Why I’d Recommend Local SEO as a Promising Career for Millennials

Posted by MiriamEllis

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Image courtesy of Mike Behnken on Flickr.

The civics of local: Caring about your community

From Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to Central Park in New York City, with all of the town greens, plazas, fountains, schools, and libraries in between, America’s lasting community resources stand as a testament to our civic-minded past. Town fathers, city boards, and citizens of former times dedicated themselves to enriching local life by creating public access to features that fostered identity, civic pride, and a higher standard of living.

Modern cynics might look at today’s cityscapes and conclude that city planners have forgotten the need for accessible human resources. Sprawling housing developments without parks, whole districts without adequate shopping, good schools, libraries, or community centers would be evidence of this. And yet, 2016 points at a better future because, if nothing else, the ongoing election cycle has proven that the rising workforce – the millennial generation – cares tremendously about civics.

In the phenomenal youth movement currently sweeping the nation, I see an inspiring, fresh commitment to improving life for all people and all communities. If you’re one of those citizens rallying for a living wage, greater educational opportunities, and the revitalization of both inner city and rural life, then this article will explain why a career in local search marketing could spell out satisfying work that directly impacts life quality in communities across the country. In other words, your best ideals will go hand-in-hand with what you do for a living. Sound good? Let’s take a look!

What is local search marketing, in a nutshell?

Anything you do to promote the online visibility of local businesses, organizations, and resources = local search marketing. Local search engine optimization (SEO) basically seeks to create a mirror image of real-world communities on the web, making it easy for anyone to find the best available resources for everything nearest them. You can promote the visibility of local businesses, schools, parks, organizations, churches, or anything else that exists for the use of people in any given city or town.

Local SEO seeks to reflect real-world communities. Image courtesy of DonaldMcTim on Flickr.

The basic components of local

Right now, the basic components of local search marketing include:

  • Designing locally optimized websites
  • Developing locall -relevant text, image, and video content
  • Building local business listings on a variety of search engines and directories
  • Helping clients earn and manage online reviews
  • Helping clients engage with their neighbors via social media
  • Ensuring that all client holdings are mobile-friendly
  • Seeking local publicity opportunities, whether via news, advertising, sponsorships, or other vehicles
  • Discovering innovative methods of helping your clients stand out from the competition

Here’s a broad overview of local SEO to jump-start your education. Ready for a deep dive? You can get a detailed picture of the major components of local search marketing from this Local SEO Checklist, and can take a gander at what industry experts cite as the most influential Local Search Ranking Factors you’ll be implementing for clients.

Manual + automated solutions

Local search marketing has been a viable career option for a little over a decade – ever since search engines like Google set out to replace the print Yellow Pages as the way people access local resources. In the early days, a majority of the work we did in local was manual – manual website development, manual local business listing creation, etc. Now, many tasks have been made easier via tools.

Google: Making print phone books obsolete for over a decade. Image courtesy of Mike Goehler on Flickr.

For example, you don’t have to build a website from scratch. You can learn to develop excellent WordPress-based websites, choosing from mobile-friendly/responsive themes and using plugins that make it easy to incorporate basic local optimization components.

You don’t have to build local business listings (a.k.a. “citations”) one at a time anymore, either. You can use automated tools or sign up for manual submission services, freeing you up for more creative work.

Intelligent tools now make it possible to analyze your social media opportunities and manage your review strategy.

You’ll be entering the field at a time when tools have taken quite a bit of the grunt work out of this area of marketing, meaning your best asset may be your creativity, rather than your capacity to grind through things.

Go solo or work for an agency

Before you take a job or start serving clients, you’ll want to educate yourself as much as possible about this form of marketing. Your education will prevent you from going to work for an agency that doesn’t adhere to above-board practices, and it will also lessen your chances of making a costly mistake for your clients.

Working from home can be quite cozy. Image courtesy of Tina Lawson on Flickr.

You can set up your local SEO business in your living room, if need be, with nothing more than a laptop and a good Internet connection. Some people have no problem flying solo, beginning the work of making a name for themselves by their contributions to their own community and the local search marketing industry. The main benefit of this is autonomy; the main drawbacks are money worries until you get established.

Others may prefer to seek employment at an agency with an existing local SEO department. Some companies will only hire you if you’ve got proven experience, but if an agency is open to interns, this can provide a great opportunity to learn on the job and understand what it means to be part of a team. The main benefits of this are experience and a regular paycheck; the main drawback is less direct control over the work you’d like to explore.

Emotional requirements of the job

Here’s a simple checklist that should help you determine whether you’ve got the right temperament for the job. You’ll need to:

  • Be a self-disciplined worker (especially if you’re going solo) but also be open to the benefits of a more flexible schedule. Some of the best Internet marketing agencies aren’t rigid about 9–5 work days and allow for some work being done outside the office. Some modern businesses are experimenting with concepts like the 6-hour work day and other new ideas. On your own, you may find yourself working 5 hours a day – or 15! Flexibility is an asset in this field.
  • Have good communication skills. You’ll be strategizing with team members and distilling complex topics down into easily understood terms for clients. You’ll be well-served by the ability to speak well and clearly with anyone you meet in a day’s work.
  • Feel empathy. Local SEOs should be able to identify with their clients’ struggles, whether they are mom-and-pop shops in neglected communities or large brands floundering over their identity. You become a part of every business you serve and will have a share in both failures and triumphs.
  • Practice awareness of your own experience with commerce. Approach every one of your own transactions from the viewpoint of both merchant and consumer and analyze faults and successes. No part of commerce is too small to be analyzed, and your findings will give you something to think about, write about, and put into practice for clients.
  • Love a mystery. When a business is failing to rank, when an incoming client might be spamming search engines, when Google tweaks its algorithm, or outreach is falling on deaf ears, you will be the detective who gets to the root of the problems and defines the solutions.
  • Like to travel + network. While it’s not necessary for local SEOs to serve clients in person, chances are good that you’ll want to travel to industry events, and hopefully one day contribute to them for the educational advancement and prestige of your business or agency. Word-of-mouth is regularly cited as one of the most effective vehicles for client acquisition, so the more people with whom you network in local, the better the health of your company.
  • Be honest when it counts most. You can’t fear civil confrontation in this field. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to have to deliver bad news to confused clients and lay down the law to spammy ones. You’ll be required to be totally honest when what a client has been doing is harming their own business. That’s your job, and it’s only when you’ve called out and halted bad practices that you can begin to implement better ones. You’ll also need to honest with agency team members about your work, progress, and concerns.
  • Commit to continuing education. There may be no other form of Internet marketing that has experienced more changes in the past decade than local. Guidelines and tactics change on a continual basis and, as a local SEO, it will be your job to keep up with all such developments. Your education must be viewed as ongoing as long as you’re in business.

What does a job in local SEO pay?

No promises on the emeralds and pearls! Image courtesy of Leigh49137 on Flickr.

According to the 2015 BrightLocal industry survey, the average annual income for SEOs (pre-taxes) was $70,000 and the median income was between $50,000–$60,000. How these figures strike you will largely depend on the cost of living in your geography. These earnings may not be adequate if you live in San Francisco or NYC, but may be just fine if you make your home in Albuquerque or Atlanta.

Note, too, that these are averages, and that there’s room in this industry for innovators to work their way towards greater earnings. Remember, it was your generation that produced Mark Zuckerberg who founded Facebook when he was 20.

In the local SEO industry, there have been success stories like David Mihm’s $3 million sale of his local business listing product, GetListed, which became the foundation of Moz Local. While not every worker in this discipline will “make it big,” no limit can be placed on your potential to succeed if you have the ability to discern opportunities that haven’t yet been explored to their limits. If you’ve been gifted with a great brain, it could be your company that invents the next app, software, or platform that lights up the local landscape.

Recommended skill acquisitions

Even as I’m writing this, local is out there changing and developing, so the best I can provide newcomers is a snapshot in time of the skills I’d recommend they acquire right now to be current + competitive:

Master the guidelines for representing your business on Google

As a local SEO, these are your rules for survival and contain the essential mindset you’ll bring to almost every interaction you’ll ever have with any client or team member. The guidelines are regularly revised, so check back periodically for edits that may totally change the game.

Learn PPC

Google, the biggest force in local, is steadily but surely moving towards more highly-monetized local search engine results. The local SEO of today and tomorrow will need to be able to advise clients about pay-per-click and other forms of advertising. Here’s a beginner’s guide to Google Adwords. We have a Pay-Per-Click category here on the Moz blog and you’ll enjoy this Phil Rozek article written about his 8 years of doing PPC for local businesses.

Engineering/dev skills could set you apart

You can stick to being a consultant if you prefer, but it can be a major asset if you know how to get in amongst the nuts and bolts of websites, applications, and widgets. In fact, your abilities as a developer could be a key to you moving from basic income to lucrative innovation.

Learn offline local marketing

Local SEO doesn’t exist in an online vacuum. It represent the real commercial and civic landscape we all inhabit. Understanding traditional forms of offline marketing (think print marketing, newspapers, billboards, radio, TV, etc.) will make you a much stronger force in the field. Most businesses will need to employ a combination of both on- and offline publicity, and you’ll need to be in-the-know about all of it.

Learn a second language

Having trouble breaking into the industry? Being bilingual could help. In the U.S., learning Spanish will help you serve the skyrocketing Hispanic business community. In Canada, learning French could be a real help to your agency. In Europe, pick the language of any neighboring country that has the infrastructure to benefit from local SEO and double your client base. In Australia, you might tackle Mandarin to serve business owners both at home and abroad. Despite working in something called “local,” ours is a global economy!

Follow the leaders

Finally, I’d recommend that you make a commitment to follow industry leaders’ blogs and social profiles, as an essential part of your education and daily work. Local is an exceptionally generous area of marketing, with experts willingly sharing tons of useful information on a daily basis. We strive to offer some of the most comprehensive coverage and tutorials in the local SEO column here on the Moz Blog, and I would further recommend these high-quality resources:

That’s a short list, and you’ll likely find many more smart people to learn from and network with. The main thing is to set yourself a regular schedule of checking resources like these for the latest local developments.

What a meaningful worklife feels like

The average American works 1,700 hours a year. If you start working when you’re 16 and retire when you’re 75, you’ll be spending over 100,000 hours of your life on the job. 100,000 hours.

If you had a choice, chances are, you wouldn’t sign up to spend that much time doing anything that felt meaningless to you. If you had a choice, chances are you’d much rather get to put some of your personal hopes, ethics, and best self into those future hours ahead of you.

In your spare time, you’ll be socializing with friends, maybe caring for a spouse and raising a family, maybe volunteering on the local school board, or in community projects, social, environmental, or political causes. What if time away from the things you love best could actually go towards improving the usefulness and accessibility of the cities you and others live in?

Image courtesy of Tobias Berchtold on Flickr.

And that’s why I’d recommend local SEO as a work option for young people. It truly can be meaningful when you help a senior center get found by your friend’s grandmother who never knew before that she could take a free class in sociology. Or when you help a family-owned restaurant make the front page of the local newspaper with their blue-ribbon organic tacos. Or when you help main street compete against the big-box stores, keeping your community unique.

That’s what local search marketing can be, and it can make the difference between a job you couldn’t care less about, and one that is integrated with the interesting, meaningful life you want to build for yourself. When you’re equipped with the skills to get businesses, organizations, and local stories heard, when you have the necessary education and have a say in picking the voices you want to amplify, you will never lack for opportunity to lend a powerful helping hand to the civic improvements you feel matter most.

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The 15 Best Browser Extensions to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

This post originally published on September 22, 2014. We’ve updated it here with new extensions, images, and a Product Hunt collection.

There are a few actions I perform over and over again as I work through my social media marketing plan. Do you know the feeling? You click on the same few buttons or type in the same URL.

And then, one day, someone shows you a browser extension that completely rocks your world for the better.

I’d love to share some of those world-rocking browser extensions with you today. There’re several great options out there to supercharge your browser and streamline the tasks you keep coming back to.

Got a favorite browser extension that you use for social media marketing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 Best Browser Extensions for Social Media

Best Browser Extensions for Social Media Marketers

The Best Browser Extensions for Social Media

What a fun opportunity it’s been to experiment with and test drive a number of amazing social media browser extensions. There are so many great ones out there, I’ve split the post into a couple sections here:

  1. 15 favorite Safari, Firefox, and Chrome extensions
  2. The top picks from the Buffer community
  3. Our Product Hunt collection of browser extensions


15 Best Safari, Firefox, and Chrome Extensions for Social Media Marketers

1. Buffer – Quick and easy sharing to social media

buffer extension

The Buffer extension lets you share to your connected profiles from any website, blogpost, or page. The extension grabs the page title as well as any associated photos. Power users can even go a step further and highlight text within the article to right-click on any image and share that image directly.

The extension also comes with goodies while you’re browsing Twitter and Facebook with built-in buttons for buffering to your queues and scheduling reshares.

(Other helpful sharing extensions: Shareaholic, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social.)

Available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari

2. Giphy – Fun animated GIFs to enhance your updates

giphy extension

With Twitter and Pinterest now supporting GIFs and other social media sites like Google+ and Tumblr enjoying great engagement with them, it’s become increasingly handy to have a pitch-perfect GIF at the ready to express how you’re feeling in your update, reply, or comment. The Giphy extension lets you search through the huge Giphy.com archives and grab a shortened URL of the GIF you choose.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari

3. Pocket / Instapaper / Evernote – Curating amazing content to share

Pocket browser extension

Read-it-later extensions are a super time saver. Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote let you save a blogpost or article to read later, and you can do so with a single button click via the extension.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari

4. Instagram for Chrome – Instagram photos right in your browser

Instagram for Chrome

One of the best ways to manage your Instagram feed from a computer, the Instagram for Chrome extension lets you browse your feed and your friends, like and comment on photos, receive desktop notifications, and even drill down into details like filters. The experience is as close to the official Instagram app as you can get, and it’s a hugely helpful resource for brands who wish to manage their Instagram feed without reaching for the phone (or even a browser tab).

Available on Chrome

5. Bitly – Create, share, and track shortened links

bitly extension

Bitly’s browser extension has all the standard features you’d expect from a link shortener: custom shortening, analytics, and easy copy-and-share buttons. Bitly takes things one step further even and lets you add shortened links to bundles so you can keep organized with a series of similar links. Another cool feature: The Bitly extension can notify you when your link reaches a predetermined (by you) number of views.

Available on Chrome, Firefox

6. Riffle – Complete info on any Twitter user

Riffle extension

This browser extension adds a whole new layer of info to your Twitter stream. Click on any Riffle icon or Twitter username, and the extension opens up a display of that user’s data, including other social accounts, Twitter statistics, most-used hashtags and categories, top mentions, top URLs, and much more.

(Also check out Rapportive and Vibe for similar functionality, including some neat inbox integrations.)

Available on Chrome

7. Window Resizer – Check your tweets, posts, and updates on any screen size

window resizer

Chances are that not everyone will be viewing your social media updates on the same size screen as you. Marketing for mobile devices has brought about a lot of change! In this case, an extension like Window Resizer can be super helpful for seeing your updates from others’ perspectives. The extension comes with preset sizes that mimic iPhone, tablet, and desktops, and you can completely customize the sizes and order of the various options.

Available on Chrome

8. Ritetag – Instant analysis of the hashtags you tweet

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 8.59.28 AM

Ritetag is one of our favorite hashtag tools, and their extension brings across their neat color-coded hashtag guide right into the Twitter editor. Ritetag provides direct feedback on the popularity and strength of the hashtags you use. Green is good, blue is poor, and red is overused.

(Bonus cool thing: The extension works within Buffer!)

Available on Chrome and Firefox

9. Social Analytics – Quick view of share stats on any page

Image 2014-09-20 at 9.02.22 AM

Visit a blogpost and click the Social Analytics browser icon to see at-a-glance how many social shares the post received. Social Analytics shows Facebook likes, shares, and comments, plus Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest stats. It could be super helpful for tracking the spread of your own content or for investigating someone else’s.

Available on Chrome

10. Awesome Screenshot – Capture, annotate, and share your screen

awesome screenshot

Screenshots can be a helpful, useful visual for sharing on social media. Awesome Screenshot brings this functionality into the browser. You can take a screenshot, annotate, and download or share immediately.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

Note: Thanks to Karmi in the comments for pointing out that Awesome Screenshot comes with a disclaimer about potential malware. You can check out an alternate screen capture extension like Clipular.

11. Feedly Mini – Save RSS feeds of any site you’re on

Feedly extension

Part of sharing great content on social media is sourcing great content. Feedly is one of our favorite places to keep an eye on stories worth sharing, and the Feedly extension makes it easy to add new sites to your RSS lists to keep an eye on. The Feedly Mini extension adds a small icon to each page, and when you click the icon, you can add a feed directly or even share the page to your social accounts.

Available on Chrome

12. Klout – Social media influence score

Klout extension

Klout calculates an influence score based on your interactions and popularity across all your various social media channels. The Klout extension is the quickest, easiest way to view this score—for instance, right in the Twitter stream next to anyone’s username. Klout has also expanded into social media sharing, and the extension allows you to share easily from any website.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

13. Pin It button – Share directly to Pinterest

Pinterest button

Sharing to Pinterest is made infinitely easier with the Pinterest extension, which lets you Pin any image you find online to your Pinterest board. Clicking the extension opens up a window of all images that appear on the page, and you can choose which one(s) to share. Also, while browsing a page, you’ll see a Pinterest button overlay whenever you mouse over an image.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

14. CircleCount – Instant Google+ analysis

circlecount extension

With the CircleCount extension, you can inspect any profile or page on Google+ and see a snapshot of comments, reshares, and +1s per post as well as follower graphs. If you drill down to a specific Google+ post, the CircleCount extension lets you view ripples, add to your favorites (via the CircleCount website), and add to a shared circle.

Available on Chrome

15. Social Fixer for Facebook – A fully customized Facebook experience

Social Fixer Facebook extension

This extension allows for huge amounts of customization for the way you view Facebook. Here’s a small sampling of what you can edit:

  • Tabbed news feeds
  • Feed filters (e.g., remove political posts)
  • Hide posts you’ve already read
  • Thumbnail previews

This just scratches the surface. Check out the Social Fixer homepage for even more ideas on what you can edit.

Available on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

Top picks from the Buffer community

  1. Color Picker – Identify the precise color of anything you see in your browser (also: Eye Dropper)
  2. Extensity – An extension for managing your extensions (yodawg)
  3. Google Drive – Quickly access all your stored files
  4. Any.do – Manage your to-do list from anywhere
  5. Swayy Smart Share – Share and discover engaging content
  6. Goodbits – Easily add content to your next email newsletter
  7. Panda – Discover huge amounts of interesting, entertaining content
  8. Snip.ly – Link shortening and custom CTAs
  9. Web Boost – Faster web browsing
  10. Dropbox – Find and store all your files
  11. Silver Bird – Custom Twitter timeline tool
  12. HashPlug – Add Twitter search results to Google pages
  13. tl;dr – Summarize web articles into short synopses
  14. Pinterest Tab – Beautiful Pinterest image on every new tab
  15. 1Password – Complete password management (also: LastPass)
  16. Share As Image – Create beautiful, shareable images on any page
  17. Discoverly – Social media contact info

The Browser Extension Collection on Product Hunt

I get so much joy out of hanging out on Product Hunt, exploring the cool tools and apps that people have built. One amazing feature of Product Hunt is their collections—bundles of top products under a common theme.

I put together a quick collection of some of the top browser extensions mentioned here in this post:

Product Hunt collection - browser extensions

Over to you: Which extensions do you use?

I’ve got a few favorite ones for social media marketing (Buffer and Pocket) and a few that I rely on for a faster, more fun browsing experience (AdBlock and Dewey bookmarks). There are so many amazing ones out there. Which ones are your favorites?

Which do you use in your browser?

I’d be keen to hear what you’ve got working for you! Feel free to drop a note here in the comments.

Image sources: Markus Spiske

The post The 15 Best Browser Extensions to Improve Your Social Media Marketing appeared first on Social.

Got 60 Seconds? Learn Something New in These 25 Short & Sweet SlideShares About Social Media

Slide decks exist somewhere near the intersection of visual content and written content, a hybrid form of information and consumption perfect for bite-sized bits of learning.

If you’ve not got time to read through a 2,000-word article, you might have a moment to flip through a SlideShare.

We’ve been excited to experiment with the process of building slide decks around the Buffer content we have here on the blog, and in the course of doing so, we discovered a trove of wonderfully succinct and visual slide decks all about our favorite topic: social media.

We’ve collected a great group of 25 here—the first handful from our top Buffer posts and another handful from the amazing selection on SlideShare. I’d love to hear if you have a favorite!

Social Media Slideshares

Social Media Slideshares best of

A quick note in praise of SlideShare

With our main marketing focus on creating useful content via the Buffer Social blog, I’ve been a bit slow to experiment and fully explore other ways to provide content in a helpful way to you. I’d love to improve here. And SlideShare has been a huge source of encouragement.

Get this: Our most popular SlideShares match or exceed the traffic we get on our most popular blog posts.

In our case, we’re very grateful that popular Buffer blog posts can get 75,000 to 100,000 views.

Our popular SlideShares can go just as big—or bigger!

  • Frequency Guide – 205,000 views
  • If Don Draper Tweeted – 74,000 views
  • Social Media Strategy – 73,000 views
  • Twitter Science – 64,000 views

If you’ve yet to explore SlideShare as a potential source of views and exposure, I’d highly encourage you to do so. (I’d be happy to write more detail in a post on the topic later on!)

Okay, now on with the SlideShares!

1. The Complete Guide to Social Media Frequency

One of our most popular posts on the blog also became the most popular SlideShare to date on our Buffer account. We were fortunate to find some really great research on the topic of how often you should post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. It’s all here.

My favorite slide:

Twitter frequency - 5x per day for individuals 30x per day for brands

2. The 10 Best Copywriting Formulas for Social Media Updates

Based on our big list of copywriting formulas (over 25 formulas made it into the original post), this slide deck covers a quick overview of the top formulas we see on social. There’s some really great subtle framing at play here, with things like Before – After – Bridge and AIDA that make it easy to get your message across.

My favorite slide:

Demian Farnworth quote

3. The Science of Twitter

We had the great opportunity to partner with Twitter on a webinar last summer. The topic (one of our favorites): The science of creating must-click content on Twitter. 

Courtney and Twitter’s Jimmy Hang shared all sorts of tips on the best words to use, the ideal timing, and the top strategies for Twitter success.

My favorite slide:

The Science of Twitter Timing

4. Instagram 101

We’ve been really excited to explore different ways to grow the Buffer Instagram account, and before we dove in headfirst there, we spent some time researching and writing (and creating SlideShares) about the best strategies and stats. This SlideShare lays a good foundation for businesses looking to get started on Instagram.

My favorite slide:

Instagram stats benchmark

5. How Much Time Does a Good Social Strategy Take?

Time-saving tips and techniques are one of my favorite ways to experiment with marketing. It seems that coming up with a solid social media strategy is one key way to make sure you’re spending your time online in the best way possible. We collected a number of tips here in this SlideShare overview for those looking to refine their social strategy.

My favorite slide:

Decision Matrix for Growth

6. The Burrito Principle & Beyond

I’ll admit it’s hard to resist the cleverness of a name like The Burrito Principle (thanks, Darian!).  Coined phrases like this make marketing ideas all the easier to grasp. We collected a handful of favorite ones in this slide deck.

(The burrito principle, by the way, is explained on Slide #4.)

My favorite slide:

The 2-pizza rule

7. The Science of Social Media Headlines

Courtney pulled in some amazing research into the psychology and science behind why we click on certain headlines. She identified 8 ways to write a social media headline that people will love, including things like curiosity, surprise, negatives, and more.

My favorite slide (a bit of an inside joke about the proliferation of great content—and a good headline to boot!):

Onion headline

8. 91 Free Twitter Tools

I just really love tools posts, and I had a blast trying out hundreds of free Twitter tools to compile this list for you. If you think it might be worth a quick browse, I’d hope that maybe a name or two might pique your interest enough to give it a try. Some of my best tool discoveries started out that way!

My favorite slide:

Twitter Tools for Discovery

9. Power Words – 189 Words That Convert

I tend to notice specific words that cause me to click or pay attention. And it seems there are certain words that catch the eye of not just me but many, many others. These so-called “power words” can be great additions to the text in your social media updates or headlines. Here’s a great big list of them.

My favorite slide:

Power Words

10. Headline Formulas

As mentioned above, there’s a certain psychology to writing headlines that get noticed. There are also certain formulas that tend to work really well. This list compiles several of the most popular ones used in blog posts and social media updates.

My favorite slide:

David Ogilvy on headlines

11. 20 Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Pinterest Features You Didn’t Know Existed

(via HubSpot)

What I love about this slide deck is that it includes the good kind of FOMO—helpful social media features that could significantly impact my workflow. It’s great to learn about these hidden features like Facebook polls and Twitter collages and exciting to brainstorm ways to put them to good use.

My favorite slide:

LinkedIn tip

12. Psychology Hacks to Boost your Marketing

(via Moving Targets)

Psychology is near and dear to us on the Buffer marketing team, so we’re always keen for articles and slides on the topic. This set of psychology tips from Moving Targets covers a huge variety of different tactics that would be fun to experiment with on social media updates and more.

My favorite slide:

Gut reaction

13. Seven Habits of Highly Effective Digital Marketers

(via Digital Annexe)

A riff of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this slide deck takes a high-level view of ways to help organize and plan ahead your social media strategy. 

My favorite slide:

Focus on the Important Things

14. How to Choose the Perfect Stock Photo

(via IMPACT Branding & Design)

This is a very fun and entertaining slide deck all about stock photos. The advice comes in handy for anyone who’s searched around free photo sites for the perfect image to add to a blog post or include in a social media update.

My favorite slide:

How to choose stock photo

15. 6 Snapchat Hacks Too Easy To Ignore

(via Gary Vaynerchuk)

Are you on Snapchat? Gary Vaynerchuk highly recommends it (he’s found a lot of success there, and the app has huge reach!). Here are six easy ways to make the most of Snapchat for your brand.

My favorite slide:

Snapchat tips

16. 5 Critical Rules for Writing Compelling Copy

(via Henneke Duistermaat)

One of my favorite sources for writing inspiration, Henneke lays out five simple-to-follow rules that will improve the copy you write for tweets, updates, and calls-to-action.

My favorite slide:

Writing tips for social media

17. 4 Tactics to Build Word Of Mouth

(via ReferralCandy)

Word of mouth can be huge on social media. It’s often how things spread fast and how people feel comfortable making purchases or joining up with brands. Referral Candy’s slide deck on word of mouth strategies covers four essential parts of the formula, with detailed tips on each technique.

My favorite slide:

Build a Community

18. Social Media for Time-Strapped Entrepreneurs

(via We Are Social)

Working effectively and efficiently (see slide below) is key for those of us social media marketers who manage social in addition to wearing many other hats. This deck from We Are Social looks at ways to ensure that your time is well spent on social media, including ways to plan ahead and strategies to make the most of every minute.

My favorite slide:

Effectiveness and efficiency

19. Sharing Content On Social Media More Than Once: The Total Guide

(via CoSchedule)

Do you share your content more than once on social media? It’s one of our top social media tips as we’ve seen tons of additional engagement by mentioning blog posts more than once and finding new ways to share old content. CoSchedule is a source of inspiration for us on this topic, and their slide deck guide to sharing is chock full of good information on exactly how best to share content on social.

My favorite slide:

Social media is a stream and not a book

20. Finding Your Brand’s Voice

(via from Distilled)

When thinking about your social media strategy, voice and tone are two huge considerations to make as you’re getting started. One of the best sources out there for advice on brand voice is Distilled’s articles on the topic, which have been repurposed here in slide deck form.

My favorite slide:

Brand voice

21. The Secret of Success on Facebook

(via Peter Minkjan)

Catchy title! This guide from Peter Minkian includes examples of Facebook pages who have seen enormous engagement on their Facebook posts as well as analysis and research on viral content and what makes things spread.

My favorite slide:

Reason we share

22. 5 YouTube Marketing Lessons from Unlikely Sources

(via Brian Honigman)

Video marketing has become big business of late, particularly as a way to get more interaction on Facebook. YouTube remains a huge channel also for those looking to build a video platform and share video content. The tips in this slide deck from Brian Honigman offer some actionable ways to get more out of your YouTube marketing by cross-promoting and remixing content in new ways.

My favorite slide:

Facebook video cross-promote YouTube video

23. 7 Proven Strategies to Maximize Twitter for Your Business

(via Dave Kerpen)

This slide deck from Likeable Media and Social Media Today provides a great overview of some quick-win strategies on Twitter. For example, reply to everyone (see slide below)—80 percent of customer service queries go unanswered. Lots more great ideas to implement throughout the slide deck.

My favorite slide:

Respond to Everyone

24. 19 Simple Twitter Retweet Tips

(via Shéa Bennett)

Retweets seem to be a favorite metric on Twitter, and for good reason: retweeting gets your content in front of a brand new, potentially huge audience. The tips in this deck make a lot of sense for those looking for more retweets, and they also work really well for anyone looking to boost engagement in general—more clicks, more favorites, more replies.

My favorite slide:

Get more Retweets - Figure out when everyone is around

25. 10 Reasons Why Twitter is Content Marketing’s Best Friend

(via Mark Schaefer)

As a content person, I really love this deck from Mark Schaefer as it reaffirms the power of social media for helping to spread content. Twitter in particular is a powerful platform for sharing links and growing an audience, and Mark lays things out clearly here.

My favorite slide:

The tweet ignites the content

Over to you

Do you have a favorite SlideShare that isn’t on the list here?

I’d love to know which ones you enjoy and if you picked up any good tips from the ones in this post. We’re excited to push ahead with creating more slide decks based on Buffer content also, and it’d be so great to have any input from you on what would be most helpful!

Image sources: Startup Stock Photos, Pablo, IconFinder

The post Got 60 Seconds? Learn Something New in These 25 Short & Sweet SlideShares About Social Media appeared first on Social.

A Scientific Guide to Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, and Where to Use Them

This post originally published on April 8, 2014. We’ve updated it here with new info, screenshots, and audio.

Have you ever found yourself explaining hashtags to someone whose only connection with the word is as a telephone button?

Internet language has evolved considerably over the past few years as social media has taken off. Hashtags are a huge part of this evolution. What once was a telephone button is now a social media phenomenon.  No wonder people are curious.

When they ask, I tell them that hashtags are a pound sign immediately followed by a keyword. They’re used for categorization on social media. Yes, they can be annoying if overused. And yes, I’ve seen the hashtag video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

Hashtags also have the potential to be truly valuable. The stats and info below make a pretty clear case that we should be understanding, using, and appreciating hashtags.

Scientific Guide to Hashtags

How to Use Hashtags

Research says you should be using hashtags

If you’re looking for a completely cut-and-dry ruling on the topic of hashtags, then here it is: You should be using hashtags.

The proliferation of hashtags is truly incredible. What began on Twitter has now spread to Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Google search, and almost everywhere in between. (LinkedIn experimented with hashtags for awhile before giving up.)

The widespread acceptance of hashtags should give you plenty of reason to consider using them. I also really enjoy the case laid out by Steve Cooper, writing for Forbes.com:

As ridiculous as hashtags might seem to marketing veterans who remember a time before Twitter and Facebook, the younger generation and potential customers/clients don’t. To them, using hashtags is as natural and common as typing their query into the search box.

Not only could people be typing in your hashtag on a Google search, but they could very well be doing it in Twitter, too. In this sense, a hashtag will make your content viewable by anyone with an interest in your hashtag, regardless of whether they’re part of your clan or not.

A hashtag immediately expands the reach of your tweet beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.

But how do you find the right hashtags for your content and make sure you’ve got them in the right number, on the right social network? Let’s break it down.

Hashtags on Twitter

Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without.

This data, courtesy of Buddy Media, is one of the most-cited examples of the effectiveness of hashtags, and for good reason: doubling your online engagement is a big deal! Imagine going from four retweets to eight or 10 retweets to 20. And all it takes is a simple # or two?

Apparently so. Although, you’ll want to keep it to no more than two.

Buddy Media’s research also showed that the volume of hashtags bears monitoring: one or two hashtags appear to be the max. When you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent.

Twitter hashtag stats

Twitter’s own research into hashtags confirms that there is significant advantage to using them. Individuals can see a 100 percent increase in engagement by using hashtags (the same bump as seen in the Buddy Media study). Brands can see a 50 percent increase.

Engagement, as measured in these studies, can include clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies, yet if it’s only retweets your after, hashtags still would be a smart bet.

Tweets with one or more hashtag are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted.

Dan Zarella discovered this effect in a study on retweeting behavior that included more than 1.2 million tweets. The large scope of the study made for a 99.9 percent confidence interval with the results.

Hashtags and retweets

The one caveat to hashtags on Twitter might come for those brands looking to gain clicks on Twitter ads. In the case of advertisements, Twitter found that tweets without a # or @-mention generate 23 percent more clicks.

The reason? Hashtags and @-mentions give people more places to click inside a tweet instead of focusing solely on a call-to-action.

Hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram is another hotspot for hashtags, and the good news for those who love to extensively tag photos is that there doesn’t seem to be a saturation point.

Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.

A rule of thumb could be: Don’t sweat your amount of Instagram hashtags.

instagram tips, instagram statistics, instagram stats

The best part about this recommendation is that the data comes from a set of users with 1,000 or fewer followers—a group that likely includes small businesses and those just diving in to Instagram. In other words, hashtags could be your best bet for growing a fast following on Instagram.

Hashtags on Facebook

So yes, Twitter and Instagram are clear winners for hashtags. But what about Facebook? Here’s where the recommendation gets a little trickier.

Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag.

Hashtags have only been around on Facebook since June 2013, and three months later, research from EdgeRank Checker found that using hashtags on Facebook has zero positive effect on reach. Posts without hashtags outperform those with hashtags.

Facebook hashtag study

A lot could have changed since September, when this data was first released. Should you abandon hashtags on Facebook solely due to this research? It’s probably best to test. There’s still a lot of analysis left to be done. For instance, Social Bakers studied posts in February of this year and found that using hashtags might not be the main worry, but rather using too many hashtags (just like the advice on Twitter).

Too many hashtags

Hashtags on Google+

On Google+, your posts are given hashtags automatically based on their content, but you can also edit them or add your own. Also unique about Google+: You can add hashtags in your comments as well as your post – double the opportunities to be found.

And since Google+ is Google’s social network, hashtags are now built right into Google searches. If you type in a hashtag search, you’ll get the normal search results plus a sidebar of relevant Google+ posts. Hashtags have truly arrived!

Hashtag search Google

Google+’s “related hashtags” also offer smart marketers a brainstorming opportunity to discover new content ideas and gauge interest level in specific topics.

Tools to find and manage your hashtags

Using the right tools, you can use hashtags as an organization system for your social media campaigns. With everything collected under one hashtag banner, you can see at-a-glance the reach of your campaign and the discussions happening around the topic.

1. Hashtagify.me

One of the most complete hashtag tools you will find, Hashtagify.me has reams of data you can use to analyze hashtags. The most helpful could very well be the first data you’re shown: related hashtags and their popularity. When you type in a hashtag, the service will show you other hashtags to consider and will display visually how popular each hashtag is and how closely it correlates to the original.

2. RiteTag

RiteTag helps ensure that the tags you use are well-chosen by showing you how good, great, or overused a particular hashtag is. The visual organization of hashtags into colored bars works great for quick analysis at-a-glance.

3. Tagboard

With Tagboard, you can see how your hashtag is used across multiple networks. The results pages on Tagboard show hashtagged posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vine, and App.net

4. Twitalyzer

Though not an explicitly hashtag tool, Twitalyzer does show hashtags as part of its audit of Twitter accounts. Input the username of someone you want to investigate, and Twitalyzer can tell you what hashtags he or she uses most often. This can be really helpful in finding out how your niche’s influencers tweet.

5. Trendsmap

Local businesses might find value in Trendsmap, which shows you relevant hashtags that are being used in your geographic area. (#wrestlemania is a popular one where I am in Idaho.)

4 steps to find the right hashtag to use

Using the tools above, you can hone in on a few ideal hashtags to start with, and like most things online, test and iterate from there.

1. Learn from the best: What hashtags are influencers using?

Twitalyzer can give you a good foundation of where to begin for your hashtag search by showing you how influencers are using hashtags. Grab a handful of usernames of people and brands in your industry whom you admire, and input the accounts into Twitalyzer. At the bottom of the results page, you’ll see a section for their most commonly-used hashtags. Add the relevant ones to your list of potential hashtags.

Let’s say I wanted to find some hashtags to use in promoting social media marketing content. I might start with a list of names like Jeff Bullas, Jay Baer, Mari Smith, and Ann Handley. Here is what the hashtag results on Twitalyzer look like for Jeff Bullas:

 Twitalyzer results

Info like this would lead me to start a short list of hashtags like:

  • #socialmedia
  • #SMM
  • #twitter
  • #contentmarketing
  • #social
  • #content
  • #marketing

2. Cover all your bases: Are there related hashtags you should be considering?

Armed with an idea list of hashtags, you can then hop into Hashtagify.me to see which related hashtags might also be worth pursuing. While you’re doing this exercise, take note of the circle size on your results: The larger the circle, the more popular the hashtag.

Again, following our social media marketing example, here is what the results page would look like for a search of #socialmedia:

Hashtagify.me results

Not every hashtag listed here will be relevant to you, but it does help to see some that you might not have previously considered. In the case of our example, I might add #business, #infographic, and hashtags of specific network names like #twitter and #facebook.

3. Identify the all-stars: Which hashtags are the best to use?

Popularity and volume can be good indicators of the value of your hashtag, but you may wish to go one step further. Hashtagify.me has advanced, premium tools that let you go deeper into statistics on individual hashtags. In a pinch, you can also get some solid data from RiteTag and their visual expression of how much each tag can boost your post’s reach. 

Among posts that contain the word “marketing,” RiteTag shows these tags as the most likely to be great, good, or overused. (There’s that #wrestlemania tag again!)

RiteTag results

4. Double check: Could your chosen hashtags mean something else entirely?

One last check before you finalize your list of hashtags should be whether or not the hashtag you’ve chosen is being used elsewhere in an entirely different context.

The worst thing that can happen when using a hashtag is to realize after it’s tweeted that the same hashtag is used for an entirely different topic.

Jawbone tried a #knowyourself campaign on Instagram, only to find that the hashtag was already being used generically by thousands of users in all sorts of different contexts. This didn’t necessarily ruin Jawbone’s campaign, but it may have made life a little more difficult for the marketing team. 


Hopefully you’ve learned the value of hashtags here and a few neat ideas on how to find some to use in your social sharing. If you’re looking for a simple rule of thumb for hashtagging posts, I think there’s a lot of truth here in this advice from The Next Web:

Rule of thumb: 1 – 3 tags is best over all platforms.

  • Twitter: to categorize
  • Pinterest: to brand, and be specific (tags are only clickable in pin descriptions)
  • Instagram: to build community, and be unique/detailed
  • Google+: to categorize; autogenerates tags based on what it thinks your post is most relevant to
  • Tumblr: to categorize interests, can be specific and general (has a “track your tags” feature)
  • Facebook: sort of a hashtag fail – if your audience is very business-minded, follow Twitter rules; if it is community-oriented, follow Pinterest/Instagram rules

What hashtags do you routinely use on social media? I’d love to hear how you’ve put hashtags to work in your social media strategy.

P.S. If you liked this post, you might enjoy our Buffer Blog newsletter. Receive each new post delivered right to your inbox, plus our can’t-miss weekly email of the Internet’s best reads. Sign up here.

Image credit:mikecogh, Unsplash, IconFinder, Pablo, Quick Sprout

The post A Scientific Guide to Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, and Where to Use Them appeared first on Social.

5 Actionable Analytics Reports for Internal Site Search

Posted by ryanwashere

I was furious when
keyword data disappeared from Google Analytics (GA).


I mean, how could I possibly optimize a website
without keyword data?!?!

It didn’t take me long to realize I was overreacting. In fact, I quickly realized how trivial keyword data was.

Search engines are pretty damn good at what they do. If you properly optimize your content, people will find it with the keywords you intended. (You should set up an
SEO dashboard in GA to verify your results.)

The truly valuable keywords are the ones visitors use
within your site.

When mined correctly, internal terms uncover
how and
why users engage with content. These insights provide clear direction to improve content, SEO, and the user journey (resulting in increased conversions, leads, and sales).

In this post, I’ll cover three things:

  1. How to set up internal search reporting in GA
  2. How to access and analyze five internal search reports in GA
  3. Two client case studies using internal search data

Prepping your analytics account

Before I get into the details, make sure you have the following set up in your GA account:

  1. Exclude internal traffic (filter). You wouldn’t believe how many organizations don’t do this. This simple filter makes all the difference when it comes to data quality. Make sure your website is excluding all internal traffic (step-by-step directions: how to set up internal filters in GA.)
  2. Goals, events and conversions. In order to discover user intent, we need to be able to segment reports by conversions. Make sure that your website has clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs) that are represented by goals in GA (step by step directions: how to set up goals in GA.)

Supplemental reading: How to set up Google Analytics on your website

Setting up GA site search reporting

Standard GA implementation doesn’t have internal search reporting configured. In order to get the data, we need to input some information into GA manually.

Follow these steps to get it up and running:

  1. Navigate to the “Admin” tab
  2. Click “View Settings”
  3. Go to the bottom, where you’ll find “Site Search Settings”
  4. Click the button so that its setting is “On”

In order to complete the tracking, you’ll need to locate your site’s query parameter.

  1. In a new browser tab, open your website
  2. In your website’s internal search bar, type the word “seo” and click “search”
  3. You will be redirected to your website’s internal search landing page
  4. Look at the URL on the landing page (see screenshot below)
  5. You will see your search term, along with these characters: “?”, “random letter”, and “=”
  6. The letter before the equal sign (“=”) is your website’s query parameter
  7. Enter this value into the appropriate box in GA
  8. Click save



Search query: seo

Landing URL: http://webris.org/?s=seo

: ?s=seo

What to enter in GA: s

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 12.25.51 PM

will not post-date searches. In other words, searches that took place before you set up reporting won’t populate. You will only get data from searches occur going forward.

For this reason, you’ll need to wait about 30 days after setting up site search tracking in GA before analyzing the site search data. Otherwise, you won’t have sufficient data to conduct meaningful analysis.

Analyzing the site search data

To access your site search data, navigate to
Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search in GA.

There are five reports under Site Search:

  1. Overview
  2. Usage
  3. Search Terms
  4. Pages
  5. Any/All Reports (Segments)

Report #1: Overview

How to get there: Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Overview

What the report tells us:
Lists the high-level metrics related to your site’s internal search

Potential insights:

  • Visits With Site Search, % Search Exits, and % Search Refinements: When looked at together, these metrics can tell you a lot about how visitors are finding content. If all three numbers are high, it likely means users can’t find what they‘re looking for.
  • Time after Search and Average Search Depth: Conversely, if these two metrics are high, it probably means users find a lot of value in your site search.
  • Overview (graph): Pay close attention to spikes and surges in internal searches. Were you running campaigns during this time? Use traffic segments to dig into causation.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 12.22.50 PM

Report #2: Usage

How to get there: Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Usage

What the report tells us:
User journeys that used site search vs. those who didn’t

Potential insights:

  • Pages/Session, Average Session Duration: If the pages viewed and session duration is higher with visitors using site search, this indicates your website has the right content (i.e., users are finding the content they are searching for). Keep a close eye on these metrics and test widgets, sidebars and “suggested article” plugins to help you figure out how to improve navigation.
  • Goal Completions: These are important metrics. Plain and simple, this tells us whether or not site search helps drive goal completions. If so, you may want to consider making your site search more prominent, or make it stand out with specific calls to action.
  • Secondary dimension: You can add a number of dimensions to this report to get deeper insight. I like to add “Medium”—it gives you a breakdown of each traffic medium, segmented by Visits With Site Search and Visits Without Site Search.

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 12.37.39 PM


Report #3: Search terms

How to get there: Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Search Terms

What the report tells us:
Lists the most used search terms with corresponding engagement metrics

Potential Insight

  • Look at each engagement metric for discrepancies between search terms. If one search term has an abnormally high % Search Exits or % of Search Refinements, then you most likely don’t have content those visitors are looking for.
  • Look at the complete list of terms—are these included in your PPC and SEO keyword targeting strategies? If not, they should be. These are the terms your visitors expect to see on your site.
  • Add traffic channel segments to see which channel drives the most internal searches. These terms should match up with your PPC and SEO strategies. If a visitor is using site search to refine what they’re looking for, it could mean that they didn’t find your site from the right landing page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.05.25 AM

Report #4: Pages

How to get there: Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Pages

What the report tells us: The pages users made their queries on

Potential insights:

  • Overall: Looking at the overall picture of the data will show you where users are having problems finding content. Take a closer look at how your top pages are structured—can users find what they need?
  • Secondary dimension: I like to layer on the “Previous Page Path” dimension. This helps create a greater context for the problems users are have navigating your site.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.03.24 AM

Report #5: Segments

How to get there: Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Any/All Reports

What the report tells us: Segments add additional depth and value. I often use the following segments to drive more insights:

  • Mobile traffic: Segmenting by mobile allows you to see visitors are using site search more from mobile. This can yield insights into mobile design and layout.
  • Converters or Made a purchase: Is site search driving conversions or adding roadblocks?
  • Organic traffic: What percentage of users that find your website through search engines need to refine their searches? The internal keyword searches are the keywords that users are really looking for when they find your site.
  • Returning users: Returning users are loyal—they enjoy your content enough to return for more. Use the internal search data to find out what content you need to best serve them.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.01.26 AM

Case Studies: Driving action from internal search

The internal site search reports described above are high-level. Sometimes it takes seeing them in action to understand how to truly apply them.

As such, I’ve included two case studies that show exactly how I’ve used internal search data to drive meaningful action.

Case study #1

Site: Pop culture publisher (online only)

Marketing channels: SEO, social, and content


  • The site drives traffic from five to eight daily blog updates about niche pop culture celebrities
  • In November, traffic stagnated, and then started to decline


  • The site thrives by creating content about niche celebrities, the ones few other sites write about. This gave them the monopoly on both the SERPs and avid social media fans
  • Digging in further, I found social traffic was steadily declining, while organic was remaining nearly the same, month-over-month
  • A full-scale content analysis was completed, finding that more and more content was being created about the same niche celebrities. This was causing diminishing returns on social and organic traffic.
  • The site suffered from content exhaustion: Writers were covering the same topics over and over.
  • In order to build traffic, they needed to scale efforts horizontally by creating content around new niche celebrities.


  • I consulted the Search Terms report (Behavior > Behavior Flow > Site Search > Search Terms) to see what visitors were looking for on the site
  • By adding a filter for “no-results”, I could see what content visitors were searching for on the site that turned up no results
  • I dumped this list into Excel, and had the writers create new content based on the search terms in the report

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 12.56.09 PM


After launch of the strategy, the site saw amazing results:

  • 201.05% increase in month-over-month traffic
  • 210.99% increase in month-over-month pageviews
  • 3.30% increase in pages per session
  • 3.15% increase in session duration
  • 4.75% decrease in bounce rate

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 1.03.41 PM55414b8408fb30.12050792

Up and to the right!

Case study #2

Site: Online travel site

Marketing channels: SEO, PPC, email, social, content, display, TV, radio, and print


  • Large spike in month-over-month internal searches on client’s site, with poor metrics for actions following internal searches
  • Both the search volume and search rate had nearly doubled (35,457 to 65,032; and 4.37% to 8.56%, respectively) month-over-month

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 1.08.20 PM


  • Digging in, I found traffic on-site increased by 40,000 month-over-month; when segmented, I found the increase was strictly organic traffic
  • Consulted GA Landing Pages report with Organic Segment to find which pages the increase in traffic was going to
    • (Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages > Organic Segment)
  • This showed that 100% of the increase in month-over-month traffic went to the home page
    • This was out of the ordinary, as 80% of organic traffic generally goes deep into the site, not to the home page

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.25.12 AM

  • Next, I consulted the Google Webmaster Tools (GWT, recently rebranded as Google Search Console) Search Analytics report to see what keywords were driving the increase
    • (GWT > Search Traffic > Search Analytics)

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 1.13.02 PM

  • GWT analysis showed the increase came from queries consisting of branded keywords + “giveaway” (e.g., client giveaway promotion and client giveaway)


  • I reported the findings to the client, and found out they’d been running a series of offline ads promoting a giveaway in attempts to generate email leads
    • Note: Large organizations often have employees, agencies, contractors, and consultants running for multiple efforts. It’s not uncommon for efforts to operate in silos.
  • The giveaway was set up on a landing page that was difficult to find unless typed in directly (e.g., clientsite.com/giveaway)
  • I recommended that the client include a call-to-action on the home page that linked to the giveaway


  • Sessions with search decreased by nearly 10%
  • Results after search increased by 6.45%
  • Search depth increased by 9.01%
  • Most importantly, users were able to find the giveaway. Email leads increased by 245%!



When mined properly, internal search data will give you the information you need to greatly improve your web content, design, and search engine optimization efforts.

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