Our Favorite Blog Posts & Articles for 2016: 5th Annual Edition

Happy New Year from the KoMarketing Team!Last week I highlighted ten of KoMarketing’s most popular posts written this year, based on traffic, links, mentions, and impact in the lead generation process.

While our own analysis and experience helped to shape the themes chosen, so did the developments and experience from digital marketing professionals from around the world.

We’re fortunate to work in an industry where so many contribute and provide perspective related to new opportunities and challenges faced.

In what has become a tradition five years running, here are some of the resources our team members have discovered and / or utilized throughout the year. These resources helped to improve performance, shape and refine tactics, and provided inspiration for professional development.

From Casie Gillette

With Google pushing HTTPS hard this year and the issue of online security becoming more important, we have been encouraging our clients to migrate to a secured site. The challenge is that doing so takes time, resources, and carries risks. I love this break down by Guy Levine as it outlines the actual steps required. Definitely a good resource for anyone thinking of switching over.

When Mike King writes a post, I read it. This post from October looks at both the history of technical SEO, where we are now, and where we are going. Let me warn you – it’s very technical and it’s very long but it’s AWESOME. This will stay in my bookmarks.

From Stacy Thompson

One of the primary challenges with being a content marketer is constantly coming up with new and different blog post topics to write about. But, as Arnie Kuenn points out, if your target customers aren’t looking for the type of content you’re putting out, you’re already swimming against the tide.  This post outlines the factors you need to consider to produce relevant content people are actually searching for.

Writers are, by nature, perfectionists when it comes to their writing.  And there’s nothing worse than slaving away on a blog post you’re SURE will drive tons and tons of traffic and then…*crickets.*

This post from Pamela Wilson reminded me that online writing is about much more than actual writing.  In today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven landscape (where writers have mere seconds to capture their readers’ attention), writing is less about writing and more about correctly styling that writing.

In other words, you have to make sure you’re formatting your posts in a way that’s easily digestible to readers and that will make them want to stick around to read your stuff.

From Ryan Young

As a content marketer, I’m always looking for new ways to get pages to rank highly for competitive terms. As I performed keyword research throughout 2016, I began noticing more and more terms returning an “Answer Box” result in Google SERPs.

Also known as “Position Zero,” the Answer Box provides those searching Google with a snippet of information that’s designed to give them a quick answer to their query. I found Aleh Barysevich’s article extremely beneficial as I began evaluating ways to get my clients’ content to appear in the Answer Box.

As search marketers, we must keep up with any and all changes that are occurring in the space to deliver the best possible results for our clients.

At the end of 2015 and into the beginning of 2016, we began hearing rumblings across the industry that Google AMP was coming, and sure enough, by the end of the year, we started seeing many of our client’s sites being impacted. One of our client’s blogs was being particularly impacted by traffic losses on the weekends when users most commonly turn to their mobile devices. By adding AMP functionality (and Analytics tracking) to their blog, we saw an immediate uptick in mobile traffic.

This post from Wired provides a nice overview of Google AMP and served as a guide for internal and external information sharing at our agency.

From Kristen Vaughn

This study looked at 1 million Google search results to determine key factors and commonalities between first page rankings. While some of these findings are well understood by the search community and should serve more as reassurance, the study provides fresh data around factors like HTTPS, Schema and site speed.

From Jeremy Krantz

After a long period of testing, Google made their search engine results page sidebar less and completely overhauled the look and feel of their search engine in order to try and unify the design across all devices. In doing so, they also changed the way advertisers compete and bid for visibility.

These changes were significant and have quite the impact on the ads’ average position and cost-per-click since they dropped positions 9 and 10 and also have moved 4 of the 8 ads to the bottom of the organic results, rendering them nearly invisible.

In Mid-April, Google released the first of a few extensions for Google AdWords including this new, much-needed one which now enables advertisers to spotlight various categorical snippets in their ads. This enables advertisers to convey a clearer message about the products, services of their clients, directly in the ads and has helped increase the click-through-rates of many ads across the board.

From Andrea Cruz Lopez

This post was one of the first to provide some insight about the change made on Google’s desktop Search Engine Results Page (SERP) layout and the trends that had been collected in just a couple days. Here at KoMarketing we had brainstorm different scenarios, kept ourselves updated with the latest discoveries, adjusted our tactics to achieve the desired goals and informed our clients about the ups and downs of the change.

What I liked the most about these post was not related to the most expensive keywords in AdWords, but instead the tips for bidding in competitive niches, which are important to always keep them in mind, especially if you are in the B2B space.

From Darren Huang

High return on investment may sound appealing to many people. However, it is a frequent misconception that higher ROI is always better. It’s possible that increasing the cost of acquisition can also increase the total sales volume, resulting in higher profits, even though the ROI is lower. We, as marketers, need to be careful about not leaving money on the table while chasing a fancy figure.

From Stephanie Yang

Staying informed with the current trend in content marketing is always crucial, this year we see live video, visual and interactive content become more applicable and entertaining than ever. Founder of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, collected a group of experts’ opinion on 2017 content marketing trends, which includes predictions on technologies, channels that would dominate the landscape, and give you a fresh look at some of the best opportunities in the coming year.

When I started my job as a content marketer, the first project I worked on is doing keyword research for a client, and I found out that even with keyword planning tools you can get thousands of keywords and be confused by where to actually start. This step-by-step keyword research post by SEO leading expert Brian Dean is easy to digest and with 7 chapters allow you to quickly grasp the basics of keyword research.

From Phoebe Fasulo

Here are a couple extensions / resources I use on a day to day basis for client management:

An extremely handy extension because it lists the software a particular website uses. I use this when checking if code has been properly implemented, as well as during competitive analyses. Wappalyzer provides information on what the site is running on, the analytics platform(s), and any other software the site has running.

A tool I use on a daily basis when providing recommendations to clients. In Mozbar you can quickly see H1 tags, keywords, HTML titles, meta descriptions, link metrics, mark-up and general site attributes.

From Derek Edmond

This list is massive and intimidating but author David Sottimano’s reasoning makes a lot of sense. He’s absolutely correct that any marketer that would put themselves through this will come out much more well rounded professionally, be able to communicate so more effectively with IT, and certainly be in line for a substantial raise.

While this article is geared towards SaaS companies, there is a lot of good information any B2B organization could consider, when evaluating the customer acquisition process in relation to marketing and sales. I found the visual framework particularly helpful for sales / marketing alignment and tactics in process and in consideration for the new year.

While I could probably list dozens of excellent collections of research, resources, and curated information, Meeker’s presentation continues to provide a wealth of critical information for developing B2B digital marketing strategy, including global advertising and adoption, technology innovation, and the impact in relation to macroeconomic trends.

Final Thoughts

Thanks goes out to all the publishers, journalists, and marketing professionals that developed the material listed here and so much more this past year. We wouldn’t be as successful without their contributions, ideas, and perspective.

What content inspired your performance this past year? I’d love to read your feedback and perspective via comments below.

Happy New Year and wishing you the best in 2017 and beyond!

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— Silvina El Baba, Senior Manager, Web Marketing, EFI

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