by Isobel Nancarrow
The changes in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) will have a significant impact in marketing approaches in 2018. Here are the key insights into what this legislation means for marketing experts and companies.
What is GDPR and why should I care?
GDPR are the General Data Protection Regulations. These regulations pose strict limitations to how marketing is carried out, most notably the use of personal data. Fines for non-compliance are substantial, up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover. This revised legislation comes into force in May 2018 and it is worth being ready for it.
How will it affect my email campaigns?
Individuals will need to have willingly decided to sign up to receive your marketing emails. Providing an opt-out button in emails will no longer be enough. This will be enforced equally for both B2B as well as B2C communications.
How will it affect the marketing data I store?
Anyone added to your database must be willingly signed up to receive marketing materials. Additionally to this, companies will need to be able to record and prove how consent to direct communications was collected.
How will it affect the way I collect leads?
The legislation in spirit is attempting to ensure that people only receive the marketing messages that they have explicitly requested. This means that individuals have to sign up to receive marketing messages, without being coerced into doing so. One example of this is a form with a pre-ticked box to receive marketing materials; this will be against the new regulations.
How will it affect my current contact database?
In future, companies must clearly explain why they are contacting each person, how they have sourced their information and not assume the consent to contact them has been given. Many companies are in the process of collecting confirmed consent from their current contact lists. This does result in a reduced list however if done effectively will increase the quality of that list. It is important to start planning for this sooner rather than later, a slap-dash campaign will not get the sign ups you need.
Will it matter after Brexit?
Although it is EU legislation, it is expected to come into effect in Britain in May 2018.
What will be the impact of this?
This legislation will have an impact on the way data is collected, stored and used. Some companies that have started to make the change have already seen a notable reduction in their lead generation numbers. However, there is speculation that the leads they have collected are better quality.
The legislation will also have an impact on data purchase opportunities. The impact will be most difficult to overcome for small and growing companies wishing to expand their audience who do not have the in-house capacity to increase their presence in other ways.
There will be an increased emphasis on quality content both on websites and in direct marketing as a way to combat this and encourage genuine sign ups.
We will be releasing more information and tips over the coming year. We will also be providing consultancy to support companies in tackling this change.
It’s 2017, so we hope that you know the importance of reaching customers online this year. If you are on top of your marketing needs then you’ve got a great digital marketing strategy, you know your customers, business goals, KPIs and marketing budget; you have a plan.
But if you’re not a marketer, how can you be sure that you understand what’s in the digital marketing mix and how to prioritise the most important parts?
Our experience in both digital and traditional marketing allows us to combine the best of both worlds to guarantee success. Read on for our checklist of digital marketing in 2017:
For many, your website is the first contact people have with your brand and you’ll want to make a great first impression. You’ll need to secure trust, ignite excitement and encourage people to take action to engage with you and interact within your sales funnel.
A good user experience is vital; your webpages must load quickly and smoothly on a variety of browsers, devices and screen sizes. More people than ever are accessing the internet on mobile devices so user experience on mobile including ease of navigation and load times will have an impact on your business.
Making sure your website is easy to use and works well is just the beginning when thinking about user experience. If you want to get ahead of the competition, your content needs to be top notch. Include clear images, think about different types of content like video or podcasts and make sure everything is optimised for file sizes that speedy page load.
Take a look at your sales funnels on the website. Where are the opportunities to convert visitors? Are you just hoping they’re interested in your product and going to head on over to your contact page, or are you giving them specific pushes to take action on each page?
While it can sometimes feel overwhelming to consider everything necessary to create a great website, the resources and time you commit to it will be well worth the effort. Consider your website like a physical shop; keep it clean, fix broken shelves and provide the information and assistance people need in order to buy.
Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to get a lot of traffic to your website simply by publishing it. Being visible in search engines starts with having a great website but it’s a complicated business and there are over 200 ‘ranking’ factors that may contribute to your search engine visibility.
Luckily not all ranking factors are created equal and there are some very important ones you can focus on to get ahead of the competition.
First, you’ll need to let the search engines like Google know what your site is about and convince their complex algorithms that your content is relevant and good quality.
Write plenty of content for your pages and have a blog or news page where you can be an expert. Ensure that you’ve properly optimised the content so that Google and other search engines can understand what it’s about. Within your content you should include phrases that your customers are likely to be searching for in Google. Be warned to avoid trying to trick search engines by overusing keywords – Google is very smart and it could do more harm than good.
Take a look at our recent blog to supercharge your content with metadata for more insights.
Second, you’ll need to get links to your website from quality and relevant places around the web. These are a bit like votes and again, they’re not all created equal. Pursue links from relevant quality websites is great for your visibility but getting links from poor quality or irrelevant sites can damage your SEO efforts and even lead to having your site removed from the index. Search engines are adept at working out who has linked to you because they love your product or service, or if you’re gathering links by creating great, sharable and noteworthy content in your industry.
You can gain links by publishing expert insights on external websites, engaging in interviews about your industry or taking part in webinars or other events.
Third, make sure your website complies with Google guidelines. Create clean code, optimise and tag images and content, and as we already discussed, make sure your pages load fast and work on mobiles. We’re covering this in our new Google ranking factors blog series, so sign up for Nancarrow News to keep up to date with Technical SEO Factors.
Creating excitement around your product, service or brand is imperative and social media affords a great number of opportunities to do just that.
Each social media platform is an additional place to reach out to and engage with customers. Start by creating a following of relevant users who will become advocates for your brand, this can take time but if you share great content, information about your services and brand story you can build up a community that’s really interested.
Promoting all that great content you’ve created for your website and respected niche publications is just as important as writing it. Social media allows you to amplify your content to an audience that is highly targeted.
Consider using promotions, give-aways and advertising to increase your social reach. Advertising on social media can be very targeted and allows you to reach specific groups of potential clients.
Search engine advertising allows you to gain instant visibility for your website and provides a wide range of options for targeting potential clients. Creating keyword campaigns or using remarketing to target those that have already visited your website is a great way to drive more traffic. Properly optimising your website landing pages will help you to reduce the cost per click from Google ads (they love it when everything is relevant).
These kinds of advertising campaigns can be really effective when set up properly and are especially relevant when launching a website or to drive traffic when visitor numbers are low.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase sales and website traffic. You can build a list of contacts through networking, sign up forms on your website and events. Providing useful content is a great way to entice people to sign up for newsletters and mailing lists.
Use tools like MailChimp to make your messages look great and reach the right people. You can segment your mailing lists so that you send targeted messages to specific groups and drive traffic to the pages on your site the will be most interested in or even create specific landing pages for your campaigns.
Digital marketing is vast and complex landscape that’s constantly changing. Whether you have a dedicated marketing department or you complete marketing activities yourself, it can be beneficial to develop a partnership with a marketing agency – don’t be afraid to get help from experts when you need it!
One of the great things about marketing in a digital space, is your ability to track and measure the effectiveness of campaigns. There are some great tools to help you understand the impact that your marketing is having. At the very least you should be connected to Google Analytics, but you may also benefit from using some paid tools or making the most that marketing partnership that allows you to plugin to a range of tracking software to really get a handle on what’s working.
Everything you do online reflects on your brand, on your own website, a news website, advertising or social media; send the right message to the right people.
In the final part of our Google ranking signals blog series, we’re going to take a look at how some common technical SEO problems can impact on your visibility.
Late last year, Google broke the news that they will be starting mobile-first indexing. This means that they will predominantly be looking at the content, structure and usability or your site on mobile devices. While this hasn’t happened yet, now is the time to take a good look at the mobile version of your website or your responsive programming to make sure everything is up to scratch.
If your pages are not optimised for mobile devices, they are likely to be discarded from mobile search results completely. If you already have mobile pages or your website is responsive, then you should focus even more on improving it in 2017 than ever before.
Google has said that they’re obsessed with fast loading websites.
Page load time can have a big impact on user experience. Slower pages are likely to have higher bounce rates and lower average dwell time, as well reducing conversion rates.
So if Google cares about how fast your site loads and your website visitors care enough to abandon pages and even purchases, then it’s definitely something you should be taking a close look at.
A common cause of slow pages is an abundance of uncompressed content, such as scripts, images, or CSS files, as well as failure to implement simple caching tactics. Those with shared hosting may also see delays from overloaded servers. Finding out why Google thinks your website is too slow is easy with Page Speed Insights. Google will list exactly which files are too large or delivered in suboptimal fashion and provide guidance on how to fix it.
But putting everything right may take quite a bit of effort and some technical know-how. It’s worth getting an experienced developer to make technical updates to your site based on Google’s recommendations.
Poor page speed can have another indirect influence your search visibility, as Google and alike allocate a crawl budget to your website, meaning that fewer pages could be crawled if your site is slow to load.
Google hates duplicate content. Whether it’s content that has been published on another website or a technical factor created by your websites configuration, it’s a bad problem and can even get your site removed from the search index.
More jargon you may be thinking! These small and seemingly insignificant aspects of your website set up can have a big impact on your search engine visibility. If your robots.txt file is set up incorrectly it could be telling search engines not to index your website in the first place. A sitemap helps search engines index your pages and the priority a page is given via the sitemap.xml file may also influence ranking. Crawl errors are things like missing or inappropriate meta data or broken links. If you’re not sure about how to understand whether you are providing the information that search engines need in order to properly crawl and list your pages then our technical SEO team can review your site and make recommendations.
The structure of your website can have a big impact on your visibility in search. The items in your main navigation should be the most important and internal links from within text and buttons should also point to important pages. If you have a site with a deep linking structure where pages link to other relevant pages that link to your most important pages, Google can see that these are the resources you are directing people to and place importance on them.
Broken links and poorly set up redirects can all be spotted by the Google algo and they’re paying attention. Your website visitors are bound to be annoyed when a link doesn’t work or takes them to a place they didn’t expect, remember, Google wants to provide the best results for search queries so they’re paying attention to what’s good for website visitors.
Orphan links are caused when you create a page but it is not linked from anywhere on your site. This can happen when you forget to link to it or a link is mistyped or replaced by another.
The best way to understand which of the many Google ranking signals are making the biggest impact in your niche is to try optimising for them and tracking progress.
While Google’s algorithms are complex, one overriding factor should be at the forefront of your mind when thinking about promoting and optimising your website for visibility.
Does this benefit web users?
Google wants to provide the most relevant, engaging and useful content they can, that’s how they’ll remain the biggest search engine on the planet! So, whatever you do online, make it the best quality resource it can be, be honest about what you’re providing and think about user expectations, experience and behaviour.
If it’s relevant, it’s most likely SEO future proof, so forget quick fixes and cheap links and buy into real PR and interest in what you’re offering.
Take a look at the other blogs in this series for SEO and ranking factors!
To achieve good visibility in search you’ll need to ensure your website has relevant, original content that is properly optimised and easy to access in a variety of browsers and on a variety of devices.
Onsite SEO is as important as ever and needs to be a big part of your digital marketing strategy. If you hope to stay ahead of the competition in either paid or organic search, your on page optimisation better be right.
Today we’ll take a look at what makes good content and why site structure and navigation impact not only user experience but also search engine visibility.
It’s no surprise that your content needs to be original and relevant, but in a world awash with information on every subject, how can you ensure your content outranks the competition? From blog posts to about pages and e-commerce products, content that really exceeds competitors is that which brings unique value by focusing on in-depth topics.
While we often think of our users as having short attention spans, it’s clear that a short article lacking in research and about a topic already covered by others is not likely to keep visitors focused.
Make sure your content is offering all the relevant information on your chosen topic but use great design and some common sense to segment your content into manageable sections with informative headings and useful graphics or images.
Mark Up & Structure
Make sure that all your content includes appropriate mark up, whether that be metadata, schema mark up, or other basic optimisation and usability tags like alt image tags. You should be using heading tags in a common sense way – a lot of people use these to style content regardless of page structure but Google will be expecting your H1 tag at the top of your page not a H6 because you like the font size!
Need help with this? Take a look at our recent blog on supercharging your website in search with meta data.
Ideal Content Length
Google specifically mentions content length as important criteria for page quality, although clearly there is no ideal length for all content. A good rule to follow is to identify pages that rank well in your niche and take a look at the content length. This should give you an idea of what’s working for consumers in your particular market.
Using a variety of content types is great for keeping your audience engaged. Most people are put off when presented with a white screen full of text, so try adding graphics or create a video that illustrates your point. We can digest video content better than any other form of information transmission (a topic for another blog post). If you are not using video already then you need to consider how to incorporate it into your content strategy, because your competitors already have! E-books, white papers and podcasts can all be highly engaging and show Google that you’re investing in quality diverse content.
Of course, user experience is important for your website visitors but it also has a big impact on your visibility in search engines. So, how does Google know if websites visitors are getting a good user experience?
There are several indicators that the Google algorithms can examine to understand whether website visitors are getting what they want from your website so here’s where we explain the jargon a little!
CTR – The number of people who click through to your content after seeing a listing in search
Bounce rate – The number of people who visit only one page on your website
Dwell time – How long people spend on your page when coming from a Google search
All these are indicators of quality. If Google is presenting your website in search but no one clicks then they’re likely to drop it a few places in the rankings. Google expects CTR to be within a certain range, for example branded keywords in the number 1 spot the result is around 50% and 33% for non-branded searches.
Bounce rate and dwell time offer obvious insights into how people are interacting you’re your content and indicate quality and relevance.
This is where optimising your meta data is important, not only will attention grabbing listings in search increase your click through rate, the relevance of that listing title and text will be important so that once people arrive on your page they receive the information they expected.
Other factors that may influence user behaviour on your site are navigation structure and functionality. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and provides clear and timely opportunities to discover more pages and more information. Check that the site passes Google’s mobile-friendly test and that it loads properly on a variety of devices and browsers. It’s important that your pages load quickly as this can cause people to abandon your site, increasing your bounce rate and eliminating the possibility for people to see your content.
Join us next time for insights into technical SEO and ranking factors!
Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of more than 200 signals, the relevancy and importance of each is highly debated and cannot be known for sure. The machine learning capabilities of their most recent algorithm updates and ability to understand semantics are impressive. It can be useful to know every detail of the list but for most businesses, the top ranking signals are all that is necessary to get ahead with good visibility in Google.
Today we’ll look at backlinks and several factors that represent the top signals for really making an impact for your business. We’ve taken data from our own research and experience as SEO and marketing providers as well as studies from SearchMetrics and Backlinko.
Backlinks are the number one ranking signal and a much-misunderstood area for businesses new to SEO. For many years, links pointing to a website have been a major factor in Google ranking. At first, the number of links was a good measure of how you might rank in Google. Over time the way Google looks at these links has evolved and they are now able to identify quality, relevant links and give more weight to these, ignoring or penalising businesses for poor or ‘black hat’ linking practices. Yes, Google can now identify so-called link schemes and low-quality links created for the sole purpose of higher rankings.
Google doesn’t want you to create links so that you rank higher, they want the users and creators of other websites to link to you because your content is good, relevant and interesting.
So you may think that quality and not quantity is what matters but this is only partly true. The number of links pointing to your domain is still very important and has a big impact on your ranking potential. It is suggested that a site’s link score is comprised of individual quality scores of all inbound links based on relevancy, links to the linking site etc etc. So more links results in a higher score as long as they are relevant, quality links.
Links also need to come from a variety of domains, link after link from the same place will not carry much weight and Google may only account for one link from each domain.
Low-quality links may include links from unrelated sites that have the potential to harm your SEO work. Just a few low-quality links are to be expected and shouldn’t cause you too much trouble to eradicate. Simply contact the site owner asking them to remove the link. If you fail to get the link removed in this way or you have a large number of low quality or spammy links, you may consider using the Google disavow tool. This tool enables you to list links for Google to ignore when evaluating your link profile. You can create and upload a disavow file to Google Search Console but be careful, you’ll need to follow certain syntax and formatting rules so a technical SEO professional may be needed to assist you.
Making sure links are coming from pages relevant to the page you are optimising is important and to do this you need to understand how Google works out what pages are about. Page titles, meta data and link anchor text are all signals that Google uses to identify content relevance between linking pages.
While relevance is important, so is diversity of anchor text. For many years it was considered good practice to allocate keywords to particular pages on your website and build links using exact match anchor text for those keywords pointing to the corresponding page. This has all changed along with guidelines for on-page optimisation due to the complexity of the Google algorithm.
Nowadays you’ll be optimising for searcher intent rather than specific variations of keywords and hopefully creating quality, relevant content. So your backlinks should be semantically relevant to the page they are linking to but many similar anchor text links could cause a penalty from Google’s Penguin algorithm.
While there are no hard and fast rules on how many different kinds of anchor text should be in your link profile there are a couple of rules we follow to help guarantee a diverse range and ‘natural’ link profile.
We recommend a minimum of 60% branded links pointing to your domain with URLs making up another 20%, generic text such as ‘here’ or ‘visit the website’and topic-related text should account for the other 20%. You can check out your most commonly used anchor texts in your backlink profile in SEO Powersuite SpyGlass
It’s been a few years since we first started talking about implied links or brand mentions and their potential impact on website visibility. Since then, there has been little clarification on just how much weight a brand mention or unlinked URL could carry within the Google algorithms and where exactly this should fit within your link building strategy.
Google’s patents seem to suggest that this fits within the Panda algorithm and everything we know about how they decide what’s relevant, quality and well received by web users, leads us to think that these kind of ‘links’ should be a small but important part of your link profile.
You can also use tracking of brand mentions in your outreach and contact sites to request that they add a link to a relevant page on your website. This is likely to carry more weight than just a mention, but remember that mentions increase your authority not just with Google but also with each person who engages with that content, building your reputation and trust.
If it’s relevant it’s most likely SEO future proof, so forget quick fixes and cheap links and buy into real PR and interest in what you’re offering. Reach out to relevant websites and influencers in your niche and get them excited about what you’re doing, offer them great content and ask for relevant links.
Join us next time for insights into on-page SEO and ranking factors!
A couple of years ago people were prophesizing the demise of the ‘overused’ infographic but in 2017 it’s clear that we still love them and they represent a very effective way of gaining exposure, contacts, website links and social media engagement.
So what makes infographics so good at achieving all the outcomes we want from our digital and content marketing efforts?
It’s widely accepted that 65% of the population are visual learners, recent research also shows us that written or spoken information is lost more easily than visual information. In fact, in one study users retained only 10-20 of written or spoken content but nearly 65% of visual content.
Marcel Just – Director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carneigie Mellon University sums this up nicely:
“Processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artifact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast, Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it. Even the spoken language is much more a given biologically than reading written language.”
So according to the experts, we’re hard-wired to process and respond to visual stimulus. It’s no wonder that infographics are loved, shared and talked about!
Infographics represent a very efficient way of presenting ideas and data that evokes emotion. Images like photographs and graphics are persuasive tools that we’ve been using for a long time to get our point across in media and presentations. In fact, research by the University of Minnesota found that presentations including visual elements were 43% more persuasive than unaided presentations.
Data from our extensive social media use is also telling of the ongoing success of visual media, twice as many people, on average share posts on Facebook that have at least one image in the post.
The great thing about infographics, is that they allow you to convey lots of information sometimes on a variety of topics, while being easy to digest. Digital marketing has so many aspects and picking out the biggest priorities for small to medium-sized businesses was not easy. But putting all this information together in our recent Digital Marketing Priorities for 2017 infographic allowed us to break it down in a way that was visually appealing, memorable and engaging.
We placed the most important priorities at the top, and because it’s far and away the most important, we even added a button to the top priority. So, if there’s one thing you invest in for your digital marketing in 2017 make sure it’s your mobile experience and any mobile technical issues.
We were also able to tie the whole piece together with our brand colours and by using repeating elements throughout. A theme helps with this, often we talk about launching a digital marketing campaign and lots of services are in ‘the cloud’ so this seemed to be a great theme for us and let us bring everything together with a bright sky background complete with clouds!
Once you’ve put all that work into creating your amazing infographic, you’ll want to make sure as many people see it as possible. So ask your contacts to share, create a list of relevant blogs and niche websites who might be interested in what you’ve got to share and get in touch.
Most people will include a link back to the infographic hosted on your website but it’s best to include your logo or web address at the end of your graphic like we have, as some will not link to you.
Creating content in the form of an infographic allowed us to provide our audience with an insight into some of the great tools that we use to enhance our digital marketing efforts. By mentioning helpful tools and companies you add value to your graphic. This can also help you with your outreach efforts; you’ll need to invest significant time and effort reaching out to relevant companies, infographic directories and most importantly, influencers in your industry, to get the infographic shared and republished. We contacted all the companies we mentioned in the infographic and several shared our content providing valuable links back to our website and pointing people to our social media.
On your own site, make sure you’ve included relevant social tags (open graph tags) so that your post looks great on Facebook and alike; research shows that articles that implement the Facebook preview image meta tag receive more than three times as many Facebook shares and likes.
But don’t stop there! There are some great ways that you can repurpose and share your infographic. Social channels are going to give limited exposure to your visuals as they crop and scale everything to fit in with their app or website. You can get a lot more traction by breaking your infographic up into sections and sharing each one. This worked great for us, we shared a snippet a day and were able to tag each of those marketing tools in the posts; promote them and they may promote you. Either way, it’s great to get in touch with these kinds of companies and it could be helpful in the future. Since we started posting these snippets we’ve gained around twice as many impressions on twitter as usual! That a lot more people we’re reaching!
Social media isn’t the only place to repurpose your content. With a little extra work, you can create a LinkedIn SlideShare or video with your infographic. In a recent study, digital marketing giants, Moz showed that articles containing videos receive nearly 300% more inbound links, and videos/images drive the highest engagement on Facebook. With a segmented infographic it’s relatively simple to create these extra types of content from all that visual collateral.
So, infographics are STILL a great way to provide amazing content and reach a larger audience. While there’s a lot to think about when launching this year’s digital marketing campaigns, we hope you’ll all be able to find a place for an informative and useful infographic, and the resources to promote it effectively to gain greater visibility for your brand. Remember there are great tools out there to help you, so you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make great visual content!
Take a peek at the full Digital Marketing Priorities for 2017 infographic to find out the top priorities for your business this year.
After many months of preparation, the day has finally arrived, and you are ready to step onto the exhibition stand at your trade show.
For some businesses, exhibiting at a trade event can be nerve-wracking and for others it’s an exciting way to engage with customers. However, you’re feeling on the big day, this type of event is the ideal way for you to place your products or services in front of your customers and really explain what it’s all about.
Hopefully you’re passionate about what you’re offering and your staff are well versed and share your vision for the company, if that’s the case then the clients that visit your stand will have a positive experience.
Here are our top tips to help you get more from your event investment.
In the months leading up to this point, you will have to plan, book, design, print and calculate. You’ll need the stand to look fabulous, do you need a stand designed and built? Do you have brochures and other collateral visitors can take away with them, why will they remember you after visiting all those other businesses?
It’s essential that you consider every little detail, from how you will be travelling to the show to who will be putting the stand together. Make sure that all logistics are taken care of well in advance, so that you can concentrate on promoting your company without any distractions.
Always ensure that you have enough people to deal with all anticipated visitors to your stand. Too many staff and it may seem that your area is overcrowded. There’s nothing worse than a stand full of staff but no customers!
Body language is really important here, no slouching over the desk or playing on your phone or laptop. Make sure to appear friendly and approachable at all times.
Whilst it’s important that you are dressed to look smart, you need to remember that you’ll be spending a long time on your feet so comfort is also of the upmost importance. Flat shoes are a must!
Your stand display should be well lit, attractive and eye catching. Having enough collateral on display to draw attention and to give to prospects is great and also gives the quieter visitors something to look over before deciding whether to engage. It’s important that your product or literature displays don’t appear overcrowded or cluttered, throw out those empty coffee cups, keep it clean!
Social media can be your best friend at an exhibition or trade show. Use live tweeting as a way to interact with customers at the show and raise awareness of your stand. You can also use twitter to engage customers into a stand competition or have a live stream of your tweets or the events hashtags to make your stand more interesting.
You're looking to win leads and attract new business, after all you’ve invested in the exhibition space, the stand design, all sorts of collateral, not to mention your time and that of your staff to prepare and participate. But wait, go gently! There’s nothing more unattractive than an over-zealous salesman jumping on an unsuspecting visitor. Use your friendly and welcoming approach to engage your visitors in interaction, ask them open questions about their business and whether they could use your products or services to draw them into natural communication.
You can win some exciting leads at exhibitions but without follow up they may go nowhere. Ensure you have a way of storing information about your stand visitors. Not everyone carries business cards these days so you may just want a way to jot down their contact info and a bit about them.
I find it helpful to write a little about what we discussed if there’s anything pertinent but do this after they’ve gone so your attention is with them while they’re at the stand.
You can keep a list of visitor info, either on a tablet, laptop or just paper. However you choose to do it, you must ensure that all visitors to your stand are followed up in good time and with relevant information. These potential new customers are, after all, the very reason you exhibited in the first place.
There’s plenty of jargon surrounding online visibility, from SERPs to meta descriptions and CTRs, if you’re not a marketer these terms can mean very little to you. Your online visibility and web traffic are important so now is the time to get on top of what this all means and how to make it work for your business.
Let’s break it down!
Obviously, as marketers, we want to have some control over the way our brand is displayed on the most popular platforms and increase our CTRs for more traffic, conversions and revenue.
The clickable title, URL and descriptions that appear in search results are very much under your control.
Here’s an example:
These elements should relate clearly to the content on the page, it’s important for your visitors and the search engines that you deliver what you promise. Titles and meta descriptions help people to determine what your web page or article is all about. More importantly, they should grab attention and help to persuade people to click on the link. You can include a call-to-action or benefit for the web user to encourage them to click.
Yes, but in a different way than they used to. Google’s shift towards semantic search means that your title and description tags do not necessarily need to contain the exact keyword you rank for. In fact, it’s likely that 40% of search results will not contain the exact keyword you typed into search. Computer learning and more precisely something called Rankbrain (Google’s machine learning artificial intelligence algorithm), has made it easier for Google to understand what words and phrases mean similar things and to better understand searcher intent.
Search engines will still compare your title and description tags to other content on your page and use this to understand what the content is about. So rather than being one of the top ranking signals for search engines, these tags are an important part of the signals they use to determine rank and relevance.
Another factor that makes these tags important in terms of ranking well in SERPs is their impact on click-through rate. It’s clear that Google is paying attention to how many people click on links in search and what they do once they reach your page. CTR, dwell time and bounce rate are official ranking factors and performing well in these areas will help you rank well to begin with and retain good rankings over time.
Improving your meta titles and descriptions will improve your CTR, and your improved CTR improves your search ranking. Ensuring these elements are relevant and descriptive of what your page offers will help to increase page dwell time and your website’s navigation and calls-to-action will help combat a poor bounce rate. Furthermore, a lot of marketers still ignore these opportunities, which opens up a competitive window that you can exploit to stay ahead of the competition.
Not including metadata or worse, restricting access from your robot.txt file can have a significant impact on how your brand appears in search. Google will most likely pull a snippet from your first paragraph of content, ending the snippet with …
This not only eliminates the opportunity to pitch your content to searchers but leaves unfinished sentences and just looks plain bad!
Limiting your metadata through a poorly thought out robots.txt file (used by search engines to understand what parts of your content to index) is likely to result in no description being displayed or a snippet advising that you’ve limited it from this file. It’s hardly likely to encourage anyone to click through to your content!
Sometimes when you have a page with a lot of information your content relates well to a searcher's query but your chosen metadata doesn’t. If your content is giving other good signals, then Google may decide to present a relevant snippet from your page content instead of your metadata.
While there’s no limit on how many characters your meta title or description can or should be, Google only shows around 55 characters for a title and 160 characters for a description. The actual limit is based on pixels and some other elements effect the length too. For example, if your content is an article and the date is specified in search then your description is likely to be between 136 and 146 characters.
Some CMS (content management systems) give guidance on appropriate lengths of these tags but if not we recommend a great tool from SEO Mofo. Take a look at their Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool, it also allows you to add a date and other snippet info to see how this affects the display.
We use Grammarly to ensure all our copy is perfect and metadata is no different. See the little green and red circles on our snippet optimiser? This is Grammarly at work! The plugin for Chrome and Firefox browsers checks our emails, blog posts and any other text areas we complete and alerts us to potential spelling and grammar errors.
Play fair with your website visitors and it’ll increase your dwell time, helping you maintain those hard earned rankings. Make sure that your metadata explains what’s in your content, the benefits to the reader and doesn’t make false promises. Avoid overselling your content and instead, deliver what the searcher expects.
When we talk about calls-to-action we’re usually trying to encourage an audience to do something; click, share, buy etc. In terms of metadata, we want people to click so we need to offer a positive outcome as a reward for taking this action. Ask searchers to learn, discover or gain insight and tell them what their reward will be.
You can play on a person’s pleasure and pain responses by showing them what they can achieve or what they might be missing out on, here’s a good example:
“Discover the digital marketing must-haves infographic for 2017, with our favourite tools and services to make sure you're at the top of your game”
While we don’t speak in terms of optimising content for a particular keyword anymore, finding a relevant keyword from your keyword group is a good idea. Google will highlight searches that match your keyword (or a phrase that has a similar meaning) in bold type in the search results. This can help convince searchers that your page contains content relevant to their search.
Be concise, realistic and focused on the content you’re offering. Like all good digital marketing techniques, the trick is to be relevant. Your metadata is part of your content so make sure it’s all great quality and offers what your target audience is interested in.
Planning your digital marketing can be a daunting task. Priorities, tools and technologies are shifting at an alarming rate, so it can be difficult to keep up. But it's the nature of this changing landscape that makes it so important to stay ahead of the digital marketing necessities. If you put this task aside for too long your competition will be biting at your heels and valuable referral, paid and organic traffic can be lost, affecting your bottom line. It’s time to make sure you know the top priorities for getting your digital marketing right over the coming year.
2016 saw a great deal of changes to the digital landscape. Late in the year, we saw mobile access to the web exceed desktop for the first time. In the US and the UK, we still see a slight favour towards desktop access but the balance is shifting there too. And there's no doubt that Google is taking this very seriously. In a recent announcement, they expressed their intention to move towards a mobile-first index, meaning that your mobile website will become more important in terms of organic search and content or markup missing for the site could mean drops on rankings and visibility. It's also important for all of us to make sure our websites are giving a great user experience on all devices and Google will continue to look at our sites and the way visitors interact with them to determine quality.
Other big news from last year was a continuation of the growth of social media users and the expansion of social media advertising opportunities. Instagram saw their traffic hit new heights with 500 million active users in the middle of the year and that number rising to 600 million by December.
Looking forward, we're likely to see opportunities expanding in VR, wearables like AppleWatch, Apps becoming more accessible to small businesses and growth in the importance of natural speech optimisation with the prevalence of voice search. If your business is looking to cover the most important aspects of digital marketing, stick with great content, and a responsive website with excellent user experience, optimised sales funnels and an engaging social media strategy.
It's time to check your list of priorities, call a designer or developer for urgent updates and think about your content across the web. You could make an impact by updating your current resources or analysing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Think about some important opportunities that could be making a big difference to your business. Could your sales funnels be doing more, should you be advertising in search, display or social? Could marketing automation be the answer to making the most of your leads? It can be difficult to decide where you should focus your marketing efforts to get your message out to customers and gain an advantage over your competitors.
Our specialist digital and design teams have put their heads together to bring you a fun and unmissable list of digital marketing must-haves for 2017. We’ve included some of our favourite tools and services you can use to save time and make sure you’re at the top of your game.
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Top Digital Marketing Priorities for 2017 - An infographic by the team at Nancarrow Partnerships
https://nancarrowpartnerships.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Digital-marketing-infographic-01.png<img src="http://nancarrowpartnerships.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Digital-marketing-infographic-2017-01-1.png" width="800"></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Top Digital Marketing Priorities for 2017 - An infographic by the team at <a href="http://nancarrowpartnerships.com/digital-marketing-priorities-for-2017-infographic/">Nancarrow Partnerships</a></p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />