Sep 2022

Why Your Small Businesses Needs a Modern Website Design

BLOG Custom Web Design

When you own a small business, it can be a challenge to generate public interest for your products and services. Advertising for your small business using conventional methods can cost a lot and does not guarantee revenue. A good way to make your business visible to your target demographic is to have a modern website design in 2022. Of course, you will obviously want to generate more traffic to your website. More website visitors means that there will be more potential customers for your business. It is important that your website looks appealing, whether you are selling a product or a service. You want the customers to be curious about you and what you can provide for them. Needless to say, a common element of websites today is that they have a sleek, modern look. You want your business to stand out and attract the eyes of today’s modern consumers. Your website needs to be simple for ease of access yet flexible enough to adapt to modern trends.

What is a Modern Website Design?

When we say modern, it doesn’t have to be futuristic or too outrageous. A modern design appeals to the taste of a majority of people in the modern era. Like every woman’s little black dress, a modern website is long-lasting, versatile, and widely accessible. The simplistic nature of a modern website makes it easier for visitors to navigate, especially when you’re selling products online. Your website has to have a user-friendly interface that can accommodate people with disabilities or impairments.

Another thing to consider about modern websites is that the pages load faster than those of older websites. This has more to do with the technicalities that come with the creation of the website. Consumers that visit your website will be more satisfied if a webpage loads up fast because it saves time.

Let’s say you already have a website for your small business. Is it keeping up with modern online trends? Modern technology changes our lifestyle at a rapid pace and small businesses need to keep up with these changes too.

Advantages to Having a Modern Website Design

  1. It Makes a Great First Impression

First impressions matter, whether it’s a physical store or an ecommerce site. When you walk inside a place of business, you’ll notice that the ambiance will leave a lasting impression on you. A website’s homepage is the online storefront of your business, and it will make an impression on potential customers. Enlisting the help of companies that offer professional web design services is the first step toward your goals. Professional web designers will help you create a modern website that fits your business’ aesthetic. Not to mention, having professionals help with website management can save you time for more important business matters. Modern websites are also accessible by phone or tablet, so they can work well on any device. Your visitors can have a great first impression of your business that will boost your appeal.

  1. You Have More Control

Having your own modern website allows you to control what people see. You direct your audience’s attention to certain services or products that will be beneficial to them. The ability to control the general appearance of your website is yours alone. You have the final say on the content you want or make any type of change you see fit. If you want to appeal to a certain demographic, design your website according to their preferences.

Solely relying on a third-party website like social media can have drawbacks, especially for a small business. You don’t own the social media platform, therefore you don’t control your business’ visibility. Other third-party websites only offer limited accessibility and can’t cover the entirety of your business. The goal of having your own website is to let your audience have access to your business and your services.

  1. A Modern Website Garners Credibility

When your small business has its own website, it lends credence to your online business branding. You grow your brand online, gain the consumer’s trust, and in turn, increase your credibility. Many small businesses have grown exponentially just by having a simple, modern look on their website. You get to show your customers that you, as a brand, can stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

Website designs that are simple and easy to use make your customers feel at ease while browsing around. By having a modern website, you are showing that you have the ability to adapt to modern changes. New technological trends can change the look and feel of your website. Adding different functions that encourage customer engagement can help boost your credibility as a business.

  1. Modern Websites Provide Accessibility

Gone are the days when people needed to leave their homes to visit commercial establishments. These days, people tend to check a business’ online store if something is available before deciding to make a purchase. Some people prefer to shop online, and others book services online rather than make a call. When your website lists the service that a customer needs, you open the door for online marketing for your business.

A lot of people prefer the convenience that a business website provides. If a person can’t leave their home because of a medical condition, an easily accessible modern website is a blessing. Not only will you gain more customers, but you’re also helping existing customers have easy access to your services.

  1. It Helps Expand Your Business Reach

When you’re starting out as a small business, it may be challenging to get the word out about your business. Having a modern website will help expand your reach as it provides a “branch” for your business on the web. You can take advantage of social media sites with millions of users to steer traffic towards your website. It’s a great modern marketing strategy to post interesting articles on social media that will grab your target demographic’s attention. A lot of modern websites also come with links to various social media platforms to interact with their consumers. You even have the option to add blog posts to your website. Blogs help educate your target demographic about various topics relating to your business. You can attract consumers from all over the country once you have a modern website for your small business.

  1. A Modern Website Ensures Long-Term Success

Billions of people use the internet to shop for products or services. Today’s digital world is ever-changing, trends come and go, and new technologies evolve. A modern website guarantees flexibility to these changes, and your small business will grow exponentially. The beauty of modernity when it comes to managing a website is that you can make changes whenever you want.

Once you’ve made the decision to set up a modern website, there are some factors you may need to consider. Business trends tend to change over the years, sometimes even over the course of a few months. Running a website is no easy task, and having professional help will ensure that your website runs seamlessly.

Why Set up a Design for Your Website?

Most modern businesses rely heavily on their website to attract new clients. The website must fit what you’re offering to your customers. An interactive website will appeal more to your target demographic than a bland website with few features. You can also rest assured that the visitors you get on your website will most likely be potential customers. Most online users prefer to make transactions online rather than go to a physical establishment. Think of it like you’re decorating your business offices — you’d want to design it to fit your brand. There will be less confusion as to what exactly your business entails, or what your brand is all about. You want your target demographic to feel at ease when viewing your website.

What Elements Do the Best Modern Websites Have?

You’re ready to have a modern website for your small business, but you don’t know where to begin? Many key elements go with website building, and there are so many features to choose from. It takes less than a second for online users to make a judgment on your website. That being said, your website must have these features:

  • Security

Unlike older websites, modern websites are regularly updated with plugins and software that ensure the security of your domain. You won’t have to worry about your website being hacked, and it lessens the risk of compromised data. Additionally, having a secure website will make your consumers trust that their information is safe with your business. Gaining the consumer’s trust means they’re likely to recommend your growing business to other potential customers.

However, maintaining the security of a business, whether it’s a physical store or an ecommerce site, goes both ways. You’ll also need to ensure that you employ staff that you can trust with your company or business information.

  • Integrated SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is valuable for all websites. It makes your small business’ website easier to search on the internet using any search engine available. Knowing what keywords your target demographic searches for online will contribute to your website’s visibility. Modern websites have tools and plugins in place that ensure your website is easier to find. When a person searches for a keyword related to your business, your website may be first on the list. It would take hours to delve deeper into every nuance of the keywords used in SEO. Suffice it to say that making your website optimized for SEO can bring more people to your website. When you take advantage of this, you can maximize your business’ potential for the top position in search engine rankings.

  • Designed to Be Responsive

Modern websites have built-in features that allow the consumers to interact with the business. Most people access websites through handheld devices such as phones or tablets, and your website needs to be flexible. Your target demographic may have questions that they want to ask about your business, so what do you do? You have several options, such as displaying your phone numbers and email or having them leave a message using a form. Another convenient way is to have a chat box on your website. Modern websites can have plugins that enable their customers to chat directly with a representative from your business. Responsiveness is an integral part of your website as it saves both you and the consumers time and energy.

  • Reviews, Recommendations, and Testimonials

As previously mentioned, it’s important to build trust with your consumers to inspire loyalty. When running a business website, you want consumers to have a way to voice their opinions about your service. Letting them leave reviews and testimonials can help improve your business strategies. When they leave a good review, display it on your website so others can see that you’re a trustworthy business.

Having an option to recommend your services to other potential consumers is also necessary. Extremely satisfied consumers may want to recommend your products or services to people that they know. Modern websites can make this easier by putting up a convenient form for them to fill out.

  • A Map to Your Business

There will be times when a website visitor may want to visit your place of business. Simply listing your address on the website is not enough. You want to lead your target demographic directly to your place by having a convenient map displayed on the website. Whether you have a small business or a well-established one, you should have clear directions to your business. This will help save time and energy, and prevent your potential client from getting lost along the way.

  • Personalized Content

You don’t want your modern website to have generic content that you can see on any other website. Remember that you are building your brand for your small business online. Your website should embody what your online business is offering, be it a specific product or a service.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your content should not sound robotic. Remember that it’s more challenging to convey your message through written words since they don’t convey your tone of voice. Try to make the content as though you are speaking in person with your target demographic. Keep it friendly, empathic, and respectful, without compromising the quality of your personalized content.

  • Open to Diversity

In this modern age, it’s commonplace to see a diverse culture of people running a business online. Are you an owner of a small business that employs people from multiple cultures? Your modern website should also show that you are open to diversity by displaying multicultural photos. This will show potential consumers that your business is inclusive of people from various races and cultures. A business with an inclusive mindset is an essential trait to have in these modern times and our ever-changing society.

Being open to diversity doesn’t just involve race, this can apply to gender norms as well. You are showing your target demographic that you do not discriminate when it comes to race, gender, or culture. Other consumers with a multicultural background will also feel comfortable when employing your services.

  • No Ads

While it may seem like a trivial thing to some, it is very beneficial to your business. People can focus more on your website’s content rather than get distracted by countless advertisements. It adds to the clean look of your website, making it look more professional. This also instills confidence in your target demographic because it shows that you value professionalism.

Find People to Help Maintain Your Website

Once you’ve taken advantage of these features for your website, you’ll need people to run the maintenance of your website. With digital marketing becoming more commonplace, there are also more people offering website maintenance for businesses. A website made especially for your business is like a second home for your business on the world wide web. You will need dependable people who are equipped with the skills to meet your needs when building a website. There’s also the question of how cost-effective the services are and how fast they can work to meet your demands.

What We Offer:

Sapient eCommerce specializes in developing modern websites to meet the unique needs of businesses, big or small. Our web design experts will coordinate with you to choose which modern website layout fits your business aesthetics the best. Whether your small business is an online shop or you’re offering specialized services, we are here for you!

We will be your partners in growing your small business and help you maintain a modern website with these services:

  • Custom Website Design
  • eCommerce Website Development
  • Web Hosting
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Graphic Design
  • Video Production
  • Social Media Management
  • Order Fulfillment

Our team of expert web designers specializes in WordPress-powered websites that are flexible enough to fit any business industry. You can trust our web development and SEO marketing strategies to help you achieve your business goals. We also have teams dedicated to keeping your modern website well-maintained so it can adapt to shifts in trends. Contact us so you can speak with our specialist about your preferences for your business website. You have the freedom to choose what elements to include with our tailor-made web development services!

 

 

Aug 2022

How Construction Equipment Rental Companies Cash in on E-commerce

While e-commerce can initially seem threatening for commercial and industrial machinery and construction equipment rental companies, dealers, OEMs, and aftermarket supplier partners, it’s a major opportunity to meet their customers where they’re at.

Construction Equipment Rental

About three-quarters of all B2B buyers begin their buying process with a generic search for a type of product.  Gearflow

 

Here’s a dose of reality for anyone who still thinks e-commerce in the construction equipment industry is unnecessary: Contractors today do not shop the way they used to.

And it’s not that it’s changing; it has already changed.

Since 2016, millennials have made up most of the workforce.

Why does that matter? Two main reasons:

1)     As digital natives, millennials start their B2B procurement process differently. They begin with an online search, no matter the product or industry.

2)      Millennials, the oldest of whom are turning 40 this year, are increasingly the decision-makers in their organizations. According to a Merit study, up to 73% of all B2B buyers are now millennials.

While that can initially seem threatening for construction equipment rental companies, dealers, OEMs, and aftermarket supplier partners, it’s a major opportunity to meet their customers where they’re at, says Jimmy Mansker, global director of e-commerce for CNH Industrial.

“It is really important for us to think about the end customer and how we can help them become more efficient when dealing with equipment repairs and speed up the time to get them back to the job site,” Mansker says.

Construction e-commerce opens up the potential for rental companies and dealers to add value, at a time when supply chain disruptions have compounded costly downtime and fleet manager views about their dealers’ abilities to help them have diminished in the past two years.

Offering online services won’t diminish a distributor’s relationship with their contractor customers, Mansker says. It will enhance it.

“The way we look at e-commerce is changing,” he says. “It’s a service that the customer has come to expect.”

Having an e-commerce presence on multiple online channels is important because it provides a more comprehensive service for customers. Gearflow

 

Speeding Up Procurement

The widespread digital shift in B2B buying habits is not only affecting millennials.

According to Google, almost three-quarters of all B2B buyers begin their buying process with a generic search for a type of product. In fact, by the time they reach out to their rental company or dealer, they already have a pretty good idea of what they need.

Research shows that in today’s world of online research, an estimated 70% of the buying decision is made before a customer ever contacts a vendor, regardless of whether it results in an online or offline purchase.

But this does not mean that contractors do not want their rental companies or dealers involved, Mansker says.

“They’re better educated to talk to the dealer,” he says. “The customer still wants the dealer to lead the process — they want the dealer engaged.”

Mansker says contractor customers also want to know pricing, availability and the time it will take to get their parts or equipment, including whether their order can be shipped or picked up at their nearest location on the same day. The more information the rental company or dealer can provide online, the faster the contractor can get to the point of purchase.

“I think everyone’s getting used to faster transactions in your everyday life, whether I’m buying on Amazon, and it takes me three seconds to buy something, or I go to McDonald’s, and they have three different drive-thru lanes,” Mansker says. “Everything that’s being done in retail from a technology perspective is driving that faster transaction expectation.”

The equipment distributor is also in a prime position to provide that information based on their experience and knowledge, because contractors would rather turn to them over one of the industry-agnostic e-commerce giants, such as Amazon and eBay.

“Our advantage over Amazon is related to returns,” Mansker says. “That’s because when a buyer looks up a part, you need the assembly and build information to be able to decide. Amazon doesn’t have that — they have whatever some supplier has told them.”

This is a key area where distributors can differentiate themselves online, he says.

“We are making sure that when we create online experiences for customers, we’re getting them to the equipment or part that they’re looking for and making sure that we’re giving good information,” Mansker says. “But we’re tying it to the dealer, so they always know that their dealer is the ultimate expert and the ultimate solution driver.”

E-commerce can provide deeper insights into customer buying behavior and fleet maintenance needs, allowing rental companies and dealers to assist contractors more proactively. Gearflow

 

Creating Flexibility

The other major benefit is that e-commerce offers contractors more options.

“It provides OEMs and dealers the opportunity to continue to connect with their end users in the way they want to shop,” Mansker says. “Some contractors prefer the self-service method, and e-commerce gives them that flexibility while allowing them to still engage with their dealer to ensure they get the correct parts and equipment.”

Having an e-commerce presence on multiple online channels, including both brand sites and marketplaces is also important because it provides a more comprehensive service for customers.

Earlier this year, CNH Industrial partnered with Gearflow, the largest parts marketplace built for the construction equipment industry. This partnership will allow CNH and its dealers to better address the needs of their mixed fleet customers, making it easier for them to shop for parts on one platform, while still maintaining the relationships they’ve developed.

“Marketplaces give the end users the ability to simplify purchasing for a job site,” Mansker says. “We are very interested in ways that simplify customers doing business with our dealers and supporting our dealers in doing this.”

Daniele Maggiolini, global head of business development for CNH Industrial, says marketplace participation can help contractors fulfill orders that their dealers may not be able to, due to the age of the machine or availability of inventory. This demonstrates that they care about their customers’ productivity and success, he says.

“We’re focusing on what really matters for our customers, which is their uptime, convenience, and experience,” Maggiolini says. “So, we’re trying to shift our focus from purely being product-based to offering solutions.”

E-commerce can also provide deeper insights into customer buying behavior and fleet maintenance needs, allowing rental companies and dealers to assist contractors more proactively, he says.

“When we look at the value that we bring to our customers and how we want to build a customer-centric approach, first we need to develop a better understanding of our customers,” Maggiolini says.

This includes offering communication and purchasing tools based on customer preference, such as the capability for contractors to text orders or ask questions via instant message.

“These are big pieces on the horizon that can allow dealers to support the end users directly from a website,” Mansker says. “The ability to understand new technology and how it can increase efficiencies on the job site is another huge opportunity.”

Ultimately, e-commerce strengthens the symbiotic relationship between the equipment distributor and the contractor — the rental company or dealer reinforces its position as an integral partner that the contractor will continue to rely on for years to come.

“Part of the vision for e-commerce is that this is one way we can help dealers keep their service bays full,” Mansker says. “Over time, we can then use e-commerce to create tools to connect end users to the full suite of offerings that dealers have in their locations.”

Source: Karen Scally at Gearflow

 

Contact Us and Cash in on all the benefits of eCommerce CLICK HERE

 

 

Mar 2022

How to Implement a Local SEO Strategy

How to Implement a Local SEO Strategy

Smartphone showing local SEO Buttons
How to Implement a Local SEO Strategy
15 minute read

Understanding the elements of local SEO and implementing them are two totally different things. Here are a few actionable practices.

1. Creating a Google My Business Profile

Google My Business
Google My Business Listing for Local SEO

Creating your Google My Business Profile should be a top priority for every small business. Why? They hold the most weight in how customers will view your business and how to find you. Let’s take a look at an example to better understand this principle.

Assume that someone interested in creating a local search engine optimization strategy is running a computer repair services business in West Palm Beach, Florida. The company is called ABC Computer Repair Services. The idea behind the strategy is to appear on the search engine results page (SERP) when customers search for phrases like computer repair shops near me, computer repair in West Palm Beach, ABC Computer Repair Services phone number, and other similar phrases.

These phrases, however, are optimized for better placements because Google will display results from Google My Business as a card-like result toward the top. This is known by experts as Service in Locations, or SiLs The idea here is to create phrases in this type of format by combining the products or services a company offers with important keywords. A great way to search for ideas is to visit Google directly and enter some of the aforementioned phrases (but tailored to your business). Google will generate an autocomplete for suggested searches.

2. Begin Your Keyword Research

An additional tool that can provide insight as to what others are using and how they rank is to research phrases and words using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. The tool is highly effective not only in looking at search volume but also in generating possible alternatives. The tool is free to use and should be in the arsenal of items that every person looking to perform local SEO has at their disposal. You can also search online for countless tools that analyze how competitors rank using specific keywords. Try this with similar businesses in other geographical areas. This will give an idea of which words are important.

3. Optimize for Other Search Engines

Local SEO— and pretty much any SEO—is centered around Google. Therefore, interested parties need to use all resources that Google provides, including Google My Business. Make use of the similar tools provided by Bing Local and Apple Maps. Complete NAP and citations as indicated at the beginning of the article. Keep in mind that these are critical to ranking high in local searches, so take your time and ensure that the information is complete and updated. 

4. On-Page Optimization for Small Business Owners

Once citations and NAP have been set up, the business should continue the progress of optimizing for local results by creating landing pages for each location the business may have. For example, our West Palm Beach computer store could create pages like

yourdomain.com/westpalmbeach and yourdomain.com/jupiter. These should be location-specific landing pages. Do not create the same landing page using different keywords or terms, as Google will catch on and penalize the company.

Google’s latest update uses geo-tracking to infer the location of the company. Therefore, a businesses’ primary location should be optimized on the home page. This means that name, address, and phone number should be displayed on the main page along with an embedded Google Map. Other relevant information that can increase the visibility locally includes reviews and testimonials and relevant markup.

6. Updating existing content

As you update content throughout your site, keep in mind that you should also update your title tags and meta descriptions to reflect your local keyword research. Depending on the number of pages this can take a great deal of time, but there are tools that can make the process easier.

5. Building Backlinks

After the site has been optimized for location, the organization should focus on link signals and developing a link-building strategy. Most small businesses opt for SEO companies to perform their backlink efforts, but you don’t have to.

Continuing with the example of a computer services business, the company can create useful local resources that are valuable to those needing services. For example, the business can create a quick guide to fix the most common computer viruses. Make sure that the location is mentioned naturally in the text of the guide. Along with this quality content, engage in link building by creating guest blog posts. These are among the best ways to obtain a high-quality link.

Local SEO & Small Business SEO FAQs

Still have questions regarding local search rankings? We have answers.

What is local SEO vs SEO?

When it comes to optimizing your website for Google, there are two main schools of thought: local SEO and global SEO. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand the key differences before you start any optimization campaigns.

Local SEO is all about optimizing your website for specific geographic locations. This might include optimizing your website for specific keywords that are relevant to your location or adding local business listings to your website. The goal of local SEO is to make your website more visible to local searchers.

SEO, on the other hand, is about optimizing your website for global search. This might include optimizing your website for keywords that are relevant to your business, but not necessarily location-specific. The goal of SEO is to make your website more visible to global searchers.

There are pros and cons to both local SEO and global SEO. With local SEO, you can target specific geographic locations and potentially get more traffic from local searchers. However, global SEO can reach a larger audience and potentially generate more leads and sales.

Ultimately, the best approach for your business depends on your specific goals and target market. If you’re not sure which approach is best for you, contact a local SEO expert for help.

How much should a small business pay for SEO?

Small businesses should budget around $1,000 – $3,000 per month for SEO services, depending on the competitiveness of their industry and the size of their website. Larger businesses may need to budget more for SEO services, while smaller businesses may be able to get away with spending less. Ultimately, the goal is to have your website show up as one of the top results in a search engine for relevant keywords and phrases.

How long does local SEO take to work?

It can take a while for local SEO to take effect, depending on the competitiveness of your industry and the strength of your competition. Generally, though, you should start to see results in the form of increased website traffic and leads within six to twelve months.

How do I set up a Google My Business Lists?

Setting up a Google My Business Lists is a great way to keep track of your business locations and hours. To create a listing, follow these steps:

  1. Sign into your Google My Business account.

  2. Click the Locate Business button.

  3. Click the blue Add link in the Lists section.

  4. Enter a name for your list and click Create.

  5. To add a business location to your list, click the Add link next to the business name.

  6. Remove a business location from your list by clicking the Remove link next to the business name.

  7. To change the order of your list, drag and drop the business locations.

  8. Edit the information for a business location by clicking the Edit link.

  9. To delete a business location from your list, click the Delete link.

  • When you’re finished, click the Save button.

How do I increase my odds of appearing in a Local Pack on Google?

There is no one definitive answer to this question, as the Local Pack is determined by a variety of factors, including the search engine’s own algorithm and the user’s search intent. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of appearing in a Local Pack:

  • Make sure your business is listed in Google My Business (your GMB listing).

  • Make sure your business’s information is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Include high-quality photos of your business and its products or services.

  • Create a strong local SEO strategy, including keyword research and link building.

  • Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews on Google and other online platforms.

If you follow these tips and continue to put the needs of your customers first, you should see an increase in your chances of appearing in a Local Pack.

Should my small business hire an SEO agency?

Yes, a small business should hire an SEO agency. A good SEO agency can help a small business increase its website traffic, which can lead to more customers and increased sales. An SEO agency can also help a small business improve its search engine rankings, which can result in more website visitors who are interested in what the small business has to offer. You can schedule an initial conversation with one of our SEO experts here.

How does social media affect local SEO?

Social media can have a significant impact on local SEO. For example, if you have a local business and you’re actively engaged on social media, you may be more likely to show up in local search results.

Additionally, social media can help you build relationships with local customers and potential customers. This can not only help you attract new customers, but it can also help you better understand your target market.

What is schema markup for local businesses?

Schema markup is a type of code that you can add to your website in order to provide search engines with more information about your business. This information can include things like your business name, address, and phone number. Adding schema markup to your website can help improve your website’s search engine ranking and make it easier for customers to find your business online.

Access schema to boost your local search presence.

How do I find target keywords for my local business?

When it comes to finding target keywords for your local business, there are a few different methods you can use.

One approach is to use Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to see how often particular keywords are being searched for online. You can also use it to get ideas for other related keywords that you may not have thought of.

Another way to find keywords is to simply think about what your customers might be searching for online. What are the things they might be looking for when they’re looking for a business like yours? Try to think of keywords that are specific to your industry or niche.

Finally, you can also use Google’s Autocomplete feature to get ideas for target keywords. This feature will show you the most popular keywords that people are searching for online. It can be a great way to get ideas for new keywords to target.

How Should I handle a negative review on my GMB page?

If you receive a negative review on your GMB page, the best way to handle it is to respond to the reviewer in a polite and professional manner. Thank them for their feedback and assure them that you are taking their comments seriously. You may also want to consider reaching out to them privately to resolve the issue.

How do I optimize new content for local SEO?

There are a few things you can do to optimize your content for local SEO purposes. First, make sure you include your city and state name in your title and throughout your article. You can also include a map of your location, as well as contact information and a link to your website. Additionally, make sure your website is properly optimized for local SEO. Use relevant keywords and phrases, and include your city and state in your website’s title and description.

How do I optimize local search for multiple local listings?

There are a few things you can do to optimize local search for multiple local listings:

  1. Make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent across all of your listings.

  2. Use the same keywords and phrases in your titles, descriptions, and tags.

  3. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing, and… your

  4. Bing Places for Business listing.

  5. Yahoo! Local listing.

  6. Yelp listing.

  7. Four Square listing.

  8. Yellow Pages listing.

  9. Merchant Circle listing.

  • White Pages listing.

Small Business SEO Can Have a Major Impact on Your Local Organic Traffic

As you optimize for local SEO using local intent, technical SEO ranking factors, your GMB, and your social profile, keep in mind that the process doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s important to note that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your on-page content. Google has invested countless resources in detecting highly valuable information and ranking such information accordingly. Therefore, focus on creating link-worthy content that others would be eager to read and share.

Also, make sure to update the content regularly, as this indicates to Google that the website is still active and possibly has more valuable information. Finally, remember to measure and track. Do not be afraid to use free tools like Google Analytics to monitor the local search engine results continuously. You can also gain even more insight with paid tools such as Search Atlas.

Looking for the best SEO company for your small business with proven results? Sapient eCommerce specializes in getting SEO results for local small businesses.

Mar 2022

The Connection Between SEO and Social Media?

SEO and Social Media
The SEO and Social Media Connection

Any business that has strong SEO strategies knows the value of social media profiles. This strategy can play an important role in driving rankings up and enhancing your company’s reputation (reputation management). Your social media presence promotes links and content that is shareable and of substance. Google and other search engines notice frequently shared links as a sign of a website’s credibility and popularity, which improves your website’s ranking.

Are you posting fresh social content across all relevant profiles?

Social media signals may have an indirect effect on search engine rankings, yet it plays a significant role in helping companies get their content in front of a larger audience. This in turn, engenders many SEO benefits: building backlinks, improving engagement signals, and staking out favorable ranking for relevant queries.

Additionally, a fundamental understanding of SEO and social media marketing will help your company improve performance on both channels. Target audience research on social media helps create more targeted content. SEO research helps you understand what your social audience wants to read.

What is the relationship between SEO and social media?

We asked our respondents to give us their best tips for making search and social work together, and they delivered with tons of valuable information about:

What is Social SEO?

 

Social SEO refers to the use of social media as an indirect tool to increase your search visibility and organic search ranking.

While social media does not directly impact SEO, the social signals (likes, shares, and comments) generated from people sharing your content on social media channels contribute to building trust and customer loyalty, driving brand awareness and exposure, all of which indirectly helps boost your online visibility and traffic.

To buttress that, two-thirds of our respondents say there is a correlation between social shares and rankings. Another 29% say there isn’t.

10 Reasons Why Social Media is Important in SEO

The impact of social media on SEO is more complicated than a simple yes/no answer can explain.

For example, Shufti Pro’s Damien Martin explains that “Bing certainly ranks pages with more shares higher than pages with fewer shares.” Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines confirm that assertion. So, at least when it comes to Bing, social shares definitely play a part in SEO.

Google, on the other hand, has specifically stated that social media isn’t a direct ranking factor.

But several studies have found that there’s a correlation between social shares and rankings. For example, this 2016 study from cognitive SEO looked at Google rankings alongside social signals (likes, shares, and comments) on four social media sites and found that the top-ranked results had more social signals:

Still, correlation does not equal causation, and the fact that high-ranking pages have lots of social shares doesn’t mean shares have an impact on rankings.

What it likely means is that social media plays a part in SEO—maybe not directly, but definitely indirectly.

As Inspired Agency’s Alex Brown explains: “Does social media directly boost SEO rankings? No, it won’t directly boost any SEO rankings.

So, what is the relationship between social media and SEO then? Social media provides opportunities in content marketing and link building efforts that will help boost your organic rankings.”

So, what are those opportunities? Our respondents explain:

  1. Social Media = Increased Visibility = More Links
  2. Social Can Help You Improve SEO Ranking Signals
  3. Posting on Social Gets Content Indexed Quicker
  4. Social Interaction Data Can Help You Improve Your SEO Content
  5. Social Media Helps Build Search Demand
  6. Social Media Helps You Identify the Audience for Your SEO Content
  7. Social Media is a Great Place to Conduct Keyword Research
  8. Social Media Can Help You Generate New Content Ideas
  9. Social Helps You Claim Owned SERP Real Estate for Branded Queries
  10. Social Drives Traffic While You Wait for SEO

The Importance of SEO for Social Media

While the majority of the responses we received explained how social media helps SEO, several respondents said that SEO helps social media as well.

So, we wanted to learn more on SEO’s relationship with social media. Here are the ways your SEO efforts can help support your social media marketing efforts:

  1. Keyword Research Tells You What Your Followers Want
  2. SEO Best Practices Enable Social Search Success
  3. Technical SEO Leads to Better Social Performance and Tracking
  4. Keyword Research Tells You What Your Followers Want

“SEO done right is all about finding demand based on search,” says Lance Beaudry of Avalanche Creative. “When it comes to content planning and deciding what to post to social media, there’s nothing better than looking at the demand of your target audience.”

“Post about what users are searching for or things related to what they are searching for,” Beaudry says.

Filip Silobod of Honest Marketing agrees: “With SEO, you can find out what people are searching for. Then, use social to tailor your post to promote to the people searching for that information.”

Chris Hornak of Blog Hands recommends “using a tool like AnswerThePublic to uncover questions that are already being searched for on Google.”

And Roberto Severino of Adword Vigilante recommends this process: “Go through 3-4 of your largest competitors, look at some of their top pages in Ahrefs, and run a crawl in Screaming Frog so you can integrate it with Ahrefs’s API.”

“Then, take their top-performing posts and keywords and plug them into that tool, and filter by low difficulty and high search volume.”

“Once you have this done and created the content, it will be much easier to use social media to promote the content and have greater confidence in knowing this is what people have an interest in when it comes to your industry and niche.”

“There’s no second guessing when you approach social media and SEO with a logical, analytical approach like this,” Severino says.

  1. SEO Best Practices Enable Social Search Success

“People use social media networks to not only to initiate communication but also to obtain information,” says Alayna Okerlund of BestCompany.com. “Basically, social media is growing as a unique search engine.”

“In order to help your content rank on major search engines like Google, you conduct keyword research and implement those keywords in your content. Doing the same thing with your social media profiles and posts may prove worthwhile,” Okerlund says.

And including keywords in your social posts can also help you grow the visibility of your social media posts and profile in Google SERPs:

“Certain social platforms are closed so Google can’t actively access the data,” says Sophie Edwards of Click Consult. “However, others—such as Twitter—are not, so you can include keywords in Tweets to help with ranking for social channels.”

However, if you’re going to use keywords in your social posts, G2’s Deirdre O’Donoghue offers some advice: “Don’t ever risk readability for better SEO. It’s imperative that your content keeps the user top-of-mind.”

“Search goes beyond Google,” says MediaSesh’s Christina Brodzky. “Anywhere there is a search box, SEO is there. Social search is no different.”

  1. Technical SEO Leads to Better Social Performance and Tracking

“One of the most important tips for leveraging SEO and social media together is tracking and monitoring how visitors from social media interact with your website,” says Rockay’s Bojan Azap. “Google Analytics and tracking URLs are the key integrals.”

“Some of the most effective SEO techniques involve implementing various schema—whether it be microdata or Javascript/JSON—on the webpages and elements you are trying to rank,” says Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media.

“It’s critical that your social properties (bios, outbound links) and the links you share on social that relate to your website are coded properly and test correctly. This means that you have to ensure that your Facebook Pixels, Twitter tracking code, and LinkedIn tracking codes are installed and configured properly.”

“On sites that are not WordPress (Squarespace, Wix), this can be a real problem. LinkedIn has new tracking codes and a new ads manager, so prior to launching any campaign, you need to make sure LinkedIn is receiving the data from your website.”

“This is the only way you will be able to build a custom audience, which is crucial for success over time because with this primary audience you can build lookalike audiences and build frequency as you change up the creative.”

How to Successfully Combine SEO and Social Media For Better Results

To make social media and SEO work together, Gabriella Sannino of Level343 says it’s important to “connect the dots.”

“It’s amazing how many people don’t. They have social accounts but don’t have them on their websites. They set blog posts for sharing but don’t add their social account to the share. They have a blog but never share the blog posts on their social accounts.”

“Make use of the accounts you have, connecting them together to develop a social strategy and increase your brand awareness and reputation,” Sannino says.

So, what are some ways to better connect the dots between SEO and social media efforts? Our respondents offered these tips.

  1. Align Your Content and Social Media Teams

“Too often, SEO and social media activity aren’t linked up because it’s handled by different people or departments,” says Dan Thornton of TheWayoftheWeb. “As a result, the best you can hope for might be a Tweet or Facebook post when a new article is published.”

“But what should happen is that the improvements you’re making for SEO should be supported by regular social media promotions, and vice versa,” Thornton says.

Roger West’s Samantha Simon agrees: “Stop siloing social media and start merging it into your SEO strategy. In today’s digital landscape, social media, and SEO work together.”

  1. Share Your SEO Content on Social Media

“The best way to boost success in both social media and SEO is to share your content across all social media channels,” says Ooma’s Craig De Borba.

Several respondents agree that this is one of the easiest ways to integrate your social and SEO efforts:

  • “Share your new blog posts on all of your social media accounts. This way, the post gains visibility (great for SEO) and your social media accounts become active with valuable and useful information for your target audience.” (Jeremy Lawlor, Active Business Growth)
  • “When users share content from your Facebook Page or Group, it shows that you are an expert, an authority, and a trustworthy source. This helps bolster the momentum of SEO efforts.” (Shannon Doyle, Page 1 Solutions)
  1. Make Sure SEO Content is Optimized for Sharing

“Make sure each piece of content you create includes images that can easily be repurposed on social media,” says CoSchedule’s Ben Sailer.

“This entails creating search-optimized content with social media in mind from the start, with visual assets that can stand on their own with interesting statistics, charts, quotes, or other items that can still make sense outside of their original context within the post.”

“This can help your content succeed both on social media and organic search without a ton of extra effort,” Sailer says.

Chaz Van de Motter of Elite Marketing Studios recommends “taking the blog posts that you use to create inbound leads via SEO and making a YouTube explainer video around that piece of content.”

“From there, you can not only embed the video on your blog to bolster the strength of the SEO, but you can also shorten the video and use it as viral social media content that will, in turn, call your audience to action and bring more traffic back to your blog and website.”

“This approach has helped us increase the time users spend on our site, and it aids in the consistency of our social media content strategy,” Van de Motter says.

And Miguel Piedrafita says that “repurposing existing content in a better medium for social media is a big win. For example, I use Blogcast to automatically generate audio versions of my articles, which I then share on Twitter. I’ve managed to get a lot of engagement and positive feedback with that.”

  1. Cross-Promote on Both Channels

“Cross-promoting and sharing content and media across both social media and SEO is the most effective way to have both shine,” says With Clarity’s Slisha Kanakriya.

One way to cross-promote, as Trickle’s Chris Davis explains, is to “simply assure that each of your social media profiles provides users with a link leading them directly to your website.”

Another, recommended by Andrew Swindlehurst of AHM Installations, is to “embed social media posts and statuses within blog posts and articles. Not only does this link to your social media pages, but it also increases the chances that someone will click and visit them, resulting in a follow, like, or comment.”

“It’s also a good idea to ensure you have a sidebar on your blogs that makes it easy for readers to follow you on social media. By doing this you can easily gain extra followers without having to do much extra work,” Swindlehurst says.

Alexis Soer of Elite Digital agrees and says that “sharing your relevant social media posts via linking to them from your blog posts is a strategic way of taking your target audience to another one of your marketing channels without it being too blatant that this is your goal.”

  1. Make It Easy for People to Share Your Posts

“It’s important to make sure blog posts and content are easy to share,” says Chris Martin of FlexMR. “Pull out important quotes and create links that auto share these quotes to social platforms with a single click.”

“The more frequently an article is shared on social channels (and subsequently visited), the stronger signals it will be sending to search engines.”

  1. Take Advantage of Two-Way Retargeting

“SEO and social media are the one-two punch of marketing, and one tip to use them both is to utilize two-way retargeting,” says Andrew Holland of Zoogly Media. “Two-way retargeting is all about making sure you use both audiences to grow the traffic to the other platform.”

“For example, say you create a viral video for Facebook. The next time you publish an article, you can boost that post to those who engaged with your video. This will give you a great chance to get more traffic to your website from a targeted audience.”

“The reverse applies, too. When you get organic traffic to your website via SEO, you can retarget those people using your Facebook Pixel with content and ads that you create natively on the Facebook platform.”

“Most business owners only focus on retargeting visitors who visit their website. They rarely create assets for the purposes of engagement with the secondary intention of building a retargeting audience.”

Success in Both SEO and Social Starts with Great Content

“Great unique content equals great performance with SEO and social media,” says Shreyash Mishra of Shrex Design.

“Social media is all about engaging with people. The more you do this, the more likely you’ll be ranked higher because people and search engines will both love you.”

“You can engage with your audience by creating and sharing great content, and then leverage that engagement to boost your follower count and search rankings.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Greene writes about marketing, business, and technology for B2B SaaS companies. A former writing instructor and corporate marketer, she uses her subject-matter expertise and desire to educate others as motivation for developing actionable, in-depth, user-focused content.

Mar 2022

Uploading Photos To A Website is as Important as Website Design

Website photos are an important part of your overall website content, and there are several reasons you should keep imagery at the top of your priority list while building a website. As technology continues to develop and proliferate the global internet, more people worldwide are using imagery to learn, remember and disseminate information.

 

USING IMAGES ON YOUR WEBSITE

Importance of Images in Web Design

Photographs add richness to your web design. They do so in two ways. The first is simply another way to clue search engines into how to interpret your content. The second is the human aspect or how people (not search engines) understand your website. Let’s break down what photos do for your site:

 

  1. A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

The adage that a picture paints a thousand words is not far off. People often get tired of reading words and skim through website pages. However, imagery both breaks up the printed text and offers context quickly for those you prefer to skim. A photo can momentarily pull the viewer into the scene they are viewing and help them understand the written text or replace it completely.

 

  1. Partnering a Photo with a Caption

Adding a caption to or inserting the caption within the photo adds value to the image. With a caption, the context of the photo is made clear so the visitor to your site doesn’t have to figure out what they’re seeing. Instead you’re offering them a full-color experience and guiding them to your point with the caption.

  1. High-Quality Photos are a Must

Especially when displaying products, professional photos are crucial. If you want someone to order a product from you, it’s important that they see it, preferably in three dimensions. This can be accomplished with several photos or in 360-degree photo. However, if you want to add some spontaneity to your photographs, you can add some personal photos or on-the-go shots to your blog or newsletter.

 

  1. Use Stock Photos Wisely

Stock photos can be used for general topics or city scenes, but it’s best to use professional original photos as much as possible on your website. You can also add captions to stock photos to personalize them for your content.

 

  1. Be Consistent

Your clients expect a high level of quality from your products; therefore you need to consistently offer the same high quality on your website including your photo content. If customers come to find hit or miss photos, they will be disappointed and may not return. Consistency is also helpful on product pages. People tend to expect all product pages to look the same on a website or at least in each section. If your images, product description and buy button are in the same place on every product page, the customer will be comfortable and confident when shopping. Read more about this on our blog about the importance of user experience.

 

  1. Add Personality

Personality makes photos more interesting, and the best way to add personality is by adding a person (or more than one) to as many photos as possible. Show people working in your company, using your products and if you can, in your product images.

 

  1. Don’t Overwhelm

Websites need to be easy for visitors to navigate. While some of this is covered by your menu and search capabilities, simplifying your page layouts is also helpful. Make it easy for someone to arrive on your page, read the title and the first few lines, and then skim down to see if they want to read more. Putting photos in the same places on each page and using them to describe or display what you are writing about will help your visitors find what they are interested in more quickly.

Images matter because…

Studies show that people remember 80% what they see and only 20% what they read. In fact, there’s research that suggests that 65% of people are visual learners. MIT also found that the human brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. These and many other statistics favor the idea that images are powerful means of communication. Perhaps, their most important function is that they remove language barriers, as they are easily understood by everyone in the world.

 

On the Internet, images are used for all kinds of reasons: to enhance websites, to illustrate stories, in ad displays, to present products or services, as stand-alone “a picture is worth a thousand words” meaning-rich tools, and sure, on social media.

 

3.2 billion images are shared online every day, according to Brandwatch, many of which “mention” brands without the use of text.  So how do businesses track images featuring their brands? Through “visual listening,” which is essential media monitoring for images. It uses image recognition technology to uncover visual mentions (usually company logos) of a brand and not only watermarks. Visual listening can identify logos on actual objects, like a store sign, or a label on a product. For brands, this can determine social media mentions in all kinds of contexts, including discovering brand advocates, finding out how people are using a product, identifying misuse of the logo, and the list goes on. Brandwatch Image Insights gives a fair idea of how brands can use visual listening to monitor social media.

 

On top of it all, “Generation Y prefers a picture-based method of communicating information rather than a text-based method,” according to a 2010 paper by Soussan Djamasbia, Marisa Siegelb, and Tom Tullisb titled Generation Y, web design, and eye tracking. Generation Y, the Millennials, grew up with technology and the internet and they will soon take over as the most significant segment of consumers, surpassing the baby boomers and Generation X.

 

Top Reasons to Use Images on Your Website

Better user experience: When it comes to websites, images matter because their role is to capture the attention of the visitor. They can convey complex messages in the blink of an eye. Looking at the image of a hotel room, the site visitor can see the décor of the room and some of its amenities without the need of reading lengthy descriptions immediately.

Relevant images – instead of “filler” images that only have the purpose to look pretty – enhance the user experience. They deliver a contextual message, which answers the need for information. Naturally, when guests visit the website of a hotel, they are looking for information and images deliver it quickly and explicitly. An image gallery optimized for stress-free browsing is another UX plus.

Increase dwell time: the time users spend on a website is a user engagement signal for Google and a search ranking factor.

“Basically, Google wants to find unicorns – pages that have extraordinary user engagement metrics like organic search click-through rate (CTR), dwell time, bounce rate, and conversion rate – and reward that content with higher organic search rankings,“ Larry Kim of Wordstream explains.

Images are an integral part of the content strategy of any website. The best images are set above the fold and act as both eye candy and informational tools. They should relate directly to the text of the page, and ideally, they should be original pictures. Stay away from stock clichés as much as you can.

Improve on-site SEO: Provided that the image used matches the text, it will rank better in the image search section of the search engines. And image search matters a lot for traffic to your site. According to research conducted by MOZ and Jumpshot, Google Images counts for 26.79% of US searches, surpassing YouTube.com 3.71% and other Google properties.

                                                                                                                     Source: Jumpshot Moz

SEO for Images

Although Google has already developed image-recognition algorithms and holds several patents for systems and methods for image recognition, optimizing your images for SEO is still a good practice. As the chart above shows, image search can be a great source of traffic. Here are some tips to help boost your rankings in image search:

Always choose an image that matches your text

Image recognition algorithms identify filler images, as well as stock photography, and they will not rank. To see how Google recognizes your image without the need for text, just perform a Google image search and upload a picture instead of typing keywords. In the following example, I used an original image from Mamaison Hotels & Residences. As you can see, Google identifies what the image is, but doesn’t find duplicates. This is good.

In the second example, I used a generic stock photo and gave it a random file name, to see if Google can identify it and find duplicates. As you can see, Google knows exactly what the image is about, and the first result is a duplicate. This is bad because, as you notice, Google only shows one duplicate for “visually similar images” – most likely not the one from the original source. When you click to see “other sizes of this image” you will discover hundreds of results, merely for the purpose to enable users to find the same image in different sizes. This means that hundreds of sites already mirrored that image to illustrate content one way or another.  And the rules that apply to text apply for images too: Google doesn’t like duplicate content. So, stock images do nothing for SEO.

Use smart file names

If you manage to have an original image that pertains to your text, it’s not enough to upload it with a random file name. Although Google can recognize what it is, the best SEO practice is to give it a relevant, smart file name. So, instead of uploading an image straight from your camera, with a file name like IMG_20180205_163530, rename it with keywords that describe its subject, for example, hotel-name-main-lobby.jpg and without stop words (like of, and, the).

Note in the file naming example above the use of a hyphen (-) instead of underscore (_) – that’s because it is a best practice recommendation from Google for URLs and for all kinds of files. The hyphen has the role of separating words, so it makes sense for Google to prefer it.

Use proper alt attributes and title attributes

After you upload the images on your website, you must “describe” them. There are two types of attributes used for SEO and user experience:

  • Alt attribute, which describes the image for the search engines accurately. As you noticed in the previous paragraphs, Google can identify what the image is about, but it cannot identify where it was captured. The alt tag serves to complete the information. For example, if you have an image of a hotel room, the alt attribute would be something like: “The Presidential Room at Hotel X.”
    Use natural language when writing your alt attribute, because this is also displayed by screen readers and used by browsers for the visually impaired. Considering this segment of internet users, always end the text in your alt attribute with a full stop (dot).
  • The advice offered by John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google in 2008, before the image recognition revolution, is still valid, so consider it when you write your alt attributes (erroneously also called alt tags):
    “Feel free to supplement the “alt” attribute with “title” and other attributes if they provide value to your users!
    So, for example, if you have an image of a puppy (these seem popular at the moment :-)) playing with a ball, you could use something like “My puppy Betsy playing with a bowling ball” as the alt-attribute for the image. If you also have a link around the image, pointing a large version of the same photo, you could use “View this image in high-resolution” as the title attribute for the link.”
  • Title attribute, as you noticed in the previous paragraph, is intended as a call to action, and it is used mainly when the image hyperlinks to a different page. It displays when the mouse hovers over the image (only in case of a hyperlink). So far, there’s no proof that Google uses title attributes for rankings. But things may change.

Make use of captions

Captions matter and there’s enough research to support this. According to Kissmetrics:

“Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers. (For images above a headline, the headline itself can serve as a caption.)”

Kissmetrics also recommends that you craft your captions with the same care you craft your headlines.

Optimize your images for web use

Besides naming the file right and filling in the proper alt and title attributes, you should also optimize the images for fast loading because page speed is a ranking factor, and because users tend to leave websites that load slowly. So, decrease the file size of your images by saving them for the web with Adobe Photoshop, or using an image compressor like TinyJPG, TinyPNG, toolur, Compressor.io, and others, and use responsive images.

Use the Open Graph protocol for better discoverability

According to the official website, the “Open Graph (OG) protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. It is used typically on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook. “

According to the official website, the “Open Graph (OG) protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. It is used typically on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook. “

The og:image property has some optional structured properties:

· og:image:url – Identical to og:image.

· og:image:secure_url – An alternate URL to use if the webpage requires HTTPS.

· og:image:type – A MIME type for this image.

· og:image:width – The number of pixels wide.

· og:image:height – The number of pixels high.

· og:image:alt – A description of what is in the image (not a caption). If the page specifies an og:image it should

· specify og:image:alt.

 

To conclude, images are useful because they trigger emotions, are easy to understand and transmit information faster than text. According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, images “go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

Avoid stock images, images that lack quality, and filler images, and use high-quality original pictures that represent actual places, objects, or beings. Remember that the modern Internet user spends a lot of time sharing, or resharing images, so encourage the practice by adding share buttons for social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on. Add proper descriptions with hashtags to the images designated to encourage sharing. This simplifies the process and saves time for the users while ensuring that your brand is not misrepresented.

We leave you with these facts and statistics that show just how essential images have become on social media:

  • “Users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand. And users ignore purely decorative images that don’t add real content to the page.” (Jakob Nielsen, 2010)
  • Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets and 18% more clicks than tweets without. (Buffer Social, 2016)
  • Articles with an image once every 75-100 words get double the number of shares of articles with fewer images. (Buzzsumo, 2015)
  • A large percentage (74%) use visual assets in their social media marketing, up from 71% in 2015. (Social Media Examiner, 2016)
  • Organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos (13.9%) and photos (13.7%). (Locowise, 2015)
  • Vision trumps all senses: “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture, and you’ll remember 65%.” (John Medina)

SOURCE: JUMPSHOT/MOZ

Mar 2022

Clean URL

 

Clean URLs, also sometimes referred to as RESTful URLsuser-friendly URLspretty URLs or search engine-friendly URLs, are URLs intended to improve the usability and accessibility of a website or web service by being immediately and intuitively meaningful to non-expert users. Such URL schemes tend to reflect the conceptual structure of a collection of information and decouple the user interface from a server’s internal representation of information. Other reasons for using clean URLs include search engine optimization (SEO),[ conforming to the representational state transfer (REST) style of software architecture, and ensuring that individual web resources remain consistently at the same URL. This makes the World Wide Web a more stable and useful system, and allows more durable and reliable bookmarking of web resources.

Clean URLs also do not contain implementation details of the underlying web application. This carries the benefit of reducing the difficulty of changing the implementation of the resource at a later date. For example, many URLs include the filename of a server-side script, such as example.php, example.asp or cgi-bin. If the underlying implementation of a resource is changed, such URLs would need to change along with it. Likewise, when URLs are not “clean”, if the site database is moved or restructured it has the potential to cause broken links, both internally and from external sites, the latter of which can lead to removal from search engine listings. The use of clean URLs presents a consistent location for resources to user-agents regardless of internal structure. A further potential benefit to the use of clean URLs is that the concealment of internal server or application information can improve the security of a system.

Table of Contents

  • Structure
  • Implementation
  • Slug

 

Structure

A URL will often comprise a path, script name, and query string. The query string parameters dictate the content to show on the page, and frequently include information opaque or irrelevant to users—such as internal numeric identifiers for values in a database, illegibly encoded data, session IDs, implementation details, and so on. Clean URLs, by contrast, contain only the path of a resource, in a hierarchy that reflects some logical structure that users can easily interpret and manipulate.

Original URL Clean URL
http://example.com/about.html http://example.com/about
http://example.com/user.php?id=1 http://example.com/user/1
http://example.com/index.php?page=name http://example.com/name
http://example.com/kb/index.php?cat=1&id=23 http://example.com/kb/1/23
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Clean_URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_URL

 

Implementation

The implementation of clean URLs involves URL mapping via pattern matching or transparent rewriting techniques. As this usually takes place on the server side, the clean URL is often the only form seen by the user.

For search engine optimization purposes, web developers often take this opportunity to include relevant keywords in the URL and remove irrelevant words. Common words that are removed include articles and conjunctions, while descriptive keywords are added to increase user-friendliness and improve search engine rankings.

A fragment identifier can be included at the end of a clean URL for references within a page, and need not be user-readable.

 

Slug

Some systems define a slug as the part of a URL that identifies a page in human-readable keywords. It is usually the end part of the URL (specifically of the path / pathinfo part), which can be interpreted as the name of the resource, similar to the basename in a filename or the title of a page. The name is based on the use of the word slug in the news media to indicate a short name given to an article for internal use.

Slugs are typically generated automatically from a page title but can also be entered or altered manually, so that while the page title remains designed for display and human readability, its slug may be optimized for brevity or for consumption by search engines, as well as providing recipients of a shared bare URL with the rough idea of the page’s topic. Long page titles may also be truncated to keep the final URL to a reasonable length.

Slugs may be entirely lowercase, with accented characters replaced by letters from the Latin script and whitespace characters replaced by a hyphen or an underscore to avoid being encoded. Punctuation marks are generally removed, and some also remove short, common words such as conjunctions. For example, the title This, That, and the Other! An Outré Collection could have a generated slug of this-that-other-outre-collection.

Another benefit of URL slugs is the facilitated ability to find a desired page out of a long list of URLs without page titles, such as a minimal list of opened tabs exported using a browser extension, and the ability to preview the approximate title of a target page in the browser if hyperlinked to without title.

Web sites that make use of slugs include Stack Exchange Network with question title after slash, and Instagram with ?taken-by=username URL parameter.

 Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Mar 2022

URL Explained

URL Explained

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator

This article discusses Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), explaining what they are and how they’re structured.

Summary

With Hypertext and HTTP, URL is one of the key concepts of the Web. It is the mechanism used by browsers to retrieve any published resource on the web.

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is nothing more than the address of a given unique resource on the Web. In theory, each valid URL points to a unique resource. Such resources can be an HTML page, a CSS document, an image, etc. In practice, there are some exceptions, the most common being a URL pointing to a resource that no longer exists or that has moved. As the resource represented by the URL and the URL itself are handled by the Web server, it is up to the owner of the web server to carefully manage that resource and its associated URL.

Basics: anatomy of a URL

Here are some examples of URLs:

https://developer.mozilla.org

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/search?q=URL

Any of those URLs can be typed into your browser’s address bar to tell it to load the associated page (resource).

A URL is composed of different parts, some mandatory and others optional. The most important parts are highlighted on the URL below (details are provided in the following sections):

Note: You might think of a URL like a regular postal mail address: the scheme represents the postal service you want to use, the domain name is the city or town, and the port is like the zip code; the path represents the building where your mail should be delivered; the parameters represent extra information such as the number of the apartment in the building; and, finally, the anchor represents the actual person to whom you’ve addressed your mail.

Note: There are some extra parts and some extra rules regarding URLs, but they are not relevant for regular users or Web developers. Don’t worry about this, you don’t need to know them to build and use fully functional URLs.

Scheme

The first part of the URL is the scheme, which indicates the protocol that the browser must use to request the resource (a protocol is a set method for exchanging or transferring data around a computer network). Usually for websites the protocol is HTTPS or HTTP (its unsecured version). Addressing web pages requires one of these two, but browsers also know how to handle other schemes such as mailto: (to open a mail client), so don’t be surprised if you see other protocols.

Authority

Next follows the authority, which is separated from the scheme by the character pattern ://. If present the authority includes both the domain (e.g., www.example.com) and the port (80), separated by a colon:

  • The domain indicates which Web server is being requested. Usually this is a domain name, but an IP address may also be used (but this is rare as it is much less convenient).
  • The port indicates the technical “gate” used to access the resources on the web server. It is usually omitted if the web server uses the standard ports of the HTTP protocol (80 for HTTP and 443 for HTTPS) to grant access to its resources. Otherwise, it is mandatory.

Note: The separator between the scheme and authority is ://. The colon separates the scheme from the next part of the URL, while // indicates that the next part of the URL is the authority.

One example of a URL that doesn’t use an authority is the mail client (mailto:foobar). It contains a scheme but doesn’t use an authority component. Therefore, the colon is not followed by two slashes and only acts as a delimiter between the scheme and mail address.

Path to resource

/path/to/myfile.html is the path to the resource on the Web server. In the early days of the Web, a path like this represented a physical file location on the Web server. Nowadays, it is mostly an abstraction handled by Web servers without any physical reality.

Parameters

?key1=value1&key2=value2 are extra parameters provided to the Web server. Those parameters are a list of key/value pairs separated with the & symbol. The Web server can use those parameters to do extra stuff before returning the resource. Each Web server has its own rules regarding parameters, and the only reliable way to know if a specific Web server is handling parameters is by asking the Web server owner.

Anchor

#SomewhereInTheDocument is an anchor to another part of the resource itself. An anchor represents a sort of “bookmark” inside the resource, giving the browser the directions to show the content located at that “bookmarked” spot. On an HTML document, for example, the browser will scroll to the point where the anchor is defined; on a video or audio document, the browser will try to go to the time the anchor represents. It is worth noting that the part after the #, also known as the fragment identifier, is never sent to the server with the request.

How to use URLs

Any URL can be typed right inside the browser’s address bar to get to the resource behind it. But this is only the tip of the iceberg!

The HTML language makes extensive use of URLs:

  • to create links to other documents with the <a> element.
  • to link a document with its related resources through various elements such as <link> or <script>;
  • to display media such as images (with the <img> element), videos (with the <video> element), sounds and music (with the <audio> element), etc.
  • to display other HTML documents with the <iframe> element.

Note: When specifying URLs to load resources as part of a page (such as when using the <script>, <audio>, <img>, <video>, and the like), you should generally only use HTTP and HTTPS URLs, with few exceptions (one notable one being data: as with Data URLs). Using FTP, for example, is not secure and is no longer supported by modern browsers.

Other technologies, such as CSS or JavaScript, use URLs extensively, and these are really the heart of the Web.

Absolute URLs vs relative URLs

What we saw above is called an absolute URL, but there is also something called a relative URL. The URL standard defines both — though it uses the terms absolute URL string and relative URL string, to distinguish them from URL objects (which are in-memory representations of URLs).

Let’s examine what the distinction between absolute and relative means in the context of URLs.

The required parts of a URL depend to a great extent on the context in which the URL is used. In your browser’s address bar, a URL doesn’t have any context, so you must provide a full (or absolute) URL, like the ones we saw above. You don’t need to include the protocol (the browser uses HTTP by default) or the port (which is only required when the targeted Web server is using some unusual port), but all the other parts of the URL are necessary.

When a URL is used within a document, such as in an HTML page, things are a bit different. Because the browser already has the document’s own URL, it can use this information to fill in the missing parts of any URL available inside that document. We can differentiate between an absolute URL and a relative URL by looking only at the path part of the URL. If the path part of the URL starts with the “/” character, the browser will fetch that resource from the top root of the server, without reference to the context given by the current document.

Let’s look at some examples to make this clearer.

Examples of absolute URLs

Full URL (the same as the one we used before) https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn
Implicit protocol //developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn

In this case, the browser will call that URL with the same protocol as the one used to load the document hosting that URL.

Implicit domain name /en-US/docs/Learn

This is the most common use case for an absolute URL within an HTML document. The browser will use the same protocol and the same domain name as the one used to load the document hosting that URL. Note: it isn’t possible to omit the domain name without omitting the protocol as well.

Examples of relative URLs

To better understand the following examples, let’s assume that the URLs are called from within the document located at the following URL: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn

Sub-resources Skills/Infrastructure/Understanding_URLs

Because that URL does not start with /, the browser will attempt to find the document in a sub-directory of the one containing the current resource. So in this example, we really want to reach this URL: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/Skills/Infrastructure/Understanding_URLs.

Going back in the directory tree ../CSS/display

In this case, we use the ../ writing convention — inherited from the UNIX file system world — to tell the browser we want to go up from one directory. Here we want to reach this URL: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/../CSS/display, which can be simplified to: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/CSS/display.

Semantic URLs

Despite their very technical flavor, URLs represent a human-readable entry point for a Web site. They can be memorized, and anyone can enter them into a browser’s address bar. People are at the core of the Web, and so it is considered best practice to build what is called semantic URLs. Semantic URLs use words with inherent meaning that can be understood by anyone, regardless of their technical know-how.

Linguistic semantics are of course irrelevant to computers. You’ve probably often seen URLs that look like mashups of random characters. But there are many advantages to creating human-readable URLs:

  • It is easier for you to manipulate them.
  • It clarifies things for users in terms of where they are, what they’re doing, what they’re reading or interacting with on the Web.
  • Some search engines can use those semantics to improve the classification of the associated pages.

Also, read about Clean URLs

SOURCE: Mozella

Feb 2022

SEO Strategy: Using Social Media Profiles

Any business that has strong SEO strategies knows the value of social media profiles. Having strong social media profiles can lead to more exposure online, connect you with your customers/clients, and enhance your company’s online reputation. This strategy can also play an important role in driving favorable search engine rankings.

Your social media presence promotes links and sharable content. Google and other search engines notice frequently shared links as a sign of a website’s credibility and popularity and awards those websites with higher rankings. In order to be on par with your competition, you must optimize your social platforms (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram).

Are you posting fresh social media content across all relevant profiles?

Unless you have your own website associated with your name, your social media profiles are ordinarily the first Google results shown when someone searches for you, your services, or products.
Your social media profiles may be the first encounter potential customers/clients have with your company brand. That first impression will either encourage visitors’ interest or drive them away to find your competitors. It is advantageous, therefore, to consider each of your social media profiles as a landing page for your personal brand.

Remember to interlink your profiles to each other. Most social networks have places to include links to your other networks, and you should use them whenever you can.

Finally, remain connected, be an active member on your social networks. You will start acquiring a following very quickly.

Feb 2022

The Most Common Website Problems Today

Your website is the foundation on which all of your digital marketing efforts depend. Hence, monitoring and maintaining its performance is crucial to business growth and sustainability. Poor performance on any Best Practice Standard concerning form and/or functionality will cripple your efforts to attract traffic, engage visitors, and convert them into customers. Without constant data analysis your ability adjust to your marketing efforts and business strategies will be crippled. Here are 12 common website problems that will negatively affect your site’s performance

1. Sloppy Code

A lot of coding is involved in the building of a website, especially as you add more functions and features to your site. If your code is unorganized and messy, it can result in a variety of issues. Not only can it affect how your website is supposed to function, but it can affect the ability of search engines to properly index your site’s content, thereby hurting your search rankings. Some common website coding problems include:

Incorrect Robot.txt Files

Search engines like Google use bots to crawl through the content on any given site and to index it for search ranking purposes. Robot.txt files, also known as the robots exclusion protocol, lets web crawlers and other web bots know if there are certain areas of your site that you do not want to be processed or scanned. Web crawlers will check for robot.txt files before they begin crawling through the site. If you use robot.txt files incorrectly, the web crawlers may not read them correctly, resulting in the entirety of your site being crawled and indexed. Here are a few tips for using correct robot.txt files:

• Robot.txt files must be placed in the top-level directory of your site in order to be found
• Robot.txt files must be named in all lower case, such as “robots.txt”
• Every subdomain must have their own robots.txt files
• Indicate the location of any sitemaps associated with your domain at the bottom of your robots.txt files

• Do not use robot.txt files to hide private user information as robot.txt files are publicly available

Lack Of A Sitemap File

A sitemap is a file that provides web crawlers with information about all of the pages, videos, and other files found on your website. Creating a sitemap provides search engines with a road map to your website that helps ensure that they index everything you want them to. Sitemaps can also provide information on what kind of content can be found on each page (such as images or videos), when your pages were last updated, how often your pages change, and if you have any alternate language versions of your pages.

Without a sitemap, web crawlers may miss some of your pages. This can happen if you have content pages that are isolated or not properly linked to one another. Newer sites may have fewer external links as well, which can make pages more difficult to discover. Basically, a sitemap will help ensure that the search engines get the information they need about your website in order to properly index it and rank it.

Extreme Use Of Subfolders in URL Strings

A visitor that explores deep into your website may end up on a page with a URL that has way too many subfolders. This means that the URL is particularly long and has numerous slashes throughout. In many cases, it’s unnecessarily complicated and you should simplify the URL string. While a long URL string full of subfolders won’t necessarily hurt the performance of your site (nor will it hurt your page’s ranking according to Google), it will end up making it more challenging to edit your URL strings. It can also make it more inconvenient for users who want to copy and paste your URL to share with others.
Multiple 404 Errors and Redirects

404 errors are caused by broken links. A broken link means that the user cannot visit the page you are linking to, whether it’s an external link or an internal link, making their website experience difficult. 404 redirects are pages that load letting the users know that the page is unavailable. There are many reasons the page may be unavailable — it may not exist anymore, it may have been updated, or the user may need to refine their search. It’s important to set up 404 redirects to let users know they are on the right page but that something was wrong with the link.

While 404 redirects are generally a good thing, if you have too many it can affect not just the user experience, but also your search rankings. Fortunately, you can monitor 404 errors using Google Analytics. This means that you can pinpoint 404 errors early on and fix them before they cause more issues for your users.

No HTTPS Found

When building a website, always use HTTPS protocol and not HTTP. This is especially true if you’re requesting personal information from visitors, such as email addresses or credit card numbers. HTTPS is much more secure and helps to encrypt any data that is transmitted from a user to your website, ensuring that if the data is somehow hacked and stolen, it cannot be used.

Secondly, when creating your URL, decide between using “www” and not using “www.” Most people can identify a website address by the “.com” and often don’t even type in “www” into the address bar anymore. However, using a “www” prefix remains technically accurate and helps distinguish your address from similar URLs for protocols such as FTP or mail.

Additionally, if your top-level domain is a bit less recognizable or ambiguous, then adding “www” helps remove doubt that the URL is a web address. If you don’t use “www” then you will need to set your root domain DNS A-record to point to the IP address of your web server. This can end up being a bit too rigid if you encounter issues with performance or availability. On top of that, cookies set for domains not using “www” will be shared throughout all of your sub-domains whether the application uses the data or not. It’s also worth noting that “www” prefixes are needed for certain applications, such as word processors and email clients that transform text to links.

In general, choose a web server configuration setting that allows visitors to make a browser request using your domain with either “www” or without it.

2. Presence Of Broken Links
Broken links are links on your site that don’t work, whether they are links directing visitors to a page off of your website or that exists on your website. When you click on a broken link, you’ll be taken to a 404 page, which displays a message indicating that the page could not be found. There are several issues with having broken links. Visitors will be frustrated if they click on a link and it doesn’t take them to where they’re expecting to go. This reflects poorly on your site and on your brand. If you can’t maintain your website, how can visitors be expected to trust in the quality of your brand?

Broken links also indicate to Google and other search engines that you’re not keeping your website up to date. This can hurt your search engine rankings. When your rankings decline, so will your website’s exposure, resulting in fewer visitors.

Canonicalization

Canonicalization is the method of identifying a specific URL as your preferred URL. The reason this is necessary is because there may be several slightly different URLs that take visitors to the same page. For example “domain.com” and “www.domain.com” or “https://domain.com?ref=twitter” All of these URLs may direct visitors to the same page, but because the URLs are different, web crawlers could be confused as to which one to index. By adding the rel=”canonical” attribute to the element of your page, it identifies that URL as the one to index page content under. Canonicalization can also help consolidate link signals for duplicate pages.

Non-Specific Page Titles

Meta information, such as page titles and descriptions, are very important for SERP (search engine results pages). When your page shows up on SERP, the title and description provides the user with information about your page. Without a title or description, they will be less likely to click on the link. You will need to make sure your meta titles and descriptions accurately reflect the content on the page that the link directs users to. Make sure that every page has a unique title as well. Many websites make the mistake of using the same titles for numerous pages. Doing this will cause you to miss out on potential web traffic.

3. Poor Or Outdated Website Design

The overall design of a website needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Visitors will judge how your website looks, after all. However, website design trends change relatively often. This means that if it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your site, it’s likely now outdated. The more outdated it looks, the more unprofessional your brand will appear to be. You need to update your site regularly to adhere to modern website design principles. The following are some of the common issues shared by poor or outdated website designs:

Improper Use Of Subdomain and Sub-Folders

A subdomain is a way to organize your existing website into separate sections. For example, if you have a blog on your site, the subdomain might look like “blog.domain.com.” You might want to consider using subdomains if you need separate servers or different software to run different parts of your website. If you don’t need this, you’re better off using sub-folders. A sub-folder for a blog might look like “www.domain.com/blog.” Using sub-folders is generally the preferred method for these reasons:

• Sub-folders allow your site to get crawled more often, which is helpful if you’re regularly adding new content.
• It’s easier for visitors to go between sections while on your site if you use sub-folders, such as from your product pages to your blog.
• It’s easier to use analytics tools to track website metrics since the data will be consolidated for your entire website.

Images That Lack Quality

Low resolution images are unacceptable. If your images are pixelated, it will reflect poorly on the quality of your brand. Only use high-quality images that are relevant to the content on the page you’re posting them on. Keep in mind that quality doesn’t just refer to resolution. Using unappealing images (such as pictures that are poorly lit or composed) will hurt your brand as well, no matter what resolution they’re in.

Confusing User Journey

When someone visits your site, you need to make it clear to them what you want them to do. If they find themselves on a page with no idea of where to go next, it means that your site is doing a poor job guiding them through their user journey. This will hurt your ability to convert visitors. Effective internal linking, an easy-to-use navigation bar and search function, and CTA (calls-to-action) on every page are necessary to help guide your visitors. Look at metrics such as high bounce rates to determine where there might be user journey issues on your site.

Obligatory And Difficult Forms

Forms are an excellent way to collect user information and obtain permission to nurture leads. However, visitors will be frustrated if your forms are needlessly complicated or if you present them as obligatory in order to complete certain actions. For example, a visitor may become frustrated if they add items to their shopping cart and check out, only to find that they have to register in order to finalize their purchase. You’ll likely cause many potential customers to abandon their carts by doing this, especially if your forms require multiple steps.

Make sure that your forms are simple. If customers are only required to provide their names and shipping addresses, they’ll be more likely to complete the form and complete the check out. You can then offer them the option of providing additional information to their profile later when it’s more convenient for them to do so. Allowing social logins (such as through Facebook) can help to greatly simplify the registration process as well. You should also consider having the option to skip registration altogether for those who don’t feel comfortable setting up a profile just yet by offering guest checkout.

Using A Marketplace Theme

Avoid using pre-designed templates for your e-commerce page. This often results in a disconnect between your brand image and your e-commerce platform, causing confusion to potential customers. For example, they may be unsure as to whether they’re on the right page and if they’re even on your site anymore if the e-commerce page looks completely different than the rest of your site.

4. Slow Loading Time

Slow loading times can absolutely kill the website experience of your visitors. Few people have the patience to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load–especially when they’ve become so accustomed to how quickly other high-quality websites load. If your site won’t load, they can find a site that will. Generally speaking, the majority of your visitors will expect your page to load within two seconds. If it takes more than three seconds to load, expect to lose around 90 percent of the visitors trying to visit that page. 79 percent of all visitors who experience slow loading speeds won’t come back to your website.

If that wasn’t bad enough, losing visitors as a result of slow loading times will cause your bounce rate to spike. The bounce rate is a metric referring to how many people leave your page without engaging further. A high bounce rate will hurt your search engine rankings.

Consult Guides

Many factors can affect your speed, from the use of visual elements (such as videos and animations) to the lack of mobile optimization, which can affect loading speeds on mobile devices. You can test the speed of your pages using the Google’s Page Speed Online tool to determine whether your pages are loading quickly enough. There are lots of guides out there that will provide detailed steps on how to improve your page loading speeds as well.

Hire Professionals

The easiest way to improve the loading speed of your website is to hire a professional. A professional can help improve page load speeds in a number of different ways, such as by compressing all of your CSS documents, HTML documents, and JavaScript documents and by setting up CSS and JavaScript in external files. A professional will be able to optimize the back-end of your website so that it will load faster.

5. Problematic Landing Pages

Landing pages are vital to your ability to convert leads. They help reiterate the benefits of your offer, keep leads focused, and guide leads to conversion. If your landing pages are poor, odds are your conversion rate will be too. The following are some of the biggest mistakes you can make when setting up your landing pages:

A Catch-All Landing Page

Creating a single landing page that all of your leads are directed to is about as effective as not having landing pages at all. A landing page needs to be relevant to the content that drove your leads to the page in the first place. For example, if a PPC ad offers a product at a discount, the landing page should highlight the product and the offer. If it’s just a generic landing page, leads may be confused as to whether they’re on the right page or not. This can result in a high bounce rate. Make sure you create a unique and relevant landing page for every CTA.

Missing Calls-To-Action

Although it’s your CTAs that help drive leads to your landing pages, the landing pages themselves need to have CTAs on them as well. The last thing you want is for leads to be unsure as to what they’re supposed to do once they’ve arrived on your landing page. Include a CTA that clearly outlines what action you want your leads to take on each specific landing page you create.

Not Setting Thank You Pages

When you convert a lead through a landing page, be sure to thank them. A thank you page will help your leads feel appreciated. This is important because once they’ve submitted a form, you’ll want to begin building your relationship with them so that you can successfully nurture them through their buyer’s journey and beyond.

6. Mobile Incompatibility

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2018, roughly 77 percent of Americans owned a smartphone. Around 20 percent of American adults only use their smartphones to access the Internet. Additionally, 52.2 percent of the world’s web traffic is generated through mobile phones. This means that a significant amount of your website traffic will be coming via mobile devices both now and in the future.

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will affect how it’s displayed on mobile devices. If your site doesn’t display properly, load quickly (or at all), or is difficult to navigate on mobile devices, you’ll lose a massive number of potential leads. To top it off, Google ranks pages for mobile separately from desktop, meaning that a lack of mobile optimization can hurt your ability to bring in web traffic. While there are many ways to improve how mobile friendly your site is, the most effective way to ensure mobile optimization is to use a responsive website design. Responsive design ensures that your site will display properly no matter how big or small the screen is.

7. Lack Of SEO Optimization

Visitors aren’t going to come out of nowhere. Your website needs to be properly optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). Proper SEO optimization helps search engines correctly identify your content and can help to increase your rankings on SERP, thereby increasing exposure to your target audience and bringing in more web traffic. Poor SEO optimization will hurt your ability to find new leads.

Outdated/Under Optimized Content

It’s not just about keywords anymore, it’s about adding value with substantive, helpful information to give prospects the information they’re looking for. Build trust and improve website engagement metrics to indicate a positive experience to Google.

SEO isn’t just about adding keywords to your content. There’s a lot more to it than that. While using relevant keywords helps, Google is more concerned about whether the content you’re providing is relevant to its user queries and that it’s of high quality. To determine this, Google and other search engines look at several ranking signals, such as how many external links your page has obtained from quality sources (external links indicate your content was good enough to link to) and how much a visitor has engaged with the page (such as by staying on the page for a long time, commenting on content, sharing the page on social media, “liking” it on social media, or clicking a link embedded in the content).

The more engaged visitors are on a page, the more likely it is to rank high. Focus on creating content that is informative, of high quality, and relevant to your target audience in order to build trust and encourage engagement.

Incorrect Use Of Header and Meta Tags

The headers you use to split up your content is important for a variety of reasons. Proper use of headers (including the relevant use of keywords) allows visitors to scan your content and get a general idea of what it’s about. These headers also make it easier for search engines to identify what your content is about and to index and rank your pages accurately.

Meta tags are important as well, as they have a similar function as headers. While meta tags won’t show up on your web pages themselves, they will show up on the SERP. A meta tag is essentially a snippet of text that provides a short summary of the content found on that particular page. It gives both search engines and users an idea of whether your webpage is relevant to the user query.

Crawl Path Issues

Search engine bots crawl through every page of your site to properly index it and rank it. They function by entering your site from several potential entry points (back in the day, they would start from the homepage and work their way through, but they are more advanced now) and crawling outward. If you have poor site architecture, it can cause crawl path issues–meaning that these bots may end up missing pages completely. This can end up hurting your search engine rankings.

There are a few ways you can eliminate potential crawl path issues. First of all, use a flat site hierarchy. This means that your homepage links to your category pages, which link to your subcategory pages, which link to your detail pages. Implementing a site map will make it much easier for bots to crawl (and will make navigation more friendly for visitors as well). However, errors in your sitemap, such as format errors or adding the wrong pages, will cause problems. You should also monitor your site regularly for broken links, which cause roadblocks in your site’s crawl path.

8. Cluttered Homepage

Your homepage is the introduction to not just your website, but to your business. As such, you need to make sure it leaves a good first impression on new visitors. One of the more common mistakes businesses make on their homepage is trying to present too much information. This causes it to become cluttered. A cluttered homepage can be overwhelming and difficult to read, making it hard for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Duplicate Homepages

It’s not uncommon to have duplicate homepages. This happens when you have multiple URLs that lead to the same homepage, such as “www.domain.com” or “www.domain.com/index.” This can confuse visitors, but it can also hurt your ranking since Google will consider each URL as a separate URL. To avoid this, don’t forget to add a canonical tag to your main homepage URL.

Complicated Site Navigation

The ease of navigation has a big impact on a visitor’s user experience. If your homepage is so cluttered that a visitor has trouble finding the navigation bar, then you have an issue. Your navigation bar should always be immediately visible when someone arrives on your homepage. You should also avoid having too many categories and subfolders in your navigation bar. While it’s good to be organized, visitors become frustrated if your navigation bar has a dozen options with drop down menus with dozens of other options. This will make it too complicated for them to find what they are looking for. Limit your navigation menu to the most important links on your site.

Non-Specific Page Titles

Your page titles indicate what content is available on any given page. Using non-specific page titles can not only confuse visitors (they’ll have trouble finding certain pages or figuring out what page they’re on for future reference), but it will make it more difficult for search engines like Google to index your website. When creating specific page titles, use relevant keywords and keep it under 70 characters.

No Contact Information

If a visitor is thinking about contacting you, you don’t want to give them the time to think twice about it. Nor do you want them to get so frustrated trying to find your contact information that they just give up. Display your contact information clearly on your homepage. Most professional websites not only have a separate contact page that visitors can click on, but will display basic contact information (such as an email address and phone number) at the top of every page on their site.
Presence Of Entry Page

The entry page is the page on which a visitor first lands when they visit your website. While the homepage is often the entry page, it’s not always the entry page. For example, if you’re running PPC (pay per click) ads, include a separate landing page for the ad. This landing page would be an entry page. You can use analytics tools to determine what pages are functioning as entry pages most often. This can allow you to identify different entry pages so that you can optimize them to increase their ability to nurture and convert leads.

9. Security & Certification Problems

Don’t assume that just because you’re not a giant corporation that you won’t be exposed to any security threats. Hackers these days often go after smaller businesses because their security is often poor. An unsecure website can pose serious problems — not only can it result in compliance issues, but if your security is compromised, it can cause a PR nightmare that will hurt the trust your audience has in your brand. Obtaining an SSL certificate (resulting in the HTTPS protocol) will encrypt the data transferred between your visitors and your site and solve all these security headaches. However, you’ll also want to be aware of the following common security issues.

Exposed Email Address

You’ll likely be collecting the email addresses of your leads and customers, and you wouldn’t want these emails to be stolen and sold to third parties. Using HTTPS will certainly help protect this information, but you’ll also want to take extra steps as well, such as regularly updating your firewalls and anti-virus software. There are lots of other security tools that you can implement as well that can not only help strengthen the security of your site, but also notify you of any vulnerabilities that you need to address and of any breaches before they cause too much damage.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your email address isn’t exposed. You’ll want to post your email address on your site so that potential customers can reach you. However, you won’t want spammers to harvest your email address, resulting in an inbox packed with unsolicited emails. Encryption techniques are available that allow you to publish your email address on your site in a format that will prevent it from being harvested.

Out-Of-Date Copyright Legislation

Protect the content you create for your website from being used without your permission, by copyrighting your website and display a copyright notice to help deter infringement. However, because you’ll be constantly updating your site, it’s important that you routinely update the copyright, especially if it’s been a few years since you’ve done this.

W3C Markup Validation Non-Compliance

The W3C(World Wide Web Consortium) is an international body that develops standards for the web. Be sure that your site remains in compliance with the standards established by the W3C by using their Markup Validation Service.

10. Not Periodically Backed Up

Even if you take the security of your website seriously and take every precaution to protect your site against hackers, you should always plan for the worse. If a hacker is able to penetrate your security, they could potentially destroy your entire website. As you can imagine, this could be incredibly problematic. It’s why you should back up your website periodically. This way, if your site is hacked and destroyed, you can retrieve a recent version of your site. It may be missing some newer content, but at least your website won’t be down and out. If you regularly update your site, then you should back it up on a weekly basis.

11. Tracking Codes

You need to know how your website is performing to identify problem areas that need adjusting, such as website issues or marketing issues. In order to monitor the performance of your website, you will have to implement tracking codes. Tracking codes help you track visitors who come to your website, thereby allowing you to collect valuable data that includes how many people are visiting your site, what pages are being viewed the most, where visitors are coming from, and more.

No Usage of Tracking and Analytics Codes

To track visitors and collect visitor data, you’ll need to implement tracking and analytics measurement code. This code is a snippet of JavaScript that can be added directly to the HTMl of each page on your website. If a page doesn’t have the tracking and analytics code implemented onto it, you won’t be able to collect any visitor data for that page.

Incorrect Implementation of Tracking Codes

The incorrect implementation of your tracking codes will also hurt your ability to collect visitor data. There are several common mistakes that can result in improper implementation. For example, the code snippet may accidentally be duplicated because it was pasted twice or because something went wrong during the migration to a new implementation of Google Analytics.

Another common mistake is to forget to implement subdomain tracking. If visitors are going from one subdomain to another, Google Analytics will identify two separate sessions if you didn’t implement subdomain tracking. If you have two individual domains that visitors travel across, then you will need cross-domain tracking to ensure that the same visitor isn’t counted twice.

Not Using a Tag Management Solution

Manually adding tracking code snippet to every page is a time-consuming task and one that can result in errors as a result of how repetitive the task is. Using a tag management solution, such as Google Tag Manager allows you to implement and update tracking code through a user interface instead of having to copy and paste them to every page individually. Not only does it make it easier and faster to add tracking code, but it allows you to identify where code is missing or has been incorrectly implemented.

12. Social Media Integration

Social media is an important component of any inbound marketing campaign. Considering that billions of people around the world use social media, you’re missing out on a huge audience if you don’t have a social presence. However, it’s not enough to just set up a Facebook or Twitter page. Your social pages need to be integrated with your website as well.

Broken or Missing Social Media Links

Make sure that you add links to all of your social media pages to your website. Ideally, they should be located on every page of your site so that visitors can visit your social page no matter where they are. If you don’t have links to all of your social pages, it could really end up hurting you. For example, a visitor might be interested enough in your brand to follow you on Facebook after exploring your site for a bit. By clicking on your Facebook link, they can go to your Facebook profile and follow you. By following you, they’ll have access to all of your Facebook updates–and your business will have potential exposure to their entire friends list. This is also why you need to make sure that all of your social media links work.

No Share Buttons for Key Pages

In addition to adding links to your social media profiles, you should also add social buttons to your content. For example, if you add a Facebook share button to your blog posts, it will allow visitors to instantly share a blog post that they like to their Facebook feed without leaving your website.

Always Consider The Website Visitor

The fewer issues your website presents, the better the visitor experience. Giving your website visitors a good user experience increases the likelihood that they will become solid leads and then customers. It is, of course, important to rank favorably on all the major search engines. Yet, driving traffic to your website is not enough. Once there, your website must inspire trust and deliver value.

Jan 2022

Social Media – It’s Where the Money Is!

PEW RESEARCH CENTERAPRIL 7, 2021
Social Media Use in 2021

A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while use of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30.
BY BROOKE AUXIER AND MONICA ANDERSON

Despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they ever use any kind of social media site – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults.

Beyond the general question of overall social media use, the survey also covers use of individual sites and apps. YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape, with 81% and 69%, respectively, reporting ever using these sites. And YouTube and Reddit were the only two platforms measured that saw statistically significant growth since 2019, when the Center last polled on this topic via a phone survey.

When it comes to the other platforms in the survey, 40% of adults say they ever use Instagram and about three-in-ten report using Pinterest or LinkedIn. One-quarter say they use Snapchat, and similar shares report being users of Twitter or WhatsApp. TikTok – an app for sharing short videos – is used by 21% of Americans, while 13% say they use the neighborhood-focused platform Nextdoor.

Even as other platforms do not nearly match the overall reach of YouTube or Facebook, there are certain sites or apps, most notably Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, that have an especially strong following among young adults. In fact, a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Instagram (71%) or Snapchat (65%), while roughly half say the same for TikTok.

With the exception of YouTube and Reddit, most platforms show little growth since 2019. YouTube is the most commonly used online platform asked about in this survey, and there’s evidence that its reach is growing. Fully 81% of Americans say they ever use the video-sharing site, up from 73% in 2019. Reddit was the only other platform polled about that experienced statistically significant growth during this time period – increasing from 11% in 2019 to 18% today.

Facebook’s growth has leveled off over the last five years, but it remains one of the most widely used social media sites among adults in the United States: 69% of adults today say they ever use the site, equaling the share who said this two years prior.

Similarly, the respective shares of Americans who report using Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp are statistically unchanged since 2019. This represents a broader trend that extends beyond the past two years in which the rapid adoption of most of these sites and apps seen in the last decade has slowed. (This was the first year the Center asked about TikTok via a phone poll and the first time it has surveyed about Nextdoor.)

Adults under 30 stand out for their use of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. When asked about their social media use more broadly – rather than their use of specific platforms – 72% of Americans say they ever use social media sites.

In a pattern consistent with past Center studies on social media use, there are some stark age differences. Some 84% of adults ages 18 to 29 say they ever use any social media sites, which is similar to the share of those ages 30 to 49 who say this (81%). By comparison, a somewhat smaller share of those ages 50 to 64 (73%) say they use social media sites, while fewer than half of those 65 and older (45%) report doing this.

These age differences generally extend to use of specific platforms, with younger Americans being more likely than their older counterparts to use these sites – though the gaps between younger and older Americans vary across platforms.

Majorities of 18- to 29-year-olds say they use Instagram or Snapchat and about half say they use TikTok, with those on the younger end of this cohort – ages 18 to 24 – being especially likely to report using Instagram (76%), Snapchat (75%) or TikTok (55%). These shares stand in stark contrast to those in older age groups. For instance, while 65% of adults ages 18 to 29 say they use Snapchat, just 2% of those 65 and older report using the app – a difference of 63 percentage points.

Additionally, a vast majority of adults under the age of 65 say they use YouTube. Fully 95% of those 18 to 29 say they use the platform, along with 91% of those 30 to 49 and 83% of adults 50 to 64. However, this share drops substantially – to 49% – among those 65 and older.

By comparison, age gaps between the youngest and oldest Americans are narrower for Facebook. Fully 70% of those ages 18 to 29 say they use the platform, and those shares are statistically the same for those ages 30 to 49 (77%) or ages 50 to 64 (73%). Half of those 65 and older say they use the site – making Facebook and YouTube the two most used platforms among this older population.

Other sites and apps stand out for their demographic differences:
 Instagram: About half of Hispanic (52%) and Black Americans (49%) say they use the platform, compared with smaller shares of White Americans (35%) who say the same.

 WhatsApp: Hispanic Americans (46%) are far more likely to say they use WhatsApp than Black (23%) or White Americans (16%). Hispanics also stood out for their WhatsApp use in the Center’s previous surveys on this topic.

 LinkedIn: Those with higher levels of education are again more likely than those with lower levels of educational attainment to report being LinkedIn users. Roughly half of adults who have a bachelor’s or advanced degree (51%) say they use LinkedIn, compared with smaller shares of those with some college experience (28%) and those with a high school diploma or less (10%).

 Pinterest: Women continue to be far more likely than men to say they use Pinterest when compared with male counterparts, by a difference of 30 points (46% vs. 16%).

 Nextdoor: There are large differences in use of this platform by community type. Adults living in urban (17%) or suburban (14%) areas are more likely to say they use Nextdoor. Just 2% of rural Americans report using the site.

A majority of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram users say they visit these platforms on a daily basis.

While there has been much written about Americans’ changing relationship with Facebook, its users remain quite active on the platform. Seven-in-ten Facebook users say they use the site daily, including 49% who say they use the site several times a day. (These figures are statistically unchanged from those reported in the Center’s 2019 survey about social media use.)

Smaller shares – though still a majority – of Snapchat or Instagram users report visiting these respective platforms daily (59% for both). And being active on these sites is especially common for younger users. For instance, 71% of Snapchat users ages 18 to 29 say they use the app daily, including six-in-ten who say they do this multiple times a day. The pattern is similar for Instagram: 73% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users say they visit the site every day, with roughly half (53%) reporting they do so several times per day.

YouTube is used daily by 54% if its users, with 36% saying they visit the site several times a day. By comparison, Twitter is used less frequently, with fewer than half of its users (46%) saying they visit the site daily.