In the world of marketing, it seems like there are always new tools, tips, tricks, and trends to discover and incorporate into your marketing strategy. How is it possible to keep up with them all?
As a marketer myself, I often wish I had a better sense of all of the tools available to me — and what sets each of them apart — so I can make more informed decisions on how to create and optimize content.
Luckily, I have the privilege of working on a team of 150+ other marketers who specialize in different functions than I do. And because of that, I was able to curate this list of the top 58 tools every marketer should know about and being using in 2017.
I’ll make it easy for you. I broke up my list of recommended tools into different sections so you can get a better sense of what tools are available for different functions of the job. At the end, you’ll see the whole list of 58 tools that you can skim and bookmark for later.
Automation is nothing new to marketers. Whether you want to save time doing marketing tasks or simply cut time wasted doing those daily tasks like saving emails and files to spreadsheets, having a tool that makes your life easier and saves you time is ideal.
While there are lots of automation tools out there for specific fields or verticals (for example, the HubSpot workflows tool for marketing automation), there aren’t many tools that allow you to automate the various different tools you use throughout all aspects of your life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to link lots of tasks between different apps together? Like posting your Instagram photos to all your social networks or linking your app reminders together. With IFTTT you can!
IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a service that allows you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. These “if this then that” applets are triggered by a wide range of other web-based services at the choice of the user. Some of the web-based services that work with IFTTT include Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Fitbit, and much, much more.
Closing Deals and Tracking Relationships
You and your sales team want to sell your product or service — not fight with messy spreadsheets, cluttered inboxes, or clunky tools that slow you down. That’s why using a Customer Relationship Management System — also known as a CRM — is essential. Not only will it help your sales team manage relationships, but a CRM will also give you a place to deliver those leads you generated to your sales team.
CRMs are such an essential part of any good marketing and sales team that we think everyone should have one. That’s why the HubSpot CRM is completely free.
HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn — not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry.
In the world of content creation, there are admittedly tons of different tools you could use to create various types of content. Whether it’s social images, logos, blog posts, or ebooks — the options and tools are endless.
That said, a newcomer among the Adobe Suite of tools is winning the hearts of many marketers, including this one, for its ease of use to create stunning webpages, awesome videos, and eye-catching graphics. The best part? It’s completely free and impossibly easy.
Adobe Spark is a suite of three web or mobile apps – Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video — that allows marketers to easily create graphics, webpages, and videos in a variety of themes in minutes.
You can completely avoid the hassle of page layout, video editing knowledge, or a CMS and start creating content that looks remarkable immediately. For example, we use Spark Page at HubSpot to create some of our online guides and promote them with Spark Videos and Posts. You can too!
Other Content Creation Tools:
- Adobe Color CC
It’s 2017 — haven’t you heard? Video is the thing everyone is talking about. But how do you actually implement it into your marketing?
Maybe your strategy is just to put a YouTube video embed on one of your blog posts or landing pages. But then what happens? Someone else’s ad plays on your landing page before your video even begins. That’s bad for your conversion rates, brand, and your user. Luckily, there’s a solution.
Wistia is a powerful video hosting platform that allows you to host your videos on your website — ad free — with a guaranteed smooth playback and responsive player. Wistia also helps you prove the ROI of your video efforts by offering you video analytics and key metrics to fine-tune your video marketing efforts over time. Ready to take your video marketing to the next level?
Other video tools:
Content Distribution and Brand Awareness:
While it might seem like a given, when it comes to getting your content distributed online, there really is king that we’d be remiss if we’d different mention:
I know, I know. Google isn’t “exactly” a new or a fascinating tool that you didn’t already know about. That said, within the same parent company is another important distribution channel that many marketers often forget when they’re strategically distributing content for the sake of brand awareness.
YouTube is becoming more and more important to marketers lean more heavily on video-based content. While, of course, you should continue to optimize your text-based content for search engine optimization, don’t forget to consider Youtube as an important channel as well. Not only is YouTube great for hosting your videos and getting them shared across social networks, it’s also important to optimize your videos for search to get found on Youtube as well.
Other distribution and brand awareness channels:
- Product Hunt
Continuing Education and Learning
A challenge all marketers face is the need for continuous learning over time. With new tools and methods changing all the time, it’s essential to stay on top of the trends and changes. Luckily, there aren’t a shortage of tools and platforms for you to learn new tactics or techniques and take necessary classes.
HubSpot Academy, for example, is a great place to go anytime you need to get up-to-date information on the latest marketing best practices, find answers to your questions, get certified in a new area of expertise, or renew certifications on subjects that you’re a little rusty on.
Other ongoing education and learning tools:
- General Assembly
Conversion Rate Optimization
When it comes to your bottom-line goals, you probably want a few top-notch tools up your belt for not only getting visitors to your website, but just as importantly, converting those website visitors into leads and customers.
Unbounce lets you quickly build beautiful, branded landing pages that will turn those visitors into leads in no time. Between it’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop features, modal overlays, and integrations with tons of different CMS platforms and tools, Unbounce is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a simple tool that will amp up their conversion rates on landing pages.
Other CRO Tools:
- HubSpot Marketing Free
- HubSpot Landing Pages tool
Whether your team holds monthly customer and prospect events, yearly conferences, or just occasional community outreach parties and events, it’s important to have the best event marketing tool up your sleeve when the time comes to use it. After all, in-person events are some of the best ways to interact with potential customers and create a brand experience that prospects, customers, and your community will remember.
Eventbrite is an efficient, easy-to-use tool tons of marketers rely on not only to manage the logistics (like ticketing) of events but also to promote their events. Eventbrite lets you create an event landing page and allows you to set up your ticketing and payment for the event all within the same platform. The best part? Eventbrite is always free if you’re hosting a free event!
Other event marketing tools:
Fun and Innovative Tools:
If you’re on the search for new marketing tools, chances are you’re not just looking for the hammer and the nail in your toolkit. Instead, you might be looking for new and innovative solutions to try out and experiment with in your marketing. Sound about right?
As marketers, you’ve probably used forms — whether on your site or in a survey — more than a few times. But have you ever started to get bored with the same old, robotic form type?
Typeform is the tool you need to try if you’re looking for new ways to interact with your prospects and customers while giving them a positive, human-centered experience. Typeform isn’t just another survey tool. It’s a conversational, interactive typeform that feels more interactive than a standard form. Use it to host survey content, lead forms, or even create content with it by putting together quizzes and more.
Other fun tools to try:
Keeping Up with the Latest Industry News Tools
Reading this post alone won’t end your career-long pursuit for the latest tools, trends, and marketing techniques. That’s why keeping up with the latest industry news is a full part of your job as a marketer.
Product Hunt, a tool meant for finding the latest tools and products, is a must for any marketer trying to stay on top of the industry and find new channels to promote their own product launches. Product Hunt is a daily feed of launched tools, letting people upvote what they think is interesting. Pro tip: when you sign up for Product Hunt, set it as your homescreen in your browser so you’ll always have a reminder to keep an eye out for what’s new. Who knows? You might even decide to use some of the featured tools yourself!
Other news and timely tools:
- Your choice of online news sources or magazines
Lead Generation Tools
If you’re in the mood for demand generation, you probably have you eyes on the prize: converting anonymous website visitors into contacts with email addresses that you can successfully nurture. While landing pages are a must for some things, sometimes you want a shorter, simpler user experience to capture lead information.
HubSpot Marketing Free is the simplest, easiest way to do just that. The moment a lead shares their email, you’ll know who they are, where they work, and what pages they visited — all in real time. When they view an offer or check your pricing, you’ll be ready to follow up right away.
And with simple but powerful analytics, you’ll learn more about what’s working and what’s not — like which traffic sources or pieces of content are driving the most conversions. It’s a risk-free way to find out what inbound marketing can do for you. No budget necessary.
In the world of nurturing, the tools and techniques used are constantly involving. While some aspects of nurturing remain the same, like using email to nurture contacts down your funnel, for example, the content and positioning you use is ever-changing. It would be easy for us to introduce a set of standard workflow and automation tools (like HubSpot’s, for example) you can use to nurture your contacts down the funnel. But if you’re looking for something a little more innovative for actually creating nurturing content, we have a new tool for you to try.
Vidyard is a great tool for creating and hosting awesome video content in your nurturing flows and otherwise. At HubSpot, for example, we’ve even started using Vidyard to create unique, customized nurturing videos specific to our audience and product. What makes Vidyard so great is its variety of video tools that you can use to create remarkable content.
From Vidyard’s live feature to its studio content creation products to its free tool – ViewedIt — Vidyard is an excellent tool if you’re a marketer looking to jump on the video bandwagon and start integrating video into all of your content.
Online Advertising Tools
If your team is making investments into PPC ad campaigns on platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it’s probably a bit of a hassle to manage all the different ad campaigns you’re running across each different network. Besides just managing them, you then have to try and report on the results of all of them. What a struggle. Luckily, there’s a tool for that.
AdStage takes the hassle out reporting on all of the PPC campaigns you’re running and puts it all in one place. AdStage helps you automate, create, and manage your campaigns across all of the major PPC platforms, then allows you to report on your results. With visual features and powerful automation tools, AdStage is a must for PPC experts and newbies alike.
Other online advertising tools:
- HubSpot Ads Add-On
- Perfect Audience
- Google Adwords
In any marketing team, the inevitable happens: there’s a million files and pieces of content between everyone on your team without one place to keep it all. Organization on any team — let alone a marketing team — is essential. That’s why it’s important to have a collaborative organization tool to keep you sane.
Dropbox is the perfect tool to keep your team organized and your files under control. With cloud-based software to keep your files accessible anywhere at anytime, Dropbox helps your team store all of its files in a central location. Dropbox makes it easy to collaborate, too. With tools like Dropbox Paper, which allows you to write and collaborate in real time on the same doc — and sharing tools for shared folders and files, you’ll be organized and ready for any project that comes your way.
Other organization tools:
- Google Drive
File management and organization is one thing, but how do you manage all of the moving pieces of a marketing campaign or project? There are many different tools you can use for project management, but only one sticks out when it comes to the number of integrations and features at the price of — oh yeah — free!
Trello is a great project management tool for small teams and individuals. With it’s Kanban-style setup and fun user interface, Trello lets you set up to-do lists and tag individual cards with due dates, members, labels, and more. You can attach files, links, images, and more to your cards and easily get a full-view of any project that you’re working on. At HubSpot, we use Trello daily to manage our team campaigns and individual to-do lists. Want an example of how we do this? Check out our guide to managing marketing campaigns in Trello.
Other project management tools:
- HubSpot Projects Tool (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
Search Engine Optimization
Whether its keyword research, content optimization, or checking your current page rankings, every marketer needs a go-to tool for planning what content to create and how to optimize it for SEO. Google Analytics and SEMrush our great tools for planning which keywords to rank for, but how do you make sure the content you create actually meets your goal once it’s created?
OnPage.org is the ideal tool marketers can use to make sure their SEO efforts are having a real impact on their marketing strategy.
Other SEO tools:
- HubSpot Content Strategy Tool
- Google Analytics / Keyword Tool
- Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension
Social Media Managers know the pain of posting that perfect social media post only to have a follower find a typo a minute later and call you out. For marketers, using a social media tool to schedule all of your posts (so you catch those typos beforehand) is a must. But it also helps to get the right analytics from your social posts, especially on channels where it can be hard to get that information.
Iconosquare is the perfect tool for marketers to grow their brand on Instagram with easy-to-use analytics. It’s not always easy to know what’s working and what’s not on Instagram. But, as the second most popular social channel and one that’s quickly approaching first most popular among some age groups, it’s a channel that marketers can’t afford to miss out on. Try Iconosquare now to maximize your Instagram analytics and optimize your brand Instagram channel for success.
Other social media tools:
- HubSpot Social Inbox (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
Where would your work day be without accessibility and communication between you and your colleagues? Probably pretty frustrating. Marketers can’t shy away from communication when it comes to aligning with team members and across the company, so having the right team communication tools is necessary every single day.
I’d be given a lot of slack if I didn’t make the world aware of this tool.
Slack is a powerful messaging app that allows you and your teammates to quickly message back and forth without the hassle of email. But it’s not just AOL instant messenger 2.0. Slack has powerful features and integrations that make it possible for you to integrate all of your other daily tools — like Trello, Gmail, Giphy, and so many more — right where you’re already communicating. You can start channels between different teams or just chat with specific colleagues. Slack makes remote and in-person work possible and easier than ever.
Other team communication tools:
- Google Chat
As marketers, sometimes it feels like we’re constantly making educated guesses about how our site visitors are going to interact with our content. While we might design a page to draw our user’s eye to a spot on a page, how do we ever really know where their focus is so that we can improve that experience?
Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand what your web and mobile site visitors are looking at when they interact with your site. WIth its visual heatmap tools, you can understand what users want, care about, and interact with on your site. Hotjar visually represents visitors’ clicks, taps and scrolling behavior, giving you the ability to find hot areas for growth and conversion rate optimization.
Other website optimization tools:
- HubSpot Website Platform
Want the full list of tools? Here it is:
We’ve covered a lot of tools for every part of your job on this page. But sometimes, it’s just helpful to see the full list. Here is our list of the top 58 marketing tools you need to know about.
Top 58 Tools Every Marketer Should Know About
|Adobe Color CC||Hotjar||Product Hunt|
|Adobe Spark||HubSpot Academy||Recordit|
You’ve got all the tools you need, but are you looking for a place to start putting them all together? Check out our free marketing blue print guide. It’ll walk you through creating your own marketing plan and teach you how to use all of these tools together.
Thanks for joining me here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog today. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all a few things you might not know about me.
I’m ambidextrous (I can write with both hands), I’m the adoptive mother of three cats (one of whom is named Kitty), and before coming to HubSpot, I spent a lot of time writing and sending link building outreach emails.
Inbound links back to your website play an important role in achieving your inbound marketing goals. They also require strategy and diligent work to come by. I would know — I worked very hard to earn inbound links for a long time.
Whether you’re just starting out with inbound link building or you’re getting fatigued by nobody replying to your outreach emails, I wanted to help you out. I’ve created nine different templates for killer outreach emails that you can borrow and adapt for your own link building strategy.
What Is Link Building?
Before we dive into the templates, let’s quickly review the basics of inbound link building. If you’re already caught up to speed, skip ahead to check out the templates.
Inbound links, otherwise known as backlinks, are links pointing toward your website from another website.
Here’s an example: Check out this publishing volume experiment analysis on the Moz Blog. If you’ll notice, the previous sentence contains a link pointing toward Moz’s website. That’s a backlink. And if you read the article, you’ll notice it contains a link pointing back to our website here at HubSpot. That’s a backlink, too.
Now that we all understand what inbound links are, why are they important?
- Inbound links drive traffic to your website. In the example above, the HubSpot blog earned traffic from any of Moz’s blog readers who followed the link to HubSpot’s website.
- Inbound links improve your search engine rankings. Inbound links tell search engines that your website knows what it’s talking about — otherwise, why would someone link to it? The more inbound links you earn from high-quality sites, the higher your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERP).
To sum up, inbound links are valuable because they help your website rank higher in search, which helps more people find your organization, start clicking around, and eventually become a lead.
Link building is the process of obtaining those inbound links. When your website is a high-powered, well-respected content engine, other sites and individuals online will link to your content organically — without you having to ask. But if you’re like a lot of other inbound marketers out there, your website still has a ways to go.
A dedicated link building strategy starts with an ask — usually via email — and that’s where these templates come in.
Link Building Outreach Rules
But before we get to the templates, some rules.
There are right and wrong ways to go about improving your site’s SEO, and inbound link building — when done correctly — is generally regarded as one of the right ways. You’re pitching your content to publications that might be interested in sharing it with different audiences. A backlink is just the cherry on top.
However, there are wrong ways to go about asking for inbound backlinks, and I want to make sure you sure understand the rules of the road before you start emailing.
1) The best way to generate quality backlinks is to publish exceptional content publishers organically cite.
That being said, a dedicated backlink outreach strategy can be helpful for newer websites or if you’re promoting a specific piece of exceptional content. The more content you produce and, in turn, promote with social media content and backlinks, the more search engine authority your site will accumulate.
2) Only pitch guest posts or backlinks that add value for the reader.
Instead of asking your contacts to randomly link back to your site somewhere on theirs, ask publishers if you can write for their blogs or conribute new ideas and data for content they’re already working on. Offers such as these will result in quality backlinks that provide readers with valuable information.
3) Send individualized emails to specific publishers.
Never, and I mean never, mass email an enormous contacts list with a pitch template. It’s spammy, impersonal, and likely won’t get you the results you want anyway. Adapt the templates below if you like them, but it’s critically important to individually craft specific emails for particular publishers.
The first step of your outreach process should always be researching publications and specific people who might be interested in your content. You shouldn’t start with typing up an email and sending it to everyone in your industry with a website. Read on for new ideas for how to ask for an inbound link — in ways that are polite, clever, and might just get you that backlink.
Note: These email templates are based on emails I’ve sent and received. Any references to industries, companies, or individuals are meant to illustrate these fictitious email examples.
1) The preview
If you don’t have any connections with the person you’re pitching, offering a preview might be an effective way to share your content. With this type of email, you’re asking first if the recipient would like to see the piece of content you’d like them to link to. The key to getting a reply is making sure you’ve personalized your email and enticed the reader with enough details to get them to reach back out.
2) The exclusive offer
If you’ve produced new research or data with surprising or intriguing results, it might be worth pitching your content as an exclusive before pressing publish on your own blog. An exclusive offer to a top-ranking publication in your industry could get you a lot of traffic from a single link, so it might be worth adjusting or reconsidering your own publication schedule.
When pitching to top journalists whose inboxes are probably flooded, keep your subject lines detailed and your emails short to communicate as much information in as few words as possible.
3) The DYK
Everyone likes to learn a fun fact. Couch your pitch as a “did you know” moment to pique the recipient’s curiosity to read the rest of your content for more fun and new information. If you were able to teach them something new, they may want to feature your fresh insight for their own readers.
4) The personalized pitch
The most critical part of a successful outreach email is personalization. I’m not talking about addressing your email to the correct name and spelling everything correctly — although you should definitely do both of those things. By showing the recipient that you know who they are and what they’re about, your pitch reads as genuine, and you read as a comprehensive possible partner.
It’s easy to write, “I loved your last article about [subject],” but it takes some digging and understanding to write, “I love reading your monthly social media news series. Did you catch the latest Facebook update that came out today?” Make sure your email shows that you’ve taken the time to understand what the person is all about and what they regularly cover.
5) The offer
Nobody likes having extra work on their plate, so why not pitch doing the work for them? If you pitch a great idea alongside an offer to write a guest post, the recipient might be more inclined to say “yes.” But remember to do your due diligence before pressing “send.” If the person you’re pitching has already written about a specific angle a few times before, make sure you’re pitching something new and different to avoid getting ignored.
6) The mention
Everybody likes to see their name in print. A clever way to angle for a backlink is to mention a product or an individual in a published piece, then circle back and share it with them. Ask for their feedback to get them reading the post, and they might link to it or share it on social of their own accord.
7) The social proof
Social proof is the concept that consumers will be influenced by what others are already doing. For example, if you head to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll notice that we ask you to subscribe, noting that 300,000 marketers have already subscribed. That’s social proof in action: You might be more likely to subscribe now that you know hundreds of thousands of people are already doing it.
So, if you’ve published a great piece of content that people are responding positively to, tell people that when you pitch it for backlinks. They might be more inclined to cite you if other people in their field are already doing so.
8) The joke
Tread carefully with humor, but if you’ve perused their social media and they seem like they would appreciate a goofy joke, it could be a smart way to get your recipient’s attention.
As in the rules of the workplace or cocktail parties, avoid making jokes about politics, religion, or anything rated PG-13 and up.
9) The response
This is another risky outreach strategy, but it could pay off if you do it properly.
The ultimate way to demonstrate that you’re an avid reader (instead of just saying so) is to respond to someone’s work with an opinion — even if it’s divergent. Other options besides the counterpoint in the example below could include:
- A case study of you taking their advice and applying it to your brand
- A different content format on the same subject — for example, a video explainer instead of a blog post
Email Link Building Best Practices
So, you might have noticed that these aren’t the traditional templates you can copy and paste into your own inbox.
And that’s because I don’t want you to simply plug in these emails and replace them with your own pitch. Part of the reason successful link building takes time and effort is because you have to craft a personalized email every time. You should use the guidelines I’ve outlined above, but copying and pasting the same exact message is just bad news for all involved. Don’t do it.
Below are more of my link building outreach email best practices:
1) Edit, then edit again.
Nothing makes me less interested in responding to a pitch email than when there is immediately a typo or grammatical error as early as the subject line — or my name. Double-check to ensure that all names are spelled correctly, that capitalization is perfect (Hubspot vs. HubSpot), and that punctuation is perfect.
On the other side of editing, cut your email down wherever you can. It’s better for your email to be on the shorter side than too long, so try to delete any extra words and phrases that aren’t completely necessary.
2) Keep your subject lines short and sweet.
My rule of thumb for subject lines is to avoid making them complete sentences. Stick to the important details to communicate as much enticing information in as few words as possible. If your brand name is recognizable, make sure to name drop yourself, too.
3) Don’t fake flattery.
If it’s easy to tell when someone’s compliments are inauthentic in person, it’s even easier to tell via email. Don’t flatter people you’re contacting for the sake of it — genuinely compliment their work, their insights, or their achievements, and take the compliment a step further to add value with your own content.
4) Do the legwork before you send.
Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about by doing your research before you press “send.” When you think you’ve found the right person to pitch, take some time to research what they’ve written about in the past and what they discuss on social media. Pay attention to timing, too. If an author has just written about social media statistics, they might not want to write about the same angle one week later, so try to bring a new or related pitch to the table.
5) Don’t follow up more than once or twice.
Let’s face it — we’re all busy. Even if your outreach email is impeccable, it could get lost in someone’s inbox during a busy morning. You should feel free to reach out once to follow up, but don’t go overboard in pestering someone if they’re not getting back to you. After one or two follow-ups, let your pitch go, and reach out to them with another pitch further down the line.
For more link building strategies and best practices, the pros over at Moz can point you in the direction of more replies and backlinks and fewer ignores and “no”s. For more must-have SEO strategies to tackle in 2017, check out our free guide here.
When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.
For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place.
Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.
The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet
1) Blog Posts
- Post length: 2100 words
- Title: Under 60 characters
- Meta Description: Under 155 characters
When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:
- According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.
- The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.
- At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.
- That aligns with research previously conducted by serpIQ, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.
That means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.
But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.
The length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.
Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.
Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.
In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.
A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.
Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.
Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.
- Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
- Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes
Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.“
But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.
“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”
Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.
While Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.
According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”
Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.
- Tweets: 140-character maximum
- Does not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweets
- Ideal length is 120-130 characters
- Hashtags: No more than two
- Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds
Length of Tweets
Marketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.
Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment.
Ideal Length Overall
Like so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):
The same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.
Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.
You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.
Here’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:
- Professional headline: 120
- Summary: 2,000
- Position title: 100
- Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)
- Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.”
With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:
- Post headline: 100
- Post body: 40,000
- Bio: 150-character maximum
- Hashtags: Maximum of 30
- Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters
Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.
Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:
While Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.
As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.
- Character limit: 80 per post
Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.
Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.
According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:
Here we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.
That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.
Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.
In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.
Show Your Character
As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.
Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.
How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.
This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Today I’m going to show you how we boosted our organic traffic by 43% over a 3 month period.
The best part is, we did it without publishing any new content, spending any more money on marketing or adding any additional resources to our team.
We call the strategy, The Mission Week, and I will tell you exactly how we do it.
But First, a Little Story …
I am the founder of small business-focused job board called Proven.
In October of 2015, we made the difficult decision to completely forgo building a sales team and focus all our efforts instead on acquiring customers via content marketing and SEO.
We knew that given the price point of our product, it was not economically viable for us to have people make sales calls. We needed a lower cost solution to bringing in new customers.
This led us to seeking a content marketing and SEO strategy.
Like many companies new to blogging, we rushed into it full steam, cranking out tons of new posts. We started to realize that this was a doomed strategy. We had hundreds of posts, but were barely moving the needle on our overall traffic. We figured we could only get a traffic boost as long as we were creating new content.
In early 2016, we started to learn a lot more about content promotion and link building. This led to a number of content successes, like ranking in the top 5 on Google for the search term“job board”, but after a while, this growth started to tail off.
Our content promotion was unfocused, lacked clear goals, and as a result, great pieces of content were not ranking well.
Finally, this all changed when our amazing Director of Marketing, Caileen Kehayas, invented The Mission Week.
What is a Mission Week?
Our Mission Weeks consist of choosing one piece of content that’s under performing and everyone on the team focuses their promotional efforts only on this piece of content.
We gamify the process by assigning points to different types of promotional activities.
For example, sending an outreach email might get you 1 point, you can earn 2 points for broken link building and 5 points for writing a guest blog that links to the article. Each person must accumulate 20 points to complete their mission for the week.
Regardless of your role in our company, you can participate. If you aren’t comfortable writing articles, you can earn points through outreach emails, discovering linking opportunities or responding to relevant questions on Quora.
As part of the promotion, we will do minor content updates and perhaps update the title and meta tags of the article.
The weekly point goal is small enough that it doesn’t take up so much time that it becomes overwhelming. Team members can easily earn enough points without compromising their regular workloads.
Involving everyone at Proven — even those outside of the marketing team — helps create more dynamic and diverse supporting content. We all have different backgrounds and skill sets, and everyone is focused on promoting the same piece of content. With everyone participating, it’s a great opportunity for team building across different departments.
A Mission Week Case Study
In January 2016 we published an article called How to Interview: The Definitive Guide. After being live for 10 months on our blog, it never cracked the top 10 for Google search results for any high value set of keywords.
We chose this article back in late October as our first Mission Week.
This article now ranks 5th on Google for “how to interview”, and has 49 backlinks from 27 domains.
So, how did we do it?
Resource Link Building
Each participant was awarded 1 point for an outreach email sent to a site that was linking to similar content. Primarily, we use a resource link building strategy that I wrote about previously.
During this week, each person on the team sent an average of 18.5 outreach emails to sites linking to similar content.
To research 15 to 20 different possible sites and send them an email doesn’t take up too much of a person’s week. However, if someone was left doing all this outreach on their own, it becomes a huge tedious job that eats up a large portion of their week.
Each participant was awarded 5 points for writing an article that contained a link to this blog post.
During this week, our team produced 7 related articles that our Director of Marketing helped publish to different sites.
Again, writing one support piece is not too bad, but writing 7 is completely unreasonable for our small team.
We updated the title of the article to How to Interview Job Candidates (The Definitive Guide), because adding brackets to your title can help increase CTR on Google. We also updated the introduction and gave the design of the page a bit of a face lift.
All of these things help to improve CTR, bounce rate and dwell time, which are all ranking factors for Google.
As part of the mission, we schedule promotion of the article on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. We typically schedule up to 8 tweets for a single article, changing up the text and hashtags we use. If one tweet is performing really well, we will re-use it again and again on different days and different times.
Each participant was awarded 2 points for finding and answering a relevant Quora question. Although these are no-follow links, it does help to create brand awareness, referral traffic, and authority in the industry.
During the week, we had one team member answer 5 questions on Quora.
As mentioned, this article now ranks 5th on Google and went from delivering close to zero organic traffic to now being one of our top performing pieces.
We’ve seen consistent movement in our Google rankings for every subject of a Mission Week thus far. Following the same process outlined above, we did a Mission Week for this article about job ads.
Organizing Our Missions
Each week, our marketing director chooses the article with the most SEO potential that is under performing.
She puts together a document outlining the following:
- Article title
- Article URL
- The keywords we are targeting
- Current rankings for those keywords
- Suggestions for supporting article topics
- Search suggestions for finding sites that may link to us
Separately, we track in a shared spreadsheet all the outreach emails we send so that we don’t accidentally email the same person. This is also good for historical reference because it’s sometimes worth revisiting and following up with any outreach emails that get sent.
Transforming The Way We Promote Content
Mission Weeks have completely transformed the way we actively promote our content. Prior to having the Mission Weeks, we used a lot of the same promotional strategies, but it was not focused and many team members didn’t have clearly defined weekly goals to work towards.
Now, every week, everyone knows exactly what they need to accomplish. Marketing, engineering, customer support and the executives of Proven all participate, driving towards the same goal of accumulating 20 points. We brag to one another over Slack when we complete our missions or land a new link, which is typically followed by a barrage of GIFs.
Not only has The Mission Week process grown our organic traffic, it’s increased our new customers significantly in a short period of time.
I strongly encourage you to give it a try. You can play with the point system and weekly goal based on the needs and resources of your company.
Would you consider running a Mission Week at your company? Share your thoughts in the comments.
I’ll admit that when I first heard a colleague mention “latent semantic indexing,” my immediate response was simply, “What?”
Luckily, although it sounds like something that requires a degree in computer science, it’s actually a concept you’re probably familiar with — particularly if you have some basic knowledge of keywords and their close relationship with search engine optimization (SEO).
In this post, we’ll be using an infographic by HigherVisbility to discuss latent semantic indexing (LSI) in three parts. More specifically, we’ll define LSI and how the process can potentially benefit your overall SEO strategy, take a closer look at ways to find LSI-driven keywords, and outline how to add these keywords into your content.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
What Is Latent Semantic Indexing, and How Will It Boost Your Overall SEO Strategy?
To understand LSI, you want to start by taking a closer look at search engines and how they operate. At the very basic level, sites like Google use complex algorithms to understand two things:
- Your content and its context
- A user’s search intent and its relationship to specific keywords
In other words, LSI helps search engines identify related keywords and process synonyms to deliver more accurate search results.
Consider the word “aviator.” Pages that include this word could be anything from an e-commerce site selling the popular Ray Ban sunglasses to a fan page dedicated to Leonardo DiCaprio’s turn as Howard Hughes in the 2004 biopic, “The Aviator.”
Search engines use LSI keywords to help add context to pages that contain the word “aviator” in order to provide better search results. If the site is dedicated to the latter, for instance, it would include LSI keywords like, “Leonardo DiCaprio,” “drama,” and “movie.”
Benefits of LSI-Driven Keyword Research
Search engines are always on the hunt for the most relevant and in-depth content for a given query. When you think about how big the internet is, it’s not easy for a site like Google to determine what a page’s content is all about. This is why it rewards sites that include relevant LSI keywords with higher rankings and more traffic.
Benefits extend beyond those directly related to SEO, though. Additional and more accurate categorization helps users, publishers, and marketers alike. Publishers, for instance, can increase engagement because LSI-driven content is more targeted and ensures that it’s landing in front of the right audience. Users entering queries also benefit because they can easily (and more quickly) find the content that answers their questions.
5 Ways to Find LSI Keywords
Now that you’re an expert on LSI and why it’s important, let’s walk through the different ways you can find additional keywords you’ll want to include in future content and blog posts.
1) A Simple Google Search
One of the easiest ways to find LSI keywords is Google itself. When you enter a term in the search query field, it automatically shows the keywords related to the particular query.
Let’s use the earlier example of “aviator” again. An initial search of the word provides these results:
Again, there are a lot of pages this particular keyword could point to which is why we need to use LSI to add more context. If you continue to scroll down to the bottom, you’ll find a section titled, “Searches related to” and your given query:
Use the list of keywords as a starting point for potential LSI keywords because it reveals what Google already associates with your primary keywords.
The best part? This method is 100% free!
2) Use the Keyword Planner Tool via Google AdWords
If you have access to Google AdWords, you can also use their Keyword Planner tool.
Again, we’ll use the “aviator” example. Begin by adding the term into the initial query box. Click “Get ideas” and you’ll be redirected to a page that offers related keywords and an idea of how competitive search rankings are for said term.
3) Take Advantage of the SERPs Keyword Research Database Tool
Another free tool for you to use comes from SERPs. Their Keyword Research Database Tool is very similar to Google’s Keyword Planner. Simply add your query into the search bar and you’ll receive results based on volume of searches and CPC.
4) Use the LSI Keyword Generator
The LSI Graph/LSI Keyword Generator is another free tool specifically created for identifying LSI keywords. And as you can probably guess, it simply requires users to add a term into the search bar to generate a list of related keywords.
5) Try Ubersuggest
Finally, another freebie you can use to identify potential LSI keywords is Ubersuggest. Simply enter your primary keyword, and the tool will produce a list of related search queries based on volume, difficulty, and CPC.
How to Select (and Use) the Best LSI Keywords
At this stage, you’ve likely got a big list of potential LSI keywords. The trick is to narrow down your best options that are both directly related to your content and carry a decent amount of search volume.
Understand the Three Different Types of Intent
It’s important that your LSI keywords help answer any questions someone might have about your primary keyword, so you’ll want to figure out what kind of queries your target audience is putting into Google to find you content.
We’ll refer back to “aviator” again, this time in the context that it’s on a site dedicated to the film, “The Aviator.” Below are three different types of intent someone on Google might have using examples related to the movie:
- Informational intent: This type of query is typically on a much broader scale. An example would be, “What is the movie ‘The Aviator’ about?”
- Navigational intent: This is a more specific type of query. For instance, someone might want to know who directed the film or which company was a key producer.
- Transactional intent: This type of query relates to purchasing something. In regards to our example, it could be related to purchasing the DVD.
Choose Words That Add Context, But Don’t Overstuff
LSI keywords need to be highly relevant to your content. In the case of our example with “The Aviator,” a post on “10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Aviator” should only include LSI keywords that relate to the film. “Aviator college,” for instance, was a related keyword that popped up when we used SERPs. However, this has nothing to do with the film and, in turn, adds no value to your content.
Something else you’ll want to avoid is to not to overstuff your content with the LSI keywords you choose. A great way to judge this is by rereading your content once the keywords are added. If a given word doesn’t sound natural, leave it out.
Remember That LSI Is Only Part of an Effective SEO Strategy
Although it has quite the complex name, you don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of website development to understand latent semantic indexing. Keep in mind, though, that it’s only one factor that determines how well your content ranks in search engines. An effective SEO strategy should also include relevant backlinks, relevant alt tags, etc.
That being said, it’s worth taking the time to identify and add LSI-driven keywords into your content — particularly when everyone wants Google to be their number one fan.