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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Wonderloop’s networking app lets you swipe left on video profiles instead of pictures

April 18, 2019 No Comments

There isn’t much left to be done in online networking apps. We are all familiar with professional (LinkedIn), social (Facebook), real time (Twitter) and dating (Tinder, Bumble, etc). But profile photos of the people you’re interacting with only get you so far. And we’ve all known that person who looked smart in the photo and turned out to be not so amazing in real life. Photos don’t communicate a person’s energy, body language or their voice.

An app called Wonderloop hopes to solve this problem, with video profiles, like this one.

It’s now added swiping people, Tinder-style. Left for “later” and right for “favorite.” In addition, you can see who’s “Nearby” with a location feature, making it more likely you may even bump into this person. How’s that for making your day more…interesting?

Founder Hanna Aase says Wonderloop is not so much “LinkedIn with video” as much as it is “About.me with video.” Why? Well, because it also has a web-platform, allowing you to share your video profile outside the app, as well as message inside it.

I must admit, it’s fair to say that the impression you get from a person from watching them for 10 seconds on a video is pretty persuasive.

Aase says Wonderloop could end up being your personal “video ID,” providing each user with their unique video profile. She says Wonderloop’s aim is to create a search engine out of people on video.

“To see people on video creates trust. Wonderloop’s goal is that every person in the world should have a video identity. We want to help users get seen in this world. You use Wonderloop for the first step of turning a stranger into a potentially cool person in your life,” she added.

She thinks the app will be used by people to make new friends, connect influencers with fans, connect entrepreneurs, connect freelancers and travelers and of course a bit of dating here and there.

She’s also hoping the app will appeal to millennials and Generation Z who, as frequent travelers, are often into meeting people “nearby.” “We did research and were surprised to the extent the age group 16-20 wish to find new friends,” she says. For instance, apps like Jodel are used by young people to reach out to chat to complete strangers nearby (although with no names attached).

Right now the app is invite-only, but users can apply inside the app. Aase says: “We hope to do it in stages as the company grows and in a way where users feel the community is a place they feel safe and can share who they are on video. But being invite-only also makes us differentiated to all other services.”


Social – TechCrunch


Google Home’s Philips Hue integration can now wake you up gently

April 18, 2019 No Comments

Maybe you love the sound of your alarm clock blaring in the morning, heralding a new day full of joy and adventure. More likely, though, you don’t. If you prefer a more gentle wake-up (and have invested in some smart home technology), here’s some good news: Google Home now lets you use your Philips Hue lights to wake you up by slowly changing the light in your room.

Philips first announced this integration at CES earlier this year, with a planned rollout in March. Looks like that took a little while longer, as Google and Philips gently brought this feature to life.

Just like you can use your Home to turn on “Gentle Wake,” which starts changing your lights 30 minutes before your wake-up time to mimic a sunrise, you also can go the opposite way and have the lights mimic sunset as you get ready to go to bed. You can either trigger these light changes through an alarm or with a command that starts them immediately.

While the price of white Hue bulbs has come down in recent years, colored hue lights remain rather pricey, with single bulbs going for around $ 40. If that doesn’t hold you back, though, the Gentle Sleep and Wake features are now available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and India in English only.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Apply or Dismiss Automatic Google Ad Recommendations

April 17, 2019 No Comments

Ever since Google rolled out the Optimization Score, all accounts are full of notifications and recommended changes that may improve your account score. These recommendations range from keyword suggestions, targeting changes, ad suggestions, and automated smart bidding strategies. Should you apply or dismiss these recommended changes?

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


How to optimize paid search ads for phone calls

April 16, 2019 No Comments

There have been an abundance of hand-wringing articles published that wonder if the era of the phone call is over, not to mention speculation that millennials would give up the option to make a phone call altogether if it meant unlimited data.

But actually, the rise of direct dialing through voice assistants and click to call buttons for mobile search means that calls are now totally intertwined with online activity.

Calling versus buying online is no longer an either/or proposition. When it comes to complicated purchases like insurance, healthcare, and mortgages, the need for human help is even more pronounced. Over half of consumers prefer to talk to an agent on the phone in these high-stakes situations.

In fact, 70% of consumers have used a click to call button. And three times as many people prefer speaking with a live human over a tedious web form. And calls aren’t just great for consumers either. A recent study by Invoca found that calls actually convert at ten times the rate of clicks.

However, if you’re finding that your business line isn’t ringing quite as often as you’d like it to, here are some surefire ways to optimize your search ads to drive more high-value phone calls.  

Content produced in collaboration with Invoca.

Four ways to optimize your paid search ads for more phone calls

  1. Let your audience know you’re ready to take their call — and that a real person will answer

If you’re waiting for the phone to ring, make sure your audiences know that you’re ready to take their call. In the days of landlines, if customers wanted a service, they simply took out the yellow pages and thumbed through the business listings until they found the service they were looking for. These days, your audience is much more likely to find you online, either through search engines or social media. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for a human to answer their questions.

If you’re hoping to drive more calls, make sure your ads are getting that idea across clearly and directly. For example, if your business offers free estimates, make sure that message is prominent in the ad with impossible-to-miss text reading, “For a free estimate, call now,” with easy access to your number.

And to make sure customers stay on the line, let them know their call will be answered by a human rather than a robot reciting an endless list of options.

  1. Cater to the more than half of users that will likely be on mobile

If your customer found your landing page via search, there’s a majority percent chance they’re on a mobile device.

While mobile accounted for just 27% of organic search engine visits in Q3 of 2013, its share increased to 57% as of Q4 2018.

Statistic: Mobile share of organic search engine visits in the United States from 3rd quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2018 | Statista

That’s great news for businesses looking to boost calls, since mobile users obviously already have their phone in hand. However, forcing users to dig up a pen in order to write down your business number only to put it back into their phone adds an unnecessary extra step that could make some users think twice about calling.  

Instead, make sure mobile landing pages offer a click to call button that lists your number in big, bold text. Usually, the best place for a click to call button is in the header of the page, near your form, but it’s best practice to A/B test button location and page layouts a few different ways in order to make sure your click to call button can’t be overlooked.

  1. Use location-specific targeting

Since 2014, local search queries from mobile have skyrocketed in volume as compared to desktop.

Statistic: Local search query volume in the United States from 2014 to 2019, by platform (in billions) | Statista

In 2014, there were 66.5 billion search queries from mobile and 65.6 billion search queries from desktop.

Now in 2019, desktop has decreased slightly to 62.3 billion — while mobile has shot up to 141.9 billion — nearly a 250% increase in five years.

Mobile search is by nature local, and vice versa. If your customer is searching for businesses hoping to make a call and speak to a representative, chances are, they need some sort of local services. For example, if your car breaks down, you’ll probably search for local auto shops, click a few ads, and make a couple of calls. It would be incredibly frustrating if each of those calls ended up being to a business in another state.

Targeting your audience by region can ensure that you offer customers the most relevant information possible.

If your business only serves customers in Kansas, you definitely don’t want to waste perfectly good ad spend drumming up calls from California.

If you’re using Google Ads, make sure you set the location you want to target. That way, you can then modify your bids to make sure your call-focused ads appear in those regions.  

  1. Track calls made from ads and landing pages

Keeping up with where your calls are coming from in the physical world is important, but tracking where they’re coming from on the web is just as critical. Understanding which of your calls are coming from ads as well as which are coming from landing pages is an important part of optimizing paid search. Using a call tracking and analytics solution alongside Google Ads can help give a more complete picture of your call data.

And the more information you can track, the better. At a minimum, you should make sure your analytics solution captures data around the keyword, campaign/ad group, and the landing page that led to the call. But solutions like Invoca also allow you to capture demographic details, previous engagement history, and the call outcome to offer a total picture of not just your audience, but your ad performance.

For more information on how to use paid search to drive calls, check out Invoca’s white paper, “11 Paid Search Tactics That Drive Quality Inbound Calls.”

The post How to optimize paid search ads for phone calls appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Journalist Carole Cadwalladr says ‘the gods of Silicon Valley’ have broken democracy

April 16, 2019 No Comments

On the same day that she became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work bringing the Cambridge Analytica scandal to light, journalist Carole Cadwalladr took the stage at TED to “address you directly, the gods of Silicon Valley.”

Cadwalladr began her talk by recounting a trip she took after the Brexit referendum, back to her hometown in South Wales.

She recalled feeling “a weird sense of unreality” walking around a town filled with new infrastructure funded by the European Union, while being told by residents that the EU had done nothing for them. Similarly, she said they told her about the dangers of immigration, even though they lived in a town with “one of the lowest rates of immigration in the country.”

Cadwalladr said she began to understand where those sentiments were coming from after her story ran, and someone contacted her about seeing scary, misleading ads about Turkey and Turkish immigration on Facebook . Cadwalladr, however, couldn’t see those ads, because she wasn’t targeted, and Facebook offered no general archive of all ads that had run on the platform.

Eventually, Facebook began building that archive of ads. And the pro-Brexit campaign was found guilty of breaking British election laws by breaching campaign spending limits to fund campaigns on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Cadwalladr said her interest in these issues led her to Christopher Wylie, whose whistleblowing about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data helped prompt broader scrutiny of the social network’s privacy practices.

Cadwalladr described Wylie as “extraordinarily brave,” particularly since Cambridge Analytica repeatedly threatened them with legal action. The final threat, she said, came a day before publication, and it came from Facebook itself.

“It said that if we published, they would sue us,” Cadwalladr said. “We did it anyway. Facebook, you were on the wrong side of history on that, and you are on the wrong side of history in this.”

The “this” in question is what she characterized as a failure by the social media platforms to fully reckon with the extent to which they’ve become tools for the spread of lies and misinformation. For example, she pointed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal thus far to appear before parliaments around the world that have asked him to testify.

Calling out executives like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Alphabet/Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (who’s scheduled to take the stage tomorrow morning), Cadwalladr insisted that the stakes could not be higher.

“This technology you have invented has been amazing, but now it’s a crime scene, and you have the evidence,” she said. “It is not enough to say that you will do better in the future, because to have any hope of stopping this from happening again, we have to know the past.”

She went on to declare that the Brexit vote demonstrates that “liberal democracy is broken.”

“This is not democracy,” Cadwalladr said. “Spreading lies in darkness, paid for with illegal cash from God knows where — it’s subversion, and you are accessories to it.”

And for those of us who don’t run giant technology platforms, she added, “My question to everybody else is: Is this what we want? To let them get away with it, and to sit back and play with our phones as this darkness falls?”


Social – TechCrunch


Unfolding the Samsung Galaxy Fold

April 16, 2019 No Comments

The Galaxy Fold is real. I’ve held it in my hands — a few of them, actually. Samsung’s briefing this morning was littered with the things, in different colors and different states of unfolded. A month or so ago, this was anything but a given.

After eight years of teasing a folding device, Samsung finally pulled the trigger at its developer’s conference late last year. But the device was shrouded in darkness. Then in February, it took the stage as the Galaxy Fold, but there was no phone waiting for us. Ditto for Mobile World Congress a week later, when the device was trapped like a carbonite Han Solo behind a glass display.

With preorders for the phone opening today, ahead of an expected April 26 sale, things were getting down to the wire for Samsung. But this morning, at an event in New York, the Galaxy Fold was on full display, ready to be put through its paces. We happily did just that in the hour or so we had with the product.

Once you get over the surprise that it’s real and about to ship, you find yourself pretty impressed with what Samsung’s done here. It’s easy to get frustrated about a product the company’s essentially been teasing since showing off its first flexible display at 2011, but a radically new form factor is an easy contender for first-generation woes. The fold, on the other hand, is a device that’s been run through the wringer.

Samsung’s already shown us what fold testing looks like in a promotion video that debuted a few weeks back. The handset was subject to 200,000 of those machine folds, which amounts to a lot more than the life of the product. And yes, before you ask, they were subjected to drop testing, the same sort of violent gadget abuse Samsung puts the rest of its gadgets through — both open and closed.

Ditto for the eight-point battery test it’s been subjecting all of its devices to since the Note 7. That’s doubly important given the fact that the Galaxy Fold sports twice the battery. All told, it has 4380mAh, split in two, on either side of the fold. That amounts to “all day battery life” according to Samsung. That’s the same claim you’ll get on most of these devices ahead of launch. Though the Fold apparently presents an extra layer of ambiguity, given that the company isn’t entirely sure how people are actually going to use the thing, once they get it in their hands.

The folding mechanism works well, snapping shut with a satisfying sound, thanks in part to some on-board magnets hidden near the edge. In fact, when the Fold is lying screen down, it has the tendency to attract pieces of metal around it. I found myself absent-mindedly opening and closing the thing. When not in use, it’s like an extremely expensive fidget spinner.

Samsung’s done a remarkable job maintaining the design language from the rest of the Galaxy line. But for the odd form factor, the Fold looks right at home alongside the S10 and the like. The rounded metallic corners, the camera array and, yes, the Bixby button are all on board here.

The edges are split in two, with each screen getting its own half. When the Fold is open, they sit next to each other, with a small gap between the two. When the phone is folded, they pull apart, coming together at a 90 degree angle from the hinge. It’s an elegant solution, with a series of interlocking gears that allow the system to fold and unfold for the life of the product.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung tested a variety of different form factors, but said this was the most “intuitive” for a first-gen product like this. Of course, numerous competing devices have already taken different approaches, so it’s going to be fascinating watching what the industry ultimately lands on when more of these products are out in the world.

Unfolded, the device is surprisingly thin — a hair under the iPhone XS. Folded, it’s a bit beefier than two iPhones, owing to a gap between the displays. While the edges of the device come into contact when closed, they form a long, isosceles triangle, with a gap that increases as you move toward the middle.

Unfolded, the seam in the middle of the display is, indeed, noticeable. It’s subtle, though. You’ll really only notice it as your finger drags across it or when the light hits it the right way. That’s just part of life in the age of the folding phone, so get used to it.

The inner display measures 7.3 inches. Compare that to, say, the iPad Mini’s 7.9. So, small for a tablet, but way too big to stick in your pocket without folding it up. The size of the interior display renders the notch conversation a bit moot. There’s actually a pretty sizable cutout in the upper-right corner for the front-facing camera.

Samsung’s been working with Google and a handful of developers, including WhatsApp and Spotify, to create a decent experience for users at launch. There are two key places this counts: app continuity and multi-app windows. The first lets you open an app on the small screen and pick up where you left off on the big one, once unfolded. The second makes it possible to have three apps open at once — something that’s become standard on tablets in the last couple of years.

Both work pretty seamlessly, though the functionality is limited to those companies that have enabled it. Samsung says it’s an easy addition, but the speed with which developers adopt it will depend largely on the success of these devices. Given that Samsung’s worked hand in hand with Google/Android on this, however, gives the company a big leg up on the competition.

All told, I’m pretty impressed with what amounts to a first-gen product. This thing was a long time in the making, and Samsung clearly wanted to get things right. The company admittedly had some of the wind taken out of its sails when Huawei announced its own folding device a few days later.

That product highlighted some of the Fold’s shortcomings, including the small front-facing screen and somewhat bulky design language. The Fold’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty solid first take at a new smartphone paradigm. And with a starting price of $ 1,980, it’s got a price to match. You’re essentially paying double for twice the screen.

Samsung, Huawei and the rest of the companies exploring the space know that they’re only going to sell so many of these things in the first go-round at this price point. Everyone’s still exploring aspects like folding mechanisms, essentially making early adopters guinea pigs this time out.

But while the fold doesn’t feel like a phone that’s achieved its final form, it’s a surprisingly well-realized first-generation phone.

Mobile – TechCrunch


Facebook taps Peggy Alford for its board, Reed Hastings and Erskine Bowles to depart

April 14, 2019 No Comments

Facebook’s board is undergoing its biggest shakeup in memory. On Friday, the company announced that Peggy Alford would be nominated to join the company’s board of directors.

“Peggy is one of those rare people who’s an expert across many different areas — from business management to finance operations to product development,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said of the change. “I know she will have great ideas that help us address both the opportunities and challenges facing our company.”

Alford, currently senior vice president of Core Markets for PayPal, will become the first black woman to serve on Facebook’s board. She previously served as the chief financial officer of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s massive charitable foundation.

Facebook announced some serious departures along with the news of Alford’s nomination. Longtime Facebook board members Reed Hastings and Erskine Bowles will leave the board, marking a major shakeup for the board’s composition. Both Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, and Bowles, a former Democratic political staffer, have served on the board since 2011. Both men have been critical of Facebook’s direction in recent years. Hastings reportedly clashed with fellow board member Peter Thiel over his support for the Trump administration and Bowles famously dressed down Facebook’s top brass over Russia’s political interference on the platform.

Alford’s nomination will come to a vote at Facebook’s May 30 shareholder meeting.

“What excites me about the opportunity to join Facebook’s board is the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years,” Alford said of her nomination. “I look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as the company builds new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.”


Social – TechCrunch


Harry Potter, the Platform, and the Future of Niantic

April 14, 2019 No Comments

What is Niantic? If they recognize the name, most people would rightly tell you it’s a company that makes mobile games, like Pokémon GO, or Ingress, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

But no one at Niantic really seems to box it up as a mobile gaming company. Making these games is a big part of what the company does, yes, but the games are part of a bigger picture: they are a springboard, a place to figure out the constraints of what they can do with augmented reality today, and to figure out how to build the tech that moves it forward. Niantic wants to wrap their learnings back into a platform upon which others can build their own AR products, be it games or something else. And they want to be ready for whatever comes after smartphones.

Niantic is a bet on augmented reality becoming more and more a part of our lives; when that happens, they want to be the company that powers it.

This is Part 3 of our EC-1 series on Niantic, looking at its past, present, and potential future. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. The reading time for this article is 24 minutes (6,050 words)

The platform play

After the absurd launch of Pokémon GO, everyone wanted a piece of the AR pie. Niantic got more pitches than they could take on, I’m told, as rights holders big and small reached out to see if the company might build something with their IP or franchise.

But Niantic couldn’t build it all. From art, to audio, to even just thinking up new gameplay mechanics, each game or project they took on would require a mountain of resources. What if they focused on letting these other companies build these sorts of things themselves?

That’s the idea behind Niantic’s Real World Platform. This platform is a key part of Niantic’s game plan moving forward, with the company having as many people working on the platform as it has on its marquee money maker, Pokémon GO.

There are tons of pieces that go into making things like GO or Ingress, and Niantic has spent the better part of the last decade figuring out how to make them all fit together. They’ve built the core engine that powers the games and, after a bumpy start with Pokémon GO’s launch, figured out how to scale it to hundreds of millions of users around the world. They’ve put considerable work into figuring out how to detect cheaters and spoofers and give them the boot. They’ve built a social layer, with systems like friendships and trade. They’ve already amassed that real-world location data that proved so challenging back when it was building Field Trip, with all of those real-world points of interest that now serve as portals and Pokéstops.

Niantic could help other companies with real-world events, too. That might seem funny after the mess that was the first Pokémon GO Fest (as detailed in Part II). But Niantic turned around, went back to the same city the next year, and pulled it off. That experience — that battle-testing — is valuable. Meanwhile, the company has pulled off countless huge Ingress events, and a number of Pokémon GO side events calledSafari Zones.” CTO Phil Keslin confirmed to me that event management is planned as part of the platform offering.

As Niantic builds new tech — like, say, more advanced AR or faster ways to sync AR experiences between devices — it’ll all get rolled into the platform. With each problem they solve, the platform offering would grow.

But first they need to prove that there’s a platform to stand on.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Niantic’s platform, as it exists today, is the result of years of building their own games. It’s the collection of tools they’ve built and rebuilt along the way, and that already powers Ingress Prime and Pokémon GO. But to prove itself as a platform company, Niantic needs to show that they can do it again. That they can take these engines, these tools, and, working with another team, use them for something new.

Mobile – TechCrunch


OpenStack Stein launches with improved Kubernetes support

April 13, 2019 No Comments

The OpenStack project, which powers more than 75 public and thousands of private clouds, launched the 19th version of its software this week. You’d think that after 19 updates to the open-source infrastructure platform, there really isn’t all that much new the various project teams could add, given that we’re talking about a rather stable code base here. There are actually a few new features in this release, though, as well as all the usual tweaks and feature improvements you’d expect.

While the hype around OpenStack has died down, we’re still talking about a very active open-source project. On average, there were 155 commits per day during the Stein development cycle. As far as development activity goes, that keeps OpenStack on the same level as the Linux kernel and Chromium.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of that development activity focused on Kubernetes and the tools to manage these container clusters. With this release, the team behind the OpenStack Kubernetes installer brought the launch time for a cluster down from about 10 minutes to five, regardless of the number of nodes. To further enhance Kubernetes support, OpenStack Stein also includes updates to Neutron, the project’s networking service, which now makes it easier to create virtual networking ports in bulk as containers are spun up, and Ironic, the bare-metal provisioning service.

All of that is no surprise, given that according to the project’s latest survey, 61 percent of OpenStack deployments now use both Kubernetes and OpenStack in tandem.

The update also includes a number of new networking features that are mostly targeted at the many telecom users. Indeed, over the course of the last few years, telcos have emerged as some of the most active OpenStack users as these companies are looking to modernize their infrastructure as part of their 5G rollouts.

Besides the expected updates, though, there are also a few new and improved projects here that are worth noting.

“The trend from the last couple of releases has been on scale and stability, which is really focused on operations,” OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce told me. “The new projects — and really most of the new projects from the last year — have all been pretty oriented around real-world use cases.”

The first of these is Placement. “As people build a cloud and start to grow it and it becomes more broadly adopted within the organization, a lot of times, there are other requirements that come into play,” Bryce explained. “One of these things that was pretty simplistic at the beginning was how a request for a resource was actually placed on the underlying infrastructure in the data center.” But as users get more sophisticated, they often want to run specific workloads on machines with certain hardware requirements. These days, that’s often a specific GPU for a machine learning workload, for example. With Placement, that’s a bit easier now.

It’s worth noting that OpenStack had some of this functionality before. The team, however, decided to uncouple it from the existing compute service and turn it into a more generic service that could then also be used more easily beyond the compute stack, turning it more into a kind of resource inventory and tracking tool.

Then, there is also Blazer, a reservation service that offers OpenStack users something akin to AWS Reserved Instances. In a private cloud, the use case for a feature is a bit different, though. But as some of the private clouds got bigger, some users found that they needed to be able to guarantee resources to run some of their regular, overnight batch jobs or data analytics workloads, for example.

As far as resource management goes, it’s also worth highlighting Sahara, which now makes it easier to provision Hadoop clusters on OpenStack.

In previous releases, one of the focus areas for the project was to improve the update experience. OpenStack is obviously a very complex system, so bringing it up to the latest version is also a bit of a complex undertaking. These improvements are now paying off. “Nobody even knows we are running Stein right now,” Vexxhost CEO Mohammed Nasar, who made an early bet on OpenStack for his service, told me. “And I think that’s a good thing. You want to be least impactful, especially when you’re in such a core infrastructure level. […] That’s something the projects are starting to become more and more aware of but it’s also part of the OpenStack software in general becoming much more stable.”

As usual, this release launched only a few weeks before the OpenStack Foundation hosts its bi-annual Summit in Denver. Since the OpenStack Foundation has expanded its scope beyond the OpenStack project, though, this event also focuses on a broader range of topics around open-source infrastructure. It’ll be interesting to see how this will change the dynamics at the event.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


How to write SEO-friendly alt text for your images

April 13, 2019 No Comments

One of the biggest problems digital marketers face is nuances to crafting high-quality SEO rich content.

A great area of opportunity for marketers is their SEO alt text for images. We’ve all been to websites and the image is replaced by a red “X”, or it’s just a blank box. Wouldn’t it be great if you could benefit from that image box for an increased search engine ranking?

That’s where alt text comes in.

Alt text is just a way to describe what is going on in the image while actively increasing your ranking through smart, thoughtful placement of SEO keywords. We are going to look at ways you can improve your image alt text while keeping your content search engine friendly.

Research keywords before you start

It’s important that you look carefully into which keywords you’re going to use before you start creating content including your alt text. Google’s Keyword Planner tool can help you make educated decisions about which words are best suited for your website, depending on your niche.

When you’re researching keywords, the best practice is to look for words that feature high search volume but low competition. The reason for this thought process is simple.

High volume, high competition keywords result in an uphill battle that you may not win. If there are plenty of people searching for the words you pick, but a bunch of reputable websites who have a high domain authority, you’re going to have a much harder time reaching the top of the search engine results.

At the same time, low competition, low search keywords mean your website probably will not get the traffic you need to thrive. The happy medium is words that are popular, but not dominated by highly authoritative sites. The success of your keywords is going to reflect not just in your content or title, but in your alt text, making this an important starting point.

Supplement your alt text with primary keywords

It’s worth pointing out that alt text is important, but it should never take priority over your researched and currently implemented SEO. You would never want to rearrange your pre-arranged keywords to make the alt text keywords fit.

Instead, try to find images that compliment the keywords you’ve already selected. When you work backward from your alt text images, you could end up with a page that is more focused on the images instead of the content throughout.

The only exception to this rule is if your content is image heavy. Companies that implement slideshows, photo galleries, and the likes may benefit more from working backward from their images instead of the other way around.

Connect the content to the image text

Another common mistake that SEO marketers make is they don’t directly link the alt text to the content they create. Alt text, as mentioned, is just text that describes what’s going on in the image. If you want to make a strong connection with your audience and the search engine results, make sure you make a connection between the text in your content, the image, and the alt text.

For example, if your piece of content was about website design, your content should include text within the piece that explains the image. In this fictional piece, let’s say your keyword is “expert web design”, you’re going to need to include an image that emphasizes your point, explains the image in the content, and the alt text should include the keyword.

Keep it short

Since the main purpose of alt text is to inform the reader of what the image shows if they can’t view it, your alt-text should never drag on. Simply explain what the image shows using your keywords as the primary descriptor and additional text as needed.

The recommended alt-text length is about 125 characters. Some browsers only create one line of alt-text and allocate the size of the image to the length of the one line. The result of a long alt text line is not just “search engine confusion”, but also reader confusion when they cannot finish the line of text from within the image because it was cut off by the browser they are using.

If you find that your alt text is always longer than 125 characters, your point is probably better off posted in the actual content of the article instead of the alt image text.

Examples of SEO-friendly alt text

First, let’s take a look at the source code:

<img src=”Image.gif” alt=”alt-text-goes-here”>

In this example, the “image.gif” is the image that is displayed to those who can properly see the image. Those who can’t see the image will instead see the text you include where it says “alt-text-goes-here”.

Here are some better examples to give you an idea of what a good SEO-friendly piece of alt text looks like.

Example one

You own a pet shop and your display picture is a kitten in a basket at your pet shop. Your source code should look something like this:

<img src=”FluffyCat.png” alt=”Pet Shop Kitten Snuggling in Basket”>

The goal is to make your alt-text clean, concise, and friendly to the keywords you decided to target in your piece.

Example two

Now let’s say you have an online car accessory shop. You sell things like seat covers, floor liners, and air fresheners. On your air freshener page your alt text will look like this:

<img src=”AirFreshner.png” alt=”Air Freshener Pack and New Car Accessories”>

In the example above, you’re targeting air fresheners, new cars, cars in general, and car accessories.

Example three

Finally, you have a membership site that sells marketing tips to your audience. You have an infographic of marketing statistics everyone should know in 2019. How will your alt-text look in this situation? Since you obviously can’t fit every stat in your alt-text, you might say:

<img src=”MarketingStatsInfo.Png” alt=”New Marketing Statistics for 2019″>

Piecing it together

There’s no doubt that alt text plays a crucial role in an online world consumed by the importance of keywords. If you want to make the most of your alt text, keep these tips in mind and remember that the online world is constantly evolving.

As your website grows in size and authority you may have to make changes to your SEO keywords for future articles, and therefore for your alt text. The good news is, this allows you to pull off some interesting split tests to see which keywords are ranking well for you, and which ones are pulling in lackluster results.

One thing is clear, don’t underestimate the power of alt text as it relates to your readers and your search ranking. It may not be the most important factor, but correctly creating optimized images and alt text is an important piece of the puzzle.

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur, marketer, and CEO of Awesome Motive. He’s also the founder of WPBeginner, OptinMonster, WPForms, and MonsterInsights. Syed can be found on Twitter @syedbalkhi.

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