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How to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities — Best of Whiteboard Friday

This may be of some interest.

Posted by BritneyMuller

Once you’ve identified where the opportunity to nab a featured snippet lies, how do you go about targeting it? Part One of our “Featured Snippet Opportunities” series focused on how to discover places where you may be able to win a snippet, but today we’re focusing on how to actually make changes that’ll help you do that. 

Joining us at MozCon next week? This video is a great lead up to Britney’s talk: Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know & How to Target.

Give a warm, Mozzy welcome to Britney as she shares pro tips and examples of how we’ve been able to snag our own snippets using her methodology.

Target featured snippet opportunities

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Today, we are going over targeting featured snippets, Part 2 of our featured snippets series. Super excited to dive into this.

What’s a featured snippet?

For those of you that need a little brush-up, what’s a featured snippet? Let’s say you do a search for something like, “Are pigs smarter than dogs?” You’re going to see an answer box that says, “Pigs outperform three-year old human children on cognitive tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. Animal experts consider them more trainable than cats or dogs.” How cool is that? But you’ll likely see these answer boxes for all sorts of things. So something to sort of keep an eye on. How do you become a part of that featured snippet box? How do you target those opportunities?

Last time, we talked about finding keywords that you rank on page one for that also have a featured snippet. There are a couple ways to do that. We talk about it in the first video. Something I do want to mention, in doing some of that the last couple weeks, is that Ahrefs can help you discover your featured snippet opportunities. I had no idea that was possible. Really cool, go check them out. If you don’t have Ahrefs and maybe you have Moz or SEMrush, don’t worry, you can do the same sort of thing with a Vlookup.

So I know this looks a little crazy for those of you that aren’t familiar. Super easy. It basically allows you to combine two sets of data to show you where some of those opportunities are. So happy to link to some of those resources down below or make a follow-up video on how to do just that.

1. Identify

All right. So step one is identifying these opportunities. You want to find the keywords that you’re on page one for that also have this answer box. You want to weigh the competitive search volume against qualified traffic. Initially, you might want to just go after search volume. I highly suggest you sort of reconsider and evaluate where might the qualified traffic come from and start to go after those.

2. Understand

From there, you really just want to understand the intent, more so even beyond this table that I have suggested for you. To be totally honest, I’m doing all of this with you. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been fun, but sometimes this isn’t very helpful. Sometimes it is. But a lot of times I’m not even looking at some of this stuff when I’m comparing the current featured snippet page and the page that we currently rank on page one for. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second.

3. Target

So we have an example of how I’ve been able to already steal one. Hopefully, it helps you. How do you target your keywords that have the featured snippet?

  • Simplifying and cleaning up your pages does wonders. Google wants to provide a very simple, cohesive, quick answer for searchers and for voice searches. So definitely try to mold the content in a way that’s easy to consume.
  • Summaries do well. Whether they’re at the top of the page or at the bottom, they tend to do very, very well.
  • Competitive markup, if you see a current featured snippet that is marked up in a particular way, you can do so to be a little bit more competitive.
  • Provide unique info
  • Dig deeper, go that extra mile, provide something else. Provide that value.

How To Target Featured Snippet Examples

What are some examples? So these are just some examples that I personally have been running into and I’ve been working on cleaning up.

  • Roman numerals. I am trying to target a list result, and the page we currently rank on number one for has Roman numerals. Maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s not. I just changed them to numbers to see what’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Fix broken links. But I’m also just going through our page and cleaning it. We have a lot of older content. I’m fixing broken links. I have the Check My Links tool. It’s a Chrome add-on plugin that I just click and it tells me what’s a 404 or what I might need to update.
  • Fixing spelling errors or any grammatical errors that may have slipped through editors’ eyes. I use Grammarly. I have the free version. It works really well, super easy. I’ve even found some super old posts that have the double or triple spacing after a period. It drives me crazy, but cleaning some of that stuff up.
  • Deleting extra markup. You might see some additional breaks, not necessarily like that ampersand. But you know what I mean in WordPress where it’s that weird little thing for that break in the space, you can clean those out. Some extra, empty header markup, feel free to delete those. You’re just cleaning and simplifying and improving your page.

One interesting thing that I’ve come across recently was for the keyword “MozRank.” Our page is beautifully written, perfectly optimized. It has all the things in place to be that featured snippet, but it’s not. That is when I fell back and I started to rely on some of this data. I saw that the current featured snippet page has all these links.

So I started to look into what are some easy backlinks I might be able to grab for that page. I came across Quora that had a question about MozRank, and I noticed that — this is a side tip — you can suggest edits to Quora now, which is amazing. So I suggested a link to our Moz page, and within the notes I said, “Hello, so and so. I found this great resource on MozRank. It completely confirms your wonderful answer. Thank you so much, Britney.”

I don’t know if that’s going to work. I know it’s a nofollow. I hope it can send some qualified traffic. I’ll keep you posted on that. But kind of a fun tip to be aware of.

How we nabbed the “find backlinks” featured snippet

All right. How did I nab the featured snippet “find backlinks”? This surprised me, because I hardly changed much at all, and we were able to steal that featured snippet quite easily. We were currently in the fourth position, and this was the old post that was in the fourth position. These are the updates I made that are now in the featured snippet.

Clean up the title

So we go from the title “How to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks Next Level” to “How to Find Backlinks.” I’m just simplifying, cleaning it up.

Clean up the H2s

The first H2, “How to Check the Backlinks of a Site.” Clean it up, “How to Find Backlinks?” That’s it. I don’t change step one. These are all in H3s. I leave them in the H3s. I’m just tweaking text a little bit here and there.

Simplify and clarify your explanations/remove redundancies

I changed “Enter your competitor’s domain URL” — it felt a little duplicate — to “Enter your competitor’s URL.” Let’s see. “Export results into CSV,” what kind of results? I changed that to “export backlink data into CSV.” “Compile CSV results from all competitors,” what kind of results? “Compile backlink CSV results from all competitors.”

So you can look through this. All I’m doing is simplifying and adding backlinks to clarify some of it, and we were able to nab that.

So hopefully that example helps. I’m going to continue to sort of drudge through a bunch of these with you. I look forward to any of your comments, any of your efforts down below in the comments. Definitely looking forward to Part 3 and to chatting with you all soon.

Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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The Best 16 Online Quiz Makers in 2019

This may be of some interest.

Grabbing — and keeping — your audience’s attention has never been harder. Nowadays, people are bombarded with marketing 24/7, and yet, the average attention span actually dropped in 2015, to a mere eight seconds.

Fortunately, there are fun and unique strategies you can implement to engage your audience — and one of those strategies is an online quiz maker.

Similar to the addictive nature of Jeopardy, online quizzes are a fun way for people to engage with your brand. Additionally, consistent online quizzes can help you stay top-of-mind when your consumer is finally ready to buy.

For you, online quizzes can also help you gain a better understanding of your users, and help you create stronger relationships with them.

But, whether you’re looking for a professional survey tool or a more lighthearted quiz maker, there’s a range to choose from — which one will help drive the best long-term results?

We’ll explore our favorite 16 quiz makers shortly, but first, let’s take a look at the key features of great quiz makers.

Key Features of a Great Quiz Maker

Quiz makers come in all forms. Some are incredibly professional, while others are pretty casual. Some are intended for fun, and others are meant to drive real business growth.

Whatever your goal, you should always look for the following key features in your quiz maker software.

1. Easy Promotion Options

You’re trying to gather as many responses as possible, right?

So, choosing a service that has built-in sharing options should be a top priority, as it’ll help increase reach.

Make sure your solution has a native sharing option for better social media reach.

2. Data Collection / Analysis

How are you going to collect and use the data?

This is a huge issue. If the data that’s collected is difficult to sort through and doesn’t help you identify key trends, then it’s useless.

Make sure the data you collect can be exported or analyzed in-app in a way that’s easy for you.

3. Lead Capture

In 9 out of 10 instances, you’ll also want your quiz to capture lead data from the user.

Make sure there’s a built-in method to collect more than just respondent’s answers — and ensure it can integrate with your primary CRM or ESP.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into our favorite quiz making solutions.

The 16 Best Online Quiz Makers in 2019

1. Survey Anyplace

Price: Free | Premium from $25 per month

Survey Anyplace is one of the lesser-known but more advanced tools out there, and is focused on giving the best user experience possible. With fun interactive elements and personalization features, it aims to be the best option for customer engagement. For example, the tool offers the ability for respondents to download a personalized PDF at the end of the survey, based on their answers to the questions.

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2. Typeform

Price: Free | Premium: From $30 per month

Typeform takes quizzes and makes them intuitive for both the creator and the user. By offering one question at a time and delivering the quiz in an attractive, responsive interface, Typeform has become a leader in the world of online quizzes and surveys.

The platform is easy to use with its drag-and-drop editing tools. It’s also versatile, offering customer surveys, quizzes, lead generation tools, and more. There are numerous templates to choose from which can be customized to your individual needs.

Using Zapier, Typeform can be seamlessly integrated into CRM services like HubSpot. This way, all the data you collect is automatically added to your existing contacts.

However, it’s important to note some people might feel frustrated when receiving questions one at a time, since it can be more time-consuming. Additionally, the free version limits you to collecting only 100 responses per month.

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3. Survey Monkey

Price: Free | Premium: From $31

With Survey Monkey, you can create basic polls and questionnaires in minutes, and the basic version is free to use. The software features hundreds of templates and questions written by ‘survey methodologists’, and are specifically designed to draw the right information out of respondents.

Although you can customize the design and layout of your quizzes and surveys, a common criticism is that you can’t fully brand the surveys because the Survey Monkey logo remains.

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4. Fieldbloom

Price: Premium: $39 per month

Fieldbloom surveys and quizzes are particularly aesthetically-pleasing. The templates feature high-quality images and the graphics are excellent. This is a good option for creating quizzes, surveys, and forms with seamless data integration with HubSpot, MailChimp, Google Sheets, and many more.

Advanced features like skip logic and answer piping directs users into pathways based on their answers, making this one of the more advanced tools available.

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5. Qzzr

Price: From $24.99 per month

Qzzr was built by inbound marketers with the specific goal of bringing in qualified leads. It creates fully customizable quizzes and surveys through its simple, elegant interface.

Users can also leverage its comprehensive data analysis of the responses, and use its social sharing integrations to reach a larger audience.

One of the most impressive features is the ability to target offers based on the users’ answers. For example, you can add a ‘Buy Now’ CTA on the results page for a product a user expressed interest.

It’s one of the cheaper options in the list, but lacks the advanced logic features of some of its competitors.

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6. GetFeedback

Price: Premium: From $50 per month.

GetFeedback prides itself on its aesthetically-pleasing interface — both customer-facing, and the back-end. It is one of the more advanced options for quiz and survey creation but is still relatively easy to use for the novice. It offers integration into Salesforce CRM software, and detailed analytics so you can put your newfound data to good use.

Offering full customization to your branding and coming very highly-rated, GetFeedback is one of the premium options on the market, ideal for larger teams and companies that really want to drill down into their audience data.

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7. Google Forms

Price: Free

Google Forms is a free and easy-to-use form tool that runs within G Suite. The functionality is on the basic side and the interface isn’t the prettiest, but you can make decent forms and create quizzes to capture customer data. Since Google Forms is part of G Suite, you can pull data straight into Google Sheets for analysis.

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8. Riddle’s Quizmaker

Price: From $15 per month

Riddle’s Quizmaker is another easy-to-use tool with a focus on capturing email addresses. You can collect data from leads and send it directly to your lists in MailChimp or other software. Riddle’s Quizmaker is particularly good value for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The tool is available as a WordPress plugin, or quizzes can be embedded into your site via an embed code. The quizzes are fully customizable, so you can stamp your branding all over them.

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9. Playbuzz

Price: Free

Full of cheap-looking ads, but absolutely free, Playbuzz is a great option for those who want to jump in and have a go at creating quizzes without the outlay upfront. Try it out, and if it works for you, move onto a premium quiz maker with more features and a better, ad-free interface.

The tool is quick and easy to get started, so it’s a good beginner’s option. Additionally, it’s easy to share your pro-looking quizzes on social media once you’re done.

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10. SurveyGizmo

Price: Free | Premium: From $25 per month

SurveyGizmo is a feature-rich quiz and survey creation tool with a user-friendly interface. There are two versions — one geared towards individuals and small businesses, and another for larger enterprises. The former focuses on ease-of-use, while the latter enables deeper analysis of data and focuses more on customer research.

The free version is limited to three surveys, so you can use it as a test run. The cheapest paid version is on the pricey end of the spectrum, but still offers good value for teams that need a powerful customer survey and quiz making tool.

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11. Wufoo

Price: Free | Premium: From $14.08 per month

A versatile tool for form design, survey creation and quiz making, Wufoo is a cloud-based platform used by some of the biggest names in the industry. Its most notable feature is the advanced form logic and the ease with which you can collect, store, and organize data.

Not as easy to use as some of the more basic tools out there, Wufoo takes a bit of getting used to if you’re using the more advanced features (basic coding may be required!), but for basic form creation, it’s still pretty intuitive.

The free version limits the number of responses, but above that there are a number of price points, so it’s a good option for quickly growing businesses.

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12. Ask Nicely

Price: From $375 per month

Ask Nicely is a form and survey creator with a focus on customer feedback and improving your Net Promoter Score (NPS). The software integrates with HubSpot, Salesforce, or Slack and allows you to automate customer follow-up to improve ratings and reviews on sites like Google.

Ask Nicely is more than just a quiz maker — it’s an advanced marketing tool suitable for medium to large companies who really value customer engagement. Pricing is based on your needs, but $375 is a rough idea of how much it will cost you. (It’s not cheap.)

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13. Brandquiz

Price: Free | Premium from $19 per month

Brandquiz is a good option for quickly and easily creating fun branded quizzes with a range of templates available. The platform enables integration with major marketing tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, or MailChimp, to make the most of the data collected.

The free version extends to up to 100 participants per month, while a range of paid plans offer value for growing companies.

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14. Microsoft Forms

Price: Free

Microsoft Forms, similar to Google forms, was probably developed just so that they were present in the marketplace. The tool has seamless integration with other Microsoft Office software. It’s not the prettiest of interfaces nor the best software on the market, but it’s free to use and is a solid option for creating basic forms and quizzes.

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15. Form Crafts

Price: From $15 / month

Although designed for creating simple questionnaires, newsletter sign-ups and the like, Form Crafts supports multi-page forms so it can also be used to make quizzes. With real-time analytics, conditional logic, and easy integration with WordPress via a plugin, it offers a good alternative to the mainstream options.

Pricing is competitive with a range of options to suit any growing business.

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16. ClassMarker

Price: From $39.95 / month

ClassMarker is a quiz maker designed for education professionals with custom plans for business users, too. You can create tests and exams online that are accessible to as many users as you like. The test can be customized to your branding and can even include branded certificates. A sophisticated results platform allows you to easily analyze the data and draw your conclusions.

This is a good option for large businesses who need to survey a lot of users. Pricing plans are pretty competitive for the level of functionality and customization available.
Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 10.57.08 AM

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Which quiz maker is right for me?

Of course, the best quiz maker for you is largely dependent on your company goals and audience. If you’re looking for the most beautiful quiz maker with seamless integration into the best marketing software, you probably want to go with Typeform.

However, if you’re looking for an advanced and customizable tool that’s great for lead generation, I like Survey Anyplace.

For the most basic free tools out there, choose Google or Microsoft Forms depending on your tribe. However, Fieldbloom and Qzzr are two of the most attractive looking options at mid-range pricing.

Check out our comprehensive guide if you want to find out the best ways to capture more leads with quizzes — and good luck in your quest for the best quizzer on the market.

Thank you for reading.

Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility

This may be of some interest.

How Best Answer Content Builds Trust

How Best Answer Content Builds Trust

Page one. Answer box. The top result. In the minds of marketers, these prime destinations have largely been associated with SEO success.

From the days of keyword-stuffing and algorithmic alignment to more nuanced modern approaches accounting for semantic voice commands, influencer integration, and search intent, edging competitors on that SERP has been a key source of aspiration. As it should be: heightened visibility on Google makes a big difference in terms of driving traffic.

But it’s a little short-sighted to think only about that first, fleeting interaction — the search, the discovery, the click. What about the deeper impact? As customer experience becomes a central focus for brands everywhere, we should be more considerate of what happens after a user clicks through that search result, and how it affects your brand.

We talked recently about how best answer content helps fuel strong SEO results. But as part of our new “Trust Factors” series, which examines practical ways for marketers to strengthen trust with their audiences, we’ll shift our perspective and break down the critical benefits of effective best answer content when it comes to building credibility and authority in your niche.

[bctt tweet=”As #CX becomes a central focus for brands everywhere, we should be more considerate of what happens after a user clicks through that search result, and how it affects your brand. @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing #SearchMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Beyond the Click: The Lasting Impact of Best Answer Content

Brian Dean of Backlinko is a masterful creator of best answer content. He preaches, and practices, a quality-over-quantity approach. At the recent Social Media Marketing World 2019 conference in San Diego, Andrew Pickering and Pete Gartland (the hilarious speaker duo @AndrewAndPete) shared the story of how Dean decided on a plan of publishing one blog post every 4-6 weeks, investing huge amounts of time into making sure each of those pieces was as robust, useful, and comprehensive as possible.

To get an idea of what this output looks like, you can check out his SEO in 2019 or Link-Building for SEO, either by clicking those links or simply typing the basic terms into Google; his posts will show up near the top.

Using this approach, Dean reported his blog was receiving more than 200,000 unique monthly visitors with just 51 total blog posts, which is a pretty amazing feat. Obviously, the premium SERP placements have helped him achieve those gaudy numbers. But it’s the substance beyond the headlines and meta descriptions that really makes his content powerful.

Perusing one of his in-depth resources, you’re going to learn a ton. The posts are extensive but navigable; technical but understandable; fun but serious. They include videos and images to illustrate concepts and break up the copy. Most importantly, they answer pretty much every ancillary question a searcher could ask about their respective topics — accurately and actionably.

Backlinko's Definitive Guide to SEO

And that’s how Dean turned his SEO training company from a humble startup to a seven-figure business in five years. His credibility speaks for itself. People trust him and want to learn from him because of the content he creates — not because it ranks so well, but because of how it ranks so well.

How Best Answers Build Trust

He’s a great example, but Dean is hardly the one out there building trust through best answer content. At TopRank Marketing, this methodology is fundamental to our integrated strategy mix, and we’ve seen plenty of awesome results with our clients. As two examples, there was this content and strategic PPC campaign for DivvyHQ, and this SEO-driven content program for Antea Group.

While both of those efforts drove excellent results in terms of traffic and reach, what’s really heartening in both cases is the deeper business impacts.

“Lead quality has definitely improved,” said DivvyHQ Co-Founder Brody Dorland. “The prospects coming through our website front door are much closer to our ideal customer than they have been in the past.”

“We’ve been able to marry our field and digital marketing efforts together, resulting in numerous digital leads, real revenue opportunities to the tune of millions of dollars, and credibility with our clients, partners, and media as a go-to source for EHS&S information,” said Antea Group USA Solutions Marketing Manager Margaret Uttke.

As any sales team can tell you, prospects who are both well qualified and predisposed to respect your brand are vastly more likely to convert and become happy customers. Here’s how effective best answer content achieves these outcomes:

Demonstrable Authority

This more or less speaks for itself. When someone finds content on a topic they’re looking for and it gives them everything they need, expertly articulated, it paints your company as a trusted source: These people know what they’re talking about. They know how to present the info. They’ve done it well enough that Google’s algorithm — which now heavily weighs dwell time and quality inbound links — has elevated it above most or all others.

Value First

Sometimes, content marketing can get away from its essential purpose: providing value. Pressured to show results — even if just vanity results — some practitioners blur the line between pull and push with strictly gated content or thinly veiled promotion.

Best answer content gets back to the basics. When done right, it’s all about delivering value and earning trust before you ask for anything. Dean spends weeks researching and composing his hefty Power Pages, which are freely available to anyone who visits. He even makes them downloadable in PDF form if you can’t consume all of that content in one sitting, and while the assets are technically gated, in that you must enter an email address to receive them, you aren’t required to fill out a long contact form.

[bctt tweet=”Best answer content gets back to the basics. When done right, it’s all about delivering value and earning trust before you ask for anything. – @NickNelsonMN #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Competitive Positioning

Yes, it’s helpful to outrank competitors for key terms because you are more likely to bring in that search traffic. But there is also an important reputation element. When you outrank a direct competitor, the optics are compelling. And even if you’re not at the top, simply ranking in the vicinity of a giant company or reputed publication enables you to soak up some of that “second-hand trust.”  

It’s a simple psychological phenomenon, as Neil Patel explains on his blog: “This is not just a convenience issue for users. It’s a trust issue, too. When a result appears first, second, or third, users tend to trust it, believing that it is somehow more reliable, popular, or more legitimate than anything lower in the SERPs.”

Given that Google is increasingly structuring these SERPs based on indicators of query fulfillment, that’s a valid shorthand conclusion for searchers. And when your page delivers a definitive best answer to back up the ranking, you’ve made the right impression.

Organic and Inbound

It’s getting harder to build trust through ads. That doesn’t mean you should ditch the paid side by any means, but it does raise the stakes for organic content. As digitally native millennials grow to account for more and more of the buying population, we must be cognizant of their ingrained instincts. They are more likely to trust information they find themselves, as opposed to sponsored results or content that is (in truth or perception) pushed on them.

Gaining the Top Rank Is About More than Search Placement

Yes, it’s great to rank at the top of a SERP, for a variety of reasons. But it’s also vitally important to rank at the top of your audience’s mind for strategic topics, through content that satisfies their curiosities and provides legitimate value.

As Google’s algorithm continues to evolve and prioritize the most satisfying results rather than the most technically optimized results, you can trust that best answer content — which, when done right, covers both of those bases — is increasingly a no-brainer.

Want to learn more about TopRank Marketing’s best answer framework in action? Check out our CEO Lee Odden’s post on How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results.

The post Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

The 13 Best WordPress Live Chat Plugins in 2019

This may be of some interest.

Let’s be honest. No one wants to send a support email only to receive a (possibly automated) response 48 hours later. Similarly, no one wants to be put on hold for 30+ minutes while being told they’re the next caller in line. We live in a world of instant gratification. Your customers are busy and they want to speak to you on their own terms.

Live chat can provide a more immediate, personalized support system for your customers and prospects, even when you aren’t personally there to answer immediately.

Whether you use it for customer service or to close sales, live chat gives your customers the real-time interaction they crave, boosts your conversion rates, and improves customer satisfaction.

But with a fairly crowded live chat tool landscape, it can be difficult to know which tool should you select. In this article, we’ll take a look at 13 of the best WordPress live chat plugins to consider.

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1. HubSpot All-In-One Marketing

HubSpot’s All-In-One Marketing plugin offers various marketing tools for your website, including live chat.

HubSpot’s live chat tool lets you set up targeted messages for different pages or segments of your audience. If no one can respond immediately, you can enable an email capture form so your visitors can still get in touch. You can also set up a chatbot to personalize your conversations at scale.

Because it’s built on top of the free HubSpot CRM, you’ll know exactly who you’re chatting with and what pages they viewed on your website, be it a prospect, long time customer, or new contact. This makes for an excellent customer experience. You can take notes, send emails, make calls, schedule follow-up tasks, and create support tickets in one place, making following up an absolute breeze for your team

If you’re on the move a lot, HubSpot’s mobile CRM app lets you respond to chats on the go.

Pricing:

Live Chat is included with the Free HubSpot CRM. However, you can upgrade to a paid account to get access to more advanced functionalities such as if/then workflows and transferring chats to different team members.

2. SnapEngage

 SnapEngage is an omni-channel chat, meaning you can interact with your prospects and customers wherever they are, whether that is Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, or Zalo. Visitors can reach you via text message thanks to the SMS-to-Chat feature.

This tool also lets you see what your visitors are typing before they hit send, which allows for quicker responses. Users can also have one of your agents call them via the “Call Me” feature.

Pricing:

Plans start at $16 per user/month, with a minimum of 3 users. They also offer a free 7-day trial.

3. Tawk.To Live Chat

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Tawk.To is completely free, so you get all the features without having to pay. Rather than charging for the live chat tool itself, Tawk.To provides a service so you can hire their agents to respond to chats on your behalf.

This plugin offers a lot of features that normally come with a paid account with other products, such as automated triggers, canned responses for common questions, and file uploads.

You also get unlimited agents and active chats, ticketing, as well as integrations with translation plugins so you can chat with your visitors in their language of choice.

Pricing:

The plugin is free. You can purchase an add-on for $15 per month to remove the Tawk.To branding and you can hire their agents for $1 per hour.

4. Zendesk Chat

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Zendesk Chat offers beautiful, stylish customizable layouts and themes for your chat boxes.

Zendesk Chat lets you track your chat performance via powerful analytics and customer satisfaction data. You also get access to many chat triggers. For example, if a visitor is stuck on a page for longer than a minute, your chat window will pop up with an automated greeting, making it easier to engage with your prospects. You also get an AI bot to automate the process when your chat is offline.

Pricing:

For the most basic functionality, you can get started with the Lite plan for free. For larger teams, premium plans start at $14 per user/month.

5. Pure Chat

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Pure Chat has a super friendly user interface. You can customize your chat box with an endless range of colors, animations, and custom images. Its proactive chat triggers allow you to automatically start the conversation with your visitors and target them based on the pages they’ve viewed or the amount of time spent on them.

The Engagement Hub lets visitors choose from several contact options — live chat, email, phone, Twitter, etc. You can also set canned responses for frequent questions.

Pricing:

The free version includes three users and grants you access to full customization, the Engagement Hub, and unlimited chat history. Upgrades start at $39/month.

6. Drift

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Drift is a popular option if your goal is to engage with prospects to close a sale, rather than offer customer support.

Target users and initiate the conversation based on specific actions they’ve taken. For example, you can set an automatic greeting when a user has visited your pricing page multiple times. And when your chat is offline, prospects can send you an email so you don’t miss out on those leads.

Other features include automated sales sequences, account-based marketing, and an AI-powered bot for when you’re too busy to reply.

Drift comes with a dedicated iOS and Android app so that you can manage your chats from your phone.

Pricing:

The free plan is ideal for the most basic chat capabilities. For the more advanced features, paid plans start at $50/month.

7. Tidio Live Chat

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Tidio’s live chat plugin is easy to set up. Simply activate the plugin and your chat box is live. Choose from a range of three different designs and customize the colors to fit your branding. On top of managing your live chats, you can also manage your emails and Facebook Messenger responses in the same interface.

Tidio gives you the ability to improve your team’s efficiency with the use of automatic messages and chatbots. And when a visitor leaves the chat, you can continue the conversation via email.

If a lot of your visitors are non-English speakers, you won’t need to look for a translation plugin as Tidio supports many languages so you can talk to your visitors in the language of their choice.

Pricing:

Start free with up to three users and gain access to key features like email and Messenger integration and unlimited tracking. For more functionality, upgrades start at $15/month.

8. LiveChat

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LiveChat is one of the most veteran players in the WordPress live chat space. It has a very high focus on customer service and support.

Add surveys before or after your chat to collect user feedback and have visitors rate their agent so to improve your customer service. This plugin also lets your visitors submit support tickets during your offline hours. On top of initiating conversations and automatic greetings,you can transfer chats to other agents, set up canned responses, share files, and see what your users are typing in real time.

Pricing:

You can try out this product with a 30-day free trial. After that, you will need to select a plan, starting at $16 per user/month.

9. Olark

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Olark easily integrates with your WordPress website through a simple copy/paste code snippet.

This product offers data reports, measuring chat frequency, operator responsiveness, and customer satisfaction. It lets you assign chats to specific departments and even group operators by team (for example, sales team or support team) for easier management.

Olark offers many common features like automatic messages, but a differentiating attribute is that it lets you view visitor data, including what items the visitor has in their shopping cart, to allow you to give faster and more informed responses.

Pricing:

There is no free version for this product (though you do get a two-week free trial). Plans start at $17 per agent/month.

10. Live Chat by Formilla

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This live chat tool starts you off with a free version which lets you install your chat box on one website but with only one agent. If you’re looking for a chat that can handle high user volumes, you will most likely need to upgrade, as the free version only lets you have 30 chats per month.

The paid plans give you access to dedicated mobile apps for both iOS and Android so you can reply to users straight from your phone. You get real-time visitor monitoring, chat queues for when operators are busy handling other queries, and an autoresponder to collect contact details.

Stay organized by prioritizing your chats, assigning tickets, and transferring them over to other agents when needed. You can also set up an email form for when your chat is offline. As most other plugins in this list, you get canned responses and have the option to initiate the conversation with your prospect. You also get multilingual support, so no need to install an additional plugin for that.

Pricing:

You can get started with the free plan, but for more functionality, premium plans start at $11.99 per user/month.

11. WP Live Chat Support

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WP Live Chat Support comes with six pre-defined chat box skins, which can be further customized and lets you manage everything directly from your WordPress dashboard.

With WP Live Chat Support, you get unlimited free chats, user targeting, as well as surveys and polls to collect user feedback before and after a chat. For a one-time fee, you can upgrade and get access to more features like real-time typing, proactive chats, analytics, and canned responses.

Pricing:

WP Live Chat Support is free, but you can pay a one-off fee of $49.95 for additional features.

12. Facebook Chat for WordPress

If your website or business is hugely reliant on social media, this plugin might just be the solution you’re looking for. Facebook Live Chat Plugin for WordPress lets you bring the Facebook live chat features over to your WordPress website so that your users can conveniently reach out to you using their Facebook contact information. You can customize the colors, so you won’t be limited to using the classic Facebook blue color.

This plugin gives you user profiles and has a Facebook “like” button to boost your social media following.

Pricing:

You can purchase a regular license for $25, which gives you six months of support from NinjaTeam.

13. Casengo Live Chat Support

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Last but not least, Casengo easily integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp so you can meet your users where they are. You can create your own knowledge base, a feature similar to canned responses, for your team to look up answers when replying to customers.

Stay aware of which customers are still waiting for an answer with intuitive case management tags and stay on top of your performance with analytic reports measuring your total resolved cases and average handle time.

Pricing:

You can get started with a 14-day trial before moving on to paid plans, which start at €29 per user/month (that’s approximately $33 USD).

The live chat plugin you choose will largely depend on your company needs.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to connect with your leads and build better relationships with your customers, check out HubSpot’s free WordPress plugin.

With HubSpot, all your chats are automatically stored in a universal inbox enriched with data from HubSpot’s free CRM, providing everyone on your team with the context they need to craft the perfect responses.

Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this  audit.  

Thank you for reading.

Advanced Linkbuilding: How to Find the Absolute Best Publishers and Writers to Pitch

This may be of some interest.

Posted by KristinTynski

In my last post, I explained how using network visualization tools can help you massively improve your content marketing PR/Outreach strategy —understanding which news outlets have the largest syndication networks empowers your outreach team to prioritize high-syndication publications over lower syndication publications. The result? The content you are pitching enjoys significantly more widespread link pickups.

Today, I’m going to take you a little deeper — we’ll be looking at a few techniques for forming an even better understanding of the publisher syndication networks in your particular niche. I’ve broken this technique into two parts:

  • Technique One — Leveraging Buzzsumo influencer data and twitter scraping to find the most influential journalists writing about any topic
  • Technique Two — Leveraging the Gdelt Dataset to reveal deep story syndication networks between publishers using in-context links.

Why do this at all?

If you are interested in generating high-value links at scale, these techniques provide an undeniable competitive advantage — they help you to deeply understand how writers and news publications connect and syndicate to each other.

In our opinion at Fractl, data-driven content stories that have strong news hooks, finding writers and publications who would find the content compelling, and pitching them effectively is the single highest ROI SEO activity possible. Done correctly, it is entirely possible to generate dozens, sometimes even hundreds or thousands, of high-authority links with one or a handful of content campaigns.

Let’s dive in.

Using Buzzsumo to understand journalist influencer networks on any topic

First, you want to figure out who your topc influencers are your a topic. A very handy feature of Buzzsumo is its “influencers” tool. You can locate it on the influences tab, then follow these steps:

  • Select only “Journalists.” This will limit the result to only the Twitter accounts of those known to be reporters and journalists of major publications. Bloggers and lower authority publishers will be excluded.
  • Search using a topical keyword. If it is straightforward, one or two searches should be fine. If it is more complex, create a few related queries, and collate the twitter accounts that appear in all of them. Alternatively, use the Boolean “and/or” in your search to narrow your result. It is critical to be sure your search results are returning journalists that as closely match your target criteria as possible.
  • Ideally, you want at least 100 results. More is generally better, so long as you are sure the results represent your target criteria well.
  • Once you are happy with your search result, click export to grab a CSV.

The next step is to grab all of the people each of these known journalist influencers follows — the goal is to understand which of these 100 or so influencers impacts the other 100 the most. Additionally, we want to find people outside of this group that many of these 100 follow in common.

To do so, we leveraged Twint, a handy Twitter scraper available on Github to pull all of the people each of these journalist influencers follow. Using our scraped data, we built an edge list, which allowed us to visualize the result in  Gephi.

Here is an interactive version for you to explore, and here is a screenshot of what it looks like:

This graph shows us which nodes (influencers) have the most In-Degree links. In other words: it tells us who, of our media influencers, is most followed. 

    These are the top 10 nodes:

    • Maia Szalavitz (@maiasz) Neuroscience Journalist, VICE and TIME
    • Radley Balko (@radleybalko) Opinion journalist, Washington Post
    • Johann Hari (@johannhari101) New York Times best-selling author
    • David Kroll (@davidkroll) Freelance healthcare writer, Forbes Heath
    • Max Daly (@Narcomania) Global Drugs Editor, VICE
    • Dana Milbank (@milbank)Columnist, Washington Post
    • Sam Quinones (@samquinones7), Author
    • Felice Freyer (@felicejfreyer), Boston Globe Reporter, Mental health and Addiction
    • Jeanne Whalen (@jeannewhalen) Business Reporter, Washington Post
    • Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) New York Times best-selling author

    Who is the most influential?

      Using the “Betweenness Centrality” score given by Gephi, we get a rough understanding of which nodes (influencers) in the network act as hubs of information transfer. Those with the highest “Betweenness Centrality” can be thought of as the “connectors” of the network. These are the top 10 influencers:

      • Maia Szalavitz (@maiasz) Neuroscience Journalist, VICE and TIME
      • David Kroll (@davidkroll) Freelance healthcare writer, Forbes Heath
      • Jeanne Whalen (@jeannewhalen) Business Reporter, Washington Post
      • Travis Lupick (@tlupick), Journalist, Author
      • Johann Hari (@johannhari101) New York Times best-selling author
      • Radley Balko (@radleybalko) Opinion journalist, Washington Post
      • Sam Quinones (@samquinones7), Author
      • Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) New York Times best-selling author
      • Dana Milbank (@milbank)Columnist, Washington Post
      • Mike Riggs (@mikeriggs) Writer & Editor, Reason Mag 

          @maiasz, @davidkroll, and @johannhari101 are standouts. There’s considerable overlap between the winners in “In-Degree” and “Betweenness Centrality” but they are still quite different. 

            What else can we learn?

              The middle of the visualization holds many of the largest sized nodes. The nodes in this view are sized by “In-Degree.” The large, centrally located nodes are disproportionately followed by other members of the graph and enjoy popularity across the board (from many of the other influential nodes). These are journalists commonly followed by everyone else. Sifting through these centrally located nodes will surface many journalists who behave as influencers of the group initially pulled from BuzzSumo.

              So, if you had a campaign about a niche topic, you could consider pitching to an influencer surfaced from this data —according to our the visualization, an article shared in their network would have the most reach and potential ROI

              Using Gdelt to find the most influential websites on a topic with in-context link analysis

              The first example was a great way to find the best journalists in a niche to pitch to, but top journalists are often the most pitched to overall. Often times, it can be easier to get a pickup from less known writers at major publications. For this reason, understanding which major publishers are most influential, and enjoy the widest syndication on a specific theme, topic, or beat, can be majorly helpful.

              By using Gdelt’s massive and fully comprehensive database of digital news stories, along with Google BigQuery and Gephi, it is possible to dig even deeper to yield important strategic information that will help you prioritize your content pitching.

              We pulled all of the articles in Gdelt’s database that are known to be about a specific theme within a given timeframe. In this case (as with the previous example) we looked at “behaviour health.” For each article we found in Gdelt’s database that matches our criteria, we also grabbed links found only within the context of the article.

              Here is how it is done:

              • Connect to Gdelt on Google BigQuery — you can find a tutorial here.
              • Pull data from Gdelt. You can use this command: SELECT DocumentIdentifier,V2Themes,Extras,SourceCommonName,DATE FROM [gdelt-bq:gdeltv2.gkg] where (V2Themes like ‘%Your Theme%’).
              • Select any theme you find, here — just replace the part between the percentages.
              • To extract the links found in each article and build an edge file. This can be done with a relatively simple python script to pull out all of the <PAGE_LINKS> from the results of the query, clean the links to only show their root domain (not the full URL) and put them into an edge file format.

              Note: The edge file is made up of Source–>Target pairs. The Source is the article and the Target are the links found within the article. The edge list will look like this:

              • Article 1, First link found in the article.
              • Article 1, Second link found in the article.
              • Article 2, First link found in the article.
              • Article 2, Second link found in the article.
              • Article 2, Third link found in the article.

              From here, the edge file can be used to build a network visualization where the nodes publishers and the edges between them represent the in-context links found from our Gdelt data pull around whatever topic we desired.

              This final visualization is a network representation of the publishers who have written stories about addiction, and where those stories link to.

                What can we learn from this graph?

                This tells us which nodes (Publisher websites) have the most In-Degree links. In other words: who is the most linked. We can see that the most linked-to for this topic are:

                • tmz.com
                • people.com
                • cdc.gov
                • cnn.com
                • go.com
                • nih.gov
                • ap.org
                • latimes.com
                • jamanetwork.com
                • nytimes.com

                Which publisher is most influential? 

                Using the “Betweenness Centrality” score given by Gephi, we get a rough understanding of which nodes (publishers) in the network act as hubs of information transfer. The nodes with the highest “Betweenness Centrality” can be thought of as the “connectors” of the network. Getting pickups from these high-betweenness centrality nodes gives a much greater likelihood of syndication for that specific topic/theme. 

                • Dailymail.co.uk
                • Nytimes.com
                • People.com
                • CNN.com
                • Latimes.com
                • washingtonpost.com
                • usatoday.com
                • cvslocal.com
                • huffingtonpost.com
                • sfgate.com

                What else can we learn?

                  Similar to the first example, the higher the betweenness centrality numbers, number of In-degree links, and the more centrally located in the graph, the more “important” that node can generally be said to be. Using this as a guide, the most important pitching targets can be easily identified. 

                  Understanding some of the edge clusters gives additional insights into other potential opportunities. Including a few clusters specific to different regional or state local news, and a few foreign language publication clusters.

                  Wrapping up

                  I’ve outlined two different techniques we use at Fractl to understand the influence networks around specific topical areas, both in terms of publications and the writers at those publications. The visualization techniques described are not obvious guides, but instead, are tools for combing through large amounts of data and finding hidden information. Use these techniques to unearth new opportunities and prioritize as you get ready to find the best places to pitch the content you’ve worked so hard to create.

                  Do you have any similar ideas or tactics to ensure you’re pitching the best writers and publishers with your content? Comment below!

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