Creative Link Building Ideas (Beyond 2021)

Link building should be exciting, challenging and yield results. 

Foll our link building content series and access brilliant strategies to get more links. Not only will you achieve results from your link building efforts, you will enjoy the process and feel inspired by creativity.


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Link building for business

We make a case for why you need link building on a business level to improve your bottom link. Don’t just get links for the sake of it, use a business approach to acquire links. Read article now

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UX Design

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Database Design

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Social media link building

Integrate link building into your social media marketing and unite two world of powerful relationships, networking and links in 2021. Access the guide here

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Intro to Coding

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Apps & Games

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Become an expert

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Build your portfolio

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Achieve your goals

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My entire team was prototyping by the end of the first day!

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John Smith, Divi Design Initiative

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How To Manage And Optimise On Your Existing SEO Backlinks

‘A bird in a hand is worth two in the bush’ This saying is what you should apply when it comes to your existing business relationships.

Business relationships are vital in establishing trust and credibility in the market. It is less costly to retain your customers than it is to find and acquire new customers.

Similarly in the quest for digital brand or product awareness, brand visibility, quality traffic and  conversions for your business, do not neglect those backlinks that you have already built.

A good link building strategy will see to it that your backlinks are treasured, maintained and optimised to reach their full market potential.

Link building for businesses

Research shows link building for businesses has a high success rate once executed correctly.  It allows you to widen your brand exposure and visibility. When a website becomes famous, it gains more quality inbound links. 

A reliable and authoritative site will offer your website quality links. Building quality links will then highly rank your website. Aim at creating sustainable backlinks, which concentrates not on unlimited links but getting high-quality links.

Benefits of Link building

When you have good link strategy going,  you will reap the following benefits among others; 

  • more content exposure  in search results.
  • web traffic increases from other sites that are connected to you. 
  • increased  website authority through domain rating
  • Well-structured content which leads to more incoming quality links that are a valuable resource
  • supports index research for faster results in finding the website.
  • strong backlink relationships with other businesses.
  • builds website credibility and earns the customer’s trust.
  • gives your business more chances of getting sales

Where to get those links?

Pursuing quality links can help you build loads of fresh long-term business relationships with some of the top dogs or leaders in your industry.

Through these relationships, you will get exposure to the best in the industry. Quality backlinks are links from such leaders in the industry, with high domain ratings.  This is essential in making your website rank. 

Here are some tactics to getting  these high-quality links. 

1. Write a resource post.

There are a number of reasons people browse the internet including getting information on a particular subject or commercial buying of products and services.

Resource pages are a list of helpful links to a specific topic. Writing a resource post for your website is a smart way to start. 

It lures the target audience in a natural flow. If you plan to write a resource post, remember to have the content stick to its goal. Here are tips to make your content compelling:

  • Think of unique headlines. 
  • Research a topic and share your experiences and point of view. 
  • Write a headline with an accurate and specific goal.
  • Recognise other people’s pages when used as a reference. Inform them and ask if you can get any backlinks or social media shares

2. Engage in Public Relations

PR or Public Relations is the deliberation of releasing and spreading of data. Also, PR is a relationship between individuals, a group and the public.

The released information can affect the perception of the audience. Most PR professionals help businesses to establish a confident reputation to the public. They use different channels to spread data on various paid and unpaid ads. 

Besides blog posting, a press release is an effective way to share your work. It further helps to improve your search ranking on Google. 

3. Find Content lapses or gaps.

Finding gaps or lapses creates an opportunity for your improvement. Content gaps are the space between the user question and what answer they received. Filling in content gaps will allow you to generate authoritative links. 

Use the advantage of the lapses of some bloggers to make your content ahead of them. Most of them focus on text-based composition. The use of images or infographics make the content interactive. Remember, most people respond to visual information rather than context. Read further on Content Marketing

4. Infographics

Infographics are graphic representations of any information meant to convey a message promptly and clearly. Creating an infographic on hot topics will earn you authoritative links. Instagram and Twitter get the most audience engagement in terms of infographics. 

5. Check your competitor

Monitoring your competitor will help you to check their backlink sources. Conducting an audit on your competitor will show your position and room for improvement. 

It is much easier for you to determine where you should focus your improvement. Also, it will give you a hint to improve your niche for google ranking. 

The goal of checking your competitor is to outperform them or benchmark their tactics. You can take these steps to conduct your competitor’s analysis. 

  1. Look for your competitor’s URL. Also, it reveals your ups and downs. Spying is not a bad practice. It is the best you can to kick out the opponent from the picture. 
  2. Check how many backlinks they have. Finding out your competitor’s backlinks will give you other data such as the Domain score, Page score, Anchor text, and more.
  3. Find out the source of the backlinks. You can always take advantage of making the strategy better than them. 

6. Fixing Broken Links 

Broken links or Dead links are websites that are not working anymore. You may encounter an error page when you click the link. When you are new to link building, you are not aware that broken links can be a good source of quality links. 

Compose your outreach email and send it to the webmaster. Make your outreach email specific and straightforward. Tell them what you notice, suggest, and offer that you have ways to fix the broken links.

7. Use a credible influencer

Popularity attracts people’s eyes. Interviews and promotions using influencers will move your branding to the next level. They can drive more website traffic to become your prospective leads.

Influencer recommendations are more likely to be trusted due to their public image. Businesses use influencers and ambassadors to influence people’s buying decisions. 

8. Repurposing your content

Writing valuable content drives the interest of your audience. Moreover, giving the exact answers to their needs helps them to decide on their next move. 

Reproducing content is when you make the content fresh and updated to earn new links. Also, it does not mean to duplicate the content but to write a new form of the content. 

It helps to drive traffic and increase authoritative links. Make your repurposing content strategy in a way that your audience will love to read and access your content. Further  to increasing website traffic, it will boost your conversion rate. 

9. Advance Guest posting

Guest blogging is one of the most used link building strategies to earn links. It is proven and has been tested in recent times. Apart from generating links, here are some of its advantages:

  • Increase the number of visitors and readers to your website. 
  • Blogging builds your branding.
  • Establish a relationship with the audience or co-blogger.
  • Generate your links in a natural flow. 
  • Blogging improves your Google Search ranking. 
  • It increases engagement with the reader through comments.

10. Use of Charts, Tables, and Graphs

Charts, tables, graphs are the visual representation of relationships between data. It is to simplify the message of the correlating data. Use of visual representation makes the message simplified for the readers. 

Images create flow for you to produce authority links. Also, you can create graphs and charts to associate with your content. There are tools to help you with visual representations. In creating a visual representation, do not manipulate the result. Either good or bad, it will make you credible and show your expertise.

Managing existing links

Managing existing SEO backlinks is essential in maintaining your Google ranking. Monitoring your existing links makes you aware of your campaign status, gaps and harmful links. It will allow you to take immediate action toward opportunities.

What opportunities I need to keep track of in my profile?

Maintaining and tracking your link building campaign gives you an overall view of your strategy. Analysing your profile for tracking your metrics will give you an idea of your applied techniques. Sooner, you will discover new tactics applicable to your campaign.

Here are the metrics you need to take care of:

  • Check the date when the link went live. It is for you to check if the webmaster moved the page or the page itself becomes a broken link.
  • Review your referring domains. This way, you will discover loads of opportunities. There are potentially spammy links or untrusted URLs linked to your site. You need to eliminate and fix them before they cause you problems. Also, it can affect your other metrics and website visibility.
  • Is there an anchor text used? Anchor text is one of the SEO elements helping you identify which websites have spam works and which are  legit. An anchor text also tells your readers where they can find more information about the said topic.
  • How many Dofollow and Nofollow links are there? Both contribute to your website ranking. However, it is better to identify which of your links bring backlinks. 

Utilising existing backlinks

A smart way to save resources is to maintain its status. A quality backlink will generate good results by keeping it updated, it will lead to more opportunities. Here are several steps that might help you manage your existing backlinks. 

Step 1: Protect your links

Links are like the treasure boxes that you need to protect. Losing backlinks will affect the whole campaign. It is the first step in managing your backlinks. 

There are factors you cannot control such as;

  •  website closure 
  • Webmaster moving or updating outdated pages.
  • They remove your link, or 
  • They replace you as the reference or the link.

However, there are many alternatives that you can pursue to retrieve a link. For instance, the webmaster might not realise that there is an error that occurred on the page. They can publish and bring back the backlink.

Step 2: Review your fresh links

Newly acquired links will give you opportunities to check on your strategy status. Analysing your fresh acquired links will help you to know what content will fill in your audience. 

Along with the other webmaster linked to your site, they will notice changes and growth in your page. They might find your content worth sharing, reliable, and relevant. 

Platforms for managing backlinks allow you to combine different data and insights to form a new strategy. It always ends with the same goal, to increase the number of your quality links.

Step 3: Build more links with your link building strategies.

Identifying, tracking, and expanding your campaign profile are your routines in successfully managing your existing links. 

There are a bunch of strategies and ideas that you can do to generate links. Here are some of the most popular and successful link building strategies: 

  • Writing a guest post and publishing it to top rank sites.
  • Sending outreach emails to webmasters. Pitching guest posts or requesting a link in the body of the content.
  •  Searching and looking for unlinked brand mentions. Ask the webmaster if they can include your link as a reference.
  • You need to send out people for a product review. 
  • Participate and engage in forums and discussions. You can include links in your answers.
  • Conduct or guest an interview.

Step 4: Competitor link analysis

It is business as usual. Inspecting your competitor will always give you an edge. Auditing your top opponents gives an insight into your next. It is often a great move to take a few steps away from the competition.  

Assessing your competitor’s backlinks will make you realize many possibilities: 

  • Results will provide you the status and how well your competitors are fairing. 
  • It will give you the numbers and source of quality links your competitor has. You can review their profile and study how they came up with those links.
  • Find out how you can adopt or enhance the strategy used. 

Tools you can use to Manage your existing links.

Tracking and monitoring your campaign needs a lot of understanding and critical thinking. Therefore, tools are the right hand of every marketer. There are a lot of tools that you can use to keep track of your campaign. 

Google Search Console

Google Search Console or Google Webmaster Tools gives you the site’s performance like link data, organic search traffic, and other recommendations for your website to grow. 

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights helps marketers understand solutions on how they can improve their site performance and navigation. It defines how fast or slow the site for a user. The highest score is 100, 59 below is considered low. 

Page speed plays an essential role in the user’s impression of the website. The customer’s user experience begins in landing on the home page. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to monitor all of the sites and information. Aside from being free, it is a must-have tool as a marketer. Google Analytics can give you analysis and reports that will help your campaign grow. 

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is the best tool for newbies and startup businesses. It provides insights into your audience, what key terms drive organic traffic, and more. 

Schema builder

A schema is a form of code placed on your website for Google to understand your content easier. Schema builder allows you to follow your schema markup. It gives details like the field values, required fields and others.


BuzzStream is a tool that everyone can use. This tool offers fast-tracking of contacts and information dedicated for outreach purposes. 

Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO has a lot of things to offer. More likely related to the backlink profile analysis such as External backlinks, backlink history and more. The tool will give you an insight into building your strategy better. 

Moz Link Explorer

Moz Link Explorer is a helpful tool that measures your backlinks, pages, domain and anchor text. It is for you to formulate a better strategy in competing online.


Ahrefs is one of the most accurate tools in terms of backlinks analysis. It has a large backlink checking solution, best for a competitor backlink analysis. 


SEMrush is an all-in-tool used for SEO audits and monitoring. Also, it gives you marketing insights and opportunities to improve your online visibility. It is one of the recommended SEO tools for Campaign Management.


Links are the heart of your campaign. Managing your existing backlinks will give you more expertise and new learnings. Learning never stops. Always allow yourself to acquire new from what you have on your hands. You can never share what you don’t have.  

Content Marketing Tools

Content Marketing Tools

The content market landscape is rapidly growing and is estimated to be worth $412.88 billion by 2021. This marks a shocking growth of 217.3 billion from 2016 to 2021. But why are businesses investing in content marketing compared to other forms of marketing? It’s cheaper and produces better results. It costs about 62% less than traditional methods of marketing while producing three times the leads.

While content marketing tools won’t replace a solid content marketing strategy or skilled content marketers, it can make life a lot easier.  Software tools can provide insight to produce better content and help make the process more efficient.

With dozens of content marketing apps and software out there, you’ll be able to find a tool to help with anything you’re looking for. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best content tools so that you can add them to your marketing arsenal.

What are Content Marketing Tools?

Content marketing tools are applications or software designed to make your job easier as a content marketer. App developers are becoming more creative and have engineered software to solve your daily content marketing problems.

Content marketing tools allow you to measure and track your progress. Accomplishing your marketing goals isn’t possible without a tool that can track results.

For example, using a tool such as Google Analytics can help you track website visitors and conversion. Or, if you’re looking to accelerate your growth, there are content marketing tools that make life easier. A tool like Clickfunnels allows users to build funnels using a drag-and-drop platform.

But do content management tools make a significant difference in results? The answer is yes. A tool like Hootsuite can outsource all of your social media postings so that you can schedule content in advance.

Another example is software like Hot Jar, which analyzes how traffic visitors interact with your website and allows you to see exactly how users are engaging with your content on each page.

As a marketer, you’ll see immediately what needs improvement. Content strategy tools can turn a failed marketing campaign into a successful one.

Must have tools of the trade in Content Marketing

1. Hubspot

HubSpot offers an array of useful content marketing features such as pop-up tools, chatbots, live chat, a powerful form builder, one of the most powerful CRM’s available today and a WordPress plugin. HubSpot is usually known for its CRM software to help sales teams.

However, it’s quickly turned into a full-service content marketing platform for blog creation, building your SEO, and even social analytics. In addition, this software allows you to send automatic email campaigns to your customers and leads.

Popular companies using Hotspot:

  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • University of Southern California
  • Trustpilot
  • Accenture

2. WordPress

WordPress is the premier tool to host and create a website. Hiring programmers and developers can be incredibly costly. Instead, WordPress has a template system and plugin architecture that enables anybody to design a fully-functional and highly converting website.

Whether you need a website for an online store, portfolio, blog, or contact page, it’s easy to create one using WordPress. It also seamlessly integrates with social media platforms, email marketing tools, and project management apps.

Popular companies using WordPress:

  • Target corporation
  • GoDaddy
  • Toyota
  • Staples Canada
  • IBM
  • Sony Music
  • TechCrunch
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mozilla Corporation

3. Slack

Every marketer needs a way to communicate and organize their projects. Slack is a collaboration and workplace communication tool that is designed to help teams effectively work together remotely. This collaboration tool allows users to organize chats based on specific projects or categories.

For example, you can organize your team by department. For instance, you may need to create a chat for each of the following categories, content production, content editing, social media growth, blog, email marketing, customer service, etc. You can also create new chats to introduce team members in different departments and monitor chats or for Specific clients and projects.

Popular companies using Slack:

  • Airbnb
  • Shopify
  • Instacart
  • Stackshare
  • Lyft
  • Pinterest
  • Robinhood
  • Dropbox
  • BuzzFeed
  • AMC Theaters

Related Links:

4. SEMRush

One way to achieve your content marketing goals is to analyse your position in the marketplace. Google sends a lot of traffic your way if you’re able to optimize your website for technical compliance and search engine rankings. With SEMrush, content marketers can perform the following:

  • Run an SEO audit to determine search engine ranking
  • Research keywords for you to dominate in
  • Gather content ideas for you to increase your organic traffic
  • Create content and retest it with their specific content planner tools

Without SEMRush, you’d be spinning your wheels guessing what your audience is looking for.

Popular companies using SEMRush:

  • Creative Mettle
  • Fidelitas Development
  • BrainstormForce
  • Eminence Organic Skincare
  • Deloitte
  • Quora
  • Forbes
  • Boohoo
  • eBay

5. MailChimp

Depending on your niche, email marketing can be a critical component of your content marketing strategy. Email marketing enables you to connect with your prospects and create a more exclusive relationship with your prospects or customers.

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that enables users to build, send, and analyze email marketing campaigns. You’re able to create automated sequences based on an action taken. For example, if a visitor subscribed to our email list, we’ll create a sequence of emails to convert them from a cold lead to a loyal customer.

Popular companies using MailChimp:

  • Glovo
  • Barogo
  • Oxylabs
  • TransferWise
  • Postmates
  • Paralect
  • RazorPay
  • Standford University
  • Boston Globe Media
  • Duke University

6. Canva

Hiring graphic designers on your content team can be quite expensive, and learning how to use Adobe Photoshop effectively may take a long time to learn.

Canva makes creating beautiful designs easy without needing to learn graphic design skills or coding. It comes with dozens of available layouts and has templates to fit all types of sizing.

For example, you can size your designs to fit social media posts, blog cover photos, infographics, and more.

This is a must-have for all content creators who don’t have excellent graphic design skills.

Popular companies using Canva:

  • Merrimack College
  • Ignited LLC
  • Sierra Club Corporation
  • University of New Orleans
  • Canal Barge Company

Similar reading:

Is Twitter still relevant today?
Four ways SEO can maximise your social media

7. Hootsuite

Most businesses need to stay on top of more than just one social media platform and social channel. It’s best to engage your audience on the different channels where they are active on a daily basis.

Hootsuite enables brands to manage all of their social media accounts with one platform. Users can schedule their posts in advance to help systematize their posting process.

In addition, users can track all mentions of their brand on social media. You’ll be able to follow competitors and access all of your social media accounts on one platform!

Popular companies using Hootsuite:

  • Airbnb
  • FreshBooks
  • IBM
  • HP
  • University of Mississippi

8. Grammarly

Even if you’re a native American speaker, everyone needs Grammarly in their life. Grammarly will analyze your writing to ensure it’s grammatically correct and fits your writing style, whether you prefer a casual or professional tone.

It’s still important to hire editors on your team, but everyone makes mistakes. With Grammarly, you’ll never worry about mistakes again. Check all of your team’s copywriting and content writing through Grammarly.

Popular companies using Grammarly:

  • University of Denver
  • Sunlight Supply Inc
  • Flex Jobs
  • Zeno Group
  • HomeAdvisor

9. BuzzSumo

Never publish content without knowing the competition and demand for it. BuzzSumo is a marketing platform for users to research effective content. With this tool, you can view which content is performing the best and which competitors dominate each topic.

You’ll see data in granular detail such as backlinks, social shares, influencer reports. Never run out of content ideas again!

Popular companies using BuzzSumo:

  • Wix
  • BuzzFeed
  • Warner Music Group
  • Hustis Electric Car
  • Active Campaign

10. Yoast

Yoast is a plug-in on WordPress that enables users to improve their SEO. It optimizes the content for a particular keyword, previews and edits URL slugs, meta descriptions, and even suggests relevant internal links.

Being ranked high on the search engine requires your content to meet high technical SEO standards. Yoast improves your content readability and ensures your technical content is optimized for the search engine.

Popular companies using Yoast:

  • Klaviyo
  • Elementor
  • WooCommerce
  • Voce Communications, Inc
  • Preston’s College

Guide to choosing the best content tool for you

Here are several factors to consider when selecting the best content marketing tools for your business.

Budget: How much will it cost for the initial investment and ongoing cost to keep the software running. Softwares will range based on how many features you’ll need.

For example, with email marketing tools, the bigger your email list, the more you’ll need to pay.

Easy to use: The learning curve should be easy enough for your team members to use. For example, Adobe Photoshop gives advanced features for editing content; however, it can be quite difficult to use. In contrast, Canva is ideal for beginners.

Integration: Many platforms should integrate with social media and email marketing tools. For example, WordPress integrates with most apps from social media to project management softwares.

Support: Ideally, you want software that has 24/7 support. Sending email tickets and waiting a few days for a response can be disastrous for your business.

Reporting and analytics: Every tool needs a way to track your progress to gauge whether you’re receiving an ROI on your investment.

In our opinion, one tool isn’t enough. There are so many aspects to content marketing that you’ll need to delegate each task effectively. Your team should utilize different content marketing solutions that specialize in the following:

  • Research and content creation
  • Project management and collaboration
  • Content promotion
  • Marketing content management
  • Email marketing
  • SEO optimisation ideas
  • Competitor analysis
  • Optimization and Analytics

Check this New Content Marketing Tool

In 2021, many marketing platforms plan to release new features to enhance the user experience. For example, MailChimp releases its AI and smart technology by analyzing the marketplace and providing recommendations to your email marketing.

A few examples include: subject line helper, send-time optimization, product recommendations, and even recommend campaigns to send targeted customers who are more likely to purchase.

A new tool for 2021 that could be on the rise is Plannuh. It’s an organizational tool to help your CMO and CFO work together.

This is an all-in-one software that lets you manage marketing plans, campaigns, goals, budgets, and ROI for full-transparency.


Doing content marketing manually without any tools is simply inefficient and less productive. The best marketing teams use a data-driven approach to ensure every aspect of their content marketing strategy is tracked and automated. But with dozens of content marketing tools available, which ones are right for your business?

If you’re a business that relies heavily on SEO rankings or wants to improve your search rankings, we’ve written many articles on learning the basics of them.

However, there are tools designed to make SEO tactics more efficient specifically. This includes tools that will audit your website and make suggestions to improve your rankings. We’ve listed five of the best free SEO tools that you can add to your toolbox.

SEO Audits Explained – What is an SEO Audit?

Many SEO experts can neglect the initial foundation and planning phase of a client’s SEO strategy and performance. This is why it is essential to conduct a full and extensive SEO and website audit on the website PRIOR to any work being done.


Article highlights:

  • Understand as SEO audit and what it should achieve
  • How to approach an audit
  • Essential tools to use for the audit process
  • Best areas to cover in an audit
  • Free Tehcnical SEO audit Checklist with actionable points


website and SEO audit example

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is an in-depth analysis of a website’s inner workings, structure, accessibility to search engines, and ability to perform well in a digital marketing-driven driven world.

Google has to be able to access, crawl and show your websites to your audience for your audience to engage your website. For this process to happen, many tick boxes need to be checked from a search engine perspective.

These ‘tick boxes’ are what we aim to analyze in an audit and identify ways to improve them to improve the overall website performance.

5 Essential Audit Steps And What They Mean

Follow these guidelines to cover the top 5 essential elements of a site audit and start to see quick wins and improved click-through rates!

1: Only One Version of your Site Should Exist (Canonical)

What is meant by canonical URL? According to Google, a canonical URL is the URL of the best representative page from a group of duplicate pages. However, let’s start by checking the canonical (original) version of the domain itself.

When a domain is registered, multiple versions of that website become available. One version with HTTP and one version with HTTPS. One version includes the ‘www’ and one version which doesn’t for example:


To avoid duplicate content and crawl errors, only one version of your website should exist. Choose one version of the domain (I usually go with and permanently 301 redirect the rest of the domains to this one main version.

Here is the HTTP version of our website which will 301 redirect to the HTTPS version.

Add image

Add image

A handy way of checking the status of canonical versions of a page is by using the Ahrefs toolbar which will show you the status of the redirect (if any) once clicking on the ‘HTTP Headers 301’.


http domain example
https domain example

A handy way of checking the status of canonical versions of a page is by using the Ahrefs toolbar which will show you the status of the redirect (if any) once clicking on the ‘HTTP Headers 301’.

Ahrefs toolbar example of redirects

2: Look for Indexation Issues

Indexing is the process of Google accessing and crawling your website, understanding the content and topical elements, and making it available in their index.

To summarize the indexing process, Google will visit the page by the Google crawler (“Googlebot”), analyze content and internal links meaning, and then store your content in the Google index.

Read this great article from Moz about how search engines work. Indexation problems can be caused by many different factors which we will address below, however, it can be very common amongst any type of website.

However, large E-commerce sites are often a victim of indexation issues simply due to the number of products and associated sections.

Let us look at a real example of a site we recently audited:

An E-commerce clothing store had a total of 2683 indexable HTML pages as per a crawl in Screaming Frog, however, when searching for the domain-specific pages in Google, only 599 pages were indexed.

In this particular case, there were many sections of the website which were incorrectly blocked in the robots.txt file and there was an issue within the XML sitemap.

Page indexation issues in Google

Analyzing the Robots file and XML Sitemaps

To continue with the above issue, it is essential to view both the robots.txt file and all existing XML sitemaps.

Your robots.txt file will inform search engine crawlers which URLs the crawler can access on your site and which they can not. Any web developer or webmaster should understand the use of a robot’s file and what to avoid.


example of a robots txt file

The robots file is extremely useful if used correctly in the following ways:

  • Block any specific sections of your website or any specific landing pages
  • If needed, media files can be blocked from appearing in Google search results without negatively impacting your site’s SEO
  • Unimportant external scripts and resource files can be blocked

3 ways your robots file can be dangerous if used incorrectly:

  • The website is set to no-index
  • Robots.txt not added into the root directory of your site
  • No XML Sitemap URL listed in the file (I recommend adding all of your relevant XML sitemaps in your robots file

Another crucial part of crawling and indexing your website is your XML file. If configured and working correctly, Google will be able to crawl your website quickly and effectively which leads to better results in organic search.

The XML sitemap is a specific file that compiles a whole list of the website’s important pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all. It also helps search engines understand your website structure and build a hierarchy around the structure of your content.

All of the popular SEO plugins out there will automatically create a sitemap for you, however, you will still need to check each sitemap to validate the number of pages within each folder and if all the pages are relevant.

You are also able to view any issues with your sitemaps in Google Search Console:


Visual of the XML sitemaps section in Google Search Console

If you are using Screaming Frog or the Ahrefs site audit tool, you will easily be able to see if there are any broken pages or broken links within your XML sitemaps.

This is what a typical XML sitemap will look like (image courtesy of Yoast SEO)


xml sitemap example from Yoast

3: Don’t Forget the Basics of On-PagePage SEO and Meta Tags

On-page SEO is so often overlooked and many sites lose out on quality traffic due to low organic click-through rates. I am not only talking about just title and meta descriptions (these are also essential), but I am also talking about the effective use of secondary and semantic keywords, internal links, image size, image ALT text, anchor text as well as relevant markup needed for each type of page on your site.

For anyone who may think that on-page metrics (especially the title and description tags) do not play a huge role in organic traffic, just take a look at this graph based on a study that Search Engine Land completed:


organic click through rate statistics graph by search engine land

When auditing a site take a look at what the current title and description tags are, the status of h1 headings, and word count too.

You can easily see this data in Screaming Frog by navigating to ‘page titles’ and scrolling through the menu to find any pages missing title tags or any which need to be redone.


example of page title tages in screaming frog

You can also view the results of a site audit run through the Ahrefs site auditor tool. I like the visual aspect of their audit reports and it is also easy to access the data which needs fixing.


ahrefs audit results showing issues with on page seo

Using the correct structured data on your content is essential to help search engines understand your content in a more in-depth manner.

Structured data (aka schema mark-up) is a standardized method of providing core information about a page and classifying the page content. Every single page on a website needs to have structured data about the type of service or category the page is talking about.

For example, here is the correct structured data code for a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories etc.

<title>Party Coffee Cake</title>
<script type=”application/ld+json”>
“@context”: “”,
“@type”: “Recipe”,
“name”: “Party Coffee Cake”,
“author”: {
“@type”: “Person”,
“name”: “Mary Stone”
“datePublished”: “2018-03-10”,
“description”: “This coffee cake is awesome and perfect for parties.”,
“prepTime”: “PT20M”
<h2>Party coffee cake recipe</h2>
<i>by Mary Stone, 2018-03-10</i>
This coffee cake is awesome and perfect for parties.
Preparation time: 20 minutes


Again, most popular SEO crawlers will identify errors in structured data, but here is an easy way to find these elements in Screaming Frog. Just navigate to the ‘structured data’ section and view the results.

You can toggle through the drop-down menu options which will show you which pages have structured data, which pages don’t, or if there are any errors with the structured data.

Alternatively, you can use the official Google rich snippets tester here and test on a page level. However, keep in mind that this will only test one URL at a time, so a bulk checker SEO tool will be easier to use at scale.


Google rich results test results

4: Page Speed and Core Web Vitals Testing

Possibly one of the most crucial aspects to your website SEO is site speed, mobile-friendliness as well as core web vitals (Page Experience).

Before we address page speed (the faster the load time the better for user experience and google), we need to understand a little bit more about the official Page Experience update.

According to this article by Search Engine Journal, the page experience update considers several signals that go into creating an optimal experience for users.

Google assesses each of the signals and gives a website an overall ‘page experience’ score.

Generally speaking, you want to give your website users and online customers the best possible experience, and so does Google.

Google Search Console has a whole section dedicated to Page Experience and allows you to view the core web vitals performance of each page and make the needed tweaks from there.


page experience issues from google search console

An extremely handy tool to check page-level load time results on both mobile and desktop is the official Google page speed insights test which will also provide you with opportunities for improvement. Test pages easily

Sidenote: I have found that when presenting audit findings to a client or business owner, using easy-to-understand and highly visual images works best.

This is also where the Page Speed Insights tool will come in handy, as you can add a few screenshots of the test and then write down or talk about the suggestions to improve.

For example, adding these into a client document with some valuable points to address is a powerful way to grab attention.


page speed insights mobile example 1
core web vitals test results mobile

However, with the Page Speed Insights tool, you can only test one page at a time. It is useful to test a few core pages (one after the other) but, or a better view of a website’s technical audit status, then you need something which can access these metrics at scale.

You can integrate the Google Page Speed Insights API into Screaming Frog and gather the speed metrics for every page in one crawl.

This function is awesome, but it does take a bit of extra time to crawl depending on the size of the website.

Here is an overview of how to enable the Page Speed API and run the crawl through Screaming frog. However, I do recommend reading their step-by-step guide on how to generate the API.

How to integrate the PSI API into Screaming Frog (overview)

Step 1: Click on the ‘API’ tab at the top right-hand side of the control panel and it will show you a list of APIs available.


API connection into screaming frog

Step 2: Navigate to the Page Speed Insights column and click on the gear icon.
Step 3: A window will appear which will require you to paste in your ‘secret key’ (obtained by following the link to the guide above).
Step 4: Add your secret key and click on connect.


Successful API connection from page speed insights into Screaming frog

5: Link profile Analysis and Link Building Overview

Very often we come across websites that experience traffic drops for no obvious reason which is why technical SEO audits need to cover a variety of aspects.

In this article, we have just addressed 5 of the core aspects of an audit which offer powerful insights into quick wins.

But if you would like to dive deeper and address a wider set of technical parameters, then download this extensive technical SEO scorecard for free (just make a copy to be able to use it).

The final step I would like to cover about auditing is around your website’s backlink profile. Too many SEO agencies or consultants shy away from addressing link building as it can be a gray area or one which they feel can be hard to justify to a client.

However, keep in mind that quality backlinks and mentions from quality, relevant third-party websites are still a huge part of Google’s ranking factors. View how we do link building.

My favorite tool for anything to do with Backlinks is Ahrefs (shout out to Tim Soulo and Sam Oh.

Start by running the target website through the Ahrefs site explorer tool, select all time, then one year, and then 30 days and look for anything which stands out to you, for example, any large peaks and dips.

Start by running the target website through the Ahrefs site explorer tool, select all time, then one year, and then 30 days and look for anything which stands out to you, for example, any large peaks and dips.


referring backlinks

If you find very large peaks which show that a website picked up too many links too quickly, this could be a sign of overly aggressive or low-quality link building which was done very fast.

It’s not always a bad thing to get a bunch of links in a short amount of time, but it must be natural. I always suggest quality over quantity.

Next, take a look at which locations the bulk of the links are coming from. If your client is operating out of one location only, for example, the United Kingdom, it will make sense to have links coming from this location.

Backlink locations

Also, look out for too many links coming from locations that you know are specifically of no interest to your client or campaign.


location of links from ahrefs

Anchor text analysis

A links anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It is the words that we use to highlight and add the link to.

Every anchor text should be natural and also be relevant to the page you’re linking to.

The words contained in the anchor text helps search engines understand the context of the topic as well as how the pages fit within each other. The words contained in the anchor text will also help to determine rankings and page authority associated with the target page.

For example, if you are writing a detailed guide about healthy food for a pitbull, and a third-party website is linking to you with the anchor text ‘buy used cell phones’ then this is completely unnatural and questionable.

Ahrefs will give you a nice breakdown of your top anchors as well as the percentage of links pointing to those anchors.


anchors visual example from ahrefs

When auditing, flag anchor text which is unnatural or overused. Especially exact match anchors. For example, if your client sells shoes online, you want to be on a special lookout for abundant usage of anchor text like ‘buy shoes online, or ‘shoes for sale online.

It is normal to have those types of anchors, but anything in excess is going to be an issue.

Ass the quality of backlinks pointing to the site you are auditing. There are quite a few ways of doing this and SEMrush has a unique toxic link analysis tool which is also very good for weeding out low-quality links.

However, staying in Ahrefs click on ‘referring domains’ to see what the average domain rating (DR) and traffic metrics each linking domain has so that you can filter out low-quality sites.

low dr and low quality links image from ahrefs

Ideally, you do not want more than 2 backlinks from the same domain. The very 1st link you get from a site is the most powerful in terms of link equity.

However, while you are assessing the quality of these links, if anything looks strange, click on the number arrow under the backlinks column, to reveal the backlink. From there, you can go ahead and view the page and assess it for yourself.


low quiality link checks by filtering in ahrefs

Locating and fixing broken links

Not only do broken pages and broken links cause a bad user experience and frustrating journey for your readers, but they will also waste ‘link juice’ aka ‘link equity.

By fixing any broken pages or broken links on your website, you will then allow the link equity to flow evenly through your website which is a crucial part of backlink optimization.

Keep your client’s site open in the site explorer, and click on ‘best by links’ underneath the pages dropdown. Then, filter for ‘404 not found’.

This will show you all of the broken pages on your website which may still have backlinks.



Sort the list by referring domains (RD) to see which broken pages have the highest amount of inbound links. Then, to restore the link equity from those pages, you will need to work through the list and decide the following:

  • Is it a relevant page with a simple error that can be fixed
  • Replace the content on that exact URL (the content must be within the same topic/niche)
  • Permanently 301 redirect the broken page to the next most relevant page or the home page

All of these options above will allow you to regain the ‘link juice’ and equity from the backlinks pointing to those pages.

The Best SEO Audit Tools for the job

Any site audit tool will constantly be updating and being modified, the tools below are by no means the only audit tools available, but these are ones which I rely on quite a lot.

I strongly suggest staying up to date with popular search-related websites, forums, communities and think tanks such as (my personal favorite) the Traffic Think Tank. I have learned more from the Traffic Think Tank than most courses and diplomas I have completed over the years.

Many great tools are free to use and offer great value, but there isn’t a ‘quick fix’ option that promises the world – stay away from any of these.

Below is a shortlist of some audit tools to use and ones that are popular when conducting an SEO audit on a website.

Screaming Frog: One of the most advanced industry-standard website crawlers which give you the ability to access every element of your website. This includes (but is not limited to) scanning all HTML pages, images, JavaScript, CSS, metadata data as well as internal and external links.

The technical capabilities of this tool are great and have been around for a long time. Not only does Screaming Frog show you every possible aspect of On-PagePage SEO, URL structure, response codes and so much more, you can also analyze structure data all in one place and connect your Google account too. Very powerful!

Fruition: Detailed Google penalty and Google update checker. Fruition links to your Google Analytics account and checks your domain directly against every Google update, penalty update, or core algorithm change.

This tool offers great insight and excellent visual elements to help you understand any impacts on your website whether they are positive or negative. This tool should be in any SEO toolbox regardless of whether you are running SEO audits or services in general.

Ahrefs: In my opinion, one of the best backlink profile and keyword research tools ever to exist is Ahrefs. Ahrefs gives you the ability to analyze every aspect of your website’s entire backlink profile and link types. Their website auditor tool has also made great improvements over the years and has visually appealing graphics.

SEMrush: Comprehensive and full suite all in one SEO tool which has incredible site audit features, visuals, toxic link analysis, and, great content ideas. Known to be very easy to use, SEMrushes’ ability to identify toxic links and allow you to analyze them and submit them to Google for the disavow process directly from the SEMrush dashboard is really handy and easy to use.

GTmetrix: Comprehensive website speed checker and page load time testing tool. This tool offers core insights into advanced load time metrics and data both from the client-side (user) and the server-side.
Google page speed insights: Industry-standard speed testing and page load time tool which now includes core web vitals performance reports and suggestions.

Google mobile-friendly test: Excellent mobile-friendly testing tool analyzing responsiveness, mobile load time, mobile layout, and distances of buttons, images, and text. Easily identifies sites that are or are not mobile-friendly. A nice addition to this tool is that Google gives you a detailed breakdown of what is needed to improve and fix any mobile errors which show up.

Google rich snippets tool: A way to test structured data and mark-up to see if your website is eligible for rich snippets in the SERPs.

Google Analytics: The core of website reporting and measurement. Google Analytics acquires user data from each website visitor through the use of page tags.

Google Search Console: The ultimate communication tool between Google and your website allowing you to monitor site performance, index issues, view and fix page speed and page experience issues as well as to monitor for any manual or security penalties.

Don’t Wait Until the End of COVID-19 to Invest in SEO


No one needs a reminder about the impacts of Covid-19. In fact, many people are completely tired of hearing the world wide economic hits we have all taken. Origionally, I wrote this post roughly two month prior to various elements of life returing to some sort of normality. 

Today, we are experiencing the slow but steady increase in business generation, the opening of shops and non essential outlets. Finally!

But, the questions around investing heaviliy into your online marketing is still a serious one. Many people are now being forced to fast track their strategies and come up with marketing budget because they were not steadily chipping away durin glockdown.

Let’s take a look at how SEO and digital in general is being used in the slow awakening of the business world.

Economic data in the ‘new normal’

Sources indicate that in the United Kingdom alone there has been a 2% drop in overall GDP during the first quarter of 2020. SOm eare comparing it to the great economic crash experienced in 2008. 

Non essential offerings such as malls, entertainment sectors and non-food retail took the heaviest knock of all. What was once enjoyed in modern day retail foot traffic has now seen a decrease of a minimum of 75%. According to Commosnlibrary, the bank of England projects the unemployment rate to rise to a minimum of 9% toward the second quarter of this year which is a 5% increase since the pandemic.

What is the pandemic we are facing right now?

For several years, scientists and medical experts have been fighting, not one but a widespread of diseases all over the world. From the Bubonic Plague that killed nearly two hundred million people between 1346 and 1353, to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and now the COVID-19 that started in December 2019, every one of these has affected the lives greatly.

The COVID-19 started early in December 2019 in Wuhan and spread incredibly quickly. From being an Epidemic in china to spreading all over the world, the COVID-19 took several lives and greatly affected the economy of several countries.

It was declared as a pandemic by WHO in March 2020, by the end of which the world had witnessed half a million infected people with nearly thirty thousand deaths. The virus continues to infect everyone it comes in contact with and has become the primary concern throughout the world.

The outcome of any pandemic is impossible to predict. While the cholera pandemic lasted eight years and killed nearly a million people, the HIV pandemic took seven years to cause the death of thirty-six million people.

The worst was the black death Bubonic Plague that lasted seven years and killed approximately seventy-five to two hundred million people. You never know how long COVID-19 is going to last and how many lives it may take with it.

Why shouldn’t you stop SEO services during this pandemic?

This would be the WORST TIME for you to stop your SEO Strategy!

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it helps a business in improving a brand’s search engine ranking. It optimizes a website to get unpaid or organic traffic from search engine results.

Every company’s website has content that describes the business, the products, and services offered by them. With the help of SEO services, the websites gain more exposure and experience more traffic.

How the SEO works is a complex topic as it has several different factors impacting its ranking, one of them being content marketing that is integrated with SEO. The Google organic search has been greatly impacted by the pandemic COVID-19.

The outbreak has resulted in businesses and economies all over the world, shifting their support towards human health, and attempting to slow the infection rate.

COVID-19 has significantly changed online search behaviour as well as the type of content that search engine displays as a result. Google aims to provide the best possible result, which comes with expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), especially with YMYL or ‘Your Money, Your Life’ kind of search queries.

Life takes priority over everything else when a pandemic hits. With pandemic, every business takes a hit, and predictions of economic collapse start to surface. A lot of people start to believe that there is not much left to do and give up.

But do you know that you can still use SEO as a useful tool to sustain your business and not wait for the pandemic to end?

Take the chance and show some empathy

Every business has a human side to it, and when the pandemic hits, it is time to show your human side to your customers. Words like ‘we care,’ ‘we understand’ and such have often been used in article creation.

It is time you show that you mean it. Make sure that the content you share with them lets them know that you care, and you understand what they are facing.

If your company is helping a community during this time of need, make sure to share it in the newsletter.

Start advancing on your brand

SEO is a branding tool, but the trick is knowing how to use it during a pandemic. People are more worried about their jobs and lives than show any interest in your products or services.  People worry; it doesn’t mean that they are not online.

Most people start to look for content on COVID-19. Use SEO services to ensure that your brand shows up in the content. You can share safety messages with your brand or product visible.

Make sure to optimize the keywords to relate to safety during a pandemic, and do not share any humorous memes.

Create awareness among consumers, and a distance between you and competitor

If your business has anything to do with products that are needed during a pandemic, then make use of this to create awareness. Nothing remains intact in the minds of people during a pandemic than a company that shows care and responsibility.

Every day, things such as toilet paper, hand wash, soaps, disinfectants, and so on are becoming a necessity and people will remember them, but they will also remember a competitor brand.

Use SEO services to stay on the top.

Make use of content marketing that tells your customers that you care and create a distance between you and your competitor.

Even if your company does not provide essentials, find ways to be noticed by offering content that helps customers during the time of need. Make sure to optimize keywords and give yourself a head start before your competitor joins the race.

Invest in long-term marketing strategy

It is a time when everything is uncertain, starting from the future of a business to the lives of people. Cuts will have to be made as the future shows certain signs of recession. It is ideal to invest in long-term marketing rather than look for opportunities to make short term profits. The ideal tool to fulfil long term goals is SEO.

The pandemic has no defined end, but it surely has an end. When it does, you must be prepared to receive your customers. Until then, develop a content marketing strategy, and with the help of SEO services, establish yourself as the brand that every customer seeks.

Today or tomorrow, the pandemic has to end. But customers who are stuck inside their homes have ample time to browse and build a perception about a brand or a company that they find online.

Don’t wait for the pandemic to be over to start your SEO work; your competitor may already be a step ahead of you

Is Twitter Still an Effective Marketing Channel in the UK in 2020?

It’s an unfortunate truth that Twitter isn’t what it once was.

By the first quarter of 2015, the social media site had grown to 302 million users, and while the number of people regularly using the site today aren’t too far off that, growth has stagnated over the past five years and the quality of content on Twitter has changed somewhat.

social media

It’s no longer the go-to chic social networking site of up-and-coming tech start-ups and high-end luxury brands – but that doesn’t mean its fallen into irrelevancy just yet; Twitter marketing still has a valuable place in a successful digital marketing strategy.

Is Twitter declining in popularity?

Without a doubt, yes.

To be clear, though, Twitter is still used by millions of people around the world. In Q4 2018, Twitter had over 320 million active users, the lowest user figure on the site for two years.

By 2020, Twitter has changed their criteria and now count 145 million monetizable daily active users; this number isn’t just users, but those users who are active enough on Twitter to see ads and bring in revenue to the site.

This is actually an increase of 17% on Q3 of 2017, which might indicate that Twitter is seeing a small resurgence in popularity, though it’s important to note that in comparison, Instagram has reported having over 500 million daily users.

However, if we assess Twitter by another metric – daily tweets – we can see a fall of over 200,000 Tweets per day between Twitter’s peak in 2014 and 2018.

Twitter use is changing!

The relationship between these two statistics can be seen as an illustration of the changing landscape of Twitter.

In 2014, Twitter was largely a tool for communication and networking between individuals and companies, whereas in 2020 it is more often used as a source of news and debate; this was already the case in 2017, when 74% of Twitter users reported using the site for their daily news fix.

Because Twitter is a social networking site which basically consists of user-generated content, this change in use has a huge impact on what Twitter essentially offers.

An uptick in users, but a fall in daily tweets, imply that more and more people are using twitter to read and retweet, but not take an active part in conversations.

While this might not sound problematic at first, it is for a social site which relies on users taking part to maintain a strong, varied content base.

Can Twitter still be an effective way to market for UK businesses?

Just because growth on Twitter is slowing, this doesn’t mean that it’s not still relevant in 2020.

In fact, despite stagnating user numbers, Twitter advertising engagement was up 23% in Q3 2019. With millions of users around the world – and 14.1 million from the UK alone – Twitter is a huge audience that shouldn’t be ignored.

What’s important now is that Twitter doesn’t make up your entire digital marketing strategy; it should simply be one aspect of a strategy which targets a range of social media platforms and websites, including both Twitter and platforms seeing more growth like Facebook and Instagram.

A lot of content can be cross-posted on various social networks, so creating and maintaining a Twitter account to increase your brand’s presence among Twitter users doesn’t have to mean creating a boatload of new content; it’s just another avenue of communication with potential customers to manage, and the more of these you leave open, the better.

Twitter’s design also makes it a convenient platform for consumers to get in touch with companies directly, and it remains a popular method of B2C communication in 2020.

While marketers must always keep an eye to the future, even somewhat outdated social media platforms offer high-value marketing opportunities; ultimately, for the small amount of work that it takes to set up and maintain an active Twitter account, a reach of 14 million UK consumers isn’t bad going.

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