No matter what anyone tells you, creating high-quality content is hard.
Being a niche marketer with limited resources, it makes sense for you to invest in content that brings in traffic and leads for years.
Content with a long life.
Content that’s always relevant.
Content that’s evergreen.
Publishing evergreen content means you invest your hard earned money in content creation once, and reap the rewards for years.
It means you won’t have to spend the rest of your life on a content hamster wheel churning out one article after the other trying (hopelessly) to compete with giant publications that invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in content creation, advertising, and traffic generation every month.
In this post, I’ll tell you exactly what evergreen content is, how are some of the best marketers using it, and how you can replicate their success by creating timeless content for your niche site.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
The difference between short-term and long-term content
The simple way to come up with timeless content ideas
How to get 100x return from your evergreen content
The various formats of evergreen content you can use
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content, as the name suggests, is content that remains fresh, relevant, and useful for a long time irrespective of the seasonal trends and events.
It’s the kind of content that your readers will find useful the day you publish it and even if they refer back to it 12 months later.
In short, you can call it content without an expiry date.
For example, what do you think about the post in the screenshot below?
Source: Men’s Health
Losing belly fat is a topic people have been reading about for centuries and will keep searching for it even 2 decades from now.
A classic example of an evergreen topic.
But here’s another one in the screenshot below.
Do you think people will be interested in this topic 2 or 3 years from now?
VPNs are useful for browsing the internet safely without compromising your privacy. Because of the recent privacy concerns about leading apps like Facebook, Twitter, and many others, people are increasingly looking for ways and tools to improve their online security.
I don’t think this topic is going out of demand any time soon.
In fact, here’s what a quick search on Google Trends shows, take a look at the graph for this search…
Source: Google Trends
Apart from the occasional spikes, the demand for this search term has slowly but surely increased over the years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
These were two pretty good examples of evergreen content.
But here’s an example of content that’s NOT evergreen, study the headline in the image below…
I wrote this article about increasing Black Friday Sales for Social Media Today back in Nov, 2015.
Is it relevant today?
Was it relevant even 3 months after getting published?
Can you call it evergreen?
Here’s a different example to get you thinking.
Do you think the post below qualifies as evergreen content? Think about it carefully.
Why? Because it’s a seasonal topic that only picks up during winters every year.
Look at the screenshot below to find more proof of this, see how the searches peak and then drop…
Source: Google Trends
As you can see, the search trend for the last 5 years for the term “dog sweaters” shows that the search volume picks up only between October and December.
There’s little interest in the topic for the rest of the year.
Hence, it doesn’t qualify as evergreen content.
Okay, so now that I’ve described this part n detail, let me tell you why niche marketers in particular need evergreen content more than anyone else.
Why Is Evergreen Content Important for Your Niche Site
Why do people start niche sites?
What’s the dream they want to achieve?
The screenshots below of some of the discussions in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind will help you understand this. Look what was said below…
The theme across all these discussions is pretty simple.
People want freedom.
They want to work less and earn more.
They want passive income (although nothing’s ever 100% passive)
This is the biggest motivation for most wannabe niche marketers.
You can’t achieve this dream if you have to create content all the time. Which is why evergreen content is so important for you.
Every time you publish an evergreen post, it becomes a long-term business asset that keeps on bringing traffic and leads on autopilot (with a little maintenance of course)
Which is precisely what you want.
Here’s how you can create such content.
To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…
The Process of Creating Evergreen Content for Your Niche Site
Creating evergreen content is more about mindset than the actual structure of your post.
You’ll create high-quality content as usual but with a long-term and set.
Here’s how you’ll do it.
1. Finding Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog
To create content that lasts for years, you must stay away from following trending news and instead come up with topics that generate consistent interest in your target audience.
Here are the best ways to find them.
Think of the Most Basic Questions of Your Audience
Start from the basics.
Think of the most fundamental questions of your audience.
Ask yourself why people come to your site?
What’s the biggest problem they’re facing?
What answers are they looking for?
What’s the situation they dread the most?
What’s their dream situation?
At this stage, I’d strongly recommend you to read our post about audience research since it has all the tips you need to uncover the real needs of your audience.
Needs that won’t change overnight.
Needs that won’t change for years.
But let me quickly share a few tips here.
The fastest way to find the most basic questions of your audience is Google Search
When you search Google for your main topic keyword, here’s what you see in the results. Look at this screenshot below…
Source: Google Search
“People also ask” appears just under the first two or three results. It’s a goldmine for anyone looking to understand the fundamental needs of their audience.
When you click on any of these questions and scroll down, this is what happens…
More questions appear.
And they keep appearing as long as you keep expanding them and scrolling down.
This alone should give you tons of ideas.
And remember, these are all high traffic and evergreen queries which is why Google has shortlisted them.
But that’s not all.
When you scroll down the search page, more ideas are waiting for you.
These are the top queries related to your main topic.
Look at them, “belly fat diet plan”, “foods that burn belly fat”, “how to lose belly fat naturally”
They’re all evergreen search terms that are not dependant on any events or trends.
People will have the same questions 5 years from now.
You can turn each one into an evergreen post.
If you need more ideas, use this amazing resource of unlimited questions on your topic. Look at all these results…
The snapshot above shows the search results for the term “lose belly fat” and the tool I’ve used is AnswerThePublic.
It gives hundreds of questions extracted from search engines that people are asking about your topic.
In my opinion, these two resources are enough to help you uncover long-term questions of your audience and turn them into evergreen blog topics.
But before you finalize any topics, validate their evergreen potential.
Let me explain how
Find Ideas With a Consistent Search Trend
The easiest way to find if a topic is evergreen or not is, once again, Google.
Source: Google Trends
Simply use Google Trends to see if there’s consistent interest in a topic.
What are you looking for?
Topics with a consistent search trend
Topics with an upward search trend
What are you looking to avoid?
Topics with seasonal search trends
Topics with a downward search trend
As the screenshot above shows, weight loss is a topic that people are always interested in.
See what this next screenshot shows…
Source: Google Trends
As you can see, the topic “marathon training plan” has a pretty consistent search interest.
Let’s look at another one. What do you think about this keyword in the screenshot below…
Source: Google Trends
Predictably, the searches for “valentines day gifts” only pick up once a year.
But weight loss, the first example I shared, is a pretty broad topic.
To create evergreen content around it, you’d need to use angles that drive consistent traffic.
For example, a post like “How To Lose Belly Fat Before Christmas 2019” will only be relevant for a few months. But a different angle, “6 Steps To Have a Flat Belly in 3 Months” will always be relevant and evergreen.
Okay, so once you find a topic with a consistent search interest, you finally need to see if it has enough traffic for you to target.
That’s pretty easy.
Analyze Keyword Search Volume
Log in to any free keyword research tool to see the estimated search volume of your topic keyword
For example, here’s the search volume Ubersuggest shows for the topic “exercises to lose belly fat”, study this closely…
That’s a pretty decent search volume and shows that the topic has enough searchers for you to target.
Remember, we’re not doing keyword research here.
The objective is to verify the search demand for a topic that we’ve already seen is
in line with our audience’s core interest
has a regular Google search trend
This one seems to be right in the sweet spot so we’re good to go.
Analyze Your Competitors’ Top Performing Content
Last but not least, you can find evergreen topic ideas by simply having a look at the most popular content of your competitors.
There are three good ways to do that.
Run a Google Search for your topic and see the top ranking posts. See which ones are evergreen and try to find different angles that can help you add more value to that topic.
Or you could find the most frequently shared content your topic using this free tool in the screenshot below…
You could also visit your closest competitors’ blog and look for their most popular posts manually, check out this post from SmartBlogger…
Many sites have a Popular Posts section like the one in the screenshot above.
If you look closely, three of the most popular posts in this screenshot have the year “2019” mentioned in the title.
Does that mean they’re not evergreen posts?
The actual content of the posts is going to be valid for 2020, 2021 and even 2025.
They’ve only used the year 2019 to make it look more recent.
Next year, they’ll change it to 2020.
It’s a practice most marketing sites use these days.
Okay so now that you know how to find evergreen topics for your blog, I’m going to share some quick tips for writing high-quality evergreen content in the next section.
To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…
2. Writing Evergreen Content for Your Blog
Once you’ve identified evergreen topics for your blog, writing the posts is not very different from any other content type.
Your job is to create a useful, actionable, and high-quality piece of content.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Create the Best, Most In-depth Resource on Your Topic
You want your evergreen posts to stay relevant to your audiences for a long time so that they can keep bringing in traffic and leads.
For this, you must ensure that you create the most useful and in-depth resource on your topic.
How do you do that?
First of all, you need to find the top ranking content on your topic.
For example, let’s take the topic “how to run a faster 5k”
Here’s what I found when I searched for this keyword on Google, look at these search results…
All the articles ranking on the first page for this keyword have a word count of 800 to 1200 words.
To create an evergreen post on this topic that dominates the search results for years, you need to create a post that’s 10x better than anything currently available.
If the longest post on this topic is 1200 words, create an insanely useful guide of 4000 words with much more actionable advice, stats, and expert input.
That’s exactly the strategy Brian Dean has used to dominate the SEO niche which is one of the most competitive on the web.
Look at this resource he published on his blog. The opening line is worth paying attention to…
There were dozens of high-quality guides about eCommerce SEO before Brian published this.
But he made this post 10x more useful, comprehensive, and actionable than anything published online.
As a result, he dominates most of the searches about eCommerce SEO and already has more than 11,000 social shares for this article.
And he’s likely to stay up there for months (even years)
Keep this example in mind when you’re looking to publish better content than your competitors.
If they’ve written a 2000 word post, you should publish 5000 words of useful content (not fluff)
If they’ve used 2 images, you should use 10
Add more data, more examples, more screenshots, and make it more visually appealing than your competitors’ content.
But there’s something else you need to do as well.
Write for a Complete Beginner
Evergreen content can be written for advanced users as well.
But it works the best for complete beginners because they’re the ones who search for such topics the most.
When you start writing a post, think of a complete beginner with basic questions.
Then with every section of your post increase the knowledge level so that by the end of the post your readers graduate to the next level
This HubSpot article is a great example of this, check it out in this screenshot…
It starts with the very basics of content strategy and takes the readers towards the more advanced practices by the end of the post.
This approach benefits you in a couple of ways.
You’re able to give your readers a complete resource on the topic.
You’re able to rank for a lot of different keywords related to your topic since it covers everything from the basics to the intermediate/advanced concepts.
But there’s one more crucial thing to keep in mind while creating evergreen content.
I explain it in the next section
Write on a Narrow Topic for a Specific Audience
The most successful and effective evergreen posts are about very narrow topics that are targeted towards a well-defined audience.
Because by their very nature, evergreen posts are detailed and in-depth. But you can’t make an article in-depth if it talks vaguely about a dozen unrelated topics.
For example, an article that comprehensively covers one money making method is much better than a post that barely scratches the surface of a dozen monetization methods.
We’re almost done here, but there’s one small thing you need to remember when creating evergreen content.
Let me explain in the next heading.
Use Examples and Angles That Are Valid for Years
The language and the examples of your content have a huge impact on its life.
If you frequently use references to short-term events in your content or use angles with a short life, your readers would think your content is outdated.
Using phrases like, “last year” or “this Christmas”, and references to particular events for example “FIFA 2018 World Cup”, “Game of Thrones Finale” etc. can quickly make your content sound outdated even if it has relevant and evergreen information.
For example, see the screenshot below and tell me if this article still looks relevant.
It looks old, right?
The lessons in it might still be valuable, but the moment someone read the title, they’d assume it’s an outdated post.
Compare this with the article in the screenshot below and tell me what you think.
This article is about the best animation companies out there but it doesn’t mention any year.
And even though the language of the title is neutral, the readers would always feel the article is still relevant to them.
So make sure your language isn’t timebound and is valid for years to come.
That’s all you need to know to create evergreen content.
But creating content isn’t enough, is it?
This is why in the next section I’ll share some tips on getting the most out of your evergreen content.
3. Getting the Most Out of Your Evergreen Content
By definition, evergreen content doesn’t require any maintenance or ongoing work.
But there are a few things you must do to keep driving traffic and leads from it.
Let me explain.
Update and Republish Your Content Periodically
Evergreen content doesn’t require any regular updates.
But it is imperative that you review it every few months to see if there’s any potential for improvement.
The topic of your post might be long-term but maybe you could update some of the stats used in it, the examples you’ve cited, the tools you’ve recommended, or the strategies you’ve shared.
It’s not going to be a lot of work, but even small updates can revive your posts and make them much more useful for your audience.
Here at NicheHacks, we regularly review and update our older content for any potential improvements.
And you’d be surprised to know that more often than not, the updated content brings in more traffic than the newer posts.
So don’t underestimate this part.
Promote Evergreen Content on Social Media and Q&A Sites
Evergreen content is much easier to promote on social media, Q&A sites, forums, and other relevant platforms.
Because people keep on asking the same questions again and again on different platforms and you can simply copypaste some of your content in response to their questions and link back to the original post if they’re interested in reading more.
Similarly, you could use a tool like Buffer to automatically share your evergreen content on social media every few days. You will always get engagement on such posts because the interest in those topics never goes away.
For example, a post about “how to start a blog” will get shares even 2-3 years from now.
On the contrary, an article about “Game of Thrones” isn’t likely to draw much interest in a few years because there would be no more hype of that show.
Use Internal Links To Keep Content Alive
Internal links can play a key role in not only driving more traffic to your evergreen posts but also in improving their search rankings.
If you notice, we use a lot of internal links in our posts on NicheHacks.
As a result, our older content keeps getting new readers through those internal links.
It keeps our content alive and helps our readers discover useful advice that they might’ve missed if it wasn’t for the internal links in our newer posts.
Build Backlinks To Stay on Top of Search
Backlinks play a crucial role in determining a site’s search engine ranking.
In fact, here’s what a study by SEMRush found so spend just a few seconds looking at this graph…
The study shows that backlinks and the number of referring domains to a URL are among the top 5 ranking factors.
Creating evergreen content is just one part of the equation.
Building backlinks is an ongoing process so you’ll need to keep acquiring links to sustain your rankings.
Thankfully we have a lot of great advice about link building on our site that you’ll really find useful.
Create an Evergreen Content Hub on Your Site
And last but not least, a simple way to drive more traffic to your evergreen content is to create “Start Here” page, like we’ve done, that acts as an evergreen content hub.
It’s a simple resource page that lists all of our evergreen posts organized by topics and categories.
New readers and visitors regularly visit this page to find our best posts listed in an orderly manner.
It’s an easy way to keep your content alive.
You now know more about evergreen content creation than most people.
But have you seen it live on different sites?
Thankfully, there are several ways and formats in which you can create content that lasts for years.
Let me share a few examples in the next section.
Examples of Evergreen Content Format
There are dozens of formats marketers across different niches have used to create evergreen content.
The infographic below features some of the most common evergreen content formats. Do any of these content types surprise you?
Let me quickly share a few examples of different evergreen content types.
List of Tools and Resources
List the most useful tools and resources for your audience.
Write ultimate guides that cover all the fundamentals of your topic
Beginner’s Guide to Juicing – Everything You Need to Get Started
The Ultimate Guide To Running a Marathon
How-To Posts and Step by Step Tutorials
Posts that practically guide readers to perform a certain task
To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…
Compile timeless tips into one giant list post
History of a Topic
Time travel with your readers and tell them the history of a topic
Expert Round-Up Posts
People never get tired of expert advice.
Case studies are among the most popular content types with the longest lives.
Posts that evoke emotion and motivate people, never get old
These examples are enough to show you the wide range of formats you can use to create timeless content.
The only thing left now, is for you to take action.
Are You Ready To Publish More Evergreen Content?
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be
Evergreen content becomes a business asset every time you publish it.
With every published post, you’ll drive more traffic and more leads with less amount of work.
Content about trending topics and important events has its place, but evergreen content is the foundation on which every successful niche blog is built.
Have a question about this article? Feel free to ask in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind Group.
The post How To Create Evergreen Content: An Actionable Guide To Producing Timeless Blog Posts appeared first on NicheHacks.
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Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works.
Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.
In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it.
The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.
3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience
#1 – Create Serial Content
It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.
“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.
[bctt tweet=”Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. – @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld ” username=”toprank”]
There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content.
At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below:
Wow Your Crowd: How Content Planning Sets the Stage for Unforgettable Experiences
Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections
Wow Your Crowd: How Influencers and Media Integrations Can Add Pizzazz to Your Content Act
#2 – Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully
There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose.
“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi.
For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).
[bctt tweet=”A memorable experience goes a long way. – @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld” username=”toprank”]
#3 – Measure and Optimize
The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?
To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results.
“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One.
He breaks them down like this:
Total view time
Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
Remarketing audience size
Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)
If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.
[bctt tweet=”Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. – Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance ” username=”toprank”]
Experience Is Your Content Differentiator
Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.
Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to.
We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.
The post Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
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Posted by LilyRayNYC
Structured data (Schema markup) is a powerful tool SEOs can use to efficiently deliver the most important information on our webpages to search engines. When applied effectively across all relevant entities, Schema markup provides significant opportunities to improve a website’s SEO performance by helping search engines to better understand its content.
While Schema.org is continuously expanding and refining its documentation, Google updates its list of supported features that are eligible to be displayed as rich organic results far less frequently. When they happen, these updates are exciting because they give marketers new ways to affect how their organic listings appear in Google’s search results. To make things even more interesting, some of this year’s new Schema types offer the unique opportunity for marketers to use Schema to drive clicks to more than one page on their site through just one organic listing.
Three new Schema types worth focusing on are FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema, all of which present great opportunities to improve organic search traffic with eye-catching, real estate-grabbing listing features. By strategically implementing these Schema types across eligible page content, marketers can dramatically increase their pages’ visibility in the search results for targeted keywords — especially on mobile devices.
Pro tip: When rolling out new Schema, use the Rich Results Testing Tool to see how your Schema can appear in Google’s search results. Google Search Console also offers reporting on FAQ, HowTo, and Q&A Schema along with other Schema types in its Rich Results Status Report.
According to Google, FAQ Schema can be used on any page that contains a list of questions and answers on any particular topic. That means FAQ Schema doesn’t have to be reserved only for company FAQ pages; you can create a “frequently asked questions” resource on any topic and use the Schema to indicate that the content is structured as an FAQ.
FAQ Schema is a particularly exciting new Schema type due to how much real estate it can capture in the organic listings. Marking up your FAQ content can create rich results that absolutely dominate the SERP, with the potential to take up a huge amount of vertical space compared to other listings. See the below example on mobile:
Like all Schema, the FAQ content must be a 100 percent match to the content displayed on the page, and displaying different content in your Schema than what is displayed on the page can result in a manual action. Google also requires that the content marked up with FAQ Schema is not used for advertising purposes.
Impacts on click-through rate
There is some risk involved with implementing this Schema: if the content is too informational in nature, it can create a situation where users to get the answers they need entirely within the search results. This is exactly what happened when we first rolled out FAQ Schema for one of our clients at Path Interactive — impressions to the page surged, but clicks fell just as quickly.
This conundrum led to us discover the single most exciting feature of FAQ Schema: The fact that Google supports links and other HTML within the answers. Look for opportunities within your FAQ answers to link to other relevant pages on your site, and you can use FAQ Schema to drive organic users to more than one page on your website. This is a great way to use informational content to drive users to your product or service pages.
Note that this tactic should be done within reason: The links to other pages should actually provide value to the user, and they must also be added to the page content so the Schema code is a 100 percent match with the content on the page. Check out my other detailed article on implementing FAQ Schema, which includes recommendations around tagging links in FAQ answers so you can monitor how the links are performing, and for distinguishing clicks to the FAQ links from your other organic listings.
HowTo Schema is another new Schema type that can be used to enhance articles containing instructions on “how to” do something. Like FAQ Schema, Google lays out certain content requirements about what can and can’t be marked up with HowTo Schema, including:
Not marking up offensive, violent or explicit contentThe entire content of each “step” must be marked upNot using HowTo markup to advertise a productIncluding relevant images, as well as materials and tools used to complete the taskHowTo should not be used for Recipes, which have their own Schema
Unfortunately, unlike FAQ Schema, the text included within each HowTo step is not linkable. However, the individual steps themselves can become links to an anchor on your page that corresponds to each step in the process, if you include anchored links and images in your HowTo markup.
HowTo has two visual layouts:
One layout includes image thumbnails for each step in the process. With this layout, users can click on each step and be taken directly to that step on your page. Anchored (#) links also appear separately in Google Search Console, so you can track impressions and clicks to each step in your HowTo process.
The second HowTo layout uses accordions to display the steps.
One added benefit of HowTo Schema is its voice search potential: properly marked up HowTo content is eligible to be read aloud by Google Assistant devices. When voice searchers ask their Google Assistants for help with a task that is best answered with a “how to” guide, content marked up with HowTo Schema will be more likely to be read aloud as the answer.
Like FAQ Schema, HowTo markup presents pros and cons for marketers. Given that the rich result takes up so much space in the SERP, it’s a great way to make your listing stand out compared to competing results. However, if users can get all the information they need from your marked-up content within the search results, it may result in fewer clicks going to your website, which coincides with Google’s rise in no-click searches.
In rolling out HowTo markup, it’s important to monitor the impact the Schema has on your impressions, clicks, and rankings for the page, to make sure the Schema is producing positive results for your business. For publishers whose sites rely on ad revenue, the potential loss in click-through-rate might not be worth the enhanced appearance of HowTo markup in the search results.
Does HowTo markup earn featured snippets for “how to” queries?
Given that virtually every “How To” query generates a Featured Snippet result, I wanted to see whether there was any correlation between implementing HowTo Schema and earning Featured Snippets. I conducted an analysis of 420 URLs currently ranking in Featured Snippets for common “how to” queries, and only 3 these pages are currently using HowTo markup. While this Schema type is still relatively new, it doesn’t appear to be the case that using HowTo markup is a prerequisite for earning the Featured Snippet for “how to” queries.
Q&A Schema is another new Schema type used for pages that contain a question and a way for users to submit answers to that question. The Q&A Schema should be applied only on pages that have one question as the main focus on the page — not a variety of different questions. In its documentation, Google also distinguishes between Q&A and FAQ markup: If users are not able to add their own answers to the question, FAQ markup should be used instead.
Q&A Schema is great for forums or other online message boards where users can ask a question and the community can submit answers, such as the Moz Q&A Forum.
Google strongly recommends that Q&A Schema include a URL that links directly to each individual answer to improve user experience. As with HowTo Schema, this can be done using anchor (#) links, which can then be monitored individually in Google Search Console.
Blending Schema types
Another exciting new development with these new Schema types is the opportunity to blend multiple types of Schema that generate rich results on the same page. FAQ Schema in particular works as a great supplement to other Schema types, such as Product or Professional Service, which can generate stars, review counts, or other attributes in the SERP. Below is an example of how these combined Schema types can look on mobile:
If it makes sense for your content, it may be worth testing adding FAQ or HowTo markup to pages that already have other Schema types that generate rich results. It’s possible that Google will display multiple rich result types at once for certain queries, or it could change the rich appearance of your listing depending on the query. This could potentially lead to a big increase in the click-through-rate given how much space these mixed results take up in the SERP.
Note: there is no guarantee Google will always display blended Schema types the way it currently does for websites who have already done this implementation. Google is always changing how it displays rich results, so it’s important to test this on your own pages and see what Google chooses to display.
Risks involved with implementing Schema
It would be irresponsible to write about using Schema without including a warning about the potential risks involved. For one, Google maintains specific criteria about how Schema should be used, and misusing the markup (whether intentionally or not) can result in a structured data manual action. A common way this occurs is when the JSON-LD code includes information that is not visible for users on the page.
Secondly, it can be tempting to implement Schema markup without thoroughly thinking through the impact it can have on the click-through-rate of the page. It is possible that Schema markup can result in such a positive user experience within the SERP, that it can actually cause a decline in click-through-rate and less traffic to your site (as users get all the information they need within the search results). These considerations require that marketers think strategically about whether and how to implement Schema to ensure they are not only complying with Google’s guidelines but also using Schema in a way that will provide meaningful results for their websites.
Lastly, it is possible that Google will update its quality guidelines around how rich results are displayed if they find that these new Schema types are leading to spam or low-quality results.
Avoid misusing Schema, or it’s possible Google might take away these fantastic opportunities to enhance our organic listings in the future.
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Are you looking to create a custom WordPress theme from scratch? Previously, you had to follow the WordPress codex and have coding knowledge to build a custom theme for yourself. Luckily things have improved and now anyone can create a completely custom WordPress theme within an hour without coding knowledge. In this video, we will show you how to easily create a custom theme without writing any code using Beaver Themer.
To start this guide you will need to purchase Beaver builder with their Beaver Themer addon. You can go to the Beaver Builder site here:
Once you have that purchased you would want to go to your WordPress site and upload the plugin under Plugins, Add New, and click the Upload Plugin button on the top left of the page with the plugin active, we will install the theme we will be using on the site, for this tutorial we will be using the Astra theme:
With the Astra theme we will set up the basic layout we’re wanting for the page such as showing no sidebar for the default and any custom page setup you would prefer. Next, go under Beaver Builder, Add New, title your design, and set it to themer layout and choose the section you want to modify.
You will now have the option to customize the design and style of your theme from a sticky header to changing the header to a specific location or adding a rule for how it is displayed. With that set up you can click the Launch Beaver Builder button to bring up the drag and drop interface of Beaver builder to customize the theme to what you’re wanting.
Beaver Builder included header and footer options as well as content areas for different types of posts. Singular being the default for post and page content so to edit the content you would edit your singular template. This template is where you would modify your content display, post title, and comments area, while the archive template is where you would modify the posts page.
If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:
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“Perhaps more than any other art form, comedy cannot exist for its own sake,” according to comedian Andrew Orvedahl in an essay published a few years back. “Comedy requires a bond between performer and audience. And if either ingredient sucks, comedy doesn’t happen.”
He’s right, but we could swap in content marketing for comedy and the statement would still hold plenty of weight. If your content isn’t connecting and resonating with your audience, it may as well not exist. This is one of the most critical skills of the discipline, and also one of the most difficult to harness.
While a standup comic can read the room, scanning faces in the crowd for signs of reception and gauging the volume of laughter and applause, content marketers face a greater challenge. We can’t typically interpret reactions in such a direct manner, meaning we must lean on our intuition, research, and analytics to assess whether our efforts are hitting home.
To help you master this essential capability, we enlisted some of the best in the biz when it comes to understanding and relating to their audiences in an authentic way. Their guidance for show-stopping performances are featured in our new interactive experience, Witness the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth, courtesy of TopRank Marketing, Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and a lineup of awesome CMWorld speakers.
Today we’ll explore their (and our) specific insights around the vital art of audience connections.
Three Keys to Creating Powerful Audience Connections
#1 – Learn About Your Audience
MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley is basically a comedian and content marketer wrapped up into one package (her contribution to the CMWorld preview literally opens with a joke, which is the least surprising thing ever). As such, her advice on this particular topic is especially pertinent.
“Delighting your audience includes understanding your customers, and understanding how your prospects or customers interact with your brand,” she says. One of her suggestions for doing so is to “Undercover Boss your own brand,” referring to the television show in which corporate executives step into a low-level roles at their companies — incognito style — to gain a more accurate understanding of what’s really happening in the trenches.
[bctt tweet=”Sign up for your own service. Opt-in to your own email list. Place a call to your support center. Interact on your social channels. Ask a customer care rep what patterns they see day in, day out. — @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]
At TopRank Marketing, completing due diligence around the people we hope to reach — their aspirations, pains, and needs — is an integral component of launching a new content program. As Ann suggests, it’s important to adopt your customer’s point of view and gain a truly empathetic perspective.
Sometimes this means simply asking ourselves questions in a different way. Instead of “How can we raise brand awareness?” ask “Why would people want to be aware of our brand?” Instead of “How do we define success for our marketing efforts?” ask “How do we define success for our audience?”
As any comedian knows, just because a joke is funny in our head doesn’t mean it’ll be funny to a room full of strangers.
#2 – Confront the Personalization Conundrum
One of the most pervasive hurdles in modern content marketing is personalization at scale. It’s written about often, here and elsewhere, because it’s a pivotal objective and also a paradoxical dilemma. As Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner astutely (and humorously) puts it, the phrase itself seems to be a contradiction:
[bctt tweet=”Personalization at scale is kind of an oxymoron like ‘jumbo shrimp.’ I love shrimp. And content marketing. So if you love shrimp and content marketing, we have a lot in common. See what I did there? — @BrennerMichael” username=”toprank”]
He goes on to note that the ways to overcome this discrepancy are to “know something about your audience” and “be able to deliver a tailored piece of content to those unique characteristics.”
“It doesn’t have to be individualized,” he adds, “just tailored.”
Content marketers can accomplish this by creating more defined and descriptive audience segments (or personas). This is fundamental to our approach at TopRank Marketing, and it can take many forms. Sometimes it’s about whittling down your target audience to the most valuable prospective customers and tightly orienting your content to their role and professional context — even if that means turning away readers who don’t fall into the category. Other times, it might mean leveraging an account-based marketing approach, and refining your focus on the companies you’d really like to land.
As I’ve written here before, effective personalization is instrumental to trust:
Personalization is the surest way to build a rapport in the digital space. When we fail to connect, it sets off immediate alarms. Personalization comes in many forms. It can be as sophisticated as using adaptive AI, or as simple as narrowing the scope and voice of your content to resonate with very specific audiences. Whatever the approach, customers clearly want it. And the potential revenue benefits are undeniable.
#3 – Invite Feedback, and Take It Seriously
Jerry Seinfeld’s elite penchant for generating laughs is rare among standup comedians, but his process for vetting jokes is not. He’s very attentive to the crowd’s reactions to each of his quips. This excerpt from a New York Times profile, describing his period of reflection after a set, says it all:
Seinfeld retired to a dressing room, plopping down beside a bucket of bottled water. I congratulated him on the performance. “I’d say two-thirds of that set was garbage,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Whether it was lines coming out wrong or the rhythm being off.” He said he’d counted “probably eight” jokes that failed to get the kinds of laughs he desired. “There’s different kinds of laughs,” he explained. “It’s like a baseball lineup: this guy’s your power hitter, this guy gets on base, this guy works out walks. If everybody does their job, we’re gonna win.”
I liken the unsatisfactory laughs to vanity metrics in content marketing. Sure, you might’ve gotten the requisite impressions and clicks, but were they meaningful? Are they moving the needle? Are they indicative of audience delight?
To reach these important conclusions, we need to facilitate the feedback loop. We need to create dialogues instead of one-way conversations. And as Tameka Vasquez of Genpact points out, “In a dialogue, you cannot truly listen if you’re just impatiently waiting for your turn to speak.”
[bctt tweet=”We pump out content and then wait until it’s our turn to speak again and pump out some more per our content calendars. What use is it if neither side is listening? — @tameka_vasquez” username=”toprank”]
With this in mind, it’s important to craft your content strategy and editorial calendar with the audience’s voice in mind. One method for doing this, as our Josh Nite suggests in his rundown of content planning tips, is by leaning on user-generated content: “Still stuck with a few blank spaces in your calendar? Let your audience fill them in for you. User-generated content helps foster community, builds enthusiasm for your offering, lets customers see real-world examples of what your company can do, and a host of other benefits.”
Other methods for eliciting this type of feedback include chatbots, conversations with your sales team, in-depth analysis of website user behavior, and more.
Delivering Great Experiences is No Laughing Matter
Comedians might make a living by telling jokes, but they take their work as seriously as anyone. Their careers depend on forging connections with audiences, and they know the best way to retain and grow those audiences is by delivering an enjoyable, memorable experience that leaves fans walking away smiling. Sound familiar?
You’ll experience plenty of laughs and learnings at Content Marketing World 2019 when the curtains open on Sept. 3 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on dazzling your audience in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.
The post Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
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It’s easy to find writers; they’re everywhere — from a one-second Google search to asking on LinkedIn.
But hiring the best ones? That’s the daunting task marketers and business owners face. And you do not just need writers, you need exceptional SEO content writers.
Mainly because that’s what Google (aka the largest traffic driver of most sites) has clearly been clamoring for since their Panda update in 2011, RankBrain in 2015, and their “Fred” update (and by the way, Gary Illyes from Google coined “Fred’ for every unnamed Google update) in March, 2017.
It’s obvious how each of these major updates communicates Google’s preference for excellent SEO writers:
If you’re a frequent Moz reader, you probably know how they work — but if not: Panda penalizes every webpage with content that adds little to no value to people online, giving more visibility to content pieces that do. On its own, the RankBrain update has made Google almost as smart as humans — when choosing the most relevant and high-quality content to rank on page #1 of search engine result pages (SERPs).
The “Fred” update further tackled sites with low-quality content that aren’t doing anything beyond providing information that’s already available on the internet. It also penalized sites that prioritized revenue above user experience.
After this update, 100+ sites saw their traffic drop by 50 percent to 90 percent.
It is evident that Google has, through these core updates, been requiring brands, publishers, and marketers to work with SEO content writers who know their onions; the ones who know how to write with on-page SEO mastery.
But how do you find these exceptional wordsmiths? Without a plan, you will have to screen tens (or even hundreds) of them to find those who are a good fit.
But let’s make it easier for you. Essentially, your ideal SEO writers should have two key traits:
Good on-page SEO expertiseA great eye for user experience (i.e. adding relevant images, formatting, etc.)
A writer with these two skills is a great SEO writer. But let’s dig a bit deeper into what that means.
(Note: this post is about hiring exceptional SEO content writers — i.e., wordsmiths who don’t need you monitoring them to do great work. So, things can get a bit techie as you read on. I’ll be assuming your ideal writer understands or is responsible for things like formatting, on-page SEO, and correctly uploading content into your CMS.)
1. On-page SEO knowledge
By now, you know what on-page SEO is. But if not, it’s simply the elements you put on a site or web page to let search engines understand that you have content on specific topics people are searching for.
So, how do you know if a writer has good on-page SEO knowledge?
Frankly, “Can you send me your previous writing samples?” is the ideal question to ask any writer you’re considering hiring. Once they show their samples, have them walk you through each one, and ask yourself the following questions:
Question A: Do they have ‘focus keywords’ in their previous samples?
Several factors come into play when trying to rank any page, but your ideal writer must know how to hold things down on the keyword side of things.
Look through their samples; see if they have optimized any content piece for a specific keyword in the past so you can know if they’ll be able to do the same for your content.
Question B: How do they use title tags?
Search engines use title tags to detect the headings in your content.
You know how it works: put “SEO strategy” — for example — in a few, relevant headings on a page and search engines will understand the page is teaching SEO strategy.
Essentially, your ideal SEO writer should understand how to use them to improve your rankings and attract clicks from your potential customers in search results.
Are title tags really that important? They are. Ahrefs, for instance, made their title tag on a page more descriptive and this alone upped their traffic by 37.58%.
So, look through the titles in your candidate’s samples, especially the h1 title. Here’s what you should look for when examining how a candidate uses HTML tags:
i. Header tags should, ideally, not be more than 60 characters. This is to avoid results that look like this in SERPs:
(three dots in front of your titles constitutes bad UX — which Google frowns at)
ii. The subheadings should be h2 (not necessarily, but it’s a plus)
iii. Headings under subtopics should be h3 (also not necessary, but it’s a plus)
Look for these qualities in your candidate’s work and you’ll be able to confirm that they properly implement title tags in their content, and can do the same for you.
But some writers may not have control over the title tags in their published works — that is, the sites they wrote for probably didn’t give them such access. In this case, request samples they published on their own site, where they actually have control over these tags.
Question C: What do they know about internal linking?
Orbit Media once shared how they used internal linking to shoot a blog post from position #29 up to #4.
So, it’s important that your writers know how to contextually link to your older content pieces while writing new content. And it works for good reason; internal linking helps you:
Communicate the relevance and value of your pages to Google (the more links a page gets, the more authority it has in Google’s eyes)
Demonstrate to Google that your site contains in-depth content about any specific topic
Tell Google your site has easy navigation — which means it has good UX and is well-structured.
Internal linking is a major key to search ranking, so you need writers who have internal linking in their pocketful of tools. But also ensure they do it using proper anchor texts; in a recent LinkedIn post, expert editor Rennie Sanusi hinted at two key anchor text elements to look for in your candidate’s samples:
[Anchor texts] should clearly explain where they’ll take your reader to[Anchor texts] shouldn’t be too long
Question D: Do they write long-form content?
The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,800+ words long — according to research from Backlinko.
Google has been all about in-depth content since its inception; you’re probably familiar with their mission statement:
Every algorithm change they make is geared toward achieving this mission statement, and ranking long-form content helps them in the process as well.
Because, to them, writing longer content means you’re putting more information that searchers are looking for into your content.
So you need writers who can produce long-form content. Check their samples and confirm they know how to write long-form content on a regular basis.
Question E: Have they ranked for any important keywords?
Ultimately, you need to see examples of important keywords your ideal content writer has ranked for in the past. This is the utmost test of their ability to actually drive search traffic your way.
That’s it for finding writers who know on-page SEO. But as you know, that’s only one part of the skills that makes a great SEO content writer.
The other important bit is their ability to write content that engages humans. In other words, they need to know how to keep people reading a page for several minutes (or even hours), leading them to take actions that are important to your business.
2. A great eye for user experience
Keeping readers on a page for long durations also improves your ranking.
In the aforementioned Backlinko study, researchers analyzed 100,000 sites and found that “websites with low average bounce rates are strongly correlated with higher rankings.”
And you know what that means; your ideal SEO writer should not only write to rank on search engines, they must also write to attract and keep the attention of your target audience.
So, look for the following in their samples:
Headlines and introductions that hook readers
You need writers who are expert enough to know the types of headlines and opening paragraphs that work.
It’s not a hard skill to spot; look through their samples. If their titles and introductions don’t hook you, they probably won’t hook your audience. It’s really that simple.
Explainer images and visuals
The report also revealed that: “Content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images.”
But of course, they have to be relevant images (or other visual types). And many times (if not most of the time), that means explainer images — so look out for those in their samples. And there are two examples of explainer images:
Example #1: Explainer images with text and pointers
This one has elements (an arrow and a text) on it, explaining how the image is relevant to the topic the content is about.
Example #2: Explainer images without text and pointers
Why does this image not have any text or arrows on it? It’s a self-explanatory screenshot, that’s why.
As long as it’s used appropriately — where the “online sales of Nike products” is mentioned in the content — it gets its message across.
In general, your ideal SEO writers need to know how to use tools like Skitch and Canva to create these images. Remember, you’re on a hunt for the exceptional ones.
References and citing resources
Your ideal writer should link to stats or studies that make their points stronger. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Check the links in their samples and make sure they cite genuine resources.
Illustrations make understanding easier. Especially if you’re in a technical industry (and most industries have their geeky side), your ideal writer should know how to explain their points with examples.
Simply search their samples — using Command + F (or Ctrl F if you’re using Windows) — for “example,” “instance,” or “illustration.” This works, because writers usually mention things like “for example,” or “for instance” when providing illustrations.
Excellent SEO content writers = Higher search rankings
Getting SEO content writers who have all the skills I’ve mentioned in this article are possible to find. And hiring them means higher search rankings for your content. These writers are, again, everywhere. But here’s the thing — and you’ve probably heard it before: You get what you pay for.
Exceptional SEO content writers are your best bet, but they’re not cheap. They can send your search traffic through the roof, but, like you: They want to work for people who can afford the quality they provide. So, if you’re going on a hunt for them, ready your wallet.
But ensure you get their samples and ask the questions in this guide as you deem fit. If you’re paying for content that’ll help you rank higher on Google, then you really should get what you pay for.
Did you find any of my tips helpful? Let me know in the comments below!
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