Content

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Tapping into a new market: The pitfalls of international SEO & content creation

Your brand is established in the UK, you are looking to expand, and you might have already discovered a new, lucrative market. You have the business relationships it needs, shipment sorted and everything else to start selling in that market. The only thing that is missing is your digital marketing. Your content specialist says: “We’ll hire a translator on UpWork.” Your SEO specialist adds: “We need to implement hreflang tags.” That’s it, you’re done! Not so fast… three months in and you are wondering why your marketing and digital PR aren’t working…

Can we just translate this?

Translation fail at a shop window, Source: https://www.boredpanda.com/translation-fails/If only things were that easy. There is no such thing as “just translate”. Translating is a skill to learn. Being a native speaker of a language is a good start, but it doesn’t make a good translator. Whoever you get to do the job, check their background and experience and always check their translation, ideally by a proof-reader. If you have anybody in-house who speaks the language in question, ask them to take a look at the translated text to see if it reads natural to them and makes sense. If it doesn’t, you have a clear sign of a bad translation. In the best case, this will only cause for your brand not appearing in search, in the worst case you will embarrass yourself and damage your brand. The best translation fails have been collected by boredpanda.com, a comedian couldn’t entertain you better.

Translating keywords

Apart from incorrect translations or bad quality, there is another potential issue with a translation when it comes to SEO: keywords. Language is always tied to mentality and culture and there are certain concepts that cannot be expressed in the same way in different languages. Sometimes there is no word for it, sometimes you have more than one word in the other language. You can start with a translation of the keywords in question and use those as a starting point for your keyword research in that market.

Let’s take an example we are all familiar with: coffee. In the UK, a “Café Latte” is a common drink to order. You enter a coffee shop in Germany, and you order a “Latte Macchiato”. It seems to be a close match and you get a coffee with milk. You enter another coffee shop and you order a “Milchkaffee”. It is slightly different, but still you get the type of drink you want. You then go to a restaurant and in your best German, you ask for the price of a “Milchkaffee” because you cannot find it in the menu. The waitress nods and points to a drink called “Café au lait”. Are you already confused? Let’s back this up with some search volumes (taken from ahrefs.com):

Screenshot of coffee related keywords from ahrefs.com

Screenshot taken from ahrefs.com on 17/08/2020

Search intent

Looking at the above search data, you clearly would optimise your page about a coffee with milk for “Latte Macchiato” in Germany, but are you sure they all mean the same?

Let’s take a look at the local SERPs for those keywords in Germany:

Latte Macchiato:

Screenshot: SERPs for Latte Macchiato in Germany

Milchkaffee:

Screenshot: SERPs for Milchkaffee in Germany

Café au lait:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe au Lait in Germany

Already at this point, we can say that Latte Macchiato is a different type of drink than a Milchkaffee whereas Milchkaffee and Café au lait seem to be the same thing. One of them is simply a French word that makes it sounds a bit posher.

Café Latte:

Screenshot: SERPs for Cafe Latte in Germany

This is where it gets interesting. The images suggest this to be a slightly different presentation of coffee, but the knowledge graph suggests a “Milchkaffee”. Whereas the Café au lait though was described as being French, the Café Latte lists Italy as the country of origin. The description also mentions Espresso with steamed milk which would place it closer to a Cappuccino whereas the Milchkaffee is described as filter coffee with milk. Can this get any more complicated?

Kaffee mit Milch:

Screenshot: SERPs in Germany for Kaffee mit Milch

The literal translation would be “coffee with milk”. Traditionally, this would be a filter coffee or Americano with a tiny sip of milk and is the way most Germans drink their coffee. The SERPs though do not mention this. The intent behind that search query insinuates a health concern about coffee and explains the positive effect that milk in your coffee can have on your stomach.

By translating one simple coffee drink, we have tapped deep into the German coffee landscape and have already identified at least three different search intents and target audiences.

Title tags and meta descriptions

Keywords aren’t the only thing that can quickly turn into a minefield when it comes to translations and new markets: Title tags and meta descriptions. The first thing that comes to mind are the character limits, but those are not even an issue if you do it right. Let’s get straight to the point: Title tags and meta descriptions require transcreation, not translation. They are like your advertising line that needs to resonate with your audience and create an emotional reaction. In some cases, and for certain language pairs, a translation can work, but in most cases, you will end up with a boring sentence that won’t engage a native speaker. Good examples for this are movie and book titles that are often transcreated across markets. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular movies of all time and their literal translations:

Original English title German title Literal translation of German title French title Literal translation of French title
The parent trap Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein A twin rarely comes alone À nous quatre The four of us
Miracle on 34th Street Das Wunder von Manhattan Miracle of Manhattan Le Miracle sur la 34e rue Miracle on 34th Street
Saving Private Ryan Der Soldat James Ryan The soldier James Ryan Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan We must save the soldier Ryan
The Holiday Liebe braucht keine Ferien Love doesn’t need a vacation The Holiday The Holiday
Frozen Die Eiskönigin – Völlig unverfroren The Ice Queen – Completely Insolent La Reine des neiges The Snow Queen
The Notebook Wie ein einziger Tag Like a single day N’oublie jamais Never forget

 

Local requirements

Before you go off and translate your content that you have on your English website, there is one more question to ask yourself: Is that topic relevant to the new market? Local customs and culture should be taken into account.

Which products the market is interested in

Shyam Dattani of Searchmetrics held a talk recently at the BrightonSEO Advanced Search Summit about the use of data. Within his data set was a perfect example as to how different markets show different interest for similar products. The product in question is fireplaces and he analysed the data for the US, the UK and Germany.

All three countries see an increase in search volume towards the end of the year when it starts getting colder outside.  The increase though is highest in the US related to the Thanksgiving celebrations.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

When looking at the overall developments in search volume over a few years, Shyam discovered surprisingly that the levels are equally high in Germany and the US, although the US is a much bigger market in terms of population than Germany.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

 

By looking at this data, the UK would not be the main market to target, the opportunity is much bigger in the other two markets. Shyam went a step further to look at the different products and it is again a surprising result:

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

Slide from the presentation by Shyam Dattani on 31st July 2020.

This data makes it obvious which of your content you would localize for the US and which content you would translate into German first.

Local customs and traditions

We already mentioned the US celebration of Thanksgiving as an important clue to find out which products are of interest in each country at a given time. Cultural awareness can help with business decisions, additional products and inform your marketing and content ideas. At this time of the year, there is one product booming for example in Germany that cannot be translated into English: the “Schultüte”, also known as “Zuckertüte”.

Screenshot of a dictionary for the term Schultuete

Screenshot taken from the online dictionary de.pons.com on 17/08/2020

The first day of school is an important celebration in Germany as a rite of passage. There is a formal ceremony before the whole family gathers for a big garden party. Gifts are usually presented in this colourful cardboard cone knows as “Schultüte”.

Key take-aways

To sum this up with some practical tips, we can bring it down to four main points that matter when taking a website global:

  • Work with experienced translators and proof-readers
  • Transcreate over translate (this includes keyword research)
  • Use data and research the market
  • Get somebody with native knowledge on your team

Next week, we will talk more about digital PR for international markets and what to be aware of.

Content Marketing Conferences to Attend in 2020
1024 682 Jane Hunt

Marketing Conferences to attend in 2020

After a positive experience at MozCon 2020 last month, it is time to look at other conferences – virtual and in real life – that the year 2020 has to offer. Many conferences have been cancelled or postponed but there is still plenty of choice.

As experts in digital PR and outreach those talks are the ones we prefer, but we are taking a look at other marketing areas such as SEO, content marketing, advertising, social media and analytics too.

Here’s what marketers can look forward to for the remainder of this year:

Social Media: Social Media Marketing Festival

September 1st to 3rd

Passes start at £99

Fully Virtual

This conference is aimed at any social media marketer. During Social Day, there will be talks about Instagram, TikTok, Facebook Ads, Influencer marketing and social listening. There will be networking opportunities at this virtual event to discuss latest trends and updated in social media. Ticket prices start from £99.

All-round Marketing: Inbound

September 22nd to 23rd

Free tickets available

Fully virtual

This conference offers something for everyone in marketing with talks about SEO, content, customer success, social media and analytics. There are still Starter Passes available for free, Powerhouse Passes are priced at $89 and provide full access.

Digital Analytics: Measure Camp

September 26th

Free to attend (limited availability)

London

Measure Camp is a London-based conference about anything related to analytics and measuring success. It is labelled as “unconference” because there is no agenda. It is decided on the day and talks will be held by fellow attendees. There will be training workshops on Friday 20th September. Tickets are available for free but are issued in batches and limited to 3 attendees per company. The next release will be on 15th August at 8pm.

SEO: BrightonSEO

October 1st to 2nd

Passes start at £235

Brighton, UK

After this must-go conference for any SEO in the UK had been cancelled in April due to COVID-19, it is now planned for October. Tickets remain valid, any new ticket can be purchased for £235, but the price will increase on 18th September. JBH’s co-founder Jane Hunt will be speaking about digital marketing at the next BrightonSEO conference.

All-round marketing: Festival of Marketing

October 5th to 9th

Early bird tickets for £199

Fully Virtual

FoM is going virtual in 2020 and will cover several aspects of marketing and branding from client relationships to lead generation, customer journeys, market research and data-driven strategies. Early bird tickets are still available for £199, the price will go up to £249. If you buy 5 tickets, it will be £149 per person.

Advertising: Advertising Week

September 29th to October 8th

Delegate Passes for £99

Fully Virtual

Advertising week has gone fully virtual this year with talks from different angles: academic, technology, marketing, brands, creative and more. If you buy 2 passes, the third one is free with access to all sessions, masterclasses and networking.

User-experience: UX Camp Brighton

October 10th

Awaiting next ticket release

Hove (near Brighton, UK)

UX Camp Brighton is an unconference and a non-profit event run by volunteers. Sessions will be held by attendees. It covers UX and design topics including product design, user research and information architecture. The conference had been postponed from March to October due to COVID-19 and tickets remain valid. More tickets might be released soon.

All-round marketing: PubCon Pro Las Vegas

October 12th to 15th

Passes start at $149

Fully Virtual

This all-round marketing conference is one of the most popular ones and this year, it will be available as a virtual event. You won’t have to fly to Las Vegas to attend PubCon Pro. If you only want to watch the video recordings, you can get access for $149. Full access to sessions, exhibit hall and events are included in the gold pass starting at $199. Prices will increase on September 1st.

Content Marketing: Content Marketing World

October 13th to 16th

Passes start at $699

Fully virtual

In over 100 sessions, workshops and forums, every aspect of content marketing will be covered. from storytelling to email marketing, in-house or agency side to tips and tricks for better collaboration with other teams. There are 3 different access passes available from $699 to $999.

Social Media: Social Media Week London

October 21st to 22nd

Ticket prices TBC

London, UK

With more than 200 speakers, every aspect of social media marketing will be explored during Social Media Week. The main themes for 2020 focus on what it means to take a human-first and experience-driven approach to marketing and will cover everything from content creation to measurement and monetization. Tickets have not been released yet, but you can register your interest.

B2B Marketing: MarketingProfs B2B Forum

November 4th to 5th

Passes for $595

Fully virtual

This conference is aimed at B2B marketing with more than 40 talks from industry experts. The ticket price includes a one-year Pro Subscription and provides access to all training materials by Marketing Profs.

Product Marketing: Product Marketing Summit

December 2nd to 3rd

Passes start at £795

London, UK

The Product Marketing Summit is the conference for Product Marketing Managers all around the world. The London conference will be held on 2nd and 3rd December 2020, further summits will be held across the USA, Australia and Europe in 2021. Early bird tickets are available until the end of September and start at £795.

24 Types of content you can create beyond an infographic
1024 682 Jane Hunt

24 types of content you can create beyond an infographic

For some in the digital PR industry, infographics are an outdated technique, for others it is still a valid type of content and for outreach agencies, they have proven to be phenomenally successful to attract visitors and links. The reason for this is that an infographic combines data and story telling and makes information easily accessible for a wide audience.

Stories and data are the ingredients of creative link building and for every successful backlink campaign, you need to decide at some point how you want to tell your story, in other words: what type of content you want to create.

We can generally differentiate between text, visual, audio and interactive content and we can identify four different functions:

  • Attraction (attract the right audience)
  • Affinity (make the audience trust and like you)
  • Action (make the audience take an action)
  • Authority (demonstrate experience and establish yourself as an authority)

When you create content for digital PR and content marketing, it should fulfil all 4 functions and the chances of success increase remarkably if it triggers an emotional response.

Whilst infographics tick all of these boxes (and have for several years), we cannot ignore the fact that the world keeps on moving and consider new alternatives that involve virtual and augmented reality and the rise of audio content in the shape of podcasts.

These are the opportunities you have for content marketing in 2020

1. Podcasts

We all have heard of or even listened to a podcast in recent times. They are on a steep rise and can be considered the most popular type of content these days, statistical data confirms the popularity of podcasts. But is it the right type of content for your campaigns? Think about how you can transform your data story into an audio format. Maybe you can conduct expert interviews to tell the story, but also keep in mind that a podcast might not be the right format and it requires some audio editing skills to sound professional. Apart from that, podcasts are a frequent and regular format, not a one-off.

2. Checklists & Listicles

Content in the shape of a list has always worked and will continue to work because it makes data visually accessible by working like a road map and providing quick answers. In times where attention spans get shorter and readers become lazy and opposed to long pieces of text, a list becomes ever more attractive. Listicles, best ways and top X- headlines usually generate a good number of clicks. The best examples for this type of content are travel checklists such as the one by Eaglecreek.com or the below by Smartertravel.com:

The Ultimate Packing List by SmarterTravel

Listicles are popular in any industry and for any topic, but also for this one, travel is the one that gets our attention as Lonelyplanet.com proves with the yearly “best in travel”:

3. How-to-content

The success behind this type of content can be found in the fact that the reader learns something new by reading or watching. “How to” also is a popular query that users ask search engines such a Google for if they seek advice when confronted with a complicated task. This type of content is often realized in a video tutorial. The first use case that comes to mind are DIY tasks, this example of B&Q proves that:

Screenshot of a B&Q video about how to fix a dripping tap

4. Video content

This leads us to the next type of content that has been increasing in popularity over the past decade: videos. The above is an example for a video tutorial, but you can also use this format for demonstrations of how a product works, customer testimonials or explainer videos with catchy animations. “Catchy” is the keyword here because in times where 15-second-videos on TikTok are on the rise and attention spans decreasing, your video needs to be ever more engaging, educational and entertaining to make it past the first few seconds.

5. Case studies

This is the type of content that allows you to show your expertise and the work you have previously done successfully. Think about how you want to explain what you have done and what you have achieved. Here at JBH we have run several campaigns in the past that we have analysed in our digital PR case studies.

6. Webinars, slides & presentations

Webinars have been around for quite some time but have seen a recent rise during the times of COVID-19 since in-person-conferences and meetups have been put on hold. Running a webinar allows you to prove your expertise and can in similar ways as how-to-content attract an audience that is looking for specific information or to expand their knowledge. A webinar is also a good opportunity for content syndication as you can create additional content such as a video recording, slide shows and presentations that will keep on attracting visitors until the topic becomes outdated. At JBH we have embedded this into our strategy as well, e.g. in the webinar about Digital PR during a pandemic.

7. Expert roundups and interviews

This type of content might come as part of your webinar: You can invite experts of your industry that present at your webinar, you can interview them or even organise a panel discussion. This can also be done offline, but it is always a good idea to record it to use the content you create in different ways and make it accessible for your audience at a later stage. Interviews with experts can be recorded in a video, be part of a podcast or published as text.

In the context of digital PR, the experts that are mostly referenced are journalists and we have spoken to some of them:

8. Authoritative blog posts

A good blog posts answers questions that your audience and potential customers have and provides additional insights into complex topics. Blogging is also a good opportunity to regularly show your expertise and become an authority in your field.

9. Standout opinion pieces

Opinion content originated in traditional journalism and you will still find this section in any newspaper online and offline. That is because it works, especially when it comes to controversial topics that people want to get different opinions on. It gives you the opportunity to communicate an informative message and kick-start a discussion. The risk though is to become offensive or to communicate an opinion in unsuitable ways. Better read this type of content twice before publishing it.

Screenshot of the Opinion section in The Guardian on 13/07/2020

10. Original research pieces

Most content nowadays is modelled after other content that has been published online. Therefore, original research data can make you stand out. You could conduct a scientific research or run a survey for example. You also might have some interesting data within your business that you can share. Most infographics these days are based on data research.

11. Trending content

Following current trends and incorporating them into your content publication provides a good opportunity and shows your expertise within your industry. News content is the best example, but keep in mind that it has a short shelf-life.

12. Compelling images

Images can be a good way to convey a message in an emotional way and can break up long form content into more digestible chunks when working with decreasing attention spans. To increase your chances of the image being shared, you can add a quote. A good example for image content is the photo of the day published by National Geographic.

Screenshot of the Photo of the Day in National Geographic, taken on 13/07/2020

13. Screenshots

This type of content should never stand on its own, but it can be useful to visualize how a product works (an app for example) or in written how-to-content. They can make it easier to explain a concept and give the audience additional insights. If you use a screenshot for demonstrations, they work best if accompanied by a customer testimonial.

14. Memes, comics, illustrations

We all have seen this type of content multiple times and memes, also in private messages, do not seem to lose their popularity. They work because they trigger an emotional reaction which in most cases is related to fun and entertainment. As such, they are also memorable, and the chances are high that they will get shared.

Meme with baby saying "Ate Spaghetti while wearing a white shirt. Didn't get sauce on it."

15. Gifographics

This is a combination of the established infographic and the younger version of imagery in the shape of a gif. It works well because it makes an infographic more interactive and keeps the viewer engaged. Quicksprout has published a gifographic that explains how Google works.

16. Long-form content

This type of content is self-explanatory. It is a long piece of content that you can enhance with additional types of content such as imagery. How long this content really should be, depends on the topic and what you are trying to say. You should not write content just for the sake of it. If what you want to say can be said in 500 words, do not create long-form content.

17. Comprehensive reviews

If you are writing a review, you are probably doing so because you want to promote or sell this product on your website. In that case, it is important to keep the review as objective as possible. If there are any negatives to it, you should mention those as well. If you want your customers to trust you, you must be honest and if a product only has negatives or requires you to lie, maybe you should not promote it.

Reviews can now be enhanced with different types of mark-up that will appear in rich snippets in Google and with star ratings. Trustedreviews.com provides examples such as this review of a coffee machine:

Example of a coffee machine review18. Whitepapers

This type of content can be compared to a scientific research paper. You generally need a lot of data and information that you present in a well-written way. Before you start creating a Whitepaper, you should be sure that it is the right type of content for your audience. They should be interested in reading long-form content with scientific character.

19. eBooks

Some would argue that this type of content has been over-used in recent times and it seems to become a technique that is seen as spam. It is mostly used to get users to sign up for a newsletter. In return, they will receive the eBook.

20. Newsletters

Newsletters are mostly used in email marketing to keep an existing audience engaged. They are not suitable to attract new customers or links and therefore not used in digital PR.

21. Contests

This type of content is a well-established technique to get attention and to grow your audience quickly. Participants usually submit their email addresses after fulfilling a task or solving a puzzle to enter a prize draw. Based on the results, you can create additional content where you feature the winner picking up the prize or meeting a celebrity.

Screenshot of a meet and greet to win on Twitter https://twitter.com/corksredfm/status/847901325039894530

22. Surveys

Surveys work in a similar way as contests: Users submit information and, in most cases,, they get something in return, vouchers for example. Depending on what the survey is about and what participants get out of it, it can generate different levels of traction. More important though is what you do with the survey results as those provide opportunity for further content creation.

23. Personality tests, quizzes, tools and widgets

Quizzes and tests draw on human curiosity, use gamification strategies and interactive engagement. They usually reach the audience on a personal and emotional level and the better the topic of your personality test, the more likely it will get shared. Childhood memories such as Disney characters always seem to work:

Screenshot of a quiz "Which disney character are you?"

24. Social media posts

When we think of digital PR and backlinks, we often think of the website content and ignore other channels where our audience might find us. But the content you publish on your website can be syndicated on social media to reach a wider audience. What you should keep in mind is how you portray your brand and how you get the user to click through to your website.

There are different social media channels and the landscape keeps on changing. It is important to find the right channel for your product and your audience to then create content that resonates with them and is adequate for the channel. Video content for example is best placed on YouTube, whereas images are more suitable for Instagram or Pinterest, statements and opinions are for Twitter and short video sequences for TikTok.

What type of content to use?

After having seen so many opportunities it might seem to be an overwhelming decision to make. It can be useful to look at your data, your product, and your audience to find out what would work best in any given situation. The opportunities are endless and if you are looking for advice on your content marketing and digital PR strategy, please get in touch with us at JBH.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Sugar Shocker: Unhealthiest Vegan Food on the High-Street Revealed for 2020

Vegan consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to high-street fast food options, but which ones top the list for fat, sugar and salt?

Research from the University of Oxford has estimated a staggering 350,000 people will take part in Veganuary this year, up from 250,000 in 2019. But how nutritious are high-street vegan fast food offerings compared to their non-vegan counterparts?

Comparing 2020’s Veganuary Offerings  

Use our interactive table to filter by Calories, Fat, Salt and Sugar.

  • Vegan fast food contains 50% more sugar (66g vs 42g) and 40% more salt (10.43g vs 14.81g) than the non-vegan equivalents from the same chain
  • The 6” Subway Meatless Marinara tops the list with 19.3g of sugar and 3.5 grams of salt compared to the equivalent non-vegan version with 13.5g sugar and 13.5g sugar 1.9g salt 
  • McDonald’s vegan dippers are the best savoury option, with just 1.1g of salt and 2.3g sugar
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Terms & Conditions: TL;DR?

How long would it take you to read the small print for the most popular tech?

Research from Deloitte has shown over 90% of consumers fail to read the small print on documents like Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. It found that the vast majority of consumers simply click ‘accept’ without understanding exactly what they are agreeing to. 

And when you look at the results of our study, you can see why.  

Revealed – the length of time it ACTUALLY takes to read the small print of the most popular tech products

Taking 10 of the most sought after tech products, we timed how long it would take to read their privacy policies, terms and conditions or terms of service, with some surprising results: 

Wearable tech products were at the top of the list; Bose Frames and the Apple Watch 5 had the longest read-times for their Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions. 

If you were lucky enough to receive these top-of-the-range gadgets for Christmas, you’d be spending 3 hours and 29 minutes reading all of the small print; that’s nearly as long as the film The Irishman! 

Imagine if you received all 10 of these gadgets? Our study revealed that you’d spend 12 hours and 8 minutes reading – that’s the same amount of time it’d take you to fly direct to Thailand! 

Bringing up the bottom of the list is the OnePlus 7 Android Smartphone. Their Terms and User Agreement would take just 32 minutes to read through – much more manageable.

Gadget Long-Reads Revealed

We’ve ranked the small print by the number of words:

Time is Money

Based on the price of each gadget, we worked out how much each word in the small print is costing you to read. 

The 10 gadgets in the study clock up more than 95,000 words in the small print; that’s over 9 university dissertations-worth of terms and conditions to read!  

Per word, the Microsoft Surface Laptop n3 comes out on top, costing your 14p for every one of the 6,184 words in its terms of service and privacy policy. 

Do tech brands have a responsibility to make their user terms and privacy policy shorter?

It’s easy to see why most of us don’t take the time to read the small print when we rip open the box on our brand new tech. 

So, should more tech brands take Google’s lead? 

Google One is their solution to the issue of long and complicated policies attached to their products. Our study has identified that the OnePlus 7 Smartphone had the shortest read-time for its small print (32 minutes), which could indicate that Google’s ‘keep it simple’ attitude to their user terms is filtering down. 

Methodology & Sources

Using a combination of the Guardian and Mashable’s top tech lists, we selected the most popular gadgets and sourced their user agreements, terms of service, terms and conditions and privacy policies (whichever applied). We collected the word counts for each, and determined the time taken to read to provide us with our top 10 list.  

Striking a Balance onpage and offpage content
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

How to Make your On-page Content as Good as your Off-page

To make a success of any content marketing campaign, link building is imperative. Not only do search engines use links to discover new web pages, they also help determine how well a page should rank in their results. 

But in spite of its importance, link building is just one piece of the larger SEO puzzle which includes a quality on-page content strategy. 

Seeing as there is so much to consider, it’s easy to become obsessed with the off-page aspects and completely neglect the on-page elements. 

So, why does on-page content matter so much? 

Well, if the content your hard-earned backlinks point towards doesn’t hit the mark with users, their attention and engagement levels will drop. In turn, this could reduce session duration and increase bounce rates, signalling to Google that your content isn’t the best answer to the question that the searcher is asking.

Soon, you could start slipping down the SERPs and the power from those fantastic links could be lost.

Thankfully, you can avoid this worst-case scenario by incorporating some of the following into your ongoing content plan 

Internal linking

Given the significance of back links, it should come as no surprise that internal linking is key to on-page SEO. Along with encouraging visitors to consume even more of your content, internal linking also tells search engine spiders about other pages on your website. 

Three internal links above the fold in this recent blog post. 

We managed to fit three internal links above the fold in this recent blog post. 

Best practice for internal linking includes:

  • Using more than just your top-tier keywords for your internal links
  • Only adding internal links when they are useful to your audience
  • Adding links to the main body of your webpage

Well-optimised metadata

Because metadata is used to tell search engines what your page is about in the most concise and accurate way possible, it makes sense to optimise them. According to Moz, meta titles have “long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements.”

Here’s a checklist to abide by when writing your meta titles:

  • Length – Between 50-60 characters long including spaces
  • Keyword placement – Your most important keywords need to be first in your titles
  • Relevancy – Meta title must accurately describe the content on the page
  • Avoid duplication – Meta titles must be written differently for every page
  • Avoid keyword stuffing – You may get penalised for it

Alt text for images

Alt-text is another way for search engines to understand your page’s content, and it makes your website more accessible for people using screen readers as well. 

Did you know: Another benefit of alt text is that it can encourage your images to show up in Google Image search – another great way to drive extra organic traffic to your site. 

WordPress plugin Yoast featuring alt tag and title tag optimisation.

Popular WordPress plugin Yoast features alt tag and title tag optimisation. 

Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought when it comes to SEO and can actually deliver a number of additional benefits – ensure on-page elements aren’t being forgotten about, increase your site’s popularity, improve session durations and reduce bounce rates.

Keyword mapping

Keyword mapping is where you assign targeted keywords to specific pages of your website based on research. 

The ultimate aim here is to avoid keyword cannibalisation, which can confuse search engines and deter them from ranking your content at all. 

It’s also a great way to discover which landing pages to optimise and what future content to build for better SEO performance. 

Call-to-action

Don’t forget that each page of your website represents an opportunity to convert customers.

If you’ve built links on relevant websites where your target audience is ‘hanging out’, you’ll already be driving traffic that is highly likely to convert, therefore, you should have at least one call-to-action (CTA) on every page to make it as easy as possible for users to continue their journey with you. 

Call to Action on the JBH site.

Practising what we preach here at JBH.

HubSpot recommends that your website should have a mix of CTAs for different stages of the ‘flywheel’ – a new way of looking at the traditional sales funnel that attracts, engages and delights everybody passing through your site, from strangers and prospects to customers and promoters.

Retrospective editing

Just because you’ve published an amazing piece of content, which ticks every on-page SEO box imaginable, doesn’t mean to say you can simply leave it be and wait for Google to provide an appropriate ranking reward. 

Facts and figures included in your article could change over time or new pieces of data might reinforce your message. 

Retrospective editing lets Google know that you’re constantly trying to provide your audience with the best answer to their question, which is exactly what its algorithm strives for. 

Landing page content

At the end of the day, the difference between a prominent and poor ranking position will be the actual content on your page.

Three questions to ask when writing or retrospectively editing your content:

  1. Does your content answer the question the searcher is looking for?
  2. Is your landing page content similar to the other pages ranking for this search query?
  3. Can the user easily find the answer within the first couple of paragraphs?

 Therefore, it makes sense to prioritise content creation from the get-go.

This means identifying an idea your audience would find valuable, gathering as many insights as possible, and building a page that combines copy, images and video to great effect. 

And if you ever need assistance creating captivating content that has both on-page and off-page SEO covered, we’re here to help

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

What Should Your Content Really Look Like in 2019

What’s at the centre of your digital and social activity? Chances are its content, which bridges the gap between brand and customer like no other media or medium could do previously.

Content marketing has come a long way since the early days of publishing multiple (and mostly mediocre) blogs each week on your website in the vain hope of getting noticed or ranking for a couple of obscure, long tail search queries.

These days, content marketing is a multi-channel, cross-platform behemoth, consisting of everything from landing pages and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The increasingly competitive space in which content sits has also changed dramatically, with things like featured snippets and voice search making any marketing objective even more difficult to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean to say boosting your brand identity, increasing online awareness and engaging with customers through content marketing is impossible…

Here’s the content that performs best in 2019:

Long-form authoritative content

So, if regular blogging doesn’t cut it anymore, what does?

The answer is long-form authoritative content.

This means going into great detail about a particular theme or topic and updating it regularly with fresh insight, imagery and video.

After analysing 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing, Brian Dean from Backlinko discovered that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles. It also generates significantly more social shares, especially within the ‘sweet spot’ of 1,000-2,000 words.

Other industry studies have also found a direct correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings. This is because long-form content stands a better chance of satisfying intent and maintaining engagement by demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Best practice: Identify topics or themes that strongly correlate with your brand’s products, services, or industry. Think about how you could demonstrate your authority with long-form content that meets your customer’s wants and needs.

Short-form video

Every year, the importance of video content continues to grow – you only have to look at the success and influence of platforms like Instagram to realise that its here to stay for the long haul.

According to a recent study by Altimeter, short-form video (less than two minutes) is the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. By contrast, long-form video (greater than two minutes) was said to be 20% less effective.

In addition to greater engagement, short-form video can also improve your SEO, make content more accessible to a wider audience, generate a strong emotional connection with customers and lead to more conversions.

Best practice: Generate ideas for short-term video content that will resonate with your audience. Remember to optimise for mobile viewing (where most video is watched), create captions, include a CTA and keep it short!

Influencer marketing

Despite the exponential rise of social media influencers in recent years, this marketing trend is nothing new. However, several brands are reluctant to explore the idea of influencer marketing due to misconceptions that you need to spend thousands (or even millions) getting high-profile celebrities on board.

More often than not, brands have the most success with influencer marketing when they choose people directly related to their industry or niche. Better yet, they collaborate with influencers throughout the content ideation and creation process.

The following influencer marketing statistics speak volumes about its effectiveness:

  • Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
  • 67% of Marketers Promote Content With the Help of Influencers
  • Influencer Marketing Is the Fastest-Growing Online Customer-Acquisition Method

Best practice: Think of influencers as an ad-hoc extension of your own content team. Take advantage of their creativity and audience, relieve some pressure from in-house efforts and add credibility to your brand in the eyes of followers.

Voice search

Voice search is slowly but surely becoming a daily fixture for many, especially given the increasingly popularity of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants. Estimates suggest there are over one billion voice searches per month, while 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

So with more and more text-based digital tasks moving over to voice thanks to the speed and convenience it affords, every marketer should adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Unfortunately, each device seems to pull data from different sources and offer completely different results. But by creating pieces of content that deliver quick answers to quick questions, you should be able to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Best practice: Think about the words people say, not just what they’re likely to type. Also, most voice-activated searches take place on mobile, so make sure your website is responsive and optimised for smartphones.

Storytelling and Digital PR

There’s a reason why storytelling remains one of the most popular approaches to content marketing – it works, and will continue to work for many years to come. By conveying facts through narrative, you’ll create a connection with your audience and encourage action thanks to the number of decisions people make based on emotion.

One excellent example comes from National Geographic and its content marketing activity that engages with 350 million combined global followers on social media. As Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, explains: “Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.”

Key ingredients to any story include a main character/hero, a conflict/journey, and an ending/resolution. Don’t forget to make it easy-to-follow, relatable and memorable. Support your stories with visuals and data to drive the message home.

Next steps: Try to gain an in-depth understanding of your audience – their needs, pains, hopes and aspirations. Know exactly what you want to say and what you want your audience to do before launching any storytelling campaign.

Take your content marketing to the next level with JBH – let’s create something awesome together.

1024 683 Jane Hunt

7 Pre-Event Content Tips to Get Prospects Excited

FOMO is a powerful thing. If your brand or agency is investing time, money and people in an event, you’ll want to ensure a) you fill it and b) people are psyched to be attending. Events are valuable because they allow you to gather a group of people with the same interests together in one place for a progressive conversation. Why not start that conversation early with some inspiring pre-event content?

According to Laura Forer of UBM, “96% of attendees look for information prior to attending an event and 90% continue that search post-event. Effective content before, during and after an event is vital to the overall experience.”

Pre-Event Content

JBH recently joined forces with some social influencers and the ASA to host an influencer marketing event. The idea was to challenge some of the objections brands might have about working with influencers.

This was our first time hosting an event and it was a success; not just because of how it went on the day but because it was a learning curve for us as an agency. We learned that creating great pre-event content involves more than just dishing out a time and address. Here we give you our top content tips and some ideas to make sure both you and your audience get the most out of your event.

 

1. Make sure you are reaching out to people in your industry with your pre-event content

Pre-Event Content

It’s important that you fill your event with people who will benefit from it. While there’s always the option of sticking fifty quid behind a Facebook ad, even with targeting options it’s unlikely to reach the right people in your industry. Start with your own email list, then hit LinkedIn to reach a much wider audience. LinkedIn Pulse channels are great for event marketing. While the algorithm is a closely guarded secret, looking at other posts on your chosen Pulse channel will give you clues on how to put content together in a way that the platform deems ‘relevant and interesting’.

 

2. Create video content

Influencer Marketing Event

Lighthearted video content is one of the best ways to pique prospects’ interest before, during and after your event. Videos resonate with audiences like no other content and can be put together whatever your limitations. Give prospects a sneak peek of the event, define topics and goals and/or help audiences better understand your subject matter through an educational mini series. Share your videos on your blog, promote them on social, signpost to them in your emails and whack them on YouTube. Above all, keep them short, light and focused.

 

3. Tweet, tweet

Influencer Marketing Event

Social media is quick, cheap and easy – use it to underpin every stage of your event marketing. If you’re feeling adventurous you could create your own Snapchat filter or encourage attendees to share their photos, although it’s worth mentioning that user-generated campaigns can be tricky to get off the ground. Social media is overloaded – getting people to care about any post for more than three seconds is near impossible. The flipside of this is that your makes it that much more meaningful and sincere when they do.

 

4. Make the most of your guests of honour  

Influencer Marketing Event

Your guest speakers are the lifeblood of your event. What reach do they have? Is it worth getting them to promote your event by creating their own pre-event content? Having guests tweet about the event on the morning of is great but by then it’s usually too late. If they are able to post on their platforms once or twice in the run-up to the event this could help get your message seen by people with the same interests. Better yet, they could write a blog post, mention your brand in their vlog or go live on social media. In our case Em and Junior had far greater reach than us, so it was exciting to see them talking about our event on social media. Your event speakers are what make your event educational and inspiring. Make sure you celebrate them.

 

5. Give your landing page the attention it deserves

Influencer Marketing Event

There’s no better way to create a sense of urgency than to send prospects to a persuasive event landing page. Your landing page should be central to your event marketing campaign – before, during and after the event itself. Unique value proposition showing what attendees will get that they won’t get anywhere else, benefits,  beautiful imagery that fits the event. Our event was about Instagram influencers, therefore it was important that we used Instagram-style images featuring beautiful people and lots of white space. If relevant include a range of testimonials aimed at various personas who might benefit from attending. Finally, make sure your CTAs really stand out and are worded in a way that makes sense.

 

6. Commission some original research

Influencer Marketing Event

Original research is an important part of any content marketing strategy. It gives you the chance to demonstrate insight, innovation and thought leadership – the things people want to see from you if they are going to take the time to come to your event. Commission a study or survey as part of your pre-event content, share your findings with prospects, attendees and speakers and use your findings to inform your session.

And finally …

 

7. Step. Away. From. The. Slides.

Influencer Marketing Event

Slides are a great way what to illustrate what you’re talking about but people tend to rely on them too heavily in an event. A good speaker should be able to present their topic should anything go wrong with the technology. Because Em is genuinely passionate about influencer marketing and educating brands about the right and wrong ways to work with influencers, she referred to her slides for a few images and stats but focused on speaking to the audience easily and naturally.

Events are a key channel for direct engagement with your audience. Creative, valuable pre-event content is a good indicator that your event will be a worthwhile use of your prospects’ time. Your event might be weeks or even months from now, but there’s no reason the experience can’t start today.

614 323 Jane Hunt

Influencer Marketing Win: YESldn X The Wall of Comedy

Back in the spring we collaborated with The Wall of Comedy for youth employability specialists YESldn. As coverage starts to come in, we reflect on one of our favourite campaigns of the year so far and reveal our top tips on how to get the absolute best out of your influencers.

Influencer marketing is here to stay. With 84% of marketers rating influencer marketing as effective and 67% planning to increase budgets, we can expect great things from this new and exciting channel. Influencer marketing helps you connect not only with your own audience, but with untapped audiences in your target demographic who might not otherwise be aware of your brand.

The Campaign

YESldn (Youth Employment Services London) are a London based branch of Reed In Partnership, a not-for-profit committed to helping young urban minorities get into work through skills workshops and apprenticeships. For its spring campaign, the brand commissioned us to develop a series of humorous videos to help get its target audience interested in the brand. We agreed fairly quickly that influencer marketing was the right way to go.

Finding the right influencers is absolutely key in influencer marketing. Influencers are reaching out to people like them. If it’s mummy bloggers, they’re reaching out to young women who may be daunted by the experience of motherhood. If it’s a makeup artist, she might want to share her expertise and connect with others in the same world.

The right influencer doesn’t just know your target audience – they are them.

After reviewing a number of options, we started to get excited about popular YouTubers The Wall of Comedy.

The Wall of Comedy

Founded by creators of YouTube series Mandem On The Wall and stars of E4’s Youngers (Joivan Wade, Dee Kartier and Percelle Ascott), The Wall of Comedy are dedicated to creating and sharing video content. As Mandem on the Wall, the three discuss everything from serious social issues to youth culture and their daily antics, using humour to bring these stories to life and resonate with their audience.

We identified that they had a real connection with the people we were looking to attract, namely young urban people aged 18-24. The trust, love and mutual respect the boys at WoC have with this demographic is the kind of connection that no amount of money can buy – and no amount of marketing expertise can authentically replicate.

Brands using video is nothing unique – what made this campaign relatively unique was the approach. From ideation to production, we entrusted the entire scope of the content to the experts – our influencers. Passionate about helping young people get into work, the boys were confident they could create some really strong content, appealing to their audience and encouraging them to sign up to the service.

Don’t get too involved

Letting influencers reach their audience in their own way is undoubtedly the way to get the most value out of them – and will probably make them actually more receptive to the idea of working with you in the first place. 

Of the campaign, Emma Rider, Marketing and Communications Manager at YESldn said: 

“We know that we’re trying to engage a hard to reach demographic. Our audience isn’t easily fooled; they don’t want to listen to messages from marketers who presume to know them and their interests. That’s why influencer campaigns are so effective – you stay out of the way and allow an authentic conversation to happen.”

Someone else coming up with your entire campaign for you and sharing it with their big, engaged audience? It seems too good to be true. There is a huge catch. Finding the right influencer(s) and getting them on board is a lot harder than it looks. 

There’s often a lot of fantasy and ego-tripping involved in how brands see themselves. Influencer campaigns get rid of all that. Resist the urge to pay someone to advertise your product – more often than not it looks staged and false, audiences are wise to it.

With more than 6,000 post engagements, a combined reach of nearly 2.5 million and a 140% boost to service sign-ups, it’s fair to say the campaign has been a success. We’re just starting to see the coverage coming in, here’s a screen grab of our handiwork in print in the Evening Standard.

With more than 6,000 post engagements, a combined reach of nearly 2.5 million and a 140% boost to service sign-ups, the success of the campaign is clear to see for all involved.  Jane Hunt, our marketing director said:

“Working on this campaign has been a dream. From the off, we knew the audience were tough to reach and influence. Joivan, Dee and Percelle were so passionate about the objectives of the Yes London campaign and really wanted to do it justice. The boys challenged our thinking every step of the way – their professionalism and creativity took the campaign further than we could ever have hoped.”

But what did the ‘mandem’ themselves have to say about the campaign? In Joivan’s words:

“We really enjoyed collaborating with JBH and Reed in Partnership to create the sketches and raise awareness of an important issue currently affecting young people. The content sparked much needed discussions.”


 

To find out more about influencer marketing, take a look at our comprehensive guide.

If you would like some exclusive content to feature the campaign on your site or would simply like to find out more about what we can do for you, please contact Rob John rob@jbh.co.uk