social-media-that-converts-sells

These 26 Social Media Tips Will Make You More Revenue

This post should probably have been called “Social Media Selling Secrets: 26 Strategies On How to Sell for ROI in Social Media”.

In any online business setting, there is simply no need for social media unless it converts. That means “a sale”, or that the visitor hits a specific goal or event that you have outlined in your social media marketing strategy. This level of planning will lead your prospects into a helpful, client / customer-focused funnel that informs, educates, inspires and CONVERTS.

It’s no secret that social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube are powerful promotional tools when used properly.

However, many businesses are promoting themselves on social media in entirely the wrong way.

You’ve probably seen more than a few people using social media like this; they contribute nothing to the community and never bother to broadcast updates unless they contain self-serving links or offers. They put as little effort as possible into building a viable social media presence and receive almost nothing in return.

To promote your business successfully on social media, you need to realize that social media can help bring targeted leads to your sales funnel, but social media itself isn’t the funnel. Social media also isn’t a self-piloting machine; while you can effectively promote your business on social media while spending almost no money, time and effort are required. Use these tips to maximize your return on the time you invest.

1. Offer something to new followers.

People will rarely follow your business on social media simply because you ask. To encourage people to follow you, offer something in return such as exclusive content or a discount on their next purchase.

2. Humanize your social media presence.

Social media is an opportunity to give your business a face and add a personal touch to the often impersonal world of business. Let social media users know that following you creates an avenue through which they can obtain personalized help and support.

3. Funnel traffic from social media to your website.

Ultimately, the goal for your social media presence is to encourage your followers to visit your website. Some of the ways in which you can do this include linking to your most recent blog posts and offering a free product such as an e-book.

4. Funnel traffic from your website to the desired action.

Once your social media followers reach your website, you should have an action that you want them to perform and a funnel designed to guide them toward that action. In the beginning, you can use the same sales funnel as the one you use for people who come to your website from search engines. As you gain experience, consider setting up separate sales funnels that specifically target your social media followers. Your followers are people who already know your company and have warmed up to your offers; be mindful of that fact when designing your social media sales funnel.

5. Make sure the funnel converts.

If your sales funnel doesn’t generate sales, your promotional efforts on social media will be unsuccessful. Set up a system by which you can track the ratio of visitors to conversions and tweak as necessary.

6. Post occasional “share bait.”

You can gain new social media followers by posting content that your existing followers enjoy and share. Potential “share bait” may include a viral video or a massive list of resources related to the field in which you do business.

7. Connect your website to social media.

People who find your website through search engines but don’t purchase immediately have potential value as social media followers. Make sure they have a way to follow you quickly by clicking a button on your website.

8. Every social media update shouldn’t be an offer.

If you only post sales offers on social media services, you’ll lose followers as quickly as you gain them. The majority of your posts should be pure information; sales offers should be the minority.

9. Watch related hashtags.

If you use Twitter, follow the hashtags that are relevant to your business. This puts your finger on the pulse of the people who are talking about your industry and the topics related to it.

10. Even non-buyers are valuable.

A social media follower doesn’t have to be a customer to be valuable to your promotional campaign. Followers share content that they enjoy; every update that gets shared or re-tweeted can bring new followers into the fold.

11. Social media is more than a platform for broadcasting new blog posts.

People follow your business on social media because they want the personal touch. If your social media profile has no purpose except to advertise your latest blog updates, you’re missing the point.

12. Serve others, too.

Every social media update doesn’t have to be self-serving. Post interesting content and offers occasionally even if you have nothing to gain. This builds trust and makes your own offers that much more compelling.

13. Ask your followers for help.

If you engage your followers and make them feel valued, they’ll be there for you when you need evangelists. If you need help getting the word out about an event or promotion, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

14. Be there for your followers after the sale.

If your followers use social media to contact you for support after they buy, do your best to provide help courteously and promptly.

15. Comment on trending topics.

If you have something of value to add to a topic generating a great deal of social media interest, do so. Trending topics receive a great deal of attention on social media and a valuable comment could gain you new followers.

16. Add a photo to your profile.

Your social media profile should have a photo that projects the image you want your business to present.

17. Utilize the strengths of each social media service.

Every social media service is different. For example, Twitter is often utilized by mobile phone users who don’t have the time to read long blog posts on handheld devices. Make sure that you play to the strengths of your chosen social media service.

18. Give your updates engaging headlines.

Think of each tweet or other social media update as a news headline; craft it carefully so it grabs your followers’ attention and makes them want to know more.

19. Follow the people who follow you. (with discretion)

When you gain new followers, follow them as well whenever possible. Social media gives you an invaluable opportunity to learn about your customer base.

20. Manage your reputation carefully.

Content posted on the Internet lasts forever. Your business’s social media profile is not an appropriate place to post party photos and other potentially embarrassing content.

21. Stay relevant.

In most cases, people who follow your business on social media aren’t interested in your personal life. Stay on topic at all times.

22. Minimize links in social media updates.

Every update that you post on social media shouldn’t contain a link; some of it should be content for content’s sake.

23. Pictures and videos have value (more than you think).

Some of the most engaging content that you can post on social media includes media such as pictures and videos; utilize different media types whenever possible to keep your followers interested.

24. Break the ice with potential new leads.

If you spot a new follower who is involved in your industry or is highly likely to become a customer, don’t wait for him or her to come to you; break the ice and introduce yourself.

25. Time updates for when people will read them.

When people wake up in the morning and have dozens of updates or messages waiting to be read on their favorite social media service, they seldom read carefully. Don’t send your social media updates at midnight; time them for when people will be most likely to read them.

26. Try new things frequently.

The landscape of social media changes quickly and this week’s “can’t miss” promotional strategy might be old news next week. Learn from people more experienced than yourself, but never be afraid to try your own new ideas.

ACTION STEP: If you want to learn more and how to build strategies for social media visibility and expansion, click here. (A free 15 minute session like this can change your business direction. Forever.)

multichannelmarketingbusiness

3 Incredible Lessons In Modern Multi-Channel Marketing

Marketing in a widescale manner is like firing a shell from a shotgun:

The massive blast sends projectiles flying everywhere, so chances are you'll hit something, but likely miss hitting your target, or audience.

multi-channel-marketing-trends-lessons

Contrastingly, multi-channel marketing is like firing heat-seeking missiles: Each missile takes a different route, but they inevitably wind up reaching their intended targets, or audiences.

To market effectively, you'll need to do a little bit more than launching — or delivering — ads at consumers through every possible channel.

Instead, focus on adhering to conventional marketing principles, while also utilizing the latest behavioral analytics and technology.

Here are a few recent trends and lessons in multi-channel marketing that businesses are employing to establish an active, potent presence across various mediums, while making sure to stay on target.

1. Online Live Video

Operating a YouTube channel is a good way to build an audience and reach specific markets. However, using it efficiently as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign requires more than simply posting video advertorials.

youtube-channel-multi-channel-marketing

Today, the most successful brands on YouTube use the platform to build audiences and brand awareness. From there, these companies' main objective is to direct subscribers to their website to convert them into customers.

To do this, multi-channel advertisers use a conventional call-to-action marketing tool that essentially tells their viewers what to do, how to do it and why to do it. However, they pair this with a modern trend: live streaming videos.

A prime example of a brand that does this well is Dunkin Donuts.

Understanding that selling coffee and donuts requires a sensory appeal, Dunkin Donuts offered viewers last year around Valentine's Day a live, inside peek of the company's test kitchen and showcased how new products are created.

The video hit both YouTube and Facebook and incorporated the company's website at the end.

2. Cloud Contact Centers

Traditional call centers have fallen out of favor since the costs to operate and maintain them are astronomical. Indeed, the price of purchasing or leasing a facility — in addition to managing annual operating costs and employee salaries — equates to a budget-eating call center. In the end, call centers offer little to no ROI. Cloud contact centers, on the other hand, require little to no capital investment and pose lower integration and start-up costs.

Cloud contact centersCloud contact centers

CLOUD CENTERS

In addition to being more fiscally prudent, cloud contact centers offer more applications than their archaic predecessor (the call center), which are limited mainly to, well, calling.

cloud-contact-centers-marketing

Cloud contact centers can reach target markets through more channels, such as email, chat, SMS and social media. Plus, these call centers can reach more obscure audiences, making them ideal for multi-channel marketing campaigns.

3. Customer-Turned Advocate

Potentially the most significant, current multi-channel marketing trend forward-thinking companies are adopting is allowing influencers — from everyday people to celebrities — the means to advertise products for their favorite brands.

advocacy-marketing-multi-channel

Though not a new concept, advocacy marketing has demonstrated a resurgence, as it lends itself quite well to online platforms.

Built on a foundation of an excellent consumer experience, advocacy marketing happens when a brand empowers its customers to tell a story and rave about their experience with its products or services.

It can be organic or orchestrated, but businesses must pay attention to the behaviors of its consumers and anticipate their needs if advocacy marketing is to be used effectively.

Furthermore, providing consumers with more options through multi-channel marketing means brands must engage with their customers, provide them with options, and identify whom among this crowd demonstrates supreme knowledge of and passion for the brand.

These consumers then become featured brand advocates.

In the end, multi-channel marketing is largely about understanding modern audiences and motivating these groups and individuals to respond positively to a brand's products or services.

Though methods may change, marketing itself can be a fickle game — but keeping up with modern trends can assure your brand stays in it and remains relevant.

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Is Your E-Commerce Site Secure? Here are 3 Non-Negotiable Steps to Ensure Its Safety

With big box stores continuing to lose some of their cachet, it’s no secret that e-commerce websites are quickly becoming the wave of the future.

is your ecommerce website secure

And it seems to make sense; after all, many consumers enjoy the ease and convenience of making purchases quickly and securely online with the click of a button, rather than forging through traffic and waiting in long lines.

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, offering convenience and safety to your customers when they buy from you can help you retain and gain even more loyalty.

That’s what you should aim to do, anyway.

But just how safe is your e-commerce site and your customers’ sensitive information? If you’re not sure, here are some steps you can take to ensure your site exemplifies the height of security.

1. Choose a Secure Platform

The first step in keeping an e-commerce website secure is choosing a highly-secure platform.

Experts say choosing a platform that offers cutting-edge programming and can be safeguarded against cyber thieves is your best bet.

Furthermore, experts point to utilizing a secure, encrypted connection at checkout to ensure your business is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.

Using SSL certificates for authenticity and encryption is vital in securing your customers’ — and your company’s — financials.

Cyber security experts also caution against the storage of sensitive data and encourage e-commerce site owners to opt against it.

They say it isn’t necessary — and potentially dangerous — to store customers’ credit card information for any period of time.

Instead, ecommerce site owners should only keep the bare minimum amount of data (for example, what’s needed for possible refunds) on file and rid their database of old records.

This protects your customers from potential theft.

2. Ward Off Hackers

Today, more than ever, hackers are compromising consumers’ credit cards and personal information from e-commerce sites around the globe.

In fact, web hacks increased a whopping 30-plus percent in recent years. As an e-commerce website owner, you must provide your customers and prospects with reassurance and protection from would-be hackers.

To prevent fraud, experts recommend initiating an alert notification system for any suspicious activity on your IP address.

For example, red flags should be raised if several orders come from one customer with different payment methods or who lists contact information that doesn’t match their billing information.

Additionally, consider adding layered security to maintain the safety of your website and protection from hackers.

That’s why firewalls should take priority. And requiring customers to log in to their account to make purchases helps add an additional layer of protection, particularly from compromises on applications.

3. Invest in Military-Grade Cloud Data Protection

Implementing cloud-data protection that you can count on to protect your and customers’ information is non-negotiable for your e-commerce site.

If you’re in the market for a cloud-based solution, your research may point you to providers like Mozy, which offers military-grade protection to give you the security you need to safeguard customers’ information.

And whether you want to schedule cloud storage backups daily, weekly or monthly, Mozy allows you to choose and schedule accordingly.

Studies indicate that losing important files for even one day can cause critical damage to most businesses.

In fact, the loss of this collateral can compromise not only your financials, but also your good name — which can affect current and future customers.

Server protection is vital — and that’s why it’s key you choose a dependable service provider whom you can trust.

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marketing-testing-for-online-marketing-campaigns

Split Testing Content, Email And Social Media Marketing Campaigns

How can you make sure that your online campaigns are achieving their highest potential when there are so many factors responsible for their success or failure?

AB Test - Split Testing Marketing Campaigns Online

Are you split testing your content marketing, email marketing and social media marketing campaigns?

And with U.S. digital ad spending reaching $72.09 billion in 2016 according to e-marketers, why waste money on campaigns that are under performing?

Split Testing Provides Results You Are Likely Missing Now

Split testing, or A/B testing, is a method of experimentation that places two variables against each other to measure success rates.

Split testing landing pages

Split testing landing page shows big improvement in conversions (recent leadpages testing results for a marketing offer after just 3 weeks)

The basic premise of split testing involves keeping one variable constant, while changing the second variable to see if it makes the campaign perform better. As a result, marketers are left with the best way to use each variable in a campaign.

With a variety of different online marketing campaigns, from email to social media, there are a number of approaches to split testing and the variables you can test to optimize performance.

Check out these suggestions for just a few of the main online campaigns.

Split Testing Content Marketing Campaigns

As split testing is working with variables, remember that only one variable should be changed at a time. Otherwise you won’t be able to tell the cause of performance changes.

As with other online marketing campaigns, content marketing involves a number of steps to consider:

  • style and subject of article
  • type of writer
  • length of article
  • image use or not
  • what publisher will post the article
  • position on the webpage
  • will be a call to action and what specifically

Each of these can be considered a variable during split testing, and will need to be tested individually to see what works best for you.

For example, as a beauty brand you might test different publishers by placing the same article on a fashion website and an online travel magazine.

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From there, you can test the variable by keeping track of the number of comments, page views, how many times it’s been shared and whether the viewer scrolled to the bottom of the page to find out which publisher results in more audience engagement.

Split Testing Email Marketing Campaigns

As emails are sent directly to each individual customer, it is important to approach it in a manner that is both relatable and applicable to your target market.

Otherwise, audiences can often feel annoyed or like their privacy has been invaded. A great approach to split testing is to see what has worked in the past.

If you’ve noticed anything that definitely did not work, make sure to look into that particular variable.

Variables may include:

  • subject headings
  • in-text banners
  • the type of call to action

…all of these can be tracked and can have an impact on open and click-through rates.

It may be a good idea to use tools to manage the success of each variable.

InboxGuru used in tandem with Infor CRM is a great tool for implementing, managing and enhancing email campaigns.

This method, alongside split testing, can be an efficient way to maximize performance.

Split Testing Social Media Marketing Campaigns

A great social media post often means targeting a specific audience with the right image and the right copy, posted at the perfect time.

Here are important considerations for social media post testing for performance:

  • Images and videos use
  • Style and tone of copy
  • Subject of the post
  • Time of day when posted
  • Frequency of distribution
  • Networks

These are just some of the variables that should be considered in your split testing process. In order to really get the best outcome from split testing, it is important to keep an open mind and maintain an all-encompassing approach so that you get the best combination of features in your campaign.

For example, try looking at your outdoor campaigns for social campaign inspiration.

Maybe a billboard you did performed well and the same image could be used on a social post?

Try being creative and don’t be afraid to test out different things.

Making a few adjustments to your online campaigns can ensure that your time, effort and money pay off.

Try split testing your online marketing campaigns in order to figure out what works best for your brand, and to ensure it’s performing the best that it can.

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why-content-marketing-matters

4 Facts About Why Content Marketing Matters

Content Marketing: An Innovation In Marketing?

The creation of the Internet was accompanied by the development of innovative marketing and advertising strategies.

Scholars have attributed this new trend in marketing and advertisement to the need for businesses to improve consumer awareness, business image, and pass the corporate message.

One marketing and advertisement strategy that developed, in the recent past, is content marketing.

According to Rebecca Lieb, a marketing expert, content marketing is the creation and distribution of organization-related content in a bid to retain existing market share, attract new customers, and improve an organization’s image (Lieb, 2012).

For this reason, content developed in should be target-oriented and attractive enough to pull customers to a company.

Content marketing is currently an important part of many businesses. This is because it has far-reaching effects on business operations.

This article seeks to discuss why content marketing matters in the contemporary economy.

As such, it explains how content marketing impacts brand building, traffic, and SEO.

1. Brand Building And Positioning

Well-written content enables businesses to develop a strong brand.

Most economists believe that building an authoritative brand is one of the most difficult tasks in today’s markets.

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However, proper application of content marketing businesses can be used to build an authoritative brand. This is because content marketing creates a unique perspective of a product or service in the consumer’s mind.

When businesses write content about a product or service, they often include the best attributes in the description.

Customers often gain necessary information, such as product specifications, how to use the product, and the merits of the products, from business content.

Therefore, consistent provision (create a content marketing calendar) of important details in your business content will improve the level of brand recognition, credibility, and loyalty.

In addition, if a product or service description aligns with a customer’s tastes and preferences, customers would trust that specific brand.

Therefore, it is imperative that businesses maintain high levels of honesty, consistency, and integrity, in their content marketing strategies, to ensure the development of an authoritative brand.

Ross Crooks, a contributor to the Forbes magazine, was of the opinion that brand building in content marketing entails more than cute descriptions.

Instead, the author believes that content for the brand building should incorporate camaraderie as well as accountability that would inspire companies to develop a product to match their content (Crooks, 2015).

2. Web Traffic Increase And Visitor Consistency

Besides assisting in the development of strong brands, content marketing also contributes towards increased website traffic.

People usually prefer to learn about company profile, product, or service through content.

This is because content provides in-depth information about different aspects of a company.

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This notion was proven in a Roper Public Affair poll, which found out that 80% of business stakeholders prefer to gain knowledge of a company from content rather than advertising (Lieb, 2012).

Therefore, when companies write content and post them on their websites and other platforms on the internet, many people would visit these sites to read their content.

This, in turn, generates traffic and increases consumer awareness about a company or its products.

Marketers believe that increased website traffic is a business advantage because it ensures that companies can meet their marketing goals and objectives.

This implies that companies might sell more products, increase their revenues as well as the profits.

Therefore, investment in quality content marketing strategies and distribution (promotion) should be a priority if you seek to increase the traffic in your online platform.

3. SEO Boost And Link Building

Even though website traffic is an important aspect of online marketing, various other factors play a role in ensuring that companies can generate significant traffic.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is currently one of the methods of generating free traffic to your website. SEO has been, and always built around content / keywords and links.

Backlinks and the process of back linking and analysis is considered foundational work for Google ranking and traffic success. Implementing a detailed SEO audit process is an essential part of this work.

Search engines, such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo (now becoming defunct), usually provide results for users based on what it considers as relevant information to the user.

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This is usually achieved without incurring any expenses or costs – other than the work done for ongoing organic SEO campaigns.

However, for search engines to have your website as part of the primary search results, you should have high-quality content that is deemed relevant by the majority of the internet users. They provide a favor to you by “voting” for your website and pages with a link back to you.

Generating quality content and linking it back to your business or brand is often accompanied by positive repercussions.

The positive results often come in the form of increased traffic, increase in sales (assuming a good conversion funnel) or an improvement in revenues.

However, you should note that the content must be of high quality and possess the right keywords or phrases. High quality is considered to be expert in nature, authoritative and trustworthy (See the E-A-T model)

Today, low-quality content, which is rich in keywords no longer attracts customers and is often bypassed by customers and search engines.

4. Customer Loyalty Improvement And Trust

Content marketing also plays an important role in building customer loyalty.

Consumers are often seeking important information on different topics.

Therefore, providing free information to consumers can ensure that you build a closely connected group of consumers, who are loyal to your products and services.

Customer loyalty usually develops gradually as customers read the content you provide and find a valid reason to invest their time and resources in your products or services.

In addition to building loyalty, good content marketing ensures that you get to know your customers. This is especially true for businesses that deliver their content through social media platforms.

Loyal customers would often communicate with their suppliers on social media platforms and provide useful feedback that can be used to improve products as per the customers’ specification.

Content marketing at its best may also inspire discussion between customers and business, thus allowing the business to gain knowledge of their consumers.

Conclusion

The rapid development of technology and the internet has led to the development of new marketing and advertising strategies such as content marketing.

Today, many businesses utilize content marketing to improve customer awareness, increase sales, generate traffic, and build authoritative brands.

However, marketers believe that these benefits of content marketing can only be achieved if businesses create original and quality content that can attract consumers.

Attributes of quality content include camaraderie and accountability.

This type of content attracts consumers who seek information and may encourage them to make purchases.

In addition, it fosters discussion, which allows businesses to gain knowledge of their customers.

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References

Crooks, R. (2015). Retrieved May 1, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rosscrooks/2015/08/12/content-marketing-and-the-future-of-humanity/#44b5c346263d

Lieb, R. (2012). Retrieved May 1, 2017, from Google Books

web-crawling-budget-google-seo

How to Positively Affect Google Web Crawling For SEO

It is surprising to see that so many believe that when Google indexes web content (Caffeine indexer) it stores ranking information at the same time.

However, the Google search engine builds rankings instantly during the serving of organic results. And, it typically happens in milliseconds…impressive!

We know that consistently garnering top rankings in organic results can drive more quality traffic and lift a brand’s trust.

The question remains…

Is there a close to sure-fire way to affect how Google (and search engines in general) displays your web pages and properties at the top or on the first page of search results?

There is no easy answer… but subjects like crawling, indexation, topical alignment, semantic-lexical-logical words/phrases, relevancy, on-page and off-page tactics, authority and trust building are all important in this discussion. Clearly a lot to cover in ONE article.

However, this post is not a detailed or deeply instructive guide on how to impact all search ranking factors (there are 200 we know of).

Start With Optimizing The Crawl

Rather, we’ll discuss essential keys to success that begin with managing the search engine “crawl budget”. Or, as Google calls it internally: “host load”. It’s all about the number of URLs Googlebot can and wants to crawl.

Bot crawling is the first step in a series of complex tasks to get your pages seen on the first page of Google.

You must ensure that all your designated web properties are crawlable and that servers, pages and discoverable assets contain no unwanted search engine blocks.  And, your information should be made available in text format which is what search engines still use.

You must also host your pages on a fast and scalable server infrastructure. A low crawl rate may indicate a low-quality site and will not get the “love” you need.

Essentially, you must allow the search engine bots (robots, spiders, crawlers) to access your designated content. The bot software should easily access, crawl and subsequently store (index) your information in their databases. Crawling typically occurs faster / deeper on high PageRank URLs, but other signals affect it as well.

The information you want search engines and users to find will be pulled and ranked instantly from these collected data sets.

Here are important considerations in this debate:

Does A Website Size Matter For Crawling?

If you have a website and assets that are low in count, you must still ensure crawlers can easily access these, but you will not need to focus on crawl budgets in the same way larger sites must. It’s all about balancing crawler frequency, crawler scope and server performance.

What Is A Robots.txt File For Controlling Spiders?

This is a text file, case sensitive: ‘robots.txt’ – that is stored at the root of your domain name location. You can access it by entering www.domain-name.com/robots.txt.  You can block unwanted URLs, directories and file types.  It can really help with duplicate content URL control and aids in strategically thinking about how bots (and users) can access your information.

Should I Use The noindex Meta Tag?

This is a meta robots tag that is placed inside your page(s). It’s great for conditional restriction of crawling or indexation, whereas robots.txt is typically easier to manage for URL patterns. If you are blocking a page with robots and then apply noindex to the same page it will not see it. However, a noindex tag applied on verified pages (for index exclusion) is a viable strategy for most webmasters. Search results will not show a “Cached” link when used appropriately. While a robots.txt exclusion may still show pages in the search index, a “noindex” will not. (…just wait until the bot has visited the page, and it will be gone. Or, you can remove it inside GSC (below), which is faster).

meta-robots-no-index-example

Can I Use Google Search Console (GSC) for Crawl Diagnostics?

Make sure to have Google Search Console (Google Webmasters) configured for your website. It’s like having a (free) 24x7x365 web doctor listening and watching your entire “body” at regular intervals. The tool provides many key data metrics to help you.

Pages must render properly

You must make sure pages don’t send negative signals to the rest of the site (error pages, on-site duplicate content, hacked pages, etc.). Redirection with a 301 header status can solve many of these problems.  You can see these ‘problem pages’ inside GSC.

For example, if you have a large amount of “page not found” – you might leave them alone, but more often you can a) create an actual 404 page and provide logical navigation and content to help the user, and/or b) 301 redirect to the relevant pages or previous URLs (if you are doing a web migration for example) that were working before.

NOTE: Review data in Google analytics to see if these are (look at a wide range in the date history) heavily trafficked pages. Make sure to also look at conversion metrics.

Another tip to control ‘page dups and orphaned pages’ is to verify and provide the actual number of pages for bot management. Begin by using the ‘site:’ command in Google. Numbers are not exact, but it returns how many pages are seen in the index at that time. Compare those pages to your actual pages in your CMS or e-commerce system (actual pages, not product filters) and within the Google Search Console tool. It’s important to consider issues with faceted navigation and parameterized URLs (session ID’s) as well.

The difficult and laborious task of building incoming links should be a consistent behavior on your team.

Check the “Links to Your Site” section under “Search Traffic” inside GSC.

Can I use Server Logs To Optimize My Website?

Download daily, weekly and monthly logs and scan them using desktop log analysis tools to get more details than analytics can provide.

There are massive amounts of significant data to help you optimize what you may have missed before.

You’ll access all the URLs that the various bots crawl on your site. Sort and filter by non 200 and 301 header codes to start and fix obvious page errors and redirect issues. Many advanced SEOs will use server logs, and you should too.

Do Redirect Chains Affect Crawling?

These pesky redirect chains are not visible to users, but can be a nuisance over time, and especially on large websites. Search engines must deal with them.

If you are going through a web migration, moving to SSL, or digging into historical data, or upgrading your URL structure (including use of trailing slashes or not) – it’ll be something you’ll want to address. You want short and concise 301 redirects.

What Are Common Filetypes That Google Can Index?

While the list below is usable for crawling, try to stay within recommended guidelines: Create & submit content that is text-based. (reference)

While Google enjoys major market penetration globally, all search engines crawl pure text based assets. You can use rich media, but make sure to add specific meta information via text as much as possible.

For example, you may have a relevant and educational YouTube video. Since Google cannot crawl the video, ensure that all meta data is provided in text format.

If you are embedding a video on your blog, provide rich text around it – within the body of your page content, including a link to it on YouTube.

If Google search results pages display video results for a query, you may be showing up next…once you have optimized it.

How To Find Filetypes In Google?

Do you wish to find certain filetypes in search? When you search in Google using advanced search operators – and with the filetype: search operator, you can filter by filetypes. Alternatively, you can find terms within them. Its basic construct looks like this – filetype:doc [term].

Here’s an example of finding Powerpoint files with a specific term: affordable health care act filetype:ppt (copy)

List of Filetypes:

  • Adobe Flash (.swf)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Adobe PostScript (.ps)
  • Autodesk Design Web Format (.dwf)
  • Google Earth (.kml, .kmz)
  • GPS eXchange Format (.gpx)
  • Hancom Hanword (.hwp)
  • HTML (.htm, .html, other file extensions)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • OpenOffice presentation (.odp)
  • OpenOffice spreadsheet (.ods)
  • OpenOffice text (.odt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  • TeX/LaTeX (.tex)
  • Text (.txt, .text, other file extensions), including source code in common programming languages:
  • Basic source code (.bas)
  • C/C++ source code (.c, .cc, .cpp, .cxx, .h, .hpp)
  • C# source code (.cs)
  • Java source code (.java)
  • Perl source code (.pl)
  • Python source code (.py)
  • Wireless Markup Language (.wml, .wap)
  • XML (.xml)

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International SEO Strategies And Hreflang Tags To Avoid Duplicate Content

“Many websites serve users from around the world with content translated or targeted to users in a certain region. Google uses the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” attributes to serve the correct language or regional URL in Search results.”

Questions For Your Marketing & Executive Team:

  1. Are you planning international expansion for your website and are concerned about SEO?
  2. Do you have an existing site and have issues with international SEO already?
  3. Is content not showing up correctly in search results? (Duplicate content issues, targeting issues, display/meta info issues, etc.)

If so, then this will be the most important post you’ll read this year on globalizing your website for users and search engines.

WARNING: Before Starting International SEO

When you plan to “go global” with your website, don’t just translate and publish!

Consider the operational context as well as the softer values: You’ll still need to address cultural, market and audience concerns. And, money management: Are you selling in US dollars only today, but can’t manage international currencies?

That includes getting and providing support from users in the new language. They should help by recommending, linking, reviewing and adding clients or customers to your marketing and sales funnels.

Your international expansion should follow your best practices of business building as you first created it in your core language.

Think business “speak” before “geek”.  And yes — that must include traffic research (in your market and your web analytics), core message and (sales) conversion opportunities. Does it even make sense to expand or are you just sitting on a pile of cash and want somewhere to spend it? (Don’t!)

Message, Market & Speed Still Matters

Focus on your message, market match, user experience, page speed and overall search engine friendliness.

For example, for speed concerns, a CDN would be a good option for optimizing user load times in an international context. Check with your hosting partner for options like Cloudflare and MaxCDN. Try to use a local hosting company.

International Site Configuration and Language

The international site structure carries importance.

You must decide on a country or language specific targeting option. You might consider a complete, separate top level domain (.co.uk, .de or .fr) – or a language specific sub-domain or sub-directory. Variations of these can exist in each configuration.

The local language and nuances within it must be considered. The content must be updated regularly so as to not appear stale.

If you need additional support (customer service, sales, etc) – make sure you can relate to their concerns (speak the same language, no pun intended!). Provide a well-trained, competent staff to support this international expansion. Different currencies and exchange rates will play into your back office and sales support as mentioned.

Company Team Support Is Not An After Thought

Internally, you need to set expectations properly. Create or adopt a search first mentality within your global expansion.

Always think about how to stay search friendly and how your content and pages can help users. Let Google know how you have expanded and configured your site. Hreflang is a signal to help search engines figure this out.

Hreflang Syntax for International SEO

This is a signal that was formerly supported by Google in 2011.

You can use the  rel=alternate” hreflang = “xx” in an on-page markup, or as a link attribute in the head in the documents, or in the link http header.

As an international SEO agency, our favorite option is to configure these signals inside an XML sitemap, as it covers all alternates for each URL and you can easily submit them to Google via the search console.

For example, the “xx” value can be set to “en” for all English speakers worldwide, or “en-gb” for English speaking in the UK, specifically. (Great Britain)

Hreflang Examples:

English – broad:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”http://en.example.com/page.html” />

German – specific:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”http://de.example.com/seite.html” />

Here is an example scenario of different English speaking countries and hreflang use for SEO:

hreflang-map-us-uk-au

The specific hreflang syntax to support the above international website business case study:

hreflang-syntax-english-speaking

Test from different search IP numbers

Even without the hreflang signal, (hreflang checker) Google will try to find the best search results.

It often is not enough, however.

And, you can easily test this: Run different searches on your brand using a VPN after you’ve changed the IP origin. You’ll notice that the results are often not what you expected. Configure the right site structure and use hreflang to help you.

Hreflang In The Operational Context

If you have complex URLs, session ids that create duplicate URLs, make sure to use hreflang to the canonical version of the URLs.

All alternates should be specified on each page whether you use XML sitemaps, https headers or on-page markup.

As a webmaster, you can control these signals, and place the syntax on the same or separate domains, even sub-domains. That includes country specific of generic, top-level TLD’s (top level domains).

The information architecture should be similar to your original site. It will help on support, and also crawling.

TIP: Inside the Google search console you can also target using the geographic targeting feature in the webmaster tools. It’s not specific to all country versions, however. Bing webmaster tools also should be used.

Make sure to add each profile to the search console including separate Google analytics IDs.

Hreflang and The Benefits

The hreflang signal when applied correctly can have big benefits and outcomes for you.

First, it helps search engines consolidate multiple indexing signals, by understanding relationships between your sites, and to more accurately crawl and index pages. This includes discovery of new pages as you expand your site content.

Secondly, users and search engines (Google!) are always striving for relevant, targeted (geo) results. Providing relevant web addresses that show up in their related country specific locales is an obvious win for users, search engines and you.

User experience and user engagement is more important than ever before.

As you either expand sites, or want to add multiple languages, consider check listing your current international SEO efforts as outlined, and use ccTLDs, subdirectories or subdomains in your approach.

Avoid using country specific parameters or session ids as it is the least search friendly option.

Need Assistance With International SEO?

NEED HELP? Contact Us Here and we'll set up a time to help you get started. (We love this stuff so much, we'll even send you a free e-gift, because you took time to reach out.)


seo-audits-for-results

Forensic SEO: 7 Considerations Of An SEO Site Audit In 2017

Within the living medium as dynamic and ever-changing as the Internet, nothing needs more attention today than your website.

That includes your website health, your online business goals and what you are hoping to achieve.

You must consider the entire picture, which include strategic and tactical elements and adjusting to metrics from real-world user testing.

forensic SEO audit chaosmap

Forensic SEO audit to create high performance selling websites

And, if you need consistent and converting traffic, there is nothing more trusted than SEO-driven, organic clicks that come from top search engine visibility.

And, there are over 200 factors that count into the search relevancy algorithm for Google.

For example, most business owners don’t know that the search engines look at freshness and recency of data. Plus, click metrics and user behavior now counts as one of several “new” important indicators for online success with search.

While many of these factors are not known, we’ve learned about most of them over the last decade that we’ve worked within the search and digital space.

get-a-free-seo-audit-chaosmap

An important SEO audit letter for you

A Comprehensive Forensic SEO Audit

After a questionnaire and interview questions, we create an audit for large websites, E-commerce and transaction based websites, which may include 100’s of thousands of pages, or a million+ pages.

The resulting document contains a detailed study of your

  • domains,
  • pages,
  • content,
  • backlinks,
  • traffic patterns,
  • usability,
  • engagement,
  • technology,
  • infrastructure,
  • search analytics (search console)
  • overall search friendliness and on multiple devices (e.g. mobile)
  • and much more

These are just a few, but are absolutely essential to understand and get right, in order to sustain long term visibility in search.

Review all the features and goals of your site and get a comprehensive list with inner-working details.

Then, begin to develop a proper go-forward SEO plan.

All the data points must not only be captured, but also be updated ongoing.

This is important, because you need to compare progress as things get implemented and fixed.

A system for continually monitoring changes in SERPs (search engine results pages) – it is paramount to all SEO work.

Go Beyond “SEO”

Consider the soft, non-technical aspects of an SEO audit. It’s part of a wider scheme, namely the overall company marketing and campaign intent. You can find and solve technical issues all day long, but SEO is much more than that.

SEO is about the inclusion of the total business eco-system.

That also means “user experience” and focusing on the core goal: serving the visitor’s initial request.  This is what intent is all about.

As an SEO expert, you must deeply know how websites, marketing, business and the web works.  Your web pages with  their content assets must serve, inform, entertain and educate the audience as they move along the customer journey.

REMINDER: Simple technical updates or content changes can have a ripple effect through larger sites. Be careful!

Here’s a top level view of broad categories within SEO forensic audits:

Branding and Market Conditions
Trustworthiness, site links, title tags, headline tags, competitor keywords (branded & non-branded), traffic (mobile & desktop), web analytics (Google analytics audit) and call to action.

Onsite SEO
Penalties, keyword plans and content structure (including duplication issues), server issues, crawling errors, internal links, broken internal links, robots management, page speed / timings (including geo-locations, connection speeds & browser types), image optimization, SSL, AMP, mobile friendliness, canonicalization and International SEO. Focus on user experience and relevancy.

Learn more about tools and strategies to start your SEO on-page analysis.

Offsite SEO
Penalties, back link audit, broken links, site / domain quality, social, reviews and citations, bad neighborhood linking, disavows, blacklists, link diversity and link growth / frequency.

TIP: Learn more about how to use blogging can be used as one of the popular backlink-building, traffic-driving, SEO off-page strategies.

The Benefits of the SEO Audit

benefits of seo audit for b2b

NUMBER 1:

Some of the most important are finding out where and how to get more quality traffic, discovery of how traffic may have dropped (quickly or over time), or if any past penalties (Panda, Penguin) is currently holding your site back. You need clarity and focus on keywords, content and analyzing the right engagement metrics. (Visitor trends, bounce rates, conversion rates, time on site, etc.)

NUMBER 2:

You may be thinking about an upcoming domain migration, or have recently redesigned or migrated the site(s) and lost rankings and traffic and need to understand what happened, and how to fix it …FAST.

NUMBER 3:

You may be considering moving to SSL across single or multiple domains, and must understand the whole picture, the impact – while minimizing the fall-out.

NUMBER 4:

You may be launching a series of websites or needing to re-boot an existing one — and require a clear path and plan on how to get more converting traffic while building a trusted brand.

NUMBER 5:

Or, you’re trying to understand what products to keep or filter out from search engines based on traffic and sales. This also considers profits and is an important strategic consideration. This discussion goes beyond just “being #1 in search results” which is not always what you need.

NUMBER 6:

Sales! Considering revenue is critical and real sales is what your CFO is looking for, not rankings (although your marketing team may initially feel differently!)

And, if you use the popular WordPress platform there are likely many search engine blocks preventing you from top rankings and converting traffic – right now!

seo-audit-prevents-disaster

Don’t build a website on shaky ground. Build SEO for stability and long term.

Building a Website On Strange Land?

Imagine building a beautiful, pretty house (your website) on a major earthquake fault line or a sloped hill, and you don’t even know it.

It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Revealing all the issues along with a detailed explanation, education and plan about all the potential concerns, would be essential.

You already understand that you must have a user-and-search friendly site, and that includes BOTH mobile and desktop.

All pages and content must be specific, measurable and have unique quality content that serves the right audience and that is socially ready and aware.

When you start with the 7 components below – all search engines will reward you with a higher position in natural search results.

The art and science of SEO (search engine optimization) is simple as they say, but not easy.

And, for larger sites and SEO website migrations, things can get very complex quickly.

7 Action Steps for Better Search Results:

This is not a comprehensive audit checklist, but a starting place to ask questions.

seo-audit-starting-listSEO is more than just creating a page or website and deploying it.

You must think strategically about keywords, content, users and link building opportunities.

It’s also important to address all the technical issues – from any server side issues to the HTML code and possible robots blocking.

As mentioned, engagement metrics are essential, and you must understand your analytics to a deeper detail.

Google specifically is looking at user behavior and click patterns. (e.g.: ‘Did the visitor to the web page click back or off the page immediately?’, ‘did the page serve and meet the needs of the visitor’, etc.)

Begin with these 7 questions:

  • Keywords – do you have keywords and phrases that people search for on your pages? Did you analyze your market and perform keyword research? Are they included naturally throughout your page(s)? Relevancy is key.
  • Links – are you creating enough quality content to attract links from others? Link quality matters more than link quantity.
  • Anchor text links – are you receiving links with “keyword phrases” in your inbound link profiles? For example, “Bankruptcy Attorney New York” is better than “Click Here” (Note: However, don’t over-use this. Balance it with natural backlink profile).
  • Popularity – how “popular” is the page that is linking back to you? How relevant is the exterior page and link? If your theme is about topic “X”, get more relevant links from within that community
  • How do the visitors see your site? How favorable is that view? Make sure your traffic and click-through-data matches the search query, and that you don’t have a high bounce-rate. Both desktop and mobile are crucial in this review.
  • Are you including social media? Search engines (indirectly) use signals from activity on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others. How well is that traffic converting?
  • Page speed and website up-time. Make sure you are hosting with a professional grade hosting partner, and that you have fast load times of pages and all online assets (code, images, documents, etc)

Finally, ensure you are found not only for informational keywords, but also for your buying / transactional keywords.

Remember, keywords must match your pages and content topics.

You can use the Free Google Keyword Planner Tool to get a sense for the market and levels of competitiveness.

Other tools like Bloomberry and AnswerThePublic will help you understand what your audience is searching for. You’ll also create new ideas for content for your own website.

You should already have web tracking scripts from Google Analytics installed, and linked up the Google Search Console.

seo-audit-getting-startedHere at Chaosmap, when we look at doing an SEO audit for your website – we look at all these factors, indexation issues, crawling issues and as many as 150 checkpoints during our audit process.

We use free and paid SEO tools including proprietary, internal systems and software to gather metrics that we manually add to our 150+ page report.

Depending on the size of the site, and issues found, SEO audits can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

A detailed, and in-depth Website Analytics Audit is also highly recommended.

This audit will ensure that your “website house” will be designed and constructed on solid ground.

It will create a high-performance asset for your company. Hopefully, for a long time – and with an updatable implementation plan you can use with your marketing team.

Want Us To Help Take A Deeper Look?

CONTACT US when you want to get advanced and detailed information to 10x your sales and improve your overall website performance.

attract-brick-and-mortar-and-online-shoppers

How to Attract Both Brick And Mortar and Online Omnishoppers

They call it “omnishopping”: the tendency of consumers to increasingly turn to technology for purchases, while not discounting the value of brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Omnishopping is most pronounced among Generation Z shoppers, ages 18 to 26.

omnishopping-online

Attracting omni-shopping online

In fact, nearly half of all shoppers who make up this demographic have “webroomed” a product on a mobile device before buying it in a traditional storefront. Meantime, one-third have “showroomed” an in-store product and then purchased it online.

It may seem obvious, but both Gen Y and Z shoppers have a higher likelihood than any other demographic to showroom retail goods and products. For retail businesses, this means identifying ways to simultaneously attract consumers who enjoy the online and in-store buying experience.

Here are some ways to integrate your in-store and online marketing to attract omnichannel shoppers.

Use Online, Offline Tools to Capture Contact Information

To bridge your online and offline marketing, one of the most fundamental steps you can take is to capture customer contact information.

Your website or blog, social media platforms and point-of-sale marketing can all serve as opportunities to collect this important information.

E-commerce retailers tend to be more proactive about this, particularly because their marketing efforts revolve around capturing customers’ email addresses.

A blog serves as a great platform to not only deliver relevant and useful information to customers and prospects alike; it also allows you the opportunity to create forms so consumers can “opt-in” and, thus, help your business generate qualified leads.

It’s also important to leverage in-store opportunities to capture customer information.

But because shoppers tend to weary of sales pitches and don’t want their time wasted, they may be more willing to provide this information if you extend a discount offer at the point of sale.

However, emphasize that you will not share their information and that they can opt out at any time.

Use Geotargeting and Beacons to Attract In-store Customers

Geotargeting and geofencing are great ways to bridge the gap between online and in-store marketing.

Through geotargeting, you can run mobile promotions to residents in certain geographic area. Meantime, geofencing gives you the ability to target potential customers inside a digital perimeter, which can be defined by the boundaries of your storefront or an adjacent area.

Beacons work at short range using Bluetooth, so you can craft ads geared toward shoppers in your store or even in specific aisles.

Use these techniques to reach your customers on their mobile phones — whether they frequent your store or live in surrounding areas.

Make It Easy for Mobile Buyers to Pay

Making checkout easy for mobile buyers will boost both your online and in-store sales. You might want to consider offering PayPal on your website, as one-click checkout options tend to streamline sales.

To compete with the likes of Apple and Google, you might want to adopt mobile payments, a business strategy projected to grow by 75 percent in 2017.

For example, Walmart has developed its Scan & Go app that allows customers to link a credit or debit card to their smartphone.

Sales reps simply scan the customer’s smartphone to accept payment.

Provide Omnichannel Customer Service

If you want to effectively serve both online and in-store customers, it’s essential to extend customer service through an omni-channel experience.

The best way to achieve this is to adopt a cloud-contact center solution that let’s your customer service team handle these responsibilities from a single, integrated platform, including options sold by Aspect Zipwire.

Having a single interface for managing customer service via phone, live chat, email and social media will ensure your customers have a positive engagement experience, no matter which platform they use.

How To Create A Social Media

How To Create A Social Media Strategy In 5 Steps

Social media marketing is a necessity for small- and medium-sized businesses.

create-social-media-strategy-small-business

This rings true for larger brands as well, but they are more established and have larger budgets to support a broader marketing mix. Smaller businesses must leverage internal resources and can’t afford any waste.

From producing content to engaging with customers, social media offers an inexpensive way to broaden your customer base and create long-lasting relationships.

When they are executed correctly, social media strategies can help brand your business and build a strong online presence for the long term.

1. Start by Choosing the Right Platform (Audience)

For your social media strategy to succeed, you have to pick the right platform for your business.

The platform should be selected based on research. Where do your types of customers hang out the most, and what are they looking for? (that you can help them with?)

Choose social platform based on usage and audience demographics

Choose the right platform for your targeted audience

The social media site needs to be content friendly so that you can upload images, blog articles (LinkedIn, Medium) or white papers (Slideshare.net)

Instagram photos are 15 times more likely to be shared than Facebook photos, so a photo-rich industry may want to focus primarily on Instagram.

However, don’t forget Pinterest, they have a powerful advertising platform as well.

Meanwhile, snippets, links, blogs and articles are easier to share on Twitter and Facebook (Instant Articles).

Finally, as mentioned – consider the locations where your prospects hang out because these will be the most effective platforms to spread your message.

2. Create Your Social Media Objectives

Once you know where you will place your content and what they are looking for, you have to decide on your goals.

content marketing lead gen goals

Lead Gen Opportunities Via Content Marketing

You need clear objectives because these goals will help you determine if your marketing plan is a success or a failure. In addition, you must determine the metrics that let you know if you have gained a return on your investment. (Web Analytics)

If your goal is to increase website traffic, your social media strategy is a failure if your traffic does not increase.

Likewise, a goal of bringing in leads is a failure if your content is widely shared, but does not draw in new clients.

Go a step beyond vanity metrics like Facebook likes or Retweets.

Instead, focus on how your website is generating leads, web referrals and conversion rates.

The ultimate goal is always to boost your profitability, so any plan should be designed with that in mind.

3. Design a Content Plan

While mentions in the media are always a plus, you need to have a content plan for long-term success. (Think content calendar)

Articles about your business, new products, events and related topics will help to draw readers to your website.

In addition, Google loves fresh content, and so do your users. 

Fresh content and Google

Fresh Content, More Traffic & Engagement

Ideally, you should post at least once a week. For the best results, consider implementing a daily content goal, and refer back to your content calendar.

Your content plan should include the target audience, the frequency of your posts and the types of content you plan on posting.

Likewise, you should determine who will create the content and how it will be promoted.

Once you have answered these questions, you should set up a daily or weekly plan of blogs and social media posts that you plan on releasing.

You should also consider the types of keywords that you use because the search engines will use keywords as one of the factors to determine what your content is about.

4. Building a Diverse Content Strategy

Today, people go beyond just reading books and articles to get their information.

Videos have become a crucial part of social media success because people cannot just skim the video.

In addition, look into creating blog content and images that get placed on your social media profiles.

U.S. researchers discovered that the human brain can interpret images that the eye sees in just 13 milliseconds – the first evidence of such rapid processing speed. It was previously thought it took almost eight times longer for humans to process a picture.”

visual elements and the human brain

Use visual elements when it supports your story/message. Human beings process imagery faster than text.

The human mind can process visual presentations much faster than words or speech, so a picture can convey your message much faster than content.

By diversifying your content, you can ensure that your business can reach out to every type of consumer.

5. Test and Adjust Your Marketing Plan

Even with the best social media strategy, adjustments will always be needed.

social media metrics that matter

Decide on the right social media metrics

Before you put your plan into action, decide on the metrics that you will use to determine how successful your approach was.

Tracking things like the number of clicks from a link, visitors to the blog, leads generated and website traffic will help you determine if your social media plan needs to change.

Every business is different, so your company may need a unique blend of social media platforms or content to become successful.

NEED HELP? Contact Us Here and we'll set up a time to help you get started. (We love this stuff so much, we'll even send you a free e-gift, because you took time to reach out.)


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