Proper Use of Data Can Drive Your Online Event Marketing Strategies

Events are a great way to promote your business, provided you can compel people to actually show up. While social media is ideal for announcing dates and times of events, many people mark themselves as “going” with no follow through.

There are data driven methods you can use to further entice your followers to turn out for your events. Proper use of data not only allows you to effectively promote an event online, it can also provide valuable insight into which strategies are working, and which are not. Here are three online strategies that event marketers often use and how data makes them more impactful.

Influencer Marketing

Influencers are people who hold a lot of social capital online. Their influence can be leveraged to promote a brand, product, or even an event that you’re holding. Influencers can be celebrities, but they can also be entrepreneurs, wellness gurus, and virtually anyone else that has a large base of followers on popular social media platforms. Influencer marketing is most effective for attracting an audience outside of your core demographic. It’s also ideal for creating a buzz around a specific event, which gets people talking online.

Once you have an influencer onboard for promotional purposes, the next step is to set up campaigns in such a way that they return valuable information. For example, when an influencer tweets a discount code to entice followers to attend a function you’re holding, that code can be tracked so you have a solid idea of sales figures. These numbers can be applied to future influencer marketing campaigns online.

Email Marketing

In light of the more advanced avenues for internet marketing, email campaigns might seem antiquated. However, email marketing is especially effective when promoting events online, provided you use the proper tactics. Again, this is a great way to target individuals who expressed initial interest but failed to follow through with a purchase of a ticket or pass.

Automating emails allows you to reach these possible attendees without a lot of leg work on your part. It also provides an opportunity to re-engage previous attendees or customers so they can renew their commitment. When creating messages to be contained within emails, reminders should highlight scarcity, i.e. that the ticket or pass won’t be available forever, while containing language to gently urge the reader to act.

Paid Social Media Marketing

You probably already know how valuable social media platforms are for your business. While many marketing tools are free on social media, these may fall short when it comes to promoting your event in a way that garners the most interest online. In this case, investing in paid social might be a better option.

Paid social sponsored ads allow you to introduce your business to your target audience. Using advanced demographic tools, you have more control over who actually sees your ads, which improves conversions. You can input factors like location, age, gender, and even interests to accurately identify the audience that is most likely to respond to your ads.

Here at SonicSEO.com, we remain on the cutting edge of innovative marketing techniques. Along with providing you skilled web design and SEO services, we also help you boost interest in upcoming promotional events by designing an online campaign to suit your needs. Contact us to learn more about how online marketing techniques can be used to promote events.

How to Locate Customer Intent Within Relevant Data

Every time a consumer searches for a product or service online, he or she generates data related to that search. As an example, Google compiles data on your location, which websites you visit, and the keywords you input every time you use its search engine. Some of this data even points to customer intent, which are the thoughts driving a person’s actions when purchasing an item or service. The more you understand customer intent, the better you can develop your website and overall marketing campaign.

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5 Digital Marketing Trends of the Near Future (And Beyond)

With 2019 quickly drawing to a close, online marketers are looking towards 2020 and beyond. With the advent of new technology and consumers who are growing increasingly more sophisticated, it’s important for businesses to tailor their online marketing efforts accordingly. The following are just a few burgeoning trends and how businesses can leverage them for continued growth.

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Search Intent: What It Means & How to Use It to Your Advantage

As consumers grow ever savvier, businesses must delve deeper into what truly motivates them. What triggers a person to make that leap from contemplating a product or service to finally making a purchase? And how can you position your business or brand to feature heavily throughout different phases of a customer’s buying cycle?

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Paid Vs. Organic Search: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

Unless you’re part of the 19% of internet users worldwide who use Bing or Yahoo, you likely turn to one place for answers to all of life’s most pressing questions: Google. In response to your query, Google will yield two types of search results: Paid and organic. What’s the difference, and why does it matter to you?

The Difference Between Paid and Organic Search

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Are Keywords the Only Way to Optimize?

keyword optimization

Whether someone is typing on a desktop or speaking into their mobile device, their searches require words—keywords. So, are keywords the only thing used to optimize a website?

Keywords Cannot Be Understated, But…

There is no denying the importance of keywords in search engine optimization. For best results, keywords—the words you think potential customers are using to find what you offer—should appear in a number of places, like:

  • URLs
  • Headings (H1 tags in SEO-speak)
  • Subheadings (H2, H3, H4, etc. tags in SEO-speak)
  • Body copy (the stuff viewers actually scan/read)
  • Meta descriptions (for pages, images, posts, etc.)
  • Alt text (before bots could “read” images, they read text “attached” to an image or video)

Keywords should also appear in other online properties, like:

  • Your Google My Business profile
  • Yelp profile
  • Product descriptions in your ecommerce shopping cart

But keywords are not the only thing about your website that can be optimized. There are a number of factors, both on-page elements and off-page technicalities, that need to be optimized for the human user and search bot experience.

Lesser-Known (But Not Less Important) Optimizations

Search engines are never forthcoming about all their ranking factors and/or the weight assigned to any given ranking factor. But, based on publications, announcements and observations of performance metrics, we know that non-keyword elements that need to be optimized include:

  • Mobile usability

Every web page and on-page element must be optimized for viewing on a mobile device. And priority is given to the mobile experience.

  • Page loading speed

Pages must load fast, and although Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is not a published ranking factor, Google has stated a preference for implementation of the protocol.

  • Content origin/originality, quality and freshness

Optimized content features more than keyword density. Optimized content must be original, well-written (as in, grammatically correct) and fresh—updated and/or newly published regularly.

  • Search bot directives

Search engine optimization can be facilitated by providing directions for search bots on what to index, what not to index, what links to follow or leave alone, etc. through robots.txt commands and other Google-supported channels.

  • Data structure

Search engines prefer structured data that allows them to display visually appealing search results and search results that conform to their layouts.

  • Coding

Optimal website performance requires the use of up-to-date coding, which also gives signals to the search engines about the current-ness/relevance of a site.

  • Links

Quality inbound links are a ranking signal, as are outbound links to quality resources.

SonicSEO.com clients can rest assured that all SEO ranking factors are covered. From design to on-page content to off-page technical elements, we know what and how to optimize your website for best search engine performance.

Still, if you know of a change in your industry and the words used to describe and search for your products and services, please contact us. We will update all keyword-related elements to reflect the latest industry trends to keep you ranking above your competitors.

Google’s Not Supporting noindex in robots.txt – What Does that Even Mean?

no index

Two days before Independence Day, Google announced its own sort of independence—freedom from supporting unsupported and/or unpublished robots.txt rules. One such unsupported robots.txt rule is “noindex.” Some SEOs may be scrambling to execute the same command through different (Google-supported) channels. Some SEOs are unaffected because they never implemented “noindex.” Most everyone else is just left wondering, “What does that mean?”

Here’s the quick and easy guide to Google’s declaration of no support for “noindex” and what it means for your website.

What Is robots.txt?

To understand the significance of Google’s July 2 announcement, you first need to understand what robots.txt is in the first place—it’s essentially a command file that provides directions to Google’s search bot about how to move through your site.

Sounds kind of counterintuitive, right? No one knows what exactly Google search bots use as ranking factors, how much weight they assign to ranking factors, how long they take to detect and index new content or changes to existing content. Yet, SEO professionals can, in part, use robots.txt to control what pages the search bot “reads,” indexes and what links it will follow.

What Is noindex in robots.txt?

One command SEO professionals have been able to give Google’s search bots in robots.txt is “noindex.” It means what it says—it tells the search bot not to index the page. The search engine crawler does not “read” the content or images, so nothing on the page will ever rank and show up on a search engine results page (SERP).

Why Would You “noindex” A Page?

Again, it might seem counterintuitive that SEO professionals would ever tell search bots not to index a page. After all, the point of SEO is to get better ranking and visibility for web pages and website.

“noindex” can actually help website ranking potential by removing pages that do not add value to a user’s search experience from consideration.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Why not just remove the whole page?” That’s because the page is often necessary for an individual user experience and/or for internal purposes. So, pages that SEOs often “noindex” include:

  • “Thank you” pages—these pages simply thank a user for some kind of submission. It’s good manners on the part of the company website, but it doesn’t do anything for ranking potential.
  • Administrative and login pages intended for internal users—these pages are the gateway to internal content; only internal users need to know where they are and how to locate them, so they shouldn’t end up on “public” SERPs.

SEO pros may also “noindex” archives and auto-generated pages or posts that a client doesn’t really use (this often happens with ecommerce product page templates).

What Does This Mean for Your Website?

Google’s announcement that as of September 1 it will no longer support “noindex” in robots.txt does not mean SEO professionals have less control over search engine bots. They can direct search bots to move through a site, exclude a page, not follow a link, etc. same as always, just through different means.

SonicSEO.com can—and will—continue to direct search bots to high-quality pages and steer them away from internal pages and pages that don’t add value to public searchers’ experiences.

So, while Google announcements usually come with some sort of “brace yourself” warning, you’re just not likely to feel an impact from Google’s declaration of independence from unsupported robots.txt rules.

Reasons Why Your Search Rankings Fluctuate

Search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to achieve stable high rankings. But, search rankings are highly volatile by nature.

Reasons your rankings may fluctuate include:

  • Algorithm tests and updates
    Search engines refine their algorithms every day and occasionally launch major updates. When search engines test algorithm changes and/or unroll major updates on the entire web, there’s not much to do but wait and see how your site (and your competitors’ sites) fare.
  • Technical issues
    Back-end configurations and settings can have a significant impact on your rankings, especially if those configurations and settings negatively impact user experience. The key to rescuing rankings from technical issues is to quickly identify and fix the issue. Some of the most common rank-busting tech issues include:
    • Slow page loading speed
    • Server overload
    • Missing or improperly executed page redirects
  • Search trends and seasonal interest
    If trending topics on major search engines are relevant to your industry, then you may experience a boost in ranking while those topics remain popular…followed by a dip in ranking when users lose interest in those topics. There is nothing you can do to maintain a ranking boost powered by fickle user interest. Just ride the tide.
  • New competition on the scene
    The arrival of a new competitor (with a shiny new website) can impact your ranking as search engines adjust their index in light of the new content, new user behavior, etc.
  • Content changes (new content added, old content removed)
    Major content changes, like adding new pages, blogs, etc. or removing dated pages, invite search bots to re-index your site. Depending on what was added or taken away, content changes could boost or drag down your ranking.
  • Keyword-search intent mismatch
    Search engine algorithms often change as a result of AI (machine learning). As the algorithm gets smarter, it may re-index your site for a different user intent. If the keywords you use do not match the new user intent, your rankings could fall.

Of course, your ranking will also fluctuate if your site experiences major upheavals, like:

  • URL changes
  • Hacks
  • Negative SEO attacks

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that impact your ranking—some you can control, some you can’t. To determine whether your change in ranking is a cause for concern, often you simply need to wait a day or two to see if the change self-corrects. If your ranking doesn’t rebound, then it’s time to start digging into your metrics.

SonicSEO.com monitors our clients’ search performance, so we know when performance drops require patience or prompt attention. We notify you of any issues and give you recommendations for adaptations that will help boost your rankings again.

What is Search Intent and Why Your SEO Depends on It

When you hear “SEO,” most people think “keywords.” It’s a natural association. After all, people have been using typed words to conduct internet searches since the birth of the internet, and more recently, people are speaking words to conduct their searches. Still, as search technology evolves, keywords (and the other known SEO ranking factors like links and social mentions) are not enough to secure top ranking.

For a HUGE share of internet searches, to get top organic ranking, your site needs to match search intent.

Search Intent Defined

Search intent is what it sounds like—it’s the intent motivating the human user to perform a search.

Search intent has been classified in a number of ways. The categories we think are most useful are:

  • Navigational (sometimes called branded searches)—users conducting these searches are trying to get to a specific web location like “Chase credit card login” or “Reebok”.
  • Informational—users conducting these searches are looking for information. These types of searches can be further broken down:
    • Broad research—searchers are gathering general information on a topic. Many “how to…” and “what is…” searches fit in this category.
    • Specific research—searchers are moving closer to making some type of decision, so they are carefully examining their options. Searches for reviews, ratings and comparisons fall into this category.
  • Transactional—users conducting these searches are ready to purchase a product or service, so they are looking for platforms that allow them to do that. “Buy…” and “near me” searches are popular transactional search formulas.

How to Implement Search Intent

Search engines want to deliver the results that meet their users’ needs. To determine search intent so that results can match it, search engine algorithms now incorporate behavioral analysis and context signals. These highly evolved algorithms are ranking your website, so if you want to appear at the top of organic searches, your content needs to match more than keywords; it needs to match user intent.

How do you do that?

By developing content that anticipates users’ needs and questions and provides the answers. This isn’t done on a single page. It entails developing dozens, maybe even hundreds, of pages or online assets (like downloadable white papers, brochures, infographics, etc.), each created to answer specific user questions.

Here’s just one example to illustrate how you can develop intent-based content:

Say you’re a hot air balloon company. You want to increase awareness and sales of private hot air balloon tours. To use search intent to improve rankings, you:

First, imagine your target audience and what kinds of questions might they have.

If they are completely new to hot ballooning, they might ask or search for:

  • Are hot air balloon rides safe?
  • What is the history of hot air balloons?
  • What are hot air balloons made of?
  • What training do hot air balloon pilots need?
  • Places to get hot air balloon rides

If they know they want a hot air balloon tour, they might ask:

  • How much do hot air balloon tours cost?
  • What to wear on a hot air balloon tour
  • What to pack for a hot air balloon tour
  • How long are hot air balloon tours?
  • What will I see on a hot air balloon tour?
  • Best hot air balloon rides in Albuquerque

Once you have exhausted all the questions you can think someone might ask, then check to see if your website has pages or assets that answer those questions. If you do, these pages may still need some tweaking to more clearly match a user’s informational or transactional intent.

If your site doesn’t have assets to answer users’ questions, then you will need to create the blogs, pages, infographics, etc. When you craft your content, also make sure that the snippet (meta description) for your page also clearly summarizes the answer the user is seeking. Google and other search engines prefer links with snippets that match user intent without requiring the user to actually follow the link. (Even if the user doesn’t click your link, you still got the visibility, which may be all that’s necessary to make your site the site they search for when they are ready to buy.)

SonicSEO.com clients, of course, already have websites engineered for top search intent performance. Identifying your target market, their primary motivations and ways they may search to fulfill their intent are all part of our process. If your target market expands or shifts, contact us, and we will adapt your content to maintain top search performance.