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Contextual links in featured snippets may present new opportunities and risks

The change has SEOs questioning which sites will win and which will lose, but one thing is certain: Nobody is going to stop optimizing for featured snippets.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Google might remove search in Australia if forced to pay to link to sites

This comes after Google signs an agreement with French publishers to pay for some content.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Google My Business updates flag review feature

The new form and options are much more detailed now, compared to the old method.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Chrome 88 Adds to Core Web Vitals DevTools

Chrome 88 allows you to view your site’s LCP, FIP, and CLS data in dev tools.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google Search launches updated mobile design and interface

With a new, modern experience, Google says the redesign is easier to read and use.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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What Is YouTube CPM? [+ Why It Matters]

With over two billion monthly active YouTube users, YouTube is an undeniably powerful channel for advertising — which means, if you’re a YouTube creator, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make money off the platform. 

For instance, if advertisers pay to display ads on your videos, you can increase revenue in the form of CPM. 

Along with increasing your revenue, CPM is a strong indicator that your content is valuable, and helps you identify businesses with whom you may want to partner down the road. 

Whether you’ve been a YouTube creator for years or are just starting out, CPM is an important metric to understand to ensure you’re maximizing YouTube’s potential as a revenue generator. 

Here, we’ll explore what CPM is, how it’s calculated, and what makes a “good CPM”. 

What is CPM, and how is it calculated? 

CPM, or cost per 1,000 impressions, is the cost an advertiser needs to pay on YouTube for every 1,000 impressions their ads receive on your video.

CPM varies depending on how much an advertiser pays to display the ad. Ad price on YouTube depends on a range of factors, including bidding price, type of ad, and consistency. 

So, for instance, let’s assume an advertiser is paying $9 for an ad, and the ad was seen 5,000 times on your video. To calculate CPM, you’d divide 9 by 5,000 = $0.0018, then multiply $0.0018 by 1,000.

The CPA, then, is $1.80. You’ll receive 55% of that $1.80 — since YouTube takes a percentage of the CPA, as well (45%, to be exact). So if you make $1.80 CPA off an ad, you’ll only keep $0.99.

Additionally, there’s another type of CPM: playback-based CPM. Rather than calculating the cost the advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions, playback-based CPM calculates the cost an advertiser pays for 1,000 video playbacks where an ad is displayed. 

There are free calculators available online, if you don’t want to calculate your CPM manually. And while individual videos’ CPMs might seem small (like the $0.99 made, above), it can add up to a hefty monthly earning if plenty of businesses see your videos as consistently worthwhile platforms for their promotions. 

Why is CPM important? 

As a YouTube creator, CPM is an important metric for analyzing which of your videos are most valuable to advertisers. Since advertising is the primary method for monetization on YouTube, this is critical information. 

To make a full-time career out of YouTube, it’s critical you know which videos can be monetized so you can create a more efficient, long-term strategy to target those types of topics. 

For instance, perhaps you create YouTube videos for beauty, health, and wellness — but you find, in particular, “Drugstore Makeup Tutorials” receive the highest CPMs. This might suggest you should create more content that aligns with that topic. 

Additionally, you might find one business in particular consistently advertises on your videos. If the brand aligns with your own values, you might reach out directly to discuss other YouTube partnership opportunities, like affiliate marketing. 

Average CPM on YouTube 

CPM varies greatly depending on how much an advertiser pays to distribute an ad on your video. 

For instance, let’s say an advertiser pays $10 for an ad that plays on your video, which has 1,000 views. If that’s the case, you’d make $10 CPM (10/1,000 x 1,000). Of course, then, you’ll need to take 45% off that total — making your earnings around $5.

However, in most cases, the videos on which businesses choose to advertise will have more than 1,000 views, making your earnings closer to $7-$10. 

Jilliian Hope, HubSpot’s Senior Manager of Brand Advertising, agrees, telling me her team typically sees an average of $7 to $10 from past campaigns. 

However, CPM varies by country. For instance, one source reports the United States has an average 0.38 CPM, while Spain is 4.38, Switzerland is 3.87, and Mauritius is as high as 7.05. This means the amount of money you make off YouTube depends, in part, on your geography. 

Highest CPM on YouTube

The highest CPM varies by country, but here’s a list of the five highest CPA rates by country, as reported by one source:

  1. Maldives: $15.47
  2. Guadeloupe: $10.97
  3. Denmark: $10.61
  4. Poland: $9.23
  5. Pakistan: $7.54

Additionally, certain niche topics will ultimately have higher CPMs. Industries that a) perform well on YouTube and b) are incredibly profitable, will perform better in terms of CPM. These industries include:

  • Makeup
  • Retail
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Technology 

As a brand, you should use CPM as a metric to help you identify which topics seem most valuable to advertisers, since those topics likely provide the most opportunity for monetization. 

Rather than looking for “quick tricks” to increase your CPM, however, you’ll want to play the long-game by creating a comprehensive YouTube strategy that helps you increase sales, reach new audiences, and grow brand awareness. 

Reblogged 2 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

4 SEO Strategies for Programmatic Sites

Posted by Royh

Planning and executing SEO strategies for sites with hundreds of millions of pages is no easy task, but there are strategies to make it simpler.

Programmatic pages are pages that have been generated automatically on a very large scale. SEO strategies for these pages are used to target multiple keyword variations by creating landing pages at that scale automatically.

You’ll typically find these pages in major verticals like e-commerce, real estate, travel, and informational sites. These verticals are relying on programmatic pages to build their SEO strategy, and they have a dedicated page for each product and category. This set up can lead to hundreds of millions of pages — they’re efficient, functional, and user-friendly, however, they do come with some SEO challenges.

In my experience, the comprehensive SEO strategy covered in this post works best when tailored to fit a large site with programmatic pages. Many strategies that typically work for sites with only a few hundred pages won’t necessarily get the same results on larger sites. Small sites rely on manual and meticulous content creation, compared to programmatic pages, which are the main traffic-driving pages of the site.

So, let’s get down to business! I’ll explore the four major SEO challenges you’ll encounter when dealing with programmatic pages, and unpack how to overcome them.

1. Keyword research and keyword modifiers

Well-planned keyword research is one of the biggest challenges when operating on a programmatic scale. When working on a sizable set of pages and keywords, it’s important to choose and find the right keywords to target across all pages.

In order to function both efficiently and effectively, it’s recommended that you divide site pages into a few templates before digging into the research itself. Some examples of these templates could include:

  • Categories
  • Sub-categories
  • Product pages
  • Static pages
  • Blogs
  • Informational pages
  • Knowledge base/learning

Once you have all the page templates in place, it’s time to build keyword buckets and keyword modifiers.

Keyword modifiers are additional keywords that, once you combine them with your head terms and core keywords, help with long tail strategy. For example, modifiers for the head term “amazon stock” can be anything related to market share, statistics, insights, etc.

Programmatic pages typically hold the majority of the site’s pages. (Take Trulia, for example, which has over 30 million indexed pages — the majority of which are programmatic.) As a result, those pages are usually the most important on a larger website, both in terms of volume and search opportunity. Thus, you must ensure the use of the right keyword modifiers across each page template’s content.

Of course, you can’t go over every single page and manually modify the SEO tags. Imagine a website like Pinterest trying to do that — they’d never finish! . On a site with 30-100 million pages, it’s impossible to optimize each one of them individually. That’s why it’s necessary to make the changes across a set of pages and categories — you need to come up with the right keyword modifiers to implement across your various page templates so you can efficiently handle the task in bulk.

The main difference here, compared to typical keyword research, is the focus on keyword modifiers. You have to find relevant keywords that can be repeatedly implemented across all relevant pages.

Let’s take a look at this use case on a stock investment website:

The example above shows a website that is targeting users/investors with informational intent, and that relies on programmatic pages for the SEO strategy. I found the keyword modifier by conducting keyword research and competitor research.

I researched several relevant, leading websites using Moz’s Keyword Explorer and SimilarWeb’s Search Traffic feature, and noted the most popular keyword groups. After I’d accumulated the keyword groups, I found the search volume of each keyword to determine which ones would be the most popular and relevant to target

Once you have the keyword modifiers, you must implement them across the title tags, descriptions, headline tags, and content on the page template(s) the modifiers are for. Even when you multiply this strategy by millions of pages, having the right keyword modifier makes updating your programmatic pages a much easier process and much more efficient.

If you have a template of pages ordered by a specific topic, you’ll be able to update and make changes across all the pages with that topic, for example, a stock information site with a particular type of stock page, or a category with stocks based on a price/industry. One update will affect all the pages in the same category, so if you update the SEO title tag of the template of a stock page, then all pages in the same category will be updated as well.

In the example above, the intent of the keywords is informational. Keyword intent focuses on how to match search intents to keyword modifiers. We’re targeting searchers who are looking to gather certain insights. They want more information regarding stocks or companies, market caps, expert evaluations, market trends, etc. In this case, it’s recommended to add additional keywords that will include questions such as “how?”, “what?”, and “which?”.

As another example, transactional keywords — which are a better fit for e-commerce and B2C websites — are highly effective for addressing searches with purchase intent. These terms can include “buy”, “get”, “purchase”, and “shop”.

2. Internal linking

Smart internal linking plans are vital for large sites. They have the ability to significantly increase the number of indexed pages, then pass link equity between pages. When you work on massive sites, one of your main priorities should be to make sure Google will discover and index your site’s pages.

So, how should you go about building those internal linking features?

When looking at the big picture, the goal is that Page A will link to Page B and Page C, while Page B will link to Page D and Page E, etc. Ideally, each page will get at least one link from a different indexed page on the site. For programmatic sites, the challenge here is the fact that new pages emerge on a daily basis. In addition to the existing pages, it’s imperative to calculate and project so that you can jumpstart internal linking for the new pages. This helps these pages get discovered quickly and indexed in the proper fashion.

Related pages and “people also viewed”

One strategy that makes link building easier is adding a “related pages” section to the site. It adds value for the user and the crawlers, and also links to relevant pages based on affinity.

You can link to similar content based on category, product type, content, or just about any other descriptive element. Similar content should be sorted in numeric order or alphabetical order.

HTML sitemap

Yes, even large websites are using HTML sitemaps to help crawlers find new pages. They’re extremely effective when working on large scale sites with millions of pages.

Let’s take a look at this example from the Trulia HTML sitemap (shown above): Trulia built their HTML sitemap based on alphabetical order, and in a way that ensures all pages have links. This way, there won’t be any orphan pages, which helps their goal of supplying link juice to all pages that they wish to index.

In general, many e-commerce and real estate websites are sequencing their sitemaps by alphabetical/categorical order to guarantee that no page will be alone.

3. Crawl budget and deindexing rules

Crawl budget is a very important issue that large websites need to consider. When you have tens of millions of programmatic pages, you need to make sure Google consistently finds and indexes your most valuable pages. The value of your pages should be based on content, revenue, business value, and user satisfaction.

First, choose which pages should not be indexed:

  1. Use your favorite analysis tool to discover which pages have the lowest engagement metrics (high bounce rates, low averages of time on site, no page views, etc.).
  2. Use the search console to discover which pages have high impressions and low CTRs.
  3. Combine these pages into one list.
  4. Check to see if they have any incoming links.
  5. Analyze the attribution of those pages to revenue and business leads.
  6. Once you have all of the relevant data and you choose the pages that should be removed from index, add no-index tag to all of them and exclude them from sitemap XML.

I work for SimilarWeb, a website with over 100 million pages, and I ran a no-index test on over 20 million pages based on the checklist above. I wanted to see the impact of removing a high number pages from our organic channel.

The results were incredible.

Although we lost over half a million visits over the course of a month, the overall engagement metrics on programmatic pages improved dramatically.



By removing irrelevant pages, I made more room for relevant and valuable pages to be discovered by the Google bot.

Rand Fishkin also has a really comprehensive checklist, which shows you how to determine if a page is low quality according to Google. Another great example is Britney Muller’s experiment, where she deindexed 75% of Moz’s pages with great results.

4. SEO split testing

Test everything! The advantage when working on a large scale SEO campaign is that you have access to big data and can utilize it for your SEO efforts. Unlike regular A/B testing, which tests human behavior, A/B split testing is purely for crawlers.

The split testing process is usually based on the same or similar templates of pages. Split the page into two or three groups — one group acts as a control, while the other groups are enabled. Test the following criteria:

  • Adding structured data
  • Changing the keyword modifier of SEO tags (title tag, description, H tags, etc.)
  • Image ALT tags
  • Content length
  • Page performance
  • Internal linking

In terms of measuring the performance, I recommend using one experiment at a time. For instance, you might adjust SEO tags first, and then continue testing other verticals after you’ve built some confidence.

Diving into a split testing example, let’s look at Etsy. Etsy wanted to test which title tag would rank higher and drive better CTR, and generally improve the organic traffic to the pages that were tested. In the image below, we can see how they performed the split test between control pages with default title tags against test pages with different tag variations in this article

Pinterest’s dashboard also shows how their growth team relies on split testing experiments for their SEO strategy. Pinterest’s goal was to build an experimentation tool that would help them measure the impact of SEO changes to their rankings and organic traffic.

Now it’s your turn

Since programmatic pages are different from most others, it’s imperative that you build and optimize these pages in the right way. This requires several adjustments from your normal SEO strategy, along with the application of new and proprietary strategies. The benefit of using the approach outlined above is the incremental scale with which you can contribute to your business.

Programmatic page searches are supposed to fit the search query, whether it’s by product search, address, or information. This is why it’s crucial to make sure the content is as unique as possible, and that the user will have the best answer for each query.

Once you grasp the four tactics above, you’ll be able to implement them into your SEO strategy and begin seeing better results for your programmatic pages.

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Reblogged 2 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

A (Re)Introduction to Guest Posting

Posted by CitationLabs

Garrett French — founder of Citation Labs and all around link building expert — takes you on a comprehensive walkthrough of guest posting on sites supported by sales. Why is this a good strategy? How do your posts benefit these websites? How do you start and what websites do you reach out to? Watch to find out!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hello, folks. My name is Garrett French, and I’m a link builder. I run Citation Labs. We have 120 employees, and we build lots of links. Today I am here to reintroduce to you the tactic of guest posting.

All right. Very specifically, though, guest posting with a target of publishers — this largest portion here of the publisher pyramid — who are supported by sales, whose main reason of publishing is to sell things.

Introduction

So let’s dig in. We are talking about earned placements. The publishers have to approve this content. There’s an editorial gatekeeper. Again, yes/no? Do we want to publish? Do we not?

Is it up to our standards? We’re talking about real websites with real audiences. We’re talking about flexible format. So you can think beyond an article. You can think into an FAQ, for example, or a glossary or something along those lines. Again, very much we want to emphasize the publishers that we’re talking about here get their revenue from sales.

They’re publishing so that they can get new clients or to sell products or services. We’re not talking about PBNs. We’re not talking about sponsored placements. We’re not talking about any circumstance where you have to pay money in order to get in front of somebody’s audience. Lastly, I want to point out we’re not necessarily talking about op-ed circumstances here.

This isn’t a branded expertise play. This isn’t your chance to show how much you know. Now you’re going to be able to show your expertise, but you’re going to be second fiddle. You’ve got to put the publisher themselves and their interest in sales first. That’s what you’re doing here, and that’s why you’re approaching this group, and again it’s why they publish. That’s the publisher benefit that you’re going to be emphasizing when you approach this group. 

Why guest posts?



Now, why guest posts? Well, guys, there’s an enormous amount of visibility and reach here. Look at the pyramid. Now, this is representative of most industries generally, where we’ve got 95% of the publishers are publishing to get sales, 4% that are mission based and are supported by taxes, tuition, donations, subscriptions, etc.

Then we’ve got the 1% ad supported. There are so many publishers out there trying to sell in your vertical, in your clients’ verticals, in your target vertical if you’re in-house, and there’s a lot of disaggregated reach there. There’s a lot newsletters out there, a lot of social media followings out there, folks, that you could be working to get in front of.

You have a lot more topic and context control when you’re publishing on these types of websites, when you’re seeking publishing on these sites. Again, if you’re looking at the tax, tuition, donation, and subscription supported swath here, the 4%, you can sometimes have topics where you can discuss sales or mention a sales page.

But more frequently you’ve got to really focus on the publisher’s mission, why are they publishing. They’re on a mission, and so they’re supported by something besides sales. Then lastly, of course, if we’re talking about digital PR or any kind of mainstream media focus or PR effort, they want content that’s going to drive page views.

That’s how they’re supported. There’s still some mission, of course, in there. But anyhow, you’re much less able, at that point, to link into your sales pages. So again, what we’re talking about here or one of the benefits here rather links to sales pages, which of course is going to improve the rankings of your sales pages.

How to guest post

Now why is that easier in this context, in the context of helping someone else sell? Well, let’s dig in and talk through the how, and you’ll see also what makes that possible. 

Finding publishers

So primarily we’re talking about finding publishers with whom you have top-of-funnel overlap, where some of your top-of-funnel topics, the pains that your prospective clients have and the pains their prospective clients have are similar, interrelated.

Perhaps we’re talking about audience overlap. Perhaps we’re talking about industry overlap. Even location overlap. There’s some kind of overlap here, and you’re speaking into that place when you’re thinking of topics for a given publisher. Another way to think about it is the members of that market it’s what we think of as a solution stack.

So in the SEO space, we all have our favorite tool stack, the tools everybody uses, Moz for example. Well, if you’re selling into that, if you’re an agency like Citation Labs, it might make sense to work and try to get some visibility on a SaaS tool in the SEO space.

“Unbundling” the stack



Let’s work here a little bit longer though, stick on this one a little bit longer and think about unbundling the stack in different verticals, because this is really at the heart of the process and the approach. Let’s think about you’re a realtor.

So within your stack or your industry and certainly within your location, there are going to be some roofers too, and a handful of these folks are going to have blogs. Not all of them, but a handful will. So you’re going to approach a roofer with a topic such as 10 reasons to fix your roof before you put your home up for sale.

Now, this solves a roofer problem, doesn’t it? It’s reasons to purchase roofing services. Also it gives you an opportunity to talk about your expertise as a realtor and what impact roof condition may have on the sale of a home.

Let’s go into this one here, commercial ovens, let’s say those brick ovens for pizza. We’re looking at somebody in the flour space. Maybe they’ve got some organic flour. Well, you’re going to write them a guide on why you need to use organic flour in your pizza dough for your pizza restaurant, the difference that organic flour can make on the outcome of the quality of the dough, of the crust.

You’re going to speak to temperature impact on organic versus not organic, if there is. There might not be, but let’s just for the sake of this assume there is. Then you’re also going to have a great chance to link to your commercial pizza ovens.

If you’re on a site that sells flour into the restaurant space, well, it really makes sense for you to have some visibility there. Let’s say you sell cell phones and you’re thinking about the fitness or health space. So you can pitch something.

You find a physical therapist. You’ve got 10 apps that augment your physical therapy. This can work just as well for let’s say a yoga studio or a CrossFit gym. Apps that augment your exercise, your physical fitness regimen. Again, you’re putting them first, because you’re talking about augmenting services or work that’s already going on, which is kind of assuming that someone would be their customer, would choose to go to this physical therapist, or would choose to attend yoga classes at this particular studio.

So this is what we’re talking about when we think about or talk about unbundling this stack. You see as we come up with topics that we would pitch, we’re putting the publisher first. Always putting the publisher first and recognizing the reason that they publish.

Hone your pitch

This is the biggest piece, guys. Why do they publish? They publish because they want to sell services and products. So you’re thinking about topics and formats that are going to support that and that overlap with what you’re selling and how you’re functioning. Let’s see. Here’s another good tip. Try and get calls to action for your publisher into the title.

So we could revise this one. Ten reasons to fix roof before sale of home. No, 10 reasons to call a roofer before you put your home up for sale, or 10 reasons to call a roofer now if you’re going to put your home up for sale in April.

So again, you’re really looking at honing your pitch for the intended purpose of this publisher group. You’re thinking beyond the article. We talked about it a little bit, mentioned this earlier. You’re thinking about FAQs. You’re thinking about glossaries.

Explore different formats

What other formats could be strong, potential formats? An infographic, a small, little infographic. Any of these could be explained or supported through the use of graphics. Again, this is the type of document or pitch that could be really effective, because the publisher is going to see immediately how it could benefit their sales, the reason why they publish.

Keyword research

You’re an SEO, right? You’re going to lean into keyword research on your pitch. Hey, it looks like you’re not ranking for some of these terms in your area. Again, there needs to be overlap for these terms and with what you’re trying to sell it or with what your topic needs to be.

But if you’ve got some basis behind your pitch, some keyword research to support your topic and why it’s going to benefit the publisher, you’re miles ahead of anybody else who is pitching them. 

Help promote

Then you could even offer some promotion. You’re going to link to it from another placement if you get another one. You’re going to put it up on Twitter to your following. You’re going to mention it on Facebook, etc. Maybe even buy some ads for it. 

Fact-based citations

Now one of the key pieces here, it’s kind of hidden down here at the bottom. You’re going to make sure that when you’re linking to your pages on your site, you’re doing it in the context of a fact-based citation. Ideally you’ve got something on your sales page, we call it a citable element, that’s fact-based, ideally your own data that supports a purchase decision ultimately. 

For example, if you know that your ovens do best with organic flour at 412 degrees instead of 418 and you’ve got the data to support that, well, that’s a great place and reason to link back to your oven page that would have that data point mentioned on it.

You’re best served by linking in a justifiable manner, and that’s specifically when we’re talking about data and we’re talking about some kind of citation that needs to be linked, where the link is absolutely mandatory, a quote for example.

So again, this model or this approach has to be supported by citable elements living on your sales pages or whatever page you’re linking to, if you choose to go this route and not necessarily do sales pages. 

Conclusion

Whoo, I think that’s about it, folks.

Probably lots of questions. But that’s our approach to guest posting on sales-supported publishers. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Love to hear from you at garrett@citationlabs.com — happy to answer any questions. 

Thank you, folks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Your exclusive MarTech preview is here

Join us online for free at MarTech, March 16-17, to explore essential marketing operations challenges and opportunities.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 days ago from feeds.marketingland.com

SEO strategies from the Search Engine Land SEO initiative award winners

This year’s Search Engine Land Award winners for Best SEO Initiative sat down with Search Engine Land’s own George Nguyen to talk SEO tactics and strategies.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com