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How To Take The Guesswork Out Of Optimizing Your Marketing Channels

Posted by Murray Sye

on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 @ 02:25 PM

HowToTakeTheGuessworkOutOfOptimizingYourMarketingChannels

Are your blog posts optimized to maximize your lead generation opportunities? 

Do you want to improve your content marketing and get better results?  

Applying simple optimization best practices can help accomplish this for you. Optimization – although to some conjures up thoughts of complicated math and data speak – it's really just about making improvements. It's about taking what you already have, and then through experimenting and measuring, figuring out ways to make it even better.

This article highlights today's best practices that will help your content achieve better results through a few simple optimization tips.


Calls-To-Action (CTAs)

When it comes to optimizing your blog posts for lead generation, calls-to-action (CTAs) are your best friends. Lead generation CTAs are designed to take visitors to landing pages, where they can fill out forms in exchange for valuable resources.

At WhiteSpace, we tend to place our lead generation CTAs at the bottom of our posts - like you see below. However, we've also experimented with "slide-in" CTAs, which slide in from the right side of the screen as you're scrolling through a post. Ultimately, the best way to improve the click-through rates of your CTAs is through (you guessed it!) A/B testing. However, there are a couple of other tips that can help you as well.

  • A/B Test blog CTA location, colour, copy and design
    By A/B testing different CTA variations on your blog, you can increase click-through rates by 200% or higher! The key here is to pick one element at a time to test. For example; location, colour, content, type, or design. Then, you need to run your test long enough to get statistically significant results.
  • Use a secondary CTA to convert visitors into subscriber
    If your site's visitors aren't interested in what you're offering in your primary, lead generation CTA, make sure you give them a second opportunity to engage: include a secondary CTA that prompts visitors to subscribe to your blog. 
  • Use Smart CTAs to provide more personalized experiences
    Smart CTAs are an example of dynamic content: content that is specifically tailored to readers according to how they're segmented in your contacts database. For example, using Smart CTAs, you could display an "eMail this to a friend" CTA for subscribers of your blog, and a "Subscribe to our blog" CTA for non-subscribers. 

 How to create action with your calls-to-action

Blog Post Headlines

Writing great headline copy is essential when it comes to getting visitors to read and ultimately, convert on your company's blog. According to Copyblogger, 80% of people read headline copy, but only 20% go on to read the rest of the actual post. What does that tell us? Headline "churn" is a serious problem. Prospective leads and customers are reading blog post headlines, and instead of engaging any further, are bouncing. 

Of course, in some cases "headline churn" is simply the result of people not finding a blog post topic relevant (e.g. someone reads a headline and thinks, "This topic just isn't for me"). However, assuming your overall blog strategy is sound and you're providing content to the right people, at the right place, at the right time, improving your headline copy can help reduce "headline churn" even further. Here's a few tips to help combat that:

  • Put target keywords near the front of your headlines
    Keeping a target keyword or phrase closer to the front of your headline an be beneficial for SEO and discoverability. For example, if your target keyword is "Zebras," the headline, "Zebras: An A to Z Guide" should perform better that "An A to Z Guide to Zebras." 
    I say should because, ultimately, search engines want to deliver the most relevant and high-quality content possible. So, you still need to actually create that content (i.e., your blog post). This little headline tip is just icing on the cake. 
  • Use brackets to call out content formats
    Have an infographic, video, SlideShare, or other cool piece of content embedded in your blog post? Mae sure everyone knows about it! Use brackets [ ] in your headline to highlight content. Here's an example: How to make your blog posts SEO-Friendly [Checklist].
  • Keep your headlines short (65 characters or less) 
    Search engines truncate headlines if they're too long, adding the dreaded "..." to the ends of headlines in search results. By delivering a concise headline, you can make sure your full message gets across to searchers. As a rule of thumb, most search engines will typically "max out" at around 65 characters, so ideally your headlines character count won't exceed that number.

How to product blog posts that attract and scale traffic

Links and Anchor Text

You've likely heard this advice before: when crafting a blog post, you should always try to include links to other relevant pages and posts on your site. This can be beneficial for a few reasons. For starters, there's SEO value. By linking to a page, you're telling the search engines know what that page is about (via your anchor text).

In addition to proving SEO value, internal linking can help move people through your site, creating more opportunities from them to engage with your brand and (ideally) convert into leads and customers. Here are a few pointers for optimizing your blog's internal links and anchor text.

  • Link to pages that are already ranking highly in search
    Pointing your blog's internal links to your highest-ranking pages may sound counterintuitive. After all, if those pages are already doing well in search, shouldn't you give any extra "SEO juice" you have to your lower-performing pages? Here's the thing though: Boosting a page from a rank of, let's say, 100 to rank 99 isn't going to help you much (since the majority of clicks on search engine results pages go to the top few spots). However, if you can boost a page from the 3rd spot to the 2nd spot, or from the 2nd spot to the coveted 1st spot, the impact of that change is going to be much more substantial.
  • If you link to the same page multiple times in a post, make sure the first link is keyword-optimized
    It's not uncommon to link to the same internal page multiple times in a single blog post. (At WhiteSpace, we frequently do this when we're writing about a new piece of content we've launched and want to drive traffic to its landing page.) However, search engines really only care about the first link (i.e. they rely more heavily on the first instance of anchor text for a given link than they do for subsequent instances).
    The takeaway here: make sure your anchor text for that first link includes the keywords you're trying to target. this is the anchor text search engines care about most.
  • Link to you new posts from your old posts
    Writing a topic that you've written about before? Help give your new post a little extra SEO authority by linking to it from your older posts. The process couldn't be any simpler: Once you've published your new post, just update your old posts with internal links (and relevant anchor text) pointing to that new post. No time travel required! 

Internal link building


Conclusion
Maybe it's time to re-review some of your previously posted blogs and see if you can't improve on your optimization using these tips. If you have other suggestions, please forward them along in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you.

 

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Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
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