impression showcase april 2016Digital marketing is constantly evolving. There are always new tools and techniques to see and try. There’s also new work being done all the time by people in the digital marketing industry, from which we can learn and be inspired.

The team here at Impression meets once every 2 weeks to showcase the things we’ve seen, tried and experienced with our colleagues. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn from each other and share new ideas for our clients, too.

We’re sharing some really cool stuff, so we thought, why not share it with all of you, too? So here we have it; the first in a bi-weekly series of new tools, techniques and examples from the digital marketing industry – the Impression Showcase.

Highly targeted ads for Local PPC

Though not a new idea, locally-targeted ads have a lot of potential to help marketers better target find their audience. Local businesses in particular can benefit from these ads, as Greg Gifford explained in his talk at Brighton SEO (which is well worth checking out if you get chance – we’ve posted the video for you here).

We’re currently looking to grow our team here at Impression, so we ran a recruitment ad at Brighton SEO. We used local awareness ads on Facebook to place a ‘pin’ on the Brighton Dome and told Facebook we wanted to target people within a small radius of this location. We then shared an ad which used a photo taken from the stage at Brighton, with ad copy encouraging people to review our vacancies and join our team.

A suggestion Greg made was to target customers when they’re at your competitor’s shop, giving them special offers to entice them to come to you instead. This has implications for both local-businesses and larger brands alike.

You can also use a plugin for Chrome called Ghostery which shows you which trackers are on use on any site, which can give you some interesting insights. We’ll share more of our tips for local targeting in the coming months, but if yours is a local business and you think you could benefit from local awareness targeting, why not get in touch today to find out how we can help?

Featured snippet optimisation

Rob Bucci from STAT gave a really interesting presentation at Brighton SEO. This was based on research his company did into the occurrence of featured snippets (also called answer boxes) in the SERPs. We’ve provided a summary of his talk, plus a link to their research, here.

It was interesting to hear that the featured snippets most frequently came from websites which were not in the top position organically, but were actually in position 2, 3 or 4. He also shared some insight into common themes and formatting found amongst the featured snippets to give insight into how we might structure our content to give it a better chance of being used. Numbered lists and question and answer formatting works particularly well, according to the STAT study.

We also really liked his advice on optimising featured snippets. Let’s say you were in the featured snippet box with a 4 step recipe. If you then updated that recipe to have, say, 6 steps, you’d force the snippet to truncate (add … to the end) as all the steps wouldn’t fit. This can increase click through rates as users seek to see the full recipe.

Link building ‘outside the box’

Link building remains an essential part of any SEO strategy. The volume and quality of links pointing to your website acts as indicators to Google of the value of your site and the topical associations.

We’re currently working with a client who sells product packaging and, not too surprisingly, encouraging websites to talk about boxes wasn’t too easy. Instead, our team thought ‘outside of the box’ (haha) to think of other ways we could appeal to our client’s audience in a more engaging way.

We came up with various ideas around the packaging as part of the purchase experience, use of design and how we can stand out from the crowd when positioning ourselves or our brands. This has resulted in far more features (and links) for our client, the lesson being that, even if you don’t consider your product particular exciting or engaging, it can be with a little creative thought.

Don’t neglect offline

Our digital PR manager Rob attended a ‘meet the journalists’ event last week with Rebecca, who recently joined our team from her role as a journalist at the Nottingham Post.

One of the main findings they came back with from the event was that journalists still really appreciate offline approaches. One journalist said she had received a press release in the post with the product included and some other things which caught her eye; this really stood out from the vast number of emails in her inbox.

Equally, we find great success in picking up the phone to journalists. We use a fantastic tool called Gorkana to access journalist contact information and picking up the phone on behalf of our clients has resulted in them being featured in the likes of Forbes, Financial Times, Telegraph, Times, International Business Times and lots more industry specific publications and websites too.

The importance of page speed

Tom Bennet from Built Visible spoke about the importance of page speed in content marketing at Brighton SEO – see our summary of his talk here.

Page speed has long been a factor in user experience and we know Google now recognises it as part of its algorithms too, so having a site which loads quickly is essential to your success. Google has provided the page speed test tool to help you assess your page speed, and we also like Pingdom for the same insight.

We’re in the process of implementing Google’s pagespeed module (mod_pagespeed) across all the sites we manage. This automatically compresses files to make them quicker to load, and does so at a server level. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

Tools we’re testing

There are hundreds of tools available to digital marketers to help them work more effectively and efficiently. We attended Brighton SEO last week, where as well as some great speakers, there were some really interesting exhibitors to see too, including CallTracks (who we already work with), Authoritas and SEO Monitor.

One tool we were particularly interested in was that shared by Barry Adams in his talk ‘How to Identify and Fix Crawl Issues‘. He is an advocate of Deep Crawl, an on page analysis tool which crawls your URL and extracts key information about load times, usability, site architecture and lots more.

It also delivers you a schedule of tasks to complete to help improve your site’s rankings. It’s a fairly expensive solution but we’re keen to trial it – we’ll share our review with you soon.

We also talked to the guys from OnPage.org, which is another on page analysis tool. This one has a really intuitive interface and provides a series of products to help SEOs. Their main product, Zoom, is a comprehensive on site auditor which looks at crawlability, content, international targeting, links, sitemaps, URL parameters and lots more. Essentially it’s an alternative to Raven, a tool which has been around for years.

OnPage.org’s other products include Focus, which reviews one URL at a time, and Topics, a tool which extracts the key terms and phrases most commonly used on the top ranking pages for any given query. This enables webmasters to review their keyphrase groupings and update their content to better appeal to both the end user and the search engines.

We’ll be trialling this too and will share our review here.

 

We’re always happy to share our knowledge about digital marketing. If there’s anything here you’d like to discuss further, or to get your advice to help your digital strategy, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Laura Hampton

Head of Digital PR

Head of Digital PR at @impressiontalk specialising in user-centred SEO, digital PR, content marketing and digital strategy. My team won the Best Use of PR in an SEO Campaign award at the European Search Awards 2019. In my spare time, I jump out of planes.

3 thoughts on “Impression Showcase: New Tools, Featured Snippets and Thinking Outside of the Box

  1. AvatarJohnAlexanderRowley says:

    Hi Laura, Great stuff as ever! Think this is a really nice, fresh approach to sharing digital marketing knowledge: something that’s not capitalised on in many digital agencies. Really good read, will definatly be taking a look at a couple of the tools you mentioned!

    Can’t wait for the next one in two weeks time. Nice one.

    1. Avatarlauralhampton says:

      Hi John

      Thanks so much for your kind message. I’m really pleased you like the format. We’re looking at how we can resign the post so it’s more clear to scroll through, too.

      It’s also included in our email newsletter this week. Have you subscribed?

      Yeah, definitely have a look at the tools. We understand Deep Crawl is coming out with a new version in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be sure to share our reviews of the tools here for you.

      Thanks again!

      Laura

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