Alexa Blog https://blog.alexa.com Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:12:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 29 Market Research Questions to Guide Your Marketing Strategy https://blog.alexa.com/market-research-questions/ https://blog.alexa.com/market-research-questions/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 20:19:43 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6212 One of the best ways to learn about your market and customers is by asking questions. When you ask the right market research questions, you can identify opportunities to improve in your marketing strategy, operations, and industry. You can gain insights that help you: Attract your target audience Stand out from competitors Improve your products [...]

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3 minute read

One of the best ways to learn about your market and customers is by asking questions. When you ask the right market research questions, you can identify opportunities to improve in your marketing strategy, operations, and industry.

You can gain insights that help you:

  • Attract your target audience
  • Stand out from competitors
  • Improve your products and services
  • Better serve your customers

To ask the best questions, it helps to break down your market research questions into the following categories:

  • Market research questions
  • Questions to ask your target market
  • Questions to ask your customers
  • Questions for competitive analysis

Some market research questions will require research to find the answers. For example, you may want to know, “How do our competitors drive traffic?” Other questions you can directly ask your customers. For those questions, you can survey or interview customers to find answers and insights.

Here some examples of questions you can ask for each type of marketing research.

Market Research Questions

General market research aims to help you learn about your market size and potential to connect with customers. Great qualitative market research questions include:

  • How big is our potential market?
  • Will this market grow or shrink in the future?
  • What other products and services are similar to ours?
  • Who are our top competitors?
  • What market share do our competitors own?
  • What share is available for us to own/take?

To find answers to these questions, use sites for market research that help you find information on geographic locations, industry competitors, and economic conditions.

Market Research Questions to Ask Your Target Market

Questions to ask your target market include demographic market research questions that help you get to know who your customers are. Here are some examples:

  • What is your age?
  • What is your gender?
  • What is your education level?
  • Where do you live?
  • What is your profession?
  • What is your household income?
  • What is your household size?

These questions can go deeper and uncover psychographic segmentation details that help you learn about the interests, attitudes, and needs of your customers. Examples of these questions include:

  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • Where do you spend your free time?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • What are your primary goals?
  • What is most important to you?
  • Where do you go for information?
  • How do you like to make purchases?

To gather these details, you can survey or interview your customers. You can also use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool and Audience Overlap Tool to discover insights about who your customers are, what sites they visit, and what interests them.

Market Research Questions to Ask Customers

Existing customers can provide great insight about your business, products, and services. Market research questions to ask clients or customers include:

  • How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?
  • How long have you been a customer?
  • What problem does [product/service] solve for you?
  • How does the [product/service] fit into your daily workflow?
  • How well does [product/service] meet your needs?
  • What do you wish the [product/service] had that it currently does not?
  • What do you like [most/least] about [product/service]?
  • What made you choose us over a competitor?
  • How would you rate your last experience with us?

You can gather this information through audience analysis, in-person interviews with your customers, or online customer surveys.

Pro Tip: It’s important to collect information from customers who are advocates of your product/service, but also those who did not have an agreeable experience. Asking infrequent or lost customers for their feedback is an excellent way to surface gaps in your product/service and identify opportunities for improvement.

Market Research Questions for Competitive Analysis

Once you assess your industry and customers, start asking market research questions about your competitors. Some questions to ask include:

  • How is our brand doing compared to our competitors?
  • How do our competitors effectively attract customers?
  • How much website traffic do our competitors receive?
  • Which keywords are driving traffic to our competitors?
  • What sources are driving traffic to our competitors?
  • How many inbound links do our competitors have?
  • What type of content is performing well for our competitors?

For tips on how to conduct a thorough competitive analysis, download our free competitive analysis template.

Our Competitive Keyword Matrix and Competitor Backlink Checker can also help you uncover useful data about your competition.


Asking questions is only half the process. Make sure you collect the most accurate, authentic answers.
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Get Better Answers to Your Market Research Questions

Asking the right market research questions helps you uncover insights to improve customer satisfaction, business operations, and marketing strategies. But asking questions is only half the process. You also need to make sure you’re collecting the most accurate and authentic answers.

Use the market research questions in this post to direct your inquiries to your business, customers, and industry. Then get additional tips in our post How to Do Market Research Better Than Your Competition, and sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to get access to a suite of competitor, industry, and audience insight to get access to a suite of competitor, industry, and audience insight tools to help you research.

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Use This Customer Journey Mapping Template to Identify Marketing Gaps https://blog.alexa.com/customer-journey-mapping-template/ https://blog.alexa.com/customer-journey-mapping-template/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 23:51:05 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6091 A customer journey mapping template helps you outline your customer’s buying process from beginning to end. It lists each step a prospect takes as they move toward doing business with you and reveals what they do, think, and need during that process. With the buyer’s journey laid out in front of you, you can more [...]

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11 minute read

A customer journey mapping template helps you outline your customer’s buying process from beginning to end. It lists each step a prospect takes as they move toward doing business with you and reveals what they do, think, and need during that process.

With the buyer’s journey laid out in front of you, you can more deeply understand the customer experience, create more targeted marketing plans, and identify gaps where you may be missing opportunities or losing customers.

In this post, we review everything you need to know about customer journey mapping:

  • What is a customer journey?
  • What is a customer journey map?
  • How to create (and complete) a customer journey mapping template
  • How to future-proof your customer journey mapping template

We also include a customer journey mapping template you can use to outline your process, along with tips to help you create a roadmap to a more strategic marketing plan.

Download your customer journey mapping template here.

What is a Customer Journey?

Before you can fill out a customer journey mapping template, you must first have a deep understanding of how the buying decision process works. Knowing the path customers follow to ultimately end up buying from a brand helps you create a more useful and accurate journey map.

A customer journey typically flows through a purchase funnel with five stages.

5 Stages of the Customer Journey

5 stages of the customer journey

Awareness Phase

In the awareness phase, a prospect becomes aware of a need. They begin seeking fulfillment of that need, a solution to a problem, or an answer to a question. During their search, they start to notice a brand for the first time. They become aware of the company, gain a broad understanding of who they are and what they offer, and start to see how the brand could help them.

The brand, in this phase, is working to attract attention, gain visibility, and show customers how they can help them reach their goals and get what they want and need.

Engagement Phase

In the engagement phase, a customer is already familiar with a brand, and they are learning more about them. The brand and the prospect have formed some sort of connection as the prospect gathers information that helps them in some way. The prospect may have followed the brand on social media, opted in for a newsletter, or signed up for a free trial or content upgrade.

In this phase of MOFu marketing or middle-of-the-funnel marketing, the brand treats prospects as warm leads. They nurture and engage them by providing additional information about their products and services.

Evaluation Phase

By the evaluation phase, the prospect already knows that the brand can solve their problem or provide what they need. But they are still considering if the brand is the best available solution. They do research and compare the brand to others in the market.

Brands in this phase must help guide prospects toward their offerings by showing how they are superior or different from their competitors. They may provide supporting materials that show the results, outcomes, and benefits of choosing their brand.

Purchase Phase

During the purchase phase, the prospect turns into a paying customer. They have decided on a brand and are ready to buy. They just need the tools, process, and path to make their purchase.

To guide customers toward purchasing, brands must make it easy to buy in this phase. They should validate the prospect’s purchase decision with content that uses buying keywords and provide a clear path to purchase.

Post-Purchase Phase

The customer journey does not end once the prospect makes a purchase. Customers at this point may need additional support or services, and they are also primed to buy again. Past customers are more likely to buy from a brand than new customers, so you should continue to engage buyers in this phase.

To keep customers connected, happy, and primed to come back again, brands should focus on customer service and re-engagement strategies in this phase. Create customer lifecycle marketing plans and remarketing tactics to bring customers back into the buyer’s journey.

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A typical customer journey map example includes the following:

  • Customer journey (purchase process)
  • Buyer personas
  • Actions
  • Questions/thoughts
  • Touch points
  • Opportunities
  • Content

customer journey map example sections

Customer Journey (Purchase process)

The buyer’s journey is a core part of a customer journey mapping template. It is the foundational process that connects with all of the other elements in the journey map.

Buyer Personas

Like the buyer’s journey, a buyer persona is a significant part of the customer journey map. It is a foundational element that helps guide and create other parts of your document.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional, extremely detailed description of a customer who will go through the buyer’s journey outlined above. It includes demographic, psychographic, and sociographic details that describe your ideal buyer from their age and income to their habits, beliefs, and core desires.

customer journey mapping template buyer persona

Before you complete a customer journey mapping template, you should start by creating a fully developed buyer persona.  For help with creating this component of your journey map, download our free buyer persona template and review these 10 buyer persona examples to get inspiration for your own.

Actions

Actions are the activities the buyer does as they make their way through the buyer’s journey. They are actions that occur both in person and online. They may include:

  • Performing a Google search
  • Visiting a brand’s website
  • Signing up for free content
  • Signing up for a software demo
  • Getting a free consultation
  • Calling a business
  • Following a social media page
  • Visiting a store
  • Signing up for a free trial

Questions/Thoughts

Questions and thoughts represent the internal dialog of the buyer as they go through the buyer’s journey. This includes any concerns and considerations the buyer processes along the way. Examples of their questions and thoughts may include:

  • How can I solve my problem?
  • What products/services solve my problem?
  • What other options are there for this product/service?
  • How much does this cost?
  • Is this worth it?
  • Can I find this cheaper?
  • How do I buy this?

Touch Points

Touch points are the platforms and connections the buyer comes in contact with as they go through the buyer’s journey. These touch points may exist in person and online, and they may be branded or through a third party. Examples of touch points include:

  • Websites
  • Social media profiles
  • Print brochures
  • E-books
  • Signage
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Guest posts
  • Interactions with salespeople
  • Product demos
  • Product displays
  • Product packaging

Opportunities

Opportunities are the options your brand has at each phase of the buyer’s journey to connect with the customer, improve their experience, and help them through the process. This is where you list the marketing strategies you can use to maximize your reach and improve your ability to connect with customers during each phase.

Content Needed

Content is an extremely effective tool for marketing, for brand awareness, engaging customers, and improving experiences at each phase of the buyer’s journey. So in addition to identifying general opportunities, you may want to create a section specifically for identifying opportunities for using content to improve and optimize the customer’s journey.

Pro Tip: You don’t always need to create brand new content from scratch. When you repurpose content, you can stretch your production and get more from your efforts.

How to Create (and Complete) a Customer Journey Mapping Template

Now that you understand the elements of a customer journey, let’s go through the customer journey mapping process.

customer journey mapping template

You can use our customer journey mapping template as you go through each step. Click here to download it now.

  1. Identify the buyer persona you want to focus on. Include relevant details that explain who the buyer is and what they want and need.
  2. Fill in the actions the persona takes as they go through the buyer’s journey. Include each step of the process. How do they get from the beginning to the end of the journey?
  3. For each action, consider the questions and thoughts the buyer is having during the activity. Put yourself in their shoes. What is going through their mind? What are they thinking? How are they feeling?
  4. List the touch points the buyer comes across at each step of the process. As they take action, what are they seeing from your brand or from other brands? What tools and platforms are they using?
  5. Once you get a full look at the journey a customer goes through on their way to buying, identify places for improvements. How can you improve the experiences and better guide buyers? What touch points are missing? What marketing opportunities can you leverage?
  6. Get specific and look for content opportunities. List the types of content you can create to improve the process and guide the buyer through their questions and concerns.

With this information, you will have a detailed outline of the process a customer goes through as they make their way toward doing business with you. You’ll also gain insight into what you can do to improve that process and get more customers to the end of their journeys.

How to Future-Proof Your Customer Journey Mapping Template

Filling out this customer journey mapping template is just the beginning. Use these tips to improve the information on your map and create a reliable guide for your long-term marketing plans.

Focus on one buyer persona at a time.

A mistake that many brands make is wanting to target multiple or varied personas in one customer journey mapping template. This approach may feel like it is saving you time, but it can actually make your process less effective and strategic.

The more specific you can be about your personas and their unique buyer’s journeys, the more effective and accurate your mapping process will be. So start with one specific persona. Build out their customer journey map. Then go back to develop other journeys that match additional personas.

Use data to develop your personas.

Accurate personas are imperative to creating a useful customer journey map. So don’t rely on guesswork while creating your persona. Research to dig into the details and really learn about your audience.

To learn about your audience:

  • Interview current customers
  • Survey prospects and ideal customers
  • Talk to your sales staff
  • Engage in social listening
  • Analyze your sales data and online analytics

Alexa tools can help you gain insights into your audience. Using the Audience Overlap Tool, you can learn more about the interests of your target audience. Enter the URL of your site or up to 10 of your competitors and receive a report of sites that your audience also visits. From this data, you can learn about your audience by seeing what other sites, topics, and platforms interest them.

alexa customer journey map tool

With the Site Overview Tool, you can collect demographic data on the users of specific sites. Enter the URL of a site and receive a report on the audience’s age, gender, education, income, and more.

customer journey map demographics

Pro Tip: For deeper research on your audience and industry, use these sites for market research.

Make sure you’re asking the right questions.

When planning a customer journey map, it’s important to list the questions your ideal buyer asks as they go through the purchase funnel. You may already know some of their questions. But as with buyer persona data, you can’t rely solely on your instincts and assumptions.

Make sure you’re asking (and answering) the right questions. Do a competitor keyword analysis to find the top keywords and phrases your audience is using and searching for.

Use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool to inform your process. Enter a topic or phrase and receive a report with similar terms that you may want to target. Each keyword includes a relevancy, popularity, and competition score so you can find the best low-competition keywords to target.

customer journey map keywords

Identify the best opportunities.

The goal of filling out a customer journey mapping template is to develop better marketing strategies and insights. To ensure that you fill the opportunity and content section with good ideas, keep the following concepts in mind.

Look for ways to improve customer experience. Go through the buyer’s journey from the perspective of the customer and imagine experiencing exactly what the customer does. (You can even take it one step further and actually go through the steps outlined in the journey to get a real look at the path.) Identify ways to upgrade and improve the customer experience at each step.

Improve or add touch points. Consider every touch point the customer comes in contact with. What touch points need improvements? What touch points are missing? What touch points are most effective at moving prospects forward in their journey? Consider where the customer may need additional help or resources that currently aren’t available. And consider how you can drive more customers to the content that has been most effective.

Identify marketing opportunities. As you look at each touch point and platform the customer comes in contact with, consider which might have marketing potential. Look for places where your customer spends time or platforms they come into contact with. Identify ways you can connect with them in those places.

Identify content gaps. Review the content you currently have, and look for gaps where you are missing opportunities to target popular topics and keywords. Identify places where customers need content and information, but you fail to provide it.

To find keyword gaps, use Alexa’s Competitive Keyword Matrix. Enter your site along with up to nine of your competitors. Then use the Show Keyword Gaps filter to show untapped keyword and content opportunities.

customer journey map competitor keywords

The tool produces a report of top keywords that are driving traffic to your competitors, but not to your site. Use this as a guide to find terms and topics you should target in your content strategy.

customer journey map keyword gaps

Use strategic content in each phase of the funnel. It’s not enough to merely have content for each stage of the customer journey. To use content to move buyers through the funnel effectively, you must use the right content in each stage. Review your content to ensure that you have content to serve each phase of the funnel.

  • In the early stages of the buyer’s journey, use top-of-funnel content that helps customers answer their questions and discover ways to solve their problems. Develop blog posts, infographics, videos, guides, checklists, and social media posts.
  • In the middle stages, provide consideration and evaluation content that helps customers see that your product or service is right for them. Publish landing pages, case studies, and e-books. Also, provide free product demos and webinars.
  • Near the bottom of the funnel, use content that helps guide prospects to purchase. Create content that focuses on conversions by targeting buying keywords that show purchase intent.

Consider where your competitors appear in the journey. While most of the customer journey map relates to your brand, reflect on where customers come in contact with your competitors during their journey. Look at the experiences, touch points, and content that your competitors use in their process and find ways to differentiate your brand and stand out.

To compare your online presence with your competitors, use Alexa’s Site Comparisons Tool. Enter your site along with up to nine competitors to see how your site traffic, keywords, reputation, and audience demographics compare to each other.

Use what you learn to direct your marketing objectives. Once you develop your customer journey map, don’t just review it and file it away. Use what you learn to drive all of your upcoming marketing objectives. The best marketing strategies are created from good data and insights. So use your customer journey map not just as a tool for seeing the path your customers take, but also as the path that your marketing strategy will take.

Support Your Marketing With Our Customer Journey Mapping Template and Research Tools

Customer journey mapping allows you to more deeply understand your customer and the path they take on their way to doing business with you to help you create more informed, and effective marketing plans. With our free customer journey mapping PDF, you can create a strategy that will more effectively connect with and convert your audience, and grow your business.

Download your free customer journey mapping template here. 

Get the best data to fill in your customer journey map by using Alexa’s SEO and competitive analysis tools. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access the tools mentioned in this post along with other robust audience, competitor, and keyword research tools.

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How to Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets in Search https://blog.alexa.com/featured-snippets-in-search/ https://blog.alexa.com/featured-snippets-in-search/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 13:53:38 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6074 If you want to drive more traffic to your website and get more users to click on your content, showing up as featured snippets in search can help. But how do you land your content in this coveted spot in search results? In this post, we’ll review: What is a featured snippet? Types of featured [...]

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4 minute read

If you want to drive more traffic to your website and get more users to click on your content, showing up as featured snippets in search can help. But how do you land your content in this coveted spot in search results?

In this post, we’ll review:

  • What is a featured snippet?
  • Types of featured snippets
  • How to create featured snippets

You’ll walk away knowing how to optimize your content to give it the best chance of showing up in that prominent position.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets are rich search results that appear as a box of content on search engine results pages (SERPs). They are fields of information that attempt to provide answers related to a user’s query. Featured snippets are usually positioned at the top of SERPs below the paid ads and above other organic search results.

featured snippet in search

Research has found that featured snippets in search can drastically increase click-through-rates (CTR) for search results. A study by HubSpot found that the CTR for their high-volume keywords increased by over 114% when the results appeared as featured snippets.

Types of Featured Snippets

Featured snippets in search show up in a variety of ways. Here are a few featured snippet examples.

Paragraph Featured Snippet

A paragraph featured snippet includes a blurb of copy. These snippets usually appear when a user has searched for a question, and includes information that attempts to answer that question.

paragraph featured snippet in search

List Featured Snippet

Like a paragraph featured snippet, a list featured snippet also attempts to provide an answer to a question. It differs in that it positions the copy in a summarized list instead of a paragraph.

list featured snippet examples

Table Featured Snippet

A table featured snippet shares information in a structured format that makes data easy to read directly from the SERPs.

table types of featured snippets

Answer Boxes

Answer boxes are similar to featured snippets in that they appear in a box on SERPs, and they attempt to answer a question. The difference between answer boxes and featured snippets is that boxes answer the question without including a link to a URL for more information. When people talk about featured snippets, they usually don’t include these types of answer boxes.

answer box featured snippet in search

How to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets in Search

Unfortunately, there is no exact process for how to create featured snippets. Google chooses which results end up as featured snippets, and they don’t explicitly say how to get your pages to appear as these rich results. But there are some best practices you can follow to increase your chances of showing in these featured boxes.

Target long-tail keywords that are questions. Most featured snippets in search include information that provides an answer to a question. So create evergreen content that targets long-tail keyword phrases that start with:

  • What is
  • Why is
  • How does/do
  • How to

Clearly answer questions in your content. Make sure the answer to the question is clear on your page of content. Present the question in a subheading (with <h2> markup), and answer it in the text below (with <p> markup). Then use the rest of the article to provide supporting information. Find related keywords and incorporate them into your content to reinforce the question it is answering.

Format information in a list. To increase your chances of showing as a list featured snippet, outline your content in a list format. Use subheading tags (<h2>) for items in the list to help search engines read and understand the content.

Use a table structure. To increase your chances of showing as a table feature snippet, structure your content in a table format. Create charts in your content using appropriate table tags (<table>).

Utilize strong on-page SEO. Content that shows as featured snippets in search is typically pulled from pages that already have a high organic search ranking. So use on-page keyword optimization and best practices for SEO to boost the page’s natural rankings.

Show that the page is authoritative. Another way to improve a page’s organic search ranking is by acquiring high-quality backlinks that send authority signals to Google and show that the page is a valuable search result.

Fill the page with high-quality images. Featured snippets often include an image in the content box. There is no way to tell Google which image should appear here, so aim to use high-quality images on your page to give Google the best graphics options for a featured snippet. Your readers will appreciate it too!

Don’t worry about schema markup. There is often a misconception that featured snippets in search are tied to schema markup. But research shows that the two do not impact each other. So don’t stress about implementing a schema strategy if your goal is to show as a featured snippet.

Aim for Featured Snippets and Support a Strong SEO Strategy

When your web pages appear as featured snippets in search, it can drastically increase click-through-rates and send more people to your website. If you want to drive more traffic to your website through organic search, use the tips in this post to optimize your content for featured snippets. Even if you don’t land your content in one of these spots, you will have created super shareable content that should produce long-term SEO results.

To build a strong SEO strategy that gives you the best performance in search, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. You’ll get all the tools you need for keyword research, on-page SEO optimization, link building, and more.

improve seo performance tour

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The 3 Types of SEO and How to Excel at Them https://blog.alexa.com/types-of-seo/ https://blog.alexa.com/types-of-seo/#respond Thu, 30 Aug 2018 15:15:20 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6059 There are three types of SEO you need for a well-rounded organic search strategy: on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO. By breaking down your strategy and thinking about SEO as these three categories, it will be much easier to organize and execute your optimization plans. In this post, we'll review each type of SEO [...]

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4 minute read

There are three types of SEO you need for a well-rounded organic search strategy: on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO.

By breaking down your strategy and thinking about SEO as these three categories, it will be much easier to organize and execute your optimization plans.

In this post, we’ll review each type of SEO and how they are important to your overall marketing strategy. Plus, we’ll show you different types of SEO tools that can help you improve your performance in each category.

The 3 Types of SEO

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO relates to the content on your website.

It includes strategies to optimize an individual page on a website. These factors (all of which are outlined in this checklist for writing) help search engines understand the topic of the content and see that the website is a valuable source that people would want to find.

This type of SEO includes:

Alexa has tools to help with all aspects of on-page SEO. For keyword research and content creation, use our Keyword Difficulty Tool to find relevant, popular, low-competition keywords to target on your site.

keyword research for on page seo

For keyword optimization, use our On-Page SEO Checker to do a full review of individual pages on your site and see if they are fully optimized for your target keyword. Enter the target keyword and URL to receive a report with missed optimization opportunities and tips for improvement.

types of seo tools for on-page seo

Technical SEO

Technical SEO relates to non-content elements of your website.

It includes strategies to improve a site’s backend structure and foundation. Technical SEO improves a site’s readability (which makes it easy for search engines to crawl and understand the site) and provides a good user experience, which helps search engines see that the site is high quality. A good user experience is also important for readers, and can affect overall traffic and engagement rates.

The types of SEO included in this category relate to:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Indexing
  • Crawlability
  • Site architecture
  • Structured data
  • Security

An easy way to check on the state of your technical SEO is by using Alexa’s SEO Audit Tool. Enter your site to receive a report on the status of multiple technical elements along with instructions for how to resolve issues if you have any.

technical types of seo

Boost your search performance using proven techniques. Download our free ebook White Hat SEO Techniques: It’s Not About Gaming Google.

Off-Site SEO

Off-page SEO techniques help strengthen the influence and relationship your website has with other websites.

It includes strategies to build a website’s reputation and authority. These factors help search engines see that a website is an ideal search result because it is from a reputable, reliable, trusted source.

Most off-site SEO relates to highquality backlinks. A large volume of links pointing to your site from relevant, authoritative sites shows search engines that your site is valuable and established.  You can gain these trust signals through a variety of link building and guest posting tactics.

To create a link building plan, use Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker. Enter up to 10 URLs of competitor sites and receive a report with all of the links pointing to your competitors. Use this competitive analysis to get ideas for how you can build links to the same sites.

off site seo backlinks

To create a guest posting plan, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool. Enter your website or a site that has an audience you want to attract and receive a map of other sites that share the same audience. This report supports guest blogging outreach strategies, as it gives you a long list of sites that would be good opportunities to gain links and reach your target audience.

audience overlap types of seo tools

You can also use the information you uncovered with the backlink checker to find guest blogging opportunities. Look for sites where your competitors have submitted guest posts and try to do the same for your brand.

Use All 3 Types of SEO to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

To create an SEO plan that leads to real results, you can’t focus on just one group of ranking factors.  You need to use different types of SEO in conjunction with each other to give your site the best chance at showing up in search.

So as you put together your SEO strategy, use tools that cater to all three aspects of SEO. Alexa’s Advanced Plan includes several types of SEO tools that can help you form your strategy. Try it for yourself. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access the tools you need to improve your on-site, off-page, and technical SEO and create a well-rounded optimization plan.

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Here’s Why You Need to Use a Duplicate Content Checker https://blog.alexa.com/duplicate-content-checker/ https://blog.alexa.com/duplicate-content-checker/#respond Thu, 23 Aug 2018 15:29:26 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6043 Even if you think you’re consistently creating unique content, you may need a duplicate content checker. Many websites unintentionally publish repeat content, and this hidden error could lead to poor user experience and even drop your position in search rankings. So use a duplicate content checker to find out where repeat content might be hiding [...]

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4 minute read

Even if you think you’re consistently creating unique content, you may need a duplicate content checker. Many websites unintentionally publish repeat content, and this hidden error could lead to poor user experience and even drop your position in search rankings.

So use a duplicate content checker to find out where repeat content might be hiding on your site and how to identify and remove it.


Use a duplicate content checker to find repeat content on your site and learn how to remove it.
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What Is Duplicate Content?

Google describes duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” In other words, duplicate content is copy on a webpage that is identical to the same copy on another webpage.

Duplicate content can exist in two ways:

  • On-site duplicate content is repeated on more than one page of your site
  • Off-site duplicate content is when the same content exists on different websites

Duplicate content may be easily identifiable or less noticeable. It can exist as exact copy on a landing page or blog post, or it could be hidden in the page’s code as repeated meta descriptions. It’s often created due to:

  • Obvious errors like copied or scraped content
  • Unintentional errors like multiple variations of the same URL or separate versions of www.sitename.com and sitename.com

Because unintentional factors can result in repeat content, you need a duplicate content checker even if you think you’re publishing properly.

Is Duplicate Content Bad?

Duplicate content can negatively impact your site in two ways. It can provide a poor experience for your users, and it can limit your site’s ability to rank on SERPs.


Duplicate content creates a poor experience for users and can limit your site’s ability to rank.
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Duplicate content is confusing to both users and search engines . Readers don’t want to see the same content twice, and search engines don’t know how to rank pages when similar content is on more than one page. Both of these factors can lead to lower search rankings.

You should use a duplicate content checker to make sure your content is unique and original and to follow best practices for SEO.

Why Does Duplicate Content Exist?

Duplicate content can be used maliciously. In an attempt to fill a site with content, publishers “scrape” or copy and paste content from other sites. Other times, publishers may use duplicate SEO content to try and manipulate search engines and increase search rankings.

While some black hat SEO tactics intentionally misuse duplicate content, most of the time, publishing duplicate content is not an intentional act. Publishers don’t know they’re making a mistake.

There are also legitimate reasons for publishing repeat content (republishing on guest blogging sites, syndicating content, using different versions of the same copy, etc.). You can use duplicate content in these ways as long as you follow best practices that let search engines know it’s intentional.

How to Check for Duplicate Content on a Website

The most effective way to check pages for duplicate content is by using software or SEO tools that can detect problems on your site. Because duplicate content can sometimes hide where you can’t see or notice it, an automated duplicate content checker can help you catch every string of identical copy.

improve seo performance tour

Alexa offers an automated duplicate text checker as a part of our SEO Audit Tool. The tool scans your site and identifies any instances of on-site duplicate content.

check pages for duplicate content

It also creates a report with each URL that includes cases of repeat content, so you can easily identify and fix the pages.

alexa duplicate content checker

The tool also goes deeper into your site and reports on duplicate SEO meta descriptions. It scans every meta description on your site and includes a list of all URLs that use the same copy to help you improve your meta tag SEO.

duplicate text checker

Once you know how to check for duplicate content on a website, the next step is resolving those issues. Depending on the errors, you can fix problems by:

  • Using rel+canonical tags
  • Using 301 redirects
  • Using noindex meta tags
  • Setting a preferred domain in Google Console
  • Setting up parameter handling in Google Console
  • Changing the content

Alexa’s reports include tips on fixing issues that are detected on your site.

Identifying duplicate content is the first step in fixing your site, so it’s more appealing to both readers and search engines. So use a duplicate content checker to make sure you identify all problems on your site and then outline a plan to resolve those issues.

Use a Duplicate Content Checker on Your Site

Stop wondering where duplicate content might be hiding on your site. Get access to a duplicate content checker through a trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. Sign up for a free trial and get access to the SEO Audit Tool that scans your site and produces a report on any instances of duplicate content on your site.

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How to Find LSI Keywords: 5 Easy Strategies https://blog.alexa.com/how-to-find-lsi-keywords/ https://blog.alexa.com/how-to-find-lsi-keywords/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:49:23 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=6018 Once you master the basics of writing SEO-friendly content, it’s time to take your strategy to the next level by learning how to find LSI keywords for your content. At a first look, LSI keywords may seem like an advanced SEO strategy difficult to understand and execute. But the concept is simple when you know [...]

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4 minute read

Once you master the basics of writing SEO-friendly content, it’s time to take your strategy to the next level by learning how to find LSI keywords for your content.

At a first look, LSI keywords may seem like an advanced SEO strategy difficult to understand and execute. But the concept is simple when you know the following tips and best practices.

What is Meant by LSI Keywords?

LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are terms and phrases that are similar or related to a webpage’s target keyword. Their purpose is to help search engines better understand the content of the page by adding context and connecting the copy to the target keyword.

For a more detailed look at semantic SEO, check out our post that dives deeper into the topic. The rest of this post will share five strategies on how to find LSI keywords to use in your content.

How to Find LSI Keywords

No. 1) Don’t Focus Solely on Synonyms

As you learn how to find LSI keywords, keep in mind that you’re not just looking for synonyms. You’re also looking to find related words and phrases. This mindset will help you identify LSI keywords for your content.

For example, if you were looking to target the keyword “best beaches in Florida,” you wouldn’t simply focus on synonyms like “best coast in Florida” or “best shore in Florida.” You would create a list of relevant terms stemming from that concept, which might include “Florida beach vacations,” “vacations by the water,” or “top Florida beaches.”


When researching LSI keywords, don’t just focus on synonyms. Look for related terms/phrases.
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No. 2) Look for Related Searches on Google

When you’re learning how to find LSI keywords, Google is a good place to start. A simple LSI keywords example is the group of related searches at the bottom of a search results page.

lsi keywords example

The results are similar to a semantic keyword tool as they help you find related queries and show you how searchers word various search phrases.

You can also look at the phrases that show up when you type a target keyword into the Google search bar.

how to find lsi keywords

Either of these keyword discovery strategies can help you find common search phrases you may not have thought of.

No. 3) Use Google’s Keyword Planner

Another way to find LSI keywords using Google is with their Keyword Planner Tool. It suggests hundreds of keywords for advertisers to use and also lists common search terms and phrases. You can use these suggestions as your own free LSI keyword generator.

Enter your target term and see which related SEO keywords have high search levels and low competition. This is the low-hanging fruit that you can target for your LSI strategy.

find keywords for latent semantic indexing

No. 4) Use LSI Graph

LSI Graph is a free LSI keyword tool designed to help you identify dozens of related terms to use in your copy. Visit the website and enter your target keyword to generate a long list of potential LSI keywords.

lasi graph semantic keyword tool

When you have a long list of LSI keywords, it may be tempting to use as many as possible in your content. But that can lead to keyword stuffing problems if your content isn’t truly aligned to those terms. So when you find a long list of related terms, don’t try to fit them all into one page of your content. Instead, keep the list of terms and use it to develop ideas for other parts of your content and blog marketing.

No. 5) Use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool

Alexa also has tools that help you find related keywords to support your LSI keyword strategy. Enter your target term into the Keyword Difficulty Tool to produce a report of similar phrases and words.

alexa lsi keyword tool

Use the relevance score to see how similar the terms are to your target keyword. Also, consider the popularity and competition scores to find the phrases that will support your keyword strategy.

Improve Your Content Strategy with LSI Keywords

Learning how to find LSI keywords and use them in your content is one way you can take your SEO copywriting to the next level. Use the tools in this post to find LSI keywords and then naturally insert them into your content to help your pages and posts rank in search.

For more help with finding the best terms to use in your content, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. The plan includes the Keyword Difficulty Tool, Competitor Keyword Matrix, and other research tools that make finding top keywords even easier.

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Your Complete Guide to Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy https://blog.alexa.com/influencer-marketing-strategy/ https://blog.alexa.com/influencer-marketing-strategy/#respond Thu, 09 Aug 2018 14:56:14 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=5946 A successful influencer marketing strategy helps you increase brand exposure, build authority, and connect with new audiences. It drives traffic to your site and leads new customers to your products and services. There are many benefits of influencer marketing, but it can be a confusing and complicated strategy to set up, launch, and manage. It’s [...]

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11 minute read

A successful influencer marketing strategy helps you increase brand exposure, build authority, and connect with new audiences. It drives traffic to your site and leads new customers to your products and services.

There are many benefits of influencer marketing, but it can be a confusing and complicated strategy to set up, launch, and manage. It’s a time-consuming project. And the hurdles of getting started lead a lot of markers to stop before they actually start.

To help you get over that hump and execute an effective influencer marketing campaign, we created this guide and influencer marketing strategy PDF. Download the free worksheet and use the rest of this post to craft a killer influencer marketing strategy from start to finish.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy that identifies people who have a strong influence on a brand’s industry or target audience. In an influencer marketing strategy, a brand forms a partnership with the influencer wherein the influencer agrees to expose their audience to the brand’s messaging or content.

Influencers usually have a large and engaged audience, so brands benefit when an influencer shares or mentions their content or messaging. The exposure allows the brand to get in front of their target audience in a positive, natural, and meaningful way.

One influencer marketing example is Pantene’s partnership with actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada shared their message with her audience, giving the brand the attention of her 1.23 million Twitter followers.

influencer marketing strategy example

While a celebrity is used in this influencer marketing strategy definition, influencer campaigns don’t always have to rely on celebrities. In a recent post, we shared influencer marketing examples  that don’t need celebrities. The examples in this post use niche market influencers, industry experts, and noncompeting brand influencers to promote successful campaigns.

Influencer marketing is about gaining exposure, but it isn’t always about working with people who have the largest audience. It’s about working with people who have the right audience so you can make connections with the people most likely to further connect with your brand.

So how do you find the right influencer and create a successful influencer marketing campaign?

How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy

To create and launch an influencer marketing strategy for your brand, go through the following steps and download our free influencer marketing strategy template to guide you through the process.

Define Your Goals

As with any smart marketing plan, start by outlining your goals. Set your intentions for what you would like to accomplish with your campaign.

Defining your goals in the early stages of planning will help you shape a consistent strategy throughout your campaign, and it will also give you an idea about the metrics you should track and monitor to measure your success at the end of the campaign.

Some goals you may want to consider for your influencer marketing strategy include the following:

  • Brand Awareness: Getting more people to know, recognize, and like your brand.
  • Building Brand Identity: Getting people to see your brand personality and values.
  • Audience Building: Getting more people to follow and subscribe.
  • Engagement: Getting more shares, comments, and likes for your content.
  • Lead Generation: Getting more people to sign up for your lead magnets and offers.
  • Sales: Getting more people to purchase your products/services.
  • Customer Loyalty: Getting people to stay interested and connected with your brand.
  • Link Building: Getting more links directed back to your site.

Choose a Type of Influencer Marketing Campaign

Once you know your goals, it’s time to start thinking about the type of influencer marketing campaign that will help you accomplish your mission.

Influencer marketing campaigns usually involve three types of relationship triggers: inspire, hire, or a mix of both.

You can inspire an influencer to share your content or messaging on their own. You can pay them to promote your brand. Or you can create a situation that uses a little bit of both.


Influencer marketing relies on 3 types of relationship triggers: inspire, hire, or a mix of both.
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Here are a few types of influencer marketing strategies you can consider:

  • Gifting: Giving free products and services to an influencer in exchange for a review or mention.
  • Guest Posting: Creating and contributing content for an influencer’s blog.
  • Sponsored Content: Paying for your brand to be featured on an influencer’s blog or social channel. You may or may not create the content for the post.
  • Co-Creating Content: Partnering with an influencer to create content that is featured on your website, their website, or a third-party website.
  • Social Media Mentions: Getting a social media personality or brand to mention your brand, share your content, or post about you.
  • Contests and Giveaways: Running a contest and asking an influencer to share your giveaway event with their followers or readers.
  • Influencer Takeover: Allowing an influencer to take control of your social media accounts for a set amount of time.
  • Affiliates: Providing a unique code that gives influencers a percentage of each sale they drive.
  • Discount Codes: Giving an influencer a unique discount code for your product or service that they can promote and offer to their audience.
  • Brand Ambassadors: Forming relationships with loyal brand fans wherein they mention or promote your brand, products, and services in exchange for exclusive offers, free products, or being featured by your brand.

These influencer marketing ideas aren’t set in stone or required to meet certain criteria. They are all flexible and meant to be general ideas for what you can do with your influencer marketing strategy.

As you create your plans, use one or more of these ideas to create a customized influencer marketing strategy that works for your brand and audience..

Identify and Define Your Audience

Once you have an idea about your goals and the type of influencer marketing strategy you want to implement, you still aren’t ready to start looking for influencers. Before you can identify who will help you connect with your target audience, you need to know who your target audience is.

Before you start looking for influencers, spend time outlining specific details about who you want to connect with through your campaign. Create a buyer persona that includes both demographic and psychographic segmentation. Once you know your audience, it will be easier to identify the top people they follow and websites they use.

If you need help with defining your audience, download our free buyer persona template to help you through the process.

Find the Right Influencers

With your audience clearly defined, you can finally start seeking out the influencers who will help you reach your goals and connect with your target market.

As you consider your options, explore the following types of influencers:

  • Bloggers
  • Social Media Stars
  • Celebrities
  • Industry Experts
  • Thought Leaders
  • Customers
  • Noncompeting Brands

Once you determine the type of influencer you want to use, start researching individuals or brands in that space.

Find Influencers that Share Your Audience

To find influencers that can reach your audience, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool. Enter your website or the URLs of websites you know have the audience you want to reach. The tool will report back with dozens of other websites that share a similar audience. This report presents dozens of guest blogging opportunities, as you know these sites have the audience you want to reach and would, therefore, be great places to share or seed your content.

For example, if you are selling a course on leadership, your ideal audience may regularly read michaelhyatt.com. Enter the URL to find other sites that audience also visits. Use this list of sites as a guide for finding other influencers who might be valuable for your campaign.

influencer marketing strategy research

Find Influencers using Backlinks

Another way to find potential influencers is by using Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker. Enter up to 10 sites that reach your ideal audience. (Use the Audience Overlap Tool to find similar sites if you don’t already know them.) Then, run the backlink checker.

The report will show all of the links pointing to your list of sites. You can use this list to find sites that will be likely to work with, mention you, or link back to your site because they have already done this for your competitors.

For example, when researching backlinks to michaelhyatt.com and its competitors, you can see that personalsuccesstoday.com has linked to five of the similar sites. This information shows that the site is probably worth exploring for your influencer marketing strategy, as it has already built connections with other brands like you. Clicking through the backlinks will give you an idea of what types of content they publish, including guest posts and mentions, so you can form a plan for outreach.

influencer marketing strategy backlinks

Find Influencers by Topics

If you don’t know any competitors or sites that have an audience you want to attract, you can use Alexa’s Keyword Share of Voice Tool to find influencers. Enter a term related to the industry or topic you want to gain influence in. The report will show a list of sites that have a high share of voice for that term, meaning they have a lot of visibility online for that phrase.

To find brands and companies that are authoritative in the leadership space, you could use the Share of Voice Tool to find a list of sites that are driving a lot of traffic for that keyword.

find keywords for your influencer marketing strategy

There are other tools and methods you can use to find influencers. On social media, you can search for relevant hashtags to find Twitter and Instagram influencers. And the following tools are also helpful for identifying social media and blogging influencers.

Qualify Your Influencers

It’s easy to get excited when you start finding influencers. But before you reach out to them, you need to make sure they really are a great fit for your brand and goals. 

Qualify the audience. It’s better to work with an influencer who has a smaller audience that closely matches your ideal market than to work with an influencer who has a very large audience that doesn’t include your ideal customers. So don’t qualify influencers based solely on the size of their audience. Pay closer attention to if they have the right audience you want to reach.


Don’t qualify influencers based solely on the size of their audience. The right audience is key.
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To learn about a website’s audience demographics, use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool. Enter the website URL of the influencer and receive a report on the gender, age, education, income, and family status of the website’s audience.

qualify the audience for your influencer marketing strategy

To learn about an audience’s interests, go back to Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool. Enter the site of the influencer and review the report to find trends that help you learn about the audience. By looking at the other sites the audience uses, you can see what other interests they have and uncover details about their habits, needs, and identity.

Qualify reach and authority. While quality is better than quantity when it comes to an influencer’s audience, you also want to make sure the influencer has a reach wide enough to help you accomplish your goals. Look at the metrics of the influencer to gauge the level of their reach.

For social media accounts, consider their number of followers and audience engagement with their posts. Target influencers who have an engaged audience who frequently like and comment on their posts.

For blogs and websites, look at their on-site metrics. Using Alexa’s Site Overview Tool, you can find metrics related to page views, time on site, bounce rate, number of visitors, number of sites linking in, and Alexa Rank (which indicates how authoritative the site is online).

measure influencer authority using alexa rank

Qualify the content and messaging. In your influencer marketing strategy, you should strive to only partner with influencers who align with your brand. Do your due diligence in researching the other content the influencer shares to make sure it aligns with your brand and business.. Spend time reviewing their posts, status updates, and website content to make sure it:

  • Is relevant to your brand, industry, products, and services.
  • Is high quality and something your brand would be proud to be associated with.
  • Represents your brand’s beliefs and doesn’t deviate too far from your brand’s core values or mission.

Create Content Influencers Can’t Refuse

If you create an influencer marketing strategy that involves guest posting or creating content for the influencer’s website, you will have the best success if you present ideas the influencer can’t refuse.

To create irresistible content for influencers, develop ideas that target top keywords and fills gaps they have in their content.

To find the top keywords that will be most beneficial to the influencer, use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool to conduct research. Enter a topic or phrase related to the influencer’s industry and choose low-competition keywords that are frequently searched for. This approach will help you deliver content to the influencer that can help them drive traffic to their site.

create targeted content for influencer marketing strategy

To find ideas for content that fills a need on an influencer’s site, conduct research using Alexa’s Competitive Keyword Matrix. Enter the influencer’s site along with up to nine of their competitors, and use the filter to show organic keyword gaps for the site you are targeting.

find keyword gaps for influencer content

The tool produces a report of the keywords that are driving traffic to the other sites, but not the target site. You can see what topics your target site’s competitors are focusing on, but your target has not yet created content for. This information can spark informed ideas for guest post topics that are relevant and useful for the influencer.

find competitor keywords in influencer marketing research

By doing your research and knowing what the influencer’s site needs, you will have a much better chance of getting guest blogging sites to agree to work with you and share your content on their website.

Track Your Outreach

When you start influencer or guest blogging outreach, it’s essential that you keep your correspondence organized. You don’t want to lose opportunities to work with influencers because your process was annoying or unprofessional.

For example, you don’t want multiple people on your team reaching out to the same influencer, and you don’t want to send the same email over and over.

Develop a system for following up and following through. Create a document that tracks:

  • Who on your team reached out
  • When they reached out
  • Who they contacted
  • Notes about the communication
  • Plans for follow-up communication
  • Status of the outreach

Track and Analyze Your Results

When you complete an influencer marketing strategy campaign, it can feel like a victory just to see the brand mentioned or shouted out on social media. But just getting an influencer to promote your content or messaging isn’t a sign of success.

The real success is determined by if you’ve reached your goals.

To find out if you’ve reached your goals, track and measure your results. Use metrics to measure your success depending on the initial marketing objectives you set for the campaign.

  • Brand Awareness Metrics: website traffic, page views, social mentions, time on site, site users
  • Building Brand Identity Metrics: social mentions, PR coverage (number of articles or links)
  • Audience Building Metrics: opt-ins, follows
  • Engagement Metrics: shares, comments, and likes
  • Lead Generation Metrics: opt-ins
  • Sales Metrics: new sales, revenue changes, price per ticket
  • Customer Loyalty Metrics: customer retention rates, renewal rates
  • Link Building Metrics: number of links, quality of links

Track the data for each of your influencer marketing campaigns so you can look back and reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Use the data to guide your next influencer marketing strategy. Repeat your successes and halt efforts that don’t produce results.

Download Our Free Influencer Marketing Strategy Template

Influencer marketing is an effective way to increase brand exposure, drive website traffic, build your audience, and ultimately drive more sales for products and services. But you can only achieve these results if you have a strong, organized, and data-driven influencer marketing strategy.

Use the tips and tools in this post to help you put together a strategy and download our free influencer marketing strategy PDF to guide your planning. Then sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access our research tools that help you find the best influencers and create the most powerful, results-driven campaigns.

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How to Do Market Research Better Than Your Competitors https://blog.alexa.com/how-to-do-market-research/ https://blog.alexa.com/how-to-do-market-research/#respond Thu, 02 Aug 2018 21:13:57 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=5931 Learning how to do market research better than your competitors equips you to outperform them. A strong market research process helps you learn about your audience, understand their needs, and position your products and services to serve them better. With these insights, you can improve your marketing strategies and rise above competitors who don’t fully [...]

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6 minute read

Learning how to do market research better than your competitors equips you to outperform them. A strong market research process helps you learn about your audience, understand their needs, and position your products and services to serve them better. With these insights, you can improve your marketing strategies and rise above competitors who don’t fully understand their market or target audience.

The rest of this post looks at how to do market research in a three-step process. It also includes sites and tools to help you gather useful customer data during your research.

How to Do Market Research in Three Steps

During the market research process marketers collect data and analyze their audience and target market.

The following steps in marketing research will help you fully understand your audiences and their needs:

  1. Identify the customer problem
  2. Develop a research plan and collect data
  3. Take action based on insights

Let’s look at each step more in-depth.

Step No. 1) Identify the Customer Problem

The first step in how to do market research is identifying the issues, problems, and concerns of your target audience or market.

For example, the soda market has been on the decline for the past few years as Americans turn to healthier alternatives. Soda companies can do market research to understand the root cause and develop marketing strategies to capitalize on this customer behavior. In the market research process they might discover that consumers are buying smaller cans and bottles, which is actually more profitable for companies. Learning why customers are opting for smaller, individual bottles instead of choosing liters and packs of cans would help them reposition their product to appeal to that desire.

Step No. 2) Develop a Research Plan and Collect Data

Once you have a concrete question you want to address, the next step is to choose your method of conducting marketing research. While most people might think about the “Mad Men” era of focus groups and consumer interviews, the modern digital era makes it easy to collect a variety of information related to your query.

Consider tapping into all three main data sources:

  • First-party data: This is data you collect about your customers or business.
  • Second-party data: This is data another brand collects about their customers or business. It is their first-party data, and it becomes second-party data when your company or another brand purchases it from them.
  • Third-party data: This is data available for purchase by companies or aggregators that did not collect the data on their own. It not necessarily about their customers or brand. They purchased or acquired the data from other places, usually for the purpose of reselling it.

One example of a company using second-party data is a high-end watch company commissioning a study on the customers of a yacht company. The customer base overlaps, but the two companies don’t compete. If the watch company is interested in tapping into a related niche market, it can turn to other sources.

Later in this post, we’ll dive deeper into how to do market research as it relates to data collection.

Step No. 3) Take Action Based on Insights

The final step in conducting market research is taking action based off of what you learn. Consider trends in data and identify customer habits and desires to find ways to adjust your offerings and market positioning.

For example, consider the research that millennials prefer experiences over things, and younger couples are already living together before they get married. As a result, fewer people want gifts at their weddings and don’t need home essentials like oven mitts or toasters. In response to customer trends and market research, more wedding registries are opting for honeymoon options. Additionally, hotels and airlines are setting up their own wedding registries where guests can buy experiences for couples.

How to Gather Market Research Data

Data collection is one of the most important parts of market research. So as you learn how to do market research, focus on this step of the process.

Note that data collection will be different for every company. Your organization might not be big enough to collect first-party data and, therefore, need to rely on second- and third-party sources. And, depending on your marketing objectives, some research tactics will work better than others. Try these options to discover a variety of ways on how to do market research online to find what works best for your unique market and discovery goals.

Send Out Surveys to Understand Customer Sentiment

The most common tool that companies use in their audience analysis is survey research. Most survey software platforms are free or cheap to use, and you can export the data for easy manipulation. Whether you’re simply asking a few questions or sending out extensive, open-ended surveys to tap into the customer hive mind, you can have a treasure trove of first-person data in just a few days.

See What Website Visitors Are Doing on Your Site

Tools like Google Analytics make it possible to tap into online market research without disrupting your customers. Check out some of the options available through web analytics tools, which allow you to monitor engagement rates and customer behavior. You can use this information to make marketing decisions based on data-backed proof of customer interests.

Learn About Your Website Demographics

Google Analytics helps you gain insight into your online audience’s actions and behaviors. To learn even more about the people who visit your website, use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool. Enter your site URL to view demographic information about the people using your website. The data helps you gain insight into your audience’s education level, income, age, gender, and more.

how to do market research using demographics

See What Else Interests Your Audience

Alexa tools also help you gain insight into other interests that your audience has. By using the Audience Overlap Tool, you can see what other websites your audience frequently uses. Enter your site URL (or the URL of other sites that your target audience regularly visits). The report will display a visual map of other sites that share a similar audience. From this information, you can see what other interests your audience has by looking for trends in the websites they frequently visit.

audience interests in market research process

Run Experiments and A/B Tests to Analyze Customer Behavior

If you have an idea of how you think customers will react to a particular option, product, or layout, test it with online customers. You can invest in A/B testing software that shows two options to customers to see how they behave. You can also run experiments related to your products and services to see if they catch on. This is more effective than investing in changes to your brand or website only to realize your customers hate it.

Research Top Competitor Search Terms

As you learn how to do market research, remember to look at your audience as well as competitors. There are multiple ways to track your competitors. Alexa’s Competitive Keyword Matrix helps you see what keywords are driving your audience to your competitors’ sites.. From an SEO perspective, you can go after these keywords. From a market research perspective, you can learn what problems your competitors address and how they meet the needs of consumers who you’re missing out on.

how to do market research with keywords

Check the Digital Footprint of Your Competition

Alexa also has other tools to help you gain insight into your competitor’s footprint online. The Competitor Backlink Checker allows you to see who is linking to other sites that are competitors or share an audience similar to yours. Through this backlink analysis, you can learn about your competitors’ marketing strategies and start to mimic some of their link building strategies.

find backlinks during market research process

How to Do Market Research for Your Brand

The best marketing plans are guided by data.

Information about your target audience, competitors, and industry helps you get to know your market and identify trends that will shape your marketing tactics and brand positioning. There are dozens of tools available to help marketers accomplish this, and we recently put together a list of the best sites for market research.

We also offer a suite of tools that show you how to do market research better than your competitors. Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access our powerful tools that make it easy to start your market research journey. The plan includes the Alexa tools mentioned in this post along with other reports designed to help you learn about your industry, target audience, and competitors.

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7 Overlooked Benefits of Influencer Marketing https://blog.alexa.com/benefits-of-influencer-marketing/ https://blog.alexa.com/benefits-of-influencer-marketing/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 19:57:02 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=5907 When marketers think about the benefits of influencer marketing, most think of the exposure that comes with a social media star or celebrity sharing content about their brand. It’s the publicity and attention that immediately comes to mind. But influencer marketing brings more than just extra exposure . Here are seven often-overlooked benefits, plus real [...]

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4 minute read

When marketers think about the benefits of influencer marketing, most think of the exposure that comes with a social media star or celebrity sharing content about their brand. It’s the publicity and attention that immediately comes to mind.

But influencer marketing brings more than just extra exposure. Here are seven often-overlooked benefits, plus real influencer marketing examples.

7 Benefits of Influencer Marketing You Should Know

Influencer Marketing Benefit #1: Builds Trust and Shows Authority

When a celebrity, industry expert, or social media personality shares content about a brand, it adds instant credibility to the mentioned company. Because the company can get an authoritative person to notice and recognize their brand, it shows the brand is an industry leader and trustworthy company. The recognition is even more powerful in niche marketing when an authority in your industry shares your content.

trust is one of the benefits of influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing Benefit #2: Turns Your Brand Into a Hot Topic

Influencers are often the driving force behind new trends and movements. They frequently expose audiences to new ideas, brands, and products. So one of the benefits of influencer marketing is being seen as a hot new concept. By aligning your brand with a trendsetting influencer, you show your company as an innovative leader.


Aligning your brand with a trendsetting influencer shows your company is an innovative leader.
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Influencer Marketing Benefit #3: Drives Purchasing Decisions

Among the advantages of online influencers mentioning your brand is that it can actually drive sales. Consumers frequently look to influencers for advice on what products and services to buy. In a study, roughly 40 percent of respondents said they made a purchase after seeing a social media influencer use the product or service. Another study found that over 85 percent of Gen Zers use social media to learn about new products. So if one of your marketing objectives is increasing sales, influencer marketing might be able to help you accomplish that goal.

benefits of influencer marketing drive sales

Influencer Marketing Benefit #4: Beats Advertising Blindness

One of the benefits of influencer marketing is that the strategy far outweighs other advertising options. Banner ads were once a tool that marketers used to promote their products and services. But audiences have become blind to this advertising method. The average click-through rate for display ads is only 0.06 percent. Influencer marketing cuts through banner ad blindness by placing your brand where audiences notice it – in natural, native content.

Influencer Marketing Benefit #5: Connects With Audiences Where They Spend the Most Time

Audiences spend a lot of time on social media, and that amount of time continues to increase. Many people spend hours a day on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. The data shows how influencers help brands. When influencers mention or feature a brand on one of these social media platforms, they allow the company to connect with audiences on the sites where they spend the most time.

benefits of influencer marketing quote

Influencer Marketing Benefit #6: Possibility for Extremely High ROI

Research has shown that the benefits of influencer outreach outweigh the costs and that the return on investment in influencer marketing can be very high. A survey from Burst Media reported that, on average, brands with an influencer marketing program received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media. Using influencer outreach in your marketing strategies often pays off.

Influencer Marketing Benefit #7: Unlimited Sharing Potential

One of the reasons why influencer marketing can have such a high ROI is because campaigns have unlimited potential. With most paid advertising tactics, there is a limit to your reach. You pay for a certain number of impressions. But with influencer marketing, a campaign has the potential to be shared and even go viral, giving your message more reach than you paid for. Shareable content promoted by an influencer can quickly grow brand awareness and attract attention over and over again.

influencer marketing creates shareable content

Get the Benefits of Influencer Marketing

As you consider the advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing, consider this. When you partner with the right influencer (someone who as a connection with your target market), you reap benefits of influencer marketing almost immediately. Influencers with a lot of followers allow your campaign to gain traction right away. And those benefits can continue to compound over time. Shares, reposts, and retweets give your campaign lasting, scalable power that helps your content get more and more exposure.

The benefits of influencer marketing typically outweigh the costs as long as you launch a strategic campaign by targeting the right audience with the right content.  

To get help with launching a successful, informed influencer marketing campaign, check out our recent post, Your Complete Guide to Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy. And sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access tools that help you learn about your target audience and identify top influencers in your industry so that you can set your campaign up for success.

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How to Submit a Guest Post That Any Editor Will Love https://blog.alexa.com/submit-a-guest-post/ https://blog.alexa.com/submit-a-guest-post/#respond Tue, 24 Jul 2018 19:34:21 +0000 https://blog.alexa.com/?p=5889 As a marketer, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you how valuable content is to your marketing efforts. You’re already creating content: I bet you have some high-quality blog posts and resources for your audience members and that your email campaigns and social feeds share that content with subscribers and followers. But what about [...]

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6 minute read

As a marketer, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you how valuable content is to your marketing efforts. You’re already creating content: I bet you have some high-quality blog posts and resources for your audience members and that your email campaigns and social feeds share that content with subscribers and followers.

But what about the people in your audience who’ve never heard of you — who aren’t already browsing your site or subscribed to your communications? What are you doing to reach and engage them where they are? In a comprehensive strategy, that’s often where guest posting comes in.

What Is Guest Posting and Why Should You Do It?

Simply put, guest posting is when you, as a guest, submit an original post to a targeted publication that your audience trusts. Done right, guest posting is a win-win situation for everyone: You get to expand your reach and share your expertise by getting your content in front of new readers, and the publication gets the chance to run new content that shares diverse insights and ideas with its readership.

This all might sound too good to be true, until you remember that editors aren’t going to publish just anything. If you’re pushing lazy content to editors, nobody wins. It’s up to you to create and submit content that’s so good no editor could possibly reject it.

But how do you do that? Creating content that editors will approve is much easier when you know what editors want to publish, so my team at Influence & Co. went straight to the source. We surveyed editors at online publications to learn what they’re looking for in guest posts they accept, and we compiled our research and analysis in “The State of Digital Media 2018.”

Here are a few things from our report to consider if you want to submit a guest post that editors will love.

5 Things to Consider Before You Submit a Guest Post

1.  Consider why editors want you to submit a guest post in the first place.

As I stated earlier, your guest blogging outreach has to be a win for everyone involved. A publication editor’s goal is not to increase your readership and make you look smart. That’s your job. An editor’s job is to build up her publication and share fresh, expert ideas with her audience.

In fact, those fresh ideas are the biggest reason editors accept guest posts. More editors cited a contributor’s unique perspective and expertise as their reason for accepting guest content than any other reason. So, when you’re thinking through topics to blog about, take that into account.


Are you submitting guest posts that will help an editor and her publication reach its goals?
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It’s worth noting that being relevant is just as important as being original. Fifty-six percent of editors in our survey identified irrelevant content as one of most common problems with posts they receive from guests.

don't submit a guest post with irrelevant content

So, before you create anything, read through posts that are already published on the guest blogging sites you’re interested in. Find out what topics the editor likes and which seem to elicit the most engagement, then tailor your content accordingly.

I’m not advocating that you parrot the ideas already circulating on the site, but making sure your submission is a fit is essential. Remember, you want to submit a guest post that an editor will accept. That won’t happen unless the content you send is both unique and relevant.

2. Find the right content format.

Video content is all over our social feeds, and everyone and their mother has a favorite podcast. It’s clear that audiences consume content in many different formats. Editors are noticing these trends, too: In addition to written posts, 67 percent of editors say they plan to publish video content this year; 52 percent are looking to include infographics; and 40 percent are interested in podcasts.

submit a guest post in the right format

You may see all the video and audio content out there and think, “I can’t compete with that.” But you don’t have to be a great videographer or have the perfect podcast voice to produce high-quality content.

Written content remains one of the most effective and easily scalable forms of content you can use, and it’s still the primary format for guest post submissions. But don’t overlook the potential for submitting guest content in a different format, either.

3. Avoid the biggest guest posting mistake.

It’s natural if you want to talk about yourself. Everybody does. In fact, we humans spend an average of 60 percent of our conversations talking about ourselves — and when we’re online, that leaps to 80 percent.

The thing is, your life story and all the cool things your company is doing might be riveting to you, but they’re not necessarily so interesting to editors or the readers they’re looking out for.

Seventy-nine percent of editors say that overly promotional content is the biggest problem they see in the guest post submissions they receive. Most sites already have ads on them; they don’t need your contributed content to act as an advertisement, too.

overly promotional guest post

Editors want guest posts because they want original, expert ideas. They want to bring value to their readers, not to your company. When you prepare to submit guest content, don’t make it about yourself; prioritize the publication’s audience.

4. Remember that the editor is not your maid.

Few things turn an editor off more than receiving content that’s a jumbled, disorganized mess. An editor is, well, someone who edits things, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to do a rewrite on your submission to make it work for his publication.

Rather than asking your editor to clean up messy content, submit a guest post that’s already been professionally edited. This might sound like common sense, but I bet that all publication editors have received at least one pitch that contained enough typos and other mistakes to make them cringe a little.

Whether you have an editor on your staff or you hire a freelancer to proofread your post, that step can save you (and the editor you’re working with) a lot of time. Seventy-one percent of editors say that editing content can lead to a delay in publishing, so if you want your post to be accepted and published sooner rather than later, edit it before you send it.

submit a guest post edited

5. Create a pitch email that’s as great as your content.

After you’ve created your content and it’s ready to be pitched, you have one final step: actually sending it to the editor. How effective is it when you attach your precious content to an email that reads: “Give this a read when you have a chance?” Not very. No editor’s going to give you a chance if that’s all you can muster.

Editors are busy people: 76 percent of editors publish between 1 and 10 guest articles every week, and 94 percent say they plan to increase or maintain the current amount of guest content they publish this year. That’s a lot of opportunity, yes — but it also means there might be some competition for attention.

competition to submit a guest post

Editors don’t have time to carefully examine every single pitch that’s sent their way. If you want to submit a guest post that an editor will love, then you have to break through the inbox clutter with a pitch that stands out.

Your pitch email to an editor should reflect the effort that you’ve put into the content itself: It should be well-written, clearly organized, and engaging. Use a descriptive subject line, open with a personable greeting, include a synopsis of the content, and — most importantly — demonstrate respect for the editor’s time and schedule. When editors can see that you’ve put effort into your pitch email, they’ll be more likely to consider reading the content you’ve invested so much effort into crafting.

Guest blogging opportunities are an effective way to expand your readership, but when it comes to creating and pitching your content, the audience that you and the editor share should be your main concern. Remember that guest posts should be a win-win agreement between you and the publication. If your submission isn’t offering value to the target publication, you won’t see it published. Make it easier for the editor to serve his or her audience, and your pitch will be a breeze.

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