25 of the Best, Free Keyword Research Tools (2019 Edition) - Social Media Today

25 of the Best, Free Keyword Research Tools (2019 Edition) - Social Media Today25 of the Best, Free Keyword Research Tools (2019 Edition) - Social Media TodayPosted: 25 Sep 2019 12:00 AM PDTWhile search algorithms are always evolving, keywords remain a fundamental element of the process - and as such, of your search engine optimization efforts.And while the more technical elements of SEO require a higher level of expertise, it doesn't take an expert to locate and target the right keywords for your business. All you need are the right tools, some knowledge of consumer discovery pathways, and time to be able to go through the detail.To help with this, below is a listing of 25 great keyword research tools, which are also all free or freemium based. Each app targets a specific aspect of keyword research, and each also functions beautifully on its own, or even better when paired with another. There are some great resources here - worth considering in your SEO process.Rank TrackerAll th…

google search trends

google search trends

Digital Marketing 101: What Small Businesses Need to Know - Small Business Trends

Posted: 26 Mar 2019 09:00 AM PDT

Small business owners know digital marketing is no longer secondary to traditional print marketing and advertising and is a great way for them to get more bang for their marketing bucks. (In fact, 95% of small businesses plan to increase spending on digital marketing this year.) But to get the best results, it's important to understand digital marketing and keep up with digital marketing trends.

Digital Marketing 101

What is digital marketing? It's often thought of as "online marketing," but it goes far beyond internet marketing. Digital marketing refers to any marketing that uses digital channels to reach prospective customers. This includes mobile phone messaging (both SMS and MMS), email marketing, social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing and apps.

10 Basic Digital Marketing Strategies to Use

1. Your business website

No matter how active you are on social media, it can't replace a business website. Your website is the digital "home" of your business and it's the one place online where you are completely in control of your message. Your website doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to be mobile-friendly. that's non-negotiable in 2019.

2. Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of increasing website traffic using the organic (non-paid) search results on search engines. There are many moving parts to SEO, including using the right keywords in your website, your social media presence, references to your website from external sites and much more. The complexity of SEO is one reason only 44% of businesses are currently investing in SEO, according to Clutch. The good news: Being one of that 44% can put you ahead of your competition.

3. Local search engine optimization

Since 2o15, more searches have been conducted on mobile devices than on desktop computers, according to Google. Many of those searches are done while users are "on the go" looking for local businesses, so Google's search results now favor websites that are optimized for local search by including location information and location-related keywords. In addition to optimizing your website for local search, claim your business location on local search directories such as Google My Business and make sure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) information is listed exactly the same way on all the local search directories. (No using "St." in one listing and "Street" in another.) If your NAP varies from one listing to another, search engines may not recognize it as the same business, hurting your search results.

4. Email marketing

Nearly seven in 10 businesses use email marketing, making it the third most popular digital marketing method. Almost half (47%) of people across demographics check their email on a mobile device; 81% of those use their smartphones (as opposed to tablets). In addition, the majority (33%) of email opens occur on mobile devices. When you develop your email marketing messages, think "mobile-first." Keep emails short; include a clear call to action; design in a single-column format; and use plenty of white space so it's easy to click on buttons or links in the email.

5. Social media marketing

Social media is the number-one marketing channel used by businesses, according to Clutch: 83% of companies use it. There's good reason for that: Statista reports 77% of Americans use social media. Be sure you're keeping up to date on new social media channels, as well as where your target customers are spending time (for instance, are they leaving Facebook for Instagram)?

6. Content marketing

This practice refers to creating content (such as blog posts, ebooks, white papers, infographics, videos, etc.) that you share digitally. The goal is to attract users to view your content and take a desired action. For instance, you might write a blog post on How to Winterize Your House and Save Money and include a call-to-action such as "Contact us to get a free estimate on winterizing your home."

7. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Pay-per-click digital ads appear when users do an internet search for the terms you use in the ad. The name comes from the fact that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. The most common place for PPC ads is on Google (using Google AdWords) but ads on Facebook and other social media channels are also considered PPC.

8. Marketing automation

Marketing automation software can automate many repetitive aspects of marketing. For instance, it can send automated responses or start a "drip marketing" campaign when prospects fill out a leads form. It can schedule your social media posts, determine the best time to send email newsletters, and more.

9. Messaging

From SMS and MMS text messages to the use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber or WeChat, you can market to customers using mobile messaging. Mobile messaging marketing applications can use location-based data to trigger messages at relevant moments, such as when a customer is near your store or restaurant.

10. Online ratings and reviews

You may not think of online review sites as digital marketing, but they're a major factor in how prospects form an opinion of your business. Some 86% of consumers (and 95% of those age 18 to 34) read reviews for local businesses; 91% of 18-to-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Optimize your listings on review sites the same way you would on Google My Business: Keep them current and add photos, descriptions, directions and offers. Monitor your reviews regularly and respond to negative reviews quickly (and politely).

10 Digital Marketing Trends to Know

Now that you've got a handle on digital marketing, here are 10 digital marketing trends every small business should factor into their plans.

1. Email marketing personalization via marketing automation

Nearly six in 10 marketers say personalization is their most effective email marketing tactic; in fact, emails that have personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. AI-powered automation tools can help you personalize email messaging by analyzing the data you capture about your email subscribers (such as what they open, click on and buy) and using it to deliver the right message at the right time.

2. Voice search

Voice search currently accounts for one third of all Google searches, and by 2020, is expected to account for one-half. Good general SEO will help you rank high in voice search, according to a recent study. But you can additionally optimize for voice search using keywords and phrases that sound the way people talk ("What bakeries are open right now?") rather than the way they'd type into a search engine ("bakeries open now"). Creating an FAQ page on your website that answers questions people might ask about your product can also help optimize for voice search.

3. Content marketing overload

With so much content out there, are your prospects really paying attention? To keep driving customers to your website, make this the year you focus on creating less, but better, content. Instead of constantly churning out blog posts stuffed with SEO keywords, try crafting one or two really good, longer pieces of content a month. Content that answers prospects' or customers' questions in a way no one else is doing can really stand out.

4. Google My Business is more important than ever

Google search results prioritize Google My Business listings. As a result, many searchers don't bother paging below these or clicking through to a website. they get all the info they need from GMB. Make sure your Google My Business page makes the cut by regularly adding new photos, posts, offers or videos and keeping your description current. You can now add Posts in Google My Business, too. Think of your GMB result as its own little website and add all the info you can to it.

5. PPC advertising comes of age

The Google search engine results page is getting crowded and fewer people are ignoring the ads at the top. Google's algorithm is getting great at delivering relevant ads, and even being at the top of organic search results won't get you the customer's attention if that customer doesn't scroll down. If you're not already doing so, make this the year you incorporate PPC ads into your marketing plan.

6. Omnichannel marketing

Prospects use more than one digital channel to investigate your business. They might do an online search and see your Google My Business listing, click through to your website and read your reviews. That's why all of your digital marketing efforts need to work together to promote a consistent branding message.

7. Chatbots

You can use conversational AI software (that is, chatbots) to engage with prospects in a variety of ways, from helping them navigate your website or answering common questions to suggesting additional products or even engaging on social media. For instance, you can program Facebook Messenger bots to answer your Facebook messages, saving you time and giving your followers quick responses.

8. Online video

By 2020, video will account for more than 85% of all consumer internet traffic in the U.S. (Already, YouTube is the second most popular website, surpassed only by Google.) Today's up and coming Gen Z, in particular, has grown up watching YouTube videos and it's the place they turn to for the answers to everything. Videos that show viewers how to do something, help solve their problems, interview industry experts or provide an insider's look into your business are all popular ways to attract attention. Creating a YouTube channel is free and exposes your videos to a wider audience. Also look into getting online influencers to review your products. it can make a huge difference to your business.

9. Tell your story

Consumers crave authentic interaction with businesses. They want to know your story. Be transparent about your business, your staff and your values. In the digital world, live-action or short-term video content such as Stories on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube creates a feeling of immediacy and intimacy that can help build a bond with your target market.

10. Social media backlash

Facebook privacy problems such as the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal have driven some users from the platform, and if you're targeting millennial and younger users, Instagram is the place to be, with the vast majority of its users aged 18 to 34. But Instagram isn't immune from backlash either, as the platform recently took steps to remove inauthentic likes and fake followers from influencers' accounts. Remember, honest interaction is more important than numbers.

What digital marketing tactics do you currently use, and which are you planning to add to your arsenal?

Image: Depositphotos.com


How to use Google Trends for Market Research - TechBullion

Posted: 25 Mar 2019 09:41 AM PDT

One of the most important steps often taken by any business is the step towards market research. The importance of this activity for most businesses lies in its ability to assist in targeting consumer needs and the best way to fulfill them. While the process is aimed at making production cost-friendly, the traditional tools designed to guide the process can be quite expensive, especially for small-scale businesses and entrepreneurs.

Fortunately, we now have other alternative tools that are very useful for all businesses irrespective of size and can be suited to meet the custom needs of businesses. One of such tools is Google Trends. It's an online instrument that has been designed to help in providing feedback on what people search for the most. This feedback is then used to create strategies, awareness, adverts and the likes that can draw online users in the best way possible.

We would firstly like to help you understand this Google trending tool and what it entails. Then we would show you several ways this amazing 'helper' can speed up your market research.

Google Trends – what is this?

When we look at detailed descriptions on how to perform a market analysis in today's era, it is a bit hard not to mention Google Trends. And hence, it's quite interesting that many people do not have a full understanding of what the tool is really about.

A key issue we would like to address is that Google Trends should always be differentiated from Google Keyword Planner. These two online instruments might look similar in function from a distance. On taking a closer look, the difference is as clear as white paper. While Google Keyword planner deals with 'crude' volume of search data provided, Google Trends is a bit more selective. It deals with the relative popularity of a search query. In simpler terms of writing, Trends only displays data relevant to most popular search terms over a period of time. Thus, it gives you the ability to focus on specific trends and make appropriate decisions.

Now that we have a bit of information on the concept, we would now look at how to use Google trends in market research for our business.

What's trending this season?

Due to its 'focused' nature of functioning, Trends can be helpful in identifying seasonal trends in different sectors – fashion, essay writing, beauty, health, politics, and the likes. Based on your identification of current trends, it becomes easier for you to create content, especially if you own a blog or get paid for blogging. You will attract a larger audience and create good traffic for your business website.

A good example is using Trends to determine what essay types are commonly described as difficult by students towards the end of the term. As an essay writing company, the information obtained would be very useful in streamlining your service to meet those needs. You would be able to know if you need to focus on lightweight writing (book reviews, descriptions) or more serious and academic stuff (thesis, dissertation). With Google Trends, it becomes easier to determine.

Get your planning into overdrive!

One cool thing about using this tool is its ability to help you strategize for the future. This is very essential as a content creator. You need to have an idea of the current year's timeline, as well as important events that you might want to cover – your so-called "content calendar". By having your content calendar set out, it becomes easier to anticipate creating content for events happening in Toronto, New York or anywhere.

Identifying Consumer Demand

Business owners love this for sure! Besides being super cheap, Trends offers businesses the added advantage of being able to anticipate consumer needs and meet them even before they are mentioned. By helping you understand the specific things that are in popular demand, you are guided to make business decisions that would bring positive results from that for you.

Let's consider an example. Two microwave companies, S and T both sell 2-in-1 microwaves – for grilling and heating food. Company T has better quality while Company S has more features. Let's say Company T decides to make sales to get rid of its current stock. As the Marketing manager of company S, when using Trends, your attention would be on the specific features that are making customer buzz about your rival's product. Using that data, you might choose to produce some 'limited offer' microwaves that encompass all those features and sell at an even lower price. The same example can be used for a variety of services offered. As mentioned earlier in the article, having an idea of what matters most to your consumers at the moment guides your decision-making for better profits and customer experience.

Borrow business ideas from your rivals

The final point we would look at is using Trends to 'tap' ideas from other businesses. Besides helping you stay aware of Google trending products, it also helps one in discovering what ideas other companies might have by accessing the database of similar terms used while searching your own key term. This provides you with extra information that you can use to amp up your existing business plans and strategies. It always pays to be ahead of one's competition, irrespective of its location (Canada, UK, US, etc.)

Google trends is a very interesting and prolific tool. With the proper knowledge on what it can do, you could take your business miles ahead among others, making you a hot point for consumer demands.

Axios Media Trends - March 26, 2019 - Axios

Posted: 26 Mar 2019 05:49 AM PDT

Apple paraded some of Hollywood's biggest stars on stage Monday to unveil its master plan to take on the media business.

  • But for what was supposed to be Apple's big coming-out party, the company left some basic questions unanswered.

Details: The cornerstone of Apple's big media reveal — Apple TV — ended up being the least fleshed out.

  • Apple never revealed any specifics about what its Apple TV app will cost.
  • The company invited Hollywood A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg to tout their upcoming original programming deals, but details and video clips of the content were scant.
  • Apple unveiled a new subscription gaming service called Arcade, which it said will be available in 150 countries and regions in the fall. Prices weren't disclosed.

Yes, but: Apple did provide a lot more details around Apple News Plus, its news service that was built on the back of "Texture," an app it acquired last year that's been dubbed the "Netflix of magazines."

  • Apple confirmed that Apple News+ will cost $9.99 monthly, with family sharing. It will be free for the first month, and will be available in the U.S. and Canada.
  • It also announced partnerships with a handful of news publishers, including theSkimm, the Wall Street Journal, Vox, Vulture, The Cut, TechCrunch, and Grub Street, and said that 300 magazine publishers are on board with the service.
  • The product will include advertising, but Apple says the service won't let advertisers track its users to target ads. Apple will let publishers keep 100% of the ad revenue for ads they sell against their content. If they chose not to sell ads, Apple will let publishers keep a large portion of the ad revenue Apple sells against their content.
  • Apple said it will rely on editors to evaluate news sources and articles. It will program algorithms to prioritize real engagement — like time spent with pieces — over clickbait headlines that lure people in but don't leave them better informed.

The big question: There's still a lot of confusion about what incentive media companies have to be a part of Apple's subscription services, since Apple takes a cut of revenue that those companies would make selling subscriptions on their own.

  • For some media companies, like magazines and cable channels, the answer is easy: It's hard to sell subscriptions on your own. For others, like big national news companies, the calculation is trickier.

Be smart: The Wall Street Journal has become the test example of how to toe that line. It's giving away its content for much less money via Apple News Plus, but will reportedly be giving Plus subscribers access to only three days of its content archive.

Go deeper: Read the full story by Kia Kokalitcheva and me.


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