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SEARCH MARKETING MAGAZINE

SUPERCHARGED SEARCH IN 2020

NEWS

WI NTER 2 0 19

TRENDS

PREDICTIONS


LET’S BEGIN....

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A WORD FROM THE CEO

CONTRIBUTORS

Hello and welcome back to Benchmark Search Magazine. Can you believe that this is the seventh issue? We have packed this issue with 72 pages of content to help you understand the ever changing digital and search marketing landscape.

CONTENT

Businesses and brands are busy planning for the new year and we have decided to give you a helping hand by looking at the trends and predictions that we feel will be big in 2020. A new year brings new challenges and we know that whilst you can’t forget the basics, you have to be prepared for whatever Google and other search engines throw your way. We know that strategy is vital if you want to be a success and get ahead of the competition and as such, the small changes that you make to the information that you produce and share can be the difference between growth and recession. Trends are always difficult to forecast, and some take longer to come to fruition than others but rest assured that the information featured in this issue will be pivotal to your future strategy. We hope that you enjoy this issue and the features within and as always, thanks for reading. Do make sure you keep a look out for issue eight which will be with you in March, featuring insightful interviews and of course, actionable advice to help you get the most from your website, content and marketing. Until next time‌

John Warner Scott Rumsey Adam McKinley Chloie Brandrick Karen Ngai Ben Weston Sarah Macklin Matt Bullas Lawrence Janes Radina Ivanova Faye Lambert-Martin DESIGN Lisa Anne Mittal PUBLISHED BY Click Consult Ltd ADDRESS: Willow House Oaklands Office Park Hooton Cheshire CH66 7NZ PHONE: 0333 009 8299 WEBSITE: www.click.co.uk

Matt Bullas, CEO

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CONTENTS

CONTENTS 6

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INDUSTRY NEWS A round up of everything search marketing, bringing you the most important updates of the last few months

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THIS QUARTER IN SOCIAL Adam McKinley covers all of the latest social media developments and stories of the last 12 weeks

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WHAT TIKTOK’S SUCCESS CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE FUTURE OF CONTENT MARKETING

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GOOGLE’S NEW REL TYPES

Karen Ngai looks at the rise of TikTok

Our data and coding expert, John Warner, explains the latest changes to REL types

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HOW BERT WILL AFFECT CONTENT IN THE FUTURE

CAPTURING THE MILLENNIAL MARKET THE IMPORTANCE OF NON-BRAND SEO

Sarah Macklin makes sense of Google’s latest algorithm update - BERT

Click Consult CEO, Matt Bullas looks at how brands are targeting millennial to boost their sales

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INFOGRAPHIC

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Search & Digital Marketing trends to watch out for in 2020

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SEO TRENDS 2020 Radina Ivanova explains some of the things that brands should look out for in 2020

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CONTENTS

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BENCHMARK 2019 : REVISITED Relive the 5th Benchmark Search and Digital Conference with slides, videos and features

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BESMIRCHING SEARCHING – DIGITAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON BRICKS & MORTAR SALES Lawrence Janes from CollidaScope tells us about the partnership between digital marketing and bricks and mortar sites in terms of FMCG

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PHRASE AND BROAD MATCH CLOSE VARIANTS Ben Weston, one of our PPC experts, tells us more about broad and phrase match modifiers

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WHAT IS QUALITY CONTENT? John Warner looks at quality content and gives you some top tips to make yours even better

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4 PREDICTIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2020 Faye Lambert-Martin gives us her four predictions for social media in 2020

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101 - PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING Chloie Brandrick discusses the importance of programmatic advertising

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GOOGLE MY BUSINESS WALK-THROUGH Scott Rumsey shares his step by step guide to Google My Business (GMB)

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CASE STUDY - VIESSMANN Find out how we have helped one of our clients with their search marketing - In this issue we look at Viessmann

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INDUSTRY NEWS

INDUSTRY NEWS Keeping up to date with everything that the search marketing world throws up can be difficult, but as you know by now, here at Click Consult we are dedicated to keeping you informed and making the constant updates easily digestible. With that in mind let’s look at what the industry is talking about in this quarter in search… GOOGLE MY BUSINESS DISCONTINUES TOLL FREE PHONE SUPPORT One of the best parts of Google My Business was that you were able to dial a phone number and speak to someone at Google about your Google My Business listing. So if you had an issue with how your business was showing up in Google Search or Google Maps, someone at Google could potentially help you. Well, now that feature is gone. You can no longer dial into a phone number and immediately get someone from Google to listen to your problem.

We’ve removed toll free customer support numbers from the Google My Business homepage. If you call one of the existing numbers, you’ll be directed to the Google My Business Help Center for a more personalised and efficient help experience. You’ll still be able to request a toll free call from a support specialist under the ‘Contact Us’ options in the Google My Business Help Center... - GOOGLE

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INSTAGRAM LAUNCHES IGTV SERIES TOOLS Instagram announced new tools to help creators start their own IGTV series: Now that Instagram supports video series content on its long-form IGTV format, Instagram rolled out a new tool that enables creators to start their own series. Instagram is reportedly testing a new Stories sticker option that is aimed at facilitating event participation. Instagram’s Event Story stickers, spotted by reverse engineer, Jane Manchun Wong, appear to allow users “to add details of your upcoming event – including title, date, and location, and directly RSVP within the Story.

In addition to Invite Stickers for Events, Instagram also appears to be testing a new process for categorising your “Following” list into both topic categories or based on individual engagement activity. The idea is to help users better manage what content appears in their main feed. - SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMINER

In addition, creators using the IGTV series tool can give fans the option to turn on notifications that alert them when new episodes are available for viewing.


INDUSTRY NEWS

NEW SERP FEATURE TRUNCATES TITLE TAG IN FAVOUR OF LOCATION Google automatically adding locations to title tags can work well in local businesses’ favour. In a story published by Search Engine Land it was suggested that Google is helping out local businesses...

On Oct. 2, we spotted something new happening to title tags in Google UK search results – location names were being added to truncated title tags, despite these not being present in the original title tags. For example, using the search term “travel agent” we saw the result:

Our observations are: • Locations seem to appear when performing company/agency/business-related searches • It appears they display if you do not specify a location in your search • Google seems to pull a location based on on-page content • It will sometimes use a more specific location if a broad location is specified Though it could be argued that Google is removing important content from your title tag in favour of a location, we think it’s a positive move. - SEARCH ENGINE LAND

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INDUSTRY NEWS

BERT UPDATE SPARKS INDUSTRY DEBATE Pandu Nayak, in a Google blog announced that they would be ‘understanding searches better than ever’. The reason they could do this – as the blog explains – was because they would be taking ‘one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of search’. What was that leap forward? It was the introduction of BERT (Biderectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) – a ‘neural network-based technique for natural language processing’. This has been covered in several places, including: SERoundtable where Barry Schwartz reports on the general feeling of the industry and the lack of clear cut effects – supposing that its target of ‘longer tail natural language queries’ that was masking the true extent of the update. Search Engine Journal tackles some misinformation with their piece – quoting the deluge of posts that stated an expectation of a raft of ‘Optimise for BERT’ content. Searchmetrics features a nice breakdown of few areas of interest and is well worth a read. Econsultancy on the other hand, has the first SEO is dead (no it isn’t) article we have seen since BERT.

FACEBOOK EXPANDS SEARCH ADS AVAILABILITY Facebook is now making search ads available to all businesses, while its also adding search ads to its Automatic Placements option.

All new ad campaigns using Automatic Placements will automatically include the Facebook Search Results placement. You can also manually select the placement when setting up your campaign. Once you opt-in, ads will be eligible to appear on search result pages which includes general search and Marketplace search – and will both respect the audience targeting of the campaign and be contextually relevant to a limited set of English and Spanish search terms. - FACEBOOK

The new search ads are designed to “fit the experience on the given search results surface”, whether that be general or Marketplace. They look similar to News Feed ads and have the same transparency and controls, including a “Sponsored” label so it’s clearly marked as paid placement. By opening up this ad placement to more advertisers, Facebook is giving marketers direct access to users who are actively searching for their product or service on the platform.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

ECOMMERCE AD SPEND ON SOCIAL OUTPACES SEARCH

FITBIT TO BE USED AS DATA TRACKING TOOL?

Product ad spend growth on social overtook search in the third quarter, with advertisers spending 39% of their search budgets on Shopping campaigns and 37% of their social budgets on product ads in the third quarter of the year, according to new Kenshoo data. The relative slow in Shopping campaign spend meant it had less overall impact on search spend, which grew 7% year-over-year and just 2% from the second quarter of 2019. Paid social spend increased by 32% year-over-year, driven by Instagram, video and product ads.

Google, a trustworthy company with no history of illicitly tracking users and harvesting vast swathes of data, have bought potential data harvesting tool Fitbit for $2.1 Bn. The company, which has no record for extensive data harvesting, can now reasonably be expected to play a big part in the wearables market in future – competing with the Apple watch. While the totally personal data friendly search giant has had wearable products in the past, this will serve as a major leg up.

VISIT NOW

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INDUSTRY NEWS

SOCIAL MEDIA AD SPEND TO SURPASS PRINT

PERSONALISATION KEY TO EMAIL MARKETING SUCCESS

Advertisers will spend more on social media platforms than on print for the first time this year, according to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts. Advertising expenditure on social media will grow 20% this year to reach US$84bn, while advertisers’ combined expenditure on newspapers and magazines will fall 6% to US$69bn.

People are now spending less time checking their emails, according to research from Adobe. Personal emails have seen the biggest drop since 2016, in terms of minutes spent checking them. When it comes to business emails, while they are checked less than in 2016, they have seen an increase in minutes being spent looking at them compared to 2017 and 2018.

Social media will be the third largest channel for advertising this year, with a 13% share of global ad spend, behind television (29%) and paid search (17%). Its growth is slowing as it matures, and is forecast at 17% in 2020 and 13% in 2021, when it will account for 16% of all global ad spend. Paid search advertising will exceed US$100bn for the first time.

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Accurate personalisation is important, especially for Millennials and to B2C recipients. The biggest frustration with both work and personal emails is that the recommendations provided don’t match the recipient’s interests (33% work email and 31% personal email).


INDUSTRY NEWS

BERT IS ROLLING OUT TO GOOGLE SEARCH IN OVER 70 LANGUAGES

YOUTUBE TESTS TOOL TO RESERVE ADS IN ADVANCE

BERT, the natural language processing algorithm that launched on English language queries in October, is now coming to over 70 languages globally, Google announced on Monday. Previously, BERT was only applied to featured snippets in languages other than English.

YouTube is testing a new Instant Review tool in Google Ads that allows advertisers to reserve ad space on a 120 day-rolling window via an automated process with no minimum spend. The tool is being tested globally by advertisers across multiple industries, including consumer goods, media and entertainment, food and beverage and politics. YouTube did not release an announcement when the tool was launched, but the Wall Street Journal reports political advertisers, and “hundreds” of other advertisers, were given access to it in early September.

With regards to search engines, BERT is designed to better understand the intent behind a user’s query, and Google has said that 10% of all searches are impacted by the BERT update. Now that the algorithm is receiving a worldwide roll out, Google search in those 70+ other languages should benefit from BERT’s language processing capabilities.

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GOOGLE CHANGES HOW LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS ARE GENERATED

SPEED IMPROVEMENTS AREN’T COMING FAST ENOUGH

Google confirmed an update affecting local search results has now fully rolled out, a process which began in early November.

In a piece which shocked us (but probably shouldn’t have), Search Engine Journal have pointed out that mobile speed is actually getting worse rather than better, with the median WordPress site taking 12.3 seconds to achieve interactivity.

In what’s been called the November 2019 Local Search Update, Google is now applying neural matching to local search results. To explain neural matching, Google points to a tweet published earlier this year that describes it as a supersynonym system. That means neural matching allows Google to better understand the meaning behind queries and match them to the most relevant local businesses – even if the keywords in the query are not specifically included in the business name and description.

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With mobile speed concerns unlikely to disappear at any point – even with 5G connection – it may mean that Google has to start increasing the ranking boost for speed to make the often arduous process of improving site speed (especially on legacy sites) worth the effort.


INDUSTRY NEWS

MORE TRUST ISSUES FOR GOOGLE OVER DATA COLLECTION Google is facing more antitrust scrutiny in Europe on two fronts according to SearchEngineLand. According to them, Reuters reported that Google is now confronting a broad examination of its “collection and use of data.” And separately, the company’s shopping comparison engine (CSE) rivals have formally complained to the European Commission (EC) that Google’s business practices continue to harm them in violation of the terms of a 2017 antitrust settlement.

[A document we have seen] shows the EU’s focus is on [Google’s use of] data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and others.” - REUTERS

CNN independently confirmed the investigation and also said it involves Facebook’s data practices as well. There is already a separate investigation looking at local and travel search competition in Europe. Previous Google antitrust investigations have been focused on specific market segments or Google practices, including shopping search, Android app pre-installation, AdSense contracts and browsersearch engine choice. To date, the EC has fined Google more than $9 billion for alleged “abuse of market position” and related antitrust violations. Google is appealing most of these fines and decisions, though the fines have had little impact on Google’s revenue or share price. In 2017, Google was required to make changes in how it presents shopping search results, to provide “equal treatment” to European CSEs in the SERP. Accordingly, Google Shopping was compelled to compete for placement in Product Listing Ads with the CSEs, with no dedicated slots for the company itself. There were other terms and requirements in the settlement as well.

TESCO AND MCDONALD’S THE FIRST BRANDS TO COMMIT TO ‘GOLD STANDARD’ TO CLEAN UP DIGITAL ADVERTISING Tesco and McDonald’s are the first advertisers to commit to using the IAB UK’s ‘gold standard’, meaning they will only work wherever possible with digital ad suppliers that have signed up to the initiative. The gold standard aims to bring together industry attempts to combat ad fraud, improve brand safety and improve the digital ad experience for users. To be certified, companies have to implement ads. txt, undergo an independent audit by JICWEBS’ digital trading standards group and adhere to the principles set out by the Coalition of Better Ads around reducing ad formats that annoy and interrupt the digital experience. Currently, 95 media owners, media agencies and ad tech companies have been certified according to Marketing Week. By bringing brands on board, the hope is it will force more suppliers to sign up to the certificate and therefore clean up the digital ad ecosystem.

Since its inception, gold standard adoption has been really strong. The fact that advertisers are now getting behind the initiative is crucial in cementing its effectiveness. Tesco and McDonald’s are leading by example when it comes to advertisers’ responsibility to improve digital advertising. It’s only by having all parts of the industry on board that we can affect real change.

- TIM ELKINGTON, IAB UK’S CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER

We’re delighted to be among the first advertisers to support IAB UK’s gold standard. It’s in all of our best interests to collectively raise online ad standards, as we strive to communicate to our customers in the most helpful, relevant and effective way. - NICK ASHLEY, HEAD OF MEDIA AND CAMPAIGN PLANNING

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INDUSTRY NEWS

GOOGLE BEGINS SHOWING USERGENERATED IMAGES IN PRODUCT REVIEWS

MOZ ANNOUNCE NEW DOMAIN ANALYSIS TOOL

Google is introducing user-generated images in product reviews on Google Shopping.

Moz has officially launched a new free tool for you to get the most from your SEO: Domain Analysis.

Retailers can now include user-generated images in product review feeds, which creates an opportunity to show future customers pictures of products taken by existing customers. According to recent data from a Google study, the first place consumers go to research purchases they plan to make is Google Search. Further, 50% of digital shoppers say images helped them decide what to buy. Retailers can get started with displaying usergenerated images in product reviews by utilising this updated schema and signing up for Google’s product ratings program here. This new feature is currently only available on mobile in the US, though Google plans to expand it to more countries over the coming months. GOOGLE ADS LETS USERS OPTIMISE VIDEO ADS AT THE CAMPAIGN LEVEL Google Ads is letting advertisers set conversion actions at the campaign level for video ads. Previously, with respect to video campaigns, Google Ads users could only set conversion actions at the account level. Other types of campaigns, such as search and display campaigns, can have their default, accountlevel settings overridden by selecting conversion actions at the campaign level. Advertisers can now do the same with video campaigns. Campaigns can be optimised for multiple conversion actions by placing them into a “Conversion actions set.” Those actions can then be applied across other campaigns that share the same marketing goal.

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One thing Moz does extremely well is SEO data: data that consistently sets industry standards and is respected both for its size (35 trillion links, 500 million keyword corpus) and its accuracy. We’re talking things like Domain Authority, Spam Score, Keyword Difficulty, and more, which are used by tens of thousands of SEOs across the globe. - CYRUS SHEPARD

The tool is free, and showcases a preview of many top SEO metrics in one place, including:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Domain Authority Linking Root Domains Number of Ranking Keywords Spam Score Top Pages Top Linking Domains Discovered and Lost Links Keywords by Estimated Clicks (new) Top Ranking Keywords Top Featured Snippets (new) Top Branded Keywords (new) Keyword Ranking Distribution Top Search Competitors (new) Top Search Questions (new)

Many of these metrics are previews that you can explore more in-depth using Moz tools such as Link Explorer and Keyword Explorer.


FREE

DOWNLOAD

SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT MARKETING: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN One thing to remember when you are putting together your strategy is that you must be able to take different parts of your work and merge them together. An excellent example of this is in the relationship between content marketing and social media. These two elements have long been touted as a match made in heaven, and if used together properly the impact they can have on the digital performance of a business is huge. This eBook will look at these two parts of a search marketing strategy and provide actionable advice on how to use them in harmony to get the most from your online results. Content and social have similar functions in your overall marketing strategy. Your content and social should serve one or some of these objectives: • • •

Help your audience understand the subject matter you specialise in Challenge the status quo on your subject Entertain your audience with content specific to them

• •

Educate your audience on new best practices and trends Convince your audience to buy your product

Your “Content Marketing & Social Media” eBook includes chapters covering: • • • • • • •

What is content marketing? Why is content marketing important? Content marketing strategy What is social media marketing? Why is social media marketing important? Social media marketing strategy How can we merge these two different elements of search?

Download ‘Content Marketing and Social Media - A Match Made in Heaven’ eBook and prepare yourself for your most successful year in search yet!

DOWNLOAD NOW 15


THIS QUARTER IN SOCIAL

THIS QUARTER IN SOCIAL

RESPONSIVE ADS COME TO FACEBOOK Facebook have followed on from what Google Ads did last year, and have introduced a new responsive ad feature. It’s great news for advertisers as it now allows you to create several versions of your single-media adverts, with the options of updating headlines, ad copy and descriptions. So what makes it so good? Named “multi text optimisation”, it lets you test out how benefits and features resonate with different audiences to help ensure you are getting the best results possible out of your campaigns. This option leaves messaging combinations to the algorithms and can accelerate testing of different types of messaging. This is another indication of how machine learning is being applied to ad creative, and something we expect to see plenty more of in the future…

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COULD ORGANIC IMPRESSIONS BE DROPPING AGAIN ON FACEBOOK? This seems to be a recurring theme in the world of social media, with organic impressions being the centre of attention on Facebook, mainly from businesses wondering if they should be focusing on organic or paid? We believe the two work perfectly together, but could organic be dropping further? Facebook is changing how it calculates organic impressions meaning it will likely decline, but this is only a temporary test. The reason for the test is to determine how it counts impressions to better match its ad metrics. It will be updating the way it filters repeat organic impressions to align with the methodology used for paid advertising through Facebook. Keep an eye out for this one as they try out more tests.


THIS QUARTER IN SOCIAL

FACEBOOK TESTS TOOL THAT LETS USERS TRANSFER PHOTOS TO GOOGLE AND OTHER PLATFORMS Facebook is testing a new tool that gives users the ability to move photos and videos between Facebook and other platforms, the company announced in a blog post. The test is initially rolling out with support for Google Photos, with other platforms to follow in the coming months. The initiative underscores Facebook’s effort to give users more data portability, but brands can benefit from this change, too. For social marketers, the new tool will be a welcome convenience with the ability to bulk transfer media, rather than manually saving and re-uploading assets one-by-one. The move is part of the Data Transfer Project, a joint initiative among Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft aimed at making it easier to transfer data between online services. FACEBOOK’S NEW MULTIPLAYER VR WORLD Facebook’s new VR sandbox universe, Horizon, has been announced in September, but isn’t set to launch until 2020, with closed betas coming early in the year. The platform will allow users to design their own avatars, watch movies, play games and travel through environments, all through virtual reality. They plan to make it safe for all, with it including ‘Horizon Locals’, who are real human guides who will give assistance throughout the world. Definitely something to keep an eye out for as they announce more news in the build up to launch. SNAPCHAT’S NEW 3D CAMERA MODE Following on from their launch announcement of Spectacles 3, which is set to be launched in November, Snapchat has been busy adding a further range of features to ensure the social channel isn’t being left behind by competitors. 3D camera mode, will be something available to those with an iPhone X or later, and it will allow users to create and send snaps in 3D to their friends and followers. They’ll also be introducing several new 3D effects within the filter carousel, in which they have described in their own words as “bringing your world and experience to life in a way that’s a step closer to the real thing”.

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THIS QUARTER IN SOCIAL

in PLANNING EVENTS THROUGH LINKEDIN

VALIDATE YOUR SKILLS ON LINKEDIN

Very similar to something we have seen on officially launched its “LinkedIn Events” feature which now makes it easier to create events such as face-toface professional gatherings, conferences and more. This is a feature we personally feel would be beneficial for a while.

This is nothing new as a whole, with a variety of external examining bodies already creating this function to showcase qualifications on LinkedIn (such as Hootsuite Academy), but this is the first time LinkedIn have utilised this internally.

Located in the ‘Community’ panel (the left of the news feed), you’ll find a +Create button to set up your event. The event itself gives you the ability to send notifications directly to all those who have clicked attend via post updates, and also the ability to use search filters to invite the exact right professionals and engage with LinkedIn’s members. Previously, with events like this, we have had to link externally when promoting, such as through a website or Facebook, but this now gives us the ability to share posts directly linking to the LinkedIn Event instead. Pretty useful right?

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The roll-out of a new ‘Skill Assessments’ feature will be a welcoming feature to many on the social channel, which almost acts as a CV for recruiters across a range of industries. 76% of people surveyed said they currently wish they could verify their skills to stand out. How does it work? Well, through short quizzes and content creation, users can showcase their new badge on their profile, fully LinkedIn verified. - ADAM MCKINLEY SENIOR CAMPAIGNS AND SOCIAL EXECUTIVE


What

TikTok’s The Future Success Can Teach Us About

Of Content Marketing

TikTok is an app that has taken the digital world by storm in 2019. Although the app has only been around for three short years, it has already built an impressive online community of 500 million active users worldwide and accumulated over 1 billion downloads. With these landmark figures, it is no wonder that marketers want to include TikTok in their upcoming marketing strategy. However, TikTok is a highly innovative platform different from it’s counterparts, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. While TikTok’s unique business model has left some people baffled as to how the app works, others have deemed it unsuitable for their industry because of its young demographic and emphasis on video content.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

Why Tik Tok is more than just an app? TikTok is often misunderstood by non-users, typically millennials or baby boomers, as merely a “cringey, lip-syncing” app. But upon closer inspection, the app is a demonstration of an evolved method of creating, publishing and distributing content.

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TikTok’s success has shown how the app was purposefully designed to address the latest digital trends and consumer behaviour, which means studying what the app has done right can help us anticipate what the future of content marketing could look like.


FROM OUR EXPERTS

Who should we be targeting next? TOMORROW’S TARGET AUDIENCE

THE FIRST DIGITAL NATIVES

TikTok’s users are mainly Generation Zs, which has created a window of opportunity for marketers to have a microscopic view of this mysterious age group. The surging popularity of TikTok has shown that this age group does, in fact, have an immensely impressive appetite for digital media.

The significance of this demographic cohort is that they are the first-ever generation to be surrounded by technology from birth and are therefore called ‘digital natives’. They’re indigenous to the internet and their interaction with technology is inherently different from previous generations.

TikTok has also highlighted that the time to engage with Generation Z is now. For the past decade and more, we have been adopting online strategies to reach millennials without realising that by 2020, the oldest generation Z will be 23. By next year, it’s predicted that this group will make up more than 25 per cent of the workforce and we will see a huge surge in their spending power meaning our marketing strategies need to cater to the ‘not-so-young’ age group too.

In particular, TikTok offers its users short, easily consumable clips in a ‘waterfall flow’ format which many assume that it is to cater for generation Zs attention span averaging at 8-seconds. However, from the success of the app, these digital natives actually have a sophisticated filter for content that interests them. As marketers, this means that the future of our content requires precision and ever better understanding when targeting these fluent digital consumers.

How will we be marketing to our audience? CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR USER INVOLVEMENT TikTok has provided us with an insight into digital natives and their willingness to participate in brand engagements as long as there is an opportunity. Representation of this characteristic can be seen from TikTok’s integration of high technology augmented reality filters and its thriving ‘challenges’ culture. The filter libraries often act as an instigator for users to gain inspiration to create content. Whereas hashtag challenges allow users to make videos attempting to do the same thing, like the #TumbleWeedChallenge, creating an online community of people who share the same interests. This shows that the future of content marketing would see a stronger emphasis on creating marketing campaigns that can initiate usergenerated content. For businesses, this would allow brand names to have a wider reach but also to form and foster a sense of community which in return enhances brand loyalty.

PERSONALISING USER EXPERIENCE Another prominent reason for TikTok’s success is its personalised feed. Mark Zuckerberg, a technological pioneer, describes this feature as ‘almost like the Explore Tab that [they] have on Instagram’. Except, it’s not. Unlike Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, where your primary feed consists of content from people you have chosen to follow and the explore tab is optional to which most users tend not to use, TikTok prioritises a fully personalised feed using an algorithm to generate content based on your interests, preferences and previous content you have engaged with. This emphasis on user experience is fundamental to attracting and retaining its users. As content marketers, we should use the growing interest in personalised experience as a blueprint when considering marketing methods in the future. This could mean deeper research on audience traits and behaviour combined with a customised strategy for niche audience groups.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

What kind of content can we expect in the future? CREATIVITY WILL BE THE CORE OF CONTENT MARKETING Despite the integration of AI and machine learning, TikTok’s core function is to have its users produce and edit their own videos within the app. These videos allow digital natives to exhibit their desire for self expression and redefine what they believe is good content (as they then become viral by sharing, replicating and built upon). As technology becomes more and more readily available to help generate content, it will be much harder to cut through the noise. Content fuelled by unique creativity will undoubtedly be the way to help gain more traction. AUTHENTIC MARKETING Other than creativity, there will be a greater demand for authentic marketing. When Instagram entered the market, we saw a rise in the polished, professional content and the importance of a carefully curated feed. With TikTok, we can see that trait has been reverted. The younger communities prefer creating candid, unfiltered content, which may seem like low-quality to the untrained eye.

EMOTIONAL MARKETING For many users, TikTok feels inviting in a way that hasn’t existed since Vine. While humorous content may seem to be the only common denominator, it is actually the way it has allowed digital natives to utilise technology to interact and even form relationships that made both apps triumph. In fact, humour is not the only emotion that prevails on TikTok. For example, Fanbytes developed the #YouCanCryChallenge, which encouraged TikTok users to promote mental health awareness. 3000 people created a video displaying their raw emotions with the same soundtrack while stretching out their arms, giving the impression of a chain of people holding hands in solidarity. Despite the unconventional interaction, these forms of relationships are equally desired both in the physical and digital world. This is to show that a heavy emphasis on emotional marketing will soon become the new norm and content marketers should create campaigns with the consideration of appealing to the sentimental side of future audiences.

This doesn’t mean that the future of content marketing is expected to stop producing highquality content. Since digital natives grew up being highly familiar to overly decorated language and misleading statistics, there will be greater demand for authenticity from future content instead of forced perfection.

Although most companies might not find TikTok to be a suitable platform to market their content at the moment, their unique model has proven to be successful amongst our future target audience. By examining the elements that have made the app so favourable, we as content marketers will be able to create intentional content that will help you build greater cultural relevance, cognitive salience and consumer trust and formulate successful methods to market upcoming content.

- KAREN NGAI DIGITAL PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

Future 23


How

BERT

will affect

CO


FROM OUR EXPERTS

ONTENT

in the future

Search is about understanding language

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

Google must constantly work to improve its technology and make their search results as relevant for users as possible. To do this, they need to ensure that their systems can make sense of language in the most complex way, just like humans do. While you might understand that ‘surfing’ can refer to a sport or an action that you do on the web, a machine could struggle to see the difference. This means that Google must figure out which version is being referred to by the searcher. INTRODUCING BERT BERT was announced at the end of October and was created so that Google can better understand the intent of a query. It’s their job to fathom what the user is asking and provide the best articles on the web that can give them an accurate answer, “no matter how you spell or combine the words in your query”. In their article, Google admitted that they still don’t get this right and it’s one of the reasons they’ve worked so hard to improve the language understanding capabilities. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. In simple terms, this refers to the way in which the system interprets sentences. Unlike Google’s previous systems that understand the words by looking at each one individually, BERT can look at the whole sentence and then try to interpret the context of a word. For example:

SO IF YOU CAN’T ‘OPTIMISE’ FOR BERT, HOW COULD IT HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR CONTENT IN THE FUTURE? You should continue to create good quality content, not necessarily because a search engine wants you to but because your users will find it beneficial. There’s less pressure to write for an algorithm. Instead, focus all of your efforts in writing excellent content for real people with legitimate problems or queries. If you’re writing for authentic users, you’re already ‘optimising’ for BERT and therefore future-proofing your content. Think about whether your content is actually helpful or whether you’ve stuffed keywords onto a page in order to make it rank. Google is getting much better at understanding what kind of content should be on a page in relation to a query. For example, if someone searches ‘how to tie a tie’, there isn’t a single product page ranking within the first 10 pages of the SERPs. It’s because the search is an informational query, whereas your product page is transactional, not informational. In this example, Google accepts that searchers don’t need to buy a tie - it’s probable that they already have one. Instead, create a blog post that demonstrates how to tie a tie and add a few internal links to your tie product pages. It is much more likely to rank this way.

Input: The man went to the [MASK]1. He bought a [MASK]2 of milk. Labels: [MASK]1 = store; {MASK]2 = gallon This is how Google trained BERT to understand more about the English language. Google have stated that BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches, making it the biggest update since RankBrain was released in 2015. BERT AND THE IMPACT ON CONTENT Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison, explicitly stated that you cannot optimise your site for BERT. Rather than a change to the ranking factors, it’s a change to how the algorithm views the intent of a search query and allows Google to better understand what’s being asked. If you’ve previously written content that’s made for algorithms, you may have seen a drop in visibility since BERT. However, sites that have written content directly to help the user will likely see an improvement.

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CON

TENT

S IDEA


FROM OUR EXPERTS

CONTENT IN THE FUTURE In order to satisfy BERT, you should write good content that’s designed for people. This means providing helpful content that’s easy to read. You can do this by using:

• Short paragraphs and frequent headings to make the content scannable

• Clear language • Visuals, such as images and videos • Definitions of jargon or hard-to-understand words

• Conversational tone of voice If you’re writing to help a user, you should explore different ways to display your information, like images, audio, videos, interactive pages, so that every user’s information preferences are catered to.

COULD BERT AFFECT VOICE SEARCH? If Google has purposefully made their machines better able to understand language, it could be that they’re doing so to tailor for the increase in voice searches. Voice search has increased year-on-year as more people utilise voice assistants, such as Google Home and Alexa, to find out information. Before BERT, Google might not have been able to understand spoken searches as much as it could understand typed phrases. This is because of language complexities that Google just couldn’t fathom. However, when users type a phrase, they use ‘keyword-ese’. According to Google, this is when the user types a string of words in a way that they think a search engine will understand. It may not necessarily reflect how a typical human would talk. The human language can be a complex thing for a machine. Now, however, BERT can more accurately understand and process the language and is more likely to present relevant results. According to Jon Earnshaw, owner and co-founder of PiDatametrics, voice search is becoming increasingly accurate and users are more satisfied with their voice search results than ever before. He found that voice search queries were nearly 30 per cent more likely to satisfy the intent of searchers than typed searches. Earnshaw believes that BERT is becoming more conversational so that it can directly improve the results for users searching with voice.

For example, a piece titled ‘How to make a small bathroom look bigger’ that has 110 searches a month might include an interactive asset. The user could select the shape of their bathroom, where the windows and doors are and whether they want a bath, shower or both. Then, based on the selections, the asset can produce the best layout for the room. This kind of content might be far more valuable to a user than a 1,000 word article on the topic. Just remember that the page might still need a little bit of content, as Google cannot see or understand some images or interactive assets. Avoid throwing lots of content onto your website because you believe it’s what Google wants to see. It’s better to have less content that’s good quality and updated regularly instead of a large quantity of pages that only have 200-300 words and aren’t ever updated. BERT is trying to tempt us away from writing for search engines and is convincing us to write for the user, however this doesn’t mean that you need to do away with all of your SEO strategies. Lots of ranking factors are already in place to optimise the experience for the user, such as page speed, redirects, alt text and friendly URLs that explain what the page is about. These things are favoured by Google because they improve the user experience and you still need to apply these things to give your content the best chance of ranking. - SARAH MACKLIN USER FOCUSED CONTENT STRATEGIST

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GOOGLE’S NEW REL TYPES

- What They Are And What They Mean Anyone who has followed the Click Consult blog for a while will know how important we feel it is to ensure your site sends the right signals to search engines – and these new rel types will help your site communicate the value of your outbound links. Recently, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog published a post from Gary Illyes and Danny Sullivan on the ‘evolution’ of the nofollow attribute. Beginning with a brief overview of nofollow (that it originated in 2005 and became the recommended method of flagging ad-related or sponsored content), the blog moved on to describe how ‘nofollow’ would be used from now on as well as introducing two new rel types. The two new rel types can be used as of the date the blog was posted (10th of September 2019), while the move to using ‘nofollow’ as a hint will come on the 1st March 2020.

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

rel=”nofollow” Not a great deal has changed around the actual use of the nofollow attribute, though the blog does make it the official attribute for when “you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page”. The main change with regards the attribute is that the nofollow attribute won’t, necessarily, not be followed – instead, links marked with nofollow (from 01/03/2020) will be, as with the new attributes, treated as ‘hints’. Additionally, sites which mark all links as nofollow as a rule may find the tag being ignored altogether if they fail to adhere to the new methodology.

rel=”sponsored” The explanation of the ‘sponsored’ attribute is that it should be used in instances where the link was created as part of an advertisement, sponsorship or other compensated activity. In effect, this means that webmasters should be indicating when links on their site are part of any exchange of value – for example, when news sites publish advertorials (content sponsored by brands), they will be expected to ensure that links within this article are giving the right signals to the search engine. The attribute states that the publisher is happy to endorse the link on the page, but that there has been a transaction involved in its placement.

rel=”ugc” The ‘ugc’ here stands for user generated content and refers to anything added to a site by the site’s own users – such as forum posts and comments. In the past, to combat one specific type of manipulative activity – forum spam, where links were placed in the comment section of blogs or in fora – many sites hosting this kind of UGC moved to implement the ‘nofollow’ attribute on all links posted in such a way. This attribute is set to cater to exactly this kind of link – where a webmaster may either have limited or no control over the content posted and wants to indicate that to the search engine.

WHY THE CHANGE? As referred to briefly in the intro, this change fits with the movement to increase the adoption of structured data. While the algorithms that Google uses to rank content on the web are getting smarter all the time, they are far from perfect and, as such, will need real world training to begin making the right inferences from the location and appearance of information types. By encouraging webmasters to indicate the type of each link on their site, they are enabling themselves to train their algorithms to identify the message that a link is sending and, therefore, how much value each link should pass to the target site. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? The main message for most brands would be not to worry too much about these changes. Provided you are building your links effectively and ethically, the links you earn will remain useful. The important indication as to the future of link building, however, is that Google are taking further steps to determine authority and trustworthiness on the web and are expecting links to help in that endeavour. For that reason, the search and digital marketing industry will need to continue to reduce its focus on the number of links earned and instead look to the relevance and quality of links earned as the true indication of a campaign’s success or failure. Attempt to earn links from sites with authority, and that mean something to your audience, that demonstrate expertise in their own right. In addition, webmasters will need to look in to plug-ins or other methods for implementing the ‘ugc’ tags for comments and forum posts as soon as possible. - JOHN WARNER SENIOR SEO MARKETING AND CONTENT EXECUTIVE

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Capturing the Millennial (Gen Y) Market - The Importance of Non-Brand SEO

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FEATURED ARTICLE

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FEATURED ARTICLE

The subject of marketing to Millennials is one of the most well covered topics in marketing over the last few years - to the extent that it’s become a cliché. So why, in my first contribution to my agency’s quarterly magazine, have I decided to cover a subject that just by having ‘Millennial’ in the title could put off more readers than it entices? The reason is that I think there has been a lot of misguided thinking on the subject... It has become the marketing world’s version of the health benefits of eggs or red wine - in that there are articles, often in the same publication, sometimes months, sometimes weeks, sometimes only pages apart that give entirely contradictory advice. Millennials, we are told, consume all their video digitally - through Netflix and other streaming platforms - something which may fall in to the ‘exaggerated’ bracket rather than entirely false, but just as Millennials certainly do still watch television (though less, certainly, than older demographics) they also defy many of the other broad-brush generalisations applied to them. The delineation of ‘generations’ has always been a practice open to much academic criticism (c.f. The Evidence Base for Generational Differences: Where Do We Go from Here?) with the vast majority of what we refer to as ‘generational differences’ explainable by ‘period effects’ which are large socio-cultural and socio-economic shifts that impact all age cohorts to greater or lesser degrees. To begin with, we’ll outline the two generations as they are commonly seen – using a few bullet points from their descriptions on the Psychology Today website:

• • • • • • •

Baby Boomers: Boomers ‘grew up making phone calls and writing letters’ which, according to Psychology Today, solidified ‘strong interpersonal skills’. They use technology as ‘productivity tools’. They put work first. Millennials: Technology is used primarily for connectivity. They prioritise their social rather than work life. Raised online, they ‘thrive on new innovations, start ups, and working out of coffee shops’. They are, to quote the same Psychology today article, ‘confident, entitled, and depressed’.

To quote Alexander Dumas: “All generalisations are dangerous, even this one” - generalisations are broad brush strokes and, beyond this, have little utility. Yet the marketing industry has committed itself to pursuing these archetypes above and beyond the point of usefulness and has failed to fill in the detail that is necessary for an accurate depiction. Returning to the idea of ‘period effects’, for example – the reasons for supposed generational differences are much more easy to understand if we consider these shifts as resulting from contemporaneous socio-cultural influence on members of any demographic cohort and the culture in which they are raised. These period effects, rather than simple temporal cross-sections (which often overlook the fact that there are greater differences between classes than generations – or as one article put it: ‘these arguments conveniently ignore the inequalities within generations, which are greater than the inequalities between them’) are actually much better predictors of behaviour. lf we take a look at this in even on the most basic level (leaving out, as we always do, my own generation - Gen-X), it is easy to see that one of the main differences between the baby boomer and millennial generations (at least as far as the digital marketing industry is concerned) is, of course, the emergence of the internet. If we take the Statista numbers, we can state that the internet reached approximately 50% of the UK population in 2004 - the point at which I’m going to say that the internet became officially ‘a thing’. By this point, Google had existed for 7 years, Facebook was brand new and the youngest baby boomer would have been around 40 (if we take the 1946 - 1964 Wikipedia cut-off points).

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FEATURED ARTICLE

By 40, we are pretty well developed as individuals and while we may not be set in our ways by this point, it’s reasonable to state that we do have a fair idea of our preferences. The youngest millennial, on the other hand, was (again, using the Wikipedia time line of 1981 to 1996) around 8 and, conversely, relatively unformed. The reason I make this distinction is simply to emphasise the moment at which the tremendously impactful rise of the internet took place in the development of each demographic group. Add to this the widely recognised first ‘proper smartphone’ arriving in 2006 (the original iPhone) and we can see the two generations separated by a wide technological gulf that changed society far more than most inventions of the 20th century. For the last 5-10 years, marketers have tried to pin down the buying habits of the millennial generation and have attributed many different motivations to a whole generation (producing, as a sideeffect, an industry of ‘Millennials have killed [insert industry]’ article writing) - they are lazy, disloyal, obsessed with experience and on and on but while I’d need a grant from a university to prove it, I feel the easiest explanation for

Millennial behaviour is this technology gap a period effect that transcends the various other factors (wealth, education, gender, race and the various inequities that each produce). While Millennials have no doubt shopped on the high street, for example, the practice has never been their only option for shopping, they have never had the need to develop brand attachments for certain stores (something which reduced the time spent shopping and also helped build a sense of identity in previous generations) - and those brands that have captured Millennial loyalty have tended to be technology brands themselves, portal devices which allow us to access the online presence that we all, to a greater or lesser degree, now build for ourselves. The idea that internet access will impact brand loyalty is not new, by any means, and was being written about back in 2014 on the website of the Harvard Business School - what I think marketers have underestimated is the generational shift in attitudes that such a major technological shift can introduce in attitudes to brands and brand loyalty. While it will impact all demographics to one extent or another, the impact on the so called digital native has to be greater.

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Branded and Generic Searches

On average

20%

of searches are branded

On average

80%

of searches are

In order for brands to succeed online, we need to be pushing brands to shift their strategy to one which represents the way people search, encouraging them to develop strategies which target non-brand keywords as a priority. While television and radio remain places to build a brand, the internet has become far more egalitarian, with small and large businesses able to compete with less advantage to the larger brand (though there is still some). Online, we are increasingly competing in a world where brand awareness is a secondary concern to perks, to value, to experience and to exclusivity - and in this environment, we need to ensure our brands are appearing where the consumers are, and that is in generic, unbranded search results.

Exclusivity and Uniqueness helps shoppers buy into brands they love

generic Experiences account for

Source - Google internal data, US, home and personal care categories, 07/2018 - 06/2019

This brings us back, finally, to where we came in the importance of non-brand SEO. When the whole of the retail landscape is equidistant from your position on the couch, or train, or wherever else, when we can find anything with a shopping search (either on Amazon or via Google - the two main starting points for all shopping searches), having a brand in mind at this ‘awareness’ moment (the realisation of a need) is unnecessary. As the image above shows, 80% of all searches on Google are generic - and while Amazon sells brands, I can’t remember the last time I searched there for a specific one. While we may have a brand of phone we use, we’re unlikely to feel the same about any more basic regular purchase. Instead of seeking specific brands, the modern consumer and especially those born in the information age is far more likely to make purchases based on reviews or recommendations.

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55%

of luxury spending

73%

of customers say they’d stop buying a brand that had lost its exclusivity

23%

of Gen Y say that uniqueness is the thing that draws them most to luxury brands Source - Google internal data


FEATURED ARTICLE

As high-street familiars such as Mothercare and Thomas Cook have disappeared, following the death of Toys ‘R’ Us and the seemingly constant firefighting at Currys PC World, it would be easy to predict the death of the ‘brand’ entirely, but this is unlikely to happen. Instead, what we are looking at is the need to build both brand reputation and online visibility. As consumers have become increasingly comfortable with buying expensive items online (and, it bears repeating, this is consumers across generations), brands need to ensure that they are (as in the above image) ‘visible and available where they [consumers] are looking for you’ as well as reputable enough to encourage purchase. With 80% of searches potentially outside of your crosshairs, there is room for brands to expand their reach and increase their online profitability by catering not to simplistic generalisations about generations, but to the way that a 20 year long digital revolution has changed the way we shop and the way we search. Take pharmaceuticals, for example - a sector which has historically relied on brand - in a report by Accenture Life Sciences (quoted on The Pharma Letter back in January of 2018) revealed that 70% of respondents (to a survey with an 8000 sample size) ranked outcome above brand, with brand loyalty ranking 12th of 14th influences on their treatment decisions. Jim Cleffi, a managing director in Accenture’s Life Sciences practice, is quoted in the same article saying:

This adds a secondary layer to the unbranded search. In healthcare, not only are we looking at having to focus on purchase decisions, where unbranded search volume massively outperforms branded searches and where the first brand mention for the unbranded query in the below image didn’t occur until page six: As such, we are also looking at having to direct budget and time at unbranded searches further up the marketing funnel. Again, of course brand is important, but as Cleffi states further in the article: “healthcare remains very personal and will continue to be heavily influenced by the importance that patients attach to trust and relationships [...] the digital era affords the opportunity to extend those relationships and deepen patient knowledge on a much more personalized level.” If we acknowledge that, in many cases, consumers are increasingly unlikely to come directly to a brand at the awareness stage for information, and similarly unlikely to look for you directly at the intent stage, then we have to accept that - online at least - we need to focus more of our time, effort and budget on targeting unbranded queries - not because of a generational shift, there is nothing entirely unique from one generation to the next. Instead, because the internet has changed the way we shop across demographics, we need to change the way we approach marketing. - MATT BULLAS CEO, CLICK CONSULT

Patients in our study made it clear that outcomes matter most, which means that pharmacy companies should focus their launch strategies and communications more on patient value and impact versus the brand.

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SEARCH AND DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS 2020 Content & Social UFC User Focused Content, this is a type of content creation that directly puts the user and searcher in mind and works in a similar way to FAQs.

Automation Businesses are becoming savvy to the pressure of reporting. Automation solves much of this and is only going to get bigger.

Video Video content is hugely lucrative and is one of the key areas for brands to invest in 2020. Social has moved closer and closer to an all video approach this year and in 2020 you can expect to see more ‘TV’ episodes and series appearing on Facebook only.

Smart Insights Using analytics and insight to drive business performance is a must and is most desired skill for new hires in the industry.

Better Targeting Brands will be placing a more intense focus on drilling down on their targeting. User-generated Content Businesses should reward their audience for loyalty and use reviews and endorsements to further their own content as it builds trust. Rise of TikTok This platform is one of the fastest growing and it’s no wonder that so many businesses are moving towards it – you can read more in Karen’s article.

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SEO

Using APIs Businesses leveraging APIs are experiencing increased productivity, revenue growth, and room for innovation. Expanding Technology Sets Brands should adopt new technologies to ensure they are reaching the right audience, acting upon leads, engaging with the potential customers and then converting.


PPC

Digital Marketing

Voice Search By 2020 it is said that 50% of all searches will be voice searches. This means that the search terms that trigger ads to appear are going to change as people interact in a more conversational way.

Life Cycle Marketing Brands and businesses are moving away from the traditional sales funnel and using a non-linear approach to nurture leads and to re-engage with prospective leads.

Visual PPC Last year, Snapchat announced a Visual Search partnership with Amazon which allows users to search products on Amazon straight from the Snapchat camera.

Analytical Adoption Companies that still aren’t investing heavily in analytics by 2020 probably won’t be in business in 2021. Use your data!

Trying New Platforms People in 2019 have spent more time on platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest – and the revenue at those companies is growing. That trend will not slow down. Smart Bidding Businesses need to be able to implement smart bidding on their campaigns to reach the right people at the right price.

AI and Machine Learning According to Forbes: “If you are going to invest in analytics, you also need to invest in AI and machine learning to be able to navigate the vast, churning seas of information and data you aim to put to good use. The value of AI and machine learning to data analytics can be distilled into three separate value propositions: speed, scale, and convenience.”


SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

TRENDS 2020

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KNOWLEDGE BASE

To be able to succeed in the digital world, companies need to be forwardthinking and be able to predict what the upcoming marketing trends will be. Undeniably, Search has played an enormous role in helping small and big businesses alike to reach out to existing and potential customers online, both locally and internationally. Our mobile devices and computers are an extension of us and we, as consumers, live online whether it is searching for products and services, or browsing the web for information. This is why, getting in front of your target audience when they are searching for your business is the key to increasing the visibility and revenue of your brand. We will now look into the SEO trends for 2020 and what you can do to ensure you stay ahead of the game.

HIGH-QUALITY, TARGETED CONTENT BERT is being used globally, in all languages and it is also being applied to featured snippets. The algorithm affects 1 in 10 searches as it is considered to be one of the biggest changes in Search since the release of RankBrain. Even though it is said that companies cannot really optimise for BERT, targeted and user focused content needs to be part of your online strategy for 2020. You will need to refine your content marketing strategy, as Google’s algorithm develops to improve search results by understanding context. Start by getting to know your audience, will your customers be individuals or organisations, where are they based, do you know what they want to accomplish with the performed search? Answering those questions will get you closer to defining your content strategy and answering users’ queries better and more accurately than your competitors.

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KNOWLEDGE BASE

POSITION ZERO Position zero or featured snippets can be seen in a form of a paragraph, list or a table and are important for two reasons. Search Engines use position zero for voice search results, which has become an important online strategy for local businesses and information websites that rely on conversational searches. Featured Snippets can also give your website a lot of exposure and increase brand awareness when you are not ranking at the top of Google search, when the featured snippet is pulled from a lower ranking URL. Even though there is no one correct way of achieving position zero, focusing on long tail keywords that have the potential to provide better conversions is a great place to start. According to a recent research by SEMrush, 41% of questions have a featured snippet with paragraph snippets being more popular than other types. The study also shows that 70% of the featured content comes from websites that have adopted HTTPS and have an average Mobile-Friendly and Usability score of between 95 and 100. This shows that your overall website performance, including speed, user experience, and site security play a role when Google is choosing to select the content for the coveted position zero. MOBILE UX, PAGE SPEED, AND PERSONALISATION 2018 saw Google roll out Mobile-First indexing, which means that Google looks at the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking. Now, more than ever the performance and user experience of your mobile website matter for both your traffic and online rankings. Page speed is another factor that can affect whether a user stays on your website or leaves to go to a competitor. Google Chrome recently announced a plan to introduce badges for slow and fast speed, aimed at rewarding sites that deliver fast experience. Another big factor to keep in mind for 2020 is personalisation. Information sites can cover a lot of areas and in order to capitalise on the traffic they receive, they may offer a personalisation service, where users receive experiences, tailored to their needs and interests.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest trends in Digital Marketing today and has become an important part of companies’ online strategy. Virtual and Home Assistants are now considered the norm and Visual Search is becoming stronger with each passing year. In the UK alone, 45% of retailers are using visual search, including ASOS, Boohoo, M&S, and Argos. Visual Search is particularly advantageous for eCommerce companies that want to provide the best user experience (UX), whilst using the latest technologies. You can optimise for this by offering numerous and high-quality images of your products and also remembering to add relevant keywords to your file names and alt tags. What’s more, earlier this year Google appeared to be testing Augmented Reality in the search results for generic queries and the technology is already available for Google Maps. These improvements are changing businesses today and users adapt to them quickly. Your marketing strategy for 2020 will hugely depend on your goals and KPIs. The one thing that is clear is that you need to keep up with your target audience and meet their needs, whether is improving online experience by adding different features to your website or answering text search queries better than any of your competitors. No one can predict the future, but we can see that Google ‘s latest updates are designed to improve the overall quality of search results and return more relevant to users. - RADINA IVANOVA SENIOR ORGANIC SEARCH STRATEGIST


2020 Launch - Coming Soon! Hilton, Manchester Deansgate September 2020

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#BENCHMARKCONF2019

POWERING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SEARCH & DIGITAL MARKETING

BENCHMARK 2019 - REVISITED Benchmark Search & Digital Conference returned for its fifth year at Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate Hotel on 11th September 2019. The North’s leading search marketing event once again offered an inspiring and engaging day for all attendees, where some of the world’s leading search marketing experts discussed the latest trends, strategies and techniques to advance your brand’s online presence. In this section of the magazine we look back at some of the key talks from the event and share with you all of the slides and videos from the day. We hope that you find these useful and invite you to keep a look out for the 2020 event which will be launching soon.

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#BENCHMARKCONF2019

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#BENCHMARKCONF2019

ELLIE ENGLAND ‘INCLUSIVE MARKETING: OPTIMISING LIFE & BUSINESS’ TALK – BENCHMARK 2019 REVIEWED Microsoft’s Ellie England was a favourite from Benchmark 2018 and while we like to mix things up from year to year, there are some speakers we just have to have back – and England was definitely one of them. England’s intro informed the Benchmark audience that her talk would be a little different than others on the day, then outlined her passion for inclusivity – with the idiom that ‘if you find your passion, you find your purpose’. Inclusivity, she explains, means that more voices are heard – and when more different voices are heard, better decisions are made. The talk will have been different from those delivered at most conferences – but was no less important. Differences, as England states, impact the way we see the world, the assumptions we have about the world and what we believe. All of this will have knock on effects on the way we live and the way we think. The talk then moves on to discuss some statistics around disability, gender and race – how women who were once barred from careers are responsible for the founding of 200% more business, while immigrants are three times more likely to be an entrepreneur.

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Alternatively, however, people with a disability are still unfortunately 28% less likely than average to be in employment (with this amount higher still, I know from my own research, in autistic adults). Yet the benefits of inclusivity are many, as England explains – with companies that have an inclusive culture enjoying three times more employee engagement and the same boost in innovation. The talk then moves on to discuss how brands can embrace and kick-start inclusivity – offering examples from Microsoft’s Xbox and their development of an adaptive controller, and more case studies. The real takeaway from the talk – which was delivered to a room of people that would doubtless all agree that inclusivity was a positive – was that not only is it good, it’s also highly profitable. Excluding segments of the population that do not fit in to historic and narrow demographics is a failure of business acumen as well as one of morality.


#BENCHMARKCONF2019

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#BENCHMARKCONF2019

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RICHARD WALLIS ‘STRUCTURED DATA: #BENCHMARKCONF2019

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GRAPH’ TALK – BENCHMARK 2019 REVIEWED With more than 20 years working in and advising on information architecture, Wallis is a leading voice in what has become one of the most important web developments to have emerged in the last decade – structured data. The argument Wallis’ talk makes for schema is that you can view your content as a piece of the jigsaw that is the wider ontology of your industry.

STEP 2 (STRUCTURED DATA)

To properly fit, and to be correctly contextualised within that ontology, it needs to connect with as much of that external meaning as possible – and this can be done using mark-up.

Use Schema.org

He presents an example – using travel blogging as an example, and laying out the various ways in which a piece of content – and the domain it’s posted on – can be connected to the wider ‘knowledge graph’. In a fictitious post on Paris as a tourist destination (which we can see as one entity), for example, he used schema to refer to the entity ‘Paris’, but also contextualises the author (another entity) – using schema to reference expertise. Using layers of schema, Wallis presents the basic methodology used to contextualise information for the knowledge graphs. In a slide titled ‘Google Knowledge Graph – How do I get my stuff into it?’ Wallis gives two steps that can facilitate the process:

STEP 1 (SEO) Get your pages crawled and indexed If Googlebot doesn’t find your pages useful, it’s unlikely data will be loaded

Describe the things the pages are about – as against the pages themselves

Relate them to other things – the author is a Person, that needs describing. Don’t just provide a name and hope Google works out who it is! Markup all your entities including your Organization and link them together Don’t worry about lists – marking up the individual things is more important Preferably use JSON-LD – validate with tools, Google & Schema.org docs Overall, while we’ve been promoting the use of structured data for some time, the talk did a fantastic job of clearly describing not just the concepts involved but a method of execution that attendees could genuinely go back to the office and implement. Dev time can often be difficult to obtain for SEO in many organisations – especially for something like structured data which is difficult to communicate effectively to stakeholders – but this talk provides a ready to go business case for anyone needing one, and with a section at the end covering the future usefulness of mark-up, it really was a talk that SEOs and digital marketers in general should definitely spend 25 minutes watching.

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2019 EVENT SUMMARY #BENCHMARKCONF2019

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Leading the future of brand outsourcing Meet The Group... 49


Ceuta Group is a global, consumer brand services organisation working with some of the most dynamic businesses in the Health & Personal Care and Food & Drinks Industries. Through its unique Intergrated Platform, Ceuta Group offers a collective of services to enhance, grow and support the brands they represent; enabling clients to realise their ambitions for the success and profitability of their brands whilst navigating the changing dynamics of the global and local marketplaces.

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Data Analytics & Insight: We are category and shopper specialists devoted to helping our clients drive profitable growth for their brands by transforming data and research into practical insight; allowing us to get our clients’ products onto the right retail shelves and into shoppers’ baskets. We also help our clients shape their marketing activity around peoples’ shopping behaviour and the incremental sales generated by different shopping patterns.

Brand Design & Communications: We blend smart, strategic insight with boundless passion and creativity, shaping unique brand stories that challenge, innovate and inspire the world through our expertise in brand positioning, innovation, structural design (2D &3D), creative communications and brand activation.

Digital Marketing & SEO: Our search & digital marketing excellence ensures that our datadriven strategies deliver long-term results and impressive ROI for our clients. Whether you’re looking to increase your traffic or set your company apart from its competitors, our team of in-house search and digital marketing experts can help to accelerate your brand’s online growth.

Sales & Marketing Outsourcing: We build brands, sell, market and distribute for clients ranging from start-ups to large multinationals. From brand strategy development and channel sales management to trade and consumer marketing, efficient logistics management and outsourcing customer service, we do everything successful brand owners would expect to see reflected in their own organisations.

Field Marketing & Experiential: We drive sales by providing our clients with strategically developed campaigns delivering the most effective and flexible field sales and experiential marketing solutions. All of our decisions are underpinned by market intelligence, real-time data and smart solutions, resulting in our ability to deliver sales success stories that are second-to-none.

Brand Fostering - Full Service Offering: This is our full service offering, where we take ownership for the management and growth of a brand, whilst defending its equity and enhancing its value. Through our range of integrated services, we support the journey of a brand from concept to execution; delivering everything a brand owner would ever want or need from one outsourced partner.

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Besmirching Searching – DIGITAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON BRICKS & MORTAR SALES It’s well-known that digital advertising in all its forms has grown exponentially over the last two decades, and the effect it’s had on how business’s plan and buy their advertising, along with the business results it can generate have been transformational. Yet there’s a major business sector – FMCG and grocery - which when it comes to successfully using digital media has struggled to generate profitable outcomes. Why is this and how can it be fixed?

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Money, money, money According to WARC (World Advertising Research Council) by the end of 2019 world advertising expenditure will have reached some US$618.7bn, an increase of 2.5% on 2018; and is set to rise a further 6% to US$655.8bn during 2020, buoyed by the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics and US Presidential elections. Of these vast sums of money, digital media by the end of 2020 is expected to account for nearly 53% of it, propelled by the rapid growth of social media ads on mobile devices, which in themselves now represent nearly 60% of all internet spend. Within these spends, products and brands we buy every week in supermarkets, the FMCG and grocery sector - represents nearly 40% of all expenditure – US$242bn, of which around a third, US$79bn, is spent on digital media, the vast majority through Google and Facebook. Yet it’s reported in a study by global consulting firm AlixPartners, that 60% of this spend fails to deliver any noticeable ROI – and this includes trade spend such as online coupons and the like. Furthermore, when it comes to Google and Facebook some US$30bn of spend provided either a negative return or one that wasn’t even measured, with ‘just’ US$25bn yielding a positive ROI.

FMCGs’ digital money problems, problems, problems The situation is not helped by the fact that, according to AlixPartners’ study, some US$8bn of FMCG digital spend performance has not even been measured, which only goes to underscore why the sector seems to be having a problem in this area. Broadly-speaking, and with some notable exceptions, the world of FMCG and grocery seems to have been chasing the promise of sales growth through some kind of digital nirvana perhaps seen in other sectors, but have ended-up simply throwing money at the problem, leading to billions in wasted investments, keeping the shareholders of Google and Facebook happy, but not their own. There is some hope, fortunately as the AlixPartners’ study does say that FMCGs are beginning to monitor their digital returns more carefully and believe they are 70% more efficient now in driving the returns they do get.

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Learning from some traditional techniques Doubtless success for FMCGs in this area is achievable over time. One way is to become more precise and targeted with their methods to generate greater opportunities for consumer and shopper engagement. There’s much to be learnt from some of the targeted mailings both on and off-line based on actual shopping behaviours that are seen through the likes of retailer loyalty schemes such as Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s Nectar, Carrefour Le Club and the like. Ads and promotional offers are targeted based on shoppers historic purchasing behaviours both on-line and in bricks and mortar providing ‘next best product to buy’ suggestions, rewards and special offers for loyalty. In their sophistication, they go beyond the ‘buyers of this bought that’ messaging typically seen on eCommerce sites; or re-targeting and programmatic efforts across digital display on websites and social media.

Working out digital media’s impact on bricks and mortar sales

Digital has to be thought of as part of their media mix that can engage people and encourage them to purchase both off and on-line. We‘ve developed methodologies that has enabled our clients, regardless of sector, to be able to measure the sales impact of their digital activities both on and off-line, and the relationship they have in terms of singular and combined effects, with the rest of their media and promotional mix. When viewed in this light, the ROI of digital media is transformed, especially in FMCG. Generally speaking some 30% of sales generated by, for example an eCommerce banner on a supermarket website, occur not on the site it appears, but subsequently in the bricks and mortar store of the supermarket. In another case social media posts for a biscuit manufacturer that talk of promotions in a particular supermarket, are four times more likely to generate a sales in-store than on-line. For a snacking brand digital point-of-sale was more effective in the bricks and mortar store than the actual in-store point of sale, with eCommerce activities producing 89% of incremental sales compared to only 11% coming from traditional in-aisle activities.

This is the missing link for FMCGs. As a sector whose sales are on average around 90% off-line they need to think of digital advertising in a different way to sectors who can transact largely on-line.

Chilled Category SKU January - March 2019 Unit Sales 3000

On and off-line sales attributed to activities

2500

eCommerce = 89% Aisle Fins = 11%

2000 1500 1000 500 0 Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Aisle fins

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Week 5 Banners

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Checkoutsmart

Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12

Total Sales


FEATURED ARTICLE

Key to digital success for FMCGs Rather than looking for a digital nirvana, the grocery sector is far more likely to grow their businesses using digital as a tactic to encourage both on and off-line sales. This means adapting their mix of digital media, messaging and targeting to suit this objective, linking digital and traditional worlds. In this way, digital becomes as an effective and efficient medium for FMCGs as it is in other sectors. Thinking of things in reverse for a moment though… it’ll be interesting to see how Amazon performs in this space – their on-line moves in grocery are welldocumented, their strategy of buying bricks and mortar grocery stores such as Wholefoods, less so. We better watch this space… - LAWRENCE JANES MANAGING DIRECTOR, COLLIDASCOPE

CollidaScope is a data analytics business that joins-up and interprets multiple data sources across consumer and shopper marketing disciplines. We establish the role each combination of message, promotion and media channel has on incremental sales, positive changes to shopping behaviour and ROI; whether on or off-line, at home, in or out-of-store. CollidaScope is part of Ceuta Group and a sister company to Click Consult.

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PHRASE AND BROAD MATCH CLOSE VARIANTS Paid search has come a long way since the early 2000s, but the last few years have seemed to shake things up more than usual – and few things have changed more than match types. On the 31st July 2019, Google announced an update which allows broad match modifier and phrase match type keywords to match with queries that share the same meaning as the keyword. This is a huge update as it means your keywords will start matching to queries they haven’t ever connected to before. After several weeks of monitoring the change this is what we have experienced. Over several years Google has been making gradual changes towards matching queries rather than keywords. If the user’s search intent is the same, Google wants to match their search to your ad. Last year changes were made to allow “exact” match keywords to match to close variants. This has progressed with the addition of these close match variants to phrase and broad match modifier keywords. This broadening of available queries to match with means that while your ads will have a broader reach and be shown to more people, they could however be less relevant – matching to searches that may not be the right fit for your business. Google defines close variant matches as ‘searches that are similar, but not identical to the targeted keyword’. This can include: Reordered words with the same meaning (e.g. “black car” and “convertible car black”) Adding or removing function words (e.g. “men’s umbrella for golf” and “men’s golf umbrella”) Implied words (e.g. “London weekend break” and “weekend breaks in London England”)

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FROM OUR EXPERTS Synonyms and paraphrases (e.g. “office suppliers” and “office distributors”) Words with the same meaning (e.g. “wasp sting cure” and “wasp sting treatment”) According to Google, the benefit of this change is a 3-4% increase in clicks and conversions for these match types. 85% of the new clicks are expected to be brand new traffic not currently matching to existing keywords in your account – there is a big advantage to this increased reach however this move does come with a price. This update reduces the need to create a huge keyword list, allowing you to connect with more potential prospects and save time for other tasks. With this shift and the rise of smart bid strategies there is a definite move towards Google automating your day to day tasks, freeing up your time for overall account strategy. This could be a huge advantage in terms of time saved but the trade-off is not being able to see into the Google ‘black box’ of account optimisation. Broad match keywords are excellent for building brand awareness and acting as a net to catch a wide variety of traffic. From the search terms report you can then pluck relevant searches out and add them into your account as exact or phrase match keywords with a higher bid. This addition of exact variants is a positive as it will bring in more volume in terms of clicks and impressions, however, it will also mean your ads will be less tailored as they could match to so many more terms. This will reduce your quality score and ad rank, and cause average CPC’s to rise. In order to stay on top of this change it’s important to regularly manage your search term report, you should expect an increase in matches to terms that are irrelevant to your business that will need to be added to your negative keyword list. In the future we expect Single Keyword Ad Groups to be replaced by Ad Groups that are more focused on themes. This is a shift away from tightly structured accounts of the past. The potential removal of match types, the prevalence of smart bid strategies and the 2020 replacement of Expanded Text Ads with Responsive Search Ads show a future based on user intent and account strategy changes and saying goodbye to strict SKAG structures. - BEN WESTON PAID MEDIA EXECUTIVE

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FROM OUR EXPERTS

WHAT IS QUALITY CONTENT? While we are often told to create ‘quality content’, the advice on what quality actually is, can be a little thin on the ground. ‘Quality’, by its nature, is generally qualitative – there’s something ephemeral and subjective about the definition. However, in a field which – rightly or wrongly – prides itself in being predominately data-driven, such a non-specific term is virtually useless to us. For that reason, what we need to do is to break down this ‘quality’ that is much discussed in to quantitative terms. Measuring the immeasurable is not as much of a losing battle as it may first seem, however, as the ‘quality’ we are looking to define here is a series of machine translatable aspects of a larger whole.

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Because we are looking at quality as it could be understood by an algorithm, we can bypass the quality of the writing – beyond structural, grammatical and accuracy measurements (spelling, punctuation etc.) and we can look at elements of a piece of content or a web page which an algorithm could easily understand. We’ve covered some of these in great depth, but rather than focus on the more advanced aspects of this ‘quality’ that we deal with there specifically for YMYL (your money or your life) queries, we’re going to start from the ground up.


FROM OUR EXPERTS

Can the content be reached? Firstly and importantly, the ability for the data to be discovered by search engines has to be the first point in any checklist. This means that you should ensure your content is not blocked by robots.txt or any in any other way out of the reach of search engines.

Is the content quick for users to access? With the shift to mobile devices, search also developed the need for low demand, high speed pages. In order for your content to be considered ‘quality’, it will need to load quickly – so you will need to avoid render blocking scripts, loading too many animations, images or excessive numbers of fonts to ensure that the content is fast loading.

Is the content well written?

Among other things, these are five quantitative measurements we can make that can allow us to better build our chances of producing ‘quality’ content. While this is part of a broader movement toward the automated assessment of online content, there is a gap between human and machine interpretation of quality that has yet to be bridged, therefore there is a requirement to break a subjective concept into qualitative measurements, and therefore we need to ensure that in addition to attempting to produce the ‘best’ content we can, we are also ticking the boxes that algorithms require us to in order to succeed. - JOHN WARNER SENIOR SEO MARKETING AND CONTENT EXECUTIVE

This is not a measure of literary value, it simply refers to the use of correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. As far back as 2011, Matt Cutts was advising that such things were already a ranking factor (though presumably of low weighting), so ensure you’re running your copy through a spell checker.

Is your data using the right structured data types? Schema helps to add machine readable context to your content, so ensure that you’re employing the various schema types that are available to your content and your industry.

Are you attracting the right links? There has been an over reliance on DA as an indicator of quality as far as links are concerned – but in reality, we should be looking at industry relevant domains to build our authority in order to serve as a frame of reference for our content.

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TRENDS

4 PREDICTIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2020 With social media continuing to grow in popularity and becoming an integral part of people’s daily lives more and more, businesses and marketers are turning to the platforms to target and connect with their customers. However, with competition being high across social media, it’s easy to get overlooked, which is why it’s important to try to stand out from the crowd by getting ahead of the game. With this in mind, we thought we’d share some of our top trend predictions for 2020 with you...

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TRENDS

1

EPHEMERAL CONTENT WILL CONTINUE TO GROW Short term content, such as Instagram stories, may only be live for a short period of time, but the fact they are only visible for 24 hours and that each clip is only 10 seconds long are the reasons why this type of content will continue to grow in popularity. Research shows that the way people now consume content has changed and our attention spans are shorter than they used to be, which is why short, snappy, engaging content that is easy to digest is becoming more and more addictive. This is backed up by recent data, which shows the number of daily active users, using Instagram stories has grown by 400 million since 2016. Instagram stories are designed for & are most popular on mobile and with over 3 billion social users now browsing the platforms on their smartphones, it’s time to incorporate Instagram stories into your marketing strategy if you haven’t done so already. Behind the scenes type content works well on stories, as well as chatty, conversational videos. This is the place to give your brand a human side that people can relate to.

2

VIDEO CONTENT TAKE OVER Whether it’s short form, like stories or long form like those on YouTube, video content has been one of the most engaging content types on social media for some time now and it’s only going to continue to be more and more popular. A study by Cisco predicts that by 2020, 82% of all content online will be video. It’s also reported that 1 in 3 users on social will watch or interact with a brands video every month, as they will stand out more than an image or plain text on a platforms wall, which is why it’s vital you start using video across your social media platforms. So if you’ve not used video before then start small by utilising the stories feature we mentioned earlier, you can then move onto full length YouTube videos and live video as you get more confidence to do so. From a consumer point of view, expect to see brands creating more video series specifically for Facebook (in the same way you would on television), as creativity in this area grows.

3

THE GROWTH OF SOCIAL COMMERCE Social commerce has become a new retail avenue for many brands and with Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest already on board, it’s only going to get stronger in 2020. In fact, we think it’s fast becoming a mainstream retail channel, with the platforms frequently adding new features to make it easier to purchase, with the possibility of eventually being able to purchase without even having to leave the channel. With social commerce on the rise and the social platforms constantly evolving to keep up, it’s important to make use of these features and incorporate social commerce into your sales strategy.

4 LOCAL TARGETING TO BECOME MORE POWERFUL Just like with SEO, local targeting can bring in more traffic to social media. Brands can use it to reach out to and attract possible customers from a specific geographical location. Geo-targeting posts and stories (adding a location to your social media posts) will automatically draw in a local audience. On some platforms, like Instagram, a user can also search for posts from nearby places or from a particular location, which means your brand will show up in these results if a location has been added to a post, helping potential local customers find you. Geo-targeting goes hand in hand with promoted posts as this feature allows you to target the right audience, this works particularly well if you’re trying to encourage more attendees to a local event or conference you may be holding, for example, users are likely to use a location filter when searching for these. Although local targeting on social media has always been available, it’s not always used in the best possible way so we think it’s time to start leveraging it as part of your social strategy. - FAYE LAMBERT-MARTIN SENIOR CONTENT MARKETING EXECUTIVE

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101

101 Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising accounted for 70% of all digital display ad spend in 2018, and is predicted to rise to 90% by 2020. It’s ‘the new normal’ – but what is it and why use it?

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101

WHAT IS PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING? Programmatic advertising is the way businesses use automated real-time bidding to buy ad space online. It uses AI and machine learning to buy, sell, and optimise digital ads on your behalf. The advertiser inputs targeting factors such as location, timing, device, demographics, and interest categories, then select the exact bid for each individual user depending on their search intent. It also allows you to select the most relevant ad copy, which will best resonate with each type of user behaviour. Basically, it combines media and audience solutions to maximise ROI. WHAT DID WE HAVE BEFORE PROGRAMMATIC? Traditional ad buying methods involved greater human investment in the ‘legwork’ of bidding on and placing ads, including negotiations and eventual manual insertion of the ad into specific media; programmatic technology seeks to automate all possible areas of the ad buying process for display ads. Technology is expanding the arena of programmatic advertising and offering plenty of new options for targeting in an increasingly affordable and accessible sphere. Before programmatic advertising, marketers turned to a handful of publishers with whom they would contract to run campaigns. Publishers had to individually traffic each ad and advertisers had little control over how often the same user would see the same ads. Programmatic advertising has revolutionised this process by using automated software to handle previously manual transactions to deliver these meaningful engagements on any device, through any channel – from your social media feeds to your favourite website. This offers buyers and sellers the flexibility to adjust campaigns in real time, for optimal performance, making it much easier to dial up the things that are working and dial down the things that aren’t.

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101

Advantages 1. Access to a greater variety of ad options in terms of supply side platforms (SSPs, such as Google Display Network) and publishers, for the best price. 2. Improves efficiency and performance of campaigns, by accurately targeting potential customers with the right message, at the right moment and in the right place. 3. Makes the most of your budget by optimising them to the best performing platforms and pacing spend. 4. Although programmatic requires a front-loaded strategy and setup in terms of the keyword research and the bidding levels, automated buying saves time that can be used to develop and improve campaigns, refine targeting and increase ad (and landing page) quality. 5. Marketers can also mine huge data volumes and use machine learning to unlock insights and find predictive signals, taking the guesswork out of keyword bidding, ad testing and optimisation. 6. It allows you to maximise the reach of your audience at scale. 7. Allows data to be reinvested back into your campaigns. 8. Greater transparency of data.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA Programmatic software needs data to begin the process of learning and refining ad space. Using existing data to determine short and long term goals and form an appropriate strategy. This data should then be organised and analysed, with first and third party data and cross platform data aggregated to achieve the best insights. In particular, defining your initial audience is a vital part of the process you need a clear idea as to who you want to target. This will be based on the products or services which you sell and the audience research that you have conducted.

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Remember, as ever, that data and analysis are a recurring task and scheduling time to perform data gathering and analysis must be conducted regularly. With a trend toward in-housing for paid media, the demand for programmatic ad techniques is only set to grow. - CHLOIE BRANDRICK SENIOR MARKETING AND CONTENT EXECUTIVE


WALKTHROUGH

Google My Business - Walkthrough Registering and regularly updating your Google My Business (GMB) page gives your brand free SERPs exposure and an opportunity to push various content through the expanding options in ‘posts’. Here’s how to get started... By signing up to Google My Business you can tell Google directly the name of your business, the exact location, what it does, opening times, what it looks like (you can upload your own images), and many more attributes. GMB influences your Google Maps results. For instance, Google smartly tells the searcher whether the business is open or closed right now and pulls out images to give users more of an idea of what to expect. GMB also offers a huge amount of data in Google Analytics, so you have the stats to back up the strategy. Not only does GMB make it easier for it to know what’s what about your business, it also improves the search experience for your customer – giving more ‘at a glance’ information than the traditional SERPs listings do. Here’s how catering company Jaspers’ GMB profile appears when a user performs a search for that brand: There are a variety of questions Google wants you to fill out to complete your GMB profile. You must begin by verifying you are the business owner: for most businesses, verification means requesting, receiving, and reading a verification postcard from Google.

CHECK YOUR BUSINESS’ INFORMATION IS ACCURATE Make sure your business’ details are complete and accurate – and ensure you frequently check your listing to ensure it stays this way. This includes:

• • • •

Your physical address Phone number Business category Opening hours

Many businesses don’t realise that third parties can edit your GMB profile (see the ‘Suggest edit’ option in the Jaspers listing). Plus, Google encourages people who are familiar with your business to answer questions, so that Google can learn more information about your company. To do this they simply click on the ‘Know this place? Answer quick questions’ link. You should be notified when someone does this, but it’s important to log in to your GMB dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing. Here are some other ways you can optimise your GMB profile:

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WALKTHROUGH

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Q&AS

A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS

As the name of the feature suggests, this allows people to ask questions about your business and you to answer them, developing a two-way conversation between you and your customers. It can be helpful to create a FAQs list on your GMB listing to pre-empt people’s questions. Check with your sales reps and your customer service staff to identify the questions people most often ask, then put those Q&A questions on your GMB listing.

You can add as many photos as you like of your business to illustrate what you do, may this be pictures of your location(s), menu shots, products, etc. These can also appear in a Google image search.


GOOGLE REVIEWS

GOOGLE POSTS

One of the most vital aspects of your GMB profile when managing your brand’s reputation, these appear next to your listing in Google Maps and your GMB profile in search results.

This is essentially a micro-blogging feature that allows you to create content (including images, videos and links) directly on Google. They last for seven days unless they’re set as event with an expiry date. Primarily designed to make it easier for customers to find your business when carrying out a local search, Google also uses the information in it to help populate your Knowledge Panel – although this isn’t guaranteed, it’s one of the best ways to take control of what is displayed. The more interaction you have with users, the better your chances of ranking higher in organic rankings in general.

GMB allows notifies you when people posts reviews and to interact with them both for the purpose of building relationships and for complaint handling. While Google reviews are still vulnerable to manipulation, interaction with consumers is a major part of a modern digital presence so the option to engage in conversation with consumers is an important one to have. If you follow Google’s guidelines for GMB reviews, you can ask your customers for reviews. When customers leave reviews for you — good or bad — make sure you respond to them. Not only does it show that customer that you appreciate their feedback, it also shows potential customers that you care.

- SCOTT RUMSEY SENIOR MARKETING AND CONTENT EXECUTIVE

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CASE STUDY

CLICK CONSULT CASE STUDY, VIESSMANN Viessmann is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of boilers to both the B2B and B2C markets. They faced a tough year and had seen performance stagnate so they called on Click Consult to help them in a number of areas.

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OUR OBJECTIVES Our objective was to use User Focused Content (UFC) to gain more organic traffic and improve Viessmann’s Google rankings by satisfying the E-A-T update that was announced in August 2018. We achieved this by writing high-quality content designed to sit on a blog, or the ‘Heating Advice’ page. This content was produced to be helpful to the users by answering questions such as:

• • • •

How difficult is it to move a boiler? Do boilers emit carbon monoxide? What happens if a boiler flue is blocked? How to increase your water pressure

These posts weren’t created to necessarily sell products. Instead, they’re informational pieces provided to help a user when they have a question or a problem. We were tasked with the following objectives:

• Research and write 32 pieces of new content • Optimise all content to ensure 16 pieces were ranking P1 by the end of the strategy phase

• Increase the number of keywords ranking in P1 from current level of 20

• Increase the number of keywords ranking on page 1 from current level of 60

• Increase organic visibility • Increase organic sessions

TARGET AUDIENCE & STRATEGY We targeted homeowners and landlords with this content. It’s likely that every homeowner has or requires a boiler and will therefore have questions about how it works or where to position one, etc. We also targeted landlords, especially as there are certain regulations around boilers that might not apply to homeowners, such as requiring a gas certificate. The strategy was to find out what questions these people were searching in Google. We did indepth keyword research to find out the questions that were being asked and how many times they were being searched every month. We used a variety of tools to determine this information, such as SEMrush and Ahrefs. Once we’d made a list of these long-tail keywords and queries, we formulated a plan to decide what content we could write.

We determined which questions were the most relevant to Viessmann and which we could potentially rank for. The keywords that we found were then used as the title and subheadings within each article. The content was produced and we ensured that it remained over 800 words to ensure it was seen as informative and of a high standard by Google. IMPLEMENTATION Once the content was written, we optimised it for the site. For every article, we included high quality images, alt text, meta titles and descriptions, a suggested URL and at least two internal links, either to product pages or to other blog posts. The content is then uploaded to the site and Google rankings are closely monitored. RESULTS We found that Google was picking up Viessmann’s fresh content very quickly - within just a few days. 88% (28 out of 32 pieces) of the content that we’ve written over a 4 month period is ranking in position one and 96% of the pieces are ranking on page one (31 out of 32). In total, there are 79 keywords ranking in position one for a range of queries and there is an additional 180 keywords ranking on page one. As you will be able to see form the images on the next page, we have also gained position zero for a number of pieces – many with a decent search volume. Their Heating Advice blog had a huge 3,000% increase in organic sessions, going from 1,665 sessions in September 2018 to 52,300 sessions in September 2019, all through adding fresh, good-quality content to the blog on a regular basis.

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CASE STUDY

Our commitment to making sure that all of the content we place adheres to Google Guidelines is such that since we started working with Viessmann there have been 9 updates of varying degrees. These have been tracked on the Searchmetrics graph below and as you can see we have continued to see visibility rise proving the theory that the content is both relevant to the user and informative. By utilising the UFC part of our content team we were able to better their organic visibility continuously and as a result have led our client to the top of the market. The performance has had a positive impact on the bottom line of the business with increased conversions and ROI. At the start of the campaign we were tasked with the following objectives and here are the final results: Research and write 32 pieces of new content (100% complete)

3041% INCREASE INCREAS

ORGANIC SESSIONS

70

300%

295%

214%

NUMBER OF KEYWORDS ON PAGE 1

NUMBER OF KEYWORDS RANKING IN P1

ORGANIC VISIBILITY

INCREASE

INCREASE

INCREASE


CASE STUDY

EXPERTS IN SEARCH

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CLICK CONSULT LTD WILLOW HOUSE, HOOTON ROAD, HOOTON, CHESHIRE, CH66 7NZ CLICK.CO.UK 0333 009 8299

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Profile for ClickConsultLtd

Benchmark Magazine - Issue 7 - Winter 2019  

Issue 7 of Click Consult's quarterly search marketing magazine - Benchmark

Benchmark Magazine - Issue 7 - Winter 2019  

Issue 7 of Click Consult's quarterly search marketing magazine - Benchmark