Online Marketing News: Siri vs. Google Assistant, Periscope 360 Video & Amazon Tests Product Listing Ads

Infographic: Google Assistant vs. Siri: Which is the Best Smartphone AI?
Artificial Intelligence is not a thing of the future, it has become something that we rely on daily. Today’s smartphones are equipped with the latest in personal assistants, but they are not all created equal. See which one has the features that you’re looking for. Search Engine Journal

Periscope Launches Live 360 Video Broadcasting
Twitter’s Periscope is another in a long line of social networks enabling 360 video on their platform. As of today, everyone can view 360 videos but only a select group of partners can publish. What could this mean for your video marketing strategy in 2017? Marketing Land

Amazon Begins Testing Product Listing Ads on Adwords
Google’s Product Search used to be based on organic results. Now it is entirely a pay-to-play advertising tactic. Since Google made the switch in 2012, Amazon has been nowhere to be found. Until now. See how Amazon’s re-entry into PLA could impact other businesses. Search Engine Land

How Tolerant Are Online Video Viewers of Buffering & Ads?
Over 75% of adults in the US and UK watch videos weekly. Not surprisingly, Millennials make up a large share of these viewers. A recent report from MarketingCharts found that younger viewers tend to be more open to ads in online video than other adults. Read on to find out what else the study uncovered. MarketingCharts

Digital Ad Market Soars 20% in Q3, Approaches $18 Billion
Digital ad spend in Q3 of 2016 marks the highest spend in Q3 in history with just over $17 billion. This spend is a 20% increase from Q3 of 2016. As the online landscape becomes increasingly competitive, augmenting organic activity with paid will become a necessity. MediaPost

Domino’s Made A ‘Wipeable’ Adult Onsie
Pizza chain giant Domino’s wanted to help their consumers prepare for a day of recovery after the new year holiday. To help ease the pain, they developed a wipeable onsie that can withstand even the greasiest piece of pizza. Additionally, Domino’s is donating all proceeds from the sales of the onsies to charities such as the Teenage Cancer Trust. AdWeek

Backlash Erupts After Hunt’s Marketing Blunder
Over the past few years health conscious consumers have begun rejecting products with genetically modified organisms or GMOs. To appeal to this audience, Hunt released a series of messages and videos claiming “You won’t find a single genetically modified tomato among our vines”. The problem? No tomatoes (from any vine) contain GMOs. This blunder has caused major backlash for the ketchup king. Forbes

Have a Safe & Happy New Year!

Thank you to each of our readers (and watchers) that have tuned in each week for our online marketing news round up. We hope you all have a great new year and we can’t wait to see you again in 2017!

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Online Marketing News: Siri vs. Google Assistant, Periscope 360 Video & Amazon Tests Product Listing Ads |

The post Online Marketing News: Siri vs. Google Assistant, Periscope 360 Video & Amazon Tests Product Listing Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

The Future of Search Engine Optimization: Top SEO Predictions for 2017


In the past, the SEO battle was focused on either black hat, or white hat tactics. Black hat SEO was considered extremely aggressive and didn’t typically play by the rules of search engines. White hat SEO tactics on the other hand were typically closely aligned with search engine guidelines.

Today’s world of SEO looks much different (and it’s about time). Instead of hyper focusing only on keywords or search engine needs, smart marketers are concentrating first and foremost on the needs of users. User experience as it relates to mobile accessibility, content structure and user intent on search engines have become the new norm.

Content is the reason search began in the first place. – Lee Odden

As many of you know, TopRank Marketing’s history is deeply rooted in SEO. Over the years, we’ve continued to incorporate an optimized approach to digital marketing by implementing integrated digital marketing programs that always follow SEO best practices.

But what does the future of SEO hold, is there more? We tapped into the minds of some great marketers to provide their predictions of what SEO will look like in 2017.

Experts Share Their Top Predictions for 2017

Doug Walker


Senior Search Marketer, Dell

Companies will experience big wins by creating relevant and highly useful content. @dougwalkerseo
Click To Tweet

While I think it will be important to be up to speed with AMP and other important technologies, with continued content saturation, I think we’ll see even bigger wins by companies who can remain focused on the effort to:

1) Create stand-out content, completely relevant and highly useful to their target audience.

2) Successfully promote that content to drive consistent engagement in the form of links, social shares, news, and other buzz.

Troy Eaves


Senior Manager, Digital Media – Target Corp

In 2017, RankBrain will factor in more user intent signals than ever before. @Troyville
Click To Tweet

We’re already seeing RankBrain begin to ‘take over’ and factor in more user intent signals than ever before. I think that will continue to happen and increase in 2017 (specifically, time on site, bounce rates, etc.). I think CTR from SERPs will be a bigger factor in re-ranking URLs as people develop more affinity for the brands they like and click on them when they see them; regardless if they are in pos. #1 or #9.

I think people will try to optimize for voice searches because, well voice is here. I think links will still be important. I don’t care what article you read that says they are dying, they aren’t. I think social sentiment around brands, hashtags, keyword association (neighbors) across the web will help sort results.

If social platforms ever work together with Google, I could see platform specific searches influence rank on Google too.

Kevin Cotch


SEO Analyst, TopRank Marketing

SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward into 2017. @KCotch
Click To Tweet

The most significant change for SEO in 2017 will be the importance of the mobile-first index for Google. Many sites are ready for a mobile-first index but unfortunately many others are not. Google is continuing its focus on mobile, and it has been increasingly important to optimize for mobile users. SEO experts need to focus on the mobile user moving forward in 2017 in terms of metadata and user experience.

Danny Goodwin


News Writer, Search Engine Journal

In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. @DannyNMIGoodwin
Click To Tweet

With the rise of Google RankBrain, AI and machine learning are becoming incredibly important to think about for marketers and SEOs who want to capture valuable search visibility and be found at key moments of the customer journey.

What do these types of algorithms reward? Engagement – how many searchers click on your result and how long they stick around on your website. While these aren’t the only signals Google looks at to determine the quality of its search results (and where your site should rank for specific queries), it is definitely important.

In 2017, pay attention to how much engagement your brand or business is generating. Specifically: organic search CTR and time on site.

Even if improving your organic CTR and time-on-site doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it will still bring in more traffic that sticks around longer (and is more likely to convert). Write great titles that make searchers click – and reward searchers for their click by providing awesome, relevant content to match.


Optimize for Humans in 2017

Each of these experts shared great advice about different tactics that they predict will rule 2017. You’ll notice that the core message behind each of these predictions is the same: put people first.

By focusing on creating a great user experience and understanding what it is that your users want, you’ll start 2017 off on the right foot!

Disclosure: Dell is a TopRank Marketing client.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
The Future of Search Engine Optimization: Top SEO Predictions for 2017 |

The post The Future of Search Engine Optimization: Top SEO Predictions for 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget


Gather around, children, and let me tell you a story of Facebook advertising in the long-forgotten year of 2012. In that gilded age, whenever your page posted an update, up to 20% of your followers would see it in their feeds organically.

It was a simpler time. A gentler time. And a time when Facebook took in a lot less revenue from advertisers.

Then in 2016, organic reach fell off the cliff (Or was it pushed?), sinking to as low as 2% of a page’s followers.

The moral of the story is: If you want to reach a sizable audience on Facebook now, you’re going to have to pay. But as our friends (and clients) over at LinkedIn Marketing say, “Organic is good. Paid is better.”

Why settle for the audience that happens to wander by? Why settle for the audience Facebook thinks wants to hear from you? With a little investment, you can bring in an audience that is perfect for your offer. And you can keep refining your targeting over time to get even more out of your budget.

Here’s how to get the most out of your sponsored content on Facebook.

Zero In on Your Audience

Most people who use Facebook entrust the site with an astonishing array of personal information. I’m not talking names, addresses or phone numbers (though plenty of people surrender that info as well)). We’re talking what businesses they frequent, what public figures they admire, what pop culture they like, and more. As a marketer, all of that information is at your fingertips.

You can start to build your targeted segment based on demographics like age, occupation, and education. Then take it to the next level with interest and behavior-based filters.

Say you’re selling a self-help book. You might pick an audience that also likes Tony Robbins and has visited other self-help websites, for example. That means filtering by Interest (pages and categories people have liked on Facebook) and by Behavior (actions taken on and off Facebook). Here’s an example of what Behaviors look like in Facebook Ads Manager:


Create a Lead Capture Page

Once you have defined your audience, it’s time to create a page that will compel a click. This is the landing page your ad will lead to—it needs to close the deal for people who already clicked from Facebook.

Start with an asset that is worth trading some contact information for. Offer real data-based, demand-based, substantial best answer content. Then set up your landing page with:

  • A brief headline (60 characters or less!) with a statement of benefit
  • An inviting image (can’t go wrong with happy people)
  • A little proof (testimonial quote or stats)
  • A big, friendly CTA button with custom text (“Get your guide” vs. “Download”)

Create your Ad

You can either design your landing page or your ad first. Whichever order you do it in, your landing page should look as much like your ad (or vice versa) as possible. Use the same fonts, same verbiage, same image. There should be no doubt in your customer’s mind that they’ve come to the right place when they click through.

Be sure to follow Facebook’s advertising policies, and to keep your copy short and to the point. Research shows that posts with 80 characters or fewer get far more engagement than wordier posts. Up to 66% more engagement, in fact. So be brief!

It’s important to create a few versions of the ad for A/B testing. Test variations in the headline, copy, and image.

Create a Trackable Conversion

In order for you to track the effectiveness of your ad, Facebook needs to know what happens to visitors after they leave Facebook to visit your site. Adding a Facebook Pixel to your pages makes that possible. It’s a little piece of code that tracks behavior of traffic from your ads to pages you specify, making it easy to attribute conversions and retarget ads (more on that later).

Once you create the pixel and add it to your pages, you can create event code to put on a specific page. Place the code on your thank you page (after the visitor has filled out our lead form) and you can use it to track conversions:

Facebook Advertising Conversions

Here’s Facebook’s guide to creating a conversion in the Ads Manager.

Run Multiple Variants of Your Ad

Always run a few variants of your ad at the same time, so you have data to evaluate performance. In addition to testing variations on the ad copy and visual, test variant audiences. Take advantage of the thousands of targeting options to try a few different sets and see what hits. You can always turn off the underperformers and focus your budget on what works.

Analyze & Optimize

As you run your campaigns, keep a close eye on your analytics. Facebook’s Ads Manager has some pretty robust reporting abilities, especially with your pixel and conversion properly configured:


You will be able to see your CTR, break down the clicks by demographic, and see your cost per click (CPC) at a glance. Use all this information to refine your campaigns—switch off the ones that aren’t performing and try new variants, while boosting the variants that perform the best.

Retarget & Lookalike

Not everyone who clicks through is going to complete your conversion goal, of course. That’s why retargeting is so important. Retargeting means making a custom audience on Facebook of people who have visited your website (tracked by your pixel), and using that data to serve ads to them again until they convert.

For extra bonus points—by which I mean, a larger relevant audience and more conversions—select the “lookalike audience” option for your retargeting. In addition to traffic that has visited your site, Facebook’s algorithms will serve the ad to people with similar demographics and interests to your website traffic.

Book Only the Most Relevant Faces

Even with the most compelling content, it’s hard to get organic reach on Facebook. Of course, any traffic is better than none—and if the content’s good, it has a chance of getting shared and amplified over time. So don’t discount organic entirely. But it’s definitely time to start thinking of Facebook primarily as a paid platform, and to take full advantage of its potential.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget |

The post Facebook Advertising: How to Get More for Your Budget appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Mobile SEO in 2017: What You Need to Know to Prepare for the Upcoming Year


Today, most online searches happen on mobile devices, not desktop computers. The advancements in technology and the ability to always being connected has led the charge for users to consume more information via mobile devices. Since most searches now happen on mobile devices, Google is making the move to go all-in on mobile. Google claims that their algorithms will eventually primarily use a mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages over a desktop version.

Google Switches to Mobile First

Google recently announced that they are switching the way that they index websites. Historically, Google has indexed websites based off of desktop sites. Now, Google will be using a mobile first index that will probably alter the results for desktop searches. Google has always encouraged webmasters to focus on mobile users and this index switch solidifies the importance of mobile optimization.

If you have a website that shows different content on mobile and desktop then you may want to consider making updates to your website. The biggest updates you should make is to:

  • Serve structured markup for both desktop and mobile sites
  • Verify the markup on both versions of the page
  • Avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant
  • Make sure your mobile site is crawlable and indexable by Googlebot

In the article, Google mentioned that you do not need to change anything if you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across your mobile and desktop sites. Also, Google states, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.” With Google moving all-in on mobile, it is more important now to focus on your mobile strategy.

Optimizing for Mobile Users

One of the most important elements of mobile SEO is conducting keyword research and creating content for mobile users. Often, organizations fail at thinking of the mobile user when designing a page or drafting content. It is important to think through all the types of searches your audience will conduct on any type of device. Mobile search queries typically include more conversational-based queries that are related to voice searches. Also include content that users will want to consume on their mobile devices.

When optimizing for mobile devices, make sure to take in account the lack of search engine result page (SERP) real estate. The amount of real estate on a mobile SERP is much smaller than desktop or tablet devices (as you can see below) so try to be concise within the title tags and other metadata. Besides optimizing the metadata and content, consider adding schema markup to the page to help show rich snippets on the mobile SERPs to gain more visibility.


Another tactic to consider when optimizing for mobile devices is the pagespeed. Google has continued to put an emphasis on pagespeed especially for mobile devices over the last couple years. A slow loading mobile page provides a low-quality user experience, which can cost websites many valuable customers.

Designing for Mobile Users

Another best practice for mobile SEO is to avoid intrusive pop ups or interstitials. Google stated in an article, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” As frustrating as popups can be on mobile sites, there are research studies that show how effective they can be for gaining miro-conversions. If you choose to use popups on your mobile site make sure that it does not take up the majority of the content or is difficult to close by January 10, 2017. Below are examples of interstitials that make content less accessible that Google provided within the article.



Another design aspect for mobile devices other than popups or interstitials is to make sure all elements are easy to click on. The layout should be thought through to avoid accidental clicks or any issue with scrolling through a page.

Impactful Technical Elements for Mobile

There are three main techniques you can serve a mobile site to users. Those three ways include responsive design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs. Each technique can provide a solid user experience for different reasons. Google does a great job explaining the differences of each technique.

Another technical perspective to consider for mobile devices is to avoid using Flash elements. Find other means to develop interactive elements so that users can use them on all types of devices. Another technical perspective is to not block CSS, JavaScript, or images from Googlebot. Googlebot wants to crawl those elements on the page so it can help elevate it.

Mobile SEO Should be at the Core of Your Digital Strategy

Overall, it is important to make sure your mobile site is optimized and provides the best user experience possible. Make sure to update your mobile site, if possible, as Google continues to experiment the updated mobile first index. If you currently do not have a mobile site, then you might want to begin thinking about developing one. There isn’t a sudden rush to complete, but an optimize mobile site can help increase your ROI for your online marketing channels.

Out of curiosity, how many of you read this post on a mobile device?

If you have questions about your mobile site or SEO strategy, contact TopRank Marketing to get your mobile SEO audit.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Mobile SEO in 2017: What You Need to Know to Prepare for the Upcoming Year |

The post Mobile SEO in 2017: What You Need to Know to Prepare for the Upcoming Year appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Content Curation 101: 7 Best Practices, Helpful Tools & Great Examples


In today’s digital world, marketers know that creating quality content is key to informing, engaging and inspiring action, as well as building authority and rapport with their audiences. And oftentimes that means creating original pieces and assets that tap into their audience’s interests, address pain points and answer burning questions.

But let’s face it: marketers are busy—and creating quality, original pieces that get results and position your brand as having the best answer is incredibly time intensive.

However, there is one tactic that can come to the rescue: content curation.

What is content curation?

Simply put, content curation is all about finding, gathering and sharing the best and most relevant content the web has to offer on a specific topic that your audience cares about.

Why content curation?

First off, you’re likely already doing it in some capacity. According to Curata, more than 83% of marketers curate and share content from third party sources with their customers or prospects.

Secondly, content curation can add value, quality and credibility to your content marketing efforts and your brand. Curata also reports that over 50% of marketers say content curation has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic and buyer engagement, and 41% of marketers say the number of quality or sales-ready leads increased, too.

Finally, as previously mentioned, content creation allows you to create quality, compelling content in less time. As TopRank Marketing’s CEO Lee Odden wrote in his book Optimize:

“Pure creation is demanding. Pure automation doesn’t engage. Curating content can provide the best of both.”

Whether you’re thinking about adding content curation to your tactical mix or looking for ideas to boost the quality of your curation efforts, below we offer some best practices, tips, tool suggestions and some examples of how brands are doing it.

Content Curation Best Practices, Tips & Tools

#1 – Identify sources you can go back to over and over again.

Remember that content curation is all about finding and sharing the best of the best content that’s out there, so take time to find and document credible, quality sources that you can consistently pull from. This will not only ensure you’re sharing the best stuff, but it’ll also increase your efficiency.

Wondering where to look? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Google News, Google Search or Google+
  • Social media and social sharing sites (Pinterest can be especially useful!)
  • Industry news publications and blogs
  • Industry specific newsletters you receive via email
  • Niche topic blogs that are relevant to your business and audience
  • Press release distribution sites such as PRWeb or PRNewswire
  • News aggregators
  • Competitors (This will allow you to see how they’re doing content curation.)

As another tip, consider conducting your own poll or survey to collect insights that can be rolled into other pieces of content.

“Content curation is all about finding and sharing the best of the best content.”
Click To Tweet

#2 – Be relevant.

Stay focused on just a handful of different topics and themes that are relevant to your audience. This will ensure that your curated content resonates and show that your brand or company has is knowledgeable and dialed in on those subjects.

As for the type of content you should be looking out for, here are some to consider:

  • Blogs, news articles, white papers, case studies, press releases or eBooks
  • Any content written by influential industry thought leaders
  • Statistics, data, surveys, studies, reports or other research
  • Links shared on social media
  • Videos, infographics or other visual content
  • Slideshare presentations

#3 – Give credit where it’s due.

You know that time, resources and a little love went into creating all the pieces you’ve curated. So whether you’re sharing on social media or working the content into a blog post, make sure you’re giving the original writer and/or publication credit for their hard work.

#4 – Commit to consistency.

If you want your content curation efforts to be successful and effective, consistency is key. In addition, this tactic needs to be integrated into your overall content marketing strategy.

The frequency and curated mix that’s right for your brand will depend on your industry, overall marketing strategy and goals, but 2-4 curated social media posts a day and a monthly blog roundup could be a good starting point.

“If you want your content curation efforts to be successful and effective, consistency is key.”
Click To Tweet

#5 – Give your “people” some special attention.

Your customers, prospects and partners are likely creating some great content. Highlight that content to show them you’re in touch with their business and help you serve up relevant content to your audience.

#6 – Share on multiple channels.

While curated content may not be your work, you should still share and promote it like your own to get more reach, engagement and awareness. Remember that variety is the spice of life. Below are some places to publish and share include:

  • Your company blog
  • eBooks
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media channels
  • Contributed articles or blogs to industry sites
  • Niche microsites or hubs dedicated to a specific topic or news category

#7 – Utilize curation and distribution tools.

There are a number of helpful content curation and distribution tools out there. Use them to streamline your processes so you can consistently share find and share. Below are some free and paid options to consider:

Examples of Content Curation in Action

News Roundups

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Each week, the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions publishes a “Top Trending Content” blog post focused on what’s happening and what’s being talked about in the marketing world.

Below is a shot of one of their latest posts.



BuzzFeed is a champion of curated content, utilizing a variety of sources to compile silly, interesting, newsworthy and timely posts each day. While the example below isn’t exactly hard hitting news or focused on helpful tips, it definitely employs a number of content curation best practices such as utilizing social sharing platforms, crediting sources and focusing on a specific topic their readers will enjoy.


Innovatech Labs

Big brands and companies aren’t the only ones who can find interesting and relevant content to curate for their unique audiences. There’s also opportunity for smaller and niche businesses to do it, too.

Innovatech Labs is a materials testing lab that uses several analytical testing techniques, which are useful to many manufacturers who want to ensure product quality and cleanliness. Each month, Innovatech Labs publishes an Analytical Testing News Roundup featuring interesting articles that showcase how those techniques are being used in the real world.


Social Sharing

TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing’s social news feeds feature a hearty mix of commentary, photos, links to original content and, of course, curated content links. Here’s a peek at our recent Twitter posts, highlighting great content from some of our favorite sources.


Hubs and Resources


HubSpot’s “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics” is a great example of content curation at its finest. This resource features the latest marketing statistics and is organized by tactic. In addition, it’s continually updated as new data is released.

content-curation-hubspot by Adobe by Adobe provides a great mix of curated and original content. In fact, their tagline says it all: “Digital marketing insights, expertise and inspiration – for and by marketing leaders.” The big way they’re featuring curated content is through their “Marketing News Feed,” which pulls in posts from authoritative and credible sources such as Social Media Today, MarketingProfs, Marketing Insider Group and even TopRank Marketing Blog.


Do you curate content? How often are you doing it and where do you find inspiration for it? Tell us in the comments section below.

Disclosure: LinkedIn and Innovatech Labs are TopRank Marketing clients.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Content Curation 101: 7 Best Practices, Helpful Tools & Great Examples |

The post Content Curation 101: 7 Best Practices, Helpful Tools & Great Examples appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog!

Happy 13th Birthday TopRank Marketing Blog

We have a lot to celebrate this time of year and I feel incredibly lucky that TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog gets to celebrate yet another blog birthday.

Happy Lucky 13 Birthday Online Marketing Blog!

And thank you to Ashley Zeckman for doing a great job managing our blog in 2016!

I have a confession: Starting a blog in 2003 was just another “thing” to explore for its marketing value, not some ephiphany-inspired marketing journey. The inspiration came from a drive to reach more people with fewer resources in a meaningful way. Could blogging be the solution?

In fact, the creation of TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog followed several other search marketing focused blogs that launched the same year including Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal and SEO Book. Two of those three are still going pretty strong with daily posts and large readerships.

But it didn’t take long to realize that the useful content published through blogging was opening up doors for our business. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.

A million plus reasons. This year we’ve attracted just under 1.5 million visitors to our blog and search has led the way. 56% of our visitors come from search and much of the rest from direct and social networks. Our blog has been included on many top marketing blog lists with a growing network of 300,000+ across our social networks. We’ve attracted amazing talent, super smart clients and great partners – all thanks to the great blogging contributions from Ashley, Josh, Caitlin, Tiffany, Kevin, Knute and Jolina from our team.

Thank you back! Beyond the acolades, rankings and such – some of the most meaningful feedback I get is when people approach me and say they’ve been following our blog through their career or after starting a business and how much it has helped them. What makes that feedback meaningful isn’t just the “warm fuzzy”, it’s seeing our strategy pay off: That the combination of content we create along with real world experiences will be instrumental for growing our business.

Content is Social and Social is Influential. Today, creating content through blogging is as social of an activity for us as it is a way to provide ultility. We’ve connected with an incredible community of marketing industry influencers through content delivered as blog posts in addition to candidates, partners and clients. These connections have evolved into relationships and more.

Slow Down and Ramp Up. In 2016 I took a backseat to creating content on our blog to focus on other areas of our business and methods of advancing our thought leadership. In my place, Ashley Zeckman has stepped up and published 3 times as many posts as I have. She’s also developed internal and external relationships for regular contributions and co-creation that have added a lot of value for our readers.

Social and Influencer Marketing Dominate Our Topics. It’s amazing what happens when you develop a strategy, create a corresponding editorial plan and follow through. I’m only half being snarky with that comment. We published a lot more content around social media marketing since that is what people are interested in (and it’s an area of our business). In fact, our most popular post in terms of traffic for 2016 was 9 Social Media Marketing Trends That Could Make or Break Your Business in 2017.

Side note: Out of the top 10 most popular (traffic) posts for the year, only 1 was actually published in 2016. Evergreen content FTW!

We also published a lot more content about influencer marketing as a result of a decision to advance our thought leadership in this fast-growing area of our business. We were engaged by 3 Fortune 100 companies in 4th Quarter alone for influencer content programs and that trend is not going to slow down in 2017 at all. In part, this is thanks to the useful and thought leadership content around influencer marketing being published on the blog.

Of course we’ll continue to cover all our staple topics that are most relevant to the practical areas of our consulting: Content Marketing, SEO, Social, Influencer Marketing. I also think we’ll evolve the fun Friday news videos that Tiffani and Josh do every week and do more video overall. I know our long time readers are thinking, “What took you so long?”.

Besides kudos to Ashley, our excellent blogging team deserves a lot of thanks. To give you an idea of the great work they’ve been doing, here are some of their most popular posts:

Ashley Zeckman
314 career blog posts
69 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
50 Influential Women in Digital Marketing: North Stars & Rising Stars (5,600 social shares/engagement)

Josh Nite
61 career blog posts
48 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Content Marketing: Answer These 4 Questions in the First 15 Seconds (2,400 social shares/engagement)

Caitlin Burgess
56 career blog posts
52 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
7 Tips for Making Your Brand More “Likeable” on Social Media (2,600 social shares/engagement)

Tiffani Allen
47 career blog posts
47 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Online Marketing News: Snapchat Unicorns, Periscope Moderation and Instagram Business (292 social shares/engagement)

Lee Odden
2514 career blog posts
24 posts in 2016 (I can’t believe it either – time to get back to blogging in 2017)
Most popular post of 2016:
50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow (6,100 social shares/engagement)

Kevin Cotch
10 career blog posts
10 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO (1,800 social shares/engagement)

Knute Sands
7 career blog posts
7 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
Easy-as-Pie Guide to Content Planning (1,600 social shares/engagement)

Jolina Pettice
75 career blog posts
2 posts in 2016
Most popular post of 2016:
3 Great Storytelling Tips for Compelling Customers (1,100 social shares/engagement)

We all contribute to your success. The rest of the team at TopRank Marketing contributes to our blog indirectly, by sharing insights, research and data as well as sharing the resulting blog posts to their social networks. Blogging is truly a team effort at TopRank Marketing and I think the end product really shows the impact of our collective wisdom and collaboration.

Going forward. There’s a lot more I could share about this blog in celebration of our 13th blog birthday, but I think the overall focus here is that it’s important to experiment, but to do so with a vision or some long term goal in mind. If I wasn’t driven to persist with blogging during my first year despite no visitors, no engagement all with a substantial amount of of time invested, this blog would not have survived. Without that early survival, our young business would not have achieved the amazing momentum we have now, or laid the groundwork for being able to attract the team that runs blog now an into 2017. Persistence with vision (and ongoing optimization) pays off!

Our community rocks! I am immensely appreciative of the support our community has provided in return to the useful content our team publishes on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. I appreciate the contributions that super busy industry influencers and friends from Ann Handley to Joe Pulizzi to Mike Stelzner and many more continue to make to help make our content great. Also, a huge thanks to major brand executives from the U.S., UK and broader Europe that have contributed to our blog with their insights this past year.  Your investment in time makes this blog a better resource for us all. Thank you!

Thank you to our team, our clients and our community for helping celebrate our blog birthday today: Lucky 13!

Seasons Greetings!

Here are some warm wishes from our team to yours.

May your marketing programs be successful,
to make your holiday season less stressful.

May your customers be joyful and content,
because of the great campaigns you sent.

May your hearts be full and your season merry,
so that you start 2017 refreshed and not wary.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

The Team at TopRank Marketing

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog! |

The post Lucky 13 – Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog! appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

The Future of Social Media Marketing: Experts Share Social Media Predictions for 2017


Social media platforms enable people from around the world looking to connect and build personal and professional relationships. Earlier this year studies found that there are currently over 2 billion active social media users.

If you consider the sheer number of people interacting on social networks, it seems like a no-brainer that both B2C and B2B brands should be spending time engaging with their audience, where they’re spending time. But finding a way to not only reach, but connect with audiences on social networks has become increasingly difficult.

Just a couple years ago, brands were able to build audiences on platforms like Facebook and get in front of the vast majority of their followers without investing in social advertising. These days, the average brand on Facebook will only reach 1-2% of their audience without boosting posts. Need proof? The amount spent on social advertising has increased by 234% in the past seven years. Ouch!

To help ease the pain, we went straight to the source and tapped into the brilliant minds of marketers from brands like LinkedIn, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, BMC and our own team at TopRank Marketing to gain insights into their social media marketing predictions for 2017.

Experts Share Their Top Predictions for 2017

Mike Stelzner


CEO/Founder, Social Media Examiner

Information toll stations must be paid for by the those who create content. @Mike_Stelzner
Click To Tweet

2017 Prediction: Content Creators Become Endangered Species

Algorithms, bots, artificial intelligence and people working for very big companies will destroy the business models of people who produce content by disrupting the free flow of information.

Before the Internet, the power brokers of information were a few media companies that controlled the newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television. The Internet busted through those barriers and allowed anyone to produce anything for any audience. Information flowed and content mediums like blogs and podcasts flourished.

The Internet was the great system of disintermediation, eliminating the middleman and allowing a free flow of information.

But, in the very near future, this information flow will be filtered and measured and censored in the name of “reducing clutter” and revealing “only what’s important.”

Facebook will decide what you see. Google will serve up only that content that complies with its rules and are housed on its servers. Email solutions like Gmail and Yahoo will tighten their own algorithms so even reaching the inbox is at risk.

The information distribution highway will have toll stations that must be paid for by the those who create content.

If you want your content seen, you’ll need to house it inside the companies that control the toll stations. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more will incentivize content creators to not link to off-site content. These large businesses will become the equivalent of the 1990s America Online–a type of “Hotel California,” where you can enter but never leave.

Traffic to websites will decline and blogs will shut down. Gone will be the days of information flow and true information freedom. The future will only be more controlled, more filtered and less open.

But, born from this filtered, computer curated world, will come something new. Some young person in a spare bedroom will invent the next big idea that frees information once again. The pendulum will start swinging back and content creators will experience a new creative renaissance.

Are you ready for the change?

Carlos Gil


Senior Manager – Social Media, BMC

Undoubtedly, live video content will continue to take over newsfeeds. @carlosgil83
Click To Tweet

The biggest challenge marketers will face in 2017 is the same that they seemingly face year over year which is keeping up with the innovation around emerging marketing channels and technologies, such as Snapchat, Facebook Live, and AR/VR, while still maintaining an active presence on the traditional platforms used by the masses (i.e. print, social, digital, etc.). Undoubtedly, live video content will continue to take over newsfeeds with Facebook flexing its muscle as the go-to platform for marketers meanwhile Snapchat, and its looming IPO, will result in Snapchat attracting more brands as advertisers to their platform.

Caitlin Burgess


Content Marketing Lead, TopRank Marketing

One opportunity in the coming year will be for brands to focus on user experience. @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet

The social media landscape is in a constant state of change, but the one thing that will probably never change is the reason people use social in the first place: to feel and be connected.

As a result, I think that one of the greatest opportunities in the coming year and beyond will be for brands to focus on user experience by creating a unique, entertaining and engaging destination for their audiences.

Think about it. Social media platforms are constantly tweaking their formats and algorithms to provide users with the best possible content and experience, making it more difficult for brands and marketers to get organic visibility. Plus, nearly every brand is on social media, competing for the top spots. But what if your pages were able to offer such an awesome, relevant experience that would entice people to navigate on their own to see what the latest discussion, video or tip was?

All that said, I think to create a destination, one important focus will need to be on social media community management, not just traditional social media marketing. From native video and long-form content to actively encouraging and participating in discussions, you need to ask yourself why anyone would visit your pages in the first place. Do you have a niche expertise or offering? Do you provide great entertainment? What is it that could set you apart? How can your social content connect? Then combine all that with data and insights to begin building a strategy to get people there, participating and coming back.

Megan Golden


Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

content marketers are going to strive to become even more empathetic in their content topics. @Goldmegs
Click To Tweet

Empathy in a World Divided

From Brexit to the American election, 2016 has been an eye-opening year and a divisive one for many around the globe. A chasm has come to the surface in a way that really no one can deny. It’s a divided world. As a result, my prediction (and personal hope) for 2017 is that social media and content marketers are going to strive to become even more empathetic in their content topics. I hope we’re also going to be committed to creating content that is humanizing with the innate ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Andrew Hutchinson


Content & Social Media Manager, Social Media Today

The biggest shift in social media marketing is (and will be) focus. @adhutchinson
Click To Tweet

For years, traditional marketing has aimed for broadcast, to reach as many people as possible, as often as possible. And that makes sense – brand association is a powerful device, and higher exposure leads to better cognitive connection in the consumer. But at the same time, the new age of social media, fuelled by the masses of online data, has opened the door to whole new approaches, methods of connection that no one is fully across yet, given it’s so new.

Because of this, I’d expect to see increased focus on both niche communities and better online and offline data connection in 2017.

On the first, personalization is growing, more and more brands are learning how to be more effective with content that’s targeted to individual users based on who they are, what they do and what they’re interested in, among many other traits. In times past, this was impossible, but such data is now freely available, and the more brands are using this more focused approach, the more the expectation for others to follow suit increases in step. Because of this, you can expect to see more brands segmenting and focusing their content and marketing efforts in order to appeal to more specific audiences and use-cases.

On the second, social ROI has long been the thing that critics fall back on, that you can’t connect a ‘Like’ to a cash money result. But you can, and more and more systems and processes are being developed for just that. Facebook, for example, has been evolving its Conversion Lift metrics which correlate online ads and offline sales, incorporating data from the businesses POS system. With the evolution of beacons, geofencing and other tracking technologies, it’s going to become easier for more businesses to directly link their on and offline efforts, enabling them to outline definitive ROI trails.

Create A Content Destination & Engage Your Audience

Phew! If we take a look at just the last few months, there have been tremendous advances made in social technology, and the way that users interact with social networks. Imagine what all of 2017 will hold!

Creating an impact on social comes down to a few very simple ideas which include finding ways to uncover how your social audience interacts (and do that) and developing a destination that they will want to come back to again and again (like blogs have traditionally done) so that you don’t have to rely only on advertising to drive eyeballs to your content.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
The Future of Social Media Marketing: Experts Share Social Media Predictions for 2017 |

The post The Future of Social Media Marketing: Experts Share Social Media Predictions for 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Online Marketing News: Agile Marketers, Facebook Sends Waves & Faster Mobile Ads


Marketers Are Clueless About Agile [Infographic]
Only 40% of marketers are using or planning to use agile task management systems in the next four years, while 40% aren’t sure. This isn’t a super surprising statistic, given that more than 20% of marketers don’t know what agile means. This infographic shows details of what task management systems marketers are using, their future plans for agile and more. WorkfrontFacebook Testing ‘Send a Wave’ Feature Within Nearby Friends
Just when we thought the poke had retired, it comes back in the form of a wave. Users can now send a waving hand emoji to their nearby friends to help facilitate a meet up. The question here is when this feature will be available for business on a local level. Time will tell. SocialTimesGoogle Says Faster Mobile Ads Are Boosting Clickthrough Rates Up to 200 Percent
AdWeek reports: “Results showed publishers using AMP, an open-source Google initiative, saw clickthrough rates increase by 200 percent, completion rates increase by 15 percent and ad performance increase 18 percent.” AdWeekDigital Share of New Ad Dollars to Reach 77% Next Year, GroupM Forecasts
In the last few weeks, there have been forecasts predicting, and reports confirming, that digital ad spend continues to drive growth in total ad spend into 2017. In fact, digital captured 72 cents of every ad dollar this year, and may get as many as 77 cents to the dollar next year. Ad AgeGoogle replaces ‘In the News’ box with ‘Top Stories’ on desktop
Search Engine Land Reports: “Google has confirmed that they have dropped the “In the News” box with the “Top Stories” box. This change seems to just be an aesthetic update to the design in order to make the news box on desktop match that on the mobile version.” As far as we know, this is just an aesthetic change, and not an algorithmic change. Search Engine Landmobile-marketing-trendsBeware: New Types of Referral Spam & How to Filter Them Out
A new ‘language’ in the language section of Google Analtyics is popping up and causing spam concerns: “Secret.? You are invited! Enter only with this ticket URL. Copy it. Vote for Trump!” This, coupled with an alternative kind of spam that makes spammy traffic look as though it’s coming from reputable sites like Reddit and Lifehacker, have webmasters scratching their heads. This post shows how to filter out that spam. Search Engine JournalThe State of Social Media in 2016: Platform and Usage Trends
According to recent research from Pew Research Center, Facebook is still the most popular network with U.S. adults. 68% of all U.S. adults use Facebook, while 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% use LinkedIn and 21% use Twitter. MarketingProfsInstagram Adds New Community Safety Tools, Including the Ability to Switch off Comments
Instagram has announced a new set of tools with a goal of helping make Instagram “a welcoming place for everyone.” These features include comment control, allowing users to turn comments off on their posts, comment liking, and the ability to remove followers from private accounts. Social Media TodayWhat were your top online marketing news stories this week?I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet it to @toprank or share in the comments!

The post Online Marketing News: Agile Marketers, Facebook Sends Waves & Faster Mobile Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

A Year in Blog Posts: TopRank Marketing’s Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts of 2016


If you look at almost any set of statistics from 2016, it’s pretty clear that business is booming for social platforms. Consumers are lining up in throngs to setup and utilize accounts, and ad spend is steadily increasing each year.

A study from HootSuite found that nearly 50% of consumers have interacted with companies on at least one of their social networks. That’s great news! But don’t celebrate just yet.

As competition continues to rise for consumers attention, brands will need to up the ante on delivering quality social media content to their followers, in preferred formats.

Big Changes in Social Media in 2016

The biggest evolutions in social media that are top of mind focus on one specific tactic: video. The addition of live video to platforms like Facebook as well as brands taking a leap into the Snapchat video pool have revolutionized the way that marketers are interacting on social networks.

To help you close out 2016 on a strong note and have a running start for 2016, here is a list of our five most-shared social media marketing posts for 2016. Enjoy!

Top 5 Social Media Marketing Posts of 2016

#1 – 9 Social Media Marketing Trends That Could Make or Break Your Business in 2017


“The most important thing about social media marketing isn’t always the tech. It’s the people.” -…
Click To Tweet

Social Media Marketing is a fantastic mix of people and technology. In one vane, consumer behaviors are creating demand for new technology. While on the other hand, new technology is impacting the way that consumers utilize social media. This post from TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden provides a dynamic look at how the combination of people and technology are evolving social media marketing.

#2 – 7 Tips for Marking Your Brand More Likable on Social Media


“The success of your social media efforts boils down to one thing: Likeability.” – @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet

We all want to be liked (online and IRL). For a long time brands have struggled to find the balance between sharing the message they want to convey, and sharing the messages that people actually like to read and interact with. If you’re like most companies, a refresher on what makes brands likable on social media will help you connect with your audience in a more meaningful way.

#3 – How Social Media Can Drive Success on Your Content Marketing Roadtrip


“Social media is the vehicle that drives your content where you want it to go.” – @CaitlinMBurgess
Click To Tweet

The world of social media marketing is not a one-way street. Just as with any journey, marketers need to make sure that they have the essentials in place to make for a successful trip. This post shares exactly which pit stops and planning elements need to be included to successfully drive engagement to content via social media.

#4 – 8 Social Media Marketing Hacks to Boost Engagement


“Social media is all about building relationships. So, be consistent, creative and compelling.” -…
Click To Tweet

Competition for the attention of customers on social media is fierce. Everyone is “doing social” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re having an actual impact. One way to determine impact of social media marketing efforts is how much (or little) people are engaging with your social profiles. If you’re like most marketers and are searching for some creative hacks to boost your engagement, this post is a must-read.

#5 – 7 Weird Social Media Marketing Habits All Marketers Need to Break NOW


“Once you get into a social media routine, it can be hard to break habits that are hurting your brand.”…
Click To Tweet

Everyone has bad habits that they’d like to hide from the world. Unfortunately for social media marketers, those bad habits can very clearly be seen by the outside world. If you want to confidently say that you are one of those brands that has a positive impact and creates value for your community, then make sure you avoid these 7 social media marketing BAD habits.

Take Part in the Social Media Marketing Revolution

The time to hesitate is through. For every hour, day and week that you and your team squeak by with your social media marketing efforts, new and motivated marketers will come in and steal away the attention of your target audience.

I know the year is almost over, but now is an opportune time to take some of your favorite tips from the posts above and incorporate them into your strategy for the remainder of the year. You can also use these posts to trigger ideas for how you’ll tackle social media marketing in 2017!

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
A Year in Blog Posts: TopRank Marketing’s Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts of 2016 |

The post A Year in Blog Posts: TopRank Marketing’s Most Popular Social Media Marketing Posts of 2016 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing

Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Mobile Content Connects


How often do you use your smartphone as a phone? Personally, I think of it as more for avoiding human interaction than facilitating it:

These days my desktop and home laptop are gathering dust; I can do it all on my phone. The only reason we still call them “phones” is “personal computation device” sounds too nerdy.

All of which to say: Mobile is the current and next frontier for content marketing. Reports show that 65% of digital media time is now spent on a mobile device. Not only that, all digital growth is now coming from mobile usage—expect to see desktop traffic stagnate or reduce while mobile traffic continues to grow.

So how do you create content that works as well on a 5-inch screen as it does on a 17-inch monitor? Here are a few guidelines.

Focus on the Center of the Screen

Eye tracking studies show that most people read in an f-shaped pattern on a monitor:


The top left corner tends to get most of the attention, and the outer right edge gets virtually none. This pattern has informed web design for the past decade. We tend to put the most important information on the top and down the left side.

On mobile devices, however, there usually isn’t space for f-optimized content. Eye tracking on mobile shows people focus their attention on the center of the screen and on images.

For content marketers, that means:

  • Shorten your headline to fit on one line
  • Adjust your header image to put the headline front and center
  • Add a short blurb under the headline summarizing the content

If your reader has to swipe, shrink or tap to see your content, they’re likely to hit the back button instead.

Ditch the Interstitials

On a desktop, those pop-up windows with special offers do get results without affecting readership overly much. When the little “Do You Want 1100 Secrets about Cheese?” window shows up, it’s easy to click “Yes! Cheese Me up!” or “No Thanks, I’m Lactose Intolerant” and go about your day.

On a mobile device, though, interstitials tend to lead to bounces. It affects the user experience enough that Google will start penalizing pop-ups in January.

Instead of a pop-up, you can embed your offer in the content as an organic call to action based on what they’re already reading. That way you can enhance the content with a next-step offer, instead of obscuring it.

Think Scroll, Not Click

From an advertising perspective, content consumption on desktop is a page at a time. Each new page load is an opportunity to display new ads. So it makes sense to add page breaks into content; the more, the better.

For mobile users, though, each page break means tapping a tiny “Next” button with pinpoint precision. It ranges from a mild nuisance to a bounce-worthy offense.

It’s better to put your content all on one page and let readers scroll vertically through it. Swiping up to scroll is easier than playing target practice with a Next button.

If you can organize content in a slideshow, so users can swipe left and right to see it, that works, too. But the best option is still one long page.

Optimize Your Text

Mobile users tend to read content in shorter sessions than laptop or desktop users. Not only that, the time reading is likely to be full of distractions. Your content may be competing with another screen, another person, or a sidewalk full of pedestrian obstacles.

It’s best to make your writing efficient, skimmable, and resumable if interrupted. Here’s how:

  • Keep sentence structure simple. You don’t have to write like Tarzan, but avoid paragraph-long sentences.
  • Use headers to highlight your main points.
  • Break paragraphs every 2-3 sentences. If the text fills the whole screen with no white space, your reader can get lost.
  • Avoid vague paragraph starters like “Because of this [referring to the previous paragraph], we should…” Your reader will have to scroll backward, and may opt out. Keep the momentum moving forward, repeating points if you need to.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Increasingly, your audience is going to be searching for and consuming content on mobile devices. To avoid search engine penalties and high bounce rates alike, make sure your content is optimized for mobile. Put the most pertinent information front-and-center, get rid of interruptions, and make the text easy to consume. With the right content, you might persuade your reader to use their phone as a phone—to give your business a call.

What else does the future hold for content marketing? Check out our expert predictions for 2017.

Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Mobile Content Connects |

The post Content Marketing: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Mobile Content Connects appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: online marketing