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Facebook launches new Shopping audiences, Instagram Product Tag ads, tests Shops discounts

Facebook continues to expand Shopping capabilities and features across its platforms.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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How to Host a Virtual Holiday Party & Bond With Your Team

Throughout my career, I’ve worked at a company that was fully remote, a company that was partially remote, and several fully in-person organizations.

Each company approached holiday parties differently. In fact, most of the remote organizations didn’t even offer team bonding activities.

While we’ve all probably participated in various holiday parties and team bonding events, those might not have been virtual.

Hosting a virtual team bonding or holiday party can seem daunting. How can you plan activities online? What logistics are involved?

If you’re planning a virtual holiday party this year, don’t stress.

Let’s review some tips from HubSpot’s remote workforce on how to host a virtual holiday party.

1. Use a spreadsheet to organize your activities.

Planning a virtual holiday party requires plenty of logistics. That’s why you should use a spreadsheet to stay organized.

Kara Korosec, a remote senior customer success manager at HubSpot, says, “I used to coordinate Secret Santa at my last company, a 100% remote company. I set up a spreadsheet where everyone listed some of their interests, then we used a random generator to assign secret Santas. Everyone had a budget of $50 and used the spreadsheet as inspiration for what to get. After the gifts were mailed, we had a Zoom where we shared our gifts and guessed who our secret Santa was.”

Regardless of the activity you’re doing, it’s important to stay organized so it’s clear who’s running the activities and when the deadlines are.

2. Make it interactive.

Virtual events might automatically feel “hands-off.” However, these events can still be interactive. In Korosec’s secret Santa example, they opened the gifts on a live Zoom call.

The goal here is to be creative.

Eimear Marrinan, a director of culture at HubSpot, says, “There are a ton of amazing remote vendors and minority-owned businesses that we partner with in the Culture Team. They are doing amazing work. If your budget allows for it, consider outsourcing to the experts. A few brilliant events I have seen: Ski Chalet Experience, Walkthrough Christmas Markets, Cocktails in a Winter Wonderland!”

There are several online games and activities you can use for your virtual holiday party. Below are some of our favorite interactive remote activities:

3. Incorporate food.

When you have an event in person, usually the meal is provided. With remote holiday parties, don’t forget about this element.

Emily Tong-Sanchez, a remote revenue operations specialist at HubSpot, says, “Let people comp their meal!”

This gives people a reason to celebrate and enjoy the party.

Marrinan adds, “Ask questions if you’re incorporating food. Are there allergies or preferences? If you’re arranging a cocktail hour, does everyone drink alcohol? This is all about being inclusive in how you’re arranging your event.”

If you’re sending food, it’s important to be aware of any restrictions so your event is inclusive of all participants.

4. Encourage people to dress up.

Holiday parties are usually fun events where everyone can dress up and celebrate. Being remote shouldn’t change this.

Tong-Sanchez says, “Encourage people to dress up. We like having a reason to put on fancy clothes!”

5. Always lead with an inclusive mindset.

A major obstacle with remote meetings is that it’s hard to feel included.

Marrinan remarks, “We are working in a distributed and remote world right now, so when thinking through a holiday event for you and your team think big & think global. Will the timezone work for all on your team? Do ‘The Holidays’ resonate across the globe? Make sure you plan something fun, and inclusive that everyone can get involved in!”

6. Plan in advance.

If you’re planning a virtual holiday party, it’s important to plan in advance.

Marrinan says, “The end of the year is busy. Really busy! Give people advanced notice and book time in advance. A lot of people are juggling right now, so being protective of time is important! Similarly, be mindful of caregivers on your team, or anyone that may have blocked time in their day.”

7. Send something physical.

Just because your event is remote, doesn’t mean you can’t include a physical element in your virtual holiday party.

“Can you send something out to the team in advance to spur some excitement? This doesn’t have to be a physical gift — maybe it is a handwritten card or a note of gratitude,” Marrinan remarks. “A holiday event doesn’t have to be a big, big thing. Sometimes it’s the simple acts of kindness that go a long way for people.”

8. Pick a goal.

When you’re planning your holiday party, it’s important to decide what your goal is. For example, it’s hard to play a game while also getting to know each other.

Caroline Merewether, a strategy and operations manager at HubSpot, says, “The biggest takeaway is to figure out if it’s more about deepening relationships or playing a game.”

One of Merewether’s favorite events her team put on was an Airbnb experience which was a virtual escape room.

“That was fun to do something different and it was a fun mental shift. But it wasn’t great for getting to know people because we were trying to solve for clues. For our next party, we wanted to drive conversation between us,” she adds.

For her team’s next virtual holiday party, they’re going to send international candies that will be a great conversation starter for breakout rooms. Then, they’re going to do a costume contest and online trivia.

Jeff Boulter, an engineering lead at HubSpot, decided to combine the interactive activity with a way of getting to know each other via an interactive trivia game.

To start, Boulter sent out a Google Form with a mixture of icebreaker questions. A few examples included:

  • What was your first online handle or email address?
  • What course did you do the worst at college?
  • What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
  • What’s your least favorite song?
  • What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
  • What’s an unusual skill you have?
  • Star Wars or Star Trek?
  • Yanni or Laurel?
  • If you could commit any crime and get away with it, what would it be?
  • What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received?
  • Who would get eaten first if we all got stuck in the 1C elevator?

Then, they used a free online trivia site called MyQuiz. Here, the answers were either picking one person from their squad (who’s least favorite song is “It’s a Small World”, for example) or picking the correct answer amongst 3 other made-up answers. They ended up with 54 questions. See the picture below for what this looked like.

Ultimately, planning a virtual holiday party takes some planning. But with a little research, you could end up with a fun, interactive game.

As a remote leader, your holiday party can be just as fun and interactive as an in-person event. To learn more, consider taking HubSpot’s Remote Leadership Training.

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9 Australian Websites That Will Inspire Your Design

It’s no question that Australia is one of the most visually stunning places on Earth.

And, for generations, Australian artists have embraced the continent’s colorful culture in their work.

When walking through a museum or historical location in Australia, you might find canvases covered with vibrant colors and energetic images that feel like they’re transporting you into an intense or action-packed scene.

Take, for example, this 1994 painting by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, an Australian high-colorist artis. Here, the painter uses explosions of different colors to simulate the action-packed beginning of Earth.

Image Source

But Australia’s colorful, energetic art aesthetic doesn’t stop at art museums. Today, it can be seen in architecture, graphic design, and online. In fact, many Australian brands exemplify the region’s immersive or eye-popping artistic techniques in web design and user experience.

Whether you’re an international marketer learning how to design a unique web experience for visitors around the world, or an Australian designer hoping to get a leg up on the local competition, we’ve compiled a list of nine stunning Australian company websites you can learn from.

Examples of Australian Websites


Vbreathe, which sells a high-tech, compact air detoxification system for homes,leverages a full video experience on the homepage of its website.

vbreathe australian website demo

When you enter Vbreathe’s site, you instantly see a silent video that uses animations and special effects to demonstrate how the detoxifier works. Then, when you click on the video’s overlaid play button, you enter a full-screen product demo video that explains how the product works and why consumers should consider it.

After viewing the silent or full-screen video, visitors can scroll down to find more text-based product details and links to content air detoxification.

All in all, Vbreathe’s site does a great job of combining stunning images, videos, and text-based content that educate visitors about in-home air quality and give them the information they need to justify making a purchase.

Kua Coffee

Kua Coffee pulls visitors into its website with an interactive homepage scale that simply asks, “How many coffees do you have a day?”

When you click an amount of coffee you drink on the scale and press “GO,” you’re sent through a slide show that calculates interesting measurements related to the amount of coffee you drink and explains where that coffee would be sustainably sourced from if you purchase brews from Kua.

kua coffee australian website demo

Once you complete Kua’s slideshow, you can scroll through a page that informs you more about the impact of environmentally-friendly coffee brewing and where Kua’s ingredients are sourced from.

Kua Coffee’s site is a great example of how a brand can create an interactive experience that allows a visitor to think about how they use or consume a product, learn more about how that type of product is made, and find out why a particular brand’s product is better than its competition.

Slaven Torline

While some designers might find it difficult to create a memorable site around something as logistical as financial planning, Slaven Torline — an Australian firm that advises struggling companies — embraces whitespace and simple animations to create an intriguing, effective, and professional website.

On Slaven Torline’s homepage, all you’ll find a brief mission statement, an image with a sphere and a cube, and a headline asking “How can we help?”

Slaven Torline australian website demo

When you hover over the sphere, you’ll see the word “Insolvency” appear with a few list items to the side explaining how the business can help. When you hover over the square, you’ll see something similar around the word “Restructuring.

When you click “Learn more” for either Insolvency or Restructuring, the page expands with the associated shape moving down to a lower corner. From there, the shape’s shadow will change based on where your mouse is moving, adding light interactivity to the page.

Overall, Slaven Torline’s a great example of how a corporate or B2B company with less visual offerings can still leverage a clever — yet professional — aesthetic to create a memorable, interesting, and smooth user experience for its visitors.


SeeMakePlay is a company that coordinates and teaches arts and crafts to children in schools or at parties. When you visit the site, you’ll see a colorful SeeMakePlay logo surrounded by colorful animated characters. And, on the lower-right, you can click a color and a pencil icon which enables you to scribble all over the page and characters.

seemakeplay australian website demo

As you scroll down, you continue to see playful animations, testimonials, and images of happy children, as well as an explanation of how the business works. You can also find an inquiry form allowing you to learn more about the brand.

With SeeMakePlay’s website, visitors can experience the fun and excitement of arts and crafts at the top of the homepage, scroll to learn more about the business, and ultimately find out where and how to schedule a class when they reach the bottom. This is an excellent way to pull a visitor through the flywheel as the design attracts, engages, and delights them.


PacVac, an Australian vacuum company, offers its homepage visitors a highly visual and somewhat interactive experience that highlights the major value points of its Velo vacuum cleaner.

When you enter the site, you see a simple image of a woman vacuuming her home. Then as you scroll, you begin to see product shots of the Velo, which pop in front of a white background.

Just when you think this is a standard product site, you might notice that the product shots are animated. For some of them, you can twist and move the Velo in different directions with a simple swipe of your mouse, allowing you to get an interactive 360-degree view of the product.

pacvac australian website demo

From there, the animations continue to get more advanced with each scroll. At one point you can scroll to see how each piece of Velo’s inner machinery works.

pacvac australian website demo

Essentially the home-page of this site feels like a self-paced, interactive video demonstration that shows a visitor everything they need to know about a vacuum without completely overwhelming them. The more you scroll, the more complex the details and animations get.

The progression of VacPac’s homepage content lines up well with the average buyer’s journey. When a prospect is doing initial research, they might just skim a site for light product information. But, as they get more serious about purchasing a product, they’ll look for a longer list of details and specifications before making an informed decision.

The Rocks Markets

The Rocks Markets is a retail and dining space in Sydney, Australia. While this business could easily place static food shots and basic information on its site and still get great foot traffic as a notable tourist destination, the web designers used the site to embrace color, video, and a sense of movement with each scroll.

The Rocks australian website demo

When you land on the homepage, you can see that the background is a video of delicious foods from different vendors at The Rocks Market. As you scroll, you’ll continue to see photos and notice that the page navigation shrinks to give space to the beautiful food photography.

The Rocks Menu australian website demo

The Rocks Markets’ site is a great example of how a brand can highlight product videos and imagery, text-based content, a detailed navigation bar, and other information without making a homepage look too busy or overwhelming to understand. When visiting this site, you feel like you’ve learned almost everything you need to know about the Rocks Market, but still know exactly where to click if you have remaining questions before your visit.

Australian Shopping Sites

Boyd Blue

Boyd Blue is a women-fun ecommerce site and store chain that sells a wide range of Australian-made home products — from furniture to decor.

While many other sites on this list have amped up interactivity, Boyd Blue’s designers aired on the side of simplicity by focusing each web page’s format around large, high-resolution images of products in natural home settings.

Boyd Blue australian website demo

Aside from its beautiful homepage, Boyd Blue’s website also features an ecommerce store with a design and UX that’s also simple and easy to navigate for quick, frictionless purchases:

boyd blue australian website demo

Rather than burying basic product shots in a page design with tons of descriptive text, the image-centered, light-text design allows users to get an accurate idea of what products will look like in real life, while also enjoying a smooth, aesthetically pleasing web experience.

Queen Garnet is an Australian brand that sells plum-based health and wellness products such as supplements, powders, and beverages.

Like a Queen Garnet plum, which has been dubbed a “queen of antioxidants,” the’s homepage is purple, decorative, and uses regal-looking imager and fonts. When you enter the homepage, you’ll see a short, but memorable automatic video that presents one of Queen Garnets products in a castle with a moat surrounding it.

queen garnet australian website demo

As you scroll down the homepage, you’ll see light animations that show each recent Queen Garnet product and basic information about it. With each product listing, visitors can click to buy it or learn more about it.

Visitors can also click to the Queen Garnet’s ecommerce shop, which has a similar purple aesthetic, and lists all of its products:

queen garnet australian website demo

Queen Garnet’s site is a great example of how brands can benefit from light video, basic animations, and a consistent color and style aesthetic. The site’s royal-purple theme is not only fun and vibrant, but it could also be very memorable to visitors sifting through a handful of health and wellness sites for the perfect product.


Birdsnest is an ecommerce clothing site that allows you to skim through product listings or get automated product recommendations based on your interests.

The ecommerce brand’s website design balances whitespace with colorful product shots to give off a simplistic, friendly, care-free aesthetic.

birdsnest australian shopping website demo

What’s most memorable about Birdsnest’s site is its user experience.

If you’re a first time visitor, you can browse products using search filters, or shop by categories including body type, occasion, and even personality. You can also answer a few questions about yourself and your clothing interests to generate a Style Profile that will help the website send you suggestions.

birdsnest style me australian shopping website demo

As you fill out your Style Profile, look at different products, or buy different outfits, the site will learn more about you and give you product suggestions in its Style Me section or through via an email subscription.

This is a great example of how designers and marketing teams can work together to create a highly-personalized shopping experience that can lead multiple groups of people with different interests to product purchases.

If you’re interested in building a website and design that does something similar, there are plenty of affordable ecommerce tools that can help businesses in any region with personalization and ecommerce recommendations. Check out this guide to learn more about them.

What Marketers Can Learn From Australian Web Design

Whether you’re in Australia or designing a website globally, the examples on this list have highlighted how brands can use color, video, and other elements to make their websites (and brands) seem memorable and unique to all visitors.

Here are a few techniques you can try leveraging:

  • Immersive or Interactive Experiences: Many of the sites above drop the visitor into a video or interactive experience that makes navigating the homepage feel like an entertaining journey. These experiences not only engage the visitor, but they’re also memorable and allow prospects to easily digest lots of information about a brand in a short time.
  • High-Resolution Imagery: All of these websites played up imagery, whether the graphics related to products or stirring up emotion. Regardless of the photo strategy, solid photos with great quality will be very memorable to your visitors.
  • Vivid Color Schemes: While some websites on this list masterfully played with white space, all of the examples above had a design scheme that allowed colors related to their images or brands to stand out.

To learn more about designing the best website for achieving your brand’s awareness or sales goals, check out this guide. Already have a website? Click here for redesign tips. You can also download the free resource below for even more handy advice.

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There’s Gold In Them Thar SERPs: Mining Important SEO Insights from Search Results

Posted by AndrewDennis33

There’s gold in them thar SERPs…gold I tell ya!

Now, whether that phrase takes you back to a simpler (maybe? I don’t know, I was born in the 80s) time of gold panning, Mark Twain, and metallurgical assay — or just makes you want some Velveeta shells and liquid gold (I also might be hungry) — the point is, there is a lot you can learn from analyzing search results.

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the mountains we’re trying to climb as SEOs to reach the peak (number one position). But these mountains aren’t just for climbing — there are numerous “nuggets” of information to be mined from the SERPs that can help us on our journey to the mountaintop.

Earning page one rankings is difficult — to build optimized pages that can rank, you need comprehensive SEO strategy that includes:

  • Content audits
  • Keyword research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Technical SEO audits
  • Projections and forecasting
  • Niche and audience research
  • Content ideation and creation
  • Knowledge and an understanding of your (or your client’s) website’s history
  • And more.

A ton of work and research goes into successful SEO.

Fortunately, much of this information can be gleaned from the SERPs you’re targeting, that will in turn inform your strategy and help you make better decisions.

The three main areas of research that SERP analysis can benefit are:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • And competitive analysis.

So, get your pickaxe handy (or maybe just a notebook?) because we’re going to learn how to mine the SERPs for SEO gold!

Finding keyword research nuggets

Any sound SEO strategy is built on sound keyword research. Without keyword research, you’re just blindly creating pages and hoping Google ranks them. While we don’t fully understand or know every signal in Google’s search algorithm — I’m pretty confident your “hopes” aren’t one of them — you need keyword research to understand the opportunities as they exist.

And you can find some big nuggets of information right in the search results!

First off, SERP analysis will help you understand the intent (or at least the perceived intent by Google) behind your target keywords or phrases. Do you see product pages or informational content? Are there comparison or listicle type pages? Is there a variety of pages serving multiple potential intents? For example:

Examining these pages will tell you which page — either on your site or yet to be created — would be a good fit. For example, if the results are long-form guides, you’re not going to be able to make your product page rank there (unless of course the SERP serves multiple intents, including transactional). You should analyze search intent before you start optimizing for keywords, and there’s no better resource for gauging searcher intent than the search results themselves.

You can also learn a lot about the potential traffic you could receive from ranking in a given SERP by reviewing its makeup and the potential for clicks.

Of course, we all want to rank in position number one (and sometimes, position zero) as conventional wisdom points to this being our best chance to earn that valuable click-through. And, a recent study by SISTRIX confirmed as much, reporting that position one has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 28.5% — which is fairly larger than positions two (15.7%) and three (11%).

But the most interesting statistics within the study were regarding how SERP layout can impact CTR.

Some highlights from the study include:

  • SERPs that include sitelinks have a 12.7% increase in CTR, above average.
  • Position one in a SERP with a featured snippet has a 5.2% lower CTR than average.
  • Position one in SERPs that feature a knowledge panel see an 11.8% dip in CTR, below average.
  • SERPs with Google Shopping ads have the worst CTR: 14.8% below average.

SISTRIX found that overall, the more SERP elements present, the lower the CTR for the top organic position.

This is valuable information to discover during keyword research, particularly if you’re searching for opportunities that might bring organic traffic relatively quickly. For these opportunities, you’ll want to research less competitive keywords and phrases, as the SISTRIX report suggests that these long-tail terms have a larger proportion of “purely organic SERPs (e.g. ten blue links).

To see this in action, let’s compare two SERPs: “gold panning equipment” and “can I use a sluice box in California?”.

Here is the top of the SERP for “gold panning equipment”:

And here is the top of the SERP for “can I use a sluice box in California?”:

Based on what we know now, we can quickly assess that our potential CTR for “can I use a sluice box in California?” will be higher. Although featured snippets lower CTR for other results, there is the possibility to rank in the snippet, and the “gold panning equipment” SERP features shopping ads which have the most negative impact (-14.8%) on CTR.

Of course, CTR isn’t the only determining factor in how much traffic you’d potentially receive from ranking, as search volume also plays a role. Our example “can I use a sluice box in California?” has little to no search volume, so while the opportunity for click-throughs is high, there aren’t many searching this term and ranking wouldn’t bring much organic traffic — but if you’re a business that sells sluice boxes in California, this is absolutely a SERP where you should rank.

Keyword research sets the stage for any SEO campaign, and by mining existing SERPs, you can gain information that will guide the execution of your research.

Mining content creation nuggets

Of course, keyword research is only useful if you leverage it to create the right content. Fortunately, we can find big, glittering nuggets of content creation gold in the SERPs, too!

One the main bits of information from examining SERPs is which types of content are ranking — and since you want to rank there, too, this information is useful for your own page creation.

For example, if the SERP has a featured snippet, you know that Google wants to answer the query in a quick, succinct manner for searchers — do this on your page. Video results appearing on the SERP? You should probably include a video on your page if you want to rank there too. Image carousel at the top? Consider what images might be associated with your page and how they would be displayed.

You can also review the ranking pages to gain insight into what formats are performing well in that SERP. Are the ranking pages mostly guides? Comparison posts? FAQs or forums? News articles or interviews? Infographics? If you can identify a trend in format, you’ve already got a good idea of how you should structure (or re-structure) your page.

Some SERPs may serve multiple intents and display a mixture of the above types of pages. In these instances, consider which intent you want your page to serve and focus on the ranking page that serves that intent to glean content creation ideas.

Furthermore, you can leverage the SERP for topic ideation — starting with the People Also Ask (PAA) box. You should already have your primary topic (the main keyword you’re targeting), but the PAA can provide insight into related topics.

Here’s an example of a SERP for “modern gold mining techniques”:

Right there in the PAA box, I’ve got three solid ideas for sub-topics or sections of my page on “Modern Gold Mining”. These PAA boxes expand, too, and provide more potential sub-topics.

While thorough keyword research should uncover most long-tail keywords and phrases related to your target keyword, reviewing the People Also Ask box will ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Of course, understanding what types of formats, structures, topics, etc. perform well in a given SERP only gets you part of the way there. You still need to create something that is better than the pages currently ranking. And this brings us to the third type of wisdom nuggets you can mine from the SERPs — competitive analysis gold.

Extracting competitive analysis nuggets

With an understanding of the keywords and content types associated with your target SERP, you’re well on your way to staking your claim on the first page. Now it’s time to analyze the competition.

A quick glance at the SERP will quickly give you an idea of competition level and potential keyword difficulty. Look at the domains you see — are there recognizable brands? As a small or new e-commerce site, you can quickly toss out any keywords that have SERPs littered with pages from Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart. Conversely, if you see your direct competitors ranking and no large brands, you’ve likely found a good keyword set to target. Of course, you may come across SERPs that have major brands ranking along with your competitor — if your competitor is ranking there, it means you have a shot, too!

But this is just the surface SERP silt (say that five times fast). You need to mine a bit deeper to reach the big, golden competitive nuggets.

The next step is to click through to the pages and analyze them based on a variety of factors, including (in no particular order):

  • Page speed
  • Visual aesthetics
  • Timeliness and recency
  • Readability and structure
  • Amount and quality of citations
  • Depth of coverage of related topic
  • How well the page matches search intent

If the page is lacking in any, many, or all these areas, there is a strong opportunity your page can become the better result, and rank.

You should also review how many backlinks ranking pages have, to get an idea for the range of links you need to reach to be competitive. In addition, review the number of referring domains for each ranking domain — while you’re competing on a page-to-page level in the SERP, there’s no doubt that pages on more authoritative domains will benefit from that authority.

However, if you find a page that’s ranking from a relatively unknown or new site, and it has a substantial amount of backlinks, that’s likely why it’s ranking, and earning a similar amount of links will give your page a good chance to rank as well.

Lastly, take the time to dive into your competitor’s ranking pages (if they’re there). Examine their messaging and study how they’re talking to your shared audience to identify areas where your copy is suboptimal or completely missing the mark. Remember, these pages are ranking on page one, so they must be resonating in some way.


Successful SEO requires thorough research and analysis from a variety of sources. However, much of what you need can be found in the very SERPs for which you’re trying to rank. After all, you need to understand why the pages that rank are performing if you want your pages to appear there, too.

These SERPs are full of helpful takeaways in terms of:

  • Keyword research and analysis
  • Content ideation and strategy
  • And competitive analysis and review.

These golden nuggets are just there for the takin’ and you don’t need any tools other than Google and your analytical mind — well, and your metaphorical pickaxe.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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7 marketing trends for 2021

For example, successful marketers will be those who invest in agile marketing strategies, Deloitte Insights says.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Acquia integrates the AgilOne CDP across its suite, announces other updates

The latest initiatives on Acquia’s Drupal and Marketing Clouds, announced at Acquia Engage.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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SEO for reactive JavaScript using React or Vue with NodeJS and other backend stacks

How to get SEO-friendly website pages to feel like there’s magic burbling up beneath them.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Google confirms it doesn’t index passages separately

Google now “consider passages from pages as an additional ranking factor.”

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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How to use personal passions to create meaningful content

30-second summary:

  • Nearly half of all consumers consume plenty of content before deciding on a purchase, so brands should focus on crafting compelling, useful reads.
  • If you position your brand as a trusted source, people are five times likelier to look to you for pre-purchase information.
  • RAPP copywriter Jack Schuleman shares three tips for encouraging a team to use personal passions to write richer content. 

Content is still one of the best ways to engage consumers. Create meaningful content, and you offer like-minded customers more reason to get involved and invested with your brand. Whether information is coming from peers, family, or brands, people like the feeling of being understood. That’s what meaningful content does. It makes the individual feel seen and heard.

Besides, nearly half of all consumers engage with copious amounts of content before arriving at a purchase decision. This is the perfect opportunity to persuade with a compelling, useful read and move the ultimate choice in your favor. It may also help position your brand as a trusted source, which has benefits of its own. Individuals will be five times more likely to look to you for information prior to a purchase, giving you yet another opportunity to persuade.

The question then is, how do you go about crafting a meaningful piece of content?

The power behind a passion

It all comes down to one two-syllable word: passion. Personal passion makes all the difference in the creation of meaningful content. It brings deeper insights into an intended audience. You already know what that community likes, engages with, and finds compelling. If you’ve spent a life immersed in a given subject, you know these people on an intimate level.

I’m a car guy. Anybody who knows me knows that. Working for an automobile client now, I’m able to incorporate my wealth of industry knowledge into the work — and get a little return on the years of magazine subscriptions. It’s allowed me to tap into not only my passion for cars but my understanding of the people who own and love them.

Take an SUV, for instance. One buyer’s interest stems from a desire to go off-roading regularly, while another may only use it to go to the mall. Other than the obvious, what’s the meaningful difference between the two? Where might their interests coincide? How can you speak to both effectively? My passion affords me a better understanding of how to write to either one of these customers, helping to craft more compelling and engaging content.

Unleashing the full enthusiasm

Using a passion to inform content is straightforward, but instilling this idea throughout a team can take some time. There’s a comfort level that varies from one person to the next. But there are few steps to make the process easier, and it goes something like this:

1. Find opportunities to utilize your passion

Integrating your passions into your work can certainly have a positive impact on your job performance. I can attest to that. It simply comes through in the work — and, best of all, consumers can feel it. When customers understand that the people behind the brand are passionate about the products, it sets an expectation: You can trust us to deliver quality goods. In fact, studies show that communicating passion in your advertising influences everything from purchase behaviors to brand attitudes. Look for the opportunities in the workplace to best utilize your passions. Ask to take part in that work.

2. Bring more of yourself to work

My previous team knew I was into cars, so they were more than willing to keep an ear to the ground should something on the automotive front open up. Had I decided to leave that part of myself at home, who knows whether I’d be working on that client today? Not that you need to divulge your entire personal life to co-workers, but sharing more of your “self” in the workplace allows you to bring your passions with you each day. You can more easily lean on your enthusiasm and do your best, most innovative work. There’s a lot of potential in that.

3. Give credit where credit is due

Whether ideas come from trade publications or industry events, lived experiences advance the work. So you should feel comfortable sharing its origin; it won’t make the idea any less valuable or worthwhile. And while on the topic, look for suggestions outside the confines of your department. Someone from customer service, for example, could provide valuable insights for your next marketing campaign. Ask for ideas. Challenge teams to bring new concepts to the table, and provide feedback on what you like most about it. The constant exchange can create momentum throughout your company and encourage everyone to think outside the box.

Speaking from a place of knowledge will always be more compelling. It simply provides an air of expertise that consumers respond to. Of course, each individual has only so many interests, which is why building a team with an eclectic mix of hobbies, passions, and lifestyles is essential to an agency or marketing department. The more backgrounds you can get, the better off your team will be — and you’ll see it in your content.

Jack Schuleman is a writer who never learned the meaning of the phrase “slow down”. After a lifetime of drag shows, car meets, and all sorts of misadventures, he’s been able to apply his unique point of view and improv-honed creativity into engaging copy across nonprofits, automotive brands, and tech companies. Now writing for Toyota, he’s pursuing the most elusive target yet: a 100% click-through rate.

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CEO’s take on emerging industry trends and strategies: Q&A with Moz’s Sarah Bird

30-second summary:

  • Hyperlocal SEO will help struggling communities salvage their local businesses.
  • Moz surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement Google’s new features to support COVID-19 affected businesses.
  • Five under-rated yet crucial parameters marketers need to stay on top of.
  • Sarah Bird’s special tips to optimize audience engagement at various marketing touchpoints.
  • The best things you can do for landing pages is….?
  • Dive in for these golden nuggets and a lot more.

2020 has hit the reset button for the world in many ways adding more wheels to digital marketers’ and brands’ “car of struggles” for success. SEO is somewhat looked at as a game of Russian roulette where you win some and you lose some, and COVID-19 hasn’t made this any easier. To help you hit bull’s eye and add an extra push to your digital strategies, we caught up with Moz’s CEO, Sarah Bird to uncover emerging trends in the search scape, SEO, audience behaviors, and more!

Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz

Q. What technologies, tools, and audience behaviors do you see shape up as 2020 progresses. If you were to draw a line between the temporary and ones that are here to stay, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Hyperlocal search has been important for years. 2020 has only increased its merit.

COVID-19 has made active local business listings management more vital than ever before. Communities struggling to keep themselves supplied and cared for in changed conditions must depend on the internet as a crucial resource, and when business listings can quickly communicate to them what’s available, where, when, and how, that’s truly important.

With Google rolling out new features that allow business owners to share updates about curbside pickup, home delivery, or special hours for vulnerable populations directly on their listings, customers can access convenient information with a simple search. We surveyed over 1,400 local business marketers and more than half said they plan to implement such services permanently. Aside from being absolutely necessary this year, businesses recognize that the investment in ecommerce should not simply be for the short-term, but should be able to accommodate their business and customers in the long-term.

Q. If you were to pick the hero of Moz’s local and international SEO strategy for the rest of 2020, what would it be? 

Sarah Bird: Reputation management will be crucial for local SEO strategy during 2020. We offer reputation management features through Moz Local that we urge users to leverage. 

Some of the most valuable features of Moz Local at this time are review alerts that allow you to quickly facilitate complaint resolution and response rating for quality control. During hectic times, customers are more emotional — this can either work for or against you. Should you receive a poor review during this time, it’s imperative that you respond quickly and empathetically.

Moz Local also offers a sentiment analysis feature that shows the most commonly used words for each of your star ratings. This can be useful in deciphering exactly what customers are finding important during this time.

Q. What five under-rated yet crucial parameters do marketers need to stay on top of to ensure that their brand has positively influenced their customers/target audiences?

  1. Keywords: Understanding your own keywords and those of your competitors ensures marketers have a plan in place to secure visibility on a brand’s offerings or content. 
  2. External links: These are an important source of ranking power in a SERP.
  3. Differentiation: Framing content correctly is key to reaching target audiences. Sometimes that means presenting contrarian ideas, as described by Caroline Forsey of HubSpot. 
  4. Omnichannel communication: Not all of your readers are going to read and engage via laptop or mobile, but be sure to consider how SEO is involved in your social media strategy.
  5. Outcome alignment: SEO goals don’t always have to focus on clicks. Ensure your marketing team is aligned on how content or a topic should be engaged, as it could mean that your ideal outcome is answering your customer’s question directly within the SERP. 

Q. What are the best ways to use entities that can leverage BERT, add more dimensions to keyword strategy, content, and the overall digital presence? 

Sarah Bird: I don’t encourage SEOs or marketers to optimize for BERT. There are too many variables to develop an effective strategy toward this model.

Instead, marketers should continue the focus on the overarching goal of creating excellent content that holistically understands and meets the intent of users. This is no small feat and requires an intense understanding of your business, your audience, and how the two intertwine. Creating world-class content that’s data-driven, timely, and empathetic to the audience will prove to be far more effective than focusing on this specific component of an algorithmic change from Google.

Q. Tips to optimize audience engagement at marketing touchpoints like emails, landing pages, and social media?

Sarah Bird: Each of these touchpoints are important for a business’s SEO strategy. These aren’t tactics that can be tacked on — they all have a powerful impact. 

Email marketing delivers some of the highest ROI, generating $38 for every $1 spent. When it comes to emails, call-to-actions must be clear. Consider which landing pages you’re sending people to and whether they’re appropriate to improve bounce rates.

Social shares of a brand’s content have a high correlation to ranking (as described by our own Cyrus Shepard.) As with everything in SEO, a focus should be put on the keywords used as well as the medium of the content being put out and whether or not it’s optimized.

High-converting landing pages may lead to high bounce rates, which could negatively impact SEO. Rand Fishkin actually addressed this exact issue in a Whiteboard Friday. The best things you can do for landing pages is – focus on high-conversion long-tail keywords and to provide keyword-based content.

Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview and the emerging trends, drop a comment!

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