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How (and Where) to Add Social Media Buttons to Your Site for More Engagement

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How (and Where) to Add Social Media Buttons to Your Site for More Engagement


With social shares on content down 50 percent since 2015, it’s feeling like a lost cause to even consider social media in your content plan.

And we’ve all heard the age-old “social sharing buttons are dead” statements.

Just like we’ve heard for SEO, content marketing, PPC, and just about every other marketing tactic that still works.

The biggest gripes that tag along with social sharing buttons are often from marketers who use them wrong.

Or on sites that don’t get enough traffic.

Most of the time, it’s the case of awful placements and poor usability.

Here is how and where to add social buttons to your site for maximum social engagement.

Where to Avoid Social Buttons on Your Site

Most marketers go wrong in two main areas with social sharing buttons:

  • Putting them on the wrong pages: nobody is going to share it.
  • Using poor social buttons with horrible usability: it’s too much of a hassle to use.

Where do social sharing buttons definitively not work?

On product, pricing, and features pages:

social sharing buttons product page

According to a study done by VWO, removing social sharing buttons on ecommerce sites product pages increased conversions by 11.9 percent.

This study has produced some controversy as to whether social sharing buttons actually work or if they negatively impact your success.

But it’s hard to tell for a few reasons:

  • It was on a product page. Who is going to social share a product directly from the product page before they buy it? Probably 1 in 1,000,000.
  • Low amounts of shares on a product page are similar to negative or zero reviews on Amazon. People don’t trust it. It works as “negative” social proof.
  • It is distracting people from the main CTA, which is to buy the product.

If you can add user-friendly social sharing buttons to the right pages, you can bet that social sharing is going to rise.

So, where do you add them?

Add Social Sharing Buttons Within Your Content

Possibly one of the best examples of social sharing button use is from HubSpot:

social sharing buttons within content

When consuming content on HubSpot and highlighting specific sections, a social sharing bar pops up, displaying options for Twitter, Facebook, email, LinkedIn, Messenger, and copy and pasting.

This is stellar usability.

It allows users to not only just share the entire article but share specific sections of the content they find interesting.

Plus when you copy and paste a section from the post, here is what it looks like:

“When you segment the above results by company size, the results get even more interesting.” https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/blogging-frequency-benchmarks

It automatically places the copied content into quotation marks and cites the source with HubSpot’s link.

Boom! Now that’s proper attribution.

When you select the social buttons like Twitter or Facebook, it does the same thing, automatically importing the quoted text and citing the article link.

Want more social shares with buttons? Follow HubSpot’s lead and incorporate it into the usability of the page, rather than just having static buttons on the side-bar.

Add Social Sharing Buttons Halfway Through Content

A white paper by Chartbeat found that 55 percent of site visitors read an article for 15 seconds or less.

Brutal.

Getting people to click in search engine results is hard enough as is, let alone getting them to stay around for content consumption.

So you can bet that those social sharing buttons displayed at the top of your blog post aren’t doing the heavy lifting.

If people aren’t even reading for 15+ seconds, they aren’t going to share your content.

With that being said, you should add them further down the page on your content, targeting more interested readers and high intent traffic.

If people are reaching the bottom of your content consistently, they probably loved the post.

And if they loved the post, your odds of generating a social share are far higher.

Sharing buttons at the top of your content can just be a distraction from the big picture:

Getting people to actively read your content.

So, try adding social sharing buttons towards the lower half of your content.

Or even at the end with a call to action:

social sharing buttons with call to action

Switch it up and see what generates more social shares for your content.

Display Social Sharing as Social Proof When Shares Accumulate

As you begin to accumulate social shares, you can flip the script and display social buttons at the top of your content.

Low shares on content can work against you if you don’t have years of built up brand awareness.

Imagine this:

Someone who has never heard of your brand decides to give you a shot in the SERPs against big brands.

They click on your content and see this:

social sharing social proof

Chances are, they are going to think:

That’s weird, why does this post have just a single social share? Is this content accurate? Is it bad? Should I find something else?

If you haven’t had time to generate tons of social shares yet, or a post simply didn’t get that many, avoid using static buttons at the beginning of your post.

It might negatively impact your ability to get more shares.

Conversely, if you have tons of shares, directly display them at the top of your post for massive social proof benefits:

social proof accumulating

The Best Social Sharing Button Apps and Plugins

Not all social sharing buttons and plugins are created equal.

Some are clunky, outdated, have bad usability, and simply look awful.

When it comes to sharing buttons, you want the opposite of that.

Here are some of the best on the market, both free and paid to experiment with.

1. Highlight and Share for WordPress – Free!

This plugin for WordPress works just like HubSpot’s, allowing users on your site to share your content when highlighting text.

highlight and share social sharing

This plugin is completely free for WordPress users and works with:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp
  • LinkedIn
  • Email

With it, you can enable themes, disable specific socials and customize the sharing options.

2. Social Warfare – Free to Paid

Social Warfare packs a bunch of different options for sharing buttons from static to fading in at specific points on your post.

It’s great for adding sharing buttons halfway through content to target interested readers.

3. Monarch – Paid

Monarch is the social sharing plugin under the ElegantThemes brand. It costs money to have access to the site and plugin, but it’s one of the best on the market.

It allows the most branding customization of any plugin out there and the most diverse animation sequences.

Want a superior plugin? You are going to have to pay a bit more.

But if customization is key for you, this is worth it.

Conclusion

Social sharing buttons can be highly effective when placed on the right pages at the right time.

But more often than not, most marketers just put social sharing buttons everywhere.

More buttons! You get a button, you get a button!

Sadly, this approach fails.

Want more social shares from your social buttons?

Place them within content when people highlight sections.

Add social sharing buttons halfway through content to target interested readers.

Only display social buttons at the top of posts when you have accumulated tons of shares.

Avoid cheap, clunks social buttons and opt for ones with greater usability.

Social sharing buttons are far from dead. It’s just time to start using them with intent.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Screenshots taken by author, January 2019

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Leaning into SEO as Google shifts from search engine to portal

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Leaning into SEO as Google shifts from search engine to portal


Google’s SERP is almost unrecognizable compared to what it looked like just a few years ago. The changes aren’t just on the surface, either: Google is becoming less search engine, more portal, said Jessica Bowman, CEO of SEO In-house  and Search Engine Land editor at large, during her keynote at SMX Advanced this month.

This evolution is fundamentally altering the customer journey from search, with Google owning the process by enabling users to bypass clicks to websites to get information, take action and even transact. This will have repercussions for just about every company. Bowman offered several plans of action for SEOs preparing for these changes and said investments in SEO will be more important than ever.

Build and train your SEO army

“When I evaluate an organization, I find that every role has activities they do that affect SEO, and SEO needs to be integrated into those activities,” Bowman told Search Engine Land, “The SEO team has to figure out what those are and then train people to do that.”

Larger companies should incorporate SEO into their daily vernacular, said Bowman. This way, you can conscript dozens, if not hundreds, of staff members into your “SEO army,” get them advocating for it, quoting best practices, involving the dedicated SEO team and flagging missing requirements on a day-to-day basis.

Although non-SEOs aren’t expected to be authorities on the topic, their 20% of effort stands to make 80% of the impact on your brand’s overall optimization, Bowman said. It will be up to your main SEO team as well as upper management to empower them.

Expand writing competencies

Product information, news stories, how-to guides and various other types of content may receive higher visibility on SERPs if they appear as a knowledge panel, within a carousel or as a featured snippet. Your writers, be they bloggers, copywriters, social media managers or anything in between, need to be creating content that is comprehensive and authoritative enough to compete for organic visibility, said Bowman.

Writers across the company need to master concepts such as SEO-friendly JavaScript, schema, writing for the long tail, rich snippets and the “People also ask” section in the search results. As with any process, regularly reviewing copy and providing feedback can help assure quality and enable you to get the most from your efforts.

Master Schema and JavaScript for SEO

Understanding and correctly implementing schema on your site can help crawlers make sense of your content and, consequently, increase the odds that it gets displayed as a featured snippet. Featured snippets and other rich results, of course, illustrate the double-edged sword nature of Google’s portal-like interface: They increase your content’s visibility and yet users may not click through to your site because the information they need has already been presented to them.

Event, FAQ, speakable content and much more — Google now supports dozens of markups for various content types, making schema a valuable tool for modern SEO. If you’re using WordPress’ CMS, Yoast has revamped its schema implementation to streamline structured data entry, but it’s still important for your development team to be able to verify the quality of your code.

With Googlebot’s latest update, it can now see more of your content than ever. However, limitations still exist and brands should be cognizant of JavaScript issues that may hinder indexing. Before coding JavaScript, your teams need to be discussing what content search engines will and won’t be able to see. It’s also worth keeping in mind that other search engines may not be as equipped to render your content.

“Particularly for large, global companies, they need to think about these smaller search engines that are less sophisticated than Google but still drive a decent amount of traffic in international markets,” Bowman emphasized.

Monitor and study mobile SERPs

“The problem is, a lot of us work on our computers, and so we’re checking things out on the desktop interface,” Bowman pointed out. Beginning on July 1, all new sites will be indexed using Google’s mobile-first indexing, with older sites getting monitored and evaluated for mobile-first indexing readiness. Since the majority of searches now happen on mobile, brands need to closely examine the mobile SERP and account for updates and changes in order to create content that’s optimized for the devices their audiences are using.

“I think the reason that we, as an industry, have not been talking about this is because of that — we’re not really studying the search results on a mobile interface to truly see they’re [Google] taking it over, and as mobile takes over, they’re going to gobble up some of our traffic. I think once they’ve got it [the mobile SERP] mastered and they know it’s a strong user experience, it’s only a matter of time before they do that to desktop as well.”

Take advantage of big data

“Hiring a data scientist is better than hiring an SEO to study the data,” Bowman stated simply. Data scientists are better equipped to identify commonalities and trends that you can use to improve your optimization efforts, inform your content strategy and enhance user experience (UX).

During her keynote, Bowman also recommended that brands make use of the Google Chrome User Experience Report to compare site speed to the competition as well as reference UX metrics from popular destinations across the web. You can then be more proactive.

Google’s search results interface has changed dramatically, but brands and agencies that can shake the inertia, rally their staffs and reorient their processes will be the first to spot new opportunities and novel ways to reach their audiences.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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Yoast, Google devs propose XML Sitemaps for WordPress Core

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Yoast, Google devs propose XML Sitemaps for WordPress Core


The inclusion of XML Sitemaps as a WordPress Core feature has been proposed by a group of Yoast and Google team members as well as other contributors. In addition to a basic XML Sitemap, the proposal also introduces an XML Sitemaps API that would extend functionality for developers and webmasters.

The proposed XML Sitemaps structure. Image sourced from Make WordPress Core.

What it’ll include. The proposal states that XML Sitemaps will be enabled by default, allowing for indexing of the following content types:

  • Homepage
.
  • Posts page
.
  • Core post types (Pages and Posts)
.
  • Custom post types
.
  • Core taxonomies (Tags and Categories)
.
  • Custom taxonomies
.
  • Users (Authors)
.

It’s worth keeping in mind that your WordPress site’s automatically generated robots.txt file will also reference your sitemap index.

What it won’t include. Although the proposed feature will include the majority of WordPress content types and meet search engine minimum requirements, the initial integration will not cover image, video or news sitemaps, XML Sitemaps caching mechanisms or user-facing changes such as UI controls that exclude individual posts or pages from the sitemap.

The XML Sitemaps API. Here’s how the API will let you manipulate your XML Sitemaps:

  • Provide a custom XML Stylesheet
.
  • Add extra sitemaps and sitemap entries
.
  • Add extra attributes to sitemap entries
.
  • Exclude a specific post, post type, taxonomy or term from the sitemap
.
  • Exclude a specific author from the sitemap
.
  • Exclude specific authors with a specific role from the sitemap
.

Why we should care. Sitemaps facilitate indexing by providing web crawlers with your site’s URLs. If implemented, this might mean one less third-party plugin that brands and webmasters have to rely on for their SEO efforts. As a WordPress Core feature, we can expect wider compatibility and support than we might get from third-party solutions.

Poorly optimized plugins can also slow down your site, which can have a negative impact on your organic traffic. This default option from WordPress may not replace plugins like Yoast SEO because they often include other features in addition to XML Sitemaps, but its availability has the potential to provide us with more flexibility over which plugins we install.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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Yoast SEO 11.4 adds FAQ structured data, UX improvements

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Yoast SEO 11.4 adds FAQ structured data, UX improvements


Yoast SEO’s latest update enhances its FAQ blocks by automatically generating structured data to accompany questions and answers. The update also introduces some UX improvements and addresses issues with AMP pages when viewed in Reader mode.

How to use it. Yoast’s FAQ structured data implementation is only compatible with the WordPress block editor (also known as Gutenberg; available on versions 5.0 and newer). Webmasters can get started by selecting the FAQ block, adding a question, inputting the answer and an image (if applicable) and repeating the process for all frequently asked questions.

The Yoast FAQ block.

The corresponding FAQpage structured data will be generated in the background and added to Yoast’s structured data graph, which may help search engines identify your FAQ page and figure out how it fits into the overall scheme of your site.

A new action and filter were also introduced to make this integration more flexible. The wpseo_pre-schema_block-type_<block-type> lets you adjust the graph output based the blocks on the page and the wpseo_schema_block_<block-type> filter enables you to filter graph output on a per-block basis.

Other improvements. Yoast has also linked the SEO and readability scores in the Classic Editor and relocated the Focus keyphrase field to the top of meta box and sidebar to make it easier to find. And, they’ve resolved issues with AMP pages when viewed in Reader mode.

Why we should care. At this year’s I/O conference, Google announced support for FAQ markup, which may mean that searchers will be presented with FAQs as rich results more frequently. Being able to easily and efficiently equip our FAQ sections with structured data can yield better odds of earning prominent placement on SERPs.

For more on Yoast’s structured data implementation, check out our coverage on their 11.0 (general schema implementation), 11.1 (image and video), 11.2 (custom schema) and 11.3 (image and avatar) updates.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

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