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How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns

September 29, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed in a downturn – upskilling your existing team with digital marketing techniques can provide huge efficiencies and minimize the impact of cuts
  • Creating an upskilling program does not need to be expensive or time-consuming if a well-thought-out strategy is adopted and results are constantly measured
  • Nurturing your own in-house talent pool also increases business resilience, improves marketing innovation and creativity, and reduces reliance on third-party operators
  • Choosing the right skills for your team to acquire depends both on your immediate goals and long-term business strategy – done right you can steal a march on your competitors
  • Sarah Gilchriest, Global COO of Circus Street, discusses the key skills brands need to cultivate to stay competitive during an economic downturn

We’re entering what is likely to be a pretty tough global recession. As consumer sentiment worsens, brands will increasingly look at ways they can cut costs to protect their bottom line. Unfortunately, we all know that marketing is usually one of the first budgets to be slashed.

It is seemingly much easier to stop a campaign or give an agency notice than it is to sack a developer or reduce infrastructure costs. However, more often than not, cutting marketing is a false economy that worsens the impact of a downturn by slowing a company’s growth. So, is there a way for brands to instead maximize their digital marketing output while also freezing or reducing costs?

The answer may be found in upskilling.

Training while cutting costs?

Now, your first reaction may be that training programs are expensive luxuries that make little sense if your goal is to cut costs. There are a few things to unpack here –

  1. Size and scope of training matter. You can make an outsized impact by training one or two individuals who then share their knowledge with their wider team. The right strategy (which I’ll discuss further below) can lead to a highly targeted program that gives the most critical skills to those who will be best placed to use them immediately.
  2. Next, there are a lot of freely available supporting resources that can significantly reduce costs and help to embed learning.
  3. Finally, let’s put costs in perspective. The ROI on a well-executed training scheme pays for itself and the initial outlay pales in comparison to most other business functions. Put simply, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

Why paid advertising skills?

Paid advertising makes a lot of sense to focus on for a number of reasons. Generally, compared to other marketing fields, paid advertising is characterized by the sheer diversity of skills and techniques needed to fully execute a campaign. It is incredibly fast-moving and often requires you to leverage a number of different tech platforms. Consequently, many brands outsource this functionality to a network of agencies and freelancers. Those that don’t usually rely on one or two individual ‘power users’ or worse, skills are haphazardly spread among a range of departments leading to bottlenecks and single points of failure.

As such, digital advertising is usually the prime area where efficiencies, greater innovation, and marketing effectiveness can occur via upskilling. It is where your business can do much more for less. 

Identifying the right skills

Getting the right skill mix is where the rubber meets the road. A mixture of creativity, data analysis, platform knowledge, development techniques, and marketing expertise are all needed. To get started the best approach is to fully understand what capability your team has in-house. The crucial element is to remember that a lot of ability might be hidden because it is not used on a day-to-day basis. You would be surprised at how quickly a business ‘forgets’ about the previous experiences of team members after they have been hired.

Auditing team skills should expand beyond the marketing department

You don’t know what gems are lurking in other areas of your business until you start to look. This is also the perfect opportunity to identify both the potential of your employees to acquire new skills and also their individual aspirations. It is much easier to upskill someone who has a professional and personal investment in learning that particular expertise. The audit itself does not need to be complex – a simple matrix that enables people to categorize their proficiency and outline the areas where they would like to develop will suffice.

When you know what you have to work with, then it’ll become much easier to define the best way forward. Deciding the best skill mix comes down to first working out how to fulfill your most immediate needs. For example, taking a costly service in-house, plugging a weakness – where a team member’s departure would severely hamper your ability to function, or obvious gaps in ability that prevent you from undertaking certain digital advertising activities.

Build on the compatibility between your employee’s aspirations and your commercial objectives

This is then overlaid by areas where your marketing output can most obviously be improved and your future aspirations in line with your commercial objectives. For example, if in the future you want to more heavily target users on particular social media platforms or ‘exotic’ platforms like IoT devices and digital boards. Perhaps you can see the financial benefits of adopting headless CMS tech and would like to put in place the skills needed to make that transition after the recession. Maybe you want your team to have the insight to tell you whether the Metaverse has any potential for your business.

This may sound complex but once you get started the hierarchy of skills you need more often than not becomes very obvious. Remember, one of upskilling’s great strengths is its flexibility – if your needs change or you feel you have chosen the wrong skills – it’s very easy to change track.

Getting started in a cost-efficient way

How you train your team is very much up to individual preferences – everyone learns in different ways. Speaking to your employees and specialists will enable you to build a tailored teaching structure. It can be a combination of in-house learning, online tutorials, accredited programs, or book learning. You do not have to go all in on a full program straight away. Piloting can remove a lot of the risk. Start small – one team or a handful of individuals from across your company – and continually assess the impact.

A mistake to avoid

A common mistake businesses make is they wait too long to get their team to use their new knowledge. This can hold up the process and damage ROI. The best way to embed new skills is to apply them. Ensure that your team has an opportunity to practice their newfound expertise on real initiatives. Then keep a close eye on your business metrics – including team and customer feedback – to determine the impact. Unlike many other departments, digital marketing can have very clear outputs. This will let you know quite quickly if it is working. From there, you can decide on how to roll out your training scheme. 

Marketing doesn’t end with the marketers

As I’ve mentioned, diversifying the skillset of your team builds resilience and promotes more innovation. The reason is simple, if you only have marketing skills in your marketing department, you are naturally limiting the number of people who can provide useful insights that fuel innovation. You reduce oversight and feedback loops, and your marketing output will suffer from a lack of outside perspectives. 

By making your teams multidisciplinary and cross-functional you can spread useful skills throughout your business. Customer service teams can learn the fundamentals of digital marketing, marketers know how to do the basic dev and data work to enable their day-to-day, and your data teams can think like marketers if they need to.

Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean losing capabilities

If the worst does happen and you do need to make cuts to your team, having key skills shared across your business means that the damage to core functions will be limited.

To finish – I should highlight that much of what I’ve discussed applies equally to business owners as it does to individual freelancers. A downturn can be a daunting prospect if you are a sole trader. Upskilling can be one of the best ways to increase your value to clients now and future-proof your business.

If you have seen business drop off, the time you now have available could be best dedicated to more training. This may sound obvious, but a mistake many people make in their careers is failing to adapt to how demand for skills can quickly change or technology can come along that makes them obsolete. Adding more skill strings to you and your company’s bow is never a bad thing.


Sarah Gilchriest is the Global COO of Circus Street.

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The post How upskilling your paid advertising skills will tackle economic downturns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Macron says G7 countries should work together to tackle toxic online content

June 11, 2021 No Comments

In a press conference at the Élysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his focus on online regulation, and more particularly toxic content. He called for more international cooperation as the Group of Seven (G7) summit is taking place later this week in the U.K.

“The third big topic that could benefit from efficient multilateralism and that we’re going to bring up during this G7 summit is online regulation,” Macron said. “This topic, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again, is essential for our democracies.”

Macron also used that opportunity to sum up France’s efforts on this front. “During the summer of 2017, we launched an initiative to tackle online terrorist content with then Prime Minister Theresa May. At first, and as crazy as it sounds today, we mostly failed. Because of free speech, people told us to mind our own business, more or less.”

In 2019, there was a horrendous mass mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. And you could find multiple copies of the shooting videos on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Macron invited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, several digital ministers of the G7 and tech companies to Paris.

They all signed a nonbinding pledge called the Christchurch Call. Essentially, tech companies that operate social platforms agreed to increase their efforts when it comes to blocking toxic content — and terrorist content in particular.

Facebook, Twitter, Google (and YouTube), Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies signed the pledge. Seventeen countries and the European Commission also backed the Christchurch Call. There was one notable exception — the U.S. didn’t sign it.

“This strategy led to some concrete results because all online platforms that signed it have followed through,” Macron said. “Evidence of this lies in what happened in France last fall when we faced terrorist attacks.” In October 2020, French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was killed and beheaded by a terrorist.

“Platforms flagged content and removed content within an hour,” he added.

Over time, more countries and online platforms announced their support for the Christchurch Call. In May, President Joe Biden joined the international bid against toxic content. “Given the number of companies incorporated in the U.S., it’s a major step and I welcome it,” Macron said today.

But what comes next after the Christchurch Call? First, Macron wants to convince more countries to back the call — China and Russia aren’t part of the supporters for instance.

“The second thing is that we have to push forward to create a framework for all sorts of online hate speech, racist speech, anti-Semitic speech and everything related to online harassment,” Macron said.

He then briefly referred to French regulation on this front. Last year, French regulation on hate speech on online platforms has been widely deemed as unconstitutional by France’s Constitutional Council, the top authority in charge of ruling whether a new law complies with the constitution.

The list of hate-speech content was long and broad while potential fines were very high. The Constitutional Council feared that online platforms would censor content a bit too quickly.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping Macron from backing new regulation on online content at the European level and at the G7 level.

“It’s the only way to build an efficient framework that we can bring at the G20 summit and that can help us fight against wild behavior in online interactions — and therefore wild behavior in our new world order,” Macron said, using the controversial “wild behavior” metaphor (ensauvagement). That term was first popularized by far-right political figures.

According to him, if world leaders fail to find some common ground when it comes to online regulation, it’ll lead to internet fragmentation. Some countries may choose to block several online services for instance.

And yet, recent events have showed us that this ship has sailed already. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter operations in the country just a few days ago. It’s easy to agree to block terrorist content, but it becomes tedious quite quickly when you want to moderate other content.


Social – TechCrunch


How businesses can use YouTube to tackle the COVID-19 business crisis

September 14, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • In the “coexisting with-COVID-19” world, an average user is now spending “Remote” is the new usual.
  • Using the avenue of YouTube for your business can be an open-ended option to help with marketing and product promotions during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • If you think this is an approachable recommendation for your business, here’s how YouTube can help you out in the COVID-19 situation.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led global businesses to a scenario where business continuity has severely been challenged. All kinds of businesses – be it food and beverage, apparel and footwear, beauty, automotive, travel, or hospitality all have been severely impacted. Opportunities that help businesses navigate the strategic, operational, and financial change through the usual ways of marketing and promoting a business might not work anymore.

In the “coexisting with COVID-19” world, an average user is now spending “Remote” is the new usual. Hence, utilizing the avenue of YouTube for your business can be an open-ended option for organizations to help with their marketing and product promotions. So, if you think this is an approachable recommendation for your business, here’s how YouTube can help you out in the COVID-19 situation.

1. Get exposure to international clients

Either they post their own videos or watch the works of other YouTubers. With such a large audience in the funnel, bringing your business marketing to YouTube would be a good move. This holds true for businesses because they can register their presence on YouTube to showcase their resources. So, if you can create a channel on this platform and upload your organizational videos, you are opening yourself to a prospective audience that can be a potential clientele. If you are a setup based on any of the online business ideas, this can increase the sales as well as the overall recognition and reputation of your company.

Here are a few examples of YouTube video uploads for a business:

  • YouTube podcasts with an expert panel
  • Listicle videos of “Top 10”
  • Explanatory videos for your business offering
  • Product/service reviews of your business offering
  • YouTubeLive
  • Company presentations
  • New product launch videos

If you are concerned about the geography and language for your videos, it was never a barrier to YouTube, thanks to subtitles. While it is not feasible and easy to record your videos in multiple languages, YouTube does provide adding subtitles almost free of cost. So, that’s a box ticked off.

YouTube is heavily based on the viewership and subscription count of a channel. So, to increase the viewers and subscribers on YouTube, you would have to stay consistently active on this platform.

Tip

Skip the old content format. Create your new blogs in the video format with a voiceover and some animation. Listicles are by far one of the most popular YouTube video formats.

2. Become more visible on Google

As you probably already know, the Google search engine does not only pick up blogs and articles but also accumulates SEO juice from YouTube videos. Since videos are very high on engagement percentage, it is a great time to get on the video platform of YouTube. So, if you create a lot more unique content regularly, then it will be easier for your channel to appear in the search results.

You would also have to choose a suitable title for it. A relatively neutral title can help your videos show up on the “Trending” page. You would also have to provide some brief yet proper descriptions under your videos. This will make it easier for search engines to pick up your video content. Choosing the right time to post your videos should be based on your audience if you really want to maximize engagement.

As YouTube is a part of Google, you can also increase your website’s authority on the search engine by incorporating the same. In simple words, the more popular your YouTube channel is, the higher your website will rank in Google’s search results. It is also highly recommended that you employ the right SEO tools to further amp up the SEO game of your content.

Tip

If a YouTube video has a view time of fewer than 10 secs it’s going to count as a negative count – A huge factor that loses rankings!

3. Build revenue through AdSense

Besides getting popular on the business side of YouTube, you can also generate some amount for your business through YouTube’s AdSense. Almost every full-time YouTuber earns a lot more money than many people. Revenue from YouTube ads came to $ 4.7 billion in the fourth quarter, up 31% year over year. However, all sectors have been differently impacted by the eventual change in Ad spend.

This is something that can be achieved if your channel has enough of a viewer base. Firstly, a viewer would see your video’s or business’ ad through the video of any other channel and click on it. However, you will have to pay a small amount of revenue for it. Here’s an ideal scenario.

  • After clicking, the viewer would proceed with your video and watch it. Nevertheless, if you already have added some ads from other content creators, then your viewer would watch them, too, in the process.
  • With each click on those ads, you will earn some.

It does not sound really massive, right? But, if more than one million people watch your videos regularly, then, through AdSense, you can definitely earn some good money.

Tip

Figure out the categories of monetized videos on YouTube and try to jot them with your business content so that you don’t miss those AdSense dollars.

4. Seek inspiration from standard businesses and their YouTube channels

Almost every popular or highly-established company has its own YouTube channel. Check out the YouTube channels from Y Combinator, TED, Skillshare, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Neil Patel. These are a bunch of very popular business-oriented channels that are worth seeking inspiration from. So, if you do follow them, then you will be able to gain a lot of insights about marketing strategies and campaigns.

This can help you learn more about the crucial aspects of business and come up with your own ideas, and self-branding that can boost the growth of your organization.

Tip

YouTube is a trend-heavy platform where creators follow several patterns to bring their video to the “Trending” slot. While those can effectively help you, staying original in your pursuit can carve a niche for you.

5. Keep your content alive with YouTube repurposing

Before COVID-19 hit us, all businesses were on their usual path to creating their marketing content in several formats such as blogs, infographics, videos, whitepapers, eBooks, and more. However, now is the time to repurpose all the content or videos that you have created before and utilize them for aggressively claiming the YouTube business space for your industry.

You do not have to waste your time on the same project again and use it on another channel or place to reach your target audience quickly and easily.

For repurposing, you can use four different formats, which are – video series, infographics, podcasts, and presentations. This approach would help you to keep your audience engaged with works, which, in turn, might help you gain some new audience and clients.

Tip

Repurposing old content for conversion into YouTube videos not only saves your time but also keeps you in a mode where you are able to churn good content and post it out consistently.

6. Make use of YouTube influencer marketing

Based on your take on marketing budget, you can seek Influencer Marketing and rope in YouTubers to promote your products/services through their videos. This way, you might be able to gain some business through the means of their loyal fanbase.

Moreover, if you do enable the comment section of your videos and be active with the interaction, your business might be able to get some active leads for potential customers who are keen to engage with your business offering.

Tip

Influencer marketing is witnessing Micro-influencers making waves. So, do consider tapping this opportunity.

What else matters?

Once you have created your business YouTube channel, you have to focus on optimizing and growing it. Here are some of the checkboxes you need to tick off:

  • A channel trailer is a great way to welcome new visitors who are coming across your channel for the first time. They would instantly know what videos to expect.
  • Figure out the video length that works for your business. Too short or too long videos can kill the channel’s growth even before you know it.
  • Channel art is crucial and can work its way to attract new audiences to your channel and make a lasting impression. Check out GaryVee’s channel art.

How businesses can use YouTube to tackle COVID-19 business crisis

  • To provide your channel with a visibility boost, paid promotion can always help.
  • Organic growth can be your thing. All you have to do is keep producing high-quality videos that are relevant to your business and its audience.

Conclusion

It is true that this virus has highly impacted various segments in the business industry. Businesses are now looking to figure out possible steps and responses to mitigate risks in these uncertainties. As apparent, YouTube is a great platform to grow your business, especially during the time of COVID-19. So, stop waiting for the grass to grow and create a channel on the website and start working on it today.

Catherrine Garcia is an experienced Web Developer at WPCodingDev and a passionate blogger. 

The post How businesses can use YouTube to tackle the COVID-19 business crisis appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Nine site audit issues we always see and tips to tackle them

March 15, 2020 No Comments

After carrying out thousands of site audit activities across varying industries and site sizes, there are some stand out issues that are repeated over and over again.

Certain CMS platforms have their downfalls and cause the same technical issues repeatedly but most of the time these issues are caused by the sites being managed by multiple people, knowledge gaps, and simply the factor of time.

We tend to use two crawlers at Zazzle Media which will be mentioned throughout this post. The first being Screaming Frog, which we make use of when we need raw exports or need to be very specific with what we are crawling. The second being Sitebulb, which is much more of a site audit tool, rather than a crawler. We tend to make use of Sitebulb more due to being able to manage projects and the overall progress a site is making.

So let’s get started, with the issues we see time and time again.

1. Broken internal links

One of the more simple issues, but something that can be missed, if you aren’t looking out for it. Broken links can disrupt the user journey, and for the search engines, this disables crawl bots from connecting pieces of content.

Internal links are mainly utilized to connect pieces of content, and in terms of Google’s algorithm, internal links allow link equity to be distributed from one page to another. A broken link can disrupt this as if the link is broken causing failure of equity transfer from one page to another. In terms of PageRank, Google’s algorithm evaluates the number of high-quality links to a page in order to determine page authority.

Put simply, a broken internal link can negatively affect page authority and stop the flow of link equity.

The scale of this issue will vary dramatically depending on the type of site you are running. However, on most sites there will be some form of broken links.

Quick tip

A simple crawl will pick these up, running a tool such as Screaming Frog with a basic configuration will provide a full list of broken links, alongside the parent URL.

2. Meta title length

Based on the number of times this occurs, it can be a very minimal problem or something that could dramatically alter a whole business.

Short meta titles could indicate a lack of targeting while long titles would cause truncation and in turn, lower click-through rates.

Quick tip

To write the perfect meta title and descriptions which maximize pixel usage and CTA, we recommend using the Sistrix SERP generator tool.

3. Redirecting internal links

Redirecting internal links can cause problems for your site architecture as it takes slightly longer for users and search engines to find content. With content changing or products becoming sold out, either a permanent (301) or temporary (302) redirection is used. A 302 redirection tells a search engine to keep the old page, as the 302 redirection is simply a temporary measure. A 301 redirection instructs the search engine that the page has permanently moved, and will be replaced at the new location.

Redirection loops are when your browser tells the search engine to redirect to a page, which once again tells your browser to redirect to another page – which can happen over and over again until it hits the final destination. Redirection loops should be avoided at all costs, as this will increase crawl time and can send mixed signals to search bots.

The problem isn’t with redirecting a URL (if completed correctly), the issue lies within the links pointing to the URL redirection. For example, URL A redirects to a new URL B. But URL C still points to URL A – which is incorrect.

Sitebulb can crawl and find all the URLs that currently link to the redirecting URL, where you can then change the href target to point to the new URL via the CMS.

Quick tip

Redirecting URLs should be avoided where possible, as this can increase a search bots crawl time, in turn, potentially leading to the website’s URL being skipped within the allocated crawl.

4. Outdated sitemaps

XML sitemaps do not have to be static, as with larger websites to continuously update the XML file directory will be very time-consuming. It is recommended to use a dynamic .xml sitemap, as this ensures every time a piece of content, or media is added, your CMS automatically updates this file directory. A Sitebulb audit will highlight that your website has a missing sitemap.

It is really important to use Dynamic XML sitemaps correctly, as in some cases, the dynamic sitemap can end up adding URLs you do not want in the sitemap

Quick tip

If you are using a standard CMS such as WordPress search/sitemap.xml to the end of your domain, this should show your website’s sitemap.

5. Orphan URLs

Orphan pages, otherwise known as “floating pages” are URLs that are indexed and published but can neither be found by users nor search engines by following internal links. This means that an orphan page can end up never being crawled. A typical scenario of an orphan page could be a winter sale, where the page was once needed, but now due to the season isn’t needed anymore.

Essentially, when there are a few this is not harmful, however, when there is a large amount this it can bloat your website. The result, poor link equity distribution, keyword cannibalization (for which we have a separate guide here) and a poor internal linking experience for both search bot and user.

Quick tip

As this is a specific type of crawl, Zazzle Media uses Screaming Frog to crawl the sitemap data. At the same time, we run another crawl with either Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to find the orphan pages by comparing the two data sets.

Read our quick guide that concerns orphan URLs and how to deal with them for a more in-depth approach.

6. Site speed

Google has previously indicated that site speed is a crucial ranking factor, and more specifically is a part of its ranking algorithm for search engine results. This is because site speed is closely related to good user experience, slow websites have high bounce rates due to content taking a long time to load. A benefit from improving your websites site speed is that it will better the user experience, but also could reduce website bounce rate too.

Page speed checking during site audits

Source: Search Influence, 2017

Additionally, as site speed is directly related to lowering bounce rate, this should in turn boost revenues – as users are actively remaining engaged on your website for longer.

Quick tip

To check your website’s site speed, we recommend using Google’s very own page speed insights tool, where this will not only give you a page speed score, but also a host of recommendations on how to best improve your site speed and how you compare to search competition!

7. Hierarchy/structure

A website’s Hierarchy structure, otherwise known as information architecture, is essentially how your website’s navigation is presented to a search engine or user. The fundamental issue that most websites suffer from is page rank distribution.

Websites’ main pages or most profitable pages should be within three clicks from the homepage. Pages that are more than three clicks away from the homepage, subsequently receive less page rank distribution, and in other scenarios will only occasionally be crawled (if ever).

Without an effective hierarchy, crawl budget can be wasted. This can mean for pages within the depths of your website (more than three clicks away from the root) could rank poorly as Google is unsure of the importance of the page and link equity could be spread thinly.

Quick tip

An SEO and user-friendly site architecture is all about allowing search bots and users to seamlessly navigate your website. Flattening your site architecture can increase indexation, allow more keyword rankings, and in turn boost organic traffic.

8. Internal linking

Internal linking is an important feature of a website as this allows users to navigate your website, and most importantly (from an SEO perspective) allows search engine crawlers to understand the connections between content. An effective internal linking strategy could have a big impact on rankings.

It is no surprise to us when a Sitebulb audit states to review your internal linking strategy, as complex sites, with thousands of pages can get messy. A typical example of a messy internal linking structure could be anchor texts that do not contain a keyword, URL linking inconsistencies in volume (for PageRank distribution), and links not always pointing to the canonical version of a URL. Issues such as the ones listed can create mixed signals for search engine crawlers and ultimately confuses a crawler when it comes to indexing your content.

Quick tip

Sitebulb can complete an audit where this highlights any issues with link distribution, shows which pages receive the most internal links, shows any broken internal links / incorrectly used and so much more. We then digest this data to devise a strategy of how we can best optimize your website’s internal linking strategy.

9. Thin content

Writing unique pieces of content that provides value to a user can be incredibly challenging, and most importantly time-consuming! Hence, this is one of the most frequent issues we always see on website audits. More specifically, thin content is directly against Google’s guidelines and can result in a penalty worst-case scenario.

Search engines when crawling your website are looking for functional pieces of content to understand your business services and product offerings. Not only are search engines looking for functional pieces of content, but search bots also want to see your expertise, quality, and trust. Google has a huge 166 page ‘Search Quality Guidelines‘ document that explains what search quality constitutes. We recommend familiarizing yourself with this document to ensure that you write quality content for your website which is in line with Google’s search guidelines.

This is a regular issue that many websites overlook, but is a critical route to organic success.

Quick tip

A Sitebulb audit will identify any URLs with thin content, and prioritize the severity of the issue. Aim for about 350 – 500 words per page to succinctly communicate your information. However, the quality of this content is still a very important factor.

In conclusion

These are just some of the most common types of issues discovered from an SEO audit, and technical changes can be tricky as well as incredibly time-consuming to implement at times. Completing a technical audit of your website, and correcting any issues can lead to improving keyword rankings, organic traffic, and if the products/services are right, achieve more sales.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to search engine optimization and with the landscape constantly changing, this is a superior strategy to achieve long term competitive advantage in the digital landscape.

Fraser Gilbey is a Senior SEO Executive at Zazzle Media.

The post Nine site audit issues we always see and tips to tackle them appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020

November 28, 2019 No Comments

While ecommerce businesses are in the midst of the Q4 craziness and rising CPCs of the holiday season, B2B clients are planning for their business to pick up at the start of 2020.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few things to consider and refresh before Q1 gets here.

1. Study the competitive landscape

One of the most valuable sources of knowledge from Google campaigns is the ‘Auction Insights’ report, which provides info on when competitors have come into and out of the auction during the year. It’s also valuable to look at competitors that might be newer in the space and have recently entered the auction. With this information, you can dive into new keyword research by using tools like SEMrush and SpyFu. I also recommend studying creative, offers, and copy that your competitors are using across their ads helping to inform potential creative and development and testing for the start of the year. 

2. Reevaluate budgets for 2020

As the start of the year approaches, look to set budgets based on historical performance and anticipated seasonality. In order to have a strong plan in place, you should look beyond monthly breakdowns.

Some questions to consider

  • Did you expand into new channels late into the year?
  • Do you need to invest in more budget into certain channels?
  • Are our remarketing campaigns fully funded across channels?
  • Are you planning on investing budget into new channels?
  • How much of the budget will you set aside for testing?

Answering these questions will help ensure you budget appropriately for both historically efficient channels and promising new channels that can get you some early-adoption benefits. 

3. Refresh and rethink audiences

It’s important to review the audiences that you have been targeting over the past few months. Along with identifying new audiences to add and poor-performing audiences to pause, consider re-engaging qualified leads that went dark, bolstering account-based marketing efforts, and testing new lookalike audiences

4. Map out new creative and content

Creative and content are some of the most crucial aspects of campaign development. While you are preparing for Q1, make sure to do an audit of your current and planned creative and content. Are you thinking about the full funnel? Users who haven’t engaged with the brand before are typically looking to download a piece of content that they find valuable. It could be a whitepaper, case study, infographic, or something else that could engage them. 

As users progress down the funnel, they will be more willing to give their information to request a demo or get contacted by your company. It’s important to understand where a user is in the funnel and offer them content that aligns with that step. Make sure you’re analyzing content from 2019 and identifying your successes. Which can be spun forward, made into a series, or meaningfully refreshed? Give yourself a leg up by producing content you know to be effective.

Looking at historical performance will help you understand your successes and failures in 2019 and incorporate those into the 2020 planning. Creative, testing, competitive insights, and new audiences will be key efforts in driving growth and performance in the new year, so lay the groundwork now to get ahead of steam going into January.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

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Facebook and eBay told to tackle trade in fake reviews

June 23, 2019 No Comments

Facebook and eBay have been warned by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to do more to tackle the sale of fake reviews on their platforms.

Fake reviews are illegal under U.K. consumer protection law.

The CMA said today it has found “troubling evidence” of a “thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews.” Though it also writes that it does not believe the platforms themselves are intentionally allowing such content to appear on their sites.

The regulator says it crawled content on eBay and Facebook between November 2018 and June 2019 — finding more than 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale during that time.

Over the same period it also identified 26 Facebook groups where people offered to write fake reviews or where businesses recruited people to write fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping and review sites.

The CMA cites estimates that more than three-quarters of U.K. internet users consider online reviews before making a purchase decision — with “billions” of pounds’ worth of people’s spending being influenced by such content. So the incentives driving a market to trade reviews for money is clear.

Commenting in a statement, the CMA’s CEO, Andrea Coscelli, said: “We want Facebook and eBay to conduct an urgent review of their sites to prevent fake and misleading online reviews from being bought and sold.”

“Lots of us rely on reviews when shopping online to decide what to buy. It is important that people are able to trust that reviews are genuine, rather than something someone has been paid to write,” he added. “Fake reviews mean that people might make the wrong choice and end up with a product or service that’s not right for them. They’re also unfair to businesses who do the right thing.”

The regulator says that after it wrote to eBay and Facebook to inform them of its findings they have both “indicated that they will cooperate.”

Facebook also told the CMA that “most” of the 26 groups it identified have now been removed.

The regulator says he expects the sites to put measures in place to ensure all the identified content is removed — and stop it from reappearing.

At the time of writing, a search of ebay.co.uk for “reviews” returned sellers offering five-star media reviews, five-star Google reviews and five-star Trustpilot reviews as the top three results — one of which was also a sponsored post:

Additional eBay listings included one offering “1/2/3/4/5 Star Freeindex Customer Service Review for business,” priced at £10 and sold by a U.K.-based seller who has been an eBay member since Feb 2011; one five-star review “on Google” that the seller touts with the line, “Boost your business and get new Customers” — at a cost of £2.69; one “100% positive FAST” review for £1; and five five-star reviews on Google priced at £15 — offered by a seller apparently based in Portugal who has been an eBay member since March 2014.

A search of U.K. Facebook groups returned multiple examples of closed groups where sellers appear to be soliciting reviews, either in exchange for goods and/or payment…

 

Reached for a response to the CMA’s call for measures to be put in place to tackle the illegal trade in fake reviews, Facebook sent us the following statement — attributed to a spokesperson:

Fraudulent activity is not allowed on Facebook, including the trading of fake reviews. We have removed 24 of the 26 groups and pages that the CMA reported to us yesterday and had already removed a number of them prior to the CMA flagging them to us. We know there is more to do which is why we’ve tripled the size of our safety and security team to 30,000 and continue to invest in technology to help proactively prevent abuse of our platform.

An eBay spokesperson also told us:

We have zero tolerance for fake or misleading reviews. We have informed the CMA that all of the sellers they identified have been suspended. The listings have been removed. Listings such as these are strictly against our policy on illegal activity and we will act where our rules are broken. We welcome the report from the CMA and will work closely with them in reviewing its findings.


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook and eBay told to tackle trade in fake reviews

June 23, 2019 No Comments

Facebook and eBay have been warned by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to do more to tackle the sale of fake reviews on their platforms.

Fake reviews are illegal under U.K. consumer protection law.

The CMA said today it has found “troubling evidence” of a “thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews.” Though it also writes that it does not believe the platforms themselves are intentionally allowing such content to appear on their sites.

The regulator says it crawled content on eBay and Facebook between November 2018 and June 2019 — finding more than 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale during that time.

Over the same period it also identified 26 Facebook groups where people offered to write fake reviews or where businesses recruited people to write fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping and review sites.

The CMA cites estimates that more than three-quarters of U.K. internet users consider online reviews before making a purchase decision — with “billions” of pounds’ worth of people’s spending being influenced by such content. So the incentives driving a market to trade reviews for money is clear.

Commenting in a statement, the CMA’s CEO, Andrea Coscelli, said: “We want Facebook and eBay to conduct an urgent review of their sites to prevent fake and misleading online reviews from being bought and sold.”

“Lots of us rely on reviews when shopping online to decide what to buy. It is important that people are able to trust that reviews are genuine, rather than something someone has been paid to write,” he added. “Fake reviews mean that people might make the wrong choice and end up with a product or service that’s not right for them. They’re also unfair to businesses who do the right thing.”

The regulator says that after it wrote to eBay and Facebook to inform them of its findings they have both “indicated that they will cooperate.”

Facebook also told the CMA that “most” of the 26 groups it identified have now been removed.

The regulator says he expects the sites to put measures in place to ensure all the identified content is removed — and stop it from reappearing.

At the time of writing, a search of ebay.co.uk for “reviews” returned sellers offering five-star media reviews, five-star Google reviews and five-star Trustpilot reviews as the top three results — one of which was also a sponsored post:

Additional eBay listings included one offering “1/2/3/4/5 Star Freeindex Customer Service Review for business,” priced at £10 and sold by a U.K.-based seller who has been an eBay member since Feb 2011; one five-star review “on Google” that the seller touts with the line, “Boost your business and get new Customers” — at a cost of £2.69; one “100% positive FAST” review for £1; and five five-star reviews on Google priced at £15 — offered by a seller apparently based in Portugal who has been an eBay member since March 2014.

A search of U.K. Facebook groups returned multiple examples of closed groups where sellers appear to be soliciting reviews, either in exchange for goods and/or payment…

 

Reached for a response to the CMA’s call for measures to be put in place to tackle the illegal trade in fake reviews, Facebook sent us the following statement — attributed to a spokesperson:

Fraudulent activity is not allowed on Facebook, including the trading of fake reviews. We have removed 24 of the 26 groups and pages that the CMA reported to us yesterday and had already removed a number of them prior to the CMA flagging them to us. We know there is more to do which is why we’ve tripled the size of our safety and security team to 30,000 and continue to invest in technology to help proactively prevent abuse of our platform.

An eBay spokesperson also told us:

We have zero tolerance for fake or misleading reviews. We have informed the CMA that all of the sellers they identified have been suspended. The listings have been removed. Listings such as these are strictly against our policy on illegal activity and we will act where our rules are broken. We welcome the report from the CMA and will work closely with them in reviewing its findings.


Social – TechCrunch


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