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A lot is made of the value of data in the modern world. The fact is, businesses of all sizes collect huge amounts of data, but when it comes to putting it to good use, they tend not to do so effectively.

To be valuable, data has to have some benefit for your business, otherwise it’s just a burden, and this is where artificial intelligence and machine learning fit perfectly into the future of marketing - they allow businesses to make the most of the data they collect.

Applications within Digital Marketing

As marketers, we’re constantly deriving insights from the data we have available to us. In digital marketing, that data is almost endless - think of all the analytics we have access to from our websites, social media platforms, and email marketing campaigns.

The thing is, we have access to so much data, that it’s often difficult to pull it all together to create helpful insights, and many times, by the time we have crunched all the numbers, we’re reacting to events that have happened in the past.

What AI allows us to do is make the most of all of our data in real time, and there are lots of different ways this plays out in digital marketing.

Highly Accurate Customer Personas

When you understand the people who are interacting with your business, it becomes much easier to give them the experience they’re seeking. We have access to lots and lots of information about our target audience, but when you’ve got thousands of people engaging with your business at any given moment, bringing all this data together is almost impossible.

AI can analyze this data in real time to create customer personas that allow for more accurate personalization. When you can predict different people’s preferences and behaviors, then you can take the next steps to improving the customer journey and maximizing your marketing potential.

Personalized Website Experiences

We’re so used to applications like Spotify and Netflix offering personalized recommendations, and they’re part of the reason these services are so popular. To create these personalized and very accurate recommendations, these companies use AI, but this technology isn’t just limited to the biggest companies in the world.

AI has so many practical applications for personalizing the experience on your website, and your marketing can benefit from it.

By analyzing your visitors data, AI can ensure that people are greeted with content that matches their location, interests, and buying intent. Rather than having to search through less relevant information to find what they’re looking for, your visitors have easy access to the things that interest them through a personalized experience.

Laser Focused PPC

Many people rely on AI to optimise their PPC campaigns already. Through artificial intelligence, companies like Google and Facebook can suggest target keywords and optimizations to your bidding strategy to help your campaigns achieve the maximum effect.

However, what if you could optimize across all your campaigns (across all marketplaces) all in one place? With AI, it’s possible to bring all your data sets into one place, allowing you to extract even more insights and make money saving optimizations in real time.

Hyper-Relevant Social Interactions

Social media platforms such as Facebook have incredible amounts of information on their users.

Do they like Michael Jackson? Have they been to Mt. Rushmore? What’s their favorite color? This is all information that people often have on their Facebook profiles.

When you’re engaging with thousands of people on social media, it’s too much to take into account all this information and use it to offer each person the perfect content, but with AI this becomes a possibility.

The data can show you what content your followers are likely to engage with, but it’s much easier to open up these insights with AI.

Engaging Email Campaigns

We’re all accustomed to using tags to segment people who fill out contact forms. We can put people into different segments based on what page they signed up from, whether they’ve opened your emails before and other characteristics.

But what if you could instantly analyze that person’s entire engagement with your website and extract all the data to send them highly personalized emails - in real time? Your open rates would go up greatly, you would get more visitors to your site, and ultimately, make more sales.

AI opens up these kinds of opportunities to businesses, and these are just some of the real-world applications.

How AI Benefits Marketers

Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t just part of the future of marketing; they’re important aspects of many business’s marketing plans today.

In a recent study of marketing executives around Europe, Tealium found that 49% of businesses are already using AI/ machine learning either in practice or in testing, and 31% plan to in the near future. AI might seem like something for the future, but these figures show that it’s here in marketing today - and it’s making a difference.

As you can infer from the applications of AI in marketing, one clear benefit of this technology is being able to personalize the customer experience, and 87% of the respondents agreed this was the case.

However, personalizing the customer experience isn’t the only goal marketers have when incorporating AI into their campaigns, as the study found:

  • Save time
  • Unify data
  • Drive performance through actionable insights
  • Better reporting and predictions
  • Increase marketing output through automation
  • More efficient media spend

These goals address some of the biggest challenges that people face in marketing today, and if AI continues to prove it offers the answers, then it’s only going to become more important as the technology develops.

Takeaways

AI and machine learning are here in marketing now and they’re helping marketers solve some of their most pressing challenges. As the Tealium study found, many businesses across Europe are pressing on with the implementation of AI, and are seeing lots of upsides for their marketing.

With AI becoming more and more commonplace, customers will become used to the hyper-personalized experiences that it can offer and gradually, those businesses that can’t offer the same level of experience will seem outdated.

There are lots of different ways your business can utilize AI to affect its digital marketing and the benefits can be huge.

If you can use AI/ machine learning to save time, unify your data, gain more actionable insights, predict your business performance more accurately, and get more bang for your buck, then you’re going to find you start exceeding your goals more regularly.

AI can allow you to do this, and it’s here now.

If ranking number one on Google gets you 32.5% of all clicks, and ranking second gets you 17.6% of all clicks, then surely ranking one and two should be the holy grail!

Well, the great news is that it is possible, and there are websites that do it even for the most competitive search terms. No matter what niche you’re in, with the right SEO, you can get multiple spots on page 1 of the search engine results pages (SERPs), and with it, give your brand a massive boost in authority.

Why is it so Important to Rank on P1?

When you’re ranking at the top of Google’s SERPs, it’s like your business has been given the stamp of approval by the world’s knowledge source, and this stamp carries some serious weight.

The fact that you’re one of the top results on Google automatically adds authority to what you’re saying. You must be trustworthy, because how else would you have got to the top of Google?

So, why the obsession with being on P1?

Well, apart from the fact that page one results get the vast majority of traffic, there are other rewards that make ranking on P1 well worth the effort.

When your page features as one of the top listings, you’re reaching a very targeted, engaged audience. These people are actively searching for what you’re offering, and the best part is, there is no advertising involved - you have built an online asset that works for you constantly..

No matter what day it is, what time it is, or where the user is, you’re reaching them with the information they’re looking for. This is great for boosting conversion rates in the long-term, and all you have to do to maintain it is keep up with your SEO.

Establishing a strong presence at the top of the rankings brings in free, organic clicks that maintain your brand exposure, create sales, and lower your marketing costs.

How Can You Double Your Presence on the Magical First Page?

The SERPs have changed a great deal over the years, and they’re not just the bare bones links and descriptions they used to be. Modern-day SERPs are much more interactive and visual than they once were, which gives users a better experience but also offers websites lots of different opportunities to feature on P1.

If you do your SEO well, then these SERP features give you an opportunity to get your brand all over the first page and double down on that stamp of approval you get from Google.

Natural Listings

Although Google is always introducing new SERP features, natural listings still offer a great opportunity to dominate page one.

Just look at these results for “how to get a lead.”

The first thing you notice is the featured snippet, which is an immediate eye-catcher and a huge source of authority. The second thing you will notice is that HubSpot owns the first two listings below the featured snippet.

When you see HubSpot in positions one and two (if you count the featured snippet as position zero), you’re going to think “wow, Hubspot must know what they’re talking about.” This is one of the most powerful things about SEO - ranking in the top spots is an automatic validation of your credentials.

How to Rank for Organic Listings

  • Answer the questions your target audience is asking.
  • Create the best content on the web for that subject.
  • Build your authority by getting links from other authority sites.
  • Always offer value to your visitors.

Social Media and External Websites

Your ability to rank naturally isn’t limited to your own website. Your social media pages and other outside sources such as Medium and Quora also give you a good opportunity to take up multiple spots in the SERPs.  

For example, let’s say you wanted to find out “the most important marketing techniques”:

For this query, we see articles from Entrepreneur and Medium popping up in the top five listings. Both of these articles are written by guest writers from a company looking to get brand awareness and increase leads. When you scroll down, you will see the author bio.

Although this company hasn’t been able to rank directly for the search term “the most important marketing techniques,” they have been able to take advantage of Medium’s domain authority to get their article a prime spot on P1 of the SERPs and boost their brand awareness.

Your social media profiles can also help you take up multiple spots on the first page of the SERPs for your keyword terms and phrases.

Check out this example when searching for  “backlinko”. Their social media profiles take up nearly all the spots on the first page apart from their homepage and an article that is all about their company.

By optimizing your social media profiles, you give yourself a greater chance of ranking on P1 of the search results.

How to Rank Social Media Pages and External Websites

  • Treat social platforms as search engines - optimize them like you would your website.
  • Leverage external websites to boost your own authority.
  • Build links to your pages.
  • Target the keywords your audience is searching for.

Video Carousel

Humans love video, and Google recognizes this. As Google’s main job is to give the people what they want, this means that videos feature heavily in SERPs. Throw in the fact that Google owns YouTube, and you’ve got a great opportunity to get yourself another spot on P1 of the results pages.

On this query for “how to do digital marketing,” you can see the power of the video carousel. It’s huge, and you can’t help but be attracted to it. You’ll also notice that the man who has the top natural listing, Neil Patel, also has a prime place in the middle of the video carousel.

If the top listing wasn’t enough to get your click, then Neil has given himself a second shot at getting your click by finding another spot on P1 of this SERP.

How to Rank for Video Carousel

  • Start growing your YouTube account.
  • Treat it like your regular SEO, with informative, engaging titles, accurate descriptions, and tags.
  • Actively manage video comments.
  • Use VideoObject schema markup.

People Also Ask

For a lot of searches, Google is going to present a panel with other questions people ask that are similar to the search query. These boxes have a very prominent position in the SERPs, so if you feature there, you’re going to draw a lot more attention.

For this query, we can see Ahrefs has the featured snippet, but right underneath it is a huge box suggesting other questions the user might have. If we expand these results, you see another great opportunity to make your mark on the SERPs.

In this case, Backlinko doesn’t rank naturally for the initial search “how to do SEO,” but it still has a major impact on the SERPs just by featuring in the people also ask box.

How to Feature in Related Questions Box

  • Win the featured snippet for related keywords.
  • Focus on the same techniques you use for natural listings.
  • Answer your target question in a concise paragraph early in the content (around 52 words is optimal.)

Knowledge Panel

As rich SERP features go, the knowledge panel might just be the most visually imposing.

Take a look at this query for “CRM”.

The knowledge panel typically displays to the right of the natural listings and brings together lots of information from different sources.

As you can see, this gives businesses the opportunity to feature prominently in the SERPs multiple times. Salesforce, Microsoft, and Wikipedia occupy the top three organic results, and they also have links in the knowledge panel.

Every little bit of exposure increases your chance of getting a click, and featuring in the knowledge panel is just another way to do this.

Takeaways

Google is always making changes to the way it presents its results, and if you’re nailing your SEO, then this gives you even more opportunities to dominate page #1. Every SERP feature is an opportunity to get a spot on P1 of the SERPs, so make sure you’re paying attention to them.

In our examples, we’re looking at some of the most competitive keywords out there and look at the authority that featuring multiple times on P1 gives those businesses that are successful with their SEO.

When you follow the right SEO processes for your keywords, then you have the opportunity to give your business the same “Google stamp of approval” that our example websites have received. Not all keywords are as competitive as “CRM,” or “how to do SEO,” so whatever business you’re in, you have the ability to find the right search queries and get your pages taking up multiple spots on P1 of the SERPs.

There are lots of opportunities to boost your brand’s authority and get engaged clicks, so aim to take as many spots on P1 as possible.

Contact us at KeyScouts for more information on how to rank on page 1 of the SERPS.

Your landing pages are some of the most important pages in your digital marketing armory. They’re the pages that get you leads, and at the end of the day, that’s exactly what your website is there to do.

 


 

Key Scouts, Marketing, Artificial Intelligence

About Tomer Harel

Tomer Harel is founder and CEO of KeyScouts, and co-founder of Spectoos.com. He has been practicing Internet marketing for over a decade, helping hundreds of businesses to thrive online. If you'd like to contact Tomer or have him speak at a conference, meeting or event, please drop him a line via email (tomer.harel at keyscouts dot com).

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