Every business is unique in its own way and schema markup can help convey that in Google…
Since Google launched a new home for Web Stories on Discover, we have seen a diverse group of content creators using the format to tell engaging stories, everything from product reviews to a history of the U.S. postal service. Thanks to new and improved creation tools, it’s easier than ever to create a high-quality and interactive story.
Web Stories are a web-based version of the popular “Stories” format that blend video, audio, images, animation and text to create a whole new way to learn something new. We have seen publishers recut, reuse, or reinvent their brands using Web Stories. If you are new to Web Stories, check out our new YouTube series, Storytime. And if you want to create some yourself, follow these tips to make them as interesting and beautiful as possible.
Be the protagonist of your own story. Stories are the first mobile-native medium. It’s perfectly possible and expected to capture the assets for your story using your mobile device’s front-facing camera. Since most consumption happens and continues to grow on mobile devices, the creator is able to deliver a full-screen portrait experience to the viewer in the same way they captured it. First person allows you to give a personal touch by adding in additional commentary and perspective.
A brand identity is the face of your brand. That can include your visual style, the colors you use and your logo; these visible elements identify and distinguish your brand in consumers’ minds. People should know at a moment’s glance that this Web Story is from your brand. For many readers, consistency in branding leads to comfort and loyalty.
Be sure to import your color palette and logo into your favorite Web Story creation tool. Use your brand’s typography, and if you don’t use specific typography, select a font that complements your colors and style. Fonts can be very powerful, so keep it simple and legible. Here are some general rules to follow. Avoid having a story that contains text that blends into the background image or video, which may make some pages difficult to read. Be sure to provide contrast between the text and background images on the page.
Web Stories blend video, audio, images, animation and text to create an easy to consume narrative. One great way to engage readers is by using dynamic visuals and infographics. Graphs and charts make it easy to understand a topic while using minimal text. This can be a great way to inform your reader quickly and clearly. We commonly see great graphics and visuals in recipes, explainers and investigative journalism.
Sometimes stock images and videos won’t cut it. If you have the ability, try to work in some illustrations into your story. Animations and illustrations can bring your story to life. This could be anything from funny comics to hand-drawn cartoons. You can create illustrations in other popular design tools, optimize them and import them into your creation tool as a PNG file.
Web Stories are getting more interactive with quizzes and polls, or what the Stories team calls Interactive Components. Several visual editors are working on supporting these new features so you can use them without any coding necessary on your end. Quizzes and polls can increase engagement and make your stories more compelling. You can also use the quizzes and polls to gather feedback and educate your audience about your brand.
Animating objects separately makes visuals more interesting and enjoyable, helping each item stand out. Timing and style add to the tone and message of your story. Choose an animation style that suits your aesthetic, then be mindful of how quickly things move. Here is a great example from USAT. Your story may automatically advance to the next page before some users are able to fully read the text. Consider slowing down auto advance to allow users ample time to read the text on each page.
If you find yourself thinking that you’ve exhausted all the options regarding content for SEO, or that your strategy is feeling a bit stale, you might benefit from taking a step back to consider the themes and reasoning behind your approach.
In this post, I’ve dived into the core themes you should be looking at to help focus your content strategies for organic success.
Satisfying your audience should be at the heart of all your SEO strategy, whether that be on your own site or externally. Look to focus on clicks from relevant sites and search results, that drive engagement, build your brand and convert.
The majority of your audience-focused content is likely to sit on your own site. From blog posts to category pages, this is where you get to use your words to sell your brand. The key is to find balance between machine and person.
Of course you want your website to rank for targeted queries – but always ask yourself how this might be affecting your audience at the same time.
Make the content on your site too structured around search algorithms and you could put off your audience. Get the targeting wrong and your audience might not find you in the first place. It’s a fine balance and it’s one that’s relevant to blogs, just as much as it is to product pages.
There are many different tactics you can employ to serve the dual goals of search success and audience satisfaction. For example, with product and category pages, leverage the practice of putting a couple of introductory paragraphs above blocks of listings, with a larger block of text below.
This way, you can ensure the copy doesn’t distract potential customers from converting, but also help Google understand the page with the additional copy at the base of the page.
Getting your brand heard in the right places can of course bring excellent reward. The key is in identifying the right interview, placement and backlink opportunities for your business.
More than ever, we as marketers need to be asking ourselves how relevant the coverage is that we’re securing. With digital PR in particular, there can be a real risk of building a backlink profile that isn’t remotely relevant to your company, or securing links that serve no purpose other than ego-massaging.
One great way to focus your efforts here is to design your campaigns around the services you offer and what your company is about. This will enable you to create industry-relevant content that’s more likely to appeal to websites in your niche.
That’s not to say that relevancy is the only important factor here. Visibility on more ‘general’ high-authority websites like press publications and general interest websites can be great too, but ask yourself what your goal is with those.
In the case of the press, will the visibility benefit your brand in specific geographic locations? For example, does your company have operations in multiple cities? Would local press links in those locations help generate valuable interest?
Or, if you’re looking for a link from a high-authority general interest site, will people on that site click the link? Will those people potentially convert to business for you?
These are the sorts of questions you should be answering when you look to amplify your brand for SEO gains. The more focused and relevant you can make your link-building efforts, the more they’ll make sense to Google – and by nature that should help pass more SEO value to your own site.
Getting the right people to your website, in significant volumes, is ultimately what SEO is about. Whether those people are window shoppers or people who already know who you are, it’s vital you do everything possible to encourage them to click to your site from the SERPs. This is not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s worth asking yourself how successfully you’re doing it.
Whilst they may be humble fundamentals of SEO, title tags are always ripe for evaluation and meta descriptions are still invaluable for encouraging clicks. Even if they don’t always show, you should at least be giving yourself the best chance of getting more website traffic.
There are also so many other opportunities you should be leveraging in the organic search results to improve your SERP real estate. Schema options continue to expand and present great opportunities to grab more visibility; whilst other long-standing features such as Featured Snippets work as well as they ever have. It’s well worth committing to a deep-dive audit into your SERP profile alone.
When was the last time you conducted an audit of your title tags and meta descriptions, right across your site? Did you tie keyword research into your efforts? Did you look at whether you’re still mapping target queries in the most logical way?
Sometimes the best ideas you have are nice and easy to implement. Other times, they’re actually the things that could take up the most time. Yet that doesn’t mean you should keep putting them off. The value of tackling the biggest challenges can actually end up bringing the greatest rewards.
Speaking from personal experience, there are several examples of long-form blog posts I’d love to produce and share with the audiences of industry websites, or on the Evoluted site, but I know that they’re so involved that making them a priority is a challenge.
One thing I’ve started to do recently to tackle this is to start working on one of these posts a small amount every couple of days. After a week, then two weeks, then a month, you soon build up a vast bank of information and get closer to your goals – even if you only commit to 10 minutes each time you look at it.
Other examples of long-standing aims you may have been putting off may be things like expanding focus into different areas (see below), or a full rewrite of your website. If you can’t decide whether to take the plunge on something like that, ask yourself whether the long-term value of these big tasks would ultimately outweigh your efforts on ‘smaller’, less time-consuming changes.
Following on from above, content that’s designed to help you expand into new areas of organic targeting/traffic is another great place to potentially focus your SEO efforts. Perhaps your existing site structure is too restrictive? Maybe you’ve suddenly got additional internal resources? Whatever the reason, expanded focus can be a great way to drive organic value.
There are several different ways that growth in a new area might be achieved. It could, for example, be the case that you’re offering a new service and need the accompanying content and SEO optimisation to match.
Or, it could be that you’ve identified an area of expertise where you could corner the market, by producing better content than your competitors to drive priceless traffic through blogs, guides and knowledge pieces.
To be successful here, it’s always worth evaluating your keyword targeting for new opportunities, checking out your competitors to see if you’re missing out on a niche and conducting consistent audits to ensure your keyword mapping makes the most sense across your website.
One of the best ways to secure traffic that converts or builds your brand is to fill a direct need for your audience. Whilst some searchers won’t know exactly what they’re looking for, others will be looking for very specific answers, through more specific questions and queries. If you can be there to answer them, you can reap the benefits.
As with so many different content strategies for SEO, the most important thing to do here is focus your energies in the places they’re going to have the most value. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself here are:
Only once you’re happy you’ve got the right strategy in mind should you look at how best to fulfil the customer need. You might look to do that in the SERPs, by leveraging the People Also Ask feature within the content you produce.
Alternatively, you might look at on-site search results to see whether your site is failing to answer a specific query, or at keyword data to ascertain whether there’s an opportunity to take advantage of through a blog post.
The opportunities are there but the strategy has to be well thought out.
If you maintain an active blog, it could well be the case that you have a handful of posts that drive far more traffic to your site than 90% of the rest of the blog. In time, it can be easy to take this traffic for advantage, but ask yourself what you’d do if you lost it and whether you’re currently taking the most advantage of it.
A thorough audit of your entire blog can unearth a potential goldmine of new opportunity – and help you to avoid potential future problem points.
A great way to approach this is to:
In addition to improving historical posts, consider whether you could create follow-up or similar posts within any niches you’ve been successful within, to create content pillars that strengthen your standing in that space.
In SEO, we will rightly think a great deal about how to design our content work to bring people to our site. That is, after all, the fundamental basis of SEO. Yet taking a step back and looking at how well your site is set up to convert that traffic is arguably an even more important part.
I think as an SEO, you should also be responsible for and aware of how well the copy on your site is set up to convert traffic you’ve acquired. Whilst some would argue that relates more closely to CRO, it should surely be part of the SEO picture to ensure the traffic you’re acquiring is converting. Plus many organisations won’t have a CRO budget at all.
If visitors are bouncing from the pages they reach and engagement is lacking, then you’ve potentially failed in your optimisation and rectifying that is key to ensure the results you achieve from your organic traffic improve. After all, getting people to your site is only one part of the journey.
Audit your CTAs across the website and try to focus on accessibility when you do. Make sure your enquiry forms are serving the best possible function they can. Consider whether you could improve the on-page experience through informational content to help drive people down the funnel too. Use a tool like Hotjar to help influence your judgements.
If this work improves engagement, keeps people on site and drives them towards enquiring/making a purchase, that is undoubtedly an example of content driving SEO success.
Regular, effective evaluation of your content strategy for SEO can provide you with enough valuable work to last a lifetime. There is always valuable work to be done and improvements to be made, whilst you might be missing out on amazing opportunities by not making small tweaks to the content you already have.
Dividing your strategy into these themes can help you focus your energies and ensure that you’re making the most of the budgets and time you have available. Remember:
How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy – SEM Rush
New Google My Business Dashboard – Local University
SEO Optimization for Bing: Is it Really Worth Your Time? – Search Metrics
Why You Want to Fix 404 Errors – SEO Theory