. Make sure that your member profile looks natural to avoid getting banned. Add your picture and other information and post several messages in other threads without promoting your website.
  4. Any other categories of the websites linking back to your competitors. Make an assumption that all the domains referring to your competitors, whether this is a Web 2.0 website or a Q&A platform, or any other site type, would be a good fit for the backlink to your site as well. All you need is to find out how the backlink to your competitor was created and replicate it. Consider your competitors’ backlinks as tips for your link building strategy.

Conclusion

Assuming that your new website is fully optimized and demonstrates positive user behavior patterns, while both on-page SEO and off-page SEO are done correctly, there are high chances of ranking in Google’s Top 100 for low-volume keywords in a couple of months.

The next important question will be, “How well does your website satisfy users’ search intent for these low-volume keywords?” Search engines will consider the following metrics: how much time users spend on your web pages, do they continue browsing other websites from the Top list after visiting your site, do the users switch to the other pages of your website and how long they stay on those pages, etc.

If most of the above-mentioned factors have a positive value, your website will start ranking for middle-volume keywords and high-volume keywords afterward.

We are confident that getting your new website to rank in Google search in a couple of months is a realistic goal. However, in order to make this happen, strategic planning and consistently precise tactical execution are required. Don’t have time or resources to do it yourself – hire our experienced SEO professionals to do the “heavy lifting”, so you can focus on a bigger picture.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. Whether you need help with promoting a new website or an existing business, we look forward to putting our SEO experience and expertise at your service.

The way we interact with the web is constantly changing. Before smartphones took over, the vast majority of search queries came from desktop computers. Now, the search landscape is in the middle of yet another dramatic transformation, with increasingly many queries coming from various voice-controlled devices and applications, such as virtual assistants, smart speakers, and car systems with support for speech recognition.

The rise of voice search was predicted years ago. In 2018, Forbes contributor Gabriel Shaoolian forecast that 30 percent of all website sessions would be conducted without a screen as a result of improvements in audio technology and speech recognition. Indeed, we’re now surrounded by devices that constantly listen to our questions and commands, constantly ready to answer.

But is your business ready for the era of voice search SEO? Do you know how to optimize for voice search and turn user queries into leads and paying customers? By learning and implementing some of the most effective voice search optimization strategies in 2020, you’ll become able to reach the ears of customers in your local area and around the world.

What Is Voice Search SEO?

Google, Bing, and Yandex are at the center of the modern web. They represent the starting points of most online journeys, and some people even think they’re the internet itself. According to recent statistics, Google now processes approximately 40,000 user queries every second, or a little over 3.5 billion searches per day.

In the past, virtually all queries were entered by typing, first on desktop computers and then on mobile devices. Now, users can surf the web through spoken commands thanks to voice search engines implemented by all leading search providers.

For businesses whose customers arrive mainly from search engines, voice commands change the game dramatically.

When you type a query into Google, you receive a whole page of results sorted by their relevance, and it’s up to you to select which website you want to see. That’s not how voice search works. In this case, the answer to your query is automatically pulled from the featured snippet, which is a special box that sits above all other search results and contains a concise, direct answer to the user’s query.

Whereas normal search results are selected based on ranking factors such as domain age, keywords, content length, page loading speed, image optimization, content recency, link quality, grammar and spelling, and hundreds of others, the featured snippet is selected chiefly based on its ability to completely answer the user’s query.

Develop SEO strategy for marketing a product

Businesses that embrace voice search marketing and optimize their website content can skip straight to the first place in search results, earning them guaranteed visitors who most likely won’t bother checking other sites.

The Growing Importance of Voice Search SEO

A report from Juniper Research estimates that there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023, up from the 2.5 billion in use at the end of 2018. Already, 71 percent of those surveyed by PWC would rather use their voice assistant than type in the query on their desktop computer or mobile device.

The fact that so many people would rather search by voice has everything to do with our natural preference for speech over typing. A query such as “What’s the weather today?” seems completely natural because that’s exactly what we would say when asking a friend for the same information. On the other hand, typing something like “weather today in Chicago” into Google instantly reminds us that we’re interacting with a computer program.

Besides feeling more natural, searching by voice is also faster and less distracting. When driving on a busy highway, would you rather ask Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri to give you the directions to the nearest rest stop or fumble for your smartphone and risk getting yourself and other people injured? Even when cooking dinner, it’s much more convenient to ask a voice assistant for advice than look for it the old-fashion way, with hands messy from cooking.

The number of voice-enabled devices in the average household will only continue to increase and motivate people of all ages to search by voice. Businesses that would like to capitalize on the latest voice search trends must start optimizing their websites right now before everyone else catches up, and competition becomes too fierce.

How to Optimize for Voice Search? 5 Proven Strategies for 2020

You don’t need to become a voice search SEO expert to improve your website ranking and gain more visitors. Some of the most effective voice search optimization strategies in 2020 are just as easy to implement as changing voice search settings on a mobile device.

1. Answer Commonly Asked Questions

Multiple surveys have revealed that people who use voice commands feel like they’re talking to a friend. They’re much more likely to use natural language and ask longer questions. If you run a plumbing business, make sure your website directly answers questions such as “How to fix a leaking faucet?” or “What should I do when my dishwasher is leaking?”

These and other similar questions are exactly what someone who’s in the middle of an emergency would ask a voice assistant to find help as quickly as possible. Likewise, you can implement the same strategy as the owner of a food and recipe website, answering questions such as “What temperature should cooked chicken be?” or “How to prepare tofu?”

how to optimize for voice search with FAQ structured data markup

You can even create a dedicated FAQ page with multiple questions and answers. Just make sure to focus on conversational, long-tail keyword phrases because most voice queries involve the use of natural language. However, just because both the questions and the answers to them should have a conversational tone doesn’t mean you can throw grammar out the window. Likewise, all questions have the right HTML tags around them (typically <h2> or <h3>) to make it easier for search engines to find them.

2. Perfect Your Local SEO

It’s a known fact that 22 percent of voice queries are looking for location-based content. When a person asks Siri, “Where’s the nearest hairdresser?” she’s not interested in hairdressers in another city or even on the other side of the city where she lives regardless of how much content they have on their site and how many high-authority backlinks they’ve gathered over the years. She’s interested in the hairdresser who’s actually the closest to her.

Start by setting up your Google My Business profile. The more information you include in your public profile, the better. Your customers will want to know your exact business address, contact details, and opening hours. You should have the same information published on your website and social media to reinforce its accuracy and relevancy.

optimize for voice search with google my business

When creating content for your website, make sure to include local keywords, such as the name of your city. Instead of publishing an article titled “5 hairstyle tips for women,” use a title that will speak more directly to customers who live in your local area, such as “5 hairstyle tips for women to survive Chicago weather.”

3. Make Your Website Faster

Currently, most people use voice queries on mobile devices. Often, they’re connected to the internet using mobile data, and they have no interest in visiting websites that don’t provide a polished mobile experience. Voice search engines understand this, and they prioritize websites that are responsive, load fast, avoid Flash, and use structured data, among other things.

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test provides what’s arguably the most straightforward way to determine if a website is deemed mobile-friendly. There’s also Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which gives useful advice on how to make websites perform better on mobile devices.

page load speed optimization for voice search seo

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website at the moment, and you’re determined to fix this issue, remember that it’s always better to start from the ground up instead of hosting a separate version of your website for mobile devices. A single responsive website will always be easier and cheaper to maintain instead of two versions of the same site.

Once you have a solid foundation to build on, you can experiment with content caching, content delivery networks, and other performance-optimization methods. It may seem like a lot of effort for slightly faster page load times, but you need to remember that every additional second makes it much more likely for your visitors to close your site and visit your competition instead.

4. Embrace Structured Data

Voice search engines work hard to understand the content of web pages and select the most relevant information. You can make this difficult job easier for them by adding structured data code to your HTML markup. Here’s Google’s example of structured data that you may find on a contact page:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "https://schema.org",
  "@type": "Organization",
  "url": "http://www.example.com",
  "name": "Unlimited Ball Bearings Corp.",
  "contactPoint": {
    "@type": "ContactPoint",
    "telephone": "+1-401-555-1212",
    "contactType": "Customer service"
  }
}
</script>

Structured data makes it possible for search engines to create rich snippets, which are known to receive a lot more clicks than regular top results.

Structured data formats typically use schema.org vocabulary, and each major search engine provides its own documentation that’s specific to its web crawlers. Google makes things really easy for web developers with its Structured Data Testing Tool, which checks structured data code and flags any errors it encounters.

voice search seo using structured data

5. Create Valuable Content

Anyone who knows anything about SEO will tell you that the only timeless voice search SEO strategy is to produce valuable content. Yes, there are many ways how you can nudge search engines toward your site, but they all amount to very little unless your site is packed with articles people want to read, products they want to buy, and services they would be more than happy to pay for.

Conclusion

Voice query is the latest chapter in the evolution of search engines, allowing users to obtain information from the web with natural voice commands. As is always the case when the search paradigm changes, voice search SEO gives businesses an enormous opportunity to get their websites featured at the very top of search results. The key is to get started with voice search optimization before everyone else does.

For a limited time, ComboApp is offering free SEO audits to marketers interested in taking their SEO and content strategy to the next level. Interested? Let’s talk.

Data-driven marketing refers to the methodology of extracting actionable insights tied to consumer behavior from large data sets in order to predict consumer behavior in relation to new products, marketing positioning and users’ likelihood of interacting with a brand.

With the increase in popularity of Big Data, and the technological advancements that allow for massive amounts of information to be collected, organized and analyzed, data-driven marketing is emerging as the next generation strategy to effectively create personalized and relevant consumer experiences.

Modern marketers know that going on gut instinct is not enough in the digital world.

Clients have high expectations and want to see immediate results. Data-backed metrics can help marketers maximize success and transform the way business is conducted online.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concept of data-driven marketing by looking at the history of data-driven challenges, the benefits of using this approach, and its limitations. We will also cover a few tangible examples of data-driven marketing and the results they produced.

 

Data-Driven Marketing: The Business Case

Facts about data-driven marketing

Here are some interesting facts about data-driven marketing.

A study by Forbes showed that 64% of executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing provides a competitive edge in deciding on how to compete with other companies in the same field.

According to Media Math, 53% of digital marketers said “a demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” is one of the top driving factors for companies who are investing in data-driven marketing.

Furthermore, eMarketer reports that 90.7% of US advertisers and marketers segment data to better target and engage with their customers. In fact, over half said that they were more advanced in that area than even five years ago. eMarketer also reports that 92.3% of organizations maintain databases to host information on customers or prospects, at least to some extent.

Finally, this report shows that marketing teams who regularly use integrated marketing technologies are  57% more effective and productive at delivering positive ROI through their work.

All these facts and figures are pointing in the same direction: data-driven marketing is the way forward and the key to satisfying and creating loyal customers now and into the future.

 

How Did It All Begin? The History of Data-driven Marketing

History of data-driven marketing

The humble beginning of a Data-driven marketing approach dates all the way back to the invention of the first Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. CRMs represent databases that are leveraged to gather, record and store customer information which can be leveraged to increase sales, up-sell or cross sell a specific product or service.

V12 data statistics show that 52% of consumers (and 65% of B2B buyers) say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize communications to them. CRMs are vital to the tracking, collecting and usage of data that can lead to personalized approaches to marketing.

For a full history of the CRM, there is a great article over at FinancesOnline but for the purposes of this piece, we’ll summarize it here.

The first CRM systems were first launched in the ‘70s, and the mass adoption of marketing techniques like sales force automation, consumer information records and hotline numbers. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but we’ve been harassed by unwanted calls from telemarketers for almost 50 years now!

By the 80s, database marketing started to become a thing. It was during this period that marketers realized that connecting on a personal level with their customers could lead to higher conversions. So instead of cold calling each potential consumer with the exact same message, marketers started to create different call scripts for different customer personas.

In the 90s, this evolved into sales force automation that became the first real CRM framework. One database which could manage a company’s contacts, leads and potential opportunities in a single platform. By the end of the century, the first mobile CRM was launched, however, mobile use was limited due to the constraints of technology at the time.

And of course, over the last two decades, with the rapid growth of social media platforms (remember hi5 and Myspace?), marketers adopted their strategies to better engage with consumers at a personal level.

Today, CRM is integral to social marketing so content can be sent straight to the correct targets – so much so that social analytics is becoming just as important as ‘standard’ analytics.

This slowly paved the path to personalization.

Automation and the introduction of cloud-based CRM systems accelerated the collection of relevant data, therefore paving the way to the emergence of data driven marketing techniques. Nowadays, marketers can easily devise new strategies to connect with customers at a personal level based on behavioral patterns shown in the data collected about current and potential clients.

 

The Current State of Data-Driven Marketing

Collection of relevant data

Today’s CRM is a significantly more powerful than at any point in the past (just think of the first generation iPhone versus an iPhone XR!). CRMs lie at the heart of business with the aim of engaging with customers with tailored messages.

Previously, marketing messages had one message for everyone. With the collection of relevant data, this approach changed dramatically.

With this came personalization and targeted advertisement techniques – the foundational value add behind data-driven marketing.

Nowadays, the best example of data-driven marketing is how consumers surfing the web or ‘chilling’ on social media see super-targeted ads that are relevant to them, and engage with new brands as a result of these relevant ads.

Here are some effects that data-driven marketing has had on marketers all over the world:

 

First Names In Emails

While this seems standard now, this personalization technique was not commonly used back in the day. Marketers need to be using their recipients’ first names in either the body or the subject line at the very least. This is because it instantly connects them with the content, making them more likely to purchase a product.

 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has helped tailor the customer experience for visitors as it gives them exactly what they are looking for at the right time. For example, automation software can be used to send specific emails based on where a customer is in the purchase funnel if they haven’t replied in 2 days, sending them a follow-up. The first marketing automation emails are believed to have been sent around 2001.

 

Content

Data-driven marketing also enables marketers to understand the type of content their audience is looking for, allowing for a more personalized service.

They can pinpoint the topics that each demographic requires and create a specific marketing campaign.

 

The Next Stage – Data-Driven Marketing Personalization

Data-driven marketing personalization

Personalization in data-driven marketing refers to  the combination of creative (the ad) media (the channel) and data (about the customer).

Systems have become more complex now with each of these three components becoming a collection of multiple sub-components, each informing ‘parallel-track’ marketing campaigns based on the specific traits of each demographic targeted by a marketing team.

 

What Are Data-Driven Creatives?

Data-driven creative uses insights and machine learning to create personalized ads to boost the return on investment for a specific media campaign. These ‘smart’ creatives provide actual value to the customer that leads them to take action.

At ComboApp, we use ‘smart’ creatives all the time.

Behavioral remarketing

The simplest example is this. Say we’re launching a new social media ad campaign against a specific demographic for a dating app.

We will launch the campaign against 30-40 different creatives where we test both images and text. Based on the engagement levels with these ads we see in our programmatic ad platforms, we remove all non-performing ads and focus on the ones that perform the best. Platforms like Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter all make it very easy for agencies to test, in real time, the effectiveness of their various campaigns and optimize them on the go.

Ultimately, the data we have about specific consumers and the creatives we create determine the types and number of creatives that we design.

A single creative can now come in multiple formats depending on the media and customer data. Let me show you how!

First, there’s behavior data.

Based on past campaigns or market research we conduct on a specific demographic, ComboApp targets a customer group based on their online activity and how they interact with ads.

For example, with the usage of browser-based cookies we collect anonymized information about page clicks, downloads and page level engaged. Then, with the help of tools like google Optimizely and Google Adwords, we can extend retargeting campaigns for users who visit other websites that support Google Adwords.

Additionally, some advertising platforms also tell us demographic data points about users, such as their age, location, interests and more.

So what do we do with all this data?

There are two ways that marketers can become more targeted and relevant with theirs ads: testing to optimize and testing to inform.

 

Testing To Optimize

A/B testing for optimization

Testing to optimize involves designing a test where the results can be used in a creative to drive performance.

For example, A/B testing is a form of optimization. Marketers wait for the data to come back from the experiment and analyze the results. Based on the data collected, we figure out which variation of an ad performs best and then we use that moving forward.

A very simple A/B test can have a tremendously positive impact on the creative’s performance. Font size, copy, images and more can all be A/B tested in a campaign – and then optimized accordingly.

 

Testing To Inform

Test how certain creatives are selling

Testing to inform is a method to add more value to the advertising budget.

It provides insight into the creative assets, as well as insights on the campaign as a whole.

For example, marketers may want to test how certain creative categories of products are selling, such as creative assets  containing the newest products or creatives containing sale products.

While there may be a lot of work to implement properly, there is great value for the marketing team. For example, if creative assets are performing better for the new products rather than the products on sale, the insight can be used and applied to other channels.

In a nutshell, data makes marketing more nuanced and complex, but with better results.

 

How Beneficial Is Data-Driven Marketing?

What is data driven marketing

 

Personalized Content And Campaigns

First and foremost, let’s go back to the common theme around data-driven marketing in this article: it’s all about personalization.

Data-driven marketing gives businesses the opportunity to reach the right people at the right time with the right message.

Marketers must be able to deliver content, products, and relevant recommendations  to customers that need it, rather than sending blanket information to the masses and expecting auto-magical conversions.

Personalized messaging is critical to creating valuable relationships with your customers. And the insights created from data-driven marketing methods can produce a holistic picture of every customer – both current and prospective.

 

Strategic Decision-making

The more actionable data available to marketers, the better insights they will get into their customer’s likes, dislikes, online behavior, engagement and more.

When marketers know their consumers at the individual level, they can predict how customers are going to react to a certain message as part of the campaign. As Brian Solis from the CMO Network expertly wrote: ‘extreme personalization is the new personalization.’

When you have actionable insights at your fingertips, as a marketer, you can make strategic decisions based on providing users with the best possible experience. Personalization should be smooth, hassle-free and offer one-to-one engagement.

With data-driven marketing, decisions can also be made faster, enabling marketers to discard what is not working and optimize what is.

 

Data-driven Marketing Informs Product Development

Businesses can develop relevant products that take into account what customers really want. It will reduce the chances that the product fails when it goes to market.

With actionable user data, you can easily define features and functionalities that would be loved by your customers. Be it a website or mobile app, data-driven marketing insights reframe the conversation around what users need from your brand – and how to best provide your customers what they want.

Again, it comes back to ensuring total customer satisfaction.

 

Real-Time Interactions

With data-driven marketing, customers can access information from a variety of sources while at home or on-the-go with their smartphones.

It’s important for marketers to understand where users hang out online so they can start connecting with them in real-time.

Advancements in machine learning capabilities can now scan through incredibly large data sets at a fraction of the time it would take for a human to do the same work.

This gives marketers the information they need to see where consumers are most likely to convert into a sale.

 

Data-driven Marketing Provides Consistency And Longevity

Data-driven marketing ensures that, in the event that there is a significant change, such as a valuable team member leaving the company, processes remain consistent.

When everyone understands the purpose of the data being collected, they can take the appropriate action. In turn, this helps with knowledge transfer and onboarding new marketers on a team.

 

Paves the Way for Marketing Automation

It’s easy for marketers to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data they collect across different marketing channels, especially since not all data is equally useful. Since data-driven marketing is all about extracting actionable insights from large data sets in order to predict the future, it paves the way for marketing automation and algorithmic advertising.

With the help of the right marketing automation tools, it’s possible to turn actionable insights into marketing tasks and workflows. Marketing automation has been demonstrated to have a significantly positive impact on marketing ROI, making it an easy choice for all companies that would like to make every last dollar count.

 

Multi-Channel Optimization

It’s impossible to run a single marketing campaign across multiple channels with the same success. The same marketing techniques that work great on Facebook may not work at all on Instagram, and social media marketing in general follows completely different rules than email or content marketing. Data-driven marketing helps identify which marketing strategies and formats work for which channels—be it social media, email, blog posts, or video content.

Many companies that implement data-driven marketing quickly discover that most of their leads come from just one or two channels. In those cases, multi-channel optimization becomes all about sensible marketing budget allocation and prioritization to get the maximum return for each dollar invested.

 

Prevents Egos from Getting in the Way

When marketing intuition and reality clash, the results can be quite ugly. Not all marketers can recognize their own mistakes and own up to them. For companies that depend on marketing and spend a lot of money on it, it’s essential to prevent egos from getting in the way of results. Data-driven marketing both relies on and produces objective metrics that can serve as unquestionable arguments during heated debates.

 

Data-driven Marketing Has Its Own Challenges

Data driven marketing approach

So far, we’ve covered the benefits of taking a data-driven marketing approach to marketing. To be completely fair and transparent though, we should also examine some of the challenges and pitfalls tied to data-driven marketing.

 

Finding The Right Data

Businesses generate a lot of data every day.

However, this doesn’t mean that all of it is useful. As many have argued before, a lot of marketing data collected is a total mess and really difficult to turn into actionable insights.

Filtering the right data to make informed decisions is key to successful data-driven marketing. High-quality data is accurate and ‘clean’ (aka collerations and deductions can be made with a reasonable amount of confidence). When data is ‘clean’ it  allows decisions to be based on factual information rather than educated guesses or interpretations.

To make the most out of data-driven marketing, marketers need to create a process that prevents inconsistencies creeping in and keep data up-to-date.

 

Knowing What To Ask

Wrong questions lead to irrelevant answers, resulting in incorrect information used to make business decisions.

Businesses need to pay attention to the overall marketing goals behind a product and ask the right questions that will get them the data they really need.

Asking the right questions leads to the right insights.

 

Normalizing Data

No two people are the same and neither is their data.

The challenge here is unifying it to generate actionable insights.

This will require a lot of managing and analysis due to the constant advancements in the marketing industry.

Defining the right normalization data strategy is critical to creating relevant data sets.

 

Interpreting Data

While the collected data is great, knowing what it all means is just as important as finding the right data.

Analytics tools and services can help with this challenge, enabling businesses to make quick and informed decisions. They can also help to understand which marketing activities are having the greatest impacts on customers.

 

Linking Data

While technology can help, data is usually stored in a single location.

Integrated analytics tools are essential for linking data to create a cohesive picture. Big data gets increasingly bigger every day.

Ultimately, being able to bring everything together will determine how successful the campaign will be.

 

Unsuitable Technology

This is one of the most serious problems that data-driven marketing runs into.

Unsuitable technology can contribute to all of the challenges listed above, such as providing the wrong data and not transforming it into a digestible and actionable plan.

Marketers must find the right tools that will give them the results they need to meet department and business goals.

The Building Blocks Of Data-Driven Marketing – The Technology Stack

Data-driven marketing plan

The marketing technology stack focuses on measuring the impact of activities for more efficient processes.

With many marketing technologies available across an ever-growing number of industries, marketers need to stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of these solutions while they can.

At the same time, it is essential that marketing teams know which of technologies are best suited to their business or clients.

A standard data-driven marketing stack is made up of 3 foundational building-blocks:

1) Campaign management

2) Analytics and reporting

3) Attribution and optimization

 

Campaign Management

This technology refers to the creation of campaign groups targeting specific user types and tracking how effective different campaigns are at a given moment in time.

Send personalized content, reminders, updates, special offers, etc to the people that require each variation.

One of the most common forms of marketing is through email campaigns and there are lots of technologies that can help.

For example, MailChimp can be used to manage email marketing campaigns.

It allows marketers to sync data and content from third-party services and learn how each campaign is affecting the business. It will also provide tips for improving ongoing campaigns, as well as insights into their effectiveness.

Another useful campaign management tool is Aweber. A great feature of this technology is its autoresponder. Its analytics capabilities is one of the best around and overall, the tool is very easy to use.

 

Analytics And Reporting

Analytics tools for data-driven marketing

Analytics tools provide granular information about the groups targeted by various marketing campaigns, such as how users behave and how they interact with a specific campaign (likes, shares, sales, social shout-outs etc).

This information is useful to marketers because they can optimize the customer experience and develop relationships that last to create loyalty to the brand.

Robust analytics reporting creates a logical output of the data to enable marketers to make informed decisions. But it also helps with data visualization techniques which can be distributed among internal stakeholders via such as graphs, tables and pie charts. Standalone reporting solutions aggregate activity and performance into one place. For reference, reporting software is also referred to as marketing dashboards.

Again, there are a lot of analytics tools on the market.

Perhaps the most common analytics tool out there is Google Analytics. GA is free to use and can help businesses develop a better strategy through campaign tracking and customized data reports. GA also allows for goal settings and monitoring various funnels on a website/ mobile app.

Additionally, Google Analytics can be synced up to a lot of reporting software like Google Data Studio, as well as the campaign management tools like the aforementioned Aweber.

For businesses that are keen to utilize social media for their campaigns, it may be useful to leverage specialized marketing analytics tools like Sprout Social. This technology allows teams to see the keywords their brand is being linked with across various social channels, including data collected from the number of competitors on each platform.

 

Optimization

Optimization of data-driven digital marketing campaign

Once marketers have access to the right data, they can refine various marketing campaigns and make improvements over time. When a business understands the contributions to marketing activities, they can begin to deploy their budget more effectively.

For example, Jive is collaboration software that connects users and team members together. It is used to optimize engagement online and identify influencers.

Analytics services like Amplitude can be used by marketers to measure conversion rates and customer behavior.

One of Amplitude’s unique features is that it maps out the exact route that customers take to achieve specific conversion goals.

Another key feature Amplitude is famous for refers to a web analytics concept they pioneered: cohort analysis.

Amplitude was the first analytics provider which understood that different users behave differently on a website. And they provided the functionality to marketers and product leaders to define specific audiences which can be segmented and analyzed on their own. Through cohort analysis, marketers can make better decisions about their digital products and optimizing various digital campaigns over time.

 

Invest In SEO As Part of Your Data-Driven Marketing Campaign

SEO is a key strategy for increasing organic through search engines to the website. SEO works well with content marketing and there are many tools that can help with keyword research, such as Ahrefs, which we often use in our own SEO campaigns for our clients.

As we wrote in the past, SEO and content strategy are some of the most effective strategies to attract new customers, see how customers interact with your website or mobile app and test out various conversion campaigns on your platform.

 

Invest in A Robust Content Management System

A Content Management System (CMS) powers websites and blogs where marketers want to engage with their customers, such as WordPress, Hubspot or Sitecore.

A robust CMS allows for the easy creation and management of content which is why we consider it a pivotal data-driven marketing foundational building block.

 

Examples Of Data-Driven Marketing

Data driven marketing definition

Now that we know what data-driven marketing is, let’s review some tangible examples of how it is used today.

 

Data-Driven Email Marketing

We have already seen that email marketing is one of the most popular strategies. However, data-driven email marketing can take it to another level and tailor it to each and every customer, rather than just groups of customers.

Marketing teams can create content based on an individual’s preferences, making it the perfect way to build relationships.

On some of the most complex projects we’ve worked on, we’ve created up to 50 different variations of emails based on specific marketing personas identified for our clients. The more relevant an email becomes, the higher chances it has to convert a user.

 

Retargeting

Marketers can use retargeting to advertise to potential customers even if they leave your website or mobile app. Many online visitors tend to browse the internet for more than one reason so why not appeal to them after they leave your website?

This data-driven advertising method gives consumers a gentle reminder about the product or service they had previously looked at. It can be particularly effective across social media since 30% of all time spent online is on these platforms.

In addition, consider these amazing stats from Invesp about retargeting:

  • 4 in 5 consumers notice retargeting ads.
  • 1 in 5 marketers now has a budget dedicated to retargeting campaigns.
  • 46% of SEM professionals say retargeting is the most underused marketing technique.
  • The average clickthrough rate for regular ads is 0.07% versus retargeting ads which is 0.7% (a 900% increase in CTR!).
  • Retargeted customers are 3x more likely to click on your ad than those who see your ad for the first time.

Retargeting can also be combined with technologies to create hyper-specific marketing campaigns for certain customers.

For example, if a current customer purchased a cellphone, retargeting could be used to offer that customer, accessories like a case, screen protector or charger.

Retargeting is one of the most famous – and effective – data-driven marketing technique ever invented! And we have Google to thank to for that!

 

Data-Driven Advertising

Data-driven advertising can be used by marketers to reach their target audience, regardless of their location.

Data insights and automation technology can create personalized adverts that increase click-through rates and conversion rates.

Each individual has different needs. The data collected about these needs allows marketers to be really precise with their efforts by selecting content that will have the greatest impact. Actionable insights allows for targeting against specific buyer personas which, when combined with machine learning and other marketing technologies, can produce more effective advertising to drive better clicks and conversions.

Again, social media is a great channel to implement data-driven advertising, with Facebook proving to be effective for advertising in particular.

Facebook users are clicking on ads more and more every year, with data-driven ads being the primary driver behind this increase in engagement with Facebook ads.

 

Acting Based on Marketing Trends

Businesses can feel cautious testing new channels when an existing method is working well. After all, why take the risk?

Using marketing trends from various channels leads to building a more efficient and optimized marketing process. This is done by running PPC campaigns for a short amount of time until the keyword search volume is known.

PPC campaigns can also be used to determine if specific keywords have a  commercial intent. This gives marketers a better estimation if the keywords are worth going after. At ComboApp, we use the Ahrefs content explorer functionality.

But you can also use SEO marketing trends to decide on how to market specific demographics. Let’s look at how we used Ahrefs’ to determine writing this article on our blog.

Here’s a data extract about ‘data-driven marketing’ keyword. This is an amazing example of data-driven marketing in action!

Ahrefs content explorer functionality for data driven marketing

As you can see from the screenshot above, it was a no-brainer for us to write an article about data-driven marketing. The data collected by Ahrefs makes it super clear that we should take the time and create an article on this topic.

ComboApp is a marketing agency. Our clients are companies that need marketing services. Who other than professional marketers would ever look up ‘data driven marketing’? Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s be serious here!

Secondly, we see a decent search interest. 1,300 searches in the US alone and 3,800 globally.

Third, we see a huge bidding war over this keyword. Competitors of ComboApp spend $18 dollars for each click they get via Google Ads (which is huge!). If they spend this much money, it means it’s worth it to attract new customers.

Lastly, we also see that despite companies spending $18 per click for this search term, the overwhelming majority of Google users DO NOT click on an ad. Over the last month, Ahrefs estimates that only 52 out of 1,300 users clicked on an ad.

When taking all these data points into account, it made sense for us to creating this ultimate guide to data-driven marketing!

 

All Is Not Great With Data-Driven Marketing

Data-driven marketing for optimized campaigns

While data is great, decisions should not be just made based on what customers do, they should also factor why customers do it. That is, the qualitative aspect of things.

There are some suggestions that data-driven marketing is not driven by data at all. This is because it’s based on the assumption that because something worked in the past, it is going to work now and in the future.

After all, the marketing and advertising industry know all too well that trends and customer preferences can change in the blink of an eye.

Furthermore, data-driven marketing is, in some ways, killing the creativity that fueled earlier generations of marketers. Fostering creativity can enable companies to make 10% more revenue than their peers.

But focusing on creatives doesn’t mean that businesses should ignore data altogether. The best marketing teams strike a balance between the science of data-driven marketing and the art of creativity to see optimal results.

Over 50% of marketing campaigns are attributed to the creative element. Businesses can have data of the highest quality but it will fail if it doesn’t resonate with the end consumer.

 

Summary

Data-driven marketing is here to stay.

Success will come from fine-tuning the data and getting creative on how to reach out to customers. The challenges need to be addressed first and a robust strategy created following that.

This article covered:

  • Where data-driven marketing came from and how it has evolved over time;
  • How marketers can take advantage of data-driven marketing;
  • The challenges marketing teams face;
  • Real-world examples of it being used.

 

For a limited time, ComboApp is offering free marketing audits to marketers interested in taking their SEO and content strategy to the next level. Interested? Let’s talk. Contact us to get started.

In the age of digital world big changes happen every day. But only some of them can really shake the market and set up the new rules of old game.

For this time such turning point in advertising industry was an announcement of first data-driven project called Collective. It’s was created by the initiative of a mobile ad attribution company Kochava that teamed up with four mobile ad networks including AdXcel, Altrooz, Appia and Liquid. The main questions are whether this association will bring Kochava a competitive advantage and how it will affect the current leaders such as Appsflyer, Tune and Adjust. It’s only a matter of time when a redistribution of market players’ forces will start.

Just imagine the scale: the participants of this joint project develop the largest Mobile Graph™ which helps advertisers precisely detect the needed custom audience and target it by multiple parameters seriously increasing the value of an ad impression. At the heart of this idea lays an audience API layer for the exchange of information between advertisers, publishers,  measurement partners and the Audience Manager.

Source: kochava.com

But what about the data safety? Managing such amount of the information requires strong security system. Kochava affirms that to keep clients and measurement data secure and independent Audience API Layer technology, personally-identifiable information (PII) is closed for being shared by the Advertisers using the Collective.

The Device IDs doesn’t passed to the advertisers in any form, it rather uses its network connections for the recommendation of an ideal network to reach targeted audience members. With changing target criteria the recommendation will also changes.

Charles Manning, CEO, Kochava, explains: “Asking an advertiser to hand over their unique user data is akin to asking a professional sports team to hand over their playbook, along with notes on what’s working and what’s not, to their competitors. The Collective believes that the advertiser’s data is their data and we adhere to how the advertiser wants their data to be treated. At the same time, publishers want to make their audience data available to advertisers to enable better targeting, filtering and ad buying – at scale. We achieve both with the Collective.”

How it affects the other market players? Basically there are Facebook and Google and many other independent players. Talking about Facebook there are chances it may interpret the emerging of Collective as a competitive step from Kochava’s side and go on the offensive, crushing the foe as it has happened before with exclusion of Tune from its tracking partners.

VB reports that “the Collective has access to a massive network of ad networks and publishers — 1,400 of them — that Kochava has already integrated into its platform. This means there should be plenty of supply and a lot of demand”. So joining this network independent players receive a chance to target and acquire mobile users at scale and with a level of precision they’ve only dreamed of.

But the question of price is still open and requires seeing the Mobile Graph™ in action to measure its effectiveness and understand the correlation between cost of acquisition and ad campaign scaling.

ComboApp professionals will continue monitoring the mobile advertising market in order to keep abreast of this issue to recommend the best decisions for our clients. Stay tuned!

 

 

Anna Grabovska, Content Manager

On June 29, 2007, Steve Jobs presented the iPhone to the world. The release of this advanced device completely changed the way we go mobile. Yes, smartphones existed before this time, but the era of “real” smartphones began on that day. This summer marks 7 years since the iPhone release and since then the word mobile has completely evolved. The majority of all human population uses their mobile phones throughout daily life, work, entertainment and everything in between.

What I really want to talk about is how mobile has transformed major tech companies, specifically companies with expertise in the mobile field being acquired by mobile tech giants. Unfortunately, some are not as successful as others. Let’s rock…

 

AdMob acquisition by Google

AdMob is a mobile advertising company founded by Omar Hamoui in 2006. Hamoui served as the founder and CEO of AdMob up until 2010, he stayed on board one year after the company was acquired by Google for $750 million in 2009. Why did Google purchase the company? Let’s briefly take a look at the history of Android as a mobile app development platform.

Android was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin (who used to work at Apple as a manufacturing engineer) and a group of entrepreneurs. In 2005 Android was acquired by Google as the platform competing with Windows mobile operating system. In 2007 the iPhone emerged as a competitor with Google and Android OS quickly shifted its gears to compete with iOS.

The Android completely changed prior to the iPhone release and then after its release. By 2009 it had been a year since iOS got the App Store – that was when the mobile app world really took off. At this time Google needed its own mobile ads platform to stay afloat in the mobile arena and being able to serve ads on mobile devices. People went mobile and so Google did too.

How effective has AdMob been as of 2014? Well, the mobile ad solutions most commonly talked about are Facebook Mobile App Install Ads and Twitter Promoted Tweet for mobile ads, but you don’t really hear much about AdMob. Though this does not necessarily mean that the platform isn’t usable, it just is not at the top of the mobile ad solutions list.

 

Flurry acquisition by Yahoo

Let’s now preface the Flurry acquisition with one of the Steve Jobs interviews from 2010 at the D8 conference stage. Clearly it has been a bumpy road for the company since inception in 2005. Flurry now serves 150 billion mobile app sessions per month making it one of the top mobile analytic, monetization and advertising companies. Flurry is the most recent example of the acquisition trend. On July 21, 2014, Flurry was acquired by Yahoo for $200-300 million (the exact figures were not disclosed). Why did Yahoo decide to pull Flurry on board? Let’s look at how Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, has been transforming the company. Simply based on how Marissa has changed the company, it is clear that she brought her knowledge and experience over from Google. She joined Google (as employee number 20) back in 1999 and quickly became the vice president of Google Local, Maps, and Location Services.

It was incredibly smart to shift Yahoo in the mobile direction, allowing it to better compete with Google. Though Yahoo has a long way to go if they want to catch up to Google in the mobile world. It will be interesting to see what Yahoo will do next.

 

Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp iOS app

This acquisition is particularly memorable merely due to the absolutely insane price Facebook paid WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum. Both founders are previous Yahoo employees. On February 14, 2014, Facebook paid a whopping $19 billion for WhatsApp – making it the largest acquisition to date. It has been more than 6 months since the deal and many analysts are still scratching their heads wondering whether WhatsApp was really worth that amount of money.

In December of 2013 WhatsApp claimed having 400 million active users use the service each month, that is roughly the number of users they had when the company was acquired by Facebook. For Facebook, who launched its own Messenger app in August of 2011, acquiring a serious competitor significantly increased its user base. But since WhatsApp was purchased, it continues to operate independently. WhatsApp was not shut down by Facebook or merged with Facebook’s Messenger app. Perhaps the hidden benefit for Facebook in this purchase was getting access to the WhatsApp user base. But that is just a speculation, the real reason remains unknown.

 

TestFlight acquisition by Apple

One of the most noteworthy Apple acquisitions in mobile space was Chomp. Chomp is a search engine app company that brought its expertise to the iTunes App Store. On February 21, 2014, Techcrunch fired a viral news article announcing that Apple had purchased Burstly and its two major services, TestFlight and SkyRocket. We covered this acquisition and highlighted Testflight as one of the more popular companies among app developers. We discussed how the majority of iOS apps are being developed with the help of TestFlight as their main testing platform.

After a bit of time, many were asking why Apple does not provide its own similar solution? Apple answered that question by acquiring TestFlight. As part of the iOS 8 official roll out this fall, iOS app developers will be able to use TestFlight as one of the tools that iTunesConnect provides.

 

NaturalMotion acquisition by Zynga

What is the first company that comes to mind when you think about iOS games? Many would say Zynga – let’s all admit we played FarmVille or Words with Friends at some point in our lives. For a long time the company’s huge success seemed like something that would be continuous – unfortunately, this was not the case. In Q2, 2012 the company made $329 million but in Q3, 2012 that number dropped to $317 million. Zynga Co-Founder Mark Pincus’s explanation for this drop caused many analysts to suspect that those glory days were gone.

In January, 2014, Zynga’s new CEO Don Mattrick announced that Zynga had purchased NaturalMotion for $527 million. For Zynga, it was the first step in acquiring highly popular iOS games and expanding its portfolio. At this time, launching a new game from scratch and being able to predict its success on the market does not exist. Zynga simply cannot afford to fail when it comes to launching new games. It is surprisingly cheaper for them to buy a successful competitor than to launch their own games.

 

MoPub acquisition by Twitter

Twitter’s familiar 140-character limit for sending a tweet was a prominent feature from day one. Twitter is severely involved in the mobile world and is now jumping on the mobile ads bandwagon. Last September Twitter purchased MoPub, a mobile advertising platform, for $300 million. It was certainly a bold step on Twitter’s behalf, competing with Facebook.

We recently covered MoPub and how the company has already helped strengthen Twitter’s mobile ads revenue. Since Twitter’s Promoted Tweet for mobile apps solution is fairly new, it is up in the air as to how effective it will be in the long run. While there are many case studies for Facebook Mobile App Installs Ads, there are almost none for Twitter’s new solution.

PS. Why 6 and not 5? Because people may ask “What was the number 6 you left out?” 🙂

Art Dogtiev,
Head of Branded Content

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