4 Ways to Benefit from Google’s Helpful Content Update and Avoid Being Penalized

Google Search is continuously evolving. What many creators and website owners fail to remember is that Google does not exist to rank websites. Google exists to provide searchers with the best information.

The latest algorithm update serves to do exactly that. 

Google’s ‘helpful content update’ rewards high-quality, informative, original content made by people, for people. This means that websites with content written for search engines, rather than searchers will likely suffer. 

Here are four ways to ensure that your site is rewarded with better rankings following the latest algorithm update.

1. Be Factual, Not Fluffy

Ahrefs finds that the top-ranking page on Google only gets the most search traffic 49 percent of the time. Why? Because the top ranking page has not always included the most relevant information. The new algorithm update looks to fix that. 

It is simply not enough to quickly draft an article and stuff keywords throughout. This practice serves no purpose for the human searcher. When drafting SEO content, remember to be factual, not fluffy.

Including well-researched facts and statistics and connecting them to your product or service can help searchers make more informed decisions. Not only does this benefit the searcher, but it also benefits your business. Why wouldn’t you want your potential customers to be equipped with the knowledge you provide them with to make a purchase?

2. Be an Expert in Your Industry

Does your website convey that you’re a subject matter expert? Does it provide well-written and in-depth thought leadership content?

More than half of all shoppers report conducting research before making a purchase. This is why it’s so important to position your brand as an expert.

Be sure that every piece of blog content teaches your reader something new. Think about why your reader is on your site, and cater your content for them specifically. Prioritizing valuable information like how to use your products, the unique benefits of your services, and other helpful insights shows readers that your brand is an industry leader. 

Consider including step by step how-to’s, listicles of best practices, and any other information that your searcher will benefit from. Not only will this motivate readers to engage and convert on your website, but it will also keep them coming back for more.

3. Be Consistent and Remove Unhelpful Content

With every new algorithm update, consistency is still key and content will remain king! What does this mean for your site? 

If you have previously enlisted the help of AI to draft your blog content, or published content that was specifically designed to manipulate rankings rather than help a searcher, consider removing this content from your site. While this content may be years old, it could still cause your rankings to take a hit. 

Google suggests removing any low quality pages, merging or updating the content of individual pages into more relevant and helpful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain.  

As you begin creating higher-quality content, the work doesn’t end there. Remaining consistent will show Google that your site is an authority in its industry, and will help increase your rankings.

4. Enlist the Help of Boost by LEVERAGE™

Algorithm updates can often spark uncertainty, have undesirable effects on your rankings, and ultimately impact your business. With a solution, like Boost by LEVERAGE™ (our premium SEO program for brands that want to dominate the first page of Google), you can rest easy knowing that your website’s SEO follows best practices and may actually benefit from these updates.

Over the last fourteen years, we’ve developed SEO campaigns for hundreds of clients, and we know what works and what doesn’t. Let us help you gain a competitive edge and take the guesswork out of navigating this new ‘helpful content update.

Want to learn more? Let’s talk!

Want to Improve SEO Performance? Here’s Why Content Is (Still) King

More than half of all online experiences begin with a Google search. And, studies show that less than one percent of searchers will click on results from the second page. In fact, to many people, the second page of Google might as well be considered the “dark web.” 

Investing in your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts is vital to your brand awareness, website traffic, and trustworthiness. In short, investing in SEO is crucial to generating marketing qualified leads and increasing sales.

While many factors may influence your rankings on Google, like page load speed, mobile responsiveness, and links, experts agree; when it comes to dominating the first page of Google, content is king. 

Learn more about why content remains the most important factor in your SEO strategy, and how Boost by LEVERAGE™ can help your brand gain a competitive edge. 

What Is “Good Content”?

When sharing any piece of content on your website, it’s important to remember your audience. Who will be reading it? 

Whether targeting customers looking to purchase a niche product or c-suite executives interested in learning more about your services, content must always provide value for the audience. This value may come in the form of industry insight, specific product or service information, and more. Think of who will be browsing the search engine results page (SERP) for your keyword queries, ask yourself why they care about a particular topic, and tailor content directly for them. 

Good SEO content teaches the reader something they did not know before, as well as informs them on why they should choose your company over any other competitor. It’s important that your content is free from spelling errors, grammar inconsistencies, and incorrect factual information. While these issues make your brand look unprofessional, they can also often prevent your content from ranking on the first page of Google. 

When writing good content, it is not enough to simply state your points. You must back up your claims with data. It is important to include consumer research, case studies, testimonials, and more to show that your brand has authority in a particular topic. 

With Boost by LEVERAGE™, a premium SEO program fourteen years in the making, brands can feel confident that their content positions them as industry leaders and provides significant value for their target audience.

Why It Matters for Your Brand

The term “content is king” stems from a 1996 essay written by Bill Gates on the future of the internet. 25 years later, the statement still holds true. 

Why? Because for brands across industries, it matters if they produce good content, especially for SEO purposes. 

Publishing high-quality content is the most effective way to boost rankings, drive traffic to your website, and generate marketing qualified leads. Good content is also more likely to be shared to other platforms, positioning your brand as an authority in its industry and growing trust with your audience.

Studies prove that customers inherently value the trust they have for a particular brand. Trust is the second most important factor for customers when making a decision on whether or not to make a purchase, following affordability in first place. And today more than ever, brands are being challenged to either live up to their customers expectations of trustworthiness, or fall behind their competitors. 

Good, original content also provides potential customers with the knowledge they need to make a confident purchase. Whether your target audience is looking to purchase a subscription to a meal plan service or is deciding between which law firm to handle their case, your content will aid them on their journey. 

Overall, prioritizing quality content for your SEO efforts will make a world of difference in how your existing and potential customers view your brand and choose to interact with it. 

Invest in Your SEO Effort With Boost by LEVERAGE™

Within the last year, 90 percent of consumers have used the internet to find a local business.  How does your content currently align with the image and value your brand is trying to portray? 

Over the last fourteen years, we’ve deployed SEO campaigns for hundreds of clients. Simply put, we know what works for your brand and what doesn’t. If you’re looking to improve SEO performance with quality content that speaks to your audience, we can help. 

To learn how Boost by LEVERAGE™ can help your brand, contact us today.

How to Elevate Your Digital Marketing With Video

When it comes to video marketing, 86 percent of marketers who use video report that it has been effective for generating leads. You may be wondering, “What is it about video marketing that makes it so impactful?” 

One of the most beneficial aspects is that it demonstrates your products or services in a more visually-engaging way than words or still images. In fact, 94 percent of marketers agree that video has helped increase user understanding about their products or services. Moving forward, video will continue to be an important tool in the branding toolbox. 

Here are some reasons why business owners and marketers benefit from investing in video, and ways you can incorporate video into your digital marketing efforts today.

Benefits of Video for Business Owners and Marketers

There are many benefits of video that business owners and marketers alike can enjoy. Let’s start with business owners. 

If you’re a business owner, video is more than just an attractive and trendy marketing tool. As mentioned previously, video has been proven to drive lead generation. Content that features authentic storytelling, shows off products and services, and builds trust with your audience helps grow qualified leads. 

With these leads comes more customers. And with more customers comes more revenue. In fact, 80 percent of businesses that use video report that it has helped them to increase sales. Utilizing video can also promote your brand’s unique personality, differentiating it from competitors in a saturated market.

For marketers, video provides another kind of value.

Video content on social media has a 1200 percent share rate compared to images and text combined. And, online videos make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic today. 

To reap the full benefits that video has to offer, it’s important to feature video content on website pages as well as in email newsletters. This is particularly beneficial for SEO purposes, helping to increase rankings and in turn increase visibility for the brand. When reporting results to clients and others in the C-suite, these heightened engagement rates, impressions, and conversions are sure to impress. 

Use Video to Tell Your Brand Story

The kinds of stories we tell about ourselves, and our brands, can make an immense difference in how consumers perceive and engage with us. If your brand is looking to tell its story, video may be a powerful medium to do so. 

Video storytelling can guide viewers through narratives that discuss their core values and spark an emotional connection. Through emotion, brands can connect on a more human level.

When telling your story through video, it’s important to define your goals, your audience, and your distribution channels. For example, a family-owned brand may have a goal of promoting their heritage story to connect with families like them. These videos may also be repurposed across social media platforms, television commercials, and paid search advertisements. 

Use Video to Build Trust

More than just visually appealing, video can help build trust for your brand among your audience. This trust serves as the foundation of long-lasting relationships between a brand and its customers. 46 percent of surveyed consumers report that they would be willing to pay more for a brand that they trust. 

Coherence and transparency through video can help customers feel more connected to a brand’s message. In addition to sharing an authentic brand story, video can help those skeptical about purchasing a product or investing in a service they’ve never used before. Video can answer frequently asked questions, demonstrate uses, and help customers troubleshoot in a more efficient way. 

By allowing these videos to live on your website and social media platforms, this provides your customers easy access to in-depth information about your brand, its products, and its services, at the click of a button.

Invest in Video for Your Digital Marketing Strategy

In 2020, 90 percent of consumers increased their video consumption habits. 9 out of 10 of these consumers also reported that they would like to see more brands and businesses utilizing video. Is your brand ready to elevate its storytelling, authenticity, trustworthiness, and value? 

Contact us today to learn more about what video can do for your brand.

LEVERAGE to Embrace Hybrid Work Model

Photo by https://hydeparkvillage.com/

The agency is saying goodbye to the traditional office and hello to Hyde House, an innovative workspace in Hyde Park Village.

Today, LEVERAGE announced that it is fully embracing hybrid work by offering all of its team members the option to work in-office or from home beginning next month. LEVERAGE is no stranger to hybrid work, as management has tested the model successfully over the last year.

With this move, LEVERAGE is saying goodbye to the traditional office and hello to Hyde House, an innovative workspace in Hyde Park Village. The agency will continue to offer face-to-face client meetings at its new location, as well as Zoom meetings, which many clients have become increasingly in favor of following the pandemic. 

“With the recent evolution of communication and collaboration technology, we are able to offer our staff increased flexibility with their work arrangements, while maintaining the same level of productivity,” said Jay Taylor, CEO at LEVERAGE. “This affords our team members better work-life balance and allows us to remain an attractive option for talent in an industry where remote work has become the norm.”

About LEVERAGE

LEVERAGE is an award-winning digital marketing agency that builds brands and enables growth. It has been named one of the top 10 fastest growing companies owned or led by a University of South Florida alumnus, and ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a top 25 advertising agency.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Moffett

smoffett@leveragedigital.com

813.489.4494

 

LEVERAGE Donates Scholarship To University of South Florida Muma College of Business

The LEVERAGE Scholarship for Future Marketing Professionals will award $5,000 over the next five years.

Tampa-based marketing agency, LEVERAGE, announced today that it has established a scholarship for graduate students at the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.

The LEVERAGE Scholarship for Future Marketing Professionals will award $5,000 over the next five years to students who are currently pursuing or planning to pursue a career in marketing and advertising. All awards will be based on merit and financial need, and applications will be open for students pursuing Master of Science in Marketing and Master of Business Administration degrees.

“For many of our students, scholarships often mean the difference between whether or not they choose to continue their academic careers,” said Moez Limayem, Lynn Pippenger Dean at the USF Muma College of Business. “We’re grateful to LEVERAGE for providing the vital financial boost student scholars need to further their studies. This support contributes to the strong foundation needed for student success.”

“We are thrilled to donate this scholarship to the USF Muma College of Business and to help aspiring marketing professionals achieve their academic goals, so they can go on to become the future leaders of this profession,” said Jay Taylor, CEO at LEVERAGE. “The USF Muma College of Business is producing some of the best and the brightest, and we are grateful to be in a position to support them.”

About USF Muma College of Business

The University of South Florida is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. The Muma College of Business leverages analytics and critical thinking as a means to advance student success, produce scholarship with impact, and generate innovation in partnership with stakeholders.

About LEVERAGE

LEVERAGE is an award-winning digital marketing agency that builds brands and enables growth. It has been named one of the top 10 fastest growing companies owned or led by a University of South Florida alumnus, and ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a top 25 advertising agency.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Samantha Moffett

smoffett@leveragedigital.com

813.489.4494

 

3 Tips for Creating Engaging Email Newsletters

Are you ready to roll out an amazing email newsletter campaign for your brand? It takes a lot more than just typing out a few lines and pressing “send.” 

Creating engaging email newsletters can help increase your brand’s credibility, stay top of mind, encourage repeat purchases, and have a positive impact on brand loyalty.

Here are three tips you need to know to keep your customers opening your email newsletters.

1. Prioritize Headlines and Subject Lines

In 2022 alone, 332 billion emails are expected to be sent and received everyday, and it may feel like every last one of these emails are coming to your inbox. With so much clutter from other brands, how can your brand differentiate itself among the masses?

One way is to nail the headlines and subject lines. 

You’ll want to keep your headlines and subject lines short, sweet, and to the point. But, you’ll also want them to spark curiosity. 

For headlines, hint at what’s in the email newsletter, but don’t give it all away. Entice readers to open the email to find out more.

Subject lines with fewer than nine words tend to perform the best, and it’s recommended to stay under 60 characters. While emojis are fun, you should also stick to using only one in a subject line. 

A strong headline and subject line will keep customers engaged and interested in what your brand is offering. 

2. Make It Visual

It’s true what they say. First impressions can make or break your brand. 

That’s why it’s so important to not skimp on the visuals in your email newsletters. Think about yourself as the consumer. Do you want to read a text-heavy email with no images or appealing graphics? 

Odds are, you’ll click out of that email pretty quickly. So will your customers. 

A study conducted by Microsoft shows that the human attention span is also decreasing, dropping from 12 seconds to eight seconds since the year 2000. It’s crucial that you keep long-form copy to a minimum and break up content with images, dividers, buttons, and other graphics to help make the message flow. 

Remember, you can always link to a blog post or other page on your website that can offer more extensive information. But, once your readers are tuned out of an email, it’s very difficult to re-capture their attention.

3. Include a Powerful CTA

What is the purpose of your email newsletter? Is it to drive people to your website to read your blog posts? Or is it to advertise specials and new product or service releases?

Think about what action you want your readers to take. Then, include this in a powerful call-to-action at the end of your message. This call-to-action should be clearly-stated, bold, and easy to complete. 

For example, if you want customers to visit a product catalog on your website, be sure to link that page in an attention-grabbing way. Let your customer know what you want them to do and make it simple for them to do so. 

Use Email to Connect With Your Customers

If you want to speak directly to your customers, email is one of the best ways to do so. Through a regularly scheduled email newsletter campaign, you can keep customers up-to-date with what your brand is doing, as well as connect with them on a personal level. 

To see how we can help your brand develop and execute an effective email marketing strategy, request a consultation today. 

How to Determine an Appropriate Marketing Budget

Has your brand decided that it’s time to level up its marketing plan? One of the first steps is nailing down an appropriate marketing budget. Whether it’s for digital, traditional, or a combination of both, you’ll need to decide on the budget before any work begins. 

You may be wondering, “How do I know what to spend and how to spend it?” We can help. For a basic guide on how to determine your budget for marketing, read on.

Decide on Growth Objectives

Before locking down a marketing budget, growth objectives should be at the forefront of all marketing plans. Is your brand looking to abruptly skyrocket sales, or maintain the solid momentum it already has? 

Being specific with your growth objectives will provide marketers with a more clear direction for building a tailored strategy. If your goal is to maintain incremental growth for an extended period of time, your budget may be lower than if your goal is to significantly spike sales as soon as possible. 

While the solution to these two strategies will require different tactics, your budget will look different, too. A study conducted by Deloitte found that the average business spends about 13 percent of revenue on marketing. It’s important to have a strong grasp on your objectives to determine how much it might take to reach them.  

B2C vs B2B Marketing

Whether your brand markets to consumers or to other businesses, this will be another factor in how much you’ll spend on marketing.

When trying to reach consumers, brands are looking to build strong resonance. Brand resonance describes the extent in which consumers feel they are in sync with your company. This means that business to consumer marketing will focus on strengthening behavior loyalty, attitudinal attachment, sense of community, and active engagement to build brand equity. 

Marketing for consumers may be more emotionally driven with captivating and creative storytelling to inspire purchase. 

On the other hand, business to business marketing is typically more informational and technical, involving multiple parties in the decision making process. Marketing tactics will focus on product and service features heavily, and often work to appeal less to emotion and more to logic. 

Overall, brands typically spend more on marketing to consumers versus marketing to other businesses. Businesses that market to consumers typically spend anywhere from 10 percent to as much as 18 percent of revenue on marketing, while businesses that market to other businesses may spend anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent of revenue on marketing.

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Depending on your brand objectives and target audience, your strategy may include more digital marketing tactics like social media promotion and website design or more traditional marketing tactics like out of home advertising and product innovation. 

The last year has seen tremendous growth in digital marketing tactics across all industries. 

A survey conducted by Gartner found that nearly 60 percent of business’ marketing investments go toward digital marketing activity. This is in part due to the massive shift to online operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

If your brand is looking to drive revenue, sales, volume, and profit, digital marketing may be the right avenue. If your brand is looking to improve customer experience or enhance your existing products and services, traditional marketing may be a better option. 

Your target audience demographics and psychographics will also influence whether your brand incorporates a more digital or traditional strategy. Depending on your objectives, budget allocation for digital, traditional, and integrated marketing will vary.

Additional Tips for Estimating Your Marketing Budget

After determining your growth objectives, there are many other steps you can take to get started on planning your marketing budget. Some simple ways to get started are to:

Revisit last year’s spending 

Are you looking to maintain momentum or grow from last year? Nearly half of all companies set marketing budgets depending on the previous year’s costs 

Assess your competitors

What strategies are industry leaders employing to grow their business or maintain customer relationships? 

Estimate Cost Per Lead

Determining your cost per lead is simple. Take your projected marketing costs divided by the # of new leads you want to generate. For example, if you spend  $300,000 on marketing with a goal to attract 3,000 new people, then you’ll divide $300,000 by 3,000 to get a final cost of $100 per lead.

Estimate Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate is equal to the # of conversions you receive divided by the # of leads. This rate can help you determine how many of your leads are likely to convert.

Taking each of these steps can help you get a better idea on what you may need to spend on marketing. The best way to determine your marketing budget is to work with a trusted marketing agency. 

Start Planning Your Marketing Budget Today

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your brand.  Deciding on what you should spend and how you should spend it requires extensive planning with professionals who are passionate about the success of your brand. Request a consultation with us today to get started on determining an appropriate marketing budget to reach your goals. 

The Keys to Growth in Subscription Box Ecommerce

One of the greatest areas of opportunity in business today is for existing subscription box brands. Today, nearly one-third of all US consumers subscribe to subscription box services. On average, each of these consumers spend 57 dollars per month on these boxes. 

Even if your subscription box service has an established audience, there are many ways to promote even further growth. 

So, what’s the secret to long-lasting success and customer retention? To learn more about our top tips on growing your subscription box ecommerce, read on for our basic guide. 

New Customer Acquisition

The truth is, most customers are not automatically attracted to subscription boxes. As you know, there is no magical energy that pulls them in. That’s why acquiring customers, and then keeping them, is such a difficult task. 

Offering a free or highly-discounted trial period can facilitate a “nothing to lose” mindset for apprehensive consumers. However, it’s crucial not to overinvest in these areas. If you’ve already started planning your customer acquisition marketing strategy, be sure not to neglect your returning subscribers. 

Focusing on the lifestyle of your target audience provides an exclusive offer they can’t resist. Catering to your audience’s everyday habits can help acquire more new customers to an already successful brand, but also keep them for the long haul.

Another tip is to prioritize word of mouth marketing. Influencer marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing this year, and can be highly beneficial for growing your subscription box even further. If you’re in a unique niche, consider working with an influencer to reach even more of your viable target audience. 

Finally, use email marketing to your advantage. Consider that many potential customers will browse your website and products seeking trust symbols. By using opt-in forms and email sign ups on your website, you can learn valuable information about these potential customers as well as speak to them directly. 

Customer Experience

With a strong customer acquisition strategy under your belt, catering to a highly-personalized customer experience is another strong trend in the subscription box industry. 

More than ever before, customers are searching for products, services, and media specifically tailored to their needs. This trend is especially true in 2022, as consumers continue to turn to ecommerce versus traditional in-person shopping experiences. In fact, 91 percent of customers are more likely to buy from brands that cater to their personalized preferences. 

Allowing customers to curate their monthly box with preferences not only shows customers that you’re paying attention to their needs and wants, but it will also show that they can get something unique from your brand that they won’t find anywhere else. 

You may also consider asking your existing customers for user-generated content. Simply ask them to snap a photo or short video of their box at home and products in-use. Then, share these photos on your social media, website, and email marketing campaigns. 

This allows your customers to feel that they’re involved in an important relationship with your brand. It also allows other potential customers to see your products in action. 

Churn Reduction

Studies show that across all industries and services, cancellation rates of subscription boxes are at nearly 40 percent. Most cancellations also happen within the first six months. 

Are you experiencing higher churn rates than you’d like? And why are so many customers canceling their subscriptions?

One of the main reasons is that consumers are searching for an A to Z experience rather than a product. While flash sales and incentives can be great to attract new customers or increase sales for a short period of time, they likely won’t work to build long-term relationships and reduce churn.

Be sure that your subscription box continues to adapt over time and grow with your customers. Allow for continued opportunities for customization and curation, and welcome feedback along the way. 

You might also offer specials for your existing customers or a loyalty reward program. Even simple items like hand-written thank you cards can go a long way with existing customers. 

The key to reducing your churn rate is to focus on personalized experiences and tailored communication no matter how far along your business is.

Think Outside Of the Subscription Box: Growth for 2022 and Beyond

Ecommerce is an ever changing landscape of opportunities. Your subscription box service is no exception. That’s why it’s crucial to continuously develop your marketing strategy to grow with your customers and market competition.

Now that you know some of our top tips for subscription box success in 2022 and beyond, what are you waiting for? 

Request a complimentary consultation today.

A Look Back at 2021


2021 was an incredible year. We had the privilege of helping clients establish brand identities, enter new markets, reach new audiences, grow existing ones, scale, and more.

Seeking an agency partner to help your organization achieve its strategic marketing goals in 2022? We can help.

Request a consultation.