Posts by netgeekzcayman

8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide

8 major Google ranking factors — SEO guide
Of over two hundred Google ranking factors that we know about, which ones are the most important? Here is the definitive list.
Sponsored Content: SEO PowerSuite on September 15, 2020 at 7:30 am

The SEO community is always looking for new ranking factors and we have discovered over two hundred of them so far. But there may be hundreds more actually used by Google. Luckily, we don’t have to work on all of them. Most have very little weight in SEO and are often used as tie-breakers rather than ranking signals. Instead, here is the definitive list of Google ranking factors, each of which can make or break your search optimization strategy.

1. Backlinks
Even though Google is planning to move away from backlinks in the future, they still remain the most important ranking factor for your pages. Except it is now too risky to use black hat SEO strategies — your links have to come from a variety of high authority websites that are similar to yours. Furthermore, some Google patents say that freshness and traffic may also be important backlink metrics.

Optimization strategy
The most efficient way to grow your backlink profile is to borrow backlink ideas from your search competitors. All you have to do is launch SEO SpyGlass, go to Domain Comparison > Link Intersection, and add a few of your top competitors. The tool will analyze your competitors’ backlinks and find the backlink gap — websites that link to your competitors, but not you. Those websites are your prime outreach targets. Seeing how they already link to other websites in your niche, they are very likely to host your links as well.

2. Semantic saturation
Your SEO content has to contain an appropriate amount of relevant keywords, entities, and images for the length of the copy. The content should not be stuffed, like in the old days of SEO, it should rather be a natural-sounding copy written in an informative style.

Optimization strategy
It could be a little challenging to figure out exactly which keywords to use, where to put them, and how many of them are needed. So, if you want to play it safe, a good strategy is to create a benchmark by analyzing your search competitors’ top-ranking pages. To do this in Website Auditor, go to Content Analysis > Content Editor, enter your main keyword, and get a detailed list of SEO writing instructions. The SEO Content Editor tool will tell you the right amount of main and secondary keywords, their placement, and the recommended length of the copy.

3. HTML tags
HTML tags tell Google which bits of your copy are the most important. The title and meta description tags are what users see in search results – write them like a keyword-rich promo. Heading tags (H1-H6) split your copy into sections — they should also contain keywords and be written in an informative style. Finally, alt text is used to describe images to search engines and should be filled out if you want to appear in the image search results.

Optimization strategy
If you weren’t mindful of HTML tags, then there are probably hundreds of pages on your website that are not properly optimized for search. A thorough approach would be to use Website Auditor and review your pages in bulk. First, go to Site Structure > Pages > On-page and sort the pages by their search optimization score. If you spot any pages with a low score, click on them for a detailed report. It will tell you exactly which HTML tags are in need of optimization and what’s wrong with them.

4. Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are the newest user experience metrics that will soon become Google ranking factors. The metrics will measure the first impression the user gets when visiting a page. Specifically, how fast it loads, how soon it becomes interactive, and how stable the layout is. Now, it’s important to note that the vitals are not yet official Google ranking factors. But they definitely will be, so it’s best to use the remaining time to get them into proper shape.

Optimization strategy
Google has been kind enough to equip each vital with a detailed set of optimization guidelines. For faster loading, Google recommends better server response times, less render-blocking JS and CSS, and faster resource loading. For improved interactivity, Google recommends code splitting and using less JS. Finally, for better visual stability, Google recommends using size attributes for images and videos and loading content from the top.

5. User behavior
There is a lot of uncertainty in the SEO community on whether Google actually uses behavioral metrics to rank pages. Google says that it doesn’t, but there’s been some pretty convincing evidence that it might.

The metrics we are talking about are the click-through-rate (CTR), bounce rate, session depth, and session duration. To check your performance on user behavior metrics, use your

Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

Optimization strategy
Improving user behavior metrics has a lot to do with creating engaging content. For example, CTR relies on having an attractive snippet in search results. Meanwhile, bounce rate, session duration, and session depth rely on whether there is anything fun to do on your page. To keep users engaged, make sure to produce high-quality copy with plenty of visuals and internal links. The goal is to catch the visitors and send them down your sales funnel.

6. Structured data
There are thousands of tags to choose from, and they can tell Google every little detail about your content. Structured data can be used to tag authors, ratings, product features, locations, and so much more. And it can do wonders for your SEO — create links between entities, pin your location, and enhance your search snippets with rich elements:

Optimization strategy
If you are not a technically inclined person, then it’s best to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Choose the type of markup (article, local business, and product come highly recommended) and submit a link to the page you want to enhance. Now highlight bits of text and choose corresponding tags. When done, save the HTML file and upload it to your website. Extra step — check whether your structured data actually works with the help of Google’s Rich Result Test.

7. Google My Business listing
Claiming, optimizing, and maintaining your Google My Business listing is the single most important thing you can do for your local SEO. It helps establish your company as an entity, which in itself is a great asset to your SEO. More importantly, it skyrockets your local search performance. Once you create a listing, it becomes eligible for the local business panel as well as Google maps, opening your business to nearby searchers:

Optimization strategy
First, you have to visit Google My Business and either create or claim your profile. You will be asked to provide a few basic details as well as verify your ownership. When done, you will be transported to your Google My Business dashboard, where you will find many additional ways to enhance your listing. The least you can do is add a description, business hours, and photos, but there are many more cool features to explore. Google is constantly adding new Google My Business features and it’s gotten so advanced that it’s almost like a website of its own.

8. Mobile optimization
Mobile-first indexing is fully rolled out. Google announced that starting from September 2020 all websites without exception will be judged on their mobile version, not the desktop version. So, if you want your website to have any chance of ranking in search results, you have to make sure that it is designed for mobile users.

Optimization strategy
To check whether your page is mobile-friendly, visit Google’s mobile-friendly test, and submit a URL. If the page is ok, you will get a green light, and if it’s not, you’ll get some suggestions on what to improve.

Checking your website page by page is hardly practical, so you can use Google Search Console to check all your pages at once. Launch the tool, go to Enhancements > Mobile Usability, and view a report along with a list of suggested improvements.

Final thoughts
It’s important to keep tabs on the ever-evolving Google algorithm. Some ranking factors, like keywords and backlinks, are gradually losing importance. Other ranking factors, like user experience and semantic saturation, are taking their place. For now, though, the list above is a pretty solid selection of tactics to add to your SEO strategy.

Gen Z More Likely to recall adverting

Generation Z — consumers ages 13 to 24 — are more likely to recall advertising than older generations, even when they spend less time watching skippable content.

 

Fifty-nine percent of Gen Zers recalled a brand’s skippable video ad, compared with 57% of millennials and 47% of Gen Xers, per a study by Snap and Kantar emailed to Mobile Marketer.
More than half (55%) of Gen Zers who watched a skippable ad for less than two seconds correctly remembered it, compared with 46% for millennials and 26% for Gen Xers and baby boomers, the study by Kantar found.

Gen Zers also showed higher rates of brand preference, with 65% of younger consumers saying brands help them to express themselves, compared with 40% for Gen Xers and baby boomers. The cohort’s higher rate of brand preference demonstrates a key opportunity for marketers to connect with this valuable audience.

Insight:
While many have argued that Gen Z’s short attention span is a challenge for marketers, Snap wants to show the cohort offers brands an opportunity to achieve higher ROI on their marketing if they tailor it correctly.

“This study proves that Gen Z audiences are far faster at processing information than we might have given them credit for,” according to the study. “This faster speed of cognitive processing means that brands who want to engage Gen Z need to tailor their video creative and focus on communicating brand and product messages as early as possible.”

Gen Z, a consumer group with an estimated yearly spending power of $1.2 trillion, watch less advertising than older groups. On a scale of time spent with advertising, the cohort under-index at 79 compared with the mean of 100. Millennials indexed at 94, while folks over 40 indexed at 151 on time spent with advertising. The shorter attention span suggests marketers must communicate their message more quickly, including through ads that may be viewed for two seconds at the most.

Snap is highlighting the study as part of a broader campaign targeting brands and their ad agencies. The company last month launched its first B2B campaign, “Meet the Snapchat Generation,” to showcase the app’s appeal among Gen Z users. The B2B effort featured testimonials from marketers such as snack maker Frito-Lay and the NFL, which explained why Snapchat’s audience is important to their marketing efforts. Social responsibility, community-building, individuality, nurturing friendships and new ways of communicating were the key themes in connecting with Gen Z.

The campaign followed a prior effort in June to demonstrate how marketers can use Snapchat more effectively. The company’s “Snap Focus” education portal introduced six classes that marketers could take individually or as a complete course to receive a free Snapchat Ads Manager certification. Before that, the company hosted its annual Snap Partners Summit to showcase a variety of new features for developers, marketers and creators.

 

Source: https://www.marketingdive.com/news/gen-z-shows-higher-ad-recall-than-older-age-groups-snap-study-finds/584990/

Usage of voice has plateaued — for now

Compared with past growth, 2020 survey data show flat-to-declining usage.

Roy Amara’s oft-cited law states, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” This appears to especially applicable to voice and voice search.

While there’s been steady growth in the use of voice and virtual assistants since Siri was introduced more than a decade ago, the market hasn’t been transformed. Smart speakers are even a better case-in-point: widely adopted, they’ve failed to become the revolutionary product many had expected.

Now survey data from Perficient Digital suggests voice may have hit a plateau of sorts. This is the fourth year the agency has asked over 1,000 U.S. adults about their use of voice, voice search and virtual assistants. Last year, the survey found voice was second only to the mobile browser as the “first choice” entry point for mobile search (with all answers combined, it ranked fourth).

The current survey didn’t replicate this “first choice” segmentation. And overall, voice search remained in fourth position. The question was: “how are you most likely to ask questions on your smart phone?” Manually entering text into a search app, browser or search bar on the phone all captured more total votes. Usage thus appears to be flat.

Beyond this, voice usage appears to be down for people at all education levels, although it’s positively correlated with education. College graduates and those with more education use voice more than those with less education.

The survey also asked respondents how often they use smart speakers to search for information. The responses “never” and “less than twice per week” constituted a majority (56%); 44% used them at least twice per week, while 20% of the 44% used them six to nine (or more) times per week. This argues smart speakers are not a search substitute for other devices, although overall “search” volume may be expanding as a result.

The survey goes on to explore what factors might explain the results. It asserts that user frustration with virtual assistants not understanding commands or questions (or delivering wrong answers) may partly explain this flat-to-declining usage. By the same token, improved accuracy and better comprehension would potentially generate additional usage frequency.

Why we care. As with so many compelling technologies, early hype has given way to slow, incremental growth. In one sense voice is just an alternative input mechanism for text. But in another it represents a fundamentally different user experience. And voice technology behind the scenes is becoming increasingly sophisticated, almost imperceptibly to the public.

As the survey discussion points out, voice is central for the majority of non-traditional connected devices: “77% of all Internet-connected devices are something other than a tablet, PC or smartphone.” Indeed voice is the UI for the next generation of devices and virtual assistants are the logical successor to “search.” It’s just going to take longer than expected.

Source: https://marketingland.com/usage-of-voice-has-plateaued-for-now-280241

2 tips quick for ecommerce site search

A good digital experience is more crucial now than it ever was. So how can retailers make sure their on-site search experience is as seamless, effective and easy to use as possible?

 

Search box placement and functionality

There’s more to search box and site search functionality than you may think. Even something as basic as search box placement can make a big difference to usability, and a few seemingly minor additions to functionality can vastly improve the overall experience of searching.

1. Make the search box easy to spot

The prominence of the search box on the page can influence the user’s decision to make use of it to find products – and determine how easily they can find it if they’re looking.

Therefore, if site search is important to your site and you want shoppers to use it, the prominence and visibility of the search field should reflect this.

Some retail websites, intentionally or unintentionally, sideline the search bar in their site design, effectively absorbing it into the background or crowding it out visually with distracting page artefacts and making it difficult to spot.

Take Boohoo, for example, whose business model and site design are much more oriented around customers browsing the site for products than searching for a specific item. There is a search icon in the header, but you practically need a magnifying glass to spot it:

2. Keep the search box placement consistent

While this might seem like a basic tip and one that most ecommerce retailers have mastered, it’s still worth bearing in mind: when you design your pages, make sure that your search box is located in the same place each time, so that customers know where to find it.

Final:

The components of a good digital experience are now more important than ever, and have a major role to play in ensuring that customers who visit your site are united with the products they’re looking for as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

On-site search is a big factor in the customer journey of those consumers who either know exactly what they’re looking for and have come to your site to find it, or who have some idea of what they’re looking to buy but may need some help narrowing it down.

A good site search experience will help them to find that product/those products and maybe several others that they either didn’t know they wanted or hadn’t thought to look for. But a poor site search experience will leave them frustrated, and result in them deciding to shop elsewhere for the product or at best, feeling less inclined to buy anything additional or shop via your website in the future.

Top 3 Marketing Opportunities or Tips During Covid-19

As a premiere digital marketing agency, we have been planning for years for the eventuality of the digital age to consume the old analog economy, but with the spread of covid-19, some of the human behaviors we were expecting to be adopted this decade has already been adopted in just a few short months.

COVID-19 has certainly made an impact on commerce as well as ecommerce over the past couple of weeks here in the Cayman Islands, especially now that isolation and social distancing measures have been put in place.

Not just in the Cayman Islands, but workers in many infected countries have been asked to work from home, countries including the UK, Italy, and France have been placed under lockdown and schools have been shut down just as they have here.

Unsurprisingly, since taken the decision out of consumers’ hands by closing non essential brick and mortar businesses, forcing traditional consumers to adopt ecommerce and social media as more than an alternative, but a necessity.

Many of your competitors are taking their foot off of the marketing pedal, which means you may be able to blow right by them! Think of it like the hare taking a break while in the lead only to let the tortoise win the race with consistent effort. Don’t take your foot off the pedal!

Of course, I realize many businesses are simply not able to invest due to lost revenue and if that’s the case then simply skip this info. However, for everyone else, this is the most important takeaway of this article.

Now is the time to invest more, not less in your marketing. That is how you can gain a competitive advantage in the months and years to come.

We have put together a top 3 opportunities list to assist our clients with maximizing their brand exposure as well as ROI, and felt this would also benefit a wider audience of all businesses, please find below our list of top 3 marketing opportunities during covid-19 thus far.

 

Opportunity #1: Paid ads are really, really cheap
The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper.

It makes sense because the way these big ad networks make money is through an auction system. They need small businesses to drive up the cost per click (CPC) for ads so that way the big, billion-dollar corporations have to spend more money on ads.

If you don’t have as many small businesses advertising (like we are experiencing now) there isn’t as much competition for the inventory, so the cost per click decrease.

But the virus has been causing us to spend more time online, so much so that companies like Netflix have had to reduce their streaming quality to help.

In other words, traffic on the web is up and there are fewer advertisers. This means ads are cheaper.

Now we are also seeing conversions rates dropping in certain industries, but nowhere near at the same rate as the CPCs.

When we average things out per industry and globally, we are seeing paid ads producing a much higher ROI than before the Coronavirus hit.

Our clients, in general, have seen their ROI go from 31% to 53%. That’s a 71% increase in ROI.

If you haven’t tried paid ads yet, you should consider it. If you do, consider ramping up as there is more excess inventory than there has been in years.

 

Opportunity #2: Offer educational based training
If you are looking for a good opportunity, consider selling your audience educational based courses.

With unemployment numbers reaching all-time highs, more people than ever are looking for new opportunities.

Many of these opportunities are in fields like high-tech that not everyone has experience in.

And, of course, going back to school can be expensive and is time-consuming. Plus, let’s face it… you can probably learn more applicable knowledge on YouTube than sitting in a college class for 4 years (at least for most professions).

So, where do people go to learn? Any online education website offering very specific, niche advice and courses.

Whether that is Udemy or you are selling your own courses, people are looking for help.

If you don’t know how to sell online courses in mass quantity, contact us for a free consultation.

 

Opportunity #3: Share Experiences Through Digital PR
Yes, the news is Ubiquitous with COVID-19 stories, but digital PR activity shouldn’t stop during coronavirus.

Now is a great opportunity to maximize social media, with interesting and personnel stories that are a ​distraction from the wider news.

People still want to read good news stories and want escapism from the pandemic currently dominating mainstream media.
Journalists themselves have been quoted on social media multiple times saying they need to put a smile on people’s faces.

If the story is strong, it can still get picked up right now.

If your business can offer comments to help other businesses and people during this tough time, distract them, or put a smile on their faces, that’s a great thing and should be encouraged!

 

Conclusion
Sadly, the next few months are going to get worse. The daily count of new Coronavirus victims is growing.

From a personal standpoint, all you can do is stay indoors and practice social distancing.

But from a marketing, business, and career perspective, you can make a change.

You should have more time now (sadly), so use it to your advantage. Put in the effort so you can grow, that way you’ll come out of the Coronavirus stronger.

So which one of the above opportunities are you going to implement first?

TikTok vs. Snapchat: A guide for marketers

A look at the key differences between Snapchat and TikTok.

TikTok is having a moment. Whether you use the app already or have spotted TikToks popping up on other social platforms, it’s clear that TikTok isn’t just another fleeting trend. It’s here to stay.

Yet it’s easy to see how someone not familiar with TikTok (ahem, your boss) might dismiss it as a Snapchat reboot. Worse, they might assume content from Snapchat can be repurposed on TikTok.

The two platforms share similar features (and yes, similar audiences) but their value offerings are entirely different. TikTok is a video sharing app for short clips set to music while Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app centered on ‘Stories’ and other short-lived formats. Each platform offers unique ways to connect with audiences if used the right way by the right type of brand.

If you’re not sure where your brand fits in – or if it even fits in at all – you’re in the right place. Below is a simple guide that highlights key differences between TikTok and Snapchat along with essential considerations for brands looking at either app as a potential marketing channel.

 

The basics: TikTok


What it is. TikTok is a rapidly growing video-sharing app that launched in 2017 by Chinese tech company ByteDance. In October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019.

How it’s used. Users create and post short, looping videos set to TikTok’s massive library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point. TikTok isn’t necessarily the place for serious life updates or connecting with friends. Instead, users rely on TikTok for entertainment and follow creators with quality content. Common TikTok videos include choreographed dances, lip-syncing, hashtag challenges, reaction videos, and cringe-worthy content.

Audience. The app has rapidly become a Gen-Z favorite, with 42% of users between ages 13-16 actively using the app. Users create and post short, looping videos set to TikTok’s massive library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point.

Advertising. TikTok’s ad product is still in its early days. For now, advertising is only offered on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions) as TikTok’s self-service ad platform is still in beta. Ad units currently available include:

  • In-feed native video ads
  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnerships

The basics: Snapchat


What it is. Snapchat is a mobile messaging app for sharing text, photos, and videos with friends. It launched in 2011 under the premise of sharing photos with a 10-second expiration, but has since evolved to focus on ephemeral video content in the form of Stories and curated ‘Discover’ series.

How it’s used. Snapchat offers a way for users to keep up with friends, relevant news, and popular trends. A big draw is the ability to capture ephemeral content and publish it as a Story for followers to see and engage with for up to 24 hours. Snapchat has been investing heavily in AI and AR capabilities (or ‘Lenses’) to give brands and users more immersive creative abilities – like object scanning, try-on effects, and 3D environment interactions.

Audience. The platform is most popular among millennials and currently claims around 218 million daily active users (DAUs).

Advertising. Snapchat offers a range of advertising options through its self-serve ad platform, from standard Snap Ad units that appear between stories to ads that use branded filters and AR lenses. Snapchat also has an e-commerce component with shoppable ads, personalized targeting, and a native checkout feature.

 

he marketing questions: Which platform is best for my brand?

What’s your objective? Both TikTok and Snapchat offer top-of-funnel opportunities for brands to connect with audiences. Specifically, TikTok can be effective for driving awareness with user-generated content (UGC) in the form of brand challenges, reactions, or filters.

While there are opportunities for brands to take advantage of UGC on Snapchat, the platform is better for sharing fleeting life moments and surfacing relevant content that the user might care about – like original series or Stories.

Plus, Snapchat’s shoppable and native checkout features can be a big draw for retail brands (especially D2C). The platform also has a hold over TikTok with more mature advertising options, while TikTok’s use for brands is still much more experimental. Don’t expect to find instant success marketing on TikTok, especially since it’s driven by users who value humor and fleeting trends (which might not work for all brands).

Consider your audience. Are they young and full of untapped meme energy? Look to TikTok. Tiktok users want a digital experience that’s authentic, homegrown, and downright entertaining. It’s part of the reason why reactions and brand challenges have taken off at warp speed. Instead of standing by and watching social play out from a distance, TikTok users are diving in head-first to leave their mark in near real-time, and brands can lean into that organic content creation process.

Since Snapchat is still a home for the Millenial generation, brands on the platform can capture more conventional, mainstream interests. As a whole, brands with audiences that skew younger should probably be experimenting with both Snapchat and TikTok.

Think about the content. If you’re focused on creating quality content with a traditional brand message, Snapchat is likely the better channel. Brands can get creative with Snapchat’s AR and Lens capabilities while still offering built-in (“swipe-up”) features for a more immersive user experience. TikTok content isn’t concerned with aesthetics or how good something looks, which makes it both a challenge and opportunity for brands. To be successful on TikTok, a brand’s content needs resonate with young users while offering the ability to engage with it.

Brand uses cases

TikTok x Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle’s first viral TikTok challenge kicked off in May 2019 after a customer filmed a video doing a lid flip, which Chipotle then posted to Instagram. The post racked up over a million views, prompting the brand to turn to TikTok to invite customers to try the lid flip trick for themselves with a branded hashtag challenge. The #ChipotleLidFlip challenge received over 104 million views, 111,000 video submissions, and over 59,000 participants during the campaign.

TikTok x e.l.f. cosmetics. Makeup brand e.l.f. also found viral success with TikTok’s hashtag challenge format. With over 3 million organic views of the #elfcosmetics hashtag on Tik Tok, the brand developed its own challenge to engage with the creator-driven community. The brand commissioned a made-for-TikTok music track for its #eyeslipsface campaign, prompting users to showcase their e.l.f. makeup looks set to the song.

Snapchat x Top Gun: Maverick. In December 2019, Paramount Pictures launched an AR-driven UGC campaign with Snapchat’s Cameos feature, in which users could add creative elements to their shots with digital overlays used to promote the film. Snapchat users who were interested in seeing more promo content from the film had the option to watch the entire 2-minute trailer.

Snapchat x Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Snapchat released “Snapchat Scan” in December 2019, and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola were the first brands to jump on board. The feature offers image-recognition so users can scan logos to unlock AR lenses and content. With Coke and Mcdonalds, users simply had to scan the packaging on their food or beverage to gain access to exclusive branded lenses. It’s a key example of how brands on Snapchat can engage users by blending creative content with elements of the physical world. According to Snap’s product marketing manager Carolina Arguelles, “using Scan in this way offers so many possibilities for brands – from creating fun, shareable moments, to sharing product information or offering a virtual trial.”

Source: https://marketingland.com/tiktok-vs-snapchat-a-guide-for-marketers-276820

7 mistakes to avoid when optimizing your Instagram account for SEO

Search engine optimization is a powerful tool for increasing your website traffic. But your Instagram account is also crying out for attention and wants to appear at the top of search results.

Obviously, you work hard to make your website climb to the top of the search engine rankings. But not many entrepreneurs and marketers know that optimization techniques are useful beyond Google, Bing and other search engines.

SEO is also applicable to social media platforms, where it can aid in promoting an account, gaining new followers, boosting engagement rate, and enhancing sales. Instagram is perfect for optimization because it works like a small search engine so SEO is valid there as well.

Instagram ranks well-optimized pages higher and this attracts more active followers, drives engagement and improves page trust score. In turn, all this leads to an even higher ranking.

Though SEO for Instagram pages may seem easy to do, many marketers and business owners make several common mistakes when optimizing a profile. Below, we’ll talk about these missteps in detail and learn how to avoid them in upcoming campaigns.

1. Your Instagram page is not cohesive

One of the unwritten rules of Instagram management is to create a cohesive feed. The posts you upload on the platform should be logical in terms of visual concept, timing, captions, and hashtags.

But consistency isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. You need to take time and think through each caption, the relevance of tags, the whole grid layout style and posting frequency. To streamline this process and plan your Instagram posts and stories, you can use Combin Scheduler, a tool for Instagram content planning.

With this app, you can create optimized captions, make different groups of hashtags and edit your current Instagram campaign — days and weeks before actual publication.

To meet your business goals, publish as often as you can and maintain a consistent posting frequency. There is no ideal posting occurrence and no perfect time to distribute the content, but you can find yours while testing various approaches.

2. You don’t use relevant hashtags

A typical Instagram optimization challenge is to use hashtags that are appropriate for your post — and business. On social media, they work as search queries.

It appears rather straightforward to choose related hashtags, but in reality, brands and marketers make these two crucial missteps:

They include irrelevant hashtags
As the name implies, these hashtags match neither your business nor a specific post. If you have ever noticed the small number of impressions your post gained from hashtags, you already know what it means: your content is not what people expect to see when they are searching by a specific tag.

If you use hashtags for Instagram optimization (and you should), do some research before placing them under your posts. You can do that with Combin Growth. With this tool, you will find hashtags that reflect your current publication or the whole business and discover tags used by your competitors.

Instagram hashtag tips could fill an article all by themselves, but let us share a small hack with you here: check what hashtags your competitors or accounts with similar content choose. Don’t use popular tags — those with over 100,000 posts. Otherwise, your content will disappear in a changing feed.

3. You don’t change the location tags

Brands that run their businesses online or offer worldwide shipping make this mistake. When your work is bound to a specific area — like the coffee shop from the previous example — you probably don’t have many location tags to choose from, because you’ll attract an irrelevant audience. But still, some creative location will draw people’s attention.

In all other cases, if the business goes beyond a specific place and you’re interested in attracting the audience from different cities or countries, you should change your location tags every so often.

4. Your username is not searchable

Your Instagram username is a major keyword that should be short, readable and distinctive. Help your audience understand what the username implies and don’t include any irrelevant symbols in it. You should write the username in the language your target audience is more likely to search for it.

5. You don’t use Alt Text on Instagram

Another Instagram feature that you can apply for SEO purposes is Alt Text. This function was initially designed to allow visually impaired people to enjoy Instagram content. Yet, marketers now use it for optimization.

To find this tool, scroll down the screen on the page with a caption while posting your new content. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see Advanced Settings. Press it and head over to the bottom of the page until you see Write Alt Text. Tap this button and create a description of what’s in your image, for instance, “brunette long dyed hair.”

Next time, when somebody looks for brunette long dyed hair on Instagram, they will get your content in the results.

6. You don’t include keywords in your bio

This is an additional and necessary part of your Instagram SEO strategy. Your Instagram bio is the right place to put relevant keywords — both primary and secondary. But don’t overwhelm it with too many keywords, and keep it readable.

7. You don’t include keywords in your captions

Aside from your bio and username, place keywords in captions. But again, don’t inundate your posts with them. You can put the keywords randomly throughout the text as well as set them next to your username as title tags.

For instance, your username is Mary Lewis Jeans Store, and your new post starts with Cyber Monday Jeans Sale — up to 70% OFF! The latter part about the sale is your title tag. This is exactly how it will look in the search engine results — a username and then title tags.

The bottom line

Instagram SEO is not rocket science. All you need to master it is to avoid these mistakes and apply your SEO experience to social media marketing.

Whatever goals you have regarding Instagram marketing, you need to remember that SEO is equally significant on social media as it is on websites. The optimization influences overall Instagram page ranking and its visibility on other users’ feeds. And the Combin solutions are ready to help you achieve these goals.

 

Source: https://marketingland.com/7-mistakes-to-avoid-when-optimizing-your-instagram-account-for-seo-275589

What you need to know about mobile engagement in 2020

The mobile mindset

We all know the basics at this point: single column designs, bigger buttons, clearer calls to action and media queries/responsive designs that create as uniform an experience as possible across the seemingly limitless set of platforms and devices used to access email and the mobile shopping experience. However, there are other considerations to be had in the coming months and years regarding the mobile experience. Mobile experiences are about utility and understanding how mobile shoppers open, engage and convert. Questions that need asking include: Are they converting on the mobile, web or through an app? Are emails adequately deep linked into shopping apps to minimize the friction from browse to buy? What percentage of your consumers are using iOS versus Android? These are basic questions that you need to begin asking when the fog of 2019 clears and the sun breaks through the clouds of 2020.

Preparing for a more branded mobile inbox

A cross-industry coalition of companies are working on a new standard for improving the visibility of email in the inbox while providing incentive for the sending community to publish and enforce email authentication. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) will allow legitimate senders to publish a trademarked logo in DNS that will be displayed by a participating mailbox provider such as Yahoo! or Gmail if they’ve properly set up and aligned their email authentication records.

Why should you care?

The inbox is under regular assault by bad actors who weaponize emails and hijack or phish brands in order to defraud recipients. For as much trust and utility that email has provided the internet, it has also created a massive gap in terms of security. Over the years, companies have tried to help educate and empower recipients through visual trust indicators such as lock icons and colored messages about the identity of a sender. Most of these don’t mean much to the average recipient – at the end of the day most people are not security experts. BIMI has the potential to change that by securing who can and can’t use a logo and then displaying that logo in the native mailbox provider, or next to emails that pass muster.

You have the opportunity to have your logo seen by a recipient before they even open an email, if you take the necessary steps to secure your sending domain through SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Brand impressions are important to stay top of mind—having the brand displayed in the inbox can be a massive differentiator. Consider the struggle of mobile apps on a device: the average mobile user has upwards of 90 apps on their device but barely uses a third of them. Over 20% of apps are abandoned after just one use – but email still remains one of the top three activities done on a smartphone. The inbox’s list view, or the view of all emails in the inbox, has been a completely unbranded experience until now. When that changes, a huge opportunity will open up for brands.

Google AMP for Email comes to mobile

In November of 2019, Google began to roll out the AMP for Email experience on Android and iOS. The interactive mobile inbox presents new challenges and opportunities for bold retailers and e-commerce companies willing to spend the extra time to code and test AMP MIME Parts. Like BIMI, taking advantage of AMP for Email will require senders to publish and align their email authentication records. A new mobile inbox that’s both interactive and more visibly branded will potentially be a more secure inbox, so long as companies understand that email must be protected from a whole host of phishers and cybercriminals actively working to exploit the channel.

Since interactive emails will allow recipients to get status updates, view fresh content, and respond directly in an email to things such as invites and comments, senders will have to begin tracking the efficacy of the new mobile inbox versus native mobile apps and mobile web sites. It’s one thing to deliver a mobile experience – it’s another to understand the impact of the experience versus existing mobile properties. Additionally, there will need to be parity in data that is displayed in emails versus that which is available in an app or on the mobile web. This has always been a requirement but the timing aspect has changed. As recipients, we’ve all experienced a situation where the offer we received, time-sensitive or not, either wasn’t available, had expired or wasn’t quite what we had anticipated when we clicked a link in an email. Now that the recipient’s experience will remain in the mobile inbox, and as it grows and becomes yet another source of truth, senders will have to take extra precautions to ensure that the curious and restless minds that switch liberally between an app and an inbox with dynamic content are given the same up to date information to prevent confusion and disengagement.

Mobile everywhere

Mobile is everywhere – and it’s becoming more challenging. Smartphones introduced an incredibly small screen and format, and if the new Motorola Razr takes off the way its predecessor did in the early 2000s, we may have to tackle the nuances of foldable screens as well. What happens if Motorola decides to add a screen to the front of the device as the original had? Anything is possible in the mobile world, which is why it’s ripe with opportunity.

Mobile’s impact on email is not to be underestimated – we need to understand that mobile email is simply an adaptation of what we’ve been doing all along, but in a compact form that requires channel and platform-specific thinking. Before mobile, we were worried about rendering across desktop and web browsers and how no two mailbox providers would render email quite the same way. Mobile introduced new formats and wrinkles, but it also put email in everyone’s pocket in ways we’d never before imagined. The thing about mobile is that you have to measure it on its own merits and think of it as a unique means of engaging with your customers. Measure, test, iterate, measure, test some more, and make sure that your email isn’t dismissable and forgettable – because if it lacks visibility and usability in the forthcoming mobile inbox, it will be forgotten in this hyper-interactive world.

 

Facebook Adds New Options for Brands to Control Ad Placements

Facebook has announced a new set of brand safety tools which will enable businesses to better control where their ads appear across Facebook’s various ad delivery networks.

The issue of brand placement came to the fore back in 2017 when YouTube lost millions of dollars in revenue after major brands pulled their YouTube spend over concerns that their ads were appearing alongside extremist content and hate speech.

Facebook has been working to provide measures to avoid the same over the last couple of years, and these new options add to that capacity, enabling more in-depth control and specification in ad placement.

Among the various measures, Facebook is adding:

A new, dedicated section within Business Manager/Ads Manager where brands can create block lists, get delivery reports and set account-level inventory filters (as opposed to having to apply them one campaign at a time).

Updated delivery reports which will enable advertisers to search by account ID or publisher without having to download the report. Facebook’s also looking to add content level information to its delivery reports.

A new brand safety partner in Zefr to help improve its brand safety tools. Zefr will join DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and OpenSlate.
Publisher White Lists for Audience Network and in-stream ads on Facebook. Facebook is also looking to give advertisers the capacity to white-list the types of content they appear on for in-stream video ads.

The new measures will provide additional assurance for advertisers, enabling them to avoid any concerning associations, while also improving targeting options to their focus audiences.

As per Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson:

“The long term goal is to have an incredibly robust ecosystem where businesses can sell their products, [and] consumers have the confidence to buy them and know what they’re getting, and so that’s the long-range plan and these are just a series of steps along that path. It’s a lot that we’re doing to get there.”

Facebook also notes that while it has a zero-tolerance approach for harmful content on its platforms, “that doesn’t mean zero occurrence”. Given that some content can slip through the cracks, additional measures like this will provide advertisers with more options to manage their ad placements, and maintain greater awareness of the same.

As noted, Facebook has been developing its tools on this front for the last few years – earlier this year, Facebook added a new Inventory Filter which enables advertisers to choose a level of protection they want to apply to their ad placements.

Facebook inventory filter
As Facebook’s internal detection tools improve, so will its placement options, and these new elements move further along that line.

You can read more about Facebook’s new brand safety features here.

Why the Future of Influencer Marketing will be Organic Influencers

Influence has long been at the core of marketing – seeking it, amassing it, then effectively wielding it to achieve your goals. It’s also, uncoincidentally, what gave rise to the influencer marketing industry.

But after riding high on the growing ubiquity of social platforms and the democratization of celebrity over the past decade, it seems influencer marketing – in the traditional sense – is in the midst of an irreversible fail from grace.

As Casey Ferrell, Vice President and Head of U.S. Monitor (owned by Kantar) said in a recent Media Post interview:

“We are at peak influencer, and it’s beginning to run its course”

And if you’ve been paying attention to the news at all this past year, it’s easy to see why.

The (Lack of) Trust Factor
As an industry, influencer marketing has become over-saturated and beleaguered by a heavy barrage of high-profile scandals and rampant reports of fraud.

We’ve seen everything from reality TV stars accidentally posting brand instructions into their promotional posts, to a beloved social influencer admitting she’s actually a CGI robot, to brands like Payless fooling influencers into paying $640 for $20 shoes and not one but two documentaries on the absolute dumpster fire that was (or wasn’t) the Fyre Festival.

And that’s not to mention the numerous reports of influencers paying for fake followers or inflating engagement rates. In fact, CNBC has reported that fake followers will cost brands $1.3 billion in influencer campaigns this year alone.

Naturally, all of this has led to a dramatic loss in consumer confidence, with only 4% of people now trusting what influencers say online. Since trust is essential to establishing credibility, which is foundational to cultivating influence, you can see why there is cause for alarm.

Real People = Real Influence
While traditional influencers may have been able to deliver the initial eyeballs brands have sought, impressions don’t equal purchases – and ‘influencers’ are far from the most influential people online.

A recent Stackla study found that people are 9.8x more likely to make a purchase after seeing a peer’s social post, as opposed to that of a traditional social media influencer.

That’s right, 79% of people say that user-generated content (UGC) highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while only 8% say influencer-created content would do the same.

Traditional influencers also fall short when it comes to engagement metrics – studies show that the greater the number of followers someone has, the lower their average engagement rates tend to be. Conversely, posts from everyday consumers tend to garner greater engagement, are seen as more authentic and more significantly influence others’ buying decisions.

Looking at all of these converging trends, I believe the influencer industry is undergoing a major shift towards not just micro-influencers, but organic influencers.

Organic influencers are the real people who already buy your products and services and create content about your brand – they’re your genuine brand advocates. They may have 5,000 Instagram followers, or they may have 50, but the size of their social followings aren’t as important as their passion, authenticity and collective influence.

By re-imagining your existing influencer programs with organic influencers instead, your brand can bypass the risk of mistrust that a growing majority of consumers feel towards paid influencers, while building loyal communities and rich libraries of impactful visuals that can really move the needle for your brand.

The Quality of Content You Want with the Quantity of Content You Need
One of the reasons why influencer marketing has become so popular with marketers is that they need content. But not just any content, they need high-quality content that fits within their brand aesthetic, while also looking authentic, and social media influencers were a great way to get it.

Except that the minute you pay someone for content, it becomes inherently inauthentic. And influencers typically only create and share a small amount of photos per campaign.

With organic influencers, the content is earned, not paid, so you never lose that authenticity factor. However, your advocates don’t always naturally create the exact type of content your brand may be seeking. By inviting your advocates into an organic influencer community, you can not only cultivate a 1:1 connection with them, but you can also open the lines of communication to help guide the types of content that they post about your brand.

For example, you could ask your organic influencers to post some winter-themed images in advance of a holiday campaign you may be preparing to launch. Want them to feature a specific product or take a selfie vs a scenic shot? Just ask, and provide examples of the types of images you want.

Many of your advocates will be excited to have direct interactions with their favorite brand, and you’ll have authentic, high-quality content to leverage in your marketing – just remember to get the rights to that content first. Plus, Stackla’s research shows that over half of consumers would be more likely to continue engaging with and/or purchasing from a brand if it shared their photos in its marketing.

By developing a passionate and engaged community of organic advocates, you can get the quality and the quantity of visuals you need for all your marketing channels — not just social profiles.

Amplify Influence Beyond Social
An often ignored but critical fact of influencer marketing is that your brand doesn’t own the influencer content.

Unless it’s explicitly agreed to during contract negotiations, brands don’t have the right to the content they just paid an influencer to create – and they can’t use it outside of the third-party platform the influencer originally posted it in. Typically, if a brand wants to use the influencer’s content outside of simply regramming or reposting it on their social channels, they need to license or purchase the copyright for that content from the influencer at an additional cost.

In today’s omnichannel marketing environment, where 63% of marketers feel pressure to continually produce greater amounts of content at higher frequencies, this is not a sustainable marketing strategy. Since modern marketers are already operating at a content deficit – every new channel, medium and niche audience requires a new set of relevant and compelling visuals – the scalability and reusability of content has become an increasingly important factor of long-term success.

Instead of paying for just one post from a traditional influencer that can only live on Instagram, tapping into your brand’s organic influencers can help you continually generate and gain the rights to a multitude of assets from a larger pool of authentic creators. Once you have permission to use your organic influencers’ content, you can exponentially increase the reach and impact of that content by featuring it across all your marketing channels.

And by putting that influential content to work at every point in the buyer’s journey, you can improve all your conversion metrics, not just at the point of inspiration.

Achieving 2020 Success with Organic Influencers
For too long, influencer marketing has been focused on the wrong influencers. Today’s largest group of consumers – Millennials and Gen Z – prioritize authenticity above all else when choosing which brands they support, and their trust in traditional influencers is at an all-time low.

Smartphones and social networks have made your brand’s advocates the greatest content creators the world has ever seen. Brands that adopt an organic influencer strategy as part of their 2020 plans will be able to build loyal communities, while also creating scalable, authentic content experiences that deliver a real return on investment.

 

Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/why-the-future-of-influencer-marketing-will-be-organic-influencers/567463/

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