search results


By John Hall

A robust content creation strategy is no longer just a nice-to-have for your business. Without great content and a high-ranking internet presence, your business practically doesn’t exist.

Content is both an important facet of your company’s reputation and a critical factor in achieving its business goals. Your content educates your readers, engages your audience and establishes you as an authoritative subject matter source. If you’re not already set up for content success, here are some ways to give your brand the content makeover it needs.

1. Be Everywhere and Be Useful

You can’t just rely on weekly subscription-based emails anymore. Your company needs a comprehensive strategy that bridges multiple channels and covers all angles. Your website should have a blog that’s updated regularly—at least once weekly. You also need well-researched white papers and studies to demonstrate your industry expertise. Use data and infographics to illustrate your points. Round out your written content and visuals with videos, podcasts and webinars.

And don’t just use your content to talk up your company. Think about what will make readers want to come to your site. Feature actionable advice that your readers will turn to, time and again, for help. Where possible—and appropriate—consider timely newsjacking pieces that link your company’s offerings to current events. These pieces should showcase why your product or service is more relevant than ever.

2. Find Your Audience

Before you get too far into content creation, think about whom you want to appeal to. Who are your readers, and what can they stand to gain by immersing themselves in your content? If you offer a B2B technology solution, maybe your blog can provide actionable tips for small business owners. If you sell beauty products, consider common skincare complaints and position yourself as a solution. Whatever the product, think of your content as helpful advice, not advertising.

Finding your audience doesn’t just mean knowing your target demographics. It also means meeting your potential customers where they are. Do you need to be on Instagram? TikTok? The hottest new beauty blog? Figure out where you should post your content, especially on social media, so your most likely readers will stumble upon it.

3. Explore New Content Solutions

If you’re feeling out of your depth in deciding how to meet the content needs of your organization, you may want to think about partnering with an experienced content solutions provider. They can assist with services like preparing technical and software documentation and developing employee and customer training. They can also help pair you with scalable technology solutions or transition to a new type of content management system.

Some content creation solutions providers, like Contiem, can do an audit of all your content needs and walk you through each stage of revamping your entire content ecosystem — whether that’s creating, managing, or delivering the quality content your business needs to succeed. When you’re struggling to gain traction, the right provider can take a close look at your content and figure out what is and isn’t working. And then they can set you on the right path.

4. Boost Your Search Results

To be truly successful in the content world, you have to stay on top of search engine optimization. Plugins like Yoast SEO can boost your Google GOOG +0.2% rankings by helping you optimize your keyword distribution, assess your content’s readability and more. Use alt tags and metadata wisely, and make sure your links are current and flow naturally within the sentence structure. Pin your links to relevant keywords, avoid overlinking and don’t force links or keywords in where they don’t make sense.

In short: don’t go crazy. It’s no longer so easy to trick the search engines into doing your bidding. The most important thing is that your content be relevant, interesting and updated regularly. For optimal traffic and rankings, you should post on your site or blog about two to four times a week. But don’t just post garbage (see point 1). Make your content pertinent and educational so your readers will keep coming back for more.

5. Analyse and Iterate

Once you’ve got your content up and running, you’ll require a system for tracking what’s effective and what’s not. Which channels and types of posts are performing well, and which can you spend less time on? A host of tools and tips are available for measuring content engagement and effectiveness. Use Google Analytics and other services to keep an eye on your metrics.

You should be monitoring not just how many people visit your site, but who they are and how long they stay. You’ll also want to note how many visits actually turn into conversions. Track the number of people who like your content enough to share it with their circle. In addition, consider who’s choosing not just to read your content, but to subscribe to updates. Lastly, look at your costs and figure out what to cut or invest more in.

Great Content Serves a Need

It bears repeating that the most important component of a good content strategy is usefulness. Your customers don’t read your content because they want to be advertised at. They come to you because they believe your content has something to offer them. Think about what causes you to remember a great piece of content or makes you want to share it with friends or co-workers. The best content centres the reader and builds trust in you as someone who can make their life easier.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By John Hall

John Hall is a top motivational speaker and the co-founder of Calendar, a scheduling and time management app. He’s also an adviser for the growth marketing agency Relevance, a company that helps brands differentiate themselves and lead their industry online. You can book him as a keynote speaker here.

Sourced from Forbes

By Andy Wolber

Try these refinements to your keyword search to improve the relevance of Google search results.

A keyword search on Google.com can be a great way to learn more about many topics. Enter a few terms and receive results in under a second or so. Typically, the displayed results will either give you the answer you seek or provide a link to a relevant page.

But when you want to explore a topic in depth, you can improve the usefulness of your results with a few simple search techniques. For example, I was helping a non-profit organization identify potential case management software solutions. The basic search of the three keywords returned more than 2 billion results. A few search refinements narrowed the results to just over 76,000.

The following five-step approach will help you refine your search with the use of quotes to group terms, combined with methodical exclusion and inclusion of keywords.

1. Adjust Google search settings

For serious searching, I suggest you modify your default Google search preferences (Figure A). While on Google.com in a desktop-class browser, select Settings (lower right corner) then Search Settings. In most organizational environments, I recommend the following adjustments:

  • Enable SafeSearch to exclude explicit content from the results,
  • Adjust the number of results per page to 50 to display a significant number of results,
  • Select “Do not show popular searches” to reduce the impact of trending topics, and
  • Select the “Open each selected result in a new browser window” so you may explore links without having to repeatedly re-enter your search.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Save after you make these changes.

Figure A

Screenshot of Google Search Settings page, with SafeSearch on, 50 results per page selected, Do not show popular searches set, and option to Open each selected result in a new browser window checked.

In most organizational settings, I suggest you make a few changes to the default Google Search Settings, such as turning on SafeSearch and setting the number of results per page to 50.

2. Put search keyword phrase(s) in quotes

When you enter your initial search, put quotes around keywords to indicate a specific phrase (Figure B). In my example, results for three keywords with no quotes (i.e., case management software) return more than 6 billion results. Why? Because a page only needs to have any one of those three terms on it to merit inclusion. Results for the three keywords placed in quotes (i.e., “case management software”) requires a page to contain these three specific words in sequence. In this example, the use of quotes narrows the number of results to a little less than 2.3 million.

You may use multiple sets of quotes to return links to pages that contain both phrases (e.g., “quantum computing” “quantum supremacy”).

Review the returned results — all the way to the bottom of the page. If you detect several results that are not what you want, make a note of common keywords in these unwanted results.

Figure B

Screenshot of Google search for "case management software" shown to return about 2,280,000 results.

Put quotes around keywords to search for a specific phrase.

3. Exclude certain results with –

Next, modify your search a bit. After your initial keyword phrase (or phrases) in quotes, add a – followed by a word you noted in the undesirable results. In my example, “case management software” returned many results related to systems used by law firms. So, I extended my search to exclude results with two keywords (e.g., -legal -law). This reduced the number of results to about 240,000 (Figure C) — roughly 10% of the number of pages returned when I used only the three-keyword phrase in quotes.

Again, review the full page of returned results. If you still find many non-desirable pages, repeat the exclusion process again with an additional – followed by a common unwanted keyword.

Figure C

Screenshot of Google search for "case management software" -legal -law shown to return about 240,000 results.

Review the initial set of results, then modify your search to exclude pages with keywords not relevant to the pages you want. Use a – symbol in front of a term to exclude pages with a keyword, as shown (e.g., -legal -law).

4. Require results with +

To refine the results further, add a keyword whose presence increases the likelihood that a page will be relevant. In my example, since I sought software for the non-profit community, I added +non-profit as an additional term in my search (Figure D). Now, every page returned needed to have the keyword “non-profit” on it in some fashion. This changed the number of results from 240,000 in the prior step to slightly more than 76,000.

Again, review the entire initial results page. If needed, add any additional required terms (e.g., place a + in front of the term). Note that you also may place a + in front of keywords contained within a quote (e.g., +”cloud computing”) to require the presence of a phrase.

Figure D

Screenshot of Google search for "case management software" -legal -law +non-profit shown to return about 76,300 results.

Use + before a keyword to specify that results pages must include that term. In this example, pages must include the term non-profit due to the last keyword (i.e., +non-profit).

5. Explore results

After you complete the above sequence, you should have a page of 50 highly relevant results to explore. I typically will open around 10 links, review those pages, then proceed to peruse another set. Often these pages provide additional links to explore and also help me identify keywords for additional searches. I save pages for later review to the Chrome reading list, as a Chrome bookmark or as a link with a note in Google Keep.

What search techniques do you use?

When I want to explore a subject deeply, I also tend to search other sources. Wikipedia serves as a solid starting point for many topics, especially when pages have detailed “see also,” “references” and “further reading” sections with links. Twitter searches help me find people who tweet about topics via “top” and “most recent” searches. For additional resources, I search with DuckDuckGo, Mojeek or Qwant to access different sets of results.

What search techniques do you use when you want to learn more about a topic? What search tips do you advise people in your organization use? Let me know how you find relevant information — either with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber).

Feature Image Credit: Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic (Screenshot: Google.com) 

By Andy Wolber

Sourced from TechRepublic

By Jason Aten.

Two changes to how Google displays search results will likely have a real impact on your business.

Most of us think of Google as the place to go and get answers to just about everything. In fact, 90 percent of all search queries use Google, accounting for almost half of all internet traffic. If you’re an entrepreneur or marketer, you know that Google’s primary business is selling targeted advertising along with every one of those searches. In fact, Google is the largest advertising platform in the world.

The intersection of those two realities just got a little clearer, while the distinction became less so with a few recent changes made by Google. Here’s what changed recently, as well as what it means to your business.

Ads Versus Organic Results

Google Ads are extremely effective, because advertisers are able to target ads to the keywords people search for. People depend on Google to give them the highest-quality results for their questions, which is why appearing at the top of a search results page is so valuable to marketers and content creators.

For a long time, it was obvious that there was a difference between results that appear organically–ranked highly on the basis of their relevance and quality–and those that appeared prominently because they are paid ads. Over time, however, Google has made the distinction less clear.

The latest example blurs the line almost completely by adding a “fav” icon to the organic results, and including the link above the result, both of which make them look far closer to the ads above.

While it isn’t clear what result this is likely to have for individual businesses, the motivation seems clear: Increase click-through on ads. Since the majority of visitors click on the top three or four search results, making the paid and organic results look as similar to each other as possible is going to lead to more clicks on the paid results since they appear at the top.

That matters if your business depends on appearing at the top of search results, and might mean that it’s time to evaluate whether your content and search engine marketing strategy still make sense after these changes.

Snippets and Search Results

Another change, which could easily have an even larger impact on marketers, is that Google now says that when a site captures a snippet for a given search query, that site won’t also appear in the normal search results. The snippet is one of the most valuable positions in a search result page (SERP), and is the most prominent result. For example, in the SERP below, the snippet includes the list from the article about the best iPhone apps.

In the past, that article would also have appeared in the search results below. Now, the snippet is considered a position in the results. Google’s Search Liaison Twitter account explained the change:

That seems logical, but it also has a real impact on websites that currently have the snippet for a given search term, and will now have less presence in the SERP. As with the first change, this can have a real effect on the amount of traffic your website gets if your primary strategy has been organic search.

Sometimes it might be easy to forget that ultimately, while Google’s mission might be to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” it’s a business.

Businesses exist to make money, and Google is very good at making money. As it gets even better at it, it isn’t always clear where the line is between making information useful and using information to make money. That’s a good reminder for businesses that have made organic search a major part of their marketing plan. If that’s you, it might be time to consider how these changes will affect your strategy. Because, make no mistake, they absolutely do.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images

By Jason Aten

Sourced from Inc.


Following Google’s lead earlier this year, Bing has added fact checking tags to search results.

A fact check label might now appear below results from Snopes, PolitFact, and other fact checking organizations, making it much easier to see their ruling on any given claim. Rather than having to click into the link, the site’s verdict — true, false, or somewhere in between — will now be pulled out into the search preview.

The feature should help to call out incorrect stories, but only to an extent. If an illegitimate news story makes it into your Bing search results (or Google, for that matter), it’ll still appear unadorned. The hope, however, is that a fact checking article might appear alongside it, and with the article’s verdict pulled out and bolded, readers might see and take heed before clicking through.

Like on Google, the fact checking labels aren’t limited to just the major fact checking sites — there’s some common code that websites can embed to let search engines pull out their information. That leaves the tag open for abuse by, of course, the same people making these false stories in the first place. But Bing says it isn’t guaranteeing that all websites that include a fact check tag will have their fact checks displayed; instead, it’ll try to confirm that sites “follow commonly accepted criteria for fact checks” before showing them.

The spread of fact checking labels follows the tumultuous US election, which saw false articles and Russian propaganda reach voters to a shocking new extent. This happened most infamously over social media, like Facebook, and Facebook has since begun adding its own fact checking tools. Google, meanwhile, began rolling out fact checking tags to its news sections late last year, before bringing them to search in April.


Sourced from THE VERGE