We live in the information age, and that’s reflected in the emergence of content marketing as a significant part of business marketing strategies. Create the right content and you can grow your business organically, as people find it via search engines and social media. Providing valuable content also establishes your business as an authority in its field, enhancing its reputation.

However, it’s time consuming to generate content and develop a marketing action plan for that content. If you get it wrong, you could end up investing a large chunk of valuable time on a failed campaign. That’s why it helps to incorporate content marketing tools to strengthen your efforts.

Here are five content marketing tools that can take your strategy to the next level.


One of the most difficult aspects of content marketing is consistently coming up with ideas for new content. BuzzSumo uses analytics to show you what content is trending and where. You can see what is being shared the most across any of the major social media networks and filter the results by the type of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.).

Want to know which topics will get you the best results? BuzzSumo can show you topics related to your business that are the most popular right now, helping you create content that is more likely to trend. This tool’s analytics show you where your advertising is best spent to bring in more of your target audience. It also has information on which influencers are getting the most traction in your market, so you can find the right people to promote your content.



Curata is a content curation software that simplifies the process of finding and publishing content. It offers two products: a content creation software and a data-driven content marketing platform. If you’re having trouble sticking to a publishing schedule or curating content, Curata is a huge help. It draws and organizes content from hundreds of thousands of sources, and it has a self-learning engine so you get better results the more you use it.

You can publish content you find through Curata across any of your channels in one click. This makes it easy to maintain a steady stream of content without needing to generate the content yourself. Curata also analyzes the results of the content with your audience, showing you the outcome of your efforts and giving you the information you need to update your strategy when necessary.



The most effective way to start building your business’ social media accounts is through automation, and when it comes to platforms, it’s hard to beat Buffer’s ease of use and excellent features. Buffer works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, so you can manage all your accounts in one place.

Posting consistently is a key factor in building a social media following, but that’s also a big-time commitment, especially when you’re attempting to build an audience on multiple social networks. Instead of periodically posting on social media throughout the day, use Buffer to set up a schedule of posts. You can use their Chrome browser extension and mobile app to add content to your queue at any time.

Not only does Buffer save you time, it also uses analytics to determine the best times of day to post content. Its Twitter analytics are especially useful, as it checks when your followers are active and analyzes the engagement your tweets get.



With the rising number of businesses employing remote workers, managing everyone in a global content marketing operation can be a challenge. Contently helps keep your content marketing team organized, whether it consists of remote employees, freelance creatives, or both.

Everyone involved in a project can stay connected and collaborate with in-line commenting, email notifications, and a messaging system. The platform has cloud storage for everything related to your content, allowing you and your team to access it 24/7.

Using Contently, you’re able to view assignments on a dashboard, set up deadlines, track progress, and approve content. The platform also has tools for obtaining legal approval of completed content and sending invoices. In addition to its powerful content management capabilities, Contently can provide suggestions to help you generate ideas for new pieces of content.Contently



As anyone with content marketing experience knows, the saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply to online content. Getting your content in front of an audience is a challenge in and of itself. Outbrain is the leading content discovery platform on the web, so it can significantly grow your audience through increased visibility. It is a pay-to-play tool, but if you have the money in your marketing budget, this is a simple and effective way to get your content out there.

Outbrain is able to promote just about any type of content you want, whether that’s an article, video, infographic, or something else. Your content is placed on popular local and national sites as a promoted suggestion. When your audience finishes reading an article and are looking for something new to check out, they’ll see a link to your content.


There’s only so much time in the day, and with all that goes into effective content marketing, you could easily spend it all on mundane tasks. A more efficient and effective solution is to use the powerful content marketing tools listed above to streamline as much of the process as possible. This leaves you with more time to put towards your overall content marketing strategy.

The analytics available through these five content marketing tools are also extremely useful, as they break down what type of content is working well and show you the results of your content. Having more information speeds up and improves your decision-making process, so you can maximize returns on all your marketing efforts.

Author: Jill Phillips
Source: http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/mainstreethost/5-tools-will-help-create-amazing-content-01751531#io0Uodrg0eB1KrUJ.97


Published in Market Research

To be truly successful at content marketing, today's brands must pay attention to consumer interest. It doesn't matter if you're a world famous DJ, run a startup, or if you work in the enterprise. It is absolutely mandatory that you ignite peoples' interest and get them to share your content. These days, news is often passed along not by word of mouth, but through social media posts. One of the best ways to learn more about your customers is to find out what consumers are talking about on a given day.

When a topic generates a great deal of buzz, it falls under the category of "trending." One news item can be shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter millions of times, at which point it gets added to lists that bring even more attention to it. At that point, brands can either post their own content related to those trending items or try to create trending content of their own. Here are a few sites that can help as you try to keep up with the things that have everyone talking.

BuzzFeed Trending

Acknowledging that social media has changed the way consumers get their news, BuzzFeed bills itself as a social news and entertainment company. BuzzFeed Trending keeps up with the topics that are trending on a given day, showing both the items trending now and the top news for the week. BuzzFeed uses its own built-in algorithms to gather news from sites across the web, only posting the most interesting and popular content for its readers.

What's Trending

Like BuzzFeed, What's Trending scours the web for interesting news and shares it on its site, supplementing its popular daily interactive YouTube talk show. Stories are organized by most popular and most recent and are a combination of videos and articles. What's Trending's show has been nominated for several major awards, including an Emmy and a Webby.


When you want to determine interest in a subject, basic web searches can be misleading. You'll likely see business websites and online magazines but little else. Dotmos brings social media and videos into the mix, displaying all of the results in a format that makes it easy to get a big-picture view of a subject. If you look up a particular celebrity, for instance, you'll see pinned photos of that celebrity from Pinterest, news items, Reddit threads, traditional search results, and much more.


Quora captures what people are talking about now, with people asking questions and other members of the community stepping forward to answer. Members upvote the answers they like with the results helping future people who conduct a Google search on that question. The homepage captures the day's top stories, displaying the questions that are getting the most attention at that time. If you have a particular topic you're working up content for, you can search the site for that topic and see the questions members have asked about it.


Buzzsumo specializes in trends, helping brands find the most buzz-worthy content across the web. In addition to searching any topic, members can set up alerts that notify then when content mentioning a specified keyword has been posted. Brands can also monitor their competitors' content performance against their own to find ways to improve. For brands interested in finding influencers, Buzzsomo helps by showing which influencers are most effectively amplifying content.

Social Media's Trending Panes

One of the best places to see what's trending each day is on the social media sites you're already using. Facebook lists trending news in the right pane of your newsfeed and Twitter's trending information is on the left pane. On Twitter, you'll see how many tweets have been sent on a specific topic while on Facebook, clicking on an item takes you to a page that reveals the most recent shares on a story.

By keeping an eye on trending stories, you can formulate your own content marketing strategies and increase your chances of success. Whether you're coming up with new topics or checking to see how your own content is performing, innovative tools can give you a competitive edge.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/learn-more-about-trending-topics-with-these-research-tools.html

Providing your future buyers with easy and varied ways to get in touch with you is the most obvious way to improve your conversion rate.

So how to improve your contact page?

Here are a few ideas…

Add your full business address and a phone number

This is just the matter of being trustworthy, especially if you are into an ecommerce, medical or financial business where customers entrust you with their personal data (like credit card details).

Having this information visible is a clear sign to Google of trustworthiness of a site. But even more importantly, it eliminates anxiety in buyers as well.

It makes sense to markup this information properly:

Use click-to-call for the phone number for customers to easily call (especially from mobile phone). Here’s a code to use for that.

Use Schema.org to point search engines to your business official address (especially for local business. Here’s schema code for that (scroll down to the actual examples) or you can use this free online generator.

Add a call back widget

Call Back Widget

Probably my favorite little trick, a callback button can make all the difference in the world.

A callback button allows your customers to request a callback from your representative. It’s an easy lead as many clients click the button just out of curiosity.

Ringostat provides this widget as part of their overall call tracking and lead generation functionality. A nice thing about this solution is that it’s integrated, so together with the widget you get in-depth reports, multi-channel funnel analysis and your customer support team stats (enabling you to optimize the efficiency).My favorite part of the report is the ability to see the exact path that led the customer to the call:


Expand beyond your site

Social media is becoming such a huge part of customer engagement that you probably communicate with your audience more there than anywhere else. Using these platforms as a place to encourage contact is a great way to take things off site and into a more open sphere.

You can integrate the two methods pretty simply, as well. Just put buttons to your social media pages on your contact page, and vice versa.

Many people would argue that making your social media sites visible will expose your business to unhappy customers taking their irritation into public, but the truth is, they will discuss your business online anyway: You’d better be there to control the sentiment.

Provide a live chat option

Having someone on hand to ask general questions is a good way to connect with someone who maybe doesn’t want to call, but would like answers immediately.You can have set hours where they can contact you or a customer service agent, either with or without account access.

This also has the benefit of freeing up phone lines for calls that can’t be handled over a chat box. Like an interactive FAQ that also improves your engagement.I’ve listed some of the great live chat options in this article.

You can also follow the footsteps of bigger companies and try using a smart chatbot! Here’s a solid insight into current solutions put together by Tej Kohli:

"China has successfully used WeChat for a while now to enable customers to complete basic tasks such as ordering food, paying restaurant bills… Shopify recently acquired Kit, an all-round marketing masterpiece that can do everything from email customers to help you set discounts and handle 404 errors. Facebook recently announced that their new messenger platform is open to Chatbots, which could be a marketing game-changer.”

Curious to see where it goes!

Make it easy to email


Trying to find an email address to email support or sales when you don’t have the time to chat or talk can be really annoying. For some reason, companies are starting to cut out email support lately.

But that only removes one option that they would have otherwise had, and no one likes having their choices reduced. Make it easy to find your email on your contact page. And consider putting it on the front page as well, next to your number.Most email forms are impersonal, annoying, and make it feel as though your message will never be seen. It is like shouting into the wind. Make it short and sweet.

ZenDesk is the simplest solution: It doesn’t force your customers to register in a ticket system, yet it provides your team with nice scaling and tracking options.

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/15/how-to-optimize-your-contact-page-for-better-conversions/

Published in Market Research

In this post, I’ll look at how brands are making the most of data visualization and data-informed product design to bring out data’s creative side.Prompted by the agenda of a conference I recently attended, I asked myself a random question: is big data actually still a thing?

My conclusion was that it is, and is likely to remain so in the near future, though in a slightly different way. My view is that we will be seeing a lot more of data’s creative side.

So what it is data’s creative side?

The developed area in this regard is probably data-informed user experience (UX) design. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.There are (at least) two further areas of data-centric creativity that are growing rapidly and worth a closer look.

1. Data visualization – the communication of data in an easy to digest way

All the data in the world doesn’t mean anything if it cannot be understood clearly. For it to be understood, it should be communicated in an easy to digest manner. And that’s where data visualization comes in.

The visualization of data is often overlooked, especially here in Asia. If you’re guilty of doing so, here are two consumer-facing campaign examples that should put the presentation of data back on your radar.

Netflix: #Cokenomics

In order to promote the TV show Narcos, which tells the story of Pablo Escobar, Netflix created infographics that brought the economy of the Columbian cocaine trade to life in a socially engaging way.

Netflix built a whole campaign around the Columbian cartel’s cocaine data under the hashtag #Cokenomics.


The Twitter account @NarcosNetflix has almost 67,000 followers and posts regular tweets such as this one:

CbWs8ETWcAQeNQg content research - AOFIRS

Here’s an example of content for Instagram:

Data Visualization_Netflix_Cokenomics_Mistress campaign_Instagram_600

The agency behind the campaign – Mistress – says its initial campaign drove more than 100,000 engagements.

Spotify: Found Them First

Spotify’s Found Them First gave music fans a way to prove that they were really into certain bands and singers before they actually became famous, for the bragging rights.Users’ listening data was used to show users all the artists they had discovered ahead of other Spotify listeners.

Within weeks of the launch in October 2014, the campaign had received more than a million visits and 100 million social media impressions, all without any media spend.

Data Visualization_Spotify_Found them first_600

Data tools

Data doesn’t actually need to be communicated to customers directly in most cases, but it’s important to get this across to internal stakeholders.

For such circumstances, there are several tools that can help you avoid the all-too-common walls of text with stock charts presentations, and substitute them with something a little more engaging and inspiring.

For example, if you are looking to beautify your charts, graphs, maps and timelines, check out the likes of RAW, Datawrapper, and Timeline JS.Should you have a little more time on your hands, and you also know how to code, have a look at D3.js, which comes highly recommended by my own team’s creative technologist.

If you really want to up your data visualization game, you can take some inspiration from Hans Rosling, known for his unconventional ways of bringing subjects such as population growth and income equalities to life in a more tangible way.

2. Data-informed product design

Another space to watch is data-informed product design. Now I’m not talking here about your typical research-initiated product innovation cycle. I’m talking about an evolution of data visualization that quite literally and directly translates data into an actual product.

Here are three of my favorite projects within this space. I can’t wait to see more like this.

Flowing Data: Multivariate Beer

Nathan Yau from Flowingdata took U.S. demographics to brew four different types of beer.

For example, he mapped population density to the total amount of hops, and ethnicity to the type of hops used.

See Flowingdata’s website for a more detailed description of the process and other ways it transforms data.

Data Visualization_Flowingdata_05-Bottles_600


This was invented by Japanese software engineer Ken Kawamoto. It’s a device which displays either current weather conditions or forecasts them physically.


This is a concept which takes important life locations such as cities or even specific street addresses, maps the paths between them, and finally transforms them into a piece of jewelry.

Data Visualization_meshu_600

The examples above demonstrate that there are no boundaries to data’s creativity, though a lot of it is still driven by artists, entrepreneurs and scientists. I hope that, in future, the marketing and advertising industry will recognise more strongly the beauty that lies within data and the compelling stories it can tell.

Storytelling is after all, a major part of our jobs.

source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/17/how-brands-are-using-data-visualisation-in-social-campaigns/

Published in Market Research

The early 2000s saw the advent of platforms on the web: somewhere that bloggers and publishers could host their content without having to worry about the back end, while still maintaining control over their own outlets and what they posted.

More than a decade later, and many of the social media platforms of today are starting to suspiciously resemble blogging platforms, becoming a place for users to publish content instead of just share links and brief updates. At the same time, huge companies like Facebook and Google have developed native publishing platforms aimed at providing a superior user experience for an increasingly mobile audience.

We have a wider choice of platforms to publish to than ever before, and each is promising the fastest, shiniest interfaces that will put our content directly in front of huge audiences we can’t reach through other means.

But how can we manage to spread ourselves between so many different outlets, and what are the drawbacks of these platforms? Veteran digital journalist and university lecturer Adam Tinworth gave a presentation at CMA’s most recent Digital Breakfast on ‘playing the platform game’ which looked at what this plethora of new tools – and gatekeepers – means for online content.

Social publishers and walled gardens

In 2015, we reached a watershed moment: in June, Facebook surpassed Google as the top referring site to publishers, according to Parse.ly. Clearly, we are now living in a very different internet age, in which social publishers dominate over search engines as a means of distribution and referral.

Tinworth remarked in a panel discussion later in the Digital Breakfast that social networks have taken over from search engines in the role of “finding something to read” online, leaving search engines to fill more of an “answer engine” role. This has huge ramifications for both SEO and social publishing, some of which are already being felt, and others which will make themselves known further down the line.

A graph by Parse.ly showing referral traffic for Google

The other huge trend affecting the way that traffic reaches sites online is of course mobile. An Ofcom report from August 2015 declared that the UK is “now a smartphone society”, with 2/3 of Britons owning a smartphone and 33% seeing it as the most important device for going online, above laptops at 30%.

The trend towards mobile has affected the types of platforms springing up that we can publish to. Take Snapchat, the ultimate mobile-native social app, whose Discover publishing platform was just revamped to become much more visual, allowing users to more easily browse content at a glance.

Although Discover is only available to a select few publishers, many more brands and businesses use Snapchat for content marketing, and the redesign shows that Snapchat is serious about pushing further into the publishing space.

Two side-by-side screenshots showing the new, more visual, Snapchat Discover, with large picture thumbnails of Discover stories overlaid with text.

Meanwhile, publishing platforms like Facebook Instant Articles and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have come about with the goal of providing users the best possible experience in mobile. They aim to load fast and look sleek, getting rid of the distracting artefacts which clutter the desktop web to deliver a streamlined product.

Instant Articles and AMP, while they are often mentioned in the same breath, take fundamentally different approaches to providing a better mobile experience. AMP is an open-source project aimed at reinventing the code on which the mobile web runs (from HTML to AMP-HTML), and can be used by anyone to build a faster mobile site. Instant Articles is more selective and restrictive, requiring publishers to have a Facebook page, and allowing them to begin publishing subject to having a sample of their content reviewed by Facebook.

A screenshot of guidelines for Facebook Instant Articles, stipulating that publishers must create at least 10 articles in their Production library before submitting for review, and the Facebook team will review the articles and provide feedback within 3-5 business days. Below this, a notice states "Your review is currently pending. Article reviews are usually completed within 3-5 business days."

But both companies ultimately have the same goal with their platforms, which is to keep users within the spaces they own, their walled gardens, for as long as possible. Readers who click on Sponsored links in Facebook Instant Articles find themselves redirected to other Instant Articles, still within Facebook; and Accelerated Mobile Pages allow you to swipe between news stories without leaving Google.

Other new publication platforms like Apple News have the same basic aim. Even Medium, which appears at first brush to just be another, more social-oriented take on the blogging platform, forces writers who publish with it to give up much of the editorial control they would normally enjoy over how they offer their work, in order to produce content (and revenue) for someone else’s branded platform.

As Tinworth put it in his presentation, “There’s a whole new set of gatekeepers between us and audiences.” But if you can connect with much bigger audiences than you would be able to reach without them, then it’s worth it, right?

The danger of sites as gatekeepers

As we’ve established, publication platforms like Facebook Instant Articles and Medium can provide excellent user experiences, but at the cost of giving over control of your content to the brand whose platform you use.

There’s another, more general, drawback to this proliferation of platforms, which is that suddenly publishers are having to publish to a whole range of different formats. Publishers who are serious about social media, said Tinworth, have known for some time that you need to insert certain metadata in order to do well on those sites, making sure that your social posts look clean and carry the right information.

A slide from Adam Tinworth

Multi-platform publishing takes this to the next level, requiring publishers and content creators to cater to wildly different formats: the requirements for Facebook Instant Articles are different to AMP, which is different to Apple News, which is very different to Snapchat, and so on. But if you want to get engagement on these platforms, this is the game you have to play.

“It’s complicating what was a fairly simple and opening publishing format,” said Adam Tinworth.

The danger of putting these different companies (Google, Facebook, Apple) in front of our content as gatekeepers is that they start to call the shots and tell us exactly how we ought to publish.

So, away with platforms, then? Should we all stick doggedly to hosting all of our content on domains and websites that we have complete ownership and control over? Well, not necessarily. There’s still a lot to be gained from publishing to platforms, and ignoring them means missing out on a great deal of opportunities to connect with the audiences who use them.

What’s good about publishing to platforms?

As Tinworth pointed out, we can’t afford to ignore platforms: they’re incredibly valuable for finding audiences and getting our content out there. And there are other good things about publishing to them.

Platforms are rich experiences where people hang out online, and deliver good traffic and interaction. Posting content there can provide a huge visibility boost, especially if the platform features it in some way; and it reduces the need to drag people, by hook or by crook, over to your own website when they’d rather not go.

A presentation slide detailing the good aspects of publishing to platforms. The bullet points are as follows: Rich experiences where people hang out online; Deliver good traffic and interaction; Often favoured by the platforms; Reduce the need to drag people to your own site.

Mike Burgess, another speaker at the Digital Breakfast, also advised that you can have success by being early onto platforms even when they’re not that successful overall, like Apple News.

Of course, there’s also the bad, which I’ve given plenty of attention to in this article: publishing to multiple platforms means more APIs and feed formats to support, and that extra bit of distance between you and your readers. It’s harder to get access to meaningful analytics, which can be issued at the discretion of the platform, and we’re at the mercy of the platform in other ways – including if they decide to charge.

A presentation slide detailing the bad aspects of publishing to platforms. The bullet points are as follows: Lots of APIs and feed formats to support; Distancing relationship with readers; Analytics can be tricky; We 

Where does that leave publishers who want to get the greatest returns out of the platform game, however that might mean playing it? Ultimately, said Adam Tinworth, the trick is to play it strategically. It’s inevitable that publishers will have to play the platform game, and the key is finding the platforms that the audience you want to target are using.

Mike Burgess gave an excellent example of this in his own presentation when he talked about travel brands on Instagram. Instagram is home to an absolute wealth of travel-related content, with 353 million travel-related hashtags on the app.

People turn to Instagram in droves for inspiration on where to go for their travels, spending an average of 21 minutes per day perusing the app; and yet the travel industry has been the second-slowest (after financial services) at adopting and making use of Instagram.

Businesses can’t afford to be too high-minded about platforms and social publishing, for fear of missing out on golden opportunities like these. At the same time, it’s also worth being aware of the risks and drawbacks, and keeping an eye on them so that you know if they ever start to outweigh the benefits.


One of the functions of your website is to help alleviate many of the fears visitors may have about doing business with you.

You have to make them confident and comfortable with making the purchase. Failure to earn their trust is a failure to earn their business.

All things being equal, web users will make purchases from sites they feel confident about. All things not being equal, this confidence often trumps other “important” factors, such as pricing.

It is often difficult for small business owners to see their websites objectively. A handful of people throw a few compliments their way, and they assume everyone else feels the same. This then prevents them from making important and necessary changes because they “get compliments on that a lot.”

However, when a more objective viewpoint is applied, you can get past the few compliments and finally see the glaring omissions that may be preventing them from earning even more customers.

Below I have outlined five trust symbols you can use to build confidence in your brand and increase your ability to close the deal.

1. Risk-Free Guarantees

risk free guarantee

There is very little difference between an absolute guarantee and a risk-free guarantee, but I think one feels more genuine than the other. An absolute guarantee says, “This won’t break,” where a risk-free guarantee says, “If it breaks within three years, we’ll replace it.” The two guarantees may offer the same solution, but one implies something we know isn’t true (this won’t break), while the other recognizes the possibilities (this will break, but hopefully not within the next three years) and immediately moves to a solution.

Web marketing offers a good real-world example of the two. Someone who says “Guaranteed top search engine rankings or your money back” is likely up to something sketchy. But the web marketer who says, “If you’re not satisfied with the results, this is how we’ll remedy it,” is acknowledging that 1) they don’t control rankings and 2) you know they don’t control rankings. It is a more credible guarantee.

SimplifiedSolar provides a good example. They don’t say their products will never break, but they promise “If it breaks, we’ll fix it free.” Notice the down-to-earth language. Many guarantees are fraught with legalese and big words, but not Simplified Solar’s. People want to do business with real people, and this sounds like it was written by a human, adding another layer of security to the guarantee.

Guarantee example

Offering risk-free guarantees helps ease your shopper’s worries about what happens if the product isn’t what they expected. Providing options for returning products (or getting refunded for services) for whatever reason closes the confidence gap just in case something goes wrong.

2. Helpful Content

Content is critical to the sales process. You have to hit all the touch points that entice, compel and propel the visitor to take action. But there is more to content than selling.

Using content to sell often keeps the focus on all the positive aspects of the product or service. That’s important, but it all too frequently neglects to address the potential downsides or the questions customers might have. Part of giving your visitors confidence in what you do means addressing potential negatives.

If you’re familiar with the grocery chain Aldi, you know there are trade-offs for their low prices. Their website does not shy away from what could be perceived as possible negatives, such as their limited selection and hours. Instead, it tackles those issues head-on and explains why the chain operates the way they do.Negative info screenshot

Negative info screenshot

Content should make the shopper feel the warmth, smell the aroma, taste the sweetness, experience the rush and enjoy the peace and comfort a product will bring them. But it should also address the nagging ‘what if’s’. What if the product arrives damaged? What if it’s the wrong size? What if it doesn’t work? That’s more than just guarantee talk; it is an opportunity to ease concerns preventing them from moving forward.

3. Testimonials and Product Reviews

Customer reviews

Testimonials and reviews provide shoppers with valuable insight into the company they are contemplating doing business with. Studies show 90% of purchasing decisions are influenced by reviews. Looking at this from the other side, it means you only have a 10% chance of making a sale if you don’t have good reviews.

Seeking out testimonials and product reviews from satisfied customers is an important part of effective marketing. Not only do these reviews influence decisions, but they can also influence your ability to get into the search results.

Even negative reviews and testimonials can be valuable. These are powerful opportunities to show other potential customers how you solve known problems and you’re willing to go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. It also lends credibility to the reviews. Reviews look fake when they are all 5-star glowing references.

4. Company Info and Security Assurances

Company information is essential. Most shoppers care a great deal about who they are doing business with and how their personal information will be handled.

Company About Us pages are frequently visited by those who want to know more about the background of the company, its owners, and the people they’ll be working with. Contact pages assure customers you are reachable and able to assist when needed.

I, unfortunately, learned how important it is to have multiple ways to contact a company when I left my iPad on a Southwest flight recently (DOPE!). Fortunately, through both its app and its website, Southwest offers plenty of ways to keep in touch…and I took advantage of as many as possible in my frantic attempts to retrieve my device, including the main phone line, their baggage office, and their website form. As you can see, there are plenty of other options I could have tried, but fortunately, they got back to me by the next day, so I didn’t have to blow up all their contact avenues!

Contact options

Privacy policies are also important because they let visitors know they won’t end up on a spam list somewhere because they submitted a phone or email address on one of your site forms.

These are things that put the visitor at ease. It gives them an opportunity to get to know you and have a better understanding of how they’ll be treated.

social engagement

Shoppers are 67% more likely to make purchases from companies they follow, and 71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals. If you’re not active in social media, you are missing out on a huge amount of potential

Using social media to engage your customers–not just promote yourself–is the new expectation for companies who are serious about building their online presence and authority. Not only does it increase brand awareness, but it also takes the “about us” assurances to the next level. Customers aren’t just reading about you; they are building a relationship with your company.

Familiarity breeds confidence. Every interaction you have with a potential customer allows that customer to establish a deeper connection with you and your company.

Build Confident Shoppers

Building a successful business is more than just selling your product or service. It’s about establishing confidence. Lack of confidence leads to lack of sales. The more confident each shopper is that your company offers the best opportunity to get their needs met, the more likely you are to get and maintain that customer.

But remember, the sale is just the beginning of the relationship. You not only have to prove their confidence wasn’t in vain, but you also have to continue to demonstrate your worthiness to maintain their business.

How do you build your visitors’ trust in your company?

sources:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/absolutely-irrefutably-unequivocally-important-thing-website-must/165328/?ver=165328X2

Do you ever find your eyes glazing over when putting together and presenting your regular local search reports? Columnist Lydia Jorden explains how to develop a revenue-based report that will be sure to impress both your client and your boss.

Local SEO is a critical part of an overall digital marketing strategy, but relaying its importance through weekly, monthly or bi-annual reports to your boss or clients is a challenge. People’s eyes tend to glaze over, especially if they’re looking at the same metrics every month.

It’s easy to succumb to “Broken Record Syndrome” when local search reports cover the same territory month after month, and it can be difficult to find and integrate something new and valuable.

But these reports are critical for justifying the budget to continue and strengthen local search campaigns. Optimizing local listings, updating photos, building links and employing other tactics to strengthen a brand’s position in the local landscape take time — and time takes money.

Avoiding “Broken Record Syndrome”

Instead of being a broken record and discussing local keyword position performance and reviewing fluctuations, find new metrics to track over time that support funding your local search campaigns. I’ll provide some examples below. Or, on the flip side, you may determine that local search isn’t generating as much revenue as you had once predicted. If that’s the case, you can put that budget toward developing a new local search strategy or reallocate your local search campaign efforts toward something more profitable.

Examining new metrics can spice up your reports and breathe life into what was otherwise a tedious report with similar findings month to month, requiring little analysis.

Furthermore, finding local strategies that have successfully generated revenue can allow for an increase in budget allocated to local search implementation. Measuring local search efforts in financial terms is a surefire way to impress your boss, as well as strengthen rapport with clients and justify funding for local search campaigns.

A few metrics to consider and how to implement them

1. How local search performance affected sales

For local businesses, the financial bottom line is the most important metric, so it is critical that you find a way to connect your local search campaign efforts to sales.

To pinpoint ROI, you need to determine the revenue generated from the effort, as well as the cost put into managing and optimizing a local search campaign.Although it can be difficult to tie online spend to offline revenue, establishing and following key metrics that contribute to those in-store purchases are very important.

For example, determine the number of people who clicked on your local listing for driving directions. You can do this by going into your Google My Business account and clicking on the green insights tab.

Google My Business Insights Icon

Then, scroll down to find how many people clicked for driving directions:

Google My Business Driving Directions Example

Of those people who clicked, what percentage of them came into your store? This is a number that you will have to research, discuss with your team and likely get the CMO’s approval to use, as this percentage will have a significant impact on your ROI calculations. This number will vary between industries and buyer behavior patterns.

Then attribute an average receipt value of an in-store “purchase” based on the parameters set. So, let’s say that 10 percent of people who request driving directions from local search make a purchase. (10 percent of 514 is 51.4, or 51 people). Each person’s average receipt is $100. All the assets that went into optimizing for local search cost $5,000.

Looking solely at direct costs and requests for driving directions on Google, we can then report that ROI on the local campaign, conservatively, is a gain of $100 in revenue, or two percent ROI for a brick-and-mortar store.

2. Using Google Analytics e-commerce tracking to provide value for local search reporting

If you have online as well as offline conversions, Google Analytics’ e-commerce tracking can help you tie specific online traffic sources to eventual revenue.Within Google Analytics, you will want to filter transactions by local region to get a rough idea of whether a push in local listings in a specific location had an effect on transactions.

You can do this by clicking on Audience, then Geo, then Location in Google Analytics, and creating a custom segment.

Path to Find Locations In Google Analytics

 Click to create a custom segment once you arrive at the Locations screen.

Custom Segment Creation in Google Analytics

You will create two custom segments — the first for someone who purchased an item organically, and the second for someone who purchased an item as a referral. Then there are two parts within each segment to update.

a. Segment for those who purchased an item on the site:

This tab should look something like the screen shot below, depending on the parameters you’re requiring for your data:

Custom Segment in Google Analytics - Item Purchased

If you’re doing a push for a specific item that you have been optimizing for within local search, you can also enter that information to further segment into how successfully a product-specific local search optimization campaign performed.

b. Segment for sources so we make sure to only capture organic and referral traffic:

Since we’re most interested in local search purchases (in an effort to be able to attribute revenue to local search SEO), we need to filter the sessions by organic and referral traffic, as these types of traffic are the main results of local search campaigns. Below is the screen shot for completing the first segment:

Custom Segment in Google Analytics - Traffic Source

Then you’ll want to create a second custom segment and repeat the e-commerce steps, along with the traffic source step. However, the second time you complete the traffic sources step, you’ll want to use “referral” rather than “organic.”

Once you create these segments, you can then filter through traffic by location and further dig into where organic and referral traffic came from. You’ll be able to get a rough idea of how local search traffic affected sales by determining if a push for local optimization in specific areas impacted traffic from that location to the site, and even further break it down by revenue generated by locations.

Additionally, by creating UTM codes and using them in your links from all local listing sites, you can get a direct representation of the traffic and revenue generated from those sources.

Spice up those local search reports

Now go impress your boss and clients with new metrics. Give them something new to look at — to keep their attention and also defend your case as a local search engine optimizer to invest more in local search.

But don’t abandon the tried-and-true metrics. Continue to use geotargeted keyword position tracking, local review tracking and other indicators of local search campaign success within your reports. You do not want to throw out the old metrics entirely, but adding something new that connects local search performance to sales may give you a few more insights that you had not anticipated.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/boss-actually-wants-local-search-reports-251815

Published in Research Methods

Search Engine Optimization is about making search engines aware that your website’s pages are interesting and relevant—and more so than other websites.

You are well aware of how important providing high-quality content is – “The single most important thing to do” says Google, but how do you measure it?

Here are suggestions of meaningful metrics and how to use them:

Remove the Template From the Equation

First, it is necessary to remove the “noise around the signal”: ignore all that is not directly related to the page’s core content – the page topic – that is to say, disregard the page template.

Typically, the template will include generic elements such as a header, footer, and main menu. Other elements may also qualify as a template, when common to a large number of pages: for instance, a Reuters feed on a news website, or the latest arrivals on an e-commerce website.

The example below shows that the template can easily represent a significant portion of all words found on a page:


Template weight may also prompt an action point. Is it overwhelming? It may deserve to be reduced. See these examples of two publishing websites:


Look at the Size of the Actual Content, in Words

Once templating is put aside, we can look at the size of the actual content, in words. This accurately reflects the user’s perception: how much is there to dig their teeth into, how much corresponds to what they came to the page for?

Pinpoint Thin Content and Define Content Size Goals

Each website will be able to assess the situation and define goals, by page type. A publishing website may aim at 500 to 5,000 words for article pages; an e-commerce website could estimate that 250 words are acceptable for product pages, while another with very specialized products may want more.

Here are examples of content size distribution on two publishing websites:


Check Pages’ Added Value

Taking on the task of assessing how valuable a page’s content is requires more than identifying near-duplicates.

Rather, the question is how much unique content, found nowhere else on the website, does it contain? This is about information, ‘information’ being a sequence of words (n-gram, for the tech-savvy). Many pages will have *some* information in common, as they belong to the same website, the same semantic universe. But the more there is in common, the less added value each page has.

How Close is the Most Similar Page?

Which proportion of its actual content – template excluded – does a page share with the page that is most similar?

In the example below, most internal search pages provide very little added value, as they share most of their content with other pages. It turns out that some are very similar to category pages, others to search results with similar queries. Action point: consolidate.


How Big is Each Cluster of Similar Pages?

The additional metric to look at is how many pages each group of similar pages contains. Like everything with SEO, your task is now to look for the biggest wins and prioritize.

Going Further

These metrics are also very useful to:

Analyze a website you are not familiar with, as an SEO consultant approaching prospects

Compare your website to the competition
Monitor content changes on your website

Check how your website performs according to these criteria. Try Botify!
Botify is an SEO analytics platform based on a website crawler, which received the European Search Award 2016 for “Best Search Software Tool”. Ask for a free, full-featured 30-day trial.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/improve-content-quality-using-metrics-matter-seo/165145/

Published in Market Research

Columnist Patrick Stox takes a comprehensive look at what Google might consider to be "quality content" and adds his own thoughts and tips based on his experience in the SEO industry.


We’ve all heard that content is king and that you need to write high-quality content, or now “10x content,” as coined by Rand Fishkin. Ask SEOs what “quality content” is and you’ll receive a lot of varied and opinionated answers. Quality is subjective, and each person views it differently.

Ask SEOs what Google considers to be quality content, and you will get a lot of blank stares. I know because I like to ask this a lot.

The number one answer I get, sadly, is that content should be x number of words, where x is usually 200, 300, 500, 700, 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000. More content does not mean better content. A simple query about the age of an actor can be fully answered in a sentence and doesn’t require their life story and filmography.

Another answer I receive is that the content should be “relevant.” The problem with this is that low-quality pages can be relevant as well.

Other SEOs I’ve asked have given amazingly detailed answers from patents or ideas from machine learning about word2vec, RankBrain, deep learning, count-based methods and predictive methods.

Is there a right answer?

Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines

Google has quality guidelines here. However, you may notice that there are many guidelines around negative signals but few around positive signals. When reading these, think for a minute what happens when two, ten or a hundred websites aren’t doing anything bad. How do you determine the quality difference if no one does anything wrong?

Basic principles

Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.

Don’t deceive your users.

Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Specific guidelines

Avoid the following techniques:

Automatically generated content

Participating in link schemes

Creating pages with little or no original content


Sneaky redirects

Hidden text or links

Doorway pages

Scraped content

Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
Loading pages with irrelevant keywords

Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans or other badware

Abusing rich snippets markup

Sending automated queries to Google

Follow good practices like these:

Monitoring your site for hacking and removing hacked content as soon as it appears
Preventing and removing user-generated spam on your site

Google on how to create valuable content

Then there’s this section from Google’s Webmaster Academy course, which tells you how to “create valuable content.” There are a few good tips here on what to avoid: broken links, wrong information, grammar or spelling mistakes, excessive ads and so on. These are useful tips, but again, they focus on what not to do.


There are some tips on how to make your site useful, credible and engaging; however, when it comes to being more valuable or high-quality, Google basically says, “be more valuable or high-quality.”

As you begin creating content, make sure your website is:

Useful and informative: If you’re launching a site for a restaurant, you can include the location, hours of operation, contact information, menu and a blog to share upcoming events.

More valuable and useful than other sites: If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web on dog training.

Credible: Show your site’s credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. An author biography or testimonials from real customers can help boost your site’s trustworthiness and reputation.

High-quality: Your site’s content should be unique, specific and high-quality. It should not be mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.

Engaging: Bring color and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team or yourself. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic and factual errors. An excessive number of ads can also be distracting for visitors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes or social media widgets.

Google’s Panda algorithm

Panda algorithmically assessed website quality. The algorithm targeted many signals of low-quality sites but again didn’t provide much in the way of useful information for positive signals. 

Angry Google Panda


Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines

There were a lot of signals for both high- and low-quality content and websites in the Google Search Quality Ratings Guidelines. It is worth reading in its entirety multiple times, but I pulled out some of the important parts here:

What makes a High-quality page? A High-quality page may have the following characteristics:

High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

A satisfying amount of high quality MC (Main Content)

Satisfying website information and/or information about who is responsible for the website, or satisfying customer service information if the page is primarily for shopping or includes financial transactions.


Positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page
They expand further on the concept of E-A-T. This was the part of the guidelines I found the most interesting and relevant in determining quality of content (or a website in general).

6.1 Low Quality Main Content

One of the most important criteria in PQ (Page Quality) rating is the quality of the MC, which is determined by how much time, effort, expertise and talent/skill have gone into the creation of the page and also informs the E-A-T of the page.

Consider this example: Most students have to write papers for high school or college. Many students take shortcuts to save time and effort by doing one or more of the following:

Buying papers online or getting someone else to write for them

Making things up
Writing quickly, with no drafts or editing
Filling the report with large pictures or other distracting content
Copying the entire report from an encyclopedia or paraphrasing content by changing words or sentence structure here and there

Using commonly known facts, for example, “Argentina is a country. People live in Argentina. Argentina has borders.”

Using a lot of words to communicate only basic ideas or facts, for example, “Pandas eat bamboo. Pandas eat a lot of bamboo. Bamboo is the best food for a Panda bear.”
I found the part of about large images amusing. I’m not a fan of hero images unless they are exceptional. Unfortunately, most end up being generic. Some publications make it worse and use generic hero sliders. Remember, there is an algorithm for “above-the-fold,” and I feel like hero images are completely against this. Most hero images provide little to no useful content without having to scroll.

In section 7.0, “Lowest Quality Pages,” Google notes that the following types of pages/websites should receive the Lowest quality rating:

Harmful or malicious pages or websites

True lack of purpose pages or websites
Deceptive pages or websites
Pages or websites which are created to make money with little to no attempt to help users
Pages with extremely low or lowest-quality MC
Pages on YMYL websites that are so lacking in website information that it feels untrustworthy
Hacked, defaced or spammed pages

Pages or websites created with no expertise or pages which are highly untrustworthy, unreliable, unauthoritative, inaccurate or misleading
Websites which have extremely negative or malicious reputations
Violations of the Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines
Speaking more specifically about page content in section 7.4, “Lowest Quality Main Content,” the guidelines note that the following types of Main Content (MC) should be judged as Lowest quality:

No helpful MC at all or so little MC that the page effectively has no MC
MC which consists almost entirely of “keyword stuffing”

Gibberish or meaningless MC

“Auto-generated” MC, created with little to no time, effort, expertise, manual curation or added value for users

MC which consists almost entirely of content copied from another source with little time, effort, expertise, manual curation or added value for users.

Finally, in section 7.2, “Lack of Purpose Pages,” Google notes that:

Sometimes it is impossible to figure out the purpose of the page. Such pages serve no real purpose for users. For example, some pages are deliberately created with gibberish or meaningless (nonsense) text. No matter how they are created, true lack of purpose pages should be rated Lowest quality.

I love how these sections are all basically saying that your page needs to have a purpose and be understood. I’ve seen many marketing pages that use so much lingo, jargon or marketing-speak that even people at the company can’t tell you what the page is about. What’s worse is when good content is stripped away to make more of these kinds of pages.

There are also some interesting snippets regarding the different elements and signals of trust that might need to be included based on the type of website. This information is extremely important, and it’s easy to brainstorm the different website elements that a local business would need (such as “about us” or “contact”), compared to an e-commerce store that might need reviews, pricing and so forth.

The point is that you need to understand the questions your customers are asking and provide that information to them.

12.7 Understanding User Intent

It can be helpful to think of queries as having one or more of the following intents.

Know query, some of which are Know Simple queries

Do query, some of which are Device Action queries
Website query, when the user is looking for a specific website or webpage
Visit-in-person query, some of which are looking for a specific business or organization, some of which are looking for a category of businesses

The above is very similar to the standard “informational, navigational and transactional” system, but I like this better.

Google elaborates on the idea of matching user intent with the purpose of the page elsewhere in the document — section 2.2, “What is the Purpose of a Webpage?” lists the following common page purposes:

To share information about a topic

To share personal or social information
To share pictures, videos or other forms of media
To express an opinion or point of view
To entertain
To sell products or services
To allow users to post questions for other users to answer
To allow users to share files or to download software

explosion boom

 Boom! Jackpot. Matching the user intent with the purpose of a page and type of content expected is exactly what I’m looking for in trying to determine quality.

This makes sense if you think about it from the standpoint of semantic search. If I’ve got a product page, and the top results for the keyword I’m targeting are all informational in nature, then I obviously need to either create an informational page or add more information to my product page if I even want to compete.

I see this mismatch often when people ask why they’re not ranking for a specific term.

Google’s guidance on building high-quality websites
Even before the Quality Raters Guidelines, way back in 2011, there was this gem on the Google Webmaster Central Blog that told us the questions Google engineers asked themselves when building the algorithm.

Would you trust the information presented in this article?

Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

Does the site have duplicate, overlapping or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Does this article have spelling, stylistic or factual errors?
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research or original analysis?

Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
How much quality control is done on content?
Does the article describe both sides of a story?
Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
For a health-related query, would you trust information from this site?

Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend or recommend?

Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Are the articles short, unsubstantial or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Once again, spelling, factual errors and content quality control are mentioned, just like in the Google Search Quality Rating Guidelines. There are also a couple of questions about a site being recognized as an authority on the topic or an authority in general.

Additionally, there are questions that seek to answer if the person knows the topic well, if the content is unique and how comprehensively the topic is covered. This matches up perfectly with the E-A-T concept from the Search Quality Rating Guidelines.

Some content quality signals you can control

Broken links. Crawl your site with a program like Screaming Frog and fix them.
Wrong information. Do research and find the right sources.
Grammatical mistakes. You can use a tool like Grammarly or have someone proofread your writing.

Spelling mistakes. Use spell-check or an editor.

Reading level. The Hemingway App is good for this. You should be adjusting your reading level based on your target audience and the intent of the query.

Excessive ads. Just don’t.
Page load speed. Go read this.
Website features. The features you should have will change depending on the type of website and the intent of the query.

Matching the user intent with the purpose of a page and type of content expected. Take a look at the search results to see what is already ranking.
Authority and comprehensiveness. Keep reading.

There are things outside of your control in the short term, but you can play the long game and continue to build your authority over time by consistently creating comprehensive content.

At SMX West, I briefly showed a way of identifying all topics/subtopics in an industry and how to completely cover these based on keyword groupings. I believe that if you’re covering everything that’s being searched for and answering every question that people are asking about a topic, then you have a complete answer, and it will be the best answer for a search engine to return in the results.

How do I determine quality content?

I want to share a little more about my actual process and what I look for on a page, or a section of the site as it relates to the content of the page. Besides technical on-page elements, in the content itself what I’m usually looking for are:

Concepts and entities

Co-occurrence of keywords/phrases

Topical completeness

Concepts and entities

We know that Google looks for concepts and entities in the content, so I usually start here. I use Alchemy API for this.

If I enter the page from Google about creating valuable content — https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001093?hl=en — I get back some information on entities such as Search Console, search engines, Google and social media. Concepts returned are for website, Google search, PageRank, web search engine, Bing and Google. Keyword relevance is also returned through Alchemy: 

Alchemy API results for keyword relevance for a page about quality content


If you run many of the top ranking websites for a search query through Alchemy API, you will find a lot of overlap that indicates useful data. There are likely consistent concepts and entities that you would want to include in the body of your text. Alchemy has a JSON output, and I know a lot of people use Blockspring to pull into Google Sheets.

Co-occurrence of keywords and phrases

Ultimate Keyword Hunter provides words or phrases that are used on the pages the most. I normally sort by co-occurrence across websites and find that usually two-, three- and four-keyword phrases are the most useful. I set this to pull data from the top 50 search results. 

Ultimate Keyword Hunter two keyword phrase for SERPs on quality score


Ultimate Keyword Hunter three keyword phrase for SERPs on quality score

 Moz’s new Keyword Explorer has an interesting filter, “related to keywords with similar results pages,” that looks at pages that rank highly for the query entered and looks for other searches that contain the same pages. For example, a quick glance shows me that the pages ranking for “quality content” also rank for different terms around blogs, websites, content marketing and content strategy — all of which I may want to include on my page.

Moz Keyword Explorer result for quality content

  Topical completeness

I like to pull all auto-suggested keywords around a topic with Keyword Sh**ter (terrible name, but it’s very useful) and then put the resulting terms back into the AdWords Keyword Planner, which groups them. These groups are the main ideas I want to cover around a topic, whether all on the same page in subsections or on their own pages.

You can see the pivot table I created for auto-suggested terms based on “content quality” here. On a side note, I almost always put the original topic into the Keyword Planner as well, and I will often stem off the original topic into other topics based on the results.

Another tool I like is Answer The Public, which I first heard about from Wil Reynolds. Remember to change the country if you’re not from the UK. The tool is scraping auto-suggested terms and displaying them nicely in a grouped fashion by questions people are asking.

Answer The Public questions on quality content

These create the silo of pages I need around each topic to really make sure I’m covering it in-depth, providing answers to all questions being asked and catching people in every part of their journey. I like to think it makes a website the best answer. The more of these are covered, the more expertise and authority you and your website are building around a topic.

Final thoughts

It all really starts with the query intent. Then it’s matching your information and your website to the kinds of information that someone would need to be a good result for them.

This is the data I use to determine what I need to include in my content for completeness and relevancy. I like to inject my own expertise and opinions into the content as well — after all, it’s important to know what has been said, but it’s more important to add insights into things that might not have been said.I know everyone has their own processes and ways of doing things, and I would love to hear from some of you about how you approach quality content. Let me know what you look for, what tools you use or what your process is for determining quality of content.

 Source:  http://searchengineland.com/what-is-quality-content-251071

Going online to do research when you're writing papers and doing projects is a no-brainer. But all of the choices at your fingertips can seem overwhelming sometimes. Knowing how to evaluate and choose online resources can help you avoid headaches and wasted time.

Here are 5 ways to make researching online as easy and effective as possible:

Start at school.

Ask your teachers or librarian which resources they'd recommend for your project. That way you can be sure the resources are school approved and the information is accurate. In some cases, your school or teacher may have paid subscriptions to online journals or websites. These can give you information you wouldn't get through a regular Internet search.

Unless your teacher says otherwise, using the Internet should be an additional tool, not your only tool for researching a topic. Your school library is full of books, magazines, and other resources to help you.

Many schools block access to online images or entire websites that may be valuable to your research. So plan on spending some or most of your online research time at home, your local municipal library, or anywhere else you have online access.

Sort fact from fiction.

Before you begin your research, make a list of the kinds of sites that are best for your topic. Government sites ending in .gov and educational sites ending in .edu are usually safe bets. Established news-related sites are OK, too, but be sure that you're using the original source. If a newspaper article mentions another source, like an organization or website, go directly to that source to find the information.

Sites ending in .org are usually nonprofit organizations. They can be good resources, but it's always best to check with your teacher to make sure he or she considers the site appropriate. Wikipedia is popular and ranks high in search results, but it can be edited by anyone, whether a person has accurate knowledge of the topic or not. At most schools, using Wikipedia as a source is not a good way to build credibility in your repor  

On commercial websites ending in .com, check to see if the site has advertising. If it does, it may be biased. Blogs, personal websites, and social media sites (like YouTube, Digg, Tumblr, Pinterest, or Facebook) are personal sources and can be biased as well.

Search smart.

Start with an established search engine, like Google or Bing. Although search engines often do a good job of guessing what you need, you can use specific search methods to narrow down your results. If you haven't learned about things like Boolean searches in school, ask your teacher or librarian for guidance.

Many search engines are paid to place certain results as advertisements. Sometimes these ads show up at the top of the search result page. The ads will look different from the regular results (appearing on a shaded background, for example) and should be clearly marked as ads. Even when the top results aren't ads, they still might not be the best possible choices. That's why it helps to know how to decode the best sites for your needs (point #2 above).

Stay focused.

When you're ready to check out websites or go to search engines such as Google, log off your chat, Facebook, and email (and turn off your phone!). That way, you're not tempted to get lost in the surf. Just a few clicks can take you far from your topic.

If you need to take a break from your research, make a note of where you are before you walk away from your computer. Taking a 10-minute break from the computer every hour works well for most people. Use the time to move around and stretch a bit.

Cite right.

The format for citing online resources is different from print resources, so be sure to check the particular style your teacher wants you to use for Internet citations.

When you research online, it can be easy to copy and paste text, then forget to cite the source or go back and put the thought in your own words later. Just like teachers can recognize your voice in class, most can recognize your voice in your writing. Even accidental plagiarism can have serious consequences for your grades — so don't take a chance. Identify the text you've quoted and add the citation before moving on to the rest of your paper. 

Source:  http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/online-research.html

Published in Online Research
Page 1 of 2


World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.