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What Are Core Web Vitals? + How to Improve Yours

Long gone are the days of dial-up internet when web pages loaded line by line.

Today’s internet users expect an instant response, with 93% of people leaving a website because it didn’t load properly. No one wastes time on a poor experience.

To elevate the online experience, Google released Core Web Vitals — a set of metrics to help site owners measure the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of their pages.

The Core Web Vitals report gives you insight into page performance, so you can improve your site experience and let the Google bots know it’s worthy of a high search ranking.

But why does speed and user experience matter for your business?

  • If page load time increases from 1 second to 3 seconds, bounce rate increases 32%.
  • If page load time increases from 1 second to 6 seconds, bounce rate increases by 106%. (Google)

A high bounce rate hurts your bottom line. Potential customers will simply jump to a competing site if yours is slow to load.

But if you learn what metrics to hit and start to improve your pages, Google will reward you with better rankings — and you’ll create a more enjoyable experience for potential customers.

To do so, you need to understand the metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading performance of a page. It considers the amount of time it takes to load the largest piece of content (typically a video, image, or text block) from when a user requests the URL. Google recommends sites keep LCP under 2.5 seconds for 75% of their page loads.
  • First Input Delay (FID) measures the interactivity of a page. It’s the time between an action (think, clicking a button or a link) to when a browser responds to that action. The FID measurement comes from whatever element is clicked first, turning the page from a static to interactive. Responsiveness is crucial to making a good first impression with visitors by showing your site is reliable and running smoothly. Google recommends sites keep FID under 100 milliseconds for 75% of page loads.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures all of the layout shifts that occur across a page. It’s scored from zero (no shifting) to a positive number (more shifting). Common causes of shifting are dropdown banner ads, buttons that appear, or images that cause a text block to move. These all contribute to a negative user experience, which is why it’s important to reduce the shifts that happen across your site. Google recommends sites aim for a CLS score of 0.1 or less.

cumulative-layout-shift

Image source

By analyzing millions of pages, Google found that users are 24% less likely to abandon loading pages when a site meets the above requirements. If you’re itching for more details, check out the research behind Defining the Core Web Vitals metric thresholds.

How to Improve Core Web Vitals

First thing’s first, you need baseline metrics for your site. Walk through these steps to learn your starting point:

  1. Plug your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  2. Click ‘Analyze.’
  3. Check your performance. The labels “Poor,” “Needs improvement,” and “Good” are given to your URL on both mobile and desktop. Toggle between the two in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

Here’s what it looks like when I ran an analysis on HubSpot.

page-speed-insights-hubspot

page-speed-insightsImage source

You can see the desktop version performs better than mobile, which is common. In a study of five million pages, Backlinko found that the average web page takes 87.84% longer to load on mobile versus desktop. A few major factors that affected speed: the type of CMS, CDNs and hosting, and page weight.

If your URL doesn’t have enough data for a specific Core Web Vitals metric, you won’t see that metric appear on the report. Once your URL has enough data, your page status will reflect the metric that performs the worst.

Fixing Issues in Core Web Vitals

It will take work to improve the performance of your pages, but you can begin tackling issues with a step-by-step approach.

  1. Prioritize issues by label: Tackle everything labeled “Poor” first. Then, choose your work based on the large-scale issues that affect the highest number of URLs or the most important URLs. Next comes issues with the “Needs Improvement” label.
  2. Make a list: Create a prioritized work list for the team that will be updating the site. Include these common page fixes for reference:
  • Reduce page size to less than 500KB.
  • Limit each page to 50 resources for optimum mobile performance.
  • Consider optimizing your page for fast loading using AMP.

3. Share common fixes: Each Core Web Vitals metric has a dozen ways to improve the threshold. Below, I’ve outlined the basic reasons for a “Poor” status and how each can be fixed.

Improving LCP is affected by slow server response times, client-side rendering, render-blocking JavaScript and CSS, and slow resource load times. You can aim to improve LCD by optimizing each of the following site elements:

Improving FID is all about measuring how fast your site responds to user actions. Here, you want to fix any bad first experiences people have on a page. To see how to improve your FID threshold and check how users interact with your site, you can run a performance audit with Chrome’s Lighthouse tool. You can also try the following tweaks to boost your score.

Improving CLS and reducing unexpected shifts comes down to following a handful of best practices. Say goodbye to jumpy banners and those accidental ad clicks.

  • Include size attributes or CSS aspect ratio boxes for images and videos. These numbers tell the browser how much space to allocate for the page element while it’s loading, which prevents shifts as elements become visible.
  • Don’t add content above existing content. The only exception is if it’s in response to a user action where a shift is expected.
  • Provide context for transitions. All animations and transitions within a layout need to have context and continuity if you’re moving users from one part of the page to another.

When you think a specific issue is fixed, you can check if your thresholds have improved on the Search Console Core Web Vitals report. Click “Start Tracking” to launch a 28-day validation session that monitors your site for any signs of the issue. If it doesn’t pop up during that time, consider it fixed.

Like all ranking factors, the devil is in the details. If you’re a developer or techie hungry for more information on optimizing the Core Web Vitals, take a look at Google’s guides to optimizing LCP, FID, or CSL.

Timeline for Core Web Vitals Ranking

Core Web Vitals will be included in Google Search ranking beginning May 2021. They originally announced plans for the update in May 2020 but pushed off the release due to the global impact of COVID-19.

And, as Dave Brong, CTO of WebMechanix, points out, “Core Web Vitals is the ‘web 3.0’ that our generation of SEO and web development experts are facing.”

“By shifting focus away from flimsy server-level metrics and more to the user experience (UX), Google is paving the way for a better accessible web in the future.” 

As you prepare your site for the Core Web Vitals, remember that these are just a part of Google’s existing search signals. Search also considers mobile friendliness, HTTPS security, secure browsing, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Part of the Core Web Vitals will include several changes important for site owners:

“The change for non-AMP content to become eligible to appear in the mobile Top Stories feature in Search will also roll out in May 2021. Any page that meets the Google News content policies will be eligible and we will prioritize pages with great page experience, whether implemented using AMP or any other web technology, as we rank the results.” (Google)

Deciding to improve your site’s Core Web Vitals may not seem like a simple task. But by prioritizing the most problematic pages and coordinating with your web team, you can work toward a “Good” label and give everyone visiting your site a great experience.

marketing

Reblogged 6 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

The business imperative behind inclusion and diversity

“Without talent you don’t have an agency,” said Dr. Tucker.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 6 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

A Complete Guide To HTML Email

Table of Contents

Below you’ll find quick jumps to particular components that you might need. Scroll down for a general overview. Or skip the table of contents.

Getting Started With HTML Email

If you’re just trying to understand everything that’s happening behind the scenes of a quirky world of HTML email, Caity G. O’Connor has published a wonderful guide on how to start with email coding. The article features courses, tutorials, articles, and just general guidelines to keep in mind when building and designing emails — all in a comprehensive one-page-guide. On SmashingMag, Lee Munroe has published a detailed guide to building and sending HTML emails as well.

Alternatively, How to Code HTML Emails for Any Device is a very thorough guide on building a reliable HTML email template, and how to test it — along with a hands-on example of building a newsletter template from scratch. In general, that’s a very solid overview of everything you need to know to get started on the right foot.

Jason Rodriguez has a detailed video course on HTML Email (not free) with pretty much everything to know about them, from accessibility to troubleshooting, workflows and tools.

And if you find yourself struggling with an email issue or just looking out for some help from a community, #emailgeeks is a great starting point. It’s an invite-only Slack community with plenty of channels to discuss code, design, job openings, events and new tools and resources. You can also find many resources shared with the hashtag #emailgeeks on Twitter.

HTML Email Languages and Frameworks

Coding clean, responsive emails that provide a solid experience in all popular email clients can be a time-consuming challenge. HEML is here to change that. The open-source markup language gives you the native power of HTML without having to deal with all of the email quirks. There are no special rules or styling paradigms to master, so if you know HTML and CSS, you are ready to start.

MJML is based on the same idea of simplifying the process of creating responsive emails. The markup language is based on a semantic syntax that makes the process straightforward while an open-source engine does the heavy lifting and translates the MJML you wrote into responsive HTML. You can start out with a step-by-step tutorial through MJML.

A library of standard components saves you extra time and lightens your email codebase. And if you want to build your own, Modular Template System Guide might help, too.

HTML Email Framework Based On Tailwind CSS

Making an HTML email work across email clients ain’t an easy task. Fortunately, there are plenty of reliable tools, templates and frameworks to make it easier to get your work done. For example, Maizzle is a framework that helps you quickly build HTML emails with Tailwind CSS and advanced, email-specific post-processing. It also provides a few ready-made projects (Maizzle Starters) that you can start with right away.

Maizzle uses the Tailwind CSS framework to enable designers and developers to easily prototype emails with HTML and CSS. It also comes with beautiful templates if you’d rather not develop every email from scratch. Alternatively, you might want to consider MJML as well.

Bulletproof HTML Email Templates

Cerberus and HTML Email provide small collections of reliable, solid templates for responsive HTML emails that are well-tested in 50+ email clients, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL, and many others. EmailFrame.work allows you to build responsive HTML email templates with pre-built grid options and basic components, supported in over 60+ email clients.

Codedmails includes 60 email templates and themes, all written in MJML, and tested for compatibility. The code is all available on Github, and the templates are free to use for non-commercial projects, while MJML source files are provided for an extra charge.

Stripo, Chamaileon, Postcards, Topol.io, GoodEmailCode, Pixelbuddha and Bee Free all feature plenty of free HTML email templates, Litmus provides Responsive Email Templates for newsletters, product updates and receipts, and CampaignMonitor has a free HTML email template builder with drag’n’drop functionality.

HTML Email Feature Support: Can I Email…?

A handy tool that belongs in everyone’s toolset who finds themselves wrangling HTML email — be it every now and then or regularly — is caniemail.com. Inspired by the successful concept of caniuse.com, Can I email lets you check support for 179 HTML and CSS features across 31 email clients.

You can enter a feature to see how well it is supported, check the feature index, compare email clients, or view an email client support scoreboard that ranks email clients based on their support. The complete data is also available as a JSON file.

A Repository For Email Bugs

Apple Mail not showing embedded SVGs, Gmail not displaying emails at full width, Outlook changing the behavior of animated Gifs — we all know how weirdly email clients sometimes behave.

To help you understand what’s going on when you come across bugs like these, Rémi Parmentier maintains Email Bugs, a GitHub repository for weird email client behaviors. It not only makes the life of email designers easier by providing a place to discuss bugs but also tries to reporting each bug to the concerned company and fix them for good. But just in case it’s not possible, How to Target Email Clients provides an overview of workarounds to target specific email clients.

Mailto Link Generator

Good old HTML links can do more than what we usually give them credit for. We might be used to mailto: prefix, but actually generating the code can be quite annoying. Mailtolink.me does one thing, and it does it well: it generates the snippet for the mailto links including CC, BCC, subject line and body text.

Mailto Selection Prompt

Sometimes when you click on an email address, it might open an application that your customers aren’t really using. That’s why it’s common to copy-paste email addresses instead of clicking on the links directly. To avoid frustration on the other end, we can use Mailgo and MailtoUI.

Instead of opening a native email client, both tools prompt a modal window, allowing the user to choose one of the preferred services, or copy-paste the link. Additionally, Mailgo can address all tel links as well, allowing them to open Telegram, WhatsApp, Skype, call as default or copy the phone number — and it supports dark mode, too.

Email Inspiration

It might seem like just because HTML email feels quite ancient and outdated, so are possibilities of what we can do with HTML email. However, there are plenty of resources, blogs and podcasts featuring new email techniques — some of them often being on the very creative side of things!

Accessible Emails

With email, where do we stand in terms of accessibility? Do we announce emails properly to screen readers? What about dark mode? Accessible Email repo highlights a number of articles, tools, presentations and resources about accessibility — not only for email, but most specifically for it.

With Accessible-Email.org, you can analyze sent campaigns and check for accessibility improvements. With Dark Mode for Email Simulator, you can check how your email looks like in dark mode.

Inline CSS and Transform HTML Emails

If all you need is a clean space to transform your HTML and CSS, Alter.Email is a reliable option. With the tool, you can choose a few “transformers” — e.g. inline CSS and clean up the code, remove unused CSS, as well as format HTML and even prevent widow words. Alternatively, you can also use Postdrop which also allows you to minify and inline CSS and send a test email as well.

Remove Unused CSS From Email Templates

Writing CSS isn’t a particularly exciting task with HTML Email, scattered with !important and inline styles all over the place. To remove unused CSS from email templates, there’s Email Comb. The tool allows you to add classes and IDs you’d like to ignore, choose if you’d like to minify it and remove comments, and it shows what exactly it has removed.

Cheatsheet For Targeting Email Clients

Email clients modify and remove some of your HTML and CSS, often mercilessly. If one of the email clients doesn’t behave quite as expected, you might want to treat it separately. A cheatsheet for targeting email clients allows you to pick a target email client and at least attempt to address it directly. It might not work all the time as email clients change all the time, but it’s something that’s worth giving a try.

Everything HTML Email Resources

Thebetter.email provides a growing repository of useful email marketing resources, including people, learning sites, tools, details about email service providers, newsletters, code and interactive email resources. Hand-picked by Jason Rodriguez who’s been in the industry for years and has spent a lot of that time wading through the muck to find the good stuff.

Email Marketing Resources

If you need to dive deep into the trenches of HTML email, best practices and email marketing, CampaignMonitor Guides and Mailchimp Guides have plenty of resources to get started. Indeed, some of them will be product-specific, but they’re also more general guides around best practices for sending emails, design guides, delivery tips, anti-spam requirements and plenty of other topics along these lines.

And if you are looking for ongoing trends in email marketing, Oracle’s Email Marketing Trends includes plenty of videos around email deliverability, modular email architecture, email accessibility and also email marketing.

Dark Mode In Gmail And Outlook

We’ve all got used to the dark mode in many apps and websites out there, but what about dark mode support in HTML email clients? We could, of course, serve the same email to all subscribers, but if you are used to dark mode on your operating system, a bright email might rather be offputting and encourage abandonment.

The Developer’s Guide to Dark Mode in Email highlights some of the important guidelines to keep in mind when you are building a dark mode version of your HTML email. It explains how to target dark mode, how to deal with images and general browser support (which is pretty good!).

Rémi Parmentier goes a little bit deeper, showing how to fix Gmail’s dark mode issues with CSS Blend Modes. Gmail enforces a change of any light text color to dark text color. If you need to fix it, Rémi has come up with a creative use of mix-blend-mode (supported in Gmail) to maintain the light text color if you need to. And if you need to ensure that your emails respond to Outlook.com’s dark mode, Remi has got you covered, too.

HTML Email Development IDE

If you spend quite a bit of time with HTML email, you might want to use a dedicated HTML Email editor. Parcel is just that: a code editor built specifically for coding and designing emails. It provides live previews, so you can see in real-time what you are building, and it also has accessibility features out of the box, so you can check accessibility issues while you are building or designing the email. Plus, the tool also allows you to collaborate with your team and run email tests directly from the tool.

Alternatively, you can also take a look at Mail Studio, a sophisticated desktop application (for Windows, macOS and Linux) that combines visual and code editing in one email IDE.

The app comes with a library of components, from headings to navbars and accordions, a couple of responsive email templates, Google Fonts integrations, built-in Sass support, command palette, collaboration tools, email previews and even integration with email service providers such like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Sendgrid. Figma integration is supposed to be coming soon.

Generate A Full-Page Email Preview

If you need a full-page preview of your HTML Email, Emailpreview.io might be just what you need. You can copy/paste HTML, or import an EML file that you’ve just received, and the tool outputs a fully rendered image of your email. You can choose the device width as well. A helpful little tool to keep nearby.

Mail Tracker Blocker

Most marketing emails include trackers in HTML email, so they can track how often, when and where customers open emails. MailTrackerBlocker acts pretty much as an ad-blocker for browsers, but works with email clients. The tool labels who is tracking customers and removes tracking pixels before they can be displayed, so you can still load all remote content and keep your behavior private. Currently only available for Apple Mail on macOS 10.11 – 11.x (shoutout to Jeremy Keith!).

Making Email Better

Overflowing inboxes, spam with backlink requests, people emailing you on a Friday afternoon and following up on Monday morning — there are a lot of things that make dealing with email unpleasant. However, since there is no getting around email, there’s only one solution: Let’s improve the situation together. With that in mind, Chris Coyier is running “Email is Good”, a site about email productivity.

“Email is Good” takes a look at things that make emails annoying, tips and ideas on how we can do better, as well as little anecdotes that everyone can relate to. A great opportunity to reflect on how each one of us deals with email and the reactions that our email habits might provoke on the recipient’s side.

Wrapping Up

We probably have missed some important and valuable techniques and resources! So please leave a comment and refer to them — we’d love to update this post and keep it up-to-date for us all to be able to get back to it and build HTML email better and faster.

Stay smashing!

Further Reading

Reblogged 6 days ago from smashingmagazine.com

Video: Fay Friedman on duplicate content, featured snippets & people also ask

In part one we spoke about e-commerce SEO vs property management SEO and here is part two.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 6 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How to come up with social media content using feedback from your silent fans

Likes, shares and follows tell us a lot about what kind of content lands with our audience. However, these engagements paint an incomplete picture.

Just consider the “90-9-1 Rule”. According to this rule, only 1% of social media users create content, 9% share, Like, and comment on that original content. 90% of users simply lurk, making no visible contribution at all. Engagement is only a small fraction of the whole picture.

When you build a content strategy plan based only on the metrics you can see, you’re designing it for just a tiny portion of your potential target audience. What about everyone else? There’s a difference between creating popular content and effective content. Shaping strategies around the vocal minority will only get you so far.

In this article, we’ll discuss which metrics give you insights into your silent fans, how to come up with social media content that appeals to your entire audience and how social listening tells you what they really care about.

A holistic content strategy plan includes behind-the-scenes metrics

How do you know what your silent fan base is into if they’re not engaging with your content? Consider incorporating these three less obvious metrics into your planning process.

  • Referral traffic. This tells you where visitors are coming from, specifically those who found you through other sites rather than navigating directly to your page. Referral traffic is important because you can learn how much of your silent audience is visiting your site thanks to your social media content. It also signals people’s confidence in the authority and relevance of the information they’re clicking on. This lets you know which content is most relevant to users.
  • Click through rate. Also known as CTR, this is a ratio measurement of clicks to impressions. It tells you how often people click on specific links, ads and other elements of your social media posts. Your click through rate is a great indicator of silent engagement and highlights what types of content motivates your audience to take meaningful action.
  • Conversion rates. If part of your social strategy includes supporting sales and revenue goals, this is a critical metric to track. Combining data like your CTR and referral traffic yields your conversion rate. That tells you what kinds of social media posts motivate your audience to make a purchase.

All three of these social media metrics offer a window into the activities and attitudes of your audience. They highlight what kind of actions people take depending on your content. However, these metrics shouldn’t be the only ones you add to your repertoire. To create social media content for everyone, you also need to know why these decisions happened and the sentiments behind them.

Listen to learn what your audience really cares about

Social media listening reveals more nuanced data on the conversation happening around your brand, such as consumer preferences and attitudes on specific topics. With listening insights, you can develop social content that gets to the heart of what your audience wants—even if they aren’t saying it out loud.

For example, Sprout’s Listening Tool reveals your brand’s reach, impressions and popular keywords for topics relevant to your business. This insight can help you tailor your social posts to ensure you’re using the hashtags and keywords that are most likely to draw the highest number of impressions.

Social listening even uncovers how much of the conversation your competitors are dominating and illuminates the gaps in your brand’s social content strategy plan. Look for keywords or themes your competitors use to engage their audience. Consider weaving those topics into your next social post if you aren’t already.

Listening reveals what your entire audience really cares about, regardless if they say it out loud. Focus on creating content with relevant keywords, take part in trending conversations, and watch engagement and conversion grow. Having this information streamlines the process of coming up with relevant social media content that resonates.

Crafting a social content strategy plan that speaks to everyone

Now you know which metrics to track and how to use listening data to uncover what your silent fans want. It’s time to put all of these insights into action.

1. Have a clear goal.

Whether you’re raising awareness, educating, or converting, it’s critical to know what types of content support your specific goals and which social platforms it’s best deployed on.

Let’s say your goal is to raise brand awareness. Listening insights reveal which industry hashtags draw the most impressions and which key phrases are likely to engage your silent audience. These keywords can also reveal why people follow you or mention your brand on certain platforms.

One of the advantages of social media feedback is learning how your audience uses different platforms so you can tailor your social content strategy accordingly. For example: let’s say you notice consumers tend to use words that suggest search intent on Twitter. Adjust your strategy to prioritize educational content.

2. Keyword-informed content.

Another advantage of social media feedback is the ability to use keywords to build pieces of content that target specific audience’s interests.

Use the short and popular phrases revealed by social listening to research common long-tail keywords used in search engines. These phrases are four or more words and reveal not just what people are talking about, but also more specifically what they are saying or asking. For example, “beer” is a popular keyword, but “best tasting light beer” is a specific long-tail keyword that you can build targeted content around.

Once you have a few long-tail keywords to inspire your content, create a social media calendar as part of your overall strategy and get publishing.

3. Ongoing audience insights.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to keep listening to your silent audience. One of the biggest mistakes social marketers make is to look at data once, build a content plan and then never look back. You can’t expect to know whether your strategy is working if you don’t revisit the data.

Revisit and refine as needed. If your posts aren’t landing or you notice a drop off in impressions, regroup and see where your connection is falling short. Content should build interest and strengthen relationships with your audience. When that doesn’t happen, it’s time to reexamine the behaviors of your quiet fans and tweak your content accordingly.

How to plan social media content like a boss

With insights from social listening and less obvious metrics, you can come up with social media content that engages even the shyest of lurkers. Still not sure how to take the first step to revving up your content engine? Check out our free checklist for Jumpstarting Your Strategy When Your Content Stalls Out.

This post How to come up with social media content using feedback from your silent fans originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 6 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

A guide to B2B content marketing in 2021

Marketing directly to consumers and marketing to businesses walk a similar strategy path but with some key differences. Using content marketing to support each part of the sale funnel helps you close your deal easier. But where do you start and what type of content should you create for B2B content marketing?

We’ll walk you through the process.

Understand your B2B audience

The first step in setting up your B2B content marketing strategy is knowing who you’re talking to. This guides how and what you write. You don’t want to use regional slang if your audience is far beyond that region.

Your target audience will be made up of various businesses who would benefit from the product or service that you’re offering them. Usually, businesses already have these audiences in mind even if they’re not defined in detail. In this process, it’s best to write these audiences down so you can reference them later as you plan out your content.

Next, think of some marketing personas that would reside in these audiences. Part of the persona’s profile should include the types of content they enjoy. Knowing this helps determine which content types to prioritize. One important point for a B2B persona is to identify the individual buyer’s job position. You can market all you want to a business but at the end of the day, someone or a group of people are making those final decisions.

Content ideation

You can’t have content marketing without content and for that to happen, you need a bucket of ideas. The content ideation and development process is the same regardless of who you are aiming to serve.

There are multiple ways to source your content ideas so you never run out:

  • Identify current content gaps: There might be something missing in your current content and new content would fill in those gaps.
  • Address customer pain points: Your product or service solves a pain point for your business customers. Use these as a jump-off point when you are creating new content.
  • Connect with other departments: Your sales and customer service teams are excellent resources for knowing what the customers want.
  • Research your competitors: What are your competitors creating and what are they missing? If something is working for your competitors but you can do it better, by all means, go after it.
  • Use social listening: Social listening does cover competitor research but it also extends out to general industry trends and brand sentiment. Use social listening as a trendspotting technique.
  • Have team brainstorming sessions: A good ol’ brainstorming won’t let you down. Gather people from key departments and discuss ideas and topics together.
  • Ask your audience: No one knows better than your own audience what they’re looking for. Ask them what they’d like to learn more about.

These are just a few ways of sourcing B2B content topics. Don’t wait until you’re fresh out of ideas to think up new ones.

Choosing the right content for the B2B buyer’s journey

Now that you have your audiences sorted out and a stack of ideas to go, it’s time to move on to content production. But which types should you focus on? It’s likely that you already have some content produced. Match these to each stage of the marketing funnel and you’ll be able to find which stages need more content.
Image of a B2B marketing funnel and what content types fall in each stage of the funnel

Image of a buyer journey map, with a description of each step, its goals and touchpoint content types

There are many maps out there that detail the marketing funnel or buyer’s journey. Some maps, like the two above, even reference the type of content or marketing that is used for each stage. Even these two examples differ in opinion on which type of content fits where. Use these as starting points to creating your own funnel or map. Some content, like social media, can fit into all of the areas if you create posts to do so.

Let’s take a look at the various content types and how you can use them on your social media accounts.

Infographic

In the awareness stage, infographics are useful for delivering dense information in simple, graphical layouts. They often take already existing data in your business to make them relevant to the audience they want to target. Infographics are also very shareable, making press releases to industry publishers easy. When using infographics in the awareness stage, you want to serve general information that your audience wants to know, not information on what your business does.

Example:  Visme
An infographic of the 10 types of infographic templates in Visme

One of the best things about infographics is there’s no single format to follow. You’re not limited to a single style of sharing quick stats and facts. Rather, you can get creative with your data and information, as shown by Visme’s own infographic above. So whether you’re sharing stats about your business or a new tool or feature that could affect your customers, an infographic is a great visual representation of the facts.

How to use infographics on social media

  • Crop the infographic into bite-sized pieces and share those as social media graphics.
  • Quote a single statistic or data point and link to the original infographic.
  • Reshare the information multiple times if it’s applicable.

Blog post

A blog post is a written article published in the blog section of your company’s website. Blog posts can rest in the awareness stage but since they’re basically written content about anything, you can use them in the other stages, too. When using it in the first stage, the post should be educational in tone with very little to no call to action.

Example: Todoist
Screenshot of one of Todoist's blog posts' title, image and intro paragraph.

Todoist offers a software that helps you manage your to-do list. Its audience varies from individuals to businesses and their blog covers a similar wide range of topics. This topic on crafting the perfect daily schedule is a great example of covering both B2C and B2B. An individual could read this and figure out their own productivity times. And a business manager who needs a way to track productivity might read this and forward the useful information. There’s even a section in the blog post on how the software could help with productivity.

How to use blog posts on social media

  • Share blog posts as links.
  • Create quote graphics from the post and share them.
  • Share any images or graphics from the post on social.

Testimonials & reviews

Reviews take place on sites that have a designated review area while testimonials are solicited directly from the businesses you serve. Both use social proof to help convince the reader to make a decision. Depending on the details of them, testimonials and reviews can be used in the awareness, consideration and decision stages.

Example: Hotjar
Screenshot of a pull quote from HubSpot's Senior Growth Manager that appears on Hotjar's testimonial page.

Hotjar, a heat map and behavior analytics tool, uses a unique approach when curating customer testimonials. Rather than only sharing positive pull quotes, it uses testimonials to set up the reader to understand the customer’s initial concerns and objections and how it approaches customer service problem solving. Hotjar shares customer testimonials from across all industries to help push decision-makers further into why they need its tools. And when using pull quotes, putting the person’s photo to each testimonial makes the testimonial more real and relatable.

White paper, industry report & e-books

A white paper is a downloadable piece of content that serves up knowledge that your business is experienced in. An industry report summarizes a survey or study that your business executed and relates it to the industry you’re in. And an e-book covers a single topic divided up into chapters.

These are grouped together because they are used to convey a business’ expertise on a topic. They are used most often in the consideration stage.

Example: Pinterest
Screenshot of Pinterest's 2021 Trend Prediction Industry Report

White papers and industry reports tend to have a reputation for being dry and unattractive. Every year, Pinterest releases a predicting trends report based on its current data. The predictions help businesses on Pinterest decide which topics might be better to focus on that year. Pinterest is a visual platform and it makes sense for it to invest in a graphical way to illustrate their predictions.

How to use white papers, industry reports and e-books on social media

  • Quote parts of the report and link it. If the report is gated by an email address request, the quotes serve as teasers.
  • When a business reaches out with a business question, send them a link to the landing page with the file and offer additional support.
  • Since these content types tend to be more evergreen, feel free to post about them often.

Case study

Used most often in the decision stage, case studies take an in-depth look at one of your customers. They follow a common format of presenting an issue at hand and then details of how your business helped them solve the issue. These days, case studies are readily available on the business’ website. Featured businesses represent your various target audiences so the reader can easily identify themselves in at least one of the case studies.

Example: Sprout Social
Screenshot of a case study done by Sprout Social

Sprout’s software covers a lot of industries and businesses of various sizes. There are also many features that some businesses might not realize are useful to them. The case studies page highlights different businesses, shares quotes from the featured business’ marketing team and references Sprout’s features. Along with that, actual numbers are provided to demonstrate the ROI of the software.

How to use on social media

  • Run a series that features the business and highlight parts of the case study
  • Send to businesses that are still thinking about using your business
  • Turn quotes into graphics and share them

FAQs & tutorials

Once you’ve got businesses interested or even onboarded, the process doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to help them along and make sure they’re taking full advantage of everything you have to offer. FAQs and tutorials are used in the retention stage, helping the customer through setup and beyond.

Example: Airtable
Screenshot of Airtable's support and FAQ page

Airtable is a collaboration software with a hybrid spreadsheet-database interface that is great for teams. It offers many features which can make it overwhelming to the newbie. To help with onboarding and training, it provides a thorough help center with guides to walk users through the process. This is one of a few ways—besides FAQs and webinars—it guides users through the setup.

How to use FAQs and tutorials on social media

  • Help center articles are basically readily available content for you. Share snippets and link to them when needed.
  • Direct users to tutorials if they express confusion at using your product before directing them to a customer service representative.
  • Publish the video tutorials onto your social media channels and organize them into playlists.

Loyalty programs

Most people are part of a loyalty program. Whether it’s points for purchases or referral bonuses, these programs are made to keep the customer happy. In the advocacy stage, the customer positively talks about your business and wants others to know about it, too.

Example: Dubsado

Screenshot of Dubsado's loyalty program for its anniversary
Dubsado is a CRM program aimed at service-based small businesses and freelancers. On top of its usual loyalty program, they also offer special perks on their own anniversary. One of Dubsado’s biggest offers is the forever plan giveaway, which is a one-time payment to use its software forever. To enter, you’ll need to share about its software online. If you’re already using its program and you love it, then this offer is enticing enough to push you to be a louder brand advocate.

Next steps

These are only a few of many content types available to you for B2B content marketing. After you’ve decided which content types align with your strategy and goals, the next moves are to execute and promote the content. Of course, you’ll want to know how your fresh content is performing, which is why you should look at your social media data to guide your analysis.

Convinced that you need a B2B content marketing strategy but want to start with what you already have? You don’t have to start from scratch, this helpful B2B content plan worksheet leads you through the process of maximizing your existing content.

This post A guide to B2B content marketing in 2021 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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In search of your most memorable moments; Monday’s daily brief

Plus, only YouTube and Reddit have seen much usage growth since 2019.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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The HubSpot Blog's 2021 Reader Experience Survey

At the HubSpot Blog, we love to hear feedback from our valued readers.

Whether you read the Marketing, Sales, Service, or Website Blog, we invite you. to tell us about your reader experience and what you’d like to see more of from our team. All of your answers will remain anonymous. 

Thank you in advance for your feedback. We’re excited to review your submissions and work towards making our content even better for our readers!

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How To Make a YouTube End Screen [+ Templates & Examples]

While certainly a source of entertainment, YouTube is also an incredible platform for marketers to use, especially since it is the second-largest search engine in the world. Its users take action based on the videos they see, as 70% of them report buying from a brand after seeing their content on YouTube.

Aside from product purchases, how do you keep viewers interested in your channel and watching more videos? End screens. In this post, we’ll explain what an end screen is, outline how to create one, share high-quality examples from existing channels, and recommend template options that you can use to create your own.

These elements are shown over the top of the last few seconds of your videos’ playtime. They are different from YouTube’s automatically generated annotations because you can choose the content yourself.

How to Make a YouTube End Screen

You can create YouTube end screens directly in your YouTube account, and below we’ll go over how to add end screen elements to your videos.

1. Sign in to your YouTube account.

2. In the top right corner, select your account icon, then YouTube Studio.

3. On the left-hand menu, select Content.

4. If you want to add an end screen to an existing video, select the video, click the pencil icon (shown below), and skip the next step.

pencil icon in youtube creater studio outlined in red

5. If you want to add an end screen to a new video, select the Create button on the top right of your screen to upload the video file.

6. After completing either step four or five, select the Video elements tab, as shown below.

youtube creator studio video editing page with video elements tab highlighted in red

7. You should then see the option to Add an end screen by importing from an existing video or adding your own.

8. Select the end screen elements you want to add to your video, fill in the required information, and click Create Element.

9. For further customizations, you can adjust the size and placement of each element on the end screen and the length of time each will be displayed.

10. You can preview the end screen by selecting Preview on the top left corner or simply select Save to finalize your end screen.

YouTube End Screen Examples

Claire Saffitz Dessert Person

The example below is an end screen from Clare Saffitz’s channel, Dessert Person. While it may seem basic, it gets the job done through a CTA directing viewers to other videos on the channel and a subscription button.

Source

New York Times Cooking

The NYT Cooking channel also uses a simple end screen for their videos that feature a simple subscribe button. This is the benefit to end screens, as they can contain any of the preferred actions you’re hoping for your viewers to take, from subscribing to your channel to watching your other videos.

Source

Food52

You might have noticed that this list is surprisingly food-themed, but that’s what I watch on YouTube. Food52 fits a lot onto their outro with links to other videos, a click to subscribe button, and a link to their webshop. Since their website isn’t a YouTube-approved link, they’ve just added it onto their end screen template as a text element.

Source

History Channel – Ancient Recipes

History Channel uses all four elements of an end screen: links to playlists, other videos, a subscribe button and a link to their website. So many choices for their viewers!

Source

Vice Munchies

Vice uses a unique, animated end screen to capture their viewers’ attention. The words “Watch More” flash on the screen in different languages, as well as links to two other videos.

Source

Standard YouTube End Screen Dimensions

The instructions above detailed how you can create an end screen within YouTube’s Creator Studio, but you can also upload your own. When doing so, it’s essential to make sure that it is the correct dimensions.

Standard sizing is 1280px by 720px, and standard HD aspect ratio is 1920px by 1080px. The image below is a sample end screen template that you can use to create your own. Below we’ll recommend more templates to use.

Source

YouTube End Screen Templates

While you can certainly design one on YouTube or from scratch, there are various templates you can use that will help you create a high-quality end screen that meets your branding needs. Let’s go over some resources below.

  • Adobe Spark: Includes various templates to customize to meet your individual branding needs and further your YouTube reach. The site walks you through the process, so it is simple and easy to use.
  • Canva: Create a personalized end screen with a pre-built template or from scratch. You can include illustrations, icons, stickers, and even animated effects.
  • Snappa: Free and customizable YouTube end screen templates that have been professionally designed. Simply select a template, create an account, and you’re good to start designing.
  • YouTube: Many channels have uploaded pre-built templates that are available for download. You can browse through videos, select your preferred template, and navigate to the description box and download your favorite option.

YouTube End Screen Length

End screens play for the last five to 20 seconds of your videos. Make sure that the elements you choose to include appear at the right time to maximize the impact of your end screen cards, as the goal is to entice users to take additional action with your channel and generate more views and engagement.

If you want to add CTAs to other parts of your videos, you can do so with YouTube cards. Here is a tutorial on how to create cards from YouTube’s Creator Academy.

How To Disable YouTube End Screen

If you want to remove an end screen from your YouTube video, follow these steps:

1. Sign in to your YouTube account.

2. On the top right-hand corner, click on your account icon and select YouTube Studio.

3. On the menu screen on the left-hand side of your page, select Content. You should then see a list of all of your YouTube videos.

4. Select the pencil icon on the video you want to remove the end screen from.

5. Click on Video elements.

6. On the end screen, click Edit element.

7. Click delete.

As the creator, you’re the only one that can remove end screens from your videos, so you can ensure that users are seeing what you want them to see.

Use high-quality end screens to re-capture audience attention.

If your audience has watched your videos to the end, you’ve captured their attention. However, you don’t want to lose their attention once the video is over; you want them to stay engaged.

End screens will help you re-capture audience attention and inspire them to watch another video or convert them into subscribers. If you’re interested in spending more time on the platform, learn how to make money on YouTube and essential YouTube stats for marketers to know.

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Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.hubspot.com

Favicon SEO

Google recently copied their mobile result layout over to desktop search results. The three big pieces which changed as part of that update were

  • URLs: In many cases Google will now show breadcrumbs in the search results rather than showing the full URL. The layout no longer differentiates between HTTP and HTTPS. And the URLs shifted from an easily visible green color to a much easier to miss black.
  • Favicons: All listings now show a favicon next to them.
  • Ad labeling: ad labeling is in the same spot as favicons are for organic search results, but the ad labels are a black which sort of blends in to the URL line. Over time expect the black ad label to become a lighter color in a way that parallels how Google made ad background colors lighter over time.

One could expect this change to boost the CTR on ads while lowering the CTR on organic search results, at least up until users get used to seeing favicons and not thinking of them as being ads.

The Verge panned the SERP layout update. Some folks on Reddit hate this new layout as it is visually distracting, the contrast on the URLs is worse, and many people think the organic results are ads.

I suspect a lot of phishing sites will use subdomains patterned off the brand they are arbitraging coupled with bogus favicons to try to look authentic. I wouldn’t reconstruct an existing site’s structure based on the current search result layout, but if I were building a brand new site I might prefer to put it at the root instead of on www so the words were that much closer to the logo.

Google provides the following guidelines for favicons

  • Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
  • Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website’s brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
  • Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
  • The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
  • Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols (for example, swastikas). If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.

In addition to the above, I thought it would make sense to provide a few other tips for optimizing favicons.

  • Keep your favicons consistent across sections of your site if you are trying to offer a consistent brand perception.
  • In general, less is more. 16×16 is a tiny space, so if you try to convey a lot of information inside of it, you’ll likely end up creating a blob that almost nobody but you recognizes.
  • It can make sense to include the first letter from a site’s name or a simplified logo widget as the favicon, but it is hard to include both in a single favicon without it looking overdone & cluttered.
  • A colored favicon on a white background generally looks better than a white icon on a colored background, as having a colored background means you are eating into some of the scarce pixel space for a border.
  • Using a square shape versus a circle gives you more surface area to work with.
  • Even if your logo has italics on it, it might make sense to avoid using italics in the favicon to make the letter look cleaner.

Here are a few favicons I like & why I like them:

  • Citigroup – manages to get the word Citi in there while looking memorable & distinctive without looking overly cluttered
  • Nerdwallet – the N makes a great use of space, the colors are sharp, and it almost feels like an arrow that is pointing right
  • Inc – the bold I with a period is strong.
  • LinkedIn – very memorable using a small part of the word from their logo & good color usage.

Some of the other memorable ones that I like include: Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Google Play & CNBC.

Here are a few favicons I dislike & why

  • Wikipedia – the W is hard to read.
  • USAA – they included both the logo widget and the 4 letters in a tiny space.
  • Yahoo! – they used inconsistent favicons across their sites & use italics on them. Some of the favicons have the whole word Yahoo in them while the others are the Y! in italics.

If you do not have a favicon Google will show a dull globe next to your listing. Real Favicon Generator is a good tool for creating favicons in various sizes.

What favicons do you really like? Which big sites do you see that are doing it wrong?

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Reblogged 1 week ago from feedproxy.google.com