Stop Using These Five Outdated SEO Strategies

Web technologies change fast and with them, website optimization is constantly evolving, leaving many people confused about which SEO strategies are still relevant, and which have become obsolete.

In 2017, good user experience makes the best SEO strategy. Optimizing content for users is the best way to rank higher since RankBrain rewards content, garnering clicks and engaging users. Google webmaster guidelines always urge brands to create content for humans and the newest algorithm updates recognize user intent. But in spite of producing content for users, there are other things you need to look out for, like staying up to date with the SEO tactics and strategies and selecting which you should continue to use.

Truth is, many tactics and strategies that used to work are no longer relevant, and may actually hurt your website. If you still use any of those strategies, your site might be penalized or even lose your presence in the SERPs. In order to help you stay up to date, and to prevent you from going down a rabbit hole, we outlined five outdated SEO strategies that you should stop using right now.

 

1. Don’t Create and Optimize the Content for Search Engines

In the beginning of SEO, content would fall into one of two categories: content for people, and content for the spiders which crawl the web and are responsible for page ranking. The first type often meant creating clunky, keyword-heavy content, which would be awkward for users.

Now, years later, even though keywords remain important, this practice is not only outdated but can get you penalized. Keyword stuffing is considered a black hat technique and you should avoid it completely. Focusing on optimizing your content for search engines is a waste of time, and resources.

Instead, write your content in a natural and friendly tone, make it readable and understandable for your audience, and use your keywords moderately. Only by making your content high-quality and valuable, you can convince RankBrain that your content is relevant and useful for the users.

 

2. Don’t Neglect Optimizing Your Website for Mobile

After Google officially announced in January 2017 that: “…pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.”; you’d think that it’s natural for businesses to optimize for mobile, but many still neglect this crucial aspect of SEO.

Many web designers noticed and accepted the mobile-first trend that started a few years back. And companies are beginning to get more and more aware that they are missing out on a lot of mobile traffic even when the majority of their visits come from a desktop computer.

So, if you want to improve your ranking, first, start by switching to a mobile responsive WordPress. Make sure your text has readable zoom, and avoid using Flash or other software that is uncommon and won’t run on mobile devices.  Try to place your links far enough apart so the users won’t click multiple at once. Also, AMPs are becoming increasingly important, so consider using them. Lastly, don’t forget to check out Google’s webmaster’s guide on mobile friendly sites for in-depth information on how to keep your website mobile-friendly.

 

3. Stop Trying to Rank Multiple Keywords on a Single Page 

As we mentioned before, keywords are important, but are beneficial only if you use them moderately. There are two extremes that are still out there though.  One, trying to rank multiple keywords on a single page, or two, creating individual pages for each keyword you wish to rank for. In both cases, the results are penalized.

Whether there is a redundancy of keywords and long-tail keyword variations on a single page, or too many similar pages covering different variation of a keyword, it creates a usability nightmare.

Instead of doing this, try using a SEO plugin that can help you with the quality of the content, helping you analyze the keyword density. Focus on the clicks and quality, using proper calls to action and good writing. Make sure usability is your first and foremost consideration, and you will not get penalized.

 

4. Don’t Use Old Link Building Strategies

One of the best ways to get high-quality websites to link back to you is to create relevant content. And network with those who write about the same topics in order to get insights and strengthen connections. There’s no shortcut around this.

But many sites still use some of the old strategies for getting backlinks, like link exchanges, buying links, comments and forum links, article spinning, etc. And sadly, these can get you penalized.

As we said before, don’t go looking for a shortcut to link building. And stop obsessing over quantity. Develop relationships with high-quality websites in your industry, focus on creating valuable, original content and they will naturally link back to you. Engage in guest posting, it’s still valuable, especially when you’re present on sites with high Domain Authority.

 

 5. Stop Using Irrelevant or Over-Optimized Anchor Text

Optimizing your anchor text is, again, related to the content quality. And it plays an important role in creating a great user experience. Using the exact keyword into anchor texts for external and internal links used to be a thing for getting a higher ranking, but it got over-used, and now this outdated SEO technique can get you penalized because Google considers those “unnatural links. And you should stay away from them.

Stick to writing for people, and inserting the links in the text naturally. Don’t add words or phrases just to link them, but find a way to turn a part of a sentence that has a natural flow and talks about the subject from your link into anchor text. Other good practices are using the exact brand name you are linking to, such as Visible Factors, or the naked URL, like visiblefactors.com. Each link should fit the content and add extra value for the uses.

 

BONUS: Don’t Ignore Social Signals

The times are changing, and SEO is no longer all about links, code and content. But now social networks and social signals play important roles in sear engine rankings since both Google and Bing use that data to determine how to rank websites.

Plus, having more social media followers means that your brand and content get exposed to a larger audience, which means more chances for engagement and content traction, increasing your chances for getting backlinks.

So pick a social network that best suits your business needs, learn how to best use it, and make your presence noted. Generally, start by posting regularly, be consistent in your efforts, engage your audience and be responsive. Then, include ways for visitors to sign up for your social account on your website, and to your email newsletter. And if you still feel like you are stuck and wish to give up, read up on Social Media Examiner’s guide on improving ranking using social media. You might get a few ideas.

 

Search engine optimization is a crucial part of growing your website and getting more organic traffic. But it’s not something you can learn once and practice it in the same way indefinitely. SEO trends change, and if you want to keep your high place in the SERPs you have to keep up with the trends. Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s the only way to stay on top.

This year, the focus is on creating better user experience and value for your prospects and customers. So make sure you provide them with a seamless experience. If you’re still unsure whether your website is stuck with outdated SEO techniques which actually hurt your ranking, here at Visible Factors have an awesome SEO team ready to help you.

Top 15 Growth Marketing Tools for Startups

It’s hard being a start-up. At the dawn of their lifecycle, startups have to keep up a steady growth of 30% every year or suffer a painful death.

Up until a while ago, “growth hacking” was an odd buzzword on the lips of SEOs and marketing professionals alike. Today, it has become a synonym for most of the marketing tactics used by startups; a process of experimenting across marketing channels in order to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow your business. It is a mindset; a fast-paced, data-driven and actionable approach to help you capitalize on the opportunities and ideas that drive business growth.

The man who coined the term, Sean Ellis, defines it by stating that start-up companies need to change the rules of conventional channels, or better yet, innovate outside of them since they are beyond the advantage of adapting to the old rules of marketing. Young startups need to be creative and test new ideas relentlessly because, if they don’t, they will be soon out of business.

If this is all so overwhelming for you, fear not – we have compiled a list of the 15 top growth-hacking tools that will help you get the job done, most of which are free to use! Check them out below:

 

1. Buff up your marketing efforts on Twitter with Click to Tweet

This one is the simplest – Click to Tweet helps you promote your products on Twitter. Engage your Twitter followers in sharing your product and you can offer them reward like coupons. The built-in analytics will tell you how many times your link has been clicked, which is as useful as ever. Just sign in with Twitter!

 

2. Automate your marketing strategy on Twitter with Jooicer

The automation on Jooicer makes life on Twitter for the baby start-up a charm: you can select the actions you want to be automated by creating “recipes”: say, “follow all users with a certain hashtag in their bio”. You can create your own custom recipes or share with others.

 

3. Create email collect forms with SumoMe ListBuilder

Out of the nifty little bundle of tools called SumoMe, the ListBuilder lets you convert one-time visitors into subscribers. You can either use the completely customizable popover after visitors spend a certain amount of time on your site or turn on smart mode so that the tool can ask them to subscribe when they’re ready to leave the site.

4. Add an email collect pop-up with SumoMe ScrollBox

Similar to the ListBuilder, you can customize a pop-up to appear after the visitor has scrolled down a specific percentage of your site. That way you can be sure that they have had the time to enjoy some of your content before committing.

 

5. Create giveaways with SumoMe Leads

This is the hottest way to turn visitors into leads –  by rewarding them with downloadable content like brochures or PDF documents. The button is free for you to place anywhere on the page; all you have to do is create the bonuses to lure those leads!

 

6. Make any selection of text tweetable with SumoMe Twilighter

Sharing made easy! All your visitors have to do is highlight any piece of content they wish to share and they can send it to their Twitter feed with the click of the mouse.

 

7. Ease the sharing of image with SumoMe Image Sharer

A must-have plug-in that makes it easy for your readers to share an image from your blog posts. This comes supported with the fact that shares on Facebook get over 39% more engagement if they include an image. It’s very user-friendly:  all the photos in your posts will be overlaid with sharing icons for the social platforms and each share includes a link as well.

8. Add conversion pop-ups with Optimonk

Much like the ListBuilder and the ScrollBox, Optimonk allows you to detect “exit intent” and add a pop-up message asking your visitor to extend their stay or sign up for more. They offer a free 14-day trial, after which you will have to inquire for the rates.

 

9. Discover the most popular articles with BuzzSumo

With this free little tool, you just type any term in its search bar and it lists you all the popular articles on that particular topic. Work wonders for writers who want to be at the top of their writing game by staying relevant!

 

10. Add call-to-action with HelloBar 

HelloBar is not new, but it’s still not very well known. It adds a notification bar on the top of your site that doesn’t move and you can stick any kind of action you want on it, from email collection to a simple message! The basic plan is free, but with the PRO you can do some cool things like A/B testing.

 

11. Help resolve problems with SessionCam

With SessionCam, you can watch a recording of your web and mobile visitors in order to identify potential problems or simply increase conversion. It also shows you heat maps and helps you build conversion funnels between the pages on your site. It’s free for the Basic Plan.

 

12. Analyze your conversions with ClickTale

Improve your conversions by finding out where your visitors like to click on your site. You can even analyze the performance of the forms you want to be filled in. ClickTale records individual visitor sessions on both desktop and mobile and aggregates it all while allowing you to focus on a particular individual.

 

13. Overlay an ad over the link you share using Snip.ly

This one’s also a no-brainer: If you have an ad that is related to the story you wish to share, use Snip.ly to increase conversions. It’s free up to 100 conversions; if you want to beef it up, plans start at $16 for 500 conversions, up to $85 for 5000 conversions.

 

14. Forget the plain old forms and surveys with Typeform

Make all your lead generating tools interactive and fun with Typeform and watch as the number of leads increases! As many other tools on this list, they offer a basic plan for free to try it out.

 

15. Send user-specific emails with MailGun

The last one on our list makes the coveted email marketing a breeze. No matter if it’s a thank-you email for a visitor signing up or an apology for when their session was rudely interrupted by an error, MailGun is the API for you! And it holds a sweet pricing plan: free up to 10,000 emails/mo, then it’s $0.00050 per email.

 

It may be difficult to grow your business from the ground up, but it’s a fun and exciting challenge. One that can be made a lot easier once you find the right growth marketing tools that will ease many tasks. Try out some of the 15 on this list and let us know how you liked them. And if you need more suggestions, or additional growth marketing help and advice, don’t hesitate to contact Visible Factors. We’ve been where you are.   

 

Learn to Share the Right Content at the Right Time

Anyone who is involved in content marketing knows that effective customer engagement requires more than simply publishing content on the company blog and social media to the same aggregated audience. Reaching the audience that is most likely to take action – like, share, comment, sign up for your newsletter, click to get a special discount code, or visit and browse through your website – requires the right timing. The first step to being successful in content marketing is to create quality content that answers your audience’s most important questions. The next, is sharing that awesome content at the right time.

Here are guidelines on how to time your content sharing strategy better and improve your audience’s engagement.

 

1. Learn About Your Audience

You may already know how your regular buyers behave around your website and social media profiles, and tailor your efforts around that knowledge. You might want to rethink that approach. Yes, knowing how your current clients behave is great, but your content is aimed at engaging a wider audience that is your potential customers and prospects. So listen closely to the audience, and make sure you keep up with the newest trends. They evolve together with your prospects’ habits so you must evolve as well to stay current, informative, and engaging.

Besides being active on social media and listing to your customer’s online conversations, continue to learn about your customers by using your own customer data. Extract data and statistics from all of your internal resources like your website, social network profiles, analytics, and CRM. This will help you follow your clients’ journey, from prospects to buyers, and learn how they move through every stage, and what type of content pushes them further down the sales funnel. Which leads us to the next step.

 

2. Map Out the Buying Cycle of Your Buyer Persona

Now that you assembled all the data, it’s time to map out each step of the way that your buyer personas make, from being a new visitor to becoming a customer. Analyze which devices they use, what type of content they find most engaging, and what questions they need answered in every stage.

By analyzing the audience’s’ engagement with your content throughout the sales funnel, you’ll be able to identify which types of content work at the beginning of the cycle, and which work in the later stages of the cycle.  Once you identify the patterns of your buyers’ decision making cycles, you will be able to identify their typical paths to purchase and utilize predictive analysis with your overall content strategy. The insights about your audience’s behavior can also be very helpful in the process of optimizing your ecommerce conversion funnel.

 

3. Choose the Right Time

After understanding your potential and current customers, you need to figure out when to publish your content. Since everything we post online is available at any time, you may wonder why it is important to pick a specific time. The answer is: because you don’t want your content to get lost in your customers’ cluttered news feeds and inboxes. Sending too many emails may tire them and push them to unsubscribe, and sending a message too late can cause a permanent loss of conversions.

The content may be accessible at any moment, but your buyers aren’t accessing it all the time. So it’s very important to deliver your message at the precise moment when your audience is ready and willing to read it. The best way to determine the right time for sharing content, depending on the types of content and your audience’s preferences, is to test publish at different times.

Generally, people connect early in the morning, while having their breakfast, and later in the evening when they come back home, after dinner. Also, lunchtime is when people are usually active on social media and check their personal emails. Another observation we made is that we can divide two phases of connection among young professionals: one to personal social networks in free time, especially over the weekend; and one dedicated to professional platforms upon arrival at work and during waiting periods between tasks and appointments.

 

4. Decide on the Right Publishing Channel and Format

By now you have learned from your data who to target and when. But in what format and which device do you need to broadcast it? Mobile users may not want to see and interact with the same information as a desktop user. Downloading and reading an ebook on your smartphone is not very convenient.

The way you relay your message will greatly influence the way it is perceived. So make sure you structure your content accordingly to the format and channel you are using, and the device you are targeting. Again, make these decisions based on the customer data you collected and analyzed before. People who are in different stages of the buying cycle respond differently to social media posts, emails, ebooks, or videos. Make sure you match the content with the stage they are in, especially if you are sending personalized content.  And make sure that you have content suitable for each audience member and each buying cycle stage throughout your website, social media profiles, email campaigns, newsletters, and whatever additional content type you share.

 

The greatest dilemma of sharing the right content for the right customer at the right time can be precisely answered only if you listen closely to your audience, and constantly analyze your data. In the Age of the Customer—when the customers are in control, and have access to tons of information and countless choices, it’s the marketer’s’ job to precisely meet their expectations at every moment in their buying cycle, or risk losing them to the competition.

We know that the struggle to create the content is hard enough, and additionally learning when, where and what to post can make if even more complex and time-consuming for you. And you end up spending the time on learning about content marketing. Let’s make a proposition – let us help you with your content marketing efforts while you focus on running and improving your business and creating new valuable business relationships.

 

Grow Your Business

Get in touch and find out how our team can help you drive results!

Contact us today

 

How to Make Your Textual Content SEO-friendly?

Whether you are writing content for your company website or the next company blog post, the goal is to create great content that offers value to the reader, while positively reflecting your brand. But at the same time, you want your content piece to be search engine optimized. Let’s face it; great content is not useful if nobody can find it.

The goal to write a great blog post that is SEO-optimized while attracting an audience can seem contradictory. But if you have great writing skills, it is easy to create content that can accomplish both objectives.

Generally speaking, writing valuable content is one of the best ways to optimize it for SEO and there are no tricks that can compete with the raw power of high-quality content. That being said, even the best content can use a few structural tweaks and tricks to make it even more SEO-friendly.

If you want to be optimized for SEO and easily discoverable/sharable, here are some universal guidelines that you should stick to when creating your next piece of textual content (supposing you already did your keyword research).

 

Headline and Subheadings

First things first – your headline is the first thing anyone sees and reads. If your content is valuable, but your headline is mediocre, your click-through-rate will be low. Before writing your blog post body, write your headline. It should be clear and concise, conveying a specific message or idea that attracts people’s attention and prompts them to click and read further. A good practice is including your main keyword in the headline. Adding numbers is also an effective way to make the headline more enticing and clickable.  

Subheadings are an important part of you blog post’s body because they make the text scannable. Most people read the headline and subheads first, then decide whether to read the whole text or only the parts that matter to them the most. Also, subheads are another way to strategically use your keywords and increase keywords saturation.

When you prepare the blog post for publishing, make sure to add suitable HTML tags (H1, H2, H3…) to your heading and subheads in order to optimize the post for search bots too.  

 

Body Structure

If you created your headline, and are ready to move to writing the body, start by writing a short outline of the text. Think about the purpose, target audience, and the main action you want the reader to take at the end of the text. When writing the outline, you can write the subheadings first. That will give you an overview of what you need to write in each section.    

Once you start the actual writing, pay attention to the quality, originality and the structure of the text.  Always write unique content. Plagiarism can only hurt your ranking with Google, and the trust and authority you built among your audience. Use storytelling principles to improve the content quality and try to connect with readers on an emotional level. Use short sentences and short paragraphs, no more than 100 words, to improve the readability and the blog post structure. Smaller chunks of text are easier to read. When you want to specify or highlight and list certain points, use bullets or numbering to emphasize their importance and separate them from the general text. That will also help readers scan the text easier.

Be careful with the keywords used throughout the body. Use the main keywords and synonyms in moderation. And try to use signal words like “first of all’, “second” and “finally”.  And conjunctions “surely”, “consequently”, “for this reason”, because they will improve the structure of your text, and the reader will get clear signals about what follows.

 

Blog Post Length and Keyword Density

The minimum length of your blog posts should be 300 words. Even though Google likes long articles, and sometimes ranks them better, readers often are scared away by posts that are over 1000 words long. The ideal article length is somewhere between 600 and 800 words, depending on the topic, the target readers, and the goal of the blog post. For example, in-depth guides may require 3000 words or more.

As a general rule of thumb: the ideal keyword density is about 1-2% of your text. So, in a 600-word post, you should mention your keyword 6 to 12 times. Do not stuff your blog post with keywords because instead of making your content more SEO-friendly, it will only hurt your ranking.

 

Links to Previous Content

Page links are the main building blocks of your webpage. Your link structure is important to Google. Links tell Google if your content is valuable to people, and you are connected and sociable. Adding links to high-quality, reputable websites also improves the validity of your website, and your ranking. And using credible sources in the body of your text is also a good way to create trust with your readers.

If you have other posts closely related to your current one, link back to them. It will make the post stronger because it will show more authority on the subject. But whether you link to internal or external pages, use appropriate anchor text which flows naturally with the rest of the content.     

 

Meta Descriptions

Another important part of on-page SEO optimization is writing your meta description. Use the meta descriptions to guide the search engine, and help it understand what your content is about. It is the HTML attribute that provides search engines with a concise explanation of your page’s content. The meta description should be enclosed in the <head> section on your webpage.    

But meta descriptions help searchers understand what your content is about too. The text in a meta description is what Google uses as a snippet when your web page shows in the SERP. And that copy, along with your headline, will determine whether the searcher will click on your page or not. So use those 150 – 160 characters wisely, and make sure to incorporate your main keyword as well.

 

Optimize the Images

Visuals make textual content more interesting and shareable. People are more likely to share the content if there’s a fun or unusual image included. And if it a sales-related text, people will be more likely to buy if they can see the product featured in attractive and relevant photo. But images are important and should be optimized for search bots too. So make sure you enter text in the title and alt tag fields, and preferably use your keyword too.

Optimize the photo dimensions and size. It’s a good practice to match the image dimensions (width) with that of your web page template and use browser resizing capabilities to make the images responsive by setting a fixed width and auto-height. Try to use smaller files because large files load slowly and that can hurt SEO. Make the images slow, but don’t compromise their quality and visibility.

 

There are no special tricks on how to write great content. Nor are there tricks on how to rank high in Google if your content is average. Remember to always write for people, and don’t underestimate the importance of SEO-optimization. High-quality, original content is what matters the most, but it takes a little extra effort to additionally optimize it for SEO and rank highly for SERPs, clicks, reads, likes and social shares.

It may be difficult at first, but it’s very much possible to achieve both goals. Then again, if you believe that it’s a job best handled by the pros, you are welcome to drop us a line or give us a call, and we’ll make sure your brand’s name and story take off.

 

 

 

Can You Use Text on Images in Facebook Boosted Posts?

Facebook ads are a great way to increase your reach and expose your brand or products to new audiences. And creating them right from your Page is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to reach the people who matter the most to your business on Facebook and Instagram.

Depending on the action you want your audience to take, you can choose from the different types of ads Facebook offers – promoting your page, promoting your website or boosting a post.

If your goal is to have people like or react, comment or share on the posts you create on your Page, then the best way to do this is to boost posts. Boosting a post is very easy by locating the blue Boost Post option in the bottom-right corner of your post. Boosted posts are an excellent way of increasing the engagement with your audience, existing and new. When you boost a post, you turn it into an ad, which is then optimized to reach people who are most likely to take action and like or share the post.

An Image is Worth a Thousand Words, Right?

We have all heard the phrase, yet we continue to add text to our images. Sometimes, it’s to enhance the depicted action or describe the objects shown.  Other times to simply share a message or announce a special offer. The use of text on images for advertising purposes is a common practice, but unfortunately frowned upon by Facebook. Up until mid-2016, their advertising policy didn’t allow advertisers to use images, which covered more than 20% with text in ads. Facebook had enforced a rule that limited the amount of text in images, and by using a 5×5 grid, advertisers could see if there’s text in more than five of the squares, which meant the image would be rejected. Of course, there are ways to go around this. For example, you could use the same grid while creating the ad image to simply move the text around or make it smaller so the image would be in compliance with the rule.

This rule was recently changed though. Now, advertisers can use more than 20% text on images for their boosted posts. But, Facebook still prefers images that have less text. And actually, the more text you use in your advertised content, the less exposure Facebook might give to your paid content in the News Feed.

 

Boosted Post Image Categories

Yes, Facebook acknowledges the importance of images in your ads: “Adding a relevant image of your product or service can be one of the most powerful factors in determining the success of your Facebook ads. Yet, there are still some rules and guidelines when it comes to using text on images in your Facebook ads.

Now that more than 20% text in images is allowed, Facebook makes a distinction in the amount of text in images, and categorizes boosted posts and other ads with images in four categories, or as Facebook calls them, ratings:

–  Image text: OK – this is the preferred image style and it means your ad’s image contains little or no text, and your ad will run normally

–  Image text: Low – this means you have a bit more text, and your ad’s reach may be slightly lower

–  Image text: Medium – this means you have a lot of text, and your ad’s reach may be much lower

–  Image text: High – this means your ad’s image has too much text, and your ad may not run

But, as with every rule, there are exceptions, and these image text-categories don’t apply to:

–  movie posters

–  book covers

–  album covers

–  product images: when the entire product is visible, and just a zoomed in part of it

–  posters for concerts, music festivals, comedy shows or sporting events

–  text-based businesses: calligraphy, cartoons and comics, etc.

–  app and game screenshots

–  legal text

–  infographics

In order to help advertisers overcome the problem of determining whether the image would be categorized as “OK” or “Medium”, Facebook has created the “Image Test Check” tool (“Text Overlay Tool”) to help find out in which category your image belongs. Also, whenever you create an ad in the Create an Ad tool or in Power Editor, you will get a warning if the amount of text you intend to use may limit your ad’s distribution.

 

Make Sure Your Content Appears in the News Feed

For several years now, Facebook has been decreasing the free reach of Pages. Starting as early as 2012, they’ve been limiting the amount of Page content that appears in the fans’ News Feeds. And at the end of June 2016, Facebook announced they will make more changes to the News Feed, making it even more difficult for Pages to have their content seen by those who liked the Page. And in spite of the decrease in organic reach, out of 60 million active Facebook Pages, only around 10% of Pages choose to pay and boost content and advertise on Facebook.

Very few pages do well on Facebook without paying, and this is because they have built a very engaged audience that visits their Facebook Page frequently. But for the majority of Pages it’s hard to get their content in their fans’ News Feed.  And if your fans don’t see you on Facebook, they may not remember to come to you when they need what you offer. That is why boosting your posts is an excellent way to get in front of your audience and ahead of the competition.

But keep in mind that in order to ensure that your current and potential fans see your content in their Facebook News Feed, you need to pay, at least for boosted posts. If you don’t, a tiny portion of your fan-base will get to see what you’re posting. Whether you’re maintaining less than 20% text and spend as little as possible, or decide to test the limits and add more text to images and pay more for distribution, it’s up to you. But don’t underestimate the power of boosted posts.

Recently, the internationally recognized Facebook expert, Mari Smith stated that: “Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans. That is, for every 100 people on Facebook who liked your business page, only 1-6 of them actually see your posts in their News Feed.”

 

We are pretty convinced that businesses paying for Facebook ads and boosting posts enjoy greater success on Facebook. And with the latest organic reach decreases, as well as the new image text rules in mind, we are ready to help you advance in your Facebook posting and advertising strategies.

Get Better Reports with Google Data Studio

Businesses run on data. The majority of business decisions rely on solid facts and numbers. In a world where almost all business actions and marketing efforts are digital, reporting is one of the best ways to get these facts and numbers to help business owners and digital marketers analyze their results.

Reporting and gathering data is especially challenging to marketers because it is difficult to find the best starting point with the amount of complex data out there. This is especially true if you are an agency that provides clients with analytical reports using Google Analytics or AdWords data, then creating charts and diagrams to make the data visual for the client. But there must be a way to make reporting better. Right?

Introducing Google Data Studio

Now thanks to Google Data Studio, there is a way to create reports that even your clients will understand easily. The idea behind Data Studio is to make reporting better for small and large businesses by turning boring data into informational, easy-to-understand reports using data visualization.

Google Data Studio is part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, the paid version of Analytics, and is available in beta even for those that use the basic free version of Google Analytics. Beta-version users can create up to five custom reports and use all editing and sharing capabilities.

How it works?

Google Data Studio allows you to access all the data sources you need to understand how your business performs and to help you make better decisions. It works by syncing with all your Google data – Analytics, AdWords and more, and brings it all to one place easily by providing pre-built data connections. Moreover, you are not limited to using data only from your Google products, but you can even import Facebook data and use it in your reports, as long as you are using a Google Sheet document.  You can use any data you want if you can convert it to Google Sheets.

Once you import the raw data you can easily transform it into meaningful reports and dashboards by choosing from the vast array of calculated metrics and functions. To make things even better, the reports are dynamic, meaning once you update your data sources, it will also update in the reports where it is used. It’s up to you to choose how to present the data – in bar graphs, charts, line graphs and more. You can change the fonts and the colors, and even brand the reports with your logo. The reports and dashboards are shareable, and just like sharing a Google Doc or Sheet, you can grant people viewing access and/or allow them to edit the reports.  

Access and Use

Accessing Google Data Studio begins with logging into your Google Analytics account, here: https://www.google.com/analytics/data-studio which is the free ad limited version of Google Data Studio. As we mentioned above, in the free version you can create up to five custom reports.

After log in, will see the Reports tab in the Home page. Google has put several sample reports, and we suggest you open and explore each one of them to get acquainted with the look and feel of the reports, and learn the types of information you can use for creating your own reports.

The interface Data Studio uses is similar to Google Drive, so it will be familiar if you are a Google Drive user. As with many other Google products, creating a new report is very simple and straightforward – you can choose from the templates shown on top, or just click on the big blue plus-sign button at the bottom right-hand corner and open a blank report.

The templates are a great way to quickly create a report but sometimes include metrics you may not need. Blank reports on the other hand, are a great way to go through the features and options of the Data Studio on your own, and build a report that best fits your specifics.

 

Make the Most of Your Reports

Google Data Studio is a great tool that makes reporting easy and fun (OK, we’ll discuss fun another time). But if you don’t like creating and reading spreadsheets, then you will definitely enjoy Data Studio reports. In case this is the first time you’re using a reporting tool, Google has prepared informative and educational materials. Among the sample reports, there is a “Welcome to Data Studio!” tutorial that will give you a step-by-step walkthrough of Data Studio, as well as a YouTube video to teach you how to connect data sources and create your first report.

And if those still don’t help, and you feel like you are missing out on the good stuff and can’t figure out how to incorporate certain metrics, or how to stack them, feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you out with your digital marketing effort, such as SEO, PPC and social media.

 

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Boost Local SEO Efforts to Improve Reputation, Rankings and Revenue

If you want to market a local business online, begin with search. Investing in, and optimizing for local SEO is a great way to place your business in front of a local target audience, while selling your product to people who will provide the most growth for your company.  But, unlike optimizing for organic search, SEO optimization for local business includes a slightly different set of components. 

So let’s take a look at the main components of local SEO that influence your 3 Rs – reputation, rankings and revenue.

1. Set up a Google Place and Google+ Local Page

Begin your local SEO optimization with opening a Google Business account. This will allow you to set up a free listing on Google Places, appearing on the right hand side of the SERPs anytime someone does a relevant search. By listing on Google Places, you are giving your website the most important backlink you can get – from Google. You can emphasize the impact by creating a Google+ business page and entering your business details there too.

Make sure your business qualifies as local by checking the Google Compliance Guidelines and stick to them to ensure you are not spamming Google.

2. Optimize your Website for Local Rankings

First, have a technically clean website that offers great user experience and regularly audit your site to resolve problems and avoid penalties.

Next, include your location info, along with your brand’s name and keywords in the pages’ title, tags and meta descriptions. Also try to insert your location as a keyword, or a long-tail key phrase in your content. But make these location-insertions sound as natural as possible, especially in places read by people. Avoid keyword stuffing and include your business address and contact phone number in the footer of the site.

Optimize your website in such a way that you are the best in the business’ geo-industry, but don’t forget that you need to optimize for organic search, local search, and conversions. 

3. Make use of Citations Identical with NAP listings

Your presence on other high-quality listing sites such as Yell and Trip Advisor is very important. They provide authority links to your site, encouraging users to visit your site and trust your business.

Next, make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) listing are correct and identical with your citations since they are a key ranking factor, and can improve your ranking especially if they present quality and relevant listing sites. Decide which location information you want included, and use that address on yours, and when you list on third-party sites.

So make sure your citations are correct and up-to-date. Monitor and audit them regularly, fix any inconsistencies, remove duplicates, and don’t forget to look for new geo- and industry-specific citation opportunities.

4. Use the Power of Positive Customer Reviews

We all know the power of reviews, and how strongly they can influence our decisions. Google and other search engines are no different. If your business has numerous five-star reviews, you will have a higher rank with proof of excellent service.

In order to get positive reviews from customers more frequently, start by providing better in-store service and encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and other relevant sites. Monitor your reviews, good and bad ones alike, and respond to them – thank them for their honest comments. Take people’s remarks seriously and try to improve your service. Customers always appreciate the extra effort you are willing to put in for them. Use this to your advantage and earn your positive reviews.

5. Get Valuable Local Links

Just like optimizing for organic search, optimizing for local SEO also requires relevant links, especially from other relevant and authoritative local business websites.  To optimize your links, find broken links and resolve them or disavow them.

Make sure to create new linking opportunities by providing great content, and always be on the lookout for new linking opportunities in editorial contributions, local sponsorships, relevant blogs and online local magazines, etc.

6. Create a Strong Social Presence

Being present on social media is a must nowadays. It’s not up for discussion anymore whether you should create social media presence, but where to create it. Start by identifying which social networks are most relevant to your geo-location and industry. Based on each platform, and your goals, come up with a participation strategy, and try to engage your audience. Talk to your audience, share information and experiences with them, and don’t sell your products and/or services aggressively.

Also, remember to use social media to monitor the social conversations about your brand, and to listen to your customers. Try to be fast in answering customers’ questions, and resolving any problems of conflicts. Social signals do matter!     

7. Watch Your Offline Behavior

As a local business, you must beware of your offline behavior too. Anything that happens offline, can be published online, whether it’s a company activity or in-store experience. Your offline and online experience should be consistent because the consumers that found you online and visited your store expect to see the same branding, messaging, signage, promotional materials, in-store experience, apps, etc. Be consistent in your efforts.

Also, use the power of real-world opportunities for establishing a strong brand presence in the community using traditional marketing methods such as TV, radio, print media, and organization, participation and/or sponsorship of local events and happenings.


Now that we explained how to optimize each part of local SEO, let’s look at how these factors influence your 3 Rs.

Reputation: When you are present on Google Places as a local business, your NAP listings and citations are identical, and you have numerous positive reviews, you prove not to be spammy to search engines and you are relevant to customers. Additionally, when you have a great website that is supported with high-quality links, excellent user experience, and positive social signals, your reputation in the search results is greatly protected.

Rankings: All of the above mentioned factors influence how Google perceives your website. Google evaluates and trusts the validity of your business based on your reputation, your website’s performance, content quality, penalties, and more. And when your on-page efforts are supported with good reviews, listings, citations, and strong social media presence, Google will rank your site higher in the SERPs.

Revenue: By optimizing all these areas, you save yourself from losing customers due to lack of or incorrect information, lack of customer support, bad comments, or plunges in visibility. If you prove to be a highly reputable site that ranks high in the local searches, you will get more online traffic, more store visits, and ultimately, and will enjoy increased profits.

By providing good customer experience, online and offline, instigating positive reviews, getting quality listings and citations, generating great and relevant content, being present on social media, and getting recognized as a high-quality brand, you set yourself for success in the online and offline world.

Never underestimate the power of any component of local SEO, and optimize each and every one of them at the same time, and be consistent in your work. Keep monitoring, tracking and improving your actions and adjusting your strategy. And if you can’t do it alone, we can assist your local business and help you grow and become the best in your area. Give us a call!  

 

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Predictive Content – Why You Should Leverage It as a Marketer

If you’re a marketer, you almost certainly already use analytics every day.  The most common, and most obvious, way to use analytics as a marketer is to understand what brings visitors to your site, and what activities they engage in while they’re there.  However, there is a second use of analytics, and that is to use scoring algorithms to identify potential conversions, and use that data to identify what content will be most effective for the consumer.  This is called predictive content analytics.

What is Predictive Content Analytics?

Predictive content analytics is a relatively new approach to content marketing in which the supply of content is customized to match the demand.  As content marketers, there is a constant struggle to produce content that consumers will actually – well, consume.  The answer in the past has been to influence consumers in order to better shape demand, and the other approach (and typically, the domain of market research) aims to tailor content to more closely match demand.  Predictive content analytics streamlines the tailoring of content, taking it out of the hands of market researchers and into the hands of the content marketer.

Why Use Predictive Content Analytics?

To understand the benefits of Predictive Content Analytics, consider an example situation: you’re a content marketer consistently producing content, but then your traditional analytics show that only 5% or so of the content you produce is responsible for over 80% of your website’s interactions.  In other words, 95% of your content is failing to generate any results at all.  If this sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason: it’s very typical of most content marketing efforts.

So, as a business owner, how do you justify the expense of a content marketing strategy that is 95% useless?  Simple: the content that does produce conversions makes up for the cost of the content that doesn’t.  That’s the power of content marketing.

Imagine if you were able to get a higher percentage of your content to perform with that kind of efficiency.  Imagine you could get all of it to perform that way.  This is the power of predictive content.

How Predictive Content Analytics Works

So, all of this may sound well and good, but how does it work?  When developing a predictive content strategy, it is important to first understand where your current strategy is failing.  Why is it that 95% of your content is failing to draw interactions?  The answer, of course, is because all content is developed, more or less, based on educated guesses as to the habits and interests of consumers.

Using predictive analytics allows you to move out of the area of trial-and-error keyword research and content development, and get right to better results.

Predictive Analytics vs. Descriptive Analytics – Key Differences

In marketing, and content marketing in particular, we rely heavily on hindsight to do what we do.  Predictive analytics, rather than looking in the past, builds out a map of prospect interests right now and iterates those interests into the future.

Predictive content works by collecting data based upon what consumers are actually reading and interacting with right now.  Once that data is compiled, it can be predictively modeled, as long as you have access to predictive content analytics.  Predictive analytics systems take this data, and then take a look at your content repository, along with the content repositories of your competitors.  Then, for every piece of content, the analytics system builds a topic composite, defined by a cloud of keywords extracted from the content, consisting of the primary topics, peripheral topics, and associated topics that give that particular piece of content its unique character.

This allows you to do something you’ve not been able to do with traditional analytics:  look forward rather than backward.  With this composite, you can construct interest profiles on consumption patterns, and as consumers interact more content, those profiles actually evolve.

In this way, by performing simultaneous surveys of industry topics along with profiling their inter-relations and keeping track of interactions as always, the predictive content marketer can track user behavior pertaining to specific topics, and use it to build a projective content strategy.  This allows you to predict – in a measurable way – what content will capture the interest of consumers moving forward in a way that is constantly evolving.

The Brass Tacks of Predictive Content Analytics

So far, our discussion of predictive content analytics, fascinating though it may have been, is a little on the conceptual side.  Let’s talk about some real ways you can leverage predictive content analytics in your own content marketing practices, once you begin compiling interest data for both your own and competitors’ content.

  • Personalized Content Experience: By utilizing predictive content analytics along with simple tracking cookies, you can do something magical: display different content to different readers, based upon that reader’s unique interest profile.
  • Competitor analysis: By considering not only your own content but also competitors’ content in your interest profile, you can get a clearer picture of where those competitors stand in the content supply-demand race.
  • Anticipate Trends: Using predictive analytics, you can keep a closer eye on what industry thought leaders are writing about – allowing you to keep you finger more firmly on the pulse of your industry.

When it comes to crafting a successful marketing strategy, analytics is an important tool: but by allowing hindsight-laden traditional analytics to dictate your practices, you could end up living in – and marketing to – the past.  Predictive content analytics enables you to take a more real-time approach to development, make more accurate and informed decisions, and develop a deeper understanding of your own industry as a whole.

Have you used predictive content analytics? If so, would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If you’re looking for help getting predictive content analytics set up, reach out and our team would be glad to help!  And, remember to follow Visible Factors on Twitter.

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The Most Recent Pay Per Click Trends And Why You Should Follow Them

As marketers engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing, it’s vital that we keep our finger on the proverbial pulse of the latest PPC trends.  While no one can predict the future, we can make some extrapolations based on trends we’re seeing in the present, and base some predictions on new features that have rose to prominence in the last few years.  With more and more businesses utilizing PPC marketing as a means of generating more sales, PPC has become one of the most powerful sources of new technology in all of internet marketing.  Let’s take a look at some of the most recent trends that we believe you should be following.

Audience Targeting

In the past several years, we have seen a new rise of audience targeting technologies, and this is something more and more marketers have been taking advantage of.  Expect to see more personalized ads utilizing audience targeting options – and we expect to see audience targeting integrated directly into Adwords.  Ads in 2017 look to be increasingly targeted by device, age, and behavior, with an emphasis on interest-based targeting.

Overall, the purpose of using audience targeting is to help build stronger relationships before a customer converts.  The transformation of prospect to conversion will be reflected in the way this target advertising sequentially engages them: finding consumers in the top of the funnel, and gradually leading them down to the purchase.  Audience targeting helps marketers develop a strategy that moves beyond last-click attribution, and transcends all levels of the “funnel.”

For these reasons, we think it’s important for marketers to focus on audience targeted just as heavily as we focus on keyword targeting.  All three of these targeting metrics: keyword, location, and audience, will play crucial roles in developing a strong PPC strategy in 2017 and beyond.  If you’re not using audience targeting already, it’s time to start.

Voice Search

The rise of voice search is something that few of us could have predicted in past years, but today there is no question: voice search is a rising trend among consumers and with mobile assistants getting more accurate, with devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, it’s only going to get larger.  For these reasons, 2017 could be the year we see a shift toward voice search in a big way.  For this reason, we may begin to see analytics on whether users interact via voice or text search in PPC marketing in the near future.  This information will assist marketers in tailoring messaging not only to audiences and to keywords, but also to the search method.  So – how can we make sure we’re ready when voice search takes the spotlight?  Make sure your site’s information is voice search friendly, and keep an eye out for voice advertising news, to make sure you’re ready to be on top of this trend as soon as you can.

Think About Bing

When Bing launched, many of us took a bit of an aloof, even askance view of it. Today, while it certainly isn’t matching market share with Google by any stretch, it is continuing to grow in the marketing realm, and every year sees an increase in Bing ad use, particularly as the platform expands with more extensions – and audience targeting capabilities.  As we’ve mentioned, audience targeting is a trend you should be on top of in your PPC efforts, and that means it’s not the time to forget that Bing ads exist.  The Bing audience is unique, and their lower CPC on keywords makes them an attractive platform for PPC marketing.  Take advantage of these lower costs before Bing grows even more, and you could reap the benefits before your competitors.  We recommend simply copying your AdWords campaign to Bing, and beginning with a small budget – and of course, don’t forget audience targeting.

Respect the Kings

Of course, while we’re paying attention to new approaches like Bing, and voice searches via Amazon Echo, don’t forget that the kings are very much secure in their thrones at least for the time being.  In terms of search, Google won’t be usurped anytime soon, and in the social media world Facebook continues to reign supreme.  Google’s audience continues to grow and their PPC technologies get more and more robust.  Meanwhile, Facebook continues to diversify its own revenues by expanding their ad options. For the PPC marketer, growth in Google and Facebook means higher returns from integrated campaigns using both of these services.

So, what about other social media platforms?  We don’t mean to downplay the ad potential of Twitter and LinkedIn – to the contrary, they are growing as well.  Additionally, since visual content and video is a very effective tool for engaging an audience, don’t neglect the urge to expand into visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube in your PPC strategy.

Optimize and Automate

Finally, we’re seeing a lot of new automation tools in the PPC world, and those should be used to their fullest extent, allowing you to focus on top level strategy for your PPC efforts.  Automation helps to boost ROI, and allows marketers to use their time more wisely.  Using scripts, rules, and the AI already built into computers, in addition to new tools like prediction engines and intelligent bidding to limit overspending, enables us to exercise more control than ever over a wide array of metrics.  Don’t fight automation – use it, and use your time to focus on higher level tasks!

Are you a PPC marketer with insights as to recent trends? If so, would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If you’re looking for help getting you PPC campaigns set up, reach out and our team would be glad to help! As always, remember to follow Visible Factors on Twitter.

 

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How to Design the Perfect Landing Page That Converts

While there are many ways you can attract potential customers to your website, the best way to get the conversion is to create a specialized landing page for each of your offerings. Directing the interested customers to standalone pages, separate from your main website, improves your results.

Simply creating a unique landing page is not enough. The quality of the landing page is also crucial to conversion. The page should be designed keeping your product as well as your consumer in mind. The layout should be simple yet provoking and the message should be clear. Here are some of the ways you can achieve that.

Attention Grabbing Headline

Whether your consumer hasp landed on your page through search engine results or social media ads, you have to keep them interested. A well thought out headline should be a part of your page to grab their attention. It is a good idea to keep the headline short and concise. It must support the link that brought the reader to the landing page in the first place. It must be relevant and should focus on the benefits of the product in an upbeat way.

Persuasive Body

Follow your headline with a persuasive sub-headline. Your sub-headline can be longer and really drive home the point as to why your product makes sense. Do not forget to add a short feature list that gives an idea about the things that set your product apart. A nifty benefit list can further strengthen your case and help persuade the reader to give your product a go. Keep your tone conversational and avoid unnecessary jargon.

The Power of Media (add video into the content)

Pictures and graphics have been shown to have more persuasion power than words when it comes to conversions. Use relevant pictures in an imaginative way without going off the message. If you are selling a tangible product, featuring it front and center makes sense. Graphics and images that enforce your message and service also deliver good results. Ensure the use of high quality and original images to have a better chance of making an impact.

Gather Information

If you need to gather some information from the visitors make sure the form you have placed on your landing page is simple and short. Most consumers do not like filling forms. Detailed information may increase the quality of your lead however entering it in the multiple fields may dissuade the consumers. 3 to 4 form fields are enough to collect information like name, username and email address etc.

The All Important Call-To-Action

Call to action button is what gets you your conversions. Be smart about it. The CTA should be unique, impactful and bold. Make it large and compelling. It must get the prime location on your landing page. Placement matters when it comes to CTA. The flow of the page and the placement of the content should be such that a viewer’s eye is directed towards the CTA. Images of people or lines and arrows can be used to get the intended result.

It is a good idea to get your CTA in colors that are in contrast to the rest of the content. You can also use multiple CTAs if your offer asks for it. However, make sure to visually emphasize your primary CTA. To really make your CTA stand out make sure to avoid generic language. Instead of your CTA saying “Submit”, get it to say something like “Get Your 30 Days Free Trial”.

Earn Their Trust

Security assurance as well as quality assurance can help persuade the user to share information with you and buy your product. Adding security seals can encourage the consumers to share private information vital to conversion. Adding testimonials from satisfied customers preferably with their pictures can help make a case for your service. Make sure the testimonials are specific and highlight the most-prized qualities of your product.

Show Your Authenticity

Adding contact details on the landing page are not necessary, however, they can help. Including a few modes for the consumers to contact your business strengthens their trust in you. When you are asking your consumers for their contact details, it helps if they have your phone number or email address. Giving a link to your website’s contact section can also do the trick. You can also add some social media buttons to further improve your chances.

Uncluttered Page

Whatever features or content components you put on your landing page you need to ensure all of them contribute to the ultimate goal, conversion. If something is not essential for conversion, drop it. Cluttering your page with unnecessary navigation bars as well details about your business goals and philosophy does more harm than good. Keep the copy brief and focus on visuals more than text.

A well-designed landing page can improve your bounce rate and increase the time an average visitor spends on the page, improving your conversion rates. Make your landing page interesting and impactful. Make it simple for the users to click on the CTA button and give your product a chance!

 

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