Do you smell that? That’s the smell of turkey roastin’, brother.

It’s the first full week of November, and that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Before you know it, you’ll be crowding around the dining room table with loved ones, boxing out your Great Aunt Mabel on the green bean casserole and arm wrestling your cousin Chuck for the last slice of pumpkin pie. (Everyone does this, right? It’s not just my family?)

But before you stuff your face with turkey, stuffing (without raisins, of course) and mashed potatoes, gorge on a different kind of fare – the sort that won’t leave you stretched out in your grandpa’s favorite recliner in a catatonic food coma. We’re talking about the Content Marketing Weekly here, people, and all the juicy digital marketing tidbits that go with it.

So, slap on your favorite Brafton-branded bib and chow down on the latest CM Weekly. This week, we’re serving up the goods on holiday season-focused SEO, Google hotel queries, how-to content and maybe, just maybe, the biggest collection of content marketing tools ever created.

5 Simple Steps to Creating Exceptional How-To Content

How-to articles have long been a part of the “holy trinity” of blog content, standing shoulder to shoulder with question-and list-based articles. There’s a damn good reason how-tos have been so popular with content marketers over the years. They check off a lot of the boxes Google’s algorithm looks for when ranking quality content: They offer tangible value to the reader, demonstrate expertise and authority around a particular topic, tend to have a pretty rich depthness on whatever subject they cover and are incredibly relevant to common search queries.

If you’ve ever hit a brick wall trying to create how-to articles of your own, Fuze SEO CEO and – more impressively – Search Engine Journal VIP Contributor Jon Clark laid out a pretty handy five-step process to crafting can’t-miss content.

Without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty details, this is Clark’s process for how-to content:

  1. Conduct your research.
  2. Map out how the content will look.
  3. Build in your SEO elements.
  4. Break it up into more digestible chunks. (Notice we did not say “snackable.”)
  5. Incorporate lively visuals.

When you lay it out like that, it’s almost too easy. If there’s one step here to prioritize it’s numero uno. Despite what step No. 4 says, how-to content needs to be exhaustive enough to completely guide a reader through whatever task they’re working on. That’s simple enough in some scenarios, but if you’re trying to engage a more technical audience, your how-to blog, video or what have you needs to be backed by plenty of research and expertise.

Read the full story here.

SEO for Holiday Shoppers

Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is here. Yes, it’s only the first week of November, but jump around the dial of your car radio, and you’ll be sure to find at least one station that’s broken the seal on Christmas music. Don’t try to fight it.

Hopefully, you’ve already set up your SEO and content marketing strategy to account for holiday shopping, but if not, Dave Davies (whose parents must have one hell of a sense of humor) over at Search Engine Land has a few tips to help get you on the right track.

Granted, some of Davies’ advice is a bit obvious (why didn’t we ever think of grabbing the featured snippet spot before?), but there’s a lot of good stuff to be found here, whether you’re looking to make a few final tweaks to your seasonal SEO plan or coming in at the very last minute and need to completely revamp your strategy to engage holiday shoppers.

For instance, creating a top-10 list for the hottest toys, electronics, video games or other hot shopping items is a good way boost your SERP visibility this time of year. Staff picks, reviews and ratings are safe bets as well. Either way, Davies recommends creating an evergreen URL that can be updated each year with new content while archiving last season’s articles.

He also suggests building around specific search queries that reflect what people will actually be looking for without getting lost in the shuffle of more general and competitive searches. Davies gives the example of families looking for vacation rentals, who are more likely to include requirements like the number of bedrooms needed in their queries. Or someone who received a gift card for Christmas and wants to spend it on a specific video game.

You sacrifice some search volume by narrowing your focus, but you’re more likely to get traffic from people who are actually interested in your services.

Check it out here.

Google Redesigns the Hotel Search Experience on Desktop

Hotel proprietors should take notice because Google recently updated its local listings with an all-new UI for results on select establishments. Search Engine Journal’s Matt Southern has all the details, but the long and short of it is that Google redesigned local 3-pack search results for desktops to more closely align with mobile interfaces.

There are several improvements that users are sure to notice, including:

  • Price comparisons culled from major booking sites.
  • Searchable hotel reviews.
  • Extensive rating system.
  • In-depth information on each hotel, like the neighborhood it’s located in and any notable amenities it may have.

The catch, as alluded to above, is that only those hotels that make it into the vaunted local 3-pack position will receive this treatment. If you’ve ever needed more reason to crack the top three in your area, now you’ve got it.

Head on over to read more.

100+ Tools Content Marketers Really Love

Some people just can’t get enough content marketing tools. If that sounds like you, then you should thank your lucky stars that Kim Moutsos and the rest of the Content Marketing Institute went to the trouble of putting together what may very well be the most comprehensive list of resources ever created.

CMI surveyed 700 community members to find out their absolute favorite digital marketing tools for a wide variety of tasks. There’s way too much to go over in this small of a space, but to give you a little taste of what’s included, here are some of the 34 major areas the list covers:

  • Analytics.
  • Email marketing.
  • Project management.
  • Collaboration.
  • Webinars.
  • ABM.
  • AI.
  • CMS.
  • CRM.
  • Demand generation.
  • Influencer marketing.

I could keep going, but my fingers are getting tired. There’s something for everyone here, so if you feel like your content marketing execution is coming up short or are just curious about what you might be missing out on, check it out. There’s guaranteed to be a tool to launch your digital marketing strategy into the stratosphere.

Read all about it here.

There you have it: another week of content marketing insights, updates and tips, courtesy of the CM Weekly. And so the countdown begins until the next edition. But just like Christmas, it’ll be here before you know it.

Jeff Keleher is a writer and editor at Brafton. A man of simple tastes, he enjoys playing guitar, playing video games and playing with his dog - sometimes all at once. He still hasn't gotten over Illinois' loss in the 2005 NCAA National Championship game, and he probably never will.