How to Make Back Linking Work for You?

It’s the digital version of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.”  Backlinking sounds like such a small thing, but can be extremely advantageous for those who do it strategically.  Implementing backlinks into your site is something you need to be thinking about if your business relies on digital exposure. In fact, many businesses should be putting as much time into a back linking campaign as they put into public relations and social media updates.  It really is that important.

According to Google, back linking is one of the most important metrics to measure site authority and relevance.  As you can probably guess, ‘site authority’ and ‘relevance’ are SEO terms that mean higher ranking – and thus more revenue!  That’s why the ROI is so strong for back linking strategies as compared to PPC campaigns. 

The principle behind Google’s approach is this: the more sites of high-quality content linked to pages on your site, the more relevant your site becomes.  So, basically, that means you want to publish high-quality content that references (and is shared by) influential authority sites in your niche. 

Five years ago their approach was not so specific.  It used to be that the volume of links meant more than the quality of the links, which induced site managers to take part in back link stuffing.  Google penalizes this type of practice these days, so it’s important to stay on top of best-practices in your digital marketing strategy

Not Complicated, Just Specific

It might seem like back linking is a complicated part of high-level search engine optimization, involving HTML code and dense analytical work.  In reality, building a strong back linking strategy is something any business owner can do in collaboration with a digital marketing agency.  All it requires is some basic knowledge of HTML, a thorough understanding of important players in your niche, and a commitment to hard work.

Let’s say you run an e-commerce site selling barbeques in Indianapolis.  What are some back linking strategies you could use?

  1. Keyword Research – The best way to start is by typing in the short and long tail keywords you want to get backlinks for.

An example might be: “best BBQ Indianapolis”. 

Once you generate a list of 5-10 phrases, do a bit of research into what sites rank for each phrase.  Take note of these sites – because they are your competitors – and build and Excel sheet with all the relevant backlinks on their site.  You want to have 7-10 relevant sites from each competitor that you should link to as well.  This research will become the basis of your back linking strategy because it clarifies what terms and what sites you want to backlink too. 

  1. Broken Link Strategy – Based on your keyword research, go through high authority sites that link to competitors and look for broken links.  There are some great back linking tools to help you with this step.  Simply write to the site manager informing them of a broken link, offer your site as an alternative link, and start watching your SEO ranking improve. 
  1. Rely on Bloggers – Back linking is still dependant on volume of links, and the best way to boost your volume is to rely on social shares and blog shares.  Chances are your business has a pretty strong social media presence, likely being followed by influential writers in your industry.  Getting them to write a feature on your business is a great way to build authoritative backlinks because it’s essentially an endorsement. 

It’s A Multi-Pronged Approach

As with a lot of entrepreneurial work, a proper backlink strategy requires a multi-pronged approach.  It’s one piece of the puzzle that will deliver stronger results when used in conjunction with the right social media strategy, funnels, email campaigns, and website design.  Considering that these technologies (and Google rankings) are always changing, rather than take everything onto your shoulders, it’s best to work with a digital marketing strategist who will have the tools and expertise you require to stay ahead of the curve. 

How to Build Authority with Your Blog

One of the best in-house marketing techniques you can take advantage of is a blog.  A regularly updated blog full of high-quality content is a great marketing resource for a whole bunch of reasons. 

For one, blogging is still one of the most effective SEO tools in your personal arsenal of digital marketing tools.  Google Webmaster loves having new pages to index on sites they are already familiar with.  The logic behind this is quite simple: the more new content a page has to index, the more relevant it is deemed by Google in their optimization rankings. 

You can change content on a service page, but realistically, how often are you going to be changing this content? Probably once a month, at most.  With a blog you can literally post as much as you deem necessary.  As long as you optimize each post with a few SEO basics (which you can learn about here), the blog post will help your organic search ranking and provide valuable insight for your customer base. 

For another thing, a blog is a great way to connect with your customer base in a genuine, ‘non-advertising’ kind of way.  A lot of digital marketing can fall into the trap of generality and mass-communication.  With a blog, you are essentially providing free insight into your industry (and your business) without asking for anything from the visitor.  It goes beyond advertising and offers a behind-the-scenes look at what differentiates your brand.  That’s a huge intangible value.  Gary Vaynerchuk refers to this as a “jab” in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”.  Give value, and then give some more. Earn the right to make the pitch.

Techniques for Building Blog Authority

Focus On Content – There is nothing as valuable as writing engaging content.  Find your voice and style before you start blogging so that your words remain familiar to readers.  Check out sites like Alltop, Google Alerts, or Feedly for inspiring topics to riff on. 

Start Guest Blogging – You want to get your words in front of as many readers as possible, and that means guest blogging.  A lot of the biggest aggregators of traffic do not generate their own content – they allow others to post on their site and thus generate traffic for them.  Scroll through Huffington Post and Entreprenuer.com to get an idea of how posts should look, and then reach out with your own unique list of blog post ideas. 

Invite Guest Bloggers – An effective way to get your blog off the ground is to invite a guest blogger to write a few months of content.  Pick a writer with a large built-in audience of readers who would be interested by your brand, and track the changes in site traffic to see just how impactful it can be. 

It’s a Long-Term Investment

It’s important to take a long-term approach to blogging.  Always remember that you can run tests on what works, and adapt the content accordingly. 

In running tests of your blog content, you might be surprised at how much ‘traditional’ blogging advice simply does not work for you.  A case in point is the clean-cut layout most web designers recommend.  Sharp lines, simple black and white color scheme, few distractions – what could be more appealing?  It’s only appealing if it draws traffic to your site, and you should experiment with various layouts to see what most people prefer. 

In developing blog authority it’s important to rely on intuition and experimentation instead of spending excessive amounts on banner advertisements (to give just one example).

Build Authority in a Unique Way

It’s an exciting prospect to plan a year’s worth of blog content.  With the right kind of digital marketing consultant, a lot of research and a bit of soul searching, before too long it will be your name at the top of Google queries in your niche. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service

There is one fundamental aspect of business that simply cannot be ignored: you need to attract customers.  Attracting customers can be done many different ways depending on your budget. 

You can invest in social media marketing techniques, Google Adwords campaigns, thorough SEO work on your homepage, and several outreach efforts on influential blogs or news sites. 

Here’s the catch: these are effective techniques to drive traffic to your website, but not necessarily to create leads and cultivate conversions. 

Much of the time, social media marketers get caught up looking at volume of traffic rather than conversion rates.  While the two numbers are intimately related (higher volume usually equates to higher conversion rate), focusing on driving traffic can obscure an important part of your everyday business operations. 

So, what is that intangible aspect of your business operations that gets overlooked in all the data analysis? Customer service.  No matter what your business operation looks like, some fundamental principles of customer service will ring true.  Here is a quick list of dos’ and don’ts when it comes to dealing with the most important intangible in your operational frame: the customer.

DO

Integrate Chatbots – Chatbots have been on the rise in the past few years.  Many of the bigger companies like Facebook and Netflix make use of them to great effect, and you should, too.  A chatbot can be prompted on a landing page within seconds.  A simple introductory message is all it takes to familiarize the visitor with the bot.  If they have a specific question they can ask the bot directly, which saves them time scrolling through the site.

A NOTE OF CAUTION: Always have a real person working customer service and monitoring the chatbot conversation with new visitors.  If the chatbot is unable to answer a question, a member of your team can step in and take it from there. 

Keep It Simple – Your customer service team needs to know that keeping it simple is the best strategy, always.  A visitor who is curious about options is on the verge of buying.  All it takes is a subtle bit of guidance from a customer service rep and they find what they are looking for.  On the flipside, if a customer service rep is overwhelming in their approach, it’s quite possible the visitor will lose interest. 

Be Honest – Customers can tell when a sales rep is exaggerating the truth to make a sale.  The only way to stop this from occurring is to be as honest as possible, at all times, even if it means advising a customer not to buy a product. 

DON’T

Think of Customers As Transactions – Your team cannot forget that every customer is deserving of the same treatment.  It is vital that each new visitor feels as though they are being listened to, respected, and given solid advice.  Thinking of every customer as a transaction makes it far too easy to forget the intangible aspects of customer service – like giving time for reflection and thought, discussing the pros and cons of each product, etc.

Ignore Feedback and Criticism – No company is going to have a perfect customer service rating, and every customer service agent will face critique at some point.  The question is: how can you learn from the criticisms?  How well do you respond to customer feedback?  Make sure your team is full of confident and self-aware people that can adapt to the demands of your customers. It’s never a failure if there’s a lesson attached.

It’s All About Consistency

Following these principles of customer service will help your team become better at serving your customer’s needs.  However, without consistency, your whole approach is bound for failure.  What’s the ticket for consistency? Hire a team that believes in your business.

Want to learn how to implement online strategies like chatbots and the possibility of having a team to help you get more leads and close more sales? Get free resources at https://ezmetrics.com/free-resources/.

5 Ways Google Adwords Can Help With SEO Planning

While some people say Adwords is not worth the time and money, from an SEO perspective it is an extremely valuable resource.  It informs the most important component of an SEO approach – the keyword list. 

There are many intangibles to keyword searches that can only be teased out from high quality data.  High quality data means the information gathered from running a short PPC campaign with a variety of relevant keywords and phrases. 

Paying a little bit for this high quality data makes sense in the short-term because it helps isolate the keywords that actually convert for your client.  Simply using the most popular keywords in your niche does not guarantee high conversion rate (or even high traffic) for your site. 

Don’t forget that the painstaking work of SEO means always analyzing and changing your keyword set to match search term queries. 

Here are 3 ways that Google Adwords can inform your SEO approach:

  1. Use Filters On Data

Filters is a great tool because they allow you to get particular insight about one large set of data.  You can literally get thirty different perspectives on the same data set by using filters. 

Maybe you want to see which keywords are not converting.  This is a great way to challenge the common assumption that popular keywords are the most valuable to keep.  Use a filter to see which keywords actually convert best in the keyword set for your client, and use this information to target only the most relevant keywords going forward. 

  1. Add Segments To Learn More About Keyword Searches

Segments are a great way to figure out what kinds of phrases work best for each keyword. 

Often times a keyword with a high conversion rate will not be as effective in a long tail form. 

For example, let’s say “shoe store” is your base keyword that does pretty well.  But let’s presume you have added “best shoe store Chicago” and “Chicago shoe store best prices” to your keyword list.  Adding segments to test Search Term Match Type will tell you if short tail or long tail keywords convert better. 

  1. The URL Conversion Rate Is Key

Another option with Google Adwords is to asses which URL has the best conversion rate.  Referred to as ‘Destination URLs’, Adwords is able to inform the user which pages on the site have had the most conversion success. 

That should lead you to analyze the keywords used on the page and apply a similar style to your other pages.

If, for example, the URL with a high conversation rate has less text on it, that is certainly something to apply across the site. 

SEO Is All About the Intangibles

These are only a few of the ways to make use of Google Adwords in your approach to SEO. 

The specificity of each method highlights the fact that SEO is all about the intangibles.  Every component of a website is connected, and it must always remain relevant according to the most important variable at play: the keyword list. 

Google Adwords can help with that, mainly by providing some insightful data about the nuances of search terms. 

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Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how to implement these tips in your business specifically or other ideas to grow your brand online. Reach out to us at www.ezmetrics.com.

Major Features of Local SEO

Thought Local SEO was only important for brick & mortar locations?
Think again – SEO applies to everyone, and comprises a number of different focus areas.    

We could talk about the on-site features that need to be taken care of to ensure optimal growth. 

Or we could discuss the various off-page optimization techniques that make a difference in organic score. 

We could even talk about the importance of long tail keywords in generating solid traffic in the long term.  And that’s only the beginning. 

But today, the focus will be on features of local SEO.  Everyone should be aware of local SEO ranking techniques for the simple reason that they apply to every site on the internet. 

In what way do they apply?  Every keyword can be a geographical specification.  A long-tail keyword will often contain a city or region for which it is focused – like “best shoe store Chicago” for example. 

If someone searches for “best shoe store Chicago”, the results will begin with the site that has great local search optimization.

Local search makes a huge difference for a business with a brick and mortar location, but is also useful for an e-commerce company that wants to focus on generating traffic in a specific market. 

That’s why local SEO applies to everyone. 

5 Key Features Make All the Difference

There are a number of important factors that will improve local search rankings.  Here is a little list of some factors:

  1. On-Page Signals

The presence of local keywords is most important.  The specific location needs to be as present as the keywords that define your business.  If these keywords are not accurate, then local search traffic will suffer greatly.  It’s that simple. 

2. Quality of Link Signals

Link signals include a whole number of on-site features.  The most important feature is the quality of the backlinking.  Are you connecting with important local influencers on your site?  If not, then it’s time to build a local support network between your site and others. 

Another important factor are the terms you use to backlink.  The anchor text should be the same as the keywords you are focusing on, or as relevant as possible.  It is also good to use anchor text that is relevant to the site you are back-linking to.  That way your site will share local traffic with the influencer or company you are referring to. 

3. Customer Behavior

If customers are using mobile, then you need to respond to that and make your site as mobile friendly as possible. 

That means keeping it simple with a scroll-down layout rather than a homepage with a list of different pages to click on. 

4. Business Info Needs To Be Accurate

All the brick and mortar info about your business needs to be present on Google, business directories, and social media platforms. 

When it comes to business directories, the most important is Yelp, but there are many more that need to be considered, including Yahoo Local, Tripadvisor, and Zomato (for cafes/restaurants). 

5. Reviews

Not to be forgotten are the reviews of your business. 

Customer satisfaction and online reputation matter in all digital endeavors, but a local SEO campaign will suffer if the reviews are not glowing. 

Getting a solid rating across the business directories and Facebook will contribute a great boost to the more technical features of local SEO that are being executed. 

Start Getting Local Traffic

Each page on your ecommerce site can have a different geographical focus area. 

Or, if you are only targeting one local market, populate your whole site with the same geographical terms. 

In either case, putting extra focus into local SEO will drive meaningful traffic within days, enabling you to reach your ideal clients with greater ease. 

How To Use LinkedIn To Propel Your Brand

LinkedIn used to have an outdated layout and design.  Users could update their profiles and make industry connections, but it was unclear just how beneficial these connections were, given that people did not spend a whole lot of time on the platform. 

Times have changed.  Today LinkedIn is a great resource to grow your personal brand or your small business. 

You don’t have to take my word for it though – you can look at the numbers.  In 2017, LinkedIn reported 500 million users from over 200 countries. 

That is a huge reach, and is especially valuable because users of LinkedIn are on there to do business and achieve new career opportunities.

Or get this statistic: there are over 3 million long form posts on the platform, and 130,000 new long form posts generated each week. 

This is rich content being published, not your average Tweet about food or a casual Facebook update about politics.  Long form posts on LinkedIn are often written by influential players in their niche who are keen to offer their expertise and insight to those who are most interested. 

It certainly helps that Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016.  The recent design changes to the platform are certainly due to the new ownership.

Whether you fancy yourself an expert in your field, or you are just starting to gain some industry recognition for your small business, the fact remains the same: there are some key ways to optimize your profile to propel your brand. 

Tip #1: Professional Headshot

Since you are going to use LinkedIn to make important industry connections, it’s important to get the fundamentals right.  That means get a professional headshot for your profile pick. 

Tip #2:  List All Your Skills

You have to treat your profile like a glorified resume.  If you don’t, how do you expect to impress people you have never met in person before? 

The best way to impress someone is to list all you skills.  That’s the lesson learned from a LinkedIn study that found people who listed five or more skills get 17 times more profile views

Tip #3: Use LinkedIn Publisher

The best example of an influencer who has mastered LinkedIn is Arianna Huffington.  The co-founder of the Huffington Post has been generating a consistent following with her posts about wellness and the value of sleep. 

Sounds kind of random?  Well it’s not.  Ms. Huffington planned to situate herself as a leading voice in the wellness industry before launching Thrive Global, a company dedicated to making sleep the most valuable productivity resource in the corporate world.

That is some exceptional branding by Ms. Huffington, and it can be copied by anyone who has a passion for their chosen industry.  LinkedIn, more than Twitter or Facebook, is the place where you can put this passion to use and generate some actionable insights from it. 

Tip #4: Make Targeted Connections

You probably frequent industry events.  At these events you probably meet some influential people farther up the food chain than you. 

To make these chance meetings more permanent, use LinkedIn to target influential people you have met in person and solidify a mutual recognition. 

Enjoy The Platform

Today it is much easier to use LinkedIn to your advantage than in years past.  The amount of exposure you can gain is incredible, simply by reading and engaging with the rich content that is published every day, and staying in direct contact with some key industry influencers. 

All in all, LinkedIn is a great resource for showing you what skills or connections you need to bring your business up a notch. 

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Twitter Advertisement

I know what you are thinking. 

Why bother with Twitter advertisement when there are Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, and Google Adwords to take care of? 

In terms of pure volume it might seem like Twitter is not worth it.  Facebook is the king of social media platforms with 1.15 billion active users and 4.75 billion share items a day.  That’s huge no matter how you spin it. 

Twitter can claim 232 million active users and 500 million tweets a day.  The discrepancy is pretty huge between these two platforms. 

To give a baseball analogy: Facebook is like the New York Yankees (tons of fans and lots of money) while Twitter is more like the Tampa Bay Devils Rays (a group of devoted fans and not raking in much money). 

But the first thing you learn doing inbound marketing is that volume is not as important as conversion rate.  You can get huge volume on Facebook, with great CTR and impression percentages, without seeing effective conversion rates.  With Twitter, studies have shown that ad performance is actually higher than Facebook because Twitter drives higher conversion rates

Optify conducted a study of social media usage amongst businesses and found that Twitter has a conversion rate of 2.7%, massively outperforming Facebook (0.47%) and LinkedIn (0.8%)

So to bring it back to baseball, the lesson is this: just because the Yankees have a larger fan base and payroll does not mean they will have a better team than the Devil Rays. 

More aspects are at play in developing a strong baseball team, and more aspects are at play in creating effective ad campaigns on Twitter. 

Here are some tried and tested tricks to drive conversion rates with Twitter advertisements:

Give users an emotional motivation to click on your ad.  Videos from you or your staff will get people paying more attention to your brand.  Why? Because it’s tangible (and hopefully you can make them laugh).  Co-ordinate a short video with an advertisement campaign to raise awareness and help drive conversion rates. 

Advertise Percentages, Not Dollars – People are much more likely to respond favorably to 15% off than a $10 discount.  You want to get that snap of interest that will bring a customer from your Twitter page to your homepage, and a percentage deal just looks more alluring than a solid dollar amount. 

Don’t Overuse Hashtags – It’s become a bit of a running joke these days to use way too many hashtags.  While it might be fun to play around with it on your own personal account, the secret to a great Twitter ad is simplicity and a strong visual cue (whether image or video).  ‘Hashtag stuffing’ is something that frequent Twitter users will skip over in an instant. 

Get The Image Size Right – Twitter makes it clear what image dimensions work best for the ad platform.  Read up on them and make sure your marketing department follows through with it at all times. 

Engage Your Customers with Questions – Twitter is the source of so much unconventional content these days, so why not take a stab at it yourself?  Posing a question to your customers is a great way to twist the conventional advertisement procedure, as you can ask the question while sharing your visual advertisement. 

The Last Word

Twitter is dominating the mobile space and consistently showing better conversion results compared to Facebook ads.  Even though it will never have the volume of users that Facebook does it is clearly a resource with a lot of revenue potential for your company. 

5 Tips For Integrating Video Into Your Marketing Strategy

Sometimes the most obvious thing is the hardest to implement.  We all know that video is a great way to captivate audiences and generate strong engagement.  How do we know?  Because we all love watching videos! 

Facebook is always packed full with Facebook Live streams from people’s phones, little segments from the evening news, and of course the embedded YouTube links to interviews, documentaries, or whatever catches your fancy.

You’ve got a couple of great video platforms at your disposal as well, whether it’s YouTube or Vimeo.  Both are great resources for connecting with your audience and giving them some background on your company and it’s line of products or services. 

Then there is Instagram, who recently went from being strictly photo-based app to incorporating a live video component.  Instagram Stories went viral on August 2nd, 2016, and have become a massive success. 

Since Instagram Stories launched, the number of Instagram users quickly peaked over 700 million.  Whether it’s because Instagram is owned by Facebook or because they took the best elements of popular video app Snapchat is beside the point. 

The point of all this is that video is an exceptional marketing tool.  All the data on Facebook video content shows that people are more responsive to video than text or image based marketing, so there really is no question about why it should be used.

The question is how should video be used?  How do you represent your brand in an authentic and enticing way through video without trying too hard to be funny or making some generic style advert that would fit right in with 90s television commercials? 

While I cannot profess to know the answer, I can put forward some tips for how to use video in your marketing strategy.  They include:

Make It Educational – While getting people interested in your product is obviously the goal, sometimes the best way to generate that interest is by educating your customers.  Put together a little video highlighting some interesting facts about your products that can be embedded onto your site or Facebook page. 

Go Live Sometimes – Customers always love to see the CEO of a company appear on screen to answer questions.  It’s certainly not an easy position to be in for CEOs that are a little bit on the shy side, but it sure does bring credibility to your brand if you can go on Facebook Live once and awhile and communicate directly with your customers. 

Keep Them Short, Keep Them Informative – The nice thing about making promotional videos is that they should not be long.  Two minutes is probably the maximum length you need to get your point across, especially if it’s geared towards answering a specific question. 

Interview Industry Experts – Why not do a bi-monthly video feature where your CEO interviews another thought leader in the field?  It can be a little fun and games of course – maybe have a silly question portion of the interview – and should not be overly technical or packed with complicated questions.  The value of video is to draw viewers in and make them more curious about the people behind the products they buy, so in that regard it’s always important to focus on keeping things personal. 

Don’t Post Too Much – Less is more when it comes to video.  Oversaturating your audience’s desire for video content will surely happen if the quality of videos begin to slip.  There is a fine line between informative videos and bland marketing videos.  Always strive for the former if you want to keep your audience engaged. 

Try incorporating some of these tips into your video content strategy, and you’ll probably notice a spike in your key social media metrics like engagement, CTR and conversion rates!

Why Google Analytics is the a MUST HAVE Web Management Tool

A lot has been said about the different types of tools you can use to analyze website traffic. 

It seems like every year there is a new data management software that hits the market promising to have the secret insights you need to boost traffic. 

The software usually costs a pretty penny of course, which might add to your skepticism about it. 

The thing is: that tool already exists, and it’s free. 

Google Analytics should be the first tool you install on your site, and it is probably the tool you should be using the most to measure data about your site. 

From tracking visitor flow, to measuring engagement from mobile and desktop platforms, to checking CTR’s on each page and aggregating them over the long-term, to ….. the list goes and on. 

For those who want to get the most accurate and comprehensive data about their site in one piece of software, Google Analytics is a MUST HAVE tool. 

You just need to know how to unpack the data. 

Get Right To The Good Stuff

The Behavior tab is a great place to monitor user behavior across your site.  It lets you know which page on your site is most popular, amongst which demographic of people, in which location. 

Getting this kind of insight is great for all your marketing endeavors.  This simple bit of data can tell you three important things:

1) Now you know that all your pages should be optimized to the most popular page.  You can check audience growth overtime by going to Audience > Overview

2) You know the age, gender, and general interests of the people who frequent your site.  You can plug this right into Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, and SEO content on your blog and start to see engagement rise.  In order to analyze demographics, you need to have an Adwords account and enable remarketing and advertising on Analytics. 

3) Location is important for Adwords and SEO initiatives, both of which would be like shots in the dark without the help of Google Analytics.

Check The Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is that one area of traffic that is kind of embarrassing. 

It refers to the number of visitors that visit one page of your site and then leave.  That number might be upwards of 80% at first glance, and points to the fact that your site is not optimized for user experience.   

But, as with all things in life, overcoming embarrassing things will only make you stronger.  You can reduce your bounce rate by understanding why it’s happening. 

Deal with pages that have the highest bounce rate first by bringing the content more in line with your marketing strategy. 

If all the pages have a high bounce rate, it’s probably time to change up the design.  You always want to keep your site fresh, easy to read, and simple to navigate. 

Google Analytics comes with another free software called Optimize that you can use to experiment and test new website designs before launching. 

These tools only scratch the surface of what Analytics can do for your business.  It really is the only data management tool you need to propel growth and get your website working betting than ever. 

Grow Your YouTube Metrics

YouTube is the third most visited website in the world. I believe it.

And it’s not just TV. It’s a social network + advertising platform + content platform.

In other words, YouTube is many things to many people. In many ways, it defies categorization.

And that’s frankly a bit scary.

As Mr. Ziglar said, and I remind myself of it as much as I can: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

YouTube is an enormous opportunity for everyone who wants to produce content.

Let’s talk numbers, because I’m a numbers guy.

  • The total number of people who use YouTube – 1,300,000,000. (Billion! That’s a LOT of zeroes!)
  • YouTube gets over 30 million visitors per day.
  • In an average month, 8 out of ten 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube.
  • The average mobile viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes.
  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.

There are plenty more stats, if you want them.

But I think I’ve painted the picture for you: you could make a splash and get some customers on YouTube. There are people there.

So how do you find them, keep them, and convert them to paying customers?

What YouTube metrics matter?

It’s not necessarily views, even though that’s what you hear about in conversation.

A view, by definition, happens when the video is played.

Here’s the tricky part of a view: it’s logged every time a video player loaded, which doesn’t tell you whether or not that person actually watched it.

So what you want, in fact, is watch time.

Watch time

Watch time tells you how engaged your viewers are.

Longer watch time = better.

It’s measured in cumulative minutes watched, and every video and every channel on YouTube is ranked by watch time. If your video or channel has higher watch times, it’s more likely to be higher in the search results and the recommendations.

For example: a 20-second video that gets watched from beginning to end will outrank a 10-minute video that people only watch for a minute or two.

Note: YouTube ads don’t count toward your watch time.

Subscribers

Subscribers, those people who subscribe to your channel (or any channel), are far more engaged than other YouTube viewers.

Subscribing connects viewers to you. They’re as warm an audience as you can get!

Shares, links, and embeds

Shares are an indication of what is resonating with your audience. You’ll also want to look at how often the links and players are embedded on other sites.

How can you impact your YouTube metrics?

Get more subscribers

One obvious way is to convert casual viewers to channel subscribers. Here are some tips to make that happen:

Creation story. Share how you began and what got things started for you. Make your message relatable to your audience.

Creed. What makes you tick? How can you make it resonate for your audience?

Personality. Consistency is important: subscribers like personalities associated with the channels they subscribe to. Be an authority and let your personality shine through.

Rituals. Maybe you have a certain greeting or phrase that you begin or end with.

Language. Here’s a way to make your viewers feel like insiders: come up with your own lingo or phrases that describe things.

Put annotations on videos

Have you ever watched a video and noticed that there are clickable words and boxes that show up?

Those are annotations.

The best place to use them is “10 in and 10 out” — the first 10% and the last 10% of your video. So take the length of your video and make sure you have annotations planned for that first 10% and last 10%.

A cautionary note: only use one annotation at a time.

Know your keywords and phrases

Your Google Analytics and YouTube accounts should be linked. (If they’re not, go do that right now.)

Spend time on YouTube researching the keywords and phrases that bring up content like yours. This is worth an investment of time, and maybe even asking some people who are in the group you want to reach (i.e., if you’re trying to reach women, ask women). What are people searching for?

Then make sure you are using those keywords and phrases within your descriptions and tags and even in the title of your video.

Strong CTA

Does your video have a strong call to action? Because if it doesn’t…why not? You can do that within your annotations, in the description, and also within the video itself.

Produce great content

Saving the best for last: great content!

Some quick tips related to that:

  • Focus on one specific need in each video.
  • Get the right length, about 3 minutes
  • Consistency + congruency = win!

What can you measure and track to know if you’re succeeding on YouTube?

There’s a lot of information available, that’s for sure! These areas should be, at a minimum, things you’re considering and looking at as you build and grow your YouTube presence:

Views over time

This gives you an idea of trends, of how you’re growing (or not) and of changes. It’s a way of stepping back and looking at the big picture.

Source of traffic

Where are people coming from? Are they embedding your player, finding it through an ad, YouTube search, Google search, an outside website…?

Demographics

You might think you’re appealing to a 40-something woman in the Midwest when, in reality, you’re being watched and shared by 30-year-old men on the west coast. (That is a slight and crazy exaggeration, yes.)

Understanding your audience will help you make better content and who you are reaching. There’s a lot to be learned from that information, including where your viewers are from and what kind of impact you have geographically.

Playback locations

How is your audience discovering your content? You can learn whether they are searching and finding it within YouTube or from another website.

Retention

Wonder where you lose people? The Audience Retention page will tell you…and paying attention to when people stop watching can inform your future videos.

Subscribers

Yes, this is a theme: subscribers are important! But when are they joining? And leaving? What does that measurement look like?

Social Shares

This goes almost without saying: tapping into the social nature of YouTube is a must. You can also see where people are sharing things (hint: Facebook wins most of the time).

Commenting

When you get comments, respond to them. This is part of the back-and-forth that makes YouTube a community atmosphere.

You can also cross-reference your commenting statistics with others, you can gain further insight into what’s working with your audience.

Likes, dislikes, and favorites

Very few people will actually leave a comment, but a lot of people will like, dislike, or favorite a video that strikes a chord. Make sure you’re tracking this information and watching it.

Things to make sure you have set up properly

  1. YouTube channel and AdWords account
  2. The connection (link) between YouTube and AdWords
  3. Video remarketing lists in AdWords
  4. Conversion tracking pixels from AdWords placed accordingly

Strategies to use with YouTube

  1. Get back in front of users who don’t register or buy
    • Build video remarketing list off first video ad
    • Target those viewers with a new video ad
    • Exclude those who convert
  2. Stop advertising to those who have registered or purchased
  3. Increase your reach with similar audiences and Google Display Network