Effecting Change: Discovering the Technical Problem

Distilled’s Seattle office once engaged with an enterprise software company, who intended to merge their web properties onto a single domain. Leadership suspected gathering them together would be better for branding. But it turned out to be no small task — more than eighty different sites housed bits of their content!

As we talked with their team, we saw why the sites had proliferated. The company’s web team coded their brand site by hand. As a result, marketing teams couldn’t upload or change their own content. Marketers felt disenfranchised, so savvy employees gave themselves a voice. They made their own platforms.

As outside observers, we saw that this consolidation would be a temporary fix. The client needed to simplify content creation. Otherwise, they’d wind up playing whack-a-mole with their own teams. Painting a clear picture of these management issues is an important part of what we do. Effecting change is an important part of Distilled’s core values. Often the way a client manages a problem is more impactful than the problem itself!

Still, the technical problem is real. The technical problem is the thing that takes expertise to resolve. And to have a voice in the conversation about content creation, we needed to first support the client with their site consolidation. We had to show our expertise and prove ourselves trustworthy partners.

To build that trust we needed an efficient and effective approach to solving technical problems. The method I’m outlining in this post is how I resolve difficult technical problems because it lets me focus my effort on what matters most. The approach respects the importance of the technical problem and acknowledges that there is more to the whole story.

SEE THE EXAMPLE SPREADSHEET

How the spreadsheet looks.

Start with MECE

Have you ever seen (or delivered) a 60-page technical audit? How much did the client do (or even read)? Consultants write these documents when they try to tackle a big problem head-on. When the scope of the problem is unclear, when do you stop working?

Big problems can be complicated, or they can be complex. Complicated problems are challenging, but solvable if you find the right approach. Technical problems are usually complicated. Complex issues have too many — or poorly understood — variables. They resist formulaic approaches. The way a client manages their problems is complex.

When you look at a technical problem and feel paralyzed, you’re recognizing how complicated it is. But complicated problems are vulnerable to structured approaches. By breaking that problem down into several smaller problems, the solution is known.

In this post, we’ll break a big problem down with the MECE principle. This process helps expose the substructure of the problem. It’s easier to explain by example — if you’ve seen the Technical Audit Checklist for Human Beings, that spreadsheet is MECE.

MECE stands for Mutually Exclusive, Comprehensively Exhaustive. Here’s what that means:

  • Mutually exclusive. All the subproblems we identify are different — they don’t overlap.

  • Comprehensively exhaustive. The subproblems cover all possibilities.

Breaking down the problem with MECE principles lets you feel confident that you’ve inspected all relevant angles. Let’s look at how this concept works in the rest of this article.

Three steps to technical discovery

We want to understand the technical challenge quickly, confidently, and in a replicable way. These are the three steps to follow:

  1. Familiarize yourself with available data.

  2. Form a hypothesis about what to do.

  3. Validate the solution under the context in which you’re working.

It’s an intuitive process — not controversial. The difference is applying a principle like MECE at each step to focus your attention.

First, familiarize yourself with available data

Check out the first page of the example Sheet to follow along.

Imagine a client has come to you saying, “I need to increase my organic traffic.” For Distilled, that’s a surprisingly common scenario — and a difficult demand to fulfill! Where do you start with an open-ended problem like that? Applying the MECE principle will give us a direction to go in.

Let’s give it a try, starting from the top. More organic traffic is the goal. What are all the possible ways you could achieve that goal? These are the top-level possibilities I came up with:

Need more organic traffic

  • Maybe add more content to the site

  • Maybe improve existing content

  • Maybe increase authority of content

Applying MECE is recursive. You don’t just break the big problem into subproblems, you also break down each subproblem in turn. This continues until you can clearly take physical action to solve the subproblems. Here’s a visual representation of the process:

For example, we could increase traffic to the site by adding more content that targets high-volume search terms. That’s a more focused problem than “increase organic traffic”. But it’s still a bit paralyzing. So let’s break the problem down further:

How can we increase traffic by adding content?

  • Maybe create more content targeting competitive head terms

  • Maybe create lots of content targeting long-tail terms

We’re getting warmer, but we’re not quite there. Let’s do one more try, focusing on the possibility of adding long-tail content:

How can we increase traffic with long-tail content?

  • Could we automate content creation with proprietary client data?

  • Can we design a content calendar the client could use to produce targeted content?

The process stops here because the problems are specific enough to generate next physical actions. We could break the points down further, but that wouldn’t change the actions we’d take to research them.

This process is fully fleshed out in the spreadsheet. In the end, we come up with things like “If we cast a wider net, are there head terms in markets we aren’t considering?” These are all questions that will drive action and give us confidence.

In fact, we wind up with some fairly common actions. We need to do a tech audit. We need to brainstorm campaign ideas. The difference is that we now know exactly why we’re doing them — and therefore how to invest in each.

Next, form a hypothesis

In the first step, you exposed the possible solutions. By doing that research, you’ll have formed an opinion about what the answer is. If not, collecting everything in one place should bring out some contenders.

Now it’s time to form a hypothesis based on your research and professional intuition. Looking at the example spreadsheet, I’m starting to suspect that creating long-tail content will be the best way for the client to increase their organic visibility.

That’s my informed opinion — I might be wrong. The hypothesis doesn’t have to turn out correct. That’s why you need to validate it.

Finally, validate your recommendations

Check out the second page of the example Sheet to follow along.

This step is often skipped when tackling complicated problems without a formal process. It’s natural to form an opinion about what to do while you’re researching. It may even seem obvious that you have the right answer, and you might!

Imagine going to the client at this point with your opinion. You’d say, “I did a bunch of research and it pointed toward this recommendation.” While that’s a better approach than going to the client with a massive audit, there’s still room for the client to doubt. It’s time to shift focus.

In step one, we analyzed every relevant facet of the “get more traffic” problem. Now we’ve got a hypothesis. We need to inspect this hypothesis from all angles. Let’s look at our example hypothesis:

We should invest in creating content for long-tail keywords

  • Improving rankings of existing content isn’t practical.

  • We can capture new long-tail traffic.

  • Capturing long-tail traffic has a positive ROI.

As with the first step, we continue this process until each subproblem can be given a concrete answer. Check out the spreadsheet for inspiration.

We’re taking it from “the evidence points in this direction” to “we’ve looked at this from all relevant angles, and are confident we can support it”. This is the most important supporting evidence to present.

A little thinking goes a long way

David Allen says in GTD, “You have to think about your stuff more than you realize, but not as much as you’re afraid you might.” That’s as true for big technical problems as it is for your own to-do system.

The art is breaking down the big problem into a set of sub-problems. That isn’t easy — but it’s more effective than trying to do a bunch of audits and hoping they’ll coalesce into meaningful insight.

Once you’ve mastered this skill, the three-step outline is simple:

  1. Expose possibilities

  2. Choose the most promising

  3. Validate the chosen possibility

Confidently executing this process efficiently exposes technical solutions. Solving this complicated problem gives you more opportunity to collaborate with the client on complex problems, like the impact of their management practices.

SEE THE EXAMPLE SPREADSHEET

Engaging with these ideas

Here are two books that have introduced me to these methods. If you’re interested in this approach to problem solving, I recommend them!

  • Flawless Consulting by Peter Block. This is a book with great ideas in it, but it takes some effort to parse. I’ve created an internal training course for our team to share its principles in a more structured way. For those who are willing to invest in its ideas, there is the potential for a huge payoff.

  • The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel. There are plenty of books on McKinsey and MECE. I happened to get my introduction to the concept here.

Effecting Change: Discovering the Technical Problem was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

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Most Popular Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization, A/B testing and Value Proposition Content in 2017

This was a big year for MarketingExperiments. In 2017, our website got a major facelift. Certainly, a much different look than when we first started publishing in 2000.

More importantly, we hope 2017 was a big year for you. And to help you have an even better year in 2018, here is the MarketingExperiments content that was most popular with your peers this past year.

Quick Win Clinics

New in 2017, we launched the Quick Win Clinic video series to help marketers with problems that are easy to solve, but difficult to detect. In every episode, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute (parent research organization of MarketingExperiments), provides conversion optimization suggests on audience-submitted homepages, landing pages, emails, display ads, etc.

Watch one of the Quick Win Clinics to get ideas for improving your marketing messaging.

Or give us the URL of the marketing collateral you would like to have optimized in the series. If yours is chosen, you’ll get specific advice to help improve conversion based on our patented methodology built from what we’ve discovered by testing more than 20,000 sales and marketing paths.

 Specific examples of great value propositions

MarketingExperiments email newsletter subscriber Jennifer wrote to us and said “I’m a big fan of MECLABS and your value proposition work. I’d love to see a story with specific examples of five great value propositions.”

So we published some good …

As well as bad examples …

Get some ideas for creating a powerful value proposition for your brand, products and marketing pieces from the article 6 Good (And 2 Bad) B2B And B2C Value Proposition Examples.

The Prospect’s Perception Gap

Flint McGlaughlin was a featured speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 (MarketingExperiments’ sister publishing brand).

We shared a free video replay of his full session. Watch now to learn how to bridge the dangerous gap between the results you want and the results you have.

Absolute Difference Versus Relative Difference

A perennial favorite, we published this article back in 2013 but it is still one of our top-trafficked pages, so marketers continue to see value in learning how to understand and communicate their results.

As an example, Kyle Foster used a simple A/B split test for a hypothetical landing page test with some dummy data to interpret.

Read the article about interpreting results to get a basic understanding of how you should report on your A/B tests.

Learn how to become a better, more efficient digital marketer

Lastly, another perennial favorite, the landing page for MECLABS online learning. With our curriculum of online certification courses — value proposition development, landing page optimization, online testing and email messaging — you can learn a patented methodology to increase customer response.

You might also like…

A/B Testing Archives

Value Proposition Archives

Testing And Optimization: 4 inspirational examples of experimentation and success

Most Popular Marketing Experiments Conversion Optimization, A/B testing and Value Proposition Content in 2017 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

TechSEO360: The SEO Hacker Review

TechSEO360 Review

We have had a good number of SEO tool reviews done this past 2017. We’ve had versatile tools such as SERPED.net, website auditing tools like SEOmator, conversion rate tools like Omniconvert, keyboard tracking software like AccuRanker, and versatile language processing tools like Wordlift. These excellent and dynamic tools have become important parts of our expanding SEO toolbox, and have made SEO in 2017 a better experience for us.

Another SEO tool that has been introduced to our team is TechSEO360, which is another versatile tool provides you with features such as keyword optimization, sitemap creation, link analysis, and fast site crawling. With all of this features in one single tool, this is a tool definitely worth a review to see how it holds up with the rest of our arsenal. Before we begin with the review, I would like to invite you to try out TechSEO360 for yourself by going to their main page, and downloading the tool itself. You will be able to access all of the features for free for a 30-day period, which is enough time to see how it holds up on your end. Without further ado, here is our review.

Website Scan

Website Scan

The first feature that you’ll be seeing after logging into the tool is the website scan. The scanning is simple, as all you need is to type in your domain address and start scanning. You can also navigate between crawler options and various filters to be able to scan more specific details for your website. This wide variety of crawling options help you get all the necessary data that you need to see how your website is doing.

Website Scan Progress

After having our website scanned for 10 minutes, I was able to get a sizeable amount of data with regards to the amount of external and sitemap URLs, and jobs that are present in the crawler engine. The longer you would scan your website, the more crawl data you would be able to obtain, which can help you monitor your leads, traffic, and other information related to your website. After scanning, you can analyze your data further using the analysis tool.

Analyze Website Data

Analyze Web Data

This is the section that allows you to look at all of the links and pages within your website. You can also view your website through the tool itself, acting like a mini-browser that let’s you navigate through the internal and external links.

Website Extended Data

If you want to take a closer look at the links themselves, you can click the extended data section and get a closer look. You would be able to see all of the links and their anchors, and even know if they are follow or nofollow links. This feature helps you check if all of your links are working, and makes looking for broken links much easier than before.

On-Page Keyword Analysis

Analyze On Page Keyword Analysis

Along with website and link analysis, TechSEO360 also allows you to analyze al of the keywords present within your website. It would track how many of these keywords are present, their weight, and the overall keyword density. This would help you see how well are your keywords performing, and if the density is too high or too low for certain keywords.

Keywords and Lists

Keywords and Lists

Another important keyword research feature is the keywords and lists section. This allows you to create and combine your own keyword lists. This allows you to focus on the keywords that you are using and help you get a better picture on how to get them to rank higher. For our clients with a specific keyword list, this comes in really handy as you would be able to monitor all the right keywords, without having to manually browse through anything.

Online Tools

The online tools section will check if your website currently has some active tools present. This can be evident when you use a WordPress website, as they would be able to detect various tools that are being used. This would let you know if the tools that you are using are active and working on your site.

Create Sitemap

Sitemap

Site mapping is an essential SEO practice, as you are able to help create listings for web crawlers, which you can then send to search engines to improve your craw rate. Once you have gotten your website scanned, you will be able to create multiple file paths for different site types. Like the previous parts of the tool, you can adjust and filter your settings to your own preferences. This allows you to create a customized setting for each of your client’s websites

Create Robots

Create Robots

If your site does not have crawlers, which affect the visibility of your website, this tool allows you to create robots for your website to increase the number of crawlers. Creating robots using TechSEO360 is simple and quick, only needing you to create a .txt file, and click one or two of the available options. After creating robots in your site, you can use a Ping Sitemap to monitor your progress.

Verdict

Sitemapping and web crawling is one of the most important elements of SEO, and TechSEO360 is a tool that allows you to make this process much more efficient. Along with improving your website’s crawl rate, you would also be able to audit your website, and see if all your internal and external links are working fine. If you are in a need of a website analysis tool, then TechSEO360 is a must have in your SEO arsenal.

Key Takeaway

2017 is a strong year for SEO tools, as we have seen some of the best and most efficient tools available. TechSEO360 is no exception, as it is another tool that SEO specialists would use to their advantage.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO tools, and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

TechSEO360: The SEO Hacker Review was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

wordpress How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

For the last several years, SEMrush has conducted studies around the most common technical SEO mistakes that appear on websites. This year, SEMrush collected data on 100K websites and 450 million pages to determine the most common mistakes and issues.

Knowing that WordPress is the most popular CMS platform on the web, and using the SEMrush study, we wanted to show how you to fix those pesky technical SEO issues on your WordPress sites.

Following the same methodology set out by SEMrush, we have divided the fixes into three big groups:

  • Crawlability
  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page SEO

Crawlability

  • WWW Domain Configured Incorrectly

    • What is it?

If you can access your website by going to the WWW version and the non WWW version and both resolve to that address, you have a problem. This is considered a duplicate content concern since essentially there are 2 ways to access the same content.

    • How to fix it

First determine whether the WWW version or the non WWW is your preferred version. The nice thing about WordPress is that whichever one you enter in the general settings, it will automatically set it up properly assuming you have both version pointed to the same IP address. Meaning if you try to access the website using the other version it should already redirect you to the correct version.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Redirect Chains & Loops

    • What is it?

A redirect chain happens with there is more than one redirect occurring between the first URL and the final URL. When a URL is redirected it should be done so pointing directly to its final destination. This can be problematic for SEO because of decreased link equity being passed through.

    • How to fix it

Once you know where your chains are happening, you simply need to update the link to point to the final destination instead of allowing it to flow through multiple redirects.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Broken Internal Links

    • What is it?

Links pointing to other internal pages of your website. A broken link not only provides a bad user experience, it affects how Google assesses your sites quality. The more broken links you have, can cause Google to have a reduced crawl rate, and not effectively distribute link equity.

    • How to fix it

Although there are a couple ways this can be done, for simplicity I recommend using the Broken Link Checker plugin. Upon activating the plugin, you will need to visit the Settings >>Link Checker page. The plugin will automatically start scanning the website for any broken links. Obviously the larger the site the long it will take to finish the scan. Once completed, you should see a link displaying the number of broken links found. Here is a screenshot:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

By clicking on the link shown above, you will be taken to a results page of the individual links:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

The great thing about this plugin is that you can update the URL right from this view by either changing the URL or unlinking it altogether.

**Note: This is a very resource heavy plugin so it is recommended to deactivate the plugin after use and just reactivate every month or 2 to ensure your website is in good standing.

  • Missing XML Sitemap

    • What is it?

A file that lists all of the important pages of your website. It acts as a roadmap for Google. The purpose is that even though your website’s internal linking architecture might not be perfect, the XML sitemap tells Google what all of your URL’s are so they can appropriately crawl and index them.

    • How to fix it

You want a dynamic xml sitemap so that every time a new page is created on your website the URL gets automatically added to the file. There are many plugins you can use to create an XML sitemap in WordPress but my favorite is to use the Yoast SEO plugin.

Once you activate the plugin, you simply click on XML Sitemaps in the plugin menu:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Once clicked, you can enable or disable XML sitemaps. Once you click the button to enable, the plugin automatically generates the file for you.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Once you have completed this, you simply take the url of the file and submit that to your Google Search Console account.

  • Missing Robots.TXT

    • What is it?

The robots.txt file is essentially a set of instructions for the web robots. In this file you can determine which pages or areas of the website you do or don’t want the robots to crawl and access.

    • How to fix it

Using the multi-dimensional Yoast SEO plugin as mentioned earlier, you can edit the robots.txt file. Make sure you have the advanced features enabled, and when so, click on Tools in the Menu:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Your next step will be to click on File editor. From there you will be able to make changes to your robots.txt file. If you don’t already have one, you can create simply click the button to create and save:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Non SEO-Friendly URL Structure

    • What is it?

When checking the SEO friendliness of your URL structure you are essentially looking for a clear, easy to read setup. The shorter the better. If possible, you want to try to avoid dynamic URLs or URLs with long strings of numbers in them.

    • How to fix it

Luckily WordPress makes this easy. If you click on Settings>Permalinks, you are taken to a page that looks like this:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

The ideal setup in most cases would be to use a custom structure and append the following in the text box: /%postname%/

The above will solve any issues with non-friendly URLs. For URLs that are flagged as being too long, simply go to the page/post, and edit the permalink underneath the Title as shown:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

*Note: Any time you change a URL, you should redirect that URL.

On-Page Optimization

  • Duplicate Content & Thin Content

    • What is it?

Duplicate content occurs when substantial blocks of the same copy is being used on more than 1 page throughout the website. This is frowned upon because it degrades the value of your page because there is nothing of unique substance for Google to reward your page. Ideally every page of your website will have unique copy.

Thin Content occurs when you have a page with very little to no copy. This too is not ideal because there is nothing of unique substance for Google to reward that page either.

    • How to fix it

You can simply fix both by ensuring there is enough copy on the page to accurately represent the theme of that page and that the copy on each page is completely unique.

  • Duplicate & Missing Meta Descriptions

    • What is it?

Every page on your website should have a meta description and they should all be unique. The purpose of the meta description is to briefly describe what the contents of this page is about.

    • How to fix it

Using the Yoast plugin, when editing, toward the bottom of each page/post there will be an area that will look like the below. You simply enter the meta description in the box.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

  • Missing, Duplicate, & Too Long Title Tags

    • What is it?

Every page on your website should also have a Title Tag and they should all be unique. The purpose of the Title Tag is to Title what the contents of this page is about. The Title tag being properly optimized with keywords is an important facet of SEO.

    • How to fix it

In the same image shown above with the Meta description, you will see the SEO title. Filling the information in this box will automatically create your Title Tag. Just go through all the pages that have duplication and update them to be different.

Title tags have character limits before Google starts truncating them (typically 60 characters and above). In the case where the Title Tag is too long, you will simply need to edit the Title to be under the 60 character limit.

  • Missing & Multiple H1 Tags

    • What is it?

H1 tags are essentially a type of HTML heading. It is widely believed that H1 tags carry more weight than other headings on a page. Following best practices, each page should have an H1 tag but only 1.

    • How to fix it

To add an H1 tag to a page, simply go to the page editor in WordPress and highlight the copy that you want to be in an H1. Once highlighted, select the H1 heading from the dropdown menu in the WYSIWYG editor as shown:

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

If you have more than 1 H1 tag on a page, you will need to find where they are marked up, and follow the same instructions as above except select a different heading type. You can have as many H2’s, H3’s, etc as you would like.

  • Broken Images & Missing Alt Attributes

    • What is it?

A broken image is exactly what it sounds like. An image that isn’t rendering on the website.

An alt attribute is a tag applied to images that provide a text alternative to the image. An alt tag should describe what the picture is. It’s purpose is for screen readers for those that are visually impaired. Every image should have one.

    • How to fix it

You can fix broken images by simply updating the image on a post/page, or by removing it altogether.

To add alt text to an image, simply select it in the Media Library of WordPress and you should see a box with Image Details appear as shown below where you can enter in your alt text.

general-settings How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress

Technical SEO

  • Slow Page Speeds

    • What is it?

Page speed is an extremely important facet to SEO and user experience. The slower a page loads, the less likely someone will want to stick around for it.

    • How to fix it

There are many plugin options that help improve Page Speed for a website. There are 3 core ones that we typically like to use that should have a big impact on improving your page speed.

      • W3 Total Cache: This will help solve any browser caching issues that show up in Google Pagespeed Insights and assist with page compression.
      • Autoptimize: This will handle the minification of CSS, HTML & JavaScript files and improve the render-blocking scripts
      • EWWW Image Optimization: This is our preferred method of optimizing images. Although I will admit, the paid version produces better results.

*Note: One of the most common issues that occurs is the reduction in server response time. Unfortunately there is no plugin to fix this. Usually you would need to upgrade your hosting plan to accommodate for newer software & higher resources.

  • Non Mobile Friendly

    • What is it?

By now most should have a mobile website, yet we still see some that don’t everyday. Google has already started launching their mobile first index which means if you don’t have a mobile website than you will soon be left behind.

    • How to fix it

The recommended way to solve this would be to make your website responsive. If it is not already, then you will need to hire a developer. The reason we recommend responsive is that you only have 1 website to maintain and it automatically conforms to the size of the screen a visitor is using.

The second option is to have a separate mobile website. Although not my favorite option it is better than not having a mobile website. In this case, I would recommend using WPtouch as a short term solution until you invest in going responsive. Once activated, you can setup your mobile website in a matter of minutes.

How to Fix the Most Common Technical SEO Issues On WordPress was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Local SEO Strategies That Will Blow Competitors Out of the Water

Local SEO Strategies That Will Blow Competitors Out of the Water

Local SEO is a highly competitive field that has numerous businesses that aim to get on top of the rankings. With the improvement on Google’s local SEO analytics and metrics, the objective of finding the right local SEO strategies would ensure that you have the edge over your competitors.

With the competition being as tight as it is, it is best to look at local SEO strategies that your competitors are not seem to be doing, and use it to your advantage. Here are some of these effective strategies that would definitely blow them out of the water.

Optimize Site Security

Optimize Site Security

When it comes to optimizing your website, site security is one of the first things that you need to improve on. This is one thing that your local competition might tend to forget, which leads to their sites being prone to malicious content, viruses, and unreliable links.

If your website is running on WordPress, you have access to some of the best website security tools available that allows firewall protection, and even helps you create a backup site in case your website gets compromised.

Take Advantage of Google My Business

Google My Business is one of the best local SEO tools available, and it’s free to use. This tool helps you create your business profile, which can help more people look for your business. You profile would contain every important detail of your business, such as your contact details, address, business hours, and even images.

Most of your business’s local competition might also have Google My Business profiles, but there are a lot of them that do not use it properly, and lack some important information that users are looking for. Having an optimized Google My Business profile would generate a good amount of local traffic, and gives you a one-up on the rest of your competition. Bonus tip: make use of the Virtual Tour option, which is one big factor that helps attract more people to your business by giving them an inside look, which makes for good first impressions.

Proper Reputation Management

Reviews are some of the most important factors users take into account when doing local searches, as user reception and input is something that they look into. Good reviews build better trust, and increases your authority in the internet. Users can leave reviews on your Google My Business page, and in your social media accounts. It is best to get a monitoring tool that tracks all of your business reviews, and see what everyone is thinking about your business.

Expand your Linkbuilding

Linkbuilding has become an important pillar of good SEO, and your business would surely grow through the use of high quality links from reputable websites. There are many local businesses that do not take advantage of good linkbuilding, which definitely hurts their visibility in search engines. Some of their links tend to be spammy, with the potential to contain malicious content.

It is best to avoid this practice, and focus on building links with reputable sites and blogs, which would help more users to find you, generating a higher number of leads. Guest blogging and backlinks would do wonders for your local SEO, as you are giving your business the promotion it needs.

Focus on Local Content

Focus on Local Content

One strategy that you can take advantage of that a lot of businesses are not doing right now is creating quality content that provides quality information that benefits the users, and helps generate possible leads. Adding a blog to your business website would help generate more traffic, as users would be searching for certain keyword that would lead them to your business.

Good visuals are also a major factor for your website and in social media, as it would attract more users, and gives the impression of being a well-managed business. Users prefer a business website with an attractive layout, so investing in good graphics is a definite plus.

Key Takeaway

Local SEO strategies have become more dynamic than ever, with emphasis on improving your local search listing, to using social media and linkbuilding to build your client base. Using these simple but effective SEO strategies would definitely give you that massive advantage in promotion and visibility in the end, and would leave your competitors out in the water.

If you have questions and inquiries about local SEO, or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

 

Local SEO Strategies That Will Blow Competitors Out of the Water was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Just Updated Their Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels: What You Need To Know

Google Just Updated Their Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels: What You Need To Know

Last month, there was a change in the amount of featured snippets and knowledge panels being shown in Google’s search pages. During a short period in early November 2017, the number of featured snippets went down, while the number of knowledge panels went up. This was seen as a move by Google to test and adjust their search metrics, which is something that they do on a regular basis.

This month, however, Google once again updated their Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels. These updates help expand the two to accommodate more content, which helps give users more reliable information. Here are some extra details that you need to know.

More Characters for Featured Snippets

One of the most notable features of the update is that the character count has increased for featured snippets. The maximum character count is now at 320, which means that users would be able to see longer descriptions on their search results.

Although this might signal a lot of people to update their meta descriptions to accommodate to the changes, it is best to stay put. One noticeable detail is that the number of characters that show up in the search results actually depends on the search query itself. This means that if you have a long meta description, that means it would show up better in the search results. This is a more dynamic feature that helps display information better.

More related information on Knowledge Panels

When we addressed the issue regarding knowledge panels in one of our previous posts, we were concerned about the quality of information that they provide. The purpose of having knowledge panels is to provide you with extra information related to your search query.

Google’s update optimizes this feature by showing more related topics and suggestions that can help you with whatever you are looking for. This not only helps bring in better search results, but also help the users discover more content.

Impact on SEO

Despite the fact that Google now provides more characters in their search entries, it is not necessary to update your meta descriptions, as Google also tends to use the text of the article itself on certain occasions. The improved Knowledge Panels allow more convenient and efficient searches, which you can use to your advantage through effective linkbuilding strategies that can help users reach your website and content.

Key Takeaway

With this update, users are expected to have more refined search results, which would really benefit your SEO rankings. With 2018 bound to arrive in a few weeks, expect Google to roll out more helpful updates that will generate better search results and SEO real soon.

If you have more questions and inquiries about Google and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Google Just Updated Their Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels: What You Need To Know was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Page Layout Optimization: A common mistake marketers and web designers make, and how to avoid it

Let’s suppose you have been perusing our website for a while now and have been educating yourself on landing page optimization. You are in the process of revamping a webpage and feel like you have arrived at a good value proposition. It’s well expressed in your headline and has further enticing information in the subheader. The graphics are good. You now think you’ve captured visitor’s attention. What’s next?

In this Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin views a page from Core Hospitality Furniture that has several positive factors going for it. Our attention is captured. But just as the conversation gets rolling, it seems to end and we are left hanging, even a little confused.

“Beware of this danger where you have important content buried on your page.” — Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

Watch the video to see where the mistake was made, and get some free advice on how to keep the conversation going with the customer so that they will be able to arrive at a conclusion, which powers a decision that is mutually beneficial to both customer and brand.

 

Page Layout Optimization: A common mistake marketers and web designers make, and how to avoid it was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

What We Learned in November 2017: The Digital Marketing Month in a Minute

In our final roundup before Christmas, there’s plenty to talk about from all the main players in the tech and marketing industries. The hottest topic at the moment is undoubtedly net neutrality, set to affect the US but with potential repercussions much further afield.

Net neutrality argument rages on

It’s the current hot-button topic, and while the repeal of net neutrality has few supporters among consumers of the web, it’s worth looking at the issue away from the filter bubbles that social media tends to offer. The latest Moz Whiteboard Friday offers an excellent explainer, complete with SEO and digital marketing repercussions. In addition, Ben Thompson of Stratechery offers a detailed breakdown of how what’s happened so far and how things might pan out.

Read the full story (Stratechery)


The new Firefox is really fast

While still the browser of choice for many, Firefox’s share of users has been steadily declining over the last few years. However, the new version is seriously fast, for many reasons, and maker’s Mozilla will be hoping it will gain ground on the likes Google Chrome and Safari. Mozilla has also broken down just how the new version is so speedy.

Read the full story (Mozilla)


Is your company’s Slack sexist?

So many companies, Distilled included, relies on Slack for effective and innovative communication across the business. However, as it becomes a core part of everyday work life, there’s a danger it can start to show sexist tendencies. Leah Fessler explores how this happens and what you can do about it.

Read the full story (QZ)


Online news trusted more than most sources

According to a UK survey, online news is the most-trusted medium, coming second behind only TV. It is considered more trustworthy than Facebook, Twitter, radio and print. Additionally, 26% of respondents get the majority of their news from Facebook. For comparison, 45% of Americans use Facebook as a news source.

Read the full story (Britain Elects via Twitter)


Knowledge graph eats featured snippets

The prevalence of featured snippets in search has risen from about 5.5% in November 2015, to 16% in September 2017. Unsurprisingly, this has made them an enticing prospect to try and achieve for many brands. However, there has been a recent drop in searches resulting in a featured snippet. Many of these ‘lost’ featured snippets have been replaced by Knowledge Graph entries.

Read the full story (Moz)


Google to clamp down on poor AMP experiences

Having seen its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project take off, Google is now turning its attention to those using the platform in a less-than-ideal way. It is cracking down on publishers providing markedly different experiences when comparing an AMP piece of content to an equivalent non-AMP page. One particularly unwelcome practice is using AMP as a ‘teaser’ page to a piece of content.

Read the full story (Google Blog)


Crawl rates might not work as documented

It’s a commonly held belief in SEO that the crawl rate setting in Google Search Console isn’t designed to increase the rate of crawls, but rather to limit the number of crawls if it’s causing issues (like slowing down your server). Oliver Mason has done some testing on this and found that, in practice, it might not be so straightforward.

Read the full story (OHGM)


Google Assistant will help you find local home services

As more and more people get comfortable with the idea of using Google Assistant, the search engine giant is busy adding further capabilities. In the latest update, you will now be able to ask for help finding certain services, such as asking Google to find you a plumber. The tradesman and services on offer will have been prescreened by Google.

Read the full story (The Verge)


Apple hit by embarrassing security flaws

Apple recently launched the latest version of its operating system, called High Sierra. It quickly emerged that any Mac with the update could essentially be taken control of using a blank password. Apple moved quickly to patch the problem, but with that update, many users found they could no longer share files.

Read the full story (The Guardian)

Distilled News

The videos of all the talks at SearchLove London are now available. The easiest way to view them all is to sign up for a full DistilledU account. Meanwhile, tickets for both SearchLove San Diego 2018 and Boston 2018 are available, both with early bird discounts still on offer.

On the Distilled blog, senior designer Vicke Cheung has proposed a case for getting up to speed with design tool, Sketch. NYC Consultant Jeremy Gottlieb has been exploring LinkedIn’s new Demographics feature, with a few ways you can start using it, too. Finally, London analyst Anabella Repond shared her best tips for finding your search competitors.

What We Learned in November 2017: The Digital Marketing Month in a Minute was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Good Content Marketing Means Avoiding These Types of Content

Good Content Marketing Means Avoiding These Types of Content

When it comes to content marketing, it is best to not only have a solid and sound strategy to boost your website’s rankings, but you must also have great content to match. Content is an integral part of good SEO strategy, which means that quality is very crucial. Having helpful and effective content would not only have more users engaged, it would also increase your website visibility and even generate more leads.

There are many topics that can be considered as good content, just as long as its engaging, helpful, and straight to the point. With that in mind, make sure that you avoid certain types if content that will put a dent on your content marketing strategy.

Content that Promotes the Brand

The goal of creating content is to make something helpful for your audience. For example, if you are writing content for an educational institution, it is best to write about helpful tips and guides that would help their students. Always think about your audience when you write your content, as they should benefit from whatever you write for them.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are instances in which some websites create content with the sole intention of promoting their brand and products. This is not good content marketing, as you are forcing the product to your audience without giving them anything helpful. It is best to avoid this practice as much as possible.

Vague and Generic Content

Vague and Generic Content

Good content is engaging content with topics that attract a good number of users to your website. It is always a challenge to catch the attention of an internet user, as there is a wide variety of options when browsing different websites. Users want content with topics that help them answer their concerns, or content about something new that they would like to know more about. Keeping your ideas fresh and exciting would help your content marketing strategy.

Meanwhile, avoiding vague and generic topics like the plague would also help your website a lot. Vague and generic content will not generate enough interest, to the point in which users would not even care to click it. Generating topics through thorough research and analysis would do wonders for your content.

Content That focuses on the Search Engine

Search engines help users access your website and content through the use of keywords and linkbuilding. One mistake that some websites do is that they tend to create content that search engines can read better. This can mean an obvious amount of keyword stuffing or too many links in a post. Content should always cater to your audience, and not the search engine. It is best to let your content rank up organically than through these means, as Google penalizes these negative practices.

Poor Editing and Lack of Visual Flair

Poor Editing and Lack of Visual Flair

Sometimes, the main reason people aren’t accessing your content is because of poor editing. One of the most common problems is poor grammar and misspelled words. While some of these mistakes can be small, this can turn a great post into an average one, and would make it unreadable for some users should it be seen repeatedly throughout. Thorough editing and grammar tools are the way to go to make sure your posts remain clean and correct.

Another mistake that some websites do is post their content without any visuals. You content might be interesting and compelling, but not having an image to catch the user’s attention would make it look dull and uninteresting. Adding some graphics and images would give your posts more flair and character, which users would love to see.

Your Headline isn’t catching attention

First impressions always count, and the first thing that your users would see before accessing your content would be the headline. The headline would be a major deciding factor on whether or not users would pick the article up. The best way to avoid this and get creative with your headlines. Get to the point of your article, and give out an inviting tone that would convince them to access it. Making your headlines more interesting and exciting would help attract more users that could be potential leads.

Key Takeaway

Content is one of the most crucial elements in SEO, and making sure that they are high quality means that you will be able to help your website gain more traffic to improve your rankings. Avoiding all the types of content listed above would ensure that you are helping build good SEO, and make your website better overall.

If you have any questions and inquiries about Content Marketing or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Good Content Marketing Means Avoiding These Types of Content was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Vince and Venice: How These Two Updates Changed the SEO Landscape

Most of today’s SEO strategies and techniques have been done to address the updates made by Google. Every now and then, Google would announce updates and tweaks into their metrics and algorithms, to which SEO professionals would respond accordingly. These updates were made to optimize Google’s performance, and ensure that users are getting the best information possible.

While most of these updates would only mean minor tweaks into your SEO campaign, major updates, like Google Vince and Google Venice, have caused major changes that can still be felt today. Here are how these two updates changed the SEO landscape to what it is today.

Google Venice: Going local

Before this update went online, the method that you have to use to track your local search listings is through Google Places. While this was handy method of going through local search results, there are occasions where some search results which add local listings, despite the search terms not asking for it.

This changed in 2012, with the new Google Venice update. This allows your search results to show some local listings based on your IP address, or even your physical location. This allows you to be able to look for the closest businesses and establishments near your current location, which comes in handy when you are travelling or planning a place for a meeting or an event.

This has helped local SEO in a big way, as local businesses are now able to gain more traffic and visibility, which helps them compete with larger and more established businesses. Google Venice also made using Google My Business much more important, as local businesses are able to track their local SEO and SEM through this effective free tool.

Google Vince: Ranking the Big Brands

There are times when even the smallest of changes can have large implications, and this can be evident when it comes to SEO. Google Vince is one of these kinds of updates, as it was able to help the bigger businesses rank up better in search results pages. While this may have been considered by Google to be a minor update, it has caused such an impact that it affected the SEO industry.

This update was meant to improve the search quality of Google itself, and further enforce the value of branding in the internet. This benefited some of the biggest companies, along with government sites, which are seen to have more authority and quality information compared to smaller websites. Despite the apparent dominance of  these brands in search results, this prompted other websites to improve their quality, and create content that is trustworthy and high quality.

The impact of both updates

Looking back, it seems that these two somewhat simple updates have had a significant impact on how search results are being shown on Google. This has helped businesses gain more footing in search rankings, and has helped create websites with better overall quality, and keep harmful and misleading websites in check. In short, these updates make SEO for businesses that much more competitive.

Key Takeaway

Google’s updates have helped create a better search engine that would be able to provide the best results. Google Vince and Google Venice were two such updates that helped establish business websites as pages that have the relevance and authority to be at the top of search rankings.

If you have any questions or inquiries about Google’s latest updates, and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Google Vince and Venice: How These Two Updates Changed the SEO Landscape was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing