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Stop Targeting Keywords and Start Targeting Customers

Stop Targeting Keywords and Start Targeting Customers

For years we’ve all been taught that the first step to creating content that ranks is to target keywords.

For years, the ability to rank high in SERPs seemed to rely heavily on two things. First, pick keywords that are high traffic and low competition. Then, practice keyword density.

This is no longer true.

In fact, Google views too high of a density as keyword stuffing, which they will punish.

Keyword research is still important, but the way we should be implementing it has changed.


First, SEMRush did a study of Google’s ranking factors and found keywords were pretty far down the list. The first keyword related metric came in at 12th place.

That’s well below customer engagement metrics such as time on site and bounce rate.

Second, although meta tags are useful for users, they no longer influence rankings.

Google’s algorithm has become more sophisticated. It’s now smart enough that it no longer has to rely on simple keywords to tell it what your content is about.

If you want to be rank high in SERPs in 2018, you’re going to need to start targeting your customers and not just keywords.

Don’t worry. I’m going to walk you how to do this step-by-step.

But first, let’s look at the algorithm changes that have led to this shift.

Algorithms are becoming more human

In 2011, Google rolled out Panda which was designed to target and penalize sites that were producing thin and low-quality content.


People had learned that they could follow a practice called keyword stuffing to rank high in search results.

Here’s an example of keyword stuffing for the phrase ‘ALT Tags’:

alt tag screen readers

Keyword stuffing may have helped rank your content in search engines, but it tended to result in an unnatural flow that didn’t resonate with readers.

Google recognized this and decided to find a way to penalize the practice.

This was just the beginning of Google reducing the effectiveness of keywords in SERPs.

The next year brought the introduction of the Knowledge Graph.

This was the beginning of Google being able to interpret strings rather than just isolated words.

For example, Google understands that when someone types in the keyword “Obama,” they probably are referring to the US President Barack Obama.

google knowledge graph of barack obama

The knowledge graph can connect this one word with not only an actual person but also with some connections to other people, places, and things.

In 2013, there was even further advancement with the introduction of Hummingbird.

It was a huge change and a big step further in Google’s ability to handle “conversational search.”

Even five years ago, Google was beginning to understand and answer intent.

This 2013 example shows the simple question of, “will it rain tomorrow?

will it rain tomorrow google search

The question did not have to state a location or ask for a weather forecast. Google simply knew the searcher’s location and knew that rain was related to weather.

In 2015, an even bigger change came, when Google announced the launch of machine-learning artificial intelligence that it had dubbed RankBrain.

Within months of it being launched, Google claimed it was their third-most important ranking factor inside their search engine algorithm.


RankBrain was designed to help identify and respond to intent, instead of just words.

What does this mean?

Well, for example, if I search for ‘RankBrain’ I’m not really telling Google what my intent is, am I? All I’ve given it is the one word.

However, check out the search results:

rankbrain google search

Now, look at the search results for ‘what is RankBrain?’

what is rankbrain google search

They’re the same.

RankBrain has been able to use machine learning to understand that both of these keywords have the same intent for the majority of people.

This is how Google can make sure it’s bringing back the most relevant content to its users.

The first search result is FAQs on RankBrain. If you check it out, the article mentions RankBrain 52 times in 2,660 words, which is just under 2% of the time.

Optimal keyword density in this new world is between 0.5% and 2.5%. There was definitely no keyword stuffing done to achieve ranking.

This just goes to show that keywords alone will no longer grab you the top spot in search results.

In fact, keyword densities that are too high will be penalized.

irrelevant keywords

With the move to mobile-first indexing and the growth of voice search, algorithms have had to get even better at deciphering intent rather than words.

There is an increasing trend toward voice search using apps such as Google Assistant.

It’s available on more than 400 million devices. Some estimates indicate Google sold over 10 million Google Home units last year alone.

This impacts the way search results work in two ways:

1. Digital assistants are beginning to influence search results.

Smartphone assistants will answer basic queries with three different listings.

They’ll also blend these requests with your own personal, historical data to tailor results.

Google Home will also provide you with the answer in the featured snippet for that search.

barack obama height google answer

If you want your content to be the result heard by searchers, you need to obtain the featured snippet spot.

2. Voice search allows for conversational phrasing.

Users of voice search want to be able to speak naturally and still get the results that they ask for.

That means you need to consider conversation, content, and context.

To meet these needs, algorithms and marketers are increasingly required to focus on conversational language and keyword clusters, rather than specific keywords.

For example, Haahr previously explained that if a user is searching for “Walmart,” they don’t want to see results about the head office.

They expect results showing them the Walmart store closest to them.

So how do we target customer engagement instead of targeting keyword use?

Understand the intent of your audience

I mentioned earlier how Google’s RankBrain was designed to interpret the intent of searchers.

Search engines are putting customer needs, wants and desires first, and we should be doing it too.

So, how do we capture this intention and focus on it rather than specific words?

First, let’s look at what a user intent SEO strategy really is.

user intent seo strategy

We know that we need to understand the overlap between what phrases people are actually searching for and what they really mean.

We also have to pinpoint where this intersects with our content marketing strategy.

It’s important to understand that some general keywords can be classified into either navigation, research or conversion keywords.

These classifications align with the stage of the conversion funnel that a searcher is in.

conversion funnel stages

Content needs to take into account where customers are in the funnel, as well as what keywords they’re using, to properly target intent.

Research keywords are typically used with informational intent.

These searches are likely looking for broad informational guides such as walk-throughs, how-tos, and step-by-step procedures.

Conversion keywords imply transactional intent. Users are getting ready to convert or buy.

Common phrases they may search for are:

  • “Coupon”
  • “Discount”
  • “Shipping”
  • “Where to buy”
  • “[product one] versus [product two]”
  • “Best [product] under [price]”
  • “Best [product] for [consumer group]”

Incorporating these words into your keyword research can help identify long tail phrases that better match intent.

Navigation keywords are typically used when a shopper is already looking for a specific brand, company or site.

types of search query

For example, “content marketing” may be an informational keyword, but “Content Marketing Institute” implies someone is specifically looking to navigate to that company.

Keywords should line up with customers’ level of interest as well as their intent.

keyword research target model

The better able you are to understand customer intent, the easier it will be for you to target customers instead of just keywords.

There are a number of tools you can use to help you better understand the intent of your current customers.

Heat Maps

Heat maps such as Crazy Egg allow you to see where visitors clicked on your site.

You can also use them to see which content was scrolled through.

scroll map

This helps you better understand, even within an article or a page, exactly what it was searchers were looking for.

The more you focus on what your customers really want instead of focusing on just the few words used, the better your content will perform.

Focus on content packages

To bridge the gap between targeting keywords and targeting customers, we need to look at how we package our content.

As we discussed earlier, Google is getting better at showing searchers the best results that match their intent.

If you want to rank above what’s already there for a certain keyword, you need to create better content.

Short, light fluff pieces will not suffice.

This can be seen by looking at how the length of time taken to create content keeps going up every year.

the average time it takes to write a blog post

Just as the time invested has increased, so has the number of words.

According to Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, the big takeaways from this is that quality matters and “we don’t need more content. We need more relevant content.”

You can use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to come up with hundreds of related keywords. But how do you package them in a way that is relevant to your customer interest and intent?

Use topic clusters.

A good way to start creating a topic cluster is to select a broad topic and build an initial pillar page about it.

Then you would create a separate post for each cluster content area referenced in the pillar page.

This might sound a bit confusing, so let’s look at an example.

Local marketing is such a broad subject that the intent could be very different depending on who typed in the keyword.

That’s why this was the broad topic Duct Tape Marketing choose for their pillar page, The Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

google my business and citations

The Ultimate Guide is a page on their website which offers various content across multiple mediums such as the downloadable playbook and an embedded video.

This page then goes on the link out to many other posts on their site. Each one dealing with a content cluster, or a specific subset of local marketing.

adwords paid local traffic ultimate guide

Not only that but each one of the ‘subset’ posts links back to the Ultimate Guide.

subset posts link back in post

All of the posts are meticulously linked together using categories, backlinks, and anchor text.

Where the author did not yet have sufficient depth of a subject covered, he linked out to curated content from high authority sites like Moz.

11 ways for local businesses to get links

This allowed him to build a deep, insightful topic cluster with a wealth of backlinks and content to answer a “local marketing” keyword search no matter the intent.

Every time a new related post is created, it will be linked back to the Ultimate Guide, keeping the content updated and fresh.

The keyword the author had targeted was “local marketing guide,” for which he currently ranks second overall in Google.

local marketing guide google search

The interlinking has also helped several of the other subposts end up on the first page of search results, such as Adwords for local businesses.

adwords for local businesses google search results

Why do topic clusters work so well?

One reason is that the main page has so much content and so many links that people tend to stay on the page and the site.

Duct Tape Marketing’s bounce rate for their Ultimate Guide is almost zero. Google translates this to be high engagement, which is exactly what it’s looking for.

So how do you create a content package?

There are tools on the market that help you do this.


MarketMuse helps you to identify content gaps within your website and in the market.

marketmuse value prop

It can help you to build, organize, and optimize your content by the topic cluster to optimize your organic SEO.

Content Strategy

HubSpot has also launched their own content strategy tool.

hubspot content strategy headline

They have designed it to help you create, publish, and report on your content by topic grouping.


Another option is to use an LSI generator such as LSIGraph to identify keywords that are related to each other.

lsi graph

It’s a free tool that will provide you with related keywords for whatever term you search.

Google Search

Finally, Google is always an option.

After all, Google wants to provide searchers with the best results. This means it’s to their benefit to help you create the best content.

You can find relevant topic clusters using Google in three different ways:

1. Auto-suggest. As soon as you start typing, Google starts automatically populating suggestions of what it thinks you might be looking for.

For example, this is what I see when I start typing “search engine” into Google.

search engine autosuggest

2. Related searches. After you hit enter, you can scroll down to the bottom of the search results page.

google related search terms

3. People also ask. For some searches, Google will also provide you with a “People also ask” section.

people also ask google search

These are common questions Google is asked that it thinks are similar to what you’re trying to find.

Make sure your pillar topic is sufficiently broad enough to be the umbrella for the rest if you’re going to use a pillar page.

Then create separate linked posts for each potential subset topic that you grouped using one of the above-suggested tools.

Once you have content clusters or groupings, it’s also important to make sure you choose content types that align.

For example, consider the following:

  • On-site glossaries and FAQ pages are good ways to tackle simple keywords that may be searched by people in the informational stage.
  • Pillar pages, cornerstone content and blog posts are great for in-depth answers related to the informational stage, as well as targeting people in the navigational stage.
  • Once consumers are into the transactional stage, landing pages are a great way to use content to help close the deal.

Here’s a slightly different approach to lining up content type with buyer readiness stage:

lining content with buyer readiness

Don’t forget the rest of your SEO arsenal.

This post has focused on how and why to transition from keyword targeting to focusing on customer intent and interest.

However, as I’ve mentioned, engagement is a driving factor in how Google gauges quality content that satisfies intent.

Because of this, we can’t forget the other areas of SEO that also impact engagement.

Technical and off-page SEO are just as important for positive customer experiences.

technical offpage and onpage seo

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is primarily your internal and external link portfolio.

You need to develop a link building strategy that helps promote your site authority and helps show Google you’re a great match for customer intent.

One way to do this was mentioned earlier through the building of topic clusters and content packages.

However, you also need to keep a close eye on who’s linking to you, so that you don’t end up with backlinks that are spammy.

After all, backlinks are currently four of the top eight ranking factors.

backlinks in ranking factors

To keep your links clean, I recommend conducting a link profile audit on a regular basis to see how things look.

If you find any questionable sites linking to your content, make sure that you disavow them.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO can sound complex, but I promise it’s not as bad as it seems.

It’s also a critical part of any SEO toolkit.

Here’s an excellent high-level summary from Moz on what parts of technical SEO you should begin to focus on:

technical seo questions

When thinking about keywords from a technical standpoint, you need to consider three main areas.

1. Content tags

There are two main types of content tags you should focus on: H1 (headings) and H2 (subheadings).

H1 tags are your titles.
H2 tags are subheadings.

You should still make sure one of your relevant keywords is in your H1 tag.

However, with the new algorithm changes, it’s less important that your H2 tags are riddled with keywords, and more important that they withstand a readability test.

Your content, including your subheadings, needs to be simple and flow well.

It should be written for someone reading at a 7th or 8th-grade level.

2. Site Speed

Google released an announcement in January that starting this July pagespeed will be one of their ranking factors for mobile searches.

Not only that, but 40% of your audience will abandon your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

landing page loading stat

If your page speeds are slow, your bounce rate will increase, causing Google to think that you’re not doing a good job satisfying customers.

3. Mobile friendliness

I’ve already mentioned the importance of mobile earlier in this article.

Mobile landing page optimization is vital now that Google has switched to a mobile-first index.

The number of mobile users continues to every year. Last year 66% of the population had a mobile phone.

global digital snapshot

Strong technical SEO will help improve important ranking factors such as time on page and bounce rates, by improving the user experience.

It should not be overlooked in any strategy, particularly as the importance of providing outstanding customer experiences increases.


Thanks to advances in technology, the algorithms used by search engines like Google are getting more advanced.

Instead of focusing on simple metrics such as keywords, they are now looking for content that provides value and engagement to audiences.

Google’s algorithm is continuing to advance toward voice search and conversational phrases.

This means the exact wording used in search boxes is becoming less important in which results rank well.

To get your content in front of your desired market, you need to focus on intent, interest, and engagement of customers.

You will need to account for the growing use of Mobile and Voice apps and ensure your content is optimized for them.

Then you need to engage your audience is make sure you understand what their intent is.

Make sure you understand what people are really looking for when they use certain keywords.

This means combining their searcher intent with where they are in the conversion funnel and using your content to target them properly.

You can use tools such as Behavior Flow, Site Search or Heat Maps to better understand the interest and intent of your current audience.

Then you can focus on building out in-depth topic clusters and content packages to target different customers.

Create ultimate guides and resource centers for customers early on in the conversion funnel.

Build out leadpages and conversion posts for customers near the bottom of the funnel.

Finally, continue to use keywords, but use them the right way. Don’t keyword stuff your posts. Looking for short phrases and referencing them multiple times is no longer enough.

However, you can use keywords to help you understand searcher intent and to build context into your articles and guides.

What tool are you using to cluster your content around customer intent and interest?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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SEO Isn’t the Only Way to Drive Traffic. Here Are 6 Alternative Strategies.

SEO Isn’t the Only Way to Drive Traffic. Here Are 6 Alternative Strategies.

As marketers, we invest a lot of our time and energy into SEO.

Considering that Google receives over 66,000 searches every second, we’d be stupid not to.

But when it comes down to it, Google and other search engines are just one of the many ways you can drive traffic to your website.

In fact, depending on your target audience and competition, Google may not even be your best traffic source.

Take Upworthy, for example.

This site, which has a reputation for sharing feel-good viral videos, gets almost 43% of their traffic from social and less than 19% from search.

Groups of consumers all use the web differently.

Some like to get their content from friends or influencers on social.

A few depend on their trusted newsletters to tell them what content they need to read.

Others use an alternative search engine like YouTube or even Facebook.

To prove that you don’t need Google to drive traffic to your website, here are six alternatives that can help boost your visits.

  1. Create a YouTube channel

  2. Start conversations on social

  3. Partner with influencers

  4. Take advantage of your email subscribers

  5. Provide assistance on forums and question sites

  6. Take advantage of guest posting

1. Create a YouTube channel

YouTube has 1.5 billion active users each month, making it the world’s second-largest social platform.

With 1.5 billion active users each month, YouTube is the world’s second-largest social platform.

active users on social platforms 2017

Over 30 million users log on to watch a total of 5 billion videos each and every day.

These numbers are massive.

However, these numbers still don’t rival Google, which processes about 3.5 billion searches per day.

So, how can you drive even a fraction of the traffic with YouTube that you could with Google?

Well, the beauty of YouTube is that it allows you to share videos.

While Google does display YouTube videos as part of its results lists (Google does, after all, own YouTube), the results aren’t quite the same.

In order to appeal and reach these video-lovers, you need to create YouTube content.

Because YouTube reaches more people from the ages of 18-49 than any cable network, this is particularly true if you’re marketing to younger generations.

youtube 18-49 age demographic reaches more than network or broadcast television

Gen Z’s love affair with YouTube runs especially deep.

In fact, 50% of Gen Z-ers told AdWeek they wouldn’t be able to live without the sharing site.

They also shared why.

For Gen Z-ers, YouTube is more than just a video-sharing site. Look at all of the things that they go to YouTube for:

generation z social media survey

If Gen Z’s love for videos continues as they grow older and start making new purchasing decisions, this may be a major game-changer for marketing in years to come.

Uploading videos to YouTube allows you to appear in front of customers who use the site like a traditional search engine.

Then, with appropriately-placed links, you can drive those users back to your website.

Let’s take a look at how GoPro’s YouTube channel does this.

As one of the most popular YouTube channels around, GoPro uses their high-quality videos to show what their product is capable of doing.

However, simply uploading videos doesn’t drive sales.

That’s why they also make it easy for customers to get from their YouTube channel to a product page.

Here, we have a video shot users shot with the GoPro HERO6:

GoPro hero6 YouTube video

Right within the first couple lines of the description, viewers have a link that will bring them straight to the product page for the GoPro HERO6.

Interested customers can check out what the new camera is capable of, then easily make their way over to the GoPro website to get additional details or make a purchase.

And this isn’t the only way GoPro pushes traffic to their website.

You can also find a link to their website and their social media profiles within their cover image.

gopro hero image

This gives YouTube users who land on the company’s channel an opportunity to get to their website quickly.

You can also add links to your website within your actual video content.

YouTube even offers features that allow users to create interactive video ads.

interactive video advertisement options in youtube

These features display either over the video itself or at the end of a video, prompting viewers to make the next move.

You’ll see from this chart that both call-to-action overlays and auto end screens help drive traffic to your website.

Here’s an example of a call-to-action overlay from a HubSpot video.

hubspot youtube video has link

YouTube features the link right within the middle of the video. HubSpot timed it perfectly so that it appears when the viewer has a thorough enough understanding of inbound marketing to start feeling enticed.

Now, let’s compare this to an auto end screen.

Here’s an example from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

jimmy fallon youtube end screen

This presents the viewer with a number of different options when they’ve completed a video. It includes an offer to head to the NBC website to download the show’s app.

When using either of these interactive features, be sure to provide a clear and direct value to your watcher.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to plaster over your video with links to dozens of content pieces.

Instead, focus on just one or two that truly support the contents of your video.

2. Start conversations on social

If you do it correctly, social can rival Google as a traffic source.

According to Sprout Social, 48% of Millennials and 48% of Gen X-ers followed a brand on social media in Q1 of 2017.

which generations are following brands on social

This means you have less noise to cut through to get to your target audience.

Additionally, social provides you with an opportunity to engage and entertain – something you’ll struggle to do on a search engine.

When social users scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they’re looking for just about anything that will pique their interest.

If you’re capable of providing something high-quality and interesting, they’ll click through to your site to check out more.

However, it’s important to recognize how social is changing for brands.

In 2017, social accounted for 25.6% of all site visits.

social vs search referral traffic

But this number is actually down from past years.

From the same study, we can see that from about the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2017, social was outperforming search for driving traffic.

Unfortunately, the changes to the Facebook algorithm led to serious declines in organic reach on the platform.

Compared to the first half of 2017, Facebook saw about a 9% drop in social media referrals in the second half of the year.

social media referral web traffic

However, one social site’s loss is another’s gain.

While Facebook saw a large dip at the end of 2017, both Pinterest and Instagram saw some pretty significant jumps.

Regardless of the social networks you choose to target, you want to provide meaningful and valuable information.

Remember that users log onto social to engage with their friends – not to have someone sell them something.

You want to find ways to engage your user while they’re still on the platform.

Buzzfeed Tasty does an excellent job at this.

buzzfeed tasty facebook video

Within their Facebook post, they include it all.

They created a video to grab attention.

They have friendly messages that establish the viewer as their friend.

And they include not one but two links that can either push the user to buy or to check out the recipe from the video.

And they do all of that without making it feel overwhelming!

This tactic has gained the Tasty Facebook page serious attention – almost 95 million followers!

To replicate this for your own audience, know your audience and create social content that blends seamlessly into their timelines.

Another way to get a conversation started is to use Twitter threads.

Twitter threads allow you to share insights, tips, and thoughts that connect by replying to yourself – and they have the power to bring you viral attention.

Check out what happened to travel blogger Hey Ciara.

On January 1st, she started this thread.

cheap flights twitter thread

With this one thread alone, Ciara gained over 13,000 new Twitter followers, 6,000 new Instagram followers, and a 10x increase in her blog traffic.

Threads like these provide a distinct value to followers in a relatable way.

After sharing her secrets, Ciara drops a link to a blog post on her website containing more information.

ciara johnson tweets blog post

Though the engagement with the link is significantly less than the first post, it was still able to drive traffic.

She already established authority with her followers in the thread. They trust her and know that she has information worth sharing. That gives them a reason to click on the link.

Creating a Twitter thread typically takes minimal effort. However, you want to be prepared to keep the momentum going.

Know the direction you’re going to take before you begin and be ready to share images, videos, or links that support your claims.

3. Partner with influencers

There are a lot of scams on the web, making shoppers wary about who they choose to purchase from.

If they’ve never heard of a business, they’re not going to pull out their credit cards after seeing just one ad.

Before they’re ready to shop, they need to trust you.

Unfortunately, it takes time to build trust organically.

However, you can speed up that process by working with influencers.

Almost nine out of ten individuals say that they trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations.

youtubers and online recommendations

Influencer marketing gives your content a “stamp of approval” from someone your audience already values. This dramatically cuts down on the trust-building process.

There are two main ways that you can get in touch with influencers.

First, you can use the more traditional pathway of having influencers share sponsored posts.

Here’s an example of a sponsored post from Emma Blackery.

emma blackery sponsored tweet

The National Citizen Service (NCS) sponsored the ad. In the UK, they offer kids from 15-17 years old a camp-like, professional development opportunity.

By sharing this post, Emma is bringing awareness to NCS while also vouching for its validity.

She also includes a link to the company’s homepage, encouraging her followers to check out the organization more.

Within just five hours, Emma’s post gained over 480 likes, 38 retweets, and 24 comments.

Compared to the handful of likes NCS’s own posts get, this kind of attention is huge.

Paying for advertisements can give you more control as a brand.

If you’re a small business or you have a limited marketing budget, it might not be right for you.

But even if you don’t have money to invest in influencer marketing, you can appeal to influencers for free by featuring them in your own content.

Posts like this one from Comm100 are a great way to connect with several influencers at once.

customer service experts on twitter

This not only gives you free promotion, but it can also help you create long-term relationships with influencers and experts you might want to partner with in the future.

If you choose to use this kind of content, have realistic expectations.

It isn’t likely that each influencer you mention will share the post, especially if they already have a large following.

However, reaching out to each expert to let them know that you’ve featured them might help you get a few new shares and a boost in web traffic.

One way of reaching out is to present a quote.

In this Twitter post from Jitesh Patil, he pulled a quote from Robbie Richards and then tagged him in the tweet.

jitesh patil tweet

This gained Robbie’s attention, so he retweeted it to his own audience.

This kind of outreach makes it easy for the influencer to share your content. With just one click of a button, they’ve done their job.

You can also reach out via direct message. This is one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s favorite ways to network.

According to Gary, “the key is to connect first, provide value, and THEN given the right opportunity presents itself, ASK.”

This kind of relationship can help you establish long-term relationships with influencers.

4. Take advantage of your email subscribers

The conversation about whether or not email is dying has been happening for years.

Many markers are quick to support social or mobile apps over email marketing.

However, in Adobe’s 2017 Consumer Email Survey Report, they found that email was the preferred form of contact for 61% of survey participants.

preferred method to contact brands

In fact, email was the only contact method that actually improved between 2016 and 2017.

But user preference isn’t the only thing that email marketing has over other contact methods.

The average click-through rate is also much higher.

For email, the average click-through rate is 3.42%.

While this might seem low, the average click-through rate for Facebook Ads is only 0.90%.

This means that you’re much more likely to get web traffic from your email subscribers than your social profiles.

And that starts with personalization.

Here’s an example of personalization from LinkedIn.

top job picks for you

LinkedIn takes a user’s location, job title, and qualifications and provides unique job recommendations for them.

This goes far beyond simply changing the name at the top of a message. For best results, you need to personalize the email’s body, too.

According to research, personalizing email bodies has a dramatic effect on open rates and click-through-rates.

Open rates are almost 7% higher with a personalized email body, and click-through rates jump by over 1.3%.

benefits of personalization in email body

You can also personalize the sender name for even stronger click-through-rate results.

Take this example from HubSpot.

personalizing email sender name experiment

When they sent a message from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot,” there was a 0.50% higher open rate and 0.25% higher click-through rate than when they sent the email from just “HubSpot.”

For HubSpot, this meant that a personalized sender generated 292 more clicks.

To improve click-through rates even further, you also want to optimize your emails for mobile.

In the study from Adobe that we looked at above, we see that users are much more likely to check their personal email on a smartphone than a desktop or laptop.

devices used for checking work and personal email

Make it easy for your email subscribers to get back to your website regardless of the screen they’re viewing your message on.

Use CTA buttons rather than in-text links and keep your messages short and to the point.

Provide enough information to pique your reader’s interest, but your end goal should always be to push to subscribers back to your site.

5. Provide assistance on forums and question sites

People have a lot of questions.

And they don’t exclusively turn to Google to get their answers.

Users turn to forums and question sites.

Participating in conversations on sites like Reddit for Quora can help you attract individuals looking for answers beyond what Google can provide.

With over 330 million users, Reddit is the fourth most-visited website in the US.

top four most popular websites in the united states as of may 2018

Although Google, YouTube, and Facebook outrank the site in terms of popularity, Reddit beats them all based on the average amount of time that users spend on the site.

Reddit can be a great place to promote your site. However, you need to be strategic with how you go about it.

Most subreddits have strict rules about what you can and can’t say in their comments.

Each subreddit has a moderator. If you post the wrong material, they’ll delete your post and potentially even ban your account.

Users turn to forums like Reddit for help – not to have someone sell to them.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use Reddit to drive traffic to your site.

One of the best ways to do it successfully is through an “ask me anything” session, or an AMA.

Here’s an example of a successful AMA from Student Loan Hero.

student loan hero reddit AMA one way to get web traffic

While the post is promoting the business, it’s more focused on providing Reddit users with valuable information about paying off debt.

By answering questions, Student Loan Hero is able to improve trust with Reddit users and get them interested in the brand.

They also find ways to link to their content and tools as they answer questions.

Here is an example.

student loan hero AMA question and answer

Student Loan Hero isn’t using this platform as a way to spit out ads.

Instead, they’re framing their content to fit the unique needs of each individual asking questions.

If you’re trying to be spammy on Reddit, users will be quick to call you out.

However, you can still see a lot of success from the platform by making your value clear.

Jeff Callahan, creator of one of the most successful Reddit posts, says that success on the platform begins with a “non-clickbaity” title.

He begins his post by sharing who he is and how he relates to the other users. Then, he communicates exactly what he has to say and why he’s credible enough to say it.

recovering awkward person headline reddit post

He then follows these same ideas throughout his post, always relating back to the user before providing tips or insights he can back up with personal experience.

If you use it wisely, Reddit can be a great place to bring visitors to your website.

You can also use Quora, which has 200 million unique monthly visitors, to answer questions from potential audience members.

Here’s an example of how I responded to a Quora question.

neil patel answers quora question

Like Reddit, Quora allows you to engage with individuals who are asking questions. Answering questions helps you prove your value to them before they head to your website.

This can encourage more traffic to your page.

Kevin Lee, founder of Product Manager HQ, attributes his business’s start and growth to Quora.

According to his post about how Quora changed his life, Kevin explains that Quora brought thousands of new subscribers to his blog.

He says that people in public have even recognized him from his Quora answers.

If you’re in a niche industry, there are other forums you may want to take advantage of.

For example, marketers may want to become active on while lawyers should check out Avvo.

6. Take advantage of guest posting

Guest posting can be a powerful way to bring new traffic to your website.

About 57% of business bloggers use guest posting as part of their content strategy.

Some major brands even used guest blogging to get their platforms off the ground.

For example, Buffer used guest blogging to grow their site to 100,000 users in their first nine months.

When looking for guest posting opportunities, you want to find sites that are within your niche but aren’t direct competitors.

Hosting a post on another website puts your content in front of a new audience, driving new leads back to your page.

Check out this example of a guest post on Entrepreneur.

why entrepreneurs must follow their calling entrepreneur article

As you can see, Dan Dowling, the guest author in this example, has links to his Facebook page, Twitter account, and website homepage.

Guest posting on other websites isn’t the only way to use the strategy to drive traffic.

You can also feature guest posts on your own site.

This not only gives you a bit of a break in your content schedule, but it also encourages guest posters to share links to your page.

Here’s an example from ProBlogger.

how to establish your brand on pinterest article

ProBlogger benefits from this post because the author, Larry Alton, will want to advertise that they’re featuring him on their site.

Each time Larry promotes the piece, ProBlogger gets a new wave of traffic.

But blogging isn’t your only option.

You can also appear on podcasts or webinars to share your opinion and expertise.

Here’s an example from SEMrush’s Search Marketing Scoop with David Bain.

search marketing scoop podcast

In this episode, both Barry Schwartz, News Editor at Search Engine Land, and Richard Fergie, a consultant at E-Analytica, jump on the podcast to talk about paid and organic search.

These types of partnerships typically take more time, but they can provide serious returns in the end.

You want to think of what podcasts or webinars your audience may be engaging with that aren’t your direct competitors.


You don’t need Google to drive traffic to your website.

Sure, it helps.

But it shouldn’t be your only traffic source.

In fact, for the most success, you should have multiple pathways bringing new traffic to you.

Use these six traffic-generating sources as a starting point for diversifying how you bring in new visitors.

Pay close attention to your customers and target audience.

If they’re not responding to a particular pathway, don’t waste your time.

When you provide what they’re looking for in an avenue they’re already engaging with, traffic will flock to your page.

What are some of the best traffic sources for your website outside of SEO?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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What is an SSL Certificate and How It Can Help Your Website

What is an SSL Certificate and How It Can Help Your Website

You might be wondering: “Why is my website showing up as an unsecured site in Google Chrome?”

The answer is because you don’t have an SSL certificate that converts your pages into secure, encrypted HTTPS pages.

Some people may think that there’s no need for an SSL certificate if your website isn’t used to store or process sensitive information, or that an HTTP protocol is enough.

That may have been the case a decade ago, but it simply doesn’t hold true today.

When visitors see the “Not secure” tag that comes along with the lack of an SSL certificate, they’ll be less likely to stay on your site or interact with your company.

Or buy anything from you at all.

In this post, we’re going to cover what an SSL certificate is and how it can be used to help your website.

So what does SSL stand for, anyway?

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL certificates are data files that add a cryptographic key together with a company’s details. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

In layman’s terms, SSL certificates bind a domain name, server name, or hostname together with a company name and location.

When they’re installed on a web server, they activate a padlock that shows that a secure connection is present between a browser and the web server.

These padlocks, which are added to most of your favorite websites, look something like this:

SSL padlocks in chrome

They signify to site visitors that the owner of a website is encrypting connections on the page, which makes for a more secure experience.

Usually, SSLs can be used to secure transactions, logins, and data transfer. In today’s world, it has become commonplace for social media sites to have SSL certificates, too.

Twitter has one:

twitter SSL padlock

Facebook has one:

facebook SSL padlock

And even Reddit has one:

reddit SSL padlock

When you open an SSL certificate up, it usually looks something like this:

SSL certificate information

This particular certificate lists who it was issued to, who it was issued by, and the dates that it is valid from and to. This one is valid until 2019.

That way, site visitors won’t have to second guess if your web page is safe, secure, or legitimate.

The bottom line? If you want your site to be trustworthy, you’ll need an SSL certificate.

Here’s how an SSL certificate works.

How Does an SSL Work

When you access a website, the browser or server requests that your web server reveals it’s identity.

A web server with an SSL certificate sends the browser or server a copy of it for review.

Then, the browser or server will check to determine whether or not it trusts the certificate. If it does, it relays the message back to the web server.

Then, the web server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgment and an SSL encrypted session begins.

Encrypted, secured data is then shared between the browser or server and the web server.

how SSL works

The benefits to using SSL certificates are huge. For starters, SSL makes browsing safer for your customers, builds trust and boosts conversions, and protects both internal and customer data.

They also help you rank higher in Google since they’re made possible with HTTPS.

But what is HTTPS and why is it important?


HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is an application layer protocol that was created to transfer and receive data over the internet.

In comparison to plain old Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, HTTPS encrypts all communication between a browser and a website.

difference between http and https

HTTP does not. The added S in HTTPS is much more than a letter.

This means that data sent through an HTTPS connection is converted into a nearly impenetrable code to prevent unauthorized hackers from getting their hands on it.

And even if they do, they won’t be able to understand it or make sense of it. Encryption can take a simple message, like “hello” and turn it into an unidentifiable code, like “6EB6957008E03CE4.”

An application layer protocol doesn’t discriminate when it comes to how information is transferred between sources, so your site visitors will all be treated with equal security.

HTTPS is commonly used by e-commerce websites in order to ensure secure transactions for customers when purchasing products.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance and advantages of the HTTPS protocol that SSL certificates provide.

The Importance and Advantages of SSL

Google’s main goal is to provide users with secure browsing options. That’s why they’re encouraging site owners to make the switch over to HTTPS.

In fact, Google is now marking all non-HTTPS sites as unsecure.

http not secure

And if you’re selling products or services from your site, an HTTPS seal of approval could help you sell even more.

secure credit card payment

Think about it: would you hesitate if you were ready to buy something and you saw a header like “Secure payment?” Probably not.

But if you saw something on a checkout page mentioning that things were “not secure,” you’d probably be gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane.

Once you have an SSL certificate and an HTTPS protocol, don’t be afraid to show it off to your customers and boast about it to help boost sales and transparency.

HTTPS can also help your SEO and conversions.

How SSL Can Help Your SEO And Conversions

Google rewards URLs with HTTPS protocols for being secure, which gives them a minor SEO boost in comparison to sites without them.

This means increased rankings and more referral data.

Referral data is preserved when it passes through HTTPS sites, which can also help to increase your search engine placements.

ssl advantages

Rankings will continue to increase over time if your site operates on HTTPS since visitors can always rest assured that browsing on your site is secure.

But there are several different types of SSL certificates you should be aware of.

Types of SSL Certificates

When choosing an SSL certificate, you need to pick the one that works best for you and your site.

There are three main types of SSL certificates.

  1. Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificates
  2. Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificates
  3. Extended Validation (EV SSL) Certificates

DV SSL certificates are issued almost immediately, and no company paperwork is required to obtain one.

No company identity is displayed on this type of SSL certificate other than encryption information, but it is enough to activate the “secure” padlock on your URL.

activated padlock secure https

While there’s no questioning that your information will be encrypted when visiting a site with a DV SSL certificate, there’s no way for customers to verify who is on the other end of the data.

These certificates are the easiest and quickest to get, and they’re also the cheapest. But they’re the least secure of all SSL certificates.

If you just have a small personal website or forum that needs some added encryption, a DV SSL certificate is a solid choice.

OV SSL certificates are more secure than DV SSL certificates but less secure than EV SSL certificates. They’re also usually right in the middle of the two when it comes to cost, as well.

They are issued within a couple of days and require you to:

  • Authenticate your organization
  • Prove your right to request a certification

When you obtain an OV SSL certificate, the “secure” padlock will be added to your URL, as well as some kind of site seal, depending on where you purchase it from.

ssl provider seals

If you have a large, public-facing website that handles some non-sensitive transactional data on a regular basis, an OV SSL is a good certificate to go with.

EV SSL certificates, on the other hand, require several steps before they can be obtained. To get an EV SSL certificate, you must usually:

  • Verify the legal existence of your company
  • Verify that the identity of your company matches official records
  • Verify that your company has the right to use the domain listed in the EV SSL certificate
  • Verify that your company has authorized the issuance of the SSL certificate

EV SSL certificates are harder to get in comparison to other types, but they are more secure than DV SSL and OV SSL certificates.

You know exactly who is on the other end of the website with this kind of certificate.

These certificates are usually issued within several days and are the most expensive to obtain. The company name is displayed in the URL next to the “secure” padlock.

digicert SSL

Your address bar may also turn green.

If you are an e-commerce site or you handle credit card payments and other sensitive data regularly, you need an EV SSL for maximum security.

How do you know what the best SSL certificate is for you?

What’s the Best SSL Certificate?

While all three different kinds of SSL certificates are better than no certificate, you have to pick the one that works the best for your budget and site needs.

Most sites that offer SSL certificates, like GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Comodo, offer all three.

Let’s analyze GoDaddy first.


All SSL certificates from GoDaddy include SHA-2 and 2048-bit encryption, which is about the strongest out there on the market today.

With a certificate from GoDaddy, you’ll be able to protect unlimited servers, reissue your certificate as many times as needed for free, and reach 24/7 security support.

You’ll also receive as much as $1 million in liability protection and a 30-day money back guarantee.

A DV SSL is $59.99 a year, an OV SSL is $103.99 per year, and an EV SSL is $99.99 per year.

comparison of types of SSL

With Cloudflare, you can get a base SSL for a more affordable price.


With Cloudflare, you can get the base SSL service for free. There’s no hidden details or fine print.

For more advanced features or SSL certificates, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.

All that you need to implement Cloudflare’s SSL services is create an account and update your site’s DNS records.

Cloudflare’s HTTPS options provide additional services beyond regular HTTS that can help you boost page loading times and site speed.

Cloudflare serves your site visitors a cached version of your site to help make it faster for users.

However, SSL with Cloudflare only encrypts the connection between site visitors and the cached version of your site.

It doesn’t encrypt the connection that exists between your site and your server.

cloudflare ssl

This means that your server connection could still be hacked.

If you want a full SSL certificate complete with encryption for your server, you might have to pay as much as $200 per month per domain for Cloudflare’s Business plan.

cloudflare ssl pricing

Other features included in the Business package include a web application firewall, prioritized email support, and guaranteed 100% uptime for your website.

Comodo SSL certificates are a bit more secure than Cloudflare.


A DV SSL certificate from Comodo will set you back about $70.95 per year. A warranty level of $10,000 is included.

OV SSL certificates can cost anywhere from $88.95 to $427.95 per year, depending on the one you choose. Warranty levels are anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 for this SSL.

An EV SSL is $199.50 per year and includes a warranty level of $1,750,000.

Every SSL certificate from Comodo features 128/256 bit encryption, 2048 bit root keys, unlimited reissuance and a 30-day money back guarantee,

Each certificate features HackerGuardian PCI scanning service, as well.

hacker guardian comodo ssl

Once you decide on the SSL certificate that works best for you, get ready to install it.

How to Install an SSL Certificate

Installing an SSL certificate might sound intimidating, but it isn’t anything to be afraid of. Start off by purchasing the SSL certificate of your choice.

1) Purchase the SSL certificate

Be sure to only purchase an SSL certificate from a reputable source.

After all, you don’t want to compromise your company’s security, so don’t just purchase an SSL certificate from anywhere.

You will probably need to upload a copy of your Certificate Signing Request (CSR) when you order the SSL certificate of your choosing.

A finished CSR should look something like this:

begin ssl certificate request

You can find a list of all CSR creation instructions for nearly every platform and operating system here.

Once you’ve purchased your SSL certificate, you’re ready to activate it.

2) Activate it

The method used to activate your SSL certificate will depend on where you ultimately decide to purchase it from. Sometimes, your web host will activate your SSL for you.

For example, if you purchase an SSL from GoDaddy, you’ll have to log into your account, head to “SSL Certificates” and click “Set up.”

set up godaddy ssl

Once you refresh the page, you should see your new and ready to use certificate.

When you have activated your certificate, you should validate it.

3) Validate the certificate

Before you officially begin to use an SSL certificate, you need to diagnose any issues with it.

Use an SSL Checker tool like this one from SSL Shopper to validate your certificate.

ssl checker

Next, install the certificate on your hosting server if it hasn’t already been done by your web host.

4) Install the certificate on the hosting server

The process for installing your certificate on your hosting server will depend on where you’ve built your site.

For example, if you’ve used Duda to build your website, you can navigate over to “Site Settings” and click “Site SSL” to set up a certificate.

click site SSL

Then, click “Generate certificate.”

Note that your SSL certificate should never be removed unless you manually take it off of your site.

Once your SSL certificate is up and running, you need to set up 301 redirects and check your links.

5) Set up 301 redirects and check the links

If you have old google links or dated links to your pages on other sites, you need to set up a redirect so that HTTP requests can be changed to HTTPS ones.

You can do this by adding the following code to the top of your .htcaaccess file located in your root folder:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [R=301,L]

Once you’ve added that code, double check that your site is still working well and that requests are being redirected to the new version of your URLs.

You can also use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to force all connections to become HTTPS links all at once.

http strict transport security

All you have to do is add the code to your site.

For example, if you have an Apache web server, you can add the following code to your .htaaccess file:

# Use HTTP Strict Transport Security to force client to use secure connections only Header always set Strict-Transport-Security “max-age=300; includeSubDomains; preload”

Here’s how to view SSL certificates in Chrome.

How to View SSL Certificates in Chrome

To view SSL certificates for any site (including your own) in Chrome, open Developer tools.

developer tools in chrome

From there, head to the Security tab and click “View certificate.”

view certificate security overview

Then, the full certificate should appear for your viewing.

google ssl certificate

Finally, you need to test your HTTPS to make sure that all web elements are as secure as possible.

Testing your HTTPS

The easiest and fastest way to verify that your HTTPS is working is to head to your website and verify that you see HTTPS: before your site name.

http vs https in browser

If you want a more in-depth test, use an advanced SSL-Check tool like this one from JitBit.

ssl check with root URL

This tool will crawl an entire HTTPS website (and even it’s internal links) to uncover unsecure images, scripts or CSS files that trigger unsecure warnings in browsers.

You can crawl 200 pages of your site for free using the tool if you tweet about it, which is a pretty small price to pay for zero cost HTTPS testing.


If your site is marked as unsecure, you’re losing valuable site visitors every minute.

An SSL certificate can help, since it verifies and encrypts your website, making your pages safe for both you and your customers.

If you think you can avoid getting an SSL certificate, you’re wrong. The HTTPS protocol that SSLs provide is vital if you want to build a trusted and reputable site.

HTTPS tags show up with a padlock and a “secure” tag in visitors’ browsers, notifying them that your site is legit.

And HTTPS can help your SEO and conversions, since HTTPs pages are proven to have higher rankings and more referral data.

There are three different types of SSL certificates to choose from.

These include Domain Validated (DV SSL) Certificates, Organization Validated (OV SSL) Certificates, and Extended Validation (EV SSL) Certificates.

DV SSLs offer the least amount of security, while OV SSLs are more secure. EV SSLs are the most secure form of SSL certificate.

Choose an SSL certificate that works best for you, your company, and your budget.

If you want a reasonably priced SSL with high encryption, try GoDaddy. With Cloudflare, you can get a free DV SSL extension, but it may not be as secure as other certificates out there.

Comodo offers a wider variety of certificates than GoDaddy with similar encryption. However, they’re a bit more expensive.

To install an SSL certificate, you’ll have to purchase one from a trusted source, first.

Then, activate it and validate it. Install the certificate on your hosting server and set up 301 redirects to your new HTTPS URLs. Don’t forget to check the links.

If you want to view SSL certificates in Chrome, you can open them up for any site you visit using Developer Tools.

Finally, to test your HTTPS, use an advanced SSL Checker like the one created by JitBit. Double check that your URLs have a secure padlock, too, just in case.

Which type of SSL certificate are you going to add to your website?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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Continued Collaboration: Spring 2018 International Educators Workshop

Continued Collaboration: Spring 2018 International Educators Workshop

The participants experienced a mini-semester in a week. They attended classes and field studies, learned a bit of Swedish, participated in discussion sessions, visited DIS housing options, and met with faculty and current students.

Highlights included a meeting at Swedish Parliament with Rossana Dinamarca, a Chilean exile and Swedish Left Party politician; and a visit to Stockholm’s South Hospital (Södersjukhuset) and Department of Clinical Research, where participants learned more about the hands-on clinical perspective students obtain in the course Translational Medicine: From Bench to Bedside.

Read about the Translational Medicine: From Bench to Bedside Core Course here

DIS faculty welcomed the opportunity to dialogue with partners, discussing their courses, pedagogy, and experiences teaching DIS students. Over half of the participants lived with Homestays, and everyone enjoyed a mysmiddag dinner in a Swedish home. Most of the participants also joined an optional day trip to DIS Copenhagen.

Several participants served on discussion panels throughout the week, including:

‘Dimeji Togunde, Associate Provost of Global Education at Spelman College, served as a leader of the discussion session, “An Ongoing Initiative: Developing a Diversity Strategy.” He provided insights into the work being done at Spelman to engage families and students in conversations about studying abroad. Spelman was recognized with the Senator Paul SimAwardard for campus internationalization last year and 2018 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education Award.

Tina Mangieri, outgoing Associate Dean & Director for the Center of Global Education at Bates and incoming Associate Academic Director at DIS Stockholm, led the discussion session Undergraduate Research at DIS: Opportunities and Engagement. She highlighted the research opportunities available at DIS and engaged participants in a discussion about what their students are looking for when they are interested in doing research abroad.

Monica Schechter, Associate Director of Study Abroad at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was recognized during the Concluding Dinner for her continued support and long-standing partnership with DIS. Monica attended the IEW with two Cal Poly faculty who provided excellent perspectives and insights during the week.

Tack så mycket to all that attended!

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Why Live Video Is Your Next Big Win (and How to Start Dominating Today)

Why Live Video Is Your Next Big Win (and How to Start Dominating Today)

Live video commands the attention of the business world.

Projections show that live streaming will be worth a staggering $70.05 billion by 2021.

Unlike ever before, people have a means of interacting with their favorite brands. They can do this at the exact moment that those brands are reaching out.

This means that potential customers can (and often do) direct the action.

Here’s the good news:

You can use live video to engage your customers at the starting price of $0.

So, what’s stopping you from jumping in and using live video, too?

If you’re like most beginners, you’re stuck on choosing which platform is best for your needs. Luckily, live video is versatile, and most platforms are quick and easy to set up.

You can use Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, or a variety of other platforms.

Your platform of choice will largely depend on your target audience. Once you choose your platform, live streaming is simple. You’ll be crushing video in no time.

And I’m happy to teach you how. But first, you need to understand a little bit about how live video works.

What is live video?

Video content has proven itself to be some of the most compelling content on the Internet in 2018.

Streaming is in demand.

people want more video content according to survey

In fact, projections show that video will account for 82% of all web traffic by 2021.


Live streaming taps into a uniquely human affinity for sharing and storytelling.

video is worth 1.8 million word per minute

But what differentiates regular video from live video?

Live video is video that a user broadcasts live to an audience of real people engaging in the same exact space.

The hook is that, instead of it being like TV or similar broadcasted video platforms, this iteration of live video goes through social media.

And on social media, people can have an active conversation with the broadcaster.

Live video streams are commonly buzzing with comments and discussions that build a feeling of kinetic energy.

applegate instagram comments

To be a part of the action is to be included.

This not only allows brands to create more authentic connections with customers, but it also gives them meaningful insights into what customers really want.

The combination of live video and social media access spurred an eruption of public interest
over the past year.

After Facebook launched its iteration of live video, each major social media platform released its own live video feature.

And Facebook Live is still the preferred platform for watching live streaming video.

most popular platforms for live streaming

YouTube Live and Instagram trail just behind Facebook.

Keep in mind that some live video platforms are better for certain things than others. You want to target the one that gives you the most utility for your needs.

If you think that live video is just a fad that’s going to die out when the “next big thing” comes along, you’re wrong. Live video is the next big thing, and it’s here to stay.

Here’s why.

Don’t ignore live video’s exploding popularity

According to Recode, more than 500 million people are viewing video on Facebook every single day.

That’s huge.

And in four years, 80% of all consumer Internet traffic will be Internet video traffic.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Pro gaming is an entire industry that thrives on live video, and it’s booming. And that’s just one industry that drives the popularity of live video!

According to Buffer’s 2018 State of Social Report, 96% of businesses use Facebook, 89% use Twitter, 70% use LinkedIn, another 70% use Instagram, and 57% are active on YouTube.

which of the following channels does your business currently use

Of these businesses, 85% plan to create even more video across their social accounts than they did the year before.

what types of content does your business plan to create more of

As if that wasn’t enough, 95% of brand executives think that live video is the key to training, engaging, and communicating in 2018.

If you choose to ignore the importance of live video, your competitors are going to leave you in the dust. Now is the time to choose a platform and get started.

Choosing the right video outlet is vital to the success of your marketing mix this year. But it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that will work for you.

Developers have had time to smooth out most of the live video platforms, which means that they’re easy for both businesses and customers to use.

For example, Facebook live offers a built-in notification system that notifies users when a page that they’ve liked “goes live.”

mark zuckerberg going live on facebook

Facebook also offers features that allow pages to promote a live video ahead of time. Users can simultaneously set reminders so they don’t forget about the broadcast.

reminder to go live on facebook

If you want to expand your reach and gain exposure for events or product launches, this is a great feature.

Your posts and ads won’t get lost in a sea of status updates. Streaming brings customers straight to you instead.

But how are people interacting with streaming video as a whole? And how are brands specifically using it?

How are people interacting with live video?

Brands aren’t the only ones using live video. Ordinary people use live video on each and every one of the social media platforms that offer it.

Like with videos and photos, social media users are leveraging live video feeds to share their own stories.

It’s more personal than a typical, all-text post.

Because live video allows you to share content in real time, many businesses have taken advantage of the free-flowing nature of the medium to create experiences that wouldn’t work anywhere else.

Kohl’s, for example, does this.

kohls live facebook video

The people who engaged with this video were watching Kohl’s models work out live.

If it weren’t live, the event would have looked like a basic, obvious infomercial. But because it was fully interactive, 37,000 viewers got to experience it together.

That’s virtually impossible when it comes to television ads unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday.

top super bowl ads by online views

80% of people would rather watch live videos from brands than read their blog posts while 82% prefer live videos from brands over regular social posts.

Here’s the bottom line:

Live video is ideal for human interaction.

It brings people out of their shells on Facebook, for instance, where broadcasts receive 600% more engagement than regular posts.

Brands, influencers, and regular users can all access live video to share the most interesting parts of their days.

So can you.

Live video brings traffic to your business

With Facebook Live, customers can literally engage with you in real time.

You’re able to address viewers by name, which boosts active engagement and participation.

To put it simply, live video allows brands to “break the fourth wall” between them and their customers.

Search Engine Journal found that their live video posts on Facebook like SEJ News Live receive more attention than their regular updates.

search engine journal facebook live

In fact, their live videos packed an engagement punch that was 178% higher than the average engagement on their regular posts.

Over two months, live video increased the brand’s referral traffic by 213%.

increased brands referral traffic

And with live video, customers are always in the loop about events whether they’re serious or outlandish.

For example, back in 2016, BuzzFeed held their audience’s attention for 45 minutes while two employees were putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it “blew up.”

buzzfeed watermelon blew up

Even though it was a rather silly event, the suspense of the live broadcast kept the audience watching.

The content wouldn’t have been as interesting if BuzzFeed had posted it on their social media accounts as a regular video. The fact that it was live created a sense of community for viewers.

Viewers waited for the watermelon to pop together. While waiting, they speculated on the number of rubber bands it would take for the fruit to reach its breaking point.

Live video also helps influencers because they can learn exactly what viewers are interested in talking about.

Influencer Brian Fanzo advises creating a strategy for live video ahead of time but keeping things flexible.

Here’s what he told Convince and Convert:

“I was giving a tour behind the scenes with the goal to make the streaming a ‘backstage pass’ event, when several viewers started asking questions about my new Samsung phone.”

He switched gears and started talking about technology with viewers since that’s where participants wanted to take the conversation.

You have to be willing to go with the flow.

If you work with an influencer on live video campaigns, both the host and your brand will be able to access the wants, needs, and desires of your audience more authentically.

Tons of brands are finding huge success by broadcasting recurring live videos.

Consider HelloFresh, for example. The brand hosts a live, interactive cooking show where their customers cook along with the host. They get tips from professional chefs and immediate answers to their questions.

hellofresh live cooking show on facebook

This helps viewers improve their cooking skills and prepare tasty meals with help from an expert.

Viewers can find the Facebook Live Cooking Party series on the HelloFresh Facebook page.

live cooking parties facebook video

And HelloFresh isn’t the only big brand utilizing live video for all it’s worth. In March of 2018, Nissan live streamed the reveal of their new 2019 Altima.

nissan altima live reval on facebook

But you don’t have to limit live streaming to simple product launches.

You could live stream a Q&A like the developers of the popular game Hearthstone did back in June of 2017.

live stream q&a

Pepsi got creative by partnering with Nature Conservancy and using the power of live streaming to protect watersheds nationwide.

The possible uses for live video are virtually endless. The technology opens all kinds of doors, and it’s here to stay.

One reason that you can count on live video continuing to grow in popularity is that it’s a great tool for SEO.

Consumers are eager for more content from the brands that they follow, but as many as 80% of them say that they would prefer to consume live video to blog posts.

And since most platforms notify users about live content in their feeds, they don’t have to look very far to find it.

If you launch a live video and don’t have many viewers at first, don’t get discouraged too quickly.

Let’s say that you host a small event and decide to live stream it. When you first go live, only 15 people are watching it. That might not seem like many viewers.

But while you’re live, some viewers might post the video to their page and ask their friends to watch it. The longer you’re live, the more people will continue to share the video.

Who knows? You could end up racking up a total reach of thousands of people from one live stream.

rising importance of live streaming

To sweeten the deal, you don’t need a huge marketing budget to broadcast live video.

In fact, it’s possible to share an effective live video on pretty much every platform without spending a single dime.

Here’s how to choose the live video platform that works best for you and start using it.

How to choose a live video platform and get started

When it comes to live video, the options are (almost) limitless.

If you’re not sure which platform to go live on, keep reading. I’ll walk you through some of your options.

1. Facebook

Facebook has the largest user base out of all social platforms, which makes it a great place to stream video. Practically all of your family and friends are already on there.

monthly users of all the social platforms

If you go live on Facebook, you’ll have a greater chance to boost online visibility and reach than you will with other platforms.

And going live on Facebook is easy. It’s arguably easier than any other platform out there.

From the app, start composing a regular status update like you normally would.

From an iOS device, a list of options will appear below the text field.

Tap on “Live Video.”

update status with facebook live video

Then hit “Continue.”

go live on facebook continue

Now, you’re almost ready.

facebook live empty comment box

The steps are similar on an Android device. Hit “Go Live” and “Continue.”

Enter in a title for your live video explaining what you plan to talk about (or where you’re broadcasting from) and choose a privacy level.

For the widest reach, select “Public.”

facebook live public

When you’re live, your followers will receive a notification.

You’ll be able to see how many people are currently viewing your video, what their comments are, and how they’re “reacting” to it.

facebook live reactions

You can also comment on your live video and pin comments to the post. Once you finish broadcasting, Facebook will save the video to your profile.

2. Instagram

Like Facebook, Instagram will notify your followers once you decide to go live.

Your video won’t automatically upload to your profile, but you do have the option to upload it to your story for 24 hours after you record it.

To start a live video on Instagram, tap the camera icon at the top left of your screen. You can also swipe right from your news feed.

instagram camera icon

Tap “Live” at the bottom of your screen and select “Start Live Video.”

start live video on instagram

You’ll be able to see the number of viewers you have at the top of the screen, and comments will appear at the bottom.

If you want to add your own comment, you can tap and hold it to pin it to the top of the page for all of your viewers to see.

When you finish your live stream, hit “Save” for a copy of your post that you can add to your story.

3. Twitter

Twitter live video works a bit differently than Facebook Live or Instagram.

Periscope, Twitter’s live video app, powers it. However, you don’t have to set up a Periscope account to use the feature through Twitter.

To get started, tap the button that you would normally press to create a new tweet.

From there, tap “LIVE.” Once you’re ready, start your video.

twitter start live video

Viewers who see your live post on their timelines can watch, comment, or send hearts.

saguaro lake periscope live

You can see how many people are watching your content and post your own comments in the stream.

4. Periscope

Over 2 million active users are on Periscope, and users stream 350,000 hours of video on the platform every single day.

Out of all members, 24% say that they use the platform at least once a week. 20% of them use the service several times every day.

frequency of periscope use

To use Periscope, you can download and launch the app from the App Store (using an iOS device).

Next, sign in.

periscope ios app signin

After confirming your settings, tap on the camera icon at the bottom.

people on periscope

Select the buttons for camera, microphone, and location.

allow periscope location

If you’re accessing Periscope on an Android device, tap on the camera icon at the bottom right of your screen.

Then, write a title that describes what you’re going to broadcast. From there, select who you want to share your live video with.

periscope go live

You can manage your location and chat settings or tweet your stream by using the three icons above the “Go LIVE” button.

Once you’re ready to go live, tap “Go LIVE.”

Click “Stop Broadcast” to quit recording.

stop periscope broadcast

5. YouTube

YouTube Live has experienced a slower rollout than other platforms, which is kind of ironic since most people think of YouTube as the original online video service.

But YouTube is still the top video marketing platform.

how marketers are using video

In 2017, YouTube first opened up mobile live streaming to all users with 10,000 or more subscribers. They later decreased the required number of subscribers to 1,000.

Though that still means that not everyone on the platform can use this feature, channels that are relatively small can still take advantage of the opportunity to share live video with their subscribers.

To go live from the Android or iOS app, click the camera button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Then, click “GO LIVE.”

From here, you’ll be able to enter in a title for your stream, select your privacy options, and take a cover screenshot for your broadcast.

going live on youtube

Once you’re officially live, you’ll be able to see how many viewers you have. You can also see the comments that viewers have posted on your stream and the number of “likes” your video has received.

young turks live from vidcon

6. Twitch

The designers of Twitch originally created it for streaming video games, but you can now use it to stream everything from talk shows to regular live “vlogs.”

Twitch is a unique streaming outlet since partners and affiliates can monetize live streams on the platform.

Anyone can become a Twitch partner or affiliate. Members can receive donations from viewers and earn 5% of any game sale revenue that comes from referrals from their profiles.

Partners also get access to video ads, custom emoticons and badges, paid subscription options, and more.

twitch custom emoticons

In short, people are making a full living off of streaming on Twitch alone.

The singer Drake dropped into a stream to play Fortnite with a user. The stream racked up 628,000 views at the same time, which made that the most popular stream to date.


If you want to go live on Twitch, you’ll need to create an account first.

Once you’ve done that, choose “Dashboard” from the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen.

If you want to stream a game, select it under the “Playing” tab.

Next, enter a title for your broadcast, and you’re ready to stream.

twitch dashboard


In the next few years, live video will be a booming industry worth more than $70 billion.

The majority of marketers plan to create more video in 2018 than any other form of content.

Most people would rather consume live video from brands than read blog articles.

And it’s not just a fad. Video is here to stay.

Video content motivates people from around the world to connect in real time with one another and the brands they love.

Live video brings traffic to your business, creates engagement, and holds the attention of your viewers. Plus, streaming live video is free.

But it can be hard to choose the streaming platform that’s right for you.

Facebook Live is a great platform if you’re just getting started. Plus, it has the highest number of monthly users. It’s a great go-to option if you’re new to live streaming.

But you have lots of other platforms to consider. Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, and Twitch are all great options, too.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to utilize the platform that most of your target audience is using. You may even want to stream on more than one of them if your audience is spread out between them.

No matter where you go live, be sure that you set your privacy to public so that all of your followers can view your stream.

How will you take advantage of live video in 2018?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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7 Reasons Why Nobody is Reading Your Content and How to Grab Their Attention

7 Reasons Why Nobody is Reading Your Content and How to Grab Their Attention

Content, content, content.

It seems like content is the only thing anyone can talk about these days.

You’ve probably read post after post about how “content is king” at least a dozen times.

However, despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to see what the content hype is all about.

You write blog posts.

You create videos.

You participate in social media.

And yet, crickets.

You’re creating content, but it’s not getting you very far.

Unfortunately, creating content isn’t enough to really market your business.

If no one is engaging with what you’re producing, you’re simply wasting time, energy, and resources to clutter an already overcrowded web.

But this doesn’t mean content marketing is ineffective.

In fact, 20% of business owners believe content marketing will have the largest impact on their business in 2018.

If you’re not getting results from the content you’re creating, it typically means you’re doing something wrong.

But with a projected 16% growth rate between 2017 and 2021, content marketing isn’t something you can just hope will pass by.

If you want to market your business successfully, you need to find your errors, shape up your content, and start getting conversions.

To help you improve your content marketing strategy, here are seven of the biggest mistakes you might be making – and what you can do to turn your results around.

1. You have no strategy

Are you posting whatever you want, whenever you want?

A lot of marketers do this.

In fact, only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

percentage of b2b marketers who have a content strategy

This means the majority of marketers aren’t thinking strategically about the content they’re creating.

This makes it easy for your audience to ignore whatever you’re sharing.

A content marketing strategy helps you identify what you’d like to accomplish with your content, as well as how you’re going to use your content to achieve your larger business goals.

In other words, it forces you to put intention behind your content.

Moz describes content marketing strategy as the overlap between content marketing and content strategy.

moz content marketing strategy

At this intersection, you’re able to use the content you’ve created to bring your business plans to life.

If you’re operating without a content marketing strategy, this disconnect makes it difficult for your target audience to know what you want them to do.

However, when you create a plan, you’re putting a purpose behind your content.

Creating a content marketing plan doesn’t need to be difficult.

In fact, Content Marketing Institute outlines how you can create an effective plan in just one page by outlining your objectives, goals, metrics, and strategy.

Once this is done, you’re ready to move on to an editorial calendar.

Your editorial calendar should work hand-in-hand with the content marketing strategy you’ve created.

Here’s an example of an editorial calendar template from HubSpot.

hubspot blog editorial calendar

This calendar breaks down exactly when you’re going to publish your blog post, as well as the title name, content details, and keywords you’re going to target.

It also shares which personas you’re trying to reach and what you’re going to offer them.

This kind of well thought out planning means each piece of content you upload fits within the content marketing plan you’ve established.

There are dozens of ways you can create an editorial calendar.

Quickbooks chooses to house their editorial calendar in Airtable – allowing one editor to manage over 4,000 pieces of content.

quickbooks content operations

Others, like Buffer, turn to Trello.

buffer blog posts trello

Personally, I like Asana.

But the tool isn’t the point. The best tool is ultimately the one you can get everybody to use consistently.

2. You’re not publishing enough

When it comes to uploading content, quality beats quantity any day.

However, if you’re just posting once a month, you’re going to struggle to grab any real attention.

Consistency is key to building trust and credibility both with your audience and with search engines.

The idea is simple.

When you create more blogs, you’ll drive more traffic to your website.

With more traffic, you can prove to Google that you have content people want to read.

Once they understand you’re sharing valuable information, they’ll give your content a boost on their results pages – bringing in even more traffic and attention.

However, it’s easier said than done.

If you’re stuffing your website with low-quality information that your audience doesn’t care about, it doesn’t matter how frequently you post.

In fact, The Writing Cooperative found that blogging every day actually decreased their views compared to when they were posting just six times a month.

In March 2017, before their posting experiment, The Writing Cooperative was getting about 14,000 views each month.

medium stats

But once they began blogging every day, views began to decrease.

medium 12k views

The problem here is that they couldn’t continue to create high-quality content each and every day – and their readers noticed.

The key to getting attention through your content is finding the right balance between quality and quantity.

You also want to go beyond simple blog posts.

While blogging is a great way to bring traffic to your website, it doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Not everyone likes to read blog posts.

In fact, 53% of consumers said they’d like to see more videos in the future.

what type of content do people want

And with customers becoming more and more dependent on voice search and smart speakers, blogging isn’t always the most effective way to deliver content.

When you’re thinking about how often you should publish, you also want to consider what you’re publishing.

Videos can be a great way to grab attention, break down complex topics in a way that is easier for your audience to understand, or show off your products.

For example, Red Bull uses YouTube to show off the extreme sports, events, and competitions they sponsor.

With over seven million subscribers to their channel, Red Bull has one of the most popular YouTube pages out there.

Infographics are another way you can make your content more interesting for your audience, especially if you’re showing off large amounts of data or research.

In fact, over 41% of marketers said that infographics were the most engaging forms of visual content for their audience.

visuals in content marketing

This ranked even higher than videos.

Infographics are insanely popular because they’re easy to skim and visual, making them ideal content for your always-busy customers and clients.

You can also expand your reach and get more attention to your content by producing podcasts.

Podcasts have been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years, with an estimated 67 million individuals listening to podcasts every month in 2017.

Repurposing written content into spoken can help you reach customers who don’t enjoy reading – expanding your audience to new individuals.

When trying to create different kinds of content, don’t be afraid to get creative.

However, you always want to think back to your target audience.

Focus on creating content that your audience will want to engage with.

3. You’re confusing content with sales pitches

Your content shouldn’t sell.

Sure, the whole purpose of marketing is to create interest in your business and drive sales.

But you can’t start out a relationship with a potential lead with a sales pitch.

Today’s customers don’t like being sold to.

That’s mainly because they don’t need to be sold to.

With the Internet at their fingertips, customers are more capable of discovering their options without ever needing to speak with a salesperson.

In fact, 60% of consumers won’t connect with a salesperson until they’ve already created a shortlist of potential purchases.

buyers want to connect with sales

By the time they’re ready to buy, they already know more or less what they’re looking for.

This means you need to use your content to educate them – before you ever have the opportunity to connect.

Your content should be specially formatted to meet the unique needs of your buyer during every stage of their journey.

Let’s break down what that journey looks like.

First, your lead needs to become aware of your brand.

This means you need to be entertaining, engaging, or interesting enough to stand out from the piles of information already on the web.

You can do this in the form of videos, fun blog posts, educational webinars, and engaging social posts.

Take a look at this Instagram post from GoPro.

instagram gopro

This high-quality image is attention-grabbing, causing followers to stop their scrolling and take notice.

However, it also shows off what the GoPro is capable of – increasing awareness about the brand and its products.

Next comes the consideration phase.

During consideration, your audience needs to better understand their problem, as well as their available solutions.

The content you might create for them could include product comparison videos or articles, case studies, or podcasts.

Here’s an example of a webinar from Instapage that would attract customers in the consideration phase.

instapage webinar

During this webinar, participants learn more about how Instapage and Marketo can help lower their cost of customer acquisition, helping them determine if it’s the right solution for them.

This then brings the lead to the next stage of the buyer’s journey – the decision phase.

At this time, your lead is ready to choose which product or service is right for them.

You can encourage their decision with testimonials, product reviews, and demonstration videos.

Codeacademy uses their Stories page to share how past participants have used their skills to change their lives or careers.

codecademy video testimonial

These stories function the same as testimonials, allowing potential customers on the fence about purchasing to see how the decision influenced other customers’ lives.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle of tells ConversionXL, “A type of social proof that works over and over again is testimonials. Whether it’s in video or written form, they’ve helped increase the conversion rate of the clients’ landing pages in every case.”

If your customer decides to buy, they’ve finally reached the delight phase of the buyer’s journey.

Here, they’ve already purchased, but you want to use your content to encourage them to buy again.

You can do this with newsletters, training webinars, or customer satisfaction surveys.

The Hubspot Academy is an example of content that reaches customers who have entered the delight phase of the buyer’s journey.

hubspot academy learning resources

By offering training and certifications, Hubspot stays in touch with customers while providing content that can improve their experience as a customer.

Notice how none of these content forms include a sales pitch.

Instead, during each step of the way, the focus is on the customer and helping them find the right solution to their problem.

When your audience feels like you’re helping them, they’ll be more inclined to engage with your content.

4. You don’t know your audience

When you create a piece of content, do you know who you ultimately want to engage with it?

You’re probably thinking “customers.”

Unfortunately, just trying to attract anyone with a credit card isn’t going to get you great results.

With the mass amounts of content and information on the Internet, customers can find content that speaks directly to them – no matter how niche that might be.

To get attention, you need to find your audience and create content just for them.

When you focus your content, you might be narrowing down your audience pool, but you’re making deeper connections.

This can help you see real growth from your content.

Let’s take a look at how Modernweb used a hyper-targeted content strategy to bring in 10,000 visitors in just three weeks.

They started with defining their “who.”

And they got specific.

They came to the conclusion that they would be writing for “technology executives inside of enterprise companies.”

While they had clients who owned startups and small businesses, they weren’t their ideal client. So, they weren’t an area of focus.

Next, they dove into understanding the day-to-day pain points that those individuals experience.

Finally, based on the audience and pain points they established, they created a content plan that addressed those needs.

In this case, Modernweb decided they’d focus on sharing stories from enterprise businesses who had recently switched from older to newer frameworks.

They identified their audience, understood what they were struggling with, then presented them with content that explained how similar individuals handled the same problem.

In just three weeks, their web traffic saw a major jump.

google analytics drop

Just from getting to know their audience, they were able to bring more unique visitors to their website and keep them engaged for an average of 9 minutes.

There are a few different ways you can begin to replicate Modernweb’s results.

First, create a buyer persona.

A buyer persona walks you through who your ideal client is.

Here’s an example from ClearVoice.

clearvoice female buyer persona

It breaks down exactly who they are, what problems they experience, and what kinds of solutions they might be looking for.

You can go deeper into your buyer persona to explain things like what they do each day, what kind of education level they have, or what they might do in their spare time.

The more detailed you can get with your buyer persona, the more targeted you can make your content.

If you have a wide range of products or services, you may also want to create multiple personas.

For example, here’s another example from ClearVoice.

clearvoice male buyer persona

While both John and Sandy have similar needs, they have different goals and challenges – meaning they’ll need to be targeted differently.

This can ensure that each of your audience members is well represented.

Next, pay attention to what they’re doing on social.

Monitoring your customer’s social activity can give you insights into the problems they’re facing, the solutions they may want, and what questions they may have.

You can then use this information to refine your content and guarantee you’re creating something they care about.

Check out the questions they’re asking on traditional platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but also dive into question sites or forums like Quora and Reddit.

For example, if you’re a personal finance firm looking for content ideas, the Personal Finance Reddit page can be a goldmine.

personal finance reddit

Users are constantly jumping on to ask questions about paying off debt, how to properly invest, or get advice on what to do in credit scams.

Knowing the real-life struggles your audience is facing can help you adjust and refine your content strategy to truly fit their needs.

Both of these pages can give you a great jumping off point for creating new content.

Finally, participate in conversations with your audience.

Get involved in Twitter Chats or Facebook Groups where your audience is hanging out.

Check out how RivalIQ gets involved in a conversation with a participant during the #BufferChat.

bufferchat with rival IQ on twitter

Not only does this allow them to make a great impression, but it also gives them some insight into what potential customers may be struggling with.

As you become familiar with the conversations they’re engaging with, you can refine your messaging and topics to better suit their needs and preferences.

5. Your voice isn’t genuine

Customers want to purchase from companies they believe they can trust.

In fact, the top quality that customers look for in a brand is honesty, followed by friendliness and helpfulness.

behaviors consumers want from brands

However, if it seems like you’re just putting on a persona for sales, they’re going to be hesitant to connect.

When creating your brand voice, it needs to connect who your brand is with who your audience thinks your brand should be.

Let’s consider this graph for a second.

Snarkiness is the last thing that customers what when it comes to brands on social media.

However, when we look at brands like Wendy’s and MoonPie, their attitude gets them hundreds of thousands of engagements.

So, what’s going on here?

Both Wendy’s and MoonPie have made it their brand persona to be snarky, witty, and sarcastic on social.

It’s who they are – and that’s why it works.

They’re not pretending to have an attitude just for attention.

It’s a unique indicator of their content, allowing them to create a reputation that makes customers want to connect.

Check out this quote from Juntae Delane, Founder of Digital Branding Institute.

content marketing predictions for 2018

According to Juntae, a brand’s voice needs to go beyond simple industry jargon and bland business tones.

Instead, it needs to match with the customer’s needs and provide a human element to the brand.

You can build your brand voice off the buyer persona you’ve created.

Based on your buyer persona, get familiar with the kind of language, tone, or colloquialisms your audience may be using.

Check out how they speak on their own social media platforms.

Then, take a look at the competitors or other brands they’re engaging with.

Once you’re familiar with the way they communicate, create a storyboard for your voice.

Think of your brand as a unique individual.

Outline what your brand likes, what they don’t like, how they perceive themselves, and how they want to be perceived by others.

You’ll also want to dig deeper to consider larger ideas that might not have any direct influence on your brand.

Today’s customers are expecting brands to be more than just a business.

For example, 65% of consumers believe it’s important for brands to take a stand on social or political issues.

how important is it for brands to take a stand on social and political issues

Take a look at the conversation created around Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham criticized Parkland school shooting survivor and gun control advocate, David Hogg, for getting rejected from four colleges.

David responded by calling out all of Ingraham’s advertisers, asking them to pull their support of the show.

david hogg pressuring advertisers through Twitter

Within a few days, companies like Hulu, Bayer, and Nutrish had announced they’d be pulling the ads from Ingraham’s program.

After a few weeks, the program had lost 24 advertisers.

However, not all advertisers chose to separate.

Mike Lindell, founder of the MyPillow, announced he would be leaving his advertisements on the program.

By becoming a part of important conversations and debates, brands can refine their voice and make their opinions and beliefs more well known.

While it’s impossible to prepare for every kind of hurdle or backlash your brand may experience, knowing where your brand falls in these situations can help you create consistent messaging through your content.

6. You’re not promoting

Remember when Beyonce released a surprise album without any marketing?

In three days, she sold almost 830,000 albums.

It was impressive.

However, if you’re trying to use this tactic to promote your content, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Unfortunately, you’re not Beyonce.

And that means you need to promote.

Proper content promotion is really the key to getting attention to your content.

If you’re simply posting links to your latest blog post on your Twitter account, you’re probably going to get ignored.

Take a look at this Tweet from user Vic Maine.

vic maine low quality tweet

It’s just a link, featuring no context, hashtags, or other interesting information that might entice the reader to engage.

So, it’s not really surprising to see it hasn’t started any conversations or gotten any traction.

However, you can refine your promotion strategy to include email marketing, social, forums, and influencer marketing to improve your results.

First, let’s take a look at social.

Companies have been promoting their content on social for years.

However, the way you should promote and where you should promote is always changing.

Just one shift to the network’s algorithm or design (or even a negative post from an influencer) and your entire promotion strategy might be turned upside down.

Take a look at Facebook, for example.

After changing their algorithm, many brands reported a drop in organic reach.

However, you can work around this algorithm shift by either paying to promote your content or creating content that your audience wants to engage with.

Check out this breakdown Buffer created of important signals that can influence your ranking on Facebook.

ranking signals in news feed rankings

As you can see, some of the most important factors of what gets ranked depends on how users are interacting with the post.

This means you want to focus more on creating content that individuals want to engage with, rather than strictly shock-value content.

You should also make your content easy for your readers or viewers to share your content on their own.

Within blog posts, including “Click to Tweet” bars or share buttons can help encourage visitors to share the content with their friends or family – helping to improve your reach.

Content Marketing Institute frequently uses Click to Tweet bars to make it easier for their readers to share their content.

content marketing institute click to tweet

You can also use more targeted marketing approaches to help reach your audience, such as email marketing.

When you properly segment your email lists, you can share your content with individuals you already know are interested in what you’re sharing.

Take a look at the results MailChimp found for campaigns segmented by interest groups.

mailchimp campaigns segmented by interest groups

By sending specific content to your audience members based on their interests, you can dramatically improve your campaign results.

7. Your content isn’t properly optimized

Promoting your content is just one side of the coin.

To truly bring attention to what you produce, you want your audience to be able to find what you’re creating.

This means it needs to be properly optimized.

Each piece of content should comply with your greater SEO strategy.

This means going beyond just creating content that your audience wants to read or engage with.

Keywords should be factored into each piece of content you create.

By finding words or phrases that your audience is actually searching online, you can increase your chances of them finding you.

The Keyword Planner from AdWords is one way you can find new keyword opportunities.

flowers online keyword planner

You want to find keywords that are high in average monthly searches but low in competition.

Don’t simply guess at what you think your audience wants.

You also want to make sure your content is properly formatted.

Your titles and heading should be strong and capable of standing on their own.

According to CopyBlogger, 8 in 10 individuals will read a headline – but only 2 in 10 will read the rest.

This means you need to create headlines that your audience can’t resist.

The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is one tool you can use to improve your headlines.

word balance in headlines

The tool analyzes your word balance to give you an overall score out of 100.

It also provides you with insights on length, sentiment, and even guesses which keywords it believes you’re targeting.

headline keywords and sentiment

This can help you test the strength of your headlines before you post, saving you trouble and guaranteeing higher results.

But blog content isn’t the only thing you need to optimize.

You also want to make sure your videos, infographics, and images are optimized appropriately.

To optimize your videos on YouTube, start with an optimized title that describes the video and includes the keyword you’re trying to rank for.

This isn’t too much different than writing blog titles.

However, you also want to tag your videos appropriately and write a full description.

Your video description lets the YouTube algorithm know what your video is about.

Check out this description from a DottoTech video.

dottotech youtube video description

He provides a clear overview of what will be featured in the video, as well as some links to the apps he’s going to talk about.

This can help improve his connection to those pages and gives him the opportunity to further target his keywords.

Images are another area you’ll want to ensure are properly optimized.

First, make sure you’re using high-quality images that are the appropriate size for where they’re being placed.

This can help improve your page load time to keep visitors happy.

You can use a compressor tool to change the size of your image without hurting the quality.

You’ll also want to place the keyword you’re trying to target in the file name.

Because Google can’t actually see what your image is, it’s your responsibility to tell them.

Use captions, alt text, and title text to give Google a better understanding of the image you’re sharing.


In today’s digital age, you can’t afford to create content that is easily ignored.

However, it takes time to craft messaging that your audience will want to engage with.

Keep these seven tips in mind the next time you create content.

What tips or tricks have you found that improve your content-creation process?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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5 Most Important Factors for Success in E-commerce (Make Sure You Hit These)

5 Most Important Factors for Success in E-commerce (Make Sure You Hit These)

E-commerce seems to be eating up the retail world right now.

We’re seeing longtime brick-and-mortar retail brands closing or going bankrupt that we never would have expected to see disappear ten years ago.

Take Toys”R”Us for example. After more than 60 years in business, they are liquidating and closing all of their remaining U.S. stores.

On the other hand, the digital world is an exciting place to be, with business owners starting their very own digital brands and competing in the digital marketplace.

Most brick and mortar stores have been forced into creating an online presence.

But it isn’t always easy to hit it big online. You have to know what some of the trade secrets are if you want to make it to the top.

Here are the five most important factors for success in e-commerce that you can’t afford to ignore.

First, let’s talk about why so many e-commerce businesses struggle in the first place.

Why many e-commerce businesses struggle

There are many common reasons for the e-commerce struggle, and stores in different industries will face different hardships.

But there are some general battles that all e-commerce businesses have to fight.

Around 80% all e-commerce businesses fail. And there are three common reasons why customers are likely to leave you in the dust:

  1. Customers don’t know how to use your site
  2. Product value isn’t clear
  3. Navigation is difficult

Have no fear. The solution to solving these problems may be simpler than you think.

For starters, people aren’t judging your business initiatives or products on their own merits. Customers simply want what they want when they want it.

And sometimes, their expectations can be pretty high. Especially online.

If you have too many shipping options on your site, you’ll deter customers who want their products quickly.

As many as 80% of American shoppers say that shipping price and speed are very or extremely influential in determining where they shop.

That’s why you should offer fast and free shipping when you can, like apparel brand Shongolulu, which offers free shipping on orders that are $30 or more.

shongolulu free shipping

When customers don’t have to pay for shipping, they’ll be more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase that they can’t touch, feel, or try out because there’s less risk involved.

Customers don’t want to wait forever to get what they ordered, either, so if you’re willing to provide free shipping, choose a fast option.

At the beginning of 2017, the National Retail Federation speculated that online retail would grow 3x faster than the rest of the retail industry, with mobile e-commerce sales soaring.

forecast of mobile share of united states ecommerce sales

The rise of online shoppers has also shortened consumers’ patience. Online shoppers are looking for convenience.

They don’t want to deal with difficult return policies or long waits for orders.

Aside from long wait times and tricky shipping options, struggling businesses fail to take the following into account:

  • Branding
  • SEO
  • User Experience
  • Transparency
  • Engagement

But the good news is that starting an e-commerce business in 2018 is perfectly doable. And so is taking each of these factors into account, which can help you stand out from competitors.

The first step is building your brand with some great values behind it.

1. Your brand is your purpose

Your e-commerce business has a brand at the core of its identity, whether you know it or not.

To find out what it is, you have to think about what you do and why you do it.

Your brand embodies a set of values related to your business’s central endeavors. Some older brands aren’t aging well, because they don’t really have a clear mission.

Or they do, but they don’t disclose it.

In 2017, Enso’s World Value Index analyzed 150 brands according to how Americans identify their purpose and how well their purpose aligned with customer values.

2017 world value index

The research also looked at the extent to which each company motivates brand advocacy and purchase.

The results were vastly different for different demographics. Baby Boomers rated Newman’s Own to be number seven on the list, while millennials rated the company to be number 81.

The brand could lose it’s allure if they fail to appeal to millenials since their generation is much larger than the Baby Boomers and three times the size of Generation X.

And by 2019, millennials are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers are America’s largest generation yet, according to the Pew Research Center.

projected population by generation

AAA, Pfizer, and Samsung were also ranked much lower by millennials than Boomers:

  • AAA: millennial rank: No. 92; Boomer rank: No. 26
  • Pfizer: millennial rank: No. 136; Boomer rank: No. 65
  • Samsung: millennial rank: No. 74; Boomer rank: No. 19

The bottom line? Deviating from your brand hurts your message.

And when you hurt your message, you hurt your brand. Your brand persists on your customers’ unique perceptual map.

car brands mapping

They build assumptions about your brand’s identity based on interactions with your company, and they aren’t likely to forget their first impression.

This means that they remember you when choosing to make another purchase. How they remember you impacts how they will review you.

As many as 31% of consumers are likely to spend 31% more on products and services from businesses with excellent reviews, while negative reviews can drive away 22% of customers.

A whopping 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Dissatisfied customers are more likely to share bad stories to friends & family than satisfied customers are likely to share good stories.

While happy customers might tell a few friends, unhappy customers will tell even more.

That means you’ll have a whole lot more “anti-referrals” on your hands than positive recommendations.

When you aren’t establishing your brand as the go-to, your competitors are.

In the digital era, your competition is no longer confined to the shop across the street.

If a stronger brand offers the same type of product that you do, they will gladly eat your market share.

That’s why you need a unique selling proposition, or USP, to win them over.

The point of a USP is to differentiate your product. The value of your USPs only come into play after your prospects enter your funnel.

When your brand is weak, competitors with better brands will absorb customers. Marketing is more effective in conjunction with a strong brand.

Good marketing takes the brand’s voice and extends it outward to reach qualified leads.

If the brand doesn’t expand its core identity, it will struggle to reach its target audience.

And saturation from marketing campaigns may expose weak spots on a poor brand’s armor to a higher volume of people.

That’s why you always have to match good marketing with brand values.

You’ll need to do some SEO, too.

2. SEO brings in traffic

Google is sort of like an usher that decides which websites get to mingle near the top of the organic search engine results.

But with constant algorithm updates, it can be pretty hard to keep up.

google algorithm timeline

The Fred algorithm update, which launched on March 8, 2017, targets websites violating Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Most sites affected are ones with low-quality posts that were created solely to generate ad revenue.

So if you have any of these posts on your site, you could risk messing up your current rankings (or worse – losing high rankings altogether).

Review Google’s Search Quality Guidelines regularly and avoid posting too much content that is ad-centered.

If you do show ads or affiliate content on your site, make sure that the pages you run them on are relevant and high-quality, like this Buzzfeed post sponsored by Adidas:

buzzfeed adidas post

If you try and trick Google into thinking your page is about something valuable but it’s really just scattered with affiliate links, you’ll risk your rankings.

Landing pages with relevant keywords will receive a higher Google ranking and be more likely to show up during relevant searches, too.

Keyword research can help you learn how to position your page content.

Use a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to get started. Just enter a keyword to uncover related words to target for.

ubersuggest export list

Remember that your brand is also a keyword. Highly qualified traffic will be searching for your brand name, so you want to rank for that.

But if you “hack” SEO to bring additional, potentially unqualified traffic to your site, you won’t like what happens next.

The idea of SEO is to give searchers the most qualified results for their queries. Pages that use exploitative or lazy tactics get penalized by Google.

All in all, SEO is something worth spending extra time strategizing around. Use this beginner’s manual to get started.

Once you’ve mastered SEO, turn your attention over to user experience (UX).

3. Customers love a great user experience

If you want to funnel traffic toward a desired action, like making a purchase, you need to optimize UX.

If site visitors get confused, they’ll leave. Site navigation should always be easy.

On your website, you have to make it clear what your business does. For example, Scott’s makes it clear that they sell lawn care products.

scotts lawn care products

Reinforce what your brand does on your site. What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to someone else.

How did they get to this landing page? Why is the landing page content relevant? Use a clear, concise call to action.

get the secret now call to action copy

You should also make sure the shopping cart is easy to view and access. The checkout process must be straightforward.

Nobody wants to deal with a checkout process that makes purchasing your product harder than it needs to be.

Embed interactive content into your website (if appropriate). This includes:

  • Videos
  • Animated images
  • Games

Always use A/B testing to figure out what works best.

Employ a tool such as Unbounce to weigh 2 or more page designs against each other for effectiveness in maximizing sales.

unbounce ab test centre

Pick whichever design version wins.

highrise male female ab test

Don’t forget to optimize UX for mobile, too, since more and more consumers are shopping over mobile in 2018.

Ensure that your print is large, that load times are three seconds or less, and that the mobile version of your site is easy to navigate via touch.

Basically, the mobile version of your site shouldn’t look exactly like your regular website.

mobile page design before and after

If you want to succeed in the e-commerce world, you have to be transparent with your customers, or they might not trust you.

4. Transparency builds trust

One of the easiest ways to come across as transparent is to make your contact information visible right on your website.

Your traffic should be able to find your email address and phone number at the bottom or top of every page on your site.

hustle kindness contact info

You can also add a “Contact Us” page, like this one from Tune:

contact us page from Tune

That way, customers will know how they can get in touch with you (and that you’re a real business with a real address).

When it comes to charges, be upfront. No one likes hidden fees. Ever.

If you charge extra for shipping and handling, make sure that this is communicated to prospects before they reach the checkout page.

offer details free shipping

Don’t forget to give prospects outstanding product information, either.

Your product isn’t what’s bouncing traffic, which is good news. In fact, your product could be the best solution to your customers’ problem.

The bad news? Your product’s value isn’t translating.

Web visitors don’t have a physical store location to experience. Instead of getting to play with your products, they only see whatever information is available.

Quality of product information and attached images can make-or-break your sales pipeline.

Give a thick description of your product pages. Don’t forget to highlight key benefits, like Apple.

apple imac description

And make sure your product is priced competitively.

An overpriced product may be perceived as not offering utility equal to its price. An underpriced product may be suspicious or appear less valuable than similar products with higher prices.

Don’t price your item for more than you would pay as a customer. Or for more than your product is worth.

Drive that worth by sharing testimonials and reviews on your website, like Carbon 6 Rings.

carbon6 reviews

If you want to find e-commerce success, you’ll need engaged website visitors. Here’s how to get them.

5. Boost overall engagement

The easiest way to boost engagement with your store is to use organic social media outlets to promote your brand in real time.

Luckily for you, I have guides on how to boost engagement on just about every platform:

Content marketing matters. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 42% of B2C content marketers consider themselves to be “very committed to content marketing.”

If you haven’t already, build a blog about your industry and product lines.

Help your customers by sharing useful information or earn new prospects by answering their queries, like Patagonia.

the cleanest line patagonia blog

You could even write blog posts about product development updates. Did you just schedule a new product launch on the calendar? Write about it.

Tell your customers why the new product is useful, what the features of it are, and when it will be available.

This will create interest in the new item before it even launches.

Blog content boosts engagement because it helps build backlinks. And every time your website is linked to, you gain brand awareness.

Now that you’ve established a strong brand, a fantastic user experience, relevant content and customer transparency, you can begin actually spending your ad budget.

Try spending some of your ad budget on direct mail advertising or social media advertising. Choose wisely between the two, though.

Out of all paid advertising options, social media is the least expensive. With direct mail, you will spend an average of $57 for every 1,000 people you reach.

The amount spent to reach 1,000 people for social media advertising? Only $2.50.

cost of different marketing channels

Promote a few of your tweets or create some sponsored Facebook or Instagram ads.

You can also build a community from your brand. People tend to bond with others who have the same interests as them.

Your customers will probably want to connect with others who love your products (and company) just as much as they do. And they’ll probably promote what you’re selling for you.

Allow them to connect by building a “forums” or “community” section of your website.

Shoot for something similar to NikeTalk, a forum site where Nike customers can post and comment on their own content.

niketalk message board

Another great way to build engagement is to host some events. What’s the harm in throwing a party for some added PR?

Host a product launch party to let people try out your new stuff. You could even host a party they can bring their dogs to, like Structure Winery’s Wine for Wags event.

wine for wags event

If you’re an online-only store, host your event in a public space, like an events center.

Create a hashtag related to your event, add it to your Facebook calendar, and send out invites to your followers. Drumming up some interest is as simple as that!

At the event, encourage users to share their own photo with the tag or post your own images to social media, like this post from Heritage Agents.

heritage agents instagram

Center the entire event around your brand. Be sure to have your products out for sale during the event.

Talk with customers about what your products can do for them and how they can make their lives better. Hand out business cards with your website URL and social media handles.

Just because your website is located online doesn’t mean that you can’t boost overall brand engagement by meeting customers in person.

If you want to sweeten the pot, you could even give away a few items as door prizes or as trophies for interactive “contests” during the event.


The days of brick and mortar stores dominating the entire world of retail are long gone.

The digital landscape is here to stay, making online stores the best place to sell.

But making it big online is a lot harder than it seems. And tons of e-commerce businesses struggle to stand out in such a saturated crowd.

Customers who don’t know how to use your site, hidden shipping costs, unknown product value, poor navigation, and more are to blame.

Luckily, you can take control of your e-commerce store’s success.

First, understand that your brand needs to stand for something, and you need to let people know exactly what that is.

Your brand’s values should align with customers’ values, serve a purpose, and support ethical operations.

SEO brings in traffic, so you have to work on optimizing your rankings. Do some keyword research and add in keywords on your site to pull in more customers.

But don’t try and cheat the system, or Google might penalize you, which could lead to a decrease in rankings.

Customers love awesome UX. Make it clear what you’re selling and add in CTAs so that you can funnel people through your site’s pages.

Optimize your site for mobile users, too.

Build transparency by adding contact information to your site, disclosing any additional fees or shipping costs before checkout, and embedding customer reviews.

This helps to build trust with shoppers.

Don’t forget to boost overall engagement rates. Get active on social media, create a blog with valuable content or product updates, or run some paid ads online.

Build a “forum” or “community” section on your website where users can come together or host some events to draw out a crowd for a good time.

Promote your event beforehand (and during) to create interest. Be sure to center the event around your brand and your products.

What are some important factors for your e-commerce success?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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Landing Pages Are Overrated. Here’s Why and What You Should Do Instead

Landing Pages Are Overrated. Here’s Why and What You Should Do Instead

I used to hate building landing pages.

I’ve certainly made mistakes and had to learn some things the hard way.

For a long time, my landing pages just didn’t work. They were weak and barely converted.

Landing pages are being praised as the magic answer to all of our conversion problems, but it’s not as easy as some people think.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can build a landing page and presto, your conversions will skyrocket.

The conversion rate from a landing page varies across industries, but the average is only 2.35%.

This means that for every 50 people you get to your landing page, only one will actually complete the action you’re trying to get them to do.

That’s a little depressing right?

I have good news for you though. I’ve learned from experience that most landing pages can do better.

The majority of landing pages aren’t really optimized to achieve conversions. They look “pretty,” but they’re not living up to expectations because they’re flawed.

I’m going to show you why landing pages are currently overrated and how to change your game to boost your conversions.

But first, let’s talk about what a landing page really is and what it’s meant to be for.

What is a landing page, really?

In the simplest sense, a landing page is a page you land on.

The problem with that answer is that it’s much too simple.

If someone clicks a link in one of your ads and it takes them to your home page, then by this definition your homepage is a landing page.

Some companies are making that mistake.

Let me show you an example.

I’m searching for “cleaning services seattle” in Google. I click on the paid ad:

cleaning services in seattle google search advertisement

That takes me to their homepage:

the cleaning pros homepage

Now, here’s an example of a landing page done right.

I click this search result:

maidpro seattle cleaning google search advertisement

And, here is a landing page tailored to my search preferences:

maidpro seattle landing page

Your homepage might be a good place to send people if you’re just trying to build general awareness, but it’s not where you’re going to have success with conversions.

A landing page is meant to have one singular goal: To convert.

That’s it. It shouldn’t do anything more than that.

Check out this definition from The Landing Page Course:

landing page takeaway

There are two key points here:

  1. They are individual pages with one, singular goal.
  2. They are meant for the single purpose of receiving “campaign traffic,” which means the click-throughs from your Ads and campaigns. This could be social media ads, PPCs or emails.

This means that first, you need to be running a successful ad campaign that is causing the right traffic to click through to your landing page.

After all, if no one is “landing” on your landing page, it’s going to be pretty useless, right?

Assuming that your ad campaign is successful and your CTR is good, then the landing page should have one of two possible purposes:

  1. Capture leads for further communications and to allow you to market to them in the future when they’re further down the sales funnel.
  2. Warm up your potential customers to get them ready and eager to purchase your product or service before sending them through to close the deal.

get customers grow customers sales funnel

Each of these purposes requires a different type of landing page.

Good landing pages can provide a number of benefits:

They help promote a positive first impression.

Ion Interactive says first impressions are formed in just 1/20th of a second. Landing pages can be customized and designed to help provide strong positive visual impressions quickly.

how quickly an impression is formed

They can take advantage of trust elements.

Landing pages with images, videos and graphics can not only help attract people, but they will help you make a lasting impression.

People only remember 20% of what they read, but they remember 80% of what they see.

our brain is made for visual processing

Landing pages promote customer focus.

It’s easier to capture conversions from a well-designed landing page than it is from a homepage or blog post because they have one singular goal. There is less noise to distract your audience.

All of this means that landing pages are the ideal place to get your audience to convert if they’re done right.

Conversion Rate Experts generated $1 million/ year for Moz simply by improving their landing page and doing some email promotion.

conversion rate experts case study

So why are landing pages overrated?

Well, it’s not because they can’t work. It’s just that too often people use a generic template or slap something together that just doesn’t get the job done.

Don’t worry if you’re one of those people. After all, when I started out my landing pages limped along too.

But now I’m going to share with you what I learned and what the most common mistakes are so that you can make sure your landing pages are doing their job.

1. Sync it with your ad campaign

Like I mentioned above, the very first step if to have an effective ad campaign.

You need to be targeting the right audience for your landing page, or nothing else matters.

After all, sending people ready to buy through to a lead generation page is not going to be very successful.

But syncing intent is not the only thing you need to focus on.

Your ad and your landing page need to have a consistent look and feel.

Here’s a great example of consistency:

You can see in this campaign from Highrise that the ad and landing page look very similar.

Here are some of the things they made sure to keep consistent:

  • The image of the woman is the same.
  • The theme is the same, including the background color, logo, font, and look of the CTA.
  • The testimonial is the same.

Now, check out this example:

zara consult ad landing page

The ad talks about the “lowest taxation in the EU,” then you click through to a page talking about Bulgaria. What?

After reading the fine print, you can see how they tie together but remember that first impressions happen in seconds.

My guess is a lot of people click that end, see a landing page that doesn’t seem to match and instantly hit their back button. I know I would.

2. Make it mobile-friendly

Mobile landing page optimization is vital now that Google has switched to a mobile-first index.

The number of mobile users increases every year. Last year 66% of the population had a mobile phone.

global digital snapshot January 2017

That’s up 5% from the year before. I’m sure when they come out with this year’s stats it will have increased again.

Mobile users are beginning to dominate web traffic.

As of last year, over half of all web traffic is mobile.

Not only that, look at the breakdown by time of day:

device platform use by hour

Mobile is dominating the hours when people are typically outside of work.

These are the times people are most likely to be using the web for something other than work, such as browsing the net or shopping.

Which means if you want to capture your audience, you need to plan for them being on a mobile device.

When it comes to mobile traffic, the two most critical aspects of your landing page are speed and simplicity.

Let’s talk about keeping it simple first.

Take a look at these two examples:

good vs bad mobile web design

It needs to cut out everything but the absolute necessities, and it needs to be designed for mobile.

Having a CTA that’s only partially visible is going to lower your results.

Making it too difficult to read on a small device is also going to hurt your conversions.

wells fargo mortgage mobile site

3. Check that your load speed is fast

Page load speed might not be something you first thing of when designing a landing page, but it’s critically important for mobile and desktop traffic.

In fact, Google announced in January that starting July 2018 pagespeed will become one of their ranking factors for mobile searches.

40% of your audience will leave your landing page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

what happens when a landing page takes too long to load

It won’t matter if you get every other step right if no one ever hangs around long enough to actually view your page.

A lot of businesses are struggling with this, especially for mobile.

According to Google, the average time it takes to load a mobile landing page is getting better, but it stills takes an average of 15 seconds.

I just told you 40% of people will leave if it takes longer than three seconds.

When you isolate mobile traffic, that number actually increases to 53%.

So over half your audience will leave in three seconds or less and the average site takes 15 seconds…

Simply fixing your page speed could have a huge effect on your conversions without changing any other thing about your landing page.

Google also found that bounce rate continued to increase the longer page load took.

Here are their findings for mobile traffic:

mobile page load time bounces

How do you know if your page is too slow?

For desktops, you can test with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

pagespeed insights

For the mobile version of your site try Test My Site.

test your mobile speed

If your speeds are not where they should be, then make sure you take the right steps to boost them before worrying about anything else.

4. Make sure your headings work

Once your page loads, one of the first things your audience will notice is your heading and subheading.

When thinking about landing page design, always keep in mind that first impressions count.

Your headline is one of your first impressions. It needs to be clear, attention-grabbing and reflect the purpose of your page.

copywriting fixes for bad headlines

Check out this headline:

capture photos headline

It’s simple, straightforward and you know what they’re selling.

Their subheading reinforces the message and adds more information, without being too long or distracting.

Now take a look at this one:

we are product people headline

The title is catchy, but it doesn’t give you any idea what the product is.

The only thing that saves this is the subheading is perfect. It provides the context that they’re missing in the headline.

The subheading needs to complement and build on the main heading.

Its purpose is to give your readers a little more information while keeping them engaged and enticing them to continue down the page.

Check out Slack’s homepage:

slack where work happens

While this is actually a homepage, it captures the key aspects of headings that you should use on your landing pages.

5. Remove all the distractions

One of the key distinctions of landing pages is that they only serve one purpose.

Even though Slack’s homepage is pretty clean, it would fail as a landing page for a couple of different reasons.

The first is that, like any homepage, it has distractions.

slack website navigation bar

Your landing page shouldn’t have a navigation bar.


It’s been shown that removing the navigation menu on your landing page can increase your conversions by 100%.

But only 16% of landing pages don’t have navigation bars.

This is a simple fix that more people should be taking advantage of.

Another way you’re distracting your audience is with too many words.

There’s a direct correlation between lower word counts and higher conversions, especially in the health and travel industries.

number of words and conversion rates

Don’t put too much text on the page. Keep it as visual as possible with bullet points or infographics.

You need to include enough information to make it clear what problem you’re solving for your customer, but in as few words as possible.

word copywriting advice

I know it’s a bit of an art, which is why it’s crucial to test your landing pages (we’ll get to that later).

6. Use the right CTA

A landing page should have one call to action.

Over 68% of businesses have five or more CTAs and links on their landing page, yet stats show that having only one CTA boosts conversions.

CTAs boost conversions stats

Choose one specific goal and CTA for each landing page and stick to it.

landing pages with multiple offers

Make sure that your call to action is relevant and consistent with your offering.

Using something vague such as “click here,” “submit,” or “continue” will not convert as well.

landing page continue button

Your CTA is the whole reason for a landing page. It is the most important element.

You need to make it stand out.

Choose a bright color, make it a large button with a bigger font.

Draw attention to it, with arrows or other visuals. You want your audience’s’ eyes to be drawn to it naturally.

7. Limit what you ask for

Landing page abandonment can happen in the same way as cart abandonment.

One of the big triggers for abandonment is asking too many questions.

Most companies want to get as much data as possible. However, there are conflicting results when you reduce form fields.

You don’t necessarily have to limit form fields to some artificial number. But you should just focus on what’s important.

For example, asking your audience for their age immediately drops your conversion rate.

There’s often no point in collecting that data up-front!

Here’s a simple example from Optimizely:

optimizely test it out

You can also use interactive screens, like Oscar Health, to break up the questions.

oscar health step 1

oscar health step 2

This increases your chances of your audience interacting and completing the form fields without abandonment, since it breaks up the fields, making it seem like less.

Consider adding a progress bar so that your audience knows they’re getting close to the end and the screens don’t actually go on forever.

Also, keep in mind our fields need to be optimized for mobile. If it’s painful to do on a phone, people will flee.

8. Have the right visuals

First, I should be clear that visuals aren’t just images anymore.

I’ve seen video landing pages convert at 56%!

Here are just some of the benefits of putting a video on your landing page:

  • They increase audience retention. An engaging video keeps people hanging around longer, which allows your message to penetrate.
  • They also increase trust. Assuming your video includes a real person, it gives your product a life and voice. This will immediately increase your audience’s trust.
  • Your audience wants to watch videos. Unbounce found that people prefer to watch a video over reading an article, as long as the video is 5 minutes or less.

If you’re going to incorporate a video, make sure you embed your call to action within it (as well as elsewhere on your landing page).

Take a look at how Derek Halpern included his CTA:

derek halpern video CTA

Videos are also a great way to demonstrate your product.

If you have something that is difficult to assemble or use, videos are ideal.

For example, Long Tail Pro includes a video that walks you through exactly how to use their software.

long tail pro landing page

Don’t make it too long; keep your video short, to the point, and useful.

Any images on your landing page should be relevant to your product or service.

Try to choose pictures that meet the following criteria:

  • They should be large.
  • They need to be relevant to your product or service. Make sure that if you sell a product, there is an actual picture of it on your landing page.
  • Don’t ever use stock images.
  • All your images need to be high-quality.

Including an image of a person looking directly at your call to action is an easy way to boost conversions instantly.

Here’s an example:

jones smiles landing page

When we see someone looking at something, we’re naturally drawn to look at it as well.

It’s a simple yet effective way to direct the attention of your audience to where you want it.

9. Include reassurance and testimonials

Want to hear something controversial?

The best salesperson in your company isn’t actually the best in my experience.

Instead, the best salespeople are often your past customers.

People want to hear from other people’s experience.

That’s why always make sure to use clients’ testimonials on every single landing page I create.

Testimonials help to build trust in your personal brand. People trust other people more than they trust a company.

neil patel consulting testimonials

More than three out of four marketers don’t include social proof, yet it can boost your conversion rate by more than 1%.

social proof on landing pages stats

1% might not seem like a lot, but the average landing page conversion rate is only 2%.

If you’re new and don’t have many testimonials yet, there are other ways to reassure your customers.

Consider showing your trust indicators to reassure users that your site is safe.

trust symbols for websites

You can also build trust by sticking to the facts and using precise numbers whenever you state any statistics.

benefits of trust symbols on websites

Make sure you don’t overstate results.

landing page tips fixes

Saying something is the best without backing it up will make people think you’re trying to trick or scam them.

Avoid superlatives like “best,” “fastest,” “cheapest” unless you can prove it with research.

Another way to reassure customers is by offering a guarantee.

Free trials or money back guarantees help build trust and boost conversions since they’re low risk.

unbeatable guarantee copy

You can also increase customer confidence by providing contact info.

SImply giving people a way to reach you can help reassure them your site and product or service is trustworthy.

10. Add a little pressure or incentive

An additional incentive to encourage customers to click your CTA can help boost conversions, particularly if your landing page is for lead generation.

Offering a free e-book or guide can help increase sign-ups.

Just make sure the content you provide is valuable, or any future marketing efforts toward these people won’t work well.

Whatever free gift you choose should be seen as an investment toward later paid conversions.

subscribe to search engine journal

Remember the old saying about the carrot or the stick?

The gift is a carrot to entice conversions. You can also use a stick or “threat” to scare people into action.

Now, I don’t mean a real threat.

I mean use language such as “limited time offer,” “only 24 hours left” to increase your conversion rate.

11. Test, test, and retest

There is a science to landing page structure, but there is also an art to it.

To find the best landing page design for each of your campaigns you need to test them.

Many marketing blogs will rave about long-form landing pages. But guess what? Those don’t always convert the best.

The catch is that some companies, like Conversion Verve, have found that shorter pages actually converted better for them.

content verve landing page test

So even when you read about what works best on average, it doesn’t mean it will work best for you.

Sadly, barely half of companies actually test their pages today.

But testing has proven to boost conversion rates.

The companies whose conversion rates have improved year over year are executing 50% more tests on average.

A good way to test your pages is with heat maps.

A heat map gives you a simple visual of where your visitors are looking and clicking when on your landing page.

You can see what areas of your page people are paying attention to and what’s not working.

Of course, I’m a little biased, but my preferred heat map software is Crazy Egg.

All you do is enter the URL of your landing page, create an account, and check out your heat map.

Here’s an example of a scroll heat map:

scroll heat map

The areas in red are getting the most attention.

In this example, you can see that not a lot of people are making it down to the bottom.

If your CTA were at the bottom, this would be a problem.

You can use heat maps to see where people are clicking:

click heat map

Heat maps can quickly show you if your headlines, content, or CTAs aren’t getting enough attention.


Landing pages are often expected to convert people effortlessly, yet the average rate is around 2%.

Of course, the problem isn’t with landing pages exactly. It’s with how they’re being built and used.

A landing page needs to have one singular goal, and every part of it needs to be designed to move viewers toward that goal.

First, make sure your landing page is consistent with your campaign, then make sure it’s optimized to be fast and mobile-friendly.

Your headings need to be attention-grabbing, and all distractions, noise, and clutter need to disappear.

Use an effective CTA and limit the amount of information you ask customers to provide.

Make sure you use great visuals and provide social proof or guarantees to reassure people it’s low risk to convert.

Remember, you can always offer an incentive or a little pressure to encourage people to click the button.

Finally, always make sure to test your pages. Use A/B testing or heat maps to see what’s working and improve what isn’t.

What tips or tricks haven’t I mentioned that helped boost your landing page conversions?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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Here’s How to Rank for Multiple Keywords with One Piece of Content

Here’s How to Rank for Multiple Keywords with One Piece of Content

Keyword targeting is dead.

Algorithm changes such as Google’s RankBrain have all but killed your ability to rank well using keyword targeting.

I bet you’re wondering why I’m about to talk about ranking for keywords then, right?

Well, there’s a difference between using keywords and targeting keywords.

Keywords are just phrases that people type into search boxes to describe what they’re looking for.

They help search engines sort through the billions of potential websites and posts to find relevant content.

When I say “keyword targeting” is dead, I mean the way that we used to use keywords.

Due to advancements such as Hummingbird, search engines are getting much better at understanding the meaning of a search and matching results to that meaning.

In other words, matching the exact phrase is becoming irrelevant, and it’s much more important to match intent.

In the past, you found a single keyword that had low competition and high traffic, and you wrote a post about it. You made sure to repeat it lots of times and voila, you were on the first page of Google.

Alright, it wasn’t quite that simple, but you get my point.

That approach doesn’t work anymore.

Now you need to target user intent.

This is actually a good thing!


Well, targeting user intent makes it even easier to build multiple keywords into one piece of content.

I’m going to show you how to create content that not only has multiple keywords but ranks on them.

But first, let’s check out the likelihood of one post ranking well for multiple keywords so you can understand the competition.

Is it possible to rank well for multiple keywords?

There’s no point building a ton of keywords into a post if you know you can’t rank well for them all, right?

So, just how many keywords can a single piece of content rank well for?

According to Ahrefs, the top ranking pages rank for 957 additional keywords, on average.

blog post ranks #1 for multiple keywords

We know it’s pretty hard to get the first spot on Google. If you’re new, it can hurt your ROI to even try.

But check out #20.

That’s not even page one of Google.

But they still have an average of 225 additional keywords ranking on the first page.

So your primary keyword is on page two, and you have over 200 other ones showing up on page one.

That’s why you should always build keyword clusters into your content.

Of course, just because it’s a keyword you’re ranking for, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one.

After all, ranking first for something that’s only searched by one person a month isn’t a reason to celebrate, right?

Which means we need to understand how many high-volume keywords you can rank for in one post.

If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that gets at least 10,000 searches a month, chances aren’t good.

Over 84% of pages that get 1st place for a search that popular only rank for the one keyword.

how many high volume keywords a single page can rank for at position #1

Things start to get more attractive when we take a look at traffic volumes around 1,000 searches a month.

Only 35.6% of pieces in the number one spot rank for only one keyword.

Which means 64.4% of posts that rank in 1st place for one keyword also rank in 1st place for at least one more.

You can see the largest percentages are two keywords (at 18,5%), followed by five to nine keywords (at 16.5%).

Which means if your SEO skills are helping you rank on the first page of Google for one keyword, you have pretty great chances of ranking on the first page for multiple keywords.

What do sites ranking for multiple keywords have in common?

We now know that over 3 in 5 pages (64.4%) that rank 1st in Google for keywords with traffic around 1,000 searches a month achieve that ranking for more than one keyword.

What do they have in common that the other ones don’t?

Anything that helps you rank 1st for one keyword also generally helps you rank 1st for multiples.

This means that articles with more words, better URL ratings, and more backlinks will have an easier time ranking well for multiple keywords.

The big takeaway though should be what the multiple keywords have in common.

When looking at which keywords sites were ranking high for, the majority of them shared at least one word.

In other words, it’s important to pick related keywords and not try to fit too many unrelated topics into one post.

You can use a keyword clustering tool like SerpStat to help you understand how well keywords fit together.

soft clustering of URLs

You can opt for keywords that are softly related, like the diagram above, or ones that have a hard relationship:

hard clustering

If you think about the way we target audiences, this intuitively makes sense. Trying to offer too much to too many different people in one post won’t work for anyone.

The best way to have multiple keywords in one post is to group ones that naturally fit together.

Four ways to come up with multiple keywords that rank

So how do you come up with multiple, related keywords that will rank well?

Here are four different methods to help you find the right keywords:

1. Use an LSI keyword generator.

If you’re not familiar with LSI, it stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.

Semantic means, “relating to meaning in language or logic.”

In other words, the LSI finds words that are related to each other.

There are a few different LSI generators. One of my favorites is LSIGraph.

Latent Semantic Indexing graph lsi keyword generator

It’s a free tool that will provide you with related keywords for whatever term you search.

content marketing keywords

The generator brings back a ton of related words that you can use to build into your content.

You can often use these keyword results to help build your outline for a long-form piece of content.

content marketing keyword bodies

For example, you could select a few of the keywords above to build an outline like this:

  • Content marketing process (intro)
  • Content marketing examples
  • Content marketing ideas
  • 10 content marketing tips
  • Conclusion with a PDF of a content strategy plan offering built into a CTA

You can use a tool such as LSIGraph to give you multiple keywords and help you build your outlines all with one simple click.

One thing to note is that there is a daily limit:

lsa limit reached

It’s 3 searches a day if you want to remain unknown, and 20 searches if you sign up by email.

2. Use Google to generate related keywords.

In addition to the above, you should always use Google to help you generate related keywords.

Google wants to provide the best, most relevant content to searchers.

Luckily, that also helps us provide the best, most relevant content to searchers. And Google is helping us do it for free.

When you search for something in Google, it tries to help you out in a number of ways.

Auto-suggest. As soon as you start typing, Google starts automatically populating suggestions of what it thinks you might be looking for.

For example, try typing “content marketing” into Google.

content marketing google autosuggest

You’ll notice I didn’t even spell it right and Google is already trying to auto-suggest ten different possible keywords before I hit enter.

This instantly tells you the most commonly searched keywords relating to content marketing.

There’s no need to worry about the relevance of their results either. Google updates every two-three weeks to make sure it’s offering searchers the most relevant choices.

Related searches. After you hit enter, you can scroll down to the bottom of the search results page.

searches related to content marketing

Here are eight more related keywords for content marketing. You’ll notice that they’re new ones and not just a repeat of the once Google just tried to offer you.

People also ask. For some searches, Google will also provide you with a “People also ask” section. This didn’t pop up for content marketing.

If I narrow down my search to ‘how to use content marketing,’ I now get the following four suggestions.

people also ask google function

These are common questions Google is asked that it thinks are similar to what you’re trying to find.

If you click one and search for it, it will populate even more related questions.

what is included in content marketing google answer

Google will give you a practically limitless list of related keywords.

3. Ask your audience for “seed” keywords.

“Seed” keywords helps you figure out what keywords real people in your target market are searching for.

what do real people search for seed keywords

This is a free tool that can help you grow a keyword list that’s perfect for your target market.

Start by clicking on “Creating My Scenario.”

create your scenario now with seedkeywords

Then type in your search query:

type in search query into seedkeywords

You need to type in a question to your audience, such as “what would you search for if you wanted to start your own blog?”

Then the software will give you a unique URL which you share will your audience through social media, email or any other way you prefer.

your seed keywords URL

As people respond, your keyword list will automatically start to grow.

keyword submit query to google

This obviously works best when you have clear questions you want to ask, and you have a large audience likely to respond.

The benefit is that your ideal customers are telling you what topics they want you to write about and they’re doing all the work for you.

4. Check out a site like Answer the Public.

Answer the Public is a great way to come up with new topic ideas and keywords.

It’s a mix between Google’s “People also ask” and Seed Keywords.

Answer the Public provides you with a list of questions directly from the minds of your customers, around a specific topic or keyword.

This site can give you hundreds of questions and related keywords with one quick and simple search.

To get started you just enter your general keyword or question into the search bar:

answer the public search bar

You need to choose the country you want to target, and then you click the “Get Questions” button.

At first, your results will look something like this:

answer the public web design

It’s kind of cool looking but not the easiest to navigate.

Don’t worry. You can fix that!

Select “Questions” and then “Data” to translate your results into grouped lists.

answer the public website design data selection

The first lists are the question-based results:

why and which web design questions

Next comes the “preposition” results.

preposition web design keywords

The third grouping is comparisons:

website design 92 comparisons answer the public

Finally, it also gives you results in alphabetical order.

website design yellow and x keywords

For “website design,” it returned a total of 519 questions, all within seconds.

All four of these tools are free. You can use any or all of them to easily come up with hundreds of relevant, related keywords you can build into one piece of content to rank in search results.

Some final tips to keep in mind

You now know the best way to rank for multiple keywords is to find relevant, related keywords to build into a single piece of content.

Here are some additional tips you should consider when building multiple keywords into one post or article.

Consider the use of synonyms.

When you’re focusing on building out your list of related keywords, make sure you consider synonyms.

A synonym is, “a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language.”

For example, “halt” and “stop” are synonyms.

Think about our product and consider different ways your customers could ask the same question.
For example, “how to make a cake” and “how to bake a cake” mean the same thing.

In this context they’re synonyms.

If you are writing an article about baking cakes, you ideally want to cover both of these keywords in your content.

You can see under Google search results for “how to make a cake” it’s bringing back articles and suggestions that capture both phrases.

how to make cake google search results

Use long-tailed keywords.

It’s easier to rank in search engines for long-tailed keywords.

Not only that, long-tailed keywords are more likely to convert.

People searching for something specific enough to be long-tailed are more likely to be in the ‘ready to buy’ stage of a marketing funnel.

They have gone from considering shoes to knowing exactly which shoes they want.

Remember that the reason we want to rank is to get traffic, but traffic is pointless without conversions.

Long-tailed keywords help you succeed at both goals at once, by narrowing your focus down to consumers ready to buy.

visitor intention model keyword types

You can see that long-tailed keywords are trying to include enough detail to narrow down the search results to exactly what they’re looking for.

This means they’re going to be lower competition that the shorter, more generic keywords.

The search volumes will also likely be lower, but you have better chances of ranking well, and the people who do search are more likely to convert.

Don’t try to stick them all in your title.

Targeting multiple keywords does not mean having to stick them all into your title.

The main title of your content should have an H1 tag, and it should have one main keyword.

Don’t worry that you won’t be able to rank for others; you will.

The H1 tag helps search engines know what your main title and topic are but remember they’re getting better and better at understanding intent.

Your priority for the title of your post is to make it attention grabbing so that people want to click it.

Putting in too many keywords can make it sound repetitive, hard to read or unnatural.

Here’s an example of a title that has too much going on:

too many keywords in a title

This company is trying to fit so much into their heading that it doesn’t all fit in the search result.

If you want to rank on the first page of Google, then keep your headings short and to the point.

Use heading tags.

To help your other keywords get indexed by Google, you can build them into the outline of your content as subheadings.

Each one should have its own H2 or H3 tag.

h1 h2 and h3 tags in blog posts

This will help Google bots and readers understand the intent of your content.

It also breaks up your long-form content for easier skimming and reading.

Use your meta description.

Your meta description is the text that summarizes what your webpage is about.

It’s only a short snippet, up to roughly 230 characters in length.

Whenever your page shows up in SERPs, the meta description appears underneath your title.

meta description in search results

As you can see, the meta description is there to briefly describe to searchers what the article is about.

This helps them know which link to click, especially if the titles are too vague or too similar to each other.

The best meta descriptions will entice people to click your link through to your page instead of the other search results.

Not only should you use your meta description as a call to action, but you should also use it as a perfect spot for building in some of your other keywords.

You can see from the example above that the title has “Google Meta Tags,” while the meta descriptions also have “meta tags,” and “tags.”

They also swapped out “Google” for “search engines” in the description.

You can use this as a great place to build some of your related keywords into search results, without stuffing them in your title or impacting readability.

Don’t worry about keyword density.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, keyword targeting is dead.

That means trying to hit a certain density of keywords should no longer be part of your SEO strategy.

In fact, if your keyword % is too dense, you could actually get penalized by Google.

What is too dense?

While there’s no perfect number, generally 1 – 3% seems to be a safe range.

When you’re building multiple keywords into one piece of content, stick to the lower end of that range.

After all, 3% might seem low, but if you suddenly have ten different variations of the same keyword and they’re each 3% of your total content, that’s 30%!

You can see how that would get ugly fast. No one would want to read it.

Not sure how to check your density?

Here’s a handy formula:

keyword density formula

Don’t focus too much on what the exact number is or should be.

Remember that your focus should be on the quality of your content and the value you’re providing to your readers.

As long as you use natural language and your content is easy to read, your density is likely fine.

The same points are relevant for the number of different keywords you should include.

After all, I just showed you how you can easily create a list of hundreds of related keywords.

If you feel like you’re trying to stuff multiple different keywords into the body of your post, just don’t.

Try to naturally fit each keyword you want once or twice. If it feels forced, then leave it out and save it for your next piece.

Whatever you do, make your readers’ experience top priority. Keyword placement, density, and number should all be a lower priority.

SEO is incredibly competitive, and customer engagement is becoming increasingly important. If you sacrifice reader enjoyment in an attempt to “trick” Google into rankings, you won’t rank.


Targeting keywords and keyword stuffing are tactics that no longer work.

Due to advancements in algorithms and artificial intelligence, the focus needs to shift to targeting intent and getting customer engagement.

But just because you’re not targeting keywords does not mean you give up on using them.

After all, they help Google understand what your intent is and match it to searchers.

Google’s ability to decipher intent actually makes it easier than ever to rank for multiple keywords within one piece of content.

Choose related keywords that fit well together. Consider synonyms or similar questions and phrases to your initial keyword idea.

You can try using a free tool such as LSIGraph, Seed Keywords or Answer the Public.

You can also simply use Google. It provides three different ways of generating popular related keywords, and it offers it all for free.

Focus on long-tailed keywords. Make use of headings and meta descriptions the right way and don’t focus on keyword density.

If you do all this, suddenly your top content will be ranking for multiple keywords. It may even end up being in the 1st spot for a keyword that was never your main focus.

Which tool is your favorite for coming up with relevant, related keywords?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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One Year Later: Remembering Leah and Linsey

One Year Later: Remembering Leah and Linsey

Held at DIS, the group gathered around the Copenhagen bench engraved with Leah and Linseys’ names. Executive Director Malene Torp spoke, sharing that if we were to learn from a tragedy like this – one so difficult to understand – then it would be to live life to the fullest, just as Leah and Linsey did during their study abroad semester.

Following, the group joined in a moment of silence.

Students from Stonehill College spoke about Linsey as someone who was greatly involved in their campus, a true light and personality. At the time of the tragedy last May, their community gathered and drew suns all around the pavement on campus in her memory. On Friday, May 4th, the students brought chalk and the group covered the pavement with suns to let Leah and Linsey shine.

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