Not every business has a budget big enough to complement their search engine marketing efforts. Many of them instead leverage free tools for the job, though there are only a few tools that are completely worth it. Many of these tools still seem to be underutilized, particularly Google Trends.

Google Trends can make search engine optimization interesting as well as efficient. However, the catch is that you’d need to understand Google Trends from the inside out to leverage it effectively.

Here are 5 effective ways to leverage the tool for better SEO results.

Explore topics first before narrowing it down

A while back, you could just enter the parameters you have in mind on Google Trends. Now the dashboard is much simpler and can give a greater overview of the topic at hand. The new dashboard prompts you to ‘Explore More’ before narrowing it down.

To do this, you can enter a big time keyword that’s associated with your topic first. From there you can narrow it down using the various filters including ‘Worldwide’, time selection, category, and search type.

Always add context

The results you get from Google Trends is relative i.e. today’s results can’t be compared to the overall popularity of the trends but with the former heights of the keywords you entered into the tool.

For instance, your keyword’s popularity might have gone down in the past 6 months which would appear in the results. But if you change the filters to past 2 years, the results could be completely different. So essentially, the context matters when using Google Trends. Use filters, and the ‘+Compare’ tool to add new keywords and subsequently add context.

Liberally use advanced, specific search options

Google Trend users generally don’t use most search options available in the tool. These options can actually provide them with advanced insights. The options include:

  • Web Search
  • Image Search
  • News Search
  • Google Shopping
  • YouTube Search

Each option yields different results based on the various segments of the user’s potential target market.

It only gets better as the tool will then offer even more options to sort popular queries. The results and insights from advanced search options in Google Trends can inspire search engine optimizers to come up with new content that embraces new trends.

Use long-tail keywords

It’s not easy to rank high in search engine result pages for a particular keyword, even if you seek the help of an expert SEO services company. Getting good results organically takes time. However, if you are using long-tail key phrases, getting to the top of Google SERPs would be comparatively faster.

If you are planning to write content for an upcoming event, you can use Google Trends to learn what’s trending – related questions that people Googled on the subject, the attendees of the event or information regarding the event host etc. Use advanced search options to identify associated queries. Cross-reference the queries you have to piece together a context. The resulting insight would help you understand what piques people’s interests regarding that event.

Optimize your videos with data from Google Trends

To get a deeper understanding of what people expect to see and learn from your videos, you can enter your search term in the tool and select ‘YouTube Search’ option instead of the default ‘Web Search’. You can then sort the queries as required, use filters, and cross-reference them to identify what people expect to find and how they search.

This knowledge can help you tailor and optimize your videos accordingly engaging users better, and driving more traffic.


Google Trends has been around for a while, and has had many changes over the years. But it still serves as one of the best free tools out there for a search engine optimizer who is willing to look beyond a basic search. The insights may not always be obvious. But stick with your queries long enough, and you will start to make sense of it all. The insights can then prepare you to do SEO better.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

Website traffic doesn’t directly generate revenue for a business, unless the revenue model is plain old display advertising. However, statistically even display advertising doesn’t bring a lot of revenue per visitor compared to other models.

Many studies suggest that only close 30% internet visitors actually check out a display ad. For an online business, monetizing traffic by converting them into leads is vital. These leads can then be provided with promotional messages or mails for a product or service.

For all this, you begin by directing traffic to your website. Pre-planned content marketing can help with that. And effective content marketing requires the marketer to post blogs, send emails, and leverage social media marketing tactics. Good search engine optimization makes a website more visible to people looking for information in search engines, thus driving traffic.

Conversion comes after attracting the traffic. Let’s delve deeper into that by exploring 5 effective ways to convert traffic into leads.

  1. Appealing Landing Pages

Landing pages in a website are literally where a visitor lands after clicking a link that directs them to the website. There could be other pages in the website that provides information relevant to a visitor. But landing pages, on the other hand, are seen as one of the most effective ways to convert visitors into leads.

Building many landing pages inside a main content website for the most popular keywords can in turn increase the chances of visitors getting directed to them via search engines, direct traffic, or referral.  The key thing to note here is the fact that a landing page may not be appealing to all types of users. Analyzing the performance of landing pages can give the marketer a better idea on which landing pages attract which type of visitor.

  1. Popup Forms

You may have already seen popups just appear out of nowhere while browsing through a website. Truth is, these popups that you may just close on a whim are actually another effective way to convert traffic into leads. The key is in the effectiveness of the offer that’s shown on the popup. If it’s relevant to the visitor, and if the offer is attractive, the visitor can likely be converted into a lead.

  1. Notification Bars

These are screen-wide banners that you may see on top of a website page. Internet users tend to look at notification bars occasionally because that’s where warnings from the browser may appear like when it blocks popups or when a plugin is missing.

The bars can be configured to be displayed on top even when the visitor is scrolling down the website. Because they can catch some attention easily, it’s a wise idea to include email forms in the notification bar or some exciting offer that redirects visitors who click on it, to a different landing page for conversion.

  1. Opt-in Forms in Sidebars

Opt-in forms should be present in various sections of a website, particularly in sidebars of a blog. This is because when people find the content to be uninteresting, they may take a look at the sidebar. Again, if the offer is good, they may opt-in converting themselves into leads.

The area below the blogs are also a suitable place to include opt-in forms as this would be the first thing visitors would notice once they are done reading an interesting blog.

  1. Redirecting First-time Visitors

It’s much effective to redirect a first-time visitor of a business’ blog to one of their landing pages. The blog would attract them, and on clicking the link, they’d be redirected to a website with the display of an opt-in offer that promises something of relevance or value to them in return for opting in.

Plugins can be used for this, configuring them to redirect only the first-time users and not returning ones. However, this option is only useful for generating leads in a short time period. If not done right, this can affect user experience.

For instance, a returning visitor might be using a different device to access the website. The visitor will be treated as a new visitor by the plugin, and subsequently redirected. The plugins may not work when certain caching mechanisms are active. And if the caching mechanisms are turned off, the website may slow down. So it’s better to use this tactic in short bursts to generate leads quickly.


For the traffic part, businesses can either invest in their in-house marketing team or hire an integrated digital marketing solutions expert to do the job. For the conversion part, the business still needs to have an adept sales and marketing team, or rather ‘smarketing’ team.

These tips can up the chances of converting visitors into leads. The chances of failure depends on how well the marketing strategies are executed. Nevertheless, with proper analytics, the business can increase traffic and improve their lead conversion rates considerably.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

The palmy days of content marketing isn’t behind us. It’s ahead though many experts believe otherwise.

2018 will be a rough yet promising year for content marketers who are giving it their all. An idea on the trends that would potentially dominate 2018 can help them prepare an effective content marketing strategy. This year, videos retained their importance in internet marketing. And it looks like videos and original content would still be of great benefit to enterprises next year as well.

Let’s get on with what awaits content marketers next year.

Blogging just won’t be enough

An active, engaging blog has always been effective when it comes to getting people’s attention and getting links for a website. The commonly practiced strategy was to make the blog visually appealing and relevant by including infographics, videos etc. If done on a regular basis, brands wouldn’t fall behind.

However, 2018 will be a bit different. It’s just like when content marketing was a fresh concept. Back in the days, people just posted as much content as possible stuffed with keywords for SEO benefit. Online marketing matured over time, replacing quantity with quality. Now we need to measure not just the reach but also engagement.

Though good blogs can still be useful when it comes to engagement, just that alone won’t be enough next year. Marketing teams won’t be able to do much just with a writer. They will have to make use of different content formats and find creative ways to engage people.

A good example is the new trend where enterprises release creative short films that increase brand awareness, and attract the audience to check out what they offer. Experimenting with apps, podcasts, and new ways to get people to look at your services won’t hurt your brand in the long run.

Content will be consumed away from screens

This has been a topic of discussion in TED talks for a while now. The advancement of technologies, particularly the advent of IoT, might very well lead people away from screens. Content marketers have already started exploring marketing potential with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Developers have started building voice-activated apps thanks to Amazon Alexa Skills, opening doors to new content formats.

Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) are not to be taken lightly, as many haven’t considered their impact on digital marketing solutions and services. Planning for leveraging them effectively in 2018’s content marketing strategies is a good idea.

Content marketing is not a collection of advertisement campaigns

Considering the potential of content marketing, many companies are now prepared to allocate more budget for it.

In a study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) this year, it was found that 32% of B2B marketers are expected to increase their budget for content marketing over the next 12 months. Investments are clearly increasing.

However, Joe Pulizzi of CMI notes that a majority of these budgets are campaign-oriented i.e. most companies seem to have the wrong notion that content marketing is a collection of advertising campaigns scheduled to be done one after the other.

Campaigns are an important component for any content marketing strategy. But the purpose is not just to advertise. The essence of content marketing is to provide content that’s relevant to users so they will know about the kind of services your business provides and what makes you different. It can build loyalty and relationships. This is why it shouldn’t be treated as a string of ad campaigns but something more that gives better results. Even with a big budget, if there are no relevant or compelling content, the marketing strategy would end up as a failure.

Creating content for micro-moments

What Google identified and named as micro-moments is a specific type of consumer behavior where we impulsive use our phones to search answers for a question that suddenly popped up in our heads. It can be anything like ‘Do crocodiles eat other crocodiles?’ or ‘where can I play arcade games near me?’

Every time someone does this, they would be expecting a relevant answer to their query. This is why consumers of a business expect to easily find and understand information about that business. They wouldn’t want to spend time digging up that information from the business website or social media.

This means the content marketing team should focus a good amount of effort to develop content for every stage of the sales funnel – anticipating what a customer would be seeking and providing answers so they won’t have to seek it for long. A content audit can help a lot in such a scenario.

This is probably where content marketers are going to spend the most time next year.


Content marketing is becoming more comprehensive and sophisticated. To keep up, marketers will have to find the right mix of creativity, planning, and scheduling. 2018 will certainly bring big benefits from content marketing alone but the strategies we are now going with, won’t be enough in the long run.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

It all began when people started believing that social media influences search engine rankings. Though it was stated otherwise, the debate on whether social media actually does impact SEO efforts is still discussed all over the internet by SEO experts.

Most SEO companies offer services that can be complemented with sufficient social media marketing for optimal results. So clearly, social media somewhat has a key role when it comes to search engine optimization.

So how does it impact SEO efforts?

For starters, it’s not a ranking factor. It doesn’t help SEO in a lot of ways like people think. But there is a connection.

Social media doesn’t influence rankings

Search engine optimization is all about Google now. Websites compete to rise up in Google rankings, but with no idea of how their algorithm actually works. They work with the information and guidelines they get from Google itself. Google also stated that social media is not a direct ranking factor. But there have been cases that proved that it influences rankings to some extent.

So was Google lying?

Not exactly.

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan posted an article which stated that Google confirmed that the links shared on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are used as ranking signals. This was later confirmed by Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team.

However, last year Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, again was asked the same question – does Google take social media into account for SEO. The answer was a no.

But with other studies proving that there’s a correlation between the two, the best approach is to keep creating good content that will be accepted in social media channels, and linked by viewers who like it. These links, in turn, boost rankings.

Have you ever noticed that high ranked websites have higher numbers of social signals?

Exploring the ‘correlation’

Though it doesn’t directly influence ranking, here are a few ways how it complements your SEO efforts.

  • Link building: Social media is where people go for peer reviews. So if someone likes something and shares it, other people would check it out as well. The more shares you get for your content, the more people will like it subsequently giving you links in the process. With good content creation and social media promotion, your website may shot up the rankings for competitive keywords.
  • Building an audience: With social media, you can let the world know that you have a unique product or solution that can help people or businesses for that matter. Social media can be leveraged to establish a solid web presence that will consequently impact click-through rates (CTR) when people click on content from your website that impressed them in social media channels. CTR in turn influences rankings.
  • Promotion: Social media isn’t all about Facebook and Twitter. YouTube is the second most searched search engine. For businesses, YouTube can turn tides.

Many researches indicate that over 40% of YouTube users want to see more video content from marketers.

According to HubSpot’s reports, 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy next year.

Though the search queries on YouTube don’t have high commercial intent, the platform can still influence SEO performance if you can create good videos to promote your brand or your content. The videos may also rank organically in search engine result pages in addition to increasing the likelihood of getting more links.


These are but a few ways to leverage social media to complement your SEO efforts. The point is that social media does indeed impact SEO performance albeit indirectly. The key is in leveraging it. But it requires you to invest on both social media and SEO, and then utilize them both with sound strategies that align to your business goals. You may also hire a reputed SEO consultant to handle it for you, along with the technicalities.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

Businesses today mostly rely on SEO strategies that worked for other businesses rather than developing one on their own. Many others rely on SEO services companies to do that job for them. Though this is not all that bad, the approach isn’t right.

Every marketing aspect of a business including search engine marketing should be aligned to the business goal. This means SEO strategies should be different as they are key to effective search engine marketing. This is why businesses should develop their own strategies.

But make sure your SEO strategy takes the following into account.

A mind map for the whole project

Essentially a diagram that can help you develop a strategy from scratch, a mind map branches out to general and specific categories from the center. Ideas can be added to each category. The mind map doesn’t serve as a visualization of your final strategy, but is more like a catalyst to your thoughts, aiding you to develop a strategy. In short, it gives you a picture so you can come up with better ideas for your final strategy.

A document representing the strategy you came up with

With a mind map, you will have ideas for a strategy that can work for your business. This strategy should be represented in detail in a document i.e. this document should state:

  • Goals
  • Tasks attached to the goals
  • Task priorities
  • Subtasks
  • Expected results

You can add more details to the document. The objective is to use the document to help your team or your client (if you are an SEO consultant yourself) to understand the strategy easily. So the format should be simple. Whoever goes through the document should be able to make changes if necessary without hassle, and should also understand the order the tasks would be executed, to whom each task is assigned to, and the present status of the tasks.

Knowledge on the company

To develop an effective SEO strategy, you should have an understanding of the business or the company that’s going to use the strategy. This will help you identify the strengths and vulnerabilities of the company, so you can tweak the strategy to fit that profile. It can also give you an idea on the tactics that will be more effective than the rest, and the challenges that are in the way.

Some factors you can study include:

  • The business’ selling proposition
  • The company’s vision
  • Things associated with the company that might impact your SEO strategy negatively


Knowledge on the audience

Generally when an SEO strategy is being developed, there will be thorough research on keywords that would be effective. The audience and their behavior are just as if not more important than keywords. But learning more on the audience requires you to invest more time.

Here are a few things you can include in your study.

  • How the audience responds to marketing, upselling etc.
  • How much they know about the products or services your business or your client’s business is offering.
  • Are the audience other businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)?
  • How your services can benefit them or solve the problems they have?


Goals with an expected impact on the company

A better approach is to develop an SEO strategy that can have a specific impact on the company and how it functions rather than having it achieve a financial goal. Metrics should be chosen accordingly, and they can be anything from links to organic search traffic.

Though many may disagree, it’s not a bad idea to focus on task-oriented goals with time limits rather than focusing on KPI goals. SEO technically doesn’t directly impact KPIs. And that’s KPI should be a second priority.

Setting task-oriented goals, putting an effort to live up to those goals, measuring and analyzing the impact, and then tweaking the strategy accordingly is a better approach in the long run. An SEO strategy that can somehow manipulate KPIs to provide favorable outcomes may not work for long. And it puts more pressure on the SEO team as well. After all, search engine optimization is a slow process that doesn’t provide immediate results. So thinking long-term is never bad.

Written by: Shibu Kumar
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