Friday, July 30, 2021

Marketing Effectiveness: How to Measure It & Present to External Stakeholders

You can apply marketing strategies all day, but if they aren't effective, those efforts don't matter in the long-term.

Measuring marketing effectiveness is crucial to improving your go-to strategies over time. Are your methods hitting KPIs? Are they helping your clients reach short- and long-term milestones? Use each campaign to learn and grow.

By measuring marketing effectiveness, you can better ensure high ROI or return on marketing investment, ROMI.

→ Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

How do you measure marketing effectiveness? Sure, you can look at traffic or sales metrics, but it goes further than that.

Ultimately, the KPIs you choose to measure can vary by company and strategy. But there are some metrics to pay attention to when measuring marketing effectiveness.

First, when you consider revenue, look into how much of the revenue is a direct result of the marketing efforts. This can help provide clear, high-level insight into how successful the marketing efforts are for the company.

Next, consider pipeline ROI or pipeline growth. Do you continue to generate more and more new leads via your marketing efforts? If not, your marketing effectiveness might be falling flat.

Conversion rates are also a strong KPI to review. Keep in mind that impressions, views and even clicks don't necessarily translate to a successful marketing strategy. If users are clicking but not following through with a purchase, why aren't they converting? Conversion rates can offer a better look at the success of your marketing.

When considering long-term effectiveness, look at retention rates. Are customers sticking around with your company for the long haul, or are they making a few purchases and leaving? Don't forget to continue marketing to ongoing customers while also reaching new audiences.

Marketing Effectiveness Metrics

The types of metrics you consider can also vary by medium. Marketing efforts used to center on tangible but harder to measure media, like billboards, magazines, or television.

Today, digital marketing is front-and-center, and with it comes a wide array of things to measure to determine effectiveness. Here are three top marketing segments and metrics to consider for each.

1. Social Media Marketing Effectiveness

Social media marketing is newer to the scene, but it can be huge for company revenue and lead generation. Measuring marketing effectiveness on social media is pretty straightforward.

It's easy to track the number of inquiries or leads through gated content on social media, and engagement can also be tracked through reposts/shares, comments, and follower count.

Conversion rate plays a role here too. If your account has a high follower count but comparatively low engagement rates, you can start investigating where to tailor your social marketing strategy for improved engagement, leads and revenue.

2. Content Marketing Effectiveness

Content marketing is vast, with options to market through a website, videos, articles, courses, and other digital content. The goal is not to say, “Hey, purchase my product and engage with my brand!” but rather to provide valuable, informational content for customers.

Because there are so many methods for content marketing, measuring effectiveness can vary widely depending on the source at hand. You might check conversion rates from your website to your paid online course, or you might consider engagement with your informational video or webinar.

3. Email Marketing Effectiveness

Email marketing is thriving. There are a number of metrics to consider when measuring email marketing effectiveness. First, you can review delivery, open, and click-through rates.

High delivery rates means your emails are reaching inboxes, but don't depend solely on this metric. Open rates are important, as a low open rate can reveal that you need to focus on writing shorter, more intriguing subject lines.

Of these three, click-through rates are arguably the most important. Are potential customers clicking on links in the email, or are they opening it and then deleting the email? Click-through rates offer a higher chance of converting to revenue. Conversion rate is, again, important here and can help gauge marketing effectiveness for emails, content, social and traditional marketing methods.

How To Present Marketing Effectiveness

So you know how to measure marketing effectiveness, but how do you best share this information with external stakeholders? An insightful marketing report can show clients exactly how impactful last quarter's marketing campaign was on business.

These metrics can also be used in requesting a higher marketing budget or determining strategies for the future.

Here's how to prepare your presentation, from the data to include and how to organize it to truly show marketing effectiveness.

Data to Include

Typically, a marketing report will review quarterly campaigns. First, you want to include the goals of the marketing strategy for that quarter to measure the actual results against the expected outcomes. Include all methods of marketing, such as content, social and/or email, and their accompanying KPIs.

Also, include market research to identify the target audience within the report and ensure external stakeholders know why your strategy addresses this specific audience through these specific methods.

The aforementioned KPIs like conversion rates, social engagement, revenue as it relates to marketing campaigns, click-through rates for emails, and customer retention rates can all be included in the report for external stakeholders.

Organizing the Presentation

The presentation should be a sensible roadmap, starting with the goals and expected outcomes and leading through the metrics measured for each type of marketing. Goals can include traffic numbers, revenue, customer satisfaction, or lead generation.

Organize metrics by social, email, content, and any other inbound or outbound marketing types you pursued over the quarter. You can also note specific goals and results for each type of marketing.

Don't forget to include explanations. Share what is doing well, and why; also outline what is underperforming, why, and how you plan to tackle that next quarter.

KPIs to Prove Effectiveness

Again, KPIs are crucial to share with external stakeholders, as they will clearly showcase marketing effectiveness.

For content marketing, show lead generation, conversion rates, bounce rates, and even SEO-related metrics like page rank on the search engine results page (SERP).

Email marketing should outline delivery, open and click-through rates. You can also analyze bounce rate, both emails that bounced back from unavailable email addresses and from your website's pages that include email signups. Additional email marketing KPIs to consider are the number of emails sent, new subscribers for the quarter and unsubscribes per email sent.

Social media insights can also focus on lead generation and engagement rates. As social continues to develop, some revenue rates will be gauged directly from social, as platforms add shopping functions.

Measure Marketing Effectiveness To Inform Goals

You might spend weeks pouring energy into an email marketing campaign that just doesn't generate the leads you had expected while leads are pouring in through social despite a lack of focused efforts there.

Without reviewing and analyzing your marketing strategies, it's hard to know where to best channel your time, creative energy, and budget to continue boosting your pipeline and revenues.

Marketing effectiveness uses key metrics to identify high and low points of your marketing strategies, so you can share this information with external stakeholders and better inform future strategies and goals.

Marketing Plan Template

Marketing Effectiveness: How to Measure It & Present to External Stakeholders was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is incredibly important for marketers. When you optimize your web pages — including your blog posts — you're making your website more visible to people who are using search engines (like Google) to find your product or service.But does your blog content really help your business organically rank on search engines?

In this article, you’ll find the answer to this question and more. Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the world of blog SEO, the factors that affect it, and tips to start optimizing your blog site for the search engines.

Click here to download our free guide on how to double your blog traffic and leads.

Although it's clear blog content does contribute to your SEO, Google's many algorithm updates can make publishing the right kind of blog content tricky if you don’t know where to start. Some blog ranking factors have stood the test of time while others are considered "old-school." Here are a few of the top-ranking factors that can, directly and indirectly, affect blog SEO.

Pro tip: As a rule of thumb, take time to understand what each of these factors does, but don’t try to implement them all at once. They each serve a specific purpose and should be used to meet a specific SEO goal for your blog. Listen to HubSpot's Matt Barby and Victor Pan take on this topic in this podcast episode.

HubSpot Podcast episode about SEO featuring Victor Pan and Matt Barby

Factors That Affect Blog SEO

1. Dwell Time

Although dwell time is an indirect ranking factor for Google, it's a critical factor in the user experience — and we know that user experience is king when it comes to SEO. Dwell time is the length of a time a reader spends on a page on your blog site. From the moment a visitor clicks on your site in the SERP, to the moment they exit the page is considered dwell time. This metric indirectly tells search engines like Google how valuable your content is to the reader. It makes sense that the longer they spend on the page, the more relevant it is to them.

However, there’s a reason this metric is an indirect indicator for SEO — it’s completely subjective. The search engine algorithms don’t know your content strategy. Your blog could be focused on short-form content that takes just a minute or two to read. You might also include pertinent information at the beginning of your blog posts to give the best reader experience, which means less time spent on the page. So yes, dwell time can affect SEO, but don’t manipulate your content to change this metric if it doesn’t make sense for your content strategy.

2. Page Speed

We mentioned earlier that visual elements on your blog can affect page speed, but that isn’t the only thing that can move this needle. Unnecessary code and overuse of plugins can also contribute to a sluggish blog site. Removing junk code can help your pages load faster, thus improving page speed. If you’re not sure how to find and remove junk code, check out HTML-Cleaner. It’s an easy-to-use tool that doesn't require coding knowledge. It simply shows you the unnecessary code and lets you remove it with the click of a button.

I also recommend taking an inventory of your blog site plugins. Decide which ones you need to keep your blog running day-to-day and which ones were installed as a fix for a temporary issue. Plugins that affect the front-end of your site are a threat to page speed, and odds are, you can uninstall more of these plugins than you think to increase your overall site speed.

3. Mobile Responsiveness

More than half of Google’s search traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices. On an individual level, your blog site might follow that same trend. There’s no way around it — optimizing your blog site for mobile is a factor that will affect your SEO metrics. But what exactly does it mean to optimize a website for mobile? The industry rule-of-thumb is to keep things simple. Most pre-made site themes these days are already mobile-friendly, so all you’ll need to do is tweak a CTA button here and enlarge a font size there. Then, keep an eye on how your site is performing on mobile by taking a look at your Google Analytics dashboard and running a mobile site speed test regularly.

4. Index Date

Search engines aim to provide the most relevant and accurate information available. A factor search engines use when determining what’s relevant and accurate is the date a search engine indexes the content. Indexing means a search engine finds content and adds it to its index. Later, the page can be retrieved and displayed in the SERP when a user searches for keywords related to the indexed page.

You might be wondering: Is the date the content was indexed the same as the date it was published?

The answer: yes and no. If a blog post is published for the first time, it’s likely that say, a Google crawler, will index that post the same day you publish it. But content can be backdated for several legitimate reasons, too, like archiving information or updating a sentence or two.

One way to positively affect this SEO factor is to implement a historical optimization strategy. This strategy works well on blogs that have been established for a few years and have a fair amount of content already. By updating these older posts with new perspectives and data, you’ll be able to significantly impact your blog SEO without creating a lot of net new content. Site crawlers will reindex the page — taking into account the updated content — and give it another opportunity to compete in the SERP. It’s truly a win-win.

5. Recent Data

Recent data, another indirect ranking factor of SEO, should be included in blog posts. Recent data gives visitors relevant and accurate information which makes for a positive reader experience. When you include a link to a credible site that has original, up-to-date data, you’re telling the search engine that this site is helpful and relevant to your readers (which is a plus for that other site). You’re also telling the search engine that this type of data is in some way related to the content you publish. Over time, your readers will come to appreciate the content which can be confirmed using other metrics like increased time on page or lower bounce rate.

Sign up here to take our free Content Marketing Certification course and learn about content creation, strategy, and promotion.

How to Optimize Blog Content for Search Engines

1. Identify the target audience for your blog.

No matter what industry your blog targets, you’ll want to identify and speak to the primary audience that will be reading your content. Understanding who your audience is and what you want them to do when they click on your article will help guide your blog strategy.

Buyer personas are an effective way to target readers using their buying behaviors, demographics, and psychographics. Without this insight, you could be producing grammatically correct and accurate content that few people will click on because it doesn’t speak to them on a personal level.

2. Conduct keyword research.

Now that you’ve selected your target audience and prepared a buyer persona, it’s time to find out what content your readers want to consume. Keyword research can be a heavy task to take on if you don’t begin with a strategy. Therefore, I recommend starting with the topics your blog will cover, then expand or contract your scope from there. For an in-depth tutorial, check out our how-to guide on keyword research.

3. Add visuals.

Search engines like Google value visuals for certain keywords. Images and videos are among the most common visual elements that appear on the search engine results page. In order to achieve a coveted spot in an image pack or a video snippet, you’ll want to design creative graphics, use original photos and videos, and add descriptive alt text to every visual element within your blog post.

Alt text is a major factor that determines whether or not your image or video appears in the SERP and how highly it appears. Alt text is also important for screen readers so that visually impaired individuals have a positive experience consuming content on your blog site.

4. Write a catchy title.

The title of your blog post is the first element a reader will see when they come across your article, and it heavily influences whether they’ll click or keep scrolling. A catchy title uses data, asks a question, or leads with curiosity to pique the reader’s interest.

According to Coscheduler’s Headline Analyzer, the elements of a catchy title include power, emotional, uncommon, and common words. In the right proportions, these types of words in a blog title will grab your readers’ attention and keep them on the page.

Here’s an example of a catchy title with a Coschedule Headline Analyzer Score of 87:

The Perfect Dress Has 3 Elements According to This Popular Fashion Expert

Coschedule headline analyzer tool analyzing a headline with a score of 87

  • Highlighted in yellow are common words. They’re familiar to the reader and don’t stray too far from other titles that may appear in the SERP.
  • “Expert” is an emotional word, according to Coschedule. In this example, the word expert builds trust with the reader and tells them that this article has an authoritative point of view.
  • Purple words are power words — this means they capture the readers’ attention and get them curious about the topic.
  • Another element in this title is the number three. This signals to the reader that they’ll learn a specific amount of facts about the perfect dress.

5. Include an enticing CTA.

What’s a blog post without a call to action? The purpose of a CTA is to lead your reader to the next step in their journey through your blog. The key to a great CTA is that it’s relevant to the topic of your existing blog post and flows naturally with the rest of the content. Whether you’re selling a product, offering a newsletter subscription, or wanting the reader to consume more of your content, you’ll need an enticing CTA on every blog post you publish.

CTAs come in all types of formats, so get creative and experiment with them. Buttons, hyperlinks, and widgets are some of the most common CTAs, and they all have different purposes. For instance, you should add a bold, visible CTA like a button if you want the reader to make a purchase. On the other hand, you can easily get a reader to check out another blog post by providing a hyperlink to it in the conclusion of the current article.

6. Focus on the reader's experience.

Any great writer or SEO will tell you that the reader experience is the most important part of a blog post. The reader experience includes several factors like readability, formatting, and page speed. That means you’ll want to write content that’s clear, comprehensive of your topic, and accurate according to the latest data and trends. Organizing the content using headings and subheadings is important as well because it helps the reader scan the content quickly to find the information they need. Finally, on-page elements like images and videos have an impact on page speed. Keep image file sizes low (250 KB is a good starting point) and limit the number of videos you embed on a single page. By focusing on what the reader wants to know and organizing the post to achieve that goal, you’ll be on your way to publishing an article optimized for the search engine.

Now, let's take a look at these blog SEO tips that you can take advantage of to enhance your content's searchability.

Note: This list doesn't cover every SEO rule under the sun. Rather, the following tips are the on-page factors to get you started with an SEO strategy for your blog.

1. Use 1–2 long-tail keywords.

Optimizing your blog posts for keywords is not about incorporating as many keywords into your posts as possible. Nowadays, this actually hurts your SEO because search engines consider this keyword stuffing (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).

It also doesn't make for a good reader experience — a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you're answering the intent of your visitors. Therefore, you should use keywords in your content in a way that doesn't feel unnatural or forced.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on one or two long-tail keywords per blog post. While you can use more than one keyword in a single post, keep the focus of the post narrow enough to allow you to spend time optimizing for just one or two keywords.

You may be wondering: Why long-tail keywords?

These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. For example, the long-tail keyword "how to write a blog post" is much more impactful in terms of SEO than the short keyword "blog post".

Website visitors searching long-tail keywords are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, they'll help you generate the right type of traffic — visitors who convert.

2. Use keywords strategically throughout the blog post.

Now that you've got one or two keywords, it's time to incorporate them in your blog post. But where is the best place to include these terms so you rank high in search results?

There are four essential places where you should try to include your keywords: title tag, headers & body, URL, and meta description.

Title Tag

The title (i.e., headline) of your blog post will be a search engine's and reader's first step in determining the relevancy of your content. So, including a keyword here is vital. Google calls this the "title tag" in a search result.

Be sure to include your keyword within the first 60 characters of your title, which is just about where Google cuts titles off on the SERP. Technically, Google measures by pixel width, not character count, and it recently increased the pixel width for organic search results from approximately 500 pixels to 600 pixels, which translates to around 60 characters.

Long title tag? When you have a lengthy headline, it's a good idea to get your keyword in the beginning since it might get cut off in SERPs toward the end, which can take a toll on your post's perceived relevance.

In the example below, we had a long title that went over 65 characters, so we placed the keyword near the front.

Search engine result link with a keyword-optimized title

Headers & Body

Mention your keyword at a normal cadence throughout the body of your post and in the headers. That means including your keywords in your copy, but only in a natural, reader-friendly way. Don't go overboard at the risk of being penalized for keyword stuffing.

Before you start writing a new blog post, you'll probably think about how to incorporate your keywords into your post. That's a smart idea, but it shouldn't be your only focus, nor even your primary focus.

Whenever you create content, your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content. Focus on being helpful and answering whatever question your customer might've asked to arrive on your post. Do that, and you'll naturally optimize for important keywords, anyway.


Search engines also look at your URL to figure out what your post is about, and it's one of the first things it'll crawl on a page. You have a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post you publish, as every post lives on its unique URL — so make sure you include your one to two keywords in it.

In the example below, we created the URL using the long-tail keyword for which we were trying to rank: "email marketing examples."

Search engine result link with a keyword-optimized URL

Meta Description

Your meta description is meant to give search engines and readers information about your blog post's content. Meaning, you must use your long-tail term so Google and your audience are clear on your post's content.

At the same time, keep in mind the copy matters a great deal for click-through rates because it satisfies certain readers' intent — the more engaging, the better.

3. Optimize for mobile devices.

We learned earlier that more people use search engines from their mobile phones than from a computer.

And for all those valuable queries being searched on mobile devices, Google displays the mobile-friendly results first. This is yet another example of Google heavily favoring mobile-friendly websites — which has been true ever since the company updated its Penguin algorithm in April 2015.

(HubSpot customers: Breathe easy. All content created on HubSpot's platform is automatically responsive to mobile devices.)

So, how do you make your blog mobile-friendly? By using responsive design. Websites that are responsive to mobile allow blog pages to have just one URL instead of two — one for desktop and one for mobile, respectively. This helps your post's SEO because any inbound links that come back to your site won't be divided between the separate URLs.

As a result, you'll centralize the SEO power you gain from these links, helping Google more easily recognize your post's value and rank it accordingly.

Pro tip: What search engines value is constantly changing. Be sure you're keeping on top of these changes by subscribing to Google's official blog.

4. Optimize the meta description.

To review, a meta description is additional text that appears in SERPs that lets readers know what the link is about. The meta description gives searchers the information they need to determine whether or not your content is what they're looking for and ultimately helps them decide if they'll click or not.

The maximum length of this meta description is greater than it once was — now around 300 characters — suggesting it wants to give readers more insight into what each result will give them.

So, in addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant), your meta description should include the long-tail keyword for which you are trying to rank.

In the following example, I searched for "email newsletter examples."

Google result link with extended meta description

The term is bolded in the meta description, helping readers make the connection between the intent of their search term and this result. You'll also see the term "E-Newsletter" bolded, indicating that Google knows there's a semantic connection between "email newsletter" and "E-Newsletter."

Note: Nowadays, it's not guaranteed that your meta description is always pulled into SERPs as it once was. As you can see in the above image, Google pulls in other parts of your blog post that includes the keywords searched, presumably to give searchers optimal context around how the result matches their specific query.

Let me show you another example. Below are two different search queries delivering two different snippets of text on Google SERPs. The first is a result of the query "no index no follow," and pulls in the original meta description:

example of a meta description on google

The second is a result of the query "noindex nofollow," and pulls in the first instance of these specific keywords coming up in the body of the blog post:

example of a meta description on Google

While there's not much you can do to influence what text gets pulled in, you should continue to optimize this metadata, as well as your post, so search engines display the best content from the article. By creating reader-friendly content with natural keyword inclusion, you'll make it easier for Google to prove your post's relevancy in SERPs for you.

5. Include image alt text.

Blog posts shouldn't only contain text — they should also include images that help explain and support your content. However, search engines don't simply look for images. Rather, they look for images with image alt text.

You may be wondering why this is. Since search engines can't "see" images the same way humans can, an image's alt text tells the search engine what an image is about. This ultimately helps those images rank in the search engine's images results page.

Image alt text also makes for a better user experience (UX). It displays inside the image container when an image can't be found or displayed. Technically, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML.

Here's what a complete image tag might look like:

When you incorporate image alt text, an image's name in your blog may go from something like, "IMG23940" to something accurate and descriptive such as "puppies playing in a basket."

how to optimize your images with image alt text

Image alt text should be descriptive in a helpful way — meaning, it should provide the search engine with context to index the image if it's in a blog article related to a similar topic.

To provide more context, here's a list of things to be sure you keep in mind when creating alt text for your blog's images:

  • Describe the image
  • Leave out "image of... "— start with the image description instead
  • Be specific in your description
  • Keep it under 125 characters
  • Use your keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing)

HubSpot customers: The SEO Panel will recognize whether or not you have optimized your images. Though these elements are not as important as some other optimizations, they're still necessary (not to mention, easy to add).

the seo panel for images in hubspot

6. Limit topic tags.

Topic tags can help organize your blog content, but if you overuse them, they can actually be harmful. If you have too many similar tags, you may get penalized by search engines for having duplicate content.

Think of it this way, when you create a topic tag (which is simple if you're a HubSpot user, as seen here), you also create a new site page where the content from those topic tags will appear. If you use too many similar tags for the same content, it appears to search engines as if you're showing the content multiple times throughout your website. For example, topic tags like "blogging," "blog," and "blog posts" are too similar to one another to be used on the same post.

If you're worried that your current blog posts have too many similar tags, take some time to clean them up. Choose about 15–25 topic tags that you think are important to your blog and that aren't too similar to one another. Then only tag your posts with those keywords. That way, you won't have to worry about duplicate content.

search insights report template

Here at HubSpot, we use a Search Insights Report to map specific MSV-driven keyword ideas to a content topic each quarter. The process helps us target a handful of posts in a set number of topics throughout the year for a systematic approach to SEO and content creation.

7. Include user-friendly URL structures.

Before you publish your blog post, take a careful look at its URL structure. Is it long, filled with stop-words, or unrelated to the post’s topic? If so, you might want to rewrite it before it goes live.

The URL structure of your web pages (which are different from the specific URLs of your posts) should make it easy for your visitors to understand the structure of your website and the content they're about to see. Search engines favor web page URLs that make it easier for them and website visitors to understand the content on the page.

This differentiation is baked into the HubSpot blogs' respective URL structures. If I decided to go to the Marketing section from this main page, I would be taken to the URL

If we want to read the Sales section, all we have to do is change where it says "marketing" in the URL to "sales":

This URL structure helps me understand that "/marketing" and "/sales" are smaller sections — called subdirectories — within the larger blog.

What if there's a specific article we want to read, such as "How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner's Guide"? Its URL structure — — denotes that it's an article from the Marketing section of the blog.

In this way, URL structure acts as a categorization system for readers, letting them know where they are on the website and how to access new site pages. Search engines appreciate this, as it makes it easier for them to identify exactly what information searchers will access on different parts of your blog or website.

Pro tip: Don’t change your blog post URL after it's been published — that’s the easiest way to press the metaphorical “reset” button on your SEO efforts for that post. If your URL is less descriptive than you’d like or it no longer follows your brand or style guidelines, your best bet is to leave it as is. Instead, change the title of the post using the guidelines we covered earlier.

8. Link to related blog posts.

You may have heard that backlinks influence how high your blog site can rank in the SERP, and that’s true — backlinks show how trustworthy your site is based on how many other relevant sites link back to yours. But backlinks aren’t the end-all-be-all to link building. Linking to and from your own blog posts can have a positive impact on how well your blog site ranks, too.

Inbound links to your content help show search engines the validity or relevancy of your content. The same goes for linking internally to other pages on your website. If you've written about a topic that's mentioned in your blog post on another blog post, ebook, or web page, it's a best practice to link to that page.

(You might've noticed that I've been doing that from time to time throughout this blog post when I think it's helpful for our readers.) Not only will internal linking help keep visitors on your website, but it also surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines.

For example, if your blog is about fashion, you might cover fabrics as a topic. Adding a hyperlink from a blog post about cotton to a post about the proper way to mix fabrics can help both of those posts become more visible to readers who search these keywords. The search engines will also have one more entry point to the post about cotton when you hyperlink it in the post about mixing fabrics. This means the post about cotton fabric, and any updates you make to it will be recognized by site crawlers faster. It could even see a boost in the SERP as a result.

HubSpot customers: The SEO Panel automatically suggests linking to other internal resources on your website.

seo panel for links in hubspot

You can think of this as solving for your SEO while also helping your visitors get more information from your content.

9. Review metrics regularly.

Google's free Search Console contains a section called the Search Analytics Report. This report helps you analyze clicks from Google Search — it's useful to determine which keywords people are using to find your blog content. You can also learn how to use Google Search Console by reading this blog post written by my colleague Matthew Barby, and by checking out Google's official support page.

If you're interested in optimizing your best-performing older blog posts for traffic and leads like we've been doing since 2015, this tool can help identify low-hanging fruit.

Line graph showing keyword performance on Google Search Console

Remember, many content marketers struggle with optimizing their blog posts for search. The truth is, your blog posts won't start ranking immediately. It takes time to build up search authority.

But, when you publish blog posts frequently and consistently optimize them for search while maintaining an intent-based reader experience, you'll reap the rewards in the form of traffic and leads long-term.

10. Organize by topic cluster.

The way most blogs are currently structured (including our own blogs, until very recently), bloggers and SEOs have worked to create individual blog posts that rank for specific keywords.

This makes things unorganized and difficult for blog visitors to find the exact information they need. It also results in your URLs competing against one another in search engine rankings when you produce multiple blog posts about similar topics.

Here's what our blog architecture used to look like using this old playbook:

Flowchart of HubSpot's topic cluster SEO model

Now, in order to rank in search and best answer the new types of queries searchers are submitting, the solution is the topic cluster model.

For this model to work, choose the broad topics for which you want to rank. Then, create content based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other to establish broader search engine authority.

This is what our blog infrastructure looks like now, with the topic cluster model. Specific topics are surrounded by blog posts related to the greater topic, connected to other URLs in the cluster via hyperlinks:

A set of topic clusters for SEO

This model uses a more deliberate site architecture to organize and link URLs together to help more pages on your site rank in Google — and to help searchers find information on your site more easily. This architecture consists of three components — pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks:

SEO model using icons for pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks

We know this is a fairly new concept, so for more details, check out our research on the topic, take our SEO training or watch the video below.

11. Publish evergreen content.

When planning and writing your blog articles, ensure it's evergreen content. Meaning, the content is about topics that will remain relevant and valuable over a long period of time (with only minor changes or updates). Let's look at a few reasons why evergreen content is so important:

  • It'll help you rank over time, not just in the near future.
  • It contributes to steady amounts of traffic coming to your blog (and website) long after it’s been published.
  • It'll help you generate leads over time as a result of the traffic it continually generates.

All blog content — whether it's a long-form article, how-to guide, FAQ, tutorial, and so on — should be evergreen. Even the images you use in these posts should be evergreen. Check out this blog post for some examples of and ideas for evergreen content on your blog.

12. Update existing content.

To improve your SEO, you may assume you need to create new blog content. Although that's partially true, you should also focus a great deal of your time and energy on your existing blog content. Specifically, repurposing and updating your current content, as well as removing your outdated content.

This is because it takes a lot longer for a completely new piece of content to settle on the search engine results page (SERP) and gain authority, whereas you could update a piece of content and reap the benefits fairly immediately in comparison.

Not only will your updated content rank on the SERP faster, improving your number of visitors and leads, it also takes a lot less time and fewer resources to update an existing piece of content rather than create a brand new article.

Additionally, updating and repurposing some of your most successful pieces of content extends its lifespan so you can achieve the best results over a longer period of time (especially if it's evergreen content).

The final step entails removing your outdated content that's no longer relevant to your audience. Although your goal is to ensure your content is evergreen, some of it is bound to become outdated over time. This includes statistics, product information (if you have any listed in your blogs — as your products and business evolve), or information that changes across your industry over time.

Create Blog Content Your Readers (and Search Engines) Will Love

We don't expect you to incorporate each of these SEO best practices into your content strategy right away. But, as your website grows, so should your goals on search engines. Once you identify the goals and intent of your ideal readers, you'll be on track to deliver relevant content that will climb the ranks of the SERP.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

What Is an Enterprise Data Model? [+ Examples]

Enterprise data modeling is nothing new. This tactic has been around for years, but it is still relevant to modern businesses today.

It can feel like an abstract, complex concept at times, but it is an important part of data governance, which helps manage and secure a company's data assets.

In today's world, data security is important, as is boosting productivity and efficiency with up-to-date applications and digital processes.

Enterprise data modeling can help ensure company apps and data are standardized, secure and in-line with the business mission.

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What is an Enterprise Data Model?

Simply put, an enterprise data model is a visual representation, or graph, of an enterprise business' data. It focuses on high-level, more abstract components as it tries to define and standardize an entire enterprise business' data.

That means enterprise data modeling can be a massive task, but it will be important to help reduce duplicates, inaccuracies, and errors in a business' data.

Why Do You Need an Enterprise Data Model?

There are numerous reasons why you might need an enterprise data model. Let's dive into four, now. 

1. Improve Data Quality

Even small companies handle a lot of data on a daily basis. Over time, this data can quickly become irrelevant. Errors can slip in unnoticed, as can redundancies. The more issues in the data, the less accurate it becomes. When companies revisit data to inform decisions, data riddled with errors and redundancies can impact company sales and growth. By taking an overarching, comprehensive look at the data and defining it via enterprise data modeling, these issues can be addressed appropriately.

2. Defining All Data

Enterprise data modeling is a massive task, but that's because it addresses all of an enterprise business' data. A company can clean up data and align applications, so everything is cohesive and running smoothly, with an enterprise data model.

3. Managing Data

Similarly, managing data is easier when it is all addressed and defined in one graph. The enterprise data model will be more high-level, so deeper dives and more intensive data modeling will be needed to define the specifics. But overall, a company can better manage all the data assets it has when they are all placed in one data model.

4. Data Governance

Businesses rely heavily on technology, as do consumers. The more we move online, the more regulations that need to be in place to maintain privacy and security. Businesses that do not protect consumer data will find themselves in hot water. An enterprise data model can help identify a business' data, better manage it, and ensure the business is complying with data and privacy laws.

Benefits of an Enterprise Data Model

The benefits of an enterprise data model are similar to the reasons a business needs it.

First, if a company wants to ensure high-quality data, it must remove redundancies and errors, and also apply any business-specific rules regarding the data. This can all be done through the extensive enterprise data modeling process.

An enterprise data model can also help a business be more cohesive and standardized in its processes by aligning the various applications and technologies the company uses daily.

Finally, a huge benefit to enterprise data modeling is its ability to help a business align its data with data governance. For example, GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, addresses how companies use customer data and gives more privacy and data control to the consumer.

When this regulation was implemented, companies needed to ensure that they were properly handling data. This regulation is still in effect, so newer businesses also must comply. Not complying with government data policies can lead to legal implications, which is what makes an enterprise data model so invaluable.

How to Create an Enterprise Data Model

The enterprise data model consists of a few smaller models. Starting with the enterprise subject area model, you'll move through each of the following steps to create the enterprise data model.

1. Enterprise Subject Area Model

The ESAM is a high-level model that defines the main subject areas of a business as well as the relationships among these subject areas. For example, this could include Accounts, IT, Billing, Finance, Sales.

2. Enterprise Conceptual Model

Next, each ESAM is broken down further into enterprise conceptual models, which consist of major business concepts and how these concepts are related.

3. Enterprise Entity Model

Finally, the enterprise entity model includes the main interests for each business concept and details their relationships with one another.

Enterprise Data Model Example

The enterprise data model can be visualized as a pyramid. The entire pyramid is the enterprise data model, which, let's say, is a retail store with a brick-and-mortar location and an online shop.

The top of the pyramid is the enterprise subject area model, with 10-20 business subjects defined. Those could include Stores, Staff, Warehouses, Products, Payments, and Customers, to name a few. Arrows would show how these subjects relate to one another.

Below that, the middle of the pyramid is a slightly more fleshed out enterprise conceptual model, which defines eight-15 main business concepts per subject area model. For example, Products could be broken down by ID and type, or Payments could be broken down by credit cards, debit cards, and cash.

Finally, the base of the pyramid is the enterprise entity model, which would identify the main areas of interest for each conceptual model.

Enterprise Data Model Tools

Now that you have a better understanding of enterprise data modeling, you might be ready to dive into this project. These data model tools will help make this process less taxing on your team.

1. Lucidchart

Teams can work together on Lucidchart to create collaborative diagrams and data models. It meets international privacy and security standards, making it a safe option.

Drag-and-drop components allow team members to build data models with ease, and each person can select portions of the diagram and leave feedback comments. You can test it out for free, and prices range depending on business size.

2. Erwin Data Modeler

The Erwin Data Modeler is specifically tailored to visualizing and standardizing enterprise data assets.

All data, whether from a data warehouse or in the cloud, can be handled in one interface, and automated models can help reduce redundancies and errors to improve data quality. Pricing varies by business needs, but you can explore this modeling tool with a free trial before committing.

3. (formerly is a free data modeling tool that allows you to make flowcharts and graphs for your enterprise data. Drag-and-drop features make it easy to place shapes, lines and arrows exactly where you'd like on the gridded, blank diagram.

You can also draw free-hand shapes. Newly added in February 21, also offers data governance options, and you can store all data models on your enterprise-level storage platforms, like Dropbox or Google Drive.

4. ER/Studio

Ideal for enterprise businesses, ER/Studio handles company data with ease. This enterprise data modeling software allows for forward or reverse engineering, source and target mapping, naming standards and more. You can model data from various sources and define and enforce standards within this tool. This is a paid tool, and prices vary depending on needs; you can also request a demo.

5. Ab Initio

Another popular tool for enterprise businesses, Ab Initio incorporates self-service and automation into your data models to improve efficiency. Users can model and catalog data securely, complying with data governance. The tool will even generate automated operational data quality rules for data processing. Licensing rates vary.

Improve Data Management With an Enterprise Data Model

Sure, enterprise data models can be intimidating. But they are more important than ever in our data-driven world. Enterprise data modeling can help standardize data assets for a business and better manage and secure these assets.

Most importantly, an enterprise data model can help a company avoid legal troubles by complying with data governance. By using one of many tools for data modeling, this arduous but crucial task can be made simpler and more collaborative.

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What Is an Enterprise Data Model? [+ Examples] was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

6 Key Strategies For Great Entertainment Display Campaigns

The Entertainment industry is progressing towards using more advanced forms of display advertising. Yet, what are the strategies that can help your brand move ahead of the competition?

Indeed, there really is no time like the present when it comes to putting new strategies into action, with consumers now firmly digital-first thanks to the impact of the global pandemic.

In this article we suggest the following strategies to help your brand create its best ever entertainment focused display ads:

  1. Increase consistent ad production via automation
  2. Take control of localisation with cloud-based translation management
  3. Use real-time technology in your display campaigns
  4. Use Rich Media widgets to beat banner blindness
  5. Combine display and social ad production
  6. Find your best performing with creative optimisation tools
  7. Use a CMP to power personalisation for different demographics

1. Increase consistent ad production via automation

Sustaining a powerful brand presence requires consistency across your display advertising and accuracy at high volume.

However, in order to achieve these two essential factors you need the ability to create pixel perfect ads fast. And when it comes to display advertising, making sure your team has the production automation tools they need is a dealbreaker when it comes to delivering.

What does this mean in practice?

Use a powerful ad creator, such as Bannerflow’s Creative Studio and you are able to create ads fast. Not only that but you are able to preset brand guidelines across campaigns. Meaning that regardless of designer or location, your ad creative will always display the correct typeface, logo and imagery.

And where does automation come in?

Automated production is the ace up your sleeve when it comes to brand consistent ads at volume. Imagine total creative freedom including animation and interactivity, but with the benefit of scaling at volume too. Automated production can support your team through:

  • Smart scaling – Replicating a master design to all sizes and formats you need, at huge volume.
  • Not needing to code – Creative automation tools code help duplicate the HTML of individual ads, meaning designers can create rich media campaigns easily.
  • Collaboration – Benefit from a world-spread team and share content edits, sign offs and flawless campaigns on-brand and at record speed.
  • Speed – Combine collaboration, campaign management, and streamlined production to go from concept, to published, multi-market campaign in a day.


2. Take control of localisation with cloud-based translation management

Today, attracting audiences across the globe has never been simpler, or as easy to manage – and at the heart of this is powerful localisation tools. The old ways of long email chains are just not good enough.

Indeed, campaign management software is supporting display advertisers in being more productive across formats and channels, in any language, and in any market around the world. And, at the heart of this capability are functions and tools that make translation management a simple process.

How does translation management work?

Platforms such as Bannerflow offer localisation features that enable your team to assign entire ad campaigns to colleagues or professional translation teams wherever they are in the world. Meaning that can accurately adjust text in the ad, via the cloud and in-platform, with speedy results.

But language is just one localisation consideration to take care of. You will also need to make sure that your team has a tight grip over brand consistency and local cultural nuances too.

This is important as one misstep here, and the damage could be consequential. Therefore using cloud-based platforms to oversee the localisation process across teams is a smart move. Meaning content can be reused and localised effectively.

3. Use real-time technology in your display campaigns

Acting in the here and now is essential for your brand’s ability to react in an agile way, without limitation. By using real-time solutions you can update live display ads instantly with the latest offers or products.

However, limitations in real-time working for entertainment campaigns can come in the form of regulatory processing or having a complicated ad production process across lots of teams, or agencies.

However, there are ways to overcome this. Here are two strategies your brand can adopt:

Integrated publishing

Firstly, using integrated publishing, or direct publishing, means your display ads can be updated, across ad networks even while live – ensuring your messaging reflects current offers or situations.

Seamless integrations between a campaign management solution and ad networks not only streamline the publishing process but enable full real-time control too. Thus, copy and ad creative in live ads and entire campaigns can be updated or replaced in an instant across markets.

Data feeds

Data feeds are a great way of making your entertainment display ads even more relevant. They offer the ability to present consumers with ‘live’ content and you stay relevant.

  • An automatic data feed uses a spreadsheet to regularly update the content in an ad. These can contain data such as words, and sentences, numeric values, image URLs, and links.
  • While, a live data feed offers the ability to pull live data from your product and pricing inventory, and display that too.


What makes these campaigns notable is their relative ease to create and control via premium campaign management software. All you need to do is connect a data feed to your master creative! This will then show the products or offers you want displayed across all ad sizes and variants of a display campaign.

4. Use Rich Media widgets to beat banner blindness

Owing to the need to create ads at a large quantity and quickly, engaging ads and interactive ads have been dropped in favour of static or basic creatives. Thus, banner blindness can be a real issue.

But, when using a powerful ad creator, such as Bannerflow’s Creative Studio you no longer need to make sacrifices like this. Instead, your team’s creativity levels will increase as they gain access to a library of rich media assets which they can simply drag, drop and customise to your brand.

Enter drag and drop Rich Media

Interactive campaigns work best when using HTML5 Rich Media widgets – these enable interactivity and remove the need for expensive manual coding. Indeed, Creative Studio offers designers the ability to drag and drop interactive elements and customise them to the needs of their brand.

Meaning interactive ads can come in many forms, with basic interactivity including, using a scroll, adding a video, slider, or hover effect. Or you could use more advanced features, such as seasonal campaigns with dramatic countdowns or even games.

Use the power of rich media to bring your brand to life, and make banner blindness a thing of the past.

5. Combine display and social ad production

We suggest now is the time to combine the design and production of entertainment display and social campaigns to increase ROI and stay consistent across channels.

Instead of using multiple production tools to create a multi-channel campaign, streamline your design tools and stay in one platform. Simplifying production and saving precious hours of tedious design tasks.

Automate display and social production

Making use of the ad creator of a Creative Management Platform (CMP), means you can use the smart scaling feature to create and export social media ads based on the same master creative.

Not only does this save your designers time but it means you can create entire cross-channel campaigns for any of the major social or display networks at high speed.

This is particularly useful when you are running multiple campaigns across display and social channels. Thus meaning you can seamlessly connect your strategy, stay consistent, and streamline workflows.

6. Find your best performing with creative optimisation tools

Creative optimisation refers to the process of optimising display ad creative and copy based on data. And for some marketing teams it’s also one of the hardest elements of performance marketing to get right.

You may be familiar with A/B testing but there are now many other methods to increase your ad performance using creative optimisation.

Scheduling and creative rotation

A scheduling tool means you can run (at a minimum) two different campaigns at the same time, using the same media placement, plus analyse results in real-time.

Using scheduling, such as Bannerflow’s, enables you to give each campaign a different weighting according to either results. Or choose how often you want a version of an ad displayed. This means you are able to run your campaigns at the same time and analyse which is performing best according to the metric of your choice.

Through a scheduling tool, you can weight one creative set in favour of the other too. Or you could set up one offer to start a few days after another. Simply, drag the desired campaigns to the desired dates, sit back and watch the impressions roll in.

Introducing auto-optimisation

Auto-optimisation is a method used to improve the performance of ad creatives which cuts testing time in half.

An auto-optimisation algorithm considers each ad impression as a unique test. Minimising the number of impressions served to underperforming ads and maximising performance instead. Begin with as many ad variations as you want and quickly the auto-optimisation will find your best performing creative.

By using this tool, you have the opportunity to uplift conversion by 50-150%, simply by finding your most engaging display design.

Imagine you are launching a brand new game to the Swedish market for 18 to 25 year olds and you want to test, which of the new characters in your game is the most popular amongst – now you can do this live!

Next steps for entertainment campaigns

If you would like more info about how your brand can achieve its goals, download our market’s guide to entertainment display ads now, or get in touch with Bannerflow to see how our platform can help!

Download the Ultimate Marketer’s Guide!


The post 6 Key Strategies For Great Entertainment Display Campaigns appeared first on Bannerflow.

6 Key Strategies For Great Entertainment Display Campaigns was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

500 Internal Server Errors: What They Are & How to Fix Them

Troubleshooting an HTTP 500 internal server error is like solving a mystery.

You don't know what exactly happened or why it happened — all you know is that something's wrong and you need to fix it.

To guide you through the hassle of troubleshooting the dreaded HTTP 500 internal server error, let's go over what it exactly means and its most common causes and solutions.

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Here's what your 500 error page might look like in your browser:

screenshot of an http 500 internal server error message example

How to Fix a 500 Internal Server Error

Unlike other server-side errors like a 502 code or a 503 code, a 500 internal server error is it doesn't immediately tell you what the problem is, nor does it tell you how to fix it. If the error persists for too long on your site, it could even negatively impact your SEO.

So, let's dive into a few potential causes of the error. Then, we'll present some solutions so you can try to fix the issue.

Potential Causes of a 500 Internal Server Error

A 500 internal server error is, as the name implies, a general problem with the website's server. More than likely, this means there's an issue or temporary glitch with the website's programming.

Some potential causes of a 500 internal server error include:

  • Corrupted or broken .htaccess file
  • A permissions error
  • Faulty third-party plugins or themes
  • The PHP memory limit being exceeded

Fortunately, there are a few effective solutions for fixing most of these problems.

If You're Trying to Load a Page with a 500 Internal Server Error:

1. Refresh the page.

This might seem obvious, but if it's a temporary loading issue, you might find success if you refresh the page. Before trying anything else in this list, reload the page and see what happens.

2. Come back later.

Since the error is on the server side, I'm willing to bet the website owners are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue. Give it a few minutes or up to an hour or so, and then reload the URL and see if the development team has fixed the issue.

3. Delete your browser's cookies.

If clearing the browser history doesn't work, you might try deleting your browser's cookies. If the cookies are associated with the error-prone webpage, deleting the cookies might help reload the page.

4. Paste your URL into the website "Down for Everyone or Just Me."

Head to and paste in the URL where you're seeing the internal server error. You'll either be told that the website is only down for you, or that the website is down for everyone.

the homepage of displaying the http 500 internal error status of youtube.comIf it's a problem with your server, this should help assuage any concerns that it's an issue with your own computer.

If the 500 Internal Server Error is on Your Own Website:

1. Deactivate a plugin or theme.

Newly activated software, add-ons, or third-party scripts might be conflicting with your current server configuration. To determine this, try (carefully) deactivating or uninstalling your software add-ons one at a time to identify what exactly is causing the internal server error.

If you run a WordPress website, this is easy to do with plugins. From your dashboard, choose Plugins > Installed Plugins, then deactivate the first plugin. If the error resolves, you know this plugin is part of the issue. Reactivate the first plugin, then repeat this deactivate-reactivate process one at a time for all plugins to determine which ones are causing your error.

list of active plugins on a wordpress site and a deactivate button to resolve an http 500 internal server errorYou might find that having fewer active plugins on your site helps things run more smoothly.

Alternatively, if you just upgraded your software, your current plugins or themes might not be compatible with the new upgrade. Deactivating plugins or themes one at a time until the error disappears is the best way to find the root cause of your problem.

2. Use a plugin like WP Debugging to identify the issue.

If your site is powered by WordPress and you're comfortable with WordPress debugging processes, consider installing a plugin to help you identify the issue with your server.

The debug plugin WP Debugging, for instance, helps you figure out exactly what's wrong with your site, which will result in a speedier fix.

download page for the wp debugging plugin to help resolve the http 500 internal server error in wordpress

Image Source

3. Ensure your PHP setup is configured correctly.

If the issue is related to a PHP timeout, consider creating timeout rules or error handling in your script to resolve the issue. Here's a full list of php.ini directives to configure your PHP setup.

Additionally, wrong permissions on a file or folder that has a script, like a PHP or CGI script, won't allow the script to run. Check your permissions and make sure you set them correctly on your server.

4. Check the code for your site's .htaccess file.

Incorrect coding or improper structure with your .htaccess file could be the reason you're seeing the 500 internal error. The .htaccess file helps you manage how long resources should be stored in a browser's cache. Try editing the file if you're seeing a 500 internal server error.

To locate your .htaccess file, access your website files through a file manager like cPanel or via FTP/SFTP. The file will probably be located in your public_html directory. There's a good chance your server will hide this file from view by default and you'll need to toggle hidden files on to see it.

a server file directory highlighting the htaccess file to resolve the http 500 internal server error

Image Source

Coding errors in .htaccess and custom scripts can also cause an HTTP 500 internal server error.

5. Ensure your new software is installed correctly.

Finally, check to see if your recently installed or upgraded software actually failed to install or upgrade. To refresh your software, check the vendor's website for instructions.

How to fix a 500 internal server error

Last Resort: Ask a Server Administrator for Help

If troubleshooting popular software problems or debugging server-side scripts doesn't fix your HTTP 500 internal server error, you should read about the most common causes for this type of issue in your server's documentation — an HTTP 500 internal server error can occur in different operating systems for a multitude of reasons.

You can also ask your service provider to access your error logs and find evidence for the root cause of your problem.

Internal server errors are irritating because they're unhelpful — it's basically the web server's way of saying, "Eh, I'm not sure." Hopefully, one of the above steps will resolve the problem so you can get back to life as usual.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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500 Internal Server Errors: What They Are & How to Fix Them was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

The Parts of a URL: A Short & Sweet Guide

If your website is like a house, then your website’s URL is like that house’s address. It defines where your website lives online, similar to how your home address determines where you live in a neighborhood, helping your visitors easily find your site. URLs also help Google understand what your website's pages are about.

There are technically five elements of a URL, and they’re discreetly important for optimizing your site’s user experience (UX) and SEO. To help you develop a concrete understanding of every part of a URL, let’s explore each of them in detail.

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

Below is an illustration of the different parts of a URL. 

Parts of a URL: url structureLet's break down this URL structure below. 

URL Structure


parts of a url: schemeThe scheme tells web servers which protocol to use when it accesses a page on your website.

Nowadays, HTTPS — which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure — is the most common scheme. It tells your web browser to encrypt any information you enter onto the page, like your passwords or credit card information, so cybercriminals can’t access it. This security protocol protects your website visitors and implementing it will help your site rank better on Google. That's why implementing SSL is a must-do on any technical SEO guide

Other schemes you might see are mailto://, which can open your computer’s default email service provider to help you draft an email to the email address you entered in the URL, and ftp://, which is a standard protocol for transferring computer files between a client and server on a computer network.


parts of a url: subdomainIf your website is like a house, your subdomains are like specific rooms in that house. A subdomain in a URL indicates which particular page of your website the web browser should serve up. For instance, subdomains like “blog” or “offers” will provide your website’s blog page or offers page.

Subdomains also bucket your website into its main content categories and shows Google and your visitors that there's more information on your site than just a homepage.

Second-level Domain

parts of a url: second-level domainYour second-level domain (SLD) is the name of your website. It helps people know they’re visiting a certain brand’s site. For instance, people who visit “” know they’re on Major League Baseball’s website, without needing any more information.

Top-level Domain

parts of a url: top-level domainThe top-level domain (TLD) specifies what type of entity your organization registers as on the internet.

For example, “.com” is intended for commercial entities in the United States, so a lot of American businesses register with a top-level domain of “.com”. Similarly “.edu” is intended for academic institutions in the United States, so a lot of American colleges and universities register with a top-level domain of “.edu”.


parts of a url: subdirectoryA subdirectory — also known as a subfolder — helps people as well as web crawlers understand which particular section of a webpage they’re on. 

For instance, if you own an online store that sells t-shirts, hats, and mugs, one of your website’s URLs could look like “”. Notice that the subdomain is “shop” and the subdirectory is “hats." That means this URL would serve up the “Hats” page, which is a subfolder of the “Shop” page. T-shirts and mugs would be other subfolders of this page.

URL Structure: Subtle Yet Essential

Even though URLs might seem simple and frivolous, they’re actually important for your website’s UX and SEO. And now that you understand the anatomy of a URL, check out the blog posts below to learn more about technical SEO.

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

The Parts of a URL: A Short & Sweet Guide was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

How to Write About Your Professional Background

A great way to share more about your background is to have a prepared document, like a professional bio.

A professional bio can be shared with prospective employers, shared with your colleagues, included in your social media profiles, used for speaking engagement announcements, or used as an author bio on a blog.

Writing about your professional background for the first time may feel challenging or awkward, but it doesn't have to be.

Here, we'll explore some tips to help you feel more comfortable when writing your own professional background. Let's dive in.

→ Download Now: 80 Professional Bio Examples [Free Templates]

Your professional background includes previous jobs you've had, successful projects you've worked on, significant accomplishments like promotions or awards, professional networking organizations you belong to, and anything else you'd share with someone who wants to know more about you professionally.

Not only is sharing more about your background a great way to tell more about yourself to others, it's also an opportunity to wholly reflect on your professional journey and the goals you've achieved — plus, what you hope to achieve in the future.

Next, let's dive into how you can get started.

1. Don't start from scratch.

If you're having trouble figuring out where to start, try using a professional bio template to guide you. Templates, like the ones featured below, make it easier for you to focus on your personal information and accomplishments, without having to worry as much about the structure.

Featured Resource: Professional Bio Templates and Examples

Professional Bio Templates

Download the Templates

2. Know your audience.

Take into consideration who will be reading your professional bio and cater to your reader.

You may also want to draft different versions of your document to best fit specific audiences. For example, the version you post on your LinkedIn may not be as detailed as the version you post on your personal website, and if your reader is a potential employer, it would help to include details that specifically highlight why you're the best candidate for the role for which you're applying.

HubSpot Founder Dharmesh Shah uses different bios for different platforms. On Twitter, for instance, Dharmesh's bio is short and sweet, which is perfect for Twitter's character limit.

Darmesh Shah's professional background on TwitterAlternatively, on INBOUND's website, Dharmesh's bio is written in third-person for attendees. This bio makes Dharmesh's current role clear while providing some key background information.

Darmesh Shah's professional background on the INBOUND websiteFinally, in his OnStartups bio, Dharmesh's voice is personable since he's speaking directly to the reader. This gives readers more insight into Dharmesh's background directly from his perspective.

Darmesh Shah's professional background on OnStartupsThe best part about this approach is that you can create as many versions of your bio as you'd like, or simply recycle a general version whenever you need it.

3. Show professional progression.

As you're writing, think about structuring your professional bio in a way that creates a timeline to show your progression. Explain what your different roles were like, and emphasize responsibilities that set you up for success in your latter roles.

It's important to note that your timeline doesn't have to be linear.

"Look for a theme that runs throughout several of the jobs you've held, and present your choices in a way that shows common threads running through each of your career decisions," explains career strategist Jenny Foss.

The goal is to clearly show your audience the different roles you've had, and how all of your experiences have contributed to your overall professional development.

4. Highlight your accomplishments.

One of the best things about writing your professional background is that it's the perfect opportunity to brag about yourself — and I don't mean humble brag.

Think of the most successful projects you've been part of, the strategies you've helped develop and execute, the deals you've closed, the revenue you've generated, and anything else that stands out as a major accomplishment.

"A former manager once told me to keep a 'brag sheet' in a document on my computer. The idea was to create a running list of noteworthy accomplishments, media mentions, awards, and letters of recommendation that I could reference to make it easier to write about myself. It also doesn't hurt to open up this document whenever you're having a tough day to remind yourself what you're capable of,” Carly Stec, HubSpot's Team Manager of Content Conversion, told me.

It's also important to consider how success was measured in your previous roles — and how that might shape the way you write about it.

If success for you tends to be measured in quantifiable metrics, include strong statistics. It might look something like this:

  • "In my first six months, I was able to sign up X amount of customers that generated an average monthly recurring revenue of $X."
  • "I helped boost customer retention by X percentage."
  • "With the strategy I developed, my team was able to lower customer acquisition costs by X percentage."

If your role is primarily measured through qualitative goals, share a highlight that speaks to skills you excel at. For example:

  • "I successfully executed a major project using strong time management skills and communicated the results to C-suite stakeholders."
  • "I was able to complete a project that was projected to take an entire quarter in half the time because of my organizational skills."
  • "I was selected to lead a database cleanup project due to my attention to detail and strong team collaboration skills."

5. Be personable.

Timelines and accomplishments are great, but being personable is even better.

Readers should feel like they're getting some sense of who you are from your professional background. This gives readers the opportunity to know more about you beyond a professional scope. If you have any cool niche hobbies that you enjoy outside of work, this would be the time to share.

Here's a list of prompts to help you brainstorm the right "fun facts" to highlight:

  • What TV show are you currently binging?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What's something most people don't know about you?
  • What languages do you speak?
  • What are you most proud of yourself for?
  • What’s something you've done that’s bucket-list worthy?
  • What do you do to relax?
  • What are three of your must-have apps?
  • What would your favorite colleague say about you?
  • What's the best advice you've ever received and how do you apply it to your life?

Being personable is also a great opportunity to address any unconventional moments in your professional background. For example, maybe you've made a drastic shift in your career path, or you took a sabbatical at some point.

These types of stories can make you more relatable to your audience, and you never know who you may end up connecting with over one of your hobbies or more personal moments.

6. Ask for feedback.

Constructive feedback is key when you're writing about yourself. While many choose to source feedback after completing a draft of their bio, it's just as beneficial to get feedback from your peers at earlier stages of your drafting process.

Oftentimes, our peers can help identify our strengths and where we have opportunities to improve. If you're having trouble developing a clear timeline or pinpointing which highlights you should mention, get together with a peer to brainstorm ideas.

Reflect on successful assignments that you've collaborated on and ask your peer to provide honest feedback about what you did best — and include that feedback in your bio.

If you need help getting started, here's a list of discussion questions to use with your peers to uncover professional strengths you might be overlooking in your own self-assessment:

  • What role do you think I tend to play in group work?
  • How have I helped you be more successful?
  • What do you think my most impressive project has been?
  • What was your first impression of me?
  • What do you think my strengths are?

If you're feeling stuck, don't be afraid to leverage our free professional bio templates to help you get started.

Next, let’s go over professional background examples from both tenured and early-career professionals.

Professional Background Examples

1. Bozoma Saint John

Professional background example by Bozoma Saint JohnBozoma Saint John opens her biography by covering her most recent role at Netflix, then goes all the way back to the beginning of her career. From there, she provides a detailed overview of her accomplishments, inserting the names of the most notable organizations she has worked with.

Notice how she familiarizes us with her by using her nickname, “Boz,” throughout her professional background. In the same way, you can use your nickname throughout your bio (if you’re writing it in third person).

We’d recommend writing a background like Saint John’s if you’re seeking speaking or presenting opportunities.

2. Jim Kowalski

Professional background example by Jim KowalskiJim Kowalski walks us through his passions before describing his work experience and accomplishments. He makes it a point to connect his love of the automotive industry to his ethos in his work. Another notable feature of his professional background is that he mentions a brand he invigorated (it was “almost dead,” he asserts). He closes with his fascinating adventures around the world, including building a home in Thailand.

Mention ways that you’ve prevented clients and other companies from failing. If you’ve had noteworthy adventures, consider bringing them into your professional background as well. A background bio doesn’t have to be wooden; it can be fun, too, as long as you remain within reason. Plus, it gives the reader a chance to connect with you.

3. Katherine Gundlach

Professional background example by Katherine GundlachIf you’re a college student, you might not have a long list of professional accomplishments, but you can take note from Katherine Gundlach’s example and write about what you love to do — and why you love to do it.

Katherine Gundlach opens her professional background with her current status as a college student, then goes into an anecdote that describes why she became a photographer. In the latter half of the bio, she describes her mission when photographing others. In your own bio, describe the purpose of what you do (or the reason why you want to pursue a certain field).

She also says where she’s from. Mentioning personal information in your professional bio can be a way for readers, hiring managers, and colleagues to relate to you.

4. Erick Rheam

Professional background example by Erick RheamErick Rheam’s professional background effectively outlines his path to becoming a motivational speaker. He also cements his expertise by stating that he speaks regularly across the U.S. After, he outlines his vision and purpose for doing what he does. Like some of the other examples on this list, he includes personal information about himself: that he’s a runner.

This professional background is done well because it’s succinct and balances professionalism, expertise, and personality. Consider achieving a similar balance in your own background document by dedicating 1-2 sentences to each aspect of your professional and personal life.

5. Dr. Houyuan Luo

Professional background example by Dr. LuoDr. Houyuan Luo’s professional background is a classic example of a bio that’s inspirational, professional, and persuasive.

In the medical industry, education is immensely important — how long you studied can determine your level of expertise. Dr. Luo immediately lists his academic background, then details how passionate he is for his field. He emphasizes his humanitarian values most, cementing him as an excellent candidate for clinical training and speaking opportunities.

If you work in the healthcare, non-profit, legal, educational, or environmental industries, consider emphasizing your values and ethos in your professional background. Like Dr. Luo, you can leave mention of your current position for the last sentence.

6. Claire Buswell

Professional background example by Claire BuswellClaire Buswell immediately establishes herself as a relatable persona by going over her personal history first — then connecting that to her role today. Because she was once in the same position as her clients, Buswell is better prepared to help them professionally. She makes that clear in her professional background and is vulnerable about how hard it was to find a job.

If you’ve created a business that solves a problem that you experienced, consider bringing that into your professional background. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. In fact, being vulnerable can make you more relatable, and your level of success now will be testament to your methods’ effectiveness. 

Ready to start writing?

Keep these tips and examples in mind as you're writing about your professional bio. Your final product should be a written statement that boasts your most notable skills and achievements. As you continue to progress in your career, take time to update your bio like you would your resume, and continue to impress your readers.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Write About Your Professional Background was originally posted by Local Sign Company Irvine, Ca.