But reliable recognition isn’t just about the big things — done well, even the smallest details of your WordPress website can help it stand out from the crowd and attract customer notice. This is the role of the favorite icon or “favicon” that’s used in web browser tabs, bookmarks, and on mobile devices as the app image for your site.
Not sure how favicons work or how to get them up and running on your site? We’ve got you covered with our functional guide to favicons — what they are, why they matter, and how to enable them in WordPress.
If you would rather follow along with a video, here’s a walkthrough created by Elegant Themes:
What is a WordPress Favicon?
The official WordPress support page defines a favicon as “an icon associated with a particular website or web page.” This description doesn’t do the term justice — in fact, favicons are everywhere and are intrinsically associated with your brand.
Let’s take a closer look at how favicons look and why they matter below.
WordPress Favicon Size
The typical size of a WordPress favicon is 512 x 512 pixels. These icons are stored as .ico files in the root directory of your WordPress server.
But what does a favicon look like in real life? For a quick example, take a look at the browser tab of this webpage if you’re on a desktop or the area just under the address bar on your mobile device. Notice anything? That orange symbol with lines and circles is HubSpot’s favicon — and it shows up anytime you’re on our site.
In most cases, favicons are the same as brand logos scaled down to fit web and mobile browsers. Where this isn’t possible — such as cases where your logo is too complex or detailed — site owners typically opt for similar color schemes and thematic elements to ensure brand consistency.
Once you start seeing favicons you can’t unsee them; from webpages to tabs to bookmarks and mobile applications, the icon you choose for your favicon is inextricably linked to your site and your brand — so make sure you choose wisely.
Why Favicons Matter
Favicons are the visual currency of your brand. They’re everywhere — from browsers to bookmarks to mobile apps — and become an integral part of your site’s overall branding strategy.
As result, effective favicon design and deployment offers three broad benefits:
Improved Brand Recognition
Think of your favicon like your calling card — the icon needs to be simple, recognizable and consistent. The more places your favicon appears, the better, since this makes it easy for users to connect your WordPress site with your icon image.
Consistency is also key as users open multiple browser tabs and the available space for text descriptions naturally shrinks. Open enough tabs and all that’s left is — you guessed it — room for the favicon.
Increased Consumer Confidence
While visitors may not be able to define what a favicon is or how it works, these icons are inherently familiar. So familiar, in fact, that sites without favicons often stand out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons.
Much like relevant social media content and secure site connections, favicons are critical to boosting consumer confidence in the products or services you offer on your site.
Integrated Mobile Consistency
The impact of mobile devices can’t be ignored, with smartphones and tablets now outpacing desktops as the primary means of consumer online interaction. Favicons make it possible to ensure your brand easily translates to mobile — when users create website bookmarks on mobile home screens, your favicon stands in for the link.
Favicon Creation Guidelines
Not sure how to get started creating your site’s favicon? Let’s break down some best-practice guidelines.
1. Get the size right.
As noted above, favicons are typically 512 x 512 pixels in size. While it’s possible to use a larger WordPress favicon size, the platform will often ask you to crop the image down.
2. Keep it simple.
While it’s possible to add background colors and other customization to your favicon, keeping it simple is often the best choice. Here, simplicity includes opting for transparency over background colors and keeping the number of foreground colors in your favicon to one or two at most.
Ideally, your favicon will look almost identical to your brand’s logo — if that’s not possible, try to pull elements from your logo such as shapes or color schemes that help tie in your new favicon.
3. Choose wisely.
Site owners can update their favicon at any time, but it’s a good idea to keep the number of changes to a minimum. Here’s why: If users see a different favicon every time they log on to your website, they won’t have an opportunity to associate a specific image with your brand.
Bottom line? Better to go without a favicon until you find one that works for your site and that you don’t plan on changing.
How to Enable WordPress Favicons
To get your favicon up and running on your WordPress site, you’ve got three options:
Use the Site Icon feature
Install a favicon plugin
Upload the new favicon yourself
Let’s break down each method in more detail.
1. Use the site icon feature.
As of WordPress version 4.3, the content management system (CMS) includes a Site Icon function that enables favicons. Simply prepare your image file — which can be a .jpeg, .ico, .gif or .png file — and head to the Administration page of your WordPress Site.
Next, click on “Appearance” and then “Customize”, then click “Site Identity.” Now, click “Select Image” under the Site Icon subheading and upload the file you’ve prepared. You should see a screen like this:
If you like the favicon you’ve created, no further action is required. If not, you can easily remove the file or upload a new image.
2. Install a favicon plugin.
You can also use a plugin — such as Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator — to create and deploy your favicon. This must-have WordPress plugin not only lets you customize your favicon but also ensures that multiple versions are created to satisfy the requirements of different operating systems and device versions.
As long as the image you upload to the plugin is at least 70 x 70 pixels, the RealFaviconGenerator will take care of the rest.
3. Upload the new favicon yourself.
If you’d rather do the legwork yourself, you can create and upload your own favicon to your WordPress site.
First, create an image that’s at least 16 x 16 pixels and is saved as a .ico file. Then, use an FTP client to upload this file to the main folder of your current WordPress theme — typically the same place as your wp-admin and wp-content folders.
While this should display your favicon in most web browsers, some older browser versions will require you to edit WordPress header HTML code. The result? DIY favicons aren’t recommended unless you’re familiar with more technical WordPress functions.
Final Favicon Thoughts
Whie favicons form only a small part of your WordPress website build, they’re critical for website recognition. Consistent and clear favicons make it easy for visitors to remember your site and carry this mental connection across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
Working from home is awesome, right up until the cat throws up on your computer. And your neighbor, who you can only assume is building a time machine, starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery across the street.
COVID-19 has caused remote work to become a necessity instead of a luxury for many professionals. But which environment allows us to be more productive: the home office or the office office?
In the office office, your colleagues often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done. They drop by your desk, engage you in conversation, and invite you to lunch — or so I hear. The social benefits are nice to have, but they can become a challenge if you’re easily distracted.
However, at the home office, while family members can be a distraction, I find that it’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy. Because without coworkers around, you’re free to drop those pesky inhibitions. At the home office, no one’s watching. You don’t necessarily feel that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done. (Also, you don’t have to wear pants.)
Below, I’ve compiled many great work-at-home tips and tricks from some of my awesome coworkers.
How to Work From Home
Communicate expectation with anyone who will be home with you.
Take clear breaks.
Interact with other humans.
Prepare meals the night before.
Pick a definitive finish time.
Eat and sleep.
Talk to your employer.
Join a remote-friendly company.
Start a career as a freelancer.
Start a home business.
1. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you.
Of course, you might be working from home but still have “company.” Make sure any roommates, family members, and dogs (well, maybe not dogs) respect your space during work hours. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re home.
If you share space with another work-from-home adult, you may have to lay ground rules about meeting times, shared desks and chairs, and quiet times.
CEO Sam Mallikarjunan tells how he manages to get work done even when people are around.
“If anyone else is going to be at home when you’re working, they just have to be clear that when you’re in your ‘office’ (in my case, my signal to the family is having headphones on), you’re working — even if it looks like and feels like you’re hanging out at home.”
He continues, “It’s easy to get distracted by the many things that have to be done around the house during the day.”
2. Take clear breaks.
It can be so easy to get distracted as a telecommuter that you avoid breaks altogether. Don’t let the guilt of working in the building you sleep in prevent you from taking five minutes to relax.
However rather than just opening YouTube and watching some comfort clips, use your breaks to get away from your desk. Go for a walk, enjoy fresh air, or spend time with others who might also be in the house.
Take Ginny Mineo‘s advice. “Breaks, like making and eating lunch, can recharge you to do better work. Don’t assume you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re home to be more productive.”
3. Interact with other humans.
When your office starts working from home, you’ll likely miss the casual social interactions with colleagues you’re used to throughout the day. When working from home, you don’t have the small talk and other activities that make each day at the office unique.
So what can you do? Communicate.
Fight boredom and loneliness by frequent communication with other employees. Reach out to them through video chat via apps like Zoom and Slack, a hosted phone system, or however else your company communicates.
Remember: You’re working from home, not the moon. Interacting with other people during the day is allowed, even if they’re not your colleagues. It’s a good idea to see another face during the day when most of your workday is solitary. So, use your breaks to interact with others.
“Go outside and find a human to interact with — ordering your coffee, running an errand, whatever. It keeps you sane.”
When you’re in your own home, it can be tempting to spend time preparing a nice breakfast and lunch for yourself, chopping and cooking included. Don’t use precious minutes making your food the day of work — cook it the night before.
Preparing food ahead of time ensures you can use your meal times to eat and that you aren’t performing non-work tasks that spend energy better used at your desk.
Digital marketing strategist, Lindsay Kolowich, adds, “Cooking at home is time you wouldn’t have spent meal prepping if you’d been in the office that day, and I find the minutes can add up in the end. To mitigate that, I try to cook and prep my meals the night before, just like I would for a day at the office.“
5. Pick a definitive finishing time.
You might be under the impression that working from home establishes more work-life balance, but be careful with that assumption.
Working from home can also feel like being at a casino — you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time.
“If you work from home full-time (or regularly), it’s really easy to let your work life bleed into your personal life,” says Tyler Littwin.
He continues, “Maintaining a boundary is important for both halves of the equation.”
In lieu of coworkers, whose packing up and leaving the office reminds you to do the same, set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal workday is coming to an end. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the workday is technically over can help you start the process of saving your work and calling it quits for the evening.
6. Eat and sleep.
What is the biggest perk to working from home? One of the biggest benefits for some people (me), is complete access to the kitchen.
As soon as I take a break, I automatically drift towards the kitchen for some snacks.
An unhealthy diet can affect productivity and drain energy. When I switched to a healthier diet, it made me function better and get the most from my routine.
So eat well when working from home.
It’s also vital that you keep to a proper sleep schedule. Save binge-watching your favorite shows for the weekend. With the right food to keep energy levels high and sound sleep to refresh your body and mind, you can make a success of working from home.
7. Talk to your employer.
If you like your current job and don’t want to change it, the obvious step is to find a way to pivot the position.
One of the tips for doing this is folding the possibility of going remote into your next promotion cycle. Talk to your boss often about your intention to pivot.
And, if you’re not sure your employer will agree to working completely remotely, talk about the option of working remotely one or two days a week. When you use the work from home tips we’ve provided above, and your boss sees how productive you are, they could allow you more days to work from home.
8. Join a remote-friendly company.
If your work can be done remotely, but your current boss or organization doesn’t allow you to work from home, you might need to get a new job.
When looking for a work-from-home job, you can use the same methods you used in finding your regular office job. This includes channels like job sites, local job ads, and social media platforms.
Check out these firms to see whether you meet the requirements to start working remotely for them.
9. Start a career as a freelancer.
If your current job isn’t remote work-friendly, you can go remote by starting your own business as a freelancer or a consultant.
Depending on the nature of your current job, you may start your own freelance business while still being employed.
The benefit of starting your freelance business while still employed is that it reduces the financial strain experienced by any new business.
10. Start a home business.
Starting a home business is one way to enjoy remote work.
Unlike other fields, certifications and education are not usually prerequisites. Instead, researching, having a smart business plan, and choosing the right business is more essential to the success of your business.
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring.
Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
Lindsay Kolowich says, “When I work from home, I wake up, put on a pot of coffee, and start working immediately — much earlier than normal working hours. I only start making breakfast once I’ve hit a wall or need a break. I’m a morning person and find I can get a ton done in the early morning hours, so this works really well for me.”
2. Pretend like you are going into the office.
The mental association you make between work and an office can make you more productive, and there’s no reason that feeling should be lost when working remotely.
I know that you love working in your pajamas (I do, too), but the mere act of changing clothes to something more serious will give you a signal to get work done throughout the day.
When you dress up, you give your brain a reason for dressing up, and it can keep you pumped throughout your work hours.
So when working from home, do all the things you’d do to prepare for an office role: Set your alarm, make (or get) coffee, and wear nice clothes.
Internet browsers like Google Chrome even allow you to set up multiple accounts with different toolbars on the top — for example, a toolbar for home and a separate toolbar for work.
Take to heart the words of HubSpot graphic designer, Anna Faber-Hammond, who says, “Get fully ready for the day and pretend you’re actually going to work. Otherwise, you might find yourself back in bed.”
3. Structure your day like you would in the office.
When working from home, you’re your own personal manager and can choose your working hours.
However, without things like an in-person meeting schedule to break up your day, you can easily lose focus or burn out.
To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when for the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Google Calendar makes this easy.
Structuring your day as you would in the office also saves you from work creep. With this structure in place, working from home will not cause your work to invade your personal life.
“Are mornings for writing while you’re in the office? Use the same schedule at home. This structure will help keep you focused and productive.” – Ginny Mineo
4. Choose a dedicated workspace.
Just because you’re not working at an office doesn’t mean you can’t, well, have an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch in the living room — spaces associated with leisure time — dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to working remotely.
No matter the space or location, have an area of the home to work and stay committed to throughout the day. And, after choosing your dedicated workspace, make the most of it by making it quiet.
CEO, Sam Mallikarjunan says, “Have a place you go specifically to work. It could be a certain table, chair, local coffee shop — some place that’s consistently your ‘workspace.’ It helps you get into the right frame of mind.”
5. Don’t stay at home.
Is your home office just not getting it done for you? Take your work-from-home life a step further and get out of the house. Coffee shops, libraries, public lounges, and similar Wi-Fi-enabled spaces can help you simulate the energy of an office so you can stay productive even when you don’t sit in an official workplace.
Content marketer, Corey Wainwright, comments, “I get out of my home to work and go to an establishment with actual tables, chairs, and people. It helps simulate the work environment and removes the distractions I typically have at home, like the urge to finally clean my room, do laundry, or watch TV. “
6. Make it harder to use social media.
Social media is designed to make it easy for us to open and browse quickly. As remote workers, though, this convenience can be the detriment of our productivity.
To counteract your social networks’ ease of use during work hours, remove them from your browser shortcuts and log out of every account on your phone or computer.
You might even consider working primarily in a private (or, if you’re using Chrome, an “Incognito”) browser window. This ensures you stay signed out of all your accounts, and each web search doesn’t autocomplete the word you’re typing. It’s a guarantee that you won’t be tempted into taking too many social breaks during the day.
Also, many have found it helpful to shut off social media notifications during the hours they work from home.
Alec Biedrzycki, product marketer at AirTable, says, “I remove all social networks from my toolbar bookmarks… you can get sucked in without knowing it, so eliminating the gateway to those networks keeps me on track.”
7. Commit to doing more.
Projects always take longer than you initially think they will. For that reason, you’ll frequently get done less than you set out to do.
So, just as you’re encouraged to overestimate how much work hours you’ll spend doing one thing, you should also overestimate how many things you’ll do during the day.
Even if you come up short of your goal, you’ll still come out of that day with a solid list of tasks filed under ‘complete.’
“On days I’m working from home, I tend to slightly overcommit on what I’ll deliver that day. So even if I get the urge to go do something else, I know I’ve already committed a certain amount of work to my team.”- Corey Wainwright
8. Work when you’re at your most productive.
Nobody sprints through their work from morning to evening — your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day. However, when you’re working from home, it’s all the more important to know when those ebbs and flows will take place and plan your schedule around it.
To capitalize on your most productive periods, save your more challenging tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier logistical tasks on your plate.
Verily Magazine calls these tasks “small acts of success,” and they can help build your momentum for the heavier projects that are waiting for you later on.
Product designer, Brittany Leaning, says about her routine, “For me, the most productive times of the day are usually early in the morning or late at night. I recognize this and try to plan my day accordingly. Also, music that pumps me up doesn’t hurt.”
The responsibility is on you to know when you are most productive and build your work schedule around the periods of maximum productivity.
9. Save calls for the afternoon.
Sometimes, I’m so tired in the morning, that I don’t even want to hear my voice — let alone talk to others with it.
You shouldn’t have to give yourself too much time to become productive in the morning, but you can give yourself some extra time before working directly with others.
If you’re struggling to develop a reasonable work schedule for yourself as a telecommuter, start with the solitary tasks in the morning.
Save your phone calls, meetings, Google hangouts meetings, video call, and other collaborative work for when you’ve officially “woken up.”
Senior Marketing Director, James Gilbert, advises that you “Take advantage of morning hours to crank through meaty projects without distractions, and save any calls or virtual meetings for the afternoon.”
10. Focus on one distraction.
There’s an expression out there that says, “if you want something done, ask a busy person.”
The bizarre but true rule of productivity is that the busier you are, the more you’ll do.
It’s like Newton’s law of inertia: If you’re in motion, you’ll stay in motion. If you’re at rest, you’ll stay at rest. And busy people are in fast-enough motion that they have the momentum to complete anything that comes across their desk.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find things to help you reach that level of busyness when you’re at home — your motivation can just swing so easily. HubSpot’s principal marketing manager, Pam Vaughan, suggests focusing on something that maintains your rhythm (in her case, it’s her daughter).
She says, “When I work from home, my 20-month-old daughter is home with me, too. It seems counterintuitive, but because I have to manage taking care of her and keeping her happy and entertained while still getting my work done, the pressure helps to keep me focused. When she’s napping or entertaining herself, I go into super-productive work mode.
The ‘distraction’ of my daughter (I mean that in the most loving way possible) means I can’t possibly succumb to some of the other common distractions of home.”
11. Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time.
Spending time figuring out what you’ll do today can take away from actually doing those things. And, you’ll have planned your task list so recently that you can be tempted to change your schedule on the fly.
It’s important to let your agenda change if you need it to, but it’s equally important to commit to a schedule that outlines every assignment before you begin.
Try solidifying your schedule the day before, making it feel more official when you wake up the next day to get started on it.
“Plan out your week in advance to optimize for the environments you’ll be in.”- Niti Shah
12. Use technology to stay connected.
Working from home might make you feel cut off from the larger operation happening in your company.
Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools like Slack and Zoom can make it easy to check in with other remote employees and remind you how your work contributes to the big picture.
It’s also vital to invest in the right technology. For instance, a bad-performance router can take the steam right off your enthusiasm to work, so it’s better to invest in a high-performance router.
CMO and former HubSpot employee, Meghan Keaney Anderson, remarks, “At HubSpot, we use Slack to keep conversations going remotely, Trello to keep us organized around priorities, and Google Hangouts plus Webex to make remote meetings more productive. Getting the right stack of support tools to fit your work style makes a big difference.”
13. Match your music to the task at hand.
During the week, music is the soundtrack to your career (cheesy, but admit it, it’s true). And at work, the best playlists are diverse playlists — you can listen to music that matches the energy of the project you’re working on to boost your productivity.
Video game soundtracks are excellent at doing this. In the video game, the lyric-free music is designed to help you focus; it only makes sense that it would help you focus on your work.
Want some other genres to spice up your routine and make you feel focused? Take them from startup marketer, Ginny Mineo, who offers her work music preferences below.
“When I’m powering through my inbox, I need some intense and catchy rap/R&B (like Nicki Minaj or Miley Cyrus) blasting through my headphones, but when I’m writing, Tom Petty is the trick. Finding what music motivates and focuses me for different tasks (and then sticking to those playlists for those tasks) has completely changed my WFH productivity.”
14. Use laundry as a work timer.
You might have heard that listening to just two or three songs in the shower can help you save water. And it’s true; hearing a few of your favorite songs start and end, one after another, can remind you how long you’ve been in the bathroom and shorten your wash time.
Why bring this up? Because the same general principle can help you stay on task when working from home. But instead of three songs off your music playlist, run your laundry instead.
Doing your laundry is a built-in timer for your home. So, use the time to start and finish something from your to-do list before changing the load.
Committing to one assignment during the wash cycle and another during the dry process can train you to work smarter on tasks that you might technically have all day to tinker with. And when you know there’s a timer, it makes it hard for distractions to derail your work.
People ops manager, Emma Brudner, notes, “I also usually do laundry when I work from home, and I set mini-deadlines for myself corresponding to when I have to go downstairs to switch loads. If I’m working on an article, I tell myself I’ll get to a certain point before the wash cycle ends. Then I set another goal for the dryer.”
Staying Productive While Working From Home
While you might miss the office, working full time from home can be good for you.
For one, you don’t have to worry about commuting every day and you can better care for your loved ones by being around more often.
The work from home tips that we have provided can help you make the most of your new routine. Try out a few and you might find that you’re just as productive working from home as you are in the office.
There’s nothing quite like a sudden Google algorithm update to leave you feeling equal parts confused and concerned. It seems as though search engines like Google wait for you to get all of your ducks in a row and then unleash an update that makes your efforts instantly obsolete.
your website the way search engines like Google see it — this way, you can improve your ranking and relevance for your target keywords.
Note: Some of the free tools below also offer paid plans while some of the paid tools also offer free plans — so, we recommend you check out the pricing pages for the tools you’re most interested in to determine which plan is ideal for your needs and goals.
For universal SEO tips, you can use today to grow your business, check out our video guide below.
Best SEO Tools
HubSpot Website Grader
Google Search Console
UpCity Free SEO Report Card
Internet Marketing Ninjas
Check My Links
HubSpot SEO Marketing Software
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Free SEO Tools
These tools are free to use, but you might find a paid option that has more features. We’ve shared some of the best features in each tool as well as how you can get the most out of them for your SEO strategy.
The goal of marketing is to generate traffic and qualified leads via the company’s website. That’s why, as marketers, we need to understand exactly what we can do to improve the SEO of that website.
With HubSpot’s Website Grader, simply enter the URL of your website to automatically receive a report card with actionable insights about your SEO efforts. From there, you can sign up for the HubSpot Academy SEO course that teaches you how to improve your website’s SEO, user experience (UX), and more.
With the HubSpot Website Grader, you can:
Website performance: Learn about your website’s performance in seconds, and identify specific performance issues and receive clear, actionable feedback on how you can fix them.
On-demand support: Receive how-to education on how you can improve your website.
Google Search Console has a number of tools available to help you appear in the SERPs for the search terms and phrases your target audience is looking for.
If you’re the owner of a business or an SEO on your marketing team, Search Console can help you conduct an initial SEO analysis from scratch or update your existing SEO strategy with fresh keywords. Google Search Console monitors, debugs, and optimizes your website — and you don’t need to know how to code to benefit from this tool.
Here are some examples of website elements Google Search Console will teach you about and help you optimize:
Keywords: Learn about the keywords your webpages are currently ranking for.
Crawl Errors: Identify any crawl errors that exist on your website.
Mobile Responsiveness: Understand how mobile-friendly your website is and discover opportunities to improve the mobile experience for your users.
Google Index: See how many of your web pages are in Google’s Index (if they aren’t in Google’s index, you can use the tool’s URL Inspection Tool to submit a page for indexing).
Analytics and Metrics: The website-related metrics that matter most to you, like clicks, impressions, average click-through rate (CTR), and average position.
Although Google Analytics has a paid version, the free version of the product can help you manage your website’s SEO — this is especially true if you pair Google Analytics with Google Search Console. In doing so, all of your website’s SEO data will be centrally located and compiled, and you can use queries to identify areas for improvement with the keywords and phrases that you want your website and web pages to rank for.
Other ways that you can use the free version of Google Analytics to understand and improve your SEO are:
Determine engagement metrics: Use Site Content Reports to determine engagement metrics on each web page, engagement for the directories and pages on your website, page exit metrics, as well as acquisition, behavior, and conversion of landing pages.
Internet Marketing Ninjas is an SEO-focused company with a variety of free tools you can use to compare your website against the competition, optimize web pages for certain keywords, generate meta tags, and increase organic traffic to your website.
Here are some examples of the free Internet Marketing Ninja SEO tools you can take advantage of:
Broken link tool: Identify broken links and redirects and use the site crawl feature to generate an XML sitemap of your website.
Image metadata: See all of your page links (external, internal, etc.) on your web pages to review what’s working well and what’s broken or needs an update.
On-page optimization tool: Use this to evaluate your web page content, meta information, and internal links.
Side-by-side comparison: Compare the SEO of your web pages versus a competitor’s web pages.
Page load time: Analyze page-load time and how long each component of a web page takes to fully display.
Microsoft Bing Webmaster gives you access to many tools that offer insight into your website such as reporting, diagnostic, and SEO tools. The SEO tools that you can use for free have the power to help you analyze your website, manage backlinks, and review keywords to ensure your site is well-optimized for organic search.
Here are some of the other things you can do with Bing Webmaster’s SEO tools:
See backlink profiles: Learn about your backlink profile to understand referring pages, domains, and anchor links.
Perform keyword research: Determine which keywords and phrases your audience is searching for as well as the search volumes of those keywords and phrases.
Use the site scanning feature: Crawl your website and identify technical SEO errors.
Get SEO reports: Review any errors that are on your website and individual site pages.
Traditional SEO tools like the ones we’ve already discussed are great for conducting research and audits when your business is already established. But what if you’re starting a new business venture and want to know what popular industries, topics, and ideas people are exploring? Google Trends is a great place to explore untapped potential that can yield a large keyword landscape for your website.
You’ll want to note that Google Trends isn’t where you’ll get granular data. This tool performs best when you use it as a compass to set a direction for your SEO strategy, and then pair those insights with a more robust software like HubSpot’s SEO Marketing Tool.
Here’s what you should look for in Google Trends:
Trends: Look for trends in specific countries or regions of the world.
Popular topics: Find popular people and long tail keywords related to them.
Comparisons: Compare and contrast trends over time.
Seolyzer is a free site crawling, log analysis, and SEO tool that helps you determine how search engines like Google view your website. Seolyzer pulls information that crawling bots leave in your server’s log files while browsing your site to identify and create your SEO KPIs. The tool also identifies error codes, redirects, and page speed performance.
Additionally, Seolyzer can help you:
Monitor SEO issues: Identify poor response time, error messages, and crawl volume so you can resolve them before serious damage is done.
Manage your unique KPIs: Analyze page performance, crawl volume, HTTP status codes, active and new pages, and desktop versus mobile responsiveness.
Segment web pages: Determine what your most crawled pages are.
Compare web pages: See what Google deems as the most important to the pages that are crucial to your business’s bottom line.
Measure SEO impact: Understand the impact of your SEO efforts on a page-by-page basis or by the category of the page.
SEOquake is a Google Chrome extension that automatically checks a web page’s SEO parameters quickly for free. This includes on-page SEO audits, internal and external link reviews, real-time URL and domain comparison, and data file export.
Other things you can use SEOquake for are:
Link Analysis: Get a detailed description of how all of your links are doing — including URLs, anchor text, and other link types — with the tools Link Examiner feature.
Focus on metrics that matter: Adjust the SEOquake reports you receive to display only the parameters and metrics that you care about.
Audit your website’s SEO: Identify any SEO-related issues that would be findable by search engines.
Share your findings with stakeholders: Export the results of your SEO analysis into an adjustable and shareable report.
Seobility is a free SEO-checker tool. With it, you can test your website’s level of compliance with today’s SEO guidelines. By simply entering your URL, your site will be analyzed and you’ll receive tips on how you can better optimize your website.
In addition to a detailed SEO audit of your website, you’ll gain access to 1,000 subpage audits, email reporting and alerts, and keyword monitoring.
Here are some more advantages of using Seobility:
Find technical errors: Resolve on-page SEO issues quickly to recover lost traffic and prevent future traffic dips.
Accurate SEO scoring: Receive an SEO score that accounts for various website factors including meta-information, page quality, link structure, and more.
Meta information analysis: Understand the specific SEO issues with your meta information such as meta titles/ descriptions, meta tags, and invalid or incorrect domain names or page URLs.
Optimization opportunities: Identify areas for improvement regarding your page speed and quality (related to text, duplicate content, responsive design, and alt attributes for content).
Link structure suggestions: Understand how your page and link structure can be improved by getting data about your headers, internal links, and incorrect anchor text.
Check My Links is a Google Chrome extension that you can use to ensure your links on both internal or external web pages work. For instance, if you were to search a term on Wikipedia, Check My Links would be able to tell you how many links that Wikipedia page has in total and how many of those links are broken.
This is helpful because you can make corrections to broken links immediately (or hopefully, before a page goes live). Check My Links is ideal for developers, content editors, and web designers according to its creators.
Here are some more examples of what Check My Links can do:
Identify broken links: Check each link on your webpages and identify all invalid links.
Auto-highlight issues: Quickly see the good links in green and the broken links in red.
Export broken links for further analysis: Copy all of your bad links to your clipboard in one click.
BROWSEO is an SEO browser that allows you to review your webpage in a limited format so you can analyze its UX and content as well as gain insight into its SEO. Once you input the URL, the output will hone in on your HTML so you’re able to understand the page’s structure, optimized search terms, and other SEO-related factors.
Examples of what you can do with BROWSEO include:
See the number of words on the page: Find the sweet spot for copy length on your webpages.
Determine the number of internal and external links on your page: This allows you to see how your linking strategy is working on each page.
See all of your meta information: Review title tags, alt text, and meta descriptions.
Paid SEO Tools
Next, let’s look at some paid SEO tools. (Note that some of these tools have free trial periods. Some also offer entirely free plans but with restrictions in terms of flexibility and customization.)
Price: $45/ mo for the Starter plan, $800 for professional, and $3,200 for enterprise.
HubSpot’s Marketing Hub includes an SEO marketing software tool that’s perfect for helping you build authority across your website. Since this software is integrated with HubSpot landing pages, webpages, and blog posts, you’ll never miss an opportunity to optimize your content for traffic and conversions.
No matter if you’re creating your first content strategy or you’re an expert in all things SEO, HubSpot’s SEO Marketing Software gives you the tools and the confidence to rank in the SERP and report on your performance.
HubSpot’s marketing software doesn’t keep SEO in a silo. This tool works in conjunction with:
Email: Send professional emails using your own branded designs.
Marketing Automation: Create dynamic campaigns for segmented audiences.
Lead Management: Track leads through each stage in your sales process.
Analytics: Review your campaign to identify success and opportunities for improvement.
Price: $119.95/ mo for Pro, $229.95/ mo for Guru, or $449.95/ mo for Business
SEMrush is an elaborate dashboard that reports on the performance of domains as a whole and their specific pages. SEMrush offers numerous resources, one of which is the SEO Toolkit.
Toolkit allows you to track a website’s visibility improvement over time as well as identify which keywords it’s ranking for, what the page’s rank is for a keyword, the keyword’s monthly search volume, and more.
SEMrush also allows you to:
Build links: Analyze backlinks from other websites to your site.
Use the Keyword Magic tool: Identify all keywords you need to successfully build an SEO strategy.
See your competitors’ strategies: Identify the paid keywords or ad copy used in the PPC ads of your competition.
Receive recommendations: See how you can increase your organic traffic by optimizing your content.
Sometimes you don’t need an SEO tool with all the bells and whistles if you only need to do keyword research. KWFinder is a great software that fills the gap between nuts-and-bolts SEO work and copywriting. You’ll find keywords that aren’t too difficult to rank for but still carry the potential to bring in traffic.
What makes KWFinder unique is how seamlessly it shifts between languages and regions so that you can serve your audience no matter where in the world they are.
Some of the top features KWFinder offers include:
Hidden long tail keyword insights: Find long tail keywords that give you more opportunities to acquire traffic.
Competitor keyword insights: See how your competitor’s keyword strategy compares to your own, plus find more keyword opportunities.
SERP analysis tool: Analyze competition in the SERP to understand what elements readers are looking for on your pages.
Local keyword research tool: See what searchers are looking for locally and appeal to local markets for more niche traffic.
Price: Free five-day trial, $29.90/ mo for Basic, $39.90 for Premium, and $79.90 for Agency.
GrowthBar is a Chrome extension that can help you perform keyword research, competitive analysis, and track SEO rankings. With the GrowthBar, access data points about any website directly from the search engine results pages. This allows you to assess your competitors’ performance and view the growth channels, keywords, backlinks, and ads that are working for them.
Here are some more key features of GrowthBar:
Use the Top Keywords and Backlinks feature: See which paid and organic keywords are driving the most traffic for your website and get a list of the most authoritative backlinks pointing to your site.
Get your Keyword Difficulty Score: Quickly assess how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword based on the strength of the domain authorities of the URLs ranking on page one.
Use the Word Count tool: View the word count of any page directly from the SERP.
Run Facebook Ads: Get a visual of what they look like from a search engine’s perspective.
Use the Keyword Suggestions tool: Get a list of related keywords you might want to rank for along with their Search volume & CPCs.
Price: Free 14-day trial, $79.99/ mo for Pro, $199.99/ mo for Premium, or contact for Enterprise quote
Woorank’s in-depth site analysis helps marketers reveal opportunities for optimization and improvement. This analysis takes into account the performance of existing SEO initiatives, social media, usability, and more.
Each report is divided into sections to help you easily analyze your site and identify targets for optimization. Here are a few features of the report:
Marketing Checklist: Review common marketing tasks that you can complete as part of your SEO strategy execution.
SEO: Analyze your SEO metrics against your goals.
Mobile: Decide which mobile optimization tactics to employ based on the mobile data.
Social: Get insight into how social media is playing a part in your traffic and SEO goals.
Price: Free 30-day trial, $24/ mo for Starter, $124/ mo for Group, $299/ mo for Professional, $999+ for Custom
Although backlinks to your website are critical to ranking well on Google, the outreach you do while link building can feel a lot like cold calling. BuzzStream makes it easy to research the appropriate people, come up with effective email messages, and track who’s accepted each link request.
BuzzStream also helps you:
Identify candidates for outreach: Find them based on their industry and how engaged they are across various social networks.
Identify candidates for backlinks: These are individuals who will likely be receptive to your backlink request for other reasons that are unique to your business’s niche.
Price: Free 30-day trial, $99/ mo for Standard, $149/ mo for Medium, $249/ mo for Large, $599/ mo for Premium
The Moz Pro subscription serves as an all-in-one tool for increasing your business’ search ranking. Moz’s collection of research tools provides subscribers with the resources they need to identify SEO opportunities, track growth, build reports, and optimize their efforts.
Moz Pro also includes:
Website crawler: Analyzes up to 3,000 links on a given URL.
Email report: Details that crawl data for the pages your site links to.
Insight into various “crawlability” factors: These include duplicate content and redirects that could be influencing your SEO performance.
Price: 30-day free trial; $14.90/ mo for Webmaster, $24.90/ mo for Advanced, $49.90/ mo for Pro, 99.90/ mo for Agency, and $153.90 /mo for Agency XL
The best way to understand the performance of your off-page SEO is by having a good overview of your backlinks. Linkody allows you to discover, track, analyze, and disavow backlinks all from an easy-to-use interface.
Aside from that, the tool checks your links 24/7 and informs you of any changes so you can take immediate action in case a link is lost or broken.
Other Linkody features include:
“Spy” on your competitors’ backlinks: Simply enter the URL of your competitor and let the tool pull all the links and metrics. The information returned will help you discover niche-relevant, high-quality backlink opportunities for your brand.
Gain useful insights: See your most important metrics when it comes to backlink tracking, such as the ‘rel’ attribute, Google indexation status, the website’s Domain Authority, Spam Score, Alexa rank, and more.
Create white-label reports: Download reports that can be shared with your team and/or clients to get a better idea of your backlink distribution and link-building progress.
Designed specifically for the SEO-minded, this program crawls the websites you specify, examining the URLs for common SEO issues. This program simplifies and expedites an otherwise time-consuming process — especially for larger websites. (It could take hours or days to manually evaluate the same URLs.)
Other notable features of Screaming Frog SEO Spider are:
Java Program: Screaming Frog includes an intuitive Java program with easy-to-navigate tabs.
Easy export to Excel: Further analyze your SEO data.
Price: $249 one-time payment for Life-Time plan, $99/ mo for Subscription (one website), or $899/ mo for Agency (10+ websites)
If you’re buying a website domain that has been used in the past, or you’re rebuilding a poor SEO strategy, you may discover some problematic backlinks while conducting your audit. Artificial or unnatural links have the potential to seriously hurt your search ranking. Remove’em helps get rid of those links.
This tool has the ability to:
Scan your backlink profile: Discover a list of contact information for the links and domains you’ll need to reach out to for removal.
Export a list of backlinks: If you wish, you can disavow backlinks by telling Google not to take these “bad” links into account when crawling your site.
Price: $99/ mo for Monthly plan, $79/ mo for Annual plan, $199/ mo for the Expert plan
AnswerThePublic is a search listening and keyword tool that listens to autocomplete data from Google and other search engines, and then provides you with a list of phrases and questions that people are searching for around your keyword. This allows you to craft your website and content to your audience to increase traffic and conversions.
With AnswerThePublic, you can also:
Receive updates: See when people are talking about your most relevant keywords.
Monitor keyword trends: Understand keyword research behavior among your target audience and customers.
See real-time searches: View the keywords and phrases that your audience is researching in real-time.
Get ideas for your website and blog: Discover new content ideas based on relevant keyword research.
Price: 14-day trial for any plan, Free for Little Hero, $9/ mo for Big Hero, $49/ mo for Giant Hero, and $149/ mo for Ultimate Hero
Keyword Hero pairs your visitor’s sessions with the keywords they used to land on your page, all within your Google Analytics account. In other words, this tool gives you an understanding of the search intent of your organic traffic.
Here are some more actions you can take with Keyword Hero:
Identify the organic traffic and conversions: Uncover the success you receive from your intended keywords.
Separate traffic: Identify brand versus non-brand search traffic.
Optimize your position in the SERPs: Optimize your website for specific target keywords.
See query details: Understand whether your visitors used informational versus transactional queries to find on your website.
Price: $39/ mo for Basic, $69/ mo for Professional, $129/ mo for Unlimited.
SpyFu is a competitor keyword research tool for Google Ads. In addition to keyword research, it helps with PPC competitive research, SEO competitive research, and the creation of custom lists and domains.
The tool helps you drive traffic to your Google Ads campaigns and website, monitor both paid and organic rankings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and obtain reliable and accurate contact information for leads.
With SpyFu, you can also:
Download a competitor’s PPC keywords: Use this insight to develop more competitive PPC strategies that can compete in the ad space.
Download a competitor’s SEO keywords: Use this insight to develop more competitive organic keyword strategies that can compete in the SERP.
Review ranking trends: the ranking of a page or website for a keyword over time.
Discover keyword ideas: Keyword advice for your Google Ads to increase chances of conversion.
Price: Pay as You Go (starting at $5), $19/ mo for Small Business, $49/ mo for Professional, $179/ mo for Unlimited.
Seomater is an SEO auditing and website crawling tool. It assists with technical SEO analysis and SEO on-page optimization testing. Once the tool crawls your site, you’ll receive an SEO report that explains your website’s various SEO-related elements including internal and external links, backlinks, page quality and speed, social media, organic presence, and more.
Your analysis will also come with tips on how you can improve each of these SEO elements. In addition, you can:
Use the SEO Monitoring Alerts feature: Your website will be automatically crawled and you’ll get an immediate notification if something is problematic in terms of SEO.
Get detailed reports: Find insights about your on-page and off-page SEO elements.
Use the Domain Comparison tool: Compare two competitors’ websites to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO (such as broken links, content quality, HTML tags, and more).
Price: $139/ mo for Basic, $319/ mo for Standard, $449/ mo for Pro, or $1,279 for Enterprise.
ContentKing is a real-time SEO auditing and content tracking tool — it tracks your website 24/7 so any issues related to SEO don’t go unnoticed for too long. The tool is cloud-based, meaning there’s no installation required and your data and reports are available whenever you need them.
With ContentKing, you can also:
Improve your SEO: Use ContentKing’s 24/7 website audits (and algorithms) to gain insight into your SEO and receive tasks that will help you optimize your webpages.
Get alerts: Get notified whenever something on your website is broken or is no longer well-optimized so you can efficiently fix the issue.
Track Changes: Follow the history of all your content changes on your site (such as changes on individual web pages and changes in robots.txt) and search the history of your changes.
Visualize data: See real-time dashboards and reports.
Price: $39.00/ mo for Essential, $89.00/ mo for Pro, or $189.00/ mo for Business.
SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO platform that analyzes website health and performance keyword rankings and traffic. It also provides insights into your competitors, allowing you to better understand the SEO landscape and adjust your marketing strategy. Since SE Ranking is a white label SEO tool, you can build custom SEO reports with branding and personalization options.
Now that you’ve learned about some of the best free and paid SEO tools on the market, determine which option will help you achieve your SEO goals and get started auditing, optimizing, and monitoring your website, individual web pages, and content.
With SE Ranking, you can also:
Keyword Rank Check: Monitor your and your competitors’ keyword positions and provide accurate keyword rank analysis, evaluate SEO potential, and show historical data changes.
Website Health Audit: Evaluate all your website pages to create an in-depth report of website tech and performance errors with actionable tips on how to resolve them.
Competitor Analysis: Scope your competitors’ website traffic dynamics, keyword rankings, and other data in organic and paid searches.
Backlinks Analysis: Analyze any website and create a complete report of the backlink profile with dynamics of new and lost site links and referring domains, anchor text distribution, and pages linked out to the most.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
What is the first thing you do when you need new marketing ideas? What about when you decide it’s time to find a new accounting software? Or even when you notice a flat tire in the car?
My guess is you turn to Google.
Impact Plus reported that 61% of marketers named SEO as a top marketing priority in 2021. And so, it’s a cold, harsh truth that without at least some presence on Google, your business faces a digital uphill battle. In this guide, you’ll discover a strategy to build your online presence — Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ll learn what SEO is, how it works, and what you must do to position your site in search engine results.
But before we begin, I want to reassure you of something.
So many resources make SEO complex. They scare readers with technical jargon, advanced elements, and rarely explain anything beyond theory.
I promise you, this guide isn’t like that.
I’m going to break SEO into its most basic parts and show you how to use all its elements to construct a successful SEO strategy. (And to stay up-to-date on SEO strategy and trends, check out HubSpot’s Skill Up podcast.)
Keep on reading to understand SEO, or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The goal of SEO is to expand a company’s visibility in organic search results. As a result, these efforts drive more visitors to the company’s website, increasing their chances for more conversions which leads to more customers and more revenue.
When asked to explain what SEO is, I often choose to call it a strategy to ensure that when someone Googles your product or service category, they find your website.
But this simplifies the discipline a bit.
There are a ton of ways to improve the SEO of your site pages. Search engines look for elements including title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, and inbound links (also known as backlinks). Search engines also look at site structure and design, visitor behavior, and other external, off-site factors to determine how highly ranked your site should be in their SERPs.
With all of these factors taken into account, SEO primarily drives two things — rankings and visibility.
How Does SEO Work?
SEO works by optimizing a website’s content, conducting keyword research, and earning inbound links to increase that content’s ranking and the website’s visibility. While you can generally see results take effect on the SERP once the webpage has been crawled and indexed by a search engine, SEO efforts can take months to fully materialize.
This is what search engines use to determine where to place a particular web page in the SERP. Rankings start at position number zero through the final number of search engine results for the query, and a web page can rank for one position at a time. As time passes, a web page’s ranking might change due to age, competition in the SERP, or algorithm changes by the search engine itself.
This term describes how prominent a particular domain is in the search engine results. Lower search visibility occurs when a domain isn’t visible for many relevant search queries whereas with higher search visibility, the opposite is true.
Search engines have a single goal only. They aim to provide users with the most relevant answers or information.
Every time you use them, their algorithms choose pages that are the most relevant to your query. And then, rank them, displaying the most authoritative or popular ones first.
To deliver the right information to users, search engines analyze two factors:
Relevancy between the search query and the content on a page. Search engines assess it by various factors like topic or keywords.
Authority, which is measured by a website’s popularity on the Internet. Google assumes that the more popular a page or resource is, the more valuable its content is to readers.
And to analyze all this information they use complex equations called search algorithms.
Search engines keep their algorithms secret. But over time, SEOs have identified some of the factors they consider when ranking a page. We refer to them as ranking factors, and they are the focus of an SEO strategy.
When determining relevance and authority, following the E-A-T framework can help tremendously. E-A-T in SEO stands for “expertise”, authoritativeness”, and “trustworthiness”. And although these are not direct ranking factors, they can improve your SEO content which can impact direct ranking factors.
As you’ll shortly see, adding more content, optimizing image filenames, or improving internal links can affect your rankings and search visibility. And that’s because each of those actions improves a ranking factor.
What is SEO strategy?
An SEO marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan to get more visitors to your website through search engines. Successful SEO includes on-page strategies, which use intent-based keywords; and off-page strategies, which earn inbound links from other websites.
What is SEO strategy?
An SEO marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan to get more visitors to your website through search engines. Successful SEO includes on-page strategies, which use intent-based keywords; and off-page strategies, which earn inbound links from other websites.
Three Core Components of a Strong SEO Strategy
To optimize a site, you need to improve ranking factors in three areas — technical website setup, content, and links. So, let’s go through them in turn.
1. Technical Setup
For your website to rank, three things must happen:
First, a search engine needs to find your pages on the web.
Then, it must scan them to understand their topics and identify their keywords.
And finally, it needs to add them to its index — a database of all the content it has found on the web. This way, its algorithm can consider displaying your website for relevant queries.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Certainly, nothing to worry about. After all, since you can visit your site without any problem, so should Google, right?
Unfortunately, there is a catch. A web page looks different for you and the search engine. You see it as a collection of graphics, colors, text with its formatting, and links.
To a search engine, it’s nothing but text.
As a result, any elements it cannot render this way remain invisible to the search engine. And so, in spite of your website looking fine to you, Google might find its content inaccessible.
Let me show you an example. Here’s how a typical search engine sees one of our articles. It’s this one, by the way, if you want to compare it with the original.
Notice some things about it:
The page is just text. Although we carefully designed it, the only elements a search engine sees are text and links.
As a result, it cannot see an image on the page (note the element marked with an arrow.) It only recognizes its name. If that image contained an important keyword we’d want the page to rank for, it would be invisible to the search engine.
That’s where technical setup, also called on-site optimization, comes in. It ensures that your website and pages allow Google to scan and index them without any problems. The most important factors affecting it include:
Website navigation and links
Search engines crawl sites just like you would. They follow links. Search engine crawlers land on a page and use links to find other content to analyze. But as you’ve seen above, they cannot see images. So, set the navigation and links as text-only.
Simple URL structure
Search engines don’t like reading lengthy strings of words with complex structure. So, if possible, keep your URLs short. Set them up to include as little beyond the main keyword for which you want to optimize the page, as possible.
Search engines use the load time — the time it takes for a user to be able to read the page — as an indicator of quality. Many website elements can affect it. Image size, for example. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool for suggestions on how to improve your pages.
Dead links or broken redirects
A dead link sends a visitor to a nonexistent page. A broken redirect points to a resource that might no longer be there. Both provide poor user experience but also, prevent search engines from indexing your content.
Sitemap and Robots.txt files
A sitemap is a simple file that lists all URLs on your site. Search engines use it to identify what pages to crawl and index. A robots.txt file, on the other hand, tells search engines what content not to index (for example, specific policy pages you don’t want to appear in search.) Create both to speed up crawling and indexing of your content.
Pages containing identical or quite similar content confuse search engines. They often find it to be nearly impossible to display any of those pages at all. If search engines do find them, your website can be penalized. For that reason, search engines consider duplicate content as a negative factor.
Every time you use a search engine, you’re looking for content — information on a particular issue or problem, for example.
True, this content might come in different formats. It could be text, like a blog post or a web page. But it could also be a video, product recommendation, and even a business listing.
It’s all content.
And for SEO, it’s what helps gain greater search visibility.
Here are two reasons why:
First, content is what customers want when searching. Regardless of what they’re looking for, it’s content that provides it. And the more of it you publish, the higher your chance for greater search visibility.
Also, search engines use content to determine how to rank a page. It’s the idea of relevance between a page and a person’s search query that we talked about earlier.
While crawling a page, they determine its topic. Analyzing elements like page length or its structure helps them assess its quality. Based on this information, search algorithms can match a person’s query with pages they consider the most relevant to it.
The process of optimizing content begins with keyword research.
SEO is not about getting any visitors to the site. You want to attract people who need what you sell and can become leads, and later, customers.
However, that’s possible only if it ranks for the keywords those people would use when searching. Otherwise, there’s no chance they’d ever find you. And that’s even if your website appeared at the top of the search results.
That’s why SEO work starts with discovering what phrases potential buyers enter into search engines.
The process typically involves identifying terms and topics relevant to your business. Then, converting them into initial keywords. And finally, conducting extensive research to uncover related terms your audience would use.
We’ve published a thorough guide to keyword research for beginners. It lays out the keyword research process in detail. Use it to identify search terms you should be targeting.
With a list of keywords at hand, the next step is to optimize your content. SEOs refer to this process as on-page optimization.
On-page optimization, also called on-page SEO, ensures that search engines a.) understand a page’s topic and keywords, and b.) can match it to relevant searches.
Note, I said “page” not content. That’s because, although the bulk of on-page SEO work focuses on the words you use, it extends to optimizing some elements in the code.
You may have heard about some of them — meta-tags like title or description are two most popular ones. But there are more. So, here’s a list of the most crucial on-page optimization actions to take.
Note: Since blog content prevails on most websites, when speaking of those factors, I’ll focus on blog SEO — optimizing blog posts for relevant keywords. However, all this advice is equally valid for other page types too.
First, ensure that Google understands what keywords you want this page to rank. To achieve that, make sure you include at least the main keyword in the following:
Post’s title: Ideally, place it as close to the start of the title. Google is known to put more value on words at the start of the headline.
URL: Your page’s web address should also include the keyword. Ideally, including nothing else. Also, remove any stop word.
H1 Tag: In most content management systems, this tag displays the title of the page by default. However, make sure that your platform doesn’t use a different setting
The first 100 words (or the first paragraph) of content: Finding the keyword at the start of your blog post will reassure Google that this is, in fact, the page’s topic.
Meta-title and meta-description tags: Search engines use these two code elements to display their listings. They display the meta-title as the search listing’s title while the meta-description provides content for the little blurb below it. But above that, they use both to understand the page’s topic further.
Image file names and ALT tags: Remember how search engines see graphics on a page? They can only see their file names. So, make sure that at least one of the images contains the keyword in the file name.
The alt tag, on the other hand, is text browsers display instead of an image (for visually impaired visitors.) However, since ALT tag resides in the image code, search engines use it as a relevancy signal as well.
Also, add semantic keywords — variations or synonyms of your keyword. Google and other search engines use them to determine a page’s relevancy better.
Let me illustrate this with a quick example. Let’s pretend that your main keyword is “Apple.” But do you mean the fruit or the tech giant behind the iPhone?
Now, imagine what happens when Google finds terms like sugar, orchard, or cider in the copy? The choice of what queries to rank it for would immediately become obvious, right?
That’s what semantic keywords do. Add them to ensure that your page doesn’t start showing up for irrelevant searches.
b) Non-Keyword-Related On-Page Optimization Factors
On-page SEO is not just about sprinkling keywords across the page. The factors below help confirm a page’s credibility and authority too:
External links: Linking out to other, relevant pages on the topic helps Google determine its topic further. Plus, it provides a good user experience. How? By positioning your content as a valuable resource.
Internal links: Those links help you boost rankings in two ways. One, they allow search engines to find and crawl other pages on the site. And two, they show semantic relations between various pages, helping to determine its relevance to the search query better. As a rule, you should include at least 2-4 internal links per blog post
Content’s length:Long content typically ranks better. That’s because, if done well, a longer blog post will always contain more exhaustive information on the topic, thus keeping a reader on your site longer. That’s called dwell time, and it’s an important ranking factor for the search engines
Multimedia: Although not a requirement, multimedia elements like videos, diagrams, audio players can signal a page’s quality. It keeps readers on a page for longer just like longer content does. And in turn, it signals that they find the content valuable and worth pursuing.
From what you’ve read in this guide so far, you know that no page will rank without two factors — relevance and authority.
In their quest to provide users with the most accurate answers, Google and other search engines prioritize pages they consider the most relevant to their queries but also, popular.
The first two areas — technical setup and content — focused on increasing relevance (though I admit, some of their elements can also help highlight the authority.)
Links, however, are responsible for popularity.
But before we talk more about how they work, here’s what SEOs mean when talking about links.
What is a backlink?
Links, also called backlinks, are references to your content on other websites. Every time another website mentions and points their readers to your content, you gain a backlink to your site.
Google uses the quantity and quality of links like this as a signal of a website’s authority. Its logic behind it is that webmasters would reference a popular and high-quality website more often than a mediocre one.
But note that I mentioned link quality as well. That’s because not all links are the same. Some — low-quality ones — can impact your rankings negatively.
Links Quality Factors
Low quality or suspicious links — for example, ones that Google would consider as built deliberately to make it consider a site as more authoritative — might reduce your rankings.
That’s why, when building links, SEOs focus not on building any links. They aim to generate the highest quality references possible.
Naturally, just like with the search algorithm, we don’t know what factors determine a link’s quality, specifically. However, over time, SEOs discovered some of them:
The popularity of a linking site: Any link from a domain that search engines consider an authority will naturally have high quality. In other words, links from websites that have good quality links pointing to them will yield better results.
Topic relevance: Links from domains on a topic similar to yours will carry more authority than those from random websites.
Trust in a domain: Just like with popularity, search engines also assess a website’s trust. Links from more trustworthy sites will always impact rankings better.
In SEO, we refer to the process of acquiring new backlinks as link building. And as many practitioners admit, it can be a challenging activity.
Link building, if you want to do it well, requires creativity, strategic thinking, and patience. To generate quality links, you need to come up with a link building strategy. And that’s no small feat.
Remember, your links must pass various quality criteria. Plus, it can’t be obvious to search engines that you’ve built them deliberately.
Here are some strategies to do it:
Editorial, organic links: These backlinks come from websites that reference your content on their own.
Outreach: In this strategy, you contact other websites for links. This can happen in many ways. You could create an amazing piece of content, and email them to tell them about it. In turn, if they find it valuable, they’ll reference it. You can also suggest where they could link to it.
Guest posting: Guest posts are blog articles that you publish on third-party websites. In turn, those companies often allow including one or two links to your site in the content and author bio.
Profile links: Finally, many websites offer an opportunity to create a link. Online profiles are a good example. Often, when setting up such a profile, you can also list your website there as well. Not all such links carry strong authority, but some might. And given the ease of creating them, they’re worth pursuing.
Competitive analysis: Finally, many SEOs regularly analyze their competitors’ backlinks to identify those they could recreate for their sites too.
Now, if you’re still here with me, then you’ve just discovered what’s responsible for your site’s success in search.
The next step, then, is figuring out whether your efforts are working.
How to Monitor & Track SEO Results
Technical setup, content, and links are critical to getting a website into the search results. Monitoring your efforts helps improve your strategy further.
Measuring SEO success means tracking data about traffic, engagement, and links. And though, most companies develop their own sets of SEO KPIs (key performance indicators), here are the most common ones:
Organic traffic growth
Keyword rankings (split into branded and non-branded terms)
Conversions from organic traffic
Average time on page and the bounce rate
Top landing pages attracting organic traffic
Number of indexed pages
Links growth (including new and lost links)
Up until now, we focused on getting a site rank in search results in general. If you run a local business, however, Google also lets you position it in front of potential customers in your area, specifically. But for that, you use local SEO.
And it’s well worth it.
46% of Google searches are for local businesses. They look for vendor suggestions, and even specific business addresses.
What’s more, they act on this information: 72% of searchers visit a local store or company’s premises within 24 hours of the search.
But hold on, is local SEO different from what we’ve been talking about all along?
Yes and no.
Search engines follow similar principles for both local and global rankings. But given that they position a site for specific, location-based results, they need to analyze some other ranking factors too.
Even local search results look different:
They appear only for searches with a local intent (for example, “restaurant near me” or when a person clearly defined the location.)
They contain results specific to a relevant location.
They concentrate on delivering specific information to users that they don’t need to go anywhere else to find.
They target smartphone users primarily as local searches occur more often on mobile devices.
For example, a localpack, the most prominent element of local results, includes almost all information a person would need to choose a business. Here are local results Google displays for the phrase “best restaurant in Boston.”
Note that these results contain no links to any content. Instead, they include a list of restaurants in the area, a map to show their locations, and additional information about each:
Often, they also include a company’s phone number or website address.
All this information combined helps customers choose which business to engage. But it also allows Google to determine how to rank it.
Local Search Ranking Factors
When analyzing local websites, Google looks at the proximity to a searcher’s location. With the rise of local searches containing the phrase, “near me,” it’s only fair that Google will try to present the closest businesses first.
Keywords are essential for local SEO too. However, one additional element of on-page optimization is the presence of a company’s name, address, and phone number of a page. In local SEO, we refer to it as the NAP.
Again, it makes sense, as the search engine needs a way to assess the company’s location.
Google assesses authority in local search not just by links. Reviews and citations (references of a business’s address or a phone number online) highlight its authority too.
Finally, the information a business includes in Google My Business — the search engine’s platform for managing local business listings — plays a huge part in its rankings.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg. But they are the ones to get right first if you want your business to rank well in local search.
What is black hat SEO?
The final aspect of SEO I want to highlight to you is something I also hope you’ll never get tempted to use. I mean it.
Because, although it might have its lure, using black hat SEO typically ends in a penalty from search listings.
Black hat practices aim at manipulating search engine algorithms using strategies against search engine guidelines. The most common black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking (hiding keywords in code so that users don’t see them, but search engines do), and buying links.
So, why would someone use black hat SEO? For one, because, often, ranking a site following Google’s guidelines takes time. Long time, in fact.
Black hat strategies let you cut down the complexity of link building, for example. Keyword stuffing helps users to rank one page for many keywords, without having to create more content.
But as said, getting caught often results in a site being completely wiped out from search listings.
And the reason I mention it here is that I want you to realize that there are no shortcuts in SEO. And be aware of anyone suggesting strategies that might seem too good to be true.
Should you outsource SEO or keep it in-house?
Whether you work on SEO yourself, delegate it to another team member, or outsource it completely, you’ll want to make this decision with as much knowledge as possible.
Doing SEO Yourself
Be honest with yourself — are you interested in learning SEO? Do you have time to learn the basics? Do you have the resources to bring in help if you redesign your website and accidentally deindex several pages? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you might not want to take on the responsibility of SEO yourself. SEO is a long term play, and just like a muscle, you have to work at it consistently to see results. That can take a substantial amount of commitment. If you have any doubts, try the next best thing — delegating the work.
Delegate SEO to a Team Member
If you’re not quite sure about taking on SEO yourself, consider delegating the work to a team member. If you have a person who’s interested in growth marketing, development, or even web design, this would be a valuable skill to help grow their career. You could also hire a full-time search engine optimization specialist if you have the budget.
The person in this role can report to the marketing team, development team, or even design team. Because SEO touches nearly every function of a business while maintaining a unique set of skill requirements, this position won’t be subject to frequent changes if departments need to be restructured later on. The person you delegate to this job will contribute cross functionally more often than not, so you’ll have some liberty with managing them.
Outsource SEO to an Agency
You don’t have the interest in SEO, your team’s at full capacity, and you can’t spare the budget to fill a full time SEO role. Now what? The best bang for your buck is to outsource SEO to a reputable consultant. Why? First, a well-respected SEO consultant is highly skilled in bringing organic traffic, leads, and conversions to businesses. They do this day in and day out, so they won’t need the ramp up time that you or a member of your team would need in order to learn the basics.
Second, a consultant can be less expensive than hiring someone full-time for the role because they don’t require insurance benefits, payroll taxes, etc. But how much exactly would you be looking at for outsourcing your SEO?
SEO can cost between $100 and $500 per month if you do it yourself with a keyword research tool. It can cost between $75 and $150 per hour for a consultant, and up to $10,000 per month if you hire a full-service marketing agency. Small businesses generally spend less on SEO than big brands, so be sure to take that into account.
Incurring SEO costs can mean one of two things: the investment in your organic search strategy, or how much you pay for paid search engine marketing (SEM) services like Google Ads. If you’re paying for a tool, consultant, or marketing agency to help you optimize your web content, your bill can vary wildly with the depth of the services you’re receiving.
SEO Resources & Training
This guide is just a starting point for discovering SEO. But there’s much more to learn.
Here are online training resources to try next if your or someone on your team wants to take on this skill:
More than ever, social media channels are putting video content front and center on their feeds, as audiences increasingly turn to TikTok, Reels, and live videos to be entertained, discover products, and even learn about exciting new brands.
And for marketers, leveraging video not only offers the highest ROI of any media format, but it plays a key role in helping marketers exceed their goals.
To learn more about the top strategies and opportunities in video marketing today, we surveyed over 500 professionals that specialize in this field. Immediately, the effectiveness of video marketing became obvious.
But where in the world of video marketing should you focus your efforts first? To help you determine your next steps, we gained insights from video marketers about all sorts of topics and tactics including:
If no one sees your video, was it even worth making?
We first asked video marketers how many views their videos get on average. Here’s what we found:
38% of marketing videos average less than 10K views
16% average under 1,000 views
16% average over 100K views
But views aren’t the only metric marketers track. There’s a long list of data points you could be keeping your eyes on, so let’s take a look at which are the best measure of your video’s performance.
The Most Prioritized Video Marketing Metrics
Once you begin to get views, you’ll also want to build on your strategy by looking at and improving on a few other metrics.
Among video marketers, video engagement, conversion rate, and click-through rate are among a handful of other KPIs marketers look at, with engagement rate being prioritized by 60% of marketers, and conversion and click-through rates being a focus of 56% and 52% of marketers respectively.
Below, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the importance of each major metric.
1. Engagement Rate
According to 60% of video marketers, engagement is the most important metric to watch. After all, when a video sees high engagement, that means it is resonating with your audience enough to make them want to drop a like, write a comment, or share it with their friends.
2. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate comes in at #2 and can be a great indicator of how successful your video is at getting viewers to take the desired action.
3. Click-through Rate Speaks to Your Thumbnail and Title/Caption
Click-through rate (CTR) comes in at #4 and can tell you how effective your thumbnail is at getting people to watch the video in the first place. Before watching a video, your audience is also seeing the title or caption attached to it, which your CTR will also reflect.
4. Follower and Subscriber Growth
If you are gaining followers/subscribers from a video, that means it’s resonating with viewers and they want to see more from your brand.
If one of your videos grows your following more than usual, try to think about what set this video apart from the rest and replicate it. Also, check your analytics for helpful information on how these new subscribers/followers found your video. How can you keep providing them with valuable content?
5. Average View Time
Average view duration is key to understanding which parts of your video are highly engaging and which sections needed more work or should have been cut out entirely. While the overall average can offer useful insights when comparing similar-length videos, if possible, check the percentage of viewers watching at key moments throughout the video.
For example, if a high percentage of viewers stick around through the introduction, you successfully hooked them. However, if you see a huge dropoff halfway through, the video may have been too long.
Speaking of video length, we also asked video marketers how long a marketing video should be. Let’s take a look at what they told us.
How Long Should a Marketing Video Be?
A whopping 96% of marketers agree that the optimal length of a marketing video is under 10 minutes.
Beyond that, opinions start to differ, with the largest chunk of them (36%) saying videos should be between 1-3 minutes, while 27% think the sweet spot is between 4-6 minutes. Another 16% say the optimal video length is under 60 seconds. On the other hand 15% advocate for videos between 7-9 minutes long.
At the end of the day, the length of your video will largely depend on which type of video best suits your goals. So let’s dive into video marketers’ top goals in 2022.
Video Marketing Goals
The top three video marketing goals include increasing revenue (focused on by 33% of respondents(, raising brand awareness and advertising products/services (with 32% of marketers focusing on each).
More than one-fourth of marketers are also focused on improving customers’ understanding of products/services, while 23% want to improve customer service and retention with video.
As I mentioned at the very start, our survey shows video marketing is highly effective for reaching all of these goals, so let’s dive into some of the strategies video marketers are using to succeed.
Video Marketing Strategies
The Top Tactics for Creating Effective Videos
The most important factors for creating effective marketing videos are effectively promoting your video, capturing viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, and keeping your videos short/concise.
Why Video Promotion Is Key
It can be tempting to dedicate all of your time to crafting the “perfect” video with slick edits, high production value, and an irresistible thumbnail. While these things are important, they lose their power without effective video promotion.
In fact, in a recent trends survey, we found that 78% of consumers say it is more important for marketing videos to be authentic and relatable than polished and high-quality. That doesn’t mean you should neglect video/audio quality, but it isn’t going to make or break a video’s success.
On the other hand, ineffectively promoting your video can cause your video to flop, so let’s take a look at a few strategies video marketers use to make sure that doesn’t happen.
How to Promote a Marketing Video
The most effective video promotion strategies are sharing them on social media, adding videos to your website/blog, running paid ads for your videos, optimizing your title/description for search, and integrating videos into your email campaigns.
Whichever channels you choose for video promotion, remember that simply sharing a video isn’t enough. Effective video promotion begins before a video is even complete and continues long after a video is published.
For example, if your video is going live on YouTube in the next 24 hours, hop on Instagram and start a countdown on your story. Share the thumbnail and title 3-5 hours before the video drops to generate more interest. Prepare a teaser to hook viewers in and share that on social media as soon as your video releases.
Once the video is out, you can run an interactive poll related to your video on social media to engage your core audience and pique the interest of those who haven’t seen it yet. You can also set up an email campaign to go out announcing your video a few hours later, or add a banner to your website linking to the video.
Lastly, make sure to continue promoting when the opportunity arises. For example, if you see a Reddit or Twitter thread related to the topic of your video and think your content could add value to the conversation, drop it in the comment section.
Now that you’re up to speed on video marketing goals and strategies, let’s take a look at which video formats are most effective.
Top Video Formats
The top video three video formats are short-form, long-form, and live videos. In this section, we’ll take a deep dive into each of these, looking at which has the best ROI, how long each type of video should be, and a few relevant benchmarks.
1. Short-form Video
Of all the video formats, short-form has the highest ROI and is also #1 for lead generation and engagement.
The use of short-form video will grow significantly in 2022, with 36% of video marketers planning to invest more in it than any other format, and 45% planning to use it for the first time this year.
If you’re one of those marketers, you may be wondering how long a short-form video should be. The consensus among video marketers is that a short-form video is under 60 seconds, with the biggest chunk (33%) saying the optimal length is 31-60 seconds.
When it comes to the percentage of time a video is watched, nearly all short-form videos are watched for over 40% of their duration, which isn’t surprising due to their quick runtime. 59% of them are watched for 41-80% of their length, and 30% have an average watch percentage over 81%.
The average watch percentage for these videos can even exceed 100% as your audience replays them over and over.
Lastly, when looking at click-through rates, nearly half of short-form marketing videos also have a CTR between 5-8%.
2. Long-Form Video
Long-form videos, defined in this survey as videos over three minutes, come in 2nd to short-form for ROI, lead generation, and engagement.
Long-form video will also see significant growth in 2022 as 18% of video marketers plan to invest more in it than any other format, and 36% of will use it for the first time this year.
The biggest chunk of video marketers (36%) say the ideal length for long-form videos is 3-6 minutes, though many also advocate for videos up to 20 minutes long.
Looking at the average watch percentage, 38% of long-form marketing videos fall between 41-60%, while one in four sees an average watch percentage of 61-80%. Another 22% fall between 21 to 40%.
When it comes to CTR, the biggest chunk (57%) of long-form marketing videos are between 5-8%, which is similar to the CTR for short-form videos.
3. Live Videos/Live Streams Metrics And Benchmarks
Live videos or streams are used by 32% of video marketers and come in #4 for ROI and #3 for engagement. And, use of live videos/live streams will also grow in 2022, with 35% of video marketers planning on leveraging it for the first time.
The optimal length of a live video/live stream is between 4-9 minutes, according to 51% of video marketers. Another 22% prefer to go live for 1-3 minutes, while around one in five recommends a longer time frame of 10-30 minutes.
When it comes to the average percentage of a video watched, over 60% of live videos/live streams fall are viewed for 41% to 80% of their duration.
The Top Video Marketing Channels
1. Social Media
Social media is used for video sharing by 76% of video marketers and has the biggest ROI of any video marketing channel, by far. It is also the most effective channel for generating leads from marketing videos.
Use of social media for sharing marketing videos will grow significantly in 2022, with, 61% of all video marketers planning to invest more in sharing videos on social media than any other channel this year. Additionally, almost 2 in 3 of those who never used social media for sharing videos plan to do so for the first time this year.
2. Blog/Website Pages
A blog or website is used by 55% of video marketers to share their videos, has the 2nd highest ROI, and is the 2nd most effective at generating leads.
Use of a blog or website for sharing marketing videos will also grow in 2022, with 59% of video marketers planning to try it for the first time, and 18% of all video marketers investing in using their blog/website for sharing marketing videos over any other channel.
Email is used by 44% of video marketers to share their videos and nearly tied with blog or website for ROI.
40% of video marketers plan to share videos through email for the first time in 2022, and 11% plan to invest more in sharing videos through email than through any other channel this year.
While all these channels can be effective for sharing marketing videos, social media is the clear winner. So let’s dive into which social media apps are most effective for video sharing.
The Best Social Media Channels for Sharing Videos
Instagram is the top social media platform for ROI, engagement, and lead generation for sharing marketing videos and will see significant investment from video marketers in 2022.
Use of Instagram by video marketers will grow significantly in 2022, as 24% of them will invest more into sharing videos on Instagram than on any other platform. Additionally, 42% of those who don’t use Instagram for sharing videos will do so for the first time this year.
While YouTube comes in at #2 behind Instagram for ROI and lead generation, it is the most used app for video sharing, with 70% of video marketers leveraging it.
YouTube will also see the most investment from video marketers in 2022, with 27% investing more into sharing videos on YouTube than any other platform. On top of that, over half of those who don’t use YouTube for sharing videos will do so for the first time in 2022.
Facebookis used by 60% of video marketers when sharing marketing videos (tied at #2 for usage with Instagram), though it comes in 4th for ROI, engagement, and lead generation.
35% will invest in sharing videos on Facebook for the first time in 2022 and 16% of video marketers will invest more in sharing videos on Facebook than on any other platform this year.
While TikTok has the 3rd highest ROI and comes in 2nd for engagement, only 35% of video marketers currently share videos on the app, and just 20% plan to start for the first time in 2022.
Which social media channels have low video performance?
Reddit, Tumblr, Twitch, Snapchat, and Pinterest are consistently the worst channels for sharing marketing videos and will see the least investment from video marketers in 2022.
Another consideration when sharing videos on social media is whether you will pay for ads or share your content organically. Let’s take a look at which video marketers are using.
Should you use paid or organic video posts on social media?
55% of video marketers leverage a mix of organic and paid content when posting videos on social media, while 24% use organic only, and 21% use paid only.
Now that we’ve looked at how marketers are sharing their videos on social media, let’s compare two of the most common platforms for hosting videos – YouTube and Vimeo.
Hosting Videos on YouTube vs. Vimeo
We asked video marketers who use both YouTube and Vimeo to compare the two, and not only do 78% of them say YouTube is more effective for reaching their overall business goals, but YouTube is far superior in every category.
Vimeo comes close to being as effective as YouTube for privacy options, storage, video/audio quality, and video player customization, but still lags behind or is considered about the same as YouTube.
What are the Top Content Types for Marketing Videos?
1. Content Showcasing Your Products and Services
Content showcasing products/services is the most leveraged type of video content and has the highest ROI of any content type, with 66% of participants reporting high returns. It is also the most effective at generating leads and gets the 2nd most engagement of all content types we asked about.
Product and service content will also see the most investment of any video content type this year, with 17% planning to invest in it more than any other, while 36% plan to leverage it for the first time in 2022.
2. Content That Reflects Your Brands Values
Content that reflects a brand’s values is the second most leveraged type of video content and the 2nd most effective for generating leads and engagement.
3. Trendy Content
People generally don’t want to watch videos that feel out of date or out of touch, but they’re drawn to videos that discuss topics that they’re currently intreested in, like trends or news related to their industry or hobbies. This is likely why “trendy content”has the second-highest ROI and gets the most engagement.
4. Relatable Content
Relatable contentwill see the most new investment in 2022, with 40% planning to leverage it for the first time, while 12% will invest more in it than any other content type.
5. Funny and Interactive Content
Both funny and interactive content havehigh ROI and will be leveraged by 29% and 27% of video marketers for the first time in 2022, respectively.
Next, let’s look at the different styles of videos you can use, and which are most effective.
Top Video Styles
1. Live-Action (Videos Featuring Real Footage)
Live-actionvideos are leveraged most often, have the biggest ROI, are the most effective for lead generation, and get the most engagement.
Use of live-action video will grow significantly in 2022, as 55% plan to use it for the first time ever and 48% of all video marketers will invest more in live-action than any other video style.
2. Animated Videos
Animated videos are used by one in two video marketers, have the second-highest ROI, and are the 2nd most effective for lead generation and engagement.
49% of video marketers will also leverage animated videos for the first time this year, and 30% will invest in them more than any other video style.
3. Screen-Capture or Screen Recording
Screen-capture videos are used by 43% of video marketers, the least of the three video styles. Screen-capture has the lowest ROI, by far, and is much less effective for generating leads and engagement.
However, screen-recorded videos will see more use in 2022, with 52% planning to leverage them for the first time and 21% planning to invest more in them than any other video style
Now that you know the top formats, styles, and content types for marketing videos, as well as where to share them, we can dive into our research on how to create viral videos.
Getting one of your videos to go viral might seem like a pipe dream, but it isn’t as out of reach as you might think.
63% of video marketers have created a viral video – so let’s take a look at exactly how they did it so your next video can blow up too.
How to Make a Video Go Viral
The most effective strategies for creating a viral video are making retable content, keeping videos short/concise, and capturing viewers’ attention in the first few seconds.
Let’s dig a little deeper into these top three strategies and how you can use them.
1. Making Relatable Content Means More Engagement
Making relatable content is key to getting viewers to engage with your video. Whether they comment on your video or share it with a friend, the algorithm takes notice and boosts your video to more viewers, increasing its chances to go viral.
2. Shorter Is Better
Keeping videos short is also crucial to virality. According to 47% of video marketers, short-form videos are the most likely to go viral.
But how long is a short-form video exactly? Our video marketing trends report found that the consensus among video marketers is under 60 seconds, with the biggest chunk (33%) saying the optimal length is 31-60 seconds.
3. Capture Attention Immediately
Capturing viewers’ attention in the first few seconds is the third most effective way to make a video go viral.
This could be as simple as starting a video with a colorful animation, an intriguing question, showing text on-screen, or even with physical movements like hand motions or jumping out of your chair to set a video off.
Now that you know the top strategies to make a video go viral, let’s take a look at which platforms you should use.
Which Platform are Videos Most Likely to Go Viral On?
YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are the platforms that video marketers say are most likely to have a video go viral.
If you have a social media presence on any of those three, they can be powerful for scoring a viral video. But if you’re not leveraging them yet, it might be time to finally give TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts a shot.
Which Type of Video Content is Most Likely to Go Viral?
Funny, trendy, and relatable videos that reflect a brand’s values are most likely to go viral.
Combine these top content types by creating a funny, relatable, and on-trend video for the best chance of going viral.
Lastly, we’ll take a look at the different video styles and which is most effective for a viral video.
Which Style of Video Content is Most Likely to Go Viral?
Live-action videos are most likely to go viral according to 49% of video marketers, but animation is also effective for 31% of respondents.
If you can, use both. Keep viewers engaged by switching back and forth between your live-action shot and animation with a voiceover.
Video Marketing Benefits & Challenges
Video Marketing Benefits
The biggest benefits of creating marketing videos are that they help customers understand a product/service, get more engagement than other marketing content, and lead to more sales/conversions than other marketing content.
While this seems perfectly in line with video marketers’ goals, those benefits also come with a few challenges.
Video Marketing Challenges
The biggest challenges video marketers face are a lack of time to create video content, difficulty creating an effective video strategy, and inadequate budget to create video content.
The great news is that video marketing is simpler than ever, with 57% of video marketers describing video marketing as easy.
On top of that, 46% of those who started making videos in the past year did so because creating marketing videos became less time-consuming, and 38% said they started because videos became easier to make in-house. 1 in 2 also started making marketing videos in response to the pandemic.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been making videos for a while, budgeting can be a stressful part of the process. To help you navigate your video marketing budget, let’s take a look at how other marketers are budgeting for their videos.
Video Marketing Budgets
81% of video marketers have a dedicated budget for video marketing. Here’s what those budgets look like:
20% of companies spend over $100K on video marketing per quarter
Around 1 in 4 spend under $20K
42% spend between $20K-$100K
We also asked video marketers how their budget changed from 2021 to 2022, and found that 52% of video marketers saw a budget increase in 2022, while 46% saw no change. Just 2% saw a decrease.
Marketers who saw an increase in their video budget generally received a substantial boost in their budget, with 41% of video marketers getting an increase of over 51%.
You may also be wondering what percentage of total marketing budgets goes towards video marketing, so let’s take a look at that too.
It turns out that 44% of companies spend 31-60% of their total marketing budget on video marketing.
How Much Does Creating a Marketing Video Cost?
91% of marketers’ companies spend under $50,000 to create a marketing video, and over half spend under $10,000.
With the total cost of making a marketing video in mind, let’s look into how much video marketers are spending on each step in the video creation process.
Production takes up 24% of the average video marketer’s budget, followed by pre-production and post-production tied at 20%. Another 18% is spent on talent and video promotion/distribution.
We also asked video marketers which part of the video creation process is most expensive, and 65% of them say production is the costliest step.
Lastly, let’s talk about how long it takes to create a marketing video and which parts are most time-consuming.
How Long Does it Take to Create a Marketing Video?
86% of marketing videos are created in 3 weeks or less, and 40% are made in under a week.
The most time-consuming part of the video creation process is pre-production (coming up with ideas, writing script, casting, etc.), according to 38% of those who make marketing videos in-house.
More Insights From the HubSpot Blog
Whether you’re just getting started with video marketing or a seasoned video professional, keeping up with the latest trends and marketing strategies is key.
While video marketing is currently one of the top marketing strategies, there are a few others that have even better ROI – luckily, you can incorporate most of them into your video marketing strategy for even better results.
For instance, you may spend $100 developing creative assets for a video that ends up reaching 100,000 users. To reach those same users with an ad, you will likely have to invest much more money.
In addition, social media allows you to:
Drive more traffic to your website and generate leads.
Promote products and services.
Build a community.
Connect with and learn from your target audience.
When you get down to it, the way you use social media as a small business isn’t much different from how you’d use it as a mid to large-size business. In both cases, you’re sharing, engaging, monitoring, and optimizing.
The key difference is that a small business is likely focused on growth while an established brand may prioritize expansion.
Social Media Tips for Small Business
1. Be consistent.
The best thing you can do as a small business when starting out on social media is to be consistent.
Too often, brands get discouraged if they don’t see results within a few weeks. The truth is social media growth can be slow but like most things, if you remain consistent, you will generate results.
This means posting high-quality content on a regular basis (at least once a week). You do this for a few reasons.
The first is that when a user does land on your profile, you want them to get a clear picture of your brand. If you have little to no content, users will quickly lose interest and leave. The same is true for scattered posts.
Social media is an opportunity to tell a story. When you prioritize consistency and cohesiveness, users will know what to expect from your page, what your voice is, and what you offer. And that’s how you’ll attract your target audience.
2. Diversify your content.
On social media, there’s so much room to be creative and experiment. Too often, brands find one strategy that works and stick to that.
While there’s a lot of truth to the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” social media is constantly evolving. What worked yesterday may not work today, as these platforms implement new features and user behavior changes.
With this in mind, play around with content formats whenever possible. For instance, on TikTok, you can only post videos. However, on Facebook, you have the option of going live, posting images, conducting polls, and more.
Here are some formats you should leverage:
With content, the limit truly does not exist.
Our social media report revealed that small businesses get the best ROI from creating educational and relatable content. Meanwhile, mid-size and large businesses report better results with funny and interactive content.
This data point makes sense for many reasons. Larger brands have likely already built a strong following and know what their audience likes. That’s why they’re able to do interactive polls and be creative with their content.
Small businesses, on the other hand, still have a lot to prove. They want to add value to their audience and grow a following, and the easiest way to do that? Make content that educates and/or resonates.
This isn’t to say that small businesses should stick to these two types of content. In fact, they should experiment with all content to narrow down what their audience likes. However, this can serve as a strong starting point.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Industry facts and updates
Behind the scenes
Trends (viral sounds and dances)
3. Focus on quality instead of quantity.
This applies not only to the content you post but also to which platforms you post.
From a content perspective, while it is encouraged that you post often on social media, there’s a caveat. Everything you post should add value.https://www.instagram.com/p/CcLdmLULXBe/embed/?cr=1&v=14&wp=540&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.hubspot.com&rp=%2Fmarketing%2Fsmall-business-social-media#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2176.600000000093%2C%22ls%22%3A1543.5%2C%22le%22%3A2142.5%7D
If it doesn’t meet that criteria, consider another strategy, such as reposting brand-related content from a non-competitor or sharing user-generated content (UGC).
For a while, brands were wary of TikTok. They saw it as a non-serious platform meant to entertain Gen-Z. Now, brands realize that it’s another highly valuable network that can broaden their reach and increase their brand awareness.
This is all to say that you don’t have to jump on every trend when it first appears, that’s not the recommendation here. Instead, you want to monitor them and their evolution. Because while some trends die off, others turn into staples.
With all of these features, you can map out your content for the month and create tasks to track your progress. This makes scheduling a piece of cake and allows others to get a clear understanding of your plans.
Growing your social media presence as a small business is an exciting time. Use these tools to get you on track and remember, slow and steady always wins the race.
As a business, your overall goal is likely to achieve growth and remain competitive in your market.
Corporate development and business development are two practices that help businesses achieve growth through different means. Read on to learn the difference between the two and how they relate to your business operations.
Corporate development is the process of achieving growth for a business through internal restructuring and external opportunities for acquisitions and mergers, investments, and divesting assets. All corporate development processes increase the value of a business.
Internal restructuring is typically changing the current management to increase efficiency, such as hiring new staff, combining existing positions, or removing other positions.
An example of internal corporate restructuring can be combining two senior positions that are closely related. An external growth example is a larger company acquiring a smaller company that offers something beneficial to its offerings, like PayPal acquiring Venmo, a money sending service meant for friends and family.
Corporate development indirectly relates to sales as management restructuring and acquisitions will increase a business’s ability to serve customers and drive sales, but the processes come long before a customer receives a receipt.
What is business development?
Business development is identifying opportunities to develop relationships with similar companies to achieve key business objectives and bring value to customers. These relationships are usually developed with companies with similar goals and related offerings.
For example, a restaurant partnering with local delivery services so people can order their favorite food for delivery. The delivery business can make more money through a new client base, and the restaurant can increase its number of orders when customers have more ways to get its food.
Business development is closely related to sales because partnerships increase value for customers and inspire them to make purchases. The business dev process also begins through market research and qualifying prospects (companies) that it makes sense to partner with.
Difference Between Corporate Development and Business Development
Business development and corporate development are the same in that they focus on activities to help companies grow. Both processes bring a competitive advantage, as their end goal is to help a business increase the value it can provide to a target audience. Both can also involve relationships with external organizations, and business dev teams can exist within corporate dev teams.
They are different in that business dev is external relationships, and corporate dev is external growth through internal changes. While corporate dev involves finance, it does not directly increase sales as financial transactions include acquisitions and mergers and hiring new staff.
Business development is more closely related to sales because partnerships with external businesses drive more sales among consumers.
How do business development and corporate development work together?
Both processes can, however, work together.
For example, a corporate development team may hire a new vice president of marketing to oversee all marketing operations. This new hire brings along unique perspectives for expansion that help the company grow.
The new ideas impact business development as they involve new markets and new relationships with other relevant businesses in those markets.
Over To You
Most businesses should have corporate development and business development teams rather than one over the other. While each one helps your business grow and increase sales, both do so in different ways that are required for your company to succeed.