COVID-19 has created a new halo of importance around content marketing. Business is down and companies simply don't have the budgets to spend on paid marketing. So, who can they turn to, during these times of distress? Content marketing, of course! Never before, has the power of organic marketing been this profound. Organic marketing is the new focus for organizations across the globe because they realize that content, after all, still remains king.
A solid content marketing strategy plays a pivotal role in every business strategy to expand and communicate their products and services with the masses. Keeping this in mind, here are the top 7 content marketing tips and trends to leverage this 2021, to help your brand reach new heights:
A content community aims at breaking the barrier between brands and people. It acts as a bridge that fosters human, personal interaction between brands and their target audience. A great example of this is how Netflix creates their own troll accounts on YouTube and Twitter to ask questions to their audience and even make fun of their own content. Nykaa also has a thriving content community that brings together make-up and skincare enthusiasts together under one roof. Content communities significantly reduce your outreach cost, allow you to interact with thousands of people through funny, topical content, improve content promotion and tap into community trends on a regular basis. Community content marketing is definitely a top content marketing trend to look out for!
Is your brand just starting out, and you’re looking for interested folks? Start your own content community. This can be on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or any other social media platform. Use this community to invite people and share insightful blogs and articles.
Content communities build loyalty: Picture a situation where your content community gets deleted on a social media platform. Awful, isn't it? Don't worry. You can bank on your army of loyal content community members to defend you and restart the conversation elsewhere. Use these communities to build camaraderie, loyalty, and strong relationships.
Imagine you have 5,000 members as part of your community. That’s 5000 more people rushing to your website every time you launch something new or have interesting news to share. They are great drivers of organic traffic, thereby increasing your reach.
Mfine is a healthcare consulting app, through which patients can directly consult with doctors through video, voice call, and text. Mfine wanted to focus on app installs and consultations specifically for pediatricians. They wanted to reach this goal by creating organic awareness among parents, the main target group.
To achieve this we developed a child care and child nutrition microsite with authoritative content to build trust around the app. We created an in-depth vaccination chart and food chart for infants, as well as tools such as a child BMI calculator.
Let’s get real. Our attention spans have drastically dropped in recent years, and most of us prefer content that is visually stimulating and gets our endorphins running. Videos have become the most consumed form of content today, with streams running into the millions and billions of views every day! Thus videos are going to play a very important role in driving engagement in 2021. Brands simply cannot stick to traditional written content. They must transcend beyond and make active efforts to create both short videos such as thumb stoppers and long-form visual content optimized with SEO to enable maximum content promotion. Video marketing for visual content is a content marketing tip worth considering very seriously!
If a video doesn’t capture a user in the first 15 seconds, be sure that he/she is not going to watch the video fully. When it comes to creating a great video, you absolutely need to nail the intro! The first 15 seconds decide if your video is viral-worthy or not. Some ways you can do this is by using hyperbole, dumping fascinating facts and numbers, jumping right into your content, and avoiding long-winding animations and logos.
YouTube is a slippery slope. Your videos can take years or get views or even less than a week to touch a million. One sure-shot trick to get more views is to use the suggested video option that shows up when you’re uploading a video. While optimizing videos for SEO is absolutely important, tagging videos as suggested, and using catchy titles and descriptions goes a long way.
Not all of us natural speakers. In fact most of us fumble and bumble in front of a camera. If you suffer from stage fright, simply record a neat script and practice till you nail it. Even the best YouTubers stick to a script.
Apple had over 43 million episodes on its podcast in January 2021. And that’s just one platform. So you can imagine how many people around the world are listening to podcasts every day. Podcasts have become extremely popular because of their ease of use! You can listen to anything of your choice while walking, cooking, driving to work, and even in bed. Podcasts for meditation and news especially have gained a lot of traction lately. Brands too, need to jump on the bandwagon and leverage this content marketing trend to engage with new audiences. Brands can talk about market updates, provide educational content and even stream interviews through podcasts. There’s room for so much opportunity for content promotion and content marketing through podcasts! It's one content marketing tip, you simply cannot ignore.
Did you know that you can ever optimize your podcasts to increase rankings and searchability? You can distribute podcasts as individual landing pages on your website and optimize titles, descriptions, and static content to drive enthusiastic listeners to your podcast.
Explore new content formats: Podcasts can be very interesting when done right because it allows you to explore a variety of formats while communicating with people. You can have interviews, short stories, episode-based content, free vs paid content, etc. The choices are endless.
People want to hear what’s relevant to them. Hence choosing your podcast topic becomes very important. Include content that is fresh or topical. Keep listeners updated on the latest developments.
What does personalized marketing mean? It simply means catering to a person’s most individual self through your content. Personalization will be a very important aspect of your content marketing strategy this 2021, because, among the barrage of information available to a consumer, they want to connect and engage with content that really hits home. So, how can brands create personalized content for better content promotion? How do they figure out what each of their consumers like? It’s all a numbers game at the end of the day. Personalization lies in data analysis and figuring out, through numbers, what your consumer is engaging with the most. Try to receive as much information as you can from your consumer, and then accordingly, start observing trends and patterns to figure out what they like and don’t like.
If there’s one evergreen content marketing trend, it is email marketing. It just never goes out of style! And it's here to drive traffic up your sleeve this 2021 too. Try different email styles. Use punch lines and minimalistic content that pushes users to go straight to the CTA.
FOMO stands for fear of missing out. And brands are leveraging these very emotions to create personalized content. By showing people what has currently captured people’s attention, you can instill curiosity and drive searches towards the same. Smart copy with the right keywords can help drive FOMO marketing.
Brands can use customized content in videos to help reach out to people. For example, if your company is planning to send out a video message about a new product, make sure it comes from a very personal place, such as your CEO directly addressing the target audience. With the right automation technology in place, you can achieve this in no time. Such is the power of personalization.
Have you ever talked to your phone asking to find “The best Italian restaurant around me”? You're not alone. All of us have asked Google and Alexa to do favors for us because it's just that simple, isn't it? Voice search has burgeoned like anything over the past year, and in 2021, there’s no sight of it going on the down-low. Voice search accounts for almost 20% of all the search queries today. So, how can businesses tap into this? By creating content that is voice search-friendly. If you’re a healthcare provider, and someone searches for “Thyroid test around me”, make sure you show up. With the right optimized content, you can certainly rank high on search engines for voice too. Voice search marketing is definitely one of the top content marketing trends this 2021.
Most voice search results show up from featured snippets, pieces of content that Google believes are the most relevant and accurate description of what you search for. Thus your voice search SEO is very important. Find out how you can make your answer better than the existing featured snippet, but using keywords that make your content visible.
Voice search is a combination of many things that Google deems important and your website’s current ranking is one such factor. If your website has a good ranking and is well recognized with all SEO checkpoints in place, your content will receive recognition on voice too. This how you layer and present content throughout your website has a huge impact on voice SEO.
Does your website have a comprehensive FAQ page? If not, it's time to make one. FAQs are often a favorite among Google when it comes to picking up answers for voice searches, so make sure you answer every question possible with respect to your content. Also, FAQs are picked up as featured snippets, which as you already know, is super voice-search friendly!
People get bored with just one type of content. We’re constantly looking for content that engages us in different ways. Brands cannot continue to stick to a single format of content. Brands must diversify their content, in order to meet their consumer needs. If you’re in charge of the content marketing strategy for a brand, you should try out long-form blogs, short copy, podcasts, videos, thumb stoppers, interactive tools, infographics, pillar content, and more. There’s so much scope in content marketing for content promotion and content amplification. All you need to do is explore. Here are some content marketing tips to diversify your content:
All of us love visual content. It's savvy, catches your eye, and keeps you hooked. Create attention-grabbing content for platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest that have millions of followers around the world. They include topical posts, infographics, and even GIFs with succinct content that convey your message.
Quora is a great platform for content marketing! There are gazillion questions you can find on the platform that you can answer, thus spreading your expertise to many people at once. You can create a brand account and even answer questions from there to build credibility.
Brochures and Ebooks:
If you want to go beyond blogs and pillars, take a shot at creating brochures and Ebooks that are not only comprehensive but also great assets to easily share across social media platforms. They are easily downloadable too. And of course, they should always be optimized with the right keywords!
Case studies are a great way to connect with your customers and build trust among them. Remember, case studies need to be extremely detailed and as factual as possible. Back it with some images, surveys, graphs, and statistics to add variety to your case study.
We wanted to reach out to a huge potential target audience of noncredit card users for their business with an outlook of ROI.
We aimed to significantly increase organic traffic to ZestMoney’s website and encourage more people to explore Zest’s no-cost EMI service to make their dream purchases, interest-free. We did in-depth keyword research and optimized all existing content with relevant keywords. We also created new product pages and in-depth no-cost EMI guides, and a user-centric blog that became one of the biggest drivers of organic traffic.
User-generated content is content that is created by people, rather than by the brand itself. UGC marketing has one big advantage. It is extremely authentic and trustworthy because it's directly coming from the user himself. UGC marketing is largely positive, creates a de-facto community, gives you free publicity, and attracts new users on board because of its authenticity. Content marketers must focus on creating as much UGC as possible. UGC marketing starts discussions online, leading to higher engagement and visibility.
According to a study conducted by The Consumerist, over 70% of users look at reviews before buying a product. If you have bad reviews, you’re in for some serious trouble. Good reviews act as vital UGC that can make or break your business. This 2021, garnering good reviews should be on your checklist!
One way to get more UGC is by creating quirky and fun hashtags on social media. Users can share statuses, photos, and more using your hashtag as part of their captions. Branded hashtags build awareness about your brand and help set you apart from competitors too. While hashtags are extremely short-form content, they’re highly effective!
Here, users are basically asked to complete a set of tasks and are rewarded with a badge of achievement. You can also offer special discounts, coupons and more. Swiggy does this all the time if you’ve noticed. Small steps inspire people to participate and engage, thus building your outreach and paving the way to a loyal customer base.
Content marketing has so much to offer and is true, one of the cornerstones of any successful business strategy. Your blog page can make or break your business. Aligning your content and SEO efforts in the right direction can do wonders for your brand. Content marketing will see exponential growth this 2021, and with these marketing trends and content marketing tips on board, it will only reach new heights.
These are the top 7 content marketing trends to watch out for this 2021. If you haven’t leveraged them yet for your content promotion, what are you waiting for? Get started!
Good content promotion techniques can go a long way in effectively building brand recall and trust with a brand’s target audience. This calls for a calculated SEO content strategy. SEO is a key ingredient in every business’ digital marketing strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic has made all understand the potential of digital marketing. However, this also means that there is more competition in the digital marketing space. In such a scenario, it is critical to ensure that content cuts through the clutter and reaches the audience it has been created for. To stand apart in the crowd, brands to practise content promotion to reach, inform, engage and educate their audience.
Content promotion strategies
Merely ideating, creating and publishing content does not work anymore and content promotion requires as much, if not more, effort as content creation. A word of caution here though – content amplification works best for content that has been ideated and created keeping in mind the interests and needs of the target audience. So, here is how you can use an SEO content strategy for content promotion.
Respond to questions on Quora
A great promotion technique is to ask and answer questions of any subject matter. Quora is recognised as the most comprehensive and trusted online forum. Since forums provide an open-source for your Target Audience to discuss a topic, you can add value by responding to their queries using your existing write-up, if relevant. You can also link back to your blog or website, which effectively renders your work as a credible source.
Tweet various snippets from your content
Have interesting stats or facts that are share-worthy as individual pieces of content? Sharing those snippets on Twitter is an effective content promotion idea as it can lure people in to read more. The microblogging giant is one of the most active social media platforms today, so anything interesting that fits within 280 characters is bound to be retweeted. You can even take screenshots of other elements like pictures, infographics and quotes and use a shortened URL of your website for promotion.
9 out of 10 internet users’ first language is not English. A great content promotion technique would be to create vernacular content and promote it vernacularly as well. This is a very effective tool to reach the audience of tier 2 and tier 3 cities. It increases brand awareness and builds on the trust factor as the audience can relate to the content more. Vernacular SEO content strategy removes the idea that your brand is “foreign” and strikes an emotional chord.
Link to relevant sites/Mention entities when sharing
One of the main aspects of content promotion is linking to sources while writing your article. When you publish your content and promote it on social media, use Twitter mentions or Facebook hashtags to prompt those sources that you’ve used their information. Doing so will increase the chance of your article being viewed by multiple individuals through the mentions.
Post on relevant LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn is nothing but the Facebook variant for all things professional. A helpful SEO content strategy would be to use LinkedIn for promotional purposes. Much like Facebook communities, LinkedIn has an option where you can create groups. Find such groups that could make the most out of your content and share it on their pages. If your content is beneficial, many of the users would share and circulate it among their peers increasing your reach.
Turn content into a ppt/pdf and upload to SlideShare
SlideShare is the perfect place to content promote presentations to get the visibility you need. Once you upload your content on Slideshare, you can also share the link on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube as well.
Leverage the reach of Influencers
Reaching out to influencers at scale is a good content promotion idea. Getting your content featured by some key influencers or getting them to share your content can amplify your reach drastically. Pick influencers that are relevant to your domain and engage with them. Contact more than one influencer and engage with them regularly for better reach.
Video content marketing
60% of the people who use the internet are visual learners. A fruitful content promotion technique is to make use of YouTube. More than 50% of women make a purchasing decision after watching a video. This is a wonderful opportunity to create a personal touch for your brand by engaging with your audience on YouTube while helping visual learners retain information better. YouTube is an SEO gold mine, so make use of hashtags, titles and descriptions to increase your reach. As for audio learners, one can use podcasts as a content promotion tool.
Using Pinterest to drive referral traffic
Pinterest is a wonderful forum for content promotion. You can create boards where people can pin your content, save it and learn about your brand’s story as well. It is an effective SEO content strategy because it directs people to your website as well. Pinterest communities can help with your engagement and helps your brand understand what your audience wants.
The content promotion strategies mentioned above are used to their fullest potential by some of the best content marketers on the planet like HubSpot, Whole Foods, Asian Paints etc. Of course, some of these strategies may die out while others will evolve, so to stay ahead of the curve, you'll need to keep your eyes peeled and ears tuned.
If there are any content distribution channels which you have tried that could be added to the list, do let us know in the comments below.
Einstein once said ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning’ But does the count matter? Does every question lead us to the desired learning? The trick is not in asking questions but knowing how to ask the right questions.
Holistic market research requires us to either own that skill or learn it. This is all the more pertinent now that businesses are becoming more and more consumer-centric. We can reach a consumer-oriented solution only by knowing what our consumers want, when they want, and how they want, and we need to ask them the right questions first.
Let us first understand what market research is. A new opportunity in a business and its related domains should be analyzed first through market research as it gives us an idea of the viability and feasibility of the decisions to be taken. As precisely explained in one of our previous blogs, market research plays a vital role when we have to spot business opportunities, to understand our consumers in-depth, to understand our competitors and their approach, to grow in business, and to identify the right channels of marketing for our business.
A very powerful form of market research is primary research, which is best described as an entirely new form of data collected by asking questions to the existing and prospective consumers of our brand. There are multiple types of primary research implemented depending upon our objectives - Interviews, Focus groups, Surveys, and Observations. When it comes to collecting information from a large number of people systematically with a decision orientation, a survey is highly effective.
After a market research survey has been generated, rolled out and after our data points are in place, the next logical step is to analyze these points and derive actionable insights. This is a lengthy process through and through. In fact, the data collection process alone can take months, even years sometimes, hence, it is all the more important to start off on the right note. Mind it, Surveying could be cumbersome and non-conclusive if the number and type of questions are not appropriate.
Hence, we have put down steps involved in making a successful market research questionnaire to ask meaningful questions to our audience.
First and foremost, we define our Research Problem & Target Audience
A simple way to define our research problem and target audience is to answer the following questions first.
What is the goal of this research?
What problem are we trying to solve with this data? What sort of decision will this survey lead to? Where will it be implemented?
How will it be useful to the consumers, brands and products? What information do I want from this market research questionnaire and why?
What do I hope to understand about my target audience through this research?
What market is this survey targeting? Which segment is the perfect fit and will help in the decision making process with reliable insights?
While answering these questions, we need to keep in mind the following - the size of our audience sample, the channel, and medium of our survey, and the detailed characteristics of our audience. Several data points with only a handful of them qualifying the characteristics is a waste of resources with no conclusive results.
We can use a few online tools to also build our consumers’ persona as explained in detail in one of our previous blogs.
Divide the information to be collected into Information Areas
After defining our research problem, we put down all the information that needs to be collected and group them in logical heads which are our key information areas. This list needs to be exhaustive, because a single missing piece can lead to an unsolved puzzle in the end and the process cannot be practically repeated. We also make sure that these key areas are not overlapping or contradicting each other.
Let us take an example to understand this better.
For a market research survey conducted to design a marketing strategy for an existing FMCG product, the information areas could be Usage of product, Purchase behaviour , Profile, Perception, and Brand health.
Logically sequence your information areas
After the information areas are in place, we order them as per logic to ensure that the survey nurtures respondent friendliness. The flow of the market research questionnaire is kept such that the respondent does not get mentally fatigued in between, hence, it is also a good practice to keep the questions about the core purpose of the study right in the beginning. Some common criteria to decide this order are chronology, expected bias, and the level of critical thinking.
Some of the common structures that are followed include -
Start asking questions now!
Now, we can start forming questions within the Information areas. An effective way to create questions is to divide the information areas further into Variables and Indicators.
For example, under ‘Category behaviour’ mentioned in the previous head, the variables are ‘Purchase behaviour’ and ‘Usage behaviour’. Furthermore, the indicators under ‘Usage behaviour’ are ‘frequency’, ‘purpose’, and ‘type’.
Within these heads and subheads, the questions belong to two categories - Open-ended and close-ended. When it is important to capture spontaneous answers or when we can’t put together an exhaustive list of responses as an aided list, we use open-ended questions such as ‘what do you particularly like about Product X?’ or ‘What are the reasons for not using Product X?’
On the other hand, Close-ended questions are easier and quicker to answer for a respondent as they have options to choose from. The respondents are given an aided list, which is an exhaustive list of all possible answers. Here, we make sure that the options are mutually exclusive and are not open to interpretation.
We always go for short, simple, and clear questions. For example, rather than asking,
‘Have you used the conditioner at least twice in the last two months?’,
we should be asking ‘Have you used the conditioner two or more times in the last 1 month?’
Similarly, ambiguous questions are avoided because they don’t lead to a thoughtful answer.
Proofing, and Piloting
Now, when we have put down our questions in the market research questionnaire, it is imperative to check for errors and test it once. We examine questions against the initial information areas in terms of completeness and we run a need test (for knowing if there is any question that is not required). Finally, we run it informally to know if the flow works, to check if any contradictory answers are emerging, or if any questions are heavy on the respondents' memory, and to assure the length of the survey is correct.
Before rolling out the market research survey online or online, it is crucial to examine the survey as a whole once. Hence, we ensure to provide context to the respondents in the form of reasons. Also, we set the expectations for the participants concerning length, time taken to complete it and a progress bar within the survey is always a great option.
While these are the steps involved in creating a market research survey, one wise thing to do not just while making it but also executing it is to follow logic and common sense. Remember, a true researcher should always remove his cloak of views and biases before starting to work on a survey because it is more important to know what others think.
Voila, our survey is ready to go!
Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business!
You don’t watch a show on Netflix without doing thorough research about it, do you? Then why compromise on research when it comes to marketing your product or brand digitally. While the internet has taken over the marketing world completely, good market research is still in trend. Market research plays an extensive role in digital marketing. It provides you with significant and vital information, and in a way can make or break your digital marketing campaign. This blog will give you an insight into some top market research tools to help you grow your brand.
But before we move any further into, let us understand -
Market research or marketing research is a technique that is employed not just by market research companies but sole traders as well, to collect information and gather insights about another company/brand’s target audience. If you own a business you would want to know where your customers spend most of their time, what are their pain points and preferences, what pushes them to buy your product, what holds value for them, and so on. Market research helps you to answer all these questions, design better products, and improve user experience. Market research analysts play a key role in market research companies as they are designated individuals who are experts in creating market research reports and essentially carrying out the market research process from start to finish.
Most of us shut our minds on hearing the word research and “geek-shame” it. I just came up with that term, but I am sure you know what I mean. All of us have million-dollar business ideas that we want to bring to life and market research never finds space in that to-do list. But let me tell you obsessing over your customers and getting them to know them up and close, is the only way to win.
Now if you are one of those who isn’t big on research but still wants to leave a mark which is not limited to your carbon footprint, you have landed on the right page. There are so many market research tools out there that will make your lives easier and help you maximize market research efforts. Lucky for you, I have done thorough research on them.
SiteProfiler, from Mangools.com, as the name suggests is one of a few market research tools that analyze websites, and compiles all your competitors' website statistics and SEO metrics in one place. All you need to do is enter a website URL and SiteProfiler will provide you with all the statistics about that website.
It shows all aggregated data - domain authority, page authority, citation and trust flow, rank, and so on. It also provides you with all the backlinks with top referring domains directed to a site.
Along with this, the market research report by SiteProfiler will also show you the top content the site has generated and where their major traffic comes from.
The main advantage of this market research tool is that it also breaks your audience by age, location, gender, interests, and so on. When it comes to competitors, SiteProfiler shows you the competitive landscape of the website along with relevant keywords.
One of the simplest and easiest market research tools that visualize data in the form of charts and statistics, making it extremely easy to decode it. SiteProfiler also has a google chrome extension and hence you can find insightful information about any website as and when you browse.
Other tools to measure statistics - Tableau, Statista
Originally an online search tool, Google trends is also known to be a great market research tool as it allows you to see how often specific keywords and phrases have been searched for over a period of time. It analyses Google searches and provides you with information as to how many searches were made for the particular terms and keywords along with geographical information about the users. It can also be used for comparative keyword studies and to discover spikes caused in keyword search volume due to certain events.
The best part is that Google updates the data on Google trends daily, but I would suggest that you take this information with a pinch of salt owing to the data sampling issues and approximations that might be employed to compute results. One more advantage that makes Google trends one of the more effective market research tools online is that it provides you with real-time data inclusive of the latest trends from across the globe. Many market research companies find the user-interface also extremely easy to use and navigate.
How to use it? Enter a search term in the search box at the top and see how the search volume has varied for that keyword over different locations and periods of time. You can produce more fine-grained data by changing the location, time frame, category, and type of search.
The data found in Google Trends can be used for several different marketing purposes :
Other tools for content research - Flipboard, Slideshare, Google alerts
Answer a series of questions about your ideal customers and this market research tool will generate buyer personas for you. Make My Persona is a free online market research tool by Hubspot that aids your buyer persona research and helps you organize and understand better. After answering a few strategic questions you will be presented with a personalized shareable persona sheet providing you with significant details about your target audience. Research and market to your ideal customers on a platform they spend most of their time on! You cannot get any more specific than this.
How to go about this -
Other tools to get social insights - Facebook and LinkedIn analytics, Social mention
This blog lists a few of the top market research tools available and I urge you all to take out some time and try your hands at each of these tools before you start your online market research as it will help you to identify your target audience efficiently, know what digital areas and platforms you should be active on, study the market, and identify the key influencers. It teaches you to keep a watchful eye on the market while providing a direction to your brand.
And since the digital landscape is changing ever so rapidly, consumer research is extremely vital. Without using the right resources to maximize market research efforts, your business can become lost and more so, become a prisoner of your assumptions. So put on your research hat, channel your inner geek, and get started!
Happy Researching! :)
Reach out to our research experts to know more about how you can create the right market research strategy for your business!
After a core update at the start of the year in January, Google has announced the next update to its algorithms early this month, on May 4th. Each update affects Google’s search algorithms and is released with the intention to present information that is relevant and authoritative for any search result.
With COVID-19, many industries have seen a decline because of the nature of their business, while others have seen an increase. This has resulted in a significant shift in the way users search for queries online as well. This is why Google has chosen to rank certain categories higher in its latest update. This will allow relevant content to appear to match searches during these uncertain times.
For example, the search for content related to news, health, and online communities has shot up, while categories like travel, sports, and live events have seen a drop. Google’s latest update accounts for these shifts and the change in algorithms strongly affects Search Engine Results Page (SERP) volatility.
The core update that was announced in January also affected SERP volatility, but May’s core update displays a peak in these rates, which is illustrated in the graph below.
It is important to note that the update also affects thin content, as well as old content which has not been refreshed in a while. Such items will be ranked lower by Google’s algorithm update. But if there has been a change in rankings for the entire industry, there is no guarantee that implementing changes will help increase the position of the content in SERPs. Featured snippets have also been impacted with the update.
Users may recall that in September 2019, Google announced a core update that resulted in a similar outcome which changed rankings completely. A key difference was that YouTube videos began to outrank Wikipedia pages. So this is not the first time something of this sort has happened.
Since the core update reflects the direct impact industries have witnessed throughout these last few months, the same industries have experienced a win or loss with this unprecedented change.
For example, news has become paramount during these times. People across the world are trying to stay informed on COVID-19, as well as the impact it has had on various spheres of our normal lives. Information on health and medical research is also being widely consumed. And with people restricted to their homes, the number of hours online have shot up as well. Users are spending more time on different social media platforms, streaming services, and other categories of entertainment. Thus, these are the industries that have benefited most from the update this month, with news coming out on top.
Other industries have not fared as well. Travel and real estate have seen a dramatic drop, and this is reflected in the results of the update as well. Similarly, live events and entertainment, autos and vehicles, tech, and fitness, among many others, have taken a big hit. Many websites are reporting a significant drop in traffic, which is likely due to the change in the SERP algorithm.
Because marketing during COVID-19 is already in a state of flux, it is important to stay up to date with these changes and implement corrections accordingly. This can make keeping up with competitive SERPs easier. However, it might make more sense to wait until the market picks up for industries currently experiencing a decline in demand and engagement.
There are few instances in a brand's lifetime when it encounters a real litmus test. A test to see if the brand values it professes and communicates time and again to its audience are genuine or just marketing fluff. Today, we see ourselves right in the midst of this test. As the Covid-19 coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world with a complete disregard for national borders, class or gender, communities everywhere are seeing a complete overhaul of 'life as we know it'. In this time, marketing, which has always focused on staying relevant by leveraging trending topics, sees itself in a conflict. Not creating posts around the coronavirus might make the brand sound out of touch, but talking about the virus for the sake of it can come across as insensitive.
So how does a brand stay true to its values and build equity during these challenging times? Here are some essential points every brand should keep in mind.
It's clear that the overall public health crisis and the drastic changes in buying behaviour caused by the Coronavirus have led the economy to go into a slowdown. In fact, the economic impact of the Coronavirus is expected to continue long after the last patient is treated. While companies across sectors have been hit, the biggest blow has undoubtedly been to the travel and hospitality industry. The chart below illustrates this best.
If you are noticing a steep fall in your organic and paid traffic, it might be tempting to pause all activities until the situation stabilizes. However, sustaining marketing during the Coronavirus period is important because it ensures that you don't lose brand visibility and recall among your target audience. Pausing your campaigns could mean that you will have to work twice as hard to regain your brand presence once the Coronavirus disappears. We recommend that brands continue to invest in brand marketing, even if it’s at a minimal level.
While marketing your products and services might not result in any impact at a time like this, you can start posting positive and informative content that can help your consumers. Posts that create public health awareness or uplift your audience's spirits during this time can be the best way forward.
With so much false information making the rounds, it's important that brands stay true to official facts stated by the world's leading health organizations. Given the immense reach and power to influence that every brand has, it's crucial that we evaluate every piece of information we put out. Brands should also keep a close eye on the tone of their communications. Doomsday-esque messages might bring in the shares and engagement, but our responsibility as brands is greater than that. Always include credible sources whenever you share a post on Coronavirus facts or safety tips. This could go a long way in ensuring every person takes the necessary safety precautions to combat the virus.
In one survey of what customers expect from brands during the coronavirus period, 28% said that brands should be a trusted source of information, while 27% said that brands should attack the crisis and show that it can be fought and 15% said that brands should offer practical advice that can help consumers face their new normal. Achieving these three goals can help your brand far more than sending out negative messages can.
You can learn more about the survey and other strategies to build a strong marketing plan in times of crisis through this video.
The onset of the Coronavirus pandemic doesn't necessarily mean that brands have to go into damage control mode. This could be one of the best times for a brand to create a lasting positive impression on their audience by providing something of genuine value. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this, having come out with a number of complementary courses and resources on working from home and maintaining productivity to help those in self-quarantine. You can also use this time to branch into new techniques like influencer marketing and vernacular content, or a combination of the two, to reach your audience and build credibility. For instance, influencers can spread social awareness messages in the various regional languages your audience is most comfortable with to get the word across.
Of course, brands in the healthcare space are best positioned to launch medical marketing strategies during this time. A hospital specializing in the treatment of diabetes can provide content specifically designed to help at-risk diabetes patients protect themselves from the virus. Below is an awareness video created by Dr. V Mohan, which exemplifies this:
But virtually any sector can offer content of value during this time. For instance, an early learning education brand can start offering online webinars to continue a child's education despite schools being closed. These strategies can help users build a positive association with your brand that will outlast the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that empathy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Brands need to listen closely to what their audience is saying and sharing on different platforms and then respond accordingly in a way that builds solidarity. It will also be useful to take a step back and audit your new marketing campaigns and messaging to check if they are having the intended effect. All too often, a well-meaning ad can be downplayed by an insensitive 'Subscribe Now' button that pops up at the end of it.
This presentation covers the blueprint that brands should follow to engage with their customers during the coronavirus crisis and examples of some of the brands who have been most successful at it.
Are there any existing evergreen brand assets like ebooks and whitepapers on your website that need to be updated and improved? Or perhaps, there have been long-standing plans to create new guides, a new video or webinar series or new pages on your website. Most companies have ideas in the pipeline which never go live because of a lack of time or organizational bandwidth. The relative slowdown due to the Coronavirus could often translate into a lesser workload. This means you can finally take all of those ideas off the backburner and actually start bringing them to life! You can approach this time as an opportunity to revamp your existing brand assets and create new ones that will rake in results once the Coronavirus clears up.
Just as important as spreading accurate information about the virus is spreading accurate information about your brand itself. Since most physical outlets are shut, you should ensure that the most accurate information about your working hours is updated on your GMB listings and on social platforms. Change your working hours to 'Closed' if you have a physical presence and are not operational. If you are an e-commerce brand and are unable to ship products, make sure that your database of consumers receives a notification about it and that this information is displayed on your website.
While the situation might be grim now, there's no doubt that it will pass eventually. Brands need to gear up for when this happens by putting in place a contingency plan. This is especially true of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry. Once the pandemic clears, the world isn't going to go back to normal overnight. Post-Coronavirus consumers are very likely to still be fearful of travel or of visiting crowded locations like malls and movie theatres. Experts postulate that there will be ten major shifts even once the coronavirus pandemic clears up:
This presentation goes into the above ten factors and breaks down how brands can navigate through them to increase their ROI on post-COVID-19 marketing.
In this scenario, brands need to put in place a holistic full-funnel marketing plan to instil confidence in their audience and reassure them of the safety of their safety. Special promotional activities and offers might be required to help brands gain traction.
The sudden spread of the Coronavirus has certainly come as a shock to consumers and brands everywhere. But with the right strategies, brands can emerge from this trying period with greater brand equity, more engaged audiences and powerful new assets. The most important thing to focus on now, of course, is to stay safe until this tides over!
Quite possibly no other component of digital marketing has been as subjected to the imaginations of conspiracy theorists as SEO has. Almost every year, new claims come out about the death of SEO which are then consequently debunked by experts in the field. But this time, the assertion isn’t coming from marketers pushing for more PPC campaigns, but from concerned content creators themselves.
So why are experienced professionals in the field worried that 2019 could signal the death knell of SEO? Here are a couple of factors that might explain their fears.
With every SERP feature that Google adds, click-through-rates take another dip. In the past, if a user were to search for the weather, they would have to click on a result, enter the website and look for their answer on the page. But now? The search results would look something like this:
This feature is great for users who can now get their queries answered faster, but for a website? Not so much!
These new features don’t just affect broad searches but long-tail queries as well. A first-time real estate investor, for instance, might search for ‘how to calculate stamp duty’ to clear up their questions on it. When they do that, Google will present them the answer neatly packaged in this featured snippet:
If you are wondering how to get the coveted featured snippet. Here is an interesting video:
Since the user already has the answer to their question, they might not feel the need to actually click on the website. What this means for content creators and website owners is that while their search rankings might improve, overall organic traffic to the website might not grow proportionally.
Businesses, understandably, want users to visit their website for all information related to them. This is especially important for local businesses such as restaurants and cafes since purchase intent is typically higher for local searches. However, Google might be hoarding most of this traffic for itself. If a user searches for cafes or restaurant, for example, their search results today looks very different than it did just a few years ago. In the past, they would see a restaurant listing when searching for ‘Chinese food near me’, click on the website link that appealed to them and check out the menu and contact details on their website.
Today, while they will still see restaurant listings, clicking on one will take them to Google Maps and not the restaurant's website.
Of course, a user will still be able to utilise the information provided by Google to visit the restaurant or make a reservation (and thereby convert into a customer). But a business’ website might have less reach and decreased organic performance.
For the last few years, a mobile-first approach to SEO (and almost everything related to digital marketing) has been adopted by marketers everywhere by implementing strategies like AMP. The number of mobile users and mobile searches have also been on an upward trajectory in the last few years, underlining the importance of mobile SEO. However, recent statistics about the nature of mobile searches have emerged, making marketers wonder if mobile SEO still has the same ‘do-or-die’ effect that it did a year ago.
According to Rand Fishkin of Moz, mobile no-click searches have grown by 11 percent, almost 2.5 percent higher than no-click searches on desktop. With these seemingly gloomy numbers, it’s no wonder that websites and brands are worried that they might be losing out on a chunk of their organic mobile audience.
Voice search can be interpreted as both a boon and a bane for marketers. On one hand, it’s a growing new platform to make their brand more visible to users and one of the biggest digital marketing trends of 2019. On the other hand, no-click searches are most prevalent on voice search. For brands and marketers, this poses a unique conundrum: is voice search worth ranking for or will it provide absolutely no value in terms or traffic and brand awareness?
The simple answer to that question is, no. With SEO, when one door closes, another opens. There are certainly many facets of SEO that are dead or dying today, but that has always been the case since its inception. As users, platforms and Google’s algorithm evolves, SEO needs to adapt to keep up.
Instead of getting bogged down by all the alarming statistics being thrown around about the end of SEO, marketers should instead focus on realigning their SEO strategy in the following ways.
If there’s one keyword that Google cannot steal traffic from, it’s searches for your brand. For example, if a user were to search for just ‘digital marketing companies in India’, Google would first list out map listings of companies.
However, if they were to directly search for ‘Social Beat’, none of Google’s SERP features would show up to distract them from clicking on our website.
Going forward, therefore, brands need to focus on building the strength and volume of branded searches if they want relevant traffic on their website.
Most keyword research today consists of analysing keyword volume and difficulty alone. But with the new SERP features, high volume keywords don’t necessarily guarantee high traffic from them. To counteract this, content creators should include a third dimension when choosing keywords to optimise their content with: CTR percentage. By carefully choosing a keyword that has a high click-through-rate, content marketers can be assured that they will be creating content that will drive organic traffic to their website and not just adding to Google’s no-click search percentages.
You can do a simple CTR analysis through most keyword research tools. In this example, we used Ahrefs to dig deep into our focus keyword, ‘digital marketing blogs’. According to the results that the tool gave us, this keyword is worth trying to rank for as 65% of those searching for the keyword have clicked on a result.
In the case of SERP features, content marketers are better off following the adage, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them!’. A featured snippet, can either steal traffic from your website or increase it depending upon how you tailor your information for it. If a user can get all the information they require for their query from the snippet without having to actually click on the link, chances are they aren’t going to visit your website. But if you can offer users just enough information and intrigue them so they click on your link to read more, then the featured snippet can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal to drive traffic to your website.
For example, if a user knows that this list includes 10 mobile wallets, but the snippet only displays a few of them, they will be more likely to click on the link to read the full list.
Creating 10x content and using long-tail keywords have always been the cornerstones of modern SEO, but they were never more important than they are today. The goal for content marketers today is to create in-depth content on nuanced topics that cannot be pigeonholed into any of Google’s SERP features. Essentially, the longer a keyword is, the greater the chance of your actual website ranking for it and not an answer box or any other feature.
Even if parts of your content can snag a featured snippet, it should offer your audience several useful elements that they need to click on your link to explore. The demand for interactive content is on the rise and thankfully, Google hasn’t found a way to display interactive tools directly on SERP yet. Tools like calculators, interactive maps, planners and more can drive organic traffic to your website and offer immense value to your readers.
If SEO is dying, then the one thing offering it CPR is pillar content. This unique comprehensive content format has created waves in the SEO sphere, promising almost an instant surge in traffic and even several high-quality leads. The secret ingredient that makes pillar content so powerful is that it is linked to several related articles within your blog, providing instant link juice to each of them. Because of this, organic traffic to your blog and overall website improve dramatically.
For example, we created a pillar for our client Shriram Properties on ‘A Complete Guide for First-Time Homebuyers in India’. Within a matter of weeks, it started ranking for over 1000 keywords in total and for 100 keywords on page 1. Achieving similar results for a regular page within such a short time span would have been close to impossible with a regular page.
If there’s one thing that has stayed constant in the ever-fluctuating landscape of SEO, it’s that meta descriptions and titles can make or break your organic traffic. These two elements are the simplest, yet most crucial aspects of SEO. If all your hard work has helped your content reach Page 1, but the title and description aren’t compelling enough for users to click on it, your traffic is unlikely to show any improvement. It is also important that content creators don’t get disillusioned by the variety of SERP features available today. A study by Ahrefs found that featured snippets get only 8.6 percent of clicks, while the next result gets 19.6 percent of the clicks!
So even if your brand has lost out on the featured snippet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your organic traffic will drop because of it.
Instead of putting all your eggs in a single basket, barnacle SEO offers you a way to spread your chances to drive more traffic and increase brand visibility. Today, ‘aggregator sites’ are more visible on Google than they ever were. These sites, for example, Zomato, Urban Clap and Little Black Book, list companies and services on their website. If a user were to search for best massage parlour in Chennai, their search results are most likely to throw up aggregator sites and not individual massage parlour websites.
Is this disheartening for individual businesses? Not necessarily. Trying to compete with aggregator sites will be a David vs. Goliath situation since these sites are typically larger and have a higher domain authority. Instead, businesses should try to get featured on aggregator sites to make their target audience aware of their brand and increase traffic to their website. Getting featured on a compilation can also increase the brand’s credibility in the eyes of the user.
With all the panic about Google’s CTR shrinking, many marketers tend to forget the second largest search engine in the world: YouTube. YouTube is beneficial for marketers for two reasons: 1. It’s a new platform to reach out to users and 2. It can help brands rank on Google as well.
The number of subscribers and video views on YouTube is growing exponentially - particularly in India. If you are finding it challenging to rank for a relevant keyword on Google because of high competition, YouTube could be an excellent way to circumvent this. You can read our in-depth blog on YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos to get started!
The second reason to optimise your videos for YouTube is just as important. One of Google’s SERP features is video listings pulled from YouTube that are related to a search term. If your brand is able to create a video that also ranks on Google’s SERP, then you will automatically be able to increase visibility and awareness of your brand.
This strategy is a great way for marketers to beat Google at its own game and use SERP features to their advantage.
You can also check out our video on 'YouTube SEO: 8 Powerful Tips to Help Rank Your Videos'.
Voice search can be viewed as a disruptor or facilitator, but one thing’s for sure: marketers cannot afford to ignore it. Here are just a few incredible statistics on the growing importance of voice search:
To avoid being left behind in the voice search wave, marketers need to optimise their websites and brands to appear for voice queries. This can also help them reach out to new internet audiences, those who are from tier 2 and 3 cities and are more comfortable using voice than typing out a query.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s that content marketing backed by continuous optimisation still has the highest ROI compared to any other type of campaign. By getting an early head start and implementing these elements in your content strategy before your competitors do, you can cement your position on Google’s SERP and gain a high content marketing ROI.
If you’re trying to successfully drive traffic to your website’s blog page, getting to the top of Google’s search results is your biggest task. However, if you thought ranking at the number one position was the ultimate goal, you now have a new contender – the Google Answer Box or Featured Snippet.
Google introduced its new Answer Box feature in 2015. Referred to as the Google Answer Box or Rank 0 or Featured Snippet, this feature is a box you see above all search queries on Google. The Answer Box provides users with quick and easy answers or “snippets” of information. These answers are selected from content that ranks on page one, but not necessarily Position One.
Google Answer Boxes are not only convenient for users who are looking for answers, but it is also an excellent opportunity for brands to gain more page visitors, as Google Answer Boxes get a 2x higher click-through rate and steal most of the organic traffic on the internet.
Before we dive into a few more details, here’s a quick video on the benefits of Google Answer Boxes and how you can rank for them.
Before we get into how you can optimise your content to get a Google Answer Box, let’s take a look at the four different kinds of Featured Snippets.
Paragraph Featured Snippets will only include a short section of your content – around 40 to 50 words, so be sure to provide your answer within that limit. To maximise your chances of getting a Paragraph Featured Snippet, use the query as the title and then answer the query directly below, as seen in the example.
Numbered Featured Snippets appear for content that explains a step-by-step process. For example, a recipe or DIY project.
Bulleted Featured Snippets, on the other hand, will display content in a bulleted list where the order of the information doesn’t matter.
To optimise your content for a Numbered or Bulleted List Featured Snippet, you need to ensure that your content is formatted in the form of bullet points. Like in the case of a Paragraph Featured Snippet, you can maximise your chances of getting picked up by having the query as your main title and answering it directly below, this time as a list. Another way to optimise your content is by outlining steps in your blog post, and using each step as a heading.
Start by doing the work for Google – put your information in a table. Not only will this make your website’s visitors happy to get all the information they need at a glance, but it also makes it easier for Google to find your content. Finally, start with an appropriate heading followed by your table of data.
For further information on how to get your videos to rank, head over to our in-depth article on YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Videos in 2019.
Now that you know the basics of optimising your content for the different types of Featured Snippets, let’s delve a little deeper into a few more best practices you can adopt for your content to get its own Google Answer Box.
The first rule of getting a Featured Snippet is ensuring your content answers specific queries. More often than not, when a user types in a query, it is in the form of implicit or explicit questions and long phrases. Structuring your content to answer these questions and phrases effectively is how to rank in Position 0.
For example, if the query you wish to get a Google Answer Box for is “Best residential localities in Coimbatore” try and match it as closely as possible to that keyword so that you have the chance to appear as a Featured Snippet. Additionally, make sure your answer is precise and that you stay within the prescribed word limit of 40 to 50 words (a maximum of 100 words) or 3 to 4 sentences. If you’re looking for more information to rank higher in the search results, take a look at our blog on must know Google Search tips and tricks.
Efficient and effective keyword research is the cornerstone to any great piece of content. Creating content without adequate keyword research is like shooting an arrow in the dark – you stand very little chance of ranking in Google’s SERPs.
Before you begin writing content for a Google Answer Box, start your keyword research by looking for question-type queries – those that begin with what, why or how, as well as long-tail queries with no question words. The aim here is to include a seed keyword with as many long-tail keywords as you can in your article. This way, you can create well-written long-form content that answers multiple related questions in a clear and cohesive manner.
To intensify your keyword research, there are a number of tools at your disposal, namely Moz’ Keyword Explorer, Answer The Public or Ahrefs. These tools will be able to throw up more results related to your search query helping your broaden your search for keywords that trigger a Google Answer Box.
You can also browse through Google's own "People also ask" section to further research your topic or selected keyword. These related questions can offer massive insights into what Google considers related topics to your own. You can also check out our blog on On-page and Off-page SEO Tips for 2019 for more information.
Very often, many of Google’s Answer Boxes are filled with content that doesn’t fully answer user queries. Target such examples and ensure your content is better aligned to what users are looking for. If your competition has a Google Answer Box for a particular keyword, read through the content and analyse if you can create similar content or can modify your own existing content to better respond to the search query. This increases your chances of getting your own Answer Box and staying in Position 0 for much longer.
Getting a Featured Snippet isn’t just about the quality of your content. You can also improve the design and experience you provide your visitors. Not only do phenomenal UI and UX play critical roles signal Google to rank your website higher, but also heighten your chances of holding on to your Featured Snippet.
Once you’ve achieved your Featured Snippet, work does not end. Answer Box results can change in mere seconds, so the onus is on you to constantly track your progress – for how long you have managed to sustain your Position 0 or if you have slipped down the rankings. Try different things like opting for a table or a list instead of giving information in the form of a paragraph, or answering queries that appear in Google’s related search queries. Including high-resolution images with the right captions and tags and structuring your content with appropriate headings and sub-headings in H2 and H3 tags are also a few ways to help you improve your content and the user experience you provide.
The final point to keep in mind is optimising your content for voice search. India is seeing a 270% year-on-year growth in voice searches, as revealed in the 2017 Google India ‘Year in Search’ Report. As marketers, it becomes imperative for you to action change and leverage the power of Voice Search marketing to tap into India’s next billion users. A vast majority of them will be accessing the internet from Tier II and Tier III cities and Voice Search is a more convenient option than typed queries, particularly because they will be engaging in vernacular languages.
Additionally, Voice Search queries are very often picked up from Featured Snippets, particularly by smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home. Brands will need to constantly update and optimise their content to stay in Position Zero to feature prominently for Voice Search queries. You can also check out our detailed video on Voice Search Marketing for more information.
With these tips in hand, you’re now ready to win your own Google Answer Box! Remember to implement all of these strategies as Google’s Answer Box feature is in a constant state of flux, with rankings and results changing overnight. Keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest trends in digital marketing, will enable you to rank higher, achieve a Featured snippet and sustain it for an extended period of time. Before you go, take a look at our informative video that further explains how to optimise your content for a Google Answer Box.
Getting recognition and accolades always brings along a warm feeling of privilege and gratitude. We are proud to announce that our co-founder, Vikas Chawla, has been listed as one of the top leaders in content marketing in Linkedin’s Content 50. LinkedIn is the world’s largest network of professionals so being hand-picked as one of the top 50 content marketers in this platform is sure a feather in our cap.
Content 50 is powered by Paul Writer – a marketing advisory firm that connects businesses around the globe. Through Content 50, LinkedIn recognises marketers in India who lead a team of digital wizards and create online strategies to enhance the journey of their customers. Each candidate is assessed on a wide range of parameters such as creativity, execution, targeting, innovation, effectiveness and accolades.
At Social Beat, we offer a 360-degree digital marketing approach to our clients. From social media marketing and web development to SEO and content marketing, we leave no stone unturned in making sure your brand stands out in the digital hemisphere. With upcoming digital trends like the growth of regional content online and lightning fast AMP-implemented pages, we helped our clients leverage the power of vernacular content and produce 33% lower CPL with landing pages that load faster. Getting recognised as one of the achievers in LinkedIn’s Content 50 has contributed to the wind beneath our wings.
The striking personalities sitting on the esteemed jury chair include Ms Virginia Sharma – Director, Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn India – and Mr Ashish Bhasin – Chairman CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia.
Few of the other jury members are:
The list was unveiled at the Futurist Business Conclave 2018 held at The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon, on 24th of August, 2018. This was the 6th edition of the conclave that hosted panel discussions on the impact of AI on today’s digital front. The event also included a MasterClass that offered one-on-one discussions for invitees only.
Whether you are a real estate giant, a leading financial firm or an FMCG brand trying to grow your business by going digital, reach out to us at Social Beat and engage with India’s next billion Internet users.