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Monthly Archives: September 2020

Post-COVID-19 strategy to restore your social media reputation

September 30, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Trends suggest that about 25% of businesses paused their marketing and advertising on social media during the first six months of 2020.
  • Facebook reports that 89% of advertisers reconsidered their budget in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This post attempts to underline some of the strategies you can consider practicing to restore your reputation and recognition on social media.

COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone and everything – starting from our lives and lifestyle to economies and businesses across the world. Business processes were forcefully shut down as a preventive measure to stop the pandemic earlier this year and the same has reflected in paid advertising, digital marketing strategies, and brands’ social media reputation management efforts.

COVID-19 and digital marketing

The number of people using social media has skyrocketed during the epidemic. Despite that, many organizations paused their digital marketing and even social media due to the lockdown.

Social network is one of the most effective tools businesses use for marketing, branding, sales, engagement, and delivering customer care. And to make the most of it, you should not stop your brand’s social media activities. This is something that a brand should never do.

Contrarily, trends suggest that about 25% of businesses paused their marketing and advertising on social media during the first six months of 2020.

However, this can’t be said for forward-looking marketers.

Facebook reports that 89% of advertisers reconsidered their budget in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But there is no denying that the activities of brands have reduced to a great extent and has changed a lot during the pandemic. As a result, many have lost their customers and other their online reputation.

This post attempts to underline some of the strategies you can consider practicing to restore your reputation and recognition on social media.

1. Evaluate your situation

If you too had closed off your social media at the beginning of the pandemic, the first step for you to take would be – evaluate. Peep into the insights and evaluate the condition of your social networks.

Run an audit involving all your social networks. This will give insights related to engagement and traffic your activities generated during this period. You will also learn what worked well and what didn’t work for you.

You will be able to identify and understand the mistakes you made. Doing all this will help you develop or modify your social media strategy.

2. Develop a positive and supportive brand voice

When looking to rebuild your lost empire on social networks, you might want to reconsider your brand’s voice as well.

Review the voice and tone of your updates on each social network, and ponder – does it represent your brand?

The idea is to develop a positive voice for your brand that is supportive and feels like you care for customers.

It is obvious that people do not want to be pitched directly by marketers in a difficult time like this. In that picture, it perfectly makes sense to build a brand voice that does not sound overly promotional.

So, this would be the right strategy to give your social networks a new voice – a voice and tone that is calm, positive, and always ready-to-help.

3. Do campaigns broadcasting the benefits of your brand

While direct pitches may have a negative influence on customer behavior, there are ways you can promote your brand indirectly. One such way is – telling the benefits of your products and services.

Another would be to share stories around how your product helped a customer or how your service eased an individual’s life. Posts like this are a great motivator; they help build a positive brand image among your audience.

You can also encourage your customers to share their experiences or review on your brand’s social network. Such campaigns do indirect marketing for your brand, apart from adding to your efforts to rediscover your reputation.

You might want to make some strategic adjustments in your approach to social networks. For example, you can create and share visual content backed by keyword-rich captions or descriptions on your social networks. However, the type of content you share depends largely on factors like your brand, your products, and the media preferences of your audience.

This way, not only will you generate traffic, engagement, and sales for you, but also build a name for sharing high-quality, valuable, and above-all useful content.

And just for a reminder: you don’t need a big budget to get started with a completely new style of posts.

4. Social media influencer marketing

Influencers can also help you turn up your social media reputation. Influencers are celebrities that you can partner with to promote your brand among their fans and followers. In short, they will influence their followers – who follow suggestions and advice from their idols. This is how influencer marketing works.

Since 63% of customers trust their favorite influencer more than they trust brands, you can consider hiring an industry-specific influencer for your brand to give your brand-building efforts a quick boost.

If celebrities don’t fit into your budget, you can shift your focus on onboarding micro and small influencers. When it comes to influencing, micro-influencers get you better engagement and results than celebrities do.

Micro-influencers are students and professionals with a few thousand followers looking to earn some extra cash. They have an active follower base, with which they interact on a daily basis. They can help you reach specific market segments and target audiences more effectively that too without much investment.

And to get started with that, you will need to have a well-planned social media cum influencer marketing strategy.

5. Introduce social media tools

The best part of social media is – everything you do here is measurable. Impressions, likes, dislikes, engagement, clicks, and several other user actions can be traced using the default analytics feature of all leading social networks.

You can analyze user behavior on various factors such as the time zone, the age group, the device, the location, and the gender of those who engaged on your updates. You can use these metrics to develop a new or modify your existing social media marketing strategies.

But, using the inbuilt analytics of social networks could be a time-consuming job, because as a brand you have to manage and analyze multiple social networks at a time.

So, you could consider having an all-inclusive social media management and marketing tool that gives you access to all important metrics related to the performance of all your social networks on a single dashboard. Imagine how much time your team will save with one such tool!

6. Respond to reviews

Reviews are possibly the best thing that helps brands in building social media reputation. While positive reviews make everyone happy, negative reviews on social networks can boost your sales and reputation.

Take negative reviews and criticism as a chance for improvement. Address each issue and complaint raised by customers, and try to resolve their concerns on the same thread. It has two advantages.

First, it turns an unhappy and unsatisfied customer into a happy and satisfied customer. And second, it builds a positive impression which ultimately improves your online reputation.

But, that does not mean you should respond to negative reviews only. Don’t skip positive reviews as well. Thank everyone who posts a review on your timeline.

If it is a positive review, thank them for their kind words. And if it is a negative review, thank them for bringing their concern to you and assure them that you will leave no stone unturned in resolving their issue.

Bottom line

When you restart your social network to regain your lost online reputation, try to be consistent with your activities. Respond to comments and inboxes on an everyday basis. In addition to that, never miss a chance to socialize (that’s what social media is meant for) and engage with your audience.

Encourage your followers to share their opinions on your posts. Celebrate festivities and special days and display the pictures on your brand’s social network. These small yet impactful steps and tactics help you connect with your audience in a more humane way and add to your online reputation.

Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer, and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft. He can be found on Twitter @bskathayat.

The post Post-COVID-19 strategy to restore your social media reputation appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Ring’s newest security camera is a $249 autonomous indoor drone shipping in 2021

September 30, 2020 No Comments

Ring built its entire business on reinventing the doorbell — and now it’s taking a similar approach to the humble home security camera, with the Ring Always Home Cam, set to be available sometime next year. You might not guess from its name, but this security camera is actually mobile: It’s a drone that flies autonomously throughout your home, to provide you with the view you want of whatever room you want, without having to have video cameras installed in multiple locations throughout your house.

The Always Home Cam is a diminutive drone that can be scheduled to fly preset paths, which you lay out as a user. The drone can’t actually be manually flown, and it begins recording only once its in flight (the camera lens is actually physically blocked while it’s docked) — both features the company says will help ensure it operates strictly with privacy in mind. Always Home Cam is also designed intentionally to produce an audible hum while in use, to alert anyone present that it’s actually moving around and recording.

As you’d expect, the Always Home Cam doesn’t have the exposed rotors you’d see on a drone designed for use in outdoor open spaces. It has a plastic border and grills that enclose those for safety. It’s also small, at 5″x 7″x7″, which is useful for safety of both people and household objects.

I spoke to Ring founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff about why they decided to create such an ambitious, unorthodox home security camera — especially given their track record of relatively down-to-Earth, tech-enabled versions of tried-and-tested home hardware like doorbells and floodlights. He said that it actually came out of user feedback — something he still personally pays close attention to, even now that Ring is part of the larger corporate apparatus of Amazon . Siminoff said that a lot of the feedback he was seeing was from customers who wished they’d either been home or been able to see when some specific thing happened at a specific place in their house, or that they wanted a camera for a particular room, but only for certain times — and then a different camera in a different room for others.

“It’s not practical to have a camera at every angle in every room of the home,” he said. “Even if you had unlimited resources, I think it’s still not practical. What I love about the Always Home Cam is that it really does solve this problem of being one cam for all — it allows you to now see every angle of the home, in every part of the home.”

Drones are also not Ring’s main business, and yet the Always Home Cam will be available at the relatively low price of $ 249 when it becomes available, despite the technical challenges of creating a small aircraft able to operate indoors safely and fully autonomously. I asked Siminoff how Ring was able to achieve that price point in a category that’s outside its core expertise, with a design developed fully in-house.

“As the technology has kind of aged, a lot of these parts come down in price,” he said. “There’s also a lot of price compression happening because auto manufacturers are using a lot of these parts now at higher volumes, because to have an autonomous drone, you need some similar things to autonomous cars. Obviously, it’s not the same exact parts, but all of those costs have been coming down, and we were able to go with a fresh perspective to it. But I also challenged the team when we came up with this, that this has to be affordable.”

The Ring Always Home Cam will also work with Ring Alarm to automatically fly a pre-set path when an alarm is triggered. You’re able then to stream the video live to your mobile device via the Ring app. In many ways, it does seem like a natural extension of the Ring ecosystem of products and services, but at the same time, it also seems like something out of science fiction. I asked Siminoff if he thinks consumers are ready to take this kind of technology seriously as something that’s part of their daily lives.

“I think it is sort of something that is, in some ways, way out there,” he acknowledged. “What I love about it, though, is that it’s what happens when you just take the constraints away of this linear thinking. I love that we are doing stuff from really looking at the need backward, and then what technology exists, and ask what can we build? It’s really exciting for me to be able to do something and put our stamp on something that is an industry first.”

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Datasaur snags $3.9M investment to build intelligent machine learning labeling platform

September 29, 2020 No Comments

As machine learning has grown, one of the major bottlenecks remains labeling things so the machine learning application understands the data it’s working with. Datasaur, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch, announced a $ 3.9 million investment today to help solve that problem with a platform designed for machine learning labeling teams.

The funding announcement, which includes a pre-seed amount of $ 1.1 million from last year and $ 2.8 million seed right after it graduated from Y Combinator in March, included investments from Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman.

Company founder Ivan Lee says that he has been working in various capacities involving AI for seven years. First when his mobile gaming startup, Loki Studios was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013, and Lee was eventually moved to the AI team, and most recently at Apple. Regardless of the company, he consistently saw a problem around organizing machine learning labeling teams, one that he felt he was uniquely situated to solve because of his experience.

“I have spent millions of dollars [in budget over the years] and spent countless hours gathering labeled data for my engineers. I came to recognize that this was something that was a problem across all the companies that I’ve been at. And they were just consistently reinventing the wheel and the process. So instead of reinventing that for the third time at Apple, my most recent company, I decided to solve it once and for all for the industry. And that’s why we started Datasaur last year,” Lee told TechCrunch.

He built a platform to speed up human data labeling with a dose of AI, while keeping humans involved. The platform consists of three parts: a labeling interface, the intelligence component, which can recognize basic things, so the labeler isn’t identifying the same thing over and over, and finally a team organizing component.

He says the area is hot, but to this point has mostly involved labeling consulting solutions, which farm out labeling to contractors. He points to the sale of Figure Eight in March 2019 and to Scale, which snagged $ 100 million last year as examples of other startups trying to solve this problem in this way, but he believes his company is doing something different by building a fully software-based solution

The company currently offers a cloud and on-prem solution, depending on the customer’s requirements. It has 10 employees with plans to hire in the next year, although he didn’t share an exact number. As he does that, he says he has been working with a partner at investor Initialized on creating a positive and inclusive culture inside the organization, and that includes conversations about hiring a diverse workforce as he builds the company.

“I feel like this is just standard CEO speak but that is something that we absolutely value in our top of funnel for the hiring process,” he said.

As Lee builds out his platform, he has also worried about built-in bias in AI systems and the detrimental impact that could have on society. He says that he has spoken to clients about the role of labeling in bias and ways of combatting that.

“When I speak with our clients, I talk to them about the potential for bias from their labelers and built into our product itself is the ability to assign multiple people to the same project. And I explain to my clients that this can be more costly, but from personal experience I know that it can improve results dramatically to get multiple perspectives on the exact same data,” he said.

Lee believes humans will continue to be involved in the labeling process in some way, even as parts of the process become more automated. “The very nature of our existence [as a company] will always require humans in the loop, […] and moving forward I do think it’s really important that as we get into more and more of the long tail use cases of AI, we will need humans to continue to educate and inform AI, and that’s going to be a critical part of how this technology develops.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Facebook Ads Holiday Checklist [2020]

September 29, 2020 No Comments

Between online shopping highs, COVID, and elections, Facebook advertisers must prepare for Q4 like never before. One Sr. Social Strategist shares his top tips.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Synergized search is key to success in the new normal

September 29, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Given that consumers run billions of searches every day — with Google estimated to process 40,000 per second it’s clear marketers need a smart strategy to cut through the competition.
  • The question is: Will they drive the highest traffic and performance with SEO or PPC?
  • Head of Paid Media at Tug shares insight on how perfectly balancing these two facets can lead to success in the new normal.

Consumer activity online is at an all-time high. So, it’s no surprise many marketers are aiming to make the most of it by hooking their attention early, at the point of search. But deciding how best to do so isn’t necessarily easy.

Given that consumers run billions of searches every day — with Google estimated to process 40,000 per second — it’s clear marketers need a smart strategy to cut through the competition. The question is: will they drive the highest traffic and performance with search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click (PPC)?

Both have their own advantages and drawbacks. PPC is a quick win, enabling businesses to rapidly reach consumers and boost visibility. But its lead generation power only lasts while the money flows and, depending on campaign scale and scope, those costs can run high. Meanwhile, SEO delivers more lasting rewards and higher click-through rates (CTRs), often for less investment. Yet marketers might have a long wait before organic searches pay off, and may still fall behind dominant digital marketplaces for certain keywords.

Ultimately, the smartest route lies neither one way nor the other, but in a combination of both. Blending PPC and SEO not only generates stronger results but also balances out their respective shortcomings, offering marketers the best chance of success in the new ever-changing normal.

Utilizing a combination of paid and organic search tactics isn’t new – but it’s never been clear how marketers can best do this, or a way to visualize the data for optimization. Leveraging PPC and SEO in conjunction with one another can be challenging, but creating the perfect synergy is possible if marketers focus on the following three factors:

Unify search operations

With consumers spending a quarter of their waking day online, marketers have plenty of chances to spark their interest through search. To outmanoeuvre rivals and capture eyeballs first, brands must make fast yet informed decisions about which approach will produce the ideal outcome.

Achieving this requires holistic insight which, in turn, calls for greater unity. Due to the general view of PPC and SEO as separate entities, teams often operate in silos, but this isolates valuable knowledge around consumer behaviour and the tactics that generate the biggest rewards. Simple as it sounds, removing divisions and encouraging teams to share their insight can significantly improve campaign execution and drive more efficient CPAs.

For example, information from the PPC teams on the best performing keywords and ad copy will help SEO teams to optimize meta descriptions and website content.

Sharing information on what keywords campaigns are covering will also prevent the doubling up of efforts – for example, as organic keyword positions improve, there might be an opportunity to pull back PPC activity and reallocate budget to other keywords to increase the overall coverage. Similarly, updates from the SEO team on keywords that are particularly competitive to rank in top positions are an opportunity for PPC to drive incremental conversions. And, on a more fundamental level, by sharing any new or emerging search terms with each other, both SEO and PPC teams can ensure they are up-to-date and reacting as quickly as possible to opportunities.

Select tech that drives collaboration

The next step is integrated technology. Implementing tools that collate and merge data from multiple sources — including PPC and SEO campaigns — will make collaboration easier. That’s not to mention generating a complete overview of collective search operations, performance, and opportunities for businesses.

A holistic and unified dashboard, for example, can provide visibility of combined search performance against KPIs and competitor activity. This enables PPC and SEO teams to identify where there are opportunities and how strategies can be adjusted to leverage them, without duplicating each other’s efforts. Marketers can understand where organic rankings are high, and competitor activity low, and vice versa, which means they know when to reduce PPC activity, as well as opportunities where it can drive incremental conversions over and above what SEO can deliver.

All of this, however, depends on accuracy and usability. Information needs to be reliable and actionable, which means simply joining up the data dots isn’t enough: in addition to robust cleansing, processing and storage, tools must offer accessible visualization.

Although frequently overlooked, clearly-presented data plays a huge part in enhancing everyday activity. Providing a streamlined picture of keywords and performance data is vital, but to ensure teams can pinpoint prime SERPs, accelerate traffic, and increase conversions, businesses also need tools that allow their teams to quickly find and activate key insights.

Don’t forget human checks

Dialing up tech use, however, does come with a word of warning – no matter how smart platforms may be, they can’t entirely replace human experience and expertise. On their own, sophisticated tools bring a range of benefits that go far beyond translating data into a more cohesive and user-friendly format. The most advanced boast immediate alerts that tell PPC teams where their competitors are bidding — or not — and use artificially intelligent (AI) analysis to deliver a cross-market, sector, and classification perspective on SEO activity.

Human knowledge is still paramount to steering search campaigns in the right direction and picking up on the nuances that machines miss. For instance, problem-solving machines might take the quickest path to objective completion for certain pages or messages, but seasoned search professionals may see the potential for longer-term uses that deliver higher incremental value.

As a result, organizations must avoid the perils of over-reliance on their marketing tools. By persistently applying manual reviews and checking automated conclusions against human knowledge, they can tap the best of tech and people power.

Today’s marketing leaders are grappling with multiple uncertainties, but when it comes to search, the way forward is clear. PPC and SEO are complementary forces; producing deeper insights and higher returns together, as well as minimizing risk. By connecting the two and taking a considered approach to data-driven search strategy, businesses can ensure campaigns are strong enough to succeed in the new normal and take on whatever tomorrow brings.

Asher Gordon is Head of Paid Media at Tug. He leads a multi-disciplined media team who plan, buy, and deliver integrated media plans for a diverse set of clients. With over 10 years experience working across multiple markets and brands at PHD and Wavemaker, Asher works with clients to better their marketing goals and drive their business forward.

The post Synergized search is key to success in the new normal appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign

September 28, 2020 No Comments

With the employment market remaining sluggish as the world continues to struggle with COVID-19, a company that has built its popular businesses largely around recruitment is launching a redesign that pushes engagement in other ways as it waits for the job economy to pick up.

LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned site now with 706 million registered users, where professionals network and look for work, is today taking the wraps off a new redesign of its desktop and mobile apps, its first in four years.

Within that, LinkedIn is introducing several new things. First and foremost, starting in the U.S. and Canada and then expanding globally, LinkedIn is rolling out its own version of Stories — the popular, ephemeral video and photo narratives that have become a major engagement engine on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. It’s also updating its direct messaging service with several new features like video chat. And it’s rebuilt its search feature to net in a wider set of parameters.

The message to LinkedIn’s user base is this: We can be useful in other ways.

LinkedIn has been, to be sure, working on ways to make itself and its job tools particularly relevant to people in the last eight months, which have been truly outside of everyone’s previous norms, with its own takes on helping connect people. But it’s also come under fire for not necessarily acting fast enough when its hat as recruitment network hasn’t been used very well.

Today’s news, in a way, doesn’t draw a line under all that — indeed, LinkedIn will very much hope to continue being a recruitment go-to as it picks up, even if job posting has really slowed down of late — but it is the company’s demonstration of its other purposes.

“The effort didn’t start with COVID, but over the last few years we’ve tried to diversify by bringing the social network and conversations aspects of our platform to the forefront,” said Kiran Prasad, LinkedIn’s VP of product, in an interview.

Stories have been one of the most notable developments across all social media in recent years, so it’s not too much of a surprise to see LinkedIn also jumping on the bandwagon. To be clear, this isn’t the Stories effort it worked on a couple of years ago focused on building its credibility and profile with college students, but something completely different and aimed at all its users, just as Stories have evolved in the wider market to be used by everyone, not just young Snapchat users.

LinkedIn has been testing this newer version for the last three months in a handful of countries — Brazil, the Netherlands, UAE, Australia and France — and the company said that “millions” of Stories have been shared in that time across hundreds of thousands of conversations.

As you would expect, the subjects focus more on work life, influencer types speaking to their LinkedIn audiences — the video equivalents, in other words, of the kind of content LinkedIn is already known for, but now in a more engaging, image-first format. For now, Prasad said that there are no ads in these, but the plan will be to bring in paid content eventually. In wider LinkedIn, advertising, along with premium subscriptions, sit alongside recruitment in LinkedIn’s business model, so that would make sense.

Messaging, meanwhile, has been one of the more popular services on LinkedIn, allowing for more private conversations between connections and would-be contacts. The site doesn’t disclose usage numbers but says that messages sent are up by 25% in the last year.

That will be something LinkedIn also hopes to boost, again with a turn to video. In this instance, it’s announcing integrating with Zoom, BlueJeans [disclaimer: owned by Verizon, which also owns us] and Microsoft’s Teams for video chats.

It’s good to see LinkedIn expanding outside of the Microsoft ecosystem to bring in tools that are already popular elsewhere, similar to how Facebook’s Workplace has done with its integrations. But I have to admit, I’m really surprised it’s taken LinkedIn so long to bring video chat into its messaging service, but better late than never.

It’s also bringing in the ability to recall, delete and edit messages (hear that, Twitter?); respond with emoji’s (already widely used in business communication thanks to them being a part of Slack and other collaboration tools, as well as smartphone keyboards); and tools that flag incendiary and other harassing content.

The search updates, finally, are one more way that LinkedIn is trying to improve how people engage across the whole of its platform. Results now will include not just people and companies, but jobs, courses, events and other content, “making it easier for members to find what they need, and also explore other aspects of LinkedIn they may not have known existed,” in the words of new CEO Ryan Roslansky.

Keywords will still be king, but if you search on a word like “Java,” he said, results will include not just people with that skill, but jobs, courses, groups and, yes, Stories, focused on it. 

The bigger design focus of the redesign, meanwhile, is best described as a shift to more “warmth.” That might seem like an odd term to associate with LinkedIn, and I’m frankly not sure how well a social networking site for professionals will wear it, but the company is shifting to less of the cold “LinkedIn Blue,” bigger lettering for more accessibility and more images with less text.

We may still be in the knowledge economy, but LinkedIn’s new approach seems less intent on trying to remind you of that. Indeed as work and home life become one for many of us, so too is LinkedIn trying to cross that chasm itself.


Social – TechCrunch


Klaxoon launches Board, an interactive meeting product for video calls

September 28, 2020 No Comments

A few weeks after teasing its new product, French startup Klaxoon is launching Board, a visual interface that lets you work together during a video call. Instead of staring at other people’s faces, you get a shared canvas that you can use for presentations and to suggest ideas.

Klaxoon is well aware that many companies have strong opinions about video conferencing services. Some companies are already using Microsoft Teams for everything, others are using Zoom or Google Meet. That’s why the company is trying to make it as easy as possible to use Board while you’re on a call using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet.

Given that you’re already in Board when you’re generating a Zoom link, you can also use Klaxoon’s own video-conferencing service called Live.

“Video represents less than 10% of your screen real estate. Our goal isn’t to compete with other services when it comes to pixels, high definition or the number of thumbnails,” Klaxoon co-founder and CEO Matthieu Beucher told me.

Instead, when you use Live, you accept multiple constraints that could help you remain focused on your meeting. For instance, you can only have 15 people in your meeting. The person organizing the meeting can set a limit — it can be 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. But you can’t use Live for a meeting that lasts longer than 30 minutes.

And finally, other people on the calls are represented through tiny thumbnails on the right side of the screen. Most of the screen is filled with a sort of digital whiteboard that you can use to write text, insert images or videos. You can work on your board before starting the meeting or you can add a table from a template library.

People joining your meeting can submit ideas through digital sticky notes. You can also switch from the freeform view to a more structured column view to move ideas from one category to another.

Klaxoon has been working on interactive whiteboards and meeting tools for quite a few years now. Board combines some of the stuff that the company is already providing to its clients, but with a focus on remote meetings. The service is launching today for €9.90 per month.

Image Credits: Klaxoon


Startups – TechCrunch


Guide to using interactive 404s to boost your SEO

September 27, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Reducing bad user experience of 404 errors by branding and customizing them.
  • Including links to 404s allow users to navigate the website even when they come across a potential dead end.
  • Boost SEO by placing your sitemap, homepage tab, and search bar.
  • Usage of conversational language along with attractive visuals reduces user’s contempt and frustration.
  • Mention of blog on your customized 404 error page promotes your intellectual prowess for possible users who might be interested in your content.
  • Amanda Jerelyn shares some amazing methods to improve the SEO of your site even through 404 pages.
  • Lastly, some tips to help you avoid 404 errors wherever possible.

Bad user experience can lead to your website’s demise and can also adversely affect your website rankings. This is why 404 errors are considered deplorable when taking into their perspective regarding both user experience and the search engine rankings of your website.

However, there are ways through which you can use 404s to boost your SEO, as in some situations, it is not a broken link but an error by the user that can cause them.

A 404 can be generated when a user types in a faulty address, and this may result in an error being generated on their browser that may look bad, but you can definitely address the situation.

According to a recent study conducted by Gomez, a commercial platform that runs tests for web performance, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.

In the light of this information, let us take a quick look at some of the ways you can use 404s to negate such inferences and strengthen your SEO.

1. Add links to them

Creating interactive 404s - Add links

Screenshot Credits

Perhaps one of the best ways to make use of 404s is to design them so that it can link random internal pages from your website. This will allow you to get more website pages indexed through your 404 error pages. This can be achieved by running an algorithm that can help you to link out to a random number of internal pages.

Hence whenever a 404 page is generated, the links also change each time. According to Neil Patel’s own practice, he was able to boost TechCrunch search engine traffic by 9% in just a matter of 30 days. As far as search engines go, Google itself encourages developers to create custom 404 pages.

Since it is a standard HTML page, developers can customize it the way they want to, hence adding links to 404 pages shouldn’t be a big hassle.

2. Brand and customize them

Creating interactive 404s - Brand and customize

Screenshot Credits

The inconvenience user experiences when they run into a 404 can be quite infuriating; however, this is also a moment where you can use creativity to capture their attention. By branding and customizing your 404 pages, one can actually boost their website revenues and increase their conversions.

However, this might involve additional effort where a 404 page has to be properly designed and optimized in order to turn lost visitors into loyal customers. A standard 404 page doesn’t look good at all. In fact, it seems like coming for an era that was far less progressive. We understand that visuals play a huge role in attracting customers.

Several social media and marketing statistics proclaim the power of visuals, such as the fact that 96% of online shoppers watch a video about a product or a service before making a decision and that 88% of marketers prefer visuals in their published content.

So why refrain from using visuals and not branding your 404s? The answer is that you should definitely not only brand them but also customize them to make them even more appealing for your users.

3. Put in a search bar

Creating interactive 404s - Add a search bar

Screenshot Credits

Another great tactic to follow with your 404 pages is to add in a search bar. This is further reflected by the study published by the Search Engine Journal, where 81% of users think less of a brand if it’s outdated, and that 40% of users consider search box as the most important feature.

Therefore this should be plenty of reasons for you to make this change happen. A search bar added to your 404 is like sweet candy to a small kid who just dropped their ice-cream.

Surely it is not what they were expecting, but with the power of search in their hands, they can begin their adventure anew. Plus, a nice consolidating message to go along with it would also work wonders.

It is all about compensating for the error they just ran into. Hence you are covering damages and making it easier for your users to recover from them.

4. Include mentions of popular landing pages

Creating interactive 404s - Add popular landing pages to encourage engagement

Screenshot Credits

Remember that your main goal is to create attention for your online users and direct them to your most profitable and viable landing pages. Hence even when your customers accidentally land themselves on a 404 error page, you can continue your efforts to divert their attention from the error and towards your most popular products and services. It is like a never-back down approach.

Sure, you would be offering them some comforting words to soften the impact created by the error. However, marketing is all about never quitting. Hence your 404 actually becomes like a landing page. It is true no one would actually land on a 404 with intention.

However, when they do, you will be prepared for them to divert the traffic to the most popular pages on your website. This can downright act out as a recommendation for your users. According to a recent report by McKinsey and Company, 35% of Amazon’s and 75% of Netflix’s revenues are generated by their recommendation engines, respectively.

5. Place your sitemap

Creating interactive 404s - Place your site map

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If you are from the SEO side of things and adept in the knowledge that encircles the mastery of search engine rankings, then you know for sure that sitemaps can be extremely good for your websites. Since they are listed in search control, there is no doubt that Google does pay attention to them. Hence it would be great for your 404s to include a sitemap on them.

This will allow users to easily navigate through your website without leaving your website or going back to the SERPs (search engine result pages) to start their journey all over again. Hence you would be effectively reducing pogo-sticking. This will thus enhance your users’ dwell-time.

6. Use conversational language

Creating interactive 404s - Use conversational language

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It must be pretty obvious by now that a remedy for a 404 lies in offering users a human touch that softens their impact, and this can be further augmented with the use of conversational language.

You want your customers and website visitors to feel less infuriated, and in order to do that, you need to spread out some comfort for them so that they do not feel agitated.

This can be reflected by a recent study by Business 2 Community, where they emphasize the use of conversational marketing. According to the study, 79% of consumers are willing to use messaging apps for customer service, 82% consider immediate response as extremely important, and 36% of companies are actively using live chat for marketing and sales.

Hence the idea over here is to make your users feel as if you are directly speaking to them, and this can help break the ice and reduce the tension created.

7. Get to homepage tab

Creating interactive 404s - Homepage tab

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Probably one of the easiest get around for your 404 pages is to link back to the homepage. What you are doing is here is giving your customers the easiest route to start their search all over again without letting them go and trying to keep them on your domain.

8.   Mention your blog

Mention your blog

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Blogs are considered a good choice for your audiences as well. While they may not be good for directly influencing their behavior, they can certainly create awareness that your domain does publish interesting content that users might find interesting to read.

It’s just a small nudge in the right direction. Obviously, customers who are looking to buy products or hire services would like to be directed to their requested pages, but mentioning your blog on a 404 is like saying, “hey there, we have more in store for you!”

Many students nowadays also go through blogs while they buy research papers online to increase their pool of knowledge relating to their field of study.

9.   Avoiding the 404 Error

Lastly, I would like to share some guidelines with you to help you avoid 404s where you can possibly manage to reduce them. This will only make your user experience skyrocket and help negate dissonance from users. Here are some quick tips:

  • Log into your Google Search Console account.
  • Check the Coverage report to see how many URLs are returning error codes.
  • Use the URL Inspection Tool to find more details about each error.
  • A 301 redirect is considered a good option for rectifying a 404 status.

Why are we doing this after all of the discussion above? This is because having too many 404s can prove to be detrimental to your user’s experience. Hence if you are notified about their existence, you should resolve them.

Conclusion

The 404 error codes undoubtedly leave a negative impact on your users and visitors. However, there are various ways you can make them add value for your customers.

I hope this post was able to offer you some meaningful ways through which you can use 404s in an interactive manner to boost your website’s SEO. For more questions regarding the topic, please feel free to post your queries in the comment section below.

Amanda Jerelyn currently works as a Marketing Manager at Dissertation Assistance, a perfect place for students to buy academic writing services from expert dissertation writers UK.  During her free time, she likes to practice mindful yoga to keep herself fit and healthy.

The post Guide to using interactive 404s to boost your SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites

September 26, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The research shows most agencies failed when it comes to the performance of their website.
  • Search engine ranking is a multi-factor game, and performance, while it matters for many reasons, is just one piece in this puzzle.
  • Nebojsa Radakovic shares insights.

Ever since Google announced that page speed would be a ranking factor in its mobile-first index in 2018, the need for speed became one of the most important aspects of web dev trait. A lot of businesses jumped onto the speed train. 

Sure enough, one year later, Google reported that sites are faster, and abandonment rates are down since making page speed a ranking factor.

With performance being one of the top-selling points of a modern-day web dev architecture Jamstack that we are so into, it was only natural to take a deep dive into the industries that tackle website performance and see how we stand against our peers.

TL;DR: Key findings

Don’t have the time to read through the research? Here are the key findings:

  • 27% of websites from our 20K sample still run on HTTP
  • 65.7% of the websites are built with WordPress
  • Only 2.7% of websites have good performance scores
  • 2.9% of websites provide good user experience to their users, ie Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) occurs within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading

What data was I interested in, and why?

Lighthouse performance metrics. There are a couple of popular speed testing tools, but most people use Lighthouse. While it may not be perfect because it provides a mix of both lab and field data about a page, I’ve used Pagespeed Insights API as described in James McNulty UpBuild post here, although updated to show core web vitals.

CMS. WordPress or not. 37% of all websites are powered by WordPress. Being the most popular web dev solution, it would be interesting to see and compare different solutions in terms of speed and performance.

Where did I get my URLs from?

Gathering URLs is a time-consuming work. But I managed to get 20k URLs (20397 URLs to be exact). I’ve cross-referenced results I got from scraping the first-page organic results of a set of keywords (like SEO agency, web dev agency, etc.), results I got by using tools such as Phantombuster to scrap review websites, and results I got from hiring virtual assistants on Upwork and Fiver.

There are a couple of issues I had to take care of first. Amazingly 27% of websites from my 20K sample still run on HTTP. That’s not good at all. On top of that, I had a bunch of URLs coming up with NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error message in Chrome. Once those were taken care of, I ended up having results 13945 URLs instead of 20K.

The data

Popular CMS- Speed and performance research

Of course, the most popular CMS is WordPress, with 65.7% of websites from my sample using it. For 18.8%, I was not able to detect any CMS. 2.58% run on Squarespace, 1.6% are built with Drupal, 1.41% are on Wix, and so on.

The results should not come as a surprise given that WordPress powers 37% of all the websites on the Internet or 63.6% of all the websites with known CMS.

Performance scores – How scores are color-coded by Google

The metrics scores and the perf score are colored according to these ranges:

  • 0 to 49 (Red): Poor
  • 50 to 89 (Orange): Needs Improvement
  • 90 to 100 (Green): Good

You can read more about it here.

As far as the performance scores for all websites are concerned, 77.1% of the websites are in the poor range, which means there is a lot of room for improvement.

URL performance - Speed and performance research

Pretty much the same story when we check only WordPress websites, 83.9% are in the poor performance range.

Performance WordPress - Speed and performance research

Core Web Vitals

By now, you probably are well aware of Core Web Vitals. Their importance is twofold:

  • Google considers them essential in a webpage’s overall user experience, and understanding them can help you improve the quality of experience you are delivering to your users,
  • Google plans to make a page experience an official Google ranking factor with Core Web Vitals being an essential part of it.

The current set for Core Web Vitals focuses on three aspects of the user experience: loading (described with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric), interactivity (described with First Input Delay (FID) metric), and visual stability (described with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric).

For this research, numbers follow the performance scores. For example, check out the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) results.

Largest-Contentful-Paint-(LCP): Speed and performance analysis

Conclusion

Being that I’ve tested only 20k URLs (actually 13945), let’s not generalize conclusions. However, the general ‘feel’ is that the ones required to think of speed and performance failed the test.

Performance, while it matters for many reasons, is not and should not be the end goal. It depends not only on the tech used but also ‘features’ you’ll have on a website, which pretty much depends on the industry/theme your website is in. And balancing performance and functionality successfully depends on the value a feature brings to your business versus the reduction in speed that results.

The thing is, whatever tech you use, you can end up with good scores (some easier than others). The real question is, how important are the scores for your client, their business, and their audience?

Nebojsa Radakovic is an SEO wiz with 20 years of experience. He is also an extreme sports enthusiast. He can be found on Twitter @CookieDuster_N.

The post Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Apple is (temporarily) waiving its App Store fee for Facebook’s online events

September 26, 2020 No Comments

Last month, Facebook introduced support for paid online events — and because many of the businesses offering those events have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, the company also said it would not collect fees for the next year. At the same time, it complained that Apple had “dismissed” its requests to waive the App Store’s customary 30% fee on in-app purchases.

Today, Facebook is announcing a reversal on Apple’s part: Online event fees will be processed through Facebook Pay, without Apple collecting its 30% cut, meaning businesses will receive all of the earnings from their online events, minus taxes. This arrangement will last until December 31 and will not apply to gaming creators.

The news comes after Facebook publicly pressured Apple to change its stance. It even submitted an iOS app update stating that “Apple takes 30% of this purchase” in the events payments flow. (Facebook said Apple rejected the update for including information that’s “irrelevant” to users.)

And while the two companies appear to have come to an agreement, today’s statements from Facebook are still a bit barbed.

“This is a difficult time for small businesses and creators, which is why we are not collecting any fees from paid online events while communities remain closed for the pandemic,” said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne. “Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30% App Store tax.”

Similarly, in discussing the exception for gaming creators, Facebook Gaming Vice President Vivek Sharma said, “We unfortunately had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses.”

When asked about the change, Apple provided the following statement: “The App Store provides a great business opportunity for all developers, who use it to reach half a billion visitors each week across 175 countries. To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone.”

More specifically, Apple said it’s giving Facebook until the end of the year to implement in-app payments for these events and bring them into compliance with App Store rules.

This also comes as Fortnite-maker Epic Games is waging a legal battle and publicity campaign against Apple’s App Store fees, with Fortnite removed from the iOS App Store. Epic is also part of a just-announced group of publishers called the Coalition for App Fairness, which is pushing for app store changes or regulation.


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