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Luxury marketing search strategy, Part 3: Integrated marketing communication

In the first two articles of my luxury search marketing series, we discussed the consumer mindset, what motivates and drives shoppers to purchase, and then the strategies and tactics that can be used to reach those shoppers and maximize results.

Now, I’m going to tie everything together. In the third and final article of the series, we’ll discuss the importance of an integrated marketing communication (IMC) campaign in the luxury goods industry and why it’s a must if you want to survive in today’s ultra-competitive and highly fragmented search landscape.

What is integrated marketing and why do luxury brands need it?

Today’s consumers are bombarded with messaging from many different marketing channels. Integrated Marketing cuts through the clutter by delivering a unified and seamless brand experience for consumers across channels. Integrated Marketing delivers a seamless experience with one clear message that is relevant to consumers no matter what channel they are using.

In the second article of my series, we discussed how the luxury consumer craves an experience. Luxury shoppers search online to find the luxury items they want, discover new experiences, and to engage with their favorite brands wherever, and to make their purchase whenever they want1. Therefore, creating seamless experiences along the customer journey is especially critical for luxury brands.

Understanding the consumer decision journey is crucial

The consumer journey is no longer a linear path-to-purchase. It has evolved into a complicated and dynamic process during which consumers interact with many different touchpoints along the way. Reaching consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions should be our goal as marketers. McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey applies touchpoints for these different opportunities to influence consumers.

The consumer decision journey is a circular decision-making process with four phases:

  1. Initial consideration
  2. Active evaluation – information gathering, shopping
  3. Closure – the moment of purchase
  4. Post-purchase – ongoing exposure to the brand

For search marketers to leverage the consumer decision journey, you need to find ways to get your brand into the consumer’s initial consideration set. We can do this through SEO and integration with other marketing channels.

Integrated marketing and SEO

Search marketers strive to maximize brands’ and companies’ visibility through top search engine rankings. This visibility is key to making it into the consumer’s initial consideration set. I’ll share some integrated marketing strategies that will help improve your SEO and overall business results.

1. Integrate organic and paid search marketing

Numerous studies2 have illustrated how SEO impacts the number of clicks that paid ads receive. Google has shown that when a site has strong organic results, the site is likely to see an increase their click-through-rate for paid search ads on the same search results page. Other studies have shown that the reverse is true – paid search can improve the results of organic search campaigns.

Putting it into practice

Align organic and paid messaging: You want unified messaging, not conflicting messaging. All messaging should be aligned and customer-centric. One way to achieve this is to include top-performing paid ad copy into your organic meta descriptions. For example, one of my paid search counterparts at our agency identified that the term “award-winning” performed the best in their ad copy. We have incorporated it into our meta descriptions to improve organic click-through-rates and to present a unified message to the searcher. This maximizes SEO performance while delivering a seamless experience for the luxury customer.

Improve pages with low-quality scores: Identify the pages where you have a low-quality score and work to increase it. Higher costs-per-click can be reduced by improving landing page experiences and page load times. Identify paid keywords that need organic support. Improving organic content for these keywords can help to drive your paid search campaigns and improve your campaign’s efficiency.

2. Capitalize on events

Leveraging event marketing3 is another way to reach potential customers and build brand awareness. You can leverage specific event types based on your industry to build brand awareness, and as an additional benefit, drive direct and referral traffic. Recurring seasonal events, fashion shows, and international fairs are likely to have strong search volume. These types of events present a great opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility during key moments throughout the year among a highly engaged audience.

The luxury watch brand, TUDOR, created a dedicated page on its website for Baselworld, an international watch and jewelry industry event. This dedicated page is optimized for “New TUDOR Watches – Baselworld 2017” and the content speaks to the new models of watches that would be debuted at the show. This type of page offers another avenue to generate organic visibility and traffic to the website.

Putting it into practice

Create a dedicated event page: You can create a page on your website that’s dedicated to a specific event type. For example, This page can be used for PR and shared on social networks to help build search authority and brand awareness. Make sure that the brand message you share is consistent across all customer touchpoints.

3. Utilize visual social networks

Don’t limit your SEO to just Google. Visual and social networks4 like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube present a significant opportunity for brands to generate awareness and visibility. Pictures and videos are powerful mediums capable of evoking the aspirational emotions associated with luxury purchases. Don’t forget, one of the primary reasons people buy luxury goods is to display status. Brands should be taking advantage of this by publishing content that helps luxury consumers fill this need.

CHANEL frequently creates this type of content. The “Inside CHANEL” campaign is a great example of how you can leverage images and videos. “Inside CHANEL” gives people an exclusive look into the brand’s history and it does this by sharing the brand’s story through pictures and videos. In addition to the “Inside CHANEL” website, the campaign’s videos are hosted on YouTube making it easy to share them among your social networks.

Putting it into practice

Create visual, aspirational content for social networks: Think about the type of content that people will want to share to impress their friends and peers. When creating this content like pictures or videos remember that it should evoke the types of emotions that make people want to share it.

Content creation tips

  • Define your target audience and ensure that they are searching on the channel where you want to publish your content – Are they females and/or making the buying decisions? If so, Pinterest can be a good fit.
  • Ensure this content has an exclusivity aspect to it. Ensure that people feel like they have access to something special. It should be original and unique.
  • Make the content easily sharable across your social networks. The last thing you’ll want is to have a great piece of content that’s difficult for people to share.
  • Ensure that the messaging is seamless across channels. Remember, the hallmark of an integrated marketing campaign is messaging that is consistent across channels.
  • Ensure your content is optimized using descriptive image alt text. Make sure you are using the right image format and file size that is optimal for the channel. Each social channel has different tips to maximize visibility within their platform. Make sure you consult their guidelines.


We’ve covered a lot of ground in this luxury marketing search strategy series. To wrap things up, let’s summarize some of the key points for successful SEO and search marketing in the luxury industry.

The first article discussed the reasons why we buy luxury goods—because of how they make us feel and because we crave an experience along with the exclusivity. Let’s not forget about the role of dopamine in the process, which is where the anticipation of the reward comes in.

The second article covered the SEO importance of creating emotionally fulfilling content and keyword intent research. We also discussed why you need to invest in your meta description to make it more enticing. It’s important to win the click and entice consumers to learn more about your brand, and ultimately, convert.

Finally, the third article covered the role of integrated marketing for luxury brands and the benefits of a consistent brand theme/message across all customer touchpoints. Aligning your paid and organic search efforts, capitalizing on events, and creating visual, aspirational content that can be shared across social networks is a must.

Final thoughts

As marketers, our goal should be to support the organization’s vision, mission, and values, and work hard to improve the company’s bottom line, regardless of the channel. It’s a collaborative effort between multiple marketing channels. It’s all too easy to default to a siloed approach, so we constantly push ourselves to think outside the box and develop inventive solutions for the challenges facing our customers. That’s where our real value as SEOs will shine through.


  1. The Meaning of Search Engine Optimization for Luxury, LuxeDigital –
  2. How Organic SEO and PPC Impact Each Other, Brightedge –
  3. Why Luxury Brands Should Capitalise on Events, Luxury Society –
  4. 10 Marketing Strategies for Luxury Brands that Deliver Results, VentureHarbour –

Jennifer Kenyon is a Director of Organic Search at Catalyst (part of GroupM). She can be found on Twitter @JennKCatalyst

The post Luxury marketing search strategy, Part 3: Integrated marketing communication appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Sell on Instagram Using Shoppable Posts

Selling on Instagram just got a lot easier with the launch of Instagram’s shoppable posts feature.

In the past, the only way to connect your followers with your products was through the link in your bio, or links in Instagram Stories, this new feature provides a seamless experience for people to shop products directly from your posts.

Of course, with more than half a billion monthly active users and over half a million advertisers, it was only a matter of time before users could start buying products right from the app!

Ready to get started with selling on Instagram? Here’s everything you need to know about how to create shoppable posts:

Why Your Business Should Be Using Instagram Shoppable Posts

Shoppable posts are Instagram’s next big step in becoming a more business-friendly platform.

Thanks to the new feature, Instagram users can complete their buying journey, from discovery to checkout, without ever leaving the Instagram app.

And with 80% of Instagram’s 800 million users already following an “active shopping business” account (and 200 million users visiting one or more business profiles daily), giving people the ability to shop natively within the Instagram app makes a lot of sense.

With the new feature, Instagram has made it easier than ever for businesses to reach their consumers, noting “once a business has a product catalog connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.”

Instagram shoppable posts are marked with a “Tap to View Products” pop-up or small white circle with the shopping bag icon:

On a business’s Instagram account, Instagram shoppable posts will be marked by a shopping bag icon in the top-right corner. Users will also be able to browse your “Shop” feed directly from your Instagram profile:

At the end of the day, Instagram’s new shoppable posts feature offers an incredible opportunity for businesses to turn their followers into customers.

If you’re a small business or publisher looking for an alternative solution to drive traffic from Instagram, using a feature like might work best for you. With, you can send your followers anywhere by linking your Instagram posts to specific product pages, blog posts, or websites.

There are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to check off before you can get started with Instagram shoppable posts:

  • 1. You must be located in one of these countries: United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, or Australia
  • 2. You need an Instagram business account
  • 3. You must be on the latest version of the Instagram app on either iOS or Android.
  • 4. Your business must sell physical goods that comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  • 5. Your business profile must be connected to a Facebook catalog. This can be created and managed on Business Manager, directly on your business’s Page on Facebook, or through Shopify or BigCommerce.

If you meet the above requirements, you can simply add the Instagram sales channel to your Shopify or BigCommerce store at no additional cost, and then, once your store is approved, enable the feature by selecting Shopping under Business Settings in the Instagram app.

Here’s how to connect your business profile to a Facebook catalog:

Once you start adding shoppable posts to your feed, let your audience know with an Instagram story! It’s a great way to spread the word and drive more traffic to your posts.

1. Create a Facebook Catalog with Facebook Business Manager.

A Facebook catalog in Facebook Business Manager is essentially a file that contains a list of all the products you want to sell.

To get started, head to the Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page that’s linked to your Instagram business account.

From your Business Manager account, you can create a new catalog or identify an existing catalog you’d like to use.

Start by opening your Business Manager Settings and clicking on People and Assets. Here you’ll find a Catalogs option. Click on “+ Add” and choose Create a New Product Catalog.

You have to give your product catalog a name and select the types of products you’re adding to your catalog before you can add it to your product feed.

Here’s a Facebook guide on how to do it.

It’s very important to keep your product catalog synced with your Facebook Page, and that your product descriptions and prices are accurate. If you’re running a sale or promotion, make sure your product catalog reflects it.

2. Create a Shop on Facebook with Shopify or BigCommerce.

A second way to connect you Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog is to do it directly with Shopify or BigCommerce.


Before you get started, you need to have the Facebook sales channel (included in all paid Shopify plans) installed on your Shopify store, which creates a Shop tab on your Facebook page that displays your Shopify products.

For specific details on how to connect your Facebook page to your Shopify account, you can view the Shopify guide here.

Once you’ve done the above, you can easily add the Instagram sales channel to your Shopify store, which connects the product that you have in Shopify to your Instagram business profile.

To do this, head to your Shopify admin and click to “+” button beside the “Sales channels” heading.

Next, on the “Add sales channel” dialog, click Instagram and then Add channel.

You’ll need to log into your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel.

Once the Instagram sales channel is installed, you can enable the feature by visiting Shopping under Business Settings in the Instagram app.


You can also use BigCommerce to connect your store’s catalogue to your Facebook Page.

Start by opening Channel Manager on your BigCommerce account and clicking Get Started next to Facebook.

On the next screen, confirm that you’re using a compatible currency, sign up for a Facebook account (if you don’t have one), review the product requirements, then click Get Started.

Next, fill out your details on the Configuration page, including your Business’ contact email, phone number, and the Facebook Page you’d like your Shop to appear on.

Here’s the complete BigCommerce guide on how to it.

Once Facebook approves your catalog, head back to Channel Manager, click Get Started next to Instagram, and confirm that your store meet the necessary requirements.

3. Connect your online shop to your Business’ Instagram Account.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your account will be reviewed by Instagram before you can access their shoppable posts feature. The approval process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days according to Instagram. Once you’ve been approved, you will receive a notification letting you know you’re ready to start selling on Instagram.

The next step is to connect your product catalog to your Instagram account. Head back to the Shopping section in your Instagram settings and tap on Products.

Here you’ll be able to select a product catalog to connect to your business profile. Once you’re finished, tap Done.

How to Tag Products with Instagram Shoppable Posts

4. Upload the photos you want to tag.

Once you get access to shoppable posts on Instagram and you’ve completed all the steps listed above, adding tags to your posts is super quick and easy!

You’ll begin uploading a photo to Instagram as you would for any other post. After you’ve added your effects and filters, hit “Next.”

5. On the post settings page, tap Tag Products.

When you have the product feature enabled on your account, you’ll find the option to tag products on the screen where you normally add your caption and other information. Next, enter the names of the products you want to tag, then select them as they appear in the search box.

Once you’re finished, tap “Done” and share your post! Here’s what the finished product will look like. As you can see, the post will appear like a normal image does in the Instagram feed, but when you tap the image, you’ll see a tag for the product that’s similar to a tag you’d see for a user. 

Have an older post that still gets good traction, but doesn’t have a Shoppable tag? You can tag products in both new and existing posts from your Instagram business profile. You can also tag up to five products per single image post or 20 products per multi-photo (or “carousel”) post:


Optimizing Your Posts for Shoppable Purchases

6. Create posts that feel natural to the Instagram feed.

While selling on Instagram is easier than ever, it’s important to remember your audience shouldn’t feel like they are being sold to. Businesses should maintain their current content strategy, incorporating shoppable tags on photos that are a natural fit for their profile.

A great way to organically add shopping tags to your post is by leveraging high-quality UGC. Millennials trust UGC 50% more than other types of media, so it makes sense that these images would work well for shoppable posts.

For example, Madewell recently shared this phoppable post from a fan photo, showing off their summer jeans:

Madewell does a great job at seamlessly incorporating Instagram’s shopping feature into their current strategy, without being too “salesy.”

7. Leverage influencer posts. 

You can also optimize your Instagram sales strategy by using influencer posts. Instagram influencer collaborations and sponsorships have nearly replaced traditional ads and are a huge part of a social media strategies today.

Below, popular fashion model Michelle Dee is shown sporting a Herschel Supply suitcase on the company’s profile:

An Instagram influencer’s stamp of approval goes a long way and is a great strategy to drive sales from your Instagram shoppable posts!

8. Optimize your post with tags and hashtags.

Lastly, including multiple shopping tags in your photos will help your audience explore and browse through your products quickly. You can also try adding shopping tags to carousel posts to test their performance again single-photo posts.

9. Activate the Shop tab on your Instagram profile.

Create at least nine shoppable posts to activate the “Shop” tab on your Instagram profile! This will group all your shoppable posts under one tab for easy shopping and product discovery.

Measuring the Results of your Shoppable Posts

Instagram business accounts also have access to analytics for their shoppable posts, including how many people viewed product information or clicked-through to its product page. This information is super helpful in determine what type of products (and product tags) resonate with your Instagram followers, or where there might be a disconnect in the buyer’s journey.

As with all of your social media marketing efforts, performance data should be measured to see what drove the best results (and why), and then used to inform future posts.

Once your business begins selling on Instagram, it’s important to keep experimenting with images, copy, shopping tags per post, or any other factors that may contribute to your Instagram sales success.

No matter what type of products you sell, delving into your Instagram analytics allows you to understand your audience’s wants, improves your content, and ultimately helps you drive more traffic and sales.


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How to Automate Pagespeed Insights For Multiple URLs using Google Sheets

Posted by James_McNulty

Calculating individual page speed performance metrics can help you to understand how efficiently your site is running as a whole. Since Google uses the speed of a site (frequently measured by and referred to as PageSpeed) as one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages, it’s important to have that insight down to the page level.

One of the pain points in website performance optimization, however, is the lack of ability to easily run page speed performance evaluations en masse. There are plenty of great tools like PageSpeed Insights or the Lighthouse Chrome plugin that can help you understand more about the performance of an individual page, but these tools are not readily configured to help you gather insights for multiple URLs — and running individual reports for hundreds or even thousands of pages isn’t exactly feasible or efficient.

In September 2018, I set out to find a way to gather sitewide performance metrics and ended up with a working solution. While this method resolved my initial problem, the setup process is rather complex and requires that you have access to a server.

Ultimately, it just wasn’t an efficient method. Furthermore, it was nearly impossible to easily share with others (especially those outside of UpBuild).

In November 2018, two months after I published this method, Google released version 5 of the PageSpeed Insights API. V5 now uses Lighthouse as its analysis engine and also incorporates field data provided by the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). In short, this version of the API now easily provides all of the data that is provided in the Chrome Lighthouse audits.

So I went back to the drawing board, and I’m happy to announce that there is now an easier, automated method to produce Lighthouse reports en masse using Google Sheets and Pagespeed Insights API v5.

Introducing the Automated PageSpeed Insights Report:

With this tool, we are able to quickly uncover key performance metrics for multiple URLs with just a couple of clicks.

All you’ll need is a copy of this Google Sheet, a free Google API key, and a list of URLs you want data for — but first, let’s take a quick tour.

How to use this tool

The Google Sheet consists of the three following tabs:

  • Settings
  • Results
  • Log


On this tab, you will be required to provide a unique Google API key in order to make the sheet work.

Getting a Google API Key

  1. Visit the Google API Credentials page.
  2. Choose the API key option from the ‘Create credentials’ dropdown (as shown):

  1. You should now see a prompt providing you with a unique API key:

  1. Next, simply copy and paste that API key into the section shown below found on the “Settings” tab of the Automated Pagespeed Insights spreadsheet.

Now that you have an API key, you are ready to use the tool.

Setting the report schedule

On the Settings tab, you can schedule which day and time that the report should start running each week. As you can see from this screenshot below, we have set this report to begin every Wednesday at 8:00 am. This will be set to the local time as defined by your Google account.

As you can see this setting is also assigning the report to run for the following three hours on the same day. This is a workaround to the limitations set by both Google Apps Scripts and Google PageSpeed API.


Our Google Sheet is using a Google Apps script to run all the magic behind the scenes. Each time that the report runs, Google Apps Scripts sets a six-minute execution time limit, (thirty minutes for G Suite Business / Enterprise / Education and Early Access users).

In six minutes you should be able to extract PageSpeed Insights for around 30 URLs.

Then you’ll be met with the following message:

In order to continue running the function for the rest of the URLs, we simply need to schedule the report to run again. That is why this setting will run the report again three more times in the consecutive hours, picking up exactly where it left off.

The next hurdle is the limitation set by Google Sheets itself.

If you’re doing the math, you’ll see that since we can only automate the report a total of four times — we theoretically will be only able to pull PageSpeed Insights data for around 120 URLs. That’s not ideal if you’re working with a site that has more than a few hundred pages!.

The schedule function in the Settings tab uses the Google Sheet’s built-in Triggers feature. This tells our Google Apps script to run the report automatically at a particular day and time. Unfortunately, using this feature more than four times causes the “Service using too much computer time for one day” message.

This means that our Google Apps Script has exceeded the total allowable execution time for one day. It most commonly occurs for scripts that run on a trigger, which have a lower daily limit than scripts executed manually.


You betcha! If you have more than 120 URLs that you want to pull data for, then you can simply use the Manual Push Report button. It does exactly what you think.

Manual Push Report

Once clicked, the ‘Manual Push Report’ button (linked from the PageSpeed Menu on the Google Sheet) will run the report. It will pick up right where it left off with data populating in the fields adjacent to your URLs in the Results tab.

For clarity, you don’t even need to schedule the report to run to use this document. Once you have your API key, all you need to do is add your URLs to the Results tab (starting in cell B6) and click ‘Manual Push Report’.

You will, of course, be met with the inevitable “Exceed maximum execution time” message after six minutes, but you can simply dismiss it, and click “Manual Push Report” again and again until you’re finished. It’s not fully automated, but it should allow you to gather the data you need relatively quickly.

Setting the log schedule

Another feature in the Settings tab is the Log Results function.

This will automatically take the data that has populated in the Results tab and move it to the Log sheet. Once it has copied over the results, it will automatically clear the populated data from the Results tab so that when the next scheduled report run time arrives, it can gather new data accordingly. Ideally, you would want to set the Log day and time after the scheduled report has run to ensure that it has time to capture and log all of the data.

You can also manually push data to the Log sheet using the ‘Manual Push Log’ button in the menu.

How to confirm and adjust the report and log schedules

Once you’re happy with the scheduling for the report and the log, be sure to set it using the ‘Set Report and Log Schedule’ from the PageSpeed Menu (as shown):

Should you want to change the frequency, I’d recommend first setting the report and log schedule using the sheet.

Then adjust the runLog and runTool functions using Google Script Triggers.

  • runLog controls when the data will be sent to the LOG sheet.
  • runTool controls when the API runs for each URL.

Simply click the pencil icon next to each respective function and adjust the timings as you see fit.

You can also use the ‘Reset Schedule’ button in the PageSpeed Menu (next to Help) to clear all scheduled triggers. This can be a helpful shortcut if you’re simply using the interface on the ‘Settings’ tab.

PageSpeed results tab

This tab is where the PageSpeed Insights data will be generated for each URL you provide. All you need to do is add a list of URLs starting from cell B6. You can either wait for your scheduled report time to arrive or use the ‘Manual Push Report’ button.

You should now see the following data generating for each respective URL:

  • Time to Interactive
  • First Contentful Paint
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • Time to First Byte
  • Speed Index

You will also see a column for Last Time Report Ran and Status on this tab. This will tell you when the data was gathered, and if the pull request was successful. A successful API request will show a status of “complete” in the Status column.

Log tab

Logging the data is a useful way to keep a historical account on these important speed metrics. There is nothing to modify in this tab, however, you will want to ensure that there are plenty of empty rows. When the runLog function runs (which is controlled by the Log schedule you assign in the “Settings” tab, or via the Manual Push Log button in the menu), it will move all of the rows from the Results tab that contains a status of “complete”. If there are no empty rows available on the Log tab, it will simply not copy over any of the data. All you need to do is add several thousands of rows depending on how often you plan to check-in and maintain the Log.

How to use the log data

The scheduling feature in this tool has been designed to run on a weekly basis to allow you enough time to review the results, optimize, then monitor your efforts. If you love spreadsheets then you can stop right here, but if you’re more of a visual person, then read on.

Visualizing the results in Google Data Studio

You can also use this Log sheet as a Data Source in Google Data Studio to visualize your results. As long as the Log sheet stays connected as a source, the results should automatically publish each week. This will allow you to work on performance optimization and evaluate results using Data Studio easily, as well as communicate performance issues and progress to clients who might not love spreadsheets as much as you do.

Blend your log data with other data sources

One great Google Data Studio feature is the ability to blend data. This allows you to compare and analyze data from multiple sources, as long as they have a common key. For example, if you wanted to blend the Time to Interactive results against Google Search Console data for those same URLs, you can easily do so. You will notice that the column in the Log tab containing the URLs is titled “Landing Page”. This is the same naming convention that Search Console uses and will allow Data Studio to connect the two sources.

There are several ways that you can use this data in Google Data Studio.

Compare your competitors’ performance

You don’t need to limit yourself to just your own URLs in this tool; you can use any set of URLs. This would be a great way to compare your competitor’s pages and even see if there are any clear indicators of speed affecting positions in Search results.

Improve usability

Don’t immediately assume that your content is the problem. Your visitors may not be leaving the page because they don’t find the content useful; it could be slow load times or other incompatibility issues that are driving visitors away. Compare bounce rates, time on site, and device type data alongside performance metrics to see if it could be a factor.

Increase organic visibility

Compare your performance data against Search ranking positions for your target keywords. Use a tool to gather your page positions, and fix performance issues for landing pages on page two or three of Google Search results to see if you can increase their prominence.

Final thoughts

This tool is all yours.

Make a copy and use it as is, or tear apart the Google Apps Script that makes this thing work and adapt it into something bigger and better (if you do, please let me know; I want to hear all about it).

Remember PageSpeed Insights API V5 now includes all of the same data that is provided in the Chrome Lighthouse audits, which means there are way more available details you can extract beyond the five metrics that this tool generates.

Hopefully, for now, this tool helps you gather Performance data a little more efficiently between now and when Google releases their recently announced Speed report for Search Console.

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How to write a blog post that people will actually read and share

If you’re not 100% sure how to write a blog post that clicks with readers, don’t sweat it.

The reality? Blogging is a major struggle for most businesses out there.

And hey, we totally understand why.

From coming up with ideas to actually putting pen to paper digitally, a worthwhile blog post requires some serious effort.

That said, the benefits of blogging for business are worth racking your brain for. The correlation between businesses that blog scoring more traffic, conversions and leads is well-documented.

The takeaway? Learning how to write a blog post is an invaluable skill no matter what you’re selling.

That’s why we put together this guide breaking down the anatomy of a good blog post and how to write one yourself.

What makes a good blog post, anyway?

Before we get knee-deep into how to write a blog post, let’s talk about what the best blog posts have in common.

Although blogging is certainly a skill, you don’t need to be Shakespeare to start writing ’em.

Instead, simply consider the common threads between blog posts that actually get read and shared.

They solve a problem

Listen: people don’t wind up on blogs by accident.

When we seek out content, it’s because we have a problem that needs to be solved or a question that needs to be answered.

Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect ramen recipe. Maybe you’re looking for marketing tips.

Either way, we’re often hunting for content that provides a solution.

Heck, the Sprout Social blog is a shining example of what we’re talking about. We’ve put together hundreds of posts dedicated to solving problems and answering questions on behalf of marketers.

Sprout blog posts

But solving a problem or answering a question is only half the battle.

After all, there are dozens (or hundreds) of blog posts out there covering any given topic.

So not only should your blog post solve a problem, but also do so in a meaningful way.

This might mean breaking down a complex topic with a more digestible approach or going in-depth on a topic that needs addressing in detail.

Considering that most high-performing blog posts around over 1,000 words according to Orbit Media, conventional wisdom tells us that top-tier posts go beyond basic information and dig into specifics.

Sprout’s own “Best Times to Post on Social Media” is a great example, clocking in at well over 4,000 words and brimming with original data and graphs. That’s exactly why it’s one of our top-performing posts.

They’re easy to read

This might seem like a no-brainer, but readability is easy to overlook.

Spoiler alert: most readers have microscopic attention spans.

If your post puts ’em to sleep within the first few seconds, chances are they’ll look elsewhere for information. This is especially true in a day and age where people can simply watch a video in lieu of reading a blog post.

As a writer, it’s your job to find a balance between relaying in-depth information and keeping your audience’s attention.

You can’t expect folks to slog through a wall of text. Instead, you should make a point to avoid jargon and present your content in a style that doesn’t make you sound like a robot.

For example, The Verge‘s “How to Choose a Fitness Tracker” is a fairly straightforward example of a simple post that gets the job done. Written at a 9th-grade level and broken up by subheaders and images, the post is easy to scan and understand for just about anyone.

Meanwhile, this post from marketing expert Brittany Berger manages to deliver a valuable lesson in marketing with a simple sentence structure and conversational tone. Presented as playful with a distinct voice and plenty of visuals to break up the text, readers naturally move from line to line wondering what comes next.

Readability is one of the most important aspects of learning how to write a blog post

Developing a writing style comes with practice. The beauty of blogging is that you aren’t typically tied to strict formatting guidelines of traditional writing “rules” that might make your content sound stuffy.

They’re optimized (but not too optimized!)

Given the fierce competition among marketers and search engines alike, optimizing your content for SEO (and social!) is a must-do.

Optimization is yet another balancing act, though. From keyword stuffing to clickbait and beyond, writers can’t afford to sacrifice readability and quality for the sake of trying to score clicks.

But as proven by tons of bloggers out there, it’s possible to find that balance between writing for humans and search engines. For example, posts like “How to Build Your Social Media Marketing Strategy” are able to hit on crucial keywords in a way that’s natural and doesn’t distract the reader at all.

Learning how to write a blog post involves understanding how to use keywords in a non-spammy way

If you keep these three principles in mind each time you sit down to write a post, you’re already way ahead of the curve.

How to write better blog posts: Our foolproof framework

Okay, so how do you take these tips and put them into action when it comes time to write?

Good question!

Staring at the proverbial blank page is one of the worst feelings in the world for blog writers.

That’s why we recommend having some sort of framework in place when it comes time to write a blog post. This rings true whether you’re starting a post from scratch or are revising older content. Below is our list of tactics and tools to help get you going.

Choose a blog post format before you start writing

Instead of relying on a cut-and-paste blog post template that might come off as cookie-cutter to readers, we recommend simply picking a blog post format before you start writing a post.

Doing so will make it much easier to organize your ideas and actually start writing.

Below are three types of blog posts that typically get shared around. Although these certainly aren’t the only types of blog posts, they’re can be adapted to just about any topic with ease.

Let’s briefly break down each of these types of blog posts and why they work so well.

How-to blog posts

The concept of a how-to post is self-explanatory. Such posts provide an opportunity to take a deep dive into a specific topic. How-to posts have very specific search-intent and allow you to target niche audiences looking for expertise.

Given that many Google searches are centered around “how to” queries, it’s no surprise that many businesses use them as the foundation for their blogs. For example, brands like Campaign Monitor put together tons of how-to guides covering specific topics for their audience of email marketers.

"How-to" blog posts attack a specific problem for readers

Listicle blog posts

Popularized by the likes of Buzzfeed, list-style posts might seem a bit overdone or cliche.

However, it’s hard to ignore their popularity and why they’re all the rage in the first place.

After all, listicles are easy to digest at a glance and can be skimmed by busy readers. Additionally, subheaders can help people zero in on key points without necessarily having to read an entire article.

Listicle formatting is easy for readers to skim

Additionally, lists are straightforward for writers to put together and can help break down larger topics into smaller pieces. For writers and readers alike, this sort of simplicity is a win-win.

Question-based blog posts

These types of posts address a specific question readers might have, helping writers hone in their focus on a single topic.

Unlike how-to posts, these types of blogs don’t necessarily teach readers how to do something but rather provide insight to the topic at hand.

These types of posts can be broad in scope but do well to pique the curiosity of the reader. This headline and post from The Takeout is a great example of a question-based blog that’s click-worthy at a glance. Even if you weren’t curious about meatless meats before, chances are you are now.

Question-based headlines do well to pique your readers' curiosity

Make sure your headline packs a punch

There’s an oft-cited claim that 80% of people will decide whether or not to read something based on its headline.

Meanwhile, 60% of people will actually share an article on social media without actually reading it.

In a day and age dominated by clickbait headlines, bloggers are tasked with writing compelling headlines that attract readers without pulling a bait-and-switch.

How do you make it happen, though? Most of the examples we’ve cited so far represent click-worthy, shareable content that you’d see passed around social based on their headlines.

Perhaps what’s most important is framing your article as presenting can’t-miss.

For example, “The Most Important Social Media Metrics to Track” doesn’t just cover any social metrics: it covers the most important ones.

Or consider the “must” in “9 Skills Every Social Media Manager Must Have.” By presenting these skills as must-have, readers naturally want to see if their own skills match up the post.

See how that works?

To figure out whether or not your headline packs a punch, tools such as CoSchedule’s headline analyzer can be a game-changer. In short, the tool assigns a score to your headlines based on readability, “power words” and other elements that drive people to read and share posts.

CoSchedule's headline analyzer can help hone in your blog post headlines so they pack a puch

This tool isn’t the be-all, end-all of headline writing but can definitely help you brainstorm ideas.

Double-check your content and formatting for readability

Conventional wisdom tells us that most people read at a 7th-grade level.

Translation? Businesses should strive to avoid language that’s too lofty, if possible.

Remember: you’re not writing a college essay. Rules such as “five to seven sentences per paragraph” that you learned in English class don’t exactly fly in the blogging world.

Tools such as the Hemingway Editor can help you identify opportunities to make your content more readable. The cut-and-paste app detects words and sentences that might be confusing to readers and highlights them throughout your text.

The Hemingway Editor can hep double-check that your blog posts are readable

Many writers also use tools like Grammarly to avoid common grammatical issues and awkward phrases. This is an especially useful tool if you’re new to blog writing or don’t often write long-form content.

We should note that while readability checkers are definitely useful, you shouldn’t expect anything you write to be totally “perfect” based on these tools. The checks they run represent just one set of guidelines, and as you develop a unique writing voice you’ll inevitably vary a bit from them.

Your audience matters too: for example, let’s say you’re writing about a technical subject are addressing a college-educated audience. A higher readability grade is just fine in these cases.

But also consider that it’s possible to cover technical topics without completely going over your readers’ head. Case in point, Wired‘s “AI and the Future of Work” touches on a topic for the tech-savvy but is written as an accessible 9th-grade level.

You’ve probably noticed by now that so much of figuring out how to write a blog post is a balancing act. The more you write, the easier it is to find those balances over time.

Format your post to be scroll-friendly

Formatting is a huge aspect of readability and shareability for your blog posts.

Think about how the format of your point can naturally draw your reader from one sentence to the next.

That’s why most bloggers restrict their paragraphs to no more than three sentences. This helps create a sense of flow and likewise won’t overwhelm anyone reading a post via mobile.

Posts should also be broken up frequently by subheaders, again making your content easy to scan. Many bloggers try to insert a subheader at least every 300 words.

Beyond subheaders, visuals are also a critical component of format and readability.

Considering that 65% of people consider themselves to be visual learners, don’t neglect the importance of giving your readers something to look at beyond text.

Note that we typically include a variety of examples, images and screenshots throughout our posts here at Sprout. Most bloggers include three to four images per blog post, but writers should feel free to include as many visuals as they see fit.

What sort of visuals are we talking about, though?

Going beyond stock photos or screenshots, consider how you can whip up a graphic or quote with the help of a tool like Canva.

Canva is a fantastic tool for creating images for your blog posts

Bear in mind that you can also use social embeds to break up your blog posts, too. For bloggers using WordPress, social links you copy-and-paste will immediately populate without issue.

Similarly, you can embed YouTube videos in your content as well.

The takeaway here is to find opportunities to keep your readers scrolling with the help of headers and visuals. Doing so not only helps make your pieces more entertaining but also provides a visual representation of whatever you’re blogging about.

Mind what optimization means for SEO

SEO is central to just about any blog strategy.

Of course, sacrificing readability for the sake of SEO is a common mistake among bloggers competing for keywords.

Again, the concept of balance rears its head. For starters, take the time to do proper keyword research via SEO tools and start with keywords you might realistically rank for.

If you’re using WordPress, tools such as Yoast can help you tick the boxes of search optimization while ensuring that your content is reader-friendly.

Yoast suggestions are an important piece of optimizing your blog posts for SEO

Like the other tools highlighted above, you shouldn’t worry about your posts being absolutely “perfect” from an SEO perspective. Few posts will ever get the total green light from Yoast. Simply use such as tools as a guide to double-check that you aren’t missing any obvious opportunities for optimization.

Quick blog writing tips and tactics to keep in mind

By now you probably have a good idea of how to write a blog post.

Your job isn’t quite done yet, though.

Becoming a better blogger is an ongoing process that’s far from over once your posts go live. To wrap things up, here are some quick tips for bloggers to create high-performing, share-worthy content over time.

Analyze your top-performing blog posts

If you want to figure out which of your blog posts are your “best,” look no further than your analytics.

In addition to traffic for individual posts, consider how metrics such as bounce rate and clicks can clue you in the posts that readers interact with the most.

Google Analytics can help you keep track of your blog traffic and social shares

The same rules apply to metrics such as social shares and clicks. Through social analytics, you can discover common threads between the types of content that your readers share.

Don’t forget to promote your content on social media!

Given the hours involved in putting together a quality post, content distribution should be a top priority for each post you publish.

And consider how social media is central to promoting your blog to current and new readers alike. Through Sprout’s social media scheduling and publishing suite, you can schedule and reschedule your posts across social media to maximize your readership. Additionally, tools such as Viralpost ensure that your blog-centric posts go live when readers are most likely to see them.

Sprout Social is the perfect tool for scheduling your blog posts

Be willing to practice and learn from other bloggers

This might be cliche, but becoming a better blogger doesn’t happen overnight.

Through consistent reading and writing, you can develop better writing habits and style all your own. When you spot a blog post that you find engaging, take the time to dig into why it clicked with you.

Was it the writer’s voice? Was it the level of depth that the post went into? Paying attention to these points and emulating them in your own writing can put you on the path to more compelling content yourself.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

Ready to start writing better blog posts?

Writing a high-quality blog post isn’t a simple as it seems.

At the end of the day, your end goal should be to produce better content than what’s already out there.

Whether it’s through a distinct sense of style or in-depth information, you can figure out how to write a blog post that provides value to your readers.

With the help of these tips and plenty of practice, you can do exactly that sooner rather than later.

We still want to hear from you, though. What’s your experience with blogging been like? What do you find helps your post score more shares? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to write a blog post that people will actually read and share originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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