Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What B2B Marketers Must Know About SEO in 2017

What B2B Marketers Must Know About SEO
Staying on top of SEO best practices and increasing organic traffic is a priority for many B2B marketers. The more targeted buyers you bring to your content, the more you will increase your conversion rates and generate leads.
I sat down with Stephen Johnson, resident SEO expert at Salt Water Digital, to find out how search engine optimization is affecting B2B marketers in 2017.

Q: How has SEO changed in 2017?

Stephen: Google made some major updates in the early part of 2017 that we are still trying to understand. Many of the core principles of SEO remain valuable. But we need to determine what best practices will move the needle the most.
The two most important SEO considerations are content and domain authority. It’s important to publish high-quality, long-form content, as search engines send traffic to pages that are authorities for keywords. Pages with thin content won’t perform as well as pages with longer content.
However, content isn’t everything. The strength of your domain is still critical. A domain’s age, size, and popularity determines its authority. A site gains authority when other sites with high authority scores recognize it.
To improve your domain authority, focus on link building.

Q: Everyone talks about link building. How do you effectively build links?

Stephen: Passively waiting for backlinks is not an effective way to improve your SEO. You must be proactive.
We recommend two strategies for building links. The first involves using industry-specific citations or directories. Most industries have online resources where you can list your company or provide content in return for a link, such as through an interview or a guest post. Providing your expertise on blogs is an excellent way to acquire links.
While some directories aren’t high impact, they can still support your link-building efforts. Industry blogs and resources often have high domain authority – not to mention the respect of your customers. Find out which sites can provide you with high-quality links and form relationships with their editorial team.
The second strategy is to outsource your link building to an SEO company that can take care of everything for you. However, it’s important to learn how they plan to acquire links to your website so that you can avoid penalties from Google.
For example, ensure that they won’t use black hat techniques that spam your site around with low quality or hacked accounts. Avoid Fiverr at all costs. You should also find out which websites they will get links from and check their domain authority using MOZ.

Q: Are one-way links more valuable than linking between websites?

Stephen: Google looks for logical link building. Does the link make sense?
For example, you can’t add your financial planning software to a website about dogs. The website doesn’t have any relevancy, and Google will recognize this. Industry relevant links are important.

Q: To avoid thin content, is it better to have one long post per month instead of four shorter posts?

Stephen: You don’t need to write super posts all the time because you’ll burn out and send your blog to an early grave. But the meatier your content, the better.
Write at least 500 words for your blog posts and product pages. Mid-length content will go a long way in improving your SEO.
But don’t create fluff articles just to meet your blog’s deadlines. You must produce useful content. Hire a copywriter to ensure that your content is something that your customers want to read.
Also, include images and videos whenever possible. When you add media to your content, you can tag it with keywords and increase your chances of getting found. Google wants to provide search results with great content – including images and especially videos. The more media you add, the better more likely your content will succeed.
The content you create – whether text or media – should relate to your targeted keywords. You should also interlink and optimize it using anchor text. Meaning, if you want to rank for “HR software,” use this phrase as your anchor text when you interlink between your blog and your product page. Don’t use “click here” as your anchor text.

Q: Should all B2B companies focus on SEO?

Stephen: SEO isn’t for every business. Optimizing the SEO for a B2B company can be tough. Many B2B keywords have low search volumes when compared with B2C keywords. This makes achieving ROI challenging, as you might target keywords that only get a few searches per month. In these cases, I recommend investing in PPC strategies.

Q: If my keywords have a low search volume, will I get any value from SEO?

Stephen: Yes. Even if the keywords that describe your products or services have a low search volume, they could still provide you with value. For example, optimizing for specific phrases can bring targeted buyers to your website. These customers can go on to purchase something that costs thousands of dollars – making your SEO investment worthwhile.

Q: What mistakes do you see B2B marketers making with SEO?

Stephen: When B2B companies tell me they are “doing SEO,” I often see a disconnect in what this means. Many aren’t doing anything other than adding keywords to their web pages or blog posts.
Also, some B2B companies fail to perform keyword research. They guess what people are searching for, rather than doing research to find out what customers actually look for. You can use free tools, including the Google Keyword Tool, to see which phrases your customers are using.

Q: What are your favourite tools?

Stephen: There are a number of tools that I find helpful for marketers. Moz is a great tool to check your site’s domain authority and get an idea of what links already point to it.
If you’re interested in checking out the competition from an SEO and PPC perspective, Spy Fu is really cool. It gives you an idea of what your competitors are doing to get found online.

The Google Keyword Planner is the tool that I use the most for clients. The foundation of SEO is knowing what people are searching for, and the Keyword Planner shows you this information.Finally, I use SEMrush for its keyword tracking capabilities. It is fantastic if you are pursuing aggressive content strategies, as you can clearly see how your content performs from an SEO perspective.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

5 reasons to give SEO experts a seat at the website planning table

Photograph of people brainstorming around a table. 
Maybe it’s your company’s yearly planning session, or maybe the meeting is being called because your website is in dire need of a refresh.
Whether the goal is to help form a new layout for the website, or to start creating the content calendar for the year, the planning sessions will naturally have product heads, key executives, and marketing managers in attendance.
As your company conducts this careful planning process and dreams up the site’s future, there’s one other important voice that should be at that table: your SEO expert. Whether this is an in-house individual or an external SEO agency or consultant, the knowledge this person can provide will have a critical impact on the site’s ultimate success.
Here are five ways that your go-to SEO expert can positively affect the outcome of your website project:

1) Ensure that your site has a design that’s search engine friendly

Just as it’s the job of your designers to ensure that the website is inviting and communicates elegantly with users, your SEO expert’s responsibility includes making sure the site communicates all the right information to search engines.
Your SEO lead can help tailor a site design that delivers essential company/product information from the homepage, in a way that assists search engines in efficiently learning all they need to know about your site. By doing this, your SEO expert sets the stage for your site to be viewed more favorably when it comes to organic search rankings.

2) Discover and make the most of content opportunities

Your content specialists ought to work hand in hand with your SEO expert to craft content that has legs and delivers business value. The right content selection process can lead to subject matter that works for you, naturally pulling in traffic by providing desired information on the correct topics.
Your SEO expert can really help inform this process, identifying those content opportunities that will bring in new customers and then optimizing that content so that it receives the visibility it deserves.

3) Optimizing updates to page content, metadata, and locations

When making any changes to the structure of your site, make sure your SEO expert is involved.
How your site is designed to move visitors from page to page – and the content and metadata within those pages – have a determinative effect on how search engines value your site. Your SEO expert can inspect the user flow of your site’s pages and suggest any content changes that would be beneficial.
Your expert might also take the opportunity to rewrite metadata and update pages to follow the best practices for heightening visibility in search engine queries.

4) Utilize the possibilities of off-page content

From videos to presentations and beyond, remember there are opportunities to gain visibility for your brand away from your website. In certain cases – which your SEO expert should be able to recognize – these pieces of content can ultimately contribute to your brand’s SEO by enhancing your overall presence in search engine results.
For example, a video screencap displayed in search results can capture clicks and attention, and ultimately increase traffic to your site. 

5) Execute large-scale SEO initiatives

When making preparations for a site redesign, it may also be an optimal time to pursue major SEO initiatives.
Some site-enhancing projects worth considering: adding HTTPS to make the site more secure (and trustworthy for visitors), or adding schema markup where appropriate – likely for videos, recipes, products, etc. – to enable search engines to provide users with more informative results.


How to Boost the Organic Visibility of Category & Tag Pages?

Category and tag pages are considered “weak” in SEO since they have very little content. Normally they have image thumbnails with a “Read More” link. How can we optimize these types of pages to increase their organic visibility?
I’m assuming you’re talking about category and tag pages like you’d find on a blog (like WordPress). Where all it really provides is a repeat of all the information available elsewhere on the site in a re-organized way.
I think where people go wrong most often is having too many categories or tags. You want your categories and tags to be mutually exclusive. In other words, you don’t want category=blue widgets and tag=blue widgets.
There are a few things you can do to make these more valuable and therefore more useful to search engines and their visitors:
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  • Define them carefully. Set some plan in place and stick to it. Maybe categories will be intent based (like News, Fashion, and Promotions) and tags will be product based, like dresses and shoes. Whatever you decide, just make sure they serve different purposes.
  • Choose nomenclature that is inclusive rather than exclusive. Try to limit tags to just one per topic, and only 2-3 per post. In other words, you wouldn’t tag a single article with “dresses”, “summer dresses”, and “sleeveless dresses”. You’d just tag it with “dresses”, and maybe “sleeveless” or “summer”.
  • Provide some summary or description of what’s in each category or tag page. For the category page, maybe you can have a description of the category appear on the page along with a few featured posts on that topic and some pins on that topic from your Pinterest account. The idea is to make the page a hub of information on a specific topic, beyond just a relisting of posts in that category. It should be the same with tag pages.
If this is more effort than you’re willing to give, then just noindex them.
Category and tag pages aren’t duplicate content per se, but they do waste crawl budget (the time search engines spend on your website gathering information), especially if you have thousands of similarly tagged or categorized pages.
If you can’t see a reason why someone would bookmark your category or tag page to refer back to, then it’s unlikely a search engine is going to want to send people there.

Reference: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/category-tag-pages-seo/199598/ 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Paid Search Optimization: A Management Approach for Success

Paid Search Optimization: A Management Approach for Success 
As SEM managers, account optimization is ingrained as a core competency, but what does it look like to actually grow an account? If an account can spend a given budget each month while maintaining a goal ROI, growing an account means increasing budget incrementally (even doubling) while maintaining the same ROI.
Any good account manager can maintain the same media spend while remaining efficient — but great ones can grow an account. And to grow an account, a strong management approach is essential.

Purpose of a Management Approach

Rather than jumping in an account to simply lower CPA, a strong management approach can yield numerous benefits:
  • Long-term and consistent performance with growth and scalability
  • Strategic direction
  • Prioritization assistance
  • Innovation

The Beginning of a Management Approach

When managing an account, first find what works well. This may be a set of keywords, a specific campaign, or a combination of tactics.
The next step? Dialing in enough to dominate and completely capitalize on what is working well.
From there, it’s all about integration. In PPC, this could be integrating your front-end data with third-party data sources. It could also mean integrating your team’s efforts with advanced business intelligence. Once you’ve found what’s working, capitalize on it — and integrate.
Aimclear PPC Management Approach

Define Goals & Objectives

Communicating with your stakeholders on goals and objectives is the first — and most vital — part of a management approach. Find out what your team is actually responsible for and to what capacity.
Identify areas of current success for advertising and sales teams. Once you align with your team on your responsibilities, you are set to move forward.

Understand Budgets & Breakouts

Within overall budgets, it’s common to have multiple services or products that must be promoted. It is at this point that budgets should be structured to define goals. By allocating specific amounts of budget by product group/service, ROI, CPA, or ROAS, goals can then also be attributed to each group.
Once individual goals are set based on the nature of business, an overall CPA goal can then be backed into. Defining budget breakouts and goals not only aids in performance but also in communication with stakeholders, as there is now an open dialogue about how each product/service group contributes to (or hinders) overall performance goals.
Aimclear Goals & Objectives

Assess Efficient Spend Capacity

Efficient spend capacity is the amount of budget an account or keyword set can spend given a specific CPA goal. There are many facets of efficient spend capacity (e.g., what is an affordable CPA goal, the quality of current keyword sets, budget size, as well as seasonality and market trends).
When approaching an account given a finite budget, it is important to maximize spend through brand keywords and best non-brand keywords. The below example dubs this group as the account’s ‘A-Level’ keywords. Many times A-level keywords end up being strong target + bid RLSA candidates.
In most cases, an entire budget cannot be siphoned through these keywords alone, so the next best keywords will need to be introduced (‘B-Level’). These keywords may have an average CPA above the goal CPA, but never fear: The average across all keyword groups will remain below the goal CPA due to the volume generated from brand and A-level keywords.
Lastly, we may have to introduce some fairly expensive keywords to test and exhaust budgets. These are labeled ‘C-Level’ keywords.
In instances of budget influxes/reductions or aggressive CPA goals, efficient spend capacity can be improved by increasing the amount of budget spent through Brand, A-Level, and B-Level keywords. The more budget funneled through those keywords sets the capacity of spend at, or under, your CPA goal.
Understanding the concept of efficient spend capacity will help in explanations of the relationship between amount of budget spend and efficiency in your account to stakeholders. At the end of the day, account growth is essentially an increase in efficient spend capacity.
Aimclear Brand Keywords

Structure for Long-Term Success

This can be a scary term for anyone working in and around an account. Many people think that ‘restructuring’ refers to complete revisions in an account. This is all but true and can be a counterproductive approach to increasing efficient spend capacity.
Structure, in this case, refers to setting up an account in a way that allows proper flow of data for true optimization.
In the end, the goal is to have everything tracked and tagged correctly. From there, a seamless flow of data will inform both reporting and optimizations.
What is most crucial, however, is not breaking out the account so granular that data is limited. The most common example: breaking out a campaign so far that it lacks data, either due to data splitting between assets or lack of budget allocation. If not enough data is available to work with, it will be difficult to optimize or report. So set thresholds and decide which level of granularity works with your business.

Optimize & Test

This is a day-to-day effort. However, it’s easy to completely waste time optimizing and testing if the previous steps have been neglected.
For example, if goals aren’t considered when you realign, it’s possible to optimize everything to a goal completely out of alignment. Even worse, KPIs could be different than what is actually being measured, which could completely change the account.


Expanding the account is the last and most important goal of a management approach. Expansion ultimately comes from expanding efficient spend capacity, which is increased by testing new keywords and targeting types.
This alone won’t do the trick — make sure to have proper account structure and setup to give a true flow of data. From there, continuous, quality optimizations and tests will make keyword and target testing more successful.
Nothing truly great happens overnight. It takes time, work, and strategy. This is especially true for SEM accounts. Developing a strong management approach will set you up for growth and success not just for the next few months, but for the lifespan of the account.

Learn more about Aimclear’s search and integrated marketing capabilities.

Reference :https://www.searchenginejournal.com/paid-search-optimization-a-management-approach-for-success/198727/

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

4 Tips That Will Prepare You for the Future of Search & SEO

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
We are experiencing a period of unprecedented flux in the search industry. But dig deeper, and there are some elements that hold stubbornly true.
Historically, search has been about Google and it has been about text. There has been a shift in this relationship, as voice-based digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa take hold, and search results become much more varied.
The way we approach search has also changed. Search is now central to most marketing teams and it encompasses a wide variety of skillsets. Everyone from the CMO to the creative team to the data analysis specialists has a vital role to play.
This provides a lot of food for thought for modern marketers. Enough for an all-you-can-eat thought buffet.
Just some of the big trends in our industry in 2017 are:
It used to be so much simpler, right?
All of this can be disconcerting. So how can we stay on top of so much change?
If you react to every new, shiny update, you’ll fall into a trap. The faster our industry changes, the slower we should be in our decision-making. The choices we make now will shape how successful we are over the next few years, so it’s worth taking the time to get them right.
Search Strategy

There are some comforting constants within all of this exciting flux.
The act of searching has not changed; it depends on an accurate answer to fulfill its function. Search engines are getting better at judging which answer is the most relevant and for that, we should be grateful. The industry has a long way to go, but the path we are on is a constructive one.
Therefore, with one eye on the present and the other on upcoming trends, we can set ourselves up for short- and long-term search success.
Below are four tips we should all bear in mind as we prepare for the future of search.

1. Use Psychology & Technology to Shape Strategy

People don’t change as quickly as technology. Marketers should understand the psychology behind their audience’s actions.
These eternal marketing principles will take center stage once more as search grows in sophistication. It is in understanding the full breadth of potential interactions our customers can have with our brands that we can thrive in this new ecosystem.
The hardware used to find this information may change, along with the search engine used to power it. However, the user behind the query will have the same impulses and requirements they always had.
Sure, the form these queries take will advance in lock-step with technology. We have seen this with longer queries via voice search, for example. We will see this more and more as users tap icons rather than typing queries.
This is exactly why we shouldn’t chase shadows by targeting specific search queries.
Knowing which keywords led visitors to your site is useful to know. It always will be. But from a strategic standpoint, gaining insight into the intent behind that keyword will be much more valuable.
Search Psychology
Both quantitative and qualitative resources are required to reach this level of comprehension into consumers.
This is where we can use technology to our advantage.
Your company’s CRM data can be a goldmine. Even the humble survey still has a role to play.
If you want to know what people are thinking, ask them. Combine this with what you see in your analytics and CRO software to get an idea of what truly leads a customer either to engage or disengage with your brand.
Psychology is the foundation of a great search campaign. Technology enables us to create a stronger foundation than ever before.

2. Structure Your Site Around Topics

Taking this approach to research will provide you with a rounded view of your customers’ preferences and requirements. This then becomes a fantastic resource when you consider the structure of your website, as you can build topical hubs for semantically related content.
We have been talking about this way of structuring sites for quite a while now. The logic is sound: Map different sections of your website to different products and services and, within each, cover every point of the consumer journey with different landing pages. This lends itself to a URL structure that is great for search engines and users alike.
This can be extended to encompass your apps and social media profiles, should they be a more fitting home for certain types of content.
What this provides is a perfect platform to populate with a variety of content formats. Informational pages may benefit from videos while transactional pages require structured, clear answers to pressing questions.
Let’s take as our example an insurance brand. Applying this approach, we would have separate sections for each type of insurance.
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We can consider the lead product page in each section to be the main content. This is then supported by supplementary content, which supports the main product page by adding further color and guiding users towards an informed decision.
Often these supplementary pages can be migrated from the blog, with some minor amendments. As a result, your product hub will cover everything from [what type of car insurance do i need?] to [get car insurance online].
This adds to your authority as a reputable resource and allows you to nest all related content within sub-folders under the main product.
Wherever the industry takes us in the next five years, this approach to site structure will have merit.

3. Think Beyond Google

Searching implies the requirement for an answer. The transmission of those answers may differ by channel or search engine or by media format, but search is just a vehicle for the information.
In fact, search engines only have access to our information once we choose to put it in their hands. They are not the creators of the content, but they form an essential link between demand and supply.
Google has been a dominant presence in our landscape, although competition is increasing as user behaviors differentiate. And yet, this is driven by a core truth: People are simply seeking new information.
This is important to remember as we ponder the rise of Amazon as an e-commerce search platform, or as Pinterest’s visual search technology evolves. Yes, we should learn how to code Skills for Amazon’s Echo. Undoubtedly, we should know how Pinterest’s “similar items” feature functions.
Nonetheless, this should not come at the cost of creativity. The age of generating content just to fit how we think Google ranks results is long gone. If we try to manipulate our way into a wider array of search engines and media formats all at once, we will lose sight of what is important. Moreover, we’ll have no time left to create anything of worth.
This new era will reward genuine creativity and research over ‘quick win’ tactics. The future of search should actually be much more unified, from a strategic perspective, in the sense that we require one cohesive plan across all of those touchpoints.
That has not always been the case; often we have had to make do with the acquisition stage, which is harder to deliver on when you don’t really shape the awareness or consideration phases.
Where we need to upgrade our skills is in the area of content discoverability. Whether it is through Schema.org markup or creating Actions for Google Home, our focus should be on making it as easy as possible for any digital assistant or search engine to find and serve our content.

4. Devise a Flexible Measurement Strategy

We need to measure all of the above in a more nuanced way, bearing in mind that personalization is still an untapped opportunity.
Much has been made of personalization in search for a few years now, but true personalization is still on the horizon. This will be great for marketers, no doubt.
Personalization will, however, present us with new measurement challenges.
Search results will never be static. So how can we measure our ranking performance?
Furthermore, we need to know how to evaluate the success of our content across media platforms and social networks.
The key point in this area is to accept the importance of flexibility in a measurement strategy. The expectations of a video embedded within an informational page will differ greatly to those of a product launched on Amazon. A piece of content that gets links will be different to one that gets social shares, typically, and those will differ greatly from content that converts customers in volume.
Therefore, the communication of our measurement strategy is just as important as its component parts.
We need all parties to buy into the fragmented nature of search as we move away from being a pure, direct response channel.
This can be a very fruitful approach for businesses and may end up being a more varied and satisfying role for search marketers.
Of course, we need clarity in our data to achieve any of this success.
Hopefully that data will be shared by all digital assistants, which will give us insight into performance across devices.
We should also expect Google to split out voice queries within AdWords and Search Console (a feature they have tested already), which will at least provide a little transparency within voice search performance, too.
By using a unified reporting solution with tailored dashboards for different stakeholders, we can share our successes and learn constantly.
Our industry is changing, for sure, but it is changing for the better. The savviest marketers — and communicators — will reap the rewards.

Monday, May 22, 2017

5 Important Tips to Make Your Mobile Design SEO Friendly

5 Important Tips to Make Your Mobile Design SEO Friendly 
OK. You have that perfect idea for a service website or blog and want to start development. You know it’s unique and will offer something different — along with copious amounts of value for users.
Don’t rush into things; think like an SEO first, with the emphasis on an optimized mobile design. According to Formstack, average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to average desktop conversion rates.
That trend will surely continue, and to beat the competition, you must optimize your mobile design for SEO. What will this equate to? More visibility and longer engagement — two vital elements for successful conversions and ROI.
To begin, check out these five tips that will make sure your mobile design is SEO-friendly. These are essential not only for success but also for sustainable success, and are must-follows for any digital marketing agency helping companies optimize mobile design for SEO.
Notebook with design sketches beside an iPhone on a wooden table

1. Lightning Fast Page Speed

Every second counts.
Nobody wants slow loading times, especially on a mobile device. Many of these pages plagued by slow mobile speeds feature valuable content, but users move on quickly after stumbling on slow pages.
The quicker the mobile experience, the more engagement you’ll receive. To begin with, analyze every image and every piece of JavaScript and CSS, and compress when needed. Compress larger images when possible; every byte counts on mobile when it comes to speed.
Also, utilize your cache for things that load constantly, such as a logo. When you cache a logo, you’ll save precious download time, which increases the overall speed of your app.
A good rule of thumb is to set all static resources’ cache lifetime once a week. As for other third-party resources like widgets and ads, cache lifetime should be set for one day.
And don’t forget to minimize as many redirects as possible. These redirects create additional HTTP requests, which increase your page’s load time. Google recommends sending users with mobile user agents to the mobile equivalent URL without intermediate redirects.
Remember also that lightning-fast page speeds on mobile help with conversion and customer satisfaction. The average mobile website load times for bounced sessions were about 2.5 seconds slower than non-bounced sessions, according to Think with Google.

2. Beware of Pop-Ups

Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poor user experience, according to Google. This is why Google now penalizes businesses with mobile pop-ups, which was part of the January 10 algorithm update.
Due to the small size of mobile screens, search engines see these penalties as imperative to provide better UX for users. This should prompt you to limit the use of any pop-ups.
Some pop-ups, like age verification boxes and smaller banners that don’t obscure a large part of the screen, are fine to run. But if a pop-up covers main content or is a standalone one that needs to be dismissed before content is displayed, this will have a drastic effect not only on UX but also on SEO.
Think of how many times you exited a website when this happened. Don’t repeat this same mistake.

3. Design for Big Fingers

Your mobile-first design should have touch screen navigation that is easily scrolled with fingers that are either too big or too small.
Think about the size of a thumb and index finger, and make sure your mobile design caters to all for a smoother UX.
The smoother the UX, the more engagement, which means the better the SEO.

4. Titles & Meta Descriptions

Yes, SEOs know the importance of action-driven titles and meta descriptions that include target keywords for websites. But how about the way they display on mobile?
Last May, Google increased mobile title tags to 78 characters — eight more than the recommended character count for desktop. But you’re better off sticking to 70 characters, considering you don’t want any title truncated on mobile.
Meta descriptions should also be shorter for a truly enhanced mobile experience. Google also kept mobile meta description lengths to around 130 characters but has since increased the amount of meta description text shown on mobile. Regardless, keep things shorter than 130 characters because Google is known to truncate meta descriptions on mobile.
Yoast has a perfect solution for those struggling with optimal lengths for either mobile or desktop. Yoast has settings for both desktop and mobile when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions so you can optimize each.

5. Simple Design With Clear CTAs

Due to screen sizes, simpler is better when it comes to mobile design. Don’t try cramming too much onto a page or user experience will suffer, which goes against any positive SEO practices.
Make on-page content short and to the point, and don’t forget to have clear CTAs such as easy-to-find and clickable contact info, including phone number and address. This allows visitors to easily engage, which can help smoothen the flow to conversions.
Also, shorten your menu items for mobile, which will help SEO efforts by allowing for easier navigation. You’ve likely seen it numerous times: If there are many menu and sub-menu items, users get confused and quickly lose interest. This usually leads to them quickly tapping out, which lessens your engagement time and in turn destroys SEO efforts.
Also, make sure all your contact forms are designed for mobile. This is a common mistake among many companies — even enterprise-level companies.
Make sure all contact forms use HTML5 input types, which will automatically register the correct keyboard for mobile browsers, which have various on-screen keyboards for various types of data.


As mobile continues its natural trend towards more users over desktop, having a mobile-first design with SEO at the forefront is imperative to success.
Algorithms are constantly changing to provide a better user experience for mobile users and rewarding sites that have an SEO-friendly mobile design.
Start with the tips above and keep up-to-date on all search engine algorithm changes regarding mobile to remain proactive.

Reference: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/mobile-optimized-design/194381/

Friday, May 19, 2017

5 Digital Marketing Trends You Should Be Paying Attention to in 2107

When it comes to digital marketing, content is still king. Content marketing comprised 20.3% of the digital marketing techniques implemented so far in 2017, although big data (crunching numbers to reveal buying patterns, for instance) is quickly gaining a foothold in online commerce.
The point is, businesses that still do not see the significance of digital marketing to boost their presence and revenue will end up being left behind by the competition.
According to a report from Statista, digital ad spending in the U.S. is expected to grow to $118 billion in 2020 from just a shade under $60 billion in 2015. That's more than double in just five years. In the global scale, the amount is expected to reach over $250 billion by 2018.
Here are just five of the digital marketing trends to watch for this year:

1. AR & VR Technology

The potential of augmented reality and virtual reality in business applications has never been more promising. After the gaming industry latched on to the new technology to enhance the user experience for gamers, developers have released apps that can help boost businesses. For instance, architects can make use of AR to give clients a virtual tour of what the finished product would be like. In digital marketing, businesses can exploit VR to help customers get a better picture of their vision more than any other type of messaging could.

2. Live Videos

Facebook Live and Snapchat Videos are just some of the platforms that can be exploited by digital marketers. Video content will dominate the scene in the next few years with Cisco predicting that 80% of consumer internet traffic by 2020 will be cornered by videos. Meanwhile, Facebook Live is growing 94% each year in the U.S. with eight billion views daily.
Facebook was embroiled in a scandal when its video platform was used to broadcast several violent attacks, which prompted founder Mark Zuckerberg to announce the hiring of 3,000 more people to police the platform of any offensive content.

3. Apps for Data Visualization

Applications like Data Hero, Tableau, Dygraphs, and Visual.ly have been helping digital marketers package big data for easy consumption not just for businesses but the consumers as well. This is not exactly a new trend. However, for this year, it's projected that businesses will make sure to exert more effort in using these tools to interpret the facts and figures at their disposal.

4. Viral Videos Won't Go Anytime Soon

Last year, Samsung was the big winner after three of its video ads went viral. By December 2016, they already had almost 500 million views total. Viral marketing will continue to be an effective tool for brand recall. Google's new updates, particularly on placing more importance on the social status for ranking, will really benefit businesses that invest in quality content. The downside is the short lifespan of viral video marketing. The trick is when to increase engagement, boost traffic, and convert them into income before interest wanes.

5. Content With Short Shelf Life

Businesses might dismiss expiring content as an effective means to build on the brand. After all, Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories only stay for about 24 hours before they are no longer seen again. Of course, this concept was copied from Snapchat, which has a similar feature. Digital marketers are basically exploiting the “fear of missing out,” which is human nature. Nobody likes to be the odd man out when everybody is talking about the latest video or when they grab the latest product, which is the reason why Kylie lip products sell like hotcakes even if they don't really offer anything new.

Reference :http://www.webpronews.com/5-digital-marketing-trends-paying-attention-2107-2017-05/

Thursday, May 18, 2017

5 massive SEO and content shifts you need to master right now

What can today's industry shifts tell us about the future of SEO and content marketing? Columnist Jim Yu discusses some current trends and their implications.

Google has thrown a lot at marketers in just the last five years. All of these big changes — from rolling out major algorithm updates to shifting to mobile-first — have essentially had the same goal: to provide the best possible search experience to users. Google wants to show users the best content at the right time on the right device as quickly as possible.
Some marketers have struggled to keep up with and adapt to these huge changes. Meanwhile, other brands are thriving. Why? Because they have learned to stay ahead of Google’s ever-evolving algorithms by focusing on content and quality.
Smart marketers know that they must have similar goals to Google. That means providing content that resonates, engages and converts — wherever, whenever and however consumers discover it.
It’s important to not just look at where Google is today, but where Google is heading over the next six months, next year and beyond. If you can stay ahead of these momentous shifts, you can stay ahead of Google and your competition to dominate online in your industry.
The future in search is now. It’s time to start thinking forward — and fast! Below are five SEO shifts that you need to master as we head into the latter part of this year.

1. From SEO to ‘SEO and content convergence’

Just as content alone isn’t enough to guarantee SEO success, SEO alone isn’t enough to guarantee that people will find and engage with your content. Data is helping marketers understand consumer intent to create intelligent content that aligns with the customer journey to deliver a successful and memorable experience.
How marketers can master this shift:
  • Ensure your content creation is based on data. Content marketing without data lacks purpose. Define the audience, engagement and conversion metrics that matter to your brand. Track and measure these to gain the insights you need to create meaningful content that people want to consume and improve future content marketing efforts.
  • Foster search, social and content synergy. In combination, organic search, social and content help brands achieve their goals and objectives. Creating high-quality content with SEO in mind from the beginning boosts search visibility. That great content can then be further amplified via social media, which creates demand you can later harvest via search.
  • Maximize your search engine results page (SERP) footprint. Create and optimize high-ROI content like articles, videos and infographics to help people (by answering important or popular questions or providing practical information) or capitalize on trendy topics. Then help your brand further stand out in the SERPs by winning real estate with featured snippets, site links, related questions, images, videos and tweets.

2. From mobile to mobile-first

For years, Google told marketers about the coming shift to mobile first — and it finally arrived in 2015, when mobile searches surpassed desktop. Today, optimizing for mobile search, devices and usability is no longer optional. It’s mandatory. Your brand must be mobile-ready if you want to capitalize on mobile micro-moments.
How marketers can master this shift:
  • Recognize that this is a mobile-first world. Brands that aren’t mobile-optimized see 68 percent less traffic, according to BrightEdge research (my company). This means that understanding mobile user behavior and intent is essential today. Make sure your mobile experience meets (but ideally exceeds) expectations, or you risk losing market share and revenue to the competition.
  • Make your mobile SEO fast and furious. In addition to being attractive and easy to navigate, mobile websites must be fast. According to Google research, 53 percent of mobile users leave sites that take more than three seconds to load. Following technical mobile SEO best practices (e.g., image optimization, redirects, JavaScript and CSS) is a necessary barrier to entry in today’s digital world.
  • Consider contextual mobile content. Focus on creating content that mobile users want and will find valuable. Typically, mobile users are in research mode — they are searching for information they need or they need some inspiration. Make sure your brand is there and influences that decision when they’re ready to convert, which is more likely to be on desktop or in store than on a smartphone.

3. From local to hyperlocal

The hyperlocal opportunity has never been greater for marketers. Hyperlocal targeting lets you reach people based on their location. This is an excellent way for brands to capitalize on “near me” searches and “I-want-to-go” micro-moments and become hyperrelevant and hypervaluable.
How marketers can master this shift:
  • Own local search. Make sure critical contact information that people search for is prominent or easy to find. This includes name, address, phone, hours and directions.
  • Hyperlocal optimization = hyperimportant. Google’s personalized hyperlocal results give more visibility to smaller geographic locations. Optimize your Google My Business page, create localized content and landing pages, use local business Schema markup and monitor the performance of your local keyword rankings.
  • Understand the intersection of local and mobile. People who do local searches on smartphones have higher intent: 50 percent of smartphone users will visit a business or store within a day, according to Google. Optimizing for local also means optimizing for users who are on the go. These people have different needs and expectations than those doing local searches on other devices.

4. From text to voice

About 20 to 25 percent of mobile queries are voice searches, depending on who you believe at Google. Although it’s clearly far too soon to declare the death of text searches, voice search is an emerging area marketers need to pay attention to heading forward. Voice search will continue to rise as consumer adoption of virtual assistants (e.g., Siri, Alexa) increases.
How marketers can master this shift:
  • More voice searches, more answers. Voice search will bring different types of search results because the majority of voice searches are questions (who, what, where, when, why, how). Fortunately for marketers, these questions also reveal user intent. Identify high-intent keywords, and optimize content that answers these questions to ensure your brand will be found in the changing SERPs.
  • Urge to voice search rising. People are adopting voice search because it is now more accurate and useful than ever — it is faster and easier than typing on a smartphone keyboard. By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches, according to a forecast from comScore. Identify and provide content in a format that meets the needs of these types of searchers.
  • Get smart about intelligent agents. Many voice searches happen at home, in addition to in the car or on the go, resulting in a more connected world. These intelligent agents are using semantics, search history and user interests and behaviors to provide the best results. So, make sure content is aligned with the intent and interests of customers at the right moment of the decision journey. Be the best answer. Forrester analyst Collin Colburn shares some great insights on this topic in this Forrester blog.

5. From data to machine learning

Google relies in part on machine learning, in the form of RankBrain, to make sense of the massive amounts of data and deliver the best possible search results for users. As marketers, we, too, must turn to machine learning to understand the intent, interests and behavior of our audience so we can deliver and personalize content that they want.
How marketers can master this shift:
  • View data as a source of truth. Martech stacks are being built around data integrations and performance because we simply have too much data and not enough analysts or hours in the day to make sense of it all. To capitalize on demand, spot patterns and stay ahead of the competition, marketers need to go beyond the “what” of data to understand the “when” and “why” of analytics.
  • Utilize AI & machine learning. Machine learning helps marketers spend less time analyzing data and more time creating content that will engage and influence prospects and customers. Let AI and machine learning deliver actionable insights about your audience and content performance.
  • Define metrics and measurement. Data allows marketers to make better and more accurate decisions more quickly. Define the metrics that matter to your brand, and monitor your search and content data. This will allow you to track your progress, iterate and improve your content production and organic search optimization for greater visibility and greater share of voice.


With $80 billion forecast to be spent annually on SEO — and content marketing set to be a $300+ billion industry by 2019 — it might be tempting for stakeholders to view SEO and content marketing as cost centers rather than revenue centers. This would be a mistake. SEO and data are essential for a successful integrated digital strategy with a tangible ROI. By understanding the five points above and always measuring your results, you will be able to demonstrate that creating effective, engaging, intelligent content is the path to revenue and truly worth the investment.

Reference :http://searchengineland.com/5-massive-seo-content-shifts-need-master-right-now-274647

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Android Overtakes Windows For First Time

According to March research from the independent web analytics firm StatCounter, Android topped the worldwide OS internet usage market share with 37.93%, placing it just ahead of Windows (37.91%) for the first time.
"This is a milestone in technology history and the end of an era,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “It marks the end of Microsoft’s leadership worldwide of the OS market which it has held since the 1980s. It also represents a major breakthrough for Android which held just 2.4% of global internet usage share only five years ago.” Cullen said that main drivers of the breakthrough were growth of smartphones to access the internet, a decline in sales of traditional PCs and the impact of Asia on the global market.

In North America Windows (all versions) maintained its lead across all platforms with 39.5% share in March followed by iOS (25.7%) and Android (21.2%).
This news follows a recent finding by mobile marketing firm Fiksu DSP showing that marketers in February saw a significant drop in the cost to acquire a purchaser on Android.
Definitely some good reasons for Android to celebrate #WorldPartyDay.

Reference: http://www.webpronews.com/android-overtakes-windows-first-time-2017-04/

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to build an SEO strategy to dominate your market

Want to build an SEO strategy that can withstand algorithm updates, growing competitors and industry fluctuations? Columnist Jeremy Knauff explains how to do this by rethinking your approach.

How to Build an SEO Strategy to Completely Dominate Your Market Do you want an SEO strategy that goes beyond incremental growth? One that is defensible by being inherently more difficult for your competitors to replicate? And one that sets you apart from your competitors? Then you’re in the right place, because that’s exactly what we’re going to outline here today.
First and foremost, you need to understand the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Don’t feel bad if you’re unsure of the difference, because I frequently hear smart people use both words interchangeably despite the fact that they have completely different meanings.
Here’s an easy way to remember: a strategy is a plan to achieve a specific competitive advantage, while a tactic is a method used to achieve it.
If that’s still a little confusing, let’s use Google as an example. Their strategy was to become synonymous with search in order to dominate the market, and today, it’s clearly evident that they’ve been successful. Some of the tactics they used to achieve that included:
  • developing a more effective link-based algorithm that, at the time, was less susceptible to manipulation than simple algorithms based on content alone.
  • funding their growth via AdWords, which simultaneously put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people (especially website owners) involved with their products.
  • releasing Gmail as a free service to compete with Microsoft’s Hotmail, which put their brand in front of more eyeballs and got more people involved with their products.
  • acquiring Urchin and renaming it Google Analytics, which gave them significantly more data points to refine their algorithm. It also put their brand in front of more eyeballs (website owners again) and got more people involved with their products.
Are you seeing a pattern here yet? Every major business decision (tactic) made by Google played a direct role in achieving their goal (strategy). As a result, it’s been years since any other search engine has even put a dent in Google’s market share of search.
Now that we’re clear on the difference between a strategy and a tactic, we’re going to explore three strategies you can use to dominate your market, along with the tactics necessary to do so.

1. Banish conventional thinking on keyword research and content development

It’s easy to think, “I sell widgets, so I want to rank for ‘widgets.'” But it’s also lazy to stop there. Sure, if you sell widgets, you absolutely should work to rank for the term “widgets,” as well as variations of the term, such as:
  • [color] + widgets
  • [brand] + widgets
  • [size] + widgets
But no matter how many variations you include, you’ll only scratch the surface of potential topics to drive organic search traffic. That’s why it’s essential to go beyond conventional thinking and identity a greater number of lucrative, relevant topics — many of which will deliver organic traffic faster, with less effort, than the obvious keywords that everyone else is competing for
Here are a few unconventional tactics to diversify your keyword research and content development.

Ancillary products and/or services

Do customers use your widgets as a part of another machine? Do they need a specific tool to install or use them? Do your widgets require other products, such as lubrication or calibration devices, to function property? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’ve just multiplied potential topics exponentially!
Writing about the products and/or services that support or are highly relevant to your own opens a whole new realm of keyword phrases. To be more clear, the concept of “keyword phrases is dead,” as I explained in a recent article on the role of artificial intelligence in SEO, so perhaps a better word would be “topics.” Think of it as buckets of topically themed words.
There are a few hidden benefits of producing content on ancillary products and services:
  • These other companies aren’t in competition with you, so they will be more likely to share and link to your content — especially since it helps promote them.
  • You will attract visitors at an earlier stage in the buying process.
  • Providing more information across a broader range of topics within your niche will help you appear more knowledgeable and authoritative.
Let’s use the SEO industry as an example. In this case, ancillary products and services for which you could produce content will mostly be marketing-related. These products/services might include:
  • domains
  • web hosting
  • premium WordPress themes and plugins
  • website backup services
  • email marketing services
  • CRM software
  • productivity tools
  • CDN services
  • printing
  • social media tools
  • podcasting services and equipment
  • call tracking
  • reputation management
  • analytics
  • conversion optimization
  • web design

Interview industry leaders

Unless you’ve spent the last few decades working as a contract assassin for the CIA, you’re probably excited about having your name mentioned in the media. That’s true whether it’s Forbes, The Huffington Post, or even a tiny industry publication, and that feeling almost never goes away.
You can use this to your advantage by interviewing industry leaders, which gives you a way to produce amazing content, and the best part is that your interviewees produce most of it for you! It also makes you appear more trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of your audience, because they begin to associate you with the leaders in your industry. An added benefit is that you actually will rise to their level faster, but the benefits don’t stop there, because it can also help you reach a new, larger audience because the interviewee will share and/or link to their own interview. And this tactic gives you a way to add value from the beginning of the relationship, which separates you from the majority of people who contact them asking for something.
You don’t need to be Oprah to effectively interview the leaders in your industry. Here are a few things you can ask them about to get the ball rolling:
  • Their background, education and work experience
  • How and why they chose to do what they do (The why is especially important)
  • Books they’ve written or recommend
  • Their mentors, heroes or role models
  • Podcasts they host or recommend
  • Events they speak at or attend as guests
  • Publications they contribute to
  • Products or services they recommend
From a technical perspective, I recommend recording the call so that you don’t have to worry about keeping up as you type or write. Just let the software do the work, then hire a transcriber on Fiverr to type it for you. This helps you to be efficient and respectful of the interviewee’s time.

Review competing products/services

It may sound crazy, but writing content about your and their products and/or services can create tremendous opportunities for you, as long as yours are superior in some way. In fact, this tactic was the foundation for one of my most successful SEO campaigns early in my career.
It’s important not to bash your competitors, because that will just make it look like you’re trying to overcompensate. Instead, clearly and objectively explain the differences, highlighting the pros and cons of each choice, allowing visitors to make an educated decision based on the facts.
When using this tactic, you’ll need to produce two levels of content and build both internal and external links to that content. What I’ve found to work well is creating a parent page that provides a general comparison of your products/services to those of your competitors, followed by child pages comparing each feature individually. Each of these child pages should contain an internal link to the parent page, as well as to the other child pages where relevant. I wrote a blog post on how to set up WordPress permalinks that explains this exact structure in detail, so you can use that as a step-by-step guide.

Consider how customers will search

Thanks to familiarity with technology, proliferation of mobile devices and the growth of artificial intelligence, the structure of searches has changed dramatically. Today, instead of opening Google and entering the search phrase “home builders,” a searcher may literally ask Google, either through their Android device or Google Home, “Which home builder in Tampa builds modern-style homes between $400,000 and $600,000?”
Google Home This offers tremendous value, both for searchers and for business owners. Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher for a minute — do you really want to go through several pages of blue links to find a handful of home builders who provide what you’re looking for?  Now put yourself in the shoes of the home builder — do you want to answer inquiries from a bunch of people who are looking for a different style of house than you build?
When you produce content, do so with the understanding that searchers are using longer, more complex queries and search engines are using artificial intelligence to analyze the content on your page, along with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of additional data points to provide the single answer most likely to satisfy the searcher.
To accomplish this, you need to get out of your own head and into the heads of your customers. Find out what questions they have. What words do they use when talking about your industry, products or services? How well do they understand industry terminology? Go beyond the keywords themselves and get down to the thought process that would bring someone to your website.
For example, while an HVAC company would certainly want to rank for the term “air conditioning repair,” especially since we’re approaching summertime here in Florida, a query that would bring a potential customer to them earlier in the buying process might be something like, “why does my ac smell weird.” When a searcher finds out that the smell is caused by stagnant water and they’re already on the website of the HVAC company that answered their question, who do you think they will call first?

2. Build your industry’s hub

This is going to take a lot of time and effort, because it requires you to build an entirely new website and fill it with loads of outstanding content in order to become a hub for your industry.
When it’s executed successfully, you’ll have the opportunity to hold multiple positions in the search results, you’ll have a powerful and relevant website to link to your primary website from, and you’ll have an independent platform to further improve your own authority, expertise and trust. It’s important to mention that you must be extremely careful when linking from one website you own to another website you own, otherwise you risk being flagged for manipulative linking practices, potentially damaging both URLs.
In order for this strategy to be successful, the new website needs to become the absolute authority on your industry. The idea here is that while continuing to improve your primary website, you will simultaneously build a second website that will contain information and resources like:
  • industry news
  • industry specific business advice
  • laws that pertain to your industry
  • interviews with industry leaders
  • forms, templates and other documents
  • resources and tools
  • trade publications (web, print and audio)
  • trade organizations and networking groups
  • industry events
Basically, you want visitors to be able to find anything related to your industry here. In order to maximize this strategy, you need to give visitors a reason to return frequently and to send other people there. A members’ directory is a great way to do that, and a social network is an even better way. Imagine if you could create your industry’s version of LinkedIn or Facebook, so that visitors can friend their industry contacts and receive updated on their activity — how powerful would that advantage be over your competitors?
While you will have to produce a tremendous amount of unique content for this website, you can recycle at least some of the research conducted for content on your primary website, but I would recommend assigning different writers for each website to reduce similarities.

3. Become an influencer

I know, you’re probably thinking it’s easier said than done, right? But you can do it if you’re willing to put in the hard work that most others won’t, and it’s well worth the effort, because once you’re a recognized leader in your industry — especially within your target market, you won’t have to work nearly as hard to earn exposure and links. In fact, when done well, you can actually get your target market to help promote you and your company.
I’ll share a perfect example.
I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for 18 years, so I’m well known here, but I’ve recently started focusing on providing our digital marketing services to businesses in the construction industry, where initially, no one knew me. I set out to change that, and as a result of my efforts, I was asked to become a contributor for two large construction publications and was recently quoted at length in The Huffington Post about how military veterans are helping to solve the construction industry’s hiring challenges. I was even able to get that reporter to include several influential people I knew from the construction industry in that article, which created tremendous exposure for them in a top-tier publication.
I didn’t ask them for anything. I didn’t say, “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.” I simply encouraged the reporter to include them because their opinions on the topic were relevant and valuable. It improved the story for the publication’s audience.
But here’s what happened as a result — I immediately became more valuable to those people, and they immediately shared the article with their contacts. (Remember we talked earlier about how everyone loves positive media attention?) Now, instead of me telling people in my target market how great I am, the people they already know and look up to are doing it for me. Here’s the counterintuitive part — I didn’t even talk much about my company or what we do in the article.
And that particular article only scratches the surface, because in addition to being quoted regularly by business publications like Forbes, The Huffington Post and Fortune, I now have the opportunity to regularly demonstrate my expertise to my target market through their own trade publications. You simply can’t buy that kind of trust.

So, how do you become an influencer?

I’ve been at this for a long time, however, when I reach out to someone I don’t yet know, the process is still exactly the same as it is for someone who is starting from scratch. The key is to add value early and often.
In other words, never do this:
It’s all about building relationships and adding value long before ever asking for anything. I personally know a lot of the people you would consider “famous” in our industry. They know they can ask me for help any time they need it, and often, when I hear they’ve run into a problem, I offer to help. It’s not a “do this for me and I’ll do that for you” thing, it’s more a matter of liking the people in my industry who I work with often. And they would do (and have done) the same for me. I’ve known some of these people for over a decade before ever asking for a favor, and I’ve known some longer but have never asked for anything.
That even applies to a lot of people who are technically my competitors. Last year I was interviewed on Webcology, and between me and the two hosts, Dave Davies and Jim Hedger, there were three different digital marketing agencies on the show.
Within an industry, people talk, so if you become known as a genuine person who always seeks to add value, you tend to get a lot farther a lot faster. Plus, it’s the right thing to do, and it makes you feel good anyway.
Now let’s get down to the details…
The first step is to create a list of the influencers you admire and respect — don’t just look at the size of their audience. Select influencers who are relevant to your target market and who share views similar to yours.
Next, follow them — but not in a creepy way. Subscribe to their blog and email newsletter. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. If you want to be thorough, you can even set up a Google News Alert for both their name and company name.
Then start engaging with them. If they share a piece of content you think your audience would find valuable, share it. Encourage your audience to follow them. Ask them questions and answer theirs. Be the first to post a worthwhile comment on their blog posts (not “Nice post!” or any other such nonsense). Link to their posts from your own.
I think you get the idea.
Once you’ve established a relationship with the influencers on your list, you can build a new list and start this process all over, but continue nurturing the old relationships, too. It’s important to remember not to look at the influencers on your list like a goal to be checked off. While you do want them to engage with you and share your content, if that is your only goal, don’t waste their time or your own. People will realize you’re using them, and that will will hurt both your personal and company brand.