How Brand Monitoring Can Support Your Search Optimization Strategy

SEO isn’t just about optimizing your own content to be easily found by people performing search queries directly in search engines or social media platforms. More sweat is involved to ensure your brand is facing its audience correctly and competently.

As many know, social media plays a significant role in how consumers perceive brands and even in how easily they can find them. Because of this it is more important than ever to include brand monitoring as part of a comprehensive SEO plan. Here is how to do it.

Where to Start

To effectively implement brand monitoring you will need a tool. Relying on Google Alerts is a good start but there are far more effective apps available which provide detailed information and analysis.

Connecting with Influencers

People care about what other people say. Especially if the ones saying it are public figures. Or influencers for that matter. Now, it’s important to understand there are three types of influencers:

  • Local Influencers – their opinion impacts the local industry.
  • Industry-Specific Influencers – these are people that have high authority over specific topics, skills, and industries.
  • General Influencers – people who are public figures, have often hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers on social media.

Five years later, and this post from Copyblogger still outlines the best way to connect with influencers. A few ideas, besides social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram, include:

  • Signing up for their program, product, service – putting some money in before asking for "free" stuff.
  • Joining their on-site events or meetups: hey, if you have an opportunity to connect 1-on-1, do it!
  • Asking the right relevant questions: One smart question can open many doors for you. Prove that you are smart, and that you know what you want from other people in terms of information.

Using Brand Monitoring Tools: Introducing Brand24

Brand24 is one of the newest faces on the brand monitoring tools scene, and has gained a lot of popularity among brands. The tool provides real-time insight into what is being said about your brand and your competition.

Membership plans start at $49 and can go up to as much as $399, plus customer plan for larger brands. However, a $49 plan is sufficient enough for an early-stage startup to monitor their brand successfully. Bonus: this is a pay-as-you-go type of service, which offers the user more flexibility and doesn’t force him into a 12-months contract or an automated payment scheme. The tool is fully automated, offers Slack integration, and has a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.

The analytics section provides unique factoring such as advanced search queries, interactivity analytics, estimated social reach, and so on. A demo is available for testing if you need more time to think about it.

If you’ve read my recent article on customer journey mapping examples, then you should understand why knowing how people find you matters in the evolution of your services/products.

How Brand24 Works

Signing up for a free Brand24 account can be done with an email or using their Facebook integration.

Brand 24

Once you sign up, you will be asked to type in your target keywords or phrases. You can also specify what language you want results to be targeting.

Add keywords

The menu is located on the left of the dashboard and offers intuitive controls.

Controls

The overview portion of the dashboard is equally intuitive. It allows users to sort information by days, weeks, or months and to view by the most popular mentions or the most popular authors.

Overview

The bottom of the dashboard is especially valuable for identifiying the influencers who dominate the converstaion for your project’s keywords. Users can view the most influential profiles or sites and view associated statistical information.

Dashboard

The free version of Brand24 is robust. Those who want additional features can also choose to upgrade the service to one of the paid subscriptions.

 

Now What?

Once you are monitoring brand mentions there are two powerful ways to use this knowledge to support your SEO efforts.

Request Mentions beyond Citations

Just because someone has cited a brand somewhere doesn’t mean they have linked to the website. Inbound links from authoritative websites are a valuable portion for your marketing efforts.

If a person is already citing a brand by name, they are more likely to be willing to include a proper mention with a link to their website, social media, or email address. You can use services such as HARO, or simply go the old fashion "blogger outreach" way.

Control the Narrative

If people are talking about your brand on social media, you need to be part of the conversation. Brand monitoring makes it possible to take action and instantly reshape the narrative if the brand is being mentioned in a negative light.

Alternatively, if the brand being complained about is a competitor why not swoop in and save the day? Monitoring your brand is a powerful tool but monitoring the competition can offer even wider perspective into what potential customers are happy with and what need has yet to be fulfilled.

Market Research

Brand monitoring can maximize marketing efforts by providing direct consumer insight from those consumers who are already invested in your service or product. This allows you to learn exactly what they want so you can provide it and gain greater brand loyalty.

It will make it easier to identify the platforms on which they are most active so marketing efforts can be directed toward the right locations. If you know more people are mentioning your brand on Snapchat suddenly, it makes sense to invest the resources into developing a presence there. This is true for the reverse as well. You can avoid those platforms that have limited brand engagement to maximize marketing resources.

Important Takeaway

Any tool will work to a certain degree, whether you choose to pay $500+ a month or settle for $49. But people make the difference – and Brand24 excels in helping you reach those whose opinion counts. Other than that, you should make sure to have behind every brand monitoring tool, a sharp, detail-oriented employee or contractor who knows what they’re doing. The human factor should also be part of your marketing efforts, not just from a customer perspective, but also from an "in-house" operational point of view.

Content Marketing is Changing SEO: 3 Tips to Boost Your Traffic

Content marketing is the future of marketing and there is no doubt about it. By leveraging content you can sell (your products and services) without actually selling.Write a killer blog post or tweet and you can create a huge amount of awareness among your targeted audience. Content marketing has become an integral part of all marketing strategies and is set to become a $313 billion industry by 2019, according to PQ Media’s ‘Global Content Marketing – Forecast 2015-19.’One question that many marketers still ask is whether content marketing and SEO are inter-related or two different branches of marketing? The answer is that they go hand-in-hand and are the two sides of the same coin. In fact, SEO creates demand and content marketing fulfils it. For instance, when a person asks, ‘how to fix my electric oven?’ it means the user demands content that will help him solve his problem. Content marketers targeting people facing problems with electric ovens can create high-quality content and try solving their problems.For success with SEO, you need loads of high-quality links, which are impossible to gain without high-quality content. It is, therefore, clear that SEO and content marketing can’t exist without each other.How can you use content marketing to boost organic traffic for your website? Here are three tips to help you:

1. Research and Target Relevant Keywords

In order to get a constant flow of traffic, you first need to identify your specific niche and target audience. For instance, if you offer project management software, then your target audience will be online marketers who need to use project management software to stay in control of their projects. Further, you need to determine whether you want to target budding online marketers or seasoned marketers or both.Once you have identified your audience, you can determine the keywords they may use to find useful information. Here is how you can do this:
  • Use a keyword research tool to get keyword ideas.
  • Choose the most relevant keywords and segment them according to your targeted audience.
  • Research about the keywords to determine whether or not its popularity will grow with time.
A comprehensive SEO experts tool suite such as SEMrush is ideal for this purpose. It gives you a set of related keywords and trends.Picture4-2Once you have a list of the most relevant keywords, you can use them and start creating content. Make sure the content is high-quality and helps your target audience solve specific problems. In simple words, the content you create must offer value to your readers. If you readers find your content useful, they will return and also recommend your content to others in their network.

2. Leverage Visual Content to Maximize Traffic

When it comes to boosting traffic, you need to leverage the traffic that is most engaged. Research proves that video is the most engaging type of content, and marketers are using it to capture users’ attention.According to a research by HubSpot, video appears to be the most favored form of content by customers and prospects.Moreover, according to KPCB, video will account for 74 percent of all the online traffic in 2017. Again, brands that use video for marketing see their revenue growing 49 percent faster compared to those who do not use videos. So, there is every reason why content marketers should leverage this form of content.Videos also help with SEO. Including video sends signals to search engines that the page contains rich media relevant to the search requests. The transcript part of the video that uses keywords improves the findability of the content. By hosting videos on YouTube, the second largest search engine in terms of the number of search queries, you can easily boost the traffic on your website. You can also share the videos on social media to increase the website traffic.Take the example of Dunkin Donuts that relies on video campaigns to sell its products. The brand took advantage of Valentine’s Day and rolled out a live streaming video. The video showed how the brand creates its new products. As a bonus, the video also featured the creation of a gigantic, donut-themed wedding cake. The video attracted more than 36,000 viewers.To increase traffic for your brand and attract attention, you can create how-to videos, DIY videos, product-explainer videos, and animated videos.

3. Become a Trusted Source of Information

Becoming a trusted source of high-quality and useful information is one of the best ways to increase traffic. Pages that offer useful and relevant content and have high demand among readers are ranked higher on the SERPs (search engine result pages). Sites that have lots of high-quality content focused on a particular subject tend to rank higher.(Tip: If you have a broad audience and cover multiple topics, make sure the content is organized based on topics or themes to avoid content silos.)One of the easiest ways to establish authority in a specific niche is by starting a blog. Blogging helps you create a base for your content marketing efforts. However, blogging requires a lot of investment in terms of time and effort. But when done properly, you can reap long-term benefits. Here are a few tips on increasing traffic by blogging:
  • Use a blog design that appeals to your target audience. Starting a WordPress blog is often a great idea as WordPress offers a number of inbuilt themes that can be used to create a professional blog. You can also integrate other themes, if needed.
  • Create a catchy title for your posts to attract attention quickly. Keep the titles short, use numbers within the title or use words that invoke emotions. Make sure the post offers exactly what the title says.
  • Choose evergreen topics to keep the posts relevant for a long time.
  • Include visuals to improve the level of engagement and offer a better experience.
  • Repurpose posts to increase viewership. Turn posts into short videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. and share on various channels.
Another way of increasing traffic is through influencer marketing. Identify the top influencers in your niche and request them to contribute on your blog. This way, you will not only get high-quality content for your blog, you will also attract high-quality backlinks and get the attention of all the users from the influencer’s network. The trust factor also increases manifold, so you can establish yourself and your brand as a trusted source of information.Take the example of Stonyfield Farms that specializes in organic dairy products. The company blog features a barnyard theme that is absolutely relevant to their brand and the target audience (which includes farming, families and organic living).2017-06-21_17-10-43 The blog features articles on healthy living and pictures of healthy families. They also feature videos, which are not professionally edited, but are helpful. In fact, this is their USP and it humanizes the videos. They also use soft sales messages to encourage their readers to buy their products.ConclusionAs content marketing keeps maturing, so does SEO. There is no way you can win at content marketing without focusing on SEO and vice versa. Both go hand-in-hand, so you need to be good at content marketing as well as SEO to take your business to the next level. Do keep the above tips in mind when creating a strategy to increase organic traffic to your website. By leveraging the above tips, you can improve awareness, build trust and increase the traffic, and you will be a winner in every way!

10 Best Keyword Research and Suggestion Tools for SEO Specialists

While creating a high-quality content with real people in mind is essential, it will be foolish to ignore keyword research and SEO. Doing keyword research is like a seasoned fish monger casting his net at the right time and at the right place. If you are not using the right keywords: short-tail or long-tail, you can be selling yourself short on your potential success.

The good news is that there are a bunch of useful keyword research tools for handling your daily workflow in content marketing. In this article we will look at my 10 favorite keyword research tools for making the process less time-consuming and more efficient.

#1. SE Ranking Keyword Suggestion Tool

SE Ranking is by far my favorite keywords suggestion tool as it’s not only giving me  the new keyword ideas and variations, but also groups thousands of keywords within minutes to distribute the keywords efficiently throughout the pages.

Also, with SE Ranking you will get a list of short tail and long tail keywords filtered by popularity with a single-click.

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The tool has more than 2 billion unique search queries and an internal database is getting updated on the monthly basis. I also like their user-friendly interface.

Just enter a keyword or a list of keywords (one per line), choose the language, the source and get search results based on the detailed statistics: monthly search volume, KEI, competition, the number of search results, etc. Fast and effective!

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#2. Keyword IO

Keyword IO allows you to get hundreds of keyword suggestions free. Just enter a target search query, choose a specific country for search, click the button “search” and get an overview of possible keyword suggestions, keyword trends and top 10 search results from Google.

What I really like is that keywords are listed clustered in long-tail and alphabetic order. You can easily pick relevant keywords and export the list of keywords, but only after free signup.

A simple and intuitive interface helps you show all relevant URLs for entered keywords and visualize the relevance of terms based on TextRank and TF•IDF.

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#3. Google Trends

Google Trends helps you compare the popularity of keywords, shows which keywords are growing in popularity on the market and find out the top keywords in the niche.

For example, let’s compare two keyword phrases: “sewing machines USA” and “sewing machines”. It turned out that no one searches for the phrase “sewing machines USA”, just because it sounds unnatural.

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Google Trends is a free indispensable tool. But I really like to combine it with Google Keyword Planner what helps me get the most accurate estimate of search volumes.

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#4. Wikipedia

 Wikipedia is an awesome source of getting contextual keywords. Wikipedia is a gold mine of LSI keywords. It is simple to use: just enter a keyword and view the results on the page.

For example, for “keyword research” I discovered a bunch of contextual keywords. Moreover, you will discover a lot of useful information in your niche.

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Wikipedia is also a good way to search for industry terms, jargon and slang in your niche. Just make a good list, save it and use in your content marketing activities.

#5. Soovle

Soovle is a free keyword research tool that provides autocomplete suggestions from different sources: Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon, Bing, YouTube, Answers.com. Just enter a keyword and choose your source.

Make sure that Google is the default, you can easily change it by clicking one of the suggested sources.

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Soovle doesn’t offer the most advanced keyword suggestions that can make sense for your blog. If you want to get unique keywords, you need to choose paid keyword suggestion tools like SE Ranking, KWFinder, etc.

#6. KWFinder

KWFinder is an easy-to-use long tail keyword research tool that brings perfect keyword ideas with a great interface. The tool helps you dig into local keyword research, so you can target your keywords by country, state or city.

It shows not only long tail keyword suggestions, but also trends, search volume, CPC and level of difficulty in search results.

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#7. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is a free keyword tool that provides you with keywords that are not available from the Google Keyword Tool. It is really simple to use: just enter a keyword, a language, a source and click “Suggest”.

The tool helps you generate a list of keywords that can be a saving grace for the busy SEO specialists.

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The best thing that I like about Ubersuggest is the way that it filters results for letters or numbers. You can also search shopping, YouTube, images and news.

#8. Google Correlate

Google Correlate is a great keyword tool, but often overlooked. Google Correlate doesn’t work well for key phrases, but if you enter a single keyword, you will get pure dynamite LSI keywords.

You just enter a keyword and the tool does all the work for you.

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#9. Keyword Discovery

Keyword Discovery is a free search term suggestion tool that gives a list of general and long-tail keywords for SEP and PPC marketing goals.

The keyword data is gathered from different toolbar browsers and over 200 search engines.

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You won’t detect the same keyword data anywhere else unless someone is using your API. To use the tool, just enter a keyword and click “Search”. The tool generates the top 100 search terms for your core keyword.

#10. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a primary tool when starting a new website. It is my best friend to grow and produce more and better content.

This is the best place for keyword research that provides a comprehensive and targeted list of keywords. In addition to the keyword list, you will get average monthly searches, competition, suggested bid, etc.

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Just simply enter a keyword or keywords into the search box and you will get everything in a clear and concise manner. Together with search terms, you will get many other ideas. Some of them will work, some won’t. You will never know when you will find a gem.

Have you ever used any of these keyword research and suggestion tools? Which tool has been the most useful in your content strategy? Please leave your comments below.