Are You Making These eCommerce SEO Mistakes?

Consumer confidence is growing with online commerce platforms, and now social media sites and Google have introduced instant buy buttons for mobile users, it is easier than ever for consumers to make an impromptu online purchase. To ensure your eCommerce site functions to optimum performance, it is important to use best SEO practices. Not only do you need to up your game in search engines, you need to earn the trust of online customers. Therefore, avoid making these SEO mistakes. Thin content on product pages One of the most annoying things for online shoppers is to follow a link to a product page they are interested in, only to find there is little or no information about the product. This is a cue to look elsewhere. One of the biggest reasons why eCommerce companies lose customers to competitors is because they fail to include useful or engaging product descriptions on their site.  Worse still, some ecommerce suppliers simply copy manufacturers descriptions leaving little unique content that Google can’t find elsewhere already. Whilst there isn’t really a minimum on how many words are the right amount for product descriptions, the most important thing is to think about what information people are looking for when searching for your product and what type of questions they might have about that product.  Answer the questions and provide useful information to meet humans’ queries about a product and you can’t go far wrong. There is also the issue that you may end up with ‘too similar content’, with little between one page on your site and the next.  Whilst Google might not filter these...

What Are hreflang Tags And Does Your Business Need Them For SEO?

Online marketing enables businesses to open their virtual shop doors to the world. Our advice to business owners that can feasibly attract international clientele is: don’t forget to include hreflang tags. If you need to brush up on why hreflang tags are important, you can do that right here, right now. The hreflang tag has a direct correlation to websites that publish content in various different languages. It is also used as a ranking metric when faced with multiple URLs which are the same content by search engines which we will come on to later. First we’re going to tackle why you need hreflang tags. Why are hreflang tags required? hreflang tags are the solution to potential technical SEO problems for online businesses that publish content in different languages. The first problem the tag solves is ranking pages in relevant search engines. For example, let’s say you publish two similar pieces of content on your website, one in English and the other in Spanish. If the search query of an end-user in Spain matches your content, the webpage that contains the Spanish version will show up in their search results rather than the English version. But only if you use hreflang tags to inform search engines there is a duplicate page in another language. It should be noted as this point that the hreflang tag only flags up languages, not countries. Therefore, a hreflang tag on a page containing Spanish content will show up in search engines on all Spanish speaking countries. How does hrelang benefit SEO? The hreflang tag benefits SEO in two ways: the first one demonstrated above...

What Ranking Factors Should You Concentrate On?

Earlier this year, Google revealed its three most important ranking factors are content, links and RankBrain. We have a few more to add to these, and don’t think the need for publishing quality content needs further explanation. And if you do publish shareable content you may naturally receive inbound links (but you’ll likely need to promote this via social media and outreach in order for people to find it if you don’t already have an engaged audience). But there are also other important metrics you should watch closely to improve your SEO and ultimately your visibility in search engine rankings.  In fact, there are supposedly over 200 ranking factors that Google takes into consideration when it comes to ordering pages in search.  By the way, PageRank is only one of them, so don’t be fooled that it is the be-all and end-all. Information architecture The information architecture (IA) of a website is how your navigational pathways are organised and how content flows within that structure. The purpose of planning IA is to make your website as easy to use as possible. When visitors to a website cannot find what they are looking for quickly, they get frustrating and will leave. One of the greatest causes in lost traffic is because brands are not providing customers with a good user-experience. Information architecture is not only used by humans either. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. By using a strong, organised website structure with clear ways to find pages in categories and subcategories or by site section themes, you send a clear signal...

Is Your Bounce Rate Restricting Conversions?

If you are not generating leads, attracting search traffic and scoring the conversions you had hoped from your online business, a good place to start your investigation to resolve this is in your google analytics ‘bounce rates’.  This Google Analytics metric is a good indication that visitors to your website are not hanging around.  Whilst some argue that this may be because your visitors found exactly what they were looking for so only needed a single page view, in the majority of cases it’s usually a sign that visitors are not satisfied with what they found when they arrived from the referring search engine. Some SEOs believe that search engines use bounce rate as a metric to determine how relevant your site is against a search query and to assess the usability of your website. If visitors are leaving within the first few seconds of landing, some believe that search engines know you are not providing quality content.  The return to search engine results from a site and then visiting another website for the same query is often referred to as ‘pogo-sticking’ in SEO circles.  It is important to note that Google have always denied that they use bounce rate or click through rates in any way when ranking websites. In any case, if, when analysing your bounce rate combined with other metrics such as dwell time in Google Analytics, combined with a low conversion it is likely that having a high bounce rate is not doing you any favours. So how can you improve bounce rate, encourage visitors to explore your website and guide them along the purchasing...

Facebook Gets Personal As Algorithm Cuts Brands

Social media marketers have been given another kick in the Facebook. The content sharing giant has announced a change to its News Feed algorithm that practically wipes out the scant organic reach small businesses did have. As a result marketers are challenged to change their Facebook marketing strategy again. According to Vice President, Adam Mosseri, Facebook want to return to their core roots and promote stories from family and friends. This was the result of an alleged referendum taking the results of Facebook user preferences. A statement released by the company confirmed users are likely to spend more time in their News Feed when they “see content they are interested in.” Is this an admission that Facebook are concerned about the growing influence of social rivals such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest? Mosseri noted that Facebook users are more interested in stories from family and friends, but also added that the social network intend to promote “All Ideas.” The social network claims publishers still have a way in by using their Pages initiative. Encouraging publishers to use Pages to post content their audience are likely to share means Facebook still intend to maintain some organic reach even if the network is forcing you through channels they want you to use so that users stay rooted in the network. How Facebook intend to manage this contradiction in terms remains to be seen, but given the company acknowledged content that is shared from source sites rather than posted to News Feeds will favour established brands with bigger marketing budgets. In other words, Facebook are favouring recognised brands people are familiar with...

5 Website Usability Issues That Lose Customers

User-experience is a major issue for consumers and online business owners. If customers cannot find want they are looking for quickly and easily, they will leave your website and look elsewhere. Your competitors. To avoid missing out on a sale and the potential to build a loyal customer base, ensure your website is user-friendly across multiple devices. Here is our top five key usability issues that will lose you customers. Load times Forget content, speed is king. End-users typically give websites 2-10 seconds (depending which report you read), before clicking out. Don’t risk losing customers for the sake of a few snazzy features on your website. Although HTML5 and fast internet connections have improved load times, you still risk slowing your site speed down by loading it up with weighty files such as videos, high pixelated images and heavy javascript codes. Signposts Another bug bear with consumers is not being able to find what they want in a hurry, and not knowing where to go next. Visitors need clear instructions to navigate your site so guide them through every step of the purchasing path. You can add signposts through navigation menus and sub-menus, embedding internal links within blog content and web copy, call to action buttons and by making best use of the footer by including links to your primary and sub-services. Easy interaction The quality of a users experience rests on how easy it is to use your website. Try to keep scrolling to limit, and eliminate users having to scroll both horizontally and vertically. Busy websites will not win you any likes from shoppers, so keep content...

Google Launch Mobile Friendly Test Tool For Small Businesses

Google launched a new mobile friendly testing tool at the beginning of June. Aimed at small business owners, the testing tool enables you to determine how user-friendly your website is on mobile devices. Don’t panic, the tool is easy to use. All you have to do is visit Google’s mobile friendly webpage and type your url into the field provided. The following results will show underneath: Mobile friendliness: ??/100 Mobile Speed: ??/100 Desktop speed: ??/100 The results will then be merited: good/fair/poor. Google will even send you a full breakdown of the report for you to hand to your web designer if you request one. Nice touch, we thought. Why is mobile speed important? There are some clinical statistics that indicate the importance of ensuring your website is mobile friendly: More searches are conducted using mobile phones that any other device. If a website does not load within 2-10 seconds, visitors will leave. If you ask digital marketers what the most important aspect of a website is, most will answer, “user-experience.” So to sum up, if the majority of consumers are using mobile devices to visit your website, but it is slow to load or they cannot navigate your site easily, they will leave. This means two things: You miss out on a sale Your rivals gain a customer. And they may stay loyal customers. Your prospective customer chooses not to click on your site when seeing it in search results next time they have a need due to the past poor experience whilst visiting before on their mobile or tablet device. Search engines have been encouraging online business...

How Does HTTP2 Affect Your SEO?

HTTP/2 has been a godsend for SEO. The protocol effectively improves browser-server communication which subsequently reduces load times and improves the performance of your website. All this points towards a better user-experience. If you are not already supporting HTTP/2, you should do soon. The protocol strips away redundant language that complicates file requests and slows down load times. Fast load speeds are critical to the amount of traffic your website receives. Furthermore, Google Webmaster Trend Analyst, John Mueller announced the latest algorithm updates support HTTP/2. This is another underlining of the search engine’s intention to improve UX. And if Google places so much importance on user-experience, so should you. It is highly likely that HTTP/2 will be used as a ranking factor given that it speeds up websites dramatically. HTTP/1 to HTTP/2 Making the switch to HHTP/2 is easy. There are no pitfalls. Even if a browser does not support the new protocol now, it will do soon. In the meantime, it automatically reverts to HTTP/1.1. So websites will still load, but at the standard pace. To support the latest protocol on your website, update your server software. You should already be supporting HTTP/1.1. If not you will need to implement this protocol before you can add HTTP/2. For more information about implementing HTTP/2 check out this comprehensive guide. The only caveat emptor of HTTP/2 is that it only works on secure connections. So check your website is secured. Most are so you shouldn’t have any problems. HTTP/2 is such as revelation, Search Engine Journal columnist, Patrick Stox described it as “the greatest advancements in web technology in the...

Is Your Content Underperforming? Consider Re-Optimising

If your content is underperforming, don’t give up on it too easily. But rather than investing time and money in fresh content, try reoptimising/rewriting your current content to make it more receptive to search engines and engaging for readers.

Google Add User Explorer to Google Analytics

f you use Google Analytics – and you should be – you may have noticed a new feature has appeared in the Audience menu: User Explorer.
The Big G has announced it is slowly rolling out the new metric, and the companies promotions team has been lauding the feature, describing it as “exciting” “stunning” and “long-awaited”.

5 Google Analytic Metrics To Look at in 2016

The importance of Google analytics should not be underestimated. The data you can pull from this free tool is SEO gold when it comes to tweaking your digital marketing engine. As search technology becomes more sophisticated, specific data analytics become evidently more useful and/or important. Here are five you should be taking a good look at this year. User behaviour Given search engines are fixated with improving user-experience, logic would suggest how visitors use your site is arguably the most important metric search engines use to assess the merits of your website. One of the key stats is how long readers stay on a page and how many average page views you receive per visit. If visitors are hanging around to absorb page content and exploring other areas of your site, you can be assured your content is engaging and your SERPS will improve. Also check bounce rate. If it is high, look into which pages visitors arrive to your site and which they are leaving from.  That said, don’t assume that a high bounce rate is a bad thing, particularly if your page meets needs (for example, it could be an article which you want visitors to read if you are a publisher, with few other actions required – perhaps consider measuring this in combination with dwell time to see if people are sticking around on those pages or whether they are pogo-sticking straight out of the page again).  A high bounce rate could mean that you have actually met their needs in the first place, so it’s not wise to simply look at one metric in isolation....

Is Google Replacing Organic Results With Paid Ads?

When Google announced they were removing the right menu bar of paid ads, it raised a few eyebrows amongst marketers. The official reason was so the search engine could add an extra paid ad at the top of the screen. Given most clickthroughs come from the first three paid ads above the fold, there is justification for the change. But removing the entire right-side menu means fewer paid ads appear on page one of Google. There is clearly more to this story. Removing the clutter of paid ads from the right-hand side of search results does create a better-user experience. The results page is now much cleaner and less busy to look at – especially on mobile handsets. But by removing the number of Adwords from the first page of Google means there is less primary ad space for businesses paying for a PPC campaign to occupy. Could reduced visibility have a negative impact on PPC campaigns or Google’s ad revenue? It is unlikely the search engine giant is likely to allow either of those scenarios to happen. That can only mean the Big G has a contingency plan. How will Paid Ads impact searches? Research shows that the top three paid ads above the fold receive the most clicks – 41.4%. Google has now added a fourth paid ad box to fill this space which typically takes all the space above the fold. It will be interesting to see how results pan out in the coming months, but there is a real threat that pushing organic results down the page will result in less traffic for websites that...

How To Approach Influencers and Earn Backlinks

Before we explain how to earn backlinks from influencers, we must stress that this SEO tactic will only work if you are publishing high-quality content people are engaging with. If not, make that your priority. Influencers are like gold dust to an online business. Once you get an influential web celebrity or industry authority in your corner you can expect to increase your online profile, increase traffic and acquire new customers. The first task is to identify influencers in your industry. This is important. There is no point making friends with people just because they have a large following. There has to be relevancy otherwise you will not connect with the right audience. The best way to find influencers is through search engines and on social media. Get to know them and understand how they think before you approach. Follow their social feeds and read their blogs. It is important to understand what type of character the influencer is, what they most love to talk about, what sense of humour they have. This type of character profiling will pay dividends later on when you come to building a rapport. Take an active interest Now you have learned a little about the influencers you would like to target, you can confidently make comments on their blog posts and social media feeds. Like their posts, share their content. Never approach influencers outright asking for help. You have to take a genuine interest in their work.  It’s even better, of course, if you do have a genuine interest in their work.  They will gradually notice you and may even respond – even...

Instagram Set To Launch Feed Algorithm

As social media networks continue to evolve, Instagram recently announced it will be adding an algorithm that will determine what content appears in your feed. The free ride is over. So should businesses worry that marketing content will not reach their audience? If the changes to Instagram are anything like its big brother, Facebook, then yes, online business owners should have cause for concern. But the changes could also benefit marketers. In its current chronological format, Instagram calculate that users miss around 70% of content that appears in their feed. The proposed change to filter content will help users free up the clutter and manage their accounts more easily. But for marketers algorithmic feeds are a concern. There is the danger your content will bypass your audience altogether. And since the algorithms are based on user-behaviour, marketing on social media becomes redundant for many small businesses that simply don’t sell products or services people want to read about. Paid advertising The real reason behind the change is to encourage business owners to purchase ad space – of course. And because algorithm feeds limit the amount of content on the page, there is more space to slip in promotional ads. Instagram has gradually ramped up its ad options over the past year. On its blog page, Instagram for Business, the social network explained the intent to focus on three key areas: “Expanding ad offerings to include action-oriented formats, enabling more targeting capabilities, and making it easier for businesses large and small to buy ads on Instagram.” With the introduction of advertising units – like Facebook did – online businesses have...

Is Advertising on Instagram Right For Your Business?

There are over 75 million users bouncing in and out of Instagram on a daily basis. The photo-sharing social network is no longer just an iOS-only app, but a major marketing platform. But it’s not for everybody! At least, this is the general perception – or it has been. But as more small businesses find creative ways to visually promote their brand, marketers are seeing the potential to reach out to a wider audience. When Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, the social platform became the largest grossing acquisition in digital history. Mark Zuckerberg saw the prospects. In just three years, the photo-sharing app has emerged as one of the most visited social media networks on the web today. Well-known brands with bulging budgets jumped on straight away – but small businesses have typically shied away. This is understandable. Instagram primarily attracts followers by using images. So the photo content you post has to be of exceptional quality – which can be expensive. But you don’t have to blow your marketing budget to be a success on Instagram. You just need to think outside the bubble and flex your creative muscles. Instagram ideas Story-telling has become a marketing art, and telling a story’s through the use of images is arguably easier than writing an entertaining 1000-word article. And customers are generally interested in people – or more specifically, the people that work for the companies they are trading with. Browse through Instagram and you will find numerous examples of how companies are using images as an open window into the business. And given online marketing is essentially...

Focus On Content, But Don’t Lose Sight Of Technical SEO

There is a focus on content in the digital marketing sphere. And not without good reason. Content attracts readers, drives traffic, raises your online profile and improves search engine rankings. But there is little point in creating quality content if the technical elements of your website are not in place to host it. Technical SEO is the foundation from which you build a successful online business. Digital marketing is a complex web of interconnected strategies. Furthermore, the components have a knock-on affect which either supports or hinders the entire campaign. Such is the case with technical SEO. The fundamental workings of a digital business are in the background of your website, and if they are not functioning correctly, your entire online marketing efforts collapse in on itself. The importance of technical structure The technical structure of your website impacts on usability, crawlability and performance. If any of these three components is flawed, it does not matter how much content you produce, you will not improve your visibility in search rankings. Usability User-experience (UX) is vitally important to retaining visitors and increasing conversions. If customers cannot easily navigate your website and find the information and products they are looking for they will leave and check out the competition instead. The information architecture is one of the first components of a website to address. You need to define a clear purchasing path and make it easy for customers to get from where they are to where they want to be in the least amount of clicks. Crawlability The technical structure of your online store or website has to be accessible and...
How To Make Your Website Trustworthy

How To Make Your Website Trustworthy

Earning trust from search engines increases your visibility in search results. Raising your game to earn trust from customers will increase conversions. Trust and authority is high on the list of priorities for both consumers and search engines. If your web presence and online services as a whole is inadequate, you are less likely to earn trust from Googlebots or online buyers. Don’t spam Sending out unsolicited emails makes your company appear unprofessional – which is another word for untrustworthy. Furthermore, your website could be flagged up as a spam-sender which will negatively affect your search engine rankings. Professional looking website A well designed website that looks professional and is easy to navigate will score ranking points with search engines and appeal to users. Include plenty of information about your company that shows you are legitimate, successful and reliable. Where possible include supporting information to back up your professionalism. Include brand logos of companies you have worked with and testimonials from satisfied customers. Furthermore, be honest with the promises you give to customers. Correctly position your product in the market and do not over-egg customer expectations. Unsatisfied customers will leave bad reviews and comments of peer-review sites and social media accounts. Your website should also include a privacy policy and terms and conditions. If you receive personal details from your customers ensure your site security is tight. Create great content Search engines encourage webmasters to produce great content – because that is essentially what end-users want. If your blog is not an interesting read, your images are poor quality or from stock photos, you do not leave a lasting...
The Art of Telling Stories in Branded Content

The Art of Telling Stories in Branded Content

Spinning a storyline through your brand marketing content is a growing trend in the digital sphere. Modern brands may be taking advantage of new technology to connect with their audience, but it is the ancient art of story-telling that is having the most impact on customer engagement. Studies show internet users spend an average of eight hours a day online. And the modern consumer is exposed to so much content, bland ads that do not convey emotion, are instantly forgotten. Consumers today want to be entertained. They want something they can share with their social networks and talk about with their friends. They also want content that offers value. Putting a story into an ad Every brand has a story. You could start with how your company began and take us through the journey of your growth. But you also have products to sell. And they have a story as well. But story telling does not always have to focus on you. It can star your customer. What are the pain points for your customers? There is a story in there somewhere. Story-telling plays on our cognitive behaviour. Explain something in linear order and people will remember more than reading an article packed with information. How to create stories in content? The structure of your story should have a beginning, middle and end and include the five W’s; who, where, what, why, when. Providing you have the fundamentals in place, you can create a story in an ad that appeals to how the human brain works. All you need to do then is bring your story to life. There...

How To Make The Best Use of Footers In Your Web Design

The purpose of a website is to communicate your brand, product and services to customers. And to do that, you should be using as much retail landscape as possible without overcrowding screens. It’s surprising how many companies do not make good use of the footer space. Granted, there are a limited number of options for design at the bottom of the screen, but utilising this space is essential to your overall information architecture. How you make best use of the footer will largely depend on the type of business you are and how many services you offer. But the important thing is, you don’t let the space go to waste. Call to action The most popular, and arguably the most effective use of footer real estate is planting your call to action. The bottom of the page is as good a place as any to prompt customers to move on to the next step. The majority of firms use the footer to include their address and other contact details. Whilst this information is important, a call to action giving customers a reason to contact you is often overlooked. Navigation Online businesses that have a wide range of products and services to offer can make best use of their web design by listing everything they do at the foot of the page. Everything you include in dropdown menu at the top of the page can be laid out in an at-a-glance overview in the footer. This makes navigation convenient for users and prompts them to take the next step of the purchasing process.  They also help to reinforce site-structure to...

Paid Search, Paid Social or Both?

Google, Facebook and other ad publishers provide powerful platforms for marketers. Paid search is achieving incredible results for online businesses, but which PPC campaign will most benefit your business? The introduction between paid social and paid search has developed push and pull marketing options. Whilst search pulls in prospects actively searching for merchandise, social media can be used to push product awareness. There is of course a strong claim for companies to utilise both strategies, but for many small businesses, a split budget is not an option. So if you had to choose between paid search and social advertising, what is the best choice? Search marketing PPC is a powerful marketing tool in that ads are displayed against an end-users search. This gives the ads relevance. And given the user-intent is focused on the advertised product, the chances of prospects clicking on your ad are increased. Or are they? When an end-user keys a search term into the engine, they are also given a list of organic results. And users will typically opt for an organic result over a paid ad. However, attitudes are changing as organic search results do not always take the user to the page they actually want, but are directed to the Homepage instead. PPC campaigns give marketers the option to link to landing pages which take searchers directly to the product or service page they are looking for to get further information. Paid search also guarantees your ad will be displayed on page one of Google, and although there is still a lot of competition, enticing ad copy will increase your chances of a...

Will AMP Be Used As A Ranking Signal And What Impact Will It Have On Your SEO?

Google is intent on delivering improved performance for mobile users. The next logical step to the company’s mobile-first-approach is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). The key driver behind AMP is to increase page speed for mobile users. The search engine giant aims to achieve this by stripping away design elements that slow down load times. According to Google, webowners that adopt AMP can expect their webpages to load between 15 and 85% faster. If the search engine includes AMP as a ranking signal, making the switch could have positive results for your website. AMP for developers Google has made the transition to AMP as simple as possible and provide open source framework called AMP HTML together with a selection of content templates. The challenge for developers will be how the page looks. With design elements such as javascript and CSS stripped down, websites will look bare on mobile. Using techniques suggested in theamproject.org, AMP HTML documents only use a small set of HTTP requests. The performance of your mobile site is expected to improve by delivering documents through content delivery networks (CDN’s). There is a concern this may impact on user engagement. You may therefore have to add some design work together with CSS styling to preserve branding. Larger sites will need to integrate content management technology into the AMP HTML framework. When using CDN’s developers may also find a drop-off with SSL negotiations. This may cause some problems, but bear in mind that AMP is still in its early phases. It is hoped that any glitches caused by CDN’s will be rectified if and when Google use AMP as...

Save Your Adwords Budget With These 5 Local SEO Tips

Your budget for a Google AdWords campaign can quickly disappear. Especially small businesses competing against firms that can afford to spend more on primary keywords. But rather than trying to reach an audience on a national level, nurture you budget by scaling your target market down to a local level. Small businesses have far more success with PPC by incorporating local SEO tactics. Location-based Ads By including your town, city, neighbourhood or even a street and postcode in your Ad Groups and Ad Copy will give you more relevant matches against local searches. This tactic should help you maximise your ROI as user intent is clarified more than an ad with generic terms. By narrowing your audience to a local level you should expect to receive more click-throughs and higher conversion rates. AdWords extensions Ad extensions enbale you to make “call outs”. The majority of ads only feature address and phone numbers. Whilst this is okay, if there is a local buzzword, event or iconic attraction in your area you can lean on local knowledge to reach out to your audience. Include a postcode If you have offices in a prime location of the city where the postcode adds credence, use it to your advantage. For example: doctors on Harley Street in London, or estate agents with luxury pads in a well-sought after area. Including an area code not only gives your add a swagger, but takes up far less space than a full address, which means you have extra space to use for persuasive sales copy. Give directions Web advertising is all about making it easier for your...

Social Media in 2016 Where Will Your Audience Go?

With Facebook Messenger and Snapchat using popularity, social network users are looking towards other apps to access content, engage with brands and find entertaining videos to share. The big hitters are still batting the ball out the park, but user behaviour is changing and consumers are looking for something new. So where will you find your audience in 2016? Facebook still reigns supreme Long time users may be losing interest in Facebook, but there is no doubt that the social media giant is still stomping all over its competitors. But whilst millennials are looking for something new, Facebook is attracting an older audience aged 65 and upwards. The reason for the shift in demographic is because young people are migrating to apps their parents are not using. So where are the kids going? Instagram Fair enough, Instagram is owned by Facebook so is only a jump for the kids to make, but the image-sharing network has become more popular with users in a short space of time. Predominantly featuring videos and photos, Instagram is easily digested on mobile phones and the content published on the social platform is typically top-notch, although the standard is dropping as more online businesses attempt to capture a growing audience. Yik Yak One of the most popular social media apps of the new crowd is Yik Yak, although bad press may damage its reputation. Despite being used for cyber bullying, students have really taken to Yik Yak as an alternative to other better known sites. The benefit of Yik Yak is the audience is concentrated on locals and the youngsters find it is a...

Good UX is a Team Effort

User-experience (UX) is one of the – if not THE – most important aspects of your website. Without solid information architecture users can easily navigate, don’t expect visitors to hang around. Yet the quarterly 2016 Digital Trends report compiled by eConsultancy and Adobe reveals that only 22% of business respondents will focus on optimising customer experience this year. Could that be a mistake? Well not really. The top priority for marketers is to focus on the individual experience through multi-channel platforms and across several devices. Content, social media engagement and personalisation all top the agenda. And this is why the separate departments of your digital marketing team need close communication. How important is user-experience? UX is HUGE. Given the marketing efforts of competitors in every industry and the number of devices customers use to access the web, if you are not better than your rivals on multiple channels, how do you expect to make a profit from your online business? If a visitor to your website cannot find what they want – even when you have it – they will leave your website and go to your rivals! But in order to do that across the board, every member of your digital marketing team has to understand who your customer is, what they want, and how you will get it to them. So how do you get the information to them, fast, efficient and smoothly? How to create a better user-experience User-experience breaks down to two fundamental parts; 1. How easily a customer can get access to your product and information about your product and, 2. How you make...

Why Online Businesses Cannot Ignore Video in Your Marketing Campaign

Video has made a major impact in the digital marketing arena over the last few years. Motion pictures are easily digested and according to statistics already accounts for 50% of mobile traffic. Consumers use their mobile phones more than any other device, and because video is the preferred format for small screen users, advertisers simply cannot ignore video marketing. Furthermore, there are more opportunities to publish content on video platforms and reach a wider, targeted audience. A crop of innovative companies have emerged in the last few years that help online businesses extend their reach to a wider audience. Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, predicts that we will, “see more integrated ad measurement in 2016, leading to cross-platform measurement becoming the standard for campaigns.” Increased opportunities for video advertising The number of young people choosing online video over traditional TV is on the rise. According to reports 62% of young people prefer YouTube to traditional TV. Together with the emergence of on-demand online streaming through the likes of NetFlix and Amazon Prime, the younger generations are ditching TV packages in favour of online sources. The growing number of platforms that are emerging to host video content is therefore growing at an exponential rate. This gives advertisers more opportunities to air video content across multiple-channels and reach a wider audience, and because of the increased competition, costs are more affordable than in the past. Online advertisers also have to rethink their online marketing strategy. An increasing number of intrusive, misplaced and irrelevant ads are beginning to take its toll on consumers. And they are running out of patience....

What Online Marketing Formats Do Consumers Most Trust?

Earning the trust of customers has always been a key challenge for businesses. And the internet has arguably made the challenge even more difficult. But it also provide you with more opportunities to take plaudits. A great website may give you an online presence that showcases you as a professional. But deep down, you are still a faceless company first time visitors to your website have never heard of. This is how consumers view you from behind a screen. They do not know who you are, so why should they trust you? The answer is they don’t so you have to earn their trust and compel them to invest in your products and services. But how? Trusted web statisticians, Nielsen offer some insight in their annual global report documenting the most trusted forms of advertising. What are the most trusted advertising formats? Despite the increase of consumers turning to the web for shopping, product research and price comparison, traditional advertising platforms are still performing relatively well in the trust stakes. TV ads still make the biggest impression on paid media platforms with 63% of respondents saying they trust TV ads over radio (54%), magazine (58%) and newspapers (60%). Branded channels on YouTube receive a surprisingly high grade of trust, which just goes to show how consumers react to top quality content. 70% of respondents surveyed said they trust branded websites – the second most trusted online source. What is the most credible form of advertising? This should not come as a surprise. In fact it won’t! The most credible form of advertising online is recommendations from friends and family,...

What Can We Expect From The Impending Penguin Algorithm Update?

Google are planning another Penguin update. The good news for webmasters is that this update offers benefits rather than penalties.

A Tweet by Google’s trend Analyst, Gary Illyes back in October 2015, suggested the algorithm update would be launched by the end of the year. The company has since postponed the release, keen to ensure that it is ‘just right’ before full release into the wild.

Paid Ads v Organic Search – Which Is More Sustainable?

PPC has become a major player in online advertising. It gives online businesses more visibility, drives traffic and increases conversions. But is it more sustainable than organic search? It’s no secret that search engines like Google et al make huge profits from paid ads. To give you some idea, Google is hitting around $10bn a quarter on AdWord spend. Search engines will always try and drive companies down the path of paid advertising, but this method of online marketing is not sustainable for every company. For small businesses in competitive fields for example, it becomes expensive, with some clicks costing in excess of £100 each. You don’t necessarily get more visitors if you pay more, and when you stop your paid ads campaign, the amount of traffic you receive suffers. The advantages of paid advertising For start-ups and other online businesses that have low visibility online, paid ads does offer a solution to increase your earnings. By bidding on targeted keywords and purchasing advertising space, you will be guaranteed visibility on the first page. Furthermore, you are only charged when somebody clicks on your ad. You can therefore be assured of lead generation. Your advertising budget is not being totally wasted. What does matter however, is that your landing page and sales pages do a good job of converting browsers into buyers.  Reach without action and conversion is expensive and if the user experience on visiting your site for the first time is not as good as your ad led them to believe, you’ll have a hard job of luring them back again. So what about organic search? The...

How To Make The Best UX Use of Footers In Your Web Design

The purpose of a website is to communicate your brand, product and services to customers. And to do that, you should be using as much retail landscape as possible without overcrowding screens. It’s surprising how many companies do not make good use of the footer space. Granted, there are a limited number of options for design at the bottom of the screen, but utilising this space is essential to your overall information architecture. How you make best use of the footer will largely depend on the type of business you are and how many services you offer. But the important thing is, you don’t let the space go to waste. Call to action The most popular, and arguably the most effective use of footer real estate is planting your call to action. The bottom of the page is as good a place as any to prompt customers to move on to the next step. The majority of firms use the footer to include their address and other contact details. Whilst this information is important, a call to action giving customers a reason to contact you is often overlooked. Navigation Online businesses that have a wide range of products and services to offer can make best use of their web design by listing everything they do at the foot of the page. Everything you include in dropdown menu at the top of the page can be laid out in an at-a-glance overview in the footer. This makes navigation convenient for users and prompts them to take the next step of the purchasing process. Testimonials Customer testimonials give prospects confidence, and...

Google Core Quality Update in January

It appears Google is continuing to roll-out its “core quality updates.” We noticed some movement in correlation to core keywords and a number of tools were reporting flux following the week ending Sunday 10th January and other SEO’s reported changes as well.

The digital marketing industry has been/is expecting a new Penguin update, and some commentators reported the update went live over the weekend, which is understandable given then long awaited and expected Penguin.

Predictive Search And RankBrain – Two Major Signals That Will Change The SEO Landscape

When Google announced it has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system as part of its Hummingbird algorithm, online marketers were put on red alert.
Codenamed RankBrain, the latest instalment of Google’s search algorithm and uses machine learning technology to give the capacity to become more intuitive.
In short, Google’s search engine will get intuitively smarter the more information it learns. The machine learning algorithm will become a major player in the way searchers interact with web pages.

Why Online Businesses Cannot Ignore Video in Your Marketing Campaign

Video has made a major impact in the digital marketing arena over the last few years. Motion pictures are easily digested and according to statistics already accounts for 50% of mobile traffic. Consumers use their mobile phones more than any other device, and because video is the preferred format for small screen users, advertisers simply cannot ignore video marketing. Furthermore, there are more opportunities to publish content on video platforms and reach a wider, targeted audience. A crop of innovative companies have emerged in the last few years that help online businesses extend their reach to a wider audience. Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science, predicts that we will, “see more integrated ad measurement in 2016, leading to cross-platform measurement becoming the standard for campaigns.” Increased opportunities for video advertising The number of young people choosing online video over traditional TV is on the rise. According to reports 62% of young people prefer YouTube to traditional TV. Together with the emergence of on-demand online streaming through the likes of NetFlix and Amazon Prime, the younger generations are ditching TV packages in favour of online sources. The growing number of platforms that are emerging to host video content is therefore growing at an exponential rate. This gives advertisers more opportunities to air video content across multiple-channels and reach a wider audience, and because of the increased competition, costs are more affordable than in the past. Online advertisers also have to rethink their online marketing strategy. An increasing number of intrusive, misplaced and irrelevant ads are beginning to take its toll on consumers. And they are running out of patience....

How Online Retailers Can Capitalise On The January Sales

You’re barely over the Christmas rush when the January sales hit. Then it’s all hands to the pump again. But this is the season to maximise your profits. But there is a lot of competition, let’s not forget that. So how can you make sure your business start the New Year off as winners? Here are a few pointers! Fix mobile web performance It doesn’t matter whether consumers are buying online or in-store, the majority of shoppers use their mobile phones as part of their shopping routine. And that means hitting up your website with their handset. Mobile users do not have the patience to wait for websites to load. If your webpage is too slow you risk losing customers. This is not only a problem you will have in January, but all year round, so you may as well use the sales period to fix the lag. Make your New Years resolution a business solution. Remove any unnecessary CSS or Javascript. You don’t need bells and whistles on your website, you need a website that sells your products. A few tweaks here and there should resolve the problem. Beat price comparison It has become the norm for consumers to use their mobile phones in-store to compare your prices with other retailers. But you do not have to lose your customers to your competitors. Make it clear that you will offer a lower price than any competitor even if the price on your sales label is higher. If customers can prove your competitor is selling merchandise for less, be flexible on the pricing. Personalised marketing Personalised marketing is a...

The Pros and Cons of Mobile Web v Mobile Apps

Which Suits Your Business Better Now consumers are using mobile handsets to do everything and more than they can on a desktop internet, online businesses have a decision to make. Will your business perform better online with an app, a website or both? Search engines have steered firms to build websites consumers can use on mobile phones. Yet there are still a lot of mobile users that are having usability problems. Slow loading sites, poor performance, poorly designed, intrusive display ads and impossible navigation all contribute to the frustrations of mobile internet users. Then along came the app. And with a swagger. It boasts the ability to work offline, can be customised for personalised use and generally performs better than a website. But are web apps or web mobiles better for your business? Usability Apps offer users and businesses a number of critical advantages; the performance is better on mobile devices and help brands improve personalised service and customer loyalty. Apps certainly tick the right boxes in terms of usability, but only if they add value to the customers for the long-term. Statistics show that apps typically have a short life span. If your mobile website is poorly designed, it can create all kinds of usability problems. However, these can be easily eradicated with a simple design that is clutter-free and easy to navigate. Since the introduction of HTTP2, websites can load quicker on mobile phones, and if designed well, should improve the user-experience. But web designers still need to be savvy. The more information web browsers have to communicate with servers, the longer it takes mobile pages to...

PPC Versus Organic SEO Search

PPC has become a major player in online advertising. It gives online businesses more visibility, drives traffic and increases conversions. But is it more sustainable than organic search? It’s no secret that search engines like Google et al make huge profits from paid ads. To give you some idea, Google is hitting around $10bn a quarter on AdWord spend. Search engines will always try and drive companies down the path of paid advertising, but this method of online marketing is not sustainable for every company. For small businesses in competitive fields for example, it becomes expensive. You don’t necessarily get more visitors if you pay more, and when you stop your paid ads campaign, the amount of traffic you receive suffers. The advantages of paid advertising For start-ups and other online businesses that have low visibility online, paid ads does offer a solution to increase your earnings. By bidding on targeted keywords and purchasing advertising space, you will be guaranteed visibility on the first page. Furthermore, you are only charged when somebody clicks on your ad. You can therefore be assured of lead generation. Your advertising budget is not being totally wasted. What does matter however, is that your landing page and sales pages do a good job of converting browsers into buyers. So what about organic search? The growth of paid advertising has led to doomsayers in the digital marketing community to announce SEO is dead. But SEO is far from a thing of the past and is arguably going from strength to strength. As search engines improve their algorithms, websites producing top quality content and a high...

The Importance of Building An Online Profile

Now that search engines have made it more difficult for businesses to rank in organic search results, marketers have to look for alternative solutions to gain maximum visibility online. Merely having a website and a couple of high-profile social media networks on the marketing landscape is not enough. You need to build a web presence. Fortunately, there is plenty of scope. An array of social networks capable of hosting a variety of media content, and numerable opportunities to contribute to third party websites provide a platform for online firms to be seen and heard. Be socially active Using your string of social accounts to host your content is ineffective. Now social networks have stemmed the flow of organic reach, only a small portion of your audience receives your work. In order to be spread content evenly among your followers, you have to interact with them. If there is no communication with members in your community, access to your content is cut-off or denied completely. Marketers also need to be active on social media to raise brand awareness and actively help followers find information they need. It’s all part of modern day PR. Emerging social platforms Now that leading social platforms are choking organic reach, a spate of alternative social networks has grown in importance over the last few years. Sites such as HubPages, Quora and Medium are providing companies with digital space to publish content and reach an audience. The advantage the emerging networks have is that their users can actively find content they want, so like search engines there is user-intent you don’t get with the major social networks....

Story-Telling Is The Latest Content Marketing Strategy

Story-telling is an ancient art. When executed well, stories not only engage and entertain readers, but also leave a lasting impression in their mind. Not every visitor to your website will be ready to buy immediately. They may just be browsing the web and stumble across your content, or they may be actively assessing their options with the intention to buy at a later date. Content should engage readers deeply enough that it evokes an emotional response. It is this desire or connection you make with your audience that compels them to choose your company over a competitor. So imagine if you can produce content that not only provokes an emotional response, but also remains in their mind until the time they are ready to buy. Do this and you are guaranteed they will return to you rather than your rival. Why is story content so powerful? Story-telling is such an effective art because it appeals to the human mind. When we read general text – no matter how compelling – we typically only remember a small percentage of the context. The reason for this is because it is only the language part of our brain that is decoding the meaning, and the Broca’s area cannot retain a great deal of information. When we read a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end however, we connect the dots and remember more details. Better still, create actual imagery and readers even remember the smaller details. When the neural systems in our brain relate a true understanding of the world, the cognitive guns are fired and this is...

RankBrain – Getting Inside Google’s Head: What You Need To Know About RankBrain

According to Google, around 15 per cent of searches performed by end-users on a daily basis are unique. But also ambiguous! In the past, the search engine giant was not able to handle this category of searches effectively – despite their best efforts. The Big G has come up with a solution though – they call it RankBrain, a machine learning cybermind that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make connections between search terms. What is RankBrain? RankBrain is a cog in Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. The AI system detects new ways a user types in search terms and delivers results based on the context of the type of words and phrases used rather than something similar. It is expected that RankBrain will respond to longtail keywords better than the semantic text Hummingbird was promoted for. RankBrain is Google’s solution to making their search engine predict contextual meaning. The algorithm can now recognise patterns to unrelated searches by recognising the context of the search term even when words are the same or similar. For example, Apple the company is spelt the same way as apple the fruit, but if you wanted to know what the fruit symbolises in ancient myths, you get a list of results relating to myth and not handheld gadgets. What does RankBrain mean for online businesses? Because RankBrain can grasp ‘natural conversation’ – the way humans talk – voice search functionality on mobile phones will be more accurate. Providing you have been writing rich content with longtail keywords for Hummingbird, there is not much more you can do with your marketing content – but you should expect...

Where To Start With Paid Marketing: Top Five Tips

Paid search can present a real challenge to marketers. Like most marketing campaigns, trial and error is necessary, but the difference with paid advertising is the platforms present you with crucial information that enable you to leap the hurdles earlier. The following article gives you a good starting point of the best practices to follow if you are just starting out on a campaign or have tried pay-per-click with little success. Avoid big lists of keywords It has become common practice for large enterprises offering multiple services and products to keep large lists of keywords. But in doing so, paid advertising campaigns are difficult to manage, complex and time-consuming. Keep tasks simple. Use Google’s Quality Score to determine how effective keywords are and keep the number of keywords to a minimum. This becomes more difficult if you do not have a sizeable budget to splash out on the most competitive keywords. They are more expensive and will eat into your budget like Pacman. In such circumstances, testing is more necessary, so check on the keywords being used by your competitors and avoid using them. Then use query mining… Query mining Google analytics offers search terms used by end-users to find sites and throw up new search terms all the time – especially now voice commands on mobile are being used more often. Use these keywords in your ads – avoiding duplicate keyword matches – and when checking your campaign, remove low CTR’s. This will cut down the time it takes to analyse the performance of your ppc campaign and should help make it more effective – providing you select...

Upwardly Mobile: What Consumers Want From Business Websites

A recent survey conducted by HubShout revealed that 78 per cent of mobile users found new businesses on their phones and tablets. The news gives small businesses with an online presence a confidence boost. With a solid SEO campaign and well designed website, it is possible for small businesses to compete with large corporations. But the survey was also useful with providing insights as to what mobile customers expect from a website they visit. Essentially, they want easy access to relevant information and to navigate the site in the least number of clicks and scrolls. Relevant information It is not just information that is important to mobile users, but how easily it is to find it on a website. Search engine users typically use mobile devices to research information on product prices, opening hours, services, inspiration and event times. Contact information and business hours were top of the list and should be predominantly displayed or located in a logical part of the website. Other relevant information mobile users find the most important is: • Business hours/show times • phone number (preferably click to call) • address with directions on foot, driving and public transport • menu of products and services • product images • testimonials • videos • social media profile links • fast load times The priority for mobile users then, is to have immediate access to information that is most important to them, and a web design that is easy to navigate to secondary information. The importance of information architecture on a website Information architecture is the technical term used to describe the navigational layout of a...

How Apps Are Replacing Site-Based Rankings In Search Engines?

Technology has a short shelf-life. We know this. But is there a plausible alternative to SEO than site-based rankings?

Apparently so!

Apps have been rattling around for a few years now, and they are starting to make a noise.

With the onset of deep indexing in apps, it could be quite possible that by the end of 2016, search could take on an entirely new concept. It certainly gives online marketers something to think about!

Why It Is Important To Optimise Your Homepage

The Homepage is typically the most visited page of any website – therefore it needs to make a good first impression.
Search engines use a broad framework of search objectives to deliver websites that best fit the end-users description, so the better optimised your site, the more chance you have of being found.
But regardless of how visitors arrive at your site, they will take a look at your website to learn more about your business, content, products and offers. And to find out this information, they will navigate to your homepage.

How Does Google Rank Website?

The title question is the shadow on the back of every web owners mind. The truth is, nobody knows exactly how search engines factor in metrics, and Google is keeping shtum about their methods of calculating PageRank (or its equivalent since PageRank hasn’t updated for a long time, and is not likely to do so again).

However, through a series of tests, research, experience and understanding Google Guidelines, SEO service providers can work out some of the key ingredients web owners need to boost PageRank.

What The Experts Say About Social Media Marketing

Social media is an important tool that allows online businesses to connect with customers and drive traffic. But not every company is achieving results from social networks. There is a code of conduct – social etiquette, let’s say. Knowing how to correctly use social media is the first challenge marketers need to master. So to get you started, here are some top tips from social media marketing experts. Mine Twitter to Grow Your Audience The first objective of a successful social media campaign is building a community of followers that engage with your content and have a genuine interest in your products and brand. Easier said than done, and a fair amount of research is involved building customer profiles. And time is not a luxury many online businesses can afford to flitter away. According to social media consultant, Mark Schaefer, the quickest and most effective way of accruing valuable followers and developing an audience is by mining Twitter. Look for specialist communities and follow influencers in your field of expertise. This will allow you to tap into users engaging with the people you are following. Influencers are bloggers and celebrities that show an interest, or are affiliates of a specific brand, most of whom use Twitter as their social tool of choice. They like quick tweets, it’s fast and efficient. And mining the followers of influencers enables you to tap into people that already have an interest in your services and products, thus are more likely to engage with your content. This is best practice for businesses that are new to online marketing or if your social media strategy...

Is Back-Linking Black Hat And Is It Dead?

Link building has gotten a bad name for itself over the last couple of years. Actually unruly SEO practices by black-hat digital marketers have earned link building a bad name. As a result Google launched Penguin and the algorithm does not take any prisoners. Consequently, online business owners are put off by the idea of inbound links. It’s hardly surprising. Google is very clear about the rules: “Do not buy, sell, exchange or ask for links that may violate our link building webmaster guidelines!” Big G’s declaration strikes terror in digital marketers. Some SEO agencies even go as far as saying link building is dead. That doesn’t come as a surprise either. You probably don’t believe that link building is not dead. It’s not dead really… You just have to be more creative, and if you stick to Google’s webmaster guidelines (like every good white hat agency has done from day one), you have nothing to worry about. Not only that but you can reap the rewards – especially now most of your rivals have been put off inbound marketing. And we are not alone in recognising there are still merits in building links; some of the most prevalent SEO thought leaders agree that online business owners should not be too quick to dismiss the idea of link building. The difference between the old rules of link building and the evolution of earning links means you have to be publishing excellent content and promoting it through the right channels. Why you should Look To Gain links Inserting links on your own site and directing them to third party sites gives...

Dancing With Google: How To Show Search Engines You Are Serious About Content

Google is serious about delivering quality content, so you should be too. According to the Big G’s bulky guidelines, business owners should be publishing content that is unique, informative and offers value to readers. The ultimate goal of Google and other search engines is to rank high quality websites at the top of their search results. At the moment, we have to say the search engine giant is failing in its quest, which in part, is the fault of content creators. The tussle for top rankings promoted unjust practices by marketers attempting to manipulate search results. In response, the Big G took action with algorithms that penalise sites for publishing low quality content. Do how can you prove to search engines that you produce content that offers real value to readers? Create web pages that have good content The first thing to bear in mind is that the content you publish is for the benefit of readers. So you need to think about what readers want; information, advice, reassurance. To fulfil this promise, do not limit yourself to a specific word count. Make sure that every page you publish says everything you need to say. However, it should be tightly focused on one specific product, service or subject otherwise, search engines are confused how to index the page and it will not show in search results. Search engine experts recommend that any page you post live on the internet should have a least 100-words. If you are an eCommerce company with lots of similar products, you must have unique content for each product. Duplicate content is considered low quality...

Need To Improve Your Organic Search: Here’s How

If you have a website and hope to attract online customers to your online store, you need to be visible in search engines. Organic search is essential for the survival of online businesses so how can you improve your ranking? To improve your standings in organic search results you need visibility. Below, we will look at the three vital ingredients you need to improve your visibility in organic search results. Local search Although the appeal of the worldwide web gives you the potential to sell to an international audience, the vast majority of online businesses essentially rely on local trade. Therefore local SEO is vital. Optimising your site for local SEO will mean you appear in search results when the end-user names a location in their search terms. Furthermore, a search engine study reveals that 50% of users with local intent will call or visit your store within 24 hours. Publish content The main driver behind improving organic search is content. If you want search engines to recognise you as a trustworthy and authoritative source to whom they can direct users, you have to publish content which proves you are an expert in your field who has authority and can be trusted. Maintaining a blog is vital. Every time you publish a piece of content, search engine crawlers visit and score your site. Disseminating content on social media networks will also attract traffic and help improve your ranking – providing the content is good enough of course. Paid Search Okay, paid search is not organic search, but it can lead to better rankings which ultimately improves your visibility in...

Does Your Online Business Have Credibility? Tick Off This Checklist

Word-of-mouth is and always will be the best form of advertising. Online shoppers are more inclined to buy on recommendations from family, friends and peers. Consumers also trust reviews written by experts and other customers. Consumers need to be able to trust a company before they make a purchase. Entering personal bank details into a website can be a concern for some people and they need assurance the product they are buying is worth parting with their hard-earned cash. Online businesses therefore have it in their own interests to attain online credibility together with a responsibility to ensure your customer’s bank details and personal information are secure. So how do you go about raising your brand profile to improve creditability? Establish on online reputation as an expert in your field You can raise your online profile by engaging with users on social media networks, Q&A forums and third party websites. There are always questions being asked by consumers looking for advice and reassurance, and by giving detailed answers you can show you have in-depth knowledge in your subject area. Social media networks are the most obvious platform to do this, but you can also join communities on third party sites that publish content related to your industry. Ideally you should be offering articles for publication, but not only that, be active and comment on other people’s work, especially if you have relevant information to add. Recruit influencers Influencers are a great way to raise the credibility of your brand. Celebrities that advocate your products are the best choice, but alas are not in reach of us all. However, bloggers...

The Facebook Paradox: Is Posting More Content For Organic Reach A Good Idea?

To combat the drop in organic reach on Facebook, marketers have started to post content more frequently. But does this strategy work, or could it damage your organic reach? Since Facebook slashed the number of followers to just 6%, marketers have been challenged to reach their audience without having to go down the paid ad route. Posting content more regularly has been the common answer, and whilst this has had some positive shot-term results, posting more often could actually hurt your organic reach over the long-term. Facebook has an algorithm to determine what type of content appears in a user’s newsfeeds in relation to previous content they have engaged with. Everything else is just “noise” they will never see as it is filtered out. By posting content more often, you are making more noise, and in doing so could be hurting your organic reach as Facebook limit the number of stories that land in a newsfeed to 300 a day, so they say. Therefore, your content could end up going to followers that do not have an interest in your content just because they once showed a fleeting interest in a previous post. Furthermore, the more brands using the strategy to most more often, also means more noise is being created and your content gets pushed down the limited number of newsfeeds and off the board where it is never seen, a bit like Twitter. Potential problems with more posting The outline above is only a potential problem and will not affect every company, but as more brands use this strategy, it makes Facebook a less effective platform for...

6 Local SEO Tips

Successful online business owners recognise local SEO is essential. Although the www. promises an international audience, the majority of businesses rely on local customers to survive. Local SEO involves optimising your site so that it will show in search results where the end-user has signalled geographical intent. Furthermore, having an online presence is proven to attract local customers to your physical store. But online business owners are still getting local SEO wrong, so what can you do to increase your visibility in local search results? Onsite optimisation Your first point of focus should be your website. Your contact page should include all your contact details including postcode and ideally a Google map. This identifies to users exactly where you are located so they can easily find your physical store. You should also be optimising product pages with your location, your town or city, and even your neighbourhood. You do not need to be too creative. Imagine what search terms prospects will use to find your products and make sure those keywords are including in your page content. Online directories Local directories go a long way to increasing the visibility of your business and you should include yourself in all the vital directories that cover your industry together with general directories such as Yelp. Google+ Although Google+ may not have mastered the social network touch, it does feature in search results and gives you more visibility to local users than any other social media network. By updating your My Business profile in Google+ and posting content on the network, you will perform better in local search and organic search results...

New AdWord Tools for Mobile Apps

A new tool for AdWords will make it easier for marketers to track ad campaigns on mobiles according to Google. The California-based search giant has partnered with 20 new advertising networks to offer a comprehensive service. The sophisticated upgrade enables marketers to integrate data with ad networks in order to pull consistent metrics that give deeper insights to mobile campaigns. One of the new features however, is the ability to pull data from participating third party sites such as events and collaborating partners. Google’s intention for the tool is to offer marketers and users a structured platform that is more cohesive and allows companies to build API’s across multiple platforms. Universal App Campaigns The tool that will most impress marketers is the Universal App Campaign that enables you to promote apps across an array of media. In a similar way that search ads appear on Google Play, the new product will display AdWords alongside app results. The Campaign App scales ads across Google search and the companies AdMob network in addition to its recognised platforms including YouTube and Google Play giving brands more exposure at the touch of button. The new AdWord tools promise to drive more traffic without marketers having to put more time into preparing and posting content across multiple platforms. The tools are scheduled to be released in June, so keep an eye...

Are You Including Seasonality In Your SEO Projections?

Whether your business attracts customers online or offline, there is often a seasonal drop. Because of this marketers have to manage their advertising budget so spend is not wasted during low season. Businesses that are new to online marketing may not be fully aware of seasonal drops. Obviously, if you have performance data from previous years, you may be able to determine if this is something your business suffers – but then again, the lull may have been down to other factors. Perhaps you were not visible enough in search engines for a while and only sporadically attracted customers through social media. You will need to look at what SEO and social strategies you were running at the time. It is likely that some tactics worked better than others. So now you are analysing stats and scratching your head. Rather than count traffic numbers, determine the month on month increase in traffic. If your company typically uses quarterly reports, break these down to months as this is easier to determine the amount of marginal growth for the same period each year. Key points to remember about traffic You then need to determine whether an increase was due to a targeted marketing campaign that attracted traffic. Did this have any effect on season, or was it purposely designed for a specific time of year when your industry is mostly in demand? When working offline, most businesses do not need analysis reports to know when they are about to hit a high season. But do you know whether you are suffering the same fall of traffic in low season. Traffic will...

Brands And Bloggers – It’s A Collaboration Thing!

To increase online visibility and improve SEO rankings, it is essential to keep a blog. However, hiring someone to maintain your blog full-time or even part-time is not cost-effective, so the majority of companies choose to work with freelancers. This has obvious financial benefits, but the problem for companies is whether the writer can produce quality content that provides value to the reader. You should also bear in mind that the content they produce for you represents your company. Working with a remote blogger needs to be a collaboration for it to work successfully. Writers need to understand your products, services, your brand identity and your target audience. What to look for in a blogger Ideally you want to find a blogger that understands your products and, in the case of specialist niches, they should have knowledge and experience in the field. At the very least they should be excellent researchers capable of writing engaging content your readers can trust. Bloggers are typically passionate about the subject they write about, otherwise they would not waste their time blogging in the first place. Their passion and knowledge is something you can take advantage of. Look for a writer with a strong, unique voice together with a good knowledge of your industry. If they have a good following on social media networks, all the better. This way you can use them as influencers, and word of mouth marketing is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. What bloggers need All too often, online business owners instruct writers to deliver articles that are based on keywords. And nothing more. If the writer...

5 SEO Verticals To Improve Page Rank

There are many tactics you can employ to improve your SEO, both on-page and off-page. Today we are going to look at our favourite five verticals with which we have the most success. Your SEO strategy of course, should not be limited to these five tactics alone, but they do form the core of your SEO success, thus you cannot improve you page rank (or it’s equivalent since Google has not updated the page rank status of sites in a long time, nor intends to do so), without them. Strong site structure Site structure IS the foundation of your SEO. Google stress the need for good user experience therefore information architecture is vital. Visitors should be able to easily navigate to the part of your site THEY want to go and not where you want to take them. The structure of your site therefore requires categories and menus that are functional, clearly signposted and well-organised. Without a site structure, visitors will struggle to find information they want quickly and will leave frustrated. Crawl optimisation A good site structure also makes it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site and index pages. Crawlers cannot automatically determine everything on any one page, and if your pages are not optimised they will not be indexed properly therefore will not appear in search engines results. Mobile optimization Mobile marketing is the fastest growing industry ever and is set to keep on growing and growing. And growing. In short, you cannot afford to ignore mobile optimisation – especially since Google took the decision to penalise websites that are not optimised for mobile...

Does Your Content Resonate With Readers?

Not only does content writing challenge you to develop fresh and unique ideas, you also have to make an impression on your readers. Not easy, not every time anyway. So how can you write content that resonates with readers? By tapping into their desires, interests and problems! A content strategy is more than an SEO marketing tactic. It can help you to understand the needs and demands of your audience. Content writers should also be analysing customer data in order to have a better insight of your audience. Being a good writer, means being a good researcher, and a good listener. You need to take on board what your audience is saying, and write content that answers their questions from an industry perspective. Identifying content ideas So you have listened to what your audience is saying, together with considering your company line and core philosophies, but still not sure what to write. Don’t worry, it’s natural. You just need a spark of inspiration. Take a subject that most interests you and do a Google search. What are other writers publishing on this subject, and what headlines are they using? When you read their content, what resonates with you and what points could you improve on? Also look for angles that other publishers in your field are not writing about. It helps to follow an industry magazine that is at the cutting edge of developments. If something in the news grabs your attention, you can do a quick bulletin for one piece of content then follow it up with a full length feature. Compiling notes You should be making notes...

4 Ways To Improve Your Online Credibility

Online marketing involves significant trust factors. Search engines have built Trust scores into their algorithms, and consumers what assurances before they buy from online stores. So before you can improve your search engine rank and convert browsers into buyers, you need online creditability. Peer to peer recommendations Arguably one of the best features on the internet is the opportunity consumers have to leave comments about products and services and tell it how it really is. As consumers, we want the best our money can buy, both products and experiences. But purchasing items online carries more of a risk than buying from a physical store. Peer to peer reviews in magazines, together with platforms like TripAdvisor etc, comments fields and social media networks reveal the bigger picture about a brand, so providing you are deliver quality service and provide excellent products, your customers are also ambassadors for sales. Data protection Keeping the private information of your customers safe should be a top priority for eCommerce sites that receive bank details. If your company’s IT security is breached it could destroy brand loyalty and effect future sales. Recruit influencers Recruiting influencers is not a far cry from the word of mouth advertising that occurs in peer to peer reviews. The only difference is you are more likely to attract a chunk of traffic rather than a steady flow. Influencers are bloggers, industry leaders or celebrities that endorse your brand and products. They have a swathe of followers that will be influenced by what the person has to say. With a rubber-stamped endorsement from an influencer your online stock of credibility is...

What You Need To Know About Google’s Knowledge-Based Trust Scores

Earlier this year, the New Scientist published an article announcing Googles plans to launch a “Trust Algorithm.” The Knowledge-based Trust score will report on how accurate information on the web is in an attempt to weed out false information. The proposed algorithm will become an attribute towards Google ranking measurements to determine how high a website features in search results. So how will it work, and is there anything for online business owners to worry about? Google has a “Knowledge base” which is an accumulation of facts that are proven, or most commonly known. The search engine giant intends to use the information stored in their fact bank and cross reference it with information on websites. According to the magazine, Google intends to “rank websites based on facts, rather than links.” It appears therefore that building inbound links will become a thing of the past. Whether the search engine will count existing links has not been mentioned. What we do know is that the Knowledge-Based Trust algorithm will work like this: Extract information from all websites across the web Estimate correctness (no explanation what constitutes correctness, but presumably, the most common “fact”) Identify incorrect information on webpages Websites given a trustworthiness signal There is no penalty for a lack of facts Google has not yet stated when they expect the trust algorithm will be incorporated into existing technology, because there are several issues that need resolving. How will the trust algorithm determine “facts”? The algorithm works by using factors referred to as Knowledge Triples; subject, predicate and object. The subject is a person, place or item, the predicate is...

How Voice Search Is Changing SEO

With the development of voice activated assistance on mobile devices, search has become much easier for users. With Google keen to improve their service for mobiles, voice assistant technology could dramatically change SEO in the near future. Google encourages mobile search. The recent “mobilegeddon” algorithm update was a declaration the company is serious about improving user-experience on handheld devices and the ‘direct answer’ facility they have built into search results is likely to become a prominent feature. According to Google, ‘direct answers’ makes it “quicker, easier and more natural to find what you’re looking for.” I doubt that will be the case every time, and the service has limited space. Regardless of Google’s proposed outcome, a voice activated search facility is going to have an impact in SEO strategies. So where does this leave marketers and how can you optimise pages with structured data that will be matched with voice search instructions? Rich answers Direct answers, also called rich answers, do not appear every time end-users enter a query into a search engine, whether typed or spoken. However, the indication is that search engines will start delivering more rich answers to voice searches. The number of mobile owners using voice search is increasing and now voice assistant technology is more accurate, the ease of use is likely to become even more common – especially if Google is able to produce results. Google produce rich answers in various ways. They will always appear ahead of links, but the way in which they are displayed will depend on the search query. For example, if a searcher wants to know the latest...

New Report Reveals 92% of marketers Say Social Media Is Important For Business

According to socialmediaexaminer.com, a leading authority on everything social media, a whopping 92% of marketers give a big thumbs up to online networking. Social networks have had a major impact on our lives and is changing the way companies can connect with customers. Although social platforms were never intended to be used for commercial purposes, they do have a major role to play in company-customer interactions. So let’s take a look at the top five most crucial benefits social media networks offer online businesses. 1. Drive traffic Although social media is not seen as an advertising platform per se, social networkers use it to discover content. By linking your blog with your social media networks you instantly post content in your account for others to access. Providing you are publishing great content with clickable titles, you will drive traffic to your site which helps to boost SEO. If you have a user-friendly website and excellent products, you should also expect to increase conversion rates as well. 2. Raise brand awareness The worldwide web does exactly what it says in the title. As a result your brand name is seen by more people. And social media is an ultra-fast courier. By interacting with followers, giving advice and making intelligent comment, your brand name and expertise will be noted by more people than traditional advertising can ever hope to achieve. 3. Developed customer loyalty Customer loyalty is important for the success of many online businesses. A core following enables you to build a strong fan base which will eventually earn you more reach. Social media networks are arguably the best tools...

Is Your Online Business Failing? 4 Tips For Success

Before you can expect your online business to succeed, you need a blend of the right ingredients. For the purpose of this article, we will assume you have laid your SEO foundations and the information architecture of your website provides a good user-experience. It can be the case, that online businesses with solid SEO and reasonable ranking factors are still failing to convert. And the reason for that is probably because you are missing the key ingredients of online marketing. It’s all mod cons you know! Sales copy people believe in The amount of content modern consumers are exposed to is immense. Actually it’s far too much and we have grown resistant to advertising slogans and in-your-face sales copy. A different approach is required. People in the digital age want relevant information and quick decisions to make. They also have little time for trivialities and are not interested reading through a long sales pitch – no matter how engaging. However, they do want questions answered. You therefore have to find a balance in your copy that explains everything prospects need to know in the least amount of words. Oh, and make your copy warm and understandable rather than using unnecessary business phrases and words. Establish credibility on Social Media Trust and authority is an essential SEO philosophy. These are attributes consumers want and that search engines demand. Without trust and authority, you will not rank in search engines or convert sales. You therefore need to be active on social media networks and relevant forums in order to increase your online creditability. By engaging with other users in your network...

Google’s Android Pay And What It Means For Online Businesses

The technology for making easy payments with smartphones has been around for several years now, but teething problems have put the mainstream off using them. Google Wallet certainly didn’t strike a chord with consumers. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, both launched in the last year, have made improvements to the functionality of NFC technology and the idea is becoming more commonplace among retailers and consumers. So what should we expect for Android Pay? Early reports by reviewers attending Google’s I/O event last week are giving the company’s latest innovation a thumbs up. Techradar even rate Android Pay above Apple Pay. It also seems as though retailers have confidence Android pay will make NFC transactions more reliable and popular as well. In the US, 700,000 retailers have already signed up to Google Pay. What does Google Pay do? Google Pay allows you to purchase goods and services using a barcode on your mobile phone. Essentially, the app is an upgraded version of Google Wallet, but much easier to use and gives consumers more options. Subscribers can assign multiple credit and debit cards to Google Pay. Essentially, transactions will work the same way it would if you were using a physical credit card, but without having to take their credit card out of their purse or wallet. Android Pay endeavours to keep making payments as simple as possible. Consumers do not need to key in a PIN number, and the app enables developers to build their own payment procedures directly into the app. How will Google Pay help retailers? The benefits of mobile payments are evident. A replacement of cash and...

Google Now On Tap: Will Predictive Search Help Marketers?

Search just got smarter – apparently! According to Google at least, but they said that about Hummingbird. Yet, Now On Tap is thought to be the real deal and will provide answers related to the users actions rather than matching keywords in search terms. Google Now On Tap was announced in the company’s I/O developers conference which was held last week in San Francisco. Whereas current search algorithms already understand context, Now on Tap can predict queries based on past user experience. Although Google Now already performs a predictive function, the difference with the latest development is results will be more accurate. And from anywhere on your Android phone. The app will enable users to bring up “Google Now Cards” which feature additional information of whatever subject you are searching for or that relates to information on a page or email you are browsing. A Google spokesperson gave the example of reading an email that mentions Tomorrowland. By clicking on the Home Button you can call a Google Now card which will have a link to a trailer. What can Now on Tap do for marketers? The new search function could give marketers ample potential to attract customers. Developing a pack of Google cards about your brand, products and services will give prospects access to information they specifically want. For example, if you own an online business that offers a specialised service, the browser will want to know about your qualifications, history, reliability and success rate. You can have a separate Tap card for practically any question customers typically ask. Retailers could also benefit from providing additional information about...

Keywords Or Keyphrases: How To Improve Site Optimisation

In order to optimise your website for Hummingbird, not only to you need keywords, but also keyword phrases. Now Google’s sophisticated algorithms have a deeper understanding of search terms, they can find websites that match user intention more closely. Keyphrases, more commonly known as long-tail keywords, are not a new concept. They just have a more important role to play in search than they used to. Which is why content writers need to understand what they are and how to use them. The concept is simple. Keyphrases essentially work the same way that keywords do only they encompass a particular phrase or entire sentence that optimisers anticipate will be used as a search term. These long-tail keywords are embedded within the text of your content, and should also be used as subheadings – that you think will match a search term, like this. How do I craft a keyphrase? This is where you need to get creative, but crafting keyword phrases is far easier than crafting keyword titles. When you conduct keyword research do not be put off by how competitive a keyword is. Keyphrases give you an edge anyway as search engines reveal a portion of the content that most relates to keyword terms. Keyphrases therefore also enable marketers to identify the intent of the end-user and fashion content targeting your audience at specific stages of the purchasing process. For example, terms with buyer intent can be directed to a product page identified with keyphrases that mimic buyer intent. Terms that indicate the prospect is at the research stages should be directed to a page where they can...

Does Your E-Mail Marketing Strategy Need Revisiting? Check Out These Tips

If you have a tight marketing budget, e-mail marketing is a cost-effective way of reaching your audience. But with recipients receiving hundreds of emails a day, making your proposal stand out is a challenge email marketers can struggle to overcome. The first hurdle is getting the recipient to open the email, the second is to engage them from the very start so they do not bin it as spam after reading the first sentence. Then you have to get them to take action. So how can you make the breakthrough? Planning an email campaign Before you even begin to craft your email you need to decide what your promotion is about and who your target market is. It is better to have a specific target audience in mind rather than a generic sweep of prospects. When you know who your audience is, the message becomes easier to get across. Furthermore, sending promotional ads to the wrong people is the quickest way to lose customers. They quickly unsubscribe when ads do not interest them. Strong subject title The subject title is the hardest line to write. This is the first part of your proposal recipients will see so it has to be strong enough to get them to click on it and open up the email. A typical advertising slogan or clickbait title does not work with email campaigns like it does with content, therefore the title should be intriguing to make the recipient curious enough to want to find out more. The most effective subject titles are asking questions, or using numbered lists. Email intro With email advertising you...

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Launching A New Website

It’s natural to make mistakes with SEO when you first launch a new website. Regardless of whether you are launching a site for the first time, or redesigning an existing website, technical mistakes can be costly. The good news is that any teething problems you encounter can be fixed post-launch without too much trouble, but to get you off on the best footing, take extra care over these critical points. Don’t overdo the design The design of a website has to achieve three key principles; it must be eye-catching, easy to navigate and communicate your product in a way visitors understand and desire. How you view your web design is personal preference, so we will not go into that here. What we will say however, is that your website should function in an easy-to-use manner. Therefore, you do not need to include bells and whistles on your website that do not serve a purpose, or just because they look good. A clean, tidy design helps users find what they are looking for more readily. Don’t make navigation complicated You information architecture is one of the key principles to online success. If users cannot easily find information they are looking for, they will quickly become frustrated, leave your site and never return. The sitemap of your website should be one of the first things you address, even before design work has started. Choose elements that enhance user-experience not because it looks cool. Don’t load your site with unnecessary baggage Another important factor of a website that effects the amount of user engagement is load up speed. If your page does...

Has Facebook Put A Bullet In Viral Marketing?

Social media has redefined the way in which we communicate with each other. For online businesses, dynamic social platforms have allowed them to extend their reach, raise awareness and drive traffic to their website. We also have social networks to thank for the rise of viral content. “Sharing is caring” has become a general motto, and as a result, some content is being viewed by thousands of people who would ordinarily have never received it. So why has Facebook shot down viral marketing? Facebook ban clickbait Writing headlines is a skill copywriters perfected with clickbait – titles that entice readers to click on the article to find out what happens. Typical click bait headlines include, “You will never believe what happened next,” “This video proves…,” and “what happened next made me cry.” When done well, click bait headlines are a very powerful tool. Beneficiaries of viral content attract huge swathes of visitors and significantly increase profits. The problem is, the content does not always offer readers the value the title promises. And that is why Facebook has taken action to prevent unwanted content appearing in the Newsfeeds of its users. How does Facebook measure content that offers value? Content designed to drive traffic to a website includes a link. Facebook use metrics that time how long a user’s account has been inactive after they click on a link that diverts them to a third party site. If the user appears to be away for some time, FB can assume they found content that interests them and will allow this type of content to appear in their newsfeed. Likes and...

Humanising Your Brand Is Key To Online Marketing

What do you think when you read typically-worded copy on a brand website? Is it not often the case that companies use business terms and corporate-sounding lingo? The language marketer’s use is designed to make them appear more business-like? Yes, we know you are a business, but readers are not. They may own a business, but they are actually human. And it is the human you are communicating with, not the business. From a personal point of view, I have never liked corporate-lingo anyway. Why invent pretentious words when everyday language communicates a point better? Using business orientated expressions with work colleagues is laughable and unnecessary. And it is also unnecessary online. It is especially unnecessary online! So in future, talk to the human, because the business ain’t listening! How do you humanise your brand? The inbound marketing age requires companies to develop interactive relationships and understand who their audience is, what their interests are and how you can fulfil their needs. Online technologies such as virtual assistants and social media networks enable you to interact in real-time, learn more about your customers, listen to their needs and answer their questions. All you have to do is communicate like you would if you are talking to the customer face-to-face. Conversations in real-time are much easier for marketers and sales staff to appear human. Just speak normally, no lingo needed. The same principle should apply for your sales literature, emails, newsletters, website copy and blog content. By all means add emphasis to the point you are making, but do not overload a sentence with business words and phrases. Ultimately the...

Avoid These Potential Legal Issues When Using Social Media Marketing

Marketers using social media run the risk of infringing legal issues that have a negative effect on you and your brand. And could seriously but a dent in your finances if you are ordered to pay damages. But don’t panic, there are no major concerns and you are probably already aware of legal issues that can arise. That said, potential problems are worth going over and keeping in mind. It is worth pointing out at this stage that I am not a legal consultant, therefore do not take the following as advice. This article is only to raise awareness. Be careful what you say Social media largely includes posting messages into a public domain. You are therefore responsible for what you say. Advertising laws require companies to be honest about their products and services. Don’t say you can do something if you cannot deliver as this damages your credibility and you can be sued for damages. Likewise, if you say your product provides benefits that it does not, or if you lead consumers to believe your product does something that is not true, you will be in trouble with the advertising agency who will ban your advertising and issue a penalty. You are also accountable for defamation so do not spread rumours about your competitors. These type of legal actions brought against you can be very expensive. Duplicate content/plagiarise Never use content that somebody else created. All content that is published whether it be text, graphic, image or video is subject to copyright. Unless the copyright holder gives you permission to use their content for commercial purposes, you are...

Why Interactive Video Games Will Be The Next Big Thing In Online Marketing

Interactive video has the potential to be a digital marketing game-changer. It may have not made a splash just yet, but as interactive technology improves, so will advertising ideas. If you are not sure what interactive marketing is, take a look at these examples. The medium essentially has the potential to raise brand awareness and involve customers with your store and products from remote locations. Standard video advertising is a passive medium. You have between six and thirty seconds to grab the viewer’s attention and still need prospects to act before you strike a conversion. With interactive video, you can engage viewers physically (or virtually) in various ways. The key advantage is getting them involved so that they are absorbed in your marketing program and are engaged enough to return. Interactive Video games Some of the most popular video games over the last decade feature story-telling of real-life scenarios. They have a variety of things for the character to do, even mundane events that don’t seem to lend any value to the gamer. But it is the ability for the player to create their own story that is part of the appeal. Therefore, if you are going to design a video marketing game, you need to give the prospect multiple options to keep them coming back for another experience. When you make something addictive, there is a desire for online users to return – which is great for SEO. And interactive video also increases your chances of improving conversions – which is great for profits. Two important boxes ticked. Play on the desire of consumers. People love shopping, and...

5 Quick Fixes To Improve User-Experience

Google is all for user-experience right now – especially for mobile shoppers. But as a dedicated webmasters you should be considering the usability of your website on multiple platforms. When trying to map out the usability of a website in your head, you might think your brain will explode. It’s pretty difficult to see without the visual aid of live screening. So what do you instruct your web designer and content writers? Here are a few things you should focus on when endeavouring to improve the user-experience of your website. Easy to navigate Navigation should be at the very top of your bucket list. If visitors cannot easily find what they are looking for they will leave and go to a rival site. The information architecture of your site is an all-important aspect of online success and is proven to increase traffic and conversions. When planning the orientation of your website, remember that visitors are accessing your content on a variety of different devices which have different sized screens. We will assume you have a responsive web design already, and if not get one asap other you will not rank in Google. What you have to do now is consider how mobile users will navigate your site compared to desktop users with a 20-inch plus screen. Write scannable content On the subject of usability on various screen sizes, written content plays a major role. A short paragraph on a desktop screen could filter into an entire chunk of text on a 5-inch landscape. Large chunks of text look cumbersome and put people off reading. Furthermore, online users do not...

Collaborative Content: The New Approach To Online Marketing

Collaboration appears to be taking hold in creative communities at the moment. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes a fully-blown trend. Best hop on that boat now before it gets too crowded. The idea of brands collaborating on projects is not a new idea. The latest trend however, is for brands to collaborate on content. Which sounds like it could be pretty challenging despite the promise of mutual benefits. A collaborative project of this nature will obviously work best if the two companies complement one another and are working towards the same goals. But the way in which online marketing is changing the way we present content offers the potential for two companies to merge campaigns. Marketing changes Traditional marketing involves crafting a brand message and delivering it to your audience through a certain media. The modern audience however, are typically passive towards advertising. They receive too many obvious ads. The huge amount of content available on the internet has changed the mind set of consumers. They are no longer interested in merely hunting down a bargain, they want information, assurances and proven quality. Content therefore has to be authentic and offer something of value to readers; not just an “offer of a lifetime.” Collaborative content helps brands push the boundaries and reach a wider audience, whilst at the same time increasing online creditability. Combining brand messages If you do enter into a collaborative project with another brand, the content has to be strong enough to appeal to both audiences, and fulfil the goals of both brands. Not always easy, but not impossible either. Redbull recently...

How Social Media Is Evolving Customer Service

Social media has already revolutionised the way online users stay digitally connected, share content and interact with one another. These dynamic networks have even helped online businesses to expand their reach and improve conversion. And now companies are finding that social media networks enable them to master customer care services both pre and post-sale. Essentially, social media networking can become an integral channel as part of a purchase path together with customer support for aftercare services. But social can be more than that – with the right tools. Let’s say you have a disgruntled customer who tells a friend how unhappy they are with your product and services. This kind of social sniping could damage your reputation and online creditability. Online tools are available that enable companies to monitor discussions on social media so that when somebody mentions your brand or products associated with your company you will be alerted. Therefore, if an unhappy customer moans about you on their social media account rather than coming to you directly, customer services can swiftly look to resolve the complaint early and rectify the matter – thus protecting your creditability and saving your reputation. Customer sales services One of the key benefits of using social media to manage customer care services is that it allows you to interact with customers in real-time. From a sales point of view, this can be the difference between securing a sale or losing a customer to your competitors. This type of technology is already being used on-site. You have probably noticed the rise in virtual assistants when you visit a website which allows companies to...

Is Your Dodgy Website Design Limiting Conversions?

Buying products and services online has become integrated into our lives and consumers have more confidence giving their bank details to a faceless online business. But they are not daft enough to give their money to just anyone! As technology advances and new web design trends come into being, it is important for companies to keep up with the times and create a website visitors want to use. If your website does not meet the criteria of modern day consumers, forget about improving your profits. Online users have demands and if your website does not do want they want, they will look for another site that does. Easy to navigate Consumers want convenience and speed. If they cannot easily find what they are looking for on your website, they will not hang around. Information architecture is one of the most vital aspects of a web design and must follow a structured path. If you have a large site with a lot of product pages, or offer a wide range of services in an industry laypeople are unfamiliar with, label your pages with terms the public recognise and incorporate a search function into your site. Conversion Rate Optimization tools Conversion Rate Optimisation tools are proven to increase profits, but they can become outdated. With new and improved technologies, online tools help to create a better user-experience and make the purchasing process simpler. The foundation of your website should be flexible so that you can easily remove, add or adapt CRO tools to keep up with incoming trends that will keep you consistently turning a profit. Landing pages Landing pages give...

4 Tips For Social Media Marketing On Linkedin

For B2B professionals, Linkedin is arguably the social network to be. The growing number of professional service providers are reaping the rewards of instant connections – to the right people. And now Linkedin has developed a publishing platform, not only can online businesses effectively network, you can also position yourself as an specialist in your field and show off your expertise. Here are a few pointers for maximising the benefits of networking on Linkedin. LinkedIn publisher stats If you are not already publishing content on Linkedin, the social platform is a good place to start. Unlike many of the other social networks, your content is being received by your connects. They also provide you with valuable statistics which enable you to measure whether users are engaging with your content. You can view how many people visit your content and how long they spend reading it. This info alone is a good indication of whether they are reading the entire post or only hanging around to take in the first paragraph or two. If readers are moving on within the first minute, you need to revise the approach of your writing style or your material. Consider sales navigator Although Linkedin are now charging for a fully-functional sales navigator, it is arguably worth the investment – albeit not for everyone. Unlike the limited free version, the master navigator provides valuable information with regards prospect research hand buyer identification. Not only that, you also have access to relevant information about your target company and what your prospects care about which enables you to influence decision-makers more effectively. Join niche groups Linkedin has...

How To Conduct Consumer Research of Social Media

Social media has seen a shift in web consumerism. Online shoppers are savvier these days and armed with anti-spam defences are more difficult to reach. Yet the paradox is, social media networks still provide a powerful tool that enables companies to connect with customers, grow lasting relationships and understand customer needs. All you have to do is learn how to best conduct customer research on social media. The level of difficulty of course will depend on the number of followers you have. You may therefore want to start this exercise by culling followers that do not engage with your content or visit your site. Shooting out a questionnaire that includes this question will lower your current followers to a manageable size. After that, accruing followers should be conducted on a balance of probability they are genuinely interested in your content, brand and products. The days of blindly accruing as many followers as possible are over my friend! Engaging with your community The key to social networking is social networking. Once you have connected with a virtual “friend” it is good business sense to learn a little about them. First of all, make yourself visible by sending a quick message to thank them for connecting. Never try a direct sell on social media, but there is no harm telling someone – briefly – about you or your brand. If you can offer advice on something, invite them to ask questions. Any dialogue you can generate among your connections goes towards building a relationship. This will inevitably increase your chances of leading to a conversion. If you do not already have...

How Online Consumers Feel About Personalisation

Online marketers are focusing on humanising their brand and personalising their service. But how do consumers really feel about a personalised retail experience? A recent survey by Accenture shows there are conflicting interests about how personal brands are. Although marketers have proven personalisation is an effective way of driving sales, for consumers it can feel as though their privacy is being invaded. Whilst 60% of shoppers are happy to receive real-time alerts informing them of promotions they have an interest in, only 20% are comfortable sharing their location with retailers. Furthermore, 90 per cent of consumers want to limit the amount of personal data businesses have access to and do not want their details passed on to third parties. What consumers do like about personalisation The majority of connected consumers do not object to receiving exclusive deals, loyalty points and coupon credits. A further 51% are in favour of one-click checkout options which lets retailers know how they want to pay. But that still leaves 49% of consumers who do not like fast-processing check-outs and are more careful about how they pay online. Consumers are concerned about hidden charges being added on to the amount they think they are paying. This shows a lack of trust in marketing strategies. Another 48% of shoppers are open to receiving reminders about items they may have run out of and need topping up. However, over 70 per cent of people will unsubscribe from contact lists if they receive too many misplaced messages about products they have no interest in. What consumers do not like about personalisation Whereas many consumers feel the benefits...

How To Avoid Panda And Penguin Penalties

The Panda and Penguin algorithms hit webmasters hard and consistent updates continue to down rank bad SEO practices. Google is adamant their search engine is designed to create an even playing field and do not take kindly to marketers attempting to manipulate search results. And when the search engine giant hits, it hits hard. So what can you do to ensure you do not get caught up in algorithm snares? Don’t pay for guest posts The biggest killer for link builders is paying third party sites to host content that embed inbound links back to their site. Some SEO agencies are still trying to get around this by including inorganic links in their content and sneaking it past editors. And sometimes it works. The thing is, many web hosts will accept guest posts because they recognise that loading their site with content is good for their SEO ranking. The problem is there are too many money-grabbers charging publishers to host content which includes outgoing links. The rule is do not pay for links. Webmasters that do charge for links typically build sites exactly for this purpose and sooner or later Penguin Googlebots will sniff them out – and when they do you will be stripped of your page rank with no questions asked. Monitor inbound links Google is ramping up its philosophy of Linking Domain Relevancy (LDR) to ensure that any links passing from one site to another are organic. They test this by assessing whether there is a crossover of interest in similar niches. However, some blog owners may link into your site to highlight a specific point...

How Will The Growth Of Mobile And Wearable Tech Help Online Businesses?

Online shopping and advances in mobile technology is making our lives more convenient. Now wearable tech products are hitting the High Streets, how is this going to impact on your marketing strategies? Apple Watch and Google Glass are leading the pack of wearable tech options and users are already enjoying the benefits of not having to take their mobile handsets out. But as screen landscapes become smaller, so does your marketing campaign. It’s like Twitter on spectacles. Messages need to short and tweet! Sorry. Glanceable marketing Online users are already accustomed to scanning, glancing and digging out information easily. Wearable tech is purely designed around convenience. This means your marketing messages have to be precisely relevant and straight to the point. The rise of mobile technology has its pro and cons just like any other innovative product. It also presents more challenges than obvious solutions for marketers, but that is understandable given we are still in the infant stages of development. Essentially, new software is required to help marketers successfully send marketing messages to smaller platforms. Companies like wearably have made headway, but given manufacturers are still trying to perfect the technology so that it is marketable, software is naturally lagging behind. The wearable tech revolution? We have to assume however, that wearable tech will take off. Google is already working with top designers to make the tech-specs more appealing to the eye, and once developers work out more uses for the product, it is only a matter of time before the eyewear is less creepy than it currently is. The Apple and Samsung watches are likely to become...

Bing v Google: The Battle For Mobile Search

Research shows that Bing impressions on mobile handsets is clawing back some of the market share from Google. Whilst the Big G still dominates search, there is a clear indication rival search engines are starting to attract users. The number of purchases made on mobile handsets is now twice that made on desktop PC’s. And search engines are tapping into the increasing number of mobile users. Over the past year, Google has been catering to every conceivable whim of mobile users. And Bing is following in its virtual footsteps. Last week, Google launched the latest weapon in its arsenal – a buy button that streamlines the purchasing process for goods on sale through paid advertising. But Bing is hitting back with its own line-up of services that appeal more to retailers than consumers. And that is why Bing impressions have warranted a 98% increase on tablet sales and 30% through mobile phones. Bing Bing From a retailer’s point of view, Paid ads on Bing have less competition than Google. The benefit for retailers is you receive better ad positions for less cost per click. Although Google drives more customers to retailers due to their dominance in market share, statistics show search engines users are looking for alternatives to Google. The latest figures show that Bing is improving its search capacity and its share of the search market ticked over to 20% earlier this year. In the last two years they have pulled back four per cent on the Big G. If Bing continues to lure mobile users away from the grasp of Google, the impact could be a boon...
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