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How To Create Content That Sticks

According to HubSpot, 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority—as it should be. The internet isn’t going anywhere, and Google keeps getting smarter, filtering more data and grading your website on the quality of your content. You need a solid content strategy in place if you want to make any headway with digital marketing. But while most marketers know they need to focus on content creation, few actually know what content marketing success actually looks like. So how do you create clickable content that works in your business’s best interest?

It’s a more difficult question to answer than you might think. Yes, ROI is the top priority of any marketing effort; we obviously want our time and energy to be spent helping the bottom line. But how do we get there? Let’s explore how Parqa has been effective in our content marketing strategy so far by taking a look at creating content that sticks.

Related Post: 5 Content Marketing Mistakes that Give Your Competitors the Edge


1. Clearly define the purpose of your content

The most important question to ask yourself is Why am I creating content in the first place? Are you simply trying to keep up with the times? Is your website lacking the same marketing materials you’ve identified in your competitors? Are you creating content that will inform your web visitors and engage them? Do you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Determining the purpose and goal of each piece of content will help you more clearly organize your thoughts. Instead of just writing about whatever happens to be on your mind in a disorganized fashion, you’ll have a clear idea of what you want your content to accomplish going forward.

2. Identify common challenges

Determine common challenges that people in your business or industry face and empathize with. As you direct traffic to your various content offerings, remember that visitors are looking for an answer to their problems. You may be an expert—you may have a brilliant sales and marketing team—but the main goal of your content is not to be overly promotional. It’s an opportunity to help someone solve a problem, not hype your business. Create content that will identify and empathize with common pain-points to attract potential leads to engage with you.

3. Use your first-hand experience

Share personal experience from within the industry. Take some time and brainstorm. Write out your top 10 to 20 questions YOU asked over the years, that helped you get to where you are. Before you were managing your firm, think of all the experiences you had that shaped your understanding of your industry. Think of all the questions you faced, maybe asking colleagues or mentors how to navigate through, or learning the tough way through trial and error. Your potential clients and candidates want to hear from someone who’s been on their same journey and become successful.

4. Audit your content

Getting started with a content strategy can seem overwhelming, but a final way to get started is to reuse old marketing projects. If you’ve used specific collateral in the past and it was effective, you may not necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Repurpose that material, even if it can just serve as a starting point when building a blog campaign or ebook outline. It will help expedite your content creation process and help you start brainstorming potential content ideas in the future, as well.

Related Post: 4 Ways to Make Your Content Marketing Strategy Authentic

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5 Tips To Use Blogging as a Recruitment Tool

It’s no secret that to compete in today’s digital landscape, your business needs a blog. But while many companies begrudgingly do it, few understand the real value of consistently producing content for your brand—and just how many different angles you can take with that content. Blog content can serve many different purposes, all with the final result of helping you grow your business. From increasing brand visibility in the marketplace and establishing yourself as a thought leader to generating leads organically, your blog is one of the best assets you have to market who you are and what you do. What’s more, publishing regular blog content can help boost your company’s recruiting efforts. An article from Undercover Recruiter outlines five ways to use your blog to bolster your recruitment strategy.

Here’s our quick take on how to use blogging as a recruitment tool for your company.

1. Openly Highlight Your Culture

Blogging is a chance for your company to showcase your brand, promote your company, and highlight your culture. It can provide an inside look at your business and what makes your culture unique.

2. Discuss Job Openings In Depth

Posting to a job board is a must, but another option is to share job openings through your blog. Doing this allows you to go in-depth on the job description itself, listing the requirements of the position and also touching upon the benefits your company offers or your unique work culture. Discussing job openings through your blog allows you to give someone a more complete picture of the role itself as well as what makes your company desirable.

3. Utilize Your Employees’ Knowledge and Opinions

Blogging provides your employees with a voice; it’s a chance for them to share what they know within their specific area of expertise. It also provides them with an opportunity to give a firsthand account of what it’s like to work for your company.

4. Use Social Media to Share Your Content

Not only do you need to share your blogs on your brand’s social media profiles, but you should also encourage employees to share. Having your employees interact with your brand on social media not only increases your total reach but also puts your brand in front of hundreds to thousands of eyes that could be interested in your services.

5. Build Thought Leadership

Blogging is a great way to consistently publish quality content that can help you gain your target audience’s trust. Building this trust is key to being considered a thought leader within your industry. Ensuring your company publishes high-quality content in a consistent fashion will not only help improve search engine optimization but will also help you build your overall credibility.

How Can Parqa Help?

Digital marketing continues to evolve at a constant pace, so it helps to have a team on your side to navigate the latest changes and help you get solid results based on your unique objectives.
Parqa is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation, Social Media and content creation. We help grow your brand and drive leads through inbound marketing. See our work.

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Understanding Your Company’s Digital Needs: Is It UX Or Digital Marketing?

When you’re assessing your company’s digital needs, it can feel overwhelming. Nowadays digital encompasses everything from website design and development to UX (user experience), social media, marketing automation, search engine optimization, and more. For businesses that have been wary to explore the digital realm, it can be difficult to know exactly what your digital needs are in 2018 and how to address them. There are various factors that come into play here, including your marketing budget, the design of your website or app, your internal manpower and your overall company goals. In order to identify which avenues are right for your business, I would start by assessing your goals and identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your resources and objectives, you’ll want to start by addressing either digital marketing or user experience.


When You Need Digital Marketing

At the highest level, digital (or inbound) marketing helps elevate your brand authority in the marketplace. At a more granular level, digital marketing is used to increase website traffic and drive leads and sales. You bring customers to you through web traffic, instead of exclusively through outbound marketing which may consist of cold calling and other time-consuming tactics. This doesn’t mean those tactics die out, but they instead get supplemented through digital marketing that should ultimately work for you to help grow your business by generating leads and sales.

Digital marketing includes, but is not limited to:

A well-crafted digital marketing plan will often include efforts in all of these areas in order to maximize efficiency. With that being said, digital marketers prefer to work with a nicely designed website/app that isn’t restricted by technical roadblocks. And if you want your leads to convert to customers, you should have a well-designed website that’s optimized for their experience.


When You Need Design/Development/UX Services

Digital marketing is essential if you want to increase web traffic and ultimately grow your business. But if you’re attracting people to an inefficient or poorly run website, it won’t do much good. A talented development team can greatly improve the efficiency of your digital marketing efforts. At the highest level, these services help improve the user experience (UX) of your website, mobile app and digital marketing initiatives.

These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Website design and development
  • Mobile app design and development
  • Platform integrations
  • Hosting

These services are the foundation of any great digital plan. Developers want users to enjoy their experience using a website or mobile app, whereas marketers want to encourage users to engage with the brand and ultimately become a customer. In other words, instead of throwing the cart before the horse, you want your platform to work well and be functional for your users before you work on attracting customers to your site through inbound (digital) marketing. For that reason, many digital marketing agencies will recommend that you optimize your design/UX before starting anything else.


Intersection: The Gray Area

Despite their differences, there can sometimes be an intersection between digital marketing and user experience. Sometimes an SEO specialist can have development experience, whereas others may have a more robust knowledge of the latest SEO trends but very little development experience. The amount of intersection between digital marketing and UX often depends on the internal capabilities of the team you’re working with.

The intersection can include any of the following:

  • Site speed improvements
  • Analytics configuration
  • Landing page creation
  • Website/CRM management
  • Product Listing Ad (PLA Feed) modifications
  • Sitemap changes
  • Code implementation (schema, HTML, etc.)

As you can see, there are various areas in which these two services can overlap. This can be frustrating to all parties if the full extent of their capabilities are not understood. However, proper communication during the initial phases of an engagement can help alleviate these issues so you can determine what your primary digital needs are and how they will benefit your business.



How Can Parqa Help?

Digital marketing continues to evolve at a constant pace, so it helps to have a team on your side to navigate the latest changes and help you get solid results based on your unique objectives.
Parqa is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation, Social Media and content creation. We help grow your brand and drive leads through inbound marketing.

iphone and macbook

Gear Up your Facebook Ads With a Mobile-First Mindset

If you plan on creating social media ads via Facebook for your business, you have to think mobile first. Smartphone and tablet use now makes up 60% of digital media time, according to Comscore. The days of desktop dominance are now over and mobile has quickly risen to become the leading digital platform. What’s driving mobile’s relentless growth? According to Comscore, it’s ultimately a result of app usage, which makes up over half of total digital media engagement. This doesn’t mean that I suggest eliminating your focus on desktop users completely but in 2017, it’s a best practice to think mobile first when you create a Facebook advertising campaign.

Why You Need to Have a Mobile-First Mindset

According to Mark Zuckerberg, mobile users are 20 percent more likely than desktop users to go on Facebook on a given day. And according to research, mobile advertising on Facebook produces better results than ads that appear on the right-hand column or for desktop-users only. The bottom line: if you aren’t creating your Facebook ads for mobile, then you’re missing out on a massive chunk of potential leads.

On average, click-through rates on sponsored stories are 12 times higher on mobile devices when compared to desktops. Recently, Facebook revealed that mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 84 percent of overall advertising revenue in 2016, a big jump up from the 76 percent achieved in 2015.  If there were ever a time to take advantage of Facebook’s mobile advertising opportunities, it’s now. To do this, you need to create mobile-only ads.

Top Benefits of Mobile Facebook Ads Vs. Desktop Ads

Given how many people access Facebook through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, it makes sense to invest heavily in mobile ads. Still, you may be wondering how the effectiveness of mobile ads compares to standard desktop-user aimed ads.

Here are the ways that a mobile-first Facebook ad mindset benefits you compared to focusing on desktop users only:

Users check their mobile feed more frequently

Both the frequency and duration of mobile use is on the rise, along with use of social media apps. On average, smartphone users check their various social media accounts up to 14 times per day, according to IDC. Within that, checking the Facebook news feed is the top activity for 77 percent of users. Shockingly, 44 percent of Facebook’s most active users never even touch the platform via desktop.

Engagement Boost

Another reason to think mobile-first is that mobile ads typically bring in higher engagement numbers, such as click through rates and goal conversions. Overall engagement tends to be higher on mobile ads simply because people tend to like, comment and share more on their phones. This is vitally important to keep in mind when creating ads. Keep your copy short and sweet, include a call-to-action and create a beautiful landing page for them to arrive at and you will see results.

You can get even more granular with ad targeting

When you add in additional layers, you can be even more precise with your targeting. Particularly useful for reaching mobile users are Facebook’s “Local Awareness Campaigns”, which ensure mobile users see a relevant ad for your business whether they are at home, on the go, or visiting from out of town. You can even know if a user access Facebook via mobile while he or she is near your business–you can even determine whether or not the user was delivered the ad or stepped inside your physical location.

Facebook’s algorithm is prioritized mobile over desktop

Most people choose to start Facebook ad campaigns on both mobile and desktop news feeds. However, from there, Facebook chooses which one is better and for most business, the mobile news feed outperforms the desktop news feed. Facebook’s algorithm will begin almost exclusively running ads there. But should you stop advertising to desktop users all together? The short answer is no, although I recommend allocating more resources for mobile.

This infographic recently created by the Online Marketing Institute reiterates these benefits and dives even deeper into why Facebook advertising works so well:


Source: Online Marketing Institute

Get Started with Mobile Minded Facebook Advertising

Compared to other channels, Facebook Ads are going to be among the most effective at driving leads for your business in 2017 and beyond. Facebook’s growth has been tremendous, with over 1.18 billion daily active users, 600 million instagram users and over a billion users on messenger.

However, the truly fascinating piece of data is that globally users spend 50 minutes a day on average with Facebook, which is far more than any other tech property. To take advantage of this, Facebook has subtly shifted towards solutions that benefit B2B midmarket companies, according to HubSpot. Facebook’s ad solutions will help you grow today, but also set your business up for future success. From video ads and messaging ads to Instagram ads and even virtual reality ads, there are a variety of ways to deliver your message via Facebook.

If you’re looking to get started with Facebook ads, it can be a complex process to determine who to target, create landing pages, create effective copy and know how much money to pump into the campaign.

How Can Parqa Help?

Digital marketing continues to evolve at a constant pace, so it helps to have a team on your side to navigate the latest changes and help you get solid results based on your unique objectives.
Parqa is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation, Social Media and content creation. We help grow your brand and drive leads through inbound marketing. See our work.

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5 Content Marketing Mistakes – That Give Competitors the Edge

Content marketing has emerged as one of the most effective ways to build your business’s brand and voice. Additionally, it can also help generate customer loyalty and improve your company’s website ranking on online search engine results pages. As a business owner, content marketing is one of the best tools in your toolbox, but you can’t reap the benefits by aimlessly churning out content without a strategy and authenticity.

To benefit from content marketing, you have to do it right, otherwise it may be working against you and could be giving your competitors the edge. A finely-tuned content marketing strategy can help establish your authority in the marketplace, bring in new business and raise awareness for your brand, if you avoid the common but critical mistakes listed below.

1. Hiring Ghost Writers to Write for You

The bottom line is that the content you publish cannot be authentic if it does not come straight from the mind of a relevant expert. I see companies on a daily basis who publish content blatantly written by a ghostwriter and, in my experience, it detracts from the business’ overall credibility. In one instance, an US based competitor published a number of blogs containing words with British spellings, which made it obvious that they didn’t write it themselves.

From the customer’s perspective, if the content you’re putting out appears “fake” and doesn’t capture authentic thoughts and feelings, how good can your services be? Without the involvement of a genuine thought leader who has real expertise, using a ghostwriter is a shortcut that appears as a red flag to customers. You have to ask yourself: What does my content say about my company? Am I simply putting out content for the sake of doing it, or do I want to offer valuable and authentic content that people can learn from?

2. Over Promoting Yourself and Your Business

When the majority of your posts focus on personal accomplishments or newly retained assignments, you’re missing out on what makes social media so valuable: sharing and promoting the work and accomplishments of others, especially your individual employees. Promoting personal and overarching company accomplishments has a place, however, when you do it too much it gives off the impression that you’re only concerned about things that benefit or relate to you.

Rather than focus on your company and yourself, start sharing and talking about others more. Keep in mind that prospects are always watching you on social media, not necessarily your company. When they see that you are sharing and supporting others, it reflects positively and shows that you care about the success of your employees and learning from your peers. For example, rather than post about your company’s newest client, consider a post congratulating a loyal employee on their recent accomplishment.

3. Post and Pray, Not Tracking Metrics

Not tracking the effectiveness of your content marketing and thought leadership efforts is one of the most counter-productive mistakes you can make. If you don’t track key performance indicators (KPIs), there’s no way to know whether or not all your hard work is paying off. Without analyzing data and evidence to show what’s working and what isn’t, you’re simply guessing when it comes to your content strategy.

You’ll be far better equipped to make informed choices about how to approach content marketing if you know which types of content are resonating with your audience, which platforms are generating the most engagement and so on. It can feel tedious, but tracking basic analytics metrics such as clicks, visitors, and conversions (and analyzing that information) is important when it comes to refining your marketing strategy over time.

4. Writing for the Wrong Audience

You may also be writing to the wrong audience, or taking a guess on what they’re interested in. Your thought leadership can fall flat if you have the wrong people write or target an irrelevant audience.

Getting your intended audience right and properly defined can work wonders. Understanding who you’re writing for gives you a better understanding of the perspective you should take, the tone you should adopt and the level of knowledge your audience has. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, you’ll know what the pain points of that particular audience are so you can speak to them in your writing. For example, if your business is B2C, you’ll want to write directly to customers, but if your business is B2B, you’re more likely going to write to business owners and high-level decision makers. These two target audiences are very different and content needs to be finely tuned to resonate with any niche.

5. Don’t Allow Your Content Strategy to Work Against You

Above all, my point is that there’s truly no shortcut for building a great brand, owning rankings in search engine results pages, or becoming an authority in your market. Simply pushing out content without a plan is not enough and, unfortunately, can actually work against you if customers walk away with a bad taste in their mouth after reading it.

The key to avoiding this common pitfall is ensuring your content is authentic and comes straight from the mouth of a respected and experienced thought leader with genuinely valuable advice to give. While ghostwriters are convenient, they can’t deliver this. If you avoid these mistakes, share and support what others are posting about, and establish a way to track the effectiveness of your thought leadership, you’ll be able to build a strong brand based on memorable customer experiences.

How Can Parqa Help?

Digital marketing continues to evolve at a constant pace, so it helps to have a team on your side to navigate the latest changes and help you get solid results based on your unique objectives.
Parqa is a Digital Marketing Agency that specializes in SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation, Social Media and content creation. We help grow your brand and drive leads through inbound marketing.

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The Role of Creative in the Future of Digital Marketing

One of our key tasks as marketers is to be creative and find ways to generate interest and demand in our products and services. Creativity has been essential to marketing success long before the internet or digital marketing came about.

Creative has always been a key factor in standing out in marketing both online and traditionally, but as online-targeting becomes increasingly sophisticated, consumers now expect the online world to be cutting-edge. Relying on a fixed formula is risky and, as technology becomes more advanced, your approach to digital marketing will need to be smarter, more creative and better informed if you want to have a chance of standing out.

Many digital marketers have abandoned innovation in favor of “playing it safe” but, for those who hope to build highly effective digital marketing plans in the future, creativity will play a leading role in their development and execution. Here’s why creativity has always been important, and how it will become increasingly critical as a tool for achieving success in digital marketing in the future.

Why Creative Is So Important

Today’s users move fluidly between devices and channels and expect a seamless, engaging and fun experience. At any given moment, every user is rapidly taking in several pieces of information that they have to assess when deciding whether or not to award their attention to anything. Creativity already plays a vital role in breaking through, making an impact, resonating and inspiring the customer to give you their attention. However, it will play an even bigger role in the future when it comes to generating real engagement that leads to conversion.

The fact is that we oftentimes get caught up in the work and analysis we do to ensure the right product is promoted to the right segment, but sometimes we forget that there’s a person at the other end of our promotion.  Microsoft recently did a study that measures the “dwell” of different digital marketing campaigns. According to a Regroup article, “dwell” refers to the amount of time people spend with a given piece of creative for a product or service and, “the higher the ‘dwell’, the higher the engagement and the more likelihood of purchase.”  The fact is that more creative, engaging online ads lead to higher “dwell” and, thus, more successful brand campaigns in terms of searches, traffic to the brand site and engagement at the brand site.

Targeting Consumers Creatively

As consumers encounter increasingly better-targeted messaging at higher volumes, it will become critical to strike a balance between technology-driven targeting and creativity to stand out. Marketing Land columnist Peter Minnium wrote in a recent article that marketers tend to “get so caught up in the potential of technology and data to optimize the delivery of an ad to the right person at the right time in the most efficient manner possible, that they often lose sight of a fundamental truth: the ad creative has to be good, or it’s all for naught.” His observation is spot-on.

Creativity will be critical when it comes to both how we target future audiences and what we display to them. According to ComScore, data show that half of a campaign’s impact on sales is due to the creative strength. By activating customer data and leveraging deep data insight like psychographic information, you can cut through the noise to provide real value to customers in the form of a highly personalized ad that is both relevant and useful.

Creating a More Compelling User Experience

Marketers are accustomed to targeting consumers by demographics, dividing them up using broad variable such as age, gender, geographical location or ethnicity. Although these metrics are important and deliver results, marketers can’t afford to rely on demographic data alone in the future, as they will miss a huge opportunity to increase audience engagement and risk delivering generic messages that appear irrelevant.

As targeting becomes more sophisticated, consumers expect the messages they receive to be increasingly tailored and personalized. From the marketer’s perspective, achieving success requires getting creative with targeting and understand the customer’s personality, motives and action-drivers at a deeper level. Targeting can go well beyond where your audience lives and what they do to become even more granular and specific. With social media, people share their common values and interests to create digital communities of interests that advertisers can leverage to creatively build advanced, personalized targeting the drives action.

Inform Your Marketing Strategy with Data-Driven Creative

With insights provided through analytics and data management platforms, you have the ability to more effectively reach different audiences by segmenting them into groups and tailoring custom creatives to increase the impact for each specific group, according to the Make Thunder blog.

Here are a few types of data that you can use to creatively segment your audiences and customize each ad’s messaging, according to Make Thunder:

Behavioral Data: Targeting based on a user’s previous web browsing behavior across the web. Placing a cookie on a user’s web browser allows you to collect various behaviors such as websites visit, pages viewed, clicks, downloads and videos watched. You can then group behaviors together into segments and target them with tailored messages.

Contextual Data: This related to the content viewed by the user. On-page content and keywords displayed on a page are captured. You can “use contextual data to target a consumer’s present web behavior and align ad messaging with the content they’re viewing.”

Psychographic Data: Psychographics provide insight on the “why”– what’s driving the purchase decisions of your customers. This includes personalities, beliefs, values, interests and lifestyles. Psychographics get into the “psychological aspects of consumer behavior, while helping to paint a more detailed picture of who your target audiences are and what motivates them.”

Geographic Data: Geographic data simply provides information on “where” your customers are. When you need to target specific regions, or tailor promotions for a local market, geographic data is key.

By combining numerous types of data, you can build unique audience segments based on data driven creative tactics such as retargeting and cross-channel.  The goal is to create one-to-one messages to consumers from when they first interact with your brand up until they are ready to make a purchase decision. Doing this requires data-driven creative, continuous monitoring and optimization of ads overtime to maximize ROI.

 With a creative and informed approach, digital markers can deliver more relevant experiences that offer more purpose and foster long-term brand awareness, loyalty and advocacy. If you’re interested in learning more about psychographics and how you can leverage them in your ad targeting, check out our last blog: Psychographic Marketing: Hypertargeting Your Customer’s Passions to learn more.

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Top 10 SEO & SEM Insights

Nick Noble, Director of SEO and Inbound Marketing, recently participated in a panel discussion at the Business Marketing Association’s “How to Happy Hour” event. Nick was one of four search experts on the panel discussing SEO and SEM Strategies for businesses.

Below, Nick shares insights on 10 of the most common SEO and SEM questions for building your business strategy:

1. In your experience, what separates SEO from SEM?

SEO (search engine optimization) is a part of SEM (search engine marketing). SEO is the optimization of your website in the effort to rank well organically within search results. SEM includes SEO but also includes the paid advertising strategies that appear in search results (text ads and PLA – product listing ads). The efforts of SEO focuses on organic traffic, while SEM includes all traffic from search engines.

2. What are the key benefits of implementing SEO and SEM strategies, and how can it be used to complement an overall marketing plan?

There are many benefits of implementing SEO and SEM strategies and they can not only complement, but lead an overall marketing plan. If you have a product or service that is highly searched on the internet, then search engine marketing has potential to lead your marketing efforts.  In these instances, instead of trying to create the demand for your product or services, you are targeting individuals who already know they want/need your product or service and are currently looking for it.

3. When starting fresh with SEM/PPC for a company, what process do you take to build out the account structure?

Often, but not always, I start by identifying what I call the “money pages.” These are the pages that are going to send the paid traffic from our ads. They are usually product or service pages that align with the business goals.  I use a single money page for individual ad groups and typically create campaigns based on the sites structure or marketing objectives (budget also plays a big role in campaign structure).

4. What are a few ongoing optimizations that could be executed within the PPC account to ensure optimal performance?

Negative keywords… Typically we are looking to reduce our CPA (cost-per-acquisition). At a consistent level of spend, two of the most effective ways to decrease your AdWords CPA are: Decrease Cost-per-Click (CPC) and Increase Conversion Rates. Read this blog post I wrote for more information on this: Two Ways to Decrease Cost Per Acquisition in AdWords.

5. Is there a difference in targeting mobile vs. desktop? How can we use that in our optimizations?

Yes. Ad text, ad extensions, landing page experience, etc. vary between mobile and desktop. Also, it important to understand the user’s intentions and experience on the different devices.

6. My company is doing a complete website redesign. What are a few things we can implement to ensure our new site is optimized for search?

Use 301 redirects! If your site URL structure is going to change on your new site then make sure you redirect your old URLs to your new URLs. These should be mapped out on a page to page basis.  There’s lots more I could talk about here, so if you want to know more feel free to ask! @lookingfornoble or

7. How do you analyze performance of your SEO and SEM efforts? What do you look for?

Depends the business objects and who you are talking to about it. Typically CEOs want to hear about revenue, leads, CPA, ROAS, etc. not traffic levels. It also can be a headache if you get them focused on things like individual keyword rankings or CTR. I should probably write a blog post on this.

8. Many times, a realistic test budget for a new account is almost always north of what a company wants to spend. How do you approach that conversation with clients or higher ups in the company? How do you determine a test budget, and what would the duration of that test be?

Do your research and use the data you have to come up with projects. This will help you validate the test budget. Here’s an example:



9. What are some free tools available for anyone looking to rank higher in Search?

Google –has multiple tools.  Google analytics, AdWords keyword and display planner, Google Search Console, Google Trends, Google Page Speed Insights, Google Structured Data Testing Tool, and Google itself.  A few others that can be very beneficial: SEObook, Moz/ Moz Bar, SEMrush, Raventools, Screaming Frog, etc. have limited versions or free trails.,, are free keyword research tools.

10. What is your top tip for anyone entering the world of Search?

Always be learning – the world of search is constantly changing and evolving, therefore, as search engine marketers, we must too. Whether it’s staying up to date on the latest trends, following industry thought leaders, or learning from a past project, it is key to never stop learning. Also, be willing to test new theories and ideas and learn from their outcomes. Oftentimes, it takes creative thinking and going outside of the box to really move the needle.



man reading in a lounge

Psychographic Marketing: Hypertargeting Your Customer’s Passions

As marketers, most of us are familiar with demographics and how they can play into strategically targeting qualified prospects and customers. Demographic information, such as gender, age, income and marital status, help to explain who your buyers are, but they don’t exactly explain “why” they buy. This is where psychographics come in.

Unlike demographic information, psychographic information includes more about the “why”, including the buyer’s habits, hobbies, spending habits, interests and values. Today, the most effective way to reach your target audience is by gaining a deep understanding of both their demographics and psychographics.

Combining these two related but separate sets of data can help you build a highly detailed buyer persona that encompasses who your prospects are, but more importantly, how they feel about things.

Psychographics and Digital Marketing


demographics vs psychographics



Imagine that you are trying to get people to switch from a popular protein powder to your own innovative and all-natural protein supplement. You may start by running campaigns to target specific groups of athletes or fitness conscious people, but there’s likely a deeper subset of people that are particularly ready to make the switch: the people who hate their current protein powder or value natural and organic food. This gets into the psychology and psychographics of your prospects.

Psychographic targeting means figuring out ways to actually reach the people who are unhappy with their current protein powder and are more motivated to try something new. According to eConsultancy, the best way to do this is to have people self-identify which psychographic categories they fit into by responding to your content signals.

For example, you could create a blog, eBook or white paper about the benefits of organic protein supplements, or about how some traditional supplements are filled with potentially harmful additives.

The people that respond to these initiatives are telling you that they are part of the narrow psychographic you are targeting and separate from the average satisfied protein powder consumer.

Understanding these deep sentiments about your consumers is at the heart of why psychographic targeting is so effective when integrated with marketing.

Getting Psychographics is Now Easier than Ever

Because psychographics are so specific, it used to be a lot harder to get the data compared to demographic data, which has been available in different forms for decades. Even if you had psychographic data, opportunities for making it actionable were hard to come by.

However, the internet has changed the game when it comes to accessing psychographic insight, making psychographic difference more prominent and making it easier to leverage the data to improve marketing efforts.

Consumers have different reasons for their purchases and a lot can be missed when you assess demographics alone. Consumers with different incomes and lifestyles make somewhat different purchase decisions and psychographics allow us to get to the heart of why that is.

When you understand psychographic differences, your online marketing tools make your insight actionable in a way that was nearly impossible before data giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter existed, according to Harvard Business Review. Through our interactions with these websites, they essentially become mass data collection machines.

Using Psychographics to Market Smarter Online



Source: Curatti


When you understand the key differences in what your customers care about, you can execute smarter and more tailored digital marketing, especially when it comes to keyword targeting. You can target messages to the unique sentiments of different groups of consumers.

For example, you can target Facebook ads to people who have liked specific pages or identified particular interests, or you can research which hashtags different psychographic groups are using on twitter to tailor your messages accordingly.

The internet has given rise to a new sort of interconnectedness that makes it easier to find like-minded peers to share our interests and attitudes with. The web is a borderless worldwide community of tribes that help to “consolidate psychographic differences” by self-identifying their interests and passions.

In the past, people tended to identify with one another based on demographic community or geographic region, but now they have the ability to identify with others that share mutual interests.

Psychographics give you “a roadmap for navigating different types of divisions and sensitivities” when it comes to your customers. With the latest online tools, you can quickly gather the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of consumers by using social media analytics to identify the latest trends in interests and attitudes.

From there, you can dig even deeper by conducting a sentiment analysis to further uncover attitudes. Along with analyzing sentiments, you can also monitor organic social media conversations that allow you to “spot emerging issues or psychographic clusters,” according to the HBR. With all this data, you can get far more granular with your targeting and marketing efforts.

An Example of Successful Psychographic Advertising


cambridge analytica


Perhaps the best example of how psychographics can be used to target specific groups to motivate action is the recent US presidential election, which was won by Donald Trump with the help of a British data science company called Cambridge Analytica. While many think that Trump was simply a great campaigner and influencer, his tactics ran much deeper than that in reality.

Cambridge Analytica carefully created psychological profiles of the electorate by grouping people with similar traits and designing political advertising to match (psychographics in a nutshell). They had on file more than a million personality tests completed by Americans–online, by phone, and in-person. Responses to these tests were graded on what psychologists call the “big five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion and neuroticism.

They then expanded those findings from those that took the tests to the entire American electorate of 230 million by leveraging the 4,000 – 5,000 data points they have on every single adult in the US. This included everything from basic demographic information like age and gender but extends to more psychographic information like which magazines people buy, the television shows they watch, the cars they drive and more. All of this data is for sale.

Through their research, Cambridge Analytica was able to predict that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (traditionally blue states), would go to Trump on election night. This type of big data work wouldn’t have been possible five years ago, but now we can look at audiences with more granularity than ever before and learn precisely which messages individuals need to receive to be influenced. You may be wondering where all this data comes from.

When you opt-in on social media to share data, what’s really happening is that you’re agreeing to have your personal data used for marketing and targeting purposes. While some don’t mind having their data collected, others see it as harmful or intrusive. How do you feel about your data being collected for marketing purposes? Let us know in the comments below.

Google sign on building

What to Know About Real Time Google Penguin 4.0

Last week, Google confirmed the Penguin 4.0 roll-out, leading digital marketers and webmasters around the world to wonder how Real Time Google Penguin will work and whether or not they need to change their SEO approach. With this update, Google is going to make Google Penguin part of their Core Algorithm, according to an official Google statement.

This means that webmasters no longer have to wait years for a Penguin update to salvage the rankings of a website. Now, Penguin will recognize changes you make to your website in real time, making it easier and faster to overcome penalizations.

Penguin is a specific algorithm signal, first launched in 2012, that is one of 200 unique clues and signals relied on by Google to indicate what you could be searching for. This includes everything from keywords and content freshness to region and PageRank.

Penguin is Now in Real Time

The biggest impact of Penguin 4.0 is that Penguin is now in real time. Prior to 4.0, sites affected by Penguin were periodically refreshed all at once – a process that could take years. While many of Google’s algorithms were able to quickly recognize when a webmaster significantly improved a site, Penguin needed to be refreshed in a more manual sense.

Now, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time. What does this mean for you? Changes will be visible much faster and will likely take effect very quickly after Google recrawls and reindexes your page. Google’s statement says that Penguin is now also more granular, devaluing spam by “adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”

Google’s Penguin filter used to work by identifying and penalizing websites that it deemed spammy, specifically sites that engaged in black-hat SEO through buying links designed to boost search engine result rankings. Websites that triggered the Penguin filter were penalized and saw their rankings drop dramatically–sometimes disappearing from the SERPs completely. The solution was to find and clean up all the bad backlinks, but even after all that work, recovery only was only possible after the next Penguin refresh occurred, which could take years.

No one knew exactly when Google would launch a new Penguin update. However, with Penguin 4.0, we should see recoveries happening faster.


A Chance To Recover

google penguin

Those who have spent time cleaning up bad backlinks since the last Penguin update are both relieved that their websites finally have a chance to recover from penalization and hopeful that they will see improvements in their traffic sooner rather than later. Some have reportedly already started seeing recoveries. After all, Penguin 4.0 is supposed to update in “real time,” right? As the leader of an agency, I’ve had to deal with the impact of penalizations brought on by the first Penguin update first-hand.

One April 24th, 2012, the day the first Penguin update was rolled out, one of our clients saw their organic traffic virtually cut in half instantly. Why did this happen? Because they juiced up their site with junky backlinks.

Since the our partnership with this client began last year, our SEO specialists have been working to clean up the site and sift through the backlinks. After disavowing hundreds of bad links, all we could do was wait until the next Penguin update to see if our work actually paid off. Looking at the analytics dashboard, we still haven’t seen a significant jump in traffic yet. A day after Google’s announcement, it was revealed that sites with spammy links will no longer be demoted. Instead, spammy links will be devalued so as not to affect the overall site rating.

Essentially, Google will ignore these links , which means that we actually don’t need the disavow file for Penguin 4.0. However, Google says that disavow may still be used to help it identify spammy links faster. Penguin 4.0 will essentially disavow links on it’s own. Google will now devalue spammy links automatically and believes webmasters will be happier because of this.

If a site happens to have spammy links pointed to it, it will no longer be penalized as a whole by Penguin, as would have occurred in the past. However, the site could still potentially go down in rankings if the links helped the site to gain higher rankings to begin with.

Keep in mind that it may take time for the Google’s algorithms to devalue spammy links pointing to your site. The bad news: digital teams working under the assumptions of the previous Penguin update spent hours disavowing hundreds of links. The good news: Penguin 4.0 will eventually make that easier.

If your website is currently penalized by Google Penguin, it may still be worth taking the time to clean up your backlinks, especially if they helped you achieve higher rankings in the first place. Google will now take your work into consideration quicker and you won’t have to wait for a Penguin refresh.

A More Granular Filter

Along with refreshing in real time, Google Penguin 4.0’s filter will penalize websites with unnatural links more granularly than before. As I mentioned above, Google Penguin used to penalize whole websites when detecting spammy links, but now, Penguin devalues spam by “adjusting ranking based on spam signals.” This means that instead of the entire website being penalized, spam will be filtered out of the equation. Ideally, this should reduce the amount of work webmasters need to do to overcome the penalties brought on by the first Penguin update.

For example, Google can now penalize/devalue a domain, a sub-directory, a group of keywords or a single page. Even if only certain pages were connected to bad links, the old Google penguin demoted website rankings dramatically. While the latest Penguin update brings a lot of change, Google admits that the roll out will never actually be complete.

Google crawls the web on an ongoing basis and changes its algorithms continuously. If you’re concerned about when you will start to see changes in your search engine result rankings, it may take a few weeks for Google to recrawl and reindex your page, so try to be patient.

The good news is that with Penguin 4.0, you have the ability to recover your rankings much faster. The most important thing is that you monitor your backlink profile closely and work to disavow the bad links. While you do that, you can be proactive and build quality links in the meantime to improve your website even further.

Work With Parqa to Ensure Your Website is Google Penguin 4.0 Safe

Parqa’s SEO and Content Marketing specialists can audit your website to ensure it is safeguarded against  Google Penguin 4.0 penalization. When it comes to understanding the nuances of Google’s algorithm updates, our team’s expertise is unmatched. If you’re interested in SEO or simply want to find out more about the diverse range of services we offer here at Parqa, contact our team today.

social media pins

Annoyed of Facebook Advertising? Here’s How Facebook Ad Targeting Works

Facebook: Some people love it, some people hate it. It allows you to stay in contact with people from all different phases of your life, while also being one of the fastest news outlets we’ve ever encountered. Thanks to Facebook ad targeting, being a business and needing to make money, your Newsfeed is also full of ads.

More often than not, we hear, “These ads are so annoying.” “They aren’t relevant to me.” “How does Facebook even think I’d be interested in something like this?” What I’m here to tell you is that YOU do have power to change what types of ads you see.

A Brief History of Targeted Online Advertising

Before we dive into how Facebook’s ad targeting works, let’s start with a brief history of targeted online advertising. Since the 1990’s, targeted advertising has been part of the internet experience. Many of us remember when surfing the web used to mean navigating through a torrent of unwelcome pop-up ads; when digital advertising meant flashing banners and random irrelevant sidebar ads.


Display ads started becoming increasingly targeted, as advertisers became more interested in targeting specific consumer demographics. In 1997, we witnessed the explosion of pop-up advertisements, which many consider the most hated advertising technique of all time. In fact, the original developers have apologized for creating the underlying code that made them possible.


Advertisers turned to paid search and pay-per-click, which are still widely used today. It wasn’t until around 2006 that digital ads became hyper-targeted in the way they are today. Social media platforms saw their user bases grow rapidly, giving marketers a new way to reach younger internet users who mostly ignored banner ads.

2006 – Present

Advertisers have continued targeting consumers with relevant social ads, rather than bombard them with large volumes of ad content. It is now the standard practice of online advertisers, particularly when it comes to Facebook and other social networks like Twitter, YouTube and Google+. The goal is to deliver an ad experience that feels personalized but not aggressive.

How Facebook’s Ad Targeting Works

facebook advertising

It’s important to understand how Facebook’s ad targeting works. Facebook allows advertisers to target based on device, location, demographics, interests, behaviors, as well as different advanced targeting methods. At the click of a button, anyone can create Facebook ads to encourage users to ‘like’ posts, install apps, visit other websites or click on a call-to-action.

When you create a profile on Facebook, you’re required to enter information about your age, religion, education, political views and favorite movies, music and books. Building your profile helps your friends get to know you better, but what you might not be aware of is that Facebook uses that same data to deliver a personalized ad experience.facebook advertisingHere are some of the key metrics advertisers use to target you on Facebook and other social media:

  1. Locationcomes from the location stated on your timeline and verified by your IP address
  2. Demographicsbased on age, gender, relationship status, education, and job shared directly in Facebook profile
  3. Interestsidentified by keywords linked to pages you like, apps you use, information on your Timeline, and other ads you’ve clicked on
  4. Behaviors things you do directly on Facebook (i.e. – watch videos, click ads, pages visited, etc.) that show intent, travel preferences, etc. Behavior data for targeting is also compiled by offline activity provided to Facebook from trusted third-party partners.
  5. Custom Audiencetargets email lists that are tied directly to your Facebook login
  6. Re-targeting keeps the recent site(s) you visited in reach directly on Facebook

As you can see, there are a wide range of data metrics that businesses utilize to target an audience. With this information at their fingertips, businesses can determine the proper ways to target their audience without being “that annoying ad” that we’ve all come to resent.

Who Should Invest In Facebook Advertising?

What types of businesses are best suited for advertising on Facebook? Who should invest in Facebook Advertising? Facebook is a difficult channel to directly sell product without having any other type of nurturing campaign in place. According to Facebook, the businesses that have the most success in advertising on their platform are businesses looking to get people to sign up/fill out a form for something and those businesses trying to build brand awareness.

For example, a software company interested in generating demo requests or trials might use Facebook ads to drive traffic to a landing page with a form to fill out. We have found that Facebook generally offers a less expensive way to get impressions and traffic to a site when compared to other advertising channels such as Google or Bing.

Facebook Advertising Can Complement SEO Efforts

While SEO is more of a long-term effort, Facebook advertising can be complementary by driving results more quickly. There’s really no other medium like Facebook advertising where you can get quite as granular when it comes to how you’re targeting certain types of users to drive conversion. With the analytics capabilities of Facebook’s Ad Manager, you can gain insight into new content ideas, microsites to build and promotions to offer your customers.

Once a business verifies that Facebook advertising is the right channel for their campaign objectives, it is important for them to determine the best variables that will help them to get in front of their target audience with the appropriate messaging while also remembering that people interact differently on social media compared to other sites online.

When was the last time you updated your Facebook profile? For most people, the answer is “when I setup my profile….3, 5, 10 years ago.” Think about the quotes you put it, the music/artists you typed in, favorite movies you allowed the world to see. Since our tastes, styles, and lives change over time, it’s no wonder we aren’t getting relevant advertising coming our way.

Ready to Invest in Facebook Advertising? Parqa can help

If you’re ready to invest in Facebook advertising for your business, Parqa can help. Our social media marketing specialists can help develop a strategy to target the customers you want on Facebook and drive more leads and sales to your website.

We’ll help you maximize the efficiency of your social media marketing efforts so that you see results at minimum spend.

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